Bluegrass Music Industry News


Lonesome River Band
is proud to announce they have signed with Josh Trivett and Peter Keiser of Moonstruck Management for exclusive booking and management representation.  "We are so excited to form this partnership with the Lonesome River Band," Trivett said.  "The 30 year history and legacy of LRB is a huge piece of the story board of bluegrass music. The progressive style of LRB has always kept them at the unique cutting edge of the genre, and created albums that will stand the test of time. We are excited about 2012 being the 30th anniversary and the future together of Moonstruck Management and the Lonesome River Band as a team." Info:,


A benefit concert for award-winning Dobro player Phil Leadbetter who is currently battling cancer was held April 1, 2012 at the Paramount Center in Bristol, Tenn. Guests included Tim Stafford, Dale Ann Bradley, Mike Bub, Michael Cleveland, Missy Raines, Kim Fox, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Jim Hurst, Julie & John Pennell, Don Rigsby, Steve Gulley, Larry Cordle, Donna Ulisse, Rick Stanley, Justin Moses, Jerry Butler, James Allen Shelton, Wayne Taylor, Gena Britt, Darrell Webb, Jason Burleson, Rob Ickes and more.  Pinecastle Records is also offering four packages for sale that include Leadbetter’s playing, with the proceeds going to Phil. Click here for more info. 

Congratulations to the following artists who are topping current charts: 

Billboard Bluegrass Albums Chart: Who’s Feeling Young Now, The Punch Brothers (Nonesuch)

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: “Final Farewell,” by Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, written by Chris Jones & Jon Weisberger

Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey: “A Far Cry from Lester & Earl;” by Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice (Rebel Records); written by T. Massey, R. Pardue & H. Sisk Jr.

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

On the way home from a show in Centerville, Ohio on March 12, Sierra Hull and Highway 111 stopped in at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati to perform and visit with the children and their families. Sierra and the band were recently in CMT's Nashville studio for the live taping for a new online show called Live @ CMT. They were only the second band to be featured in this new CMT platform. The band did four tunes from Sierra's Daybreak CD: "Bombshell," "Best Buy," "Daybreak," and "Easy Come, Easy Go." View here.

Congratulations to Brand New Strings on the release of their new album, Stay Tuned. Released on Rural Rhythm Records on March 27, 2012, the album includes the talents of Randall Massengill, Mike Ramsey, Stuart Wyrick, Preston Schmidt, Tony Mowell and guest Corey Meuchel. A CD release party was held at Margaritaville in downtown Nashville on March 23.

The Grascals celebrated the release of  Life Finds a Way, their new album on the Mountain Home Music Company label with an album release party at the Sirius XM Music City Theater in Nashville March 23 and an appearance at the Grand Old Opry Saturday night, March 24—their 115th visit to the Opry stage as a band. The reception on the 23rd was hosted by Vietti Foods, a new sponsor for the two-time IBMA Entertainers of the Year.  Info:

The Steep Canyon Rangers are celebrating the release of their new album on Rounder Records, Nobody Knows You with album release events in Nashville and New York City. The Nashville event was hosted at the Opry Backstage Grill in Nashville March 27. Actor/author/banjo player Steve Martin has this to say about The Steeps' new project: “The Steep Canyon Rangers, with whom I have had the great pleasure of touring and have shared the wonderful honor of IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year Award, are not only great musicians who continue to explore both the new and old styles of bluegrass and bring a fresh energy to the traditions of American music, but they are also really fun on a bus.”  Info:

Dailey & Vincent were mentioned on a recent episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show during an interview with David and Tina Long, whose son committed suicide as a result of bullying.  Seven minutes into the clip below David tells how Dailey & Vincent’s song, “On the Other Side” helped them get through the loss of their son. Watch here.

Chris Luquette is the new guitarist with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen.

A Harley Allen tribute concert benefitting the Bluegrass Trust Fund will be staged Wednesday night, April 18 at The Station Inn in Nashville, beginning at 8 p.m. An all-star line-up will appear, including The Grascals, Shawn Camp, Scott Emerick and more. Info:

Congratulations to Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, who received a nomination in the Georgia Music Awards in the in the Americana/Bluegrass Band of the Year category.  The winners will be announced at the inaugural 2012 Georgia Music Awards Show to be held June 16, 2012 at The Buckhead Theatre in downtown Atlanta, Ga.  The purpose of the new awards show is to spotlight the development of the music industry in Georgia, encouraging growth in music’s present and future and focusing on the hottest music and artists in the Peach State.  Info:

Entertainer, musician and songwriter Mike Scott is proud to announce his third tour of Israel.  Mike Scott & The Nashville Band will set out for a tour May 2-8, 2012 that includes a headlining performance at the Jacob’s Ladder 36th Annual Spring Festival at the Nof Ginnosar Hotel in Magda, Israel on May 3-5.  The festival is located on the shores of The Sea of Galilee and is billed as Israel’s “largest family festival” showcasing talent from around the world.  Mike and his band will be the only performers from the United States and say they are honored to represent the U.S. at this festival. Info:

Jeremy Roberts, pop-culture writer with The Examiner, has posted a series of articles based on an extensive interview with Bluegrass Hall of Famer Rodney DillardClick here to read more.

James Alan Shelton, Ralph Stanley’s lead guitarist for the past 18 years, has responded to fan requests by compiling two of his early and nearing out-of-print albums into a single CD of 26 songs. Titled James Alan Shelton: The Copper Creek Sessions, the package contains the complete original contents of Road To Coeburn (1997) and Guitar Tracks (1999), both which debuted on the Copper Creek label. James Alan Shelton: The Copper Creek Sessions was released March 27, 2012 on Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby and through Shelton’s website

Rockin’ Acoustic Circus has announced their new band name, Belfry Fellows. The Nashville-based group will release a debut EP in the very near future. Rockin’ Acoustic Circus fans need not be concerned though, says founding member Sterling Abernathy, “The new name is a reflection of a new group identity, but if you liked RAC, I’m absolutely certain that you’ll love Belfry Fellows. We are working from the same foundation that created RAC, but adding a palette of musical chemistry and innovative ideas that’s taking this group to a whole new level.” The line-up includes Dillon Hodges (previously of Missy Raines and the New Hip), Adam Chaffins, Rachel Baiman and Abernathy.  The new band name is a reference to a bass playing character in an Edgar Allen Poe satirical short story, “The Devil in the Belfry. “This quirky ‘Fellow’ marches into a town that is obsessed with correct time,” says Hodges.  “With his big fiddle, he goes into the bell tower, brutally attacks the belfry man and rings 13 o’clock – causing all kinds of chaos to this very ordered community.”  “We love it that he is fearless and not afraid to break the mold” Baiman adds, “and the fact that the ‘Fellow’ plays a giant fiddle just makes the story that much cooler.” Info:

American Voices and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs are pleased to announce the lineup for the 2012-13 season of the American Music Abroad program.  This season, American Music Abroad received nearly 300 applications from musical ensembles in over 40 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  After a live round of auditions held in New York, St. Louis and San Francisco for top ensembles, 12 bands were selected for their musical excellence and educational ability including bluegrass band Della Mae from Boston and Washington, D.C.-based Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. As part of the American Music Abroad program, the Department of State and American Voices will create a series of international musical exchange tours.  International touring activities will include public concerts, master classes, lecture-demonstrations, workshops, jam sessions with local musicians and media outreach.  Ensembles will travel around the globe for approximately one month each between May 2012 and May 2013. Each ensemble will visit four to six countries during their respective tours. American Music Abroad activities focus on younger and underserved audiences in countries with little or no access to live American performances.  As part of the American Music Abroad @Home portion of the program, ensembles will also conduct workshops and performances at local schools, community centers and other venues in the Washington, D.C. area.

Congratulations to Jim VanCleve  of Mountain Heart and his wife Desneige on the birth of their third child, Hudson James VanCleve on 3/23/2012.

Congratulations to Ben Kauffman of Yonder Mountain String Band and his wife Cheyanna on the birth of their child February 7. Yonder Mountain’s Spring Tour 2012 began on March 29, and will take them through Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, California, Oregon and Washington.


Louisa Branscomb of Woodsong Retreat will host the Woodsong Spring Songwriter Workshop and Sunday Open House Jam May 18-20, with the jam scheduled for 2 p.m. on Sunday. Info here.


The California Bluegrass Association has compiled a list of 2012 California festivals with performance opportunities for young people. Info here. Congratulations to the CBA’s Larry Kuhn and his bride Caroline, who were married March 24 in Auburn, Calif.

The Bluegrass Association of North Dakota has released B.A.N.D., a compilation featuring 16 songs from 9 bands from North Dakota from 1985-2011. Info: B.A.N.D. Sampler, 210 7th Avenue, Litchville, ND 58461.

The West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association will present the Second Annual Bluegrass Songwriter’s Contest at MayFest 2012, May 19 at Lowell, Mich. Info: RuthAnn Eilers,,

The Seven Mountains Bluegrass Association Music Series will feature Little Roy and Lizzy Show April 14 and The Paul Adkins Band May 12. Go to for the details. The association offers the Seven Mountains Scholarship for young musicians interested in attending a summer music camp, private lessons or other bluegrass educational event. Info:

Several news outlets in Columbus, Ga. including WTVM television covered the first meeting and installation of SEBA’s new 12th chapter. Chapter Committee and Education Committee chair Dan Daniel and Dr. Rebecca Lawson traveled to Columbus to present the newly elected Vice President Michelle Justice confirmation of their charter and the chapter’s new SEBA banner. SEBA stands for the Southeastern Bluegrass Association, based in Atlanta, Ga.


Congratulations to Eddie Stubbs, WSM on-air host and Grand Ole Opry announcer, who was recently inducted into the Country Radio Hall of Fame in Nashville. Known to bluegrass fans as the fiddler with The Johnson Mountain Boys as well as for his broadcasting talents, Eddie began his radio career in 1983 at WYII-FM in Williamsport, Md., followed by 23 years on WAMU-FM in Washington, D.C.  He has been with the Opry and WSM since 1995. Stubbs is one of the youngest inductees to this prestigious group.

Father of Newgrass Sam Bush co-hosted Coffee, Country & Cody on WSM-AM March 6 with Charlie Mattos, while Bill Cody was on vacation.  And yes, he did do that famous Harry Caray impression!  Listen here

Song of the Mountains, now in its eighth taping season, has announced its show schedule and line-up for 2012.  All shows are taped at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, Virginia.  Shows: April 14 - Sierra Hull, Lou Reid & Carolina, Roni Stoneman & Cockman Family.  June 2 - Janie Fricke, Elkville String Band, Kevin Richardson & Cutting Edge.  June 30 - Unveiling & Fundraising Concert & Reception for SOTM. Renowned pencil artist Willard Gayheart will be unveiling his commissioned drawing for Song of the Mountains at an afternoon reception. Concert later that evening with Skeeter & the Skidmarks, the VW Boys & many others to be announced. August 4 - Steel Drivers, Tennessee Mafia Jug Band, My New Favorites & Travis Frye & Blue Mountain.  September 1 - Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain, Balsam Range, New Ballads Branch Bogtrotters & Robby Spencer.  October 6 - Chuck Wagon Gang, Jonny Possum Band, Hollow Ground & Special Consensus.

April marks the completion of the first year of a radio show called "Nick's Tape Treasures."  It airs Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 11:00 p.m. Eastern on Radio Bluegrass International which originates from the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro Ky. and is available on their website  Host Nick Barr plays live recordings he made in the ‘60s and ‘70s; he donated the original tapes and a digital copy to the IBMM.  During the first year, he helped celebrate the Bill Monroe 100th Birthday by playing a number of live Bill Monroe shows, including four editions of "The Blue Grass Story" where festival promoter Carleton Haney reunited Monroe with many former Blue Grass Boys and other influential bluegrass musicians.

The documentary film, The Porchlight Sessions will premier at the Nashville Film Festival April 22 in Nashville, Tenn. For more info, click here.  The project is described as “a finger pickin' and foot stompin' adventure through the evolution of the hillbilly sound as it became a genre following the legacy of the patriarch, Bill Monroe. Told through the collective voice of the originators of style to contemporary mainstream acts and campground pickers, the film marks the first time the community has come together to tell the bluegrass story.” The film features interviews and performances with Dr. Ralph Stanley, Bobby Osborne, Del McCoury, Peter Rowan, Doc Watson, Jerry Douglas, Tim O'Brien, Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Alison Brown, Pete Wernick, Abigail Washburn, The Infamous Stringdusters, Crooked Still, Trampled By Turtles, Sara and Sean Watkins, Mumford & Sons and many more.

Longtime IBMA member/photographer Becky Johnson (aka: “Mrs. Bluegrass”) is producing a new show on WMMT radio, called "BlueGrass Breakdown."


Volunteer State Community College, in conjunction with its new two-year degree with an emphasis in bluegrass music, is proud to announce the Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree April 13-14. There will be free admission, with music and dance competitions, cash prizes, door prizes and lots of jamming. The Friday night competition begins at 6;30 p.m. on Dobro, Bluegrass Banjo, Mandolin and Guitar. The Saturday competition starts at 10 a.m., with contests for Bluegrass Band, Pee Wee Fiddle, Beginner Fiddle, Junior Fiddle, Senior Fiddle, Pee Wee Dancing, Junior Dancing, Senior Dancing and Square Dancing. The Saturday night entertainment starts at 7 p.m. with Charlie Cushman & Johnny Warren and The Likely Culprits (featuring Deanie Richardson, Melonie Cannon, Garnet Bowman and Ashby Frank, among others). Marcia Campbell will emcee. Info: Melissa DuPuy, Bluegrass Program – Vol State (615) 452-8600, ext. 2936,,

The first annual Bluegrass on the Plains Festival hosted by University Station RV Resort is scheduled for May 23-27, 2012 in Auburn, Alabama.  In addition to their goal to support the future of bluegrass music, the event will also honor U.S. veterans and their spouses with free 5-day admission. Bluegrass on the Plains has been a “bucket list” goal of University Station RV Resort owner Mathan Holt for a long time. “Our 500 lot, full hook-up, full service facility was created for events like Bluegrass on the Plains,” Holt said. “My wife Jill and I think this is the perfect setting for bluegrass music, and we can’t wait to introduce the first band to you on May 23!” The line-up will include: Rhonda Vincent and the Rage; Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley & Larry Cordle; Rodney Dillard Band (as seen on The Andy Griffith Show); Little Roy & Lizzy Show; Marty Raybon; Darrell Webb Band; Gary Waldrep Band; Blue Moon Rising; Nothin’ Fancy; Volume Five; Cumberland River; Kelli Johnson & Sweetwater; Heather & Shannon Slaughter & County Clare; Randy & Sherri Miller; Stacy Grubb; Cedar Rock; Eastwind; The Moron Brothers and The Bailey Mountain Cloggers. Workshops on songwriting, fiddle, banjo, mandolin and Dobro will also be hosted. Info: Jill Holt at (334) 832-8968.,

The City of Auburn Hills Parks & Recreation Department received First Place in the Integrated Marketing Campaign category from the Michigan Recreation & Park Association (MRPA) for its implementation of an inventive marketing campaign that successfully promoted The City’s 2011 Bluegrass Festival. The award was presented to Auburn Hills at the MRPA annual conference held earlier this month in Dearborn. Auburn Hills’ annual Parade of Stars Bluegrass Festival, one of the largest bluegrass festivals in Southeast Michigan, is traditionally held in September and often draws over 2,000 people. The event has put the City on the map as one of the nationally renowned celebrations of Bluegrass music. This year’s festival is scheduled for Saturday, September 8, on the grounds of Civic Center Park.

The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival has announced their line-up for their July 19-20 event in Oak Hill, N.Y., which includes Hot Rize, Red Knuckles and the Trail Blazers, Jesse McReynolds, Del McCoury, the David Grisman Sextet, the Infamous Stringdusters, Punch Brothers, David Bromberg, Mountain Heart, the Gibson Brothers, Chris Thile & Michael Daves Duo, The SteelDrivers, Blue Highway, Noam Pikelny, Aoife O'Donovan, Tony Trischka and host band Dry Branch Fire Squad, among others. Info:

The 11th Down From the Hills Heritage Music Festival and State of Mississippi Bluegrass Championships are set  for May 19, 2012, at the Union County Fairgrounds in New Albany, Mississippi.  Cash awards in both youth and adult will total $8,000, as well as bragging rights with the state trophy.  Competitions in fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo and Dobro are the individual competitions. The bluegrass band competition will determine the state bluegrass band winner for 2012. Info: or 662-538-0014. Campsites with hookups are available.  This event is supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission and others.

Nu-Blu, The Roys, Larry Stephenson, Jerry Butler & the Blue-Jays, The Spinney Brothers, Ernie Evans & the Florida State Bluegrass Band, Remington Ryde, Rhyme and Reason and Sweet Potato Pie are among the artists who will perform on Danny Stewart’s Bluegrass Cruise Jan 20-24, 2013 and Jan. 27-31.  Info: Danny Stewart, (570) 721-2760


The Toy Hearts have announced an exclusive album preview show to debut their upcoming album, Whiskey. The band will perform select tunes from the release at The Old Queens Head in London, England on April 3. Info:

The Davidson Brothers and Pacific International Music would like to congratulate 22 year old George Jackson as the recipient of the inaugural Australian Youth Bluegrass Scholarship. Application forms for the 2013 Australian Youth Bluegrass Scholarship will soon be available online. The scholarship is open to any Australian citizen or resident aged 25 or under who shares our passion for bluegrass, and plays fiddle, mandolin, 5-string banjo, acoustic guitar, bass, Dobro or sings.  Once again there will be a cash prize plus more. The recipient will be announced early in January 2013.

Congratulations to The Davidson Brothers on their 3rd Golden Guitar award for Instrumental of the Year. Their album Here to Stay has now been nominated for 17 awards in Australia. In February they took home two Victorian & National Country Music Awards for Instrumental of the Year and Best Bluegrass Song. Lachlan Davidson also won the TSA's National Songwriting contest Bluegrass Award, presented in Tamworth for the first time this year. Their first single “My Heart Can't Believe My Eyes” reached #10 for three weeks on the Country Tracks Top 30 Australian radio chart. They’ve also been nominated for 4 TIARA Awards, to be announced on April 1.

The Bluegrass Traditional Country Music Society of Australia has a new website at

Bluegrass bandleader Lilly Drumeva of Lilly of the West has a new album out, Swings & Heartaches. Info:


Earl Scruggs passed away in Nashville March 28. (See article here.)

Banjo player Snuffy Smith, 66, a repair and set-up wizard and the maker of the well-known Snuffy Smith banjo bridge, died Feb. 3 in King, N.C. Smith performed with several bands in Arizona and North Carolina, including the Moonhull Mountain Boys, the Bluegrass Gazette, Frankie Kelly and High Country, Zeke Saunders, The Blades of Grass, and Wood and Steel.

Old-time fiddler Joe Thompson, 93, passed away Feb. 20 in Mebane, N.C. In recent years Joe became known as a mentor for The Carolina Chocolate Drops, but he also performed for many years with his cousin, Odell Thompson on banjo.

Source: Murphy Henry, Bluegrass Unlimited


Three faculty positions are open at East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies program: Bluegrass/Old Time Fiddle Lecturer; Appalachian, Scottish & Irish Studies/Celtic Music Lecturer; and Country Music Lecturer. The positions include teaching individual instruction on a variety of instruments and directing student performing groups, among other duties. For full job descriptions and to apply for the positions, go to or call (423) 439-7072.

Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp registrations are open for 2012. The two one-week camps will be held at Maryville College in Maryville, Tenn. Old Time and Traditional Week - June 10-16, 2012:  Old Time Banjo, Old Time Fiddle, Mountain Dulcimer, Flatpicking, Fingerstyle, Bass, and Songwriting. Bluegrass Week - June 17-23, 2012: Flatpicking, Bluegrass Banjo, Bluegrass Fiddle, Mandolin, Bass, Dobro and Vocals/Singing.  Info:

Instructors and dates have been announced for Megan Lynch’s 2012 FiddleStar Camps.  Both camps will be held in Ridgetop, Tenn. FiddleStar Adult Camp will take place May 24-27, 2012, and will include bluegrass, old-time, Celtic and Texas Fiddling.  FiddleStar Kids Camp will be held June 25-29 and will include Texas/contest style, bluegrass and swing fiddling. Info:

IBMA member Si Kahn gave the keynote address at the Appalachian Studies Conference in Indiana, Penn. last month. IBMA member Art Menius reports that presented papers included Ron Roach – “Carlton Haney’s ‘The Story of Bluegrass’ as Redemptive Drama and Metaphor;” Lee Bidgood – “Learning the Lay of the Czech Bluegrass Landscape;” Brandon Johnson – “Transmissions on Banjo Branch: Roger Howell and western North Carolina Fiddle Tune Tradition;” Aaron Leftkovitz – “Appalachian Musical Cultures: Studies in Contrasts, Traditions, and Modernities;” and Carolyn Chesarino – “’Poor Boy, You’re Bound to Die:’ How Thomas Dula, Hardened Assassin, Morphed into Tom Dooley, Folk Hero.”

Grammy Award-winning mandolinist Mike Compton will be teaching a mandolin workshop April 16 at 7:30 p.m. the afternoon before a house concert in Brookline, Mass. Info:


Rebel Records has released Lost Souls & Free Spirits – The Rebel Collection Old & New by Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, a 14-track collection that surveys 15 years of music from Jones and his band. The song list includes songs from No One But You, Follow Your Heart and Just A Drifter (1997-2000) along with several songs from the self-released Cloud of Dust (2009) and three new recordings.

Sugar Hill Records is re-issuing the landmark recording, Skaggs & Rice on vinyl. Listen to Ricky Skaggs and Tony Rice singing “Bury Me Beneath the Willow” here.

Mountain Roads Recordings is extremely excited to announce that the highly acclaimed recorded project, Close Kin, A Reunion of Bluegrass & Old-Time Music, will be on the road beginning April 18, 2012 for four nights featuring live performances by the artists who created the musical collaboration. The spring tour will be featured in the following locations:

• Wednesday April 18 - ETSU Culp Auditorium Johnson City, TN

• Thursday April 19 - The White Horse Black Mountain, NC

• Friday April 20 - Ashe Civic Center West Jefferson, NC

• Saturday, April 21 - The Rex Theater Galax, VA

Info: Johnny Williams,, (434) 489-8080 or Karl S. Cooler, Mountain Roads Recordings, karl@mountainroadsrecordings