Booking agencies TG2 Artists and Mike Green & Associates have merged to form TG2 - Mike Green Artists. Both agencies represent an exceptional touring roster of American roots, Celtic, folk, and bluegrass artists, including Howard Levy (Béla Fleck), The Duhks, and Jay Ungar & Molly Mason. See http://www.tg2artists.com/artists.php  for their complete roster.
Congratulations to the following artists and songwriters topping the current bluegrass charts!
SONG – Carolina Road, “A Light in the Window Again,” written by Tom T. & Dixie Hall (Rural Rhythm Records)
ALBUM – Prime Tyme, by Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out (Rural Rhythm Records)
Bluegrass Music Profiles:
SONG – Lou Reid & Carolina, “Carolina Moonshine Man” (KMA Records; written by Lou Reid, Ray Edwards & Terry Foust)
ALBUM – Hard Country, Audie Blaylock & Redline (Rural Rhythm Records)
ALBUM – Carry Me Back by Old Crow Medicine Show (ATO)
SONG – “Dirt Road Heartache” by Marty Raybon (Rural Rhythm Records; written by Melissa Pierce & Jerry Salley)
Former IBMA Entertainers of the Year The Grascals recently announced a new promotional agreement with Vietti Foods, unveiling a brightly wrapped tour bus images of the sponsor’s products. The band is currently touring in support of Life Finds a Way, its newest recording.
Congratulations to Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show for their new release on Pinecastle, Take Me Back. It’s the band's first album since 2003 and includes tunes from legends like Don Gibson, Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Bob Wills, Faron Young, Willie Nelson, and Floyd Tillman, as well as a gospel song by Karl.
The Marksmen Quartet were delighted to release their new project, This Is My Crowd, on Rural Rhythm Christian on July 31. The album was produced by Earle Wheeler and Mark Wheeler, and mastered by Steve Gulley.
Next Generation is a new Southern California bluegrass band featuring Zack Caplinger (18), Zach Ostgaard (16), Orion Johanning (16), and Sebastian Green (15). The group originally formed as the “demo” band for Summergrass Festival 2010, to demonstrate instruments being raffled by the festival. Most of the band members are veterans of the Summergrass Kids Camp.
In August, Mark Newton and Steve Thomas announced the addition of Knoxville, TN native Matt Wallace to their Stillhouse Band. He will join on upright bass and vocals.
The HillBenders have been signed to Compass Records and will release their new album, Can You Hear Me?, on September 25; it’s produced by Bil VornDick.
Congratulations to Kevin Richardson & Cuttin' Edge, who released their eponymous debut record on Mountain Fever Records last month!
Quicksilver Productions welcomes fiddler Betse Ellis, known for her work with "hillbilly riot band" The Wilders, to its ranks. Betse joins Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, Town Mountain, and the Foghorn Stringband at the label.
Congratulations to Paul Williams, who will be inducted into Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Hall of Fame at Bean Blossom on Saturday, September 22, 2012! Paul’s career includes stints with the legendary Lonesome Pine Fiddlers and Jimmy Martin's Sunny Mountain Boys, as well as his own Grammy-nominated Victory Trio.
The International Country Gospel Music Association (ICGMA) held their 56th Annual Convention and Gold Cross Awards Show in August in West Plains, MO, and presented Marty Raybon with the 2012 ICGMA Bluegrass Artist of the Year Award. Congratulations, Marty!
New band American Drive has released a new single, “Long Haul Trucking Man,” in anticipation of its forthcoming debut CD on Rural Rhythm Records. The band includes members of J.D. Crowe & The New South, who will pursue this new venture after J.D. retires this year. Visit www.ruralrhythm.com  for info.
James Reams & The Barnstormers will perform this month at Pickin’ in the Panhandle, Sept. 9th, in Hedgesville, WV and the Park Slope Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Jamboree on Sept. 28 and 29 in Brooklyn, NY. They also launch a Kickstarter campaign for their DVD documentary Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass: Tales of the Early Days in Their Own Words. See http://tinyurl.com/8hlhqt3  for details. Best of luck, James!
Hall of Fame inductee Doyle Lawson and his band Quicksilver were nominated for three awards in the first-round ballet of the National Quartet Convention (NQC) inaugural NQC Music Awards. Doyle is nominated as Musician of the Year, and with Quicksilver received nods for Male Group of the Year and Album of the Year. The 55th Annual National Quartet Convention will be held at Louisville's Freedom Hall. Quicksilver will perform on September 10.
The new single “River of Regret” by Mark Houser & Bluegrass Drive has been released to radio. The single appears on Rural Rhythm’s Fresh Cuts & Key Tracks radio disc and is also available at AirplayDirect.com. Written by Mark Houser, Arlo Gilliam, and Carrie Hassler, the recording includes support by Cody Kilby, Andy Leftwich, Barry Bales, Scotty Sanders, Paul Brewster, and Dawn Sears.
Ricky Skaggs will release Music To My Ears on Skaggs Family Records on September 25. Produced by Skaggs and co-produced by songwriter Gordon Kennedy, the project includes “Soldier’s Son,” co-written by Barry Gibb, known for his longtime fame with the Bee Gees. Gibb, who made his Grand Ole Opry debut with Ricky earlier this year, appears on the new album. In August, Ricky became one of the newest members of the GMA Gospel Music Hall of Fame, in a celebration shared by Dailey & Vincent and The Isaacs. Visit www.rickyskaggs.com  for information.
Hit’s Briarhopper Time! The WBT Briarhoppers have a busy year with gigs at the Gaston Library, Lincoln Cultural Center, Charlotte's Festival In The Park, the AMG Annual Awards, and the Charlotte Music Awards. The Bhoppers were selected out of 11,000 entries as a nominee for the 2012 AMG Heritage Awards for Band of the Year. Visit http://www.wbtbriarhoppers.blogspot.com/  for news, schedule, history and more.
Crossroads/Mountain Home recording artists Darin and Brooke Aldridge have inked a deal with Artists & Attractions entertainment management. Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bmyNQUhZ7t0  to see the official video for their tune, “Wildflowers,” for their new CD, So Much In Between.
Mandolinist Kyle Wood (Crucial Smith) recently re-joined Nashville-based bluegrass/newgrass band LaTresa and The Signal, and released a new recording, Off The Rails, with The Kyle Wood Project.
Gospel artists Ronnie Dean & Messenger report that their new CD, Everything, has been selected as “Bluegrass Gospel CD of the Year” by the Rural Roots Music Commission. Congratulations!
Ralph Stanley is now being booked for performances by the Paradigm Agency; he will continue to be represented for publicity by Norma Morris of Morris Public Relations.
Letting Go, the new solo release by Mountain Heart’s Josh Shilling, was released on July 31; check out Josh’s website at www.joshshilling.com  .
MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is now accepting entries to the contest through Sonicbids at http://www.sonicbids.com/ChrisAustinSongwritingContest  . Mail-in entries will be accepted beginning November 1, 2012, and will close on February 19, 2013. Now in its 21st year, the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest is an extraordinary opportunity for aspiring writers to have their original songs heard and judged by a panel of Nashville music industry professionals. MerleFest takes place from April 25-28, 2013. To learn more details about the contest, visit www.merlefest.org/ChrisAustinSongwritingContest  .
Tom Waits, Martina McBride, McCoy Tyner, Jeff Beck, Bernie Taupin, Susan Tedeschi & Derek Trucks, and many more will be judges for the International Songwriting Competition (ISC) this year. ISC gives away more than $150,000 in cash and prizes (shared among the 68 winners). Open to both amateur and professional songwriters, ISC welcomes entries in 22 categories. Visit www.songwritingcompetition.com  for an entry form or more details.
Running With The Moon, the self-released sophomore project from Mississippi-based Breaking Grass, includes a couple of tracks that are catching national notice: “Strings,” a tribute to Hank Williams, Sr., and “Witches Of Harlan” with guest vocalist Jana Mougin of the Slovak Republic band Fragment.
Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road and The Skip Cherryholmes Quintet will perform at the Old Rock School, Valdese, NC on September 14 at 7:00 PM. For more information call (828) 879-2129.
One of the key designers of the Curiosity Mars Lab Rover, Mark Indictor, played at the Good Old Fashioned Bluegrass Festival in California with Susie Glaze & The HiLonesome Band. Mark’s a Senior Software Systems Engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena… and a fiddle player!
Welcome to the planet, Aurelio Walter Cornelius Ilagan! The son of Bryn Davies and Vince Ilagan was born 8:58 p.m. Friday, August 3. This child will almost certainly grow up to have an amazing sense of rhythm -- and if he's like his mama, perfect pitch.
The Southeastern Bluegrass Association says that the online version of its official newsletter, The SEBA Breakdown, "has received over 10,000 hits." Wow!
The Colorado Bluegrass Society’s Pow’r Pickin’ newsletter reports the Lyons Jam, held every Tuesday night at Oskar Blues in Lyons, CO, was featured last month in a travel blog on the USA Today website.
Becky Johnson, known to many as “Mrs. Bluegrass,” has let us know that her new radio show, Bluegrass Breakdown, has debuted on WCOM 103.5 FM in Carrboro, NC and may be heard each Wednesday from 1-3 PM ET.
Moonstruck Management will present an Anniversary Evening show with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out and Lonesome River Band at 9:30 PM on Sept. 26 at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville in Nashville. Congratulations to both bands! Visit www.MoonstruckManagement.com  for info and tickets.
Mountain Song at Sea, the bluegrass festival cruise ship, has finalized the lineup for its journey between Miami, FL and Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas, Feb. 1-4, 2013. Hosted by the Steep Canyon Rangers, the lineup also includes the Punch Brothers, David Grisman Sextet, Del McCoury Band, Tim O'Brien & Bryan Sutton, Shannon Whitworth, Deadly Gentlemen, The Kruger Brothers, Peter Rowan, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Della Mae, Town Mountain, Mandolin Orange and more. All IBMA members as of September 27, 2012 are eligible to win an oceanview cabin for two on the cruise! Visit https://ibma.org/node/397  for info.
IBMA Awards Host and Hall of Famer Del McCoury will curate a stage this month at the Jomeokee Music and Arts Festival, September 14-16, in Pinnacle, NC. The weekend will include sets from the Del McCoury Band, plus Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Emmitt-Nershi Band, Larry Keel and Natural Bridge, and more.
The legendary Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain will be part of the lineup for Song of the Mountains on September 1st at the Lincoln Theatre in Marion, VA. Balsam Range will also appear on the show. In August, the series launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds and interact with fans. Visit www.songofthemountains.org  for information.
Bucks County Bluegrass Festival will take place Sept. 8 in Morrisville, PA. Peter Rowan is headlining. Info: www.musicatsnipesfarm.com 
Mountain Heritage Day is scheduled for Sept. 29 in Cullowhee, NC. Info: www.mountainheritageday.com 
Lil John's Mountain Music Festival in Snow Camp, NC will take place Oct. 11, 12, 13. Three-day advance tickets and “power sites” are available through Sept. 29 by calling 336/376-8324. Lineup includes Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Steep Canyon Rangers, and more.
Attempting to set a new world record, 389 mandolin players gathered at the Galax Fiddlers' Convention in August and played four songs. The old record was 383 players.
AirPlay Direct recently announced a new partnership with Creative and Dreams Music Network, an independent label based in Nashville. AirPlay Direct is an e-based artist marketing, promotion and education platform that allows artists, record labels, and music publishers to securely deliver broadcast-quality music and Digital Press Kits (DPKs) to music industry professionals. Visit www.creativeanddreams.com  or www.AirPlayDirect.com  for info.
NewFolkRadio.com, an online interactive radio station that streams folk, roots, and bluegrass music 24/7 without subscription fees, will offer a start-up package for folk and bluegrass bands. The StudioMotion package options include “most everything a band or soloist would need to get a career going,” including a recording session for a 5-song EP, cover design, photography, website design and hosting, video production, CD distribution to radio stations, etc. Pricing begins at $999. Visit StudioMotion.biz for info.
The 2013 Bluegrass Calendar is hot off the presses! The calendar’s list price is $9.99; wholesale price is $5.00. Order yours from Bluegrass Productions of Virginia, LLC; POB 13413 Roanoke, VA 24033; tel 540-982-6900 or email CopCrk@gmail.com  .
From RFD-TV’s Country Family Reunion comes an intriguing five-DVD set titled Country’s Family Reunion: Second Generations. The set features country legends and the CHILDREN of country legends, including the children of Marty Robbins, Hank Williams, Faron Young, Hawkshaw Hawkins, The Statler Brothers, Conway Twitty, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Roger Miller, Sheb Wooley, and many more. Visit http://tinyurl.com/9hh7nam  for info.
World of Bluegrass keynote speaker and Bluegrass Today columnist Chris Jones proved the power of social media in mid-August when his essay on music jam etiquette was shared an astounding 1850+ times via Facebook, Twitter, Google, Pinterest, and traditional e-mail.
The Nashville premiere of The Porchlight Sessions will take place on Wednesday, September 26th at 7:30 PM, with a kick-off concert featuring the Steep Canyon Rangers. A second screening will take place on Friday, September 28 at 11:00 AM at the Country Music Hall of Fame & Museum, presented in partnership with IBMA. This new documentary traces the tradition of Appalachian music from front porches to festival stages and features interviews and performances by veterans of the genre, as well as emerging talents who are pushing the music into new territory. 90 minutes; admission is free to museum members and IBMA badge holders.
Condolences to the friends and family of author, mandolinist, and beloved friend of bluegrass Dr. Tom Bibey, who lost his long battle with cancer on August 26.
Blue Grass Boy Frank Buchanan died July 4 at the age of 78. Buchanan recorded 18 songs with Bill Monroe and played with the band in the early 1960s.
Chris Duffy, 64, passed away July 24 after a struggle with cancer. In the 1980s he brought musicians like Bill Keith, Byron Berline, John Hickman, Dan Crary and Mark O’Connor to Australia and toured with them, helping to popularize bluegrass music in his country.
Country and bluegrass DJ Tom “Cat” Reeder, 77, died June 30. Popular in the northern Virginia-Washington D.C. area, he was the host of The Tom “Cat” Reeder Show on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country. Reeder was inducted into the Country Music Broadcasters Hall of Fame in Nashville in 1990.
Betty Fisher, 76, died July 7 in Walhalla, SC. Fisher was one of the earliest women in bluegrass to lead her own band, Betty Fisher and the Dixie Bluegrass Band, which she started in 1972. She started performing at age six, developing a lead guitar style focused on the first three strings of the instrument. Betty’s band recorded four albums in the ‘70s. After retiring from performing in 1980, she resurfaced in the early ‘90s with Betty Fisher, David Deese, and Dixie Bluegrass, with whom she recorded two cassettes.
Sources: Murphy Henry, Bluegrass Unlimited