Bluegrass and folk news

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Balsam Range Rewards Fans with New Balsam Nation

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Mon, 2014/05/19 - 11:43pm

Nashville, TN -- Members of the award winning band Balsam Range have earned a reputation for giving back. The band of friends from Haywood County, NC has raised more than half a million dollars for a variety of charities. Now, the giving extends to their ever-growing fan base as well.

Balsam Range has announced the return of Balsam Nation, a fun-filled benefit opportunity for their fans and lovers of great music everywhere through the Balsam Nation site.

This unique website offers free digital music downloads, exclusive music for purchase, learning tools like their original Pick With The Band soundtracks as well as original song charts, merchandise and behind the scenes videos. More benefits will be added over time. The band started Balsam Nation in 2012 and has enhanced the direct-to-fan experience with a new website, more music and special offerings.

“We are so happy to be back with Balsam Nation! We had such an amazing response, and bringing surprises to our friends has been a blast,” says Tim Surrett. “We have made some changes, based on fan suggestions. We’re so grateful for our extended music family and we promise more cool stuff to follow!”

Balsam Range’s fourth album, Papertown, spent an impressive five consecutive months as the #1 album on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey, produced four #1 singles, and ultimately won the coveted IBMA Album of the Year Award.

The band is set to release its fifth album, the appropriately titled Five, in June. Check out the new Balsam Range and Balsam Nation website and join for free at http://BalsamNation.com/

Tags: Balsam RangeBalsam NationFiveWebsite

If Nobody's Listening, Is the Grass Still Blue?

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sun, 2014/05/18 - 11:45pm

By Special Guest Contributor, Bluegrass recording artist James Reams
There's a raging debate going on in the world of bluegrass between traditionalists and futurists. But bluegrass isn’t going to make a sound if nobody’s listening a generation from now.

In 2009, a study by Simmons Research for IBMA revealed that 79% of the bluegrass audience was 34 years of age or older, and a quick examination of that report shows that the median age of today’s audience is 48-50 years of age. But where are their kids? Next time you go to a bluegrass festival or concert, look out over the crowd and see if you can find a teenager or family with little kids. Most times it’s like playing “Where’s Waldo?” in a blizzard.

Almost every festival touts itself as “family-friendly” and the tickets are usually budget friendly too. Bluegrass festivals should be as crowded as a Chucky Cheese on a Saturday. So why aren’t they? Why aren’t young families flocking to our festivals by the SUV-full?

In these days of video games, smartphones (a matter of opinion), leaping learning games, etc…it seems like kids are being further isolated and insulated from social gatherings. They “live” within the shell of the electronic device du jour and rarely venture out even for family meals. Their eyes glued to tiny screens, they shuffle through the day like video zombies.

And music has joined the video game feeding frenzy. Luckily e-games featuring fake instruments have been replaced in recent years with real instruments, but it’s still no match for the hands on experience of playing an instrument with a group of friends or family. Yet the popularity of these games proves that kids and young adults are still drawn to music like wi-flies to the Internet. Now, I’m not saying that technology is bad, I’m just saying that things seem to be a bit out of balance between isolation and socialization for our young people.

What can we do to break these kids out of their selfmade shackles and into the wide blue yonder of bluegrass? How can we make the bluegrass experience more friendly and inviting than the latest electronic gizmo?

People are still social beings and bluegrass music is a social thing — it’s meant to be played by a group. We can used this instinctive longing to belong to get people out of their plastic-plated world and disembodied peer groups and into the flesh and blood world of music. Grandpa plays the harmonica? How cool is that! Aunt Betty can whistle like songbird? Who knew? Next thing you know dusty fiddles, like skeletons, come out of the closet and the family is actually laughing and having a good time — together. This music of ours is a unifying force to be reckoned with. So how do we get our foot in the door?

I think we start by recognizing that sound isn’t the future of bluegrass…kids are. We can holler about music styles ‘til we’re blue in the face, but if the next generation doesn’t embrace bluegrass then we’re just blowing smoke. And where’s the best place to find kids? The schools. There are lots of great articles out there on the Internet (https://ibma.org/node/67) about how to get bluegrass into schools. For teachers, one of the most successful tactics involves simply bringing your musical instrument to school. That’s how Anni Beach got JamPak (http://www.jampak.com/) started in Arizona.

Bluegrass associations can be a great resource for drained teachers and bled-dry school districts. Almost every association has some kind of youth program and should be reaching out to schools to bring in their groups for performances. Just think of the reaction at a “show and tell” featuring canjos and washtub basses! Remember, what kids experience today will be the voice of bluegrass in the future.

And speaking of associations, you don’t have to be a musician to join a bluegrass association. Most of these organizations need every single able and disabled body they can get! Even if you can’t get out much anymore, your dues will help fund programs like school concerts, youth groups, and instruments for the underprivileged.

Jamming is one of those rare art forms that embraces everyone, no matter their age or skill level. It’s like a rollercoaster, exciting and fun to watch, but even better if you can be a participant. Seasoned jammers have a great opportunity to share their knowledge with a beginner or wannabe musician that may be too intimidated to join in. Watch for those fringe-feeders, engage them in conversation, break that unbroken circle and encourage them to pull up a chair. Pete Wernick at DrBanjo.com has some great suggestions about jamming with newbies (http://bit.ly/1jXGXBA). And jamming isn’t limited to festivals and assigned meeting places. When the weather’s nice, sit out in your front yard and pick (please pick responsibly!). It won’t be long until you’ll have more than pigeons for an audience and dogs as backup singers.

Bluegrass festivals need our help. I’m not talking about the mega-festivals here, but the local, small-town events that are the bread and butter for many bands. The younger generation just isn’t going to sit still and listen for hours to stage performers that move around less than an opera singer and don’t even have a dancing purple dinosaur. Some kid friendly-activities are needed at these events. How about clogging classes? Musical note hopscotch? Hog calling contests? Cake walks, square dancing, go fish ponds…the list of possible events is only limited by the volunteers that will staff them. Tapping into organizations like the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts, local churches, Rotary Clubs, VFW, Moose Lodge, PTA, even Fire Departments and Police Departments can provide the much needed manpower to make a festival into an all day family event that families will actually attend.

A friend of mine recently commented that bluegrass festivals are like the Stealth bombers of the music world. They sneak into town and out again before anybody knows they’ve been there. Most promoters just don’t have the budget or the time to cover all the bases. The next time a bluegrass festival is in your area help get the word out. Pass out flyers and posters wherever you go (make ‘em and/or print ‘em off the website). Call your local radio stations and ask about the festival. If they don’t know about it, tell ‘em! Talk up the festival to waitresses, hairdressers, barbers, teachers, grocery store and hotel clerks, even send a Letter to the Editor of your local paper. If you’re even minimally handy with tools, whip up a batch of canjos (http://www.instructables.com/id/Making-a-Canjo/) to take to the festival. Most can be made for about $5. And, if you’re a musician, volunteer to lead a festival workshop geared to kids…after all, who’s going to be buying your CDs 20 years from now?

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I’m talking about Internet-based meetup groups or discussion groups in your area. If there aren’t any bluegrass-based Internet groups near you, then start one! It’s pretty painless to do and why not use it as an opportunity to connect with a young person in your life. You might find out that your neighbor down the street has been hiding a bluegrass addiction! And, where 2 or 3 are gathered…you have a bluegrass jam!

We all have a part to play in the future of bluegrass. And, with our help, the next generation will still be listening and it’s gonna sound great! I want to know what you’re doing to promote bluegrass music. Send your ideas and comments to me at james@jamesreams.com. I’d love to hear them.

Tags: James ReamsEditorialOpinionBluegrass

Bluegrass Museum Ramping Up For ROMP

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sun, 2014/05/18 - 11:43pm

Old Crow Medicine Show, David Grisman, Sam Bush, Railroad Earth, Ricky Skaggs, Del McCoury, Sarah Jarosz, and 23 String Band are among the dozens of talented acts set to perform at Owensboro's ROMP Festival, June 25-28. ROMP Festival is a four-day music and camping festival hosted at both the museum, in downtown Owensboro, and at Yellow Creek Park, a gorgeous 150-acre facility that is a perfect setting for a music festival. ROMP features traditional and legendary bluegrass artists alongside old time and progressive bluegrass musicians who expand the boundaries to the far-flung roots and branches of bluegrass.

Entering its 11th year, ROMP is the main fundraising event for the International Bluegrass Music Museum. Thousands of people from around the world will gather for this unique, award-winning festival which includes music performances by 29 stellar bands, organized kids’ activities including a water spray park and playground, healthy food concessions, original arts and crafts, artist workshops, a film festival, new exhibits, and the infamous after parties.

A festival like no other, ROMP encourages attendees to bring their instruments and participate in jam sessions which are held throughout the park at all hours of the day and night. At Yellow Creek Park, the music on the Main Stage is just part of the attraction. A huge array of artist workshops are also going on throughout the day, giving musicians the chance to interact and teach fans and players of all ages and skill levels. Other workshops and special treats include songwriting, dance, yoga, and nature trails. ROMP after parties are set in Yellow Creek Park's Pioneer Village and keep the live music streaming and attendees dancing until the early morning hours.

The International Bluegrass Music Museum, located in the RiverPark Center in Owensboro, is the world’s only facility dedicated to the history and preservation of the international history of bluegrass music. Museum admission is free to festivalgoers. A free shuttle service takes campers and other ROMP attendees from Yellow Creek Park to the museum and back from 10 AM to 5 PM during the festival. There will be live performances, original films, and new exhibits at the museum taking place during the daytime hours.

Tickets and camping passes are available online at www.rompfest.com, or by calling the Bluegrass Museum - 888-MY-BANJO. border=0 height=200 width=269 /

Tags: International Bluegrass Music MuseumROMPBluegrass Roots & Branches FestivalBluegrass FestivalEventOld Crow Medicine ShowDavid GrismanSam BushRailroad EarthRicky SkaggsDel McCourySarah Jarosz

Detour Offering Free Bluegrass Song Download

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sun, 2014/05/18 - 11:42pm

Nashville, TN -- For a limited time only, Detour is offering a free download of their new single, "Too Blue To Have The Blues" from their new album, Going Nowhere Fast. Just a few weeks ago, this hot new tune, made its debut at #6 on Bluegrass Today’s Top 20 Song Chart. Fans can download the new song at Mountain Fever Records' drop box here.

Female Vocalist Missy Armstrong"Too Blue To Have The Blues" was written by Jeff Rose and Terry Herd. The song is highlighted by the beautiful lead vocals of Melissa Armstrong with Peter Knupfer (Violin), Scott Zystra (Guitar & Vocals), Jeff Rose (Mandolin & Vocals), Lloyd Douglas (Banjo), and Jeremy Darrow (Bass). Going Nowhere Fast is now available on iTunes, Amazon.com and dozens of other outlets.

Detour is now on tour including upcoming performance at the Bluegrass on the Plains Festival in Auburn, AL May 31-June 1; the Festival of the Bluegrass in Lexington, KY on June 25; the Bill Monroe Memorial Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival in Bean Blossom, IN and many other large and notable events.

The band is well-known for their tight, focused harmonies, precision instrumentals, and creative melodies that take listeners down a unique bluegrass road. The band’s first single, “Too Blue To Have the Blues,” written by Jeff Rose and Terry Herd, hit radio in February.

Detour is a "bluegrass powerhouse" that features heartfelt originals, tightly focused harmonies, and high-steppin' instrumentals from a superbly talented sextet of veterans of Michigan's bluegrass scene. "Quarterline Road," the kick-off tune from the group's latest CD, A Better Place, soared to the top of BluegrassToday.com's weekly airplay chart and scored in the top 50 of Roots Music Report's national folk/bluegrass charts.

The band’s lineup features the soaring lead vocals of Missy Armstrong, the championship fiddling of Peter Knupfer, the inventive rhythm lines of Jeremy Darrow on bass, the soulful guitar of Scott Zylstra, the hard driving mandolin and superb song writing of Jeff Rose, and the stellar banjo playing of Lloyd Douglas.

Detour has quickly become a standout—“a bluegrass joyride” that the Lansing State Journal acclaims as “perhaps the best bluegrass band Michigan has yet produced.” Bob Blackman, host of “The Folk Tradition” on WKAR-FM, says "for the total bluegrass package, take this Detour!"

Fans can learn more about Detour including a complete tour schedule, please visit Detourbluegrass.com and join them on Facebook, Twitter.

Tags: DetourDigital DownloadsCD ReleaseGoing Nowhere Fast

New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters at Carter Fold Saturday

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sun, 2014/05/18 - 11:39pm

Hiltons, VA -- Saturday, May 24th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m. the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters, an old time band. The New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters took their group’s name from the original Bogtrotters, the famous Galax, Virginia, area band of the 1930s, and because band leader Dennis Hall lives on Ballard’s Branch. Galax is home to the world-renowned Old Time Fiddler’s Convention, and the area has traditionally produced some of the country’s finest old time string bands. Carrying on that rich musical tradition, the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters features Dennis Hall on guitar, Leon Frost on mandolin, Jesse Morris on bass, Eddie Bond on fiddle, and Josh Ellis on banjo. The guys have been playing together for over twelve years. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to11, under age 6 free.

Eddie Bond’s four great grandfathers were old time banjo players. He was raised by his grandmother who was a singer and guitar player. His family on both sides is packed with musicians who played the traditional music of the Blue Ridge. Eddie began performing at age 3 dancing for quarters. Through the years, he’s added guitar, autoharp, fiddle, and banjo to the list of instruments he plays. He grew up in Fries where some of the first old time music had its beginnings at the Washington Cotton Mill from 1923 to 1929. Fries is about six miles from Galax.

Dennis Hall is a grand nephew of Uncle Eck Dunford – the droll voiced fiddler and spokesman for the original Bogtrotters. Their dance band was recorded by Alan Lomax in the 1930’s. Lomax left a trove of important recordings by the Bogtrotters and others at the Library of Congress. Uncle Eck was very conscious of his Ulster Irish background and his name. The Bogtrotter heritage is closely tied to that of Eck Dunford. Dennis is noted among old time musicians for his unerring and rock-solid guitar time. In addition, he’s a master carpenter and home builder. Dennis is the keeper of a rich score of older, historic music.

Jesse Morris is a bassist and the son of a bassist. His timing is rock solid. Jesse comes from a musical family. His father, Dale Morris, has been a string band musician for many years, working in many Galax bands; he’s also a respected scholar of traditional music. When he isn’t playing music, Jesse teaches high school agriculture classes.

Josh Ellis was a Clapton-style rock and roll guitar player when he came to Galax, but all that changed when he picked up a banjo. Like the other Bogtrotters, Josh is very passionate about timing. The banjo and fiddle are the original string band created by Virginia slave musicians in the early colonial period. Keeping with that tradition, Josh works closely with Eddie to adhere to that ancient musical combination. Josh manages a business in Galax and has helped construct many beautiful homes in that area.

Leon Frost is the irrepressible mandolin player who bounces around the stage putting his mandolin chop lick and occasional burst of melody exactly where they belong for the drive and rhythm of the Bogtrotters. Leon comes from a musical family as well, and members of his family were among the earliest pioneers to record Galax area music. Leon is a master carpenter who has built many fine log homes.

The group won the old-time band competition at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention on six different occasions. In addition, they have played their music at such regional and national festivals as the Blue Ridge Folklife Festival, Merlefest, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, and the University of Chicago Festival. Having performed many times at the Fold, they’re a favorite of Carter Fold audiences. This group covers it all – great fiddle and dance tunes, outstanding vocals and harmony, beautiful gospel numbers, waltz tunes, and some of the finest instrumentals you’ll ever hear. For more information, check out the Bogtrotters on Myspace, Facebook, and Youtube.

If you love old time music and dance, don’t miss the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters at the Carter Family Fold. Everyone loves the Bogtrotters, so get ready for an evening of old fashioned fun. Be sure to bring your dancing shoes – and your 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 http://www.carterfamilyfold.org. Shows from the Carter Family Fold can be accessed on the internet at http://www.carterfoldshow.com.

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

Tags: New Ballard's Branch BogtrottersCarter Family FoldConcertEvent

Inaugural Bluegrass In The Mountain Concert Sunday June 8th

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sat, 2014/05/17 - 11:54pm
Wilmore, KY -- The volunteers of the Troubadour Concert Series and Highbridge Spring Water are excited to present what we hope will be the first in a series of concerts held inside the mountain of amazing Highbridge Cave. We kid you not ... this will be fun! Our premier concert will be the legendary McLain Family Band, making bluegrass music worldwide for nearly 50 years. They began performing as a family in Hindman, later on at Renfro Valley and even started a hugely popular bluegrass festival in Berea. They toured in over 60 nations around the world and have performed in venues as diverse as major festivals, symphony halls and Carnegie Hall.

Bring your own lawn chair and wear sneakers or sensible shoes a warm shirt or sweater and a baseball cap. There will be plenty of free parking however, seating is limited so call early. It's only a 20 minute scenic drive from Lexington outside of Wilmore, home of Asbury University and Highbridge Springs Water. Take US 68 west (Harrodsburg Road/Broadway) to US 29 (by the Marathon Station), go through Wilmore for about 5 miles. The Highbridge entrance is clearly marked on your left.

As a performing songwriter and folksinger, I was getting frustrated that the music I loved was presented either in small coffeehouses, clubs or outdoor festivals. Not that any is "bad" at all. But just that? Why no "class," no elegance? My good friend Jim Piston listened and, after a few moments of thought, responded, "Why don't we use that movie theater downtown and put on some shows? You know, let's try it out . . ."

So on a snowy February afternoon in 1993, the Troubadour Concert Series was born. Fred Mills, the manager of the Kentucky Theater, welcomed the idea into the historic venue. We all agreed that we would do six shows that summer, assemble a crew of tie-dyed, granola-chompin, sandal-wearing music lovin' volunteers to run the concerts, and just have a good time for the summer. The folks at BUDWEISER agreed to underwrite the series and local radio and TV stations donated advertising.

Tags: Bluegrass in the MountainEventConcertTroubadour Concert SeriesCave

Missy Werner Announces New Album for July 1st

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Sat, 2014/05/17 - 11:52pm

The title Missy has chosen for her new album is Turn This Heart Around and the release is slated for an official street date of July 1st, 2014. Missy and her band look forward to sharing this set of recordings that will feature select cuts by the band and also some very special guests and songwriters. The Cincinnati area singer and bandleader Missy Werner is heading for the airwaves with the project’s second single, “Rocks In The River,” which has been made available to broadcasters via AirplayDirect. The song, an ode to enduring love, follows the album’s first single, “I Always Do".

Like its predecessor, Three Kinds Of Lonesome, Turn This Heart Around relies on contributions from a broad range of modern bluegrass and country songwriters, as well as new version of two bluegrass classics, “I Just Got Wise” (Carter Stanley) and “Rough Edges,” written by the late Randall Hylton. But, whether old or new, edgy or straight-up traditional, each performance is focused on Werner’s instantly recognizable vocals, placing them in just the right setting to bring out the unique character and content of the song.

Missy Werner was born and raised in the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky area, in the heart of the midwest Bluegrass belt. She became interested in music at age seven and a few years later became a member of her family band. Missy has carved a niche in the region as a respected vocalist and musician. In an era in which many performers are frequently compared to others, she has developed a distinctive, easily recognizable voice. Whether performing a hard hitting traditional song or tender ballad, she makes the adjustment and delivers. Missy formed her touring band in 2009 after recording a solo project, "Drifting and Dreaming", one that gained her national and worldwide attention.

Turn This Heart Around will present songs written by award winning songwriters and bluegrass artists including Sierra Hull, Eric Gibson, Sarah Siskind, Gretchen Peters, Larry Cordle, and many other fantastic writers. The recently released single, "Rocks In The River" was penned by IBMA Songwriter of the Year Eric Gibson—it’s his first “outside” cut—“Rocks In The River” is drawn from the half of Turn This Heart Around that features Werner on mandolin, with her Missy Werner Band (banjo man Jeff Roberts, guitarist Tim Strong and bass player Artie Werner) and fiddler Brandon Godman. Another half-dozen of the album’s cuts, including “I Always Do,” presents Werner purely as a vocalist, with support from an all-star group assembled by producer Jon Weisberger, while a traditional-style gospel quartet made with still another all-star cast rounds out the project.

Tags: Missy WernerTurn This Heart AroundCD ReleaseRocks In The River

John Hartford Memorial Festival Songwriting Contest Winners

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Fri, 2014/05/16 - 11:15pm

The John Hartford Memorial Festival has announced the winners of their 2nd Annual John Hartford Songwriting Contest. The top three winners will receive two passes to the festival and perform their original song on the main stage on Friday, May 30. “These songs were all very well crafted and extremely difficult to score,” said Ernie Hill, contest organizer. “We are ecstatic to see the influence that John Hartford has had in every one of these fine songs. I've scored many songwriting contests over the years. Our scorers for this year’s contest agreed that the submissions were all very good in creativity and melodic quality.”

The winners submitted original songs that either mentioned John Hartford or one of his song titles in the body of the song. Contestants were scored according to content, not performance or recording quality. This year’s top seven songwriting contest winners are:

  • 1st place: Jeff Daugherty - “Dear John”
  • 2nd place: Wes Duffy - “Hartland”
  • 3rd place: Thomas Poley - “Radio John”
  • 4th place: Jeremy Francis - “Thinking About John Hartford”
  • 5th place: Will Kimble - “Sternwheeler Blues”
  • 6th place: Jaybone Bell - “Ode to the River Man”
  • 7th place: Korah Winn - “Chance He Had”

“The purpose of the John Hartford Songwriting Contest is to provide a fun and rewarding activity for songwriters and the festival attendees while furthering the preservation of the legacy of John Hartford and his music,” said Ernie. The winners were chosen by a panel of six scorers who graded each song by a pre-determined set of guidelines and criteria. “We prefer to use the term ‘scorer’ instead of ‘judge’ for our contest,” Ernie shared. “We believe that in art and music, the term ‘judge’ is not applicable to a person's work of art. So we award points for originality, melody, and content, and the best score wins.”

They require each writer to write a song using John Hartford's name or a song title that appeared on one of his albums. “My hope is that each songwriter who steps up to the challenge will study the music of John Hartford, which would lead them to discover volumes of printed information, opinions, and music, and that they will discover the connection between the music they play and the root from which it was directly or indirectly influenced, namely, by the Father of New Grass, John Hartford,” Ernie explained.

“This contest will spread the legacy and music of John Hartford, like the wake of a stern-wheel steamboat on the Mississippi River, into the noggins of every one that it reaches,” he continued. “Thanks to cyberspace, we can easily spread our intent, which is to celebrate, educate, and share the music, life, and legacy of one of Americana music's most beloved trend setting, genre-busting personalities, the late John Hartford.”

First place winner, Jeff Daugherty, is from Cheyenne, WY, and is a massage therapist and musician. The second place winner, Wes Duffy, is from Peoria, IL, and is a decorative floor and wall artist, and musician. The third place winner, Thomas Poley, is from Tucson, AZ and is in heavy-equipment sales and plays music as a hobby.

“Hartford's influence did not come until I was late in my teens,” said Jeff Daugherty. “I admire his creativity and unique, fun-loving personality most of all. His words have been there skipping beside me on the best of days, as well as holding my hand through the dark times. Being able to share this song, which Mr. Hartford definitely helped me write, on stage at Bean Blossom as the winning song is truly beyond words for me” he said.

“I first heard John Hartford on the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” said Tomas Poley. “Through the years, I've collected almost all of John's vinyl releases. John's success as a somewhat unconventional writer inspires me a lot to do things the way I feel them and not worry about conventional expectations,” he said.

“I was deeply moved by the creativity of all of the songwriters,” said Ernie. “Some wrote stories about John Hartford or the John Hartford Memorial Festival. Some used a song title that appeared on one of John Hartford's records and built a song around that title. Each of our 22 contestants did outstanding work,” he concluded.

You can listen to the all of contestant’s songs, including last year’s contestants, on the festival website jukebox at www.JohnHartfordMemFest.com.

Tags: Jeff DaughertyJohn Hartford Memorial FestivalSongwriterSongwriting ContestAwards

Huck Finn Hosts Dr. Ralph Stanley, The Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Fri, 2014/05/16 - 11:11pm

Ontario, CA -- Huck Finn Jubilee, California’s jam and bluegrass festival, will sport three days of music this Father’s Day weekend, showcasing some of the top names in the industry including The String Cheese Incident, The Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent, Sam Bush, The Gibson Brothers and the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley, who will make his final West Coast performance at Huck Finn as a part of his farewell tour.

The Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, which assumed ownership of the 37 year-old festival this year, is committed to providing a music feast filled with the best traditional bluegrass musicians on tour today, and to infuse new twists and interpretations of the music to draw in new audiences and to raise awareness of bluegrass everywhere.

“Our goal is to make Huck Finn the West Coast’s ultimate bluegrass festival,” said Michael Krouse, President and CEO of the Greater Ontario CVB. “We are honored to have The String Cheese Incident support our vision in taking bluegrass to the next level in California.”

A jammer’s campground, water playground, fishing, raft-building, living history displays and more make Huck Finn one of the best and biggest bluegrass festivals of its kind on the West Coast. RV and tent camping are available, as well as discounted hotel packages that include lodging and admission tickets. Order early online at www.huckfinn.com or call 888-718-4253.

It all takes place June 13-15 at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park in Ontario.

The String Cheese Incident is a popular independent band that brings a mix of bluegrass, Latin fusion and psychedelic sounds to its highly attended performances. It joins traditional bluegrass headliners such as Dr. Ralph Stanley, The Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush, Rhonda Vincent, Dailey & Vincent and Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice. Other performers announced for this year’s festival include Keller Williams and The Travelin’ McCourys, who often perform at events together throughout the year.

The rich history and tradition of Huck Finn Jubilee and its commitment to expanding bluegrass into new audiences in California persuaded SCI to perform at this year’s event.

“Bluegrass has a way of inspiring imagination,” said band member Michael Kang. “It inspired a California family 37 years ago to dedicate their lives to putting on this annual event. It inspired us as a band to push the progressive limits of the traditional elements of the music, and we hope to continue the tradition this June by inspiring new audiences to love bluegrass and to grow from it as much as we do.”

The Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau provides groups and meeting professionals with an unbiased, comprehensive resource when booking a tour, convention, meeting or event within the cities of Ontario and Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. Ideal for both leisure and business travel, the region boasts scenic mountains, deserts, vineyards and metropolitan areas that are both historic and cosmopolitan in character. For meeting needs of all sizes – from a conference room to a citywide convention utilizing the Ontario Convention Center – or for a special exposition or sporting event, the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau will provide the necessary destination support tools to execute a successful experience. Visit www.discoverontariocalifornia.org.

Please check out video below:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/rn5qed01x7a8lp1/HUCK-FINN%20JUBILEE-45-Promo-v...

Tags: Huck Finn JubileeBluegrass FestivalEventDr. Ralph StanleyThe Del McCoury BandRhonda Vincent

ROMP VIP Ticket Give Away

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Fri, 2014/05/16 - 11:07pm

Owensboro, KY -- You could win the ultimate VIP ROMP Festival experience. The International Bluegrass Music Museum which hosts this outstanding annual bluegrass music festival hs having a prize give away contest. One lucky winner will get the ultimate VIP ROMP Fest experience and VIP Prize that includes Two VIP weekend passes, Four night stay at the Hampton Inn and a $100 Gift Card to Synergy Organic Clothing. The entire package is valued at $1700! Head over to the ROMP Fest Facebook page to enter.

This year's River of Music Party, affectionately known as "ROMP: Bluegrass Roots and Branches Festival" will take place June 26-28th in Owensboro, Kentucky. This amazine bluegrass music festival will again feature some of the music's favorite entertainers and a lot of outstanding music. This is the eleventh episode of ROMP and they just keep getting better and better.

Artists scheduled to appear during the three day event include Ricky Skaggs, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, Doyle Lawson, David Grisman, Folkjazz Trio, Railroad Earth, Wood Brothers, Sarah Jarosz, Pokey LaFarge, Noam Pikelny & Stuart Duncan, Grisman, Leslie, Hargreaves & Smith, Foghorn String Band, The Boston Boys, Missy Raines, 23 String Band, Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Alison Brown, Reunion Band, Bradford Lee Folk, Bawn in the Mash, The Danberrys, Vickie Vaugh and more yet to be announced.

ROMP: Bluegrass Roots and Branches Festival is a 3-day event is held at Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro, Kentucky. Throughout the festival one can enjoy workshops, jamming, child activities, and all-night-after-parties. Arts and Crafts Artisans make the festival grounds visually beautiful with handmade clothing, jewelry, toys, instruments and artwork for sale. Owensboro's best chefs are routinely joined by other creative food vendors, providing a wide variety of culinary offerings. Festival attendees also receive free admission to the International Bluegrass Music Museum. ROMP is the largest annual fundraiser for the Bluegrass Museum.

Tags: ROMPBluegrass Roots & Branches FestivalContestBluegrass FestivalInternational Bluegrass Music MuseumEvent

Dolly Parton 'Blue Smoke' Track-by-Track for Bluegrass

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Fri, 2014/05/16 - 12:38am
We've written about Dolly Parton's latest project, Blue Smoke a few times including their initial exposure in Australia to a more recent CD release announcement. It is no secret that Dolly Parton has been a supporter and fan of Bluegrass Music for what seems like forever. Why not? She was born, raised and lived mountain and bluegrass music. It is in her genes and in her roots. This latest release allows this gifted and blessed artist the freedom to explore those bluegrass roots. The following Track-by-Track will give fans, old and new, a new insight into Dolly and her music.

Dolly comments on this recording saying, "Every time I do a new album, I try to think of what my fans (you) would like to hear from me right now. Well, right now I’m at an age where I feel I have lived a lot and long and have accomplished so much of what I set out to do as a youngster. Thank God and you for allowing this to be so. On this CD I think there are all of the colors of my life in all of the areas of music that you’ve allowed me to dabble in through the years. You will hear my old world mountain voice on songs like “Banks of the Ohio” and “If I Had Wings,” my tender side on songs like “Miss You-Miss Me” and “Unlikely Angel,” my country/bluegrass side on songs like “Home,” “Blue Smoke” and “Don’t Think Twice” and my funny tongue-in-cheek side on “Lover du Jour.” The duets with Kenny (“You Can’t Make Old Friends”) and Willie (“From Here to the Moon and Back”) speak for themselves, but also speaks to that side of me that says friends are so important. “Lay Your Hands on Me” and “Try” really lay out my spiritual and inspirational side and my never-ending desire to try to uplift mankind. I think all of my colors are in here. I hope that you will find much joy and many blessings as you listen. Enjoy!"

Here Dolly talks about some selected tracks on Blue Smoke.

Blue Smoke

Banks of the Ohio

Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right

Unlikely Angel

Thank you for watching and listening to this Track-by-Track with Dolly Parton.

Tags: Dolly PartonTrack-by-TrackBlue SmokeCybergrassCD ReleaseVideo

North Carolina Heritage Award Performances Set for May 20

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Fri, 2014/05/16 - 12:16am

Five North Carolinians from diverse artistic traditions will be awarded the North Carolina Heritage Award on Tuesday, May 20 at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts in Raleigh. Recipients include: Bobby Hicks, a 10-time Grammy award-winning bluegrass fiddler; Susan Leveille, a Jackson County hand weaver; Sid Luck, a fifth-generation potter from Seagrove; Bill Myers, whose band The Monitors has played rhythm and blues and jazz music for more than 50 years; and Arnold Richardson, a Haliwa-Saponi artist who has influenced the revitalization of North Carolina Indian arts. These five accomplished artists will be honored on Tuesday, May 20 in Raleigh with a North Carolina Heritage Award.

Musicians who played with the James Brown Band, Ricky Skaggs, Vince Gill and Otis Redding will also be on stage performing with this year’s recipients during the program. The event marks the 25th anniversary of the program, produced by the North Carolina Arts Council, to honor the traditional artists of the state, deepening awareness of the stories, music, and artistry comprising our rich and diverse cultural traditions.

Bobby Hicks, Fiddler (Marshall, Madison County)
While growing up in a musical family in Newton, N.C., Bobby Hicks discovered a talent and a passion for the fiddle. Immersed in the string band traditions of the Western Piedmont, a young Mr. Hicks began playing as one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys 60 years ago. In his-six year association with the Father of Bluegrass, Mr. Hicks helped pioneer the twin fiddle sound and recorded on some of the classic tunes of the genre. His five-string fiddle song left an indelible mark on the history of bluegrass music and on the generations of fiddlers who have followed in his steps.

Not content with mastery of only one genre, Bobby Hicks left Bill Monroe's band and spent a decade playing in country and western ensembles throughout the western part of the United States. He returned again to sounds more rooted in his Catawba County upbringing in 1980 when he joined the Ricky Skaggs band. In more than 20 years as a member of that band and its successor Kentucky Thunder, Mr. Hicks played on numerous hit records that resulted in 10 Grammy awards. Since his nominal retirement as a touring musician, Mr. Hicks has resided in Madison County, N.C. From his home there he has helped to run a weekly jam in Marshall and formed a super group with other legends of bluegrass music.

"Master fiddler Bobby Hicks' knowledge of tradition and his innovative style have been instrumental in shaping the bluegrass sound as we know it today, and his career is an example of why North Carolina plays such a large role in the story of traditional music in America," said N.C. Folklife Director Sally Peterson. (Bobby Hicks photo credit: Pat Franklin)

Performances and the awards ceremony is scheduled at 8 p.m at the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, Raleigh, NC. Tickets are available for the press by contacting Rebecca.Moore@ncdcr.gov or (919) 807-6530 by noon on Monday, May 19.

Performances by heritage awardees such as Doc Watson, Etta Baker, Arthur Smith, John Dee Holeman, Joe Thompson, and Ray Hicks have made past ceremonies memorable. The 2014 North Carolina Heritage Award recipients are: Bobby Hicks, a 10-time Grammy award-winning bluegrass fiddler; Susan Morgan Leveille, a weaver and grand-niece of Penland founder Lucy Morgan; Sid Luck, a fifth-generation potter from Seagrove; Bill Myers, whose band The Monitors has played rhythm and blues and jazz music for more than 50 years; and Arnold Richardson, a Haliwa-Saponi artist who has influenced the revitalization of North Carolina Indian arts. Read more about this year's NC Heritage Award recipients

“The North Carolina Arts Council is committed to sustaining arts and cultural traditions passed down in our state through many generations,” said Wayne Martin, Executive Director, N.C. Arts Council. “The North Carolina Heritage Award recognizes master traditional artists who have learned from their family members and neighbors and are now our living treasures. These artists are the embodiment of North Carolina grassroots culture, which is recognized as one of the richest in our nation.”

The North Carolina Arts Council, part of the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, has recognized more than 100 extraordinary artists from across the state since the agency first established the Heritage Awards in 1989. PineCone is honored to partner with the Arts Council to produce this special awards ceremony as part of this year’s Down Home Concerts.

The Heritage Awards celebrate North Carolina’s finest practioners of the blues, bluegrass, gospel, and old time string band music, as well as a wealth of carvers, sculptors, potters, weavers, quilters, boat builders, and more. Don’t miss this chance to pay tribute to the North Carolina artists and traditions you love!

Tags: North Carolina Heritage AwardsBobby HicksAwardPerformancesEventAwards

World of Bluegrass Inaugural Film Fest Seeking Submissions

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Thu, 2014/05/15 - 1:05am

Nashville, TN -- Trade in your banjo for some popcorn (don’t worry, you’ll get it back) and grab a seat for IBMA’s first Bluegrass Film Festival at World of Bluegrass, September 30-Octber 4 in Raleigh, NC! Bluegrass’ biggest family reunion and business conference is the perfect place to showcase quality films produced around the music, and IBMA is taking submissions.

The IBMA is excited to present its first annual IBMA World of Bluegrass Film Festival during World of Bluegrass Week September 30-October 4 in Raleigh, NC! The festival seeks to introduce the bluegrass industry to new bluegrass related films. It serves as a platforms for filmmakers to showcase their work, and it also seeks to promote the development of bluegrass-related films. Finally, the IBMA World of Bluegrass Film Festival enriches the overall World of Bluegrass Experience! Two films will be featured during the business conference, and the runners-up will be shown at the weekend festival.

Interested? Here’s what you need to know (The term “film” is used here in reference to both film and video.):

Prerequisites

  1. All entries submitted must not have been screened publically prior to the 1st January 2011.
  2. The maximum running time for feature films sent to the IBMA World of Bluegrass Film Festival must not exceed 240 minutes in length (including titles and credits).
  3. Films submitted to the IBMA World of Bluegrass Film Festival must either be in English or have English subtitles.
  4. For pre-selection purposes, all entries must be submitted via online link.
  5. The IBMA will have the right to show any of the films submitted to non-commercial audiences at the World of Bluegrass. Extracts of no more than 1 minute may also be shown on television/web as a promotion for the World of Bluegrass.
  6. All films selected for the World of Bluegrass will be screened on DVD, Blu-Ray or digital format.
  7. The IBMA retains the right to hold a copy of films submitted for archival and promotional purposes.
  8. IBMA will not upload a completed film to the Internet without the filmmaker’s consent.
  9. The applicant declares that he/she has obtained all necessary rights and permissions to present the film and music at the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass events. The filmmaker must own or have cleared copyright of all aspects of the submitted film. This includes all music and images used. The IBMA accepts no responsibility, financial or otherwise, in regard to clearing copyrighted material.

To submit your film and read more specific info, click here.

Film Screenings to include

  • 2 films to be featured during the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Business Conference (September 30 and October 1, 2014). Featured films will require a representative to be present at the World of Bluegrass. Representative may be called upon to introduce the film prior to screening. Featured films will also be shown during the weekend screening of the non-featured films.
  • 4-8 films will be selected for screening during the Wide Open Bluegrass Festival’s Bluegrass at the Movies. Each film will be shown twice (once on Friday, October 3, 2014 and once Saturday, October 4, 2014).

Submission deadline is June 15, 2014. All films will be reviewed by World of Bluegrass Film Committee designated by the chair of the IBMA Board of Directors, with finalists being announced in mid July. In assessing the films, the committee will consider both documentary and fictional bluegrass related films. Short and feature films are welcome to submit. All selection decisions are final.

Fees:

  • Submission Fee: $25
  • Screening Fee: $100 (to cover costs of audio and visual, after invited to participate)
  • All selected films shown must have a representative listed as a professional and/or an organizational IBMA member.

This is an exciting new part of the World of Bluegrass. Keep watching for additional announcements as the big event approaches.

Tags: International Bluegrass Music AssociationIBMAWorld of BluegrassFilm FestivalFilmEvent

Exciting News from Dust-to-Digital

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Thu, 2014/05/15 - 1:01am

In 1938 the Library of Congress dispatched Alan Lomax—already a seasoned field worker at age 23—to complete a folklife survey of the Great Lakes region. He set off in a 1935 Plymouth Deluxe 4-door sedan, toting a Presto instantaneous disc recorder, a still camera, and a moving image camera. He returned almost three months later, having driven thousands of miles on barely paved roads, with a cache of 250 discs and 8 reels of film. These materials documented the diversity of ethnicity—Irish, Finnish, Serbian, Polish, German, Croatian, Canadian French, Hungarian, and more—in Michigan, as well as cultural expression among loggers and lake sailors.

This innovative e-publication celebrates the 1938 field trip with a compelling narrative written by the Library's Lomax curator, Todd Harvey, and illustrated with original items from the trip, including audio and video clips, field notes, and telegrams. Together, these materials provide fascinating insights into both the region that Lomax called "the most fertile source" of American folklore, and the man who would become the most famous 20th century folklorist in America.

Michigan-I-O: Alan Lomax and the 1938 Library of Congress Folk-Song Expedition by Various Artists

Dust-to-Digital has the 28 track album and book (PDF or iBook formats) available by clicking here. Dust-to-Digital has been frequently covered by Cybergrass for their array of historic recordings on everything from the bass to Mother's Day to early musical styles relevant to bluegrass music today.

Another item from Dust-to-Digital is the Hambidge Art Auction May 31, 2014. Music and entertainment curated by Dust-to-Digital.

Eighty years ago, Mary Hambidge, a professional whistler, costume designer and weaver, moved to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia to establish a sustainable farm and artist enclave. Since her death in 1973, the Center has stayed true to her legacy by offering a formal and competitive residency program for those interested in the arts, sciences and sustainability. Eight residents at a time come from across the U.S. and the world to the pristine 600-acre property in order to explore, develop, innovate, collaborate and create lasting works of the highest caliber. Residents include visual artists, performance artists, writers, poets, playwrights, scientists, ceramicists, musicians, dancers, choreographers, chefs and architects.

The Hambidge Art Auction + Performance Gala is the Hambidge Center's biggest annual fundraiser, offering for bid the work of over 200 exceptional artists, as well as live music, theatrical performances, and art installations. This year’s event will include a Dust-to-Digital Listening Lounge, as well as live musical performances by the label’s artists and friends. Details and tickets can be found at www.hambidgeauction.org

Tags: Dust-to-DigitalAlan LomaxMichigan-I-OBookNew ReleaseEvent

Better than Blue is Best of the New

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/05/13 - 11:08pm

Ever since the Trinity River Band hit the scene, I've been captured by their sound. Each release and performance better and better. By the time their 2013 release, Today Don't Look Like Rain, hit the streets, I was hooked. Then, came their newest project, Better Than Blue and I'm in awe at the artistry of this Harris family band. Better Than Blue may actually be better than many of the other recent releases.

The twelve track album highlights the band's versatility. The IBMA Momentum Award Vocalist of the Year Nominee Sarah Harris (Mandolin) is lead vocalist on most tracks and her emotion filled vocals carry the album beautifully. From the opening title track, "Better than Blue" through the closing track, "Mystery Train", her vocals are captivating.

The musicianship, vocals, song selection and presentation are all excellent. The album is nicely balanced with songs that cover the band's bluegrass-acoustic country-Americana style. I have listened to this album at least a dozen times already and just can't get enough. That's saying something as many family bands can catch my ear but, it has been awhile since I was totally captured.

I like the broad range of material from "Jacob's Ladder" to "I'll Love You Just The Same" to "Pure Poison" to the old standard "Daddy's Hands." It is this breadth that keeps the album from getting tiring. Each song is fresh and tells a different story. From the cover to every track on this album, there is something special. There isn't anything with the entire project that even comes close to being disagreeable. You can listen to this album all day long

Not only does the Trinity River Band surprise you with the content, The album cover is undeniably the most creative in recent history for a bluegrass type album. With a laser/flame brush effect added to the red-blue theme in front of a drab gray building, the energy of Sarah is an indication of what's to come. There's a lot of energy in this release. The band has certainly entered award quality material with this latest project.

Sarah Harris is definitely the centerpiece of the band and plays Mandolin. Her brother Josh play Banjo, Dobro and sings Harmony Vocals. Brianna, her sister, performs the Fiddle and also sings Harmony. Their father, Mike plays Guitar and shares Lead and Harmony Vocals and mother Lisa plays Bass and rounds out the Harmony Vocals. Put them all together and you have a winning combination family band. Better than Blue is a keeper!

Tags: Trinity River BandSarah HarrisBetter Than BlueReviewCD Release

IBMA Announced Initial Performers, Raleigh Dates Extended

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/05/13 - 11:06pm

Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has announced that the organization has extended its partnership with the city of Raleigh, North Carolina to host the World of Bluegrass convention, trade show, awards show and performances through 2018. In addition, the IBMA has announced the initial lineup of performers for the related Wide Open Bluegrass Festival that takes place during the big bluegrass event.

Organizers of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass 2014 event announced today that the Nashville-based bluegrass trade organization will keep its World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh through 2018, including the popular Wide Open Bluegrass festival.

Additional details about World of Bluegrass 2014, which will take place September 30 – October 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina, were revealed today at a 2:00 pm press conference at Raleigh’s Red Hat Amphitheater.

An initial lineup of musicians who will perform as part of this year’s Wide Open Bluegrass Festival was announced, including Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Bruce Hornsby, Del McCoury Band with special guests, the return of Hot Rize (one of the most influential bluegrass acts of the ‘80s, releasing their first new studio album since 1990), Gibson Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sierra Hull, and the Wide Open Jam, featuring the superstar lineup of Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton and Stuart Duncan. Additional performers for both the ticketed (paid) portions of the festival and the free Street Festival will be announced in the coming months.

Also announced at the press conference was the return of PNC as presenting sponsor for the Wide Open Bluegrass festival, and, as last year, the inclusion of the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship as part of the World of Bluegrass festivities.

The North Carolina Pork Council also announced a new addition to this year’s program: a ticketed event that brings together under one tent - for the first time - a sampling of some of the finest barbecue from the three major regions of the state: Western, Lexington and Eastern.

Speakers at the World of Bluegrass press conference were Raleigh mayor Nancy McFarlane; Nancy Cardwell, Executive Director of IBMA; Ann Edmondson, Director of Communications and Marketing, North Carolina Pork Council; Denny Edwards, President & CEO of Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau; William Lewis, director of PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music; Rebecca Quinn-Wolf, Vice President, Director of Client & Community Relations of PNC Bank and IBMA Board chair Jon Weisberger.

“The immense success of moving IBMA’s World of Bluegrass events to Raleigh last year had a huge impact on raising the profile of bluegrass music and the IBMA as an organization,” said IBMA’s Cardwell. “We continue to receive compliments about last year’s events, we’ve seen a 39% increase in membership during the past two years, and the support and enthusiasm of the Local Organizing Committee in Raleigh and everyone in North Carolina has been so gracious and genuine. We are thrilled to announce the extension of our partnership with Raleigh, North Carolina through 2018, and we look forward to adding even more exciting elements to World of Bluegrass Week, as we continue to facilitate connections in the bluegrass music industry and work together to introduce the best music in the world to new audiences and fans. If bluegrass music moves you, I invite you to attend the event that moves the bluegrass music world.”

"Our region saw tremendous economic success from last year's debut of Wide Open Bluegrass in Raleigh," said PNC’s Quinn-Wolf. "We look forward to supporting the continued contributions this festival will bring in the areas of arts and culture, economic development and education in our community."

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

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, an annual bluegrass music homecoming, consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 30 – October 2, the 25th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 2, the Wide Open Bluegrass music festival, October 3-4 (which includes both free stages and ticketed performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 30 – October 2 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Center.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass event generated $10 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be over 154,000, exceeding expectations for the event’s first year in Raleigh. Over 300 performances by more than 160 different artists took place during World of Bluegrass 2013.

As last year, events during World of Bluegrass will take place at the Greater Raleigh Convention Center, the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts, the Red Hat Amphitheater and at various venues in town.

The Wide Open Bluegrass music festival can be experienced in two ways: as ticketed shows at the Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center stages, and on the free Street Festival stages. PNC returns as the presenting sponsor for both the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass and the free Street Festival.

The free Street Festival will include 80+ bands, four music stages, a dance tent, vendors, an arts market, concessions, youth performances and activities - including programming set up by IBMA’s Youth Council, a free Exhibit Hall and a Masters Workshop Stage in the Raleigh Convention Center. The full list of performers for the Street Festival will be announced in the coming months.

Also returning this year is the Whole Hog Barbecue Championship—a weekend of bluegrass-flavored fun for the whole family.

The annual cooking championship is the culmination of a series of 15 to 20 local barbecue competitions. These qualifying cook-offs are conducted as part of community events in cities and towns across North Carolina from April to September. At the championship in Raleigh, as is the case in all the events throughout the season, the cooked barbecue is collected after judging, chopped and sold to the general public.

Spectators will be able to watch the entire aromatic cooking process in the parking area between the Raleigh Convention Center and the Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. The Pork Council expects to sell plates of authentic, championship North Carolina pork barbecue to around 4,000 bluegrass fans. It will be first-come, first-served in the outdoor, downtown setting.

Those wishing to obtain tickets for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations should go to IBMA’s website, www.ibma.org. Single day general admission for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival starts as low as $50, with a three-day Bluegrass Ramble pass available for $75. Additional details and pricing information are available at the website.

Tags: International Bluegrass Music AssociationIBMAWorld of BluegrassWide Open Bluegrass FestivalEventLineup

Donna Ulisse & The Poor Mountain Boys on Bluegrass Junction

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Tue, 2014/05/13 - 11:04pm

Bluegrass singer songwriter Donna Ulisse and her band The Poor Mountain Boys were in the Nashville SiriusXM studios with Bluegrass Junction host Kyle Cantrell for a live performance earlier this spring. The show was taped and will air four times beginning this Thursday, May 15, 2014 at 12 noon eastern time.

Ulisse and her band performed several songs from her newest release Showin' My Roots, which she calls a tribute to many of her musical heroes and was co-produced with Bryan Sutton. She also dipped back into the well of some of the popular songs and crowd pleasers off of her six prior releases. The show includes a very interesting interview with Cantrell which weaves in and out of the performance.

Listen to the performance on SiriusXM Satellite Radio on Bluegrass Junction Channel 61 at one of the times below (all times Eastern time):

  • Thursday-May 15, 2015-12 Noon
  • Friday-May 16, 2015-9:00 p.m.
  • Saturday-May 17, 2015-6:00 p.m.
  • Monday-May 19, 2015-6:00 p.m.

Donna Ulisse is a two time nominee for IBMA Songwriter of the Year and has released seven bluegrass albums in the past seven years with impressive chart activity and stellar reviews. She tours with her band The Poor Mountain Boys playing festivals and concerts. She is also a sought after songwriting workshop teacher with her songs having been recorded by Claire Lynch, Diana Jones, Louise Mosrie, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Nu-Blu, Natasha Borzilova & The Bankesters. She also had a song on the 2014 Grammy winning Del McCoury Band album, Streets of Baltimore.

To learn more about Donna Ulisse visit her website at www.donnaulisse.com
To see her full tour schedule click here.
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Tags: Donna Ulisse & The Poor Mountain BoysDonna UlisseBluegrass JunctionBroadcast

Trinity River Band to Missouri to Celebrate Outstanding New Album

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Mon, 2014/05/12 - 11:16pm

Trinity River Band will kick off the Missouri leg of their busy 2014 tour this Wednesday, May 14 at 3:00 pm on the popular K Kountry95 Radio’s “Redbone Show” (KAMS 95.1) reaching a large audience in the areas of Thayer, MO, Mammoth Springs, AR, plus online streaming for listeners worldwide. The band will debut songs from their new album, Better Than Blue, on Orange Blossom Records, plus talk about their upcoming tour dates.

On Friday, May 16, Trinity River Band will perform a concert at the Winona Assembly of God in Winona, MO at 7:00 pm; Saturday-Sunday, May 17-18 at the Arcadia Valley Mountain Music Festival at the Iron County Courthouse Square on Main Street in Ironton, MO; and Sunday, May 18 at the First Baptist Church of Ellington, MO. The Florida based band’s 2014 tour will take them all around the country with performances from Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Kentucky – to Virginia, Maryland – and west to Montana and Idaho. Fans can visit trinityriverband.com for a complete tour schedule.

“From the cover to every track on this album, there is something special. There isn't anything with the entire project that even comes close to being disagreeable. You can listen to this album all day long”
  - Bob Cherry, Cybergrass

The title track and first single release, “Better Than Blue” was written by Larry Cordle & Lisa Shaffer and recently appeared at #4 on the Bluegrass Today Top 20 Weekly Song Chart. This exciting new project has many stand out tracks - from the touching Brink Brinkman & Paula Breedlove gospel tune, “A Sinner’s Prayer,” and the beautiful “I’ll Love You Just The Same” written by Sarah Pirkle - to the Americana flavored “Steel and Blood” written by band member Mike Harris. Lead singer and mandolinist, Sarah Harris not only lends her impeccable lead vocals to the album, but also contributed two original songs, “My Heart Will Find Its Way To You” and “Pure Poison.”

Radio stations worldwide can download the entire album at http://AirPlaydirect.com/music/BetterThanBlue/. Fans can purchase Better Than Blue at iTunes, Amazon, and more retail sites.

To learn more about Trinity River Band, please visit http://TrinityRiverBand.com and join them on Facebook and Twitter. The band includes the talents of Sarah Harris (Lead & Harmony Vocals, Mandolin); Mike Harris (Guitar, Lead & Harmony Vocals); Lisa Harris (Bass, Harmony Vocals); Josh Harris (Banjo, Dobro, Lead & Harmony Vocals); and Brianna Harris (Fiddle, Lead & Harmony Vocals).

Tags: Trinity River BandBetter Than BlueCD Release

Frankfort Bluegrass Festival Fundraiser Enables Free Event

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Mon, 2014/05/12 - 11:13pm

In the charming little town of Frankfort, IL, a big event happens every summer. Bluegrass music lovers and families gather on the Green for a free two-day music festival and activities. Approaching its fourth year, the Frankfort Bluegrass Festival hopes to keep this community festival going for years to come.

A fundraiser supporting the Frankfort Bluegrass Festival will take place on Friday, May 16 from 6-10 pm at the Smokey Barque restaurant (20 Kansas Street) in downtown Frankfort, IL. The fundraiser will feature three floors of music, raffles, split the pot, silent auction, food, and cash bar. Music entertainment will be provided by DOG 1, Sunnyside Up, Bluegrass Escape, and more. There will also be a jamming room where people can sit around and pick together. All proceeds raised directly support the free community festival in July.

“The primary focus of the fundraiser is to raise enough money to pay for this year’s fest,” said Amanda Thompson, festival board member. “We are a 100% free festival. It's really tough to keep it that way, but we manage to get it accomplished every year,” she said.

“So many festivals cost hundreds of dollars to attend. With economic times like these many people want to go but can't because they have to pay for necessary items for their families,” Amanda continued. “I too would love to go to festivals more often but as a family of three it would cost me at least $200 just for tickets for most festivals and that doesn't include, gas, food, and lodging. We want to make Bluegrass music and this festival affordable for all families,” she said.

Community involvement and support is what makes this free summer concert event possible. “I am looking forward to when the fundraiser is in full swing, the place is packed, and good music is being played. It makes me feel like we accomplished the impossible,” Amanda concluded.

This year’s Frankfort Bluegrass Festival takes place July 12-13, 2014 on the Breidert Green in downtown Frankfort, IL. The line-up consists of premier bluegrass bands including Town Mountain, The HillBenders, The Henhouse Prowlers, Special Consensus, Chris Jones & The Night Riders, Milk Drive, Oak Street Ramblers, Eric Lambert & Friends, and more. There will also be music workshops, jamming area, kid’s activities, and vendors with local shops and restaurants around the town square. Learn more, get tickets, become a sponsor, and make a donation to support this great family festival at www.FrankfortBluegrassFest.com.

Tags: Frankfort Bluegrass FestivalFundraiserBluegrass FestivalEvent

Americana Honors & Awards 2014 Nominees Announced

Cybergrass Bluegrass Music News - Mon, 2014/05/12 - 11:11pm

Nashville, TN -- The Americana Music Association announced its nominees today for the 2014 Americana Honors & Awards, presented by Nissan. SiriusXM "Apron Strings" host and artist Elizabeth Cook revealed the nominations during a press conference that broadcast live on SiriusXM's "Outlaw Country" and streamed via www.MusicCityRoots.com from the network's Music City Theatre in Nashville.

The celebration also featured performances by Honors & Awards Host Jim Lauderdale, Band Leader Buddy Miller—whose acoustic quartet backed rising stars Valerie June, Parker Millsap and Hurray For The Riff Raff—preceding the opening of the envelopes. Elizabeth Cook closed out the one-hour program joining Miller for a duet of the classic "Burning the Midnight Oil" made famous by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner.

A genre that honors the roots of American music and its tapestry of influences, nominees for the 2014 ceremony reflect its brightest talents. From lyricists that articulate the human condition to unrivaled instrumentalists, Americana has been described by The New York Times as "the coolest music scene today."

2014 AMERICANA HONORS & AWARDS NOMINEES:

  • ALBUM OF THE YEAR
    • Build Me Up From Bones, Sarah Jarosz
    • The Lights From The Chemical Plant, Robert Ellis
    • The River And The Thread, Rosanne Cash
    • Southeastern, Jason Isbell
  • ARTIST OF THE YEAR
    • Rosanne Cash
    • Rodney Crowell
    • Robert Ellis
    • Jason Isbell
  • DUO/GROUP OF THE YEAR
    • The Avett Brothers
    • The Devil Makes Three
    • Hard Working Americans
    • Lake Street Dive
    • The Milk Carton Kids
  • SONG OF THE YEAR
    • "Cover Me Up", Jason Isbell
    • "A Feather's Not A Bird", Rosanne Cash
    • "Ohio", Patty Griffin
    • "Only Lies", Robert Ellis
  • EMERGING ACT OF THE YEAR
    • Hurray For The Riff Raff
    • Parker Millsap
    • St. Paul & The Broken Bones
    • Sturgill Simpson
    • Valerie June
  • INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR
    • Larry Campbell
    • Fats Kaplin
    • Buddy Miller
    • Bryan Sutton

The Americana Honors & Awards, presented by Nissan, returns to the historically cool Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN on September 17, 2014 (as part of the Americana Music Festival - September 17-21, 2014 at venues throughout Music City). The iconic Jim Lauderdale will once again host the Honors & Awards, while the phenomenal Buddy Miller will lead the All-Star Band. Described by Paste Magazine as “the worlds best awards show” the Americana Honors & Awards have featured once-in-a-lifetime moments, unforgettable performances and legendary collaborations. Tickets for the Honors & Awards show come with the purchase of Americana Music Festival & Conference Registrations.

Tags: Americana Honors & AwardsAmericanaFestAmericana Music Festival & ConferenceAwards ShowEventSarah Jarosz

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