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Dolly Parton Scores UK Platinum Album for Blue Smoke

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 22:01

Nashville, TN -- As 2014 draws to a close, Dolly Parton is far from resting on her laurels, and shows no signs of slowing down. The songstress continues to make history, with a record-setting tour overseas, and also raises the bar from a sales standpoint with yet another platinum selling album in a career that has already seen worldwide sales of over one hundred million records, and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.

"I was so happy when Blue Smoke went Silver, so excited when it went Gold and now I'm over the moon to hear that we have gone Platinum,” says Parton. “Thanks to the fans and to everybody who made this happen."

Once again, the Country Music Hall of Fame member proved her timeless quality as a recording artist once again with the Platinum-selling success of her CD Blue Smoke....The Best Of, a collection that includes her most recent studio album as well as a compilation that includes many of her most memorable hits, such as “Love Is Like A Butterfly,” “Here You Come Again,” and her biggest hit as a solo artist, 1980’s “9 To 5.” But, Dolly’s success with the album was not entirely tied to those past glories. Blue Smoke....The Best Of earned a pair of Top-30 airplay hits for Parton in the UK with ‘Try” and “Home,” as well as her cover of Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands On Me” and the title cut, which also made the Top-40 airplay.

“Dolly’s hard work ethic has once again paid off achieving platinum sales in 2014 with Blue Smoke....The Best Of,” says Danny Nozell, CEO CTK Management. “I am very blessed to be working for a true Icon who lives up to her name. Dolly dominated 2014 with many milestones and charting history. Thanks to our partner Sony Masterworks, Sony UK, and all of Sony worldwide. We make a great team!”

Parton’s success overseas continued with a recent nomination for International Artist of the Year at the BBC Music Awards 2014. The nomination capped off a year in which Parton – after five decades in the business – scored one of her biggest and most heralded performances ever.

"Dolly Parton has been making great music for decades, and the Blue Smoke album sits right among her best recorded work. We at Masterworks are honored to be working with one of our industry's biggest icons, and happily congratulate Dolly, her label Dolly Records, as well as our partners at Sony Music UK, on this great achievement,” says Bogdan Roscic, President of Sony Music Masterworks

The singer brought her show to Glastonbury, where an estimated 180,000 came to watch her perform – her largest audience ever. Her set prompted The Guardian to say “Parton rewarded Glastonbury with a performance that surely calls for a redefinition of the word "crowd-pleaser.” The concert also aired on television, attracting the festival's largest ever TV audience. Parton also was in the news constantly with appearances all over the tube in the UK, a Twitter campaign to “Get Dolly On Grimmy” (a reference to Nick Grimshaw’s Radio One morning show), and as well as through the story of “Dolly The Dog,” a fluffy white Lurcher who was separated from her owners following Parton’s Glastonbury performance last month. She volunteered to take the dog back to America with her, but the owners came forward to reclaim their lost pet.

The success of Blue Smoke....The Best Of gives Parton the distinction of having the biggest album from an International female so far this year.

Since moving to Nashville in the spring of 1964, Parton has created one of the biggest success stories in entertainment history, with hits on country and pop radio, Gold and Platinum singles and albums the world over, membership into The Grand Ole Opry (1969), the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame (1986), and the Country Music Hall Of Fame (1999). She was won seven Grammy Awards, nine CMA Awards, including the Entertainer of the Year prize from the organization in 1977, and seven awards from the Academy of Country Music. She has also enjoyed success on television, on the big screen, and as an author, with the Best-selling autobiography My Life and Other Unfinished Business.

Tags: Dolly PartonCD ReleaseBlue SmokeBlue Smoke....The Best OfAward

Nu-Blu + Sam Moore on Reno's Old Time Country Music Show Feb 14

Wed, 12/17/2014 - 22:01

Nashville, TN -- Nu-Blu, one of bluegrass music's breakout acts, was joined by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Sam Moore this past week in Nashville for a special taping of Reno's Old Time Country Music show. On this soon to be historic episode, both Nu-Blu and Sam Moore perform their latest collaboration "Jesus and Jones," as well as take the audience through a few twists and turns when they, for the first-time ever in a bluegrass acoustic sound, perform the Sam & Dave classic "Hold On, I'm Coming," and end the show with "Will The Circle Be Unbroken."

"We had so much fun cutting up and talking about some of everything with Ronnie. It was probably a good thing the show was taped in advance cause I couldn't stop laughing and it's not easy to sing and be so tickled at the same time," said an excited Sam Moore.

The pairing began earlier in the year, when Nu-Blu and Sam Moore recorded "Jesus and Jones," to pay tribute to the late country music legend George Jones.

Nu-Blu's latest album, All The Way, has continued to create and maintain momentum since its release, having spent its first 3 week on the Top Billboard Bluegrass Albums chart.

What the Media is Saying:

"...the highlight of this project is "Jesus And Jones" featuring Sam Moore. We certainly need more of this kind of depth in bluegrass."
  ~ Cybergrass

"Making All the Way even more special was the magical way that everything -- from the recording process to having performers like Sam Moore and Rhonda Vincent included just all came together."
  ~ Billboard

"Nu-Blu have marched to their own tune since they first hit the bluegrass scene, going where few bands had traveled before, and bringing in influences from all across the music world. It's always fun to see what they'll be up to next."
  ~ Bluegrass Today

"You may not know who NU-BLU is yet and if you don't look them up on the NET, listen to their wonderful tune, "Jesus And Jones," that includes vocals from Sam Moore, immediately establishes their talent and roots and should put them on the map."
  ~ All Access

Tags: Nu-BluSam MooreAll The Way

Mountain Fever Records and Volume Five to Release "Voices" Jan 20

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 22:16

Willis, VA -- Mountain Fever Records announces the upcoming CD release of Voices from Volume Five, which will be available on Jan. 20, 2015. Founded in early 2008 by vocalist and fiddle player Glen Harrell, Volume Five includes the talents of Harry Clark (Mandolin & Vocals), Chris Williamson (Bass & Vocals), Patton Wages (Banjo & Vocals,) and Colby Laney (Guitar & Vocals.) These five musicians together truly blend into a band with staying power. “When I put this group together, I knew the style of music I wanted us to play and the goals I wanted to achieve," stated Harrell. "It was just a matter of finding the right guys who wanted to create their own identity in the industry. I didn’t just want us to be another band that moves onto the scene and is gone in a few years, but one that would have a unique sound that players and listeners would remember for many years to come - one that sounded like no other band in the business."

Volume Five's touring schedule has afforded them the benefit of playing with numerous artists over the years, many of whom have become fans. Buddy Melton of Balsam Range says, “What defines a great band? Superior musicianship, impeccable singing, moving song selections...Volume Five has all the above and more...Extremely talented, yet humble and genuinely real people. Volume Five has a magical quality about them that will undoubtedly make a lasting impression in the world of acoustic music."

Album Features 12 Tracks Including Duet with Queen of Bluegrass, Rhonda Vincent

Volume Five has had great success with their previous releases including their first, Down In a Cell and their second release,Children of the Mountains, which garnered the group their first #1 song, "Anywhere is Home Again." With their third album, Run, they achieved significant Bluegrass Today chart success appearing almost every week of 2013. "Rich Man's Daughter" was the first single from the album which went to #1 only three weeks after it was released. Several other songs from the album climbed as high as #2 and many weeks they have had as many as four songs from the album appearing on the chart at one time.

2014 also proved to be a stellar year for the band. On the heels of a their well-received southern-gospel CD release, The Day We Learn to Fly, the band earned two IBMA nominations for Emerging Artist of the Year and IBMA Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for the album's title cut.

Voices will be the band's fifth album and features 12 tracks of carefully selected songs, showcasing the many facets of musical tastes that come from within the decidedly bluegrass ensemble—traditional, classic, and on-the-edge—this CD covers it all.

VoicesTrack Listing:

  1. "King of California"
  2. "Going Across the Mountain"
  3. "Dream Softly"
  4. "Crazy Night"
  5. "Strangest Dreams"
  6. "Daddy Was An Old Time Preacher Man" with Rhonda Vincent
  7. "Satan's Ridge"
  8. "Colder and Colder"
  9. "Sam's Gap"
  10. "Amanda"
  11. "Soldier For the Lonely"
  12. "Faithfully"
Tags: Volume FiveMountain Fever RecordsCD ReleaseVoices

Jordan Laney on Carlton Haney at ICMC

Tue, 12/16/2014 - 22:09

The International Country Music Conference (ICMC) always includes bluegrass music as part of their conference. Jordan Laney of Virginia Polytechnic State Institute and University (a.k.a. VaTech) will be discussing something near and dear to Bluegrass folks. Her presentation “Across Space and Time: Carlton Haney’s Multi-Genre Influence and Vision” suggests that “Not only did Carlton Haney organize the first multi-day bluegrass event, manage country music stars from Conway Twitty to Bill Anderson, and support early efforts of internal archiving through Muleskinner News, Haney (along with Ralph Rinzler and Bill Monroe), co-produced “The Story of Bluegrass,” setting in motion the genres generational legacy and familiar connections.” ICMC always includes quality Bluegrass presentations and Laney’s presentation helps continue the tradition.

ICMC is pleased to share that long time ICMC friend Lee Bidgood of East Tennessee State University will further extend the ICMC Bluegrass presence. Bidgood will be dealing with “Broken Circle vs the Louvat Brothers: Is there a Belgian Bluegrass?” Most of us probably know nothing about the Bluegrass scene in Belgium. As always, Bidgood will be well prepared, expand our horizons, plus contribute mightily to our enjoyment with his picking prowess!

Another bluegrass topic at ICMC will by by Rick Stern of Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology in St. Meinrad, Indiana. Stern's topic will be dealing with ‘Home Is Where...” Stern Indicates that Bluegrass “contains two spheres (secular and sacred) each of which employs the concept of ‘home’...with the first sphere described as longing and the second as hopeful.” Stern will deal with ‘several variations’ of home songs and deal with state and region songs as well. Stern is always thoroughly prepared and his banjo adds a great deal to all of the ICMC picking sessions!

ICMC long term friend Dan Simberloff shared a link dealing with the question of preservation on Music Row. Preservation of music row is related to the important questions of ‘critical infrastructure,’ authenticity, public memory, iconography as well as private property issues. ICMC has not taken a formal stand on such issues, but numerous sessions and panels have dealt with authenticity. It may well be that an ICMC panel on historic preservation and all its complexities as it relates to country music would be a great feature for a future ICMC.

Greg Reish ( that FOUR (4) slots remain available if you want to be part of the FREE Wednesday afternoon 5.20.2015 excursion to the MTSU Center for Popular Music (CPM). Its first come, first reserved for these final four slots. After the slots are filled, Greg will put interested folks on a wait list. The CPM is a great research facility! You’ll leave the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt about 1:00pm in an MTSU vehicle and be back in time to enjoy the 5:00-8:00pm social hour, picking, eating, and multiple book launch activities. You can even stay for the ICMC segment of singer songwriter nite.

Each year ICMC solicits papers from the professional community for inclusion into their program. The ICMC web site ( has been updated to reflect ICMC 2014 events with a variety of photos and awards information. ICMC proposals are due by Friday 24 October 2014. Early submission of proposals is preferred. Some decisions on proposals will be made prior to the official deadline in order to facilitate program planning and publicity. Proposals may be emailed to James Akenson. To register for ICMC, you may use the PDF registration form that is due by Friday, 11 May 2015.

Keep in mind that Don Cusic wants to receive your well-crafted manuscripts for the International Country Music Journal (ICMJ). While ICMJ is a formal function of ICMC, manuscripts do not have to be presented at ICMC for consideration. If you have questions please contact Don Cusic ( The first two ICMJs are available from

Pickers don’t forget that there will be the usual informal picking Thursday evening prior to the 7:00pm keynote event and Friday evening at Studio It would also be great if pickers want to start their collaboration prior to the Thursday noon luncheon. Please contact Nate Gibson ( or Greg Reish ( for additional information. This includes the Wednesday 5.20.2015 pre conference picking component at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt. Once again ICMC has been alloted the 9-10pm slot for ICMC pickers to perform at the Holiday Inn Vanderbilt’s Wednesday evening singer-songwriter nite. Original material is required. Nate Gibson coordinates the singer songwriter time slot. Please contact Nate and/or James Akenson if you wish to participate.

Please remember that the pre conference event once again includes tasting of the very well received Calfkiller Brewing company products as well as the launch of some fine books by ICMC participants! If you are an author who wants to participate in the multiple book launch please contact James Akenson ( with the name of your book and publisher. Ron Cohen and Rachel Donaldson have committed to discuss “Roots of the Revival: American and British Folk Music in the 1950s.” Barry Mazor will comment on his “Ralph Peer and the Making of Popular Roots Music.” Michael Jarrett will be commenting on “The Genius of the Nashville System.” Each author will have approximately five minutes to share important features about their book. Copies will be available for purchase.

Tags: Jordan LaneyInternational Country Music ConferenceICMCCarlton HaneyConferenceEducation

IBMM Interim Director Named; National Search Underway

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 22:08

Owensboro, KY -- The board of trustees of the International Bluegrass Music Museum today announced an important transition in its administrative leadership that reflects the organization's rising stature and maturity as a center of preservation and innovation in bluegrass music.

Gabrielle M. Gray, the museum's chief executive, ends her exceptional 12-year tenure as the museum's creative leader and retires as executive director. Gray retains her position as Executive Producer of ROMP, the signature bluegrass music festival she founded in 2004. Gray also remains the museum's primary grant writer.

Carly Smith, a staff member since May 2011 and the museum's assistant director,, will assume the role Interim Director. The museum's board, chaired by Peter Salovey, the president of Yale University, will conduct a nationwide search for a new executive director.

This is a tremendous convergence of events that strengthens the museum's work to promote bluegrass music.

The shift in leadership responds to Gabrielle's desire to focus on ROMP and fundraising, giving the museum continuity and keeping her closely connected to the project that has become a signature event in the nation and helped to brand Owensboro as a leading worldwide center of bluegrass music.

The leadership transition that starts today comes after months of preparation and follows more than a decade of steady growth in the International Bluegrass Music Museum's programs and activities, fostered by the close collaboration between Owensboro philanthropist Terry Woodward, the museum's 21-member board of trustees, and Gabrielle Gray.

Gray's work to establish Owensboro's national and global reputation as the center of bluegrass music is most closely identified with ROMP, the annual music festival that attracts the finest bands in bluegrass roots and branches music with over 20,000 people attending during its annual run at the end of each June. The festival's success is due in large part to the close working relationships Gray formed with the IBMM board's ROMP committee and her staff, including Carly Smith, whom Gray hired to help manage volunteers and ground activities at the festival and run administrative operations at the museum.

Gray leaves her directorship having constructed a strong foundation for future excellence at the museum, including an operating endowment exceeding $1million.

"It gives me great pleasure to see how far we've come as a museum and as a performing arts entity in our community," Gray said. "All of our programs have grown by leaps and bounds. Working in close partnership with Carly Smith for the past three years has given me complete confidence in her ability to guide staff and operations at the museum while the Board of Trustees search for a new Executive Director. We have a dedicated Board of Trustees, two of whom - Rosemary Conder and Ross Leazenby - are assisting with this transition."

"I am delighted to remain in the leadership coalition of the museum, to write its grants and produce what I and many others consider to be one of the finest music festivals in the world. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than presenting the best musicians in the world in the finest atmosphere at Yellow Creek Park. Nothing makes me happier than experiencing amazing music and sharing it with my local and global community. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the terrific staff at IBMM, and the trustees -- especially Terry Woodward -- the City of Owensboro, Daviess County Fiscal Court, Kentucky Arts Council, all our granting agencies and foundations, ROMP sponsors, Museum and Center donors, members and supporters, volunteers and attendees - all the thousands of people who have been so instrumental in enthusiastically elevating the bluegrass museum to carry the banner for Owensboro, Kentucky, and for bluegrass music worldwide. All these entities working together have made it possible for ROMP to advance to the position it now holds in the pantheon of great American festivals, and for the International Bluegrass Music Museum to responsibly preserve the history and artifacts of this amazing, international music genre."

Tags: International Bluegrass Music MuseumGabrielle GrayExecutive DirectorROMP

Steep Canyon Rangers Headline Sevierville Bloomin' Barbeque & Bluegrass

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 22:06

Sevierville, TN -- Sevierville’s Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass festival (May 15 & 16, 2015) has announced the entertainment lineup for its eleventh annual event, including a headline performance from famed bluegrass group, Steep Canyon Rangers.

Festivities and music get underway in downtown Sevierville on Friday, May 15 at 5 p.m. with a live performance from local bluegrass and Americana group Dixieghost. Popular artists Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier and The Darrell Webb Band will follow Dixieghost before the award-winning Lonesome River Band closes out Friday night’s show.

On Saturday, the festivities get started early with Mountain Ruckus – Dixie Stampede’s band featuring four-time National Banjo Champion Gary “Biscuit” Davis. Mandolin-picking virtuoso Johnny Staats & The Delivery Boys, 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association Emerging Artists of the Year Flatt Lonesome, and rising bluegrass star Sierra Hull will each play two sets on Saturday afternoon before the evening’s headliner, Steep Canyon Rangers, cap off an incredible weekend of bluegrass. Steep Canyon Rangers have performed on a variety of stages, including the Late Show with David Letterman, the Today Show, Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry. The group also tours with Steve Martin as Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

“We’ve got a great musical lineup for the 2015 Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass event,” says Sevierville Chamber of Commerce marketing director Amanda Marr. “It will be a great time to plan a weekend in Sevierville, hear some incredible music and enjoy the nation’s best BBQ.”

Friday, May 15

  • 5 p.m. – Dixieghost
  • 6 p.m. – Jimbo Whaley & Greenbrier
  • 7 p.m. – Darrell Webb Band
  • 8 p.m. – Lonesome River Band

Saturday, May 16

  • 1 p.m. – Mountain Ruckus
  • 2 p.m. – Johnny Staats & The Delivery Boys
  • 3 p.m. – Flatt Lonesome
  • 4 p.m. – Sierra Hull
  • 5 p.m. – Johnny Staats & The Delivery Boys
  • 6 p.m. – Flatt Lonesome
  • 7 p.m. – Sierra Hull
  • 8 p.m. – Steep Canyon Rangers

Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass is a family-friendly event featuring the biggest names in bluegrass music, up-and-coming artists on the Hard Rock Café Community Stage, the nation’s top BBQ cook teams in the Bush’s Best Tennessee State Championship Cook-Off, and the Mountain Soul Vocal Competition honoring the songwriting of Sevierville’s favorite hometown girl, Dolly Parton. Event-goers can also enjoy delicious foods, handmade crafts and kids’ games.

Admission and concerts are free thanks to great sponsors, including the Sevierville Chamber of Commerce which encourages you to stay in Sevierville while visiting Bloomin’ BBQ & Bluegrass. For festival lodging deals and more information about Bloomin’ Barbeque & Bluegrass, call (888) 889-7415 or visit us online at

Tags: Steep Canyon RangersBloomin' Barbeque and BluegrassSeviervilleBluegrass FestivalEventLineup

January Jams Returns to Abingdon with National Acts

Mon, 12/15/2014 - 22:04

Abingdon, VA- Barter Theatre and the Abingdon Music Experience team up for the 3rd annual January Jams Series, January 9th through 29th. Grammy Award winning and nationally recognized artists will perform a total of 7 concerts to run on Fridays and Saturdays during January. With beloved icons like The Blind Boys of Alabama or Grammy Award-winner Mavis Staples, as well as the hottest up-and-coming artists like Ben Sollee and Greensky Bluegrass and more, the series offers something for everyone.

All concerts will be performed at Barter Theatre in downtown Abingdon. The 500-seat venue provides a uniquely intimate concert experience, and now offers beer and wine for concert-goers to enjoy during the show in theatre-safe cups.

“Barter Theatre is such a special venue,” explains Sara Saavedra Cardinale, Special Events Coordinator for the ACVB. “The previous two years have been met with great reviews, and highlights Abingdon as a music destination for visitors and residents alike.”

January Jams is brought to you in part by sponsors Eastman Credit Union, Walling Distributing and Ecological Energy Systems.

Ticket prices range from $22 to $49, and discounts are available with a weekend pass, which includes both Friday and Saturday night shows. Overnight packages offer a winter weekend getaway, with two concert tickets plus one night in a convenient local hotel.

Doors open at 7:15 and the shows will start at 8pm. For more information, tickets or packages, call Barter Theatre Box Office at 276-628-3991 or go online at A complete lineup of the 2015 Abingdon Music Experience series can be found online at


Friday, January 9th- Jill Andrews with Dom Flemons Trio

Jill Andrews began her music career in 2004 by co-founding the alt-country group, the everybodyfields. After releasing three albums and touring the country with the band, she decided to make a go of it on her own. And in 2009, she released her self-titled EP, followed up with the full-length album, The Mirror in 2011. Jill has been on the road with The Avett Brothers and many other super talented folks. Her songs have been showcased on such shows as Grey's Anatomy, Nashville, Hart of Dixie, American Idol...etc. She just finished recording a new record, "The War Inside," and is working on an upcoming release date for late 2014/early 2015. Jill currently resides in beautiful Nashville, TN.

Dom Flemons is the "American Songster," pulling from traditions of old-time folk music to create new sounds. Formerly part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, which he co-founded with Rhiannon Giddens and Justin Robinson, he has played at a variety of festivals spanning from the Newport Folk Festival to Bonnaroo, in addition to renowned venues such as the Grand Ole Opry. In July 2014, Dom released his third solo record with Music Maker Relief Foundation, and his first since leaving the Carolina Chocolate Drops. Prospect Hill finds Flemons digging deeply into ragtime, Piedmont blues, spirituals, southern folk music, string band music, jug band music, fife and drum music, and ballads idioms with showmanship and humor, reinterpreting the music to suit 21st century audiences. He was featured on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross and his new album has received praise from The Boston Globe, Paste Magazine, Living Blues Magazine, and more.

Saturday, January 10th – David Bromberg Quintet with Scott Miller

Dubbed the Godfather of Americana, Bromberg’s career started back in the 60s in Greenwich Village. He quickly became a first-call, “hired gun” guitarist for recording sessions, ultimately playing on hundreds of records by artists including Bob Dylan (New Morning, Self Portrait, Dylan), Link Wray, The Eagles, Ringo Starr, Willie Nelson, and Carly Simon. An unexpected and wildly successful solo spot for 600,000 concert goers at the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival in Great Britain led to a solo deal with Columbia Records, for whom David recorded four albums. His eponymous 1971 debut included “The Holdup,” a songwriting collaboration with former Beatle George Harrison, who also played slide guitar on the track. David also met the Grateful Dead and wound up with four of their members playing on his next two albums.

Bromberg fans will find blues, bluegrass, gospel, folk, Irish fiddle tunes, pop and English drinking songs happily coexisting as they can only on a Bromberg album. For newcomers, Only Slightly Mad will be an introduction to an astonishing performer whose range and musical depth have delighted devoted audiences for over forty years and will for many years hence.

Local favorite, Scott Miller, will open in support of David Bromberg. Garden & Gun has said of Miller, “Miller tells stories better than most novelists. His intuitive lyrics hide universal heartbreak behind humor. His empathy is unsurpassed. He bestows dignity on dirt, elevates our pettiest concerns to poetry. He makes himself and everyman when he is anything but. A single listen reveals how Miller is exceptional, with a delivery so piercing and true you hardly notice how thoroughly you've been shot through. See him sing live once, and you'll never feel lonely again.”

Friday, January 16th – Heritage Blues Orchestra with Holy Ghost Tent Revival

The grit of low-down country and urban blues with the bold brass of New Orleans; the hand-clapping fervor of gospel punctuated with fiery postmodern, jazz-infused horn arrangements; the haunting cries of work songs and pulsating drums that reach back to the real roots of it all. You’ll journey across the Middle Passage, be driven down Highway 49 from Clarksdale to New Orleans, go from chain gangs and juke joints to orchestra pits, church pews and even back porches. HBO’s music is an inspiring testament to the enduring power, possibilities and boundless beauty of African-American music.

Holy Ghost Tent Revival is a six-piece rock & roll band from North Carolina, driven by an exhilarating live show that has uplifted audiences since the band formed in 2007. For the past seven years, they have been honing their unique sound, which NPR describes as that of a "soul-rock horn band that recalls 60s and 70s classic-rock influences such as The Band and The Flying Burrito Brothers, contemporary indie-rock acts like Dr. Dog, and New Orleans brass-band jazz."

Saturday, January 17th – The Blind Boys of Alabama with Jarekus Singleton

Nearly seventy-five years after they hit their first notes together, the Blind Boys of Alabama are exceptional not only in their longevity, but also in the breadth of their catalog and their relevance to contemporary roots music. Since 2000, they've won five Grammys and four Gospel Music Awards, and have delivered their spiritual message to countless listeners. "We appreciate the accolades and we thank God for them," says Jimmy Carter, a founding member and the Blind Boys' leader for five years now. "But we're not interesting in money or anything other than singing gospel. We had no idea when we started that we would make it this far. The secret to our longevity is, we love what we do. And when you love what you do, that keeps you motivated.

At just 29 years old, Jarekus Singleton is a musical trailblazer with a bold vision for the future of the blues. Springing from the same Mississippi soil as Charley Patton, Muddy Waters and B.B. King, Singleton’s cutting-edge sound—equally rooted in rap, rock and blues traditions—is all his own. He melds hip-hop wordplay, rock energy and R&B grooves with contemporary and traditional blues, turning audiences of all ages into devoted fans. With his untamed guitar licks and strong, soulful voice effortlessly moving from ferocious and funky to slow and steamy to smoking hot, Singleton is a fresh, electrifying bluesman bursting at the seams with talent.

Friday, January 23rd – Mountain Stories - Ben Sollee & Special Guests David Wax Museum with Cereus Bright

For listeners just discovering Ben’s music, you’ll find that there’s a lot more to it than songs. Over the 6 years following the release of his debut record, Learning to Bend, Sollee has told an unconventional story with his rugged cello playing. Like his contemporaries Chris Thile and Abigail Washburn, Sollee’s music is difficult to pin down. Following a performance at the Lincoln Center’s American Songbook series, the New York Times remarked how Sollee’s “…meticulous, fluent arrangements continually morphed from one thing to another. Appalachian mountain music gave way to the blues, and one song was appended with a fragment from a Bach cello suite, beautifully played.” It’s Ben’s quality of narrative and presence on stage that unifies his musical influences. Special guests, David Wax Museum, will accompany Sollee on stage for this special performance dubbed “Mountain Stories”. David Wax Museum have been featured on NPR and festivals all over the country, earning them fame for their Mexican-folk style of playing.

Saturday, January 24th – Greensky Bluegrass with The Last Bison

The five members of Greensky Bluegrass have forged a defiant, powerful sound that, while rooted in classic stringband Americana, extends outwards with a fearless, exploratory zeal. The tension and release between these components – tradition and innovation, prearranged songs and improvisation, acoustic tones and electric volume – is what makes them so thrillingly dynamic, in concert and on record. That their sound is so seamless, so organic, is testament to Greensky’s enduring vision and tireless dedication. Since their first rumblings at the start of the millennium, they have emerged as relentless road warriors, creating a captivating live show while at the same time developing a knack for evocative, disarming songcraft.

In 2012 The Last Bison seemingly rose from the marshes of southeastern Virginia to captivate the national music scene with a rare blend of music that NPR dubbed, “Classical influenced southern folk rock.” Having drawn comparisons in the past to indie superstars the likes of Mumford & Sons, The Decemberists, and Fleet Foxes, their most recent project harvests a more dynamic, and anthemic sound from the soil of their folk roots.

This will be a special extended show, doors will open early at 6:45 and the show will start at 7:30pm. Greensky will play 2 extended sets.

Thursday, January 29th – Mavis Staples with Cody ChesnuTT

She is, simply, a Legend. For more than sixty years, from her early days with The Staples Singers to her recent 2013 Grammy Award, Mavis Staples has been a legend of the Gospel and Blues worlds. With her bold new album, One True Vine, the legendary vocalist adds a remarkable new chapter to an historic career. Staples is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award winner, and a National Heritage Fellowship Award recipient. VH1 named her one of the 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and Rolling Stone listed her as one of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.

Cody ChesnuTT is a soul troubadour whose frank, socially conscious ruminations on life continue to challenge popular notions of what modern soul music can look and sound like. A song from The Headphone Masterpiece was re-tooled as “The Seed 2.0” for the Roots’ seminal album Phrenology, exposing Cody’s music to a wider mainstream audience. The song was nominated for two moonman statuettes at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards, and his own album was nominated for the prestigious Shortlist Music Prize that same year. He opens with a rare, solo acoustic performance at the historic Barter Theatre.

Tags: January JamsAbingdonGreensky BluegrassConcert SeriesJamEvent

The 2015 John Hartford Memorial Festival Lineup Announced

Sun, 12/14/2014 - 22:01

"Just When You Think It Can't Get Any Better, Then It Does" said John Hartford. That's the theme for the 5th Annual John Hartford Memorial Festival, to be held May 28-30, 2015, at the Bill Monroe Music Park and Campground, Bean Blossom, IN. With a lineup that includes Hot Rize with Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Split Lip Rayfield, Hackensaw Boys, The Larry Keel Experience, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, Jamie Hartford and Friends, Bawn in the Mash, and many more to be announced, it really does get better and better and better.

Going into it’s 5th year, this festival is over the hump, off and running. Tickets are now on sale at a discount for a limited time to the festival that has lived up to it’s reputation as “The Most Laid Back Festival in America”. This event is the vision of the late John Hartford’s lifelong friend, John Hotze, who set out to honor his friend and preserve his legacy and music. What started out as a “hope we can do it again next year” has become a solid venue for some legendary entertainers and a sounding board for many new and exciting acts. This festival, which is not for profit, puts all proceeds right back into the next festival and has established a comfortable family camping music event, with top notch entertainers, children’s activities, an Old Time Fiddling Contest and a Songwriting Contest in which one can win tickets and stage time!

John Hartford won Grammy awards in three different decades, recorded a catalog of more than 30 albums, and wrote one of the most popular songs of all time, “Gentle On My Mind”. He was a regular guest and contributor on the Glen Campbell Good Time Hour and the Smothers Brothers Show. He added music and narration to Ken Burns’ landmark Civil War series, and was an integral part of the hugely popular "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack and Down From The Mountain concert tour. But that hardly explains John Hartford.

John Hartford was an American original. He was a musician, songwriter, steamboat pilot, author, artist, disc jockey, calligrapher, dancer, folklorist, father, and historian.

John Hartford passed away on June 4, 2001, after a long battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This festival has the potential to get really big, but assuring festival goers a laid back atmosphere and wiggle room is a priority. This festival will not be allowed to grow too big and is expected to sell out.

Tickets can be ordered, and contest information will be released at

Tags: John Hartford Memorial FestivalJohn HartfordMusic FestivalEvent

Duty Free Bluegrass at Carter Family Christmas Sat. Dec 20th

Sun, 12/14/2014 - 22:01

Hiltons, VA -- Saturday, December 20st, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a special Christmas program. In lieu of admission, please bring a donation of canned goods for the local food bank (suggested amount $10 per person). Those not bringing a canned goods donation are asked to make a donation of $10 for adults with all proceeds going to the Food Bank. Anyone under 12 will be admitted free of charge. Those attending are asked to bring finger foods, two-liter drinks, and cups, plates, or napkins. Christmas music will be performed as refreshments are served. Afterwards, we’ll have music by the Duty Free Bluegrass Band. Musicians donate their time for this special Christmas show.

Duty Free is a bluegrass band based in Bristol, Tennessee. Members of the band are Bobby Love, Charlie Powers, Rick Powers, Hal Boyd, and Tim Laughlin. Bobby plays mandiolin and demonstrates his versatility as a musician by singing both lead and harmony. He’s a songwriter as well who has written several tunes performed by the group. Charlie plays both lead and rhythm guitar and sings lead and harmony. Rick plays banjo in the traditional Scruggs style and also lends his vocal talent to the band. Hal Boyd anchors the group’s rhythm with his double bass playing and provides the baritone harmony - as well as lead and bass vocals - on many of Duty Free’s tunes. Tim Laughlin, long noted in bluegrass circles for his musical talent, plays fiddle for the band.

Duty Free was formed a few years ago to provide music for a local restaurant. From that humble beginning, friendships and a bluegrass band resulted. Duty Free has opened for Seldom Scene, Barry Scott and Second Wind, the Warrior River Boys, and the John Cowan Band. They have performed at worship services throughout the Tri-Cities area, local festivals, Rhythm and Roots, and the Barter Theatre. Known for their traditional bluegrass style, they always include bluegrass gospel in their shows. They have also come to be known for their tight harmony and versatile style. For more information, check out the Duty Free Band on the internet.

Come out and join us at the Carter Family Fold for a special Appalachian Mountain Christmas celebration. It’s a great opportunity to hear some of the best music our region has to offer and to support a good cause at the same time. This year, more people than ever need assistance from our nation’s food banks. Many of them simply don’t have enough resources to help everyone in need. Help us make this a record year for the amount of canned goods donated. The A.P. Carter birthplace cabin will be specially decorated in the mountain Christmas tradition – including hand-strung popcorn garland. Spending time with us during our Christmas celebration will take you back to a time when the true meaning of the season wasn’t lost in the commercial frenzy of modern-day Christmas.

Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at

Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – Twitter @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Carter Family FoldChristmasDuty FreeConcertEvent

Rural Rhythm Releases Don Reno & Bill Harrell with The Tennessee Cut-Ups

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 22:01

Nashville, TN -- Rural Rhythm Records is proud to announce a new title by Bluegrass legends Don Reno & Bill Harrell in its archival Heritage Collection series. The Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series will help keep traditional roots music alive and preserved for future generations. The Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series includes authentic Old-Time Country, Bluegrass, Folk, Country Waltzes, Fiddle Tunes and Gospel music performed by many legends & pioneers. Titles are mastered from the original master tapes, with original cover artwork and include many albums never-before available on CD.

Since the initial release in late 2013, fifteen titles have been released to date in the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series including titles by Mac Wiseman, Hylo Brown & The Timberliners, Red Smiley & The Blue Grass Cut-Ups, J.E. Mainer & The Mountaineers, Curly Fox, Lee Moore, Raymond Fairchild and Jim Greer & The Mac-O-Chee Valley Folks.

Rural Rhythm is now releasing one more title in the Heritage Collection Series in both the physical CD and digital formats by Don Reno & Bill Harrell with The Tennessee Cut-Ups, originally released in 1966.

Considered one of the legends of Bluegrass Music, Don Reno’s superb and unique banjo style and vocals, along with Bill Harrell’s fine guitar pickin’ and singin’, is an overwhelming combination even before you add the solid background performances of Ronnie Reno on mandolin and George Shuffler on bass. This important 60’s Bluegrass collection of 20 classic Bluegrass songs demonstrates the energy, passion and down home fun which has been the signature of Bluegrass music for over seventy years!

Don Reno & Bill Harrell with The Tennessee Cut-Ups is available to DJ's on AirPlay Direct, where it is currently #1 on the Top 50 APD Bluegrass / Folk Album Chart for December. In addition, all the other fifteen titles currently released in the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection series are available on AirPlay Direct.

In addition, Don Reno & Bill Harrell with The Tennessee Cut-Ups (RUR-171) is now available on Amazon, iTunes and wherever digital and physical CD music is sold.

Upcoming titles in 2015 to the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series:

  • Hylo Brown – Folk Songs of Rural America
  • Hylo Brown – Legends & Tall Tales
  • Jim Eanes with Red Smiley & The Blue Grass Cut-Ups
  • Mac Martin & The Dixie Travelers – Travelin’ Blues – Instrumental Album
  • Mac Martin & The Dixie Travelers – Goin’ Down The Country
  • J.E. Mainer & The Mountaineers – The Legendary J.E. Mainer, Volume 4
  • Dale Potter – Hoe Down! – Volume 9 (Tribute to Bob Wills)
  • Clarence “Tater” Tate – Fidding Favorites of USA & Canada

Rural Rhythm Records released a long line of Old-Time Country, Bluegrass & Gospel albums during the label's first two decades after Uncle Jim O'Neal started the label in 1955. Many of these vintage classic albums are still in Rural Rhythm's active catalog available on CD and digital formats. Many songs are still available in the various artist collection titles found in the Sound Traditions series. Many tracks were previously released only on vinyl records and will come back to life through the Rural Rhythm Heritage Collection Series.

Many legends and pioneers released albums during this period including Mac Wiseman, Hylo Brown, Don Reno & Bill Harrell, Red Smiley, Jim Eanes, Vassar Clements, J.E. Mainer, Earl Taylor & Jim McCall, Raymond Fairchild and many more. Bringing the traditional “retro” vintage sounds from the past preserves, protects, promotes and presents the ageless music of these artists for current and future generations to enjoy and appreciate using the technologies of the 21st Century.

Rural Rhythm’s Sound Traditions collection titles have helped keep the traditional Bluegrass flame burning for decades and will continue the steady flow of available Old-Time Country, Bluegrass & Gospel titles culled from the treasure trove of masters in the Rural Rhythm Records vault...It's All About The Music!

Tags: Rural RhythmHeritage CollectionSound TraditionsCD ReleaseDon Reno & Bill Harrell with The Tennessee Cut-Ups

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver to travel ‘Dixie Road’ To Mill Town Music Hall

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 22:01

Bremen, Ga. -- Mill Town Music Hall is proud to host Bluegrass Hall of Fame musician Doyle Lawson and his band Quicksilver on Saturday, Jan. 17, 2015 at 7 p.m. Judge Talford will open the concert with their unique sound of bluegrass instrumental and rich vocal harmonies. Mill Town Music Hall focuses on wholesome, family-friendly music and events and is located conveniently off I-20 in Bremen (1031 Alabama Avenue).

Doyle Lawson and his band Quicksilver have multiple Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA and SPBGMA Award nominations to their credit and have produced nearly 40 albums. In addition, Lawson is the reigning SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year, seven-time recipient of the IBMA Vocal Group of the Year and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in September 2012. He has been called the ‘mandolin virtuoso’ with ‘perfectly silken harmony’ by the New York Times.

Tickets for Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver are $25 for “premium reserved” and $20 for “reserved” in advance. Fans are encouraged to purchase tickets through Ticket Alternative at 1-877-725-8849, online at the Mill Town Music Hall website ( or at the Mill Town Music Hall box office. For additional information, please call the Mill Town Music Hall box office at 770-537-6455.

Upcoming events at Mill Town Music Hall include: John Berry’s 18th Annual Christmas Tour on Dec. 20, New Year’s Eve Celebration with Billy Dean and his band, Steel Horses on Dec. 31, Kris Allen on Jan. 30, Rhonda Vincent & Gene Watson on Feb. 27 and Michael W. Smith on March 6. For more information about Mill Town Music Hall or for an upcoming calendar of events, please visit us at, follow us on Twitter @Mill_Town_Music_Hall or on Facebook.

Mill Town Music Hall can comfortably seat more than 1,000 people and boasts a state-of-the-art audio and visual system. The venue hosts numerous Country, Contemporary Christian, Bluegrass and Southern Gospel concerts, along with other family-friendly events. The facility can also be rented for corporate events and private receptions.

Tags: Doyle Lawson & QuicksilverMill Town Music HallConcertEvent

Planet Bluegrass Announces 2015 RockyGrass Lineup

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 22:12

A week ago Planet Bluegrass finished up their biggest week of ticket sales ever. Thanks to Festivarians around the world for your patience and persistence through what can be a stressful time. During the peak Planet Bluegrass received more than 40 orders per second (!!), as Festivarians from all 50 states and numerous foreign countries secured their tickets for the 2015 Planet Bluegrass season.

And thanks to the new array of solar panels on the roof of their Wildflower Pavilion here in Lyons, this year's ticket sales were powered by locally-generated solar energy!

As ticket demand has grown over the past few years, we've deliberately withheld lineup announcements until after the onsale to slow the initial ticket rush and make ticket buying a little easier for dedicated Festivarians who return year after year. But now that RockyGrass tickets have been onsale for 10 days, Planet Bluegrass can't wait any longer to share some news: the single-day lineup for the 43rd Annual RockyGrass (July 24-26, 2015) is official!!!

  • Friday, July 24:
    • Earls of Leicester featuring Jerry Douglas
    • The Infamous Stringdusters
    • Claire Lynch Band
    • Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band
    • The Kruger Brothers
    • Sierra Hull
    • Caribou Mountain Collective
  • Saturday, July 25:
    • Sam Bush Bluegrass Band
    • Del & Dawg
    • Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz, Aoife O'Donovan: "I'm With Her Tour"
    • Dailey & Vincent
    • Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
    • Chatham County Line
    • Wood & Wire
    • Instrument contest finals
  • Sunday, July 26:
    • Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers
    • Del McCoury Band
    • The David Grisman Sextet
    • Crooked Still
    • Danny Paisley & Southern Grass
    • Billy Strings & Don Julin
    • Gospel set

Note the headlining name on Sunday -- no, that's not a mis-print. The Trailblazers will be performing their first-ever headlining slot to close the festival. As Red Knuckles told us: "Wow! That hadn't happened outside their 3 county area for about 100 years!" Keep an eye on their Facebook as more details come to light about this very special set over the coming months.

From recent Grammy nominees Earls of Leicester (a band Jerry Douglas put together for the 2013 RockyGrass) and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen; to the first-announced US date for the all-star trio of Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz & Aoife O'Donovan; to 2 sets from Del McCoury, the long-awaited return of David Grisman's "Dawg music" sextet, a special reunion of progressive stringband Crooked Still, and high-energy sets from The Infamous Stringdusters and the only-at-RockyGrass Sam Bush Bluegrass Band this is shaping up to be another epic July weekend of bluegrass in Lyons.

Kids beach on the St. Vrain River during RockyGrass (photo: Russell Bramlett)3-day passes and Saturday tickets sold-out last week, but a few Friday and Sunday single-day tickets are still available -- as well as camping along the river in 2 very convenient campgrounds -- at or 800-624-2422.

Along with the RockyGrass lineup announcement, Planet Bluegrass also just shared the final 9 instructors on the 2015 RockyGrass Academy faculty, including Claire Lynch, Sarah Jarosz, Casey Driessen, Sierra Hull, and more. The Academy is completely sold-out, but aspiring pickers should start practicing now for their 5 instrument contests. The contest finals are held on the main stage on Saturday, where the winners receive a gorgeous new or vintage instrument. Learn more about the instrument contests and submit your name now.

Tags: RockyGrassLineupRed Knuckles & the Trailblazers

Dawn Sears has Lost her Battle with Cancer

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 22:09

Nashville, TN -- Dawn Sears, 53, stellar vocalist and member of Rounder Record’s 4-time Grammy-nominated band The Time Jumpers, died Thursday night, December 11. Diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2012, Sears fought the disease ferociously and championed efforts for lung cancer research. In addition to having been a Time Jumper, she was also a long-time member of Vince Gill’s touring band. She is survived by her husband, the fiddler and fellow Time Jumper Kenny Sears and daughter Tess. Funeral arrangements are pending.

Sears began her career in 1990 with the album What a Woman Wants to Hear on Warner Bros. Records. The album produced three minor singles. Because of her debut album's poor performance, Sears had decided to leave the country music scene. However, she later received a call from Vince Gill, who had asked her to join his road band as a harmony vocalist.

In addition to singing harmony on Gill's 1993 album I Still Believe in You, Sears provided duet vocals on the track "An Out of Control Raging Fire" on Tracy Byrd's 1994 debut album. In 1994, she was signed as the first act on Decca Records' newly revived country music branch. Her second album, 1994's Nothin' But Good, was issued on Decca, and its lead-off single, "Runaway Train", entered the country music charts. Other singles from the album were unsuccessful, and Dawn exited Decca's roster not long afterward. A self-titled album was released independently in 2002. Sears returned to her work as a backup vocalist for Gill. She made appearances on several of Gill's albums, including his 2003 compilation Next Big Thing. Sears also performed in The Time Jumpers.

In February 2012, Sears was diagnosed with lung cancer, which was diagnosed as Stage 3B in March 2013. She died in Gallatin, Tennessee on December 11, 2014, aged 53. Sears is survived by her husband (and Time Jumpers bandmate), Kenny Sears, and their daughter, Tess.

Tags: Dawn SearsSilent StringsObituaryVince Gill

The Crooked Road Sets Stage for First Ever Mountains of Music Homecoming

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 22:08

Abingdon, VA -- The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, is pleased to announce the Mountains of Music Homecoming, a nine-day celebration of the communities in Southwest Virginia – their heritage music, cultural assets and outdoor amenities. This inaugural event, covering 19 counties, four cities, and over 50 communities, will be held June 12 - 20, 2015 and features Crooked Road concerts in more than 30 communities, dozens of community cultural experiences, and over 70 existing traditional music-related concerts, jam sessions and festivals.

Known internationally as a mecca of old time, bluegrass and gospel music, The Crooked Road connects the home places of some of the most cherished figures in American music – the Carter Family, the Stoneman Family, the Stanley Brothers and bluegrass pioneers, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, among others – and spans across a region celebrated for its beautiful landscape, storied culture, and seminal contributions to the nation’s art and music.

The Mountains of Music Homecoming has been made possible through the generous support of the Virginia Tobacco Commission, Virginia Tourism Corporation, Food City, the National Endowment for the Arts, and significant sponsorships from numerous businesses and organizations in Southwest Virginia.

“The contributions made to American music by this area of Virginia are profound,” said Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe. “The Mountains of Music Homecoming will highlight not only those historical traditions, but also showcase just how vibrant those traditions, and the entire culture, are today.”

“The Tobacco Commission is honored to be a leading funding partner in this historic homecoming event that will highlight our regional assets,” stated Delegate Terry Kilgore, Chairman of the Virginia Tobacco Commission. “The Commission continues to focus on economic development opportunities that will diversify our part of the Commonwealth.”

Festival events will be as wide-ranging as the Southwest Virginia region they cover, including concerts at the legendary Carter Family Fold at the foot of Clinch Mountain, exhibits at the Ralph Stanley and Birthplace of Country Music museums, classes in flatfoot dance, seminars on traditional music, and long-running community jam sessions at places like the Floyd Country Store where visitors are encouraged to bring their own instruments and join in. Each evening, festivalgoers can choose from two to four Crooked Road concerts in different communities in the region.

“We have a tremendous wealth of artists and performance venues, and this event will allow visitors to experience both in a whirlwind nine-day period,” said John Kilgore, president of The Crooked Road. “For centuries, people here have come together with extraordinary handmade instruments, iconic songs and melding of voices and heart. The Mountains of Music Homecoming is a first-ever celebration that will give voice to the rich tapestry of lives and heritage that have significantly influenced music worldwide.”

Travelers seduced by the sweet sound of all that music will also discover first-rate wineries, excellent cycling opportunities, fly-fishing, hiking, theatre, world class galleries and museums, community picnics, pancake breakfasts, and a wealth of unforgettable experiences and activities to wile away the hours between the ancient tunes and encores.

As Crooked Road executive director Jack Hinshelwood put it, “This is where people have unforgettable encounters with a unique culture. Some visitors have said they felt like they found the real America along The Crooked Road, and it was because they were able to connect so easily with the people who keep this musical heritage and culture alive.”

Southwest Virginia’s musical heritage is as vital today as it was when its iconic figures blazed new pathways in American music. The Crooked Road's Mountains of Music Homecoming seeks to insure that, for current and future generations, the song remains the same.

“The variety of experiences that await a visitor to Southwest Virginia is truly incredible,” said Rita McClenny, CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “This is an area of the country with a very authentic and distinctive culture that is reflected in many things besides just the music.”

“Flower lovers go to Holland when the tulips are in bloom – traditional music lovers will be able to come to the Mountains of Music Homecoming when our music and culture are in full bloom for nine magical days," said Kilgore.

Tickets for Mountains of Music Homecoming will be available on the festival website and locally beginning in April 2015. For more information, please visit

Tags: The Crooked RoadAbingdonMountains of Music HomecomingEventMusic Festival

Tennessee Bluegrass Comes to Southern Maryland

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 22:06

Kody Norris & the Watauga Mountain Boys will be at the American Legion Post 238 in Hughesville, Maryland on Sunday January 11, 2015. Presented by Jay Armsworthy & the Sons of the American Legion, the American Legion Bluegrass concert series is still the best Bluegrass bargain in town at $15.00 per person. The show will begin at 2 pm with show host, Jay Armsworthy & Woody Norris. Doors open at Noon.

Kody Norris & the Watauga Mountain Boys is a traditional bluegrass band from Mountain City, Tennessee area. As the band travels around the country, they are often compared to the bluegrass bands of yesteryear, because no matter where you see this band, they are always sharply dressed, and when it comes to playing Traditional 'Mountain Sound' of bluegrass music, they play it like it should be played. In there shows, they include acoustic and old time gospel music as well.

Kody Norris has made appearances on RFD TV with the Cumberland Highlanders Show. He has also filled in and played with Dr. Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, Ralph Stanley II, Vince Combs & The Shadetree Bluegrass Boys, Clint Howard & Doc Watson, Sammy Adkins & The Sandy Hook Mountain Boys just to name a few. Not bad for a young man of 22 years of age. The Watauga Mountain Boys have made appearances at the Cabin Fever Pickin Party, Hampton, VA, at the Central Virginia Family Bluegrass Music Festival, Amelia, VA, Bluegrass Brothers Festival, Elkton, VA, and Mr. 'B's' Bluegrass Festival, Beaverdam, VA. The Watauga Mountain Boys have also made appearances on the 'Song of the Mountains' Bluegrass Concert' which airs on over 190 PBS stations nationwide. This tremendously popular bluegrass and old time music concert series comes from the Lincoln Theater in Marion, Virginia and is hosted by Tim White.

Opening the show will be "cuzin's", Jay Armsworthy & Woody Norris doing some of the old, ‘brother style’ Bluegrass duets. A treat not to be missed.

The American Legion Post 238 is located on the corner of Rt. 381 & Rt. 231 in Hughesville. The doors will open at noon. A Pork Chop dinner will be available for sale before the show by the Sons of the American Legion.

For more information, tickets, and directions, go to or call 301-737-3004. All paid tickets will be held at the door for pick up on the day of the show. You can purchase them in advance by sending a check or money order to: “Jay Armsworthy”, PO Box 741, California, MD. Also non-perishable food donations will be accepted for the Helping Hands Food Bank in Southern Maryland, which is greatly appreciated.

Other upcoming shows in the series of American Legion Bluegrass include, by popular demand, the award winning Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out will come to us on Sunday February 15, 2015; and closing out the series will be legendary Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver on Sunday March 8. As always, our sound man will be Troy Jones.

Tags: Kody Norris and the Watauga Mountain BoysAmerican Legion BluegrassEvent

First Norris Creek Pig Pickin' Bluegrass & BBQ Festival Announced

Thu, 12/11/2014 - 22:04
The 1st Annual Norris Creek Pig Pickin' Bluegrass & BBQ Festival is coming this July 4th weekend! Come hear that old familiar twang, in the tradition of Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and so many other legendary performers. Come hear today’s Bluegrass stars, such as Ricky Skaggs and Doyle Lawson picking away at beautiful Norris Creek Entertainment Complex in Louisburg, NC. Enjoy many local and regional BBQ vendors and sample BBQ during our competition. Join us for three fun filled days with the music of our roots, the music of our grandfathers, the music of America... Bluegrass!

Lineup for the inaugural Norris Creek Pig Pickin' Bluegrass & BBQ Festival features the best in bluegrass entertainment including this year's IBMA Entertainer of the Year, Balsam Range. Ricky Skaggs, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Nothin' Fancy, Little Roy and Lizzie Long, Adkins & Loudermilk, The Roys, Nu-Blu, Breaking Grass, Trinity River Band, Turning Ground, Willow & Lee, and The Moore Brothers to get your feet movin'.

Held July 2-4, 2015 in Louisburg, North Carolina, the event features a BBQ Cook-off, late night jamming and more. On-site camping will be available. Discounted 3-day passes are available until January 1st so get them now.

Tags: Norris Creek Pig Pickin' Bluegrass & BBQ FestivalBluegrass FestivalEventLineup

Traditional Christmas Carols by Pete Seeger

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 22:02

Smithsonian Folkways has a great offering for the holiday season. Released in 1989, Traditional Christmas Carols by Pete Seeger is a sure hit for the banjo, folk or bluegrass fan. Long a seasonal favorite, this collection of 13 charming Christmas carols from French, English, Italian, and African American traditions captures the Christmas spirit with wonderful universality. These international holiday favorites include Twelve Gates to the City, Mary Had a Baby, and The First Noel.

"A real alternative to the wall of strings or the overly sweet sound of many Christmas collections."
 — Dirty Linen

The album is available at Smithsonian Folkways in vinyl, custom CD or digital download. Album track list includes"

  1. "Twas on a Night Like This"
  2. Mary Had a Baby"
  3. Glory to the New Born King"
  4. What Child is This?"
  5. Rise Up, Shepherd, and Follow"
  6. Carol of the Beasts"
  7. Carol of the Beasts" (Instrumental)
  8. The First Noel" Pete Seeger
  9. Behold That Star" Pete Seeger
  10. Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"
  11. Masters in This Hall"
  12. Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming"
  13. Oh, What a Beautiful City" (Twelve Gates to the City)

This classic Christmas album blends Seeger's music style with traditional holiday carols and spirituals. If you are looking for a more traditional atmosphere and a break away from all the pop and contemporary sound, look no further.

Tags: Pete SeegerTraditional Christmas CarolsSmithsonian Folkways

Holiday Music EP from John Reischman & The Jaybirds

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 22:01

To celebrate the deepening of winter and the coming of the holiday season, all-star West Coast bluegrass/roots ensemble John Reischman & The Jaybirds are releasing their new EP, On A Winter’s Night. It’s a lovely romp through the snowy backwoods of American roots music, inspired in part by the classic American Folk Songs for Christmas by composer Ruth Crawford Seeger (stepmom to Pete Seeger).

First a book, then an LP and CD, the music Seeger compiled has inspired generations of musicians, but it also gave John Reischman a focal point for a new recording. It was a chance for John to showcase the talents of his stellar band, breaking The Jaybirds into different small ensembles for each track and giving each vocalist and instrumentalist a chance to shine. Staffed by some of the best acoustic musicians in North America, The Jaybirds weave an acoustic music tapestry behind these wintry songs and tunes.

On A Winter’s Night Tracks:

  1. "I Heard From Heaven Today"
  2. "Breaking Up Christmas"
  3. "Oh Mary, Where Is Your Baby"
  4. "Oh, Watch the Stars"
  5. "Christmas Eve"
  6. "Joseph and Mary (The Cherry Tree Carol)"
  7. "A Roving On A Winter's Night"
  8. "Shine Like a Star in the Morning"

On A Winter’s Night features John Reischman & The Jaybirds in fine form, each member clearly relishing the opportunity to turn in a new vision of these beautiful and evocative old songs. Bassist and vocalist Trisha Gagnon, a well-known solo roots artist in Canada, opens the album with her stunning take on the old spiritual “I Heard From Heaven Today,” and continues with the Child Ballad The Cherry Tree Carol (“Joseph and Mary”).

Respected bluegrass guitarist Jim Nunally brings his vocals to the Doc Watson classic “A Roving On A Winter’s Night.” Ace fiddler Greg Spatz and masterful banjo picker Nick Hornbuckle clearly delight in one of the album’s instrumentals (“Breaking Up Christmas”), spinning banjo and fiddle lines around each other. The Jaybirds break into a quartet for a rousing bluegrass rendition of the classic “Oh Mary, Where Is Your Baby” and then close the album with John shining on mandolin for “Shine Like A Star in the Morning.” With so much talent, The Jaybirds operate as an incredibly tight unit, while John Reischman’s clear, cool playing on mandolin, mandola, and octave mandolin rings out as a beacon.

In a marketplace flooded with virtuosic ensembles, John Reischman & The Jaybirds have found a recipe to stand out from the rest: they go back to the roots of bluegrass and old-time music for their inspiration, then spin these roots into a new sound.

Tags: John Reischman & The JaybirdsCD ReleaseOn a Winter's NightChristmas

Bluegrass on "It's a Harmony Road Christmas" this Weekend

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 22:01

Signal Mountain, TN -- Harmony Road TV’s original production “It’s a Harmony Road Christmas” will begin airing this weekend and continue through Christmas. Produced in a log cabin at Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse in Monteagle, Tennessee, the program features exclusive performances by some of Gospel and Bluegrass music’s finest artists. Host Les Butler also provides a special reading of the Christmas story from the Gospel of Luke.

Included in the program are Randy and Sherri Miller, Canaan’s Crossing and John R. Bowman, accompanied by Troy Engle. Songs include “There’s a New Kid in Town”, “Tennessee Christmas”, “Away in a Manger” and more. Butler and several of the artists also share fond Christmas memories on the program.

“We are excited to present this program of original performances” said Roger Spears, program producer. “There was a great atmosphere on the set as these excellent singers and musicians shared their talents. It was a pleasure to work with them, along with host Les Butler, Director Allan Rhodes, and all the others who helped with the production.” Spears concluded.

Several networks and stations will air the program multiple times between now and Christmas. There are also some new additions to the Harmony Road network, just in time for this special program. Information can be found on Facebook at or at The website for Jim Oliver’s Smokehouse is

A Weekly Southern Gospel program, Harmony Road TV is now available to over 80 million television homes across the country in addition to online streaming, ROKU, mobile app and more. Les Butler, syndicated radio host, musician and Butler Music Group owner is the program’s host.

Harmony Road is produced and distributed by Harmony Road Productions and features the best in Southern Gospel music and video. It can be found each week on The Heartland Network, The NRB Network (including DirecTV, streaming and mobile app), WATC57 in Atlanta, WGNM-TV in Macon, WYBU-TV in Columbus, GA/Phoenix City, AL. Also find the program on the WALKtv network (including ROKU), Harmony Gospel in Greeneville, SC, DCT3in Middle Tennessee, TV24 in Anniston/Gadsden, Charter Cable in Clarksville, Cookeville/Crossville, Sevier County, Lebanon and Jackson, TN and WMJN29 in Decatur/Athens/Cullman, AL. Harmony Road has recently added affiliates, where the program will be streamed online several times a week.

Affiliates have also been added in Jackson, TN, Beaumont, TX, and Harrogate, TN. The Christmas program can also be seen on Horizon Cable in Marshall County, Alabama.

Tags: ChristmasCanaan's CrossingJohn R. BowmanRandy & Sherri MillerTVHarmony Road TVBroadcast

Cracker Barrel Announces Exclusive Ralph Stanley CD

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 22:02

Lebanon, TN -- Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® and three-time Grammy®Award winner and International Bluegrass Hall of Honor inductee Dr. Ralph Stanley announce the upcoming CD release of Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow, which will be available on Jan. 19, 2015, exclusively at all 634 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations and online at

The digital album will also be available for purchase at select digital retailers. Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow features Stanley performing duets with guest artists including Dierks Bentley, Elvis Costello, Del McCoury, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Plant, Ricky Skaggs, Nathan Stanley, Josh Turner, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, and Lee Ann Womack. Stanley also performs two solo songs, including his signature tune “Man of Constant Sorrow.” Produced by Miller and Lauderdale, Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow will sell for $11.99.

“I have always enjoyed performing with other musicians ever since my older brother Carter and I first started playing music together when we were kids,” said Stanley. “I am excited to share these collaborations with such wonderful artists with our fans. So many of my fans are regular visitors to Cracker Barrel, so I’m happy to have my project available exclusively there so they can find the CD in one of their favorite locations.”

Album Features Guest Artists Dierks Bentley, Elvis Costello, Del McCoury, Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale, Old Crow Medicine Show, Robert Plant, Ricky Skaggs, Nathan Stanley, Josh Turner, Gillian Welch & David Rawlings, and Lee Ann Womack, and is Available Exclusively at All Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® Locations and

“Cracker Barrel is honored to offer this album featuring the legendary Ralph Stanley and a variety of talented artists through our exclusive music program,” said Cracker Barrel Marketing Manager Julie Craig. “Many of our guests are huge bluegrass fans and we know they will enjoy this once-in-a-lifetime album.”

The 13 songs on Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow are:

  1. “We Shall Rise” with Josh Turner
  2. “I Only Exist” with Dierks Bentley
  3. “Sweethearts in Heaven” with Ricky Skaggs
  4. “Rank Stranger” with Nathan Stanley
  5. “I Am the Man, Thomas” with Buddy Miller & Jim Lauderdale
  6. “White Dove” with Lee Ann Womack
  7. “Red Wicked Wine” with Elvis Costello
  8. “Pig in a Pen” with Gillian Welch & David Rawlings
  9. “Two Coats” with Robert Plant
  10. “Brand New Tennessee Waltz” with Del McCoury
  11. “Short Life of Trouble” with Old Crow Medicine Show
  12. “Hills of Home” - Ralph Stanley solo
  13. “Man of Constant Sorrow” - Ralph Stanley solo

Stanley was born in 1927 in Big Spraddle, Va. He learned to play banjo from his mother when he was a teenager. After graduating high school and serving in the U.S. Army, he joined older brother Carter in creating the Clinch Mountain Boys and began performing on local radio stations and at regional venues. After Columbia Records signed them, they become known as The Stanley Brothers and went on to record such classics as “Angel Band,” “Little Maggie” and their signature tune, “Man of Constant Sorrow.” During this time, he developed a unique style of playing the banjo that became known as “Stanley style.”

After Carter died in 1966, Stanley continued to perform and record as a solo artist. Though the years, he helped mentor several future bluegrass and country music artists who performed in his band before embarking on solo careers, including Ricky Skaggs, Larry Sparks and Keith Whitley.

In 1976, Stanley received an honorary doctorate from Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn., and he has been known as “Dr. Ralph Stanley” ever since.

He was presented with the National Heritage Award by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, elected into the International Bluegrass Hall of Honor in 1992, and inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2000. His performance of “O Death,” featured in the movie “O Brother, Where Art Thou?,” earned him his first Grammy®Award in 2001 for Best Male Country Vocal Performance. The soundtrack album for that movie also earned Stanley both a Grammy®Award and a CMA Award for Album of the Year.

His album Lost in the Lonesome Pines earned Stanley his third Grammy®Award in 2002, this time for Best Bluegrass Album. His performance of “Me and God” with Josh Turner received an ACM nomination for Vocal Event of the Year in 2006. That same year, he received two major honors: the Living Legend Award from the Library of Congress and the National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush.

He released his autobiography, Man of Constant Sorrow, in 2009. Stanley received a second honorary Doctorate of Music degree from Yale University on May 19, 2014, and was elected as a fellow in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences on Oct. 11, 2014. For tour dates and more information, visit

Ralph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow is the latest CD release in the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® exclusive music program. Since 2005, Cracker Barrel has released CDs with a wide variety of artists, some of which have debuted in the top three spots on a range of Billboard’s charts including Top DVD Music Videos, Top Country Albums, Top Contemporary Christian Albums and Top Bluegrass Albums. The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® exclusive music program includes CDs with Alabama, Rodney Atkins, Mandy Barnett, Clint Black, Jason Michael Carroll, Steven Curtis Chapman, Dailey & Vincent, The Charlie Daniels Band, Ronnie Dunn, Edens Edge, Sara Evans, Bill Gaither, Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, Amy Grant, The Grascals, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Neal McCoy, Montgomery Gentry, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Craig Morgan, The Oak Ridge Boys, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, The Secret Sisters, Ricky Skaggs, Michael W. Smith, Aaron Tippin, Randy Travis, Josh Turner, Wynonna and the Zac Brown Band. For details, visit

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants. Guests are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and shopping that’s surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America’s country heritage…all at a fair price. The restaurant serves up delicious, home-style country food such as meatloaf and homemade chicken n’ dumplins as well as its made-from-scratch biscuits using an old family recipe. The authentic old country retail store is fun to shop and offers unique gifts and self-indulgences.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) was established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn. and operates 634 company-owned locations in 42 states. Every Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® location is open seven days a week with hours Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. For more information, visit

Tags: Ralph StanleyCracker BarrelCD ReleaseRalph Stanley & Friends: Man of Constant Sorrow