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Donna Hughes Wins "Beyond the Song" AirPlay Direct Contest

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 22:44

Congratulations to Donna Hughes, the winner of the “Beyond The Song” contest. Donna has won a consulting and advertising package with Beyond The Song and AirPlay Direct worth $2,250! The price includes a $750 10 hour Beyond the Song Consultation Package plus $1,500 AirPlay Direct "Marketing & Awareness" Campaign.

“I was impressed not only with Donna’s talent and art, but just as importantly with how she is running her career… like a business. I look forward to working with her.”
  - Gary Bradshaw, Executive Director – Beyond The Song

Award-winning Singer-Songwriter Donna Hughes has written over 500 songs during her impressive career. She has albums produced by Tony Rice (Gaining Wisdom) and J.D. Crowe (Hellos, Goodbyes & Butterflies) both on the Rounder Records label. Her songs have been recorded by numerous artists throughout the years including “My Poor Old Heart” recorded by Alison Krauss & Union Station and performed during the CMA Awards Show in 2005.

Numerous other artists have recorded Donna’s original songs such as: The Seldom Scene, (“Sad Old Train” from the album Scenechronized), Kati Penn, (“Never Gonna Change” from the album My Turn To Cry), Nu Blu (“Nights” from their album Nights), Darren Beachley (“Scattered To The Wind” from his album I Love You To The Moon & Back), and The Snyder Family Band (“Little Bluebird” from their Comin’ On Strong album).

“Whatever moves me, moves me to write,” she explains. For Hughes, songwriting is an all-consuming endeavor, encompassing all that goes on around her. “My songs are always about something I have seen, done, or felt – or something that I saw someone else do or go through. There is always truth to every song I write, even if it isn’t my truth.”

In 2014, Donna embarked on her biggest endeavor yet by producing and releasing not one, but two new albums in 2014. From the Heart is her bluegrass album and includes 19 original songs plus two cover songs. The album includes the talents of Scott Vestal (Banjo), Tim Stafford (Lead Guitar), Rob Ickes (Reso Guitar), Jenee Fleenor (Fiddle), Cory Piatt (Fiddle), Zak McLamb (Bass) and Lucas White (Rhythm Guitar).

The second album, Fly, has certainly delighted Donna’s fans that love her piano music, with 8 original tunes, plus 4 cover songs. Donna is joined by Jenee Fleenor (Violin), John Catchings (Cello) and Mark Fain (Bass Violin).

Tags: Donna HughesAirPlay DirectContestBeyond the Song

Hot Rize's 1st LP In 24 Years Debuts At #1 at Billboard

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 22:43

Decades since its 80s reign as “one of the most important bluegrass bands ever,”(Chris Thile, Punch Brothers, Nickel Creek) — Hot Rize is back on top, with its first studio album since 1990 going right to #1 on Billboard's Bluegrass chart in its first week. The impressive debut adds commercial heft to critical acclaim: "Classic" (The Wall Street Journal), “historic” (Music City Roots), “clearly measures up to the best the band had to offer in their heyday” (The Bluegrass Situation), with Garden & Gun praising the band for still “pushing boundaries.”

Between their inception in 1978 and their amicable dissolution at the height of their powers in 1990, Hot Rize were, in the words of Garrison Keillor, "the Lamborghini of bluegrass." Twenty-four years after the members parted ways to pursue acclaimed solo careers, the quartet returned to release 'When I'm Free' (Thirty Tigers) on September 30 and embark on their biggest tour since their heyday.

Featuring early members Nick Forster, Tim O'Brien and Pete Wernick plus Bryan Sutton, who replaced founding member Charles Sawtelle after his death in 1999, 'When I'm Free' is, in the words of Nick Forster, "a testament to this new formation of Hot Rize, to ongoing creativity, and to a contemporary approach that still sounds like us."

For the first time ever, the band recorded the album sitting in a circle - "the way people have always played music," Wernick says - ending up with more jointly-written songs than ever before, alongside two traditional tracks, a Los Lobos cover, and a new song given to them by Mark Knopfler. Original "Come Away" is vintage Hot Rize through and through, while "Blue Is Fallin'" swings with a bluesy swagger. And on Bryan Sutton's first Hot Rize writing contribution "I Am The Road," the four members blend in reverent gospel-style harmony.

Their admirers range across disciplines and generations. "Hot Rize is the great modern bluegrass band. They're the connective tissue that links the great founders of bluegrass with the modern tradition," says Steve Martin. Chris Thile of Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers calls them "one of the most important bluegrass bands ever." And Dierks Bentley adds, "I've been in love with Hot Rize ever since I heard Tim O'Brien's mandolin kickoff to 'Blue Night.' Individually, Tim, Pete, Nick and Bryan are unique stylists and some of the best at their respective craft. Combined, they make up one of the greatest bands in any genre of music."

Hot Rize will promote "When I'm Free" with a full touring schedule well into 2015, including stops this fall at Nashville’s War Memorial Auditorium (10/17), City Wineries in New York and Chicago, Philadelphia's Keswick Theater, and The Hamilton in Washington DC.

Tags: Hot RizeBillboardCharts#1Debut

Yale to Host 'Exploring The Rise And Fall Of Paramount Records'

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 22:41

Next Tuesday October 28th, Yale University’s Dept. of African American Studies will host a roundtable discussion entitled ‘Exploring the Rise and Fall of Paramount Records,’ featuring Jack White, Greil Marcus, Dean Blackwood, Scott Blackwood, Adia Victoria, and Daphne Brooks. Together, they’ll unpack Paramount’s curious tale and celebrate the release of Volumes 1 & 2 of ‘The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records 1917-1932,’ an epic omnibus jointly released by White’s Third Man Records and Revenant Records.

The program will feature a dynamic conversation between roundtable participants and highlight a profound listening experience as each participant plays a selected song in its entirety and discusses its deeper implications and dimensions. This is a free event, and seating will be first come, first serve. More info attached.

America’s greatest label, Paramount put to wax some of the most important recordings from artists like Son House, Louis Armstrong, Charley Patton + hundreds more. Vol I of ‘The Rise & Fall’ came out last year and was hailed as "spectacular" (New York Times) and "unprecedented" (Rolling Stone). Vol II is out Nov 18th.

Roundtable discussion featuring:

  • Jack White (Third Man Records, 'Lazaretto')
  • Greil Marcus (Rolling Stone, The Believer, The History of Rock ‘n Roll in Ten Songs)
  • Dean Blackwood (Revenant Records)
  • Scott Blackwood (Revenant Records)
  • Adia Victoria (Oh Wow Dang Records)
  • Daphne Brooks (Professor, African American Studies & Theater, Yale University)
Tags: Rise and Fall of Paramount RecordsRoundtableDiscussionEvent

Moonstruck Management Signs The HogSlop String Band

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 22:14

Nashville, TN -- A multi-award-winning old-time band, The HogSlop String Band has signed with Moonstruck Management for management and booking. Headed by Josh Trivett, Moonstruck has an impressive client roster that includes notable and award-winning acts such as: Dr. Ralph Stanley, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, The Roys, Adkins & Loudermilk and former clients like Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Bobby Osborne and more. The Moonstruck team is focused on a deep appreciation for Bluegrass, folk and old-time string music.

The HogSlop String Band is a Nashville based old time string band comprised of six energetic young musicians hailing from Georgia, Tennessee, California and North Carolina. Featuring Casy Meikle and Kevin Martin on fiddles, Graham Sherrill on banjo, Gabe Kelley on guitar, Daniel Allen Frazier Jr. on washboard and Casey McBride on the washtub bass, these boys surely raise a ruckus as they tip a hat to some great, historic sounds.

With their intentionally unkempt appearance and undeniable charm, the gifted fellas of HogSlop follow in the footsteps of such country music luminaries as Uncle Dave Macon and Gid Tanner. Their high energy, fast-pickin’ performances are appreciated by both young and old alike.

"I am so excited about adding The HogSlop String band to the Moonstruck family of artists,” Trivett says. “I have such a love for the old-time string band style of music. When I first saw HogSlop perform, I was blown away at the authenticity of the music they presented mixed with the energy and uniqueness in which they conduct and deliver their show. I am excited about the immediate impact these guys are going to have on the industry."

Formed as a pickup square dance band in the summer of 2009, The HogSlop String Band has since become one of the most sought after old time string bands playing today. Known for their outrageous facial hair and a rollicking repertoire heavily based on Georgia and Middle Tennessee fiddle tunes, these boys have provided entertainment for fashion shows, political conventions and whiskey distilleries as well as countless weddings, festivals and other soirees.

Moonstruck Management focuses on country and bluegrass music and incorporates artist development, management, growth and booking into one controlled business. Josh Trivett brings to the music industry a unique sensibility with a background that includes 13 years in professional golf as a tour player, National Spokesperson and Senior Vice President of Tour Operations at two successful golf club companies. After his departure from the golf industry, Trivett stepped into the music business by managing and increasing the worldwide visibility of bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver.

For more on the band visit www.hogslopstringband.com

Tags: Moonstruck ManagementThe HogSlop String BandBusinessArtist Management

Leftover Salmon Tour and New Album Announced

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 22:12

Leftover Salmon’s 2015 Winter Tour will visit the Mountain West region, in the heart of the winter months. Highlights include: Big Sky Big Grass in beautiful Big Sky, MT, with a two night run in Victor, ID in between. Performances in Missoula (with guests Hot Buttered Rum), Boise, and Park City (with guests Hot Buttered Rum) precede another pair of two night runs in Colorado in Durango, Telluride. The tour closes out with an appearance at WinterWonderGrass in Avon, CO. Visit Leftover Salmon for ticketing and more information.

LoS Fan Club Ticketing is on sale now! The 2015 dates are being announced and you can get started on your Salmon Planning with this list of appearances:

  • Feb 05 Big Sky, MT – Big Sky Big Grass
  • Feb 06 Victor, ID – Knotty Pine
  • Feb 07 Victor, ID – Knotty Pine
  • Feb 08 Big Sky, MT – Big Sky Big Grass
  • Feb 11 Missoula, MT – The Top Hat *
  • Feb 13 Boise, ID – Knitting Factory
  • Feb 14 Park City, UT – Park City Live *
  • Feb 17 Durango, CO – Animas City Theatre
  • Feb 18 Durango, CO – Animas City Theatre
  • Feb 19 Telluride, CO – Sheridan Opera House
  • Feb 20 Telluride, CO – Sheridan Opera House
  • Feb 21 Avon, CO – WinterWonderGrass
  • Feb 22 Avon, CO – WinterWonderGrass

* = with special guests: Hot Buttered Rum

We are looking forward to the release of our new album, High Country. The album is a Black Friday Release and will be available on November 28th, exclusively at participating Record Store Day retailers.

High Country features 10 orginal LoS tracks, including Thorn’s rollicking title track complete with requisite blistering banjo solo, Herman’s Cajun-flavored kick off, “Get Up And Go,” but also sporting 2 covers - a Payne/Robert Hunter tune called, “Bluegrass Pines” and a Lowell George/Keith Godchaux classic, “Six Feet Of Snow,” immortalized on Little Feat’s, Down On The Farm.

All in all, High Country slips seamlessly in and out of character, disposition and style offering the full palette of Leftover Salmon’s aesthetic, from lightening-powered pick n’ grin to thoughtful blues balladry and all in between...

To find a list of participating Record Store Day Retailers, click here.

Tags: Leftover SalmonWinter TourCD ReleaseHigh Country

Steve Wariner Joins Phil Leadbetter on “Hole in the Earth” Debut

Wed, 10/22/2014 - 22:10

Nashville, TN -- Country music legend Steve Wariner made his debut on the weekly airplay charts last week (Oct. 17) when dobro virtuoso Phil Leadbetter’s new single, “Hole in the Earth” (featuring Wariner on lead vocals) entered chart at No. 10. The song, written by Wariner and Shane Keister, is featured on Leadbetter’s new album The Next Move, which was released last week. Leadbetter is the 2014 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s Dobro Player of the Year.

Meanwhile down under, Wariner can be found on The Music Network’s “Official Australian Airplay Country Top 20 Chart,” where he joins Australian duo O’Shea on the song “Bad Day Good” which is at No. 11 and rising (as of the Oct. 9-15 chart). Wariner co-wrote the song with Mark and Jay O’Shea, and also appears in the music video, which is currently at No. 4 on Australia’s Country Music Channel (CMC)’s “Top 50 Chart.”

Back home in Nashville, Wariner will perform two unique shows at Acme Feed & Seed’s third floor concert venue, The Hatchery, on Monday, Oct. 27 and Monday, Nov. 10. The shows will give fans a behind-the-scenes look into his musical world, spot-lighting songs and musical styles that influenced his career in addition to his beloved hits. Wariner will perform solo and in smaller musical collaborations with other musicians, surprise guest artists and songwriters, making each show unique. Acme Feed & Seed is located at 101 Broadway (corner of 1st and Broadway). For tickets and more information, visit www.theacmenashville.com/calendar or http://warineracme.eventbrite.com.

Wariner will spend Halloween (Oct. 31) in Goliad, Texas, performing at Schroeder Dance Hall. For tickets and more information, click here. (http://outhousetickets.com/Event/Event6145/). A few weeks later, he will travel to London to perform as a special guest on the British Country Music Awards 2014 on Nov. 23.

Wariner’s most recent album is It Ain’t All Bad, featuring 12 songs written or co-written by the Grand Ole Opry member. His classic instrumental album, My Tribute to Chet Atkins, featuring the GRAMMY Award-winning track “Producer’s Medley,” was recently re-released in all 633 Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations.

Steve Wariner is a four-time GRAMMY and CMA Award- winning artist who dominated country music radio in the ‘80s and ‘90s with 14 No. 1 songs and more than 30 Top Ten hits, including such classics as “Holes in the Floor of Heaven,” “Life’s Highway,” “The Weekend,” “I’m Already Taken,” “I Got Dreams,” “Small Town Girl,” “Two Teardrops,” “Some Fools Never Learn,” “Lynda,” and more.

A native of Noblesville, IN, Wariner was discovered at age 17 by Dottie West who hired him on the spot as her bass player. He performed with West, Bob Luman, and Chet Atkins for several years before embarking on his legendary solo career. An award-winning songwriter, Wariner has also composed songs for Clint Black (“Nothin’ But the Taillights”), Garth Brooks (“Longneck Bottle”), Bryan White (“One Small Miracle”), and Keith Urban (“Where the Blacktop Ends”), as well as artists such as Country Music Hall of Fame members Alabama, Kenny Rogers, The Statler Brothers, Conway Twitty, and Don Williams; pop music icon Peter Tork (of The Monkees); R&B singer Ruben Studdard; bluegrass music’s legendary Del McCoury Band, and many more. Revered for his guitar talent, he was given the rare status of C.G. P. (Certified Guitar Player) by his mentor Chet Atkins.

For more information, visit www.SteveWariner.com.

Tags: Phil LeadbetterSteve WarinerCD ReleaseThe Next MovesingleHole in the EarthCharts

IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2014 Attendance Figure Exceeds 180,000

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 23:08

Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass event, September 30-October 4, continued its successful run in Raleigh, North Carolina. As detailed in a release today from the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, preliminary attendance figures for the entire week, which include both local and out-of-town attendees, is estimated to be more than 180,000 people. The release also states that direct visitor spending is estimated at $10.8 million for the entire World of Bluegrass event.

The 2014 attendance number, as well as the direct visitor spending number, is based on attendance at the three-day IBMA Business Conference, the 25th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show, the Bluegrass Ramble evening showcases on eight stages over three nights, the two-day Wide Open Bluegrass festival, and the free-to-the-public weekend Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, which partnered with the North Carolina Whole Hog Barbecue State Championships. Combined, these events brought approximately 88,000 visitors from outside of North Carolina’s Wake County to the area, generating approximately 23,000 hotel room-nights.

"Overall attendance at World of Bluegrass 2014 exceeded our expectations," said IBMA Executive Director Nancy Cardwell, "and we couldn't be more pleased with the hospitality and support from the Raleigh community and everyone working behind the scenes for our second fabulous and wide-open year in Raleigh, North Carolina. Members who were not able to attend in 2013 came this year and were overwhelmed with everything Raleigh has to offer, as well as how the entire week of IBMA events have evolved. More people in the region came out to check out bluegrass music at the Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, which helps IBMA reach the goal of introducing some of the best music in the world to new audiences.”

“My compliments and appreciation to Mayor Nancy McFarlane, Loren Gold at the GRCVB, Laurie Okun at the Raleigh Convention Center, William Lewis and staff at PineCone, our Local Organizing Committee, and everyone on the Raleigh team working together with IBMA to make World of Bluegrass a resounding success through 2018, and perhaps beyond."

A more detailed look at the World of Bluegrass attendance numbers:

  • 171,580 people attended Wide Open Bluegrass, presented by PNC
  • 2,065 music fans attended the IBMA Awards Show Oct. 2
  • 3,796 (cumulative) attendees were part of the IBMA Business Conference over its three days
  • 3,390 fans (cumulative) attended the Bluegrass Ramble showcases.

In addition to the visitor spending, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass also produced $3.6 million in media value for Greater Raleigh. This figure was researched and calculated by Meltwater News, a division of the San Francisco-based monitoring and analytics firm Meltwater Group. Meltwater used readership data from Nielsen to compute the $3.6 million media value for IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, based on domestic and international media impressions from a variety of mediums.

Several aspects of IBMA’s Business Conference were noteworthy: the inaugural year for the Talent Buyers Focus got off to a great start, with 65 in attendance at the first Agent Pitching Session. There were 600 appointments at The Gig Fair, and more than 200 attendees at the Agents & Talent Buyers Reception.

Additionally, The Bluegrass Expo, considered the world’s largest bluegrass industry and acoustic music trade show, grew to 112 exhibitors this year. Attendance at the 2014 Bluegrass Expo was exceptional, with at least 13,000 visitors estimated during the Wide Open Bluegrass StreetFest, when attendance at the Expo was free and open to the public. The first IBMA Film Festival was also very well received, with favorable reviews from both bluegrass fans and film aficionados.

World of Bluegrass 2014 was made possible by the kind support of the following sponsors:

IBMA BUSINESS CONFERENCE: Bluegrass Unlimited (national sponsor), AirPlay Direct, AristWorks, Bandzoogle, Boston Bluegrass Union, Fishman, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Homespun Tapes, Lagunitas Beer, Martin Guitars, Mast Farm Inn, Morgan Stanley, Quicksilver Productions, SESAC, SteelBridge Insurance, Touchstone Essentials, and a number of Bluegrass Ramble co-sponsors.

IBMA AWARDS SHOW: BMI, Bluegrass Today, Compass Records, Deering Banjos, International Bluegrass Music Museum, Mountain Home Music, Music City Roots, John Pearse Strings and Yep Roc.

WIDE OPEN BLUEGRASS: PNC (presenting sponsor), D'Addario Strings (national sponsor), Crabtree Valley Mall (main stage sponsor), Knee-Deep in Bluegrass, the North Carolina Arts council and Smith Anderson.

WEEK-LONG SUPPORT: PineCone-Piedmont Council of Traditional Music; the Raleigh Convention Center (including the staff at the RCC, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Red Hat Amphitheater); the Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau; and the City of Raleigh.

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organization for the global bluegrass music community. The organization’s six-year stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.

Tags: IBMAInternational Bluegrass Music AssociationWorld of BluegrassBusiness

Larry Stephenson Band Releases New Album

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 23:06

The Larry Stephenson Band is proud to announce their new release of Pull Your Savior In on Whysper Dream Music. The album is available for digital sale at iTunes, Amazon,and CD Baby. Physical copies include a special Bonus Track and can be purchased at larrystephensonband.com.

“The title song, Pull Your Savior In, is distinctly Bluegrass with a gospel message. Fast and foot tapping arrangement with Mandolin and Banjo accents. A river of country influence runs in Come To Jesus Moment, asking for forgiveness and atonement, all self-inflicted. Overall the selections are traditional in feel and intention, a celebration marked by classic gospel blessings,” said Digital Journal in a recent album review.

Pull Your Savior In was produced by Ben Surratt and Larry Stephenson and includes the talents of Larry Stephenson, Kenny Ingram, Colby Laney, Danny Stewart with special guests Jimmy Fortune, Aubrey Haynie, David Parmley, and Dale Perry.

Gospel, Bluegrass, and Country music fans will certainly enjoy the songs written by Donna Ulisse & Rick Stanley, Larry Stephenson and more, plus traditional favorites by the Louvin Brothers, Earl Scruggs, and Randall Hylton.

Tracks include:

  1. "Amazing Grace" featuring Jimmy Fortune, David Parmley & Dale Perry
  2. "Pull Your Savior In"
  3. "Come To Jesus Moment"
  4. "If You Want To Live Forever"
  5. "Great Speckled Bird"
  6. "Born Again"
  7. "How Great Thou Art"
  8. "Thank God I’m On My Way"
  9. "Let The Lower Lights Be Burning"
  10. "Morningtime Always"
  11. "Prettiest Flowers Will Be Blooming"
  12. "Will You Meet Me Over Yonder"

The Larry Stephenson Band stage shows include the talents of Larry Stephenson, Kenny Ingram, Kevin Richardson, and Matt Wright. To get more information and to view their complete tour schedule, please visit larrystephensonband.com

Tags: Larry Stephenson BandCD ReleasePull Your Savior In

Too Late Press Releases are Becoming Common

Tue, 10/21/2014 - 23:04

I don't know if this is a new trend in promotion and publicity or not but, in the past couple of months, I've received over a dozen press releases for events occurring in just a few hours. In one case, the event was a three day event that began two days earlier. I can't believe that just in the past couple of months that nobody knows their client artists are going to be on television until five minutes before showtime. I can't believe nobody knows their client artist will be performing at a festival until they have already been on stage and are already headed for their next gig. This, however, seems to be the latest fad in PR.

I don't promote past events. Why would I? Our readers wouldn't be able to attend. They would probably be upset with us for not letting them know about it earlier. Unfortunately, this is what happens when I receive a press releases indicating an important event will occur in just a few hours. In the case where it is Sunday afternoon and I receive a press release for a special guest artist at a festival that began the Friday before, there is no sense in wasting any time on that press release. Click. Delete.

The same is true when I receive a notice that a new CD is out "TODAY" and, the first 25 fans to buy it get something special. In this particular case, the email press release hit my mailbox after noon on the release day. There is no way that any of our readers would be the first since we didn't even hear about it until late. Again, apparently nobody had a clue that the CD was being released yesterday until yesterday noon? Unfortunately, due to the late announcement there was no way for us to let our readers know about it in time. So, we didn't even bother with posting the release announcement yesterday.

Unfortunately, these worthless press releases are becomming quite common -- even the norm. To make matters worse, somebody is paying for that promotion that never happens. Publicity and promotion agents don't work for free. If they release an announcement, they are billing somebody for it even if that announcement never sees the light of day anywhere. In the past two months, I've only published two of the dozens of last minute releases I've received. The rest are deleted as old and no longer newsworthy.

A lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

In the 20 some years I've been doing my news site, I never encountered these last minute announcements. If they had to run at a specific time or date, that was in the announcement. The point being is that I always received them days in advance giving me time to format them, insert images, and present them in a professional manner. It is only in recent months that I started getting announcements that feel like somebody forgot to send them out and now expect all media members to drop everything, stop the presses and run their special announcement NOW! That would be fine if it were only one and only now and then. What do you do when you receive three of these in one day?

I don't run old news. Thus, it takes something pretty important if I will drop everything to run one of these. 99% of the time I don't. Sadly, someone is paying for those worthless releases. I just can't believe that nobody knows what their artists are doing until they are actually in the process of doing it! The old adage - a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part - still holds true today. If your event, or appearance is important enough to warrant a press release, then it is important enough to have enough planning to distribute the press release at least a day in advance.

Anyway, I hope artists, venues and festivals aren't paying for all these press releases that are issued too late to do anything with.

Tags: EditorialEducationOpinionPromotionBusiness

Bluegrass Students Highlight Song of the Mountains Nov. 1st

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 22:12

Marion, VA -- Two top notch Universities will send their best bluegrass students to perform on the nationally syndicated public television concert series Song of the Mountains on Saturday, November 1st at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia. From Kentucky, Morehead State University’s Mountain Music Ambassadors under the direction of Raymond McLain will perform on the November 1st concert taping as will the East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass Pride Band under the direction of Dan Boner.

This concert promises to be the best bluegrass music a fan can hear anywhere. Also joining the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band on this concert will be the ETSU Celtic Band. Additionally on the concert taping will be Bad Ridge from Southwestern Virginia, The Blue Ridge Entertainers from Johnson City, Tennessee and the wonderful bluegrass family music of Lonesome Meadow from Ohio.

This concert will be taped for national distribution on public television across America. Song of the Mountains is broadcast on over 190 outlets across the United Sates and is its tenth season. The concert series is hosted by Tim White.

The Song of the Mountains concert and taping on November 1st will begin at 7:00 pm at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, VA. Tickets and information is available at www.songofthemountains.org or by calling 276-783-6093. Tickets are $ 25 reserved seating.

The concert series is underwritten by the Town of Marion, VA, the Ellis Family Foundation including the General Francis Marion Hotel, Bank of Marion, Morehead State University, Emory and Henry College and Blue Ridge Country 98.1 WBRF Radio.

Song of the Mountain/Lincoln Theatre is a non-profit organization.

Tags: Song of the MountainsETSU Bluegrass BandConcertEventBroadcast

Jo Walker-Meador to be Honored in Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum

Mon, 10/20/2014 - 22:11

Nashville, TN -- To honor the memory of a Bluegrass Hall of Fame icon, the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum will present an interview with longtime CMA Executive Director Jo Walker-Meador in the eighth annual Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum on Wednesday, November 12, 2014, at 6 p.m. in the Ford Theater. A reception will follow the program.

The program is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested. Reservations can be made by emailing rsvp@countrymusichalloffame.org or calling 615-416-2040. Made possible by the Gibson Foundation, the forum was established in 2007 to explore issues related to the business side of the music industry and to recognize annually an individual who represents the legacy of pioneering agent-manager Louise Scruggs, the adoring wife and savvy business partner of Country Music Hall of Fame member Earl Scruggs.

Previous honorees are Denise Stiff, Liz Thiels, Mary Martin, Bonnie Garner, Sarah Trahern, Nancy Shapiro and Kay Clary.

Senior Historian John Rumble will host the forum interview with Walker-Meador. As he tracks the history of her career, Rumble will invite Walker-Meador to share memories of the early days of the Country Music Association, her time at the helm of the organization, establishing the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, and changes in the country music industry during her tenure. The interview will be enhanced with video clips and vintage photos from the museum's archives.

Jo Walker-Meador, born Edith Josephine Denning in Orlinda, Tennessee, served as executive director of the Country Music Association from 1962 to 1991. She attended Lambuth College and George Peabody College where she aspired to be a high school basketball coach before changing career paths. Prior to joining the newly formed CMA as office manager in 1958, she was a mortgage broker; served as secretary to the president of Crescent Amusement Company (which owned a network of free-standing theaters); and worked on a public relations campaign for a Tennessee gubernatorial candidate.

In 1962, Walker-Meador became executive director of the CMA and remained in that position until she retired in 1991. During her 30-year tenure the organization grew to have global impact. The number of country radio stations in the United States increased from less than 100 to more than 2,000; the Country Music Hall of Fame® and Museum opened on Music Row in 1967; the CMA Awards show was launched in 1967 and televised the following year; and Fan Fair (renamed CMA Music Festival) was inaugurated in 1972.

Jo Walker-Meador retired in 1991 and was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995.

Setting new professional standards in artist management, Louise Certain Scruggs played a key role in bringing the music of Flatt & Scruggs and the Earl Scruggs Revue to audiences well beyond the traditional country norm—a role she relished until her death in 2006.

A doting wife and mother accomplished in the domestic arts, and a culturally literate accountant who was nobody's fool, Scruggs was known for her knowledge of music and music trends, and better known for the formidable business acumen that helped her open or close doors in the best interests of her husband and sons. Protective, stern and confident as a businesswoman, she loved music as a life force central to her being and her humanity. On September 30, 2010, Louise Scruggs was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

“In the eighth Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum, we are proud to recognize Jo Walker-Meador for her outstanding and groundbreaking direction of the CMA for 30 years.” said Henry Juszkiewicz, chairman and CEO of Gibson Guitar. “Jo is an important music industry pioneer and a deserving honoree.”

Founded in 2002 as the philanthropic division of Gibson Guitar, the Gibson Foundation is committed to making the world a better place for children worldwide through its own initiatives and by its support of other non-profit organizations that advance music and the arts, health and welfare, education, and environmental causes. For more information, please visit www.gibsonfoundation.org or www.gibson.com.

Tags: Jo Walker-MeadorLouise Scruggs Memorial ForumCountry Music Hall of Fame and MuseumEventHonored

Start the Holiday Season Early with Claire Lynch Album

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 22:20

Nashville, TN -- 2014 IBMA Song of the Year Winner ("Dear Sister") and 2013 Female Vocalist of the Year, Claire Lynch, is excited to announce a very special release for the holidays on her own Thrill Hill Records. Holiday! is Claire’s first seasonal album and is available now at her live shows and through the Claire Lynch website.

Holiday! sets the mood for enjoying holiday traditions and cheer. “I took songs from my childhood holiday memories and then we put the ‘CLB twist’ on them,” the multi-award-winning artist says.

The ten-track album is melodic and contemporary with a retro charm that harkens back to great, traditional holiday albums. Holiday! features an array of seasonal standards like “Home for the Holidays,” “White Christmas,” and a special version of “Scarlett Ribbons” with harmonies by Claire’s daughter, Christy.

Holiday! puts emphasis on Claire’s delicate vocals and the instrumentation of her virtuosic players creating a delicious intersection of bluegrass and jazz.

The current Claire Lynch Band is a powerful juggernaut, a quartet that has the innate ability to perfectly interpret the beauty, subtlety, and genre-defying sophistication of Claire’s music. The CLB features like-minded musicians blending tradition and innovation - two-time IBMA-winning bassist-clawhammer banjo player-dancer-percussionist Mark Schatz, soulful mandolinist-guitarist Matt Wingate, and young string wizard Bryan McDowell.

Holiday! was recorded at Lynch’s recording studio, The Pine Room, and engineered by Todd Phillips, who also appears on the album as percussionist and has traveled with the CLB.

“I can say that this is the most-relaxed and happy I've felt while recording an album in my entire career. Many years have passed since I first expressed interest in doing a holiday recording. Here is a collection of holiday classics with that fresh “CLB” feel, yet grounded with the sentimental feeling we all sense this time of year.”
  – Claire Lynch

Tags: Claire LynchCD ReleaseHoliday!Christmas

Hope Harvest Festival in Chandler, AZ, Oct 24th

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 22:17

James Reams & The Barnstormers, the band that was nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2002 as Emerging Artist of the Year, will be performing at the Hope Harvest Festival on Friday, October 24th. The festival runs from 6:00 to 8:30 PM and is held at the Hope Covenant Church located at 1770 S. Dobson Rd., Chandler, AZ 85286. This is a FREE event.

This festival is a throw-back to the days of good ole family fun! There will be games, surprises, food and, of course, great bluegrass music from James Reams & The Barnstormers. Please call the church at 480-899-7255 for more information about this event.

Music critic Jerry Paul (former editor of Acoustica) described lead singer James Reams: “James is such an inspiration to watch. He truly feels his music, and sings from her very soul. If James is ever within your area, he is a ‘must see’ bluegrass icon.”

James Reams & The Barnstormers provide a contemporary take on traditional bluegrass; blending it with innovation and vitality to create their own branch on the “roots” tree. In a review of an early album by James Reams, fRoots (an international magazine that specializes in world music) declared, “Traditional music kept alive by a stylish performer… Powerful, emotional music that needs to be heard.”

For further information about James Reams & The Barnstormers visit their website at www.jamesreams.com or http://cdbaby.com/Artist/jamesReams. Music videos are available on http://www.youtube.com/user/mrjamesreams.

Tags: Hope Harvest FestivalJames Reams & The BarnstormersBluegrass FestivalEvent

Big Country Bluegrass at Carter Family Fold Sat. Oct 25th

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 22:14

Big Country Bluegrass was formed by husband and wife Tommy and Teresa Sells in the late 1980s and took its’ name from Tommy’s coon-hunting buddy Jimmy Martin’s instrumental Big Country. The group delivers their own hard driving and heartfelt style of bluegrass music, and it makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform. Whether it’s at a festival in Missouri, on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, or at a small, intimate concert in their hometown of Independence, Virginia, the band brings back memories reminiscent of the early days of bluegrass music. Saturday, October 25th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by Big Country Bluegrass. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.

All the band’s members live in and around the Virginia/Carolina Blue Ridge, and their music reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region which is at the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail. Tommy Sells plays mandolin and handles most of the emcee work. Teresa Sells plays rhythm guitar and sings lead and high harmony vocals. Eddie Gill handles most of the distinctive lead vocals and also plays the guitar. Lynnwood Lunsford, a former member of both the Lost and Found and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, plays banjo and sings harmony for the group. Tony King plays upright bass for the group.

Big Country Bluegrass plays music that has become known to many as Galax or Mt. Airy style bluegrass. It is straight ahead, hard edged bluegrass with no frills. The rhythm and timing are solid, the instrumental work is clean and tasteful, and the vocals are from the heart.

The band has released over a dozen albums and CDs over the years. Their latest release, The Boys in Hats and Ties, has garnered the prestigious # 1 spot in both the Bluegrass Unlimited magazine and the Bluegrass Music Profiles’ radio air-play charts. Tom T. and Dixie Hall wrote the title track. For more information on the band, go to http://www.bigcountrybluegrass.com/.
If you love to dance or if you prefer just listening, Big Country Bluegrass won’t disappoint. In fact, the band has become a favorite of Fold audiences. For some of the best traditional bluegrass music the region has to offer, don’t miss them at the Carter Family Fold!

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: Big Country BluegrassCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Bluegrass First Class 2015 Initial Lineup Announced

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 22:03

Asheville, NC is one of the most exciting small cities you’ll ever be privileged to visit. It is a trendy haven for musicians, artists and craftspeople from all over the world. Arrive early and enjoy the red carpet VIP treatment you will receive at the regal Crowne Plaza Resort, your festival location, and take a little extra time to enjoy the local year-round sights and attractions this eclectic and charming area has to offer. Nestled deep in the heart of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, Bluegrass First Class 2015 will be held on the Third Weekend of February (20th, 21st, & 22nd, 2015).

In an intimate, up close and personal setting, this event features many nationally known performers. The lineup of performers for 2015 Bluegrass First Class is unbeatable!

Friday will feature the impeccable harmonies of 7-time Female Vocalist of the Year Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, 5-time IBMA Male Vocalist of the year Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer and IBMA’s 7-time winner for Vocal Group of the Year Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will surely bring a memorable performance. Let’s not forget the sweet sound of 5-time IBMA Femal Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley, as well as Adkins and Loudermilk. This will be an exciting day with the different sounds of Bluegrass Music.

Saturday, oh what a day! Entertainment will include top national bands and one of the hottest up-and-coming Bluegrass bands you could imagine. One of top Bluegrass bands in America, the incomparable Dailey & Vincent will not disappoint. Saturday’s performances will also include the seasoned talent of Seldom Scene, highly awarded and recognized Lonesome River Band, as well as the amazing vocals of Appalachian Fire, along with IMBA’s 2014 Emerging Artist of the Year ….. Flatt Lonesome! This will truly be a day to remember!

Purchase your tickets and/or reserved seats online Now!.

The Crowne Plaza Resort is the first of its kind in North Carolina and will be dedicated to bluegrass for the entire weekend. All rooms in the resort will be occupied by bluegrass fans, and all of the facility’s meeting rooms will be set aside for picking and jamming. There is a “quiet wing” block on one floor consisting of sleeping rooms which have been set aside for those who wish to rest and relax in a no-jamming zone.

Hotel reservations are limited. Call the Crowne Plaza Resort to reserve your room for Bluegrass First Class in Asheville, NC by calling 828-254-3211. CrownePlaza reservations must be made over the phone.

Tags: Bluegrass First ClassBluegrass FestivalRussell Moore & IIIrd Tyme OutRhonda Vincent & the RageEventLineup

Halloween Bluegrass Songs by No Grass Limit

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 22:01

No Grass Limit is a 5-piece band ranging from bluegrass, folk, gospel and traditional music. In Jan of 2014, No Grass Limit recorded their first all original album in Nashville with Grammy Award Winner Randy Korhs. Featuring Dustin Benson from Special Consensus, Sally Berry (Rhonda Vincent's daughter) and Randy Korhs. Now being played on radio stations all around the world their success has led them into the hearts of millions.

Formed in June of 2011, the band was only 4 months into the process of playing together when they won the MBOTMA (Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association) Race for a Place band contest. No Grass Limit puts on an electric performance that you will not want to miss. They have shared the stage with The Lonesome River Band, Del McCoury, Sierra Hull, Jim Van Cleve, Alison Krauss, Michael Cleveland, Ralph Stanley, Claire Lynch, Josh Williams, Chris Jones and The Night Drivers, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Mountain Heart, Special Consensus, and the list goes on and on.

For Halloween, you can be treated to songs like "Ghost on Main Street", "Spider Ride" and "Heart of Stone" -- all available on AirPlay Direct. "Good Old Days of Bill Monroe" and "Me and You" are also available.

Chuck Millar with his uncompromising integrity, exceptional talent and unwavering leadership started teaching at an early age of 17; he has continued to showcase his talents on and off stage by helping many new aspiring students to be great musicians and performers. He teaches all of the following instruments: guitar, violin, fiddle, mandolin, bass, vocal, music theory and performance. Currently performing with Sandi in No Grass Limit, Chuck also plays with the nationally recognized band "Tangled Roots" which has released three recordings "Angel From Montgomery" & Valley Road" & "Life of a Dream".

Sandi Millar stands alone as the west metro’s premier guitar, vocal, and performance instructor. From her mastery on vocals and harmonies to a deep connection with audiences, her music has had a profound effect on many. Sandi’s talents and accomplishments have been recorded on four CDs, which have been played on radio all around the world, "One More Time", The Flame in My Heart", "Where's the Line" with The Frets and the newest NGL recording “Lay Me Down” Plus multiple backup harmony singing recordings. Sandi, approached by the "Buffalo Music Encore Program" was hired to help with instructing students on guitar, vocal & performance. After a few years of teaching she has truly developed a love of helping students achieve all their musical dreams.

21-year-old Clint Birtzer, is the 2013, 2011, and 2009 Minnesota State Flatpicking Guitar Champion. Clint, along with Jesse Moravec of the Sawtooth Bluegrass Band, also captured the 1st place title in the 2011 MN Duet Singing Championships. In addition to music, Clint is passionate about The Great Outdoors and hunts as much as music and school allow him. He has completed an associates degree at Inver Hills Community College and is now studying professional journalism at the University of Minnesota. He works at the Minnesota Daily, the U of M's campus paper, as a reporter, but is planning on turning his music into a profession after college.

Mike Hedding has been playing guitar, banjo and mandolin with some of the Midwest’s top bluegrass groups. Steeped in the bluegrass tradition of Bill Monroe, Mike now studies with Grammy Award winning mandolin player Mike Compton and teaches workshops in the Midwest. Mike also has an extensive knowledge of music theory and rhythm which plays a large role in how he teaches. Mike has also been traveling around the Midwest playing banjo in the bluegrass groups, The New North String Band & The Puddle Jumpers. Mike’s banjo playing is now being heard on bluegrass radio stations across the country.

Vaughn Asselstine started her musical journey when she was eight years old, learning to tickle the ivories. From there she moved on to squeezing the accordion and strumming the guitar. During the early 70s she played with the Alive and Trucking Theater Company and along the way to becoming a college-educated computer geek she snuck in some study of jazz and music theory. A few years ago Vaughn started playing the bass. She fell in love with the unique combination of rhythm and melody that the bass brings as the foundation of many types of music. She has performed with multiple old-time, bluegrass, Cajun and jazz groups in Minneapolis and is enthusiastic about playing with all of them.

Tags: No Grass LimitCD ReleaseHalloweenRandy Kohrs

Mountain Faith on "Larry's Country Diner" This Weekend

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 22:07

Willis, VA -- Dollywood favorites and North Carolina natives, Mountain Faith, will take their music to a broader audience this weekend when they make an appearance on RFDTV's “Larry’s Country Diner.” The show has become a favorite for audiences nationwide who are craving comprehensive traditional country and bluegrass programming, offering viewers a wholesome, down-home, nationally-broadcasted variety show known for its spontaneity, impromptu dialogue and live-to-tape performances by the best country music artists of yesterday and today.

Mountain Faith's family friendly picking and singing fits right into this mix. The group dropped their first single from the album, "Feelin' Blue" to radio in late summer.

Singing, playing and performing together for 14 years, the band members include Sam McMahan on bass, Luke Dotson on guitar along with lead and harmony vocals, new member Cory Piatt on mandolin, Summer McMahan on fiddle along with lead and harmony vocals, and Brayden McMahan on banjo and harmony vocals. Bluegrass Today recently ran a brief article on talented young picker Cory Piatt joining the band.

Mountain Faith has a unique style that offers a variety of different genres of music. Audiences applaud their ability to offer numerous styles. Listeners will get a great mix of both traditional and contemporary bluegrass, classic and modern country, folk, acoustic and contemporary gospel and a little rhythm and blues, leaving a fresh, pure and upbeat impression on audiences of all ages.
Frequent performers at world renowned Dollywood, the band has become a crowd favorite over the years. They travel the bluegrass festival circuit, running alongside bluegrass’ top bands, all over the United States and Canada. Concert venues include civic centers, auditoriums, arenas, fair grounds, parks, churches and other locations. Recent SPBGMA awards “raised eyebrows” and drew more recognition for the band as they were the only band to have all members, but one, nominated for instrumental awards.

As you get to know the members of Mountain Faith, their humbleness, kindness and love of people will be evident. They leave a lasting impression in both their relationships and music.

For more information on Mountain Faith, visit www.MountainFaithBand.com or www.MountainFever.com

Larry’s Country Diner is a unique down-home variety show which integrates entertainment, interviews and music in a weekly format, taped live in front of a studio audience in a country diner setting. The show features regular characters including Black, Keith Bilbrey, Sheriff Jimmy Capps, Waitress Renae and avid church lady, Nadine along with special guest appearances by country music artists of yesterday and today. Since its initial airing on August 3, 2009, Larry’s Country Diner has produced over 100 episodes and has become one of the most popular shows on RFD television, garnering 1.4 million viewers monthly.

Larry’s Country Diner is a product of Gabriel Communications. Owned and operated by longtime disc jockey Larry Black, Gabriel Communications was created in 1996 and specialized in “Reunion” videos. The success of these videos spurred the creation of more than a dozen more projects featuring hundreds of songs and stories as well as Country’s Family Reunion News, a monthly newspaper which highlights the music of yesteryear. For more information on Country’s Family Reunion visit www.cfrvideos.com

Tags: Mountain FaithLarry's Country DinerRFD-TVBroadcast

Fiddler Wil Markham Receives Share America Scholarship

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 22:06

The Share America Foundation, Inc. announced its first 2014 scholarship winner recently at the Ringgold Depot in Ringgold, Ga. Fiddle player Wil Markham of Signal Mountain, Tenn. was selected as one of the 2014 winners. Markham is the son of Skip and Harriet Markham of Signal Mountain, Tenn. He is the grandson of Wilbourne and Delores Markham and Phil and the late Stuart Wilkerson.

The events help fund the organization’s Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship. Pearl and Floyd Franks are the late parents and former entertainment managers of actor/entertainer Randall Franks, "Officer Randy Goode" from TV's "In the Heat of the Night." The scholarship honor students excelling in the Appalachian musical arts.

“Music has been a significant of my life since I was 7 years old,” Markham said. “Classical violin gave way to fiddling with Mountain Cove. High school brought an opportunity to join the marching band Drum Line and eventually Drum Co-captain. “In the past few years I’ve become an accomplished guitarist and bassist,” he said. “I enjoy writing, recording, and producing music.” He performs regularly with Mountain Cove Bluegrass. The group’s latest CD is “Mountain Cove III."

Markham is attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He wants to work in the music business industry and aspires to open a recording studio in Chattanooga.

“My plans are to major in marketing and work in music production. It's an honor to be a part of a selected group of musicians that are so passionate and care so much about music from our region,” he said “This organization has helped so many students pursue their passion for music and obtain their education at the same time. I will always be thankful for this opportunity!”

“We were honored to present a $1,000 to assist him as he begins his college studies,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.

Leader, Cody Harvey of Signal Mountain, started Mountain Cove Bluegrass during lunch hours at the new SMHS. The band is comprised with five members, Cody Harvey, Colin Mabry, Eli Beard, Tyler Martelli and Markham. For more information visit www.mountaincovebluegrass.com or Facebook at Mountain Cove.

“Wil is an exceptional musician and brings with him a great deal of enthusiasm in his craft,” Franks said.

Share America Foundation Board members include Franks, Knowles, Jimmy Terrell, vice chairman; James Pelt, secretary; and Jerry Robinson, Sr., vice president; and Adam Cathey.

The next Sacred Sounds Fridays is Nov. 7, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. featuring the Hullender Family and Aimee’ Garner at the Ringgold Depot. Admission is a $5 donation. Franks will host the event.

For more information about the organization and its programs, contact Share America, P.O. Box 42, Tunnel Hill, Ga. 30755 or visit www.shareamericafoundation.org.

Tags: Wil MarkhamShare America FoundationScholarshipFiddleEducation

Lester Flatt's Hometown Honors him with Historical Marker

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 22:16

Sparta, TN -- Bluegrass and Country music legend, Lester Flatt, was honored in his hometown of Sparta, Tennessee recently when city and county officials joined forces to unveil an historical marker in his honor during Sparta's annual event, Liberty Square: A Lester Flatt Celebration.

Plans for the marker began nearly 18 months ago when Sparta residents, Blake and Kimberly Williams presented the idea at a White County Commissioners meeting to have a marker placed at Oaklawn Cemetery where Flatt is buried. "Lester was a very humble man and when he passed away, he didn't want a lot of attention," explains Blake Williams, who is a former member of Flatt's band, the Nashville Grass, and was also a pallbearer at Flatt's funeral. "Kimberly and I have talked to many people who worked with Lester over the years and also to his family, and we've all felt the same way—that we wanted to do something in his honor. Since he would have been 100 years old in June of this year, it just made sense to do it now."

The commissioners agreed and voted unanimously to pass the budget for the marker. Sparta's Mayor, Jeff Young, was at the meeting and without hesitation volunteered to pay for half the cost and offered any assistance needed to see the project through. "With the green light from both city and county officials in place, Kimberly began the legwork that involved working with the officials, tasking music journalist Barry Mazor, with the text for the marker and enlisting the help of W.D. Stone & Associates on a design."

The historical marker was unveiled during the city's annual event, named for Flatt, on Saturday, October 11th. "We've been producing 'Liberty Square: A Lester Flatt Celebration' for well over a decade now and were thrilled to be able to commemorate Lester Flatt's 100 years in bluegrass with this marker and some very special guests," states Sparta Mayor, Jeff Young. The 45-minute ceremony included a special music presentation by Blake Williams who enlisted the help of another Nashville Grass alumni, Roland White, as well as Michael Cleveland, Wayne Southards, Dwayne Anderson and a guest appearance by Darin Aldridge. Tennessee State Representative Paul Bailey presented a proclamation on behalf of the State of Tennessee honoring Flatt's contributions to bluegrass and country music and Kyle Cantrell, former Grand Ole Opry announcer and current program director for SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction, spoke on Flatt's impact on him personally and professionally. In attendance and recognized during the ceremony were Flatt's granddaughter Tammy Brumfield and her husband Mike; Don Clark, owner of the Bluegrass Bus Museum; Danny Clark, an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board member; Joe Lurgio, IBMA staff member; Ashlee-Jean Trott, associate producer of Music City Roots; Ray Seckler representing his father Curly Seckler; and White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson.

The historical marker will be placed at Oaklawn Cemetery located on Hwy 70 just outside of Sparta, TN in the next few weeks. For more information on Liberty Square: A Lester Flatt Celebration, Lester Flatt and Sparta, Tennessee, please visit www.spartatn.com.

Tags: Lester FlattMarkerHonored

Alison Brown Awarded 2014 USA Artists Berresford Fellowship

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 22:12

Nashville, TN -- Grammy-winning banjoist and Compass Records Group co-founder Alison Brown is among 34 artists to receive a USA Fellowship from United States Artists. The recipients of this year's awards were announced this week and selected by a panel of expert peers in each artistic discipline. "USA Fellowships are awarded to innovative artists of all ages and at all stages of their careers, who are nominated for their commitment to excellence and the enduring potential of their work," said United States Artists CEO Carolina Garcia Jayaram. "Our Fellows embody originality across every creative discipline, celebrating the broad range of artistic practices in every region of the country, and cultivating a creative ecology that is diverse in age, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation."

Three of the 34 winners this year are in the field of music and include Meshell Ndegeocello and Daoud Haroon in addition to Brown. The 2014 Fellows join previous years' winners in music including Bill Frisell, Lila Downs, Wu Man, Joanie Madden (Cherish the Ladies), and Compass Records label mates Claire Lynch, Michael Doucet (BeauSoleil) and Rob Ickes.

Commenting on the award, Brown said: "I'm deeply honored to have my music be recognized by United States Artists and to join such an impressive and talented community of USA Fellows. The support and recognition of this organization really validates my musical mission for the banjo and I'm excited by the artistic opportunities that this grant is going to create." This honor comes on the heels of a banner night for Compass Records at the International Bluegrass Music Awards earlier this month including 7 awards and wins for Brown as producer and instrumental guest on the winning albums for Recorded Event of the Year and Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year.

Compass Co-Founder Alison Brown Awarded 2014 USA Artists Berresford Fellowship and $50,000 Grant

Brown's musical journey began when she left her investment banking career to join Alison Krauss and Union Station 25 years ago. Since then she has gained a reputation as one of the pre-eminent banjo players in the world, expanding the musical horizons for the instrument and taking it far beyond its Appalachian roots. She has recorded 10 critically acclaimed albums, received a Grammy and 4 Grammy nominations and has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR's All Things Considered and in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Together with her Quartet she has performed at listening rooms and festivals across the US and abroad including The Newport Folk Festival, The New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, the Grand Ole Opry and alongside several major symphony orchestras.

Brown is also co-founder of the internationally recognized Compass Records Group which oversees over 600 titles across the Compass, Green Linnet and Mulligan imprints and has been called by Billboard Magazine "one of the greatest independent labels." Brown is currently at work on a new project slated for an April 2015 release which will coincide with Compass Records' 20th anniversary.

Tags: Alison BrownFellowshipBanjoCompass RecordsAward

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