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g up for the third It’s hard to believe we are gearin ards since we launched the Aw ic us M s as gr ue Bl l na io at rn te In d I hope everyone is an ... es fli re su e m Ti ! rd da an St s Bluegras we have pulling as e in az ag m e th g in ad re n fu h having as muc it together. e out just before m co to on iti ed iew ev Pr A M IB r Look for ou know what you think in e m let d an r, be em pt Se of d en e th ssstandard.com the meantime: Keith@thebluegra Thanks for your support! Keith Barnacastle – Publisher

The Bluegrass Standard − click here to subscribe − it’s free! The Bluegrass Standard magazine is published monthly. Opinions expressed are not necessarily the opinions of The Bluegrass Standard or its staff, advertisers or readers with the exception of editorials. Publication of the name or the photograph of any person, business or organization in articles or advertising in The Bluegrass Standard is not to be construed as any indication of support of such person, business or organization. The Bluegrass Standard disclaims any responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Advertising rates are subject to change without notice. The Bluegrass Standard reserves the right at its sole discretion to reject any advertising for any reason. It is our policy to publish any letters to the editor that are signed and verifiable by phone number. We reserve the right of anonymity upon request. Letters must be grammatically correct, clarity and original and free of libel. The Bluegrass Standard reserves the right to decline to publish any letter. Please send your comments to: editor@thebluegrassstandard.com The views expressed are not necessarily those of The Bluegrass Standard. Copyright ©2019. All Rights reserved. No portion of the publication may be reproduced in any form without the expressed consent of the publisher.

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CONTENTS

Jeff Moseley and Bluegrass Ridge TV Gina Furtado Hank, Pattie & The Current Ole Smoky Distillery Rickey Wasson The Family Sowell Swaggerty’s Farm THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Wayne and Jane Henderson Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars: From the Field: Summer

Festival Experience  Fiddler’s Porch  Songbirds Guitar Museum Lecile Harris The Rodeo Clown Festival Guide THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Cheyenne Grantham


The Blu e gras s St andard St aff Guest photographers: Barbara and Don Duncan Keith Barnacastle • Publisher The Bluegrass Standard is a life-long dream of Keith Barnacastle, who grew up in Meridian, Mississippi. For three years, Keith brought the Suits, Boots and Bluegrass Festival to Meridian. Now, with the Bluegrass Standard, Keith’s enthusiasm for the music, and his vision of its future, reaches a nationwide audience every month!

Keith@TheBluegrassStandard.com

Richelle Putnam • Managing Journalist Editor Richelle Putnam is a Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC) Teaching Artist/Roster Artist (Literary), a Mississippi Humanities Speaker, and a 2014 MAC Literary Arts Fellowship recipient. Her non-fiction books include Lauderdale County, Mississippi; a Brief History, Legendary Locals of Meridian, Mississippi and Mississippi and the Great Depression. She writes for many publications.

Richelle@TheBluegrassStandard.com

James Babb • Creative Director James is a native Californian, and a long-time resident of Palm Springs. He creates a unique “look” for every issue of The Bluegrass Standard, and enjoys learning about each artist. In addition to his creative work with The Bluegrass Standard, James also provides graphic design and technical support to a variety of clients.

James@TheBluegrassStandard.com

Shelby C. Berry • Journalist Editor Shelby Campbell is a writer and designer whose heart beats for creativity. A native of rural Livingston, AL, she found her passion in journalism and design at The University of West Alabama, where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications. Shelby also has her own photography business.

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The Blu e gras s St andard St aff Kara Martinez Bachman • Journalist Kara Martinez Bachman is an author, editor and journalist. Her music and culture reporting has appeared in dozens of publications and she’s interviewed many performers over the years, from local musicians to well-known celebrities. She’s a native of New Orleans and lives just outside the city with her husband, two kids, and two silly mutts.

Stephen Pitalo • Journalist Stephen Pitalo has been an entertainment journalist for more than 30 years, having interviewed everyone from Joey Ramone to Bill Plympton to John Landis. He is the world’s leading authority on the The Golden Age of Music Video (1976-1993), mining inside stories from interviews 70+ music video directors and countless artists of the pre-internet music era. GoldenAgeOfMusicVideo.com

Susan Marquez • Journalist Susan Marquez is a freelance writer based in Madison, Mississippi and a Mississippi Arts Commission Roster Artist. After a 20+ year career in advertising and marketing, she began a professional writing career in 2001. Since that time she has written over 2000 articles which have been published in magazines, newspapers, business journals, trade publications.

Emerald Butler • Journalist

Emerald Butler is a writer, songwriter, fiddler, and entertainer from Sale Creek, TN. She has worked and performed various occasions with artists such as Rhonda Vincent, Bobby Osborn, Becky Buller, Alison Brown, top 40 radio host Bob Kingsley, and country songwriter Roger Alan Wade. With a bachelor’s degree in Music Business and a minor in Marketing, Emerald has used her education, experience, and creative talent to share the love of music with others.

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TOMORROW'S BLUEGR ASS STARS

FESTIVAL GUIDE

Jeff Moseley THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Jeff Moseley tells the Bluegrass Ridge TV story... by Susan Marquez Back in the day, the place to watch music videos was MTV, a network providing a place for artists to air their concept videos instead of just performance clips. Those videos helped with the band’s marketing efforts by giving fans a glimpse into the band’s persona. Fans couldn’t get enough of Pat Benatar, Rod Stewart, Todd Rundgren, Styx, REO Speedwagon and The Who. People who loved the artists and wanted to listen to them loved watching their videos. Country music jumped on board with CMT and soon fans were watching their favorite country music artists from the comfort of their living rooms. Videos became a proven value and found a niche for both artists and viewers. And while MTV, CMT and GAC did well with videos, today they don’t run them much like they did in the past. Enter Bluegrass Ridge TV, the show that celebrates all things bluegrass. Jeff Moseley, president of CJM Productions based in Nashville, started the show in the early 2000s. “God guided me through the process,” says Moseley. “I started with Country music, then Gospel, then classic Country and bluegrass videos. I realized there weren’t many outlets for bluegrass artists to air their videos.” At one time Moseley owned a large production studio in the Nashville area, and the shows he created were taped in there. “It was a big operation, but times have changed,” says Moseley, who explains that at one time he spent $350 a week to ship tapes to overseas markets. “Now they are delivered via the internet! We send five shows a week to the UK, New Zealand and Australia for free. Isn’t technology great?” Realizing that many people don’t have a monthly subscription to a broadcast TV service or a TV package that includes an affiliate of the show, Bluegrass Ridge made the jump into the streaming world and is now a streaming show available online at www.bluegrassridgetv.com. A new app for mobile will be available in October. This move coupled with Bluegrass Ridge Radio transports Bluegrass Ridge into the largest weekly bluegrass broadcast spot in the world. “We reach viewers in 160 million homes in the United States, as well as broadcast in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and in the Cayman Islands,” explains Moseley. 10

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The show can be accessed on broadcast TV on Heartland TV (ROKU), The Family Channel, and new network additions of Z Living, Folk TV, and AMG TV for US viewers, and also on Keep It Country in the U.K., Cayman 27 and Country TV in Australia and New Zealand. As with most great things, Bluegrass Ridge has evolved since its start. Once hosted by different artists each week, the weekly half-hour program is now permanently hosted by the dynamic award-wining husband-and-wife team, Daniel and Carolyn Routh. The heart and soul of Nu–Blu, they are naturals at hosting a television show. The first two episodes they hosted were shot on location at the famous Station Inn in Nashville. Fans were treated to a glimpse inside the couple’s life and music, getting to know them on a more personal level. “We are extremely excited about Daniel and Carolyn as the permanent hosts of Bluegrass Ridge,” says Moseley, who serves as the show’s executive producer. “They had guest-hosted a few times and our viewers loved them. They are such a down-to-earth couple. It was a no-brainer to hire them as the permanent hosts.”

Moseley feels that Nu–Blu’s love and passion for bluegrass music elevates the show to another level. “Our tradition of bringing great bluegrass music videos and artist interviews to our viewers remains the same,” says Moseley. “This love and passion, as well as the couple’s relationship with fellow bluegrass artists bring an insiderdepth to the show.” THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Jam-packed with music videos by today’s biggest acts in bluegrass music, what make this weekly half-hour program so special is behind-the-scenes glimpses into the making the music videos and interviewing the artist. Viewers enjoy a rare firsthand look at the bluegrass genre and how their favorite performers got their start in music. The show’s home base is Parlor Recording Studio on Music Row in Nashville. “It showcases the studio, explains Moseley, “while giving viewers a glimpse into a real recording studio, a place where most of them would not normally have a chance to see, which brings a higher level of excitement to the show than it would have were it set in a TV studio. We bring artists into the conference room for interviews.” Daniel and Carolyn will also interview artists on the road as they travel to festivals and concerts with Nu–Blu. “Daniel is so multi-faceted,” Moseley says. “He is a great marketing guy, and he’s added a strong social media component and the new streaming service that has taken Bluegrass Ridge to a higher level.” The recording studio setting means Moseley no longer needs a large television studio, and the show’s shooters and editors all work independently, which eliminates the need for a large staff. “The great thing about TV is that it’s not going away,” says Moseley. “The way we create content is changing, and the way people watch it is changing. We are proud to deliver quality content for viewers to enjoy.”

Video submissions for Bluegrass Ridge can be emailed to: bluegrassridgetv@gmail.com

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Where to Watch Bluegrass Ridge? Streaming: www.bluegrassridgetv.com Roku: Heartland TV Channel

Broadcast TV networks (Check network websites for channel numbers and local listings for airtimes) Heartland TV (US) www.watchheartlandtv.com Zliving (US) www.zliving.com Folk TV (US) myfolk.tv AMG TV (northwest US) amgtv.tv The Family Channel (US) www.famchannel.com Keep It Country (UK, Cayman Islands) www.keepitcountry.tv/keep-it-country-tv-on-full-freeview Country TV (AU, NZ) countrytv.co.nz Don’t forget to check out Nu–Blu: www.Nu–Blu.com

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Gina Furtado the Story of One Woman Smashing the Bluegrass Glass Ceiling by Shelby C. Berry 14

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Gina Furtado dug her toes deep into “blue” grass most of her life, touring up and down the east coast with her siblings in her tween years and earning countless ribbons and a strong reputation. Combining classic bluegrass banjo and acoustic swing, Gina broke free from the social constraints held within the old-school bluegrass mold to create emotionally fueled music. Twice nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association Banjo Player of the Year Award, Gina has been known primarily by her name Gina “Clowes” and her work with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers. Now we know her as the Gina Furtado in The Gina Furtado Project, which includes Gina’s sister Malia Furtado on fiddle, Drew Matulich on guitar and Max Johnson on bass. This band heavily emphasizes catchy material that spans from bluegrass to swing and jazz. Mountain Home Records signed the band to release their newest record and also picked up Gina’s previous album, True Colors, released as an independent project in 2017. Debuting at number 13 on the Bluegrass Billboard charts, this album produced two number one songs on the Bluegrass Today charts. The Gina Furtado Project has a full tour scheduled this year to promote their September 27 album release. The Bluegrass Standard: It has been said that you have an innovative and unique approach to your sound. What inspires this? Gina Furtado: I like all different kinds of music. My music is a vessel for my own selfexpression. I feel like boxing it into a genre keeps me from really expressing myself. I’ve tried to stay away from the cookie-cutter bluegrass, so to speak, and do my own thing to express myself the best way I can. BGS: After so many years playing music, what has been the most rewarding part of this experience so far? GF: The community in bluegrass really is incredible! Most of my friends are musicians. All the wonderful people make it so rewarding and being able to express myself in this way is so cathartic. BGS: What or where has been your favorite place to perform? THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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GF: I have gotten to play so many amazing festivals! The one that might be my favorite is the Ogden Music Festival in Utah. It was a festival run by women. There were just really good vibes, and everyone was really happy. BGS: What inspired you to pursue music with The Gina Furtado Project? GF: It was just my growing love of songwriting! It has become a huge part of how I identify as a musician. I’m not just a banjo player anymore. BGS: What does it mean for your True Colors album to have gotten and continue to get so much love and attention? GF: It was so incredible. I was not expecting that. It was just a passion project that got picked up by the label. I felt loved and appreciated because those songs came from my heart and had a lot of heart to them. BGS: How would you describe your music in one word? GF: Authentic. BGS: Let’s talk about your current tour. What should a fan expect when attending one of your shows? GF: I like to tell the audience about my songwriting and the process, about how the songs are personal and how the songs came to be. We do a lot of swingy-style material and jazz with bluegrass instrumentation. BGS: What is your favorite song to jam to when you’re riding down the road and no one can hear you? GF: Lately, I’ve been on a Del McCoury kick. My fave song would probably be “Same Kind of Crazy as Me”. BGS: If you could collaborate with any artist in any genre, who would that be and why? GF: Nina Simone, because she is just the most expressive artist that I know. Her connections between her music and her soul is really something to behold. She’s got the fire. BGS: What is your ultimate dream for your career in music? GF: I just want to be able to do what I love and provide for my kids. If I can do that happily, I will have succeeded in my mind. BGS: Lastly, if you had one message for your fans, what would that be? GF: Well, it is ironically the title of my upcoming album: I Hope You Have a Good Life. 16

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Strange “Current” Seas Hank, Pattie & The Current Set a Different Course as Explorers of the Uncharted by Stephen Pitalo When two of North Carolina’s veteran bluegrass players merged with the Triangle area’s most versatile musicians for a voyage into, forgive the pun, “uncharted territory”, their talents as composers and arrangers were pronounced as strongly as at any time in their career.

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More eclectic mixture than a hodge-podge basket, the music journeyed into new directions with each new composition. With leaders Hank Smith on banjo, Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw on the fiddle and vocals, Robert Thornhill on mandolin and vocals, Billie Feather on guitar, and Jonah Freedman on bass, the band known as “Hank, Pattie and the Current” emerged as a new force in bluegrass, as apparent on their new album, Rise Above. Their nontraditional bluegrass instrumentation belies the very tradition they honor, which at first listen, can be an earful to ingest. Fully matured arrangements that channel everyone from Sam Bush, Edgar Meyer, and Tony Rice to jazz legend Bela Fleck. Hank, Pattie & The Current sail the tributaries of crossover among such mainsails as The Punch Brothers, Strength in Numbers and even the fluidmembered Bluegrass Allstars. That exploration can hurdle boundaries as much as expand them. Both Hank and Pattie are members of the prestigious Leadership Bluegrass through the IBMA. Currently on tour in support of their new album, now out on Robust Records. Hank and Pattie took a moment to answer Bluegrass Standard’s questions about the strange brew of their sound style. (True to their collaborative nature, they requested that each quote be attributed to them both.)

Firstly, the name sort of makes sense, but how did you come by it? “We arrived at the name because in the bluegrass world, bands turn over personnel all the time. So, we knew that as long as we were always in the band, The Current can be anyone and it’s always accurate. We had some advice from Jens Kruger to apply our own names in the band because it’s centered around us, and our label head, Mitch Collman at Robust Records, came up with “The Current“ because it sounds like wind, water and/or electrical current. It sounds like something recent and fresh as well. We like all the imagery.”

Who are your biggest influences? Our biggest musical influences encapsulate a range of people and bands. Mark O’Connor, Jens Kruger, Bela Fleck, The Punch Brothers, Otis Redding, The THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Temptations, Nina Simone, Dimitri Shostakovich, Ingrid Michaelson, The Stanley Brothers, Lester & Earl, Bill Monroe, Cake, Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, Kendrick Lamar, Dale Ann Bradley, Sierra Hull, Becky Buller, Alison Brown, many more and each other. We influence and inspire one another a great deal. That’s one of the many beautiful things about this partnership. We’re like siblings, so we constantly push one another to be better musicians and people. It’s great!”

Where and when did the band begin? We started the band in Raleigh, North Carolina, the week before IBMA World of Bluegrass in 2015. We had a show at The Lincoln Theater opening for The Jeff Austin Band, and some showcase slots later that next week at IBMA, but we didn’t have a band. So, we met a guitar/mandolin duo called the Reckless Brothers at a local weekly music series called “Beer & Banjos,” and liked the way they played and sang together. Hank played with a jazz bassist from his previous [Bela Fleck and the Flecktones] tribute band, and he thought that would add a different twist to the band, so we put all those people together. We had some originals and some fun covers, mashed it all up and “voila”! - the first incarnation of the band was born. It included the two of us, plus Ben Parker on guitar and vocals, who would end up a primary songwriter for his tenure in the band, Robert Thornhill on mandolin and vocals, who remains with us, and E. Scott Warren on bass who we recently played a show with for his daughter’s school. [Freedman replaced Warren on bass for the current lineup.]

How did you come to be involved in the Leadership Bluegrass program? We’re both graduates of Leadership Bluegrass. [Pattie graduated in 2014 and Hank

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graduated in 2015.] We’ve both been heavily involved in the IBMA, particularly when it moved to Raleigh. We both sat on the Local Organizing Committee for a rotation and have been very fortunate to not only benefit from the lessons learned in LBG but also inspire and assist others in the wider community with the skills we acquired during our classes. One of the many lessons learned in LBG is “always answer the phone” or email, etc. when a fellow alumnus comes calling. It’s something we take seriously and will stop everything to help another alumnus in need. We have leaned on others as well and it’s great that IBMA and the bluegrass community in general has such a focused support and educating experience. We can all help each other a great deal to further evolve and grow bluegrass.

What is your favorite song on the album, as well as your favorite song to play live? How do you choose which child is your favorite? It fluctuates, actually. songs that are a blast to play live are “Ain’t Gonna Be Treated This Way” and “Ring Road” because they’re really upbeat and have interesting twists. The same goes for “A Better Way”, which is a really light and happy song Pattie wrote for her husband. A sleeper hit on the album has been “How to Love”, a song we wrote together with the lyrical content about Pattie’s grandmother and great-grandmother. It unexpectedly caused a deep emotional reaction to folks who have heard it live. When we recorded it, both Pattie and our engineer, Greg Elkins, had to step out of the room to collect themselves emotionally. We knew we were onto something there. It’s also fun to turn Robert and Jonah loose on their respective songs and watch the audience react to their vocals. Both have distinct, but complimentary styles and really belt it out on “Country Harmony”, written by Robert and “In the Wrong”, written by Jonah. Check out Hank, Pattie and the Current on their U.S. tour.

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by Susan Marquez If ever a branded product and a lifestyle collided, it’s in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. And Pigeon Forge. And now Nashville. All three have locations of Ole Smoky Tennessee Moonshine, and all three locations feature live bluegrass music year-round. “Bluegrass music just makes sense for this company,” says Matt Flake, entertainment director of the company. Matt’s job is to book all the bands that play at the various Ole Smoky locations. “The mindset with the company’s founder, Joe Baker, was to not only have something to sell that is nostalgic and indigenous the Smokies, but to further strengthen the essence of the area by staying true to its roots. Bluegrass is simply a good fit with the brand.” Ole Smoky’s roots can be traced back over one hundred years to the early settlers of the Smoky Mountains. The company prides itself on not just making moonshine, but moonshine made with authenticity and enduring pride from the people of the Appalachians. Joe founded the company in 2010. Ole Smoky was the first federally licensed distillery in the history of East Tennessee. “It started as a small operation in Gatlinburg,” says Matt. “Of course, millions of visitors visit the Smoky Mountains each year, and now the Ole Smoky distilleries are the most visited distilleries in the world.” THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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FESTIVAL GUIDE People from around the world visit the three distilleries in East Tennessee: The Holler and The Barrelhouse in Gatlinburg, The Barn in Pigeon Forge, and the newest location in Nashville, 6th & Peabody. Over 3.5 million visitors have toured Ole Smoky.

Matt, who plays with his own band, Firewater Junction, three to four days a week and part-time with the Cleverlys (you may recall their viral music video Apple Bottom Jeans), first played at Ole Smoky the month after they opened. “We played there July 2010, and I’ve been with them ever since.” Matt says that as the Ole Smoky brand grew it was important to Joe to create a good atmosphere. “He wanted to establish a family-friendly place with bluegrass music and rocking chairs where folks could stay and relax while enjoying good music.” Realizing that music was a huge component of folks staying longer, music became a focal point. Today music is played twelve hours a day, 364 days a year at the Gatlinburg location and five hours a day, six days a week in Pigeon Forge. Bluegrass makes up 95% of the music played at the venues, with the remaining being country, rock & roll, and alternative rock. “We have four to five house bands that rotate regularly between the various venues. We are fortunate to have such good talent here; all our musicians work hard. I get about 15 to 20 emails a week from performers wanting to play at our venues. I try to squeeze acts in when they are passing through town. We try to make it work whenever we can.” The newest Ole Smoky location in downtown Nashville is probably the most unique of the three. “This time we partnered with Yee-Haw Brewing, one of Tennessee’s top craft breweries, as well as Prince’s Hot Chicken and White Duck Taco Shop,” explains Matt. The doors of the 30,000 square foot distillery and retail complex features large indoor and outdoor seating areas, basketball hoops, ping pong, corn hole and more plus an indoor stage with two giant LED screens, one indoors and one out. “We’ll have another stage outdoors in the near future.” 26

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Visitors can see both the distillery and the brewery in operation. The new venue features live music daily, including a weekly Gospel Jubilee produced by the Grand Ole Opry every Sunday at noon. The grand opening is set for September 7. The Ole Smoky brand has been expanded through the connection to their location in the Smoky Mountains and the culture there. What started as a company making moonshine has grown to an entertainment and lifestyle company that folks can relate to. The company makes several different flavors of their moonshine and whiskey, including some flavors that area seasonal. “Blackberry is my favorite right now,” says Matt. “And although I’m not a big pickle person, I really like our pickles soaked in moonshine. That’s probably one of our best-selling products.” Other Ole Smoky products include Original Unaged Corn Whiskey, White Lightnin’, Moonshine Cherries, World Famous Apple Pie, Mountain Java, Butter Pecan, Strawberry, Peach, Lemon Drop, Salted Caramel and more. Matt says that the company continues to grow, and its success is making a difference in the communities in which Ole Smoky is located.

“We hope to grow into other markets in the future,” Matt says. “This is a great company that cares about their employees as well as the community. I’m grateful to do what I do here, making and sharing music.”

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Wassonality Rickey Wasson Keeps the Flavor Alive with Solo Albums & “Croweology” by Stephen Pitalo As lead vocalist and guitar player with J. D. Crowe & The New South for fifteen years, Rickey Wasson is the voice folks know when they hear J.D. Crowe & The New South’s hit song “Lefty’s Old Guitar.” But there’s much more to this singer-songwriter & studio owner. Even as “Lefty’s” was gaining notoriety, Wasson’s solo album From the Heart and Soul was making its way, with bluegrass veteran guests like Crowe, Don Rigsby, Dwight McCall, Sonya Isaacs, Ben Isaacs, Randy Kohrs, Adam Steffey, Ron Stewart and Harold Nixon; Wasson even charted with the single “Losin’ in Las Vegas.” He’s no 28

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stranger to solo outing, however. He’s been recording solo for two decades; his first solo project was in 1998, Songs From The Old Country Church, and Wasson filled in briefly in Alison Krauss’ band. Some folks know him as a founder of bluegrass stalwarts Southern Blend all the way back in the 1980s. But it all starts from his days as a toddler. Wasson remembers picking up a guitar at the ripe age of three, courtesy of a sibling. “My older brother received a guitar for Christmas,” Wasson remembered. “He wasn’t that interested in it and it was stored under the bed in a case. I cried and begged my mother so much that she finally gave me permission to get the guitar out and play with it until I busted it so she wouldn’t have to hear me cry anymore. In fact, I never knew there was any other kind of music until I was 10. “Growing up the only music I listened to came from 8-track tapes and records of the Stanley Brothers. My father loved The Stanley Brothers and that is all he would buy. This makes George Shuffler my first guitar hero growing up, and one of my favorites still to this day.” Having played with so many legends over the year, Wasson said that it’s very

difficult to say who he learned the most from, however he does have a soft spot for particular songs, especially the Crowe classic “Lefty’s Old Guitar,” which won a 2008 Grammy® Nomination and the 2008 SPBGMA Song of the Year. “ ‘Lefty’s Old Guitar‘ is one of the best songs I have ever heard. I actually heard that song twenty-five years before recording it. I was so happy to have recorded the song with J.D. Crowe and the New South, and we were blessed to have it win IBMA album of the year and earn a Grammy® nomination. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Wasson’s project “Crowe-ol-o-gy, the study of bluegrass legend J.D. Crowe’s musical legacy,” is a logical extension of his days in J.D.’s band. “This project was started as a lifelong dream of mine was ending,” Wasson explained. “From the age of twelve, it was always my dream to play the music of J.D. Crowe and the New South. In 1998 this dream became a reality and my journey began as lead singer and guitarist for the New South. Nearly fifteen years passed in a blink of an eye. I never took one show for granted, and I knew at some point this dream would come to an end, so I started this project as a tribute to J.D. and to document the years spent by so many artists that played in the New South by recreating songs from throughout his musical career.” Rickey owns his own music store in Clay City, with an attached recording studio. Rick’s Main Street Studio, where Rickey actually recorded his latest album for Truegrass Records. He works with many of his contemporaries in that studio, but Wasson sometimes has to fight his musician yearnings when he’s behind the board. “The best part of running the studio is having some of my best friends trust me to record their projects,” he said.”The worst part seems to be having to sit behind the controls sometimes and not being able to play and sing along.” Wasson has a message for the Bluegrass Standard readers, too.

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“I would like all the readers to know that I sincerely thank them for their support throughout the years. I feel so blessed to have been able to work with some of the best musicians during my music career. “Also, a big thanks to my family for helping me to live out this dream and helping me enjoy it every step of the way.” — Rickey Wasson

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Growing Up Sowell The Evolving Career of Our Favorite Family Band by Shelby C. Berry From the Monroe Brothers to Flatt Lonesome... Sometimes among the tight harmonies and impeccable talent of bluegrass family bands you’ll find a lesser-known, underrated or too-often forgotten family band waiting to make their mark. That is what we saw in The Family Sowell, formerly the Sowell Family Pickers, the first time we chatted with them two years ago. Based in Knoxville, Tennessee, The Family Sowell began playing music when their oldest kids were much younger in their home state of Texas. Ranging in age from 22 to 12 years old, this talented band of siblings consists of eldest brother Jacob on 32

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banjo, Joshua on guitar, Naomi on bass, Abigail on mandolin, John-Mark on fiddle and Justus on reso-guitar. It hasn’t taken this family long to start racking in the recognitions. They scored first place at this year’s SPBGMA International Bluegrass Band Championship, and their previous album found its place on countless bluegrass charts in 2018. “Winning at SPBGMA gave a statement of who we are,” said Joshua. “The first time we competed in that championship, we got second to last place. Winning showed everyone how dedicated we are to putting in hard work.” While it is obvious The Family Sowell’s success grew out of their tight-knit family unit and old-fashioned work ethic, they have been blessed to partner with some amazing brands since we last spoke with them in 2017.

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The Family Sowell is currently being endorsed by Robertson Guitars, Hooper Guitars, Elliot Capos, GHS Strings, Ear Trumpet Labs and BlueChip Picks. “All of our endorsement companies are amazing. You almost have to choose them all as your favorite. It’s so hard that you can’t pick just one!” said John-Mark. In recent years, The Family Sowell has taken on a bit more songwriting. In fact, an original song titled God Knows Who He Is debuted at number three on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Gospel Top 10 Chart and has recently become a favorite of Jacob, as he wrote the song with his sister. “The song honors veterans and their struggles when they return home,” said Jacob. “They come home changed, and we wanted to honor that through this song.” While many things have changed for The Family Sowell over the last two years, one thing remains the same — their mission to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone they meet. “Every song we play has a purpose,” said Jacob. “We try to connect with people — be real and care. Everyone wants to be loved, and we try to do that through the songs we play and the places we perform.” This bluegrass family takes their faith seriously, living their band motto of Bluegrass with a Mission with every day and every note they sing. “The day that I met The Family Sowell will always be treasured. What a wonderful family they are! So full of love for each other, for others and, most importantly, for Jesus. If you’ve never heard them sing and play, you need to make it a priority to do so! I really do love The Family Sowell,” said John Colburn, founder and former CEO of Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars. While this family band is proud of how far they’ve come, they have a few dreams on their bucket list — to play for the military and perform on the Grand Ole Opry. “Honestly, our ultimate goal is to play our original music, the love we have for our music to be shared, and for even the smallest concert to be a blessing,” said Naomi.

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The Family Sowell is well on their way to achieving their dreams with the release of a new album the second week of September. Eleven of the 13 tracks are new releases, and five are originals songs. As if promoting a new album won’t keep them busy enough, they are performing seven showcases at this year’s IBMA at the youth and master’s workshop stages. The family will be teaching a workshop about performing in a family band as well as having an exhibit booth for fans to stop by and say hi. “Join us for a crazy, energetic, heartwarming, belly-laughing, fun-filled, inspiring and uplifting good time,” said John-Mark. “If you come to our show, you’ll have a laugh and shed a tear or two,” said Jacob. “You’ll feel every emotion the heart can hold. We love creating moments for people.”

To follow along The Family Sowell’s journey or to purchase their new album, check them out at www.thefamilysowell.com You can also follow them on Facebook and YouTube at The Family Sowell, Twitter at @thefamilysowell, and Instagram at @the.family.sowell.officially

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SATURDAY, DECEMBER 14TH, 2019  4PM & 7PM FIRST METHODIST CHURCH CHRISTIAN LIFE CENTER

300 West Main Street Louisville, MS 39339

Our temporary home while the Historic Strand Theater is being renovated!

Carl Jackson’s 2019

“HOME FOR CHRISTMAS”



LARRY CORDLEJERRY SALLEYVAL STOREY BRADLEY WALKERASHLEY CAMPBELL JOHNNY RAWLSISAAC MOORE 

Join Carl & his award-winning Nashville friends & performers for his annual “Home for Christmas” show in his hometown of Louisville, Mississippi.

TICKETS GO ON SALE OCT. 1st. The 4PM AND 7PM SHOWS WILL SELL OUT FOR BOTH CONCERTS. TO PURCHASE YOUR “RESERVED SEATS” CONTACT THE LOUISVILLE, MS CHAMBER OF COMMERCE.

FOR TICKETS, CALL 662-773-3921 tell them you saw it in The Bluegrass Standard!


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Swaggerty’s Farm When Bluegrass and Food Share a Common Tradition by Kara Martinez Bachman

Often, music isn’t just about sound; it’s about an entire culture. Regardless the genre, there are other cultural and lifestyle tastes that go hand-in-hand with music styles. For instance, some music pairs well with a glass of fancy French wine. Other styles might seem a better fit when enjoyed with frothy beer on tap. There are clothing styles connected with certain genres, especially bluegrass. There are even special foods that tend to crop up in connection with certain musical styles. In the case of bluegrass, down-home comfort foods – especially those associated with made-from-scratch simplicity or a big country-style breakfast – are a common craving for these music fans steeped in simple goodness. The story of Swaggerty’s Farm makes clear the connection between time, place and familiar food.

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Back in 1930, right after the U.S. was sunk into the great depression, a man named Lonas Swaggerty bought himself some hogs and started a business. There, in Kodak, TN, Swaggerty’s Farms “took off” and became known across the Great Smoky Mountains region as a producer of highquality sausage products. As the company’s website describes, food was scarce during the Depression, and “the money to buy it was difficult to find.” From the farm in Sevier County, TN, this sausage – which was highquality but also affordable – rose to fame throughout the mountains and beyond. This all happened around the same time bluegrass was establishing its own foothold in the foothills, and amongst the rugged, but misty peaks of the Smokies. The company is in its third generation of family ownership, and it looks as if a fourth generation will be up to the task of continuing the Swaggerty legacy. John W. Gladney, who handles marketing for Swaggerty’s Farm, explained how there can be close links between bluegrass and... well... sausage links. “The Bluegrass audience and culture here at Swaggerty’s represents a lot of realists,” he explained. “Realists in the sense that they like real vibrating instruments, harmony, camping, gathering, laughing, storytelling, being engaged with real life here in America.” What’s more, Gladney said he believes bluegrass fans love starting the day with comfort food.

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“Probably six out of ten bluegrass fans enjoy waking up to a darn good breakfast a few times a week or on the weekends,” he said. “And with today’s advanced technology and logistics collapsing the time it takes to deliver perishable products and services to Americans, you can get a very similar experience you may have enjoyed from a farm, local meat market, or butcher shop in recent decades with Swaggerty’s.” “Because it’s real,” he added. “Just like bluegrass.” Gladney said there’s a sense in which bluegrass and Swaggerty’s both share things in common. “We’re each passionate about our art, science and recipes,” he explained. “We like keeping traditions, yet improving on them, while expanding our reach into new audiences.” Honestly... isn’t that the whole purpose of modern bluegrass? To keep the traditions alive, while carrying the culture forward to a whole new generation? Gladney said Swaggerty’s saw the bluegrass/sausage connection so clearly that the company decided to create a t-shirt for the “ultimate Bluegrass and Breakfast Sausage fan.” The shirt – which is available along with other merchandise and sausage products at the company’s website, Swaggertys.com – is a tribute to the music and traditional culture that matches so well with the company’s premium pork sausage patties, links, rolls and more.

“The ‘Bluegrass Before Breakfast’ t-shirt is to honor folks who wake up thinking about bluegrass, even before breakfast,” Gladney said. “And yes, we’d be honored to be featured on every bluegrass fan’s breakfast table that appreciates our types of premium breakfast sausage. We believe everyone likes a friend or family member to refer us a good product. Just like bluegrass.” THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Wayne and Jayne Henderson by Jamie O’Quinn The trail of nature’s beauty, bluegrass music, and craftsmanship leads through the Blue Ridge Mountain of Grayson County, Virginia to the Woven Mountains and River Bends Artisan Trail that weaves a stop at the shop of Wayne Henderson, renowned luthier and guitar maker. Henderson, a recipient of the National Heritage Award for Craftsmanship, has played at Carnegie Hall and performed in seven nations, but it is this workshop outside his home in the tranquil mountains that remains one of his favorite spots. “Though it is reasonably quiet, I have a lot of company. Friends will come in and sometimes they will jam and pick. I like hearing them play. Sometimes I play myself,” says Wayne. He admits that sometimes he feels bad about turning on the sander because it disturbs the music he so loves, but the workshop stays lively with instrument making between him and his daughter, Jayne Henderson, a talented instrument maker in her own right. Like individual paths of the mountain trails that so often converge together, so do the unique journeys of father and daughter working side by side to produce their sought-after instruments, such as guitars and ukuleles. 40

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“I started playing guitar when I was five,” Wayne explains, “when my brother bought an old guitar from a neighbor for five dollars, then showed me how to play three chords. He didn’t take to it, but I did.” Utilizing those three chords, Wayne was able to back up his fiddle playing dad. “My dad was a farmer who played at night and jammed sometimes. When working up the hill in the tobacco or hay field. When it was really hot, I would suggest going to the house and play a few tunes. It would get us out of the field and me out of a little bit of work.” This shared joy of playing bluegrass and old-time tunes added to the fun father and son had together, as well as jam sessions with cousins. Wanting a good guitar, Wayne was inspired when visiting a neighbor, Mr. Ball, who had a nice old Martin. “He let me look, listen and play it. I was amazed at how good it sounded.” Knowing his family could not afford one, Wayne surmised that it was just made of wood and he should be able to make his own, so Mr. Ball let him draw a pattern of it and Wayne worked on it all summer. He even soaked the veneer off his mother’s dresser drawer bottom without her knowledge to have some thin wood to bend. When August came, however, the rubber glue he used, which had held the weather stripping on his dad’s truck door, fell apart. His dad took him to see a neighbor, Mr. Hash, who made and repaired fiddles. Hash gave him pointers on bending wood, glue suggestions, and an old mahogany door someone discarded. “He explained that the door was made out of the same mahogany wood as a Martin. This set me on fire, and I made my first guitar in 1964 and it’s still together today.” In 55 years, Wayne has made 762 guitars by hand in his little shop while finishing high school and then becoming the local mail carrier. “I’ve kept my shop going the whole time with sometimes only 3 or 4 guitars made some years, but after retiring from the post office, I make about 30 a year.” These coveted guitars with a multi-year waiting list often resale for $20,000-$40,000 on eBay but may be significantly less if purchased through the shop. In fact, it was a customer’s eBay sale of one of her dad’s guitars Jayne saw online which spurred her to approach her dad about making one to sell and pay off THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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the student loans she incurred while pursuing an Environmental Law and Policy degree at Vermont Law School. “At that point I was working for an environmental nonprofit in Ashville, NC. It didn’t pay well and when I saw how much my dad’s guitar sold for, I approached him about it,” says Jayne. While growing up, time in her dad’s shop was limited, but Jayne and her dad worked on a few projects, such as cutting board, chess table, and jewelry. Although receptive to Jayne’s idea, Wayne told her to come to the shop and he would teach her; she would build it with him. Just as Wayne sees the talent in young musicians, he saw the artistic talent in his daughter and knew that she had a gift. “I had seen her artwork and drawing and knew she was good with her hands. I knew she could do it if she tried” he says. About half-way through that first guitar, she told Wayne what a good time she was having. Even on the trip home to Ashville, Jayne’s husband noticed the excitement on her face. Just like dad, Jayne got the instrument making bug. The sale of that first guitar Jayne made with her dad allowed Jayne to pay off her student loans. The next guitar she made, under her own name, she donated the proceeds to the environmental non-profit where she worked. In 2011, Jayne’s changed her fulltime profession to instrument making. Spending part time in Wayne’s workshop in Grayson County and the other part in her workshop in Ashville, Jayne’s skills and designs evolved and she found her own niche and clientele following. Influenced by her strong environmental conservation background, Jayne successfully incorporates the more sustainable woods, such as walnut, maple, and even Koa from Hawaii. 42

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“I was making a guitar for Doc Watson out of oak instead of the traditional Brazilian Rosewood,” she says. Though he passed away before it was finished, he had come to the shop and was able to hear the tone and was pleased with the choice. Wayne’s fascination with the materials and craftsmanship of the Martins from the 1930s remains a strong influence with his creations. He tends to work with traditional mahogany and rosewoods for the backs and sides. However, periodically he uses local wood as well, like locust, which he describes as having the weight, hardness and other factors like Rosewood. Jayne continues pushing the envelope of creativity, offering options beyond the mainstay, in wood, neck sizes, and instrument, all being inspired by her own tiny hands. With dad and daughter working together, they often bounce ideas off each other and lend talented hands to each other’s creations. “I take the early shift in the shop usually starting at 6 am. We typically overlap from 12-5 pm and then he works late into the night” says Jayne. With Wayne sometimes asking her to help with inlays or other tasks, “He shows me he loves me by sometimes sanding my braces”. Whatever the task, Wayne and Jayne agree that working together has brought them closer, just as music and instruments brought the prior generation of a fiddle playing father and guitar playing son closer. The understanding, bond, and shared instrument making skills between Wayne and Jayne have left a treasured bond between the generations.

www.waynehenderson.org

www.ejhendersonguitars.com

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Is Cheyenne Grantham the Next Alison Krauss? by Shelby C. Berry

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At the age of three, most little ones watch cartoons, but not Cheyenne Grantham. She was learning to read music, playing piano with her grandmother, and begging to take fiddle lessons. Two years later, she made her stage debut playing the Galax Fiddler’s Convention fiddle contest to a 2,000-plus crowd. Now, at the ripe age of 9, this Franklin County, Virginia musician jams and performs with 15-time Grammy award recipient, Ricky Skaggs, a relationship that began through a church connection. Skaggs invited Cheyenne to join him and Kentucky Thunder at Harvester Performance Center in her hometown, something she never expected at this stage in her musical career. Sure, she’s young, but Cheyenne is no stranger to the stage, playing mornings with her local Dairy Queen Band and Friday nights during the summer at The Old Country Store in Floyd, VA. She is also a member of Junior Appalachian Musicians, or JAM as it is known, focusing on small group lessons that develop young musicians’ musical skills, people skills and keeping traditional bluegrass music alive. As a member of JAM’s regional band, Cheyenne joins advanced players from the 50 other programs throughout Virginia and North Carolina to perform at events like MerleFest and HoustonFest. Cheyenne sings traditional bluegrass music. Her fiddle playing is surprisingly sophisticated and masterful, and she has competed in the Yadkin Valley Bluegrass & Old Time Convention fiddle competition. She is also a part of Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars (TBS), which brings young musicians together and help promote and ensure their future of bluegrass. Cheyenne was able to join other TBS young musicians in playing the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival in March. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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The Bluegrass Standard: So, let’s start at the beginning. How long have you been playing music? Cheyenne Grantham: I’m 9 years old, and I’ve been playing for 5 years. BGS: Tell me a little bit about your earliest memories playing music. When did you first start playing? CG: I used to watch CMT a lot when I was little, and my mom said I started asking to play fiddle after seeing Allison Krauss play on TV. I started piano at three and already had a lot of interest in music from that. My mom started taking me to violin lessons at age 4, and it was hard to find a fiddle teacher for my age, but we did. I’ve loved it ever since! BGS: What is your favorite part of playing bluegrass? CG: I just really like playing it because of all the people I get to meet, all the jams and festivals, and the traveling I get to do. It’s just really fun. BGS: Who are your biggest influences? CG: Kenny Baker, my teacher and the fiddle player for Kentucky Thunder - Mike Barnett, Allison Krauss, Amanda Cook, Po Ramblin Boys, Ricky Skaggs and lots more! BGS: What does it mean to have gotten to perform on stage with the legendary Ricky Skaggs? CG: It was awesome! It was one of the biggest days of my life! We have some friends from the Harvester Performance Center that go to our church and had heard me play. They asked Ricky Skaggs’ manager if I could play a song with him when he came to the Harvester. When I found out he said yes, it was only a couple days before the performance, but I was really, really hoping he would say yes. I was already prepared to play Jerusalem Ridge with him. It was so exciting! I’ll never forget that day. BGS: Other than playing with Ricky, what is your most memorable on-stage moment since you began playing? CG: The first time I ever played on a real stage was at the Galax Old Fiddlers Convention. I was 5 and played Fire on the Mountain, and I was so nervous my mom had to push me on stage. Getting to play at SOIMF this year was really awesome too! BGS: Tell me a bit about your music’s sound. What makes you different from other young artists? CG: When I play bluegrass or make up some of my own variations, I like to have an old time Appalachian sound because that’s my family’s history from growing up in the Blue Ridge Mountains. We just live in the area but have always listened to the traditional music. 46

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BGS: Tell me about your experience with Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars. What made you join and how has Mr. John Colburn and other TBS leaders helped you with your career in bluegrass? CG: A family-friend nominated me and introduced Mr. John Colburn to me and my family. I was so thankful I got to join, and I hope I make him proud. I’ve now gotten to know Mr. Larry Smith and his wife. They have done so much for me and are always encouraging me on my fiddling. I always look forward to hanging out with their granddaughter Ashlynn and jamming with her. We are both playing at IBMA this year for kids in bluegrass. If it wasn’t for TBS I wouldn’t have had near as many opportunities like that. I’m so glad for all that they do for young players like me! BGS: What are your dreams for your future in music – specifically bluegrass? CG: It would be cool if I was the first female to be in Kentucky Thunder. But if that doesn’t work out, I definitely want to play in one of the big bluegrass bands or have one of my own.

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Notes from the Field: Enjoying the Summer Festival Experience by Ann Smith Hi Keith! Your call for summer festival experiences was irresistible! Festivals - I live in Southern California, in the low desert town of Hemet. If someone can find active bluegrass in this community, I’d love to hear about it. Thank goodness for the southern and northern bluegrass associations, particularly California Bluegrass Association, who put on the Father’s Day Festival. This was my second year at Grass Valley. Imagine if you will, an 11 hour drive from So. California to Grass Valley... worth every mile of that heat driven drive! The bands were incredible, particularly the hugely energetic Sister Sadie. They were an opening act and created an air of expectancy about the festival. They were the highlight of the festival (in my opinion). Not to be outdone, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers brought their polished instrumentals and vocals to the eager audience. Po’ Rambling Boys, one of the more recent entrees to the national bluegrass audience was appreciated by festival goers. Mind you, these were main stage bands. I’ve heard Lonely Heartstring Band previously and they are as fine a group as any I’ve heard, incredibly talented musicians. I’m not ignoring David Parmely, Volume Five, FY5 (who I’d never heard before) and Evie Ladin Band. I hadn’t heard Evie Ladin either. Tommy and the Rozumaticc were a fitting end to an otherwise perfect weekend! What a task CBA must have had in selecting bands. Onto Vern’s Stage. There were numerous bands performing on Vern’s stage. I always enjoy the Blue J’s. They’re energetic, and mandolinist Josh Gooding has a quirky sense THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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of humor and employs it as needed. I particularly enjoyed North County Blue. The problem I had was trying to be in 2 places at one time; This doesn’t include visiting with various luthiers on the premises, trying hard not to spend money. Almost forgot the showcase bands... Phil Salazar and the Kinfolk did their usual eclectic mix of entertaining songs, including bluegrass (of course). Central Valley Boys is always fun to listen to and watch. There was an unexpected show by Della Mae at Vern’s Stage. That was a real “wow” moment; talk about powerful female bluegrass groups. At some point, I had to rest. This year, I chose to use an airbandb. I found a fabulous and very affordable place to stay and got some rest between the many jams that took place over the weekend. Being from So. California, I really appreciated the opportunity to play with some of the fine northern California musicians. We are so blessed to have so many great players in this state. I’m particularly grateful to other associations for bringing us all together (Southwest Bluegrass Association, San Diego Bluegrass Society and Bluegrass Association of So. California) via campouts, house concerts, impromptu jams. I’ll be closing out the summer with Summergrass in Vista, CA. That’s a super welcoming festival with solid entertainment (I’m privileged to be a part of it). Then onto the recently acquired Huck Finn Jubilee in Ontario with an mix of progressive and traditional bluegrass. I’m looking forward to being at Great 48, where I can renew new and old friendships, do some picking and just generally having a great time. Bakersfield, here I come. Many thanks for a wonderful publication. Thank you CBA for doing such a great job on this hugely popular festival. I’ll be back!

Ann Smith, President San Diego North County Bluegrass & Folk Club, Escondido, CA

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 Fiddler’s Porch 

Songbirds Guitar Museum Sticks of Wood with Strings on Them

by Emerald Butler “It got started as an idea on Main Street in Chattanooga,” Johnny Smith, President of Songbirds Guitar Museum, began as we sat inside a vault full of electric guitars. “A guy basically said ‘I’ve got a lot of guitars and I feel kind of guilty about keeping them all to myself. It’s gotten to the point that they need to be seen and appreciated. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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“The story of the electric and acoustic guitar needs to be told.” Johnny smiled as he shared their passion and joke for what they call “these sticks of wood with strings on them.” The museum has become home to an eclectic collection of guitars as well as a few banjos and mandolins. During the day, the museum is open for tours, and at night the museum becomes a live music venue both upstairs and downstairs in what they call their North and South locations. They are hosting many artists including Vince Gill, Molly Tuttle, and Jerry Douglas. Today Songbirds is becoming one of Chattanooga’s biggest attractions, but it wasn’t always planned to be here. “I took the bull by the horn so to speak and started looking around for where it should belong,” Johnny shared. “The easiest thing for me to do was to look at other facilities that did things like us. For example, the Country Music and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame. “Chattanooga wasn’t a determined destination in the beginning. We went to New York, Seattle, Austin, and Nashville. We went through three or four different locations that we chose, and the whole idea completely went away for about six to eight months just because we thought it was going to be too expensive to do. We were looking at the Choo Choo here for another deal, and we saw this space with all the windows and the potential it had.” This space had been home to a model railroad for many years, but there was a lot of water damage and work that needed to be done on this older building. Still, Johnny says that “we just fell in love with the space, and immediately at that moment, we said it was going to be here. The Choo Choo has been here for a long, long time… the good thing about it is that it has good bones.” While renovating the space Johnny and his team found that the building was built with steel beams stamped with the Carnegie name. That’s Carnegie as in Carnegie Hall. “We wanted to do it very Rock ’n’ Roll too. We wanted to create an environment that had polished concrete floors, exposed bricks, use all the attributes the building already had, expose beams and metal, and we did.” Johnny said that he “didn’t want it to be just another place. I felt like in some of the major cities that we’d just become another billboard that’s trying to get tourists to come in and see it. We felt like what we had was more meaningful than that.” One of the meaningful things that come from the museum is the Songbirds Foundation. It is a public charity 501C3 non-profit that people can contribute to that puts instruments, specifically guitars, in the hands of kids. As far as Johnny knows, the foundation has become the largest free guitar program in the country. They put a guitar and a tuner in a case and give it to kids who are also given 12 weeks of lessons. They focus largely on inner-city schools that don’t have a lot of art programs, but they are also involved with other clubs and organizations as well. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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There are so many stories behind the guitars that are displayed in the museum. A favorite of the Songbirds President is a guitar known for its love language. “There was a couple that was married. Husband and wife,” Johnny tells. “She played the trumpet and he played the guitar. With this particular guitar came a lot of memorabilia of theirs where they had been in talent competitions and won. There was a note in the guitar case from her that said that her husband had passed away. She was talking about how their music was their love language. That’s something that got them together and kept them going. She said that she decided to sell it because she knew that her husband would want it to mean something to somebody else and maybe they could start their own story with it. She let it go so it could continue living and continue making music, and the incredible thing is that it doesn’t matter what kind of guitar it was. It was just the story.”

Just a story about sticks of wood with strings on them. Johnny Smith added that one of the museum’s purposes is “to think about the way that they impacted history. I want it to inspire somebody to get Papaw’s guitar to play out from underneath the bed... If it inspires you musically to do anything that’s involved with the arts, then it’s a win.”

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 Fiddler’s Porch 

Lecile Harris The Rodeo Clown by Emerald Butler The morning sun climbs above the Colorado mountain tops as Lecile Harris pours himself another cup of coffee to, as he says, “try and get my voice back.” I take a sip out of my own Sun Studio souvenir coffee mug in my Tennessee mountain home while trying to avoid sharing sipping noises over the phone. Lecile has one more performance in Colorado before he heads back to Tennessee and then on to Mississippi. Lecile Harris is an 83-year-old rodeo clown. He has been clowning around, fighting bulls, and even performing music for quite some time. Throughout his career, he has performed with and worked for many country music and rodeo celebrities. He’s even become one himself as a member of the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. One Sunday afternoon in his college years, Lecile and a friend went out looking for something to do, so they decided to go out to a rodeo that was about 20 miles out of town.

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“Mainly to see about the girls,” Lecile confesses. “We were girl hunting more than anything.” When they arrived at the rodeo, the bullfighting caught more of Lecile’s attention than the girls did. “You could pay a $5 entry fee and get in it, and I did, and I got bucked off. It kind of made me mad. It was more of a challenge than anything. The next Sunday I went back and got bucked off again.” The third-week Lecile went back again; this time the rodeo clown/ bullfighter was not there due to car failure. “I had been watching the bullfighter work the bulls and what he was doing, and I saw a lot of moves that you use in football, so it kind of intrigued me. When I found out that they couldn’t have the bull riding because they didn’t have a bullfighter I just volunteered to give it a try. If I fought bulls I could get to ride for free. Well, the bulls got me down and ran all over me for a week. The next week I went over and tried it again, and I just kind of fell in love with it.” The rodeo promoter told Lecile “you know fighting bulls is just a part of this. The other part of it is comedy, and you need some comedy.” Back in Lecile’s first rodeo days, being a rodeo clown included both comedy and bullfighting whereas today it has evolved into two separate jobs. “Comedy is hard,” Lecile states. “I’ve learned to fight bulls well enough in the first three years of bullfighting to work some of the best circuits and finals. I’ve been studying comedy now for 64 for years and I still learn something every day. It’s so much gratification when you get it done and make somebody laugh.” Lecile finished college on a football scholarship before being hired as a bullfighter. He fought bulls until he was 52, and he has had his back broken twice, broken several ribs, and has had over a hundred fractures.

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According to Lecile, “you’re an old bullfighter at 35.” Lecile Harris is also a drummer. He had a Rock’n’Roll band for about 15 years that played in the Memphis area when he was getting out of high school. The band recorded at Sun and Hi Records in Memphis, Tennessee. Sometimes he would do a comedy routine with the band. “I was always into comedy. My teacher in high school said, ‘you better stop clowning in class because you’re never going to make a living clowning.’” Boy was he mistaken. “For 20 years, I worked for LongHorn rodeo company which was owned by Lorretta Lynn,” Lecile remembers. “She performed at our rodeo back then until she got to the point where she was filling coliseums and buildings by herself without a rodeo.” Lecile also went on to work with Lorretta Lynn on Hee-Haw and he got into some TV acting. He even acted in some Elvis Presley movies and helped Elvis buy some horses to keep at Graceland. This clown has worn all sorts of hats. The 2017 Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee has written his biography “Lecile: This Aint My First Rodeo” where he tells even more stories about this lifestyle. In the wintertime, Lecile Harris would play shows with his band, and in the summer, he would be back out on the rodeo circuit. In between when there was no work, he created his own sign company.

“I was busy, but I kept going back to the rodeo.” Lecile is still passionate about the connection that country music and the rodeo have. “It’s a lifestyle,” Lecile concludes. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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• Booking 2019–2020 •

Turnberry Records & Management

Christian Davis

Rebekah Long

Phillip Steinmetz & His Sunny Tennesseans

No Time Flatt

The Kody Norris Show

Bluegrass Outlaws Nu-Blu

SpringStreet

Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome

The Baker Family

Turnberry Records & Management

a division of The Bluegrass Standard Magazine 760.883.8160 • Booking 2019–2020 • turnberryrecords@gmail.com 12168 Turnberry Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 www.TurnberryRecords.com

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Summer Bluegrass Events

Viva Las VeGrass N. Las Vegas, NV Oct 11-13

Walnut Valley Winfield, KS Sep 18-22

Oklahoma International Guthrie, OK Oct 3-5 Pickin’ in the Pines Flagstaff, AZ Sep 13-15

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Bloomin’ Bluegrass Farmer’s Branch, TX Oct 18-19

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Freshgrass North Adams, MA Sep 20-22

Uncle Pen Days Bean Blossom, IN Sep 18-22

Hillberry Harvest Eureka Springs, AR Oct 10-13

Amelia Fall BG Amelia, VA Oct 3-5

Raleigh, NC Sep 24-28 Lester Flatt Sparta, TN Oct 12

D&V LandFest Hiawassee, GA Sep 12-14

Pickin’ & Grinnin’ Bellville, TX Oct 24-26 THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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September Festivals & Events Dates

Event

Location

Sep 12-14

Dailey & Vincent LandFest

Hiawassee, Georgia

Sep 12-14

Mohican Bluegrass Festival

Glenmont, Ohio

Sep 13-15

Pickin’ in the Pines

Flagstaff, Arizona

Sep 15

Lyons Fiddle Festival

Lyons, Pennsylvania

Sep 18-22

Uncle Pen Days

Bean Blossom, Indiana

Sep 18-22

Walnut Valley Festival

Winfield, Kansas

Sep 19-21

Blazin’ Bluegrass Festival

Whitley City, Kentucky

Sep 19-21

Cumberland River Bluegrass Festival

Burkesville, Kentucky

Sep 19-21

Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival

Kodak, Tennessee

Sep 19-22

Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass Festival

Buena Vista, Virginia

Sep 20-22

FreshGrass

North Adams, Massachusetts

Sep 24-28

IBMA World of Bluegrass

Raleigh, North Carolina

Sep 26-28

HOBA Fall Bluegrass Festival

West Plains, Missouri

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October Bluegrass Festivals Dates

Event

Location

Oct 3-5

Amelia Fall Bluegrass Festival

Amelia, VA

Oct 3-5

Glen Rose Fall Bluegrass Jamboree

Glen Rose, TX

Oct 3-5

Great Southern Music Festival

Thomasville, GA

Oct 3-5

Oklahoma’s Int’l Bluegrass Festival

Guthrie, OK

Oct 3-5

Tenn Valley Old Time Fiddlers Convention

Athens, AL

Oct 3-6

National Old Time Music Festival

LeMars, IA

Oct 3-6

Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music

Pittsboro, NC

Oct 10-13

Hillberry Harvest Moon Festival

Eureka Springs, AR

Oct 10-13

Suwanee Roots Revival

Live Oak, FL

Oct 11-13

Viva Las VeGrass

N. Las Vegas, NV

Oct 12

Lester Flatt Celebration

Sparta, TN

Oct 16-20

Mossy Oak Rebecca Rose Memorial

Guyton, GA

Oct 18-19

Bloomin’ Bluegrass Festival and Chili Cook-Off

Farmers Branch, TX

Oct 19

Cartersville Bluegrass & Folk Festival

Cartersville, GA

Oct 24-26

Anderson Bluegrass Festival

Anderson, SC

Oct 24-26

Pickin’ & Grinnin’ Music Festival

Bellville, TX

Oct 31 - Nov 2

All American Indoor Music Festival

Fishersville, VA

Oct 31 - Nov 2

Honey Creek Resort Bluegrass Festival

Moravia, IA

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Did you miss it?

Volume 1, Issue 3: Two years ago this month, our third issue featured Dailey & Vincent, The Bankesters, The Baker Family, The Grassabillies, The Wayfarers, Six String Soldiers and Steel Wheels. You can check out all of the back issues on our website, even search for your favorite artists at: TheBluegrassStandard.com/magazine


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Suits, Boots & Bluegrass

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The Bluegrass Standard - Desktop - Volume 3, Issue 9  

Choose desktop for easy reading on your computer, laptop or other large screen. Don't miss Gina Furtado, Rickey Wasson and an update on The...

The Bluegrass Standard - Desktop - Volume 3, Issue 9  

Choose desktop for easy reading on your computer, laptop or other large screen. Don't miss Gina Furtado, Rickey Wasson and an update on The...