Bluegrass Music Industry News: January 2013


Bluegrass booking agent/manager Randy Campbell passed away Nov. 2. Randy was involved with promoting Ralph Stanley, Jesse McReynolds and The Dillards, among others. Our sympathy is extended to the Campbell family. To post a remembrance, please click here.


We extend heartfelt congratulations to Claire Lynch and Tony Trischka, who recently received USA (United States Artists) Fellowships. The 50 annual fellowships, each with an unrestricted grant of $50,000, recognize innovative and influential artists in their specific fields. Reflecting the diversity of artistic practice in America, they include cutting-edge thinkers and traditional practitioners from the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater arts, and visual arts.  Dobro master Rob Ickes is a previous recipient of this grant.

Congratulations to the following artists whose music is topping charts at press time.

The Steep Canyon Rangers, “Nobody Knows You,” written by Graham Sharp (Rounder Records) – Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey

The Special Consensus, Scratch Gravel Road, (Compass Records) – Bluegrass Unlimited Top 15 Bluegrass Albums Chart 

Kenny & Amanda Smith Band, Catch Me If I Try (written by David Wilcox & Pat Patrick), Bluegrass Today Monthly Airplay Chart.

photo, Bill Evans  

Banjo player/instructor Bill Evans has a new Fretboard Journal video where he explains the history of the banjo in 14 minutes.

View at:

The legendary Peter Rowan is currently in the studio working on his upcoming Compass Records release The Old School. On the new album, Rowan delves further into his bluegrass history with an inter-generational cast of musicians that includes some of the first generation musicians who really know “the old school” as well as younger players considered to be the torchbearers for bluegrass music. Working again with producer Alison Brown, Rowan offers a set of 11 new songs and a rework of “Freedom Riders,” the Civil Rights anthem made popular by Odetta. Featured guests so far include Bobby Osborne on a stunning duet called “Stealing My Time,” Jesse McReynolds on the soon-to-be-classic “Mountain Man’s Dream” and Bryan Sutton on “Doc Watson Morning,” a tribute Rowan wrote to the late Doc Watson. Other guests to date include the Traveling McCourys, fiddler Michael Cleveland, Jeremy Garrett (Infamous Stringdusters), Chris Henry and the members of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. The album is slated for release in spring 2013. To give fans a sneak peak of the project, Compass Records has released a teaser video which features Rowan with Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds on the album’s title track, as well as members of the Traveling McCourys, Michael Cleveland, Mike Witcher, Chris Henry and members of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. Watch the video here:

Bluegrass Hall of Famer Doyle Lawson has been in the studio with his band the past two months, preparing a new album to be released in March on the Mountain Home Music label. Doyle was also asked to be the official grand marshal of the 31st Annual Bristol Christmas Parade in Bristol, TN/VA last month. The Grand Marshal honor marked a series of firsts for Lawson this year, as Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver received their first Inspirational Country Music Association Vocal Group of the Year Award in October, on the heels of Lawson being inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville in September. Info:   photo, Doyle Lawson

Have you heard about Sam Bush TV? Click here to check it out, and ask Sam a question for his next online broadcast.

Mandolinist/songwriter/event producer/association organizer Chris Henry has finished part three of his “Formlessness into Form” music documentary, posted at The latest segment focuses on the dynamics of creative expectations, creating for an audience, the psychic/telepathic connection between creators, the editing process, Aboriginal songlines, impacts of technology and urbanization on creativity, parallels with ecology, environmental influences, the balance of art and commerce, psychedelic and medicinal modulations, birth and death, using secondary or unfamiliar tools, Bill Monroe, and much more. Featured: Peter Rowan, Darrell Scott, Tim O’Brien, Billy Smith, Mike Bub, David Grier, Mike Compton, Matt Combs, Shad Cobb, Julie Lee, Roni Stoneman, Rob Ickes, Todd Phillips, Marty Raybon and more.

The Grascals have a new website at The Grammy-nominated group will appear on The Jimmy Kimmel Show (ABC) Jan. 21, and they will tape a show with The Tonight Show with Jay Leno (NBC) on Jan. 25, to be aired in February when Jay is taking some vacation time.

A Skaggs Family Christmas, featuring Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, The Whites, Rachel Leftwich, Emmylou Harris, the Nashville String Machine and Steven Curtis Chapman, benefitted the John Hiatt Fund for Adolescent Treatment at Cumberland Heights this year in Nashville. The concert took place Dec. 6 at The Ryman Auditorium.

Christmas time is over for another year, but Dailey and Vincent fans will want to be sure to view every one of their entertaining “12 days of Christmas” videos on YouTube. Here’s the first one.

Mandolinist Andy Statman was profiled in a Nov. 30 article in the New York Times titled, “On Religion: A Search for God through Bluegrass and Klezmer.” Read it here.

Donna Ulisse guested on Kyle Cantrell on Bluegrass Junction’s Track by Track show in December, to play and comment on all the tracks from her new, already critically-acclaimed bluegrass Christmas album, All the Way to Bethlehem.

The Roys appeared on Marie Osmond’s program, Marie! on the Hallmark Channel Dec. 13. Lee and Elaine Roy shared insights unique to performing siblings with Marie and discussed their new CD and career goals. The duo performed their current single, "Still Standing,” from their album, New Day Dawning on Rural Rhythm Records. Fans are invited to catch up with The Roys at, Facebook and Twitter.

Marty Raybon, The Roys and Carrie Hassler have joined the ranks of artists supporting The Pink Arrow project, dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. The “On Target” campaign promotes a line of pink archery products featuring the fictional character, “Karing,” who has proven popular with archery students, ranges, hunters, fans of The Hunger Games, hit TV shows Revolution and Arrow, and more. Info:

Reigning IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers had music topping two charts last month! Their new CD on Rebel Records, They're Playing My Song, was December’s #1 CD on Sirius XM Bluegrass Junction's Most Played Albums chart. Bluegrass Today's Top 20 Songs chart for the week of December 7 put the CD's first single, "Bottom Of A Mountain" at #1.

James Reams & The Barnstormers have just released a free digital version of Barnstormin', their 2001 CD, as a thank you to friends and supporters throughout the 20 years that James Reams has been a bandleader. Go to to get your free album. Congratulations to James on getting his documentary funded at We look forward to seeing the new DVD documentary, Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass: Tales of the Early Days in Their Own Words.

Songwriter and wife of Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Doc Watson, Rosa Lee Carlton Watson, 81, died Nov. 22, 2012 in Boone, NC. Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to the Watson family.

We were also saddened to hear about the death of James King’s 18-year-old daughter, Shelby Ann on Dec. 9, after an automobile accident in Amelia County, Virginia. A note may be sent to the family at this address: James King Family, PL Box 10179, Danville, VA 24543.

Carl Franklin, age 59, died December 11, 2012.  Carl was a well-known fiddler and banjo player in the  middle Tennessee region. Was on the speed dial of every regional musician and could be seen at most any festival, contest, jam or gathering that involved some picking. He held many contest titles and finished in the top 25 of the Grand Master Fiddler Championship in Nashville last fall. Carl was also a former member of the Melvin Sloan Dancers on the Grand Ole Opry. Friends will remember his willingness to befriend young musicians he would meet at jams and festivals.


IBMA member Louisa Branscomb writes: Beyond Bones, 2013 Advanced Songwriter Series will begin Feb. 22-24 in Cartersville, GA with our Woodsongs Winter "Cave-In," a chance to re-connect, re-treat, and tap into the magic and mystery of hibernation as a source of creativity and nurturing the creative soul. There will be a minimum of didactic presentation and a maximum of time to write. Structural issues (rhyme, meter, etc) will be covered as we critique your work. There will also be a special section on co-writing. There are some scholarship spots at a reduced rate. This workshop is geared toward songwriters, but is also appropriate for anyone wishing to enjoy a retreat weekend that fosters creativity in any medium. All donations/fees go toward the Woodsong Tornado Fund. We've neared the end of our two year recovery, and I am excited for you to revisit the farm. Out of pocket expenses were approximately 70K. Our first workshop raised approximately $2500 toward reconstruction efforts.


The DC Bluegrass Union presents the Mid-Atlantic Bluegrass Band Contest, scheduled for Feb. 22, 203 at the Holiday Inn in College Park, MD. Cash prizes totaling $1,300 will be awarded, plus a performance slot at the 2013 DC Bluegrass Festival for the winner. Contact the DC Bluegrass Union at for registration information. The Mid-Atlantic Band Contest is presented by the DC Bluegrass Union as part of the DC Bluegrass Festival, honoring the 70-year tradition of bluegrass music in the greater DC area. This family-friendly, event offers a full day of bands, vendors, instrument workshops and much more. Bluegrass legend Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers will be headlining the Fourth Annual DC Bluegrass Festival, along with Bill Emerson and Sweet Dixie, Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen, Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition, Remington Ryde, and Newgrass Effect with Tom Gray. Info:


Bluegrass Underground has scheduled their season 3 taping for PBS for March 8-10, 2013. Featured bands include Leon Russell, Andrew Bird, Old Crow Medicine Show, Yonder Mountain String Band, The SteelDrivers, Alison Brown, BouSoleil and more to be announced. The concert series is staged in the Volcano Room in Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN. Ticket info:   photo, Bluegrass Underground

Campbell Mercer, bandleader of the Cumberland Highlanders, reports that RFD-TV recently purchased Family Net TV. Beginning in January, Family Net will carry the one-hour version of Mercer’s show, Crossing the Cumberlands on Saturday mornings and the 30-minute version on Saturday nights, airing the program to more than 61 million homes in the U.S.


The 5th Annual Great 48 Hour Jam will take place at the Bakersfield Double Tree Hotel Jan. 3-6. Rhonda Vincent & the Rage will headline. Info:

The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky. announces two fundraising concerts this month: Monroeville, on Jan. 11 and The Spinney Brothers on Jan. 17. Info:

The 20th Annual McReynolds Memorial Concert will take place Thursday, Jan. 31 at the Texas Troubadour Theatre, 2416 Music Drive, in Nashville, TN, from 7-10 p.m. The line-up features Jesse McReynolds, The McReynolds Tradition, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, Audie Blaylock & Redline, The Expedition and more to be announced. Produced by Amanda McReynolds (Keith’s daughter and Jesse’s granddaughter), the event will benefit the Mid South Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Info:,

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and The Nathan Stanley Band closed out 2012 with a concert at a new bluegrass venue in Pigeon Forge, TN, Musick’s Mountain Theater. The new theater is located at 140 Showplace Blvd, Pigeon Forge, TN and the show starts at 7:00pm.  Info:, (865)774-2995. 


Daley Instrument Co. is building guitars! Daley Mandolins are already instruments of legend and now Sim Daley, partnered with Adam Chowning, is bringing those standards to guitar building. They're already taking orders and these beautiful D18 and D28 models are starting to go out all over the world. Adam is most excited that "The Shredder" Brad Davis got his very own Daley Guitar and is playing it in workshops and concerts all over the place. For more info, go to


Thanks to Dr. Tom Adler and Frank Godbey for making this video available of Bluegrass Hall of Famer J.D. Crowe’s honorary doctorate ceremony at the University of Kentucky. View here. Congratulations, Dr. Crowe! 

Kent Gustavson, author of the Doc Watson biography, Blind But Now I See, would like to make copies of his paperback books available to schools or other non-profit programs who would enjoy reading them. Qualified non-profits and educational institutions are welcome to contact Kent at


  photo, J.D. Crowe receiving Doctorate degree from University of Kentucky

Dates for the Julian Family Fiddle Camp have been set for April 10-14 in Julian, CA. The camp is now affiliated with Fractured Atlas (, Camp info:

photo, Jacob Panic   The Stelling Banjo Scholarship to Pete (“Dr. Banjo”) Wernick’s Advanced Banjo Camp has been awarded to 26 year-old multi-instrumentalist Jacob Panic, of Baltimore, MD. Jacob aspires to a career in bluegrass music and has recorded an album of original songs on which he plays all the instruments. Jacob said, "I'm humbled and grateful to Pete and Stelling. Pete Wernick is one of my banjo heroes." The Advanced camp (January 21-26), for players with band experience, still has several spots left. Wernick's Basic Skills Camp (January 7-12) has 3 spots, and the Intermediate camp (January 14-19) is full with a waiting list. Pete’s winter camps, the “original” Banjo Camps, have been held annually in Colorado since 1984. Info: for information and registration.  

Nashville-based fiddler Megan Lynch, who currently performs with Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan, announces several instructional camps for the near year: Nashville Flatpick Camp (October 2013), FiddleStar Adult Camp (May 23-26, 2013), FiddleStar Youth Camp (June 27-30, 2013); and the FiddleStar Adult Beginner Camp (Aug. 29-Sept. 1, 2013). Get all the details at

And now, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: IBMA member James Akenson announces that Lance McKinney of the University of Alabama will make a presentation titled “WIBA—What is Bluegrass Anyway,” at the International Country Music Conference at Belmont University in Nashville, TN May 23-25, 2013. Kinney says he will be “analyzing what many consider the real bedrock of bluegrass, Monroe’s recordings with his 1946 band,” and will “examine those recordings structurally and aesthetically to start the defining bluegrass conversation.”  Former IBMA staffer Dr. Katy Leonard, who now teaches at Birmingham Southern, will also be presenting a bluegrass-related paper. Info:

The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail is one of 832 non-profit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant. The Crooked Road (TCR) is recommended for a $10,000 grant to support traditional music education in Southwest Virginia. TCR’s Traditional Music Education Program Phase 2 builds upon findings from the program rollout—generating more after-school programs, school assembly programs, and performance opportunities for the region’s youth while strengthening the educational foundation through curricular material distribution, teacher training workshops, and a teacher re-certification course serving a 19-county region of rural Southwest Virginia. “This award strengthens The Crooked Road’s work in place-based education by creating opportunities to serve the region’s youth through our traditional music,” said Jonathan Romeo, Project Manager. “TCR’s Traditional Music Education Program promotes learning that is rooted in what is local—the unique music, history, and culture of Southwest Virginia.” recently featured an online article about a roots music program for students in Mountain View, AR. Read about it here.

RECORD LABELS & Publishers

Good HomeGrown Music has released a video for their new single, “Walking Through Bethlehem,” featuring Sonya, Becky and Lilly Isaacs. The song was written by Tom T. and Dixie Hall with Billy Smith. View here.

Rural Rhythm Records is proud to announce they have signed Dave Adkins & Republik Steele to the label.  A new single, "That's Just The Way I Roll" written by Tim Stafford, Steve Gulley and Terry Herd, will be released to radio later this month. The song is the title track of their upcoming new album scheduled for release early 2013.   The band has also signed with Josh Trivett and Peter Keiser of Moonstruck Management for exclusive booking and management representation. David Akins is joined by: mandolin player and baritone singer, Kenny O’Quinn; bass player Danny Ray Stilner; sixteen year old Wesley Wolfe on guitar; and banjo player and tenor singer, Matt Cruby. The name Republik Steele serves as a tribute to the hardworking coal miners of the area. The fathers and grandfathers of three of the members worked for the same large mining company by the name of Republic Steel.  For more information, please visit More info:, View the video for their new single here.