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Updated: 48 min 11 sec ago

Start the Holiday Season Early with Claire Lynch Album

21 hours 48 min ago

Claire Lynch Holiday AlbumNashville, TN -- 2014 IBMA Song of the Year Winner ("Dear Sister") and 2013 Female Vocalist of the Year, Claire Lynch, is excited to announce a very special release for the holidays on her own Thrill Hill Records. Holiday! is Claire’s first seasonal album and is available now at her live shows and through the Claire Lynch website.

Holiday! sets the mood for enjoying holiday traditions and cheer. “I took songs from my childhood holiday memories and then we put the ‘CLB twist’ on them,” the multi-award-winning artist says.

The ten-track album is melodic and contemporary with a retro charm that harkens back to great, traditional holiday albums. Holiday! features an array of seasonal standards like “Home for the Holidays,” “White Christmas,” and a special version of “Scarlett Ribbons” with harmonies by Claire’s daughter, Christy.

Holiday! puts emphasis on Claire’s delicate vocals and the instrumentation of her virtuosic players creating a delicious intersection of bluegrass and jazz.

The current Claire Lynch Band is a powerful juggernaut, a quartet that has the innate ability to perfectly interpret the beauty, subtlety, and genre-defying sophistication of Claire’s music. The CLB features like-minded musicians blending tradition and innovation - two-time IBMA-winning bassist-clawhammer banjo player-dancer-percussionist Mark Schatz, soulful mandolinist-guitarist Matt Wingate, and young string wizard Bryan McDowell.

Holiday! was recorded at Lynch’s recording studio, The Pine Room, and engineered by Todd Phillips, who also appears on the album as percussionist and has traveled with the CLB.

“I can say that this is the most-relaxed and happy I've felt while recording an album in my entire career. Many years have passed since I first expressed interest in doing a holiday recording. Here is a collection of holiday classics with that fresh “CLB” feel, yet grounded with the sentimental feeling we all sense this time of year.”
  – Claire Lynch

Categories: Music Industry

Hope Harvest Festival in Chandler, AZ, Oct 24th

21 hours 51 min ago

Hope Harvest FestivalJames Reams & The Barnstormers, the band that was nominated by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2002 as Emerging Artist of the Year, will be performing at the Hope Harvest Festival on Friday, October 24th. The festival runs from 6:00 to 8:30 PM and is held at the Hope Covenant Church located at 1770 S. Dobson Rd., Chandler, AZ 85286. This is a FREE event.

This festival is a throw-back to the days of good ole family fun! There will be games, surprises, food and, of course, great bluegrass music from James Reams & The Barnstormers. Please call the church at 480-899-7255 for more information about this event.

Music critic Jerry Paul (former editor of Acoustica) described lead singer James Reams: “James is such an inspiration to watch. He truly feels his music, and sings from her very soul. If James is ever within your area, he is a ‘must see’ bluegrass icon.”

James Reams & The Barnstormers provide a contemporary take on traditional bluegrass; blending it with innovation and vitality to create their own branch on the “roots” tree. In a review of an early album by James Reams, fRoots (an international magazine that specializes in world music) declared, “Traditional music kept alive by a stylish performer… Powerful, emotional music that needs to be heard.”

For further information about James Reams & The Barnstormers visit their website at www.jamesreams.com or http://cdbaby.com/Artist/jamesReams. Music videos are available on http://www.youtube.com/user/mrjamesreams.

Categories: Music Industry

Big Country Bluegrass at Carter Family Fold Sat. Oct 25th

21 hours 54 min ago

Big Country BluegrassBig Country Bluegrass was formed by husband and wife Tommy and Teresa Sells in the late 1980s and took its’ name from Tommy’s coon-hunting buddy Jimmy Martin’s instrumental Big Country. The group delivers their own hard driving and heartfelt style of bluegrass music, and it makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform. Whether it’s at a festival in Missouri, on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, or at a small, intimate concert in their hometown of Independence, Virginia, the band brings back memories reminiscent of the early days of bluegrass music. Saturday, October 25th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert by Big Country Bluegrass. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.

All the band’s members live in and around the Virginia/Carolina Blue Ridge, and their music reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region which is at the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail. Tommy Sells plays mandolin and handles most of the emcee work. Teresa Sells plays rhythm guitar and sings lead and high harmony vocals. Eddie Gill handles most of the distinctive lead vocals and also plays the guitar. Lynnwood Lunsford, a former member of both the Lost and Found and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, plays banjo and sings harmony for the group. Tony King plays upright bass for the group.

Big Country Bluegrass plays music that has become known to many as Galax or Mt. Airy style bluegrass. It is straight ahead, hard edged bluegrass with no frills. The rhythm and timing are solid, the instrumental work is clean and tasteful, and the vocals are from the heart.

The band has released over a dozen albums and CDs over the years. Their latest release, The Boys in Hats and Ties, has garnered the prestigious # 1 spot in both the Bluegrass Unlimited magazine and the Bluegrass Music Profiles’ radio air-play charts. Tom T. and Dixie Hall wrote the title track. For more information on the band, go to http://www.bigcountrybluegrass.com/.
If you love to dance or if you prefer just listening, Big Country Bluegrass won’t disappoint. In fact, the band has become a favorite of Fold audiences. For some of the best traditional bluegrass music the region has to offer, don’t miss them at the Carter Family Fold!

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 – @carterfoldinfo.

Categories: Music Industry

Bluegrass First Class 2015 Initial Lineup Announced

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 12:03am

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme OutAsheville, NC is one of the most exciting small cities you’ll ever be privileged to visit. It is a trendy haven for musicians, artists and craftspeople from all over the world. Arrive early and enjoy the red carpet VIP treatment you will receive at the regal Crowne Plaza Resort, your festival location, and take a little extra time to enjoy the local year-round sights and attractions this eclectic and charming area has to offer. Nestled deep in the heart of the scenic Blue Ridge Mountains, Bluegrass First Class 2015 will be held on the Third Weekend of February (20th, 21st, & 22nd, 2015).

In an intimate, up close and personal setting, this event features many nationally known performers. The lineup of performers for 2015 Bluegrass First Class is unbeatable!

Friday will feature the impeccable harmonies of 7-time Female Vocalist of the Year Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, 5-time IBMA Male Vocalist of the year Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out. Bluegrass Music Hall of Famer and IBMA’s 7-time winner for Vocal Group of the Year Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver will surely bring a memorable performance. Let’s not forget the sweet sound of 5-time IBMA Femal Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley, as well as Adkins and Loudermilk. This will be an exciting day with the different sounds of Bluegrass Music.

Saturday, oh what a day! Entertainment will include top national bands and one of the hottest up-and-coming Bluegrass bands you could imagine. One of top Bluegrass bands in America, the incomparable Dailey & Vincent will not disappoint. Saturday’s performances will also include the seasoned talent of Seldom Scene, highly awarded and recognized Lonesome River Band, as well as the amazing vocals of Appalachian Fire, along with IMBA’s 2014 Emerging Artist of the Year ….. Flatt Lonesome! This will truly be a day to remember!

Purchase your tickets and/or reserved seats online Now!.

The Crowne Plaza Resort is the first of its kind in North Carolina and will be dedicated to bluegrass for the entire weekend. All rooms in the resort will be occupied by bluegrass fans, and all of the facility’s meeting rooms will be set aside for picking and jamming. There is a “quiet wing” block on one floor consisting of sleeping rooms which have been set aside for those who wish to rest and relax in a no-jamming zone.

Hotel reservations are limited. Call the Crowne Plaza Resort to reserve your room for Bluegrass First Class in Asheville, NC by calling 828-254-3211. CrownePlaza reservations must be made over the phone.

Categories: Music Industry

Halloween Bluegrass Songs by No Grass Limit

Sun, 10/19/2014 - 12:01am

 OriginalsNo Grass Limit is a 5-piece band ranging from bluegrass, folk, gospel and traditional music. In Jan of 2014, No Grass Limit recorded their first all original album in Nashville with Grammy Award Winner Randy Korhs. Featuring Dustin Benson from Special Consensus, Sally Berry (Rhonda Vincent's daughter) and Randy Korhs. Now being played on radio stations all around the world their success has led them into the hearts of millions.

Formed in June of 2011, the band was only 4 months into the process of playing together when they won the MBOTMA (Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association) Race for a Place band contest. No Grass Limit puts on an electric performance that you will not want to miss. They have shared the stage with The Lonesome River Band, Del McCoury, Sierra Hull, Jim Van Cleve, Alison Krauss, Michael Cleveland, Ralph Stanley, Claire Lynch, Josh Williams, Chris Jones and The Night Drivers, The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Mountain Heart, Special Consensus, and the list goes on and on.

For Halloween, you can be treated to songs like "Ghost on Main Street", "Spider Ride" and "Heart of Stone" -- all available on AirPlay Direct. "Good Old Days of Bill Monroe" and "Me and You" are also available.

Chuck Millar with his uncompromising integrity, exceptional talent and unwavering leadership started teaching at an early age of 17; he has continued to showcase his talents on and off stage by helping many new aspiring students to be great musicians and performers. He teaches all of the following instruments: guitar, violin, fiddle, mandolin, bass, vocal, music theory and performance. Currently performing with Sandi in No Grass Limit, Chuck also plays with the nationally recognized band "Tangled Roots" which has released three recordings "Angel From Montgomery" & Valley Road" & "Life of a Dream".

Sandi Millar stands alone as the west metro’s premier guitar, vocal, and performance instructor. From her mastery on vocals and harmonies to a deep connection with audiences, her music has had a profound effect on many. Sandi’s talents and accomplishments have been recorded on four CDs, which have been played on radio all around the world, "One More Time", The Flame in My Heart", "Where's the Line" with The Frets and the newest NGL recording “Lay Me Down” Plus multiple backup harmony singing recordings. Sandi, approached by the "Buffalo Music Encore Program" was hired to help with instructing students on guitar, vocal & performance. After a few years of teaching she has truly developed a love of helping students achieve all their musical dreams.

21-year-old Clint Birtzer, is the 2013, 2011, and 2009 Minnesota State Flatpicking Guitar Champion. Clint, along with Jesse Moravec of the Sawtooth Bluegrass Band, also captured the 1st place title in the 2011 MN Duet Singing Championships. In addition to music, Clint is passionate about The Great Outdoors and hunts as much as music and school allow him. He has completed an associates degree at Inver Hills Community College and is now studying professional journalism at the University of Minnesota. He works at the Minnesota Daily, the U of M's campus paper, as a reporter, but is planning on turning his music into a profession after college.

Mike Hedding has been playing guitar, banjo and mandolin with some of the Midwest’s top bluegrass groups. Steeped in the bluegrass tradition of Bill Monroe, Mike now studies with Grammy Award winning mandolin player Mike Compton and teaches workshops in the Midwest. Mike also has an extensive knowledge of music theory and rhythm which plays a large role in how he teaches. Mike has also been traveling around the Midwest playing banjo in the bluegrass groups, The New North String Band & The Puddle Jumpers. Mike’s banjo playing is now being heard on bluegrass radio stations across the country.

Vaughn Asselstine started her musical journey when she was eight years old, learning to tickle the ivories. From there she moved on to squeezing the accordion and strumming the guitar. During the early 70s she played with the Alive and Trucking Theater Company and along the way to becoming a college-educated computer geek she snuck in some study of jazz and music theory. A few years ago Vaughn started playing the bass. She fell in love with the unique combination of rhythm and melody that the bass brings as the foundation of many types of music. She has performed with multiple old-time, bluegrass, Cajun and jazz groups in Minneapolis and is enthusiastic about playing with all of them.

Categories: Music Industry

Mountain Faith on "Larry's Country Diner" This Weekend

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 12:07am

Mountain FaithWillis, VA -- Dollywood favorites and North Carolina natives, Mountain Faith, will take their music to a broader audience this weekend when they make an appearance on RFDTV's “Larry’s Country Diner.” The show has become a favorite for audiences nationwide who are craving comprehensive traditional country and bluegrass programming, offering viewers a wholesome, down-home, nationally-broadcasted variety show known for its spontaneity, impromptu dialogue and live-to-tape performances by the best country music artists of yesterday and today.

Mountain Faith's family friendly picking and singing fits right into this mix. The group dropped their first single from the album, "Feelin' Blue" to radio in late summer.

Singing, playing and performing together for 14 years, the band members include Sam McMahan on bass, Luke Dotson on guitar along with lead and harmony vocals, new member Cory Piatt on mandolin, Summer McMahan on fiddle along with lead and harmony vocals, and Brayden McMahan on banjo and harmony vocals. Bluegrass Today recently ran a brief article on talented young picker Cory Piatt joining the band.

Mountain Faith has a unique style that offers a variety of different genres of music. Audiences applaud their ability to offer numerous styles. Listeners will get a great mix of both traditional and contemporary bluegrass, classic and modern country, folk, acoustic and contemporary gospel and a little rhythm and blues, leaving a fresh, pure and upbeat impression on audiences of all ages.
Frequent performers at world renowned Dollywood, the band has become a crowd favorite over the years. They travel the bluegrass festival circuit, running alongside bluegrass’ top bands, all over the United States and Canada. Concert venues include civic centers, auditoriums, arenas, fair grounds, parks, churches and other locations. Recent SPBGMA awards “raised eyebrows” and drew more recognition for the band as they were the only band to have all members, but one, nominated for instrumental awards.

As you get to know the members of Mountain Faith, their humbleness, kindness and love of people will be evident. They leave a lasting impression in both their relationships and music.

For more information on Mountain Faith, visit www.MountainFaithBand.com or www.MountainFever.com

Larry’s Country Diner is a unique down-home variety show which integrates entertainment, interviews and music in a weekly format, taped live in front of a studio audience in a country diner setting. The show features regular characters including Black, Keith Bilbrey, Sheriff Jimmy Capps, Waitress Renae and avid church lady, Nadine along with special guest appearances by country music artists of yesterday and today. Since its initial airing on August 3, 2009, Larry’s Country Diner has produced over 100 episodes and has become one of the most popular shows on RFD television, garnering 1.4 million viewers monthly.

Larry’s Country Diner is a product of Gabriel Communications. Owned and operated by longtime disc jockey Larry Black, Gabriel Communications was created in 1996 and specialized in “Reunion” videos. The success of these videos spurred the creation of more than a dozen more projects featuring hundreds of songs and stories as well as Country’s Family Reunion News, a monthly newspaper which highlights the music of yesteryear. For more information on Country’s Family Reunion visit www.cfrvideos.com

Categories: Music Industry

Fiddler Wil Markham Receives Share America Scholarship

Sat, 10/18/2014 - 12:06am

Wil Markham, second from left, receives the 2014 Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship from Randall Franks, third from left, . Others joining the presentation are, from left, Gary Knowles, SAF chairman; Jimmy Terrell, SAF vice chairman; and James Pelt, Share America Foundation secretary., Share America photo by Jane ScrogginsThe Share America Foundation, Inc. announced its first 2014 scholarship winner recently at the Ringgold Depot in Ringgold, Ga. Fiddle player Wil Markham of Signal Mountain, Tenn. was selected as one of the 2014 winners. Markham is the son of Skip and Harriet Markham of Signal Mountain, Tenn. He is the grandson of Wilbourne and Delores Markham and Phil and the late Stuart Wilkerson.

The events help fund the organization’s Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship. Pearl and Floyd Franks are the late parents and former entertainment managers of actor/entertainer Randall Franks, "Officer Randy Goode" from TV's "In the Heat of the Night." The scholarship honor students excelling in the Appalachian musical arts.

“Music has been a significant of my life since I was 7 years old,” Markham said. “Classical violin gave way to fiddling with Mountain Cove. High school brought an opportunity to join the marching band Drum Line and eventually Drum Co-captain. “In the past few years I’ve become an accomplished guitarist and bassist,” he said. “I enjoy writing, recording, and producing music.” He performs regularly with Mountain Cove Bluegrass. The group’s latest CD is “Mountain Cove III."

Markham is attending the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He wants to work in the music business industry and aspires to open a recording studio in Chattanooga.

“My plans are to major in marketing and work in music production. It's an honor to be a part of a selected group of musicians that are so passionate and care so much about music from our region,” he said “This organization has helped so many students pursue their passion for music and obtain their education at the same time. I will always be thankful for this opportunity!”

“We were honored to present a $1,000 to assist him as he begins his college studies,” said Share America Chairman Gary Knowles.

Leader, Cody Harvey of Signal Mountain, started Mountain Cove Bluegrass during lunch hours at the new SMHS. The band is comprised with five members, Cody Harvey, Colin Mabry, Eli Beard, Tyler Martelli and Markham. For more information visit www.mountaincovebluegrass.com or Facebook at Mountain Cove.

“Wil is an exceptional musician and brings with him a great deal of enthusiasm in his craft,” Franks said.

Share America Foundation Board members include Franks, Knowles, Jimmy Terrell, vice chairman; James Pelt, secretary; and Jerry Robinson, Sr., vice president; and Adam Cathey.

The next Sacred Sounds Fridays is Nov. 7, 2014 at 7:30 p.m. featuring the Hullender Family and Aimee’ Garner at the Ringgold Depot. Admission is a $5 donation. Franks will host the event.

For more information about the organization and its programs, contact Share America, P.O. Box 42, Tunnel Hill, Ga. 30755 or visit www.shareamericafoundation.org.

Categories: Music Industry

Lester Flatt's Hometown Honors him with Historical Marker

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:16am

 Tonya Tindle, City of Sparta, TN)Sparta, TN -- Bluegrass and Country music legend, Lester Flatt, was honored in his hometown of Sparta, Tennessee recently when city and county officials joined forces to unveil an historical marker in his honor during Sparta's annual event, Liberty Square: A Lester Flatt Celebration.

Plans for the marker began nearly 18 months ago when Sparta residents, Blake and Kimberly Williams presented the idea at a White County Commissioners meeting to have a marker placed at Oaklawn Cemetery where Flatt is buried. "Lester was a very humble man and when he passed away, he didn't want a lot of attention," explains Blake Williams, who is a former member of Flatt's band, the Nashville Grass, and was also a pallbearer at Flatt's funeral. "Kimberly and I have talked to many people who worked with Lester over the years and also to his family, and we've all felt the same way—that we wanted to do something in his honor. Since he would have been 100 years old in June of this year, it just made sense to do it now."

The commissioners agreed and voted unanimously to pass the budget for the marker. Sparta's Mayor, Jeff Young, was at the meeting and without hesitation volunteered to pay for half the cost and offered any assistance needed to see the project through. "With the green light from both city and county officials in place, Kimberly began the legwork that involved working with the officials, tasking music journalist Barry Mazor, with the text for the marker and enlisting the help of W.D. Stone & Associates on a design."

The historical marker was unveiled during the city's annual event, named for Flatt, on Saturday, October 11th. "We've been producing 'Liberty Square: A Lester Flatt Celebration' for well over a decade now and were thrilled to be able to commemorate Lester Flatt's 100 years in bluegrass with this marker and some very special guests," states Sparta Mayor, Jeff Young. The 45-minute ceremony included a special music presentation by Blake Williams who enlisted the help of another Nashville Grass alumni, Roland White, as well as Michael Cleveland, Wayne Southards, Dwayne Anderson and a guest appearance by Darin Aldridge. Tennessee State Representative Paul Bailey presented a proclamation on behalf of the State of Tennessee honoring Flatt's contributions to bluegrass and country music and Kyle Cantrell, former Grand Ole Opry announcer and current program director for SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction, spoke on Flatt's impact on him personally and professionally. In attendance and recognized during the ceremony were Flatt's granddaughter Tammy Brumfield and her husband Mike; Don Clark, owner of the Bluegrass Bus Museum; Danny Clark, an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board member; Joe Lurgio, IBMA staff member; Ashlee-Jean Trott, associate producer of Music City Roots; Ray Seckler representing his father Curly Seckler; and White County Executive Denny Wayne Robinson.

The historical marker will be placed at Oaklawn Cemetery located on Hwy 70 just outside of Sparta, TN in the next few weeks. For more information on Liberty Square: A Lester Flatt Celebration, Lester Flatt and Sparta, Tennessee, please visit www.spartatn.com.

Categories: Music Industry

Alison Brown Awarded 2014 USA Artists Berresford Fellowship

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:12am

Alison BrownNashville, TN -- Grammy-winning banjoist and Compass Records Group co-founder Alison Brown is among 34 artists to receive a USA Fellowship from United States Artists. The recipients of this year's awards were announced this week and selected by a panel of expert peers in each artistic discipline. "USA Fellowships are awarded to innovative artists of all ages and at all stages of their careers, who are nominated for their commitment to excellence and the enduring potential of their work," said United States Artists CEO Carolina Garcia Jayaram. "Our Fellows embody originality across every creative discipline, celebrating the broad range of artistic practices in every region of the country, and cultivating a creative ecology that is diverse in age, race, religion, gender and sexual orientation."

Three of the 34 winners this year are in the field of music and include Meshell Ndegeocello and Daoud Haroon in addition to Brown. The 2014 Fellows join previous years' winners in music including Bill Frisell, Lila Downs, Wu Man, Joanie Madden (Cherish the Ladies), and Compass Records label mates Claire Lynch, Michael Doucet (BeauSoleil) and Rob Ickes.

Commenting on the award, Brown said: "I'm deeply honored to have my music be recognized by United States Artists and to join such an impressive and talented community of USA Fellows. The support and recognition of this organization really validates my musical mission for the banjo and I'm excited by the artistic opportunities that this grant is going to create." This honor comes on the heels of a banner night for Compass Records at the International Bluegrass Music Awards earlier this month including 7 awards and wins for Brown as producer and instrumental guest on the winning albums for Recorded Event of the Year and Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year.

Compass Co-Founder Alison Brown Awarded 2014 USA Artists Berresford Fellowship and $50,000 Grant

Brown's musical journey began when she left her investment banking career to join Alison Krauss and Union Station 25 years ago. Since then she has gained a reputation as one of the pre-eminent banjo players in the world, expanding the musical horizons for the instrument and taking it far beyond its Appalachian roots. She has recorded 10 critically acclaimed albums, received a Grammy and 4 Grammy nominations and has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR's All Things Considered and in the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times. Together with her Quartet she has performed at listening rooms and festivals across the US and abroad including The Newport Folk Festival, The New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Kennedy Center, the Grand Ole Opry and alongside several major symphony orchestras.

Brown is also co-founder of the internationally recognized Compass Records Group which oversees over 600 titles across the Compass, Green Linnet and Mulligan imprints and has been called by Billboard Magazine "one of the greatest independent labels." Brown is currently at work on a new project slated for an April 2015 release which will coincide with Compass Records' 20th anniversary.

Categories: Music Industry

2015 Monroe Mandolin Camp Dates Announcement

Fri, 10/17/2014 - 12:10am

Monroe Mandolin CampThe 2015 Monroe Mandolin Camp brings together world class instructors of Bill Monroe's style and music during a 3.5 day music conference camp. Regarded as the preeminent Monroe instructional camp in the world, this three and a half day, music packed event will provide you with all of the tools, technologies, and best practices you need to further your Monroe musical goals. Learn More.

Located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, music city central, the 2015 Camp boasts a serene private campus on which to learn in an environment of community and like-minded Monroephiles. Our website is being updated currently, and all details will be available on our website of www.monroemandolincamp.com and ready for your registration by January 1, 2015.

This year's camp will be hosted just outside of Nashville at a Conference Center Retreat in Pegram, TN. More details coming shortly.

If you know of a mandolin player who is interested in furthering their Monroe-Style chops and musical journey, please have them contact our Scholarship Committee for youth scholarship consideration. We are offering 5-6 Youth Scholarships (under age 18) this year due to our generous underwriters and donations received.

To apply, Submit video and request to:
    Scholarship Committee:
    MonroeMandolinCamp@gmail.com
    Deadline for submittal is February 1st, and announcements for recipients will be made by March 1st.

We look forward to seeing you September 9-13, 2015! Mike Compton is the Director "Mon Man Camp" Heidi Herzog Camp Administrator.

Categories: Music Industry

Glenn Gibson Departs Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:14am

Glenn GibsonCharlestown, IN -- Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper are sad to announce the departure of band member Glenn Gibson. Gibson has been a three-year member of Flamekeeper, but a life-long friend to Cleveland and his fellow Flamekeeper bandmates. His final performance with the band will be Thursday, October 16th at the Festival of the Riverboats in Louisville, KY.

"Making a living as a performer is a challenge in any genre of music," explains Gibson. "To that end, I spoke to Michael several months ago and shared the difficult decision that this would be my last season with Flamekeeper. The music we made and the album, On Down The Line, are highlights in my music career. The last three years provide fond memories that I will cherish and the camaraderie shared with bandmates and the Flamekeeper team has been awesome.

As for me, songwriting, recording and performing regionally will continue as my schedule allows. Working with Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper is an honor and privilege and I look forward to hearing the great music that Michael and the band will be making in the future."

Although Cleveland has known of Gibson's plans for some time, the departure is a tough one. "For the past three years, Glenn has been a big part of our sound, both live on stage and on our latest album. He put his own stamp on the music of Flamekeeper and also took the time to learn solos and backup from the other great banjo players we've had in the past. We will all miss Glenn both musically and personally. He's one of the finest people I've ever had the pleasure to work with and all of us wish him well."

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper have already begun auditioning for Gibson's replacement and plan to announce the newest member over the next few weeks.

Categories: Music Industry

Beyond the Recognition: The Effect of Awards on Music Careers

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:13am

Pictured at an IBMA Awards after-party are Mickey Gamble (left), president of Crossroads/Mountain Home Music Company of Arden NC, and Tim Surrett of the multi-award winning band Balsam Range. Surrett is the original founder of the Mountain Home label.Nashville, TN --- Artists on the Mountain Home Music Company label garnered the greatest number of nominations of any record label in the recent 2014 IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards. When the awards were handed out, Mountain Home artists walked away with six impressive honors.

Balsam Range was named both Vocal Group and Entertainer of the Year with singer/fiddler Buddy Melton named Male Vocalist of the Year and Tim Surrett honored with the Mentor Award. Adam Steffey of The Boxcars won the Mandolin Player award. With its second album released earlier this year, the vibrant young group, Flatt Lonesome was named Emerging Artist of the Year. All in all, a very good day for the ambitious record label based in North Carolina’s unassuming community of Arden.

So, aside from the recognition and a moment in the spotlight, what can awards mean to an artist’s career or to a record label? What is the effect on the business of the music business?

“First, I’ve got to say that any nomination or award is an honor. Just think of the number of people out there making music, and then to be selected for any kind of recognition, well, that’s pretty special,” says Tim Surrett of Balsam Range and Mountain Home Music Company. “Beyond that, awards can enhance an artist’s image and raise awareness both within and outside of the genre. That kind of recognition provides talking points for managers, agents and publicists who represent the artist. Additionally, songwriters and publishers are eager to pitch great songs to award-winning artists.”

Mountain Home Music Company counts among its artists multiple nominees and winners in the Grammys, Dove, IBMA, SPBGMA, ICM (Inspirational Country Music) Awards and more. President, Mickey Gamble, shares his thoughts.

“The result is multi-tiered. Awards can have a positive effect on the way everyone connected with the winner conducts business: artists, songwriters, publishers, labels and agents. A high profile nomination or award, especially something that is widely covered by the media, can boost sales and increase tour dates for the artist,” Gamble says.

“There is a level of credibility that comes with having award winners on the label that enhances the overall reputation of the label, making it easier to attract other promising or very accomplished artists to the roster, and that means we get to do more of what we love most: working with talented artists and supporting their creation of great music,” Gamble notes.

Many great bands are competing for a finite number of quality tour dates. Award recognition can pave the way to the stage of venues that might have previously been a tough sell.

From the agent’s perspective, Mike Drudge of Class Act Entertainment, (pictured, Drudge books acts including Balsam Range and The Boxcars), adds his thoughts of the effect of awards on the business of music.

“Awards are always great talking points, and the more high profile the award is, the more it adds to the ‘marquee value’ of an act. A major award, like Balsam Range’s 2014 Entertainer of the Year nod, adds a layer of legitimacy, if you will, particularly to those outside of Bluegrass. Similarly, when The Boxcars were nominated for a Grammy, it was an instant door opener to presenters and venues that may have limited familiarity with Bluegrass artists, as if to say, ‘Well, if they were nominated for a Grammy, they must be good!’”

“In my experience,” Drudge adds, “awards that result from a vote by peers carry more weight than fan-voted awards. Both the Grammys and IBMA Awards are voted on by peers in the industry – folks ‘in the know’ – so when someone from the outside looking in sees an act recognized by peers, it means a lot.”

Mountain Home Music Company, a division of Crossroads Entertainment and Marketing, Inc., has earned a reputation as a premiere Bluegrass label with global distribution. The label boasts elite artists including Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Boxcars, Lonesome River Band, Balsam Range, The Grascals, Snyder Family, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Danny Roberts, Crowe Lawson Williams, Flatt Lonesome and in a new signing at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, Chris Jones and The Night Drivers. Established in 1993, Crossroads is a market leader in the Bluegrass, Americana, and Christian Music fields.

Categories: Music Industry

North Carolina Introduces New Bluegrass Band Mountain Rain

Thu, 10/16/2014 - 12:11am

Mountain RainMountain Rain is a hard driving bluegrass. Full of youth and energy. Mountain Rain is a fresh new bluegrass band from the musically rich western Piedmont region of North Carolina. Their approach to the music is youthful and hard driving while at the same time maintaining respect for the traditional aspects of bluegrass.

Mountain Rain consists of Tommy Chandler from Mocksvlle North Carolina on guitar & vocals. Holding down the bass duties and tenor vocal is Ryan Dunn from Smith Grove in Davie County. Then there is Brandon Toney, also from Mocksville, laying the thumb to the 5 string banjo. Rounding out the band on mandolin & vocals is Brad Wood from the Surry County community of State Road, NC.

Mountain Rain has had a lot going on this week. The band hase been hard at work. They have added some new bookings to the schedule. there are some new pics and videos up on the Mountain Rain Band facebook page. The band has also been rehearsing and getting ready for their exciting future.

If you are looking for an introduction to Mountain Rain, you can catch them Friday at the Sunset Theater in Asheboro, NC at 7pm. On Friday, November 21, they will be performing in Cleveland, NC and then on January 17th, they will be in Conway, SC. Visit them online at http://www.mountainrainband.com/home for schedule updates and to find out more about this group.

Categories: Music Industry

Lonesome River Band Released a Great New Album

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:43am

Turn on a DimeNashville, TN -- With a track record of more than 30 years, Lonesome River Band is one of music’s most enduring and beloved bands. LRB has set a standard for Bluegrass and Acoustic bands and the band raises the bar once again with its first original studio release in four years, Turn on a Dime. The new release from Mountain Home Music Company is available tomorrow, Oct. 14.

Turn on a Dime showcases Lonesome River Band at the top of its creative game. When masterful players and vocalists combine with top notch material and thoughtful arrangement, the result is a dynamic release.

Led by five-time International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year Sammy Shelor, the group holds a powerhouse line up of award-winning players including vocalist and songwriter Brandon Rickman on guitar, Mike Hartgrove on fiddle, Barry Reed on bass and Randy Jones on mandolin and vocals.

From the title track, “Her Love Won’t Turn on a Dime,” which offers a clever twist on a familiar phrase, to the jazz-influenced gospel track “Don’t Shed No Tears,” Turn on a Dime brings both excitement and nostalgia. Pulsing with drive and sentiment, the recording moves from the pocketed groove for which LRB is renowned to barn burning versions of ultra-traditional tunes like “Cumberland Gap.”

With Turn on a Dime, Lonesome River Band delivers the kind of album that earned the band its iconic status. This is a group that pioneered the modern bluegrass sound and with Turn on a Dime, LRB is still shaping that sound.

Categories: Music Industry

The Spinney Brothers Ride Into October with a Tried and True CD

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:42am

The Spinney BrothersWillis, VA -- Yesterday's release of the Spinney Brothers' newest album, Tried and True on Mountain Fever Records, bookends a year that by all accounts has been a very successful one for two of Canada's greatest exports.

Their fresh new single, "Gonna Catch a Train," written by Ed Hamilton, released July 8th to great favor with radio, they received 2 IBMA Nominations for Emerging Artist & Song of the Year for the 2014 IBMA Awards and also performed on the IBMA Awards Show in Raleigh, NC in honor of fellow Canadian Neil Rosenberg, who was being inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association's Hall of Fame.

When talking about Tried and True's first single, Brian McNeal of Prescription Bluegrass says, "If one could improve upon the Spinney Brothers song "Gonna Catch A Train," I don't know how! It just may be the most bluegrass song the Canadian brothers have done yet and is certain proof that bluegrass as a genre knows no geographic boundaries."

DJ Amy Orlomoski with WHUS Radio's "Bluegrass Cafe" at The University of CT says, "By their own admission, these ambitious brothers are "living the dream" with chart-topping songs and sold out shows, and their ability to gain so many new fans wherever they play is amazing."

With a driving tempo and their signature southern-flavored bluegrass style, these brothers not only garnered back to back Emerging Artist of the Year nominations for 2013 and 2014, they also were nominees for Song of the Year.

The songs showcase a pulsing momentum that is bound to get lovers of bluegrass music excited. Charlie Hall with WCYO's The Bluegrass Express says, "If you like traditional, hard driving Bluegrass music, you're going to love it!"

Comprised of Allan Spinney, Rick Spinney, Gary Dalrymple, and newest member Terry Poirier on bass, The Spinney Brothers are originally from the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia and debuted in 1992, showcasing a tight brother duet vocal style that was immediately recognized for its energetic and distinctive sound. The cornerstone of their musical identity is their complete understanding and love of traditional bluegrass music with a southern flair.

Categories: Music Industry

Track By Track Hosts Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper Today!

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:38am

On Down the LineSiriusXM's Bluegrass Junction will air a Track By Track with Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper this week! Michael and Flamekeeper bandmates Josh Richards and Nathan Livers joined Kyle Cantrell in the studio recently for a feature on their Compass Records CD, On Down the Line. Since the band got together in 2006, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper have made their mark in the bluegrass world. Their newest album, On Down the Line, was released last July. Led by nine-time International Bluegrass Music Association's Fiddle Player of the Year, Michael Cleveland, the group's virtuosic style and traditional bluegrass sound has never been better represented.

The album's fourteen tracks showcase Flamekeeper's rich instrumental blend and tight three-part vocal harmonies, with tunes that span from straight-ahead bluegrass (“Fiddlin’ Joe," "Orange Blossom Special") to melodic, heart-felt songs such as "Just Call Me Crazy" and the imaginative reworking of the traditional "Jack O'Diamonds" as a solo fiddle tour de force.

There is also a surprise twist with a hard-driving bluegrass take on the Julian Lennon song "Too Late For Goodbyes," which is propelled by instrumental trades between banjo player Glenn Gibson and Cleveland. Grounding the driving forces of Gibson, Cleveland, and Nathan Livers on the mandolin, are bassist Tyler Griffith and guitarist Josh Richards, who contributed several originals to the project, including the neo-grass original, "Johnny Thompson."

Here are the upcoming air-dates and times:

  • Wednesday, October 15th at 11:00am ET
  • Thursday, October 16th at 9:00pm ET
  • Saturday, October 18th at 8:00am ET
  • Sunday, October 19th at 11:00am ET

For more on SiriusXM's Bluegrass Junction, please visit www.SiriusXM.com/BluegrassJunction. For more information on Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, visit www.FlamekeeperBand.com.

Categories: Music Industry

The Roys Featured On Young Country's Season Premiere Oct 16

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:36am

The RoysNashville, TN -- The Roys will debut on Young Country's upcoming season premiere for Blue Highways TV Network beginning Thursday, October 16 at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. ET, with repeats October 18 and 19 at 3:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. ET, respectively. The networkbroadcasts in select areas via AT+T U-verse, Charter Communications, Direct TV and Dish Network. Fans can click here for full channel listings.

This is the duo's second television appearance this month; last week they were featured guests on ZUUS Country's "On The Rise" series, "Live From The Couch." Their current CD, The View, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 10 Bluegrass Albums Chart and sits at #12 on the Roots Music Report. Deep Roots recently featured The View as their Album of the Week, and Folk Acoustic Music Exchange observes, "In just a few short years ... they've made an indelible mark in the Bluegrass/Country/Folk world and with The View,(they) are demonstrating exactly why that's so."

Their latest single, "No More Lonely," is further evidence of The Roys' talents and of their fans' loyalty. The track is #4 on the SiriusXM Bluegrass Junction Most-Playe4d Tracks, #13 on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart and #45 on the Airplay Direct chart.

The busy siblings are happily touring and recent performances include the IBMA World of Bluegrass event, the 44th Annual IEBA Conference and the Ernest Tubb Midnite Jamboree on October 11.

Upcoming shows include:

  • Oct 16 Gatlinburg, TN - Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery
  • Oct 18 Titusville, FL - Faith City Church
  • Oct 19 Orange Park, FL - Orange Park Fall Festival
  • Nov 01 McKinney, TX - McKinney Performing Arts Center
  • Nov 02 Longview, TX - Belcher Center
  • Nov 14 Crystal River, FL - St. Timothy Lutheran Church
  • Nov 22 Dunnellon, FL - Withlacoochee River BGF
  • Nov 24 Nashville, TN - Ryman / Christmas 4 Kids Concert
  • Dec 13 Pigeon Forge, TN - Christmas in the Smokies
  • Jan 08-12, 2015 - Tampa, FL - Danny Stewart Bluegrass Cruise
  • Jan 18-25 Ft Lauderdale, FL - The Country Music Cruise
  • Mar 20 West Palm Beach, FL - South Florida Fairgrounds
  • Apr 08-12 Duluth, MN - 2015 Arrowhead Home & Builders Show
Categories: Music Industry

Open Letter to the IBMA Board of Directors

Wed, 10/15/2014 - 12:34am

Bob CherryThe bluegrass world is still in shock after the recent announcement of the departure of Nancy Cardwell from the IBMA leadership role. The highly respected Cardwell was welcomed as a breath of fresh air into the Executive Director position and she served the role in a way greatly appreciated by many. Everybody was looking for a new, fresh and exciting IBMA and Nancy delivered. Raleigh and all the excitement is proof of that. Then, this turn of events during the recent World of Bluegrass, which resulted in her resignation happened. As time is passing, little bits of additional information are coming out regarding what happened to cause this abrupt and unfortunate change. One thing abundantly clear from the email lists and social media sites is that few can comprehend the reason for this sudden decision. Those behind it, are not talking. I would like to make some observations from the official IBMA press release on the IBMA leadership change...

"When the Board began its search for an Executive Director to replace Dan Hays, we knew it was important to find one who was both familiar with and familiar to our members and our industry as we moved forward in our efforts to build an IBMA capable of playing a leadership role in the industry for many years to come,” said Jon Weisberger, IBMA Board chair. “During Nancy's tenure, we have made significant strides in doing so, and her devotion to the IBMA, to its members, to bluegrass music and to the bluegrass community have been indispensable assets." (Ed. spelling corrected)

If this part of the IBMA press release is true, then why the secret vote of "no confidence" by the board? She had all the ducks in a row, turned the IBMA around, was very competent in the leadership role for the industry and, in rebuilding the IBMA's image as witnessed by Raleigh Business support. She not only made enormous strides in the direction you claim were needed, she did it with an energy, devotion and a dedication not seen for a long time or even within other associations and businesses. The financial health of the association was recognized and she worked hard to reverse the red ink and stop the hemorrhaging.

Among her accomplishments, the press release says, "During her tenure as executive director, Cardwell oversaw the successful move of IBMA’s signature event, World of Bluegrass, from Nashville to Raleigh, North Carolina. Additionally, over the past two and a half years, the IBMA has seen a rise in membership, the establishment of the Nashville office in its current location in Berry Hill, the hiring/training of three full-time IBMA employees, the launch of a new website and an increase in the organization’s online presence." While significant, this was just the tip of a bigger picture. Cardwell achieved more in a couple of years than others did in twice the time.

Nancy knows the music, the people, the IBMA, its needs, its wants, its weaknesses and its strengths. Good Luck trying to find a replacement who has all of these attributes. The IBMA will be hard pressed to find anybody "both familiar with and familiar to our members and our industry" as stated above. Nancy had it all and then some. She never spoke ill of anybody and always carried a positive and even energetic glow publicly. She certainly had better interpersonal skills than some on the board. She was professional, persuasive, and listened. All in all, she was what a real leader is all about and then some. She was honest, ethical and maintained her integrity through it all.

David Morris, in Bluegrass Today, wrote, "IBMA Chair Jon Weisberger called her pending departure a mutually agreed upon decision, but it comes a week after the board’s lopsided no confidence vote in the executive director at a closed-door meeting in Raleigh during the World of Bluegrass." Lets emphasize this again. ...the board’s lopsided no confidence vote in the executive director at a closed-door meeting...

If anybody deserves a "no confidence" vote, it would be the IBMA board and not Nancy! Nancy saved the IBMA from the board. Nancy deserves a medal for her heroic efforts. Not this.

Something here just doesn't pass the smell test - not even remotely. If what David Morris writes is true, then why did some on the board want her out? Who was the driving force behind this effort? It certainly wasn't due to her outstanding performance as Executive Director. In fact, according to the official IBMA press release, she was actually meeting all the board's expectations and then some. Where is that transparency that was supposed to occur after Dan Hays' departure? Why the secret elections and meetings? These aren't really difficult questions to answer unless someone has something to hide.

Of all the smelt I ever smelt, I never smelt a smelt that smelt like this smelt smelt. And, this fishy smelt smells pretty rotten to the bone. This isn't the first time the association has "stumbled" and, I'm sure, it won't be the last. I had really hoped that things would change under Nancy's guidance but, alas, that is just not in this deck of cards. The problems were there with Dan. They are here with Nancy. They will be there waiting for the next ED. Why? Becaus, what needs changing isn't in the Executive Director's chair. The Executive Directors are not the problem. I believe they are the scapegoats sacrificed by a bigger underlying problem.

With that being said, I want to say "Thank you Nancy!!" Your 20 years with the IBMA are greatly appreciated by many of us (a huge majority, I believe.) You earned our respect and our gratitude for a job extremely well done. You showed us how great the IBMA can be. You showed us positive direction and guidance of the association. You elevated its stature among members and non-members alike. You brought more people into bluegrass music through the street festivals of Raleigh. You got companies interested in the business of bluegrass. You gave the genre a much needed boost in exposure and recognition. You made a difference and a positive one at that. That is quality leadership that goes above and beyond expectations. I will happily support you in any direction you decide go. Thank you again and again for your outstanding service to the IBMA and Bluegrass Music!!!

Categories: Music Industry

Phil Leadbetter's Next Move, Releases Today!

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:14am

Phil LeadbetterNashville, TN -- On the heels of his recent win as IBMA's 2014 Dobro Player of the Year, Phil Leadbetter releases his remarkable new album, The Next Move, today, October 14th. In The Next Move, Phil shows his amazing gift for creativity, arrangements, and brilliant picking with a stellar lineup of his friends and favorite artists. The list of guests reads like a Who’s Who of award-winners from Bluegrass, Country and Acoustic music, including: Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes, Mike Bub, Shawn Camp, Steve Wariner, Joe Diffie, Marty Raybon, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Ken Mellons, Kenny Smith, Cory Walker, Dale Ann Bradley, Steve Gulley, John Cowan, Jake Stargel, Matt Leadbetter, Jim Hurst, Steve Thomas, Paul Brewster, Con Hunley, Charlie Cushman, Jarrod Walker and more.

One of only three players to ever receive the award, (Jerry Douglas and Rob Ickes round out the trio), Phil was previously named IBMA Dobro Player of the Year in 2005.

Upon receiving his award, the always-humble Leadbetter had to gather his thoughts. In almost disbelief, he said, "I just won the IBMA Dobro player of the year. Still in total shock. So many great players out there. I'm not worthy of such a awesome award, so I give all the glory to God. Thanks to my wonderful family and those who voted. I'm still lost for words."

During his first battle with Stage III Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2011, Phil feared that his 37-year music career may be over. He made a “bucket list” of friends and idols in the music business with whom he’d always wanted to record, or simply wanted to play with once again … if only his health would allow.

When the cancer went into remission the next year, Phil found himself strong enough to pick up the resonator guitar once again. Phil felt ready for The Next Move and returned to that dream list of musicians and friends, scribbled on the back of calendar.

“I guess fighting cancer gave me some bravery,” he chuckles. “There are some folks on that list I never would have called before, but they were all so great and acted like THEY were the ones honored to be asked! The honor was all mine.”

With almost more Grammy, IBMA, and CMA award-winning guest artists than one can count, The Next Move (Pinecastle Records) is the culmination of Phil’s dream; that bucket list of artists who all said, “yes.”

"Uncle Phil" is joined by an impressive lists of guests

The Next MoveWith The Next Move, Phil shows his amazing gift for creativity, arrangements, and brilliant picking with a stellar lineup of guests. The list of guests reads like a Who’s Who of award-winners from Bluegrass, Country and Acoustic music, including: Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes, Mike Bub, Shawn Camp, Steve Wariner, Joe Diffie, Marty Raybon, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Sierra Hull, Ken Mellons, Kenny Smith, Cory Walker, Dale Ann Bradley, Steve Gulley, John Cowan, Jake Stargel, Matt Leadbetter, Jim Hurst, Steve Thomas, Paul Brewster, Con Hunley, Charlie Cushman, Jarrod Walker and more.

Recorded after his Hodgkin’s Lymphoma went into remission, Phil has since learned that the cancer has returned. He is valiantly waging a second fight with cancer while releasing his dream album. The Next Move is a reminder to never give up and always remain positive and determined.

“Cancer can take a lot from you,” Leadbetter admits, “but it can't kill your dreams.”

Along with members of his Team Philibuster, Leadbetter will once again participate in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Light The Night Walk in Knoxville on Oct. 23rd. The fundraising campaign brings together families and communities to honor those affected by blood cancer, and shine a light on the importance of finding cures and providing access to treatments. The walks are held every Autumn in nearly two hundred communities across North America.

Critics are already aflutter in anticipation of Phil’s latest project. Commenting on the song “I’m a
Ramblin’ Rolling Stone,” Gracie Muldoon of Worldwide Bluegrass Radio calls the reso-guitar player “A Champion of Champions, that Phil Leadbetter,” and adds “After defeating the dreaded C, and picking up his instrument of choice, which has become more like an appendage to his person, Phil doesn’t miss a smooth, gliding, sparkling lick on his dobro.”

Categories: Music Industry

Whitetop Mountain Band Brings Roots to Carter Fold Saturday

Tue, 10/14/2014 - 12:12am

Whitetop Mountain BandHiltons, VA -- Whitetop Mountain Band is a family-based band from the highest mountains of Virginia. Whitetop is an area rich in old time music tradition, and this band has deep roots in mountain music. Saturday, October 18th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a concert of old time music by the Whitetop Mountain Band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free.

The band’s members have worked tirelessly to preserve the region’s style of old time fiddling and banjo picking and are legendary musicians and teachers of the style. Their shows are high energy and unlike any other show you have ever seen. There’s everything from fiddle and banjo instrumentals to powerful solos and harmony vocals on blues, classic country, honky tonk, traditional bluegrass numbers, old timey ballads, originals, four-part mountain gospel songs – and some flat foot dancing. Well-known for their charisma on stage and their ability to engage audiences of all ages, this group has been performing at
the Carter Fold since shows first began at the A.P. Carter Grocery in the 1970s.

The Whitetop Mountain Band is one of the most popular dance bands of the Appalachian Mountains. They have a great following at square dances all over Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky at venues like the Carter Fold. The group has performed throughout the U.S. at festivals, concerts, competitions, and colleges. The Smithsonian Folklike Festival, National Folklife Festival, World Music Institute in New York City, the Carter Family Festival, the Dock Boggs Festival, the World’s Fair, the Virginia Arts Festival, Floydfest, Ola Belle Reed Festival, and Merlefest are a few of the many festivals that have featured the band. The group has toured in England, Wales, Ireland, and Australia.

They have taught at workshops and classes all over the U.S. Arhoolie, the Virginia Foundation of the Humanities, JuneAppal, Heritage, and Rounder Records are a few of the labels they have recorded for. In addition, they have been featured in many magazines, TV shows, and radio programs. Whitetop Mountain Band was recently given the “Entertainer of the Year” award in the old time category at the ACMA’s Blueridge Acoustic Uprising.

The band originated with Albert Hash in the 1940s. Albert was a well-known and beloved fiddler and luthier. As a teenager, Albert played with Henry Whitter of Grayson & Whitter. Grayson & Whitter recorded in the 1920s. The tune “Hangman’s Reel” that Albert recorded is the same version played by so many old time musicians today. He taught Wayne Henderson, Audrey Ham, and many others to build instruments.

In the 1970s, Albert’s brother-in-law, Thornton Spencer, and his wife Emily joined Albert in the Whitetop Mountain Band. The three also started an old time music program at Mt. Rogers School, a small K-12 public school in Whitetop. The students learn fiddle, banjo, guitar, bass, and dancing. Emily Spencer has carried on the program, and it has received a lot of regional and national attention for its uniqueness – including Grammy and CMT vnominations.

The Whitetop Mountain Band is still carried on today by Thornton Spencer on fiddle and Emily Spencer on banjo and vocals. Their daughter, Martha Spencer plays with the band as well. She is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, fiddle, and bass) and fine vocalist and dancer. Jackson Cunningham plays mandolin, guitar, clawhammer banjo, and harmonica; and he does vocals for the group. Jackson is originally from Oregon, and he’s played music since early childhood. He has performed with duet and trio groups and recorded on the VFH label. Debbie Bramer moved from Michigan to Fancy Gap, Virginia. She plays bass in the band and dances. Debbie has been part of several clogging teams and has been active in many dance workshops and competitions. Ersel Fletcher plays guitar and adds his vocal talent to the group.

The fast-paced mountain music of the Whitetop Mountain Band of Grayson County is definitely a family affair. Be sure to check out the Spencers and their family band at the Fold. Lots of people play old time music, but no one plays it with as much fierce intensity – or absolute fun – as the Whitetop Mountain Band! For additional information on the group, go to http://whitetopmountainband.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 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 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.

Categories: Music Industry

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