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Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out Celebrate Half-Dozen #1's In A Row

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 22:17

Cumming, GA -- Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, one of bluegrass music's most iconic, ground-breaking bands in recent decades, are celebrating another career milestone with the news their latest, self-produced album, It's About Tyme, will remain at #1 for an unprecedented SIXTH month in a row on the National Bluegrass Survey's Top 15 Albums chart (December-May). Released September 4th on Moore's independent label, Break A String, It's About Tyme hit #1 in December 2015 and has held tight for a half-dozen months in a row! Additionally, the Moore-penned single, "I'm Leaving You And Fort Worth Too" is #1 for the second consecutive month (April & May) on the National Bluegrass Survey's Top 30 Songs chart!

"I'm Leaving You And Fort Worth Too" came out of the gate strong when it was initially released last October and debuted at #6 on Bluegrass Today's Top 20 Singles chart, rocketing to #1 in November. In addition, the song enjoyed a November debut on the National Bluegrass Survey's Top 30 Songs chart, making a steady but strong climb to #1, making this the second #1 song from It's About Tyme; the first single, "Brown County Red" reached #1 in March, giving the band the #1 song for the last three months.

The success of It's About Tyme comes just as IIIrd Tyme Out begins celebrating their "Tyme For 25" tour marking their 25th anniversary, proving their longevity and sustainability in an ever changing and evolving genre of music. This landmark tour will kickoff with a special extended performance at Willow Oak Park Bluegrass Festival in Roxboro, NC on Saturday, April 30th, followed by a LIVE concert broadcast on SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction on May 5th, an appearance with Coffee, Country & Cody on WSM 650AM the morning of May 6th, followed by a special "Tyme For 25 Celebration Concert" at the Nashville Palace (Tennessee) on the evening of May 6th.

"For the past twenty-five years, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out have been known for consistency in delivering top-notch bluegrass music filled with energy and innovation," says journalist and radio programmer Daniel Mullins. "That reputation continues with the success of their most recent release, It's About Tyme. As a broadcaster, it is not often that I come across an album which I enjoy presenting as much as I do the new music from Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. Even by their own lofty standards, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out have, once again, raised the bar for excellence in bluegrass recordings. The combination of fresh, memorable songs and exciting vocal and instrumental arrangements showcase why they have been among the bluegrass elite for two and a half decades."

And the praise from colleagues, journalists and radio programmers continues across the board:

"It’s About Tyme is a personal favorite and one of our top 5 most requested albums of the year."
Terry Herd, Bluegrass Radio Network

"It's no surprise that It's About Tyme has topped the charts. Great singing, great playing and songs that fit the band just right - what more could you ask for? The band is a perfect blend of youth and experience, and Russell Moore is a force of nature, admired by colleagues every bit as much as by fans."
Jon Weisberger, Journalist, Broadcaster, IBMA Songwriter of the Year

"When they told me this album had been #1 for five months now, I thought, 'Well, why shouldn't it be?' With so many strong songs in one package, played and sung by one of the top bands in the business, It's About Tyme is about as good as it gets!
Kyle Cantrell, SiriusXM Satellite Radio

The International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) most awarded Male Vocalist of the Year (5-time career), Russell Moore, is truly at the top of his game. Fronting one of the most popular bands in bluegrass history; Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out are celebrating 25 years as one of the genres most awarded and influential groups in modern day bluegrass. Joined by four unequivocally talented musicians with Wayne Benson on mandolin, Justen Haynes on fiddle, Keith McKinnon on banjo, and Jerry Cole on bass, this band continues to bring fresh music to the ears, while staying true to the tradition that has made them an industry favorite for a quarter century. They have recorded 18 albums including Timeless Hits From The Past Bluegrassed, released exclusively in Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, and among Billboard's Top 5 Selling Albums of 2013. They reached a new career milestone with their latest self-produced album, It's About Tyme, which has been the fastest charting album in the band's history, making its debut on the National Bluegrass Survey's Top 15 Albums at #2 in November, climbing to #1 in December, and remaining at the top of the chart for an unprecedented FIVE consecutive months through April 2016! Additionally, the first single, "Brown County Red" reached #1 on the National Bluegrass Survey's Top 30 Songs chart in March while "I'm Leaving You And Fort Worth Too" reached #1 in April. The band will celebrate 25 years of making ground-breaking music in 2016 and as journalist Jon Weisberger recently stated, "…it’s more than just longevity that gets Russell Moore’s name out front. The man is, to put it simply, one of the finest singers you’ll ever hear, and he makes it seem positively effortless."

For more information on Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out including their hit album, It's About Tyme and the "Tyme For 25" tour, visit

Tags: Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme OutCharts#1

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Winners Announced

Fri, 04/29/2016 - 22:15

Chris Austin Songwriting Contest Winners Announced

Wilkesboro, NC -- The Austin Stage was packed for MerleFest 2016’s 24th Annual Chris Austin Songwriting Contest (CASC). The Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is a unique opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals, under the direction of this year’s volunteer contest chairperson Jim Lauderdale. Judging is based on a song’s originality, lyrics, melody and overall commercial potential.

Judging is based on a song’s originality, lyrics, melody and overall commercial potential. The contest is open to those whose primary source of income (50 percent or more) is not derived from songwriting or publishing. The first round of the CASC competition took place in Nashville, Tennessee., and was narrowed down to 12 finalists representing four categories: bluegrass, country, general and gospel/inspirational.

Grammy Award-winning singer/songwriter Jim Lauderdale served as volunteer contest chairperson, the on-site judges for the final round were critically acclaimed bluegrass multi-instrumentalist Milan Miller; 2013 CASC winner and founding member of acclaimed Americana trio Red June John Cloyd Miller: and singer-songwriter Sarah Potenza, best known for her recent success on NBC’s “The Voice” and second place win in the 2014 CASC. All finalists took part in a songwriting mentoring session with Jim Lauderdale and the on-site judges. The first place winners in each category received $600 cash from MerleFest, performed on the Cabin Stage on Friday night to rave reviews and were even joined at one point by superstar bluegrass fiddler Michael Cleveland as a special surprise!

Writers of the following 12 songs were selected from 744 entries and competed on the Austin Stage at MerleFest on Friday, April 29.

MerleFest congratulates the 2016 winners:

  • Bluegrass:
    • 1st Place - Aaron Bibelhauser (Louisville, Ky.) – “Blue Collar Dreams”
    • 2nd Place - Courtney Rorrer (Madison, N.C.) and Asa Gravley (Beckley, West Va.) – “Midnight Tears”
    • 3rd Place - Cindy Giejda (Farmingdale, N.J.) – “Jail Break”
  • Gospel/Inspirational:
    • 1st Place - Marcy Each (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) – “On the Cross Built for Me”
    • 2nd Place - Austin Stanley (Nashville, Tenn.) – “The Face of God”
    • 3rd Place - Corey Smith and Allen Smith (Fayetteville, N.C.) – “The Road”
  • Country:
    • 1st Place - Buddy Guido (Mohawk, N.Y.), Paul Kelly (Santa Fe, N.M.) and Willie Scheollkopf (Buffalo, N.Y.) – “This Livin’ May Be Killing Me”
    • 2nd Place - Sarah Morris (Shoreview, Minn.) – “I Go Back”
    • 3rd Place - Meris Gantt of Handlebar Betty (Blowing Rock, N.C) – “House of Cards”
  • General:
    • 1st Place - Sarah Sample (Sheridan, Wyo.) – “A Heart That Falls Apart”
    • 1st Place - Adam Bonomo (Brooklyn, N.Y.) – “Redshifted”
    • 2nd Place - David Morris (Gaithersburg, Md.) and Chris Dockins (Burke, Va.) – “Weeds”

Net proceeds from the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest help support the Wilkes Community College Chris Austin Memorial Scholarship. Since its inception the scholarship has awarded over $38,000 to 81 deserving students. Previous winners of the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest include Gillian Welch, Tift Merritt, Michael Reno Harrell, Adrienne Young, Martha Scanlan, David Via and Johnny Williams.

For more details about the contest, visit

MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of "traditional plus" music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fund-raiser for the WCC Endowment Corporation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.

Tags: Chris Austin Songwriting ContestMerlefestSongwriting ContestAward

Del & Woody - A Review

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 22:00
Del McCoury has put together an exciting new project, Del & Woody, comprising a dozen original lyrics of legendary folk artist Woody Guthrie that are set to music by bluegrass artist Del McCoury. The project, a brainchild of Nora Guthrie, Woody's daugher, came to completion earlier this year. Del has worked on varied and diverse projects and this would a good fit as the music has similar roots.

Woody came from a different time and different roots than Del. Woody experienced first hand, the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression as he, himself, took part in the Oklahoma to California migration. "Dust Bowl Troubadour," as he was also known as became an icon of America's folk revolution during the late 1950's into the '60s. Guthrie died in 1967 at the age of 55.

Del McCoury has worked on may projects including jazz, country, and others. He is certainly familiar with the music of the time but, interestingly, he wasn't that familiar with Woody's material. Del is in the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of fame and received the National Heritage Fellowship. He is known around the world in bluegrass circles as well as other genres that touch the style. A true artist, Del put a lot of thought and planning into these songs to enrich Woody's lyrics with Del's musical style. The magic worked as these tracks present to the listener.

While Woody didn't put the life and energy into his performances that Del brings to these songs, Del does manage to convey the feelings that Woody would have. Prior to listening to this album, I pulled some dusty Woody vinyl out and gave it a spin. The vinyl brought to life Woody favorites such as "The Wreck of the Old 97," "This Land is Your Land," "Grand Coulee Dam," "Goodnight Little Darlin'," and many other old classics.

Having refreshed my mine into the sound, feeling, emotion of Woody Guthrie, I was ready to give this new project a spin. The gold mine of new material was exciting to open and experience. I wasn't disappointed.

Woody had a thing about trains and the opening track "The New York Trains" set the mark for what was to follow. Del sets these lyrics to his own music bringing these unfamiliar works to shine in the light for the first time. Like the "California Gold" that was lost, these works could have also been lost had it not been for Nora and Del collaborating to bring them a new life.

Some of the songs like "Hoecake Fritters," "Because You Took Me In Out Of The Rain" and "Dirty Overhalls" are obviously sung with a different emotion than what Woody would have taken, the tracks are still fitting and very appropriate with their up tempo energetic presentation.

Del has managed to make music from a half century past and turned it into modern and contemporary music for today. He has brought a beam of light to breathe new life into the music of Woody Guthrie. Guthrie was a massive influence on the folk music and just possibly, this album will continue that tradition. Bluegrass and folk have always been joined at the hip and Del did a wonderful job in keeping that union binding.

Tags: Del McCouryThe Del McCoury BandWoody GuthrieCD ReleaseDel & WoodyReview

Infamous Stringdusters "Ladies & Gentlemen" in 140 Gram Vinyl

Thu, 04/28/2016 - 22:00

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.

Features Guests: 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.

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 every 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 Music Association awards and a GRAMMY nomination.

This LP is available for pre-order and will ship on or by its release date (May 3, 2016).

Tags: The Infamous StringdustersNew ReleaseVinylLadies & Gentlemen

The Travelin' McCourys Play with Everyone in Colorado

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 22:40
The Travelin' McCourys are known for their branding of the term 'Bluegrass Ball'. If ever there was a group of shows that defined this term, it was this past weekend on the Front Range of Colorado. The Bluegrass Ball shows, Thursday in Ft. Collins at The Aggie and Friday & Saturday in Denver at Cervante's, were slated to include Bill Nershi of String Cheese Incident and Anders Beck of Greensky Bluegrass at all three shows with special guest, Del McCoury on Saturday.

After Thursday and Friday all of Colorado was so a buzz with memorable collaborations drawing comparisons to Telluride and Delfest. Gaining speed, Saturday quickly sold out, with fans clamoring for tickets. They did not know what they were in for.

Saturday started out with a special set from duo Bill Nershi and Anders Beck. Everyone was surprised by the addition of Paul Hoffman (Greensky) playing a special tribute to Prince with 'When Doves Cry'.

Next up was The Travelin' McCourys starting with a set of their own, followed by a set with....well....everyone. In true McCoury fashion, the guests were a plenty playing to the delight of the sold out crowd. Guests included Anders Beck, Paul Hoffman, and David Bruzza of Greensky Bluegrass, Bill Nershi of String Cheese Incident, Andy Hall and Chris Pandolfi from Infamous Stringdusters, Justin Hoffenberg, and of course patriarch Del McCoury. The energy in the room has been described as magic and has everyone itching for festival season.

The Travelin' McCourys just announced their next Bluegrass Ball date in St. Louis at The Grove with the Jeff Austin Band on June 10th, a unique ball, A Grateful Ball will feature sets from both bands as well as a set together of Grateful Dead songs to close the evening.

Tags: The Travelin' McCourysEventTourColorado

Eastman Credit Union Commits $100,000 To Radio Bristol

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 22:38

Bristol, VA/TN -- The Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) is proud to announce an exciting new partnership with Eastman Credit Union (ECU) that will help fund the Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time show over the next five years.

"Eastman Credit Union has been a great community partner to BCM over the years, and we are very grateful for their support and generosity." said Leah Ross, Executive Director of BCM. "Their commitment to sponsor Radio Bristol's Farm & Fun Time helps us create a quality program that ensures the show's success for years to come. It also helps us further our mission of outreach in preserving the rich music heritage of our region."

ECU presented a check in the amount of $100,000 to the Birthplace of Country Music during a special announcement at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum just prior to the Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time live show on Tuesday evening. ECU will be the presenting sponsor for Farm & Fun Time, committing $20,000 annually over the next five years.

"Eastman Credit Union is delighted to support the Birthplace of Country Music and Radio Bristol's Farm & Fun Time show," said Olan O. Jones, President and CEO of Eastman Credit Union. "For more than 80 years, ECU has served local families, preserving our foundations of extraordinary service and constantly seeking new opportunities to better serve our members. That's why it's an honor and privilege to assist BCM in preserving the local heritage that makes this region great and combining that with forward thinking that supports economic growth and drives tourism."

Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time is a revival of WCYB radio's Farm & Fun Time show which broadcast live from a studio inside the General Shelby Hotel in downtown Bristol. In the 1940s and the 1950s, Farm & Fun Time was an important program in the history of early bluegrass music and helped to establish the careers of legendary performers including Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, the Osborne Brothers, Jim and Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman, The Sauceman Brothers, and Curly King & The Tennessee Hilltoppers.

Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time live radio show was introduced to audiences during the Grand Opening of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in August of 2014. Performed and recorded before a live audience, the one-hour variety show was co-hosted by WCYB broadcasting veteran Johnny Wood and featured legendary Farm & Fun Time alumni Dr. Ralph Stanley and Jesse McReynolds. During the show, McReynolds wielded an antique fiddle that was originally played during the 1927 Bristol Sessions. One year later, WBCM Radio Bristol signed on to the airwaves from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. Tuesday evening's program was the first Radio Bristol Farm & Fun Time production to broadcast live on the air.

In keeping with the tradition of the original, Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time featured lively performances by renowned old-time act The Foghorn Stringband, Corbin Hayslett, and Bill & the Belles. Hosted by Radio Bristol's producer Kris Truelson, the one-hour program featured segments including "The ASD Farm Report." In cooperation with Appalachian Sustainable Development, "The ASD Farm Report" segment will continue in future shows, and will focus on music, family, food and farming in the region.

Radio Bristol Presents: Farm & Fun Time will broadcast live before a studio audience monthly on WBCM Radio Bristol 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online at, and through the station's free mobile app.

Radio Bristol is a network of channels that showcase the diversity of American roots music from the early recordings era to today. Reaching the world through their online media center, Radio Bristol produces original programming through recordings and live sessions from the Birthplace of Country Music Museum and the Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee region. Radio Bristol broadcasts at 100.1 FM in the Bristol area, online at, and through the station's free mobile app.

Founded in 1934, ECU is a not-for-profit, financial services cooperative with over $3.2 billion in assets. With over 170,000 members worldwide and more than 600 employees, ECU operates 24 branch offices and more than 70 ATMs, and provides access to over 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs nationwide via the Allpoint network. ECU serves those who live, work, worship, attend school, or own a business in most of Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia, as well as a portion of Texas. For additional information about ECU, visit or call 1-800-999-2328.

Tags: WBCM Radio BristolBirthplace of Country MusicBusinessDonation

IBMA Announces World of Bluegrass Official Showcase Artists

Wed, 04/27/2016 - 22:35

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – April 27, 2016 – The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announces its Official Showcase Artists, a group of 30 committee-selected acts that will be a part of the Bluegrass Ramble during the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass events in Raleigh, North Carolina, September 27-29, 2016.

The following artists were selected from over 150 submissions by artists all over the world, covering the spectrum of bluegrass styles. Each act will perform at least two times over the course of the three-night Ramble event, at one of five downtown Raleigh clubs plus the Raleigh Convention Center, giving industry and fans multiple opportunities to hear as much music as possible. Venues hosting Ramble artists are The Lincoln Theatre, Kings, Architect Bar, Long View Vintage Church and The Pour House.

Congratulations to the following artists participating in the 2016 Bluegrass Ramble:

  • 10 String Symphony – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Annie Lou – Parksville, British Columbia, Canada
  • Bill and the Belles – Johnson City, Tennessee
  • Cardboard Fox – Bath, Somerset, United Kingdom
  • Carolina Blue – Pisgah Forest, North Carolina
  • Hackensaw Boys – Washington, D.C.
  • Hannah Shira Naiman – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • High Plains Jamboree – Austin, Texas
  • Hot Buttered Rum – San Geronimo, California
  • J2B2 (John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band) – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Jenni Lyn – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Joe K. Walsh – Portland, Maine
  • Kaia Kater – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Missy Raines & the New Hip – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Molly Tuttle Band – Nashville, Tennessee
  • Old Salt Union – Belleville, Illinois
  • Red Wine – Rapallo, Italy
  • Run Boy Run – Tucson, Arizona
  • Steep Ravine – Watsonville, California
  • Tellico – Asheville, North Carolina
  • The Andrew Collins Trio – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • The Honey Dewdrops – Baltimore, Maryland
  • The Lil’ Smokies – Denver, Colorado
  • The Loose Strings Band – Galax, Virginia
  • The Unseen Strangers – Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • Tim Carter & Bang Bang – Goodlettsville, Tennessee
  • Town Mountain – Asheville, North Carolina
  • Trout Steak Revival – Denver, Colorado
  • Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike – Bell Buckle, Tennessee
  • Zoe & Cloyd – Asheville, North Carolina

All of the Official Showcase acts can be heard on the free Bluegrass Ramble 2016 compilation, found at:

In addition, you can learn more about each band at:
Admission to the Bluegrass Ramble is included with an IBMA Business Conference registration, or passes may be purchased separately at

Additional artists will be added to the Bluegrass Ramble via co-sponsored shows at the venues, along with privately-hosted “After Hours Showcases” (Tuesday – Friday) at the Raleigh Marriott City Center.

For the second year, the IBMA is offering Afternoon Showcases to its business conference from Tuesday-Thursday. These showcases, open only to business conference attendees, give artists the chance to showcase before a concentrated audience of talent buyers, labels, agents and “tastemakers” in the bluegrass community.

IBMA showcases will provide over 200 opportunities for bands to perform at sanctioned IBMA events during World of Bluegrass. The full Bluegrass Ramble schedule will be available in the coming months.

Those interested in sponsoring a showcase may contact Eddie Huffman at IBMA: (615) 256-3222, 1-888-GET-IBMA or

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, a five-day annual bluegrass music homecoming and convention, consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 27 – 29 ; the 27th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, September 29; Wide Open Bluegrass (presented by PNC), September 30 – October 1 (which includes both free stages and ticketed festival performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 27 – 29 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center.

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 Raleigh Convention Center, the City of Raleigh and a local organizing committee.

Members of the IBMA receive a discount on regular registration and ticket fees, and first time attendees receive a special discount on conference registration. Tickets for all events are on sale now and may be purchased or 1-800-514-3849.

Tags: IBMAWorld of BluegrassBluegrass RambleShowcase Artists

Woody Guthrie Reaches Top Of Sales Chart For First Time Ever

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 22:00

Nashville, TN -- Del McCoury Band’s Del & Woody, a collection of lyrics left behind by Woody Guthrie and put to music by McCoury, reached #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass chart. As best we can tell (with help from the Woody Guthrie Center), a few songs of Woody’s have charted on radio before, but no project that included only his songs has ever risen to the top of the Billboard album chart. McCoury—who at 77 is no stranger to the top of the charts himself—says he is proud that it was his unique collaboration with the world-acclaimed folk bard of the depression that pulled Woody to the top.

Del & Woody was the brainchild of Woody’s daughter, Nora Guthrie. Upon hearing the Del McCoury Band, she recalls, she had a feeling that Del would be the right man to write music to some of her father’s lyric sheets. Still, it wasn’t until the Newport Folk Festival’s 50th anniversary in 2009 that she zeroed in on the bluegrass patriarch’s unique fitness for what became Del And Woody. “After hearing Del's show,” she says, “I remember thinking that if my dad had had a band, it would very possibly have sounded very much like Del’s.” An invitation sent to Del to perform at a Woody Guthrie Centennial concert in Tulsa a couple of years later gave her the opportunity to hear him singing a few of her father’s songs—“I think Del’s ‘So Long, It’s Been Good To Know Yuh’ is the best version I’ve ever heard,” she notes—and the deal was sealed.

For McCoury, Guthrie’s name was mostly unfamiliar, though his songs weren’t. “It took a while before I heard his name,” he remembers. “But then I started learning that so many of the songs I was hearing, from ‘Philadelphia Lawyer’ to ‘This Land Is Your Land,’ were his. So when Nora said she wanted to send me some lyrics, I already knew what a great writer he was. She sent me a few, then sent me some more, a few dozen in all.”

“When I read them, it seemed pretty easy to me to hear the music that would fit. Nora said, ‘you can change some things if you want to,’ and I said no. He’s a great writer, and I do not want to change anything in his songs. I would just like to put a melody to these words so that maybe folks will accept the songs, and that’s what we did.”

Though it took the process years to come to fruition the result is an album that really transcends the concept of collaboration. For while Del McCoury is not quite of Guthrie's generation, these two American masters share an unsurpassed breadth of experience, outlook, shared interests and common backgrounds. So what you hear is the simple and easy unity of these two artists. As Nora Guthrie says, "It sounds as if these lyrics and melodies have been around together forever, or as Pete Seeger says, 'that's genius'."

No Depression summed it up best by saying “Even at first listen, ‘New York Trains’ is quite a revelation. It’s as though McCoury stumbled on his finest writing partner in the notebooks and antique paper-sheet lyric-sketches Nora gave him to explore. It becomes clear that, if there were ever two artists perfectly fit to make music together, they are Del McCoury and Woody Guthrie.”

The Del McCoury Band will be touring in support of this release in 2016. On designated “Del & Woody” shows the band performs this album in its entirety with companion videos to each song playing behind them. It really does bring Woody’s work to life after many years of these lyrics sitting on a shelf.

Tags: Del & WoodyWoody GuthrieDel McCouryCD ReleaseCharts

Deep Roots Mountain Revival Announces Initial Artist Lineup

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 22:00

Masontown, WV -- Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival is proud to announce the 2016 lineup for its inaugural music and arts festival happening September 15-18, 2016. Headliners Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon and The David Grisman Sextet will be joined by Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Shooter Jennings with Waymore’s Outlaws, Melvin Seals & JGB, Cabinet, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The Black Lillies, The Hip Abduction and many more. The festival takes place on the legendary Marvin’s Mountaintop in Masontown, WV, the original site for the All Good Music & Arts Festival. Top-tier bluegrass, jam band, rock and country acts will convene in the picturesque mountains, effectively bringing West Virginia back to the forefront of the festival scene. A confirmed listing of the initial lineup is below. More artists including additional headliners will be announced soon.

A limited number of advance price three-day passes go on sale this Tuesday, May 3rd at 10 AM ET. Advance tickets are $130 for General Admission and $570 for VIP. Once advance tickets are sold out, GA prices will increase to $150 and $175 for stage I and stage II ticketing, respectively. All VIP ticket packages include early entry; catered meals; access to premiere viewing areas at all stages with beer and wine; access to private bathrooms and showers; VIP camping sites; VIP lounge access; discounts on festival grounds beer; and a stainless steel souvenir mug. Tickets can be purchased through

Deep Roots is more than just a name -- it’s the guiding principle of the festival. “First and foremost,” says festival founder Claude Ryan, “we wanted to reconnect the local community with a festival scene that our region had lost.” He adds, “Marvin’s Mountaintop is considered one of the all-time greatest festival locations in the country, but it has not hosted a major music festival since All Good moved in 2012.” Deep Roots Mountain Revival intends to fill that void. “We aim to work with the local community to create a festival that welcomes folks of all ages, where anyone can create a memorable experience in a family friendly environment,” says Ryan. The festival pays homage to its West Virginia roots, including local and regional acts in its lineup.

For more information on the Deep Roots Mountain Revival Festival, visit

TICKETS ADVANCE: $130 for 3-DAY GA // $570 for 3-Day VIP

Tags: Deep Roots Mountain RevivalMusic FestivalEventGreensky BluegrassLeftover SalmonDavid Grisman SextetRicky SkaggsMarty StuartLineup

Rhonda Vincent Unwraps New Bus Wrap

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 22:00

The Queen of Bluegrass is riding in style these days with a new wrap on her Bluegrass Express. The incredible design was created and installed by Wrap Artist.

"People are discovering the music, just from seeing the new wrap!" Rhonda shares. "I love all the photos taken, and the excitement from just seeing the bus. It's all thanks to Jamie at the Wrap Artist!" "He is precision all the way from the design to the final installation."

The most award winning band in bluegrass music history will be showing off their new look from coast to coast this year. This week, taking the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, on Mother's Day Weekend, they perform a 4 day stint at Branson's "Silver Dollar City" to kick off a 26 day Bluegrass & BBQ Festival. Also on their tour schedule is the annual festival at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN. Rhonda will step away from her normal schedule to join Daryle Singletary for an evening of Country Music on June 7th in Nashville, TN at the Time Jumpers' Hot Spot "3rd and Lindsley." New dates continue to be added to the schedule, so check back often to the Official Rhonda Vincent Web Site.

Check out a late night jam session aboard the Rhonda Vincent Bluegrass Express, broadcast live on Facebook!

Be sure to like Rhonda's Facebook Page at and join her on all the social sites! It's gonna be an amazing year!

Tags: Rhonda VincentRhonda Vincent & the RageBusPromotion

Shawn Lane's Father Hospitalized ~ Fan Appreciation Concert Postponed

Tue, 04/26/2016 - 05:30

"It is with great sadness that we relay that Shawn Lane's dad has suffered a massive stroke. Shawn's dad was airlifted via Life Flight helicopter last Wednesday, April 20, and is still in ICU on a ventilator / life support. Shawn has been by his dad's side for the past six days, and we praise and support Shawn in his unwavering loyalty to his father and his family.

We stand united as a Blue Highway family in strong support of our band brother Shawn. As a result of that support and the seriousness of this medical situation, we have made the decision to postpone our band's upcoming Fan Appreciation Concert.

The Blue Highway Fan Appreciation Concert scheduled for April 30 at Emory & Henry College is being postponed to a new date which will be announced by the first of next week (the week of May 2).

Fans who have already purchased tickets will receive a complimentary upgrade to Reserved Seating if they choose to keep their tickets intact for the new show date. Ticket holders should receive an email today with an update and instructions.

We hope that our friends and fans will stand with us, as you have loyally stood for 22 years, as we do all within our power to give full support to our brother Shawn and his dad.

We express appreciation in behalf of the Lane family for the kind outpouring of well wishes which have flooded in via social media since last week.

Our gratitude is with each of you for your understanding and much appreciated support of Shawn Lane and Blue Highway!

We look forward to an exciting Fan Appreciation Event later this year, and invite everyone to stay tuned to and for updates as they will be coming shortly!"

Statement courtesy of:
Sherri George
Tour Manager and Publicist, Blue Highway

In behalf of Tim Stafford, Wayne Taylor, Jason Burleson, Shawn Lane, and Gaven Largent.

Tags: Blue HighwayShawn LaneFan AppreciationUpdateBand Announcement

DIY Musicians Get a Lifeclass In Music Law at BCMM

Mon, 04/25/2016 - 22:17

Bristol, VA/TN -- As the saying goes, "you can't swing a banjo on State Street without hitting a musician." Now the Birthplace of Country Music (BCM) is offering a lifeclass for area musicians who are interested in learning more about the legal side of their careers. On Saturday, May 21, 2016 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the BCM will present "Music Law for Musicians," a seminar for musicians, music business professionals, or anyone interested in the legalities of the music business.

Who owns the copyright to a song written and arranged by members of a performance group? How do you protect your band name? What provisions should be considered to ensure your band's operations align with goals and expectations?

Justin Laughter, a business, intellectual property, and entertainment attorney with Threshold Counsel, PC in Richmond, Virginia, will lead the seminar consisting of three separate hour-long programs providing a crash course in the following:

  • Choosing and Protecting Your Band or Artist Stage Name
  • Songwriting and Sound Recording Law 101
  • Band Entities and Agreements

"This class offers first steps into understanding basic legal topics that any touring musician should know," said Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music. "We have a huge community of touring artists right here in our region who could really benefit from this seminar."

Attendees will gain essential background information into the legal areas relevant to their creative careers as well as practical advice to help them avoid common pitfalls. Laughter's experience representing clients is wide-ranging, including business and nonprofit structuring and operations, copyright and trademark protection and enforcement, internet law, and private securities. He regularly counsels start-ups, makers, and other creative entrepreneurs.

The cost to attend the class is $25; visit to register. The seminar will be held in the Performance Theater at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum.

The Birthplace of Country Music is the parent nonprofit of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum, the Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival, and Radio Bristol. BCM showcases Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee's role in the birth and development of country music through these entities and also through a multitude of community and educational outreach programs.

Justin has been honored as a Virginia Super Lawyers-Rising Star in IP (2013—2016), part of Virginia Business Magazine’s Legal Elite (2011, 2014), and as one of Richmond’s Top 40 under 40 by Style Weekly Magazine (2008). He is a 2003 graduate of the University of Virginia (Phi Beta Kappa) and a 2006 graduate of William and Mary Law School (Order of the Coif).

He is also active in the nonprofit, creative, and entertainment community. Justin is a Board Member of C3: The Creative Change Center, Board Member of JAMinc, Board Member of AMP! Metro Richmond, Board Member of OneVoice, Board Member of Gallery5 (museum, art, and performance), a member of Lawyers for the Arts, and a member of the Richmond CenterStage Associates Board. He is also the former Interim Executive Director of Virginians for the Arts, a statewide arts advocacy nonprofit organization. Further, Justin is a voting member of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, known for its Grammy Awards. He routinely speaks to community audiences, law students, and professionals on legal topics.

Justin is Co-Founder of Educational Media Creations Company, LLC dba Silly Bus, an educational media company organized to help children feel confident, successful, and happy while learning foundational components of elementary education (see

Tags: Birthplace of Country Music MuseumEducationEvent

"$100 Funeral" Video from James Reams & The Barnstormers

Sun, 04/24/2016 - 22:04
James Reams & The Barnstormers' newest album, Rhyme & Season, is about life experiences that don't always have an explanation. The album reflects a maturity of song choice and concern for issues facing the marginalized while still remaining vibrant and alive. Recorded live in the studio, this album is real bluegrass from start to finish.

"$100 Funeral" is one of those rare ballads that evokes empathy and emotion in the listener. Featuring the triple fiddle work from a legendary east coast fiddler, Kenny Kosek, the rest of the Barnstormers waltz through this tune with grace and style. James' unmistakable stamp is all over this cut featuring his haunting and mournful rendition of the lyrics.

James confesses, "I chose this song because of what happened to me when I was a homeless teenager. I woke up one morning in a homeless shelter to find the lifeless body of an old man lying on the bunk beneath me. That experience resulted in my return home and a vow to make something of my life." Almost everyone has driven past a homeless person holding a sign and asking for some spare change. In most instances, we never give them a second thought. This song gently reminds us of their humanity.

Tony Kamel from Wood & Wire raved, "James Reams has seen his share of tough times and they've clearly shaped who he is both musically and spiritually. This collection of tunes not only tells a beautiful story, but is beautiful to listen to. James' unique voice and killer band carries you blissfully throughout the journey, a journey that James has chosen to use as a way to bring awareness to, and benefit the less fortunate. Good on you, James!" Music reviewer, Donald Teplyske called James Reams "one of bluegrass music's true originals." We hope your experience with his newest album, 'Rhyme & Season', will be fresh and original.


  • James Reams, guitar and lead vocals
  • Kenny Kosek, fiddle
  • Mark Farrell, mandolin and harmony vocals
  • Doug Nicolaisen, banjo
  • Nick Sullivan, upright bass and harmony vocals
Tags: James Reams & The BarnstormersRhyme & SeasonVideoSingle$100 Funeral

Kentucky School of Bluegrass Ensemble at Carter Fold April 30th

Sun, 04/24/2016 - 22:02

Saturday, April 30th, 2016, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of bluegrass music by J.P. Mathes and the Kentucky School of Bluegrass Music Ensemble. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. The Kentucky School of Bluegrass Music Ensemble is under the direction of J.P. Mathes. J.P. has been performing at the Carter Fold since the age of 16 – first as a member of the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band and later as the Ensemble’s Director of Hazard Community College’s Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music (KSBTM).

Performing with the group will be special guest Fiddling Leona – originally from Tokyo, Japan, but now making her home in Elizabethton, Tennessee. The student performers will include Randy McKinney (mandolin) from Akron, Ohio; Brack Allen, Jr. (guitar) from Hyden, Kentucky; Lindsey Branson (guitar) from Hazard, Kentucky; and Ryan Davidson (bass) from Hyden, Kentucky. The Music Ensemble will be featured on WJHL’s Day-Time Tri Cities and WCYB’s News Center 5 at noon on Friday, April 29th .

J.P. Mathes has performed all across the United States and the world as a student musician, music professor, and as a private performer. Performance highlights include 15 tours of Japan, the Kennedy Center, the Grand Ole Opry, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, tours of Alaska and Hawaii, and many others. J.P. will be touring Japan this year along with Fiddling Leona as international ambassadors of bluegrass music.

The Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music is an accredited program that operates under Hazard Community and Technical College’s College of Heritage, Humanities, and Fine Arts. Students can receive an associate’s degree, diploma, and certificate in Bluegrass and Traditional Music. The KSBTM has also launched many new online courses and a certificate program that are available for students all over the world from the comfort of home. The KSBTM is located at a satellite campus in Hyden, Kentucky.

Students who enroll at the KSBTM take courses such as ensemble, individual instruction, bluegrass history, audio recording, and harmony singing – just to mention a few. The KSBTM has already welcomed students from 19 states and Japan since it’s opening in 2007.

The newest edition to the KSBTM is a complete online certificate program in digital audio recording that is available for students all across the globe at the in-state tuition rate. Faculty members at the KSBTM include Dean Osborne, Scott Napier, Kathryn Jenkins, Grand Ole Opry member and bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne, and J.P. Mathes. For more information on KSBTM, visit the program’s Facebook page at You may also call 606-487-3499.

For some of the finest bluegrass music the southeast has to offer, don’t miss the Kentucky School of Bluegrass Music Ensemble at the Fold. There will be traditional bluegrass tunes, lively fiddle tunes and instrumentals, gospel tunes, and beautiful harmony. Don’t forget your dancing shoes, and be sure to bring along all your family and friends.

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 our web sites or Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054.

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

Tags: Kentucky School of Bluegrass EnsembleCarter Family FoldConcertEventJ.P. Mathes

Dr. Banjo Tells Secular Americans to Be True to Themselves

Sat, 04/23/2016 - 22:17
Though he thrives in a musical genre in which religious hymns are commonly on the setlist, Pete Wernick — better known as “Dr. Banjo” — says many of the beliefs in hymns he loves to sing don’t seem plausible to him. In a new video, Wernick tells a personal story that is both inspiring and moving, as he joins the voices of the Openly Secular campaign.

Openly Secular is a campaign designed to eliminate discrimination and increase acceptance of atheists, freethinkers, agnostics, humanists and other nonreligious people, by encouraging secular people to be open about their beliefs. Celebrities who have spoken on behalf of the campaign include NFL star Arian Foster, former congressman Barney Frank, actress Julia Sweeney, rapper Killah Priest, actor John de Lancie, and former NFL player Chris Kluwe.

An internationally renowned banjoist whose musical collaborators have included comedy legend Steve Martin and the late bluegrass icon Earl Scruggs, Wernick says that belief in an “invisible father figure” had become implausible for him as a teenager, but that he fully understands how many people can rely on their faith to “marshal their forces and deal with life’s blows and losses and uncertainties.”

Wernick was one of the survivors of a terrible plane crash in 1989 which killed 111 people. When others ascribed his survival to the intervention of God, he said “That didn’t wash very well for me,” when so many children and other innocent people did not get the benefit of God’s help. “It was very hard to talk about that,” he says.

Frequently working with fellow musicians in the bluegrass community who are devoutly religious, Wernick says he doesn’t seek to challenge their beliefs, and has at times found it “intimidating” to be honest about his own lack of belief.

“We are actually a large and growing group,” Wernick says of secular Americans, “but we are so often silent for fear of unsettling other people.” Wernick knows from personal experience how hard it can be to “come out” as nonreligious, but advises, “Whatever risk is involved, sharing something that’s true about yourself is at least an honest act that can bring you closer to others.”

Tags: Pete WernickDr. BanjoReligionOpinion

Cheers Roar for Blue Highway with Gaven Largent on 2016 Tour

Sat, 04/23/2016 - 12:41
Bristol, VA/TN -- Cheers are greeting award-winning supergroup Blue Highway this Spring as they have taken their new young Dobro phenom Gaven Largent on the road for the first tour dates of 2016.

Blue Highway's young Dobro sensation turned 20 today, and the band celebrated by releasing new video footage of the band with Largent on fire performing the Shawn Lane-penned 'Sycamore Hollow' in Savannah. Additional footage showcases the band's a cappella vocal chops on their Dove Award-winning 'Wondrous Love' in Cincinnati.

The show-stopping applause heard following Largent's solo introduction to 'Sycamore Hollow' in the video footage isn't a random occurrence.

"Every time Gaven has kicked off 'Sycamore Hollow,' we have to stop the song until the applause dies down," said Wayne Taylor. "It's happened every single time we've played that song. It's amazing to see that consistent crowd reaction."

The much appreciated cheers for Blue Highway and Largent are a clear testament each time the show-stopping applause roar that the new kid on the block who stepped in for his idol has passed muster.

"It must be awful tough to step in there with the inevitable comparisons and skeptics," said Matthew Gordon. "But Gaven is making great music that stands on on its own, and shuts that whole line of approach down quick."

Largent is impressing fans and Music Critics alike, as Benjamin Charles of the Palm Beach Daily News wrote of Blue Highway's recent Sold Out performance on April 10 in Palm Beach, FL:

"Another standout member of the ensemble was the newest addition to Blue Highway, the 19-year-old Dobro phenomenon Gaven Largent. His technical abilities on the instrument are astonishing, paralleled only by his musical sensibility. He provided musical introductions for Sycamore Hollow and Nothing But a Whippoorwill, and solos on several of the numbers, all of which received rousing applause from the audience... "

The hardest audience to impress may be the members of Blue Highway, and the boys in blue are sold on the Gravy Man, too.

"He's put some fire under us!" said Shawn Lane.

"Gaven never ceases to amaze me," said Jason Burleson. "He's a hoss cat on the resophonic guitar!"

Speaking of Largent's recent nomination as 2016 SPBGMA Dobro Player of the Year, Tim Stafford shared, "I have a feeling this is just the beginning of many accolades for Gaven. He's a real hoss and we are proud to have him in Blue Highway."

Wayne Taylor relayed the band knew they had a winner from their first meeting with Gaven. The first song that Blue Highway members asked Largent to play was Still Climbing Mountains, and Taylor recalls of Gaven's performance: "It was Rob's kick off, note for note. It was perfect. Gaven amazed all of us. It honestly couldn't have been any better."

Amidst the cheers, the down to earth young man from the heart of the Shenandoah Valley continues to impress his heroes in Blue Highway with more than just his music.

"Gaven is just an exceptional young man," said Wayne Taylor. "He's one of the most polite people I've ever encountered of any age. He'll go out of his way to help people, and it's not just on rare occasions. I just don't see a lot of kids his age these days who do that, and it's just refreshing to see that and be around him. Gaven is not only an exceptional musician, he's also an exceptional person."

With their 11th studio album on the horizon and a winning team intact, Blue Highway rolls on into their 2016 tour schedule, with a handful of their upcoming performances including:

Sat Apr 30 - Blue Highway Fan Appreciation Concert - Emory, VA
Sat May 7 - Circa Blue Fest - Martinsburg, WV
Sun May 8 - Court Square Theater - Harrisonburg, VA
Thr May 19 - Isis Restaurant & Concert Hall - Asheville, NC
Fri May 20 - Dollywood - Pigeon Forge, TN
Sun May 22 - The Neighborhood Theatre - Charlotte, NC
Fri Jun 10 - Festival of the Bluegrass - Lexington, KY
Sat Jun 11 - HoustonFest - Galax, VA
Wed Jun 15 - Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival - Bean Blossom, IN

The two new videos by Blue Highway include:

* Savannah Music Festival - March 26, 2016

* Xavier Performance Center - Cincinnati - January 30, 2016

Jeff White Celebrates Release of "Right Beside You"

Fri, 04/22/2016 - 22:17

Singer/songwriter, producer and flat-picker extraordinaire, Jeff White, celebrates yesterday's release of Right Beside You on WSM radio’s Coffee Country & Cody morning show, which is also broadcast on The Heartland Network. A true “musician’s musician,” White’s flatpicking, singing and songwriting chops are unmatched, and his tremendous skills are respected by both his bluegrass and country contemporaries.

Jeff White’s credits include Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, The Chieftains and more … and now Jeff has released his first solo project since 1999. Right Beside You includes a list of guest artists that reads like a Who’s Who of acoustic music legends and it is available today. (April 22, 2016)

White’s early influences included Doc Watson, Norman Blake and Tony Rice. He developed his own flatpicking guitar style with Alison Krauss and Union Station. He has played for more than 20 years with Country Music Hall of Famer Vince Gill, and toured with Irish music legends The Chieftains. He helped to produce The Chieftain’s two Down the Old Plank Road projects.

White has produced five albums for acclaimed fiddler, Michael Cleveland. As a writer, his songs have been recorded by The Del McCoury Band, Alison Krauss, Dale Ann Bradley, Dan Tyminski, and The Infamous Stringdusters. His talents are highly sought-after on the road and in the studio.

White’s prior solo recordings are The Broken Road in 1999, and The White Album in 1996. He’s a guy determined to take the time to get it right, and that’s just what he’s done with Right Beside You, stepping away from his busy schedule as a touring artist and a producer to share something very special and personal.

Tags: Jeff WhiteCD ReleaseRight Beside You

Loretta Lynn To Perform At Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 23:14

Bristol, VA/TN -- Country music legend Loretta Lynn is among the headlining artists to appear at the 16th annual Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion music festival this September; the announcement was made during a special "super fan" event held at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum on Thursday.

Loretta Lynn is among the most awarded country artists of all time, with more hall of fame inductions than any other female artist including the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. Lynn was also the first woman to be named the Country Music Association's Entertainer of the Year in 1972. She received Kennedy Center Honors in 2003 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013. Loretta Lynn has won four Grammys, including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010, and sold more than 45 million albums worldwide.

"Loretta Lynn is country music royalty," said Leah Ross, Executive Director of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum. "She's been on our wish list for some time and this year we were able to make it happen. Her latest album, produced by John Carter Cash, even includes the Bristol Sessions classic 'In the Pines.' The timing couldn't be more perfect."

Another headlining newcomer to Bristol Rhythm will be the Grammy-winning folk rock duo Indigo Girls, known for their intricate arrangements and vocal harmonies as well as their political activism. Combined with the announcement that festival alumni Hayes Carll and the Darrell Scott Band will return in 2016, along with newcomer Joe Purdy, it looks like Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion's tradition of powerful singer/songwriters remains true to form.

Married in life and music, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn will return to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion—this time as a duo. Fleck made his first appearance at Bristol Rhythm with Bryan Sutton and Casey Driessen in 2005; Abigail followed in 2007 as part of the all-girl acoustic group Uncle Earl. The couple won their first Grammy as a duo this year for Best Folk Album; Fleck has 13 previous Grammy wins.

Festy alumni, prolific recording artist, and one-man jam band Keller Williams also returns to Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion for what's sure to be a killer live-looping performance; his 2013 Cumberland Square Park set has gone down in class notes as the stuff of legend.

Grammy and IBMA award-winning The Steep Canyon Rangers top the festival's bluegrass roundup that also includes IBMA, SPBGMA, and Independent Music Award-winners Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.

"There are two other headlining acts that we can't announce at this time," said Ross. "We'll release those this summer and, I can tell you, they are awesome!"

Marty Stuart, Houndmouth, Cracker, Mike Farris, Scythian, Unknown Hinson, Jill Andrews, HONEY HONEY, Hot Club of Cowtown and EmiSunshine are among the stellar cast of Bristol Rhythm 2016 artists previously revealed during the festival's "countdown to Bristol Rhythm." Other outstanding festival favorites to be noted include Larry Sparks, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Folk Soul Revival, the Fiddlin' Carson Peters Band, Becky Buller, and Levi Lowery.

It wouldn't be Bristol Rhythm without the inclusion of fantastic emerging artists; acts like Liz Vice, Noah Gundersen, The Lonely Biscuits, Mipso, Front Country, John Moreland, Tyler Bryant & the Shakedown, Roadkill Ghost Choir, Horseshoes & Hand Grenades, Wild Reeds, Seth Walker, and The Americans are are brand-spankin' new to the festival and are definitely bands to watch.

This year's stunning festival artwork was also part of Thursday's big reveal; Bristol native and award-winning muralist Leigh Ann Agee unveiled her interpretation of Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion as a pick-up truck packed with all things Bristol, barreling down a deeply-rooted road paved with music. An in-demand item for collectors, this year's festival poster is sure to be a hot commodity.

For the entire listing of artists slated to perform at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion 2016 visit To watch the festival announcement video on Facebook at Festival dates are September 16-18 with weekend wristbands on sale now for $70, a bargain for the amount of music showcased at this world-class, 3-day event that boasts 20 stages and more than 100 artists. Bristol Rhythm takes place on and around State Street in Historic Downtown Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee, the heart of the Birthplace of Country music.

Tags: Bristol Rhythm & Roots ReunionLoretta LynnEventMusic FestivalBristol

Premier Bluegrass Festival to be held in Martinsburg, WV

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 23:12

Circa Blue announces they will present and host the inaugural Circa Blue Fest from May 6-8, 2016. Circa Blue Fest is a three-day bluegrass festival featuring some of the most prominent artists in bluegrass today. This year’s line-up includes: Blue Highway, Trinity River Band, Jim Hurst, Circa Blue, Lonesome Highway among other talent.

The festival is held at the beautiful 40-acre Moose Acres in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Situated in the Eastern Panhandle, bluegrass enthusiasts from Virginia, Washington DC, Maryland and Pennsylvania are among expected attendance. A rain or shine event, the venue features a stage covered by a 400-seat pavilion, surrounded by shaded seating. Rough camping and bathhouses will be available.

A family-friendly event, kids can participate in activities like a “selfie” booth and marshmallow roasting. Award-winning BBQ, instrument & songwriting workshops and camping sites will be available during performances.

Ongoing updates and information can be found at, Facebook, Twitter or email contact(at)circabluefest(dot)com.

The event is a collaborative effort with the community, and benefits The Child Safe Center-CAC- "Promoting a Collaborative Response to Child Abuse."

Tags: Circa BlueBluegrass FestivalCirca Blue Fest

David Naiditch Wins the 14th Independent Music Awards for Bluegrass Album

Thu, 04/21/2016 - 23:09
David's "Bluegrass in the Backwoods" is an instrumental CD that features dazzling solos by Stuart Duncan, Sierra Hull, Rob Ickes, Ron Block, Jake Workman, Dennis Caplinger, Christian Ward, and other topnotch virtuosos. David Naiditch won the 14th Independent Music Awards (IMA) for Bluegrass Album. The surprise is that David Naiditch plays the chromatic harmonica, an instrument that is used in jazz but that, as far as we know, hasn't been recorded in bluegrass since Jimmy Riddle of Hee Haw fame released his "Country Harmonica" LP in 1964.

Unlike the common bluesy-sounding diatonic harmonicas, in David's hands, the chromatic produces a sweet, fiddle-like sound and can handle fast, intricate melodies. Since the chromatic provides all the notes, David uses a C chromatic to play in all keys and can deal with tricky chord changes and key transitions without having to switch harmonicas. Before you say, "Oh no, not another jam-busting harmonica player," give David's playing a listen. You'll be more than pleasantly surprised.

Here are 4 complete tunes from the CD:

"New Camptown Races" -- D Naiditch, Stuart Duncan, Rob Ickes, Sierra Hull, D Caplinger, Jake Workman

"Lonesome Moonlight Waltz" -- David Naiditch, Stuart Duncan, Rob Ickes

"Bluegrass in the Backwoods" -- David Naiditch, Christian Ward, Dennis Caplinger
David Naiditch's "Bluegrass in the Backwoods" Album was the Vox Pop Winner.

"Jerusalem Ridge" -- David Naiditch, Christian Ward, Ron Block, Jake Workman

Within a few weeks of winning the IMA award, the International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA) presented David the runner-up award in the instrumental category for his Gypsy jazz inspired version of "Oh, Lady Be Good," from his "Douce Ambiance: Gypsy Jazz Classics" CD.

David's CD and/or downloads can be purchased on iTunes (also Amazon, CDBaby, Elderly Instruments, Country Sales).

Tags: David NaiditchIndependent Music AwardsBluegrass AlbumAward