Bluegrass Music Industry News - February 2012

Feb. 3 is the deadline to submit an original graphic design to Creative Allies for consideration IBMA’s new Bluegrass Nation social networking site to be launched in 2012. Click here: 

AGENTS & MANAGERS

Jim Roe, of Roe Entertainment has a new website http://www.roeentertainment.com/ and a new email address: jim@roeentertainment.com  New acts on his roster include The Tuttles with AJ Lee from California and The Expedition Show from the Nashville area. 


ARTISTS & COMPOSERS

Congratulations to Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent on their new album, The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent, which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Album Chart, #3 on the Top Contemporary Christian Chart and #61 on the Top 100 Chart the week ending Jan. 15. The CD is available exclusively at all Cracker Barrel Country Store locations and online at crackerbarrel.com. “We’re thrilled and feel absolutely blessed that this album has been greeted so warmly,” said Jamie Dailey. “We’ve always performed gospel music in our shows and fans have asked when we were going to do a gospel album."

"Being a part of Cracker Barrel’s exclusive music program means we have the chance to connect in a very personal way with their guests in over 600 Cracker Barrel stores. We love dropping by to eat, meet and greet when we’re on the road,” added Darrin Vincent. 

Congratulations to all the artists currently topping the following bluegrass radio and sales charts:

The Alternate Route Top 66 Bluegrass Chart: “Almost Home,” by Larry Sparks (Rounder), written by Michael Keith & Dave Lindsey

Billboard Bluegrass Albums Chart: The Gospel Side of Dailey & Vincent; Dailey & Vincent; Rounder / Cracker Barrel

Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 30 Hot Singles: “A Far Cry from Lester & Earl,” by Junior Sisk & Rambler’s Choice (Rebel), written by Tim Massey, Rick Pardue & Harry Sisk, Jr.

Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 10 Bluegrass CDs: Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Prime Tyme (Rural Rhythm)

Bluegrass Today Monthly Chart: “Pretty Little Girl from Galax,” by Russell Moore &  IIIrd Tyme Out (Rural Rhythm), written by Milan Miller

Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey: “If Your Heart Should Ever Roll This Way Again,” by Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out (Rural Rhythm), written by Austin Cunningham & Mark Irwin

Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey – Top 15 Bluegrass Albums: Prime Tyme, by Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out (Rural Rhythm)

Alison Krauss kicked off the New York Times Arts and Leisure Weekend Jan. 4 with an interview with Dana Jennings. Here’s the link to the archived video interview: http://new.livestream.com/channels/387/videos/75241. Here’s the link to Alison’s PBS interview with Tavis Smiley: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/tavissmiley/interviews/singer-songwriter-alison-krauss/

Cumberland River’s original song, “Antietam’s Hill,” was featured on the FX Network’s Justified season three premiere Jan. 17. The Civil War themed song appears on the band’s current album, The Life We Live (Rural Rhythm). Also in January Cumberland River released their new music video for a song they wrote and named after the show, which may be viewed on the TV show’s official production blog: http://justifieds3.blogs.fxnetworks.com/2012/01/10/justified-by-cumberland-river-band-music-video-2/ or at www.cumberland-river.com

Country group Rascals Flatts released a song called “Banjo” Jan. 17 as the single on their new album to come out in the spring, which features five-string banjo prominently in the mix, played by Ilya Toshinskiy (formerly of Bering Strait, a band from Russia that evolved from the youth band Cheerful Diligence—a group World of Bluegrass attendees in Owensboro, Ky. in the early '90s may remember). The song, which uses the banjo as a symbol for getting back to the country and away from the stress of everyday live, was at #31 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart in the Feb. 4 issue. Here’s the video: http://www.rascalflatts.com/videos.

Marty Raybon celebrated the new year with a new single release on the Rural Rhythm Christian label, “I’ve Seen What He Can Do,” from his new country Christian album, Hand to the Plow, set to be released March 27, 2012. The song is available for digital purchase via iTunes, Amazon and other major sites and available to radio stations via AirplayDirect.com. Click here to see the new song video.  Produced by Sammy Passamano II of Rural Rhythm, the video includes a guest starring role by Hannah Cline, who plays the daughter.

The Matt Flinner Trio is a collaboration between Flinner on mandolin, guitarist Ross Martin and bassist Eric Thorin. Their Winter Harvest Tour begins Feb. 2, in support of a new album by the same name, released Jan. 31 on Compass Records. Click here to hear a sample.  The group will be touring in North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky,  Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Vermont, New York, Maryland and Virginia. 

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen is wrapping up their two-week “Way Up North to Alaska” tour that began Jan. 21.

The Roys have a new video for their song “Trailblazer.” Harry Clark is the new guitarist for the band.

The Goat Rodeo Sessions LIVE, featuring Yo-Yo Ma, Stuart Duncan, Edgar Meyer and Chris Thile was featured at movie theaters across the U.S. on Jan. 31. For info on the film: www.fathomevents.com

The new single release from Brand New Strings is “Other Side of Lonesome,” written by Randall Massengill, from the band’s Stay Tuned album to be released March 27, 2012 on Rural Rhythm. For a sample, click here.

The 12th Annual Christmas Bluegrass Benefit for the Homeless at the Station Inn Dec. 11 raised over $1,500 plus a pile of soaps and shampoos for the Nashville Room in the Inn shelter and help program. Eddie and Martha Adcock, Donna Sonner, and Gene and June Johnson, joined by new co-host Valerie Smith, thank everyone involved with the event including JT Gray and Jill Crabtree at the Station Inn, Clark Williams on sound, Richard Dress at the door, Ken Beck and several others for publicity, and the artists: Joe Zauner, Mark Newton, Valerie Smith, Jesse McReynolds, the Roland White Band, Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe, Claire Lynch and Matt Wingate, Alan Sibley and the Magnolia Ramblers. Info: www.roomintheinn.org

Interested in an inexpensive, fashionable way to donate to your favorite bluegrass charity? Check out WearYourMusic.org, a Rhode Island-based group that helped musicians donate more than $60,000 to charity in 2011. Bracelets are custom-made from the intertwined guitar strings of well-known musicians with the profits donated to the individual musician’s charity of choice. More than 150 artists including Tommy Shaw (who had a bluegrass album out last year), John Mayer, Eric Clapton, Pete Townsend, Gregg Allman, Dolly Parton and Tim McGraw are donating their strings to create bracelets. “We created this company in 2007 when we noticed that musicians were just tossing away their used guitar strings,” explains Hannah Garrison, Co-Founder of Wear Your Music. “We wanted to use these guitar strings to make a difference by recycling a piece of rock memorabilia to create bracelets for fans. We took it a step further and decided to donate the proceeds from the sale of the Artist Bracelet to the musician’s charity of choice.” Wear Your Music has sold over 1000 artist bracelets in 2011, and prices for the The Original Artist Bracelets start at $50. Propelled by a love for music and a desire to give back to the community, Wear Your Music was founded in 2007 by financier Steve Bernstein and jewelry artist  Hannah Garrison, the company has raised nearly half a million dollars for more than 100 charities so far.

The Blue Canyon Boys welcome Chris Elliott on banjo to their band, based in Denver, Colo. Chris was one of the founding members of the Spring Creek Bluegrass Band. Elliott joins Jason Hicks on guitar, Gary Dark on mandolin and Drew Garrett on bass. Info: www.bluecanyonboys.com

Congratulations to Lorraine Jordan and Steve Dilling (IIIrd Tyme Out), who were presented with keys to the city of Garner, N.C. on Dec. 31, 2011. Both musicians live nearby in Raleigh.  The presentation  was made by Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams. Garner is also the home town to latest American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery. In addition to touring with her band, Carolina Road, Jordan hosts Bluegrass Thursdays at the Hope Cafe in Raleigh, N.C., a coffee shop where nationally touring bluegrass bands are presented. Info: www.hopecaferaleigh.com

The WBT Briarhoppers announce the birth of Benton Briarhopper, the grandson of Tim Drye and the great-grandson of Homer Briarhopper Drye. Info: www.wbtbriarhoppers.blogspot.com


ATTN, SONGWRITERS:

NSAI Spring Training is a two-day intensive seminar March 30-31 featuring panel presentations, educational seminars and a chance to pitch your song to the music publisher of your choice. Eat lunch with an industry pro and get the chance to win a single song publishing deal with olé music publishing at their premier event, Hitsville. For more info, call NSAI (Nashville Songwriters International) at 800-321-6008. Info: www.nashvillesongwriters.com

Please see article elsewhere in this publication on submission details for IBMA’s annual Bluegrass Songwriter Showcase, scheduled for World of Bluegrass 2012 in Nashville, Tenn. IBMA Business Conference dates this year are Sept. 24-30. The deadline to submit an original song is May 1, 2012.

ASSOCIATIONS

Congratulations to the 700 members of the Seven Mountain Bluegrass Association, who are celebrating the 30th anniversary of their group in 2012. For info on their 30th anniversary picnic (featuring the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band) July 28 in Boiling Springs, Penn.; their nine-month concert series from October – May in York, Penn. go to www.sevenmountainsbluegrass.org. Thanks to the association’s efforts, the Governor of Pennsylvania has proclaimed May as Bluegrass Month state-wide.  Seven Mountains is also encouraging young bluegrass musicians by featuring them as warm-up groups for the monthly winter concerts. Their monthly jam sessions are hosted at a senior assisted living center, which has served as a great outreach to local residents in addition to being a comfortable place to meet. SMBA president Dick Beckley also reports they joined the International Bluegrass Music Museum last year, and they challenge all other bluegrass associations to be ambassadors for the museum also.  

The Boston Bluegrass Union (BBU) is proud to announce the recipients of the 2012 BBU Heritage Awards. The awards are presented each year by the BBU to honor those who have made substantial contributions to furthering bluegrass in New England. The awards will be presented during the

27th annual Joe Val Bluegrass Festival, Presidents Day Weekend, February 17-19, 2012, at the Sheraton Framingham, Framingham, Mass.  This year’s Music Industry winner is The Crooker family, for their work in bringing national bluegrass artists to Brunswick, Me. for more than 30 years, and the Musician Award recipients are pioneering Boston-based bluegrass performers Bill Keith and Jim Rooney. Info: www.bbu.org

The Tuttles with A. J. Lee is the first band to repeat as Northern California’s Best Bluegrass Band during the five-year run of the Northern California Bluegrass Awards. The band received the honor at a January 28, 2012 ceremony in Redwood City, California. The awards are part of the Northern California Bluegrass Society’s Bluegrass On Broadway Festival. Principal financial support for the festival comes from the City of Redwood City’s Civic Cultural Commission, the Redwood City Public LibraryOne World Montessori SchoolWickersham & Murphy, and the Tapestry Church. Complete list of award recipients: http://www.scbs.org/

BROADCASTERS
 
The Birthplace of Country Music Alliance is bringing Mountain Stage with Larry Groce back to Bristol, Tennessee’s Paramount Center for the Arts March 11 with a program featuring Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives and Blue Highway. The two-hour event will be recorded for broadcast at a later date.  NPR’s Mountain Stage with Larry Groce is a production of West Virginia Public Broadcasting and is distributed nationwide to more than 100 affiliate stations. Info: www.theparamountcenter.com

Sounds of Home-Music from the Ozarks, a one-hour  documentary about bluegrass music in the Ozarks, premiered on Ozarks Public Television Jan. 5 in Springfield, Mo. Produced by award winning film maker Mike Neitzel of B.C. Canada, The Chapmans appear in the project.

The Jan. 4 taping of Red Barn Radio which featured Tom T. and Dixie Hall, marked the beginning of a partnership between Renfro Valley’s Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum and Lexington, Kentucky’s Red Barn Radio. The two organizations are celebrating their tenth anniversaries by joining together to present performances at ArtsPlace in downtown Lexington, featuring local talent and some Hall of Fame inductees. Info: www.redbarnradio.com

Michael Cleveland was featured live on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country Jan. 25 on The Bob Webster Show. To listen, go to www.BluegrassCountry.org or download their app here.  

Bluegrass Underground, which debuted on National Public Television last fall, will be taping their second series of shows Feb. 24-26, 2012 in McMinnville, Tenn.. The Friday line-up will include The Del McCoury Band, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Civil Wars and The David Mayfield Parade. Featured on Saturday will be The Time Jumpers, Jim Lauderdale and Sarah Jarosz. The Sunday afternoon show will feature Jerry Douglas, The Black Lillies and The Vespers. Bluegrass Underground is a live concert and radio show held inside the Volcano Room, an amphitheater 333 feet underground in Cumberland Caverns, a registered U.S. National Natural Landmark. Bluegrass Underground airs on 650 WSM-AM in Nashville and online at wsmonline.com each Saturday night from 5-6 p.m. Central time, and also on Thunder Radio WMSR-AM in Tullahoma, Tenn. each Saturday at 2 p.m. Info: www.bluegrassunderground.com

Song of the Mountains, based in Marian, Va. and broadcast on National Public Television, is reaching out to fans of bluegrass and Americana music for financial support to keep the series on the air. Info from show host Tim White is at this link: www.songofthemountains.org, and an article about the series from a previous issue of International Bluegrass is here. Donations may be sent to: Song of the Mountains, 117 East Main Street, Marion, VA 24354 or may be accepted at the website. (Look for the “free gift” banner in the upper right corner of the page.)  Bobby Osborne and the Rocky Top X-Press, along with Jus’ Cauz and the Lost Creek Band will be at Song of the  Mountains Feb. 4.  Next month Rodney Dillard & the Dillard Band, The Close Kin Project and Bobby & the Blue Ridge Tradition will perform on March 3.

A concert of music based on the music mentioned in the Little House on the Prairie series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder was filmed at the Loveless Barn in Nashville Jan. 6, for broadcast by PBSPa's Fiddle: America's Music will broadcast first during the June pledge-drive season on PBS stations throughout the nation, and be available to those stations for broadcast over the next two years. Artists performing include award-winning musician and musical director Randy Scruggs and an all-star string band featuring Matt Combs, Dennis Crouch, Chad Cromwell, Hoot Hester and Shad Cobb, along with featured artists Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd, The Roys, Natalie Grant and Committed (NBC Sing Off Champions). Dean Butler ("Almanzo" on the Little House on the Prairie TV show) and Dale Cockrell (President of Pa's Fiddle Recordings) teamed up to produce the show.  A documentary about the making of the show will also be produced, and will be widely available for educational purposes. A new album titled Pa's Fiddle: American Fiddler will be in stores by June 5, but may be obtained early at  www.laura-ingalls-wilder.com.


EVENT PRODUCERS:

The 19th annual McReynolds Memorial Concert, held in honor of the late Keith McReynolds with proceeds benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, will take place Feb. 2, 6-11 p.m. at the Texas Troubadour Theatre at 2416 Music Valley Drive in Nashville, Tenn. Featured artists include: The Whites, the Del McCoury Band, Jesse McReynolds, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, The Gold Heart Sisters, Stetson & Cia, Retro & Smiling, The McReynolds Tradition, Mike Scott and more. Bluegrass Hall of Famer Jesse McReynolds has passed production duties over to his grandchildren, Amanda and Garrett McReynolds this year and they’re excited about the new venue. Info: www.TheMcReynoldsTradition.com

DelFest has a new preview video here,  narrated by bassist Alan Bartram who shares “the top 10 reasons to go to DelFest 2012” May 24-27 in Cumberland, Md.

The Wintergrass Music Festival in Bellevue, Washington has announced their Feb. 23-26 line-up, workshops and a full slate of instrumental “Intensives.” Info: http://www.acousticsound.org/lineup.html, Education: http://www.acousticsound.org/education.html.  Intensives will feature Vocal Harmony with Frank Solivan, Amanda Smith, Annalisa Tomfelt and Martino Coppo; Fiddle with Betse Ellis; Guitar with Kenny Smith, Banjo with Jens Kruger, Mandolin with Andy Leftwich; and a session called “Recording Acoustic Instruments in Your Home Studio” with Joe Weed, who has presented similar workshops in California and at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass last year.

The 25th Annual Old Settler’s Music Festival has also announced their line-up for April 19-22 in Austin, at www.oldsettlersmusicfest.org

The Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series, produced by Mountain Music Entertainment, will launch Feb. 25 with J.D. Crowe & the New South, Brandon Rickman, and the Cane Creek Bluegrass Band. Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice are the official ambassadors of the Jonesborough Bluegrass Series for 2012. Info: http://www.jonesboroughbluegrass.com/

The Jack Mountain Amphitheater is one of the newest concert venues in southwest Missouri, located on 85 acres in Diggins, Mo. just east of Springfield on Highway 60. The Beer, Bait & Red Dirt festival will be held March 16-18, 2012. A weekend pass includes camping, fishing and free firewood. In addition to music, there will be a car show and a fishing tournament. Info: http://www.facebook.com/jackmountainmo, www.jackmountainmo.com/

James Reams announces the Park Slope Old Time Bluegrass Jamboree will resume Sept. 28-29, 2012 at 53 Prospect Park West in Brooklyn, New York.

The Old Town Temecula Bluegrass Festival will take place March 16-18, 2012 in Temecula, Calif. Featured bands include Dan Crary & Thunderation, Salty Suites, Murphy Family Bluegrass, Silverado, Bluegrass Brethren, Brewer Boys, Bluegrass Etc. and more. Info: www.temeculacalifornia.org

Gaylord Entertainment and Dolly Parton's Dollywood Company have entered into a memorandum of understanding for a 50/50 joint venture to develop a 114-acre family entertainment zone adjacent to the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center. The Dollywood Company will serve as the operating partner. Phase one of the project is a yet unnamed approximately $50 million water and snow park, the first of its kind in the United States. A late 2012, early 2013 groundbreaking date is expected with the park opening slated for summer of 2014. The announcement was made on Ms. Parton’s birthday, Jan. 19.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS
From The European Bluegrass Music Blog:

Blue Maxx will play in Ekeren, Belgium Feb. 3. The band Rawhide is planning an album release concert for March 16 in Mortsel, Belgium.  Bluegrass in Belgium calendar info:  http://users.skynet.be/bk244531/calendar.html

C. Paul Lyttle, organizer of the Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, reports that this year's festival will take place Sept. 28-30, 2012. Bands taking part will include the Ballinger Family Band (USA), the Knotty Pine String Band (N. Ireland), New Redwing (Scotland), High Speed Grass (Scotland), the Down and Out Bluegrass Band (N. Ireland), and Grass Routes (Scotland). More info (including performance videos and other new features): http://www.moniaivebluegrass.co.uk/

Lyttle is also hosting a new bluegrass radio program on every other Sunday morning from 10 a.m. – noon on Alive Radio (http://aliveradio.net/)

Christopher Howard-Williams of the France Bluegrass Music Association (http://www.france-bluegrass.org/) reports the La Roche Bluegrass Festival at La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France has an updated website at  http://web.mac.com/christopherhw/index.html/  Howard-Williams says the festival producers are now taking applications from bands interested in playing at the event; forms are at the website listed above. In addition to festival details, photos, and a documentary video, the new website includes information on the concert at La Roche-sur-Foron on May 7, 2012 by the award-winning Gibson Brothers (USA), the only performance they have scheduled in France on this trip.

The 20th annual London Fiddle Convention will be held Feb. 19 at Cecil Sharp House, 2 Regents Park Road, London NW1 7AY.  Info: http://www.londonfiddleconvention.org.uk/ The day will include workshops, a fiddle contest, a session and a concert featuring around 10 fiddlers demonstrating many styles. Guests include Jyotsna Srikanth (Indian), Chris Dyer (Swedish Nyckelharpa), English String Band, Pete Cooper (English), Bob Winquist (bluegrass), Karen Ryan (Irish), and Chris Haigh (jazz).

After ten years of holding the event in Longford town, the organizers of the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival have announced the festival is moving to the town of  Tullamore Co. Offaly. “This move is seen as a positive step in making the festival more accessible with regards to location and in the form of accommodation, with a number of hotels, B&Bs, and camping facilities within the town's boundaries,” said festival producer Chris Keenan. “Further details will be released shortly, including lineup, events, and relevant information about Tullamore and surrounding area. We hope everyone will join us in Tullamore Sept. 20-23, to celebrate the start of our second decade!” Info: http://www.johnnykeenan.com/

The Quebec Redneck Bluegrass Project, a band consisting of five French Canadians and one Irishman living in China, are working to book a tour in Europe later in 2012. They have released two albums, are recording another, and sing in French, English, Irish and Chinese. Their music can be heard on Bandcamp, and there are several videos of performances by them on YouTube. Info: http://qrbp.bandcamp.com/, http://bluegrassireland.blogspot.com/2012/01/quebec-redneck-bluegrass-project.html

The 17th Annual General Meeting of the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association Dec. 1, 2011 marked a changing of the guard in the officer corps with Toni Noetzli taking over from Kent Miller (chairman since September 2006) as president. Toni joined the board in December 2009 as chief editor of the association's quarterly newsletter, a job he will continue to do.  His “day job” is in the field of sports journalism. Known as a "walking dictionary for the 'Tour de Suisse,'" Toni can usually be found on the tracks of a famous skier (most recently Dario Cologna) or biker, depending on the season. Bluegrass has become his passion when he joined a monthly slow jam some years ago. 

Thanks to broadcaster, country music historian, and festival organizer Walter Fuchs of Bühl/Baden, Germany, for the following links to performance videos from the bluegrass and old-time-music gathering at the Klosterhof Kusterdingen Cultural Center Jan. 5, 2012 (http://www.klosterhof-kusterdingen.de/):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=69cg5T20xRE, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V89Ng5gCVYQ.

Rainer Zellner and his team report that the 3rd Bluegrass Jamboree! Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music is now history. Photos and videos have been posted at http://www.bluegrassjamboree.de/.  “A big ‘Thank you!’ goes to audiences, media and promoters for their indispensable parts in making the bluegrass mission a success,” Zellner said. “Preparations and bookings are already being made for the 4th Jamboree, when a new set of stars from the bluegrass firmament will be presented.”  

Zellner also announces a May tour with the Alecia Nugent Band, and an early April – May tour with Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three, both from the U.S.

Dates for the GrevenGrass Festival in Germany have been set for May 26-27, 2012. The line-up will feature Oh My Darling (Canada), G-Runs ‘n Roses (Czech), the New Essex Bluegrass Band (UK), Covered Grass (Germany), Looping Brothers (Germany) and Grass Pistols (Rumania). Info: http://www.grevengrass.de/


PRINT, MEDIA & EDUCATION

The International Bluegrass Music Museum has set dates for ROMP for June 28-30, 2012 at Yellow Creek Park in Owensboro, Ky. Confirmed bands include The Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three, Town Mountain, Monroeville, The Expedition Show, The Farewell Drifters, 23 String Band, Kati Penn and NewTown, Don Stanley & Middle Creek, Newfound Road, Higher Ground, Renegade String Band, Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood players, Grandview Junction and more.

Catherine Hayden is the new Membership Coordinator at IBMM. Those who join or renew their membership in 2012 will receive an exclusive, historical CD with a selections of interviews and performances by legendary bluegrass artists from IBMM’s Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration Sept. 12-14, 2011. Curator Forrest Roberts reports that IBMM received an Education Merit Award from the Kentucky Historical Society in September. Original pieces of art on display in the Bill Monroe Centennial Art Exhibit may be purchased through the museum’s website at www.bluegrassmuseum.org. Sixty per cent of sale prices goes to IBMM. In June 2011 RaShae Jennings, a graduate of Western Kentucky University, joined the museum staff as a full time archivist.

The listening audience for RBI: Radio Bluegrass International has doubled in size during the past year, according to IBMM Marketing Director Danny Clark. Plans are in the works for a new RBI smart phone app and a new server to host multiple streaming options. Tune in to RBI by going to the IBMM website and clicking the RBI logo in the upper left hand corner of the home page. Randy Lanham, Education Director at IBMM, continues to offer bluegrass instrument lessons at elementary schools in Daviess County, as well as coordinate the museum’s Saturday Lessons Program for children and their families interested in learning to play bluegrass music. Lanham and Clark presented assemblies at local schools in honor of the Monroe Centennial by performing songs written by Bill Monroe. They displayed Monroe-influenced paintings on exhibit at the museum and also created a contest for each school to choose a Monroe song and draw a picture to go along with this. The staff at each school picked the winning artwork, and now pictures from 18 young bluegrass fans are on display at IBMM.

IBMM’s eight-year Video Oral History Project has wrapped up the filming part of the project. The culminating documentary film by project director Joe T. Gray, POWERFUL: Bill Monroe Remembered, received a standing ovation at its premiere during the Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration Sept. 13, 2011 held at the museum. The documentary film tells Bill Monroe’s story through the recollections of his band mates over nearly seven decades, the Blue Grass Boys. Future Video Oral History Project work will focus on editing the 268 in-depth interviews with bluegrass music’s founding generation into individual documentaries. These will be available for viewing at the museum and in the near future, at the IBMM website.

The Ozark Mountain Family YMCA in Hollister, Mo. is launching a new music program which will offer private and group lessons on piano, guitar, violin, fiddle, mandolin, banjo, accordion and voice, in conjunction with the David Lingner family bluegrass band. The motto for the YMCA Ozark Mountain Center for Music is “Making Music for Life.” Info: dlingner@ozarkmusic.org,

Megan Lynch, Ned Luberecki and Stephen Mougin at The Nashville Music Workshop hosted their first online jamming workshop for all instruments Jan. 17. Participants signed up at banjohangout.com, flatpickerhangout.com, mandohangout.com, resohangout.com and fiddlehangout.com. Info: http://www.nashvillemusicworkshop.com/

Nashville music photographer Charmaine Lanham and graphic artist Susie Coleman have a new 11 x 17” Bill Monroe 2012 calendar featuring rare black & white photographs from 1973 – 1996. Lanham, who is also a bluegrass musician and one of the founders of The Station Inn in Nashville, Tenn., offers these prints suitable for framing, from her personal collection of photos. Info: PO Box 160412, Nashville, TN 37216, www.patticakepublications.com, charmaine@patticakepublications.com

Brian Wicklund’s Fiddle Pal Camp New England will return to Newton, Mass. at the Suzuki School of Newton just outside Boston on August 21-24 for youth (age nine and older) and adults. Brian and his staff will teach bluegrass, Canadian, jazz, Appalachian, Irish and blues for fiddle, cello and guitar. If you register before Feb. 29, there’s a 25% discount. Info:  http://fiddlepal.com/new_england_camp.html

Wicklund, who directs the Bluegrass Academy for Kids at the Grey Fox Music Festival every summer, posts free lessons on his site periodically. To learn how to rosin a bow, click on this link:  http://fiddlepal.com/beginner_fiddle.html/

Pete Wernick’s latest project, the Wernick Method Jam Classes, got off to a strong start in 2011 with 500 students at 38 classes in 20 states. The Wernick Method trains teachers to teach bluegrass jamming to pickers of all skill levels and bluegrass instruments. They learn to follow easy songs, lead songs and play basic instrumental solos, as well as the essentials of how jamming works, the ground rules and etiquette. With only four chords required and tablature/note-reading skills not necessary, the classes are able to involve even the most inexperienced players. "I've been fortunate with the level of teaching and administrative talent I've been able to involve in the first year," says Wernick. "My office manager, Rick Saenz, and his son Chris, run the central office in Kentucky and we now have 25 certified teachers all around the country, and two outside the U.S.”  Certified Wernick Method instructors include Jim Hurst (Kentucky), Ira Gitlin (Virginia), and Craig Korth (Canada), among others. Wernick hopes to recruit and train another 75 teachers in 2012, to allow the enterprise to become fully self-sustaining and help more people learn to jam. Wernick Method Classes scheduled for 2012 will be held from coast-to-coast and also in Australia. For more info: BluegrassJamming.com, or BGjam.com.

Registration for PineCone Bluegrass Camps (June 25-29, 2012) opens Feb. 2 at the Page-Walker Arts & History Center in Cary, N.C. for Cary residents and PineCone members. Registration opens up for the general public on Feb. 16. Taught by Charles Pettee, Pattie Hopkins and Lynda Dawson, classes will be offered in intermediate bluegrass guitar, beginner fiddle, intermediate bluegrass mandolin, intermediate bluegrass fiddle and songwriting. The camp will end with a student performance with the Kickin Grass Band on Friday night, June 29, as a part of Cary’s Starlight Concert Series. Info: 919-460-4963

RECORD LABELS & PUBLISHERS

The Grascals have signed with Mountain Home Music and are in the studio completing their next bluegrass album. Here’s a video preview.

Good Home Grown Music and Blue Circle Records are now offering singles for download by radio broadcasters at AirPlay Direct, at this link

According to the Associated Press in January, U.S. album sales rose more than 3 % last year for the first gain since 2004, a sign they say that rising digital sales are finally stemming the decade-long decline of compact discs. Digital album sales rose nearly 20% to 103 million, while CDs fell nearly 6 % to 225 million. The rest of the total is made up largely of digital single tracks, where 10 tracks are counted as one album. Digital singles sales rose nearly 9% to 1.27 billion. Sales of older albums rose nearly 9 % to 151 million. The Nielsen tally does not include growing subscriptions to “all you can listen to” music plans, which have been rising thanks in part to the July entry of the Swedish service Spotify to U.S. markets in July 2011.

On February 2 Airshow’s David Glasser will be the featured presenter at Boulder Digital Arts’ first “Digital Salon” of 2012 on Feb. 2 from 6-8:30 p.m. at BDA Arapahoe Studios in Boulder, Colo. Digital Salons are free and open to the public. In addition to the feature presentation, they offer networking with other creative professionals and beer. Info: http://www.boulderdigitalarts.com/

Pinecastle Records is pleased to announce they have signed The Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show. Their upcoming album Take Me Back will be released summer 2012.  Pinecastle has also signed Irish bluegrass artist and songwriter Niall Toner to their roster. Niall’s new album, Onwards and Upwards, is due in the fall of 2012 in conjunction with a U.S. tour.

Rebel Records is pleased to announce the release of a new collection from Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, Lost Souls & Free Spirits: The Rebel Collection Old & New, on February 28. The CD is mostly drawn from three albums Chris recorded for Rebel between 1997 and 2000—No One But You (1997), Follow Your Heart (1998) and Just a Drifter (2000). The project also includes three cuts from his 2009 self-released album, Cloud of Dust, along with three brand new recordings that, like Cloud of Dust, feature his current line-up of the Night Drivers: Ned Luberecki on banjo, Mark Stoffel on mandolin and Jon Weisberger on bass. One of the new cuts, “Final Farewell,” was released as an advanced single to bluegrass radio. The song was made available for digital purchase as a special pre-album promotion Jan. 31 via iTunes, Amazon.com and other digital outlets.

Rural Rhythm Records is proud to announce a new single release, “Close the Door Lightly When You Go” by the Lonesome River Band from their upcoming album, CHRONOLOGY, Volume One set for release February 28, 2012.  The song is now available to radio via AirplayDirect.com and on Rural Rhythm’s Fresh Cuts & Key Tracks radio CD. To commemorate LRB’s 30 year milestone, a special anniversary retrospective titled CHRONOLOGY will feature the band on 24 songs, to be released in a series of three 8-song EPs—one for each decade of the group’s existence.  The material will lean heavily on updated versions of many of the LRB’s most popular songs during each decade, reprised by the current group.

Rural Rhythm also announces a new single, “My Baby Thinks He’s a Train,” by Bill Emerson & Sweet Dixie. The song appears on the group’s new album, The Touch of Time, released Jan. 31, 2012.