Bluegrass Music Industry News, Nov. 2012

Click on each section for all the freshest, ripest bluegrass industry news!

Don't miss...

  • Heard 'Round The World (the international bluegrass scene)
  • Fresh Sounds in the World of Bluegrass (new recordings for the 3rd quarter of 2012)

Agents & Managers

On Oct. 19, Steve Johnson of Mountain Music Entertainment and Andrea Ball of Make Welcome Entertainment announced plans to enter into an acquisition agreement. Under the agreement, Mountain Music Entertainment transferred assets, including a number of artists on the agency roster, to Make Welcome Entertainment. The combined agency will operate as Make Welcome Entertainment. Johnson recently accepted a full-time position with Wilkes Community College and MerleFest.

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Artists & Composers

The Charts This Month…

Bluegrass Unlimited:
SONG – “Carolina Moonshine Man” by Lou Reid & Carolina; written by Ray Edwards, Terry Foust & Lou Reid (KMA)
ALBUM – Callin’ Me Back Home by Lou Reid & Carolina (KMA)
ALBUM – Carry Me Back by Old Crow Medicine Show (ATO)
SONG – “Oh, Kentucky” by Lou Reid & Carolina, written by Dennis Duff

Josh Hymer is the new banjo player with American Drive (above) —which also includes Rickey Wasson, Dwight McCall, Matt DeSpain and Kyle Perkins, now performing the last lap with J.D. Crowe & the New South through the end of the year. See next month’s issue of IB: International Bluegrass for an article about J.D., his plans for the future, and a retrospective of his career. American Drive released its new self-titled recording last month on Rural Rhythm Records. The recording debuted on Billboard's Top Bluegrass Albums chart at #11.

A very special act has been booked for Bluegrass First Class, to be held on February 15-17 in Asheville, NC. The Bluegrass Album Band (Tony Rice, J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Bobby Hicks and Todd Phillips) will reunite for a show on Saturday, Feb. 16. Josh Williams will join the ensemble as lead vocalist, singing in Tony’s place.

Prior to leaving for a tour of Europe this month, Peter Rowan spent some time at Compass Records recording his second album for the label, with plans for a Spring 2013 release. Along with his current band -- Keith Little, Paul Knight and Mike Witcher -- Peter was joined by the Travelin' McCourys, Chris Henry on mandolin and Michael Cleveland on fiddle, as well as Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds singing two Rowan originals: "My Saviour is Calling Me" and "Mountain Man's Dream.”

Carl White, formerly with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, is a new member of Monroeville.

Gary Robertson, Jr. is the new lead guitar player with Cumberland River.

Congratulations to London folk rock group Mumford & Sons, who sold 600,000 copies of their second album, Babel, in its debut sales week in the U.S.—playing acoustic guitar, banjo, acoustic bass and keyboards. Babel has surpassed every other album released in 2012 in sales in its first week, including recordings released by Justin Bieber (in second place with a 374,000 start). It’s also the highest sales week for any rock album since AC/DC sold 784,000 copies of Black Ice in November 2008!  

“This Old Guitar And Me” is the first of four singles to be released from Grasstowne 4, the new project from Grasstowne, due in 2013. Ronnie Bowman is a guest. Visit

In mid-October Astrograss, a New York-based band that gets kids and their parents dancing and singing together with a unique blend of bluegrass, old time, and folk music, released its new project, The Colored Pencil Factory. Visit to purchase online.

Congratulations to Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, who won 2012 award for Vocal Group of the Year at the Inspirational Country Music Awards at Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville on October 18; to The Roys, who won the award for Inspirational Bluegrass Artist; and to Vince Gill, who won Mainstream Country Artist and Mainstream Country Song for his tune "Threaten Me With Heaven."

On Oct. 17, The Grascals performed at the 9th Annual Leadership Music Dale Franklin Awards at Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium. Vince Gill, Charlie Daniels and Randy Owen were honored at the event. The Grascals performed “The Devil Went Down To Georgia” in tribute to Daniels.

Attention, instrument owners: Geartrack ( is the new place online to register the make, model and serial number of instruments of all types, with options to add photos and ownership documents, custom specs/ markings, items for sale, post instrument lists anonymously, transfer gear to another owner, and more. Designed for professionals, hobbyists, collectors, educators, managers, parents of young musicians, studios, venues, rehearsal spaces, pawn shops, retailers and online buyers, the service is free at introductory levels and is expected to help deter theft.

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Association News

SEBA (Southeastern Bluegrass Association) is contacting music venues that host open jams in the northern Georgia area, inviting them to become “Official Jam Sites,” which the organization will support and publicize. The Australian Bakery in Marietta, GA is the first official SEBA jam site participant.

One of the longest-running bluegrass association newsletters in the country, first published in 1979, is now available in digital format! Check out the bulletin of the Central Texas Bluegrass Association (CTBA) at .

Chris Henry has organized the Nashville Bluegrass Music Alliance on Facebook, with the purpose of connecting and serving the local bluegrass community. “We have one of the best and most diverse scenes in the world and there was a need to create a central hub that folks could access to find out about public, bluegrass-related events that are happening around town,” Henry writes. “Since we are pickers too, we're frequently looking for ways to pick more, so the NBMA will also be having some good picking parties and concerts from time to time. By bringing people together this way, we also provide opportunities that can introduce folks to the music and foster more local awareness of the talent and fun we enjoy in our community.” Join the NBMA Facebook group at!/groups/423587667678828/members/

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Congratulations to California-based flatpicker, banjo player and vocalist Molly Tuttle, who took second place with her father, Jack (above), in a duet competition on A Prairie Home Companion hosted by Garrison Keiller on Oct. 19. Molly, a frequent participant in IBMA’s “Kids on Bluegrass” program during World of Bluegrass and a member of the band, The Tuttles with A.J. Lee, is currently studying at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her song, “Walden,” was the winning composition at the MerleFest songwriter competition in 2012. Info: ; listen to “Walden” here:

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Events & Promoters

Due to overwhelming demand, the entry process for official showcases at the 2013 International Folk Alliance Conference has been extended to November 14, 2012. The entry fee is $40. Entries are being accepted through Sonicbids or mail using the forms in the FA newsletter and on its website under CONFERENCE. Visit ; all mail-in entries must be postmarked by November 14.

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage will headline the 2013 “Great 48 (Hour Jam)” at the Bakersfield DoubleTree Hotel Jan. 3-6, in Bakersfield, CA. The California Bluegrass Association will showcase California-based bluegrass bands who do not routinely tour nationally at the event.

The Appalachian Cultural Music Association recently announced the creation of The Blue Ridge Acoustic Uprising, an event that will celebrate, promote, and recognize bluegrass, old time, gospel, classic country, and Appalachian style music through an annual gathering in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Two scholarships are available to Pete Wernick’s 2013 Advanced Banjo Camp, January 21-26 in Boulder, CO. The camp is geared to players in performing bands and focuses on tone, timing, “believability,” creativity, band dynamics, and performance. One scholarship, offered through the generosity of Stelling Banjos, covers almost all expenses for an out-of-state attendee. The other scholarship is smaller, based on funds raised at last year’s Advanced Camp. Applications require a letter and a music sample, emailed or sent by postal mail. Deadline for application is December 15. See the Advanced section on the Banjo Camp page at for info.

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Merchandise & Luthiers

The Gibson Guitar Corporation has settled all issues with the U.S. Government and the Department of Justice, according to CEO Henry Juszkiewicz at . “This allows us to get back to the business of making guitars,” he noted. Materials seized in an armed raid on its factories in Nashville will be returned, and Gibson will continue to source rosewood and ebony fingerboards from India.

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Print, Media & Education

Photographer Darwin Davidson has posted all of his photos from the 2012 World of Bluegrass on his website! Visit to relive the event, and also to see photos from the legendary Clark Family Post-IBMA Party, hosted by Don and Danny "Hootenanny" Clark and the Clark Family.

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Over Jordan

IBMA member/Leadership Bluegrass alumnus Don V. Tucker (right), producer of Huck Finn’s Jubilee in Victorville, CA, died on Monday, Oct. 15 after suffering a massive stroke. Our condolences to his friends and family. Visit to see the lovely tribute.

With sadness we note the passing of Kenneth Foster on October 27 in his hometown of Greeneville, TN. Ken was an enthusiastic jammer at the CBA hospitality suite at World of Bluegrass, and he attended festivals around the country in his large grey motor home.

Deepest condolences to Ernie Thacker, who lost his beloved wife, Dorthy Mae Thacker, on October 14. Visit to see the obituary and offer words of comfort to Ernie and his family, or send a card to 978 Break Park Road, Haysi, VA 24256.

Big Jim Williams, a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, passed away in late September. Jim was a member of the IBMA Hall of Fame. Our condolences to his family, and to his widow, Phyllis.

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