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miss it? Volume 1, Issue 4 ~ Oct 2017: Moonstruck Management IIIrd Tyme Out Cane Mill Road Soggy Bottom Boys Lonesome River Band NewTown Sweetwater String Band The Cleverlys Volume Five Hogslop String Band

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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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The Blu e gras s St andard St aff Guest photographers: Barbara and Don Duncan, Andy Cartoun 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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Robert & Lynda Weingartz by Richelle Putnam THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Too often in life, goals become like New Year’s Resolutions, easy to make and easy to break. Not until we find “purpose” can we proficiently develop the determination and perseverance needed to reach that goal, because in finding purpose, our goal becomes a mission. And when you’re on a mission… nothing gets in the way. Robert Weingartz, Chairman/Founder of AirPlay Direct, and his wife Lynda, the company’s CEO, are on a mission. Born 1964 into a military family in Long Beach, CA, Robert, at age 17, enlisted in the U.S Navy and served on a nuclear fast attack submarine. He graduated Navy Divers school and became one of the few divers to serve aboard a submarine in the Atlantic fleet. His father, who had also been in the U. S. Navy, served three terms in Vietnam.

Robert with Charlie Daniels

Clearly, missions are nothing new for a Weingartz. Fast forward to January 2005, and we find Robert managing a few artists and releasing the CD These Days, by Clay DuBose. “I had a considerable amount of time and resources tied up in this project, as I co-wrote about half of the material and coproduced the album.” These Days did extremely well on the AMA Americana Airplay Chart, on global radio and was taking off internationally. “That is where we hit the inevitable ‘cash-flow’ wall,” said Robert. “We had so many requests for hard-copy promotional packages; a CD, bio, photo, radio one-sheet, envelope, and postage that we could not afford to send them out; especially to the international radio stations and magazines.” As Robert faced this frustrating professional obstacle, he realized others around the globe did, too. Opportunity knocked. A new mission began. AirPlay Direct was born. AirPlay Direct’s Eco-System provides a platform to centralize the artist’s essential business development materials including interactive song tracking reports, a digital press kit/DPK, “global radio indicator charts”, bio, lyrics, song information and a quality music catalog for radio stations to preview and download. The free threehour instructional seminar teaches members how to properly set-up their AirPlay Direct Artist Profile. 10

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“I was certain that this was an incredible opportunity for artists and labels to grow their global distribution footprint, increase their airplay, and deliver their music quickly, efficiently, and cost effectively.” As Robert explains, AirPlay Direct’s digital solution has proven to be the answer to the ever-present professional question, “How do we quit wasting time and money by sending out hard copy artist packages or by paying for expensive digital music delivery and services?” “If our members thrive, we thrive,” said Robert. AirPlay Direct consistently registers new radio members and continues to grow in numbers daily, from 50-75 new radio members a month. AirPlay Direct’s platform, built upon the backbone of our global distribution pipeline, currently services over 11,000 radio programmers in 90 plus countries. Serving and functioning as a fully integrated artist and business development eco-system, AirPlay Direct’s digital smart-tools and services to artists, labels and the professional music industry at large, have “saved members a tremendous amount of time and specifically money over the years,” said Robert, adding that AirPlay Direct is also an ecologically responsible solution. This solid expertise is built upon Robert’s extensive music industry experience which began in 1986, during the “Sunset Strip” days in West Hollywood, California. “I was primarily working with up and coming Alt. Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal bands as an Artist Manager, with a strong focus on artist development,” said Robert. “I was paying my bills by working as a live music club promoter and production manager for a variety of bands, nightclubs and concert venues in Hollywood and the greater Los Angeles area.” Robert spent over a year as VP of Operations and A & R for Underground U.S.A., a music video show that featured independent artists and Indie label acts across a variety of genres. “I was also the primary show host and VJ (Video Jockey). I launched and partnered in a couple of small management firms along the way, before launching my own management THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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company and small, independent record label, Lazy River Records. Over the ensuing years, I managed several Indie bands and released a handful of albums via Lazy River Records.” AirPlay Direct’s boutique branding and business consulting division, Collective Evolution officially launched August 19th, 2016 to create and develop the APD Global Radio Showcase Series. “We have been fortunate to have the strong support and participation of our sponsors, our artists/label members appearing on the showcases and our radio programmer membership.” Robert explained that both APD artists/label members and radio programmers requested a “Best of Breed” showcase to highlight and present various AirPlay Direct artist members to global radio. “This series also served as a new resource for radio programmers to discover new music and catalogues they may not have been exposed to or had access to previously.” AirPlay Direct has released six volumes of the APD Global Radio Showcase Series made up of superior songs, previously unreleased tracks, special deep cuts, and new releases. “Keep an eye out for the announcement of APD’s Global Radio Showcase Volume 7, Christian/Gospel,” said Robert.

Robert with William Lee Golden of Oak Ridge Boys

Launching a new business is one thing, but to successfully launch and sustain a music business in a very competitive Internet music industry is quite another thing. “Throughout my thirty-three years in the entertainment industry I have developed my own perspective and process that remains in a constant state of evolution,” said Robert. “This process allows me to create, successfully launch a business, and most importantly remain relevant in an entirely fluid and unstable global business marketplace.” The Weingartz philosophy is Dreamers dream, Visionaries execute. Ever loyal to their basic business principles, Robert says that by “living on the bleeding edge of innovation” they are lifting AirPlay Direct to the next level.

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So, keep looking up… the Weingartz couple are on a mission, and nothing will get in their way.

The Weingartz strategy to success: First, you must have the entrepreneurial skills necessary to recognize opportunity and then see through all the commotion, anxiety and the ensuing ‘dust-up’ that is happening in your industry. Second, you must have the ability to correctly and successfully forecast the future business landscape, opportunities and professional needs forthcoming. Plus, you must whole-heartedly believe in your ability. Third, the most difficult step is the pre-launch process, the actual design and real-world development of your services and products. Failures are important to eventual success. Fourth is the creation, planning and deployment of a multifaceted, integrated marketing plan that maximizes your exposure and successfully leads your formal introduction into the global marketplace. Fifth, to remain relevant and viable you must be in a constant state of learning and evolution. Product development, research and knowledge of the ever-evolving business landscape is critical. “Always be searching for new opportunities to serve your customers and consistently provide them with the needed AirPlay Direct continues to solutions to the challenges offer a FREE thirty-day trial they face daily.” to artists and labels so they can personally experience first-hand the ease of use, practicality and power of their platform and services...

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photo: Daniel Carmody

High on the Fog Exploring the Strange and Wonderful Mystery of the Bay Area’s Fog Holler by Stephen Pitalo 14

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Fog Holler: The name evokes enigma in the way fog can obscure the landscape, and the way a holler can be both a location, and a cry for help. To say the buzz around the band Fog Holler is mysterious is apropos, and ambiguous explanations work fine for banjoist Casey Holmberg, guitarist Tommy Schulz, and bass fiddler Noa Laniakea, but their love of bluegrass and traditional American music is no mystery. Promoting themselves as “a spectral band that channel the spirits of bluegrass past and future” has brought Fog Holler to the forefront of the San Francisco Bay scene and beyond. “When we were thinking about a band name, Tommy and I had just moved to El Sobrante,” explained Holmberg, “which is in the East Bay of the San Francisco bay area. The property we found had a big backyard with tons of huge redwoods leading down to a creek, and in the mornings we can get some fog off of the San Pablo Bay creeping in through the trees in the mysterious sort of way that it does. Fog is such a quintessential part of the Bay Area, and was so impactful for us after spending years surrounded by Los Angeles deserts; it felt like a harbinger of our fresh start, So, we wanted something in a name that captured that transportive, mystical kind of feeling.”

following photos: Paige Green

The band formed after a series of other projects. Holmberg and Schulz were in a college theater program together, and Holmberg met Laniakea while playing in a bluegrass and old-time ensemble in the ethnomusicology department. After graduating, the two formed The Mountain & The Moon, a chamber music duo drawing on American folk and Noa’s classical repertoire. “We had a short but productive period of THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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touring and competing, and then went on hiatus when Noa moved from Los Angeles to the Bay.” Holmberg said. “After that, Tommy and I played music on the streets of L.A. as The Echo Mountain Boys, channeling brother duos like the Stanley Brothers and The Blue Sky Boys. We were doing fairly well and having a good time, but LA can be wearing, especially when you’ve been there for a number of years. I was missing Noa as a bandmate and a friend, so after talking it over it was clear to all three of us that joining forces was the best option. Tommy and I moved up to the Bay to reunite with Noa in early 2018 to form Fog Holler.” “I think the high cost of living here has certainly influenced us.” Holmberg said of making San Francisco their base of operations. “Because we started as a full-time group, our focus had to be on playing to get attention and keeping people with catchy lyrical hooks. Simply being heard can be a challenge, especially while busking on the streets with acoustic instruments, so trying to play softer, more subtle music doesn’t work as well when we play out. We started writing songs with straight-forward melodic ideas and really challenging ourselves to keep the choices simple so that things stay lively on the street. That being said, we all have a predication for music with a bit more depth. As we’ve grown and gotten in front of listening audiences in venues with better acoustics, we’ve been able to expand the scope of our instrumental music to really showcase Noa’s bass-fiddling and explore those textures in the larger bluegrass context. And I know Tommy and I both really find a rich source of writing material and inspiration in the natural scenery and iconic landscapes of northern California.” Holmberg said that the local San Francisco bluegrass scene, with residencies in clubs that host bluegrass nights on a weekly basis, include a rotating roster of local talent. The weekly local jams all around the bay area range from casual, smaller jams to more formal meetups. “Bluegrass has been growing in California for a while, so there’s a fairly large network of seasoned bluegrass professionals who make their homes here. There are excellent festivals out here, too, as well as weekly broadcasts from local stations - I’m a huge fan of Bluegrass Signal on radio station KALW. We’re always so humbled and grateful for the passion and dedication we encounter from California bluegrass fans!” 16

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The Stanley Brothers serve as Fog Holler’s greatest influence, particularly for vocal stylings, but the band draws inspiration from Doc Watson, David Grisman, Edgar Meyer, Bela Fleck, and Gillian Welch & David Rawlings. “We’ve learned so much from local acts like Laurie Lewis & The Right Hands and The Earl Brothers. That said, Tommy, Noa and I all have very different musical backgrounds so it’s a fun process to see how our varying styles synthesize and express themselves within the framework of a bluegrass ensemble, and how that stretches and expands our own personal definition of what bluegrass is.” The songs on their EP entitled Or Else The Sun are distinctively different from each other, a result of all members expressing their songwriting within the band. “Or Else the Sun was our first recorded original music and we all wanted to have some songs on the record. All of us write music for the group, and given our very distinct musical backgrounds, that usually means each of us comes to the table with something unique. I don’t think I’d ever write something quite like one of Noa’s tunes, and Tommy and I are very different poets. But, in a lot of ways, those differences allow us to challenge each other and incorporate new ideas that we might not have thought of otherwise. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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“So when it came time to record we wanted to reflect the diversity of our sound, and trusted that the musicality and instrumentation would carry it as a listening experience. We learned a lot of valuable lessons during that process and can’t wait to apply those to the full-length album we’ll be working on this fall.” “My favorite song on the record is ‘Under the Light of the Moon’,” Holmberg continued. “After listening to the rest of the EP it has a very settled and powerful energy. I feel like it works well independently and as the final punctuation on Or Else the Sun. If you listen close at the end you might hear a slight jingle, which came from a dog collar on a very sneaky pooch who snuck her way into the studio. Thankfully the timing was so perfect that we decided to keep the take, because the artifact was such a tasteful happy accident.” “‘The Doo-Rite Rag’ has been one of my favorites to play recently,” Holmberg said of the set list songs he enjoys currently. “We decided to try some adjustments, changing the tempo to slow it down a bit and modifying the arrangement. The changes were significant enough that we’ve started calling it ‘The Garbage Barge Rag’ when we play it out. The slow tempo against the chromatic melody moves the tune along at a saunter that also feels like it’s always about to completely collapse.” A Fog Holler show cooks up a cauldron of original music, banjo tunes, waltzes, traditional bluegrass and country music, all retaining their mysterious aura and expertly costumed stage presence. “We take cues from Bluegrass performance styles of the past but have modified them for the current time and climate. The bass, alternately booming and keening in Noa’s expert hands, backs our soaring brother duo harmonies. I knew I wanted Fog Holler to be an outfit band even before the band formed. Perhaps it’s a holdout from theater school, where we would rehearse in all black, but the uniform does wonders for the collective imagination of the audience and helps us really feel like a team on stage. Plus, there’s almost always a reaction when three six-foot-tall-plus people walk into a room in, for example, matching knee-length burgundy frock coats. Come for the outfits, stay for the music, and leave because of the terrible jokes!”

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David Grier by Emerald Butler David Grier grew up listening to and watching his dad play bluegrass with legends like Bill Monroe. “It was just normal for me; you know? They were just around. It was part of life. Dad played the banjo and it was just normal.” David recalls going to school and asking other kids which instrument their dad played. “They looked at me like I was crazy because their parents didn’t play anything. I figured everybody’s parents played because a lot of my dad’s buddies had kids my age and we’d hang out. It seemed normal that everybody’s dad played, but I went to school and found out that wasn’t true.”

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David seems to have spent most of his life moving forward with his ideas without the need of approval or association of others, although he’s played with greatly talented musicians and won several IBMA awards. The former Rounder Records artist has not only formed his own label and publishing company but his own flatpicking and performing style. Though he’s always loved the bluegrass music he grew up around, David acquired an electric guitar from his uncle as a teenager. “That required a whole different language of playing,” said David. Whether electric or acoustic, David found great interest in the guitar. “I would go to my room and play for hours and I saw progress. Something I couldn’t do a week ago I could now do. There was always progress, so I kept doing it. It was something you could do by yourself. It’s like drawing. If you can draw, you can do that by yourself and you don’t have to rely on someone else, like a baseball game where you need your buddies to play with you. This was something I could do by myself.” When he got older, David moved to Nashville. “I started playing my acoustic guitar again and got record contracts, and blah blah blah,” the flat picker casually added, then chuckled. “I’ve been at it a while. It doesn’t hold as much mystique as it once did,” he admitted. “I’m just always striving to sound more like myself. Copying people is how you learn. You see somebody walk so you try to walk. You see somebody skip so you try to skip. You see somebody do 22

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a cartwheel, it’s like ‘ooh, I want to try that!’ It’s the same as playing. The difference is you take what you learn then you apply it in all these different places. Where some people just take what they learn and just use it in that one way. I’ve always wanted that, and my goal is to have my own sound.” Having something of his own seems a high priority for David. Instead of waiting for someone to ask him to play, David is proactive. “I decided to use the phone myself instead of sitting there and waiting. I booked some solo shows. That’s what I do in the living room of my house so I figured I could do it in someone else’s living room or stage. It was easy.” David shared that he is fond of solo shows because of the extra money. “One for me, one for me, and one for me,” he said.

David started his Dreadnought Recordings label in 1998. “My contract was running out with Rounder Records, and I didn’t want to be signed to another contract, so I decided to start my own record label. “I figured I’d cheat myself out of some money for a while.” rrently has u c r ie r G id v Da t titled a new CD ou ”, which ld r o W e h t f o “Ways website is h n o le b a il is ava rier.com g id v a .d w w w

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Cindy Baucom: Knee-Deep in Bluegrass for More than Three Decades by Shelby C. Berry While many radio deejays across the country have made a name for themselves in their corner of the world, few become as well-known and loved as award-winning radio broadcaster, producer, musician, promoter and MC Cindy Baucom. One of today’s most easily recognized voices in bluegrass radio, Cindy celebrated the 36th year of her first day on air this past spring. 24

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She was still in high school when her career began at the local hometown radio station, WKSK in West Jefferson, North Carolina. She credits her start and love for bluegrass to the first man she loved, her father, Jim Brooks. He played banjo, fiddle, guitar and mandolin and built stringed instruments. Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina where bluegrass was a second language, Cindy performed in a band with her dad at area festivals and fiddlers’ conventions. Being around music and musicians her entire life, Cindy naturally navigated to radio and broadcasting at a school fair. “I knew radio would give me the opportunity to share music with a lot of people listening,” said Cindy. “A few years later, I had the opportunity to start producing and hosting the bluegrass show on my hometown radio station.”

Cindy on the air in 1983

Cindy took a full-time position behind the control board in radio following her high school graduation, working for WKSK while attending college at night to earn her broadcasting degree. “I feel really lucky that it happened that way,” said Cindy. “It started as just a cool thing to do until I decided what I really wanted to do with my life. And I’m still doing it 36 years later, just on a much larger scale.” Over the next fifteen years, she continued to work in bluegrass radio for WKSK and then WFMX in Statesville, North Carolina, preparing for her ultimate dream of broadcasting nationwide. When Cindy made the move to WFMX in 1996, she joined a large station that covered 60 counties located between Charlotte and Greensboro. While at WFMX, Cindy co-hosted a morning show, hosted remote broadcasts, special events and created marketing plans for advertisers. Over the years, she worked with widely known artists like Ricky Skaggs, Merle Haggard, Kenny Chesney, Lee Ann Womack, Brad Paisley and Diamond Rio. Cindy’s radio work led to frequent MC gigs and events across North Carolina and a seat on the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Board of Directors. She served two three-year terms, one as the IBMA Board’s vice-chair. She went on to THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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produce the 2008-2010 IBMA Awards at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee and win awards for broadcasting in 2005, 2013 and 2017. In addition to IBMA, Cindy has been involved in the renowned MerleFest since its 1988 beginning and began serving as MC in 1990. Her MC work has taken her to countless iconic stages, but perhaps this one, the one where she really got started, is a favorite.

Cindy with The Grascals

In 2011, Cindy produced the bluegrass release titled In A Groove by Terry Baucom, Cindy’s husband and well-known banjo player dubbed the “Duke of Drive.” This release brought together top names in bluegrass. She also dubbed the recording of Never Thought of Looking Back, which won Cindy her 2013 IBMA award for Recorded Event of the Year. That year, Cindy was also inducted into the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame. While working at WFMX, she met the CEO of John Boy & Billy Network in Charlotte, who had begun banjo lessons from Cindy’s husband, Terry. The network had been looking to include more country and bluegrass in their radio world. In 2003, the intense drive Cindy hurled into broadcasting gained new meaning when her Knee-Deep in Bluegrass show was syndicated and aired with 28 network affiliates. 26

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“When the opportunity of national syndication was presented to me, I jumped at the chance! Every week, we try to reach more people and keep the integrity of the music where it needs to be,” said Cindy. The Bluegrass Standard: Since you’ve been working in bluegrass for so many years, people love hearing what you have to say. So, how would you define bluegrass as a genre? Cindy Baucom: Wow! Bluegrass is a music that is mostly acoustic but not necessarily 100 percent. It is ever evolving. I really compare bluegrass to the growth of a tree. The roots of the music are what was formed in the 1940s when Bill Monroe first formed a band. The roots are there, and if you allow the tree to grow and branch out, the roots will stay strong too. In order for the music to survive and thrive, it should branch out while keeping the roots healthy.

Cindy with Sammy Shelor

BGS: What type of bluegrass music or artists do you enjoy most? CB: I like to keep my mind open as I’m listening for music to go on the radio. It has to be radio-friendly and relate to the largest number of people. I have to make sure that we play something that will make someone want to stop on the radio dial and listen. When I’m just listening for myself, I’ve always been a fan of the more contemporary bluegrass. I love things that just touch you in a real way with the musicianship and the lyrics are just so good. BGS: After 36 years in radio, what would you say has been the most rewarding part of this experience? CB: I love getting to sit down face-to-face with an artist to talk about their music. In a lot of the interviews for the radio or red carpet, it’s always really rewarding to ask questions and carry on a conversation about things that have meant so much to me over the years. Songwriters are especially fun to talk to because they go so deep and explain their music in such detail, taking you to where they were emotionally. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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BGS: Can you tell me some of your favorite memories throughout your career on air?

Cindy’s “Knee-Deep in Bluegrass” can be heard every Monday and Thursday from 5-7 PM CentralStandard Time, and her new “Knee-Deep in Gospel” can be heard on Sundays at 10 AM. Keep up with the latest in bluegrass:

CB: In the early days of MerleFest, I was working at a radio station in the county where festival was being held. Festival promoters would bring Doc Watson to the station to sing and tell stories. Doc Watson asked me to make a tape for him. He wanted a tape of sound effects and nature sounds. He said, “That’s my music.” So, I created 90 minutes worth of sound effects for Doc Watson. While I was doing my MC work, there was also a few shows when Tony Rice invited me onstage to sing and be a part of his show. Being such a fan over the years and getting to be onstage with him was just wow. Things like that are really special indeed. BGS: When Knee-Deep in Bluegrass started, did you ever imagine that it would have grown to be as popular as it has today? CB: In the back of my mind, I thought it would be cool to get to a really large audience. I am a firm believer that if you stay on your path and forge ahead, God will put people in your life to help you get there. BGS: If you could only listen to one album for the rest of your life, what would that be? CB: Oh, my goodness! I would have to say Rock My Soul by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. It was his first gospel release. I remember hearing the first cuts and where I was when I heard it. It’s just so powerful.

BGS: Lastly, how would you describe your radio career in one word? CB: Rewarding. On many levels.

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When the Stray Cats sang, “There ain’t nothing in school they don’t teach you on the street,” they could have been talking about Damn Tall Buildings, a relentlessly beaming band that gained those very street smarts when daily busking became their primary rehearsal time.

Primary vocalist and lyricist Max Capistran channels old blues as well as roots rock Robbie-Robertson style; Sasha Dubyk’s rich vocal tone and soulful flair fits into the pocket of musical theater where she originated. Avery Ballotta’s fiddle and Jordan Alleman’s banjo transcend harmony, while the rhythm section of Capistran’s guitar and Dubyk’s bass complete the full experience. The ragtag anthems in their repertoire reflect an abandoned everyman storytelling quality – blues with a smile, if you will. “Mostly, it’s inspired by John Hartford’s In Tall Buildings,” said Capistran of the band name, “which is a masterfully acute view of the life of working folks.” In 2013, then students at Boston’s Berklee College of Music, the band took their instruments to nearby street corners and jammed for hours. Friendships and harmonies were forged by time, their closeness fostered their infectious, captivating performance style. “We formed on the streets around Berklee,” Capistran explained, “busking to feed or drink and eventually falling in love with performing together, to the point that we got

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Now, whether live or on record, this shambolic crew emanates that same funloving energy, anchored by road-tested musicianship, strong songwriting, and their varied influences that stretch beyond bluegrass, even beyond American roots music altogether.

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the notion to start playing shows and recording the music we were discovering in real-time.”

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Diverse voices & backgrounds in a band can present interesting challenges as well as benefits, but Capistran said that it helps maintain identity.

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“It’s hard to give a straight answer, but the best way to put the ‘benefits’ into words would be that we are all unabashedly ourselves, and having been so close for so many years, our ability to blend in existence informs our vocal blend and vice versa. The only challenges lie in time it can take in rehearsals to get things to sound the way we want it.”

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“With Don’t Look Down, we focused a lot on organic production,” Capistran said, “which in this case is to say we all had a vision for overall ‘world’ of the record, and were able to direct every bit of ‘studio magic’ in line with each song individually, and as a part of a whole. Our previous works seem to lie on either ends of a similar scale. Cure-All is very raw, and each track was performed live with very little postproduction. Our self-titled release was an exploration in a more heavily produced sound. Teaming up with Dan Cardinal – who worked with Darlingside, Lula Wiles, and Josh Ritter – we are happy with what we were able to capture, and we feel that it encompasses the broad field of expression that comes from the four of us playing together.” The band also sees Don’t Look Down as a reconnection, a leap forward, a simultaneous arrival and takeoff, which captures Damn Tall Buildings’ live energy without diminishing their tight delivery. Even the album cover by artist Scott McCormick is a reference to the old Chinese story of Wan Hu, a man who strapped forty-seven rockets to a chair in order to launch himself into space. Sounds like Damn Tall Buildings is looking to blast off to a higher level themselves. When asked what they hoped to accomplish when they first formed, Capistran gets philosophical. “To share what we’ve discovered,” he mused. “To take what is shared with us, from any and every audience, and carry that energy forward.” Capistran also sees the largest cultural influence in their creative process is the modern world.

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Citing The Stanley Bros, Creedence Clearwater Revival, John Hartford, and even Modest Mouse as influences, the Buildings have three albums under their belt – 2014’s Cure-All, 2015’s self-titled, and their forthcoming third album, Don’t Look Down. The band relocated to Brooklyn, NY and toured widely, sharing stages with Sierra Hull and the California Honeydrops and appearing at festivals like Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and Freshgrass Festival, where they took second place in the 2016 band competition.

“The things we see and digest and discuss is the backbone of our music, other than all sorts of traditional music, rock and roll, hip hop, jazz – all of our friends regardless of genre.” THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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The band’s recent move to Brooklyn, New York, has shifted the band perspective and resolve positively, Capistran said.

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“There’s unmistakable magic in Brooklyn. All of New York City moves as an ocean of energy, and we have all come to feel at home in this swirl. We stick together through thick and thin – for almost 7 years – and that bond we share has only gotten stronger since moving here. We have stumbled into a loving family of other Brooklyn musicians, and are often inspired to create in ways we only dreamed about before the move.” He also enjoys the special moments only dedicated performers can understand and others hope to experience. “Like when the room is silent right before a downbeat, and everyone is breathing with us, or when the chorus echoes through the room while many voices sing out the lines, etc. THAT’S the best.” Can we expect monumental moments at a Damn Tall Buildings show from the music? A unique feeling of some kind? Capistran hopes so, for the band hopes to hit the heights as only Damn Tall Buildings can.

“Perhaps a kind of mostly pleasant electric shock feeling that starts buzzing inside your body, perhaps a sudden realization of the true meaning of bluegrass, but almost assuredly, tears.”

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Flatt Lonesome...

Rapidgrass: Spreading Bluegrass One Festival & Band at A Time by Emerald Butler

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However, growing up in a small mountain town in Colorado, Mark Morris experienced only the few bluegrass festivals Colorado offered. After graduating with a degree in music business and gaining touring and promotional experience, Mark Morris started his own festival and a band, Rapidgrass. “I thought that it would be a good opportunity to bring music to my hometown of Idaho Springs, Colorado,” Mark shared. “I always liked music. I always liked bluegrass music because that’s what my dad listened to on the record player. I started playing acoustic guitar and learning the pretty basic bluegrass songs. I started a band in high school, and we played some of the bluegrass stuff. Then I really started getting into some of the bluegrass players like Clarence White and Tony Rice.” Mark said that he decided to study music in college because “it was really the only thing I could sit in a classroom and listen to the whole time.” In 2007, he graduated from University of Colorado with a degree in Music Business and in 2009 co-founded the Clear Creek Rapidgrass Bluegrass festival with a group called Sister Sarah. In 2012, Mark put together Rapidgrass the band, comprised of Coleman Smith on fiddle, Alex Johnstone on mandolin, Charlie Mertens on bass, and adjunct player Billy Cardine on slide guitar. “I just kept at it for 16 years or so,” Mark reflected, “now I have three festivals and a band.”

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The mountainous Colorado Bluegrass festivals have been making waves in the industrial plains of Bluegrass music this year. With a combination of Folk, Americana, and progressive Bluegrass, festivals like Telluride are becoming more and more inviting to music fans of all genres.

Mark is a promoter for Rapidgrass in Idaho Springs Colorado, Rapids & Grass in Buena Vista, Colorado, and Silver Plume Mountain Song Day in Silver Plume, Colorado. The Rapidgrass festival is more of a band showcase and good ole THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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bluegrass festival featuring artists like the Traveling McCoury’s and Sierra Hull whereas the Rapids & Grass festival combines the music with a beer festival. The Silver Plume Mountain Song Day features local jams and bands throughout one day to raise money for the town of Silver Plume.

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While Mark isn’t working on promoting or playing a festival, he can most likely be found skiing. Mark Morris is also a professional athlete. He has traveled the world performing athletically and musically. This athletic part of Mark’s life seems to also influence the musical part. It is all centered around mountains and mountain life. “A lot of our songs are about mountains and the feeling you get when you are in the mountains,” Mark stated. “We draw a lot of inspiration from the mountains and nature in general, and we try to sing songs that celebrate the mountains and the mountain lifestyle.” Only a few big bluegrass festivals existed in Colorado when Mark was getting into bluegrass, but now he sees the influence Colorado is contributes to the bluegrass festival scene. “In Colorado, it’s a lot more experimental with the music. The demographic is much different. It’s a much younger demographic in Colorado. In the south, it’s an older demographic that wants to hear that Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, and whatnot. In Colorado, it’s more open to expanding the genre and maybe not as traditional. I think both are important. I think preserving the tradition of bluegrass is very important, and I think expanding on it and growing it is equally as important so that the genre can stay relevant and alive.” Either way, it’s safe to say the grass is spreading rapidly.

Rapidgrass’s new live album, “Gypsy Cattle Drive” was recorded in Chamonix, France.

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Alex Leach: From Singing with the Legends to Becoming a Legend Himself by Shelby C. Berry Few musicians in bluegrass and the music industry have spent over two decades in music by the age of 30. Count Alex Leach as one of the few. Growing up in the East Tennessee mountains, Alex is diving headfirst into his third decade of life and bluegrass music. Influenced by The Stanley Brothers, The Beach Boys and Porter Wagoner, Alex, at age five, discovered the bluegrass greats with his grandfather. That year, Alex received his first mandolin and four years later he was cohosting a bluegrass radio show on Tuesday nights at a local radio start-up, WDVS in Clinton, Tennessee. Now a twenty-year veteran in bluegrass, he still hosts that show today. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD


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“I think working in bluegrass radio for so long really helped me with my music,” said Alex. “It showed me a variety of bluegrass styles from the newest releases to the classics from the 1940s and 1950s. It helped me so much with laboring as a musician.” Working years in radio, traveling with his grandfather to countless festivals, and learning almost every string instrument there is, Alex began working with Larry Gillis. It was during this time that he wrote his hit “Mountain Heartache” with Rafe Waters. After five years with Larry, Alex was offered a position to play banjo with The Clinch Mountain Boys, now being led by Ralph Stanley II, son of the legendary Dr. Ralph Stanley. This task couldn’t have been taken on by any musician and Alex seemed to do it with ease. Over the next seven years, Alex toured the US with The Clinch Mountain Boys, learning much from them on a musical journey that led to Alex to the ultimate venue. “Playing with The Clinch Mountain Boys has been such a huge honor! When I was a kid, my grandad took me to see many shows by Dr. Ralph Stanley, and to be given the opportunity to play with him at the Grand Ole Opry was the biggest honor,” said Alex. “It was the biggest highlight of my career.”

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A two-time SPBGMA DJ of the Year winner before he was 15 years old, Alex had a plethora of bluegrass knowledge, almost like a walking bluegrass encyclopedia. Multiple national news organizations sought Alex out and he was eventually featured on CMT’s Big Ticket and Peter Jennings’ ABC World News Tonight.

When Alex got the call to join the band, he said “Them shoes there are never gonna be filled,” talking about Dr. Ralph. “Trying my best has been the greatest honor. Playing for them the last seven years has been a dream come true, and I want to thank Ralph II for such an incredible chance to be a part of the Stanley family.” THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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But Alex decided to leave his gig as a sideman and pursue being center stage. “I’ve been writing for many years and this is a dream I’ve had since long before joining Ralph II. I just turned 30, so I thought now was my time to share my own music with the public. This just really felt like the year to give it a try,” said Alex. The Alex Leach Band came out strong this September with festival dates in both New York and Tennessee before heading to this year’s IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, North Carolina. Joined by Brandon Masur on banjo, JT Coleman on bass, Robert Russell on fiddle and mandolin and Jackie Wilburn on lead guitar, Alex and his band are referred to as a new traditional style of bluegrass. Their music honors traditional bluegrass while also updating and giving their music a bit of a twist. “My buddy from The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys started describing our music this way, and it just stuck,” said Alex. “We are really high-energy and traditional in the best way.” After less than a month of officially being a band, The Alex Leach Band will participate in the showcase at this year’s IBMA convention. Showcase artists are selected for the chance to perform at least twice throughout the three-day event before the membership organization, which includes prominent people in the music industry.

“Being chosen as part of the showcase for IBMA was a great honor!” said Alex. “I was really crossing my fingers and praying that would happen. We are excited to show them our stuff!” THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD


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After IBMA, The Alex Leach Band plans to continue touring, and you can find a full list of shows on their website.

He and his new band are talking to a few music industry people and hope to sign with a record label in a few weeks. “We should hopefully have some new music out for you guys in just a few months!” Alex said. While chasing dreams with The Alex Leach Band, continue to catch Alex every Tuesday night on WDVX for the Bluegrass Spayshul show from 7-10 PM EST.

“My goal moving forward is to keep climbing. I don’t really know where the top is, but all I know is I plan to play tribute to the ones before me along the way.”

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“If you like bluegrass with a good twist and a lot of energy, you are sure to have a great time at one of our shows!” said Alex.

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by Kara Martinez Bachman With IBMA’s big events happening this month, it’s a great time to reflect upon how the association’s home state – North Carolina – shaped the careers of bluegrass artists born and bred in this beautiful area.

Banjo player Gena Britt – solo artist and band member of Sister Sadie – is one such performer. “Growing up in North Carolina was a blessing,” Britt said. “My family was always surrounded with string music and dancing when I was younger, so I was exposed to it at a very early age, in the dance hall. My grandfather was a square dance caller, and that’s where I was drawn to and fell in love with the sounds of the music.”

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North Carolina’s Gena Britt Will be Busy at IBMA

Of course, there’s square dancing in other parts of the country. But in her state, there’s a special relationship with bluegrass music that’s unique. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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“There was no shortage of the music in my area,” Britt explained. “I grew up in a hotbed of pickers in central North Carolina who helped teach me about the roots of our music, but there were also young people who were my friends that showed me how much fun and camaraderie you could have. It is definitely passionate for old and young alike.” This will of course be on display at the annual IBMA conference, happening Sept. 24 through 28 in Raleigh. It attracts people of all ages and backgrounds. “I grew up within a very short distance away from some folks who are at the top of their field in this music,” Britt continued. “It wasn’t uncommon for me to see great pickers every week, and I was always welcomed in, even as a little girl. My parents made that lifestyle accessible to me and I’m grateful for it.” Britt said she’ll perform with Sister Sadie at the IBMA Awards Show on Thursday night; at The Red Hat (right before Balsam Range) on Friday night; and at several IBMA showcases with a configuration she’s named “Gena Britt & Friends,” including an appearance at booth 527 for The Bluegrass Standard at 3 p.m. on Saturday. Britt is one busy lady. From her work with Sister Sadie – to her solo career – she’s been moving and shaking lately. She released a solo album in July, titled “Chronicle:

Friends & Music.”

“I’m really happy with the response it’s been getting and how radio has embraced it,” she said. “It’s really humbling when someone shows you how much they appreciate your music.” Accolades have come in full force this year, as the band’s release, Sister Sadie II, was nominated back in February for a Grammy Award for “Best Bluegrass Album.” The ladies debuted at the Grand Ole Opry and have already played there three times in 2019. They’ve been nominated for two IBMAs, for “Vocal Group of the Year” and “Album of the Year.” Accolades are fun, but for most musicians the meaning is found in the music itself. For people who play, it’s often the instrument itself that provides the strongest impetus to keep going over most of a lifetime.

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She started out when she was eight years old. She took lessons to get started, but said she learned most everything beyond the basics by listening to records by musicians she admired, including Flatt & Scruggs, J.D. Crowe & The New South, The Osborne Brothers, and Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. “I was heavily influenced by Terry Baucom’s playing,” she added. “Other influences are Scott Vestal and Sammy Shelor, who I used to see up on the Blue Ridge Parkway when my parents would take me to dance, and Sammy’s grandpa would bring him to play. I love his playing, it’s so unique.” Britt said it’s important to grow as a musician and develop a unique personal style. “That’s what I’ve tried to do, and determine my strengths and weaknesses,” she said. “I have come to the realization that I really love being a ‘band’ player and using the banjo as a percussive rhythm instrument.” “I love working my way in and around vocals, accenting them and using dynamics,” she explained. “Playing banjo is fun.” Indeed, it is.

So, we’ll be watching Britt pluck away at IBMA, in her beautiful home state of North Carolina.

Drop by The Bluegrass Standard booth 527 at IBMA at 3 p.m. on Saturday, to see Gena perform! For more about Gena Britt, visit:

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“I think the reason I love banjo so much is that there’s always something that you can still learn on a banjo,” Britt said. “I’ve been learning for 39 years. There’s so many different ways to play.”

www.genabritt.com

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2019 Carl Jackson’s

“HOME FOR CHRISTMAS” NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: The Winston County Partnership at 662-773-3921

(Sept. 4, 2019 Louisville, Mississippi). The Red Hills Arts Foundation of Louisville announces the 22nd edition of the “Home for Christmas” annual benefit concert hosted each year by singer, entertainer, and award-winning music producer and writer, Carl Jackson. On Saturday, Dec. 14th, 2019, Carl, who began his career with the legendary Glen Campbell in the 1960’s and 70’s, will present two shows (4pm and 7pm) at the First Methodist Church Family Life Center, while the Historic Strand Theater continues to undergo renovation.

Carl Jackson

At this year’s benefit, Carl will welcome “Home for Christmas” veterans and award-winning performers: Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley, Val Storey, Bradley Walker, Ashley Campbell, Johnny Rawls, and Isaac Moore. Tickets will go on sale October 1st and may be obtained in person at the Winston County Chamber at 311 W. Park St, Louisville, MS 39339 or by calling the Chamber at 662-773-3921. Carl Jackson & Glen Campbell: Carl first met Glen Campbell at the Ohio State Fair. Keith Whitley and he went to see Carl play, and after the show they were walking to their car. He happened to see Glen’s banjo player, Larry McNeely, near the backstage entrance. Carl went over to say hello to him, and Larry recognized Carl because he knew Carl had been playing with Jim & Jesse. He told Carl to come back the next afternoon, where he was introduced to Glen. Glen asked Carl to play several songs for him on banjo and guitar. After Carl finished, Glen asked, “How much money do you want to make?” Carl told him, “A million bucks!” Carl was then informed that Glen’s banjo player was leaving the band and Glen had been auditioning Carl for the job. Carl was hired on the spot, and the rest, as they say, is history. Today Carl is a world-class guitar player, writer, producer, and harmony singer appearing on hundreds of albums. But Glen always referred to Carl as “the greatest banjo player in the world”. That evening at the Ohio State Fair changed Carl's life. He spent the next 12 years playing with Glen all over the world and maintained a close, personal friendship with Glen until his death in 2017. Kim Campbell, Glen's widow, said, "Carl is the reason that Glen and I got married and had three children. He’s Godfather to Ashley, so we’ve had a long relationship." – Ends – For further information, contact the Louisville, Mississippi Chamber of Commerce at 662-773-3921.


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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Fiddle Express

The Jam Band with a Whole Lot of Talent

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In a world where contests for fiddling separate themselves from the bluegrass genre, Fiddle Express is shining brighter than any other star. Reigning from the Treasure Valley of Idaho, the Beck family, also known as Fiddle Express, is pushing the boundaries of fiddler’s country in the traditional Bill Monroe bluegrass style. Made up of six members — Isaac on banjo, Eliza on fiddle and guitar, Rachel on fiddle, Andrew on mandolin, Emma on double bass and Richard on guitar — it all started when Emma, the mom of the Beck family, started backing up her daughters on guitar during their fiddle competitions. “We are all originally classically trained,” said Emma. ‘We realized we had something special as a family. So, we came up with a band name and started learning to play more instruments. We have made it a goal to learn to play a new instrument each year.” Another Beck family goal was to spend time together. “We practice together, have goals together and obtain those goals. The best part about bluegrass is that we are all harmonizing. The greatest thrill is when you are on stage harmonizing and making real music together,” said Emma. Fiddle Express offers a wide range of bluegrass jams from upbeat Monroe songs to twin fiddling and swing. Bluegrass deejays have even compared their music to the Grascals and Lonesome River Band. “That was a shock!” said Emma. “A deejay from Australia was the first one to start saying that, and we were so shocked but grateful to say the least.” Fiddle Express strongly emphasizes swing and harmonies. Andrew, the youngest of the band members at only ten years old, is the mastermind behind every harmony and melody the band produces. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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“We never know what Andrew will do!” said Emma. “There are three things you can expect at every Fiddle Express show — twin fiddling, swing pieces and Andrew. He creates every harmony you hear on stage in that very moment.” Earlier this year, Fiddle Express released their very first EP, Rubber

Dolly.

After releasing this EP, Fiddle Express was labeled ‘jam band,’ meaning they are mostly instrumental. While they are working toward adding more vocals to their music, Rubber Dolly was primarily an instrumental EP with six of the seven songs having no vocals. However, the response to the EP has been outstanding. Their successful EP release provided the opportunity for Fiddle Express to play their first bluegrass festival, Bannock County Bluegrass Festival in Pocatello, Idaho. They are the only children to have been accepted by this festival, which makes performing there a huge honor. Another honor has been winning the National Old Time Fiddle Contest Showcase, something incredibly difficult to do for such young musicians. Started in 1963, this fiddler’s showcase pulls volunteers from the small town of Wesier, Idaho for a week of intense competition and endless fiddle jamming where all ages gather to listen. In August, Fiddle Express jammed on a mountaintop with their biggest influence — the O’Conner Band — at the 2019 Targhee Music Camp. Held annually at the Grand Targhee Ski Resort in Alta, Wyoming, the Camp gives musicians the chance to learn new tunes, rub elbows with their musical heroes, make friends, and capture stunning views. Bettering themselves as musicians and learning more about bluegrass music would not be possible without Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars. 60

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“We originally joined because the bluegrass scene for kids is small in Idaho,” said Emma. “We are an anomaly, and Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars helped us connect with others since we are the only members in our state.” Having found a community through Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars, Emma said, “They are super supportive. We can always count on their support to carry us through the darker hours. It’s been amazing.”

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L

ive performances of American roots music from The Lone

Star Bluegrass Band, The Coleman Brothers, and Travers Chandler & Avery County on the Depot stage. There’s a “Shade Tree Jam” for pickers and grinners to sit back under the trees and join in with other musicians, food and merchandise vendors, and a kids’ zone, too.

/Tomball Texan for Fun

TomballTX. GOV

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 Fiddler’s Porch 

Christie Lenée:

Redefining Winning by Emerald Butler

Being the 2017 International Fingerstyle Guitar champion is no small thing. Neither is being a finalist for Acoustic Guitarist of the year. Christie Lenée is both. The award-winning guitarist and singer-songwriter describes her music as “Michael Hedges meets Joni Mitchell and Dave Matthews,” but her talent and spirit are catching the attention of music lovers of all genres. Not only is she taking awards home one competition at a time, but she is giving it all back with her recordings and live performances across the planet. “I started performing in an entertainment group when I was a kid in Tampa, Florida,” Christie remembers. “My sister was in the group and I would go to all the rehearsals and watch them. I learned all the songs and dances and auditioned when I was four years old. The director thought that I was nuts for asking to audition but she let me in. I guess I impressed her or something.” This provided a very theatrical experience for Christie, but it wasn’t until a few years later that she found love for more musical expression.

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Christie attended a performing arts high school and studied acting. During this time, she still played her guitar and mainly tried to learn Rock’n’Roll songs by ear and by playing along to records. “My mother said that she would pay for lessons if I wanted to learn classical, and I was like ‘oh no! I don’t want to learn classical music!’ I had no idea how much I would fall in love with classical music only a year later.” Christie reflects on a concert at the performing arts high school. “I heard there was a guitar concert and I just went to the performance knowing that I loved the guitar. The teacher that put on the concert at the school put on a performance that changed my life. I had never ever seen anybody play the guitar like that. I had no idea that such intricate music was possible on the guitar. I knew that he was the teacher that I had been waiting to find my whole life.” Christie changed her major to guitar and never looked back. “It was a really crazy experience,” Christie describes her process of competing in the International Fingerstyle Guitar Competition. “My manager Gina told me that she submitted me to the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship, and I said ‘wow that sounds interesting. Where’s that?’ and she said Kansas. I was like ‘the International Fingerstyle Guitar Championship is in Kansas?’ and she said yeah people come from all over the world and they do it.” Christie shared that she was excited about the idea of it, and her manager told her “you’ll go, and you’ll win.” After going through some doubt and song choice decisions, Christie found peace with the experience. “I sort of thought in my mind that I was supposed to win this thing. I started putting a lot of extra pressure on myself about it then I realized that there was a possibility of redefining winning. I chose to redefine winning by showing up and 64

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doing the absolute best that I could. With that energy in mind, it really shifted my perspective on the experience. I got really inspired to go back in the woodshed and spend time with my mentors on Skype, get some guitar lessons, and go back into my studies and figure out how I could become a better musician. I wanted to walk off that stage and know that I did the absolute best that I could, that I prepared well, and if I felt really good about my performance and did well then that would be the ultimate success to me.� Christie LenÊe walked off that stage that day as the 2017 International Fingerstyle Guitar Champion and owning every definition of success.

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Currently, Christie is a finalist for the Acoustic Guitarist of the year for 2019. After spending the summer playing several dates of solo shows, Christie shared that she is especially looking forward to upcoming performances with her band and adding some more electric guitar to her live performances.

Directly after these shows, Christie will travel to Europe for the Acoustic Guitarist of the year finals. Among all of the touring and competitions, Christie is also in the process of recording a new album. She has a new single available called “Free World Citizen”, which is also planned to be the title cut of her new album. The album will be released in the spring of next year.

Christie Lenée “I believe in music… the way I believe in miracles.”

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 Fiddler’s Porch 

Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum: An Owensboro Experience by Emerald Butler Located in Kentucky’s fourth-largest city and a mere 37 miles away from the birthplace of Bill Monroe, stands the hall of bluegrass pioneers and innovators, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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The museum hosts a variety of musical artifacts but has also become a community fixture for live shows, open jams, music lessons, and free movies. Visitors from around the world experience the museum and the music history it preserves. Founded in 1991, the Hall of Fame opened their current facility on the banks of the Ohio River in Owensboro, Kentucky in 2018. Two floors of the three-story building are arranged to guide visitors down the “River of Sound.” The museum exhibits are separated into five different stages of the bluegrass timeline. From the “Dawn of the Bluegrass Era,” to the “Starving Out,” to the “Festival Era” and “Modern Roots & Branches,” each exhibit digs into the songs and artists who preserved and grew the genre. That might be with Bill Monroe, J.D. Crowe, Alison Krauss, or Sierra Hull to mention just a few. The impact that bluegrass music and musicians have had on other genres is also displayed in the museum. The museum was designed with a special event space that is located on the third floor. Whether it’s a class reunion, wedding, business party, or concert, the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame museum brings it all back home as a resourceful part of the community. That sense of community makes the museum experience complete in Owensboro, Kentucky. “It just makes sense,” museum associate Kristy Westerfield states. “Bill Monroe, the father of Bluegrass, was from Rosine, Kentucky in the next county over called Ohio county.” Visitors come from all over in tour buses, on riverboats, or stop in while just passing through. Some of the museum’s latest visitors came all the way from Brazil. “You never know where you’re going to get people from,” Kristy shared. “People all over the world love Bluegrass. The museum tends to be a place for a musical pilgrimage. You stop at the museum. You go to Rosine, Kentucky and go to the Bill Monroe home place, Rosine barn, and you go to the new Bill Monroe Museum. For a lot of people, it’s pretty exciting because it’s part of their bluegrass pilgrimage. During ROMP, we had two visitors from Israel that were super excited to be there. Just to be there, see the exhibits, and be around other people that play the music.” Kristy describes bluegrass as “a genre where you can be at a festival and the people that are on stage will go and jam with ordinary and common day people that love the music too. Things like that go on that you don’t see in other genres. People will take time out to show somebody a lick that they played. It’s a totally different atmosphere. It is very people-oriented.” The whole community in Owensboro, Kentucky seems to have adopted this philosophy. Between Memorial and Labor Day, the city hosts concerts and events on the weekend. The city also collaborates with the museum to host the annual ROMP festival. From Bluegrass music to one of the country’s top parks with a side of unique BBQ and Bourbon, Kristy encourages visitors to try it all. “It’s more than just a go into the museum trip,” she explains, “it’s an Owensboro experience.” 68

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Better Off Dead New York’s Irish Pub “The Dead Rabbit” Hosts Live Bands for Traditional Irish Music by Stephen Pitalo The story opens with two men from Belfast, Jack McGarry and Sean Muldoon, opening an Irish pub in New York City in 2013, a multi-floor joint in the great Irish tradition of no-nonsense, no airs and graces called The Dead Rabbit. With a far-from-unique beginning, the story becomes extraordinary with superb mixology, excellent food and curated live music that puts this pub on the map, decimating the competition so thoroughly that it was named BEST BAR IN THE WORLD on the World’s 50 Best Bars list from Drinks International magazine in 2016.

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Tragedy struck two years later, when the bar was badly damaged by a fire, destroying the kitchen and burned some back-of-house areas, resulting in more than $400,000 in damage. Fortunately, the Irish spirit buoyed the proprietors’ hopes, and the bar was reopened before the end of the summer. And though the drink and camaraderie rival that of a night with Irish friends, it’s the Sundays filled with lively Irish music that keep traditional music lovers returning week after week. “Being an Irish Bar, we feel that the music enhances the atmosphere and authenticity of the bar,” explained Laura Torres, Director of Operations and Managing Partner of The Dead Rabbit. “At The Dead Rabbit, we’re bringing the Irish Pub into the 21st century by combining Irish hospitality with a world class cocktail bar and pub. It is important for the ambiance to have a traditional feel without being cheesy.” Torres explained that the partners choose the bands, often seeing them perform at other venues before booking them. “If we like the music and feel of the group, we invite them in to do a trial, to see how the music fits within our space. From there, we hire them for a weekly gig,” Torres said. The Dead Rabbit seisiún [Irish for mostly informal gatherings at which people play traditional Irish music] occurs in the first-floor taproom on Sundays since the bar opened six years ago. At that time, The Dead Rabbit also employed ragtime pianist Terry Waldo, playing in the second-floor cocktail parlor from the opening of the bar up until last year. Currently, Mara Kaye vocalizes blues and jazz, with Conal Fowkes on the piano, in that same second floor parlor on Wednesdays. In addition to 72

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these musicians, members of Lúnasa also sit in, known stalwarts of the Irish music tradition for more than two decades. For your best Irish music options in New York City, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than The Dead Rabbit. From an old-world feel that harkens back to the 1800s and musical tastes that harken back to the Emerald Isle, it’s a must for Gothamites & visitors seeking out traditional Irish music.

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Update: Jesse McReynolds and Bull Mountain Moonshiner’s Way by Mississippi Chris Sharp The Bluegrass Standard featured an in-depth article on Bluegrass legend Jesse McReynolds in the August 2019 issue (Vol 3 Issue 8). More news from Jess is that his recording “Bull Mountain Moonshiners’ Way” is expected to be released by the time of publication of this issue. Bull Mountain Moonshiners’ Way is a fiddle themed recording featuring a string of traditional fiddle tunes done in the old-time way of Jesse’s grandfather, Charlie McReynolds, whose band, The Bull Mountain Moonshiners’ cover of the old fiddle tune “Sally Goodwin” was included among the nineteen artists recorded on the historic 1927 Bristol Sessions by RCA-Victor, which also included The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers. On the Bristol recording, Charlie McReynolds is playing the old fiddle he inherited from his father (Jesse’s great-grandfather), Matthew McReynolds, who bought the 200 plus-year-old Strad copy in the late 1800s on credit for the big sum of $7.00. Jesse McReynolds later inherited his grandfather Charlie’s old working fiddle, which has returned to the studio for the first time since 1927. The storied fiddle has become one of the stars on this new recording. 74

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Jesse told about grandfather Charlie, who traveled on horseback to dances and events in and around his Virginia home with his band, The Bull Mountain Moonshiners. Charlie had had an accident which left him injured in both legs, requiring him to use crutches to get around. It also seems that his old horse had recovered from a broken leg but was able to escape the usual remedy for horses suffering that fate. “My disabled grandfather rode that crippled horse all over the place,” Jesse said with a laugh, “with that old fiddle as his constant companion.” So, the Bull Mountain Moonshiner’s fiddle is back to work, being played by some of the best fiddlers in the business on The Bull Mountain Moonshiners’ Way: Jim Brock, Steve Thomas, Michael Cleveland, Jim Buchanan, Glen Duncan, Buddy Griffin, Travis Wetzel, Eddie Stubbs, Corrina Rose Logston and McReynolds himself. The fiddle was also used on McReynold’s new original song, Bull Mountain Moonshiner. Several among the sixteen tunes on the recording stand out: Bonaparte’s Retreat and Leather Britches, featuring Jesse; Kennedy Rag featuring Jim Brock; Johnny Bring the Jug Around featuring Buddy Griffin; and The Girl I Left Behind Me, which is credited to Johnny Goodwin on Fiddle. There is a real old-time feel on this recording. Jesse said his goal was to present oldtime fiddling in the way his grandfather would have played it, on the same fiddle his grandfather had used. The Bull Mountain Moonshiner’s fiddle is back at work after a ninety-two year hiatus. We’d like to hear more from it.

Bull Mountain Moonshiners’ Way is slated for a September 21, 2019 release on Pinecastle Records. For more information visit: https://pinecastlemusic.com/news

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Music Barn ď‚œ CD review

The Grascals Straighten the Curves by Mississippi Chris Sharp A qualifying item for any recording is how much one wants to hear it again. Straighten the Curves has a high want-to-hear-it-again factor. This first release since the departure of founding member and Bluegrass veteran Terry Eldrege and the addition of Chris Davis, whose resume includes Larry Cordle, The Goins Brothers, Larry Sparks, and others. It starts off good and ends better. Everything about this recording is top shelf: the band, the vocals, the song performance, the physical recording, the mastering, the song selection, everything. From the opening 76

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My Virginia Mama to The Shepherd of My Valley, this recording keeps one’s attention, precipitating head bobs and foot pats all the way through. The Grascals’ vocals are second to none, and the song choices on this recording are impeccable. The songs are not just executed, but performed, and there is a big difference between an execution and a performance. The standout songs: Don’t Leave Your Memory Behind, a sad country ballad about love gone wrong with delightfully close vocals; The thumping title cut, Straighten the Curves, with Terry Smith’s slapping bass; The haunting and poignant They Laughed, which produced no laughs and nearly garnered some tears; Heartbreak Hall of Fame, which is bound to be a chart topper and the song to watch; a thumping cover of Eddie Rabbit’s #1 hit, Driving My Life Away, Bluegrassified in a most believable way, which can be tricky, but apparently The Grascals know the trick; and Who Needs You, a very Osborne-esque song. The instrumental AndiWayne features the mandolin and drives without too much speed, with a nice back and forth between all the instruments the third time through.

Haggard is bound to be a crowd favorite. What is not to like about a song that celebrates and mourns the life and loss of a good dog? However, it just drips with a sappy sentimentality, which would make it a flat-out winner for the Hallmark movie crowd, were a screenplay to be developed from the song’s story line and this its theme song. It is “Old Yeller” for a new generation.

The Shepherd of My Valley had fabulous, nay, nearly angelic harmonies! Professional through and through, the only thing tedious was the repetitive longheld fiddle note that became predictable for the end of every song. This must be the producer’s idea of how songs should end. Maybe so, but not every one of them, please. Again, top shelf everything through and through ensures there won’t be any disappointments on what this CD delivers. A lot was expected and it does not fail. Release Date: August 30, 2019 Label: Mountain Home Music Company https://grascals.com/home THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Music Barn  CD review

Merle Monroe – Back to the Country (Pinecastle Records) by Mississippi Chris Sharp Merle Monroe’s Back to the Country is top shelf: top shelf vocals, top shelf instruments, top shelf recording, top shelf mastering with spit and shine polish all the way through. The opening Moving On thumps and drives. Beautiful Kentucky is a wistful mourn for the vistas of youth. The delightful harmonies just make this song captivate. The gospel song Blessed City is just perfect, perfect enough to make one wonder if autotune and multiple track mixing are some of the tools used to achieve it. Merle Haggard’s Hungry Eyes is rendered here with grace, power, and beauty. It is 78

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not easy to blend grace and beauty with power. The band accompaniment is just right. Tim Raybon delivers buckets full of vocal performance. Singing Crazy (Like Patsy Cline) got my attention right off the bat. I could hear Bobby and Sonny’s influence on this song, and anything that makes one recall The Osborne Brothers is a good thing. The poignant Dad has already been released as a single from this CD. I can see why. The harmony fiddles and guitar work are fabulous. The vocals once again perfect. I could not ask for more. I’ll Follow You has an intricate vocal and instrumental arrangement. The band renders He Will Roll You Over the Tide in fine Southern Gospel fashion. The Kindest Man is about Granddad. Any song about a good Granddad is by definition acceptable to me, and a song about a bad Granddad, well, I just don’t want to hear that. I’ve always wanted to be just like me Granddad, too, though mine had a few more flaws than the Granddad presented here. Over time, the flaws just fade into mere shadows. I could barely pat my foot as fast as the tempo of This Town. This song absolutely thumped. I’m glad the band chose to give us a taste of this thump and speed instead of a five course meal.

Back to the Country has a high want-to-hear-it-again factor going for it. It starts off great and stays that way throughout. It’s hard to pick out favorites on a CD such as this, but Movin’ On, Beautiful Kentucky, Hungry Eyes, Singing Crazy (Like Patsy Cline), Dad, and The Kindest Man are right at the top. I could pick the rest of them, too, but I had to stop somewhere. The record label says this is the debut release for Merle Monroe. Congratulations to this band of veteran musicians on this excellent recording. If there is any drawback, it would be that there are no warts. Sometimes a wart is just the thing that links us all in our humanity. The big gospel harmony endings can get a little tedious to me, but we’re only given a couple of those, though they were so strong it seems like more. Others will declare that there is not nearly enough of this type of song and harmony ending since that is what they enjoy the most. I’d like to hear this band do a live recording, whether it is in the studio or from the field. If you’re already a fan of Merle Monroe, the you are likely enjoying this CD. If you’re not, buying and not regretting it is a safe bet. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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October Bluegrass Festivals

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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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November Festivals & Events Dates

Event

Location

Nov 2

Bluegrass Festival at Patrick Henry’s Red Hill

Brookneal, VA

Nov 2

The Clayton Shindig

Clayton, NC

Nov 7-9

Fall Palatka Bluegrass Festival

Palatka, FL

Nov 7-9

Mountain View Bluegrass Festival

Mountain View, AR

Nov 8-9

Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival

Wilmington, OH

Nov 8-10

Four Corner States Bluegrass Festival

Wickenburg, AZ

Nov 21-23

Withlacoochee Jam-Boree

Dunnellon, FL

Nov 23-24

North Carolina Banjo Fest

Clemmons, NC

Nov 28-30

South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival

Myrtle Beach, SC

Nov 29-30

Thanksgiving Weekend Bluegrass Festival

Marshalltown, IA

For the complete list with links to full info, check out our Events tab at TheBluegrassStandard.com!

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from the Publisher’s desk

and month ahead ek we t ea gr a be to g in go s It’ ! re IBMA is he rd is moving forward with da an St s as gr ue Bl e Th r. be to Oc in future... projects that will lead us into the slie Brown “No Le d an n ow Br ff Je th wi ow sh o The New Radi of the major sponsors of e on as w, No rt. sta e th st ju s wa Kin” is being brought rd da an St s as gr ue Bl e th , TV e dg Ri Bluegrass mes. The partnership ho n io ill m 0 12 of n io nt te at e th to ep the Bluegrass ke ll wi ow Sh ad Ro o di Ra gs Do t with Ne d trending music an nt rre cu e th of nt fro re fo e th Standard in as well. chart of songs. If eo vid a g, tin ar Ch is t ec oj pr st Our newe t on YouTube or Google, ou eo vid l na sio es of pr a ve ha u yo gmail.com send a link to turnberryrecords@ ur video, and we yo of s ay pl e th all th wi ng alo w We will follo luegrassStandard.com eB Th on ek we ch ea em th t ar ch will ed in The Bluegrass ish bl pu be o als ll wi t ar Ch ly th The Mon y month. So record Standard magazine, each and ever in to us! companies, get your artist videos to the future of the We look forward with all of you, ass Standard magazine. gr ue Bl e Th d an . y.. str du in s as gr blue Keith Barnacastle – Publisher


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Deanie Richardson by Susan Marquez Deanie Richardson has her feet in two worlds, and she couldn’t be happier. One foot is on her 15-acre farm outside of Nashville where she raises chickens and has a garden. The other is on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, where she is a fiddler with the house band. (Or the “Gammy Opry,” as her threeyear-old granddaughter calls it!) “I’ve had a blessed life,” says Richardson. “I can’t imagine it being any better.” On the day we talked, the debut album by The Likely Culprits was released. “It started as a bunch of musician friends got together for fun, but this CD is really the proudest project I’ve ever done. It has all kinds of music, from country and bluegrass to rock.” Released on Richardson’s record label, Euphony Records, the band features Richardson on fiddle along with Ronnie Bowman, Melonie Cannon, Brandon Bostic, Ashby Frank, Garnet Imes Bowman, Austin Alexander Ward and Jamey Johnson. Richardson comes by her fierce fiddling skills naturally. “Both my grandfathers played guitar and mandolin, and my dad played guitar and bass. I grew up going to square dances in my hometown of Kingston Springs, Tennessee.” When she was nine years old, Richardson’s parents bought her a fiddle and she never looked back.

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“I took three years of lessons at Vanderbilt, but it was my dad’s father who really taught me to play. I’d play with him on long songs, and there was always a spot for me to do a solo. It was sink or swim. I learned to ‘swim’ real fast, and that’s how I teach my students now.” Three days a week, Richardson teaches lessons via Skype to students around the world. “I’ve got students in Ireland, the Caribbean and Canada, as well as in Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia, California and Washington.” With the technology available to young musicians today, Richardson says there’s really no excuse for anyone not to play well. “They have access to YouTube videos where they can slow down the video to study a musician’s finger placement, etc. Back in my day, it was backing up the needle on a record!” Richardson tells the story of being invited to participate in a goat milking contest with Melonie Cannon. “I had never milked any kind of animal in my life, so I went to the internet and watched videos on how to milk a goat. You’ll never believe this – I won the contest!” Growing up, Richardson says she attended as many fiddle contests as she could. “My brother was a clogger, and he competed as well. My parents took us all over and that gave us both a lot of exposure. We made a lot of friends and we learned a lot.” Her brother became a dancer at the Grand Ole Opry at age 15 and he’s still there today. “I grew up going backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and talking to some of the fiddling greats in their dressing rooms. It was a charmed childhood for sure.” At age 15, Richardson played with a newly formed band, the New Coon Creek Girls. “It was pure bluegrass, which is still the genre I love the most.” She later started her own band that played at festivals before joining Holly Young’s band at age 17. “My first gig with them was at a casino, and I was too young to get in! They had to escort me to the stage.” The band opened for George Jones and Conway Twitty. “That was pretty amazing!” THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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In 1995, Richardson started with Patty Loveless and toured with her for several years. “If Patty calls me now, I’m there. I love playing with her.” Richardson also started with Vince Gill, who she says is an incredible musician. “He had just released a new album, and he had a 16-piece band on stage with him with horns and everything. I was on stage with Charlie Cushman and Jeff White. It was truly a dream gig for me.” For a change of pace, Richardson toured with the Chieftains for four or five years, playing Irish music, before feeding her rock-n-roll soul by touring with Bob Seger. “I had always wanted to do a rock and roll tour, and it was all I had dreamed it would be.” Another project that is close to Richardson’s heart is her work with Sister Sadie. “I love all those women so much. We were nominated for a GRAMMY, so we got to go to the GRAMMY ceremony together, which was so much fun.” Looking back, Richardson says she has been so fortunate to have played (and still play with) singers she loves and adores. “I don’t feel that I’ve ever had to sell out. Life is so good. And now I’m playing with The Likely Culprits, which is more fun than you can imagine. We really just love each other.”

Richardson’s passion now is teaching young musicians. “I’m involved with the IBMA’s ‘Kids on Bluegrass’ program. We take applications that include videos from kids all over the country, and we choose 25 to 30 of them to attend the IBMA where we work with them all week. “It’s a great learning experience for the kids, and there is so much passion there for this music. They remind me of myself when I was their age.”

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Building Bluegrass in Portland by Kara Martinez Bachman Most people don’t really think of traditional bluegrass when considering the music scene of Portland, Oregon. As the 2019 Rockygrass Band Competition winner, Never Come Down hopes to change all that. By all appearances, they’re making real strides. “I think we’re at the center of growing the scene right now, in terms of a quality scene,” explained guitarist and lead male vocalist, Joe Suskind. There in Portland – which is probably better known for genres such as grunge – Suskind said “the traditional scene is pretty limited,” populated primarily with “cover bands and festival bands.” Suskind’s six-piece outfit plans to change that by creating both original music and new interpretations of traditional favorites. As the founding member of the band, Suskind said his father was a country musician. As is normal with staking out a sense of youthful independence, traditional music was “the last thing” Suskind wanted to do in his youth. But something happened about ten years ago. “I started looking into Doc Watson,” he said. “And there you go.” When he started playing bluegrass himself, he said it “felt like home.” About a year-and-a-half ago, he was offered a slot to put together a weekly “bluegrass night” at a local Portland bar, The Ranger Station. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Suskind began to gather musicians, and an important point came when he met guitarist and lead vocalist, Crystal Lariza. To be honest, at first, she wasn’t into it one bit. She’d been raised around Soul and Motown sounds. “My idol when I was a little girl was Cher,” Lariza said. “And Diana Ross.” She was skeptical of bluegrass. “I thought it was all old guys and banjos,” she said. “But I didn’t know how cool it could be.” She soon found out, and now is enjoying it fully. Speaking of banjos, the band’s banjoist is Brian Alley. He’s a Colorado native and his first bluegrass festival was Telluride, which he attended as a youngster. He’s been playing for 25 years and said he picked up the instrument after he first saw Sammy Shelor play. “I need a banjo,” he recalls thinking, immediately following Shelor’s performance. Mandolin player Kaden Hurst whet his appetite for music by playing classical piano. He’s earned a degree in music and said he applies the same rigor used in classical music to performing bluegrass. That means “treating it seriously” and giving a “higher attention to detail.” Lillian Sawyer plays fiddle and said she began going to bluegrass and roots festivals in Florida when she was just five years old. Her early influences were Afro-Latin and “old time eclectic fusion.” Today, she performs both bluegrass and jazz and is a 88

THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD


CONTENTS

TOMORROW'S BLUEGR ASS STARS

FESTIVAL GUIDE

graduate of the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Rounding out the lineup is Ben Ticknor, who plucks out the deep notes on bass. He wasn’t there the day The Bluegrass Standard spoke to the band while they were on the road, speaking from a van while in route to their next gig. Alley said that they’ve had many opportunities in the past year-and-a-half, including even traveling to Iceland for a gig. “Going to Rockygrass and winning that competition really unified us,” Alley explained, of the fresh new band picking up steam. “We all feel like it’s really important, and it’s really good.” “We all want to do this 100-percent of the time,” he added. “We’ve all sacrificed our regular jobs and relationships to do this.” Since changing her mind about traditional music and becoming the female voice of Never Come Down, Lariza has developed a philosophy about performing both old songs and the band’s new material. Her comments describe it all in a nutshell.

“I think the biggest thing is to respect the song,” she explained. “To treat it with dignity and make it the best it can be.”

THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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

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Suits, Boots & Bluegrass

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Suits, Boots & Bluegrass

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• Booking 2019–2020 •

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Christian Davis

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