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Which Way Did They Go? Bluegrass at the Crossroads

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Wed, 2014/07/23 - 11:14pm

By Guest Columnist James Reams
It’s hard to watch the Country Music Awards and not wonder why the IBMA Awards are largely ignored by the music industry. What has country got that we haven’t? Our songs feature longing, lost love, hard work, history, and yes, even crying in your beer. Our musicians are just as talented, perhaps more so as I think of the lightning speed associated with fiddle, mandolin and banjo picking. I dare any country band to keep up with us! Our voices pitch into that high lonesome sound made popular by Bill Monroe, but that’s not all we can do. Bluegrass music is just as well rounded as country. So why aren’t we as popular?

I bet I can count on two hands the number of bluegrass bands that are full-time. Even with a record deal, our artists are struggling as the recording industry isn’t funding artist development and promotion for bluegrassers. Most of us have to have a “real” job to pay the bills or at least a retirement income that helps plug the gaps between music gigs, festivals and album sales. While the top names in bluegrass travel around in beat up station wagons, converted school buses, and fly coach class; top artists in rock, country and rap are traveling in style in private jets and Provost buses.

There’s just such a small slice of the bluegrass pie available, that it’s not enough to feed more than a few bands on a full-time basis. Those of us scratching and clawing to get bookings can sometimes contribute to the perception that bluegrass music is cheap and inexpensive as we agree to perform for next to nothing, even showcase events, just so we can play this music we love. My friend and colleague Walter Hensley used to say, “The less meat on the bone, the harder the dogs fight.” By undercutting each other, we’re undermining the entire bluegrass music industry.

Today’s economic crisis doesn’t help either but folks still mob Country Thunder and other predominantly country music outdoor concerts. With 80,000 to 100,000 fans from all over the US in attendance, Country Thunder makes the top bluegrass festivals look withered in comparison. I recently had a promoter in Texas tell me that he had to drop his bluegrass festival because people were complaining about the cost of tickets. Without ticket sales to encourage sponsorships, he was unable to bring in the bigger names in bluegrass and it was just a slippery slide downhill from there. Now he promotes a country swing festival that folks flock to in droves and he hasn’t had a single complaint about the ticket prices. What’s up with that?!?

I believe bluegrass music is at a crossroads. We can continue on as we have since we got started and ride off into the sunset or we can deviate just a bit and take directions from other successful music genres. Change doesn’t mean that we forget where we came from, our bluegrass roots will continue to be the foundation that gives our music its’ identity. But, it’s my contention that we need to change the misconception that bluegrass is just for old-timers on pensions and bring our music into the 21st century. So how do we do that without losing our “bluegrassiness”?

A major factor is embracing technology. If you look at the music styles that are hugely successful these days, it’s easy to see what sets them apart — the MEDIA. Radio channels are clogged 24/7 with stations devoted to rock, rap/hip hop, country, Christian and even classical music. Yet live bluegrass radio programs are largely relegated to Sundays. Except for DC-based WAMU 105.5FM, I can’t turn my radio dial and find one single station devoted solely to bluegrass music. But I can listen to bluegrass music online or even create my own digital bluegrass station using apps like Pandora. And adding your own music is simple enough that even I could figure it out. Yeah, it’s not the same as radio plays and I miss all the depth and news that DJs provide, but it does reach those listeners that have earbuds permanently embedded in their heads.

I don’t think anyone will argue with me when I say that the current generation is on visual overload. Let’s face it, MTV and CMTV are here to stay. You just can’t deny that this is the age of the music video. So where are all the bluegrass videos? I firmly believe that TV/Internet speaks to the masses, bluegrass radio preaches to the choir. We’ve got to get more professional looking bluegrass videos in front of folks.

“Quality” is the keyword when it comes to videos. YouTube is clogged with unedited videos of dubious sound quality featuring bands at bluegrass festivals shot using Uncle Billy’s iPhone (I’ve certainly contributed my fair share!). But a static shot of your favorite band performing on a festival stage is not the kind of music video that’s going to grab the attention of the music world. As performers there’s a limit to the emotion we can incorporate into a song while we’re on stage. Most bluegrass songs tell a story, creating a video takes it a step further by providing images that convey the feeling behind the words and actually complement the singing. If we’re going to claw our way out of the poverty class of music, we have to find a way to emotionally connect viewers of all ages to our music. I think feeding the visual addiction of today’s music lovers is critical.

I can just hear you saying, “Hold on there, James! Where are we going to get the money to make these videos? We’re barely making ends meet now!” And you’re right, making a video can drain a bank account faster than an ex-wife. But thanks to the Internet, there are numerous crowd funding sources available. I used Kickstarter to help fund the final production push for my film documentary, “Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass.” Other popular options for funding creative projects include Indiegogo and RocketHub. And don’t forget that making music videos is how many well-known film directors got their start. Collaborate with a talented film student at a local university or purchase film editing software for your computer whiz kid for Christmas. Who knows, you may discover a future Stephen Spielberg!

What I’m saying is, there are options out there to fit most budgets. Once you have a couple of videos going viral, you can start approaching sponsors to help fund the next one. Country music moved into the spotlight, literally, when they embraced music videos. Bluegrass can do the same. It’s a sleeping giant just waiting to be awakened. BGTV anyone?

I’d like to hear what you have to say. Send your email to and let your voice be heard!

James Reams is an international bluegrass touring and recording artist coming from a family of traditional singers in southeastern Kentucky, James has played both old-time and bluegrass music since he was just a little sprout. James is known as an “Ambassador of Bluegrass” for his dedication to and deep involvement in the thriving bluegrass and Americana music community. To date, he has released 8 CDs including a special DVD documentary of his band: James Reams & The Barnstormers. Celebrating 20 years as a bandleader in 2013, he released the DVD documentary Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass, the culmination of over 10 years of filming and interviews. James is also the organizer of the Park Slope Bluegrass Oldtime Music Jamboree, an annual music festival he started in 1998 that attracts musicians and fans of traditional music to its workshops, jamming and concerts — the only event of its kind in or around New York City. Read More About James!

Tags: James ReamsEditorialOpinionGuest ColumnistBusiness

Martina McBride & Doyle Lawson Join Mountain Stage Lineup

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Wed, 2014/07/23 - 11:12pm

Bristol, TN/VA -- Birthplace of Country Music and Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is proud to announce country music superstar Martina McBride will join the esteemed line-up of performers scheduled to appear Sunday, August 3, 2014, 7:00 p.m., at The Paramount Center for the Arts in Historic Downtown Bristol as part of the Birthplace of Country Music Museum's Grand Opening Weekend of Events. McBride joins Carlene Carter, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, and "Hello Stranger" featuring Dale Jett for this must-see concert celebrating Bristol's heritage as the Birthplace of Country Music.

"The addition of Martina McBride is very exciting because she will be part of Bristol's history as we open the Birthplace of Country Music Museum," states BCM executive director Leah Ross. "Seeing her perform at the Paramount with Carlene Carter, Dale Jett, and Doyle Lawson will be legendary."

The artist, herself, is considered a legend due to her powerhouse vocals and a catalogue of inspiring, socially conscious music. "Independence Day," "Concrete Angel," and "A Broken Wing" are just a few of the hits that made McBride a household name. With a string of number ones and numerous CMA and ACM Female Vocalist Awards, McBride has sold nearly 10 million albums and counting. Her latest release, Everlasting, is a homage to classic R&B recordings.

Birthplace of Country Music has enjoyed a long friendship with the folks at Mountain Stage and has hosted the program in the Tri-Cities for a number of years. Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and is broadcast internationally on NPR (National Public Radio).

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. on show night; tickets to Mountain Stage are on sale now at for $30.

Tags: Doyle LawsonMountain StageBirthplace of Country Music MuseumGrand OpeningEvent

Orthophonic "Fan Favorite" is Reagan Boggs

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Wed, 2014/07/23 - 11:10pm

Bristol, VA/TN (July 23, 2014) – Birthplace of Country Music is proud to announce beloved singer/songwriter and Pound, VA native Reagan Boggs has been selected Facebook "Fan Favorite" as part of the Orthophonic Joy Music Contest!

Musicians from across the country were encouraged to upload videos to BCM's Facebook page for a chance to win a recording session with legendary Nashville producer Carl Jackson for the Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited CD project, currently in production. Submissions with the most Facebook "likes" would receive Facebook Fan Favorite honors, and secure a performance at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion (September 19 - 21, 2014), among other prizes. The Facebook Fan Favorite will also be considered among finalists for the Orthophonic Joy CD project. The Grand Prize winner will be announced Friday, July 25, 2014.

A popular mainstay of Bristol's music scene, Reagan Boggs has three solo albums under her belt and is among the region's most accomplished artists. For her latest album, Quicksand, Boggs teams once again with producer and engineer Eric Fritsch (Sheryl Crow, Scott Miller) of Eastwood Studios in Nashville, TN. The recording includes an array of talented musicians including Fritsch playing multiple parts. Dave Coleman (The Coal Men) sings and plays steel guitar on the duet “You Deserve Better.” Paul Griffith (John Prine, Chris Knight), Steve Bowman (Counting Crows), and Matt Crouse (Billy Dean, Savannah Jack) play drums on the record. Park Chisolm (Kevin Costner, Jo Dee Messina) and Bones Hillman (Midnight Oil, Elizabeth Cook) are featured on electric and upright bass. David Duffy (Elvis Perkins) plays the violin and Eric Brace (Last Train Home) also helps tell the story of the track “Better Man.”

The first place prize winner in the Orthophonic Joy Music Contest will secure a spot on the CD, performances at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum Grand Opening concert, Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion and Nashville's acclaimed roots and Americana variety show, Music City Roots, Live From The Factory, broadcast live weekly on Wednesday nights at 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. CT, 8:00 p.m. EST.

Set to be released in October, Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited features entertainment legend Dolly Parton, as well as country music stars Vince Gill, Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart, Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, and Ashley Monroe. The recording project includes 16 of the original songs from the Bristol Sessions.

“The 1927 Bristol Sessions have often been honored for their impact on the world’s music,” said Leah Ross, executive director, Birthplace of Country Music. “With the opening of the Museum, the release of Orthophonic Joy, and the nationwide search for new talent, BCM and the team of irreplaceable partners who are part of these endeavors are ensuring the legacy of the 1927 Bristol Sessions lives on for generations to come.”

Orthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions Revisited is made possible through a partnership with Birthplace of Country Music, Bristol TN/VA Convention and Visitors Bureau, Tennessee Department of Tourist Development, and Virginia Tourism Corporation. For more information, visit

Tags: Reagan BoggsOrthophonic Joy: The 1927 Bristol Sessions RevisitedContestBirthplace of Country Music Museum

Back Step Old Time Band at Carter Fold Saturday

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Wed, 2014/07/23 - 11:08pm

Hiltons, VA -- Backstep performs old time stringband music in the “Round Peak style” native to Mount Airy, North Carolina. Known for its driving rhythms and prominent melodies, Round Peak music is just the thing to make you kick up your heels and dance. Back Step features Chester McMillian (a founding member of the band) on guitar and his son Nick McMillian on fiddle (he also plays banjo and bass). Saturday, July 26th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by the Back Step Old Time Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, children 6 to 11 $1, under age 6 free.

Chester McMillian, one of the band’s founders, was born in Carroll County, Virginia, into a musical family and community. He has played traditional old time Round Peak style music since his childhood. By the time he was eleven or twelve years old, he was living in Surry County and taking an active part in the Round Peak music community. In 1962, Chester married into Dix Freeman’s family, and the two began playing a lot of music together. Chester played guitar with Tommy Jarrell for fifteen years, and he developed his guitar style specifically to play with Tommy. He also played and recorded with Dix Freeman, Kirk Sutphin, and Greg Hooven – with whom he founded Back Step.

Nick McMillian was raised in the Round Peak community surrounded by music. He is truly of the tradition, bringing a whole family history into his banjo, fiddle, and bass playing. He first learned to play banjo from his grandfather, Dix Freeman, whose style he can closely imitate. He also plays Round Peak style fiddle. Steeped in music from an early age, Nick made his first recording – Backstep – at age eleven. He has performed in public since the ripe old age of eight. He also recorded with the New Pilot Mountaineers on fiddle and banjo. Nick’s musical mentors include Fred Cockerham, his grandfather Dix Freeman, and his father, Chester McMillian.

Back Step has performed at the Fold in years past, and they have recently come back for several performances. Fans of groups like the Mountain Park Old Time Band and the Whitetop Mountain Band will love the the Back Step Old Time Band. Back Step has won first place in the old time band competition at the Mount Airy Fiddler’s Convention and the Fiddler’s Grove fiddler’s convention. The group was featured on Mike Seeger’s Old Time Banjo Styles instructional video featuring Kirk Sutphin on banjo.

Be sure to bring your dancing shoes, and be ready for a night of down home fun. Nothing gets you out of your seat and on the dance floor faster than a rousing old time band. Don’t miss the Back Step Old Time Band at the Carter Family Fold! For more information on the group, go to:

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

Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. You can visit the Crooked Road Music Trail site at Partial funding for programs at the center is provided by the Virginia Commission for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276-386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo. To speak to a Fold staff member, call 276-594-0676.

Tags: Back Step Old Time BandCarter Family FoldThe Crooked RoadConcertEvent

Dawg Jazz and Dawg Grass Books

Mandolin Cafe - Wed, 2014/07/23 - 9:30am
Acoustic Disc proudly announces the publication of two books featuring the music of David Grisman: Volume 1 - Dawg Roots and Volume 2 - Dawg Grass.

Steve Gulley's New Album Released, Video Track-By-Track Available Now

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/07/22 - 11:17pm
Nashville, TN -- Steve Gulley’s first gospel album Family, Friends & Fellowship releases today on Rural Rhythm Christian. Joining Steve on his Family, Friends & Fellowship album is an incredible list of family and friend All-Star performers and musicians who were hand-picked to help make the songs and their message come to life in the most special way possible. Guest performers on this album include Doyle Lawson, Joe Mullins, Dale Ann Bradley, Rickey Wasson, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Les Butler, Don Gulley, Vic Graves, Debbie Gulley and Linda Gulley. They are backed by an impressive list of musicians including Adam Steffey, Tim Stafford, Ron Stewart, Mark Fain, Phil Leadbetter, Alan Bibey, Jason Burleson, Brandon Godman, Stuart Wyrick, Scott Powers, Bryan Turner, Gary Robinson, Jr.and Mark Laws.

Produced by Steve Gulley and recorded at the Curve Recording Studios in Cumberland Gap Tennessee, Family, Friends & Fellowship contains 14 songs with a wide range of songwriters including many Steve Gulley original songs along with songs written by contemporary songwriters and standards by Ronny Hinson, Hank Williams, G.T. Speer, E.M. Bartlett, Carl Story, Gary Kidwell and more.

“My goal for this album is to share my spiritual journey through music that will hopefully make the listener think, reflect, reminisce and rejoice all while lifting their spirits and warming their soul” – Steve Gulley(Singer, Songwriter, Producer)

Steve’s first single from the album certainly accomplishes his goal with the uplifting gospel standard “Victory In Jesus” which has a fresh feel with those Steve Gulley signature vocals and performed by an All-Star Bluegrass cast including Tim Stafford (Guitar),Adam Steffey(Mandolin),Ron Stewart (Banjo & Fiddle),Mark Fain (Bass) with harmony vocals by Bryan Turner.

Family, Friends & Fellowship is now available on iTunes, Amazon, and all digital music and CD retailers. The album is also available for D.J. downloads on AirPlay Direct.

Also available today is the video promo track-by-track that takes you on an enjoyable journey with words and music by Steve Gulley as he talks about the back story for each song on Family, Friends & Fellowship. Steve tells why he chose the songs on the album and what the songs mean to him in his life. Also, you will learn about the development of the album and more about the impressive list of family and friends who helped create the album Steve always wanted to make.

Tags: Steve GulleyCD ReleaseFamily Friends & FellowshipTrack-by-Track

Fun with Flatt Lonesome: The Making of "Too"

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/07/22 - 11:15pm
Nashville, TN --- The members of Flatt Lonesome are bound by blood, faith, marriage and years of friendship. It is a familiarity and camaraderie that is evident in their tight harmonies, stellar musicianship and collaborative showmanship. It's also evident that these six artists genuinely enjoy one another's company.

Flatt Lonesome’s album, Too, is soaring with sibling harmonies and hot picking that resounds in “So Far” to the serene, lonesome ballad “Make it Through the Day.” The band shines on Tim Stafford’s original “Dangerous Dan” and “Never Let Me Go” resonates with a playful swing style that demonstrates Flatt Lonesome’s versatility.

In a video released by Mountain Home Music Company, Kelsi, Charli, Buddy, Paul, Michael and Dominic share an insider's view, band comments and behind-the-scenes antics in the making of their sophomore release, Flatt Lonesome Too.

"We’ve definitely improved in our playing together. We feel like this is our ‘grownup’ album,” Kelsi says.

Grownup indeed. They may be young, but Too is a collection of songs that belies the youth of the artists. Then again, their willingness to share some characteristic Flatt Lonesome silliness is a youthful delight.

Clearly, the future of Bluegrass is in capable, and good humored, hands.

Tags: Flatt LonesomeTooPromotionVideo

Travis Frye and Blue Mountain are "Living In A Moment"

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/07/22 - 11:12pm

Irvine, KY (July 22, 2014) - Kindred Records is proud to announce the release of "Living In A Moment" by North Carolina based bluegrass group Travis Frye and Blue Mountain. The debut release was recorded at Eastwood Studios in Cana, VA and includes 13 tracks. An excellent blend of new original material and classic covers ranging from Lefty Frizzell to Albert Brumley to Cowboy Copas, a mix you may not expect in bluegrass. "Living In A Moment" has soulful ballads, an upbeat and cheerful "rodeograss" tune, some new twists on classic country, original and classic Gospel, and with band members from the Carolina's you can expect some hard driving banjo pickin' and fiddlin' instrumentals...

Travis Frye and Blue Mountain has performed on historic radio and television shows such as The Merry-Go-Round in Mount Airy, North Carolina, the Blueridge Backroads in Galax, Virginia, and PBS's Song of the Mountains in Marion, Virginia. They have also had the honor of playing for the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Blue Ridge Parkway at Appalachian State University. The band has shared the stage with Big Country Bluegrass, the Steeldrivers, Lou Reid and Carolina, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Sammy Shelor, and Terry Baucom.

Band members include Kernersville's Travelin' Travis Frye, host for The Afternoon Show on WPAQ radio, on guitar, Hunter Motts of Spartanburg, SC, on banjo, Henry Mabe of Walnut Cove, NC, on fiddle, Mount Airy's Tim Frye, host of Mountain Morning and Mountain Midday on WPAQ radio, on mandolin, and Renee Martin of Belews Creek, NC on bass.

CD's may be ordered directly from Kindred Records online artist page, Amazon, CDBaby, or digital formats including iTunes, Amazon MP3, and other stores.

The Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints due September 30th

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/07/22 - 11:11pm

Alabama’s The Pine Hill Haints have announced the release of their new LP, The Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints, on September 30th via K. Their fifth release on the label, the new album delivers more of the band’s self-described “Alabama Ghost Music,” with its smoky melodies and dark whispers of the haunted South. Opening track “Ms Pacman” sets the stage with a sweet, storytelling charm and an aire of mystery, and you can now stream the track via American Songwriter. It’s also available to stream & share on Soundcloud.

The Pine Hill Haints are a group of troubadours and kindred spirits that mix elements of folk, rockabilly, bluegrass and Americana, with just a hint of punk. With the help of a rotating cast of friends and storytellers, the band has traveled the world, sporadically releasing records that have mostly been self-recorded and sold from the back of their van. Their sound has grown and evolved with each new experience, but their goal has always been to capture a living pulse, addressing feelings of loneliness, depression, and everlasting joy and exploring the mysteries of life and death.

The Pine Hill Haints are a traditional bluegrass/folk/honky tonk/country band from Alabama, though the band members themselves describe their unique southern roots music as “Alabama Ghost Music.” The Haints are composed of Jamie Barrier on guitar and vocals, wife Katie “Kat” Barrier on mandolin, singing saw, and washboard, Matt Bakula on washtub bass and tenor banjo, and Ben Rhyne on snare drum.

The Pine Hill Haints perform music they consider to be “dead” in the modern world, hence their self-proclaimed “Ghost Music.” Some examples of the genres they perform include (but are not limited to) gospel, rockabilly, rock and roll, celtic music, blues music, and bluegrass. While their catalog of songs comprises mainly original material, the band has also been known to cover traditional gospel (Where The Soul Of Man Never Dies, Where The Roses Never Fade), cowboy (I Ride An Old Paint, Back In The Saddle Again), and folk (Goodnight Irene, Oh! Suzanna/Camptown Races) songs.

In addition to their live instruments, the band also utilizes a number of traditional American folk music instruments (such as a fiddle, harmonica, tenor banjo, mandolin, saw, and accordion) on their recordings. Occasionally, members of the Haints will swap instruments or abandon his or her primary instrument altogether, instead performing on one of the aforementioned instruments for a song or two. The band has several former members, and depending on how many happen to be present at a performance, surprise guest performers may accompany the Haints onstage. Such impromptu reunion performances are not completely unexpected at their shows.

Tags: Pine Hill HaintsCD ReleaseThe Magik Sounds of the Pine Hill Haints

V-Picks Giveaway

Mandolin Cafe - Tue, 2014/07/22 - 11:30am
V-Picks, Handmade Guitar and Mandolin Picks manufactured in Nashville and the Mandolin Cafe are combining efforts to give away sets of V-Pick Personalized Display Cases containing 20 select V-Picks to three individual winners drawn at random. The giveaway which commences at 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 27 and concludes at 5:30 p.m. August 3 (Central Time) is open to all Mandolin Cafe visitors regardless of location.

Nu-Blu Single "Jesus & Jones" with Sam Moore Out Today

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/07/22 - 12:05am

"The Legendary Soul Man" Sam Moore, voted one of the 100 top pop voices of all time by Rolling Stone Magazine, joins bluegrass group Nu-Blu as a special guest on their single release today, "Jesus & Jones," a song that pays tribute to the late George Jones. Carolyn's vocals align perfectly with Sam Moore's soulful sound on "Jesus & Jones" as Nu-Blu carves a new notch in their musical achievements. The single was released today.

Moore, who had been invited personally by George before he passed away, performed at what became Jones' tribute show "Playin' Possum: The Final No Show" in November of 2013. Sam took no time to agree to participate in recording this song. "I've been a fan of George's music for a long long time and was fortunate enough that we called each other friends," says Moore. "This song honors him and says what we all have felt about him."

Nu-Blu is set to release their latest Rural Rhythm Records single "Jesus & Jones," to radio on July 22nd. The highly anticipated track will serve as the first offering from their forthcoming album, All The Way, due out on September 16.

"We absolutely love this song and its message," says Nu-Blu's Carolyn Routh. "We played the demo for George's widow Nancy Jones and she loved it. With her encouragement we recorded it and just knew we wanted to add a guest vocalist to the recording. Then we thought back to the November tribute show and remembered it was Sam Moore who had just brought the house down. You could see the love he had for George. We connected with Sam and now the recording is done. This is not only Sam's first time ever to record on a bluegrass song, it apparently is the first time anyone from his genre has participated on a bluegrass recording as a featured guest. How cool is that! To have a Rock & Roll Hall of

This is Sam Moore's first venture into the bluegrass realm. Over the years, he has crossed over from soul, the genre his hit "Soul Man" named, rhythm & blues, jazz, big band, pop, and country. Sam Moore was nominated for an ACM, and two CMA's for his collaboration with Conway Twitty of "Rainy Night In Georgia" on the Country, Rhythm & Blues album. Their video is considered a classic and one of the top country duets of all time. This new song, a mix of bluegrass and soul will leave fans wanting more.

All The Way will take Nu-Blu creatively into new boundaries. In addition to the duet with Sam Moore, 'queen of bluegrass' Rhonda Vincent is also featured on the album. Come September 16, the world be able to hear all of the new music, and partake in the revolution that is Nu-Blu.

For more information on Nu-Blu, please visit

You can catch Nu-Blu on tour this summer at the following venues/locations:
Aug 01-03 Stony Plain, AB (Canada) -- Heritage Park
Aug 09 Hebron, CT -- Hebron Fairgrounds
Aug 16 Ramseur, NC -- Ramseur Lake
Aug 17 Wilmington, NC -- USS Battleship North Carolina
Aug 17 Greenville, NC -- Greenville Toyota Amphitheatre
Aug 22 Valdese, NC -- Family Friday Night (Downtown)
Aug 24 Raleigh, NC -- Raleigh Ribfest (Downtown)
Aug 30 Stuart, VA -- Labor Day Gospel Sing (Dominion Valley Park)
Sep 05 Cherryville, NC -- Catawba Valley Music Revival
Sep 06 Goldsboro, NC -- In The Pines Bluegrass Festival
Sep 28 Manteo, NC -- OBX Bluegrass Festival

Tags: Nu-BluSam MooreJesus & Jonessingle

New River Bluegrass Releases Fifth Album

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/07/22 - 12:03am

New River Bluegrass latest CD Different Shade Of Blue is the groups fifth CD but the first release of original Bluegrass songs written by local song writers in the Greer SC Area (Home of the Late Carl Story). After having a #1 Song on the Singing News Bluegrass Chart in 2013 we wanted to expand our listening audience with the release of "Bluegrass State Of Mind". This is a song that any bluegrass picker or lover can relate to.

New River Bluegrass consists of Barry Long on Banjo and Dobro and singing baritone and lead. Mike Johnson handles the Rhythm Guitar and sings tenor and lead vocals. Fiddle is in the hands of Chuck Price who also sings baritone and lead while Dwayne Brown handles the Bass and share lead vocals. You'll find Mike Mullins on the Mandolin and his voice singing bass and lead. Andy Smith plays Lead Guitar and also share lead vocals.

They began by performing in churches, fundraisers, and small events. After the first CD titled “Crying Holy”, the group added Mike Mullins on mandolin and bass vocals and later added Andy Smith on lead guitar and vocals for the “Heart on the Run” project. The band's previous project, on the Pisgah Ridge Label of Cross Roads Music, expanded their music nationally and produced a #1 song on the Singing News Bluegrass Charts.

The group has performed at festivals such as Bluegrass on The Waccamaw, Reno Fest, many town festivals, auditoriums, and Dollywood. New River Bluegrass is looking forward to sharing this unique blend of music with your Church or Event. Be sure to download this project to your bluegrass collection.

Tags: New River BluegrassCD ReleasesingleBluegrass State of MindDifferent Shade Of Blue

40th Annual Carter Family Fold Festival Aug 1-2, 2014

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Mon, 2014/07/21 - 12:13am

Attending your first Carter Family Festival is something you never forget. Now in its’ 40th year, the Carter Family Memorial Music Festival has attracted audiences from around the globe, all of whom come to the Carter Fold for its’ good music, down-home atmosphere, and food – and then leave with an abundance of precious memories. Held August 1st & 2nd, 2014, the Saturday headliner will be Wry Straw!

My first Carter Festival – and for that matter, experience at the Carter Fold – was the 30th Memorial Festival in 2004. I had discovered the Carter Family’s music while attending college and I was absolutely hooked. After graduating, I was extremely surprised and excited to hear that the Carter Family’s home place in Virginia not only still belonged to the family, but that people would drive from miles around to go dancing at this special place known as the Carter Fold. I set off towards southwest Virginia just in time for the 30th festival. As I pulled my truck off of Highway 81 and crept into beautiful Hiltons – in the shadow of the famed Clinch Mountain, no less – it became quite clear to me that I was in a place unlike anywhere else in the world.

The Fold was jam-packed when I walked in, and I considered myself lucky to find a spot in the grass to sit at the very back of the auditorium. I munched on a delicious barbecue sandwich from the concession stand, ate a wild onion I found growing among the grass, and listened throughout the day to the musicians jamming from the porch of the old A.P. Carter store. Then Joe Carter – decked out in his trademark overalls and Navy cap – took the Fold stage and delighted the audience with his imitations of barnyard animals. Janette Carter, founder and matriarch of the Carter Fold, wore a beautiful black dress and received a huge ovation from the crowd. Ever modest, she waved warmly and with a tired, loving smile. Musicians Larry Sigmon and Barbara Poole then gave an incredible performance with their banjo and upright bass instruments while a seemingly endless throng of dancers clogged away on the floor. After Sigmon and Poole’s set finished, Leroy Troy delighted us with the kind of banjo tricks and playing style that would have no doubt made Uncle Dave Macon proud. My last memory of the night is of looking at a beautiful star-lit sky from the old store porch while the Fold’s audience erupted in a singalong of “My Tennessee Mountain Home.”

A lot has changed since then. Janette and Joe Carter are both gone now, as are many of the beloved musicians, volunteers, and fans who have made the Fold such a special place for the past four decades. However, I find myself loving the Carter Fold more and more with each visit. The Fold and its’ accompanying museum have undergone beautiful renovations – including added seating in the Fold’s auditorium. However, the food, admission, and souvenirs remain extremely affordable.

It’s especially exciting to see the newest generation of young musicians and fans who have come along join hands with the generations before them on the stage and on the dance floor. Each time I visit, I marvel at how much passion is present among the Fold’s musicians, fans, and – of course – their amazing volunteers. For me, attending the Carter Fold is like going to church; it’s where I can get recharged and feel completely at home.

Many of you, no doubt, have your own favorite memories of the Carter Family Memorial Music Festivals. As we celebrate 40 years of the Carter Fold, we look forward to the new memories that await us at this year’s festival and beyond. Barry Weber – long-time Fold audience member and volunteer.

In today’s fast-moving world, it’s understandable to be concerned that Appalachian heritage will give way to modern times and be virtually forgotten in the hustle and bustle of our fast-paced lives. Fortunately, a visit to the annual Carter Family Festival will convince you otherwise. At the festival, it’s customary to observe a packed dance floor filled with all ages of old-time and bluegrass fans, from young people just breaking into their first clogging shoes all the way to revered veterans showing off a lifetime of buckdancing know-how.

The festival will feature music from both Appalachia’s most renowned performers and its newest break-out mountain music and bluegrass stars, proving that true talent knows no age. Things get started on Friday with a performance by one of Virginia’s most popular bands – Folk Soul Revival. Saturday’s lineup includes performances from the New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters, Mountain Park Old Time Band, the Whitetop Mountain Band, Wry Straw (featuring John McCutcheon), and the Great Smoky Mountain Cloggers. Both Friday and Saturday will feature performances from Lorrie Carter Bennett – Anita Carter’s daughter – and Ronnie Williams, a longtime friend of the Carter family and the Fold and an accomplished musician and performer. The Whitetop Mountain Band and Wry Straw have been performing since the Fold opened in 1974. They exemplify the strong ties that bind the Carter Fold “family.” Folk Soul Revival demonstrates - as no other band could - the love, respect, and reverence of the mountains of southwest Virginia and all its’ traditions. Their music shows a healthy respect for our area’s musical roots, presenting it in a way that appeals to people of all ages – especially today’s younger generation.

The Carter Family Memorial Music Festival remains true to Janette Carter’s original vision: the festival still proudly boasts “good music and good food” while remaining affordable, familyfriendly, and supportive of traditional mountain music and crafts. Leave your cares behind, and spend a weekend listening to some of the most beautiful and heart-felt music God ever created. In addition to some of the best music and food the region has to offer, there will be lots of craft vendors on hand displaying and selling homemade mountain crafts and treasures. We will have a
pickin’ tent set up for folks who want to jam. Join us for the 40th Carter Family Memorial Festival!

The Carter Family Memorial Music Festival will be held at the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia. In 1974, Janette Carter decided to present a festival dedicated to her father, A.P. Carter. Before he died in November, 1960, he asked his daughter to do all she could to see that the Carter Family’s music was never forgotten. She told him Daddy I will try. She did just that, and the Carter Family Memorial Music Center now stands as a tribute to the love and devotion she felt for her father and the music he created.

The very existence of the Carter Memorial Music Festival can be credited to a younger generation honoring the generation before it. Since shows began in 1974, the Carter Fold has earned a reputation as a place for music fans of all ages to congregate, including multiple generations of Carter descendants. Today, the Carter Family Fold is proudly managed by Janette’s daughter, Rita Jett Forrester, who works alongside other Carter descendants, volunteers from around the world, and a dedicated Board of Directors to ensure that the newest generation of young people will discover the wonders of our treasured mountain music.

Janette presented shows of acoustic-only old-time and bluegrass music in the grocery her Dad ran in the 40s and 50s from August, 1974 (and later at the Carter Family Fold), until her death in January, 2006 – devoting the last 32 years of her life to the music center. Despite the fact that she never graduated from high school, Janette Carter established a nonprofit, rural arts organization and a museum. Along the way, she won the NEA’s Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Award. NEA’s highest honor, the award paid tribute to her lifelong advocacy of the performance and preservation of Appalachian music.

This year’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Fred “Skip” Dickerson and Barbara Bryant. Skip married Joe and Nancy Carter’s daughter, Lisa. A loving husband, father, and grandfather, Skip died recently. We ask that you keep Lisa and her family in your prayers. Barbara Bryant is the late wife of James Bryant, Carter Fold board member, volunteer, and long-time sponsor and supporter of the Carter Family Fold. James and Barbara actually married at the Fold, and she supported the Fold for many years – volunteering her time and boundless energy every Saturday night as well as any other time her help was needed. Barbara died last fall, and she is greatly missed by all her family as well as the Fold family.

Tickets are available at the gate only; all seats are festival seating. Tickets are $10 for adults on Friday, $20 for adults on Saturday, or both days $25 for adults. Children’s tickets (ages 6 to 11) are $5 a day; under age 6 free. Gates open at 3:00 p.m. Friday and at noon on Saturday. Music on the stage gets underway at 6:00 p.m. on Friday night and at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

Performing on Friday, August 1, 2014:
Folk Soul Revival

Performing Saturday, August 2, 2014:
Mountain Park Old Time Band
New Ballards Branch Bogtrotters
Whitetop Mountain Band
Wry Straw featuring John McCutcheon
Great Smoky Mountain Cloggers

Performing Friday, August 1, & Saturday, August 2, 2014:
Lorrie Carter Bennett
Ronnie Williams

Carter Family music will open each set – Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Saturday night.
Friday’s performance by Folk Soul Revival will feature them on two sets. Saturday’s performers
will do both afternoon and evening sets. The music begins at 6:00 p.m. Friday and lasts until 11:00
p.m. On Saturday, it begins at 3:00 p.m. and runs until 6:00 pm, with a supper break from 6:00 to
7:00 p.m. Saturday evening’s performance starts at 7:00 p.m. and lasts until 11:00 p.m.

Ticket gates and craft and outside food booths open at 3:00 p.m. on Friday and at noon on
Saturday. A homemade quilt will be raffled off and given away during Saturday night’s
performance. The A.P. Carter Cabin Birthplace and the Carter Family Museum will be open from
the time the gates open each day until 8:00 p.m. There will be lots of music and jamming on the
grounds in addition to the scheduled performers inside the Carter Fold. Limited rough camping is

If you’ve ever witnessed a Carter Family Memorial Festival at the Fold, you know you’re going to
have a great time. However, if you’ve never been to one of the annual festivals or the Fold itself,
we encourage you to stop on by, do some dancing, and enjoy our famous mountain hospitality.
After only a few minutes, you will surely agree that the music and traditions of Appalachia are by
no means fading away – they’re stronger than ever.

Visit for more information, updates and more.

Tags: Carter Fold Music Festival40th AnniversaryWry StrawNew Ballards Branch BogtrottersWhitetop Mountain BandMusic FestivalEvent

Minnesota Bluegrass Festival Returns to El Rancho Mañana Campground

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Mon, 2014/07/21 - 12:11am

Richmond, MN -- The Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival, August 7-10, 2014, in Richmond, Minnesota, provides an inexpensive daytrip or weekend just 85 miles from the Twin Cities. Nominated three times as Event of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, it offers music and activities for the whole family: over 30 hours of concerts by national and regional bands, including Russell Moore (IBMA's most-awarded male vocalist) & IIIrd Tyme Out, and Grammy-nominated The Boxcars, over 20 hours of demonstrations and hands-on workshops, and old-time dances. Kids will enjoy over 20 hours of activities, including contests, crafts, games, and special stage shows. Many attendees bring instruments for around-the-clock jamming, both organized and impromptu.

Nominated three times as Event of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, the Festival offers music and activities for the whole family, including concerts by national and regional bands, demonstrations and hands-on workshops, and contests, crafts, games, and special stage shows for children.

The Festival is held at El Rancho Mañana (27302 Ranch Rd., Richmond, MN), a beautiful campground complete with a swimming beach and horseback riding. There are shower facilities in a couple of locations and porta-potties everywhere. The campground has 1208 acres of land with 25 miles of trails. A free tractor-drawn trolley service runs throughout the campgrounds, and there are dozens of vendors for dining and shopping.

It’s very budget-friendly: a family of four could come for the entire festival for about $154 (includes admission, camping, all shows, workshops, and kids’ activities.) That would be the price for two adults ($77 per person, advance purchase). Daily adult admission is $18-$30, teens are $10 for the entire weekend, and kids 12 & under are free.

For tickets, schedule, & information, visit or call 800-635-3037,

Tags: Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music FestivalMBOTMABluegrass FestivalEvent

Nightflyer Releases Single From New CD “Rail River & Road”

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sun, 2014/07/20 - 12:06am

Nightflyer announces the release of the single “Old River” from their upcoming sophomore release “Rail River & Road.” Written by Hazel Dickens, the song highlights the vocal talents of banjoist Ronnie Stewart and guitarist Richard Propps. Although Propps most often takes the lead, on this track he contributes his soaring tenor over Stewart’s hair-raising vocals. The band is rounded out by bassist Tony Kakaris, Tim Jackson on dobro and Rick Hayes on mandolin. Guest Clay Hess provided the rhythm guitar work.

The full “Rail River & Road” CD is due out late August. The project was tracked, mixed and mastered in Rick Hayes’ studio Hayes Productions. Hayes and Clay Hess, of The Clay Hess Band, co-produced and arranged the songs. The CD will be released on the Kang Records label.

“Old River” is now available to DJ’s via Airplay Direct at and for sale on the Nightflyer website at

Nightflyer, named in honor of Tony Rice’s song and album of the same name, consists of a group of talented professionals, hailing from Southwestern Ohio. The band is a perfect blend of contemporary bluegrass with strong traditional roots, a little gospel and just a touch of the blues thrown in – all culminating in a distinctive Nightflyer sound wrapped up in an entertaining show that appeals to all types of bluegrass fans.

The band's lead singer and guitarist Richard Propps consistently receives rave reviews on his powerful and often awe-inspiring vocals and excellent guitar playing. Superb mandolinist and occasional lead vocalist Rick Hayes, spent four years touring nationally with the Gibson Brothers, and recived a coveted Highlight Review from Bluegrass Unlimited on his solo CD "Fly By Night." Tony Kakaris is the rock solid heartbeat of Nightflyer on the standup bass, lending baritone as well as lead vocals to the group. Tim Jackson adds spice to the mix with his fiery dobro performances, and an occasional lead and baritone. Rounding out the sound is Ronnie Stewart, contributing killer banjo, and sweet lyrical tenor and lead vocals. Each individual is outstanding on their own, but this is truly a band that is greater than the sum of its parts.

Tags: NightflyerRail River & RoadsingleOld RiverCD Release

Australia's Mustered Courage Signs with Travianna Records

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sun, 2014/07/20 - 12:04am

Willis, VA -- Travianna Records is proud to announce the signing of one of Australia's most unique and sought after Americana bands, Mustered Courage, to the label. Like the Avett Brothers or Steel Drivers, Mustered Courage breathes new life into the bluegrass scene with a style that appeals to both traditionalists and newcomers alike.

Based in Melbourne, Australia, the band bridges the gap between traditional bluegrass and modern roots music. Consisting of three Aussies and a Texas expat – the quartet has risen to the top of Australia’s folk and roots scene on the strength of their energetic live shows and an eponymous debut album that won them a string of glowing reviews, loads of national radio support, an endorsement from Seal, and a trophy at the 2012 MusicOz Awards (Australia's Independent Music Awards). Their latest album, Powerlines, has also garnered the band two Golden Guitar nominations at the 2014 CMAA Country Music Awards of Australia for Alternative Country Album of the Year and Instrumental of the Year for the track “Allegheny."

Travianna Records president, Mark Hodges is incredibly excited to bring Mustered Courage's music to the U.S. "I first saw them last year in Nashville at the world famous Station Inn when they were here for a short tour and had stopped by to do a showcase at the Americana Music Conference. Blew me away. Total Entertainers. The real deal," he says.

Mustered Courage’s quick ascent has not gone unnoticed in music industry circles, both in Australia and abroad. Their down-home picking style has afforded them the opportunity to play many of the major Australian festivals, perform an official showcase at September 2013's Americana Music Association Conference and Festival in Nashville, and they are about to embark on another 50-date summer tour of the USA this summer, staying through October where they will meet in Raleigh, NC for the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass events.

Visit for USA Tour Dates and Locations
Visit the band on Facebook at

Tags: Mustered CourageAustraliaTravianna RecordsBusinessBand Announcement

Jerry Douglas Announces "The Earls of Leicester"

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sat, 2014/07/19 - 12:10am

Nashville, TN -- The Earls of Leicester, a tribute to legendary bluegrass artists Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, will be released by Rounder Records on September 16, 2014. "This record is something I've been waiting my whole life to do," veteran Dobro master Jerry Douglas says of the self-titled debut by the new all-star dream team combo that he has assembled, organized and produced.

The six-man band encompasses Douglas plus acclaimed writer, producer, and solo artist Shawn Camp on lead vocals and guitar, renowned Nashville banjoist Charlie Cushman on banjo and guitars, veteran songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and Hot Rize member Tim O'Brien on vocals and mandolin, second-generation fiddle phenom Johnny Warren, and Barry Bales, Douglas' longtime bandmate in Alison Krauss and Union Station, on vocals and bass.

The new group is the product of Douglas's lifelong passion for the music of bluegrass pioneers Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and their band the Foggy Mountain Boys, whose seminal work in the '50s and '60s created the template for what we know as contemporary bluegrass, and transcended traditional genre barriers to popularize the music with an unprecedented mass audience.

The punningly-titled The Earls of Leicester revisits 14 timeless favorites from the Flatt and Scruggs songbook, infusing such rousing numbers as "Big Black Train," "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down," "Shuckin' the Corn," "Dig A Hole in the Meadow" and "Dim Lights, Thick Smoke" with fresh energy, while maintaining the same emotional authenticity, instrumental expertise and vibrant creative spirit that made the original versions such enduring classics.

"Flatt and Scruggs were the major influence on me when I was growing up," recalls Douglas, who was first inspired to pick up his instrument by Flatt and Scruggs' legendary Dobroist Josh Graves. "I was around seven years old when I first saw them, and there were two or three more times after that. It had a huge impact on me. I remember the warmth of the auditorium, I remember the smell of the popcorn, I remember the outfits they were wearing. It's still all very vivid to me, and it's still influencing me 50 years later.

Douglas had long dreamed of rounding up a band to perform Flatt and Scruggs material, but held off until he could gather musicians of sufficient caliber to do justice to the material. His plans finally began to take shape when he played on a session with fiddler Johnny Warren—the son of Fiddlin' Paul Warren, a longtime mainstay of Flatt and Scruggs' band—and Johnny's longtime banjo-playing partner Charlie Cushman.

"The banjo, the fiddle and the Dobro came together in a way that sounded exactly what I'd heard so many years ago, the first time I saw Flatt and Scruggs," Douglas recalls. "Right then, it dawned on me that this was my chance to complete that dream, and I didn't want to let it go by. So I called Tim O'Brien and Barry Bales. The hardest part for me was finding the right lead singer, but then my wife suggested Shawn Camp. We got everyone together one night and had a rehearsal, and I realized that we had to do this."

With Douglas producing, the musicians largely replicated Flatt and Scruggs' original recording methods and played appropriate vintage instruments, while using many of the same unconventional tunings that contributed to Flatt and Scruggs' distinctive sound. The songs were selected to focus upon the band's most successful and innovative years, roughly from 1954 to 1965.

"It's kind of an introduction to Flatt and Scruggs, the way I hear them," Douglas notes, adding, "much of my motivation was selfish, because I just wanted to hear this sound again. It took me a long time to find the right people who could pull it off and make it sound authentic and not corny, and make you feel like you're listening to Flatt and Scruggs during those years."

The same abiding musical passion that drove Douglas to create The Earls of Leicester has been a constant throughout a career that spans four decades and encompasses more than 2000 recordings. In addition to his renown as an instrumentalist, the 13-time Grammy winner and three-time Country Music Association Musician of the Year—who's been described as "my favorite musician" by John Fogerty and "the Muhammad Ali of the Dobro" by James Taylor—has established a reputation as a ceaselessly inventive artist who's adept at incorporating elements of bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, blues and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision.

As a band member, collaborator, session musician and genre-bending solo artist, Douglas' inventive, eloquent playing graces over 2000 albums, including 13 under his own name, along with releases by artists as varied as Garth Brooks, Ray Charles, Elvis Costello, John Fogerty, Bill Frisell, Charlie Haden, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Dolly Parton, Phish, the Chieftains and his early hero Earl Scruggs, as well as the eight-million-plus selling soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? and its spinoff live disc Down from the Mountain.

As a producer, Douglas has helmed albums by such notable acts as the Del McCoury Band, Maura O'Connell, Jesse Winchester and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. He's been part of such distinguished groups as the Whites, J.D. Crowe and the New South, the Country Gentlemen and Strength in Numbers. Since 1998, he's been a key member of Rounder labelmate Alison Krauss's much-loved band Union Station, touring extensively and playing on a series of platinum albums.

Douglas is distinctly excited about the future of The Earls of Leicester. "I built this with the idea that it would be an event band, not a band that's gonna go out and hit the road for three years," he says. "I want to feel six years old every time I play this music, and it wouldn't feel that way if we had to do it every night. I want us to enjoy every time we do it, and I want us to remember why we enjoy it.

"I believe this band has the potential to have its own evolution, beyond just doing Flatt and Scruggs tunes, but this record is very, very exciting for me," he continues. "I'm hoping people will hear it and ask 'What's that?', then do some investigating and discover where this stuff came from. We have a younger audience for this kind of music now, and it is important to me that the listeners understand the origins of what they are hearing."

Tags: The Earls of LeicesterJerry DouglasLester Flatt and Earl ScruggsBand Announcement

Bluegrass Legend Jesse McReynolds Celebrates His 85th Birthday

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sat, 2014/07/19 - 12:07am

Nashville, TN -- “I’m here as a friend and a fan,” Grand Ole Opry star Jan Howard declared to a crowd of Jesse McReynolds’ closest friends and family on July 13th, 2014, in Gallatin, Tennessee. It was a lively gathering on a sunny Sunday at Jesse’s farm, the Pick Inn, to celebrate his 85th birthday and there was no shortage of tributes from Jesse’s colleagues, neighbors and friends. Nine of Nashville’s finest, Homer Bradley (the unofficial “Mayor of Cairo”), WSM announcer Eddie Stubbs, fiddle-player Jim Buchanan, Opry stars Jeannie Seely and Jan Howard, Carl Jackson, banjo-player Mike Scott, Larry Stephenson and Sam Bush, roasted McReynolds who was praised for his sense of humor, his mentorship of other artists, his contributions to bluegrass music and, most of all, his sincere and kind personality. “He was just what I wanted him to be,” said Stubbs of his first meeting with Jesse, “we learned so much just by observing these people…they set the bar really high.” Jeannie Seely echoed that sentiment telling the party, “he always kicks things up just a little notch.”

Orchestrated by Master of Ceremonies, radio host Harv Mason, the nine roasters proclaimed their difficulty in finding anything negative, however silly, to joke about with Jesse. “There’s simply nothing bad you can say about that man right there,” Jackson insisted, a fact that was seconded by the others. They told stories of the road, of riding on the tour bus throughout the years, of how the brother-duo Jim & Jesse had influenced their careers and of Jesse’s unique style. “He’s his own person,” remarked Sam Bush and Larry Stephenson called him, “a class act.” A fitting tribute to a man who’s spent over six decades entertaining the world with his cross-picking mandolin playing and quality bluegrass music.

It wouldn’t be a birthday party without a little music so Jesse took to the stage joined by members of the Virginia Boys band, his grandson Garrett McReynolds and his friends the Crowe Brothers, Del McCoury and Sam Bush. Together, they treated the crowd to bluegrass and country favorites providing a perfect ending to the celebration. “They would come out dressed like a million dollars and put on a great show,” Stephenson said of watching Jim and Jesse perform throughout the years. At the celebration of his 85th birthday, Jesse McReynolds proved, once again, that the show does, indeed, continue on. “He’s not content to rest on his laurels,” Eddie Stubbs observed. Jesse agreed, “I may be 85 but I still have a lot of things I want to do.”

Jesse McReynolds became a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1964. Alongside his brother Jim, he’s recorded more than fifty albums featuring his innovative cross-picking and split-string style of mandolin playing. Jesse is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Heritage Music Fellowship Award and a member of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s “Hall of Honor”. He was nominated for a Grammy as part of the celebrated duo Jim and Jesse in 1992 for the album “Music Among Friends” and Jesse received four additional nominations for his work with other artists. Following Jim’s death in 2002, Jesse carried on the McReynolds tradition touring with his band, the Virginia Boys, playing festivals and concerts across the country as well as making regular appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. His current release, Jim & Jesse McReynolds & the Virginia Boys – Radio Shows, a collection of 24 fan favorites recorded in 1962, is available via Rural Rhythm Records. More information on Jesse’s long career can be found at

Tags: Jesse McReynoldsBirthdayGrand Ole Opry

D'Addario Launches The NS Micro Universal Tuner

Mandolin Cafe - Fri, 2014/07/18 - 6:15pm
D'Addario is proud to launch the new NS Micro Universal Tuner, the newest members of its clip-on tuner family. A tuner that is packed with features and designed to be seen at any angle, the NS Micro Universal Tuner features a reversible, multi-color display and metronome in a small, compact design.

Aug. 2nd Song of the Mountains Hosts Crowe Brothers, Cody Schuler

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Thu, 2014/07/17 - 11:30pm

Marion, VA -- Song of the Mountains will present another fine concert at the Lincoln Theatre on Saturday, August 2nd at 7:00 pm. The concert will be taped for national distribution across the United States for Public Television. “We are very proud that this is our tenth season of presenting our award winning concert series to the U.S.”, states Tim White the host and executive coordinator of the series. “Our new episodes that were taped last year for Season 9 just started airing on television across America and we are on track to have 24 more episodes for national distribution in 2015”, says White.

The August 2nd concert taping will feature several bands including the Crowe Brothers, Cody Shuler and Pine Mountain Railroad, a Deeper Shade of Blue, Annabelle’s Curse and the music of Mipso.

After seven albums, over forty years of making music together and multiple appearances on the stage of the legendary Grand Ole Opry, The Crowe Brothers continue their tradition of providing beautifully blended vocal harmonies along with great instrumental picking. This will make their second appearance on Song of the Mountains on August 2nd.

Cody Shuler & Pine Mountain Railroad is a National touring bluegrass band who has over the years racked up Grammy, Dove, and IBMA nominations. They’ve had five #1 songs on the Bluegrass charts and also won Bluegrass Gospel song of the Year by Singing News Magazine. Having performed on some of the biggest stages in Bluegrass and Gospel music, thousands of fans have enjoyed the sounds of Cody Shuler and Pine Mountain Railroad.

A Deeper Shade of Blue hail from Monroe, North Carolina and have been together for 12 years adding the 5th piece (dobro) in 2009. The members include Brian Hinson, bass, Jim Fraley, banjo, Troy Pope, guitar, Jason Fraley, mandolin and Frank Poindexter, dobro. They have 6 cd projects out but the last two "Bluegrass to the Bone" and "No More Blues" were their “most fun” to record with mostly original tracks. A Deeper Shade of Blue gives all the glory for their success and talents to the Good Lord Above.

The renegade traditionalists of Mipso, Joseph Terrell on guitar, Jacob Sharp on mandolin, and Wood Robinson on upright bass are doing their part to take three-part harmony and Appalachian influences into new territory. The three North Carolina songwriters wandered off the path blazed by Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson to find a new clearing for their southern string band sound.

The trio recently graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill (2 are Morehead Scholars), have toured from California to New York, toured Japan and China in 2013 as well as opened for David Holt, Steep Canyon Rangers, Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out in their short time of being a band.

Annabelle’s Curse is an emotional compulsion. They are a cry of camaraderie to the wasted youth of our generation, an emulsion of the hope and the wickedness in our hearts. Hailing from Bristol, Virginia, an area that throbs as the heart of Appalachian roots music, they have traveled beyond long-established folk to craft a profoundly distinctive and soaring sound. While deeply grounded in musical tradition, each song offers the contrast of strong progression woven with striking banjo and guitar riffs, evocative lyrical harmony, stirring imagery, and infectious energy.

The Song of the Mountains concert and taping on August 2nd will begin at 7:00 pm at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, VA. Tickets and information is available at 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 MountainsCrowe BrothersCody SchulerBroadcast PBSEvent

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