Ready, Set, Go! Touring is back and it feels good to be getting ready. Getting ready is the operable word here. It has been nearly two years since we were out, and that well-oiled machine seems to have gotten a bit rusty. We are gearing up for two months in Europe, followed immediately by our fan cruise in Maine for a run in the northeast. It will be a mix of Amy and I as a duo in Europe and full band shows back in the states. This will encompass many different types of venues from a private show in
Americana Rhythm is published six times a year. All correspondence should be sent to PO Box 45, Bridgewater VA, 22812 or CONTRIBUTORS email to email@example.com. Copies of Americana Ed Tutwiler Rhythm are made available free at various pick up locations within Wayne Erbsen the publication’s region. Subscriptions are available inside the United Donna Ulisse States (only) for $24 US currency made payable by check or Mike Aiken money order sent to, Subscriptions at PO Box 45, Bridgewater, Andrew McKnight VA, 22812. Foreign subscription requests should be sent to Dan Walsh firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2022. All rights reRebecca Frazier served. Reproduction of any content, artwork or photographs DISTRIBUTION is strictly prohibited without permission of the publisher or origi- North River Publishing Integrated Music Media nal owner. All advertising material subject to approval. PUBLISHER/EDITOR IN CHIEF Greg E. Tutwiler Associate Editor Ed Tutwiler MARKETING & PROMOTION Mark Barreres (GrassRootsNetworking.com) Letters, Comments, Suggestions ADVERTISING email@example.com Business office 540-433-0360 www.americanarhythm.com firstname.lastname@example.org
a castle (yes, a castle) in Northern France; smaller listening rooms across the country, a 122 year old, three-masted wooden schooner in Maine; and a breathtakingly beautiful Shalin Liu Performance Center in Rockport, MA. As you may have guessed, the logistics will be interesting, to say the least. The advance preparation is critical.
Managing Life On The Road One of the big questions for us is how do you manage your life when you are not home for a long time? As Amy and I are life partners as well as musical
partners and band mates, when we go on tour there is no one left at home to take care of the bills, the house; or in our case, the boat, etc. Do you go all electronic autopay? Do you pay some things ahead? Do you have bills autopaid by credit card? If you use a credit card, and it gets compromised and shut down (this has happened twice), what happens to all those auto-paid bills? Two months out of the country, no mail, different time zones; it can be difficult. Granted even being able to operate electronically has changed the
game considerably and returned some autonomy. We use a combination of the above. For us, our home is our boat, and we will be away during much of hurricane season. What to do to be prepared? We decided to leave her (our floating home) in the water, strip off the sails and anything that can create windage, triple the lines, and have a friend check on her. Mother Nature will do the rest. How about mail? Do you stop it and have the post office hold it, or have someone check it? We have a lot of music biz going on, so we will have someone pick it
up and go through it. What’s App and Messenger have changed the way we communicate and makes it much easier to stay in touch when overseas.
Getting The Gear Ready
Amy is in the process of trying to rent or buy drums for this run. It has been a challenge. Slowly she is gathering gear and keeping it stored, but she doesn’t yet have all the pieces she would like. (Hah, surprised?)
So what about basic music gear? After a two year hiatus of not touring, I have found that my instruments and my pedal board, cables etc., need some TLC. Five guitars have now been through the shop I use, and my board has been through a rebuild. I hate
An Ounce Of Prevention
leaving on tour with questionable gear! I want it right. Enough can happen out there already. That meant putting together a pretty large string order. I take what I use with me instead of trying to find what I need in a foreign city. The same is true for picks, finger picks and slides. I am fairly fussy about what I use to create my sound and style. I expect you are too. Order ahead and make sure you have what you need. Buy the toothpaste and shampoo when you arrive, pack the music gear with you.
problems you can anticipate and prepare for before you leave, the smoother things will go, the more relaxed you will be, and the better you will perform. That is the motivation for me – the most important part – deliver my best performance and show possible.
If you are a big enough act, you may have a tour manager or team doing this stuff for you, but if you are like us, you do it yourself. My advice; keep things as simple as you can but make sure your bases are covered. The more
Follow along with us on the socials, I am sure there will be stories to tell and window pics to share. Cheers, Mike
Love For Festival Season
By Edward Tutwiler
Did you ever enjoy something so much that you wanted it to never end? That is the way an Americana string music festival affects me. The season is just getting started for us here at Americana Rhythm and as I return to earth from my trip to Merlefest a month or so ago, I am already itching in anticipation for the Red Wing Roots and Picken’ In Parsons festivals yet to come this summer. This essay is not going to be a wish you were there piece because if you miss one there are so many yet to come before the snow starts to fly this winter.
diverse and interesting. Of course, all festivals are different but in many ways they are all the same. As I just mentioned, we recently returned from one of the larger gathering of Americana goodness in Wilksboro, NC known as Merlefest; and while it may be one of the larger examples of music festivals, the experience we had there is duplicated more or less at every one we attend. So, with a few pictures and words, let me answer my inquisitors and share with you what we love about the festivals.
A music festival is so much more than just the listening experience. True, the focus is upon the performers and their performances but the down-time between those performances is filled with experiences both
Most every festival has a theme art display. Merlefest is held on the campus of a community collage and the path to the main stage leads past a huge sand sculpture. For many years, Mr. Ed Moore, a retired architect from Raleigh, NC and his two assistant sculptors have, over the course of the four-day festival, created an original, music-themed sand sculpture. Using nothing more than 20 tons of mortar sand, artistic eyes, and steady hands, Mr. Moore and friends create a temporary masterpiece that will weather away in three or four months. Needless to say, many festival goers make many trips by that location to view the project in progress and photograph the final piece.
The Shirt No matter what festival we attend or who the performing artists may be, nor even where it might be held, commemorative teeshirts abound. If it is a multi-year festival, attendees strive to record that logitivity with multi-year collections. Tee shirts are merely the tip of the iceberg. Merlefest
The Food Every festival large or small makes a valiant effort to feed the attendees. Granted, the effort at a small gathering might not compare to that of the major ones; nevertheless, food is essential— whether it is a modest food tent or truck or major effort such as a 100-yard long tent staffed by every non-profit group in the area as it was at Merlefest. I want you to consider this thought: Music festivals such as Merlefest are the only place that you can sit back for days and listen to the best Americana string music in all the styles it might present itself; visit with like minded folks from all across the land; and immerse yourself in the culture of the event. You can find a festival close to your home; all up and down Appalachia’s blue, smoky hills; and far and wide all across our blessed land.
Even when the magazine is not going to be officially in attendance, my wife and I often find ourselves heading off for a weekend here or a single day there just for the enjoyment of the festival experience. Folks say to us, “Do you just sit and listen to music all day?” It is difficult to answer such a question posed by a person with less interest or passion or need to hear the artistic effort of the performers than ourselves; however, the real answer is, “No, but . . .”
attendees have rows and rows of vendor tents touting every type of collectable. It is very easy to spend too much time pursuing the vendor tents and miss the start of the next act on stage. In fact, stories have been told of shoppers who never make it to the music.
for such folks. Trust me; the term “Shake the Timbers” applies.
Speaking of missing a performance, many festival attendees do not ever plan on sitting through many performances as a passive observer. It is the rare festival, that does not feature groups of fellow attendees sitting around playing and singing their own versions of what is going on up on the main stage. The festival promoters at Merlefest officially encourage this effort with tents set aside and labeled for old-time, bluegrass, beginners and oldtimers. This all serves as more entertainment for the festival goers.
Alas, all earthly music festivals come to an end but I leave you with this personal hope of mine: I sure hope my heavenly father allows string music in heaven;
The Dancing Music makes a festival attendee want to move to the music even if you have two lead weighted left feet such as I. Merlefest promoters have an entire stage and roofed pavilion they call a Dance Tent set aside
and if he does, I sure hope he counts me worthy to have a good place near the stage to sit and listen (and maybe tap my foot just a bit).
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival:
By Mike Fiorito
The Music That Fills The Hills The documentary film Bluegrass Journey opens with a shot of Jerry Douglas and Chris Thile trading licks on stage at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill, New York in 2001. While Douglas and Thile exchanged virtuoso lightning bolts of music from their instruments, another storm was in full force. A pan of the crowd shows
a rapt audience, seemingly oblivious to the rain falling hard on their umbrellas. Perhaps Douglas’s and Thile’s playing punctured a hole in the sky, releasing a flood of water from the heavens above. The newer generation of players like Douglas and Thile are invigorating the genre, infusing it with new ideas. And the audience knew they were witnessing history, a slight shift in the bluegrass cosmos. Grey Fox is the largest and longest running bluegrass festival in the Northeastern United States. Over the years, its lineup has been a Who’s Who of Bluegrass from Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs to Allison Krauss and Billy Strings. As Peter Rowan has said, “The first Winterhawk festival brought into being a great event to the many loyal bluegrass fans of the New York and New England landscapes. The festival has grown into Grey Fox, with expertise that continues the great bluegrass tradition. It’s been a few decades since those heady days when Tex Logan and I played the festival almost yearly! And I remember that time Marty Stuart, Emmylou Harris and I showed up! I remember all those midnight jams. I always look forward to returning to Grey Fox. Where the music fills the hills!”
While the lineup brings people to Grey Fox, it’s the feeling of togetherness that keeps the audience coming back year after year. At times, there have been four generations of the same family attending Grey Fox: infant, mother and father, grandmother and grandfather, and great grandmother, all having a great time. As Mary Doub, founder of the annual event, has said, “Community is what we really sell at Grey Fox.” The sense of community at Grey Fox is shared among staff, volunteers, ticket buyers, and artists. Many people take ownership of their corner of the event and that feeling spills over to others who might be there for the first time. People watch out for one another and pitch in when needed. The mix of terrific music, community togetherness and fun make the Grey Fox unique and special. Mary Doub told me that she had the idea about six years ago to put up shade tents so the audience wouldn’t have to sit directly in the blazing summer sun. It’s thoughtful touches like that that makes the Grey Fox community what it is. And this feeling of “in-person” community is what was missed last year [in 2020], during the COVID pandemic. For the first time in the event’s 35-year history, Grey Fox went online calling it the Spirit of Grey Fox 2020. The community couldn’t live without it. It’s that simple. As Mary Doub said, “We may not be able to gather there in person, but this is the next best thing. It’s important to keep the magic alive.” This summer, the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival returns to the picturesque Catskills Mountain town of Oak Hill, New York. For over three decades, the event has been revered for its eclectic award-winning music and its unique collaborations among artists, as well as for introducing hot new artists continued on page 8
repertoire, and over the years, he drilled and perfected hundreds of tunes.
Guitarist Steve Kaufman Steve Kaufman has been influencing guitar players since the 1970’s, when he first set foot on stages of guitar competitions across the country. His ease and grace with his instrument are comfortable—almost humorous. It’s hard to imagine that a person as relaxed as Kaufman has spent so many years chomping the bit on the contest circuit and writing instruction manuals on airplanes. And while Steve Kaufman is known for his virtuosic flatpicking guitar styling and national championship honors, his music books and DVD’s, and his world-renowned acoustic camps, he seems to have accomplished all of this with a twinkle in his eye. “I didn’t go to college,” Kaufman says, reminiscing about his childhood in New Jersey. “I was lucky to get out of high school. If my brother hadn’t gone and talked to my teachers, I would’ve failed high school. The day I graduated high school, my buddies dropped me off on Route 80 from New Jersey. I started hitchhiking to festivals.” All summer, Kaufman competed in guitar contests to support himself. “I would go to a contest, win the contest, they’d give me some jack so I could survive until the next weekend. I read ‘Bluegrass Unlimited,’ which told me where the next contest was; and I’d show up early. I was hitchhiking the whole time, and I was sleeping on the side of the road. I had a heavy backpack and my 1932 Martin with me. I’d see a spot that had a bluff on the highway; I’d have the ride take me down another quarter mile, and then I would walk back to that spot in the morning.”
Musical Household Growing up with a single mother and two brothers, Kaufman lived in a musical household. His father had passed away, yet his mother was determined that her sons would have instruments and opportunities at home. She provided guitars, banjos, amps,
With this backlog of hours on his instrument, and his experience competing in guitar contests across the country, it seems natural that Kaufman was the first person to become a three-time winner of the National Guitar Championship in Winfield, Kansas. Kaufman worked out his contest arrangements on the guitar well ahead of time. “You need to drill and drill and drill and get it so you can do it in your sleep,” he explains. “I used to go to the gym and get the speed of the Life Cycle going to the speed I was going to be playing the song. Then I would run the song in my head from the beginning intro all the way to the end. If I couldn’t do that, then I wasn’t ready. That’s how strong the Winfield arrangements have to be.”
Becoming An Instructor
and lessons. At age thirteen, Kaufman strummed Monkees and Beatles songs on his “plastic 30 guitar,” but lost interest until he overheard one of his brothers practicing along with a Flatt & Scruggs record with Doc Watson on guitar. “That’s when I heard what you could actually do with the guitar. I just loved Doc.” Steve’s obsession with bluegrass guitar began. Becoming a guitar expert was literally all in a day’s work for Kaufman. During his high school years, he committed to a diligent practice routine. Every day after school, he practiced three hours per day. “And in the summer, I had eight hours a day,” he remembers. “Start at 9, break at 10:30, break for lunch. Get back to it half hour later, stop at 3:30 for a break, end at 5. It was great practice, but it was never boring, because it was segmented.” Kaufman set a timer for himself. He practiced one piece for ten minutes, and then he would move on. “When you have eight hours, you can have really solid segments,” he explains. Kaufman kept a notebook in which he would keep track of his
Backed by his Winfield credentials, Kaufman booked himself at workshops across the United States and Europe on the weekends. He would instruct on Friday and Saturday, and perform a concert Saturday night. On the airplane home on Sundays, Kaufman would write his guitar instruction books. During the week he would film his instructional series for VHS and DVD. Eventually, Kaufman’s wife, Donna, suggested that he create a flatpicking camp at Maryville College, located near their home. 1996 was the inaugural “Steve Kaufman Flatpicking Kamp,” and 180 guitar players arrived on campus. With this success, Kaufman continued developing the camps, now called, Acoustic Kamps, into two separate weeks with all instruments for old time and bluegrass styles, plus songwriting and vocal instruction. Kaufman has also added an African safari guitar workshop to the mix. This year the group will travel to Botswana. Kaufman’s legendary Parking Lot Pickers, instructional series has been a jumping-off point for many bluegrass guitarists and mandolinists, eager to learn the jam standards and improve their skills. Kaufman has released over 130 books and DVD’s. He says he
wrote most of the books while he was traveling to and from workshops and gigs, and therefore he did not have an instrument in his hands as he wrote. “Just out of my head,” he remembers. “It’s always been the way I did it.” He also did not elaborately plan his instructional videos. He explains, “I would have a theme, I would have an outline, and we recorded them in real time. That’s why some of them are two hours long.” Kaufman approaches his studio recordings with this in-the-moment attitude as well, viewing the process as a representation of his creativity on that particular day. “I just turn the mic on and go,” he remarks. While he might arrange the order of the soloists, for example, he prefers not to do more than that. “I tell people that I recorded with who aren’t satisfied with what they did, but they did OK— they did pretty good—I say, ‘That’s the way you did it today. That’s what it is.’”
Early Work Pays Off Even though Kaufman says he doesn’t play guitar around the house anymore, he has recommendations for others to develop their guitar skills. “I’ve done my time. You know when people say ‘It’s a God given talent,’ I say, ‘No, I know how hard I worked early on.’” He tells musicians to plan their practice time and to cut it in half. “It doesn’t matter how much time it is, cut it in half. The first half is warm up. Play old stuff that you don’t have to think about much. Develop your motor skills. You have to have a timer running that’s going to go ding. You could work on chord progression, all on your old songs. At the halfway point, you move on to the next section, which is new stuff. It can be sight reading, new songs, or transcribing. When the bell goes ding, you are done.” With such a voluminous output and prolific career, Steve Kaufman could be cast as ambitious in his work ethic. Yet it’s possible that his unique combination of structure and relaxed confidence has elevated his output, as he didn’t allow himself time to overthink or doubt himself. He simply forged ahead with each new project, because he enjoys guitar in all its forms. His focus has evolved over the years, however. He says he’s competed in recent contests at Winfield, though he hasn’t placed first. “I don’t have that eye of the tiger,” he says. “I don’t have anything I’m proving to anybody. I get up there and have fun, more than anything else ”
grateful for my ability to recognize a story worth telling.
No Betrayal No, before you ask; I do not consider this betrayal. I merely tapped into her sorrow as if it were my own. In fact, it became my own. I had to live each agonizing moment written, and surprisingly hurt through most of it, railed through some of it, laughed at the irony, threatened the other woman, stomped my
Staying Sharp Funny how staying aware works as a savior for songwriters, but that is the truth of it! We have conversations all day, sometimes with ourselves, whispering scenarios into the air. When we songwriter types keep awareness honed to a sharp edge and that magic line slides innocently out of the blue; bah bam! A song idea appears. I love it when that happens. Yes, I will write about things mentioned to me at my record table, the grocery store, a dinner out with friends and my personal, all-time favorite, the phone call, etc.
crestfallen. It was like the gift that kept on giving through my imagination and her tears. She never caught on about her story appearing in my music.
Lived In Dread I lived in dread of the phone call asking if that was about her but it did not happen until my seventh album. I had saved one stinking idea for years later and that’s the one that clued her in. She had just heard it on the radio and called asking if that could have been about her … gulp … I had to fess up and thank her for my rich song catalog filled with a broken heart I never had to experience.
foot and threw a fit during one song. I cried a lot, begged a lot, and finally, like some wonderful phoenix, watched myself rise out of the ashes of agony; and yes, glory, finding love again; all the while being happily married to my wonderful husband of 40 years. So I ask you? Do you stay in a state of awareness? You’re welcome!
Donna is the IBMA Songwriter of the year for 2016, And 2017 Song of the Year winner. She was also the 2018 SPBGMA Songwriter of the year. Her latest CD, Livin’ Large, on Blueboy Records, was released in February 2022. DonnaUlisse.com
Writing From Pain I wrote my first five albums through the sorrow of a good friend’s horrible divorce. She would call me with daily updates on the goings on, the cruel shenanigans inflicted on her poor spirit. The nameless source of heartache also got in the habit of bringing a bottle of wine over in the evenings and regaling me with very descriptive narrations of the daily battles and the woes of the
She was good natured about it then because she was back in love; Hah! More song fodder for this writer! Of course, I stretched some truths; improvised some scenes; colored up some of the storyline with redemption and saved love, nevertheless the core of her story is shimmering there, inside the words and melody, and I am grateful for her and her now full heart! I am also immensely
Stream Over 250 Episodes! www.AmericanaRhythm.com
Grey Fox Festival Continued from page 5
and for its legendary hospitality. This year’s lineup includes 50 bands from Bluegrass, Jambands, Celtic to World Beat, Rockabilly, Hip Hop, and Zydeco. And while community is key to Grey Fox, the spectacular lineup brings the community. Mary Doub’s leadership and wisdom elevate Grey Fox to something more than just a music event. For this, Mary has been recommended by her peers (including Alison Kraus, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, Chris Thile & others) to the IBMA Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame. As the recommendation letter makes clear, “Mary is a vital and muchneeded role model, mentor, and collaborator for people of all persuasions, but especially women in the industry. In August 1985, Mary— the only female co-founder of IBMA—was selected as its first Vice President. Her leadership and advocacy of the organization and its community have flourished since that time.” While Mary’s vision and reputation attract the legends, she also has a sixth sense for emerging artists. For instance, Mary brought on Billy Strings as the artist-in-residence just when his career took off. Mary also invited Nickel Creek when they were still a fledgling band. Likewise, Della Mae. And now these players return as legends in the making, renewing the roster of talent each year. This year, dobro master and 14-time Grammy Award winner, Jerry Douglas, will be Grey Fox’s artist-inresidence, playing tunes with various artists. Returning as the festival’s host band will be long-time fan favorite, Dry Branch Fire Squad. Luminaries like Del McCoury, Sam Bush, Steve Earle, Béla Fleck, Peter Rowan and
Darol Anger will return to the stage with their various ensembles. Also playing are Yonder Mountain String Band, the Grammy Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers, Ireland’s red hot We Banjo 3, Nashville’s powerhouse The SteelDrivers, the allfemale Della Mae, and many others. In addition to performances on five stages, fans from 30-some states and a dozen countries make the annual pilgrimage for the camping, dancing, jamming, workshops, children’s shows, yoga, the 22nd annual Bluegrass Academy for Kids, top of the line vendors, fresh festive foods, beer, wine, and more. Grey Fox is a world of its own. As Grant Gordy from Mr. Sun said, “Grey Fox is the gravitational center for summertime bluegrass in the Northeast. When I think of being there, I feel that Hudson Valley humidity, recall that warm feeling of being at something like a family reunion, and am reminded of some unforgettable hangs and jam sessions, onstage and off. It’s so important to our musical community to have these gatherings and Grey Fox and other festivals like it are doing such a beautiful service to the world by supporting artistic culture in this way, and you can feel it all the way from the smallest campsite to the main stage on Saturday night. Long live Grey Fox!!” Grey Fox takes place July 13-17, 2022, on the Walsh Farm, 1 Poultney Road, Oak Hill, Greene County, New York. Music kicks off at Noon, Thursday, July 14. Advance full-festival camping and day passes are on sale now at https://greyfoxbluegrass.com or 315.404.5738. Mike Fiorito is an author and a freelance music reviewer. His book Falling from Trees won the 2022 Independent Press Distinguished Book Award. Mike’s latest book, Mescalito Riding His White Horse, Inspired by the Music of Peter Rowan, will be available for pre-order in August 2022. For more information, please go to: https://mikefiorito.com Frank Serio is a songwriter and a photographer with over twenty-five years of experience capturing shows and festivals on camera. For more information go to: frankseriophotography.com
up some of that lost revenue. I invite you to visit, browse around, share some feedback with them, find something you love and connect with some new artists. If you are one of those music fans who have been troubled by this new music economy, this is a great way to help in a real tangible way and perhaps find some new favorites.
The Economics Of Streaming I’ve seen the posts go viral in my social media feed. Music listeners are discovering the travesty of royalties paid to artists from various streaming services, and many are rightly appalled by it. My personal business philosophy has been to view streaming services as ways for people to discover my music, while continuing to create and present directly to you art that you’ll want to own outright - the music, the artwork, lyrics and liner notes. I have been extremely grateful to my supporters for recognizing how much of an impact it has when you buy music directly from the artist.
So, that’s why I’m really thrilled to have been with Bandcamp since late 2009. While there are other options for artist-friendly streaming (notably SoundCloud), Bandcamp has been good to work with, they’re doing good work, and they have made it possible for me to make
Andrew McKnight is a singer/songwriter, author, teacher, and traveling musician. He has been a long time contributor to Americana Music Magazine. His latest album, and book, is titled “Treasures In My Chest.” Find out more at AndrewMcKnight.net.
Bandcamp is a different kind of music service. Their model monetizes the connection between artists and fans in a different way, making their money on a small percentage from each of those transactions they enable. Bandcamp has recently rolled out a fan app that allows you to queue up a ton of music to listen to ad-free, with the hope that you’ll become a fan of that artist and spend some money directly on their work. They’ve also rolled out a live-streaming platform, allowing we artists to stream directly from our webstore, and again placing you in intimate contact with the opportunity to buy our music. (I will be part of two entirely different kinds of Bandcamp livestreams in April). Most of us who’ve been at this at least 10 years can remember when recording sales constituted a big chunk of our annual income. When my CD, Something Worth Standing For, came out in 2008, CD sales were a quarter of my income. How are we doing now that streaming has become ubiquitous? What might be useful is to know is that the folks who hand out Gold and Platinum records view one album sale as is either 10 song downloads or 1,500 streams. It’s easy to see how much artists miss recording sales when it comes to money in our pocket, especially when you consider that most of we independent artists are shelling out several thousand dollars just to make those recordings.
Thanks to our partnership with ReverbNation (www.reverbnation.com) we are honored to give you a peak at a few of the nation’s hardest working indie artists. Each month we select one entry to showcase for you here. Enjoy! THIS MONTH’S FEATURE:
By Greg Tutwiler
helped me out with my early prototypes.”
FEATURE ARTISTS Music
was something that Robb Torgler’s parents encouraged him and his siblings to play early in their childhoods. ‘We all started on piano,” Robb recalled, “Then I switched to trumpet in 4th grade and pursued that pretty heavily until I got braces on my teeth,” he quipped, “then I switched to guitar. Banjo came much later.” Because of the trumpet, Robb’s early influences were musicians like Maynard Ferguson, Chuck Mangione, the band Chicago, Miles Davis; “and anything my hipster trumpet teacher would lay on me,” he said. “Once I switched to guitar, everything changed. I pretty much followed the heavier side of rock bands like AC/DC, Kiss, Aerosmith, and then Van Halen came along and set the guitar world on fire. I always loved the Beatles too, especially John Lennon. I don’t think these influences are readily identifiable in my current music, but I’m sure it shaped me.” Robb said he used to play trumpet at church, in bingo parlors, at old folks homes and anywhere that would pay his trio anything to play. After taking up guitar (around the 10th grade) it was only about a year until he was playing out. “Mostly pool and backyard parties,” he said, “then onto bars, which my folks weren’t real thrilled about. For my entire adult life my tax return has said, Occupation: Musician.”
A few years ago, Robb Torgler bought some land with a cabin on Priest Mountain in Tyro, Virginia. “It’s one of the most beautiful and inspiring places on earth,” he commented. Frequent visits to the area eventually led to porch picking sessions with some of the local guys. “One night at a cabin jam session, one of the mountain boys handed me a five string banjo,” he recalled. “No one there knew how to play it, including myself. I knew nothing about Blue Grass or Old Time, I just really dug the sound of that banjo. I liked the growl (they call it that halfbarbaric twang), and the way it resonated in my belly, and it seemed to fit my voice better than the guitar.” That experience changed the direction of Robb’s music.
Robb started a search for musicians to create a band, but realized it was difficult to find musicians in Va. Beach who were interested in his style of music. The ones who w e r e interested always seemed to be booked on other gigs, so he pursued this newfound love as a solo project. “I do hope to have a band soon, though,” he said. “I guess I’m accepting applications! I just want to help lead the B a n j o Renaissance; bringing back the respect and popularity the instrument deserves.” Robb says his style is basically much self-taught, other than the usual YouTube tutorials and some learning videos from Homespun. “I do take some online lessons from Tony Trishka at ArtistWorks,” he said. “It’s pretty cool. You can send him a video and then he reviews it and comments back via video. Most people in the banjo world play either three finger “Scrugg’s Style,” or a downstroke style called, “clawhammer,” that is mostly used in Old Time music. I immediately wanted to do both, but couldn’t find a pick that would enable that, so I started making my own. My Mother was a silver jewelry maker and she
His new pick, ClawJam fingerpicks, allows the player to do the up and downstroke simultaneously. It’s a dual bladed pick that he decided to put on the market, “in case there were any weirdos like me who wanted to experiment a bit,” he laughed. “I got a couple real nice write ups including one in Blue Grass Today, which led to Steve Martin buying some picks. Clifton Hicks did a real nice video on his Banjo Heritage site that led to a lot more sales. Then I developed a modification of the thumb pick to help accommodate both styles of picking/ strumming. Making picks is hard work and tough on the hands, so I have to limit how many I can make. It’s not a living, but it pays the electric bill most months.” Robb goes by the moniker, RawBeeTs when he plays out. His dad’s name was Robert; he went by Bob. So Robb’s parents called him Robby. “In one of my earlier bands, Wild Kingdom, the drummer used to introduce me as Robby T,” he said. “It just stuck. I was going to call my new project, Robby T, but I told a friend about it, and he immediately changed my profile name by adding a “Y” to the first name and using my last initial. I was not flattered, and morphed Robby T info RawBeeT, and decided it was more clever, and I could call my backup band the RawBeeTs.” His latest album, I Don’t Know Nuthin’ ‘Bout Nuthin’ was selfproduced and self-released in October, 2021. It’s 12 songs; 10 originals Robb wrote, mostly up in the mountains, and two covers. “I’ve recorded quite a bit as a rock guitarist, but this was my first solo effort, and my first banjo record. I have a hard time with a genre, so I usually call it, Modern Folk or Mountain Pop, but I think it falls in the Americana genre,” he said.
Festival 2022 Compiled By Edward Tutwiler
Red Wing Roots June 24 Mt Solon, VA https://www.redwingroots.com Remington Ryde Bluegrass Festival June 29 Centre Hall, PA https://remingtonrydeband.com/ remington-ryde-bluegrass-festival
JULY Wayside Bluegrass Festival July 14 Stuart, VA https://waysidebluegrassfestival.com/ Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival July 14 Oak Hill, NY https://greyfoxbluegrass.com/festival Floydfest July 27 Floyd, VA https://floydfest.com
AUGUST Pickin’ in Parsons Aug 2 Parsons, WV https://www.fiverivercampground.com/ pickin-in-parsons.html Old Fiddler’s Convention Aug 5 Galax, VA https://www.oldfiddlersconvention.com Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival Aug 18 Gettysburg, PA 21https:// www.gettysburgbluegrass.com/ North Carolina State Bluegrass Festival Aug 18 Marion, NC https://www.blueridgemusicnc.com/ event/annual-north-carolina-statebluegrass-festival
SEPTEMBER Camp Springs Bluegrass Festival Sept 2 Elon, NC https://campspringsevents.com Earl Scruggs Music Festival Sept 2 Shelby, NC https://earlscruggsmusicfest.com Bristol Rhythm Roots Reunion Festival Sept 8 Bristol VA/TN https://birthplaceofcountrymusic.org/ festival Jerusalem Ridge Bluegrass Celebration Sept 8 Beaver Dam, KY https:// www.jerusalemridgefestival.com/ Americanafest Sept 13 Nashville, TN https://americanamusic.org/events/ americanafest
Dailey & Vincent’s American Made Music Fest Sept 15 Hiawassee, GA https://www.daileyandvincent.com Watermelon Pickers’ Fest Sept 15 Berryville, VA https://watermelonpickersfest.com Upperco Music Festival Sept 21 Upperco, MD https://www.uppercovfc.org/content/ festival/ Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass Festival Sept 22 Buena Vista, VA www.NothinFancyBluegrass.com IBMA World of Bluegrass Sept 27 Raleigh, NC https://worldofbluegrass.org I’m sure we missed a few, maybe even one of your favorites. Got one you’d like us to add to the list? You can submit it for consideration by emailing all the details to email@example.com, subject line, festival addition.
The Hogslop String Band; Packin’ The Dance Floor
By Edward Tutwiler
sign that lights up as soon as they hit the first chord. I noted the name of the band and recalled that these guys are scheduled to appear this spring and summer at venues and festivals all up and down the eastern half of the country. The band is named, The Hogslop String Band. Do not despair; the music these guys make has nothing to do with the satirical part of the band’s name.
Definitely A Dance Band
There is a pastry shop in the next town over from where I live. Whenever they pull a fresh tray of donuts from their oven, they light a little sign in their window that reads, “Hot and Ready”. That
sign came to my mind recently when I visited the dance tent at Merlefest in Wilksboro, NC. At that tent, I encountered a string music band that certainly should have their own, “Hot and Ready,”
As their biography implies, they more or less stay true to tradition but they also maintain a bold irreverence and attitude. For the most part, they manage to walk that thin line between the two extremes. While their roots are definitely in oldtime string band music, the high
energy of their stage performance is based in wild rock-and-roll. Maybe one could describe their brand of string music as mountain roots punk. Nevertheless, they are definitely a DANCE band. Even I found myself doing a lead-footed version of the revered flatfoot while they played. Before the set was over, the guitarist was calling the wildest (and probably the largest in Merefest gathering size) square dance. His pronouncement to the crowd before getting started was, “If you ain’t gonna’ dance, then clear the floor so the rest of these folks have some room!” Their performance is best served up live although they have done a recording or two in the past. The band consists of singer and fiddler Kevin Martin; guitarist, harmonica player and singer Gabriel Kelley; mandolin player and singer Will Harrison; banjo player and singer Daniel Binkley, and bassist and all-round entertainer Pickle (don’t ask; he must be seen to appreciate). continued on page 17
Listen to the expanded interviews by searching Americana Music Profiles on all of your favorite Podcast platforms! ARTICLES BY DAN WALSH
Ben Hemming Ben Hemming had reached a crossroads in his life, and felt a need to take some time to sort things out. The Englishman’s growing appreciation of American blues helped him chart a course across the Atlantic to embark on a true pilgrimage, to Memphis, New Orleans and other places important to the blues. Along the way he picked up an old guitar in a pawn shop and continued “playing his way” across the heart of blues territory. One night, while wearily taking in Broadway in Nashville, he had an epiphany. A crowd had gathered to listen to an old man playing a battered one-string guitar, made from nothing more than a broom handle and a box, while also playing drums with his feet. The unadorned honesty of the performance touched Ben in a way he had never felt before, and helped him realize that blues was the key to his own search for his personal musical voice. “I wrote a lot of songs on that trip,” he recalls, “and then I came back to the UK and self-recorded my first album, which really kind of propelled things along from there…I decided to just get out there and do it…It’s funny how you can have an experience that gives you a bit more of a perspective,” he said. That fresh perspective helped Ben focus on the blues, after initially leaning toward indie rock. “I started to look back…Whenever you look back to the roots of rock it leads you to the blues. All roads lead to blues, I think, really, when it comes to modern music.” This May, Ben has put out his fifth album, Marked Man. Although coming from a more Blues Rock direction than his other endeavors, it follows a pattern of dark and cathartic songwriting he established previously. Ben said, “I strive to produce music that is individual and stands apart from the crowd. That’s really been part of who I am, working hard to create something different and original, that hopefully connects in a visceral way with my audience. And that’s something I wanted to continue doing...”
To find out more, visit www.benhemming.co.uk
The Little Wretches Coming out of the original late 70s punk scene in Pittsburgh, PA, with his band No Shelter (known for the song “Brooks Robinson’s Camp”) at a certain point Robert Wagner realized his songwriting muse was looking for a more direct outlet to listeners’ ears, minds and hearts. The band was part of Western PA punk’s first wave, which Robert describes this way: “It was really pretty open-ended. People played all kinds of music. It was what you would now call indie music…everybody’s welcome as long as you have something to bring to the table.” “By the time…hardcore punk had emerged,” Robert continues, “for me, I kind of realized I’m a good lyricist, I’m a good writer, I’m putting out too much information with lyrics to compete with loud drums and guitars. So I had to find a different delivery system. So my brother (a violin player) and I started the Little Wretches as a vehicle for my songwriting.” Although playing solo has been Roberts’s general MO for the last 15 years or so, the latest Little Wretches album, Red Beets & Horseradish, features the band’s full lineup. Along with Robert on guitar and lead vocals there’s Mike Madden (drums), John Carson (bass) H.K. Hilner and Hollis Greathouse (piano), and Rosa Colucci (lead vocals). Emma Golebie and Jack Erdie also help out on background vocals. Released back in March 2022, the record has a distinct Easter/ Passover theme rooted in the realities of life in a locale that Robert knows well. “I don’t like the term ‘Rust Belt’...” he says, “but I’m writing about the people who remained in the river towns of Western Pennsylvania when the industry that created those towns was no longer there. We have songs about old people, sick people, crazy people, people who were alone, people who were struggling to raise their families in a tenuous economy. And you would think that would be depressing material…It’s more about the spirit that sustains people…It’s kind of uplifting.”
To find out more, visit https://littlewretches.com/home
Durango McMurphy Durango McMurphy began his troubadour journey in his 20s, when he put down his trumpet and picked up a guitar to liberate his voice to sing. Originally immersed in the soul music that horns are such a key part of, he was drawn to the other American types of music. “If I’ve gotta put myself into a bag, it would be Americana,” D u r a n g o acknowledges. His definition of Americana employs a big tent, however: “All the traditions of American music—blues, cajun, jazz, rock & roll—all those things, as an amalgam, make up my idea of what is Americana.” Born just outside New York City in a rough part of New Jersey, Durango grew up mostly in Florida. He’s not the only musician in the family; his uncle was Harold Arlen, composer of the classic “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Durango attended college, then moved to Colorado where he fell in with a scruffy coterie of aging Beat poets, punk rockers like the Ramones and Ken Kesey’s psychedelic tribe, The Merry-Pranksters. He met and learned from poet Allen Ginsberg. His latest effort is a tune called “The Ghost of James Dean (Line Dancing for Rebels)” and deals with the current world situation. Durango’s Russian-Ukrainian grandmother figures prominently in his thinking. “My grandmother would go to the Ukrainian club on Saturday to dance or something, then she’d go to the Russian Orthodox church on Sunday, so I kind of got a hit of both sides of this equation.” He tries to take an objective approach to the situation and has tried to create some positive music to deal with it. In his estimation, “One of the main problems here is fear. It’s driving all the anger…If we can cut through that fear and have a little more confidence in what’s going on, in the world we live in and the universe, I think things would be better.” (You can hear “The Ghost of James Dean (Line Dancing for Rebels)” on Bandcamp at https:// durangomcmurphy.bandcamp.com/) To find out more, visit www.durangomcmurphy.com
Listen to the expanded interviews by searching Americana Music Profiles on all of your favorite Podcast platforms! ARTICLES BY DAN WALSH
Sara Syms For Sara Syms, the songs on her upcoming album, The Darkest Light, (due out in August 2022) are an echo of her past, as well as a bold step forward. Before becoming a solo artist and recording two Americana records (Way Back Home and Fade To Blue, the latter garnering a nomination for the International Music and Entertainment Awards’ Americana Album of the Year), she fronted a number of bands that provided, to v a r y i n g degrees, supportive s o n i c environments for her pure but powerfully emotive voice. In the wake of 2015’s Way Back Home, Sara could no longer push aside questions about her music and herself that had been brewing inside. She no longer felt the desire to write for genre—rather than from the heart—and began to find the music business constricting. Concurrently, she felt a need to reconnect with herself and also renew her ongoing struggle with depression. “Soon I was writing new songs that felt like I was arriving at an understanding of truths about the world and myself,” Sara says. With a renewed sense of purpose and of self, she pushed outside of her comfort zones, recalibrating the sound and focus of her music to create The Darkest Light. Sara came to music early, with supportive parents providing a lot of opportunities. Violin, piano and singing were all in play from age five. She let violin slide after high school, but minored in piano in college. Landing in New York after college, she spent a lot of time collaborating: “For a good five or six years in the beginning of my music career in New York, I was just in lot’s of other people’s bands.” But it was only a matter of time before she would go the solo route. “The second that I started doing some gigs, I really knew that this was something I wanted to do.” While singing with others, she was working on original material that was just waiting for her to take the solo spotlight.
To find out more, visit www.sarasyms.com/home
John Lewitt Canadian singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist John Lewitt recalls a mixture of the usual motivations and an unusual limitation combining to launch him toward a career in music. “As a teenager in the eighties,” he recounts in a biographical sketch on his website, “I dreamed about being the next Bruce Springsteen or Bryan Adams. I would enthusiastically sing along to all of their songs, knowing that one day I would be just like them. Unfortunately, for anyone within earshot, I was completely tone deaf, which…put a big dent in my dreams of becoming a world famous rock and roll star.” He decided to focus on piano as a way to train his ear, but by the end of high school, he hadn’t done it, despite mastering the instrument. “But deep down, I still wanted to sing,” he remembers. “Unfortunately, my voice did not improve as puberty set in. I knew the notes I needed to hit, I just couldn’t get there.” Piano didn’t work as a musical outlet when John went off to university, however; So he got an acoustic guitar. “There was something about learning how to play the guitar that changed my musical ear; when I played it I was able to hold a melody without having anyone leave the room.” Once he had climbed that hurdle, John played, wrote and recorded a steady stream of music, including his first album, while still in college. Since then, he has become, a songwriter who can’t stop writing songs.” As such, he has been successful at placing many of them in the media, licensing his music to film, TV and other outlets. The CBS soap opera The Young & The Restless has used a number of his songs multiple times over the past few years. Other licensing highlights include one of his songs being used both for a Fortune 500 company’s social media campaign and in a VR fitness app. Over the years, John’s music as touched on country, folk rock, and Americana, but his newly released seventh album, The Beaten Path leans heavily into the Americana genre, stretching across the expanse from The Band to current artists like Jason Isbell in it’s sound and sensibility.
To find out more, visit www.johnlewitt.com
Richie Kaye To call Richie Kaye’s musical background eclectic is not to flippantly employ a cool word to portray a somewhat wide range of interests; it’s the only appropriate way to describe the influences on this singing performer with a guitar. He grew up listening to everything from opera, to the Rat Pack, and jazz of all kinds, including the jazz-rock fusion of the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Ranging farther afield, a youthful interest in everything “exotic” led Richie to Chinese, Japanese and Indian music. Despite that wide range, he also has fond memories of classic country music, remembering being mesmerized by magical performances from Glen Campbell and Johnny Cash on their respective TV shows. After many years performing mostly music from the American Songbook (mainly as a duo along with saxophonist Tony LaVorgna), and after relocating from the New York City metro-area to Houston, Texas, Richie found himself drawn to the charms of country music. He was refocusing on solo gigging, finding himself in need of a deep source of performance material. As it turned out, his rich baritone voice was perfectly suited to the the genre. His second album in the genre (released in May) is called Plush Life, the title of which Richie says reflects a luxurious musical texture. The album features 13 original songs penned by Kaye, and also marks his debut with the New Old-Timers. These session pros include Jody Cameron on pedal steel guitar; Sam Kuslan on piano, organ, guitar and vocal harmonies; bassists David Craig and Rankin Peters; drummers Steve Allison and Walter Cross; and Kevin Carter on fiddle. Richie concluded, “I wanted to create something that had a strong sense of its ancestry, so it would smell and taste like the classic country that I love, with themes that are similar to what you hear from Nashville and Bakersfield—refreshed and going in a slightly different, jazzier direction, but still being respectful to the past.” To find out more, visit https://richiekaye.com
Listen to the expanded interviews by searching Americana Music Profiles on all of your favorite Podcast platforms! ARTICLES BY DAN WALSH
John McDonough After 25 years in Austin, Texas, working as a psychotherapist who played music on the side, 11 years ago John McDonough took a break from his therapy practice to recharge from burnout and allow his musical side to grow. That break has topped a decade, so John considers himself a retired psychotherapist and now a full-time musician. About a year ago, John released a unique album, S e c o n d Chances, which f e a t u r e d unplugged versions of previous songs that he felt were better served without full band recordings. (You can check out John’s conversation with Americana Music Profiles about this project here.) http:// www.americanamusicmagazine.com/americana-musicprofiles/john-mcdonoughs-on-second-chances/
Checking in with John a year or so later, we found that Second Chances had captured listeners’ attention, and garnered two different nominations for independent Album of the Year, one from the Josie Awards and the other from Blues and Roots Magazine. John has some new music he is set to share, in the form of a five-song EP, We’ll Answer The Call. It tells “the true story of Joe Rantz, the Washington Husky rowing team, and their epic bid for gold in the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games,” as John sums it up on his website. Why tell this story through his songs? After reading The Boys in the Boat, by Daniel James Brown, the book containing the true story, John found himself fascinated with the powerful stories of all the people involved, centering on Joe Rantz, who had an “unbelievably difficult childhood,” as John puts it, but also including the coach, other rowers and the boatbuilders. “There’s just so many levels to it.” After traveling to Washington to see the newly restored boat on display, John found himself responding to what he had learned by writing songs that captured the essence of the story and retold it in ways that he hopes will resonate with modern listeners.
To find out more, visit www.johnmcdonoughlive.com
PD Adams Hailing from Peoria, Illinois, Paul Adams remembers his first encounter with the magic of music when hearing and playing the trumpet as a child. Later he majored in ethnomusicology, and began building instruments and recording. He also spent time working in the realm of community mental health. Until he embarked on his current project, This Curious Wonder, Paul worked in multiple genres under the broadly defined new age umbrella, previously racking up 13 albums, critical acclaim, numerous awards and over 118 million streams on Pandora. Describing where he now fits in the musical spectrum, Paul says the singer-songwriter tag fits best: “I think that’s closer to home than anything, because it’s lyrically where I’ve always been, but I was too shy to do it.” With maturity and encouragement from other artists, Paul determined to bring his inner songwriter out into the open. He had to get past paralyzing comparisons to reach self-acceptance in order to release the music inside. “I guess you could call it Popeye consciousness: ‘I yam what I yam!’ and that’s ok,” he says. “It’s valid because I was as truthful as I could be.” Highlighting the change in artistic focus, Paul is releasing the new album under the slightly different moniker, PD Adams, which he says is “to keep from confusing fans and those digital algorithms on streaming media platforms.” He continues, “I thought it might be too jarring for someone’s Paul Adams playlist on Spotify or Pandora all of a sudden to be presenting songwriter-oriented tunes with lyrics like ‘monosodium glutamate,’ ‘existential wonder,’ and ‘lurking in the shadows.’” When asked about the influence of his mental health work on his songwriting, Paul says, “It helped me to have a deeper understanding of what it was like to be ill, or be impoverished in your spirit, or in the material area.” His experiences in the trenches, as well as keeneyed observation of the world over 35 years, have finally culminated in a collection of songs full of amazing wonder that any conscious human will appreciate.
To find out more, visit https://pauladams.org/pd-adams
Murphy Despite finding some fame and a wider audience after a stint on American Idol, it is safe to say that Murphy, a singer-songwriter and talented folk-style guitarist, would be doing what he does, TV show or no TV show. What he does is connect with people deeply through his music. “I didn’t think I was going to be somebody that could make a difference with his music,” Murphy says, reflecting on his musical journey. “I found out that I could make people happy and get better every day.” Referring to Murphy’s musical journey means two things. It’s not only the metaphorical “journey” that the musician has been on throughout his life, but it’s also his very specific mission, which grew out of the heavy challenges his childhood faced him with, including a degenerative disease that left him with only minimal vision in one eye. Murphy grew up living on the streets of Baltimore, as he and his sister lost their parents at a young age. He devoted his time to learning the art of music, originally focusing on piano, but later turning to guitar as the only tenable option for a life with unpredictable circumstances. “When I was about 14, my father got me a guitar. I’d had a keyboard, intermittently, because we moved around, and keyboards are not easy to keep with you need to quickly change living situations…” After trying to maintain a stressful job where he was helping people, Murphy found himself with no money and made a decision that set his course for the future. “I went down to the pier and just played my guitar and hoped the cops wouldn’t show…I made $60 in about an hour the first time and it was astonishing. It was sunny and nice and I had people dancing—I mean I was terrible…It was in that moment that I realized I could sit in the sun, be myself, make ends, and make somebody’s day, and I didn’t want it any other way.” Later, the artist decided to be systematic about reaching people. He would ask the homeless in the area what they thought, and the answer consistently came back that he should be playing music for people.
To find out more, visit https://blindboy.bandcamp.com/music
Cover Story continued from page 12 I caught up with Kevin Martin after a meet and greet/autograph session to ask him some questions about this unusual string music band. I asked Kevin how long the group had been together. He told me that they have known each other for about 13 years; that the band formed back then with them playing a lot of square dances and similar venues. It has only been in the last six or seven years that they started playing festivals. Kevin said The band mostly does weekend tours but we are all full time musicians. “Gabe does some studio work and I have an oldtime country music band in Nashville that I play with as well.” I wondered if the bulk of the band’s work was with festivals but Kevin said that most of their work was with club dates. I mentioned that the dance tent set that I saw seemed to be a typical club date set with the square dance calls and such. Martin replied, “We
started as a square dance band. We’ve done dances that lasted four hours with 500 people. For a number of years, that was all we were doing. We would do square dances and we would do weddings.” I commented on the high energy the band has and Kevin admitted that back in the day they played the music and called the dance, interacted with the people, and had lots of fun, however;
presently the band has evolved into a performance band.
and such—almost PG but a bit on it’s far side.”
Play A Square Dance
The Hogslop String Band is based in Nashville but only Daniel Binkley, the banjo player is originally from Nashville. Martin said the rest of the group is originally from Georgia but that he has been in Nashville 14 years and the others for similar times.
I asked how the band name came about? Kevin surprised me with this comeback, “I wish I had a good story for you about that. You remember I told you that someone at a bar asked us if we would play a square dance. When we got to the place to play the dance, someone asked us what we were called. One of the guys who now manages us called out, ‘Hog Slop’, and it stuck. I hated it for a couple of weeks but I grew to like it. I grew up around fiddler ’s conventions and such where you came up with a different name for each competition and that is what I thought this was. The name has stuck and now I feel it represents us well.”
When asked what got the group started together and Kevin told me, “We all met in a bar named the Five Spot. They had an oldtime open jam on Wednesday nights and we all just picked together. Someone asked if we could play a square dance and that is how the band formed. It seemed that from then on, we were playing every weekend.” I asked if they had ever recorded any material. Kevin replied, “We are a live performance band. We have a record we put out a few years ago and a second recording that we will release soon. It will be very representative of our live show with rowdy fiddle tunes
Look for The Hogslop String Band on the festival circuit this summer and fall. They are definitely best enjoyed live and in a venue where there is room for dancing. I am sure your flat footing moves are so very much less lead-footed than mine.
Dan Walsh, our Profiles writer!
Listen to the expanded interviews by searching Americana Music Profiles on all of your favorite Podcast platforms!
Ludlow Creek Originally known as Southbound, the five-piece Dayton, Ohio band now called Ludlow Creek made the change when the time had finally come to stake their claim to the territory of original rather than cover as the group’s prime descriptor. They even went so far as to reissue some of their material under the new name when they realized the need to differentiate themselves. As drummer and vocalist Jeffrey Friend explains, “We quickly realized that nobody could find us, because if you look up ‘Southbound’ anywhere— on the web, on Spotify—there’s a million of them!” The band originally grew out of a tradition created by Tom and Michelle Scarpelli (bassist/vocalist a n d keyboardist/ vocalist, respectively) where they would host periodic “rock fests” and invite all their musician friends and their bands to come together and spend a day playing. When Jeffrey’s previous band (a rock fest regular) needed the quick addition of an opener to cover a show, Tom and Michelle helped out. One thing led to another and, “We did two or three shows like that,” Jeffrey recalls, “and the next thing your know we started talking about ‘why don’t we think about putting a band together.’” They rounded out the lineup with Allen Seals on guitar, mandolin and vocals and Dave Benson on guitar and vocals. A decision to focus on southern rock gave rise to the band’s original moniker. The southern rock designation is also a bit too constrictive when describing the new band’s sound. Americana, country, blues rock, rock— they all make appearances. “We all grew up in the seventies,” says Jeffrey, “and back in the seventies, when you would get an album, you’d put it on and you’d get all kinds of cool stuff. That’s kind of what we’re trying to do now.”
ARTICLES BY DAN WALSH
Tom Galloway Singer songwriter, Tom Galloway, was born in Georgia, Raised in Texas - where he caught the music bug - gigged his way through college, and found himself in a touring band called Mama’s Love. As lead singer, and principal songwriter, Tom began honing his love and talent into a unique blend of expression and storytelling. In 2014, the band made it’s way into the studio to cut an album of original material. But before the project could see the light of day, the band split; the nearly completed tracks hit the shelves; and the guys went about their perspective lives – with Tom moving to Nashville to pursue his songwriting. Fast forward to 2020, and the beginning of the pandemic, Tom uncovers a dusty hard drive that contained all the tracks intended for that album. “Out of nostalgia and curiosity, I opened up the tracks and realized how they’d stood the test of time,” Tom said. “I saw an opportunity to finish the album. We salvaged the basic tracks and booked studio time to finish the project.” The end result is his latest CD, Wreckage. “We found an interesting blend between all the parts and the players; the old and new,” Tom said. “There are actually four different lead guitarists throughout this record.” “It has ended up being a massive collection of some of my favorite players and best friends, and I’m very proud that these songs can finally be heard in their completed form.”
Ludlow Creek’s upcoming album, Which Way Is Forward, is due out in July 2022.
Tom said it’s a real relief to finally get this project finished and out for everyone to hear. “I always wished we could have released this, so it’s good to finally see it completed.” Now Tom sets his sights, as he exclaims; “to focus on my next set of favorite songs and get back into the studio.”
To find out more, visit www.ludlowcreek.com
To find out more, visit http://tomgalloway.net
Dan is a freelance writer and editor from Rochester, NY. He spent more than 15 years editing Mobile Beat Magazine, a leading publication for event entertainers. His writing focus on performers and music grew out of his own background as a musician and songwriter. Beyond his fixation on words and music, Dan enjoys spending time with his wife, Susan, his son Julian and their two dogs.
NAMM: Major Industry Trade Show Returns If you’ve been around the music industry for any length of time, fan or musician, you’ve likely heard the phrase, NAMM Show. Whenever I mention it I often get a perplexed look as a response. Given that the goings on surrounding NAMM are a vital piece of your musical experience, whether you knew it or not, we figured we would fill in some blanks and give you a little update into that world since the NAMM Show just recently took place in Anaheim, CA. (June 3 – 5, 2022) in the convention center. NAMM stands for the, National Association of Music Merchants, and is a trade organization for the music gear industry. However, when people say NAMM, they’re usually referring to the organization’s annual January show in Anaheim, California, which brings together pros from every corner of the industry. It’s where music retailers gather to see and stock up on the newest and hottest gear – guitars, amps, percussion, strings, and any and all related gear.
52 members of the National Piano Manufacturers Association of America formed the National Association of Piano Dealers of America in 1901. The association held its first annual meeting in 1904, and in 1919, the group renamed itself National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM. Its members now include commercial companies, distributors, affiliates and manufacturers worldwide. While the vast majority of attendees are retailers of all kinds, such as media, school suppliers, and major purchasers of wholesale goods, NAMM is also virtual paradise playground for the musician of any genre’. Tickets aren’t free flowing, but often times it’s not terribly difficult to gain entrance if you have the right connections. With California’s more strict covid response, NAMM has been down since January, 2020, so anticipation and excitement were high for its recent return. Blogger Bobby Owsinski attended this year’s show and shared a few observations.
“The show was a lot smaller – I’d say about 70% of what it usually is … There were fewer exhibitors, but that allowed for a more compact show … Most of the larger manufacturers that are usually tent poles for NAMM didn’t show. That included Gibson, Fender, Roland, Marshall, UA, and many others … In a way, they weren’t missed as there was still plenty to see, but I realized at about 4PM that I had seen everything and decided to bail. That would have never happened at a normal NAMM.”
The good new is; it happened! And that allows for growth and momentum for a return to the NAMM regular attendees are used to
Mark your calendar’s for the next installment: The 2023 NAMM Show, April 13–15 The 2024 NAMM Show, January 25–28
Folk Alliance International Annual Awards Winners The 34th annual Folk Alliance International (FAI) Conference and Awards program took place May 18th – 21st, 2022, in Kansas City, MO. Breakout artist, Allison Russell took home both the Artist of the Year and the Album of the Year for her first solo project, Outside Child. Folk Alliance is the folk industry’s annual event celebrating and promoting folk music of all variations from around the world. The organization was founded in 1989, and currently has more than 3,000 members. It’s a worldwide community of artists, agents, managers, labels, publicists, arts administrators, venues, festivals and concert series presenters. This past November, Allison’s album was nominated for a Grammy for best Americana album, and it won a Juno Award in Canada, Allison’s native country, for contemporary roots
album of the year. The album was just recently nominated for an American Honors & Awards album of the year as well. Crys Matthews received the award for Song of the Year, for his song, “Changemakers.” Jason Mraz, received The People’s Voice Award, and Mali Obomsawin, a Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist, member of the band Lula Wiles and journalist, received the Rising Tide Award. In one of her speeches, Allison remarked, “I cannot tell you how much this means to me coming from this community in particular. It was at Folk Alliance (in 2001) where I first met JT (Nero, her partner and sometimes musical collaborator) and so many of the people who would become a part of my chosen family. This is a beautiful community.”
Artist of the year, Album of the year winner Allison Russell (left) performs with Emmylou Harris at the May FAI Awards.
“If you had told me when I was a 14-, 15-year-old, running in fear, sleeping on park benches on Mount Royal Cemetery, that life could get this surreal and magical and happy and good, I would not have believed you,” she said later. The Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Awards are presented each year to honor the
cultural impact of legendary folk music figures: one Living, one Legacy, and one Business/ Academic. This year’s honorees were legendary accordionist Flaco Jiménez; the late legendary songwriter and interpreter Nanci Griffith; and Denver-based folk music center Swallow Hill Music
Music From Around The World
Music From Your Neighbors
welcome to the Summer edition of SPINS for 2022. Festival days are upon us and we’re already enjoying some of our favorite acts! Are you? Thank you for checking out all these great new CDs! Make sure you go see live music whenever you can! And we’ll keep telling you all about the good stuff right here! Oh, and please tell them we sent you! Buy their CD. Support your favorite musician so they can keep making their music!
Somewhere Beyond www.breakinggrass.com
David Bennett Cohen
Got one you want us to consider? send it to: Uncle Woody The Spin Doctor, PO Box 45 Bridgewater, VA 22812
It’s the 14th year for for this high energy bluegrass band led by the writing chops of front man, Cody Farrar. They’ve had multiple top 10 albums and top 10 songs over the years. Somewhere Beyond will be another
Wish you could enjoy one more fresh cut from the legend, Waylon Jennings? He produced this album over 20 years ago, and then it just sat. Waylon played and sang on several cuts, including the title track, “Southern Man.” It’s out now! Good stuff
David’s been a professional musician for over 60 years including most noted as the keyboard player, and founding member of Country Joe and the Fish. He’s played with many over the years. Now he’s got a record of his own
Tray’s latest project features music ranging from old-time flavors through straight-ahead bluegrass and fresh newgrass, to string band renditions of some iconic jazz classics. It’s Tray’s full length debut. Keep an eye on this guy
Monica Taylor Trains, Rivers & Trails
Michael Martin Murphy and Ryan Murphy
This Curious Wonder
Road Beyond The View www.michaelmartinmurphy.com
Something You Didn’t Count On www.jaeleerobertsmusic.com
This OK native, under the nickname, The Cimarron Songbird, sings from the heart, and she tells stories of her Cherokee Indian heritage, red dirt roads, homes, fence posts, and yes, even trains. She even covers one of my favs; “Gentle On My Mind”
Although Ryan has been performing with his dad since he was a kid, Road Beyond The View, is their first truly collaborative record. They wrote, arranged, produced, and performed all the songs together. We love this one
Alex was still working on his family’s farm when he auditioned for American Idol, season 19. After departing the Idol competition, he’s played the Ryman, and five state fairs, just to name a few. You’ll like his new CD, Miller Time, it’s true country music
Although Paul was an accomplished luthier, his secret passion was song composition. As Paul Adams, he released 13 genre bending albums, but held back his original material for his alter ego, PD Adams. Now, 35 years of his best stuff, in one package
Something You Didn’t Count On is Jaelee’s full length, debut CD. It’s produced by Tim Surrett, and features artist support by, Garth Brooks, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, and more. Oh, and she’s the guitar player for Sister Sadie. This is top shelf bluegrass
From THe Ground Up
Calling You From My Mountain
Everett began performing in Branson with his family’s band (the Peterson Family Band) when he was just four years old. He is an Arkansas state fiddle champion, and hold a masters degree in Acoustics. What’s not to love about this kid? Check it out
Jim played with many top bluegrass and country acts before embarking on his own in 2010 as a solo artist. He’s a two time IBMA Guitar Player of the Year. This new album not only highlights his guitar finess, but showcases some original penned cuts as well
Peter Rowan has been at the forefront of acoustic American music for over six decades. He’s a Grammy award winner, and a brilliant songwriter. His latest CD began as a tribute to his favorite Hank Williams LP, Hank Williams Sings Luke The Drifter.
Nashville Again is the fourth CD from this Southern Pennsylvania quartet. Their music has been featured on NPR, Cowboy Jack Clements’s Radio Show. Their gritty, country, folk, rock vibe is well worth checking out
Unspoken Tradition’s music is rooted in the distinctive culture and landscape of western North Carolina. Imaginary Lines is the latest full length CD for this hard working, contemporary bluegrass band.
You can send new Americana CD releases for consideration to PO Box 45, Bridgewater, VA, 22812 / firstname.lastname@example.org
SUBSCRIBE TODAY! Send us your name and address along with your check or money order for $18 for 6 issues, made out to Americana Rhythm, to PO Box 45, Bridgewater, VA, 22812. (PLEASE PRINT CLEARLY) You can also subscribe Via PayPal on line at www.AmericanaRhythm.com Name: Address: City: State:
Or, Subscribe using PayPal VISIT www.AmericanaRhythm.com