Nashville, TN -- Inducted in 1964, Bluegrass legends Jim & Jesse are celebrating 50 Years as members of the Grand Ole Opry this year. On March 1st the Grand Ole Opry® will honor Jesse McReyonlds as he celebrates his 50th year as a member of the Grand Ole Opry®. The success of their 60’s radio shows prompted Martha White Flour to bring them to Nashville to star on their early morning show on WSM. In 1964 a life time dream came true for Jim & Jesse when they became regular members of the Grand Ole Opry®.
Deep in the mountains of southwest Virginia still stands the white aging farmhouse Jim & Jesse first called home. Raised in the small community of Carfax, located near Coeburn, VA, the boys grew up in a family steeped in traditional mountain music. Their harmony was exceptional, a rarity some say only brothers can produce. Jim's enhanced high tenor combined with Jesse's deep lead and unique mandolin style set this duo apart in the world of traditional music, now termed Bluegrass.
Very early in their career, Jesse developed a "McReynolds style" technique on the mandolin, combining his invention of "crosspicking and split-string playing", which distinguished his picking from others. Many have imitated, but few have successfully mastered his unique style of fast execution of intricate melodic patterns.
In 1952, Jim & Jesse debuted on their first major label, Capitol Records. Since that time, they have recorded for various labels including: Columbia, Epic, again for Capitol, Opryland, CMH, Rounder, and their own, Old Dominion. In 1960, their first single for Columbia, "The Flame of Love" backed by "Gosh I Miss You All The Time" spent weeks climbing the top 100 national charts. "Cotton Mill Man", "Diesel On My Tail", "Are You Missing Me", and "Paradise" are a few songs regarded as Jim & Jesse classics.
The year 2002 was a difficult one for Jim and Jesse. Jim was diagnosed with cancer and passed away on December 31, 2002. His death ended the longest active professional brother duet in country music history - 55 years. Jesse has carried on the Jim & Jesse tradition and has since gone on to play throughout the world with the Virginia Boys. And the beautiful music that originated from the brothers in the mountains of southwest Virginia back in 1947 is as timeless as ever.
The Jim & Jesse tradition continues to grow in 2014 with the release of the album Radio Shows which is currently #1 on both the AirPlay Direct Global Radio Indicator Charts for “Top 50 Albums” and the “Top 50 Bluegrass Albums for the month of February.
“Jim & Jesse have captured something truly special here. A lifetime of radio fans and professionals giving them input on which songs were best, I LOVE IT…!”
- Robert Weingartz, Chairman & Founder – AirPlay Direct
Originally released in 1978 as a 2 record set on the Old Dominion label, Radio Shows will be available for the first time on CD and digital formats on March 4th. Radio Shows was recorded in 1962 and contained mainly songs never before recorded by Jim & Jesse and The Virginia Boys, and were selected because of the heavy requests for them on their radio shows.
Produced by Jesse McReynolds and Gordon Reid, Radio Shows contains 24 songs on one compact disc remastered from the original master tapes with performances by Jim & Jesse McReynolds, Allen Shelton, Jim Buchanan, Don McHan and David Southerland. A special added value feature to the album includes online access to a Jesse McReynolds video interview reminiscing about the Radio Shows album and era, as well as, exclusive photos from his private collection during this wonderful period in the lives of Jim & Jesse.
Jim & Jesse recorded and released many albums on the Old Dominion label dating back to the early 70’s including The Jim & Jesse Show, Superior Sounds Of Bluegrass, Jesus Is The Key, Jim & Jesse Show Live In Japan, Songs About Our Country, Palace Of Song, Songs of Inspiration and more.
Rural Rhythm will be making these albums available for Jim & Jesse fans to enjoy again and bring their music to a whole new generation of Bluegrass & Country music fans.Tags: Jesse McReynoldsJim & JesseGrand Ole Opry50th AnniversaryRadio ShowsCD ReleaseRural RhythmOld Dominion
Sam Bush, ‘King of Newgrass,’ is the latest in an impressive lineup of performers scheduled to appear at Southern California’s Huck Finn Jubilee June 13-15 in Ontario, California. The Grammy-winning artist and AMA Lifetime Achievement Award recipient has been pushing the boundaries of bluegrass for decades, fusing together styles that make it more expansive and adaptable. He joins The Del McCoury Band, Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice, Rhonda Vincent, The Boxcars, and Chris Jones and the Night Drivers in the early lineup of performers, with many more bands to be announced soon. Huck Finn Jubilee takes place June 13-15 at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park in Ontario, Calif. Visit www.huckfinn.com for details.
Heavily influenced by traditional bluegrass as a child, Bush learned to play mandolin at 11 and was also considered a prodigy on the fiddle. He came to national prominence in 1972 after forming the New Grass Revival, which blended various music styles for a bold new sound. The band’s commitment to stretching musical boundaries was viewed with disdain by some traditional bluegrass fans, CMT once reported. “(But) any opposition to the music we were doing really never came from the other musicians,” Bush told CMT. “At the time, it was from the fans of bluegrass. They were more divided.”
Sam Bush’s performance at Huck Finn will broaden the entire music experience of the festival, said Michael Krouse, President and CEO of the Greater Ontario Convention and Visitors Bureau, which this year assumed ownership of the nonprofit event.“We see his participation as expanding the reaches of bluegrass into new audiences much in the same way that bluegrass was influenced by other music genres before its time.”
The jubilee is an annual celebration held each Father’s Day weekend, featuring headliner bluegrass and country-themed performances, old-time activities and contests, a jammer’s campground, fishing, raft-building, a water playground, living history displays and more. It is billed as one of the largest bluegrass festivals of its kind west of the Mississippi, drawing visitors from throughout the United States.
RV and tent camping are available, as well as discounted hotel packages that include lodging and admission tickets. Order early online or by calling 888-718-4253,
The Del McCoury Band took home its second Grammy Award this year for best bluegrass album with “Streets of Baltimore,” a tribute to the city where McCoury got his start working for a stint with the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe.
Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, awarded “Best Bluegrass Band” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA), is touted as one of the nation’s most authentic bluegrass groups.
Vincent, dubbed the “New Queen of Bluegrass” by the Wall Street Journal, recently released “Only Me,” a two-disc combo of both bluegrass and country. Known for her progressive chord structures and multi-range vocals, she has worked closely with many in the industry, including Dolly Parton, and Alison Krause.
The Boxcars were nominees for “Best Bluegrass Album” at this year’s Grammy Awards. They won the IBMA 2013 Instrumental Group of the Year for a third year in a row in 2013, and member Adam Steffey won IMBA Mandolin Player of the Year that same year.
Chris Jones and the Night Drivers blends an impressive measure of musicianship and songwriting, featuring the distinctive vocals of Chris Jones, host of SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction. Jones, whose career has included performances with some of the industry’s legendary talents, earned both Song of the Year and Album of the Year awards from the IBMA in 2007 – the first time that both music and industry awards have gone to a single person.
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 http://www.discoverontariocalifornia.org.Tags: Huck Finn JubileeSam BushLineupBluegrass FestivalEvent
Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice are excited to announce that the band has started work on recording a new album. The guys spent February 5-6 working with Wesley Easter at Eastwood Studios in Cana, VA, where they were able to start working on about five songs. They'll be working on the album through the end of March, and hope to have it released this summer. The band is sharing time in the studio with their time on the road.
The band headed back out on the road this month for some great shows all across the country. They started out the month in Nashville, at the SPBGMA National Convention. They were honored to be voted the 2014 Best Bluegrass Band (Overall) at the 40th Annual SPBGMA Awards. They also stopped in for a concert at the world-famous Station Inn on February 1.
From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia comes one of bluegrass music's most honest voices in the genre's history, Junior Sisk. Over the years, his haunting, almost lonesome vocals have earned him the devotion of countless traditional bluegrass fans from all over the world. His songwriting talents helped the Lonesome River Band make their ascent into bluegrass stardom in the early 1990's and then he became a member of Wyatt Rice & Santa Cruz and ultimately Blueridge, again reaching new audiences that would eventually follow him on his own musical path. In 1998, Sisk formed Ramblers Choice and together they recorded and released their first solo project titled Sounds Of The Mountains and also contributed to the award winning, The Stanley Gospel Tradition.
Nominated numerous times for Male Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA), Junior Sisk is at the top of his game and has surrounded himself with a top notch band of musicians including Jason Tomlin on bass and vocals; Johnathan Dillion on mandolin and vocals; Billy Hawks on fiddle and vocals; and Jason Davis on banjo and vocals.
Junior Sisk received the 2013 IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year and was also named the 2013 SPBGMA Male Vocalist of the Year (Contemporary). The band’s first single from their latest album, “The Story of the Day That I Died”, reached number one on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey singles chart for July 2013, and the CD is number three on the albums chart. Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice’s previous album, The Heart of a Song, won the 2012 IBMA and 2013 SPBGMA Album of the Year award and their single, “A Far Cry from Lester & Earl”, received the 2012 IBMA & 2013 SPBGMA Song of the Year award.Tags: Junior Sisk & Ramblers ChoiceStudioCD Release
Randy Cook & Commonwealth Bluegrass Band released their self-titled album on February 10th. Randy Cook & Commonwealth Bluegrass Band is based in central Virginia. The band has been together since 2012, quickly building a fan base in central Virginia and beyond. The album has also been released to AirPlay Direct and is available for radio there. Visit the band's Facebook page for ordering information and to find out what this new bluegrass band is all about.
Band leader Randy Cook plays mandolin and sings lead and harmony vocals. Randy started playing guitar in high school and became interested in Bluegrass music while in college. After graduating from Virginia Tech, Randy returned to the Richmond area and helped form the well-known country-rock band, Second Helping, playing a stint on the pedal steel guitar, which he continues to play today when he has time. Randy’s love of Bluegrass music kept him interested in playing acoustic guitar and mandolin, and in the late 1990’s he joined with banjo great James Bailey (formerly with The Country Gentlemen) to form James Bailey & Company. The group released two CD’s that introduced Randy to Bluegrass music at the national level.
Banjo player Malcolm Pulley, following a tour in the US Navy, returned to the central Virginia area and played in various local bands including, Dixie Reign and Virginia Rail. Honing his song-writing skills, Malcolm released a songwriter demo project which included the well-known bluegrass standard “In The Gravel Yard” – later recorded by Blue Highway, Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, and many others. The song was nominated for IBMA song of the year in 1996. Malcolm has continued to have songs recorded by other groups such as The Rambling Rooks, James King, Tina Adair, Paul Adkins, Mill Run, and Michelle Nixon and Drive. Malcolm wrote four of the twelve songs on the new Commonwealth Bluegrass Band CD.
Bassist Lance Seal has been playing music for the last 11 years and is an accomplished musician, playing guitar, banjo, and bass. He also sings lead and harmony. Lance played banjo for the nationally known as Gold Heart. Upon his return to central Virginia after college, Lance played on an informal basis with numerous local and regional bands and recorded his own solo project. Lance is a strong lead vocalist and joined the band in early 2013.
Jason Owen, from Culpeper, Virginia, plays guitar in the band and sings lead and harmony vocals. Jason has been around Bluegrass music since his early childhood. His dad, Everett Owen, played banjo and took Jason along to all of this festival shows. Jason became serious about the guitar at the age of twelve and joined his first band, New Found Grass, at the age of fourteen. Jason went on to play with such well known bands as Heritage and The Travelers, where he was tutored by Norman Wright and Kevin Church, both of whom are Virginia Bluegrass legends. Jason is well-known for his strong rhythm guitar style, superb singing and esceptional song-writing. He has had songs recorded by numerous groups, including Kenny and Amanda Smith. He also wrote one song for the new Commonwealth Bluegrass Band release.Tags: Randy Cook & CommonwealthCD Release
The Annual Monroe Style Mandolin Camp which has been hosted by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky is moving to Nashville, Tennessee this year. The camp, scheduled for September 4-7, 2014 will be held at Camp Marymount at 1318 Fairview Blvd. The Monroe Mandolin Camp (Nashville) is a specialized mandolin camp playing and learning the songs and instrumentals of Bill Monroe. The mission of this camp is brilliantly simple: Provide world-class musicians chooled in the music written, recorded, and created by the Father of Blue Grass music-Bill Monroe. This niche genre within the world of bluegrass is important to preserve and keep alive. It is the roots and base for an entire subculture of music within the folk/country/roots/bluegrass scene.
The International Bluegrass Music Museum will continue their tradition of mandolin camps but, the new format of museum camps will be a broader camp structure including a bigger spectrum of mandolin styles. Watch for a new camp by founder Mike Compton to fill the gap.
Preservation of the Monroe bluegrass style is not the sole purpose of this camp. It is to introduce the history of this music to new musicians who will then take this style out into their musical lives-exponentially growing and continuing to expose other musicians to the wealth and beauty of these songs, instrumentals, and tunes. With Mike Compton at the helm, one of the pre-eminent masters of this style (and arguably, the best), teaching the curriculum of Monroe in his thought out manner, all students of mandolin and of the style, will come away with a deeper understanding of not only the man Bill Monroe, but of his technique, the development of his music over decades, and also how they can apply that knowledge to their own playing and musical endeavors.
Monroe Mandolin Camp (Nashville) is a specialized mandolin camp where students from around the world can study with world-class instructors on the music of the pioneer and father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. Directed by the master mandolinist Mike Compton, this camp will include 3.5 days of hands-on instructional intensive classes both beginner through advanced students, jamming session late into the evening, instructional one-on-one tutorials, and opportunities to work with world class luthiers on your own instrument.
This camp is a continuation of the Monroe-Style camp that IBMM in Owensboro, KY has offered for the past 8 years. However, as the end of 2013, IBMM decided to expand their camp model to include a variety of mandolin and other instrument styles, thus opening up this opportunity for Mike to continue in Nashville, his advocacy and teaching of the Monroe style in his own camp.
Compton is as passionate an advocate for the mandolin as you're ever likely to find. And what better way to work with Mike than in a relaxed setting with friends and colleagues? As Sam Bush says, "nobody plays Monroe better than Compton."
A new website is being created for the 2014 Nashville camp. The site is expected to open on March 8, 2014. Check http://www.monroemandolincamp.com/ the second week in March for all the details and registration information.Tags: Monroe Mandolin CampMike ComptonMonroe-Style Mandolin CampEducationWorkshops
Willis, VA -- The tight focused harmonies, precision instrumentals, and creative melodies of Michigan bluegrass band Detour, are about to get a broader listening audience. Detour has released the first single off their upcoming Mountain Fever Records album. The single is titled "Too Blue To Have the Blues," and was co-written by Detour's own Jeff Rose and longtime bluegrass songwriter and radio DJ, Terry Herd. Their sound had taken listeners down a unique bluegrass road for years and this new venture is no different.
Detour bandleader Jeff Rose says, "Blues is a huge part of bluegrass. Most songs about the blues revel in swimming in the blues. This song is about being beyond the blues, so low that you have to look up to even see the blues. For Detour it shows a whole new level of grassiness."
With bandmate Melissa "Missy" Armstrong on lead vocals, by the end of the second line of the first verse, there is no doubt that the blues are about to be crushed.
"Missy Armstrong is my favorite singer," Rose says. Most people know of her from her mid-tempo bluegrass and ballads but she also has a blues side to her voice that is riveting. Our last CD A Better Place focused mostly on her sweet side. "Too Blue" is one of the songs on the new CD that really show off the blue side of Missy."
Armstrong is a fan of the song too. "It's always interesting to see a song from its beginning to its release. I remember hearing this song for the first time in an air conditioned tent behind the stage at a festival in Kentucky. The entire band took to it immediately. I love the way a song takes on a life of it's own!" says Missy Armstrong.
"Songwriters are always waiting for that phrase that jumps out," Rose observes. "While at a festival in Kentucky, I heard something that led to the idea that you could be so blue that you couldn't even have the blues. I created the music and the lyrics. Then leaned on my friend Terry Herd to help me wrap the song with a third verse. Most of my songs have a positive message so this was a departure for me ," he says with a chuckle.
The single and album was recorded at Frontier Recording, engineer Scott Zylstra, production Jeff Rose/Scott Zylstra. Mastered by Brandon Hodges at Dead Oak Mastering. It's the record they've wanted to make for some time.
"We are super excited about our first single from this album," Rose says. "Too Blue To Have The Blues" showcases the blue side of Missy Armstrong and the inescapable fact that we love playing bluegrass."
Band members include Missy Armstrong (Lead Vocals & Guitar), Peter Knupfer (Violin), Scott Zystra (Guitar & Vocals), Jeff Rose (Mandolin & Vocals), Lloyd Douglas (Banjo), and Jeremy Darrow (Bass).DetoursingleToo Busy To Have The BluesMountain Fever RecordsCD Release
Nightflyer is back in the studio working on their second CD. Nightflyer is one bluegrass band you don't want to miss -- mostly contemporary with strong traditional bluegrass roots, a little gospel and just a touch of the blues thrown in, and nothing but fun to watch. The southwest Ohio band consists of Rick Hayes, Richard Propps, Ronnie Stewart, Tim Jackson and Tony Kakaris. The project is being recorded at Hayes studio, Hayes Productions, and is being co-produced by Clay Hess and Rick Hayes. It includes many never recorded songs written by Paula Breedlove, Brad Davis, Rick Lang, Joe Richardson, and others; and a few covers with a distinctive Nightflyer stamp on them. The projected spring release of the yet-to-be-named CD will be on the Kang Records label.
Nightflyer is a newly formed group of seasoned professionals from Southwestern Ohio, playing a hard driving mix of contemporary and traditional bluegrass. Here is just a bit about this amazingly entertaining band...
- Richard Propps -- guitar, lead & harmony vocals
- Richard started singing when he was five years old, and a short four years later, learned the guitar from his dad, Vernon "Buddy" Propps. At the age of 14 he started a bluegrass/gospel group with his father, Good Neighbor Gospel Band, where he learned to sing from his heart. After ten years of touring with his dad, Richard was invited to sing with a national Southern Gospel group. The group remained together for five years, with of two of their songs landing on the U.S. Gospel charts. Richard then moved from his home state of West Virginia, to Sidney, Ohio where he now resides. Prior to joining Nightflyer, he played and sang with several groups including Blue Storm. Richard is inspired by all styles of music and great vocalists, but gives all credit to Christ and his dad for his gifts.
- Rick Hayes -- Mandolin & Vocals
- Rick attributes his musical beginnings to his father -- starting in bluegrass, then journeying into the world of rock, and then finding his way back home to bluegrass. His transition from rock guitar to bluegrass mandolin created a style very unique and all his own. If you listen close you can hear anything from Bill Monroe to Randy Rhoads. Rick started playing around the Cincinnati area at a young age. Always being in the center of the best musicians. When he fell in love with the bluegrass scene it was not enough to just play. He combined his talents and knowledge of recording and graphic arts and started his own record label. He also took a turn as a promoter, opening a theater venue with his brother in Covington, Kentucky. It was at this time that he joined Blue & Lonesome. Rick would later leave the band and go on to play and record with the Gibson Brothers, performing at some of the finest venues across the country and even the mother church itself, The Grand Ole Opry. He has recently added to his business resume with his own line of guitars and mandolins, Rick Hayes Instruments, which are endorsed by some of the best musicians in the industry. Rick is an artist in all aspects of the word. Not only as a great musician, but a fine luthier, recording engineer and graphic artist. He is a true “road scholar” and brings more to the Nightflyer table then anyone could ask.
- Tomy Kakaris -- Bass & Vocals
- Tony started playing music at age 17. He studied multiple forms of music and instruments making him a well rounded player. Tony got his musical education from his father who was also a multi-instrumentalist and noted for his knowledge of jazz rhythm guitar styles. He said his father gave him a great foundation both in music and life. When he first started his musical career he began with a band called The Country Blue Boys, a band he started with his brothers and some friends blending their love of both country and bluegrass. It was around this time he first saw the Country Gentlemen with Doyle Lawson. The harmonies those guys produced totally set his world on edge, and influenced Tony’s style for singing and arranging harmonies forever. In the early 70’s, Tony became one of the premier country/rock guitarists in the Miami Valley Tri-State area. He was working with the band Sagebrush. When the band decided to go on the road the timing wasn’t right for Tony. He was a very dedicated family man raising his children. As his children got older, Tony returned to music by helping form a recognized area band, Buckeye Ridge, with well known luthier Al Jamison. This was Tony’s first real attempt to follow his dream but would be cut short with the passing of Mr. Jamison. Now Tony is back in full force as the rocking heartbeat of Nightflyer.
- Tim Jackson -- Dobro & Vocals
- Tim, as many musicians do, comes from a long line of talent. His grandfather was an old time claw hammer player, his mother, father and uncles were all musicians and kept music in the home at all times. Tim had his first bite from the bluegrass bug in the early 70’s when he heard the legendary sounds of the Seldom Scene and J.D. Crowe. Tim said, “I would listen to Blackjack every day before school trying to figure out what J.D. was doing.” He would very quickly switch his musical path from bluegrass banjo to country steel guitar. He worked in Florida from 1979 to 1988 with the Florida state champion country act The Boys from Johnsville. He would spend those years working on shows with the likes of Merle Haggard, Mickey Gilley, Jerry Reed, Steve Wariner, Hank, Jr., and the list goes on and on. When he moved back to his home place of Middletown, Ohio, he went back to his bluegrass roots this time on the dobro. Tim has worked with numerous area groups, most notably Dwight McCall and Miami Road. Now, he is the last piece to the Nightflyer puzzle and we are greatly appreciative of his presence.
- Ronnie Stewart -- Banjo & Vocals
- Born in Southwest Ohio in 1971, Ronnie was exposed to Bluegrass music first hand. His dad, Ron Stewart Sr., fell in love with Bluegrass music in the mid 70's, which resulted in live practices and jams in his living room on a weekly basis. After learning chords and guitar rhythm from his dad, he soon began playing guitar in the band, but Ronnie was always intrigued by the banjo. At age 10, he began taking banjo lessons from Curt Hoskins, the banjo player in his dad's band. Curt was an excellent Scruggs style picker, which is still evident in Ronnie's playing today. Ronnie has been a member of several bands: Prime Time Bluegrass Band, Charlie and Wilma Hoskins, Blue and Lonesome, Miami Road, Wild Horses, and the Woolum Brothers. A solo recording titled “Can I Sing This Song for You” released in 2008 includes many of his music friends. Ronnie can also be heard on recordings by Prime Time, Blue and Lonesome, Noah Woolum, Clay Hess, and Mark Cole. Ronnie is happy to bring his banjo and vocal experience to Nightflyer.
Each individual is outstanding on their own, but this is truly a band that is greater than the sum of its parts. Entertaining Personalities + Soulful Singing + Drive = Nightflyer.Tags: NightflyerStudioCD Release
Wilkesboro, NC -- MerleFest – presented by Lowe’s and slated for April 24-27, 2014 – is well-known for its celebration and encouragement of talented young performers. The Acoustic Kids Showcases, a performance platform for the next generation of pickers, singers and traditional-style artists, allows youth to highlight their talents for music fans at the four-day festival. This builds upon the momentum established by the Youth Showcases, which have been mainstays at MerleFest for the past ten years.
Hosted by performer Andy May, these showcases will provide an opportunity for young performers through age 16, regardless of skill level, to perform in a supportive environment. Young pickers, singers and those with related talents are encouraged to apply before the April 1 deadline. Selected participants will be notified by April 15. Selection is not based on how advanced a child’s performance might be, but rather it is based on a child's confidence in performing at his or her level. In fact, beginners are encouraged to apply.
An application for the Acoustic Kids Showcases – and additional instructions and details about the Showcases – may be found at http://merlefest.org/YouthShowcases/ The Acoustic Kids Showcases will be held on the Austin Stage on Friday, April 25, from 5-6:30 p.m.; the Dance Stage on Saturday, April 26, from 10-11:30 a.m.; and the Little Pickers Stage on Saturday from 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Additionally, from among this year’s pool of applicants for the Acoustic Kids Showcases, several performers will be chosen for the special performance of the “Acoustic Kids Ambassadors” on the Cabin Stage on Saturday afternoon, 3:05-3:30 p.m.
Andy May is well known to MerleFest fans as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, mandolinist, producer, educator and visual artist. His Acoustic Kids Showcases have given hundreds of young performers supportive performance opportunities for over 20 years.The next generation of young pickers, singers and those with related talents are encouraged to apply before the April 1 deadline
“I first developed the Acoustic Kids concept as a way to showcase my students who had the desire and the ability to share their talents with an audience larger than their family and friends,” said May. “As a performer and educator myself, I wanted Acoustic Kids to be a positive experience for my young students. In the friendly and supportive environment that we provide, we have seen youngsters develop into wonderful performers.”
Performers should note that the Acoustic Kids Showcases is now the method at the festival for young performers to showcase their talent; MerleFest will not be offering the individual instrument contests this year.
To take advantage of the MerleFest 2014 “early bird” ticket discount, which has been extended to March 24 at 5 p.m., visit www.MerleFest.org or call 1-800-343-7857.
Also available for download on March 1, the MerleFest mobile app, being offered at no charge to users, features the MerleFest lineup and stage schedules, artist biographies, map, announcements, social media links and more. The app allows users to plan for their entire MerleFest experience. Users who currently have the MerleFest mobile app will receive a prompt on their phones to download the 2014 version of the app. The app is compatible with Android and iOS platforms. A bonus for MerleFest fans: once downloaded, the app will be fully functional without having connection to phone service.
MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country, is an annual homecoming of musicians and music fans held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of the late American music legend Doc Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of "traditional plus" music, a unique mix of music based on the traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including bluegrass and old-time music, and expanded to include Americana, country, blues, rock and many other styles. The festival hosts over 130 artists, performing on 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. The annual event has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Endowment Corporation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.Tags: MerlefestYouthKids ShowcaseMusic FestivalEventShowcase Artists
There has been bad weather, the New Years, getting ready for spring tours and a whole lot more to keep one distracted and not watching the calendar. Well, the IBMA 2014 Bluegrass Ramble Showcase applications are due Friday, February 28! No time left to procrastinate - get them in now if you're going to.
Up to 50 showcase artists will be invited for the International Bluegrass Music Associations's (IBMA) World of Bluegrass 2014, depending on the number of applicants and the qualifications of groups that apply. Each official showcase act may perform more than once during World of Bluegrass Week in some combination of the various venues participating in the annual event. There will also be opportunities for merchandise sales and, potentially, a share in showcase-generated revenues after off-site venue expenses are covered. If you are interested in being an official showcase act for World of Bluegrass 2014, the IBMA is now accepting applications online using a new and easy online submission process this year.
IBMA’s World of Bluegrass is scheduled for Sept. 30 - Oct. 4, 2014 in Raleigh, N.C. Applying Artists are not required to be IBMA members to apply for the showcase opportunity, but are required to submit a $25 fee to help defray selection process costs. The following is what is required for the application process:
- Contact info for the band members (names & emails)
- Contact info for band management or rep (if applicable)
- The following media:
- MP3 (max 5 MB)
- Youtube link
- Hi-Res color photo (4 MB)
- Band bio (copy and paste from source)
- Payment to process the application (credit card only)
The Bluegrass Ramble Showcases is the premiere opportunity to introduce talent and new music at IBMA’s annual World of Bluegrass conference. This opportunity comes in the form of “official” showcase performances which help the music industry assembled discover emerging new bands, as well as established bands with new music or new personnel. Deadline to apply is February 28, 2014.
If selected as one of the official showcase artists, there is a showcase fee of $500 to offset costs of services and showcase production. The showcases are designed to introduce any one or all of the following to the bluegrass industry:
- Emerging talent capable and willing to broaden their market
- Established bands who have significant changes in their act
- Artists who have a significant, new recorded product.
The board-appointed Talent Committee’s selection process involves a fair, but subjective evaluation based on the information presented by each applicant. Depending on the number of acts which apply, the selection process takes approximately three months. IBMA makes the full selection criteria available upon request. Any act wishing to apply for an official showcase must submit the digital application below by February 28, 2014.
Benefits of Showcasing at IBMA's World of Bluegrass include:
- Featured profile in conference program
- Priority access to “Gig Fair” appointments (new & improved in 2014—more info coming soon!)
- Scheduled consultation in advance of events on maximizing showcase opportunities
- Complimentary booth space during business conference (value $600+)
- Full conference registration package for performing members of group (value $1000+)
- One organizational membership for group (value $205)
- Promotion throughout the year by IBMA through various media outlets. In 2013 included an Airplay Direct compilation, Noisetrade compilation, social media "spotlights" and more.
- And other exclusive services available to official showcase performers.Featured profile in conference program
John Santa, founder of the Marathon Jam campaign to raise money for the Fisher House, happily announced that they have broken $12,000 for the Fort Bragg Fisher House. Now the question is, can they break $13,000 or, do they dare to dream for that $15,000 mark? Yes. Not only can they dream but, your contributions can help them reach their goal. While the official Marathon Jam was held February 22nd, that doesn't mean you still can't contribute and, better yet, plan for next year too. Visit http://marathonjam.com/ for details on how you can help this fine project.
The Marathon Jam is a 12-hour annual jam started in Chapel Hill, N.C. to raise funds for the Ft. Bragg Fisher House Foundation and to honor our military. Primarily of bluegrass music, the "Mostly Bluegrass" Marathon Jam takes place with jams from across the United States and in Baghdad Iraq, Afghanistan and possibly Germany. The Fisher House (www.fisherhouse.org) is an organization that supplies room and board to the families of soldiers recovering in VA hospitals away from their homes
John Santa says, "Our total for five years is $50,000 and Marathon Jams nation wide have raised over $250,000 for Fisher Houses across the country! We want to thank the Legion for providing us a great place to meet and play completely free of charge! They are a great organization and are true in every sense of the word to their Mission and Mandate! We could not do it with out them…"
More than 20 years ago, a small group of musicians, led by John Santa, began to meet once a month at someone's house to play music. Most of these players were studio musicians that had worked together on various albums for other artists and decided it would be good to get together socially and not just for work. Thus was born the RDU Session Players.
Over time, the group expanded to include more than 150 people, now including non-professional musicians and even civilians (people who can't play or sing). Any given month would see 20 to 40 people at the monthly gathering, and spectators became more and more common. As the catalogue of songs grew so large, someone once commented that they believed we could play for 12 hours straight and not repeat a single song. From that simple thought, the first Marathon Jam was born in 2004.
That first Marathon Jam was held in one of Whit Kenney's vacant offices, and several people earned the distinction of becoming "Iron Pickers" for playing the entire 12-hour Jam, beginning at noon and playing past midnight. John and Whit were talking on the phone as John was driving home, and John said that it was a shame that, in spite of the pain which comes from 12 straight hours of pressing guitar strings, no one got paid. Then, the idea of turning this wonderful time into a fundraiser was born.
This year's event takes place Saturday, February 22nd from 1pm to 1am at the American Legion Post 6, 1714 Legion Rd, Chapel Hill, NC 27515. Visit http://www.marathonjam.com/ for more information and details on how you can contribute to this outstanding program.
The Culver's Jammers will once again be helping to raise money for the Fisher House. This is the sixth year this event has taken place and is happening Saturday February 22, 2014, from 1:00 PM to 4:00 PM.
Tickets to the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association's festival will be awarded to the person(s) donating the most money or bringing in the most checks for the Fisher House. Checks are preferred, but cash will be accepted as well. If you're unable to attend but would still like to donate, you can mail a check made out to "Fisher House Minneapolis" c/o Barb Carlson, 8025 5th St. NE, Spring Lake Park, MN, 55432.
The Fisher House Foundation provides a "home away from home" for military families to be close to a loved one during hospitalization for an illness, disease or injury. For more information, visit www.fisherhouse.orgTags: Marathon JamFisher HouseJohn SantaBenefitFundraiserEventJam
Los Angeles, CA -- Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell announced upcoming spring and summer tour dates today. The Grammy Award-winning collaborators will bring their celebrated live show to major cities across the nation. The tour kicks off on March 14 at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium and rounds out with three nights at the historic Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles, CA on July 2 – July 4.
In addition, Steve Martin’s first-ever live concert television broadcast titled Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell Live will premiere on PBS' Great Performances in March (check local listings).
Highlighting Martin's unique blend of comedy and bluegrass, this extraordinary live performance was taped in stunning HD and recorded in crystal clear 5.1 audio at the historic Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, California in the fall of 2013.
The deluxe two-disc CD/DVD package also titled Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell Live will be released on Rounder Records on March 11. The two-disc set contains two hours of comedy and music including four previously unreleased tracks: "Pretty Little One, " "Auden's Train," "The Dance at the Wedding," and "Katie Mae" as well as the song "Love Has Come For You," for which Martin and Brickell won a Grammy for Best American Roots Song.
STEVE MARTIN AND THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS FEATURING EDIE BRICKELL CONCERT DATES:
03/14 - Santa Cruz, CA @ Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium*
03/15 - Stockton, CA @ Bob Hope Theatre*
04/16 - Niagara Falls, ON @ Fallsview Casino Resort**
04/17 - Niagara Falls, ON @ Fallsview Casino Resort**
04/18 - Westbury, NY @ Theatre at Westbury
04/19 - Richmond, VA @ The Landmark Theater**
05/09 - Eugene, OR @ Hult Center For the Performing Arts - Silva Concert Hall
05/10 - Bellingham, WA @ Mount Baker Theatre
05/11 - Nanaimo, BC @ Port Theatre
05/12 - Victoria, BC @ Royal Theatre
06/05 - Detroit, MI @ MotorCity Casino Hotel - Sound Board
06/06 - Elizabeth, IN @ Horseshoe Casino Southern Indiana – Showroom
06/08 - Birmingham, AL @ Alys Robinson Stephens Performing Arts Center - Jemison Concert Hall
06/18 - Portsmouth, NH @ The Music Hall
06/19 - Hartford, CT @ Mortensen Hall @ Bushnell Center
06/20 - Albany, NY @ Palace Theatre
06/21 - Rochester, NY @ Rochester International Jazz Festival (4PM)
06/21 - Rochester, NY @ Rochester International Jazz Festival (8PM)
06/22 - Ottawa, ON @ Ottawa Jazz Festival
07/01 - San Diego, CA @ Humphreys
07/02 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
07/03 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
07/04 - Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl
07/29 - Austin, TX @ Long Center for the Performing Arts
07/30 - Midland, TX @ Wagner Noel Performing Arts Center
07/31 - Houston, TX @ Jones Hall for the Performing Arts
08/01 - Dallas, TX @ AT&T Performing Arts Center – Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House
08/02 - Southaven, MS @ Snowden Grove Park
08/03 - Fayetteville, AR @ Arkansas Music Pavilion
*Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers only
**Steve Martin and Martin Short with the Steep Canyon Rangers only
Steve Martin on the Web:
Ontario, CA --Tickets to the popular Huck Finn Jubilee go on sale at 4 p.m. today. Hotel packages with tickets included are available to everyone, with camping reservations open to the public on Feb. 27. Members of the Southwest Bluegrass Association will be given first access to the "Jammers' Campground," where bluegrass enthusiasts from far and wide gather to sit together and jam well into the night. The SWBA will send its members a special pre-sale code to be used for early signups.
Early bird tickets to the campground go on sale to the public Feb. 27 and may be purchased online at www.huckfinn.com or by calling 888-718-4253. Hotel packages including lodging and admission tickets are available now, starting as low as $99 per day.
The Huck Finn Jubilee takes place June 13-15 at Cucamonga-Guasti Regional Park in Ontario, California, with onsite camping available beginning June 11.
RV and tent camping will be limited this year. The “orange” campground used last year is under renovation for next year’s event and will be unavailable in 2014, so spaces will be limited and there will be dry camping only (no electricity, no hookups). Regular pricing takes effect April 1.
Pricing for both early bird and SWBA members is as follows:
Huck Finn Jubilee is an annual three-day celebration featuring headliner bluegrass and country-themed performances, old time activities and contests, a jammer’s campground, fishing, camping, raft-building, living history displays and more. Held every Father’s Day weekend in Ontario, Calif., it is billed as one of the largest bluegrass festivals of its kind west of the Mississippi, drawing visitors from throughout the United States.
This year’s early lineup includes The Del McCoury Band, Rhonda Vincent and Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice, with other top performers to be announced soon.
Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, awarded “Best Bluegrass Band” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA), is touted as one of the nation’s most authentic bluegrass groups. The Del McCoury Band took home its second Grammy Award this year for best bluegrass album with “Streets of Baltimore,” a tribute to the city where McCoury got his start working for a stint with the father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. And Vincent, dubbed the “New Queen of Bluegrass” by the Wall Street Journal, recently released “Only Me,” a two-disc combo of both bluegrass and country. Known for her progressive chord structures and multi-range vocals, she has worked closely with many in the industry, including Dolly Parton, and Alison Krauss.
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 http://www.discoverontariocalifornia.orgTags: Huck Finn JubileeBluegrass FestivalEvent
Black Prairie have announced a run of west coast dates following the release of their third studio album, the hard-edged, cinematic Fortune, out April 22nd via Sugar Hill Records. They also will appear at Sasquatch! Music Festival on July 4th weekend. More dates will be added throughout 2014.
Fortune proves the band has outgrown its roots as a casual side-project of indie folk band The Decemberists, solidifying into a primary, creative focus for its members—a band with its own internal momentum, genuine character and style. “Making this record was the most collaborative and magical thing,” says founder Chris Funk. “I’m excited to play these songs live.”
Black Prairie’s music has been described as somewhere “between John Ford and David Lynch, homespun tales with sinister sub-plots” (Uncut) and possessing of “the musical spirit that emanated from Big Pink in the late ’60” (Washington Post), but Fortune is an unexpected departure from their previous bluegrass inflected work. This group of accomplished musicians from Portland, Oregon - each steeped in traditional American acoustic music - has written what is essentially a rock record, and sometimes with a pretty hard edge. (The band sometimes performs around Portland as their ‘electric’ alter ego ‘White Tundra,’ complete with an 8-foot, handmade robotic Yeti -- it stood in the studio inspiring the band as they recorded this set of songs.)
“Let’s make it sound more broken!” became the battle cry in the studio from Fortune’s producer, Grammy-winning engineer Vance Powell, whose work with The Dead Weather and Red Fang the band especially loved.
“We’re a much more fearless writing team now,” says bassist Nate Query, who can trace Fortune’s sound to the night the band saw frontwoman Annalisa Tornfelt perform Led Zeppelin’s “The Song Remains the Same.” “She tore the roof off it,” Funk remembers. The band discovered a whole new, blaring dimension to their fiddle-player’s voice, and inevitably that energy started infecting the songs they were writing.
Black Prairie may look like a bluegrass or folk band, but their tastes and repertoire are much more expansive. There is a fierce emphasis on musicianship, Powell says, but otherwise: “They’re genre-less. They’re not afraid of anything.”Tags: Black PrairieCD ReleaseFortune
Nashville, TN -- Beloved Nashville entertainer Steve Thomas wishes to thank all that participated and attended the Ashes of Love Benefit concert held Thursday night in Nashville. Proceeds from the event were presented to Steve and his wife Janet who suffered extensive house damage from a chimney fire on New Year’s Eve. The “Ashes of Love” benefit concert was sponsored by: David and Adrienne Kirkey of Eagle Canyon Music in Lebanon, TN; Pinecastle Records, and Corey Frizzell Portrait Artist.
"Janet and I are so moved at the outpouring of ministry from the music community. As we gathered the other night at the Texas Troubadour Theater in Nashville it was both emotional and joyful. Having an opportunity to revisit my thirty-year journey in Bluegrass and country music with many of the artists who gave me my start was truly a privilege. Though the circumstances that brought us together were sad, it was all turned into great joy - so proud of the community that I work in. My deepest thanks to all who were involved," said Steve.
The “Ashes of Love” concert was hosted by Marcia Campbell of The WSM All Nighter radio show with tremendous performances by: the Del McCoury Band; The Grascals; Rambling Rooks; Sierra Hull, Bobby Osborne; Mark Newton & Steve Thomas; Claire Lynch; Marty Raybon; Sister Sadie (Dale Ann Bradley, Gena Britt, Deanie Richardson, Beth Lawrence, Tina Adair); Gary Ferguson, Larry Stephenson Band; Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle & Jerry Salley; Val Storey; Paul Brewster; Melonie Cannon; Buck White, Aubrey Haynie; Randy Kohrs; Scott Vestal; Mike Bub; Ashby Frank; Clay Hess; and more.
Event photography was provided by Dreama Stephenson of dreambeeartphotography.com. To view the event photos, please visit the Newton and Thomas Facebook page.
Mailed donations can be made payable to Steve Thomas and mailed to PO Box 1016, Gallatin, TN. 37066.
For over twenty years, Steven Thomas has been a professional musician touring and working with some of the biggest names in Bluegrass and Country music. He began his impressive career at an early age growing up in the Roanoke, Virginia area and later formed the Lonesome River Band with Tim Austin.
His impressive career includes performing with: Del McCoury; with Jim & Jesse and The Virginia Boys on the Grand Ole Opry; The Lost and Found, The Whites, The Osborne Brothers, Aaron Tippin, Barbara Mandrell, Brooks and Dunn, LeeAnn Womack, Kenny Chesney, John Michael Montgomery, Ronnie Bowman, and Lorrie Morgan. He is now performing with Mark Newton as “Newton & Thomas” and celebrating their hit bluegrass album, “Reborn” on Pinecastle Records. When Steve is not touring, you can find him in the studio recording and producing music by The Crowe Brothers, Larry Cordle, Jesse McReynolds and more talented artists.Tags: Steve ThomasAshes of LoveBenefitConcertEvent
Mountain Park Old Time Band was formed six years ago as a group of friends who happened to enjoy old time music got together to have a good time. Over the past several years, the Mountain Park Old Time Band has been creating a stir in old time music circles. The group has five members, all of whom are very versatile and talented musicians. Saturday, March 1st, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by the Mountain Park Old Time Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, children 6 to 11 $1, under age 6 free.
Members Nancy and Johnny Gentry played for years with the Whitetop Mountain Band. Johnny plays guitar, dobro, and fiddle as well as doing vocals for the band. Nancy drives the rhythm with her excellent bass playing. She and Johnny both teach music, and Johnny also makes beautiful banjos. Roger Stamper handles the fiddling for the group and he plays guitar and bass as well. C. T. Janney plays the washboard – an “instrument” rarely played today. C.T. also cuts a mean rug when he dances. Dr. Mark Handy plays banjo and does vocals – he’s also a champion clogger. When he’s not playing old time, Dr. Handy practices medicine in Abingdon, Virginia, and helps to run his family’s farm.
The Mountain Park Old Time Band has played at the Blue Ridge Music Center, the Alleghany Jubilee, the Rex Theater, and at Bristol’s Rhythm and Roots Festival. They have also been featured on National Public Radio. The group has released two CDs – Fire on the Dance Floor and Dancing with Sally Goodin. Mountain Park recently performed at the annual Carter Family Festival. Their group has very quickly become a Carter Fold favorite.
Fans of groups like the Whiteop Mountain Band will love the Mountain Park Old Time Band. 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 Mountain Park Old Time Band at the Carter Family Fold! For more information on the group, go to: www.MountainParkOldTimeBand.com/
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 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.Tags: Mountain Park Old Time BandCarter Family FoldThe Crooked RoadConcertEvent
James William Monroe II confirmed with Cybergrass that his grandfather made the January 7th list. The list says confidential and restricted however, a copy is available online. It also comes with a caveat that changes to the list can happen without notice. The Citizen's Stamp Advisory Committee cataloged Monroe as an "approved subject" with a distribution year yet to be determined. Tagged "Music Icons: Bill Monroe", the Father of Bluegrass Music's stamp is not yet in development nor has a design been approved. Monroe is listed with other icons including Jim Morrison, Tammy Wynette, "Fats" Waller, Freddie Fender, John Lennon and others. Icons already approved include Roy Orbison and Sarah Vaughn.
The U.S. Postal Service is proud of its role in portraying the American experience to a world audience postage stamps and postal stationery. Many of the subjects chosen to appear on U.S. stamps and postal stationery are suggested by the American public. Each year, the Postal Service receives thousands of letters proposing stamp subjects. Every stamp suggestion meeting criteria is considered, regardless of who makes it or how it is presented. Jim Peva has been an active proponent for the Bill Monroe Stamp for many years now. His efforts seem to have paid off.
The Citizens' Stamp Advisory Committee's primary goal is to select a good balance of subjects appealing to a broad audience for recommendation to the Postmaster General. These subjects will be contemporary, timely, relevant, interesting and educational. In addition to the Postal Service’s extensive line of mail-use stamps, approximately 25 new subjects for commemorative stamps are recommended each year. Stamp selections are made with all postal customers in mind, including stamp collectors.
The committee meets four times yearly. At these two-day meetings, the members review all eligible proposals that have been received since the previous meeting. No in-person appeals by stamp proponents are permitted. The criteria established by this independent group ensure that stamp subjects have stood the test of time, are consistent with public opinion and have broad national interest. The members also review and provide guidance on artwork and designs for stamp subjects that are scheduled to be issued.
It may be a while before we know when the stamp will be released however, getting on the list is the first big hurdle. Monroe first became eligible in 2006 for a commemorative stamp. Many letters by bluegrass fans were submitted to the committee over the years. Now, we need to keep an eye on the list and watch for further updates which will give a clue to when we can expect to see this great tribute to the master, Bill Monroe.
The committee meets four times yearly. At these two-day meetings, the members review all eligible proposals that have been received since the previous meeting. No in-person appeals by stamp proponents are permitted. The criteria established by this independent group ensure that stamp subjects have stood the test of time, are consistent with public opinion and have broad national interest. The members also review and provide guidance on artwork and designs for stamp subjects that are scheduled to be issued.Tags: Bill MonroePostage StampJim Peva
Bristol, TN/VA -- The Grammy Award Winning Carolina Chocolate Drops are sure to bring an amazing concert to The Paramount in Bristol. The night will be full of toe tapping, hand clapping and faces full of smiles. This show is going to be incredible and is a do not miss show. Tickets are $25 in advance $30 day of show.
The Carolina Chocolate Drops got together in 2005 at an event called the Black Banjo Gathering in Boone, NC. The band notes, "We met each other there and circumstances soon permitted that we live close to each other and we started to visit our mentor, 90 year Black fiddler, Joe Thompson. Since then, we have been lucky enough to play our music all over the world and the US."
In early 2012, Grammy award-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops released their studio album Leaving Eden produced by Buddy Miller. The traditional African-American string band's album was recorded in Nashville and featured founding members Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, along with multi-instrumentalist Hubby Jenkins and cellist Leyla McCalla, already a familiar presence at the group's live shows. With Flemons and McCalla now concentrating on solo work, the group's lineup now features two more virtuosic players alongside Giddens and Jenkins—cellist Malcolm Parson and multi-instrumentalist Rowan Corbett—illustrating the expansive, continually exploratory nature of the Chocolate Drops' music.
The Chocolate Drops got their start in 2005 with Giddens, Flemons and fiddle player Justin Robinson, who amicably left the group in 2011. The Durham, North Carolina-based trio would travel every Thursday night to the home of old-time fiddler and songster Joe Thompson to learn tunes, listen to stories and, most importantly, to jam. Joe was in his 80s, a black fiddler with a short bowing style that he inherited from generations of family musicians. Now he was passing those same lessons onto a new generation. When the three students decided to form a band, they didn’t have big plans. It was mostly a tribute to Joe, a chance to bring his music back out of the house again and into dancehalls and public places.
With their 2010 Nonesuch Records debut, Genuine Negro Jig—which garnered a Best Traditional Folk Album Grammy—the Carolina Chocolate Drops proved that the old-time, fiddle and banjo-based music they’d so scrupulously researched and passionately performed could be a living, breathing, ever-evolving sound. Starting with material culled from the Piedmont region of the Carolinas, they sought to freshly interpret this work, not merely recreate it, highlighting the central role African-Americans played in shaping our nation’s popular music from its beginnings more than a century ago.
The virtuosic trio’s approach was provocative and revelatory. Their concerts, The New York Times declared, were “an end-to-end display of excellence ... They dip into styles of southern black music from the 1920s and ’30s—string- band music, jug-band music, fife and drum, early jazz—and beam their curiosity outward. They make short work of their instructive mission and spend their energy on things that require it: flatfoot dancing, jug playing, shouting.”
Rolling Stone described the Carolina Chocolate Drops’ style as “dirt-floor-dance electricity.” If you ask the band, that is what matters most. Yes, banjos and black string musicians first got here on slave ships, but now this is everyone’s music. It’s okay to mix it up and go where the spirit moves.Tags: Carolina Chocolate DropsParamount CenterBristolConcertEvent