Bluegrass Music Industry News

Chart toppers

Congratulations to Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice who are at the top of Bluegrass Today’s Monthly Airplay Chart for April for their latest album The Story of the Day That I Died. The title track is at number 4 on the Weekly Airplay Chart at press time.

Dailey & Vincent’s new single “Steel Drivin’ Man” has reigned for two weeks at the top of Bluegrass Today’s Weekly Airplay chart. The single is off their new album Brothers of the Highway out May 7.

On Bluegrass Unlimited charts, Grass Cats’ “The Mountains, My Baby and Me” is at number one for April from their album of the same name. Balsam Range holds the number one album spot for Papertown.

Steven Curtis Chapman’s bluegrass album Deep Roots holds on for the sixth week at number one on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts.

You’ve been picked!

Award winners were announced April 13 for the Appalachian Cultural Music Association’s Blue Ridge Music Uprising. Bluegrass Vocal Group of the Year went to Narrow Road, Bluegrass Instrumental Group of the Year was awarded to Rich in Tradition, and The VW Boys won for Bluegrass Entertainers of the Year. Congratulations, all!

MerleFest (April 26-28 in Wilkesboro, NC) announced the winners in its prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest. All winners received prizes and performed onstage Sunday night.

·         Bluegrass

1st – John Cloyd Miller (Asheville, NC) for “Cloud of Dust”

2nd – Todd Grebe (Nashville, TN) for “Master of My Destiny”

3rd – Aaron Burdett (Saluda, NC) for “Magpie”


·         Gospel/Inspirational

1st- Melody Walker (San Francisco, CA) for “Black Grace”

2nd – Lorraine Jordan (Garner, NC) for “Judgment Day”

3rd – Kelsi Robertson Harrigill (Murfreesboro, TN) for “Just Any Moment”


Playing On The Planet has landed an exciting new television licensing deal for its original music. Public Broadcasting Television (PBS) will use “Tennessee Twister,” penned by band member Lisa Jacobi and performed by the group, for the fall season of its show Roadtrip Nation. This is their second song licensed to PBS, and adds to original compositions that the band has licensed to a variety of network television shows and sports broadcasts.


Sugar Hill has a new marketing team. Jess Draper has joined as Sugar Hill’s Director of Artist & Media Relations. Megan McNair has been named Sugar Hill’s new Marketing Manager. And joining the company as Marketing Coordinator is Shannon Koleen Blauer.


Artists and band news

Vocalist and guitarist Dustin Pyrtle is the newest member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. Pyrtle stepped in for Michael Roberts who has chosen to pursue country music. Pyrtle previously played for Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out.

David Carroll is the new banjo picker for the Darrell Webb Band. Carroll joins Jeremy Arrowood on bass, Jared Hensley on guitar, Jake Joines on reso-guitar, and Webb on mandolin and lead vocals. The band are in the studio recording for their latest project.

Mandolinist Joe Walsh announced he is splitting with The Gibson Brothers to pursue other opportunities. The change comes during a busy time for the band who are on tour promoting their newest album. Walsh has a new CD project with Darol Anger, Courtney Hartman, Lukas Pool and Shannon Gilchrist that will be released in the near future.

Adam Pye has joined The Spinney Brothers as their new bassist, replacing long-time member Darryl Hebb, who has left to pursue other opportunities. Pye hails from Halifax, Nova Scotia. The Spinney Brothers have a new album out May 7th called No Borders.

New music announcements

Head for the Hills announced their newest album, Blue Ruin will be out July 9. Head for the Hills is Adam Kinghorn on guitar, Michael Chappell on mandolin, Joe Lessard on fiddle, and Matt Loewen bass. More information can be found about Blue Ruin at

The Roys will release their latest album Gypsy Runaway Train June 4. This is the third album for the pair with their label Rebel Records. Programmers can catch their new single "Gypsy Runaway Train" through AirPlay Direct and Soundcloud.

Jeff Scroggins and Colorado have a new album Western Branches coming out soon. The album features 12 original, traditional and cover songs, and produced by Sally Van Meter. Keep up on the latest announcements regarding the album on their website:

 GearTrack celebrated its official launch in April and announced the recovery of two valuable stolen mandolins owned by Vancouver, WA musicians Rocky and Deb Blakewood. The instruments went home to their rightful owners as a result of their listing on the online registry.

Out on bookshelves

Edited by Fred Bartenstein, Bluegrass Bluesman: Josh Graves, A Memoir profiles the music and life of the father of bluegrass Dobro. Drawing from interviews conducted by Barry Willis and Mike Dow, Bobby G. Wolfe, Stacy Phillips and Betty Wheeler, the new book makes the case for Graves as the missing link between bluegrass music and the blues – with some great stories along the way. Neil Rosenberg wrote the forward, and the book was published by University of Illinois Press. Any fan of bluegrass music – particularly Flatt & Scruggs fans, aficionados of the resonator guitar, and of course musicians and fans who were mentored and inspired by Josh – will enjoy this one.

In Remembrance

IBMA member, banjo picker and mandolinist Dr. Bob Mavian passed away Saturday, April 20 in surrounded by his family. He was best known as Gibson Case of The Case Brothers.

Country Music Hall of Famer, Grand Ole Opry member, and music legend George Jones passed away in Nashville on April 26. His one-of-a-kind Texas drawl, heart-breaking ballads, and rebel lifestyle influenced many over the years, and he will always be held in the highest esteem as one of the greatest voices of all time. The public are welcome to his memorial at The Grand Ol’ Opry on Thursday, May 2.

Bluegrass singer and guitarist William Forrest "Bill" Lowe of West Union, SC passed away on Sunday, April 28, 2013. Bill was recognized as a pioneer of bluegrass by the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame in 2012 in Owensboro, KY.