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Turnberry Records & Management • Booking 2018–2019 •

Christian Davis soulful baritone

Rebekah Long

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Bluegrass Outlaws

tight, melody-driven harmonies

The Kody Norris Show classic bluegrass showmanship

Phillip Steinmetz & His Sunny Tennesseans crowd-pleasing nostalgia

760.883.8160 • turnberryrecords@gmail.com 12168 Turnberry Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270 www.TurnberryRecords.com


The Bluegrass Standard

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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 publishing or reprinting any letter. Please forward any letters to: editor@thebluegrassstandard.com The views expressed are not necessarily those of The Bluegrass Standard. Copyright Š2018. All Rights reserved. No portion of the publication may be reproduced in any form without the expressed consent of the publisher.


The Blu e gras s St andard St aff This month's guest writer: Deborah Young 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!

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.

Shelby Campbell • 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.

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.

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The Blu e gras s St andard St aff 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.

James Babb • Creative Director James Babb is a native Californian, and a long-time resident of Palm Springs. Over the course of a 30+ year career, he has been involved in creative work of many types. In addition to his graphic design for The Bluegrass Standard, James also provides custom framing of paintings by artists from his local community. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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CONTENTS Rick Dollar Chad Darou Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen The Lonesome Days Appalachian Road Show Dewey and Leslie Brown 6

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Yonder Mountain String Band Vermilion Express University of Louisiana at Lafayette

Diamond Creek Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars:

Jaelee Roberts Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass

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Fiddler’s porch

Jim Lauderdale Bay Area Bluegrass Assoc.

A Thanksgiving Story

Leveetoppers Carl Jackson

Home for Christmas

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Conserving players and their instruments for years to come.

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Rick Dollar

Mountain Music Museum: The Pickin’ Porch is Really Takin’ Off! by Kara Martinez Bachman Rick Dollar was born in Richmond, Virginia and was the son of a prison

guard. When his parents brought him home from the hospital there was no place to put him, so as an infant, he was surrounded by music. It was quite by accident. “They had no bassinet,” Dollar explained. “I slept in a chest of drawers. On top of that chest of drawers was a console stereo. So, I started out with music.” It’s been a long time since he was an infant surrounded by tunes, but honestly, he’s still surrounded by everything connected to music. Dollar knew even as a little boy that he wanted to work promoting music. He wanted to be one of the guys who 10

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could make hay for the artists he loved. “I knew that music, at six or seven years old, was what made me happy,” he reminisced.

Today, Dollar is executive director of the Mountain Music Museum in Kingsport, Tenn. Since he came onboard to run this museum created by the Appalachian Cultural Music Association, he’s boosted the tourist attraction’s profile significantly.

The Museum began 20 years ago in downtown Bristol, with attendance at its small live inhouse show usually numbering around 30 or 40 people. “It was the original Birthplace of Country Music Museum,” Dollar said, but stressed that back then, it was a small place that strictly attracted local performers to its Thursday night Pickin’ Porch Show. “We have a music venue inside the museum. It has church pews,” Dollar explained, of the quaint interior with unique seats. The museum traces the history of mountain music, featuring exhibits and artifacts connected to greats such as Tennessee Ernie Ford, Dr. Ralph Stanley, Flatt and Scruggs, Archie Campbell, The Carter Family, and more. “We have the Roy Acuff fiddle that was for sale on Goodwill’s website last year,” Dollar said, referencing the instrument that caused a stir even across national media after it was accidentally donated to Goodwill. Then, the owners asked that it be returned when they realized they’d given it away by mistake. Dollar said people come from all over the globe now to see things like the Acuff fiddle. They come from London. The Netherlands. Germany. They’re starting to get more tour buses. One of the things Dollar did to raise the profile of the museum when he came on board was to make the show available for online viewing. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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“We started to live stream the show,” he said. It’s broadcast via the Pickin’ Porch Show Facebook page [click above]. Dollar said viewership is so high, the live stream gets between 8,000 and 10,000 engagements a week. That’s a lot of attention for what began two decades ago as a little show only seen by a few dozen! Dollar has other irons in the fire that complement his work at the museum. He’s had experience in radio and as a podcaster, and eventually decided to parlay his skills for public speaking and interviewing into a YouTube channel featuring interviews of bluegrass music stars. It’s called Net Radio Dogs. Dollar said he loves getting to really know the people who make the music. “It was really interesting to me to meet musicians,” he said. “God gave me the talent to talk to people...the music business is my home.” He also runs a music PR company, Radio Dog Productions, where he promotes talent. “We’re gonna be signing a couple of new acts that are very big,” he said, foreshadowing big announcements he couldn’t make public just yet. “Radio Dog Productions is kinda like the next step in the puzzle,” he said, explaining how the projects he’s involved with intersect and feed off each other in creative and positive ways. 12

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“Having all these connections, and knowing all these people, it was very easy to get these people to come in and perform,” he said. After all, once Dollar has someone appear on his show, how could they resist saying yes to playing the Pickin’ Porch stage? “It helps the nonprofit,” Dollar continued, about why his work to further raise the museum’s profile matters. “It’s helped to get the show more notoriety.” “It’s a great museum,” he said, in summary. “Most musicians who come in to play say they love playing among all these artifacts.” He said even those who aren’t big mountain music fans will find something to enjoy. All music, after all, builds upon itself. Dollar mentioned that bluegrass has influenced many great musicians, including guys such as Robert Plant.

“It doesn’t matter what style of music you play, there’s always someone to look up to,” Rick explained. “I see it all as the perfect storm... it’s all a big melting pot.”

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Chad Darou Has “Raised the Bar” by Emerald Butler Many Bluegrass fans and critics have been raising the volume to the newly released eclectic album, “Raising the Bar”. The piece is the astounding creative work of longtime musician Chad Darou. Since its release, “Raising the Bar” has caught the attention of the Huffington Post, reached number one on the APD Global Radio Indicator, and debuted at number 10 on the Bluegrass Today charts. Chad Darou has been making some serious waves in the world of Bluegrass, but what most people don’t know is that this success almost didn’t happen.

Chad Darou was introduced to Bluegrass music through his parents and their joy of clogging. At the early age of eight, Chad learned how to clog and play guitar. Growing up in his hometown of Seminole, Florida, the young musician began playing with a local group who called themselves the Soggy Bottom Bunch. This Soggy Bottom Bunch became a staple on a local morning news program in the 1970’s before Mr. Clooney had the chance to open his first can of Dapper Dan. Thanks to some of this experience and exposer, Chad was invited to play with Charlie Collins and Brother Oswald of Roy Acuff’s band at the Grand Ole Opry. He also performed at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee while he was only 12 years old. Preferring to plow through snowstorms instead of cowering from hurricanes, the Darou family moved from Florida to their northern origins in upstate New York. The 14-year-old boy quickly made contact with his new local music scene and started a band called Wheeler Creek. After playing with that band for about two and a half years, Chad was invited to perform with Bill Keith. “Bill Keith was just an amazing musician, human being, and one of the most intelligent guys I’ve ever known,” Chad shared.

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The time came for Chad to begin working on his higher education. The well-experienced musician earned a degree in Nursing from Jefferson Community College in Watertown, New York. Later, Chad would return to school to earn a certification in graphic design and visual communication. The man has become a jack of all trades. From music to machines, Chad Darou is well versed. Away from the early musical opportunities and college studies, Chad Darou once made the decision of many aspiring musicians. Chad Darou moved to Nashville. “It was a tough change for me,” he confessed, “I had been playing steady every week and making good money in the North East then I moved down to Nashville…and most of the club owners don’t like to pay. That’s totally understandable, but it makes it tough…so it kind of burnt me out on the whole scene.” Eventually, Chad moved back north, but he had pretty much given up on playing music, but fate had different plans. “We need a mandolin player to come out and play,” Mr. Green said at a festival. “Who’s we?” Chad Darou asked. The “we” ended up being Stan Tyminski and Rustic Blue. Not long after Chad joined the group, the band went on tour in Europe. Chad credits this trip for snapping him out of his Nashville burnout. Thankfully so, because today, Chad has definitely raised his bar. “Raising the Bar,” features Cia Cherryholmes, Dave Adkins, Rick Faris, and Special Consensus’s chops mastered musicians. Chad Darou has included the traditional

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sounds of his favorite Bluegrass instrument, the dobro, while also adding sweet arrangements to hit songs by Pink Floyd and Bryan Adams. The illustrious art project is available on Chad’s online store and most streaming platforms. As shared earlier, “Raising the Bar” is continuing to impress critics and captivate listeners. However, Chad Darou doesn’t plan on stopping here.

“My whole purpose of this CD was to wind up in the charts so that I can step forward now. I’ve been a sideman my entire musical life. I’m ready to step forward and have people recognize that I’m not just a side guy… and to recognize me as a producer and an arranger,” Chad stated. Already Chad has new projects in the works. He plans to debut The Chad Darou Band in early 2019. The band plans on getting new singles out before Christmas, and a new album is being discussed for spring of next year. The names of the band members have not yet been released, but Chad shared his eagerness for the project.

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FRANK SOLIVAN & DIRTY KITCHEN

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Master Mandolinist & A Dirty Kitchen Bluegrass musician Frank Solivan has a story to tell. Take a look at his musical history, and you’ll understand why. Since leaving the cold of Alaska for Washington DC, Solivan built his reputation as a mandolin player, and his band has become a major festival attraction. A native of California, Frank grew up with more than enough musical influence in his life. His father and grandmother were multi-instrumentalist bluegrass musicians. His mother’s side of the family included classical musicians who played violin and cello. Surrounded by the sounds of the fiddle and mandolin, Frank fell in love with bluegrass and started his first band in the late 1980s, which band opened for the legendary Ralph Stanley at a show in California. Frank was 18 when he left California and headed to Alaska. There he found himself as first chair violinist in the University of Alaska Symphony Orchestra. In 2003, he joined the US Navy and played electric guitar in the service band, Country Current, before becoming the band’s music director. He also went on to become 20

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the fiddle and mandolin player for the Navy’s bluegrass band. After six years in the Navy, Frank jumped on the opportunity to create and play original music. He formed Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, the band named for the gourmet meals Frank prepares for his friends and family. It even became the title of one of his instrumental songs. Mike Mumford, on banjo, has been with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen since it started over a decade ago. The current lineup includes Frank, Mike, Chris Luquette on guitar, and Jeremy Middleton on bass. In 2015, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen earned a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album for their album Cold Spell. But the awards and recognitions don’t begin or end there. In 2013, banjo player Mike Munford was named Banjo Player of the Year by the IBMA and guitarist Chris Luquette received the IBMA Momentum Award for Performance Instrumentalist. The band received praises in 2014 at IBMA with Frank being nominated for vocalist and mandolist of the year, as well as Mike being nominated for banjo player of the year. Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen was named Instrumental Group of the Year by the IBMA In 2014 and 2016. Following their Grammy award nomination and IBMA awards, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen kept the momentum with the release of Family, Friends & Heroes in 2016. This collection of 14 songs pays tribute to many of Solivan’s family members with special appearances by many of his musical heroes, such as Del McCoury and Jerry Douglas.

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“It’s a toast to the things that matter in life and testimony to how good music can feel when talent is fused with soul and sincerity,” said Craig Havighurst of Music City Roots. Solivan and his bandmates are dedicated to honoring the traditions of bluegrass music – all the way back to the days of Bill Monroe – but they take pride in having their own unique sound, root sounds of traditional bluegrass mashed up with newer forms of bluegrass and jazz. Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen prides themselves in playing music that everyone can enjoy, from traditional bluegrass enthusiasts to people who don’t even know what bluegrass music is. As they move forward with their careers, Frank claims the most meaningful thing for him and his band is getting to make his music with friends and family – and he is doing that oh so well.

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I’m So Lonesome Colorado band

The Lonesome Days isn’t so lonely after all by Stephen Pitalo A four-man Colorado band has the bluegrass community buzzing after winning the prestigious 2017 FreshGrass band award, previously achieving the level of two-time finalists in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition. The Lonesome Days are anything but, and with Jonny Miller on Mandolin, Sam Parks on guitar, Todd Lilienthal on banjo and Bradley Morse on bass, the band is filling its days with solid recording and its nights with rousing, exciting performances. We spoke with band founder Jonny Miller about the ascendance of the band. How did the band come together? I started the group in the summer of 2014. I called a few friends and told them I wanted to start a band focused on competing at the Telluride band competition in 2015. My good friends Trout Steak Revival won that year. By the time 2015 rolled around, we had gone through a few lineup changes and ended up as a four piece for the contest. We took second place to the Lil’ Smokies. Where did the name come from? The name came like many do these days. There was an ongoing brainstorming session, and then a bunch of google searches to make sure no one else was using the name. We all thought it fit my writing style. I like my songs really dark and sad. It makes me happy.

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What makes this band different than other acts who play bluegrass? What makes us different is a chemistry as people and musicians. A lot of bands write their own music, pick their instruments at crazy high levels, and play the standards and other covers with great execution. We do these things to the best of our ability, but we are energized by each other and the songs we are playing. I’m not quite sure how to describe it, but I know it’s special. 3. Who is your inspiration — as a performer, and then as a songwriter? For performer, it’s Sturgill Simpson. I saw him at Telluride Bluegrass Festival this summer, and he absolutely blew my mind. He gave absolutely everything he had on the stage. I was floored. As a songwriter, I’d say Chris Stapleton, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt. Chris is definitely at the top of that list for me. I should add Tyler Childers to that list too. What is your favorite song to perform currently? We’ve been having a blast playing the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie”. We learned it for a Grateful Dead set at the Freshgrass Festival at MASSMoCa in North Adams, Massachusetts this September. That festival has meant the world to us. Alison Brown invited us up to play a couple songs in the set, and we chose that one. We got to perform it with Alison, Darol Angor, Trey Hensley, among other great musicians, and had an absolute blast. Grateful Dead tunes aren’t what we normally do, but we had a great time with that one. How has the band's sound evolved on record? We only have one record released right now. We worked with Sally Van Meter on that one, and she was fabulous. She really got the best out of us in the studio and kept the feel of our songs intact. It definitely has more of a trade sound. We won a day in the studio at Compass records through the FreshGrass Band award in 2017 and got to work with Alison Brown this past April. With Alison, we took our 24

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songs apart and put them back together, which was a process that was great for us as a band. The songs came back with a fresh sound and feel, but again, still capture the essence of who we are as a band. We hope to release those songs by the end of the year. We have a ton of new songs that we hope to record next year, and they are a good combination of songwriting, traditional BG, and more of the modern sounds as well. We are about to get into the planning stage for the next one. How would you describe the sound of The Lonesome Days? Authentic. We are who we are, and we own that 100%. We always strive to get better, but don’t get hung up on who we aren’t. What should people really know about The Lonesome Days? People should know that we love playing together. There is so much that goes into operating a business as a band. It gets stressful even chaotic at times. But when we step on that stage, we are together, and we are all having a great time performing for our fans.

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Appalachian Road Show by Susan Marquez “The music of the great Appalachian Mountain people has been woven together through the years from many different styles and strands of cultural DNA. It has been described by some as perhaps the very soul of the region's rich history. “Forged together from the fires of the great Civil War battles to the coal mines of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia, from the logging camps in the yew pine hills of Virginia to the quartets that sang in the church houses of western North Carolina, east Tennessee and southwest Virginia. “The musical heritage continues to endure. Whether it’s the old time minstrel and medicine shows that traveled throughout the country in the late 19th century or the enslaved Africans who brought so much of their unique and soulful musical stylings to the region, the deep emotion you feel when you hear it is undeniable. “Like the long-time traditions such as farming, quilting and unparalleled craftsmanship, this music has been passed down from generation to generation.” —Barry Abernathy, Appalachian Road Show

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When Barry Abernathy thought about music and the inspiration for the kind of music he wanted to play, he thought about things like his childhood preacher who sang tenor during church services on Sunday mornings. “He put his own inflection on it, probably mimicking what he heard from others. It was that unique sound that was most influential to me.” At the time, Mountain Heart, the longtime band Abernathy had played in, was dismantling and he began really thinking about the kind of music he was playing and wanted to play. “I thought long and hard about it for a couple of years,” he said. Abernathy reconnected with a long-time friend, Darrell Webb, and Abernathy told him his thoughts on what kind of sound he was looking for and even how he wanted a new band to look and dress. “I had a vision of somewhat of a cross between the Carolina Chocolate Drops and the Punch Brothers,” he laughed. “But luckily, Darrell understood and liked what I was thinking, and in October of last year we began talking about and working on this new band in earnest.” By the first of this year, the duo was putting together demos to pitch to potential band members. After coming up with a band and a playlist, they went to the studio to record their first album as Appalachian Road Show. The single “Dance Dance Dance” was released September 14, and the full LP will be released October 26. 28

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They played their first concert on August 18 at Salyersville, KY at the 14th annual Magoffin County Community Day festival, and played three sets at the recent IBMA. “The Appalachian Road Show was born out of the desire to celebrate the broad heritage of the music and culture of the great Appalachian people,” said Abernathy. Webb added that “we want to present this music in a way that is more than just a collection of songs. We want it to be a cultural experience for everybody who comes to see our show. We want to take people back to the Appalachian hills and mountains that we sing about.” The passage at the top of this article comes directly from the CD, which begins using spoken word. “That’s our motivation in a nutshell,” said Abernathy. He explains that Appalachian Road Show is not just an old-time cover band, or a bluegrass cover band, but a way to take the culture of an area, things that are passed down from generation to generation, and interpret that musically.

“This is the most focused I’ve ever been,” said Abernathy. “This music absolutely feels right, and we hope others enjoy hearing it as much as we enjoy playing it.”

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Roots, Records, & a Little Bit of Bluegrass Soul by Shelby Campbell Many bluegrass fans remember the name Dewey Brown, as he played fiddle for the iconic Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys for over a decade before Stanley’s passing. Beginning his bluegrass career at the age of nine when he learned to play the fiddle, Dewey has played with countless musicians over the years and recorded on Grammy-nominated albums with artists such as Josh Turner, Dierks Bentley, and Lee Ann Womack. He has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, the Dave Letterman Show, and performed for The Queen of England. After many years in the business, Dewey decided to take his career down a different path when Ralph II took over Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys. Dewey moved with his wife, Leslie, to North Carolina where they reconditioned an old performing arts theater, The Liberty Showcase Theater. The couple has now formed Dewey & Leslie Brown and The Carolina Gentlemen. Leslie was raised with bluegrass and mountain music in her household, which inspired her at a young age to clog at bluegrass festivals. Joining the band are Tim Spence on guitar, Kendall Gales on mandolin, and Brandon Henson on banjo. Their debut album, Under the Mountain, was released this year and had multiple successful songs on the bluegrass music charts.

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Dewey & Leslie Brown and The Carolina Gentlemen received the Traditional American Bluegrass Album of the Year award from the Rural Roots Music Commission in Iowa. I got a chance to catch up with Dewey and Leslie to talk bluegrass music, inspirations and, of course, their new album. • The Bluegrass Standard: Where did your love of bluegrass begin, and what made you decide to officially start performing together as a band? Dewey: My love of bluegrass came directly from my dad and growing up around it, traveling to bluegrass festivals and taking fiddle lessons at a very young age. Leslie: My love of bluegrass came from my grandparents who raised me, I refer to them as my mom and dad, but they were from another generation both raised in the mountains of Southwest Virginia. My dad being a coal miner also weighed heavily on my upbringing in the old traditional environment including bluegrass music. After Dr. Ralphs passing, Dewey had several opportunities to join other well-known bands but I’m glad that we made the decision to do this together. TBS: What inspires you as artists, your sound, and your love for music? Leslie: I believe God is our inspiration as artists, without Him we would not have the ability. Our sound is heavily inspired by Dewey’s time with Dr. Ralph Stanley and many other traditional bluegrass artists that paved the way. TBS: What music are you listening to these days? Dewey: I listen to a lot of old Stanley Brothers, older Ralph Stanley and am also heavily influenced by - and listen to a lot of - my good friend Del McCoury. Leslie: I listen to a little bit of everything, older traditional bluegrass and new music, and even R&B and old country!

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TBS: Both of you have experience early in life with bluegrass and roots music. Who have been your favorite artist to get the pleasure of recording with throughout your career? Dewey: Well, I have been blessed to record with many amazing artists, but some of my favorites include Porter Wagner, Josh Turner, Dierks Bentley and, again one of my favorites, Del McCoury, but my favorite would have to be Dr. Ralph. He was just amazing to record with and learn from with all his years of experience and the amount of God-given talent he possessed. TBS: Tell me a bit about your debut album, Under the Mountain. How does it define you as artists and what you are bringing to the table? Dewey: We are very proud of this album. Leslie wrote 12 of the 14 songs on it, and it really impressed me that she was able to write this new music but also have an echo of the traditional sound that we all know and love. I feel that it important to be original and create your own sound that defines you as an artist. Leslie: Yes, a lot of my songs reflect my upbringing in the mountains as a coal miner’s daughter, and they are very authentic to who I am. I feel like we are bringing a lot to the table with our performance and music. TBS: What is it like for the two of you to be in a band with your spouse? Dewey: Its great! I think it’s really one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I have so much fun teaching her things and working out new material, and just sharing this with my wife! 32

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Leslie: There are challenges, but it is so much fun! The years Dewey played with Ralph, I stayed home, worked as a Registered Nurse, and raised the babies. Now we get to travel and share this wonderful music together! TBS: What is your goal in what you want to do with your music? Dewey: The main goal is to produce music people enjoy hearing. As long as we are doing that and enjoying it ourselves, we have reached our goal! TBS: What’s next? Leslie: Our new music video for No Mountain Girl will be released really soon; we are excited for everyone to see it! It was shot by a Hollywood producer, and we hope everyone enjoys it! We are also getting ready to head back in the studio in the next month and start working on our next album. We already have the original material and are excited to get that out!

Download Dewey & Leslie Brown’s debut album "Under the Mountain", on iTunes, Spotify, Google Music, YouTube and CD Baby.

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Wild New Yonder Founded 20 Years Ago, A Newly Reconfigured Yonder Mountain String Band Keeps It Tight by Stephen Pitalo Yonder Mountain String Band’s founding members — guitarist Adam Aijala, banjo player Dave Johnston, and bassist Ben Kaufmann — reconfigured Yonder Mountain String Band as a traditional bluegrass instrumental five-piece in 2014 with the recruitment of new players Allie Kral on violin and Jacob Jolliff on mandolin.


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The reconstituted group debuted with 2015’s acclaimed BLACK SHEEP, but truly gelled as they toured, with the new players’ personalities seamlessly blending and elevating the intrinsically tight Yonder sound. “Since the new inception of the band, we've had two records,” said Adam Aijala. “I can't quite put my finger on what's sonically changed during that time, but I believe it's getting better. I think we just get more and more comfortable playing with each other over time. When trust is established musically with your bandmates, it allows you to focus more on the artistic side of the music which makes for really fun live shows and studio sessions. After all, the whole reason I ever wanted to play music was for the love of it.” Yonder made certain to show off the current roster’s growing strength with the 2017 release of MOUNTAIN TRACKS: VOLUME 6, the first installment in their hugely popular live recording series since 2008. “The short story [of how the band formed] is we were a bunch of twentysomething kids with a fairly newfound love for bluegrass all living in and around Boulder, Colorado,” Aijala said. “It was out of that love of the music that we used our non-bluegrass musical influences to write our own "bluegrass" music and perform it. That was twenty years ago. In fact, twenty years ago on September 25th was our first show together. Colorado folks loved what we were doing so we decided to hit the road.” Aijala also said after 20 years, they don’t feel they have to prove themselves. “We play music because we love it and, at least from my perspective, without intent. When I go see live music I like to get lost in the music, 36

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forget about everything, and just be in the moment. I'd like to believe that can be accomplished attending a show of ours. I think we are unique in our songwriting because we have three writers and all five of us come from different musical backgrounds covering many genres of music. This eclectic collaboration results in a high energy, rockinfluenced bluegrass show.” Aijala’s inspirations come from mostly non-bluegrass musicians, although their inspiration can come from any genre. “As a kid just learning the guitar,” he said. “I was inspired by folks like Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page, and as I got older, the words became more important to me, so I was drawn to the Beatles and Bob Dylan.

I believe I still feed off the energy of these musicians as well as many others. Jay Farrar is one of my favorite songwriters these days. I like playing a song by Dave Johnston, our banjo player, called ‘Hey Day’, which is pretty new so that's why I like it performing it. I'm a huge fan of his lyrical abilities.”

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by Susan Marquez Lafayette, Louisiana. It’s ground zero for Cajun and zydeco music that’s heard

playing at a ‘fais do’, or dance party. So, to hear the sounds of bluegrass music wafting across the campus of University of Louisiana at Lafayette makes one stop and listen. That music comes from Vermilion Express, the University’s bluegrass ensemble, one of the state’s hottest young bluegrass bands. Dr. Mark DeWitt, professor of Music (Dr. Tommy Comeaux Endowed Chair in Music) in the School of Music and Performing Arts at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, explains. “I was asked to start and chair the traditional music program here about eight years ago,” DeWitt told us. “Of course, the most traditional music in south Louisiana is Cajun, so we began there. In 2014, we brought in Dr. Len Springer, who started the bluegrass program. At first it was difficult to find students who could play the typical bluegrass instruments, so Len and I have had to jump in, but we are getting there. It’s hard to keep it going when we don’t have, say, a student banjo player. It’s important to try to make it as student-driven as possible. But what Len is so good at doing is finding what the group does well and put out a polished product. For example, their first song to perform was a Miley Cyrus tune called ‘Wrecking Ball.’ They played it in bluegrass style and they killed it. Everyone who heard it loved it.”

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Currently the group is made up of three current students, one former student and Springer, who plays bass. Celebrindal Roberts, who has been in the band the longest, plays mandolin. Celebrindal started as a classical violinist but has become intrigued by bluegrass. Benjamin Richey is the banjo player, and Luke Huval plays fiddle. Emily Ortego is a singersongwriter. “These students are so talented,” says Springer. “Benjamin is doing great on banjo, and he is working all the time to improve, including taking lessons via Skype from some very high-profile banjo players. “Luke has played fiddle since he was four. He is an accomplished Cajun musician and has his own band. His father is also a wellknown Cajun fiddle player. To transition between Cajun and bluegrass is something Luke does very well.

“Emily is an amazing songwriter and has had a lot of recognition for her songs. And everyone in the group sings. This group we have now is quite capable of performing professionally.” And they do perform, as much as they can and still go to class. “We 40

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go out to area high schools and expose students there to bluegrass,” says Springer. “We also do on-campus concerts. Regionally we play in restaurants and at festivals. We went to IBMA this year and played a youth set. We have also been to the Bloomin’ Temple Festival in Texas, where they learned to jam.” Springer says other students on campus are connecting with the bluegrass sounds performed by Vermilion Express. “This music is very sophisticated and nuanced. It can go off in different directions. And it’s fun to hear contemporary pop songs performed in the bluegrass style. Right now we are working on Ed Sheeran’s ‘Shape of You.’ We are also working on some original songs, so our shows just get better and better.”

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Kicking it up a Notch with Diamond Creek Bluegrass by Kara Martinez Bachman It might just be in the past year or so that central North Carolina’s Diamond Creek Bluegrass is getting traction, but mandolin player Russell Johnson says get ready: they’re on their way. They’re kicking things up a notch. A few notches, even. The band has sort of been Johnson’s side gig since they first starting strumming and picking back in 2013. He was too busy playing over the years with bands like Grass Cats and New Vintage to have time for much more. Then, last year, when Grass Cats folded after a 20-year run, it freed Johnson up to focus more on Diamond Creek. “Right now, we are working on new material for a new recording,” he said, of the group’s present activities. They already have one recording to their credit, created in 2015. “If we can finish up with pre-production, we can record in the spring sometime,” he explained. “So, it’s gonna be a 2019 release.” Johnson — who also teaches a bluegrass ensemble course at UNCChapel Hill — said he got into bluegrass long ago, when his older brother played guitar and his brother’s college roommate picked banjo. “I got turned on to the music, and got a guitar for Christmas,” he reminisced. 42

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Soon after, he also picked up the mandolin. “I got a mandolin on February 14, 1982,” Johnson said, still recalling the exact date he was paired with the instrument that would be a big part of his life going forward. Johnson speaks of the members of the band with real fondness. There’s guitarist and lead vocalist Emily Kirsch, described as “a powerful singer. She was always a powerhouse from the beginning, but now she’s learning to do so much with her voice. To make people feel something.” He called Spencer Mobley a “journeyman player on guitar and mandolin,” and an “all-around good musician” with a “great sense of timing.” Upright bassist (and wife) Kandis Johnson is described as “hard-working and dedicated.” Julie Elkins, who played with Johnson in New Vintage back in the ‘90s, is “a stylist in everything she does, especially on the banjo and vocally. She’s under-utilized in our band, but when she sings, people perk up and listen.” “We've used four people on fiddle,” Johnson added, about the one role for which Diamond Creek doesn't have a permanent band member. At a show, audiences might catch a set with Matt Hooper, Stephen Fraleigh, Samantha Casey or Jack Devereux. “Each fiddler brings something unique and exciting,” Johnson said. When they spoke to The Bluegrass Standard for this story, the band had just returned from the big IBMA week in Raleigh.

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“We played the [IBMA] Street Fest on Saturday,” Johnson said. “The people there were extremely receptive, and ready to enjoy bluegrass on a beautiful day.” He said Diamond Creek will play 26 or 27 dates this year, and that looking to the future he envisions steady growth, “where we’re playing a mix of festivals and auditorium shows.” No doubt, excitement about bluegrass is what will lead to continued success. It’s clear when these musicians talk about what they do, there’s expression of a real interest and passion. “There is always something new to hear and learn in bluegrass music, be it vocal and instrumental aspects or other facets of the music,” said guitarist Spencer Mobley. “The endearing qualities of bluegrass are certainly not limited to the music itself. While I enjoy music from a variety of genres, simply put, this music feels the most like home.” Lead vocalist Emily Kirsch seconds those thoughts. “To me, bluegrass is such a diverse genre,” she explained. “It’s constantly growing and changing in positive ways.” She said it gives musicians the freedom to experiment with contemporary styles of playing, while still allowing for acknowledgement of the “true traditional roots.” “The biggest soul feeder for me are the harmonies that you find in bluegrass music,” Kirsch said. “You can’t really get the full, pure sound of a solid trio or quartet in any other genre.” “When I get to hear or be a part of a group that produces those harmonies,” she said, “it truly makes the hair on my arms stand up.”

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Bluegrass in Her Blood Many young bluegrass artists grow up claiming to have ‘bluegrass in their blood.’ That statement has never been more true than with teen musician, Jaelee Roberts. Her mom, Andrea, played with bluegrass artists Petticoat Junction, Special Consensus, and Valerie Smith before opening her booking agency, The Andrea Roberts Agency. She even performed on the Grand Ole Opry with Bill Monroe. That still doesn’t cover the bluegrass influence in Jaelee’s life. Her dad plays in the twotime IBMA Entertainer of the Year and three-time Grammy nominated band, The Grascals. “I have literally grown up listening to bluegrass music, and there’s not a time in my life where bluegrass hasn’t been one of the biggest parts of it,” Jaelee said. Getting her first taste of bluegrass at the age of four, Jaelee began playing the fiddle – and she plans to never stop. At only twelve years old, she retired from music competitions and instead focused on her energy on the performance opportunities she was given. The Grascals have asked Jaelee to perform with their band many times, the first when she was eight-years-old. Jaelee credits that performance as being one of the defining moments of her life – proving that playing bluegrass music is where she was meant to be. “I have been blessed to practically grow up backstage at the Grand Ole Opry and attending bluegrass festivals and concerts across the country,” Jaelee said. “That has just naturally influenced my love for and desire to have a career in bluegrass music.” Jaelee has been honored with the opportunity to sing with Marty Raybon, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, and legendary Melvin Goins, and has joined The Whites 46

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on stage at the Grand Ole Opry for a finale version of their Carter Family hit, “Keep On the Sunny Side.” “This moment was so surreal I can hardly even remember it happening,” said Jaelee. “I’d love to do it again!” She credits that performance and singing her favorite song, Ghost in this House, with Marty Raybon at the Musicians Against Childhood Cancer Bluegrass Festival, as the two most memorable performances of her life. Although she has been performing on stage for most of her life, Jaelee’s was featured on two different recordings by the age of twelve. The first was on IBMA Hall of Fame member Dixie Hall’s Daughters of Bluegrass album, a historic project in the bluegrass music industry. She also performed on her dad’s solo album Nighthawk, released in 2014 with Mountain Home Records. In addition to performing many years at various festivals with other young, bluegrass musician friends, Jaelee has also been chosen to participate in Grammy Camp as a vocalist for the past two years as well – 2017 in Nashville and 2018 in Los Angeles. Currently, Jaelee continues her unique musical journey by playing with The Rebekah Long Band. She really enjoys playing with this band and “can’t wait to see what happens in the band’s future.”

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Meeting people in the bluegrass community is one of Jaelee’s favorite parts about the industry. “My favorite thing about the community is how it really is life a family – which makes the experience amazing for me.” Her love for the community led her to the young musician group, Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars. She began by just simply making music with other bluegrass musicians her age involved in TBS. When this led to an opportunity to join the group, Jaelee jumped at the opportunity. After being a member of TBS for over five years, Jaelee is grateful to the organization and former president and founder, John Colburn, for the opportunities she has been given and support she has received over the years for herself and her music. Next on the horizon for Jaelee? She is so glad you asked. Jaelee is actively writing new music, as songwriting is very special to her, and getting ready to release her first single very soon. Bluegrass may be in her blood, but Jaelee’s passion and love for this music is something altogether different. It will touch your soul and have you wanting to hear more. “My main goal is to make music that makes people feel something.

I don’t want my music to just be background noise – I really want people’s hearts to react to it.”

Preserving Bluegrass One Youngster At A Time! John Colburn & Maggie

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Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars continues to support the awareness of its many talented young members, and the preservation of yesterday’s bluegrass music for tomorrow.

Click the banner below to visit the TBS website:

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Beyerdynamic has become somewhat of a household name to The Bluegrass Standard. In past issues, we have reviewed the Amiron Wireless High-End Stereo headphone by Beyerdynamic and the Beyerdynamic Microphone M88 TG. In this issue, we review Beyerdynamic Fox USB microphone. To test the Fox USB mic, we wanted to do something different—use the microphone in the simplest home studio situation with the free recording program— Audacity. We targeted the beginning/amateur vocalist/ engineer to encourage them about the ease of the recording process and the affordability of a home studio. This home studio setting included a laptop and a USB 2.0 Audio Interface with 2 Mic/Line/Instrument Inputs. The intent was to demonstrate how “anyone” at “any recording level” can use the Fox USB microphone with “any recording program” and produce a demo with topnotch vocal sound. We were NOT disappointed. In fact, we were more than delighted. The affordable FOX USB microphone features a professional large diaphragm condenser capsule that has a higher sensitivity compared to dynamic microphones. The mic includes a mute button, two knobs, and a headphone jack. When muted, the orange LED light blinks and. The light stays solid when recording. Below the Mute button, the two knobs labeled Mix and Volume blends mic and computer sounds. There are two gain settings. The low gain produces a pure signal and sound, even up to seven inches away from the mic. Room sound in minimum. In high gain mode, while the mic was more sensitive and therefore room sound more evident, the mic delivered clear sound from any distance. The windscreen is detachable, and the desktop mount allows for angling the mic while recording in sitting position. However, with the included adaptor, the microphone also fits snuggly onto a mic stand. The cable connects to the USB-C port on the mic's rear panel. The built-in monitoring system allows you to plug directly into the computer rather than the audio interface, which mixes the mic's pure signal with the computer's output. The result is clean audio with low-mid and mid-ranges. We found that the chief complaint about the Beyerdynamic Fox USB is the gain switch, which has only two settings. Finding the right levels is still possible, but it does require extra effort within the recording system,

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especially for the inexperienced vocalist/engineer. We used the very portable Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, which features 2 inputs and 2 outputs, to record the basic mic and guitar tracks. Then, we did another basic mic and guitar track; however, this time, instead of using Scarlett mic input, we used the Beyerdynamic Fox USB mic, which plugged directly into the laptop and into the recording program. The difference between the quality and clarity of the vocal track was noticeable, with the Beyerdynamic Fox USB mic surpassing the delivery of the other microphone. We also did a backup vocals track and a keyboard track. After mixing down into a WAV file, the vocals remained clear and were not overwhelmed by instrumentation. We were more than pleased with the rough-cut demo. Beyerdynamic products engineered in Germany have a long successful history of manufacturing professional recording gear, from headphones to performance and studio microphones. Innovation and continuous technological development in a wide range of high quality and professional audio products keep Beyerdynamic at the top of the industry and will for many years to come.

This recording test was simple and easy. The Beyerdynamic Fox USB microphone is not intimidating, nor is it confusing. Just follow the directions. You’ll be recording in your home studio in no time and producing sound that’s amazes your listeners. Enjoy the experience and have fun with it! For and more information and FAQ, visit the beyerdynamic website: https://north-america. beyerdynamic.com See The Bluegrass Standard review of the beyerdynamic microphone in the August issue and headphone review in the October issue — Richelle Putnam

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Southern Grass Grows Tall Danny Paisley keeps Bob Paisley’s Tradition Alive By Stephen Pitalo When veteran bluegrass artist Bob Paisley passed away in 2004, his son Danny wasn’t sure where to turn with his father’s legacy, so he could honor him appropriately, after travelling together throughout the United States, Canada, Europe and Japan over the previous four decades. “It was a rough period in my personal life,” Danny revealed. “But the only thing I felt I had was music, so I decided to continue on. Our band came together as a continuation of my fathers’ band, Bob Paisley and the Southern Grass. So, when he passed, the band members stuck together and carried on.” The new lineup soon put out a CD called Tradition Continues, carrying the message to the fans that Bob’s hard driving bluegrass style would still be delivered intact. “Ken Irwin from Rounder Records reached out,” Danny said, “so we put out The Room Over Mine CD, featuring the song ‘Don’t Throw Momma’s Flowers Away.’ We toured heavily those years to promote the CD. With that I started losing band members. Very hard work. Long trips away from home.

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“So, by 2011, I had no one from the original band. I was down to playing just a few festivals and clubs, and I’m thinking it’s time for a change.” Soon the band was signed to Patuxent Music, and Danny said that label owner/ producer Tom Mindte produced the best music he’s ever recorded. “Our sound is based on the original bluegrass sound — the Galax, Virginia tradition of bluegrass,” Danny explained. “Our families migrated north to Pennsylvania and D.C. from the North Carolina border area, mine from West Jefferson, NC. And the Lundy family from Galax, VA area. We draw heavily from our families’ heritage. Also, I’m a fan of old-time fiddle bands. First generation bluegrass artists like Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, Flatt and Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, and old country — and I mean OLD country.” Danny also really enjoys today’s bluegrass scene, with so many original bands with different takes on the bluegrass tradition, such as McCoury, Sparks, Skaggs, and young artists such as Price Sisters, Sister Sadie, Frank Solivan and other new bands making their own style of bluegrass. He also continues the family tradition into the next generation recently by having his son Ryan play the mandolin for Southern Grass, and he seems to fit right in.

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“He adds a fiery exciting style to our music,” Paisley said. “Ryan sings lead on the trios, so we have that family vocal blend. Mark Delaney has a very innovative banjo style in the classic bluegrass vein. Mark and Ryan both have added a real drive to our music. And T.J. Lundy brings a warehouse of old-time fiddle tunes to us. T.J.’s fiddle playing is a bridge between old-time fiddlin’ traditions and modern bluegrass performance. And lastly, Bobby is well known for his driving banjo playing, but not many knew that his bass playing is solid as a rock. He is the perfect touch on a bass, and he sings baritone in the trios.”

Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass’s new CD

That’s Why I’m Lonesome

was released in September

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Jeff Lipchik & The Bluegrass Jamboree by Susan Marquez Some people are born listening to bluegrass music. Others discover it later in life. In the case of Jeff Lipchik, that discovery came when he was in college, and quite by accident. During a power outage following a Thunderstorm, Lipchik was tuning a transistor radio, trying to find a weather report. In doing so, he tuned into a local National Public Radio station that was broadcasting a bluegrass show. “I had never heard anything like it,” Lipchik said. “As a matter of fact, I had never even heard the term ‘bluegrass’ before.” Up until that event, Lipchik listened to rock ‘n roll, much like most other students at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan. The school had a studentrun radio station (WHFR 89.3 FM), which aired different genres of music. Lipchik had started listening to and learned to love bluegrass, and because there was no bluegrass music on WHFR at the time, he asked if he could become a DJ and present a show featuring all bluegrass music. “A lot of the students made fun of me, mostly because it was something they weren’t used to listening to, but I managed to collect a decent library of music and over time developed a decent audience for my bluegrass show.” He had to leave the station when he graduated college, but his love of bluegrass led him to attend the SPBGMA in Nashville in 2015, where he discovered Internet broadcasting. At the conference, a station owner recruited him to become a DJ. Lipchik started broadcasting for The Bluegrass Mix in 2015. In May 2016, the station stopped its live stream and Lipchik went to work as a DJ for Music Mix Central. He was living in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he worked as an electrician. “I got my license in Tennessee and became a journeyman. I ran my own residential electrical contracting business.” He called his radio show “Bluegrass from the Smokies” as an homage to the Great Smokey Mountains where he lived. That gig lasted until 2017 when Lipchik moved to Bluegrass Jamboree, where he’s had a weekly show for two years now. Each Tuesday evening from 7:00 to 10:00 EST, or 6:00 to 9:00 CST, listeners can access Lipchik’s show online at https:// 54

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thebluegrassjamboree.com. The show can also be heard on smart phones and other devices by downloading the Bluegrass Jamboree app. Lipchik spends a few hours each week preparing for the show. “I believe my show is the only one of its kind to have a set structure. I start out with new releases, then play general music or perhaps a theme, followed by a Gospel set. I then play another general or themed set, then a set featuring youth music from Tomorrow’s Bluegrass Stars (TBS), then more music by non-TBS youth artists. I play another Gospel set, and close with an hour of requests.” The show has a huge following, and what excites Lipchik the most is exposing young people to bluegrass music. “When I can get younger folks to sit in and listen, I feel that we’ll have listeners for life. I dedicate time in my show specifically for youth and family bands.” Lipchik has moved back to Michigan (Livonia, a suburb of Detroit), where he works as a master electrician when he’s not doing research for his radio show. “I have to admit, I am a traditionalist. I personally prefer a traditional bluegrass music sound performed by modern artists. But it’s the younger bands and family bands that really move me. It’s good to know they will take bluegrass music into the future.”

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Jim Lauderdale by Deborah Young In the late 1970s, a young Jim Lauderdale showed up in Nashville, Tennessee after college in North Carolina. The budding song writer with bluegrass in his blood, a stunningly honest voice, and some serious chops on guitar, banjo, dobro and harmonica, had followed his youthful instincts on the pilgrimage — hoping to meet his idols, George Jones and Roland White.

“I was kind of shy,” Lauderdale recalled, speaking to The Bluegrass Standard from the road between tour stops in Georgia, where he would be playing a bunch of shows featuring songs from his latest album, “Time Flies,” plus oldies from previously unreleased recordings he made with Roland White 39 years ago, during that fateful time in Nashville. “Roland, I had been going to see, and he kindly let me sit in with him,” said Lauderdale. “I’d go over to his house and sing. It was just a real dream to be able to hang out with him, because there was something about him and his voice; it was just so magical to me.” Lauderdale and the mandolin master found an easy groove together, spending unhurried days laying down harmonies and making demos of originals and bluegrass standards. “He suggested, ‘Hey why don’t we do a record?” said Lauderdale. The band they put together included Marty Stuart on lead guitar, plus eminent bluegrass instrumentalists, Gene Wooten, Terry Smith, Johnny Warren and Stan Brown. They recorded the tracks in the basement of the home of the legendary Earl Scruggs. “That was also very surreal for me to have Earl Scruggs downstairs, and bringing us coffee,” said Lauderdale. “To hear some of his stories…I had been a banjo player earlier, and I learned a lot of structure from him.” The recordings – which resurfaced when White’s wife randomly came upon the old 56

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cassette – have an unadorned, front-porchsitting kind of intimacy. The 12 tracks are pure bluegrass: sweet harmonies, rhythmic strumming and fiddle riffs that send the feet tapping on their own accord. “I’ve lost my will/ my will to go on,” a 20-something Lauderdale sings in “Regrets and Mistakes” — one of the originals in the collection. His vocals mix longing with the hopefulness of youth. The songwriting hints at the hit-maker Lauderdale would eventually become; his languid phrases echo in the ears even after the music ends. But back then, Lauderdale had no idea where the future would lead. What he did know was record labels weren’t interested in the recording, saying they didn’t want to take a chance on somebody less familiar on the bluegrass circuit. So, he headed to New York City. “I was disappointed when the record didn’t come out,” said Lauderdale, who speaks in a way that is down-to-earth and unassuming. “I came to New York and horizons opened.” It was in New York City, while working as a messenger for Rolling Stone magazine by day, that Lauderdale started to incorporate all the influences that have come to define his sound: It’s a wide-ranging catchall includes rock n’ roll, folk, bluegrass, country, soul, R&B and a touch of jazz. A heartland soundscape known as Americana and an embracing genre of which Lauderdale is widely recognized as king. The exchange of musical languages that gave birth to Americana was just taking shape in the early 80s in New York. Lauderdale talks reverently about all the friends and musical colleagues who welcomed him into the easy scene (Doc Thomas, Dr. John, Buddy Miller, John Campell, John Messler and many others). Gigs, he said, were plenty and performed in venues ranging from Irish bars to rock n’ roll dives and Texas style clubs. “I had known there was a folk and bluegrass tradition, so it was a real cool time to be in New York,” he said. “There was this theme and community.” After making connections in New York, Lauderdale again followed his instincts, uprooting himself and heading to the other coast, to Los Angeles — where crossover music was big. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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“A lot of great folks were in the scene out there. People were kind of calling it West Coast Country and alternative country,” he said. In 1991, his first record, “Planet of Love,” was released. The auspicious debut stretched the country sound to embrace rock n’ roll grit, catchy pop hooks, honkytonk and rockabilly. Around that time, Lauderdale started singing harmonies on Dwight Yokum, Lucinda Williams and Colleen Parter recordings. He got himself a publishing deal and has since written hundreds of songs for himself along with a roster of big-name stars. Over the past four decades, Lauderdale has released nearly three dozen albums and he’s collaborated with such artists as Buddy Miller, Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter, Elvis Costello, Patti Loveless, Vince Gill, Blake Shelton, George Strait, Lee Ann Womak and The Dixie Chicks. He has toured with Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Nick Lowe and Hootie & the Blowfish. He wrote and produced two bluegrass records with Ralph Stanley, and their first, “I Feel Like Singing Today,” was nominated for a Grammy. Lauderdale is quick to share credit for his success with his collaborators and mentors. With so many friends and a personality that is in equal measures approachable and magnetic, he has been a natural choice to host of the Americana Music Festival & Conference in Nashville, Tenn., which he will host again this year. The organization presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 15th Annual Americana Honors & Awards in 2016. “Time Flies” was released by Yep Roc Records August 3, 2018 – the same day “Jim Lauderdale and Roland White” hit the shelves. It is made up of 11 originals, which move fluidly between tracks in a style that is all Lauderdale’s own. His plaintive vocals and layered lyrics evoke all that is sweet about the here and now, and all that is bittersweet about the way our moments turn into memory.

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“After the changes, you can't turn nothin' back/The different stages have played a different act/To our amazement, we almost made it/Until the curtain call/,” he sings. “Time Flies/ Don't it seem like a dream come between when it could be calm?” Here he is at age 61, on the cover of “Time Flies,” light catching his silver sideburns and falling gracefully onto the shoulder-length hair poking out from under his cowboy hat. His Mona Lisa smile, mysterious and inviting, is the same smile that graces his lips on the cover of “Jim Lauderdale and Roland White.” Dressed in a corduroy jacket with his arms crossed, he leans against a tree alongside White, who this year turned 80. The photo of the two longtime friends has the yellowish tones of a film print pulled from an old photo album. Despite the span of time in between the collections, Lauderdale’s clean musical hooks and sliding vocal style define both. Side-by-side these recordings take stock of life, its flow and surprises. Their story is his story, told with the wisdom of hindsight: Even though he had yearned for those bluegrass recordings to be made into a record 39 years ago, that cassette might have done him a favor to stay hidden, and wait for the right time to THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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emerge. The pain he felt when the album got rejected by labels back then might have shifted Lauderdale’s musical journey, giving him the space to turn his solid bluegrass foundation into something new and wonderous - a beacon for others to light their way by. “I’ve had this theory for several years, if you start out in bluegrass you can go on to anything. It’s such a good bedrock for any style of music,” he said. “Bluegrass is so healthy and vital and growing and really in a great place. It’s inspiring to see so many young great players. It’s safe, it’s got a future, that’s comforting.” Lauderdale said he certainly envisions making more bluegrass records in the future. “I still feel challenged by the process of making records and writing songs and touring,” he said. “I’m glad. I’m grateful things are where they are.”

Side-by-side these recordings take stock of life, its flow and surprises. Their story is his story, told with the wisdom of hindsight: Even though he had yearned for those bluegrass recordings to be made into a record 39 years ago, that cassette might have done him a favor to stay hidden, and wait for the right time to emerge.

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 Fiddler’s Porch  The Bay Area Bluegrass Association by Emerald Butler The Bay Area Bluegrass Association, also known as BABA, has been preserving bluegrass music and culture in South East Texas since 1986. Through monthly shows, jam sessions, and various educational programs, BABA fulfills its mission statement by continuing to “preserve, encourage, and promote Bluegrass and Bluegrass Gospel music as an American art form.” Yet, there is so much dedication and education that makes these BABA events and programs what they are today.

bluegrass musicians around the bay area who got together a lot to play music. Finally, the group of musicians decided that they wanted to form an organization so they could have a place to come together and put on a show. “All of a sudden one of them threw up (his hand) and said ‘ok, I’m member 62

According to current BABA president Rick Kirkland, The Bay Area Bluegrass Association was founded by several

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number one,’” Kirkland shared. “He happens to still hold membership number one (today).” The association was incorporated under the Texas non-profit corporation act in 1987. Ever since 1986, The Bay Area Bluegrass Association produces eleven free public shows at the Johnny Arolfo Civic Center in League City, Texas each year.

From Kenny and Amanda Smith to The Grascals, The Bay Area Bluegrass Association tries to bring in at least four top headlining acts a year. The responsibility of booking the bands passes from board members year to year. Although, “any (one) of the board of directors is subject to book a band,” Kirkland said. It’s just a group effort in the love of bluegrass. Local bands can also play at the monthly and community shows. There is a link on the association website for local bands to sign up. BABA has a house band which is also Rick Kirkland’s band, Southern Style. The group volunteers to go out and play at nursing homes and other community outreaches. Before the show each month, the organization conducts a Slow Jam for new and learning musicians. “Bluegrass musicians tend to play everything fast. You know, the THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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faster it is, the better it is sometimes,” Kirkland commented. In the Slow Jam, an instructor slows down the music, teaches the musicians the chords to the selected songs, and when and how to change chords. “It’s kind of just an entree into Bluegrass music,” Kirkland said. For those wishing to attend and prepare for the Slow Jam, a list of songs and chord sheets are available for download on the BABA website. Rick Kirkland said that the Slow Jam has about 20 people or more in the classroom each time, and it has been going on for over 15 years. Like any non-profit, membership and sponsorship have a huge impact on the continuation of this program. There are several types of membership with The Bay Area Bluegrass Association: individual, family, individual gold, and lifetime memberships. A membership gets you into any workshops held by the organization, a subscription to their monthly newsletter, gift drawings, and auctions. “If it wasn’t for memberships and sponsors, we wouldn’t be able to put on a show,” Rick Kirkland stated, “or at least a free show.” Kirkland confessed that BABA has struggled for several years with keeping the monthly show free, but he hopes to keep it that way for as long as possible. More membership and sponsorship information are available at bayareabluegrass.org. The Bay Area Bluegrass Association President, Rick Kirkland, shared that he is working on his 15th year with the association. “Bluegrass was always a part of my life, but I never became involved with it until I became involved with Bay Area Bluegrass.” His motivation has always been the love of the music and the people. “Bluegrass people are some of the best people in the world that you’ll ever meet…and I just enjoyed that from day one.” Kirkland hopes to inspire this love into the next generation so that they can continue the mission of The Bay Area Bluegrass Association. “When I see some younger kids get up and play, that makes me proud that we have influenced them.” 64

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 Fiddler’s Porch  A Thanksgiving Story by Emerald Butler Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I don’t know about you, but I have always loved autumn and the ushering in of the holiday season. No Christmas music was listened to until Thanksgiving was completely over, and there would be no Black Friday shopping for me until it was actually Friday. However, we didn’t forget our giving of thanks the next day. All that really meant was that I got to get a Hardee’s breakfast with my Mom and Granny before we got all the deals at Walgreen’s. They always had great deals on candles, and candles can make great gifts for people who you have no idea what to get. Hopefully the candle recipient this year won’t read this. Anyway, growing up I had the great fun of being part of a wonderful homeschool group. It was a mixture of play and learning. One of my favorite activities was to play dress up. However, don’t mistake this ‘dress up’ with pretty pink dresses.

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Although it was years after the story I am about to tell you, I did don a bonnet and Laura Ingalls Wilder prairie dress. That’s a different story. During the Thanksgiving season, we would have a special Thanksgiving festival and feast. This meant that us kids (and a few of the moms) got to dress as Pilgrims and Indians. Our sweet mothers would organize extracurricular activities like grinding corn, making leather drums, and painting a Tipi. Then our moms would prepare a potluck type feast for dinner. Usually, we would have special presentations at the end of the day and invite the rest of our families and grandparents to watch. These presentations included musical performances, readings, and theatrical performances. Early on in these schooling years, I discovered the reason why we have the Thanksgiving holiday. I bet you are thinking “because of the Pilgrims…duh.” “No,” I say! Well, yes…at least…not completely. Let me explain.

My mother used to read us a book titled “Thank You, Sarah” that was written by Laurie Halse Anderson and illustrated by Matt Faulkner. For my not too public yet educational presentation, my mother, as she said in her own words, “plagiarized” the children’s book into a script for this third grader. Thanks, mom! As I somewhat begrudgingly did back then, I shall now imaginatively dress as an eloquent lady of the mid-1800’s and tell you the story of why we celebrate Thanksgiving. 66

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Sarah Hale was born in Newport, New Hampshire on October 24, 1788. Sarah grew up in a family that highly valued education for both sexes, so she turned out to be quite a scholar. She married a lawyer named David Hale, and they had five children. Sadly, Mr. Hale died early. Sarah began writing poetry as a source of income. She ended up writing a story you’ve probably never heard of called “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” Sarah continued to write, became the first female editor to a magazine in America, and supported causes like the abolition of slavery. Yet among these great things and the increasing division of the United States, Sarah Hale saw the need for a day for Americans to celebrate the giving of thanks together. To make this happen, Sarah wrote. She wrote a ton of articles and letters to politicians and presidents to make Thanksgiving a national holiday. President after president told her no. With the country at war and a heartbreaking number of letters with the answer “no” at her door, Sarah Hale was discouraged. Until one of my favorite presidents said…yes! President Abraham Lincoln signed a national day of thanksgiving and praise into action in 1863. Therefore, we celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November every year. So, you see, it isn’t just because of the Pilgrims and Indians that we celebrate Thanksgiving. Although, I don’t argue their profound impact on this country. That is another history lesson for another day, and I’m all out of costumes at the moment. Still, as you gather around your family to eat turkey, watch football, or even race through the stores for those candles; whatever you do, I wish you and yours a very blessed Thanksgiving and holiday season. THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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To the Levee & Over the Top

The Leveetoppers Bring The Appalachian Sound to the Big Easy by Stephen Pitalo When the Leveetoppers started between 2013 or 2014, it was as a cover band trio with Jon Hatchett, Ben Walters, and Lyle Werner; soon it was Werner and whoever he could find. “It just became a pickup band name that I'd use whenever it was convenient,” Werner clarified, “as is typical in the music community that I frequent here in New Orleans. In the winter of 2017, Sasha Hsuczyk and I became friends while she was visiting from Philadelphia, and a few months later she offered to have me join her and Andy McLeod on a tour with some friends. We made a demo shortly before tour and the chemistry was strong enough that I felt that it made sense to have a permanent lineup for The Leveetoppers.”

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“Since then, Andy has moved to Virginia to work on his solo American Primitive guitar music, and now Sasha and our new banjo player Mikey Collins are moving to New Orleans, so now we can play more frequently and really dive into some new musical terrain.” The Leveetoppers name is a play on the Roan Mountain Hilltoppers, a great old-time band from Tennessee, and the New Orleans civic engineering feature that became a national focus with Hurricane Katrina. “It's a sort of terrible joke,” Werner admitted. “The levees are as close to a hill you'll get here, so we thought it'd be a fun name for a band that plays old Appalachian music. We mostly play old-time music, which is a little like bluegrass and sometimes has a bit of overlap. It's a different mentality – old-time tends to be repetitive instrumental music led by the fiddle without solos or the extremely high tempos you find in bluegrass. However, we like to do some country and bluegrass tunes as well, so we're a little all over the map. Mid-century Appalachian bands bring inspiration to Werner and his current crew, both instrumentally and vocally, with artists like Arthur Smith, Skillet Lickers, Ernest Stoneman, and Wade Mainer's Mountaineers all informing the Leveetoppers sound. “Mainer's band for example —it's irresistible— their music had this balance between rawness and stoicism,” Werner explained. “It was simply arranged, and the singing was never belted, just articulate and low like The Blue Sky Boys. But then again, I don't sing, so it's easier for me talk in terms of an overall band sound I like, or my personal fiddle influences like Ed Haley, Carlton Rawlings, Emmett Lundy, Bill Driver Marcus Martin, and Buddy Thomas to name a few. I write fiddle tunes, and I'm working on getting them ready to play in this band if they feel right, but so far, we haven't done original music. I'm always open to that though! As for our favorites to play, I think we've always gotten a lot of mileage out of "Muddy Weather", which we learned from Fred Stoneking of Chilhowee, 70

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Missouri. It's one of the many tunes under the "Katy Hill" umbrella, and I'm always tempted to introduce a few of the other versions to the band for fun. “We're first and foremost a band driven by Southern fiddle tunes – we're nuts over the plenitude of field recordings and commercial records made between the 20's and today. They're expressively versatile: sometimes they're full of wild, forward momentum; they can be stately, cryptic introspective, eerie, and even comedic. The tricky thing is, fiddle tunes are easiest to connect to in the right context: under a lantern at a festival or in a friend's kitchen and performing them in a loud bar doesn't always connect with the audience. But we've got Sasha and Mikey who are as accomplished singers as they are instrumentalists. Sasha's ballad singing is so captivating – it always hits, as is both of their singing abilities for a variety of folk music. We like to play a nice cross-section of fiddle-tunes, bluegrass, country, a little western swing, and we've played Cajun twin fiddle music too. For us, it's about playing the right music for the right environment: at a bar we'll play a lot of vocallydriven tunes that people can two-step or waltz to, at square dances it's all about the faster ‘square’ tunes, and at a house show we'll emphasize the fiddle tunes more than the other settings, where there's more of an opportunity for the audience to listen to us as a trio communicating to each other through our instruments.” The Leveetoppers' first released record was a demo recorded at Werner’s father's house in 2014 with Jon and Ben, “who I mentioned above. We had a more aggressive sound back then – Jon has a driving, relentless way of playing guitar, and Ben's three-finger banjo created a nice layer of rhythm to lay some fiddle on. We were still doing a mixture of fiddle tunes, country, and bluegrass, but our sound is a little more chilled out now. I still enjoy playing full-steam ahead, but there's so much space to explore in a fiddle tune when you slow it down and focus your attention on what's happening on that phrase, at that moment.” The band’s last record made in July 2017 with Sasha and Andy, was more on that page. They both added something that was relaxed, deliberate but explorative, Werner elaborated. “I'm excited about recording something in the future though with Mikey and Sasha, since we'll really have some time to carve out a sound now that we'll all be in one place.” THE BLUEGRASS STANDARD

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Home for Christmas Cancelled for 2018 Concert Announcement: The Red Hills Arts Foundation in Louisville has announced that it will not produce the annual “Home for Christmas” concert this year due to the renovations that are underway at the historic Strand Theater in downtown Louisville. RHAF has been the executive producer of the show for more than 20 years. Grammy Award winning Winston County Native Carl Jackson along with many of his superb artists and friends have headlined the event. In making the announcement, RHAF President Mary Snow said, “This was a really bittersweet and difficult decision by our board. It will be hard for many of us to feel like it is Christmas in Louisville without attending the concert. But the fact that work has begun on renovating the theater is a milestone RHAF has been striving to reach for years. We are elated. Have no fear — we will have the concert in 2019! And we hope it will be in the Strand,” Snow said. RHAF Executive Director Giles Ward said, “Last year the concert was staged at a temporary location. It is hard to describe the complexity of the technical logistics associated with producing this concert. Having it somewhere other than in the theater proved challenging resulting in the decision to have a one-year sabbatical.” In 2017, the City of Louisville acquired the theater from RHAF and announced the city’s plan to develop the building into an arts center. Mayor Will Hill said at the time that, after completion, few cities the size of Louisville would be able to boast of providing their citizens, children and youth exposure to the arts in a fully dedicated arts center. Although the time line for completion will be greatly affected by future funding, the first stage was begun in June. Red Hills Art Foundation is a tax exempt, all volunteer organization dedicated to preserving the historic Strand Theater. 72

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November Festivals & Events

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Dates

Event

Location

Nov 1-3

Fall Forever Bluegrass Festival

Chickamauga, GA

Nov 3

Bluegrass, Barbecue & Brew Festival

Brookneal, VA

Nov 3

Bluegrass Heritage Festival

McKinney, TX

Nov 3

The Clayton Shindig

Clayton, NC

Nov 7-10

Altamaha River Bluegrass Festival

Hazlehurst, GA

Nov 8-10

Fall Palatka Bluegrass Festival

Palatka, FL

Nov 8-10

Mountain View Bluegrass Festival

Mountain View, AR

Nov 9-10

Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival

Wilmington, OH

Nov 9-11

Four Corner States Bluegrass Festival

Wickenburg, AZ

Nov 15-17

All American Indoor Music Festival

Fishersville, VA

Nov 15-18

Withlacoochie River Bluegrass Festival

Dunnellon, FL

Nov 20-25

Sertoma Thanksgiving Bluegrass

Brooksville, FL

Nov 22-24

South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival

Myrtle Beach, SC

Nov 23-24

Thanksgiving Weekend Bluegrass

Marshalltown, IA

Nov 30-Dec 1

Balsam Range Art of Music Festival

Lake Junaluska, NC

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December Festivals & Events Dates

Event

Location

Dec 1

Honeymoon Island Bluegrass Festival

Dunedin, FL

Dec 4

Jersey City Bluegrass Jam

Jersey City, NJ

Dec 5-8

Bluegrass Christmas in the Smokies

Pigeon Forge, TN

Dec 7-11

Strings & Sol

Cancun, Mexico

Dec 13-24

Armadillo Christmas Bazaar

Austin, TX

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

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Our Thanks to Rick Litiatco...

for his great Fan Photos!


Our Thanks to Rick Litiatco...

for his great Fan Photos!


Our Thanks to Rick Litiatco...

for his great Fan Photos!


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Never miss an issue of The Bluegrass Standard... Click here to s ubscribe, it's FREE! All you need is an email addre ss, then each mon th we will send you links to bo th the Desktop and Mobile Edition s, as soon as th ey become availa ble.

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e h t . .. y r a u n a J in g Comin ! n io it d E 's r o t c e ll o C 2018 putting re a e w e m ti t rs fi ry e v e th r Fo the together a print version of tes from ri o v fa r u o y g in d lu c in , e n zi maga e. 2018, plus updated coverag s u ll te : n io it d e l ia c e sp is th Help us build like to ld u o w u o y ts is rt a s/ le ic rt a which email see included. Click here to om. .c rd a d n a st ss ra g e lu b e th r@ edito for th n o m t x e n in a g a e c a sp Check this ! y p o c n w o r u o y r e rd o re p details, and to

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from the Publisher's desk

Well it has been an absolutely amazing year for me, our staff and Bluegrass music! Here it is the Holiday Season already, and it seems like we're just getting started... I would like to give a special "Thank You!" shoutout to all the great fans that came by our booth and Showcases at IBMA. The place was hoppin' day and night! Keith Barnacastle — Publisher

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