Bluegrass and folk news
The winner of the Flamekeeper Prize Package was determined through a random drawing from the 5000 fans on the band's Facebook page. Terry Williams of Lantana, Texas has been announced as the winner and has been awarded a prize package that includes two complimentary tickets to one of the band's concerts, a meet & greet and private jam session with the band and the opportunity to perform a song live with the band during the show.
This past weekend, Cleveland and his father, John Cleveland, Livers and his wife Steffani, and fellow Flamekeeper bandmate Josh Richards, travelled to Warrens On Route 60, a local barber shop, for the official cutting of Nathan's hair which was captured on video.
The response to the "Locks For Likes" contest has been so encouraging, that Nathan Livers made an impromptu statement to do it all over again when they reach 10,000 "likes" on their Facebook page. In addition to video, photos of the hair-cutting event were also captured and have been posted to the band's Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/mcflamekeeper.
Cybergrass announced the Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper Launch "Locks For Likes" Facebook Contest On September 5th, 2013 and the momentum just never stopped. Now, we have the finale and they are heading to 10,000 likes for the next haircut.Michael Cleveland & FlamekeeperNathan LiversLocks For LikesPromotion
Big Country Bluegrass celebrated another milestone this week as the band was formed 27 years ago. Big Country Bluegrass delivers their own hard driving and heartfelt style of bluegrass music, and it makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform. Tommy and Teresa Sells formed Big Country Bluegrass in the late 1980s, and the group's name comes from the instrumental "Big Country" that the late Jimmy Martin recorded many years ago.
Whether it's at a festival in Missouri, on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, or at a small intimate concert in their hometown of Independence, Virginia, the band brings back memories reminiscent of the early days of bluegrass music.
All band members live in and around the Virginia-Carolina Blue Ridge, and their music reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region which is at the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail.
Tommy plays mandolin and does most of the emcee work while Teresa plays rhythm guitar, sings lead and the high harmony vocals. Eddie Gill handles most of the distinctive lead vocals and plays the guitar. Lynwood Lunsford, a former member of both Lost and Found and Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys, plays banjo and also sings harmony for the group. Tony King of Galax, Virginia, plays the acoustic upright bass, and bluegrass veteran Tim Laughlin, of Bristol, Tennessee, plays fiddle and sings harmony with the band.
The recent success of Big Country Bluegrass on the bluegrass charts has helped spread the word about their traditional sound. The current lineup is Tommy Sells & Teresa Sells, Lynwood Lunsford, Tony King, Eddie Gill, and Tim Laughlin.
Big Country Bluegrass plays music that has become known to many as Galax or Mt. Airy style bluegrass. It is straight ahead, hard edged bluegrass with no frills. The rhythm and timing are solid, the instrumental work is clean and tasteful, and the vocals are from the heart.
The band has released over a dozen albums and CDs over the years. Their latest release, The Boys in Hats and Ties, has garnered the prestigious # 1 spot in both the Bluegrass Unlimited magazine and the Bluegrass Music Profiles’ radio air-play charts. Tom T. and Dixie Hall wrote the title track. For more information on the band, go to http://www.bigcountrybluegrass.com/.Tags: Big Country BluegrassAnniversary
Scott Hopkins completed his first self-titled solo music project on June 8, 2013. The CD features ten original tunes and one cover. Guest artists include Andy Hall, Casey Driessen, Tyler Grant, Bryn Davies, Mike Compton, Luke Bulla, Junior Barber, Jesse Cobb, Dave Bevins, Billy Contreras, Beau Stapleton, Andy Greene, Mat Kane, Sten Isachsen and many others!
He currently plays two banjos: A Deering Golden Era that has that iconic pre-war Bluegrass banjo sound and a Nechville Phantom that has a radius fingerboard for easy playability and a mellower sound because of its wooden tone ring.
"Scott Hopkins seems to be ready to add his name to the growing list of hot young banjo players....Hopkins has certainly proven he deserves to stand with the best instrumentalists in progressive bluegrass, and his debut CD gives fans of hot picking a chance to hear some of the best young players around stretch out and interact on some challenging and interesting new tunes."
— Bluegrass Unlimited
Scott is a banjo player living in the Albany, NY area. He currently plays and sings with Beartracks, a high-energy traditional Bluegrass band with the brother-sister duet of Tom Venne and Julie Hogan, and with entertaining singer songwriter, Jim Gaudet as a member of the Railroad Boys.
He works as a 4-12 grade public school band teacher and received music education degrees from the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam and the University of Connecticut.
Growing up, Scott's mother, Bonnie, sang and played guitar to him and his two brothers, Derrick and Phillip. His father, Howard, bought a banjo for her to learn but she only rarely played it, so it usually remained in the closet. At age 15, Scott developed an interest in music and began playing the tuba with his high school band and electric bass with the jazz band. And then it happened; Howard was listening to a Flatt & Scruggs recording one day while working on the house and Scott realized that the amazing sounds he heard were coming from a banjo! And there was one in the closet!
Throughout high school, Scott took banjo lessons from local legend Doug Knight while continuing along with tuba and bass. He soon realized that music was his future and decided to pursue a career as a music teacher. Unfortunately, the dream of being a public school teacher and banjo performer would never intersect, so he decided to pursue each in parallel and went to college as a music education major with tuba as his primary instrument. His best achievements in college were winning the Crane Concerto Competition on tuba and spending a summer as a banjo performer at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, VA.
Shortly after graduating from college, Scott got a call from the Vermont based Bluegrass band, Breakaway, to audition for an open banjo spot based on a recommendation from Eric Gibson. He got the job, and during his tenure with Breakaway, Scott contributed original banjo instrumentals on two recording projects and became an integral part of the band's sound. After moving to the Albany area, Scott started his own Bluegrass band, Fairview Avenue which performed throughout the Northeast. He is now a proud member of Beartracks, Caroline MotherJudge and the Urban Holiness Society, and the Wheelbarrow Boys.Tags: Scott HopkinsCD ReleaseBanjo
Frank Solivan and banjoist Mike Munford (2013 International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year), guitarist Chris Luquette (IBMA Instrumentalist of the Year Momentum Award winner) and doghouse bassist Dan Booth simmer a bluegrass/newgrass stew from instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills so hot, they also earned 2012 and 2013 Best Bluegrass Band honors from the Washington Area Music Association. They will be performing at Common Ground on the Hill Saturday, January 11 at 8 PM.
Since Frank Solivan left the cold climes of Alaska for the bluegrass hotbed of Washington, D.C., he’s built a reputation as a monster mandolinist — and become a major festival attraction with his band, Dirty Kitchen. The band flavors every note of their most recent album, On the Edge, which Engine 145 dubbed, “a fine sophomore release from one of the most exciting bands in bluegrass today.”
Already one of the hottest acts on the bluegrass/Americana scene, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen have added more volume to their considerable buzz with two wins at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 24th annual awards ceremony, held Sept. 26, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. Banjo player Mike Munford was named Banjo Player of the Year and guitarist Chris Luquette received the Momentum Award for Instrumentalist of the Year, a performance award.
Their shared history goes back to their teens; they met in Alaska when Solivan was 18 and Booth was 14. Luquette also hails from the Pacific Northwest: Seattle. Munford honed his chops in the D.C.-area bluegrass scene that spawned Emmylou Harris, the Seldom Scene and other talents. When they stir their instrumental skills and fine vocals together, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen create one intoxicating, instantly addicting elixir.
Last year's release of On The Edge showcases one of the most exciting and dynamic bands in bluegrass, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen. With virtuoso guests Tim O’Brien, Rob Ickes and vocalist Megan McCormick joining Solivan’s skilled team of pickers, the album's 10 tracks virtually jump off of the CD as the band applies the muscle of traditional bluegrass and finesse of newgrass to material that reaches across the bluegrass and Americana spectrums. Frank Solivan’s tenor vocals soar over virtuosic picking provided by banjoist Mike Munford, guitarist Chris Luquette and bassist Danny Booth. With the release of On The Edge Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen became one of the most sought after bands in bluegrass.
Common Ground on the Hill was founded on the premise that there is a common human thread unifying all people expressed in our various artistic traditions. This is the organization's 19th year of seeking common ground through roots-based arts. The embodiment of this path will be a music and arts community where master musicians, artists, craftspeople, and creative thinkers will provide a quality learning experience for an audience which we will endeavor to increase in size, diversity, and influence. It is essential to the success of this mission that the artists, teachers, and students, reflect local, national, and international communities. Follow the keyword tag on this page to find out more about Common Ground on the Hill./a
Since Frank Solivan left the cold climes of Alaska for the bluegrass hotbed of Washington, D.C., he’s built a reputation as a monster mandolinist — and become a major festival attraction with his band, Dirty Kitchen. The band flavors every note of their most recent album,
Nashville, TN -- Shannon Slaughter is proud to announce new band members and updates for the bluegrass band County Clare. Shannon and his wife Heather recently welcomed the addition of a new baby girl to their family. “While Heather will be scaling back some on performing with County Clare and enjoying time with our new little girl, she will still be a part of the band. We are extremely dedicated to being the best parents we can be with Rae. We want her raised around family, friends, and the bluegrass music community because we believe they are the best fans in the world,” says Shannon.
New members Jesse Daniel (Mandolin, Dobro and Vocals), Casey Foster (Banjo, Guitar), Cliff Bailey (Bass/Vocals), and Stephen Burwell (fiddle) will join Shannon and Heather in the studio this summer to record a new album. Shannon said, “We are really excited about these new musicians and people and believe County Clare will have even greater success in 2014.”
The band is still celebrating success from their album, ONE MORE ROAD with two chart singles. Their outstanding bluegrass version of the Top 40 hit “If I Were A Carpenter” appears on Bluegrass Today’s Top 30 Songs of 2013 and hit #1 on Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction’s Most Played Tracks in September. The title track from the album is currently #16 on the Bluegrass Today Monthly Top 20.
County Clare had a very successful 2013 appearing on Radio and TV shows including Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction Track by Track with host Kyle Cantrell, the popular TV show Absolutely Alabama, and much more.
To keep up to date on County Clare, learn more about each new band member, and view their upcoming tour dates, please visit countyclareband.com and join them on Facebook.Tags: Shannon Slaughter & CountyClareBand AnnouncementJesse DanielCasey FosterCliff BaileyStephen Burwell
In an interview following the single-act concert, Mark Rigney shared his excitement about the evening performances. “The audience filled the house and was very engaging and lively. Playing in a historic theater to a great crowd that came out to hear only you is really special.”
Penned by guitarist-vocalist Andrew Rigney and producer Stephen Mougin, the song “Double or Nothing” is the title track of their current album (released September 10, 2013).
Mougin sees this video as an opportunity to re-introduce the band to the bluegrass community who may not have seen the group recently.
“The Rigneys have been on the bluegrass scene for a number of years, though many folks may not be familiar with their show. We wanted fans, Dj’s, and promoters to hear what they currently sound like, and what they are capable of as a live band. The group has been working hard over the last couple of years and has taken giant strides as musicians and entertainers.”
Several songs from the November 15, 2013 concert will be released over the next several months.Tags: The RigneysVideosingleDouble or NothingLive Performance
The video, directed and edited by Franklyn, is a colorful romp through an arts and crafts world filled with dancing home-made puppets. This simple approach provides the perfect backdrop to the new single, an up-tempo bluegrass tune about a greedy pig, a grumpy hound dog and Little Miss Fuddy Dud, who all discover that it’s never too late to turn a new leaf over. “When Dave started talking about paper pigs and cardboard clouds, I thought maybe he’d lost his mind”, says Weeks, “but I’ve learned to just trust his artistic vision.”
Weeks has already made his mark on the national music scene with 4 critically acclaimed CDs, multiple #1 hits on Sirius XM satellite radio channel 78 (Kids Place Live), and a first place award in the USA Songwriting Competition children's music category.
Franklyn, who produces films for the Telly Award winning Pikes Peak Library District's Video Production Center, also directed the live action music video to Steve’s hit single “Bartleby Finkleton Will Not Take a Bath.”
Greedy Pig, an accomplished paper puppet and star of the film claims to be an Oscar contender for his role although few believe that he is cut out for it.
The Change of Heart video is below:
“...if this video from Steve Weeks for a brand new song of his, 'Change of Heart,' doesn't put a smile on your face, then I just don't know what to do with you.”
- Stefan Shepherd Zooglobble
Change of Heart is also available for purchase on CDBaby.com as a single download. More information can be found at www.steveweeksmusic.com.Tags: Steve WeekssingleVideo