Bluegrass Music Industry News - November 2011


Keith Case & Associates announced a new look and a new name September 15: “KCA Artists.” Renowned for representing artists in the genres of bluegrass, Americana, roots, folk, singer/songwriter and indie rock, agency owner Keith Case explained, “We’ve been known as ‘KCA’ for years. With this change, we are making it official and have created an updated image that reinforces the brand.”  Case started his professional career in Denver, Colorado in 1970, relocating to Nashville in 1982. Keith was instrumental in breaking several notable artists early in their careers, including Alison Krauss & Union Station, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and Robert Earl Keen.  Today their roster includes 30 artists including  Suzy Bogguss, Sierra Hull & Highway 11, Ray Wylie Hubbard, Matraca Berg, Blue Highway, The SteelDrivers, Billy Joe Shaver, Steep Canyon Rangers, Matrimony, Ralph Stanley, The Farewell Drifters, Peter Rowan, Tony Rice, The Fairfield Four and Jesse Winchester. The staff includes general manager/artist manager Claire Armbruster; agents Logan Bosemer, John Everhart and Lee Olsen; contract administrator Marilee Chipoletti; and assistants Jessi Shores and Brian Solomon. Info:

In January Pickin’ Productions will join forces with Martha Dantzic and Quicksilver Productions, with a home base in Washington D.C., Rob Miller based in the West and Dantzic on the East Coast.  The new combined agency represents eight acts, including Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Town Mountain, Foghorn Stringband, Jackstraw and Anne & Pete Sibley.

Webster & Associates Public Relations & Marketing announced the staff promotion of  Jeremy Westby to VP/Operations and the addition of publicist Kay Waggoner and Executive Associate Billye Brown in September.


Steve Martin announced September 6 that Sammy Shelor, band leader and banjo player with The Lonesome River Band, is the second winner of The Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Sammy and LRB will perform with Martin on The Late Show with David Letterman, which will air November 11, 2011. The prize includes $50,000 and a bronze sculpture created by the artist Eric Fischl. Nominees for the Steve Martin Prize are chosen by a board that includes Mr. Martin, Earl Scruggs, Pete Wernick, Tony Trischka, Béla Fleck and Anne Stringfield, among others.  Shelor said, “It is truly and honor to be considered for an award like this and especially an honor to be recognized by people that I respect highly as contributors to bluegrass music.”

Give Me the Banjo, a new documentary narrated by Steve Martin that explores American music from minstrelsy, ragtime and blues to folk and bluegrass, will premier November 4, 2011 at 9 p.m. Eastern Time on PBS. (Check your local listings.) In addition to musicians, a mix of folklorists, historians, instrument makers and passionate amateurs tell stories of the banjo in all its richness and diversity. Give Me the Banjo was directed by Emmy Award-winning writer and producer Marc Fields, and Tony Trischka served as music director. Nine years in the making, the production traveled to 14 states; more than 350 hours of interviews and performances were filmed.  Earl Scruggs, Pete Seeger, Bela Fleck, Mike Seeger, the Carolina Chocolate Drops and Abigail Washburn were involved with guiding the project.

In addition to his performances with the Lonesome River Band, lead singer/guitarist Brandon Rickman will be playing some days in 2011 and 2012 as a solo artist at singer/songwriter venues. His upcoming three-day tour in mid-November kicks off in Atlanta, Ga. and wraps up in Asheville, N.C. 

Mark Newton’s Stillhouse Band had their first performance at Fins Hawaiian Fusion & Sushi Bar in Crofton, Maryland October 15. In addition to Newton on guitar, mandolin and vocals, the new group features Leah Needham on Dobro and vocals, and Sara Needham on fiddle and vocals.

Bela Fleck presented the world premiere of his “Concerto for Banjo” with the Nashville Symphony September 22 at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville. Performed by Fleck on his 1937 mahogany Gibson Mastertone banjo, the concerto marks a significant new departure for Fleck, who calls the piece “a liberating experience for my efforts as a composer and hopefully for the banjo as well.”  Commissioned by the Nashville Symphony, the "Concerto for Banjo" was the centerpiece of the orchestra’s opening concerts in the 2011/2012 SunTrust Classical Series. Fleck dedicated his new concerto to Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Earl Scruggs, who first inspired him to take up the instrument.

The Kruger Brothers premiered their “Appalachian Concerto,” a concerto for banjo, bass, guitar and string quartet in late 2010. In addition to their regular concert schedule, they perform this piece regularly with select symphony orchestras and string quartets throughout the U.S. and Europe. Jens says the composition is “about my personal journey—coming to the United States with my family. It’s my romantic idea of how Appalachia was settled. I am not a historian, but I like to imagine and tell the musical story of how immigrants founded this beautiful land and how things came to be.”  In 2007 The Kruger Brothers were awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for “Music from the Spring,” a symphonic suite composed and orchestrated by Jens Kruger. Jens also recently conducted a two-day Banjo Artist Residency at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Check for November dates in Virginia and North Carolina; December dates in Switzerland and The Czech Republic; and also for info on their new Kruger Brothers Academy, scheduled for May 11-13 in North Wilkesboro, N.C.

Paul Kramer is the new fiddler with The Charlie Sizemore Band.

Ricky Skaggs performed "Somebody's Prayin'" from his new album, Country Hits Bluegrass Style during the 17th Annual Inspirational Country Music Awards October 28 at Nashville's Schermerhorn Symphony Center.  He was named Entertainer of the Year and Musician of the Year the same evening. Skaggs was also honored by Power Source Magazine earlier in the week at their #1 Awards party held at the Wildhorse Saloon for “Someday Soon,” a hit from last year’s MOSAIC album. Ricky has been busy this year, touring the country with two different live shows: The Treasure Chest Tour and Traditional Bluegrass Evenings, both featuring Kentucky Thunder.  He also released A Skaggs Family Christmas, Volume Two in September. The Whites and family have taken their “Skaggs Family Christmas” holiday show on the road for the last eight years, entertaining crowds in venues ranging from churches to symphony halls and the National Tree Lighting Ceremony in Washington D.C.  They continue the tradition this year, concluding the tour with a special evening at the Schermerhorn December 22. Info:

Congratulations also to The Roys, named Inspirational Bluegrass Artist of the Year at the ICMA’s for the third consecutive year. During the show the duo performed “That’s What Makes It Love,” with special guests Ricky Skaggs and The Whites. Info:

The Seldom Scene is celebrating the band's 40th anniversary with a concert at The Birchmere in Washington, D.C. on Thanksgiving weekend, November 26. Check out all the great info and old photos at
Congratulations to the artists topping the following bluegrass radio and sales charts:

The Alternate Route Top 66 Bluegrass Chart: “I’m Going Back to Old Kentucky,” by Audie Blaylock (Rural Rhythm)

Billboard Bluegrass Albums Chart: Paper Airplane, by Alison Krauss & Union Station (Rounder Records)

Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 30 Hot Singles: “Almost Home,” written by Michael Keith & Dave Lindsey, by Larry Sparks (Rounder Records)

Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 10 Bluegrass CDs: The Boxcars, by The Boxcars (Mountain Home)

Bluegrass Today Chart: “I Ain’t Gonna Lay My Hammer Down,” by Blue Highway (Rounder Records)

Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey: “No Lawyers in Heaven,” written by Paul Craft & Billy Edd Wheeler, from Heartache Looking for a Home by Charlie Sizemore (Rounder)

Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey – Top 15 Bluegrass Albums: Help my Brother, by The Gibson Brothers (Compass Records)

Power Source Bluegrass Top 35: “No Lawyers in Heaven,” by Charlie Sizemore

Singing News Top Ten Bluegrass Chart: Precious Memories, by Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (Mountain Home/Crossroads)

Congratulations to IBMA member Jay Armsworthy & Eastern Tradition, Bluegrass Gospel Express and Gracie Myles of Gracie’s Guys & Gals Dancers who raised $20,461 at the “Bluegrass for  Hospice” event held October 22 in St. Marys County, Maryland.

Bluegrass Hall of Famer Rodney Dillard appears in episode #707 of America’s Heartland—where he talks about moving back to his family’s farm in Salem, Missouri; the his music story; and sings (you guessed it) “The Old Home Place.” Watch:

Jerry Douglas will star in a holiday-themed show, “Jerry Christmas” at the historic Franklin Theatre November 20 in downtown Franklin, Tenn. Funds raised at the event will be used to assist with heart transplant-related costs for 1 ½ year old Witt Deane, a local child.  Appearing with Douglas will be GRAMMY® Award-nominated vocalist/actress Maura O'Connell and an acclaimed band featuring Luke Bulla (violin), Matt Combs (violin), Todd Parks (bass), Todd Lombardo (guitar) and Guthrie Trapp (guitar). Info:

Congratulations to Bluegrass Hall of Fame member J.D. Crowe, who was honored with the Bluegrass Star Award when he performed Oct. 15 at the Bloomin’ Blue­grass Festival in Farmers Branch, Texas. The award was presented by the Texas-based Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, a non-profit charitable organ­iza­tion that works to preserve and promote the heritage of bluegrass music through public performances of bluegrass music as well as through educa­tion­al workshops and other programs.

New York City-based band, Matuto mixes bluegrass and Americana music with Brazilian roots music (forro, maracatu, samba). Members of the group  have performed previously with Tony Trischka, Bela Fleck, Steve Martin and April Verch. Matuto played an Oct. 25 showcase at WOMEX, the world music convention in Copenhagen, Denmark, followed by dates in Vienna, Austria. Info:

The Punch Brothers’ Noam Pikelny is offering a free download of the first track from his new solo album: “Jim Thompson’s Horse,” on Beat the Devil and Carry a Rail (Compass Records) at Click here  to watch Noam’s appearance on The David Letterman Show after he received the first Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, and here  to see a video that offers an explanation why there aren’t many vocals on the new CD.

Nu-Blu has released a new music video of their chart hit single, “Other Woman’s Blues. The video was filmed by Phil Bankester and Carlos Torres on location at the Historic Eureka Inn in downtown Jonesborough, Tennessee.  

IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Dale Ann Bradley has a new video for her song, “Come Home Good Boy,” a collaboration with Sierra Hull, Steve Gulley, the Fort Campbell Wives Club in Kentucky, The Army Wives Network and Go Army Wives. Compass Records utilized social networking outlets to reach out across the country to obtain personal photos from soldiers’ families, and many of the pictures were included in the final video. View:

Click here to see Sarah Jarosz’ new video for the song, “Run Away,” from the album, Follow Me Down (Sugar  Hill). Sarah was also recently profiled in Acoustic Guitar magazine and Austin Women magazine.

Bluegrass artist Marty Raybon, the former lead singer of ‘90s country group Shenandoah, recently spent a week in Colombia with the children’s charity, Compassion International. ”There have been moments in my life when I realized it was more than just an event I was part of,” Raybon says of his experience.  “It changed my perspective of understanding that the needs of others are greater than my own…. I live in country of plenty, where I am guilty of want more than need.  This experience of doing for others and seeing the joy in the eyes of children who cannot help themselves is more than just rewarding… it’s compassion.” Info:

Bluegrass artist Lee Marcus has released a solo album called Grandpa’s Pond. The first $1000 from sales will go to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Jim VanCleve, Cia Cherryholmes, Wyatt Rice and Aaron Ramsey, among others, appear on the album with Marcus. Info:

Cumberland River proud to announce the addition of Brad Gulley to the band on guitar and vocals.

Attn, young artists & bluegrass bands: ASTA (American String Teachers Association) is pleased to announce a new format for the Eclectic Strings Festival® (ESF), sponsored by Yamaha and Alfred Music Publishing Companies. The Eclectic Strings Festival will be held March 21-24, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. Students and groups of various ages will be eligible to apply for competition or comments. The invited adjudicators and clinicians are Barrage, Byron Berline, Renata Bratt, and Michael Doucet. DEADLINE TO APPLY: December 15, 2011. click here for the Facebook page, and here for more info.

The Bluegrass Patriots of Ft. Collins, Colorado are hanging up their respective band jerseys after 31 years. At their final show October 21 four of the original band members were still with the group: Glenn Zankey, Dan Rogers, Willie McDonald and Ken Seaman. Following the death of Rick Bradstreet in 2002, several musicians have taken Rick’s spot in the group including Dan Mitchell, Ernie Martinez, Bobby Vickery, Paul Kiteck and Jean Ballhorn. The Patriots toured throughout the U.S. (including Alaska) and Canada, plus five tours of Ireland and two visits to Denmark and Sweden. They have recorded several albums, some of which are still available at

Congratulations to Casey Henry on the birth of her son, Dalton Whitfield Henry, born August 31. Our best wishes are also extended to Adam and Tina Steffey, on the Oct. 20 birth of their twin sons, Andrew Page and Riley Carter Steffey.

Our sympathy is extended to legendary guitarist Tony Rice and his wife Pam, who lost their son John Christian Scott in a mid-August accident. “We have designated the ‘Play It Forward!’ project, developed by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, as our choice for anyone wishing to make contributions in Chris’ memory,” said the Rices in a statement on August 28. “We believe it is the best of all possible ways to plant the seeds necessary for bluegrass music to grow and thrive.” Fanning The Fire is a new short film that explores the uniquely American music form of bluegrass and its broad appeal to beginning players and professionals alike. The story follows Lucas White, a young Texas musician, from his early interest in flatpick guitar at age 12 to his live performances onstage three years later, and features interview and performance clips from award-winning artists. Info:


For a report on the Bill Monroe Centennial celebration on Jerusalem Ridge just outside of Rosine Kentucky Sept. 10-24—including an eight foot birthday cake cut by James Monroe, numerous music presentations and a Bill Monroe 100th Celebration Cancellation Stamp at the Rosine Post Office, please got to (Ohio County Tourism Commission).

Casey Freeland has organized the new Greater Ozarks Bluegrass Society in Springfield, Mo. The association’s first board of directors includes Casey Freeland, Executive Director; Dan O’Day, President; Vice-President, Mark Withers; Treasurer, Mary Mayfield; Secretary, Gene Skinner; and At Large members Andrew Morton, Kelly Freeland and Gene Reasoner. Info:

The North Shore Music Association will feature Tim Stafford as “resident master” on guitar for their 21st Masters Weekend in Grand Marais, Minn. November 4-6, 2011., (218) 387-1272,

The third annual California Bluegrass Association Winter Music Camp will be held at Winter Creek Ranch near Petaluma, Calif. President’s Day weekend (Feb. 17-20, 2012). Instructors this  year will include Peter Rowan, Keith Little, Chris Coole, Ivan Rosenberg, Annie Staninec, John Kael, Heidi Clare, The Foghorn Trio, Nadine Landry, Caleb Kauder, Bill Amatneek, John Reischman, Roland White, Ron Stanley, Mike Witcher, Sylvia Herold, Jim Nunally, Dix Bruce, Bill Evans, Jack Tuttle, Sid Lewis and more. Info:

The Central Texas Bluegrass Association presented “A Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration” Oct. 22 at Central Market North in Austin, Texas. “A Blue Grass Boy Reunion: Songs, Stories & Breakdowns” featured Bob Black, Tom Ewing and Mark Hembree with Paul Kienitz and Brian Ray.


A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor will honor the life of Bill Monroe with a special performance on Nov. 5 at Murray State University’s CFSB Center in Murray, Ky. The show will feature a line-up of former Blue Grass Boys performing Monroe’s music and sharing stories of life on the road. Scheduled to appear are Roland White, Blake Williams, Bob Black, Bobby Hicks, Tom Ewing, Peter Rowan and Mark Hembree. Joining the Blue Grass Boys will be Stuart Duncan and Kathy Chiavola. Ticket info:, 800-745-3000, or the CFSB Center Box Office. A Prairie Home Companion is heard by more than 4 million listeners each week on 590 public radio stations, and abroad on America One and the Armed Forces Networks in Europe and the Far East.

WAMU is proud to announce the newest member of their Bluegrass Country team, Senior Producer Chris Teskey. Chris has been broadcasting bluegrass, folk and Celtic music on the Connecticut airwaves since he was 17. He is also an accomplished musician and a guitar teacher, performing with the bluegrass band called “HOE.”  WAMU's Bluegrass Country 105.5 FM moved their signal to Bethesda, Maryland in September, with a higher antennae allowing for improved reception for those in the region listening to Bluegrass Country on terrestrial radio. The new, more centralized location gives the station the potential to reach more than two million people via traditional analog radio in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia. Listeners are encouraged to email to let the station know where Bluegrass Country can be heard on 105.5 FM. 

A benefit concert to help cover medical expenses for longtime Missouri broadcaster Ray Hicks will be held Nov. 5 at the Rolla Elks Lodge at 1325 S. Bishop Avenue, Rolla, MO. A number of bands will perform, including the original version of Rhonda Vincent & the RAGE. Info: (636) 677-5468,

Ricky Skaggs' Country Hits Bluegrass Style Track-By-Track interview debuted on Sirius XM's Bluegrass Junction October 25, hosted by Kyle Cantrell. Listen: Track By Track featured the new album from Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out  October 12.

Dean Lilly is the host of the Bluegrass Gospel Special at WPIR on Sunday afternoons from 3-5 p.m.  Artists and labels are invited to send bluegrass gospel music to Dean at this address: WPIR Radio, Box 909, Claremont NC. 28677. My email address is .

The November 5 live show and filming of Song of the Mountains in Marion, Va. will feature Darin and Brooke Aldridge, No One You Know, The East Tennessee State University Old Time Pride Band, The Twilite Broadcasters and Adam McPeak. Info:

Tim White, host of Song of the Mountains and one of the three finalists for IBMA’s Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year in 2011, also produces a two-hour syndicated radio show, The Tim White Bluegrass Show. iTunes also airs the show four days a week at More info:

Host and producer Bill Miller announces that Bluegrass Gospel USA! has been added by New Zealand Radio. Info:


The 1st Annual Memorial Day Back Forty Bluegrass Festival will take place in Curryville, Mo. May 24-27, 2012. The line-up features Blue Highway, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Grasstowne, Sierra Hull, David Parmley & Continental Divide, Karl Shiflett & Big Country, the Punches Family and more. Info:

Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road are hosting or co-hosting several upcoming festivals: Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival with The Larkins (Dec. 8-10, 2011  - Pigeon Forge, Tenn.); Carolina Road Homecoming Bluegrass Festival (Nov. 11-12, 2011 – Burlington, N.C.); New Year’s Eve Celebration with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out (Dec. 31, 2011, Garner, N.C.); the Cherokee Bluegrass Festival (June 14-16, 2012, Happy Holiday RV Village & Campground in Cherokee, N.C.); and the Traditional Bluegrass Cruise happening now, from Oct. 30 – Nov. 6, 2011 in the west Caribbean. Info:, (919) 779-5672

Thomas Point Beach, Maine is back on the bluegrass map and calendar, with “The Bluegrass Special,” hosted Sept. 2-4, 2011. Three years ago producer Pati Crooker retired the Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival after 30 years.  More info:


Congratulations to the Davidson Brothers, who were finalists in Australia’s Jagermeister Independent Music Awards in the Best Independent Country Album category. The Davidsons have also established the Australian Youth Bluegrass Scholarship to encourage and nurture young musicians who demonstrate exceptional talent and dedication in the field of bluegrass music. The recipient of the 2012 Australian Youth Bluegrass Scholarship will win a cash prize of $1,000 which they may put toward a recording project, a new instrument, or a flight to Nashville Tennessee to attend IBMA’s World of Bluegrass. Applicants must Australian citizens or residents and be born on or after December 9, 1987. Applicants must either sing or play a bluegrass instrument. Please download an application at, Complete it and mail with a CD by Dec. 9, 2011 to: Bluegrass Scholarship, PO Box 974, Bendigo, VIC 3552. The scholarship recipient for 2012 will be announced Jan. 9, 2012 on the Davidson Brothers’ website.

U.S. brother/sister duo The Roys will begin 2012 with a performance at Australia’s Tamworth Country Music Festival.

From the European Bluegrass Blog:

Rainer Zellner of the Music Contact Agency sends details of the December 2011 “3rd Bluegrass Jamboree! Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music sponsored by, Akustik Gitarre, Folker, Bear Family Records, No Fences, Hillbillie Guesthouse, German Bluegrass Music Association, Dynamite! magazine, EBMA, and Bluegrass Europe. In honor of the Monroe Centennial, the Jamboree has adopted the theme, “the future of bluegrass” and will feature the young bands taking the ancient tones of bluegrass into new dimensions: Della Mae, The Deadly Gentlemen and Cahalen Morrison & Eli West. Schedule info:  There will be a worldwide live radio broadcast of the full first show of the tour on Radio Wueste Welle in  Tübingen via Internet radio on Dec. 2 at 20:00-24:00 (Central European Time). Link: or (Click on “on air” at bottom left corner.)

The 16th Annual Autumn Bluegrass Workshop, run by Petr Brandejs and Jindra Hylmar, took place in the village of Male Svatonovice in the Czech Republic. Top Czech and Slovak instructors (including steel guitar and ukulele), together with 130 participants attended the three-day event October 14-16. The Saturday night show included all 14 instructors and the band, Relief. The next workshop organized by Brandejs will be in Novy Jicin, Czech Republic in March 2012. 

Laurent Eeckhout reports The 7th Picnic Festival in Terra Nova at the Citadel of Namur, Belgium, September 1-4, 2011, included two days of bluegrass music. The festival started on Thursday evening with the French band Bluegrass 43 opening for Sanseverino, a French “manouch style” guitarist and singer/songwriter backed up by bluegrass musicians Christian Séguret,  Jean-Marc Delon, Christophe Cravero and J.D. Jouannic for an unique bluegrass adaptation of his songs, exclusively for the Picnic Festival.  The following bands appeared on Saturday: The Straps, East West, Rawhide and Bluegrass Cwrkot, followed by U.S. band Hayseed Dixie. Photos: 

The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band is seeking additional European dates from the end of August through the beginning of September 2012. Contact Al Evers at A-Train Entertainment:, tel.  +1 510.893.4705 


A Kentucky History Award of Education is being presented to the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky. for its Bill Monroe Centennial Exhibit. The exhibit opened a year before the Sept. 13, 2011 centennial of Monroe’s birth and includes clothing, musical instruments, show bills and photos. The Kentucky Historical Society will present the award to the museum on Nov. 11, 2011 in Frankfort, Ky. IBMM executive director Gabrielle Gray adds her thanks to “our exhibits staff: Forrest Roberts, Curator; Catherine Hayden, Registrar; RaShae Jennings, Archivist; and Demetra Taylor, Assistant Archivist. Also thanks to Danny Clark, IBMM Marketing Director and Ross Leazenby, Museum Trustee and Chairman of the Exhibits Committee. Nick Barr was very helpful with the centennial exhibits, and I’d also like to thank all the bluegrass pioneers and Blue Grass Boys who contributed artifacts and information for all four centennial exhibits. Come visit the museum!”  Info:

Fall music lessons at the Bluegrass Museum started Oct. 15, 2011, running every other Saturday through Dec. 10, 2011. Group lessons for children and family members are offered on fiddle, guitar, mandolin and banjo. Info: (270) 926-7891. 

The Randy Lanham Music Club for Youth is starting January 2012 in Owensboro, Ky. Students age 9-11 and 12-15 will work in small groups to write songs, record them and make music videos. Lanham also directs the bluegrass teaching staff at the International Bluegrass Music Museum. Info:

Steve Kaufman ( is touring in Missouri, Pennsylvania and Ohio in November, as well as in Alberta, Canada.  Keeping in the style of his popular “Bluegrass Guitar Solos That Every Parking Lot Picker Should Know” instructional materials, Steve is producing single song downloads. These are sheet music PDFs with audio Instructions written for beginner, intermediate and advanced flatpickers.

Marcy Cochran and Sheila Nichols, producers of the upcoming documentary film on John Hartford, have launched a national funding campaign to finish the project on Kickstarter. Info: or and search “John Hartford.”

Commemorating his 100th birthday in 2011, Mel Bay Publications announces the release of a new instruction manual on the unique mandolin style of bluegrass music innovator Bill Monroe. Entitled Play Like a Legend: Bill Monroe Tunes and Songs for the Mandolin, MB 22153BCD, it was written by South Plains College (Levelland, Texas) music professor Joe Carr.  The book offers an in-depth study of Monroe mandolin, including 20 Monroe style fiddle tunes and instrumentals, 19 song solos, and a special section on Monroe’s approach to gospel turnarounds. Carr includes info on using the “chop” position for soloing and Monroe’s strategies for playing at fast tempos. Solos from 1941-1993 are included, along with 33 rare photographs. Carr comments, “Of the over 20 titles I have written for Mel Bay, I am most proud of this long overdue project. It is my hope that this volume will become a standard text for all mandolinists who wish to study the elusive Monroe style.”

The ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass has added The School of Dobro with Andy Hall.  Hall is a member of The Infamous Stringdusters, and he has performed previously with Dolly Parton, Wynonna and Emmylou Harris. Info:

The following bluegrass and country-affiliated journalists and authors participated in the Southern Festival of Books in Nashville, Tenn. Oct. 14-16, as panelists: Don Cusic, Bill Friskics-Warren, Vernell Hackett, Jewly Hight, Deborah Evans Price, Randy Rudder and Nancy Cardwell

The short film, Fanning the Fire won the James B. Storey American Experience Award at  LHUCA’s Flatland Film Festival in Lubbock, Texas. Produced by the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation in Dallas, it’s the film’s third award. The film was named “Best Documentary Music/Culture” at the Film Festival of Colorado in Denver, and also won “People’s Choice” at the Glen Rose Neo-Relix Film Festival in Glen Rose, Texas.

The ACMA Mountain Music Museum in the Bristol Mall in Bristol, Va. has been named an affiliated venue of The Crooked Road, Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail. Info:,

Larry Sparks and his Lonesome Ramblers were in Bristol Oct. 15 for “Larry Sparks Day” at the ACMA’s Mountain Museum and Pickin Porch at the Bristol Mall. “We are very proud to be unveiling the Larry Sparks Exhibit at the Mountain Music Museum,” states John Necessary, president of the Appalachian Cultural Music Association.  “Larry is a legend in bluegrass music and is most deserving of this exhibit in our museum.”


Rural Rhythm Records is proud to announce they have signed Grammy® award winning artist Marty Raybon to the label and will release a new album in 2012.  The announcement came during Marty’s IBMA Fan Fest performance at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass when Sam Passamano, II, President of Rural Rhythm Records introduced the band.  "Marty's signature vocals have earned him a string of #1 hit classic songs which are still loved and cherished today by millions of music fans. We are very excited about being a part of this new chapter in Marty Raybon's storied career and proud to have one of today's top male vocalists in the music business join our Rural Rhythm Family.”

Mountain Fever Records has added two new artists to their roster: Travers Chandler & Avery County and the Heather Berry & Tony Mabe Show. “We are thrilled to bring both of these wonderful acts to radio and audiences worldwide,” states Mountain Fever Records executive Mark Hodges. “We pride ourselves in offering a variety of contemporary, progressive and traditional artists, and adding Travers Chandler & Avery County and The Heather Berry & Tony Mabe Show to our roster simply solidifies our role in bringing great music to the forefront.” Berry is currently releasing a song a day on her YouTube channel at  Info:

Mountain Roads Recordings of Bristol, Tenn. announced Aug. 30 they have signed The South Carolina Broadcasters, an award-winning old time trio with modern appeal based in Charleston, S.C., to a recording contract. The band includes Ivy Sheppard on fiddle, banjo, guitar and vocals; Grace Kennedy on banjo, triangle and vocals; and David Sheppard on guitar and vocals. Karl Cooler of Mountain Roads Recordings said, “We are always on the lookout for groups that bring a unique take on the music to the audience. After you hear The Broadcasters for the first time,  you won’t have to hunt the CD cover the next time to see who’s playing. Their sound and the energy they convey through their music is contagious and will leave you wanting more. They are a perfect fit for Mountain Roads Recordings.” Info:

Bear Family Records has released a new boxed set of music: Carl Story & the Rambling Mountaineers, A Life in Rural Music, which includes bluegrass, gospel and mountain music from 1942-1959. The set includes every recording that Carl Story made for Mercury, Starday and Columbia, along with all of his Starday recordings from 1958-1959 and some rare demos recorded before World War II. The four-CD set also features a full length book with Colin Escott’s biography of Carl Story and a comprehensive discography from Neil Rosenberg and Eddie Stubbs. Members of Story’s Ramblin’ Mountaineers included Red Rector, Tater Tate, Claude Boone, Bobby Thompson and Bud and Willie Brewster, among others. Known as “The Father of Bluegrass Gospel,” Story began his career in Knoxville, Tenn. He is especially remembered for his recordings of “Light at the River,” “Family Reunion,” “I’ve Found a Hiding Place,” “Keep on the Firing Line,” “My Lord Keeps a Record,” “He Will Set your Fields on Fire, “ “Gone Home,” “Angels  Rock Me to Sleep” and Hank Williams’ “Are You Walking and Talking for the Lord.”