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The SongFarmer Album Completely Recorded on an iPhone

Wed, 02/10/2016 - 23:31

Yes it’s true ... the SongFarmer album was completely recorded on an iPhone. An iPhone 6-plus, actually. As far as we know, this is the first national album release to be recorded this way. It’s an acoustic album recorded with the new Martin 0000-28s guitar and long neck Deering Vega Banjo.

“I wanted to re-create the feel of an early folk recording using 21st century technology,” says folksinger Michael Johnathon from his log cabin home in Kentucky.

Why an iPhone? Years ago it was the norm for an artist to spend $20,000 or more in a studio with great musicians, carefully laboring over each song, making each note and inflection perfect, making each song mix the best possible. Then taking the finished work to a mastering studio, refining every audio wave and EQ so the album will stand the test of time ... only to have most of your fans listen to the thing on a $9 set of ear buds while on a treadmill in a gym. It is part of the demise of the record industry.

“We are living among the first generation in human history that hear music as a flat screen, digital two-dimensional experience.” says Johnathon. “They don't even get to hold an album jacket anymore.”

HERE'S A PAINFUL FACT: few people listen to albums on stereo systems anymore (this is not a reference to LPs but to the entire recorded project, whatever format).There are exceptions, but the truth is most folks listen to music as crushed low res MP3 files on smart phones in crappy ear buds with little or no sonic quality to them. The general public has learned to listen to music on less-than-quality playback systems in noisy environments.

HERE'S A SECOND FACT: the public is being conditioned to hear only singles from an album. The MP3s are loaded into their phone and are played on shuffle ... one song at a time. Kind of a personal Pandora playback. It leaves visionary artists in a quandary ... the presentation of a concept album - full musical cycles like Pink Floyd's The Wall or the Beatles Sergeant Pepper - has become extinct.

HERE'S A THIRD FACT: music is as much visual as it is audible. As the idea of physical records die, so dies the majesty of the album cover. Holding the album jacket in your hand, reading the lyrics as the album played drew fans deep into the magical world being presented to them. The current two-dimensional music world is shallow by comparison. The problem is folks only know it if they knew it from before. Fans today don't have a clue of this because there is an entire generation of humanity who have grown up experiencing only the flat digital experience of music.

“Think of what is really happening,” Johnathon explains, “fans are emailed an MP3 of a band from a friend, Google the band, YouTube the band, iTunes the band then download the band. They've never even seen the band live. Who could have predicted just five short years ago that record store chains would collapse nationwide and Cracker Barrel would become one of the biggest retailers of CDs in America? And to make matters worse, fans have gotten used to getting music as free MP3s. It's gotten so wacky that new cars don't even have CD players in them anymore, just a USB port.”

“Think of what is really happening,” Johnathon explains, “fans are emailed an MP3 of a band from a friend, Google the band, YouTube the band, iTunes the band then download the band. They've never even seen the band live. Who could have predicted just five short years ago that record store chains would collapse nationwide and Cracker Barrel would become one of the biggest retailers of CDs in America? And to make matters worse, fans have gotten used to getting music as free MP3s. It's gotten so wacky that new cars don't even have CD players in them anymore, just a USB port.”

The SongFarmer album is actually a protest album in support of the recording artform. Like most artists, Michael Johnathon laments the loss of budgets and the ability to actually create art in a recording studio.

“Some of the most talented audio sculptors in the world, we call them engineers but they are actually artists, are losing their careers as the music industry changes and budgets decline,” says Johnathon. So, the SongFarmer album was recorded in the same format the public is being trained to listen on: a cell phone. “If that’s what you’re going to listen to it on, then that’s what I’ll record it on.”

Which, oddly enough, isn't all that bad. The iPhone as a recording platform far surpasses what the Beatles recorded Abby Road on. Using Ear Trumpet mics, the Apogee Quartet with a multi-track recording app for iPhones and his artist cabin as the studio, which has very beautiful acoustics and a natural reverb, Johnathon set about the task of creating the album.

“Heck ... since most folks will end up hearing the ding-dang thing for free I might as well record the ding-dang thing for free. It is a folk album, performed in single takes with just my Martin 0000-28s guitar and long neck Vega banjo. There is little-to-no editing involved.”

The technology is such that Johnathon could have recorded upwards of 32 tracks but because of the concept behind this particular project, the recording was kept very simple and acoustic. The album has a more important use as it will introduce the efforts of the WoodSongs Front Porch Association to media and radio stations around the world. The WFPA calls its members "Song Farmers," thus the album title.

Song samples and project information available now at www.SongFarmers.org

Tags: Michael JohnathonCD ReleasetechnologyiPhoneSongFarmer

T.G. Sheppard Joins Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road in Latest Video

Wed, 02/10/2016 - 23:22
Nashville, TN -- Bluegrass crowd favorites Lorraine Jordan & Carolina have turned a lot of heads with their latest project, Country Grass. The band continues to leave their mark on the genre with the latest video for "Do You Wanna Go to Heaven." The track features 21-time country chart-topper T.G. Sheppard on the classic song, which recently celebrated its 35th Anniversary since topping the country charts. The video for the new bluegrass version of the song premiered exclusively on The Boot.

"I've always loved bluegrass music," says Sheppard on the heels of releasing his latest critically acclaimed album, Legendary Friends & Country Duets. "I'm glad that this song turned out so well," he adds of the hit song, which is one of his biggest hits.

Country Grass is the latest trend in bluegrass music, where the award-winning Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road teamed up with some of the biggest names in classic country. The tracks were recorded with the original singers on lead, with Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road singing along, this time with invigorating bluegrass instrumentals. The star-studded project also features collaborations with Crystal Gayle, Lee Greenwood, The Kentucky Headhunters, John Conlee, Eddy Raven, and Marty Raybon in addition to the late Jim Ed Brown and Lynn Anderson.

There is no shortage of Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road, as the band embarks on a whirlwind tour later this year, with upcoming stops throughout North America (see dates below). They will be appearing at several bluegrass festivals, where fans can pick up their very own copy of Country Grass. They are also bringing back their popular hosted Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival December 7-10 in Pigeon Forge, Tenn.

Tags: Lorraine Jordan & Carolina RoadT.G. SheppardVideoCountry Grass

"Dig in the Dirt" Coming June 3rd from The Farm Hands

Wed, 02/10/2016 - 23:20

Greenville, SC -- Award winning gospel quartet The Farm Hands have recorded a new album titled Dig in the Dirt, to be released on June 3rd, 2016. Their upcoming gospel bluegrass album features five of the 12 tunes penned by band members. Bandmember Daryl Mosley recently took home "Bluegrass Song Writer of the Year" at the latest SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards. The band's Dobro player, Tim Graves won "Dobro Performer of the Year." The band as a whole took home "Gospel Group of the Year" and "Vocal Group of the Year." Along with Graves and Mosley (bass), the band also includes Keith Tew on guitar, Bennie Boling on banjo. The fellas are joined on the album by guest fiddler Kimberly Bibb.

The Farm Hands are one of the most exciting and talked about band in Bluegrass Music. At the 2016 SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards, The Farm Hands collectively took home four awards. This followed up an incredible 2015 when they received one of the SPBGMA's highest honors, "Entertainer of the Year." Since their inception in 2010, they have received over 40 awards and nominations including 2014's "Album of The Year." Their YouTube videos, Facebook, and Twitter pages have thousands of followers.

They are one of the busiest touring bands in bluegrass, performing over 150 dates per year. For anyone who has seen them in concert, none of this comes as a surprise. The group features 4 award winning singers, musicians and songwriters, including two long time veterans of Nashville's Grand Ole Opry.

Tags: The Farm HandsCD ReleaseDig In The Dirt

Bluegrass at the Pavilion Brings Lonesome Bluegrass for 2016

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 22:38

The 11th Annual Bluegrass in the Pavilion concert continues to bring the best Bluegrass musicians to South Florida. Artists for the 2016 performance are Flatt Lonesome and the Lonesome River Band.

Flatt Lonesome is a young, new group of pickers fresh to the scene. While deeply-rooted in bluegrass music's historic classics, they also have an energetic flair for country sounds, progressive jams, and soul-stirring gospel music while never forsaking their traditional essence. If you love high lonesome harmony, soaring sibling vocals and powerful bluegrass music, then you will love Flatt Lonesome!

Flatt Lonesome was born from the Robertson family's bluegrass gospel band, Sandy Creek Revival. Pastor Dolton Robertson, his wife Lisa, and their three children Kelsi, Buddy, and Charli began playing as a group just a few years ago because of their love of bluegrass and the desire to play music together as a family. This quickly grew into a passion for the Robertson children with a great longing to travel, write, and record. So, in January 2011, Kelsi, Charli and Buddy teamed up with friends Dominic Illingworth, Michael Stockton, and Paul Harrigill (who is now married to Kelsi as of September 21, 2012) and became Flatt Lonesome. In February of 2011, the band entered the SPBGMA International Band Championship in Nashville, TN and placed 3rd – not bad for the band's very first time on stage! To commemorate the band's first anniversary in 2012, they once again entered the SPBGMA Band Championship where they were awarded 1st place.

Lonesome River Band continues their reputation as one of the most respected names in Bluegrass music. Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer and multi-award winning banjo picker, Sammy Shelor (banjo and harmony vocals) has put together a wealth of talent that includes: Brandon Rickman (lead and harmony vocals and guitar); Mike Hartgrove (fiddle); Barry Reed (bass, harmony vocals); and Randy Jones (lead and harmony vocals, mandolin) all performing the distinctive LRB sound fans love.

Lonesome River Band's long career is filled with a multitude of Awards and Recognitions including their 2012 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Award for Instrumental Recorded Event of the Year for their song "Angeline the Baker" from their CHRONOLOGY Volume One album. Sammy Shelor received his fifth win as the 2012 IBMA Banjo Performer of the year. The group has also received other awards from IBMA including Album of the year, along with numerous Awards from SPBGMA – Bluegrass Band of Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year and Shelor as Banjo Player of the Year. Sammy Shelor received the 2nd Annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Lonesome River Band with special guest Steve Martin made an appearance and performed on the Late Show with David Letterman on November 11, 2011.

For over 30 years, Lonesome River Band continues set the standard in the bluegrass music world. Whether performing on the famous stage of the Grand Ole Opry or headlining major concert events and festivals, their loyal fans continue one of the most loved and most influential acts of our time.

Many great musicians have had the opportunity to play for the Lonesome River Band through out the years. Sammy Shelor, having been there from the beginning, has seen all the variations. He has enjoyed performing with such stellar musicians as Kenny Smith, Don Rigsby, Ron Stewart, Rickie Simpkins and Mike Hartgrove (who returned in 2005) – each of whom had moved on to pursue other musical endeavors. With each personnel change, Shelor looked for new musicians who could not only fill a spot that had been left vacant, but also bring in an artists with talents of their own.

When it was completed in 1902, Whitehall, Henry Flagler’s Gilded Age estate in Palm Beach, was hailed by the New York Herald as “more wonderful than any palace in Europe, grander and more magnificent than any other private dwelling in the world.” Today, Whitehall is a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as the Flagler Museum, featuring guided tours, changing exhibits, and special programs.

The Museum is located at One Whitehall Way, Palm Beach. The Museum is open from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday, and noon until 5:00 p.m., Sunday. Admission is $18 for adults, $10 for youth ages 13-17, $3 for children ages 6-12, and children under six are free. For more information, or to purchase tickets please call the Flagler Museum at (561) 655-2833 or visit www.flaglermuseum.us

All proceeds from the concert benefit the Museum's children education programs. Visit http://flaglermuseum.us/programs/bluegrass-concert

Tags: Bluegrass at The PavilionFlagler MuseumConcertEventFlatt LonesomeLonesome River Band

Martin Guitar Proudly Presents The Dreadnought Junior

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 22:35
Nazareth, PA/ -- Martin Guitar's Dreadnought Junior, which first debuted at the 2015 Winter NAMM Trade Show, is the perfect model to add to the Martin Guitar family of acoustic guitars. The Dreadnought Junior is a solid wood guitar, ideal for any guitar enthusiast looking for Martin Guitar's unparalleled artistry and undeniable acoustic tone at an affordable price.

The Dreadnought Junior has been well received by many music industry publications including Guitar World, featuring the guitar in their "Best of NAMM" issue, Total Guitar which named it a "best buy" in 2015 and Acoustic Guitar UK saying "There comes a time when you get a guitar and just know it has 'acoustic guitar of the year' written all over it... It might be small but, oh my, it perfectly forms- surely, we have a new category on our hands."

"This year we proudly celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the iconic Martin Dreadnought (1916-2016), a model that has played a huge role in shaping American music and is one of the most replicated body sizes in the world," said CEO and Chairman Chris Martin IV. "It is not often we introduce a new body size, so we are very proud to continue to add to the Martin Dreadnought legacy with the introduction of the Dreadnought Junior, which offers to guitar enthusiasts worldwide a new body size with the same renowned Martin tone and premier quality people have come to expect from Martin Guitar."

For a closer look at the Dreadnought Junior, contact your local Authorized Martin Dealer near you to check out firsthand the perfect addition to your guitar family. https://www.martinguitar.com/find-a-dealer/ https://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/junior/dreadnought-junior/

C.F. Martin & Co. ® (www.martinguitar.com) has been creating the finest instruments in the world for 183 years. It continues to innovate, introducing techniques and features that have become industry standards, including X-bracing, the 14-fret guitar and the "Dreadnought" size. One of the world's leading acoustic instrument makers, Martin guitars are hand-made by skilled craftsmen and women, who use a combination of new design and techniques, along with those introduced by the company founder.

The company is also known for producing high-quality, popular acoustic guitar strings. These include the successful Martin SP® LIFESPAN™ the fastest-growing treated string in the industry, the exciting new Retro Strings line played and loved by Tony Rice and Laurence Juber and the Martin SP line, which uses an industry leading core wire to hold tunings better.

Martin guitars and Martin strings are the instruments and strings of choice for musicians around the world, from the icons of rock, pop, country, folk and bluegrass to those just beginning their careers. They can be seen across all segments of pop culture, from television to movies, Broadway, books, online, and gracing the covers of popular magazines on newsstands everywhere. Connect with Martin and Martin Strings on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and via www.martinguitar.com and www.martinstrings.com.

Tags: C. F. Martin Guitar CompanyMartin GuitarNew ProductGuitarDreadnought Junior

Dolly Parton Honored with MovieGuide Most Inspiring TV Program

Tue, 02/09/2016 - 22:32

Nashville, TN -- The Movieguide® Awards honored international entertainment icon Dolly Parton with the Epiphany Prize for the Most Inspiring TV Program of 2015 for her NBC TV movie “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors.”

“I really wanted to celebrate the people, my whole family, who made me who and what I am today. I'm so blessed and thankful for a great cast, producers, director, and for everyone who watched and I’m extremely thankful to the Movieguide® Awards for this honor,” Parton said.

The presentation of the Epiphany Prizes for the Most Inspiring Movie and TV Program of 2015 is the highlight of the Awards, which also will be telecast Monday, Feb. 22, and Wednesday, Feb. 24 on the REELZChannel. The Epiphany Prizes are supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation (www.templeton.org). They are given every year to the “best, most inspiring movie and television program that resulted in a great increase in man’s love or understanding of God.”

Dolly Parton’s heartwarming film about following your dreams, having faith and keeping love alive despite tough times attracted 13 million viewers and was the most watched movie on broadcast TV in more than 3 years when it aired Dec. 10 on NBC.

The film is set in the Tennessee Great Smoky Mountains in 1955. It is neither a biopic nor musical about Parton’s whole life and performing career, but rather a family-oriented faith-based story about the incidents in her and her family’s life around the time she was 9 years old.

“Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” is the first in a planned series of TV movies inspired by the country music icon’s songs.

Just in time for Mother's Day, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the critically acclaimed film Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors on DVD for the first time on May 3, 2016. Experience the magic and warmth of the television movie event that is based on the inspiring true story of living legend Dolly Parton's remarkable upbringing in rural Tennessee. To date, initial broadcast of Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors has delivered 15.9M total viewers (Live+7), becoming the #1 movie on broadcast with total viewers in more than 6 years.* Furthermore, Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors has the highest total viewer L+SD to L+3 increase (2.548 M) ever!.

The family-oriented faith-based movie stars Jennifer Nettles (award-winning singer/songwriter and lead vocalist of the duo Sugarland), Ricky Schroder (NYPD Blue, The Lost Battalion, 24), Gerald McRaney (Agent X, Mike & Molly, Longmire, House of Cards), and Alyvia Alyn Lind (Transparent, Revenge, Blended). Dolly Parton introduces the film and serves as narrator. Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors also contains an alternate version of the movie, deleted scenes and heartwarming extras. The DVD is priced to own at $19.98 SRP.

An internationally renowned superstar, the iconic and irrepressible Dolly Parton has contributed countless treasures to the world of entertainment. All-inclusive sales of singles, albums, hits collections, paid digital downloads and compilation usage during her illustrious career have topped a staggering 100 million records worldwide. Achieving 25 RIAA certified gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards, Dolly has had 25 songs reach No. 1 on the Billboard Country charts, a record for a female artist. Dolly has garnered 7 Grammy Awards, 10 Country Music Association Awards, 5 Academy of Country Music Awards, 3 American Music Awards and is one of only five female artists to win the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year Award.

Making her film debut in the 1980 hit comedy “9 to 5,” Dolly earned rave reviews for her performance and an Oscar nomination for writing the title tune, along with her second and third Grammy Awards. Roles in “Steel Magnolias,” “Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” “Rhinestone,” and “Straight Talk” followed. Dolly saw a cherished dream become a reality in 1986 with the opening of her own theme park, Dollywood, in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

In 1988, Dolly began the Dollywood Foundation which funds Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library across America and in Canada by giving every preschool child a book each month from the time he or she is born until the child reaches kindergarten. Currently 60,000,000 books are mailed to children in the US, Canada and throughout the UK. In 1999, Dolly was inducted as a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. She has her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in 2004, the U.S. Library of Congress presented her with their Living Legend Award for her contribution to the cultural heritage of the United States. In December 2015, more than 13 million tuned into “Dolly Parton’s Coat of Many Colors” and was the most-watched film on broadcast networks since May 2012.

To learn more about this American icon, visit www.DollyPartonEntertainment.com

Tags: Dolly PartonCoat of Many ColorsTVAward

NYC Bluegrass Band Cricket Tell the Weather Releases New Video

Mon, 02/08/2016 - 22:34
Brooklyn, NY -- In anticipation of their upcoming record release, NYC based Cricket Tell the Weather released a studio video for their new single "Photographs."

Previewing their sophomore album Tell the Story Right, due out in May of this year, Andrea Asprelli returns with what the NY Music Daily calls a refreshing “down-to-earth, unaffected vocal delivery” in their newest music video. Set at Windmill Agency Studios, on the family farm of audio engineer Eric Ritter in Lake Ariel, PA, Asprelli is backed by some of the staples of NYC’s rising bluegrass talent, showcasing Doug Goldstein (banjo), Jeff Picker (guitar), and Sam Weber (bass).

[Asprelli’s] contemporary spin on inherited forms is very much part of the American musical tradition.
~ Jeremy Goodwin, The Boston Globe

When asked her inspiration for the song, Asprelli says, “I was thinking about how untrustworthy our memories can be sometimes when we’re reminiscing or being nostalgic about something or someone – the stories we want to tell outshine the truth a lot of the time.”

The band made its mark on the Northeast bluegrass scene when, in 2013, they won the prestigious band competition at Fresh Grass Festival in North Adams, MA. Always focused on writing original songs couched in the bluegrass and folk genres, Asprelli says, “the beautiful thing about traditional music is the stories – being part of sharing an oral history and tradition, and being able to add to it with your own songs.” She received early recognition of her songwriting at the Podunk Bluegrass Songwriting Competition in 2011 for her co-written song, Remington.

Cricket’s debut album featured sophisticated acoustic treatments of vocal songs with catchy melodies and resonant lyrics. Their second album promises nothing less, as the project hones itself around Asprelli’s voice and songwriting style. Tell the Story Right is slated for independent release in May of 2016.

Tags: Cricket Tell The WeatherVideoPhotographs

SPBGMA Awards Highlight the Best in Bluegrass Music

Sun, 02/07/2016 - 22:22

The 42nd Annual Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) Bluegrass Music Awards took place during the society's 32nd National Convention February 7, 2016 at the Sheraton Music City Hotel in Nashville, Tennessee. The awards show is always the highlight of the annual event and bluegrass music's biggest stars were there participating in performances as well as collecting their respective trophies. The trophies have been awarded, the celebrations have begun and everybody is getting ready to make more great bluegrass music in 2016.

The Farm Hands captured four awards during the evening taking home the Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year and Bluegrass Vocal Group of the Year trophies. This group has become a popular favorite at SPBGMA and deservidly so. Farm Hands' own Daryl Mosley was also awarded Songwriter of the Year honors. Tim Graves received Dobro Player of the Year making this one outstanding evening for this group.

The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) inducted “Bluegrass Music’s Youngest Old Timer,” Ronnie Reno, into the Preservation Hall of Greats. Reno’s name will be added to an incredible list of Bluegrass legends and seminal performers who have been inducted since 1984, beginning with Bill Monroe and including such notables as Hylo Brown, Mac Wiseman, Larry Sparks, Jim & Jesse McReynolds, The Osborne Brothers, Doc Watson, Carl Story, Rhonda Vincent, Flatt & Scruggs and Bill Harrell. Reno’s name will also join his father’s, Don Reno, who was inducted into the Preservation Hall of Greats in 1985 along with Red Smiley.

“I am so incredibly humbled to be listed among artists who have inspired me throughout my entire career. While I’ve known a lot of them personally, I have also studied their licks, admired their music and respected their craftsmanship to the point that I’ve dedicated a great deal of my career getting their performances archived on film and in audio files so that others can benefit from their work,” said Reno. “To find myself listed among them is just mind-blowing! I just don’t even know what to say.”

The awards for Male Vocalist of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year were presented to two of bluegrass music's favorites being Russell Moore and Rhonda Vincent respectively. Both of these outstanding vocalists and artists have garnered these trophies before and, like in previous awards, they are well deserved. The fans appreciate these artists over the long term. Rhonda also was awarded the coveted Entertainer of the Year!

Bluegrass Band of the Year and Bluerass Album of the Year honors were awarded to Flatt Lonesome. This group is also a national favorite with their works in the tops of the charts and a draw to festival goers everywhere.

SPBGMA serves to preserve the traditional spirit and art form of Bluegrass music. The organization also offers a management service for any community desiring to hold a Bluegrass festival and/or to organize and conduct Bluegrass Band competitions. In all SPBGMA sponsored events, instruments must be traditional acoustic instruments, no electrified instruments permitted. SPBGMA encourages professionalism in appearance and showmanship by the performers at SPBGMA events as well as encouraging the support of various Bluegrass publications and associations.

This event is always a favorite and includes the Showcase of Bands, Workshops, opportunities for promoters and talent buyers to view new and existing artists to see what's new. There are trade exhibits, record companies and more available for the artists and the fans. Of course, this is also an exciting time in bluegrass music where the fans and their favorite artists get to mingle and socialize as well. It is definitely and friendly, up close and personal experience for all involved.

Listed by Category, Here are the 2016 SPBGMA Award Winners:

  1. Bluegrass Promoter of the Year
    • D.A. Callaway
  2. Bluegrass Radio Station of the Year
    • Sirius XM 61-Bluegrass Junction
  3. Bluegrass DJ of the Year
    • Kyle Cantrell-Sirius XM 61
  4. Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year
    • Daryl Mosley
  5. Bluegrass Album of the Year
    • Runaway Train – Flatt Lonesome on Mountain Home Music Company
  6. Bass Fiddle Performer of the Year
    • Mickey Harris
  7. Dobro Performer of the Year
    • Tim Graves
  8. Guitar Performer of the Year
    • Josh Williams
  9. Mandolin Performer of the Year
    • Danny Roberts
  10. Banjo Performer of the Year
    • Kenny Ingram
  11. Fiddle Performer of the Year
    • Michael Cleveland
  12. Female Vocalist of the Year (Overall)
    • Rhonda Vincent
  13. Male Vocalist of the Year (Overall)
    • Russell Moore
  14. Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year
    • The Farm Hands
  15. Bluegrass Vocal Group of the Year
    • The Farm Hands
  16. Bluegrass Instrumental Group of the Year
    • Rhonda Vincent & the Rage
  17. Bluegrass Band of the Year (Overall)
    • Flatt Lonesome
  18. Entertainer(s) of the Year
    • Rhonda Vincent
  19. Song of the Year
    • "The Last Parade" by Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers on Rebel Records

Congratulations to all the nominees and our gratitude for all the fine bluegrass music during the past year.

SPBGMA also hosts the International Band Championships during their National Convention. Bands compete for their share of $10,000 in prizes for placing in the top ten. This year's winners are:

  1. Bluegrass Outlaws
  2. The Turkey Creek Band
  3. Clay Bank
  4. The New Balance
  5. Bluff City
  6. Spring Fever Bluegrass Band
  7. Iron Mountain Boys
  8. The Baker Family
  9. Tennessee Tradition
  10. Amanda Cook & Kennesaw Ridge

Again, Cybergrass congragulates all of those who took home awards and trophies from this year's event.

Tags: SPBGMAAwards ShowSociety for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of AmericaAwards

High Test Grass Heats Up Carter Fold Sat. Feb 13

Sun, 02/07/2016 - 22:19

Formed in the summer of 2015, High Test Grass is a band that prides itself on delivering a high-octane bluegrass sound. The band draws heavily on material from both 1st and 2nd generation classic bluegrass bands and mixes in a measure of contemporary bluegrass material. Saturday, February 13th, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of bluegrass music by High Test Grass.

Eric McMurray is featured on the mandolin and fiddle. Mitch Bentley plays the upright bass. They met each other at the 2015 Galax Old Time Fiddlers’ Convention when both were asked to be members of a competing bluegrass band. Shortly after, Mitch contacted Eric to fill in for a few shows with a band he and Jeff Osborne were in together at the time for which Jeff was playing guitar. Eric knew Jeff through the local bluegrass community.

Eric, Mitch, and Jeff quickly recognized the vocal harmony stacking potential of the trio, so they began attending local jam sessions and scheduling practice sessions. When the three of them were ready to make the band official, Jeff recommended Kris Rasnake to play banjo, and Kris accepted the invitation.

Eric is well-known to Fold audiences. A versatile and accomplished musician, he can pretty much play anything he picks up. If you love bluegrass music, High Test Grass is a group you won’t want to miss. Solid and strong instrumentally, the group will also deliver with their tight and beautiful harmony. Check them out on the web. For further information, go to https://www.facebook.com/HighTestGrass/. For an evening of great bluegrass music, join us at the Fold for their special concert.

Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. 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 http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.

Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. 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 – @carterfoldinfo. To speak to a Fold staff member, call 276-594-0676.

Tags: High Test GrassCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

The Infamous Stringdusters Release “Ladies & Gentlemen”

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 22:23

Nashville, TN -- Standing at the crossroads of modern bluegrass and newgrass, The Infamous Stringdusters are a band that is “stretching [bluegrass] from within” (New York Times). For their sixth studio album, Ladies & Gentlemen, the band invited a dozen of their favorite female singers to join them. The list of featured guests includes some of the most dynamic and innovative artists from across the roots music, Americana, and country worlds: Nicki Bluhm, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jennifer Hartswick, Sarah Jarosz, Claire Lynch, Aoife O’Donovan, Joan Osborne, Joss Stone, Sara Watkins, Abigail Washburn, Lee Ann Womack and Celia Woodsmith. Each artist guested on a different original song or tune written by the members of the band specifically for this project.

Ladies & Gentlemen was produced by GRAMMY-winner Chris Goldsmith and shows the breadth of The Infamous Stringdusters’ musical vision and talents. Band members Andy Hall (dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle) and Travis Book (upright bass), play alongside the vocalists with the circuital unity of the seasoned bluegrass band that they are. Big harmonies and exploratory compositions, along with the band’s profound commitment to presentation, seem bound to inspire traditionalists and newcomers to stomp their feet on common ground. With a new voice for each song, world-class instrumental backing, captivating song structure and unexpected combinations, Ladies & Gentlemen is sure to please at every turn.

The Infamous Stringdusters’ resume includes five studio albums, three International Bluegrass Association awards and a GRAMMY nomination.

Tags: The Infamous StringdustersCD ReleaseLadies and Gentlemen

Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn Release 'Banjo Banjo' EP on Vinyl

Sat, 02/06/2016 - 22:20
On February 5, Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn will release the Banjo Banjo EP on vinyl, available exclusively through Barnes & Noble. This collection of unreleased music marks the follow up to the couple’s self titled, 2016 Grammy-nominated debut (Best Folk Album & Best American Roots Performance for “And Am I Born to Die”).

The previously unreleased studio songs are arrangements of age-old Chinese folk, Bartok and metal. “Hao Hua Hong,” (“Beautiful Red Flower”), sung by Washburn in Mandarin (she’s near-fluent), is adapted from the Buyi people who live high in the mountain forests of Guizhou (the video premiered on NPR Music for Chinese New Year). Béla honors his namesake with “Evening in Transylvania,” and the centerpiece for the EP might just be their instrumental of Europe’s “The Final Countdown,” arranged for the A.V. Club’s Undercover series. “I never heard this song before,” Fleck tells the Onion. “Because I was really busy in the '80s.”

"Béla Fleck has been experimenting with the banjo for decades, taking the instrument into many genres, from rock to jazz (with the Flecktones and in duets with Chick Corea and others) to classical,” writes The New Yorker. In the process, he’s won fifteen Grammy Awards. A few years ago, he married Abigail Washburn, a similarly freewheeling musician. She is a gifted clawhammer banjo player, a seraphic vocalist, and an uninhibited songwriter…”

Banjo Banjo track listing:

  1. “Banjo Banjo” (live) (Fleck / Washburn)
  2. “Hao Hua Hong” (“Beautiful Red Flower”) - Sung by Washburn in Mandarin, the song adapted from the Buyi people who live high in the mountain forests of Guizhou. The video premiered on NPR Music for Chinese New Year in 2015 (February 8, this year).
  3. “Shotgun Blues” (live) (Fleck / Washburn)
  4. “Evening in Transylvania” (Bartok)
  5. “Railroad”
  6. “The Final Countdown” (Tempest) - Dual-banjo version for The Onion’s A.V. Club Undercover Series
Tags: Béla Fleck & Abigail WashburnNew ReleaseBanjo BanjoVinyl

Surprise Radio Album Release Shoots Circa Blue to #2 on APD Chart

Fri, 02/05/2016 - 23:45

Orange Blossom Records is proud to announce the new Circa Blue album, Once Upon a Time is now available to radio stations via AirPlay Direct. The album went live this morning and has already jumped to #2 on the service’s Top 50 AirPlay Direct Bluegrass Folk Albums monthly chart. Stations may also request a private digital download from the label. Physical copies will be mailed to stations in the coming weeks and the label will soon announce the official retail street date.

Circa Blue Surprises Radio with Full Album Release and Immediately Hits #2 on the AirPlay Direct Bluegrass Folk Album Chart

circa-blueCirca Blue is a Martinsburg, West Virginia based group that includes the talents of Steve Harris (Guitar, Lead & Harmony Vocals); Malia Furtado (Fiddle, Lead & Harmony Vocals); Ashley Stewart (Bass, Lead & Harmony Vocals); Garrett Wren (Mandolin, Lead & Harmony Vocals); and Matt Hickman (Banjo).

Once Upon a Time features 10 songs that include several co-writes with Steve Harris and songwriters David Morris and Dawn Kenney, an Award-Winning song by Brink Brinkman, a Dawn Kenney original, a collaborative effort between Canadian Star Matt Naveau, David Morris and Steve Harris, public domain standards, and a Juice Newton cover thrown in for good measure. The title cut “Once Upon A Time” was written by Steve Harris and Malia Furtado.

Once Upon a Time was recorded, mixed and mastered at National Media Services, Inc. in Front Royal Virginia, engineered by Will Shenk, and produced by Steve Harris. "We are excited and honored to be partnered with Orange Blossom Records LLC for our latest release. Our future grows brighter every day,” said Harris.

Once Upon a Time tracks include:

  1. "Carolina Dust" (3:36) Mark “Brink” Brinkman
  2. "Before You Leave Here" (3:12) Matt Naveau, Steve Harris, David Morris
  3. "Once Upon A Time" (2:23) Steve Harris, Malia Furtado
  4. "Angeline the Baker" (3:35) Public Doman
  5. "Cold Frosty Morning" (3:34) Public Doman
  6. "I Sing Your Song" (3:49) Steve Harris, Dawn Kenney, David Morris
  7. "Tripped Stumbled and Fell" (2:51) Dawn Kenny, Rick Lang
  8. "Queen of Hearts" (3:47) Hank Devito
  9. "Rain and Snow" (5:03) Public Domain
  10. "Whispers of the North" (3:09) Gordon Lightfoot

Stay up-to-date on future announcement including the official album release by visiting www.Circa-Blue.com and www.OrangeBlossomRecords.com.

Tags: Circa BlueAirPlay DirectChartsCD ReleaseOnce Upon A Time

Bluegrass, Country Legends Perform Charity Concert in Brentwood, TN

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 22:43
Brentwood, TN -- Several bluegrass and country music artists who have written hundreds of hits and/or performed with some of the industry’s biggest stars will perform in Brentwood, Tennessee, on Saturday, February 13, to raise money for a humanitarian program in Ecuador. Songwriters Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley will headline the “Mission of Love” concert, along with acclaimed vocalist Val Storey. Proceeds will help fund essential needs of San Jose Obrero, Good Shepherd’s sister church in Mante Ecuador.

Carl Jackson has a long list of credits as a country and bluegrass songwriter, singer and producer and has won many awards, including two Grammy Awards and three International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards. He has worked with such superstars as Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Alison Kraus and many more. One of his recent projects is the critically acclaimed 2-disc album “Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited” and an accompanying documentary.

Larry Cordle and Jerry Salley are also among Nashville’s most prolific songwriters. Cordle has written for such artists as Ricky Skaggs, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Alan Jackson, Alison Krauss, The Osborne Brothers, Rhonda Vincent, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire John Anderson, Trace Adkins, Diamond Rio and more. Among his best known songs was the hit single “Murder on Music Row,” which was first recorded by George Strait and Alan Jackson.

Jerry Salley, meanwhile, is a seven-time Dove Award nominee, and was named SESAC's 2003 "Country Music Songwriter of the Year.” He has had over 400 songs recorded by other artists, including two tracks on albums currently nominated for Grammy Awards, for Chris Stapleton and The Steeldrivers.

The three friends often perform on Monday nights at The Station Inn in Nashville, with Val Storey, one of Nashville’s leading session singers, whose own album includes performances by Carl Jackson, Curtis Wright, Ruby Lovett, Euna Deaton and The Jordanaires. She also sang background vocals on Dolly Parton’s album “Blue Smoke” and on Sonya Isaacs’ self-titled country album.

Opening the “Mission of Love” concert will be emerging singer/songwriter Kaitlyn Baker, whose single “Coal Train” was included in the 2015 Academy of Country Music (ACM) Awards ZinePak, a 2-CD compilation of songs by ACM Award nominees and new artists.

The “Mission of Love” concert will take place at on Saturday, February 13, at the Church of the Good Shepherd, 1420 Wilson Pike, Brentwood, TN 37027. Beverages and hors d’oeuvres will be served at 6:00 p.m. The concert will begin at 6:45, with a reception to follow. Tickets are $20 for adults; Ages 18 and under: 2 for $20. Babysitting will be provided at no extra charge. For information, visit www.GoodShepherdBrentwood.org or call (615) 332-1222.

Tags: BluegrassCountryConcertCharityBrentwoodCarl JacksonLarry CordleJerry Salley

Bluergrass Underground Bluegrass Valentines Concerts Feb 13

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 22:40

Bluegrass Underground is for lovers and to keep things in a Valentine's Weekend mood, we're offering our Bucket List packages, prime reserved seats that also include lodging and meals at Fall Creek Falls' beautiful lakeside lodge. So for a great getaway that will look like you've been planning it for months, come join us for some steamy romance and red-hot bluegrass in the Volcano Room on Feb. 13. Featuring the Sweethearts of Bluegrass, Darin & Brooke Aldridge and Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, the cave will have a true blue red hot bluegrass show.

And if you're looking for a really special gift for that really special BGU fan, we have a few Bucket List & Underground packages available for the April 1-3 weekend taping of Bluegrass Underground VI, the next season of our nine-time EMMY winning PBS series. Almost all the general admission tickets are gone, so that's the only way you'll get to experience the world's biggest subterranean music fest. Bucket List tickets include accommodations at Fall Creek Falls State Park and meals, as well as prime seating and exclusive Bluegrass Underground PBS weekend swag.

On Feb. 13, St. Valentine's Eve, there's romance in the air along with the ringing banjos, fiddles, mandolins and the occasional bat (think of them as tiny, leather Cupids). That's when Darin and Brooke Aldridge, The Bluegrass Sweethearts, will be making their Volcano Room debut, co-headlining a bill with Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers in one of the best true bluegrass shows we've had in a while.

The Aldridges have been winning fans with their latest album, Snapshots, featuring Brooke singing the Johnny Cash hit, "Tennessee Flat Top Box", later covered by his daughter Rosanne, who called the Aldridges' recording, "a beautiful jewel of a rendition." Bluegrass fans agreed and "Tennessee Flat Top Box" became their first No. 1 bluegrass hit. The couple hails from the great bluegrass state of North Carolina, which gave us folks like Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, and though the band is young, Darin has done stints with groundbreaking bands like Acoustic Syndicate as well as the more traditional Country Gentlemen. They carry a great band of their own and it looks to be a wonderful way to start the year.

They'll be sharing the stage with one of the premier traditional bluegrass bands of our time, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers. They hail from another hotbed of bluegrass, Southwest Ohio, which gave us the Osborne Brothers, Larry Sparks, Red Allen, Harley Allen and the Allen Brothers, Frank Wakefield and many more. Including me, who was part of that scene from 1978 to 2007, when my Tennessee visa was approved and I moved down here. So I've known Joe since he was kid and I will say, without fear of contradiction, that he is one of the absolute best Scruggs-style banjo players performing today. He's the son of bluegrass legend Paul 'Moon' Mullins, a triple threat as fiddler, songwriter (Ralph Stanley's "Katey Daley) and disc jockey. Joe was raised on the music and his banjo was driving his dad's band The Traditional Grass years before Joe was old enough to drive anything else.

He was later part of the all-star bluegrass band Longview, but it's with his own band The Radio Ramblers that he's really made a name for himself. Check out The Radio Ramblers' newest CD, Another Day From Life. And for a look at Mullins' days with his dad's band, Rebel Records recently released a Traditional Grass compilation album. Just like love, bluegrass doesn't mean a thing unless it's true, and these guys are the realest of deals.

On the home front, don't forget to set your DVR this month. Feb. 19, Bluegrass Underground will get its own prime time national PBS TV special, looking back at the first five years of the TV show, featuring Old Crow Medicine Show, Jason Isbell, Lee Ann Womack, Mike Farris & The McCrary Sisters, Vince Gill and as many more incredible performances as we can fit into an hour. Check your local listings. And yes, it's great TV, but nothing beats experiencing it 333 below. We'll see you underground.

Tags: Bluegrass UndergroundDarin & Brooke AldridgeJoe Mullins & The Radio RamblersConcertEvent

Empty Bottle String Band at Carter Fold Saturday

Thu, 02/04/2016 - 22:37

Hiltons, VA -- Saturday, February 6th, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of old time music by the Empty Bottle String Band. The Bottles are made up of Stephanie Jeter on autoharp, bass and vocals; Kristal Harman on guitar and vocals; Tyler Hughes on banjo, banjo uke, and vocals; and Ryan Nickerson on fiddle and mandolin. The band has become a favorite at festivals and venues throughout the southeast region and one of East Tennessee’s most popular old time groups.

The Empty Bottle String Band specializes in playing old-fashioned, toe-tapping, highly danceable, traditional Appalachian music. They are known for their upbeat fiddle tunes and feel-good music, with the occasional murder ballad thrown in for good measure. Their impressive stage presence is coupled with a delightfully self-effacing strength and confidence in their music. Their sound is inventive, while still staying close to the old time string band tradition of the 1930s. The Bottles promote the close connection between old time string band music and traditional dance, frequently playing for contra dances and square dances.

For some of the best old time music our region has to offer, don’t miss the Empty Bottle String Band at the Carter Family Fold. All the band’s members have performed previously at the Fold with various groups connected with the ETSU Bluegrass and Old Time program – so they know just what keeps our audiences happy. Bring along your family and friends – and don’t forget your dancing shoes! For more information on the band, visit their website www.emptybottlestringband.com or find them on Facebook.

Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. 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 http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.

Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at http://thecrookedroad.org. 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 – @carterfoldinfo.

Tags: Empty Bottle String BandCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Serenade Patients at Colorado Hospital

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:29

Nashville, TN -- Nitty Gritty Dirt Band members Jeff Hanna, Jimmie Fadden and Bob Carpenter delivered the healing power of music to patients, visitors and staff during a visit to St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood, Colorado.

“Our visit and tour of the hospital was the highlight of our weekend - getting to see firsthand the amazing work that the doctors, nurses and administrative staff are doing was humbling and inspiring. It was our pleasure to play a few tunes for the patients, their families and staff. We gained the most from that experience. We’re really glad we were there,” Jeff Hanna said.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band also performed at the 2016 St. Anthony Hospital Gala for more than 900 in attendance. The gala, organized by the St. Anthony Hospital Foundation, raises money for St. Anthony Hospital programs and services.

Jeff Brickman, Group President, Mountains and North Denver Operating Group and President and CEO of St. Anthony Hospital was thrilled that the band took time out of its schedule to visit with Hospital staff, visitors and patients. “Music is therapeutic and provides another mechanism for healing. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it,” Brickman said.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band continues to tour in celebration of their 50th anniversary, with additional dates to be announced. Select shows will feature special guests.

The iconic and profoundly influential Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, often cited as a catalyst for an entire movement in country, rock and American roots music, is celebrating its 50th anniversary of nonstop touring and recording vital music. Formed in California in 1966, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band consists of founding members Jeff Hanna (guitars/vocals), Jimmie Fadden (drums/harmonica/vocals), John McEuen (banjo/fiddle/guitar/mandolin), and Bob Carpenter (keyboards/accordion/vocals), “The New Guy” since 1977.

The group has lasted longer than virtually any other country-based group of their era with multi-platinum and gold records, including legendary hits “Mr. Bojangles” and "Fishin’ in the Dark” (certified platinum for digital downloads in 2014 and the longest recurrent country radio song of all time). Their groundbreaking 1972 Will The Circle Be Unbroken album, which assembled the living legends of country, bluegrass and mountain music to record what many critics have hailed as "an American treasure,” has been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress and the Grammy Hall of Fame, paving the way for generations of what’s now known as today’s “cross genre movement." "Mr. Bojangles" was also inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2010. Most recently the Nitty Gritty Dirty Band was inducted into the Colorado Music Hall of Fame, class of 2015.

Tags: Nitty Gritty Dirt BandCharity

Wilson Pickins BG Promotions Welcomes Tyler Williams Band

Wed, 02/03/2016 - 22:20

Wilson Pickins Bluegrass Promotions is proud to announce the addition of the Tyler Williams Band to our Artist lineup. Singer, songwriter Tyler Williams, born in central Ohio, is a young man with big dreams that started when he was just 2 years old. By the time he was 4, he began playing piano attracting the attention of everyone around him. Although Williams was born with Cerebral Palsy and became blind at infancy, he remained determined in his pursuit of becoming an entertainer despite the obstacles.

Over the years, Tyler has been diligently studying and performing every chance he gets to refine his skills, including performances with some of his heroes such as the legendary Tony Rice, Lonesome River Band, and Balsam Range. One of the most recent accomplishments of this young artist is his Bachelor’s Degree major in Broadcasting and minor in Bluegrass, which he graduated with honors from East Tennessee State University.

His hard work has been supported by a powerful voice and original style that is often talked about throughout the industry. Tyler has assembled a talented band applying all the knowledge he has gained throughout his journey and is well on his way to taking his career as an entertainer all the way.

Tyler and the Band will be performing down at SPBGMA, with guest banjo player Steve Wilson of Wilson Banjo Co., on February 6th, or you can catch them at Fletcher Feed & Seed on February 12th. If you would like more information or to book the Tyler Williams Band, please contact Wilson Pickins Bluegrass Promotions at 864-359-7999.

Tags: Tyler Williams BandTyler WilliamsWilson PickinsPromotionBusiness

Huck Finn Jubliee Lineup Announced

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 22:49

Ontario, CA -- Producers of the Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival, the Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau are proud to announce some of the greatest national headlining bluegrass names will be on stage for the 3-day event. Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park in Ontario will be the site for this annual event June 10 thru 12, 2016 when thousands of bluegrass fans arrive to experience a family friendly festival that celebrates traditional Bluegrass music, education, activities, and the evolution of bluegrass music.

Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival is a 3-day music festival, held on the second weekend of June annually, celebrating Bluegrass - America’s genuine roots music. Founded in 1975 by the Tucker Family, the Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival continues to evolve and has become a premier 3-day showcase of traditional Bluegrass and Jam grass music. This family-friendly event is a community of music-driven campgrounds with endless pickin’ parties, music workshops and instrumental roots education for all ages, outdoor recreation and Tom Sawyer Island dedicated to all day kid’s activities.

The Lineup* of entertainment, featuring an array of musicians spanning across local, regional, and national Grammy nominated and award-winning bands, includes:

Friday, June 10:
David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, Peter Rowan Band, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Balsam Range, The Special Consensus, and The Mountain Faith Band. An ‘80’s Retro Late Night Party featuring Love Canon will conclude the first day.
Saturday, June 11:
Soggy Bottom Boys, Leftover Salmon, The Cleverlys, Dan Tyminski Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Della Mae, The Boxcars, and The Church Sisters. The Late night square dance will feature the Hogslop String Band.
Sunday, June 12:
Punch Brothers,The Infamous Stringdusters, Elephant Revival, Mountain Heart, Dailey & Vincent, Sweetwater String Band, and Flatt Lonesome.

Additional artists will be announced prior to the event. In addition to the musical performances several workshops will be available to attend. Guests are invited to bring their own instruments for these workshops and of course impromptu jams amongst festival attendees is encouraged. *Lineup of entertainment is subject to change.

Tickets go on sale March 1 at 10am with several options to satisfy all attendees with prices starting at $45.00. Options to purchase VIP tickets, 3 day passes or reservations for hotels, camping or RV sites are available on line as well at www.huckfinn.com. Huck Finn Jubilee is produced by The Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau, the official destination marketing organization to promote the cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga California to visitors nationally and internationally.

Huck Finn Jubilee Bluegrass Music Festival, produced by the Greater Ontario Convention & Visitors Bureau (a non-profit 501c 3), supports the cross-pollination and belief in the evolution of this music while honoring its rich history. This unique festival showcases an array of musicians spanning across local, regional, and national Grammy nominated and award-winning bands alike. Huck Finn Jubilee is committed to presenting exceptional headlining musicians as well as emerging artists dedicated to creating sounds for the future while preserving the deeply imbedded roots of Bluegrass. Bluegrass music tells a story and narrative of the lives of the everyday American people. For more information visit www.huckfinn.com

Tags: Huck Finn JubileeMusic FestivalLineupEvent

Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Feb. 12 - 14. Framingham, MA

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 22:45

Boston, MA -- The Boston Bluegrass Union writes, "We're entering the homestretch ahead of next week's 31st Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, February 12 - 14, at the Sheraton Framingham. Everyone at the BBU and the Sheraton are making every effort to ensure you have a wonderful weekend. It looks to be a mighty fine time, with great lineups on the Main and Showcase stages, Master Classes, Workshops, Kids Academy, Vendors and much more."

IBMA Hall of Fame member and the main man in bluegrass, Del McCoury returns to Joe Val. The Del McCoury Band will close out the Sunday portion of Joe Val. Del and his band will share the stage with The Gibson Brothers, Traveling McCoury's, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, Sister Sadie, The Spinney Brothers, David Parmley and Cardinal Tradition, Foghorn Stringband, Special Consensus, Steve Gully and New Pinnacle, Jim Gaudet and The Railroad Boys, The Reunion Band, Mile Twelve, ...and more.

Established in 1985, the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival celebrates the legacy of the late Joe Val, a pioneering Massachusetts-based vocalist, musician, and bandleader, whose riveting performances, recordings, and generous nature did so much to spread the popularity of bluegrass in the Northeast. From its humble beginnings as a local tribute to Joe and the regional bluegrass scene, the festival has grown to become one of the most celebrated bluegrass events in the country. In 2006, the Joe Val Bluegrass Festival won the prestigious Event of the Year award from the IBMA. And in 2012, the festival was listed by USA TODAY as one of the Ten Great Places to Go to Bluegrass Festivals.

Master Classes, Fast Track and Kids Academy - we still have space in all these fine education programs. Check http://www.bbu.org/events/joe-val-festival/ for expanded details and registration. We like to think we're training the next generation of pickers with the JV Kids Academy. Please pass along the info on this program if you know of a child who wants to advance his or her musical skills. We provide a full weekend of interaction and training that closes with a Sunday performance on the Main Stage.

Hotel rooms - Rooms at the Sheraton are long gone, but we have spaces still available at area hotels. Again, check the festival website for details.

Tickets - Weekend and single day tickets are available for purchase online. Get your tickets in advance of the big weekend. You'll save some $ and time when you arrive at the Sheraton. And a reminder that all festival activities are ticketed events. So do yourself a favor and visit http://www.bbu.org/events/joe-val-festival/buy-tickets/

Weather - At this point last year, we had piles of snow and more on the way. Right now, the long range weather report looks pretty good. I've got my fingers crossed.

Main Stage, Showcase Stage, Workshop Schedules - we're finalizing the schedules and hope to have them posted by this weekend. Lots of moving parts, and attempts at scheduling over fifty workshops is pretty daunting work. We appreciate your patience here.

Bluegrass Trivia and band videos - I'll continue to feature trivia from Bill Nowlin's Rounder Bluegrass Trivia book as well as historic photos, videos, and ephemera on the BBU and Joe Val Facebook pages. Visit https://www.facebook.com/BostonBluegrassUnion/ Stay on tip of things by liking the page. Check back frequently as I'll also post any late breaking news there. in fact, I just posted a highlight video from last year's Joe Val.

Joe Val is always a favorite event to warm you up and kick off the new year. The region’s top wintertime roots music festival features three days of national and regional artists on the Main Stage, the next generation of rising stars on the Showcase Stage, and an extensive lineup of educational programs including Master Classes, Workshops, instructor-led Jam Sessions, and the renowned Joe Val Bluegrass Academy for Kids. The Festival features all this, plus instrument vendors, luthiers, and of course, picking around the clock.

Tags: Joe Val Bluegrass FestivalBoston Bluegrass UnionBBUEventBluegrass Festival

Andy Leftwich Releases Sophmore Album "Instrumental Hymns"

Tue, 02/02/2016 - 22:43

Instrumental Hymns, the long-awaited sophomore album from Grammy winning multi-instrumentalist Andy Leftwich has been released. From the energetic fiddle/banjo driven tunes like “Glory to His Name” and “When We All Get to Heaven” to the thoughtful Celtic tones of “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” and “Be Thou My Vision”, Andy delivers heartfelt original arrangements of favorite “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” that promise to lift your spirit and encourage your heart.

Four-time Grammy winning instrumentalist Andy Leftwich began playing the fiddle at the age of six, entering his first contest at seven, and winning the National Championship for Beginners at the age of twelve. Adding mandolin and guitar to his arsenal, Andy began playing professionally at the age of fifteen. Since joining Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder in 2001, Andy has completed a solo album (“Ride”, Skaggs Family Records), recorded two critically acclaimed albums as a member of trio Three Ring Circle (with dobro player Rob Ickes and bassist Dave Pomeroy), and built an impressive list of studio credits, lending his talents to acts such as Steven Curtis Chapman, Keith and Kristyn Getty, Dailey & Vincent, and many more. Most recently, he’s added “Producer” to his resume, with gospel group Point of Grace (“Directions Home”, Word Records).

Although just 26 years old, the youngest member of Kentucky Thunder undoubtedly possesses all the musical talent of his older-more experienced fellow band members, and more. Meet Andy Leftwich, the gifted young fiddler from White House, Tennessee, who has enjoyed playing alongside the legendary pickers in Ricky Skaggs' all-star band, Kentucky Thunder, for three years.

Last year, as part of Kentucky Thunder, Andy was honored by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) with the distinguished 'Instrumental Group of the Year' award - an honor the IBMA has bestowed on Kentucky Thunder six out of the past seven years!

Andy feels very blessed to work with a Christian band-leader like Skaggs in a healthy Christian environment -- "God's been opening up so many doors for me since I started playing with Ricky...I am blessed to have this job to glorify God with."

Instrumental Hymns track list:

  1. "Glory to His Name"
  2. "Heavenly Sunlight"
  3. "In the Garden/Wonderful Peace"
  4. "My Jesus, I Love Thee"
  5. "How Great Thou Art"
  6. "Satisfied"
  7. "Grace Greater Than Our Sin"
  8. "How Deep The Father’s Love for Us"
  9. "Be Thou My Vision"
  10. "When We All Get to Heaven"
  11. "Great Is Thy Faithfulness"
  12. "Amazing Grace"
Tags: Andy LeftwichCD ReleaseInstrumentalInstrumental Hymns

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