International Bluegrass Vol. 27, No. 12 December 2012
“I Put In My Time”
J.D. CROWE on retirement & more
Fans & friends pay tribute to Mr. Crowe
Ho li d a y Gift
International Bluegrass International Bluegrass Music Assocation Vol. 27 | No. 12 | December 2012
8 Cover Story “I Put In My Time”: J.D. Crowe on retirement & more
Features 4 | Holiday Gift from AirPlay Direct for 100 IBMA Members 5 | Bluebird in the Bluegrass 6 | Job Opening at IBMA
Departments 7 | Behind the Scenes at International Bluegrass 14 | Heard ‘Round the World 16 | Bluegrass Industry News 23 | Fresh Sounds 23 | IBMA Members 24 | Final Note
Welcome to the digital edition of IB: International Bluegrass! The newsletter that brings you the freshest, ripest bluegrass industry news on the planet has now gone digital, with a beautiful full-color interactive magazine that looks and behaves like a print magazine! For those of you who prefer to read this issue of International Bluegrass in the traditional way, click here for the current table of contents on the IBMA website. But please give our new digital edition a try, and don’t forget to turn up your speakers! How to read the new digital International Bluegrass Check out the toolbar at the top of the "page." The slider bar on the left zooms in and out of the pageview. The single page/double page icons? Click back and forth between them for a one-page or two-page view. The little arrows facing away from each other will open to a full-page view; simply click on the X to get out of it. Use the arrows in the center of the toolbar to navigate back and forth between pages. In a two-page view, click on the thumbnail pages at the bottom of your screen. You can use your arrow keys to navigate, too. IBMA Staff Nancy Cardwell, Executive Director Jill Crabtree, Member/Convention Services Director Katherine Coe, Administrative/Media Assistant Caroline Wright, Editor & Special Projects Director IB | International Bluegrass Editor: Caroline Wright, email@example.com Designer: Katherine Coe, firstname.lastname@example.org Turn up your speakers and enjoy “J’s Tune,” written by J.D. Crowe, recorded by J.D. Crowe and the New South on Come On Down To My World (Rounder, 1999), used with permission Cover photo: J.D. Crowe (courtesy photo) INTERNATIONAL BLUEGRASS (ISSN #1095-0605) IBMA: Working together for high standards of professionalism, a greater appreciation for our music, and the success of the worldwide bluegrass community. The monthly emailed publication of the International Bluegrass Music Association; 2 Music Circle South, Ste. 100; Nashville, TN 37203; USA; Phone: 615-256-3222, 888-GET-IBMA; FAX: 615-256-0450; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.ibma.org Statements of fact and opinion are made on the responsibility of the writers alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of the officers, directors, staff or members of IBMA. Portions of International Bluegrass may be reprinted provided that explicit citation of the source is made: “Reprinted with permission from International Bluegrass, the publication of the International Bluegrass Music Association, www.ibma.org.”
International Bluegrass 3
Artist Showcases Application deadlines (usually January 15) have been extended until February 13, as IBMA is presently finalizing changes in its Artist Showcase package for 2013.
bluebird in the bluegrass Tuesday, December 11, 2012 The Bluebird CafĂŠ 4101 Hillsboro Pike, Nashville, TN
Airplay direct FREE $50 Gift Packages to 100 IBMA Members Just in time for the holidays, AirPlay Direct will award $50 gift certificates for radio promotion services to 100 IBMA members in the artist, composer, manager, public relations or recording services categories. Recipients of the gift packages will be selected at random from qualifying IBMA members on December 1, 2012. AirPlay Direct is a Web-based artist marketing, promotion, education and advocacy platform that delivers digital services at no charge to radio broadcasters. Their technology allows artists, record labels, and music publishers to securely deliver broadcast-quality music and digital press kits to radio stations and music industry professionals worldwide. The system also provides an online resource for radio programmers and film & TV music supervisors to connect to new music, create music calls, browse top downloaded artists, and immediately download music and related artist information. Visit www.AirPlayDirect.com to learn more about its services. Call 888-GET-IBMA to join the team working together for the future of bluegrass music, and also for more info about AirPlay Direct prize package eligibility.
Full-Time Job Opening at IBMA
Publications Editor/Special Projects Director
IBMA is now accepting applications for a full-time, Nashville-based staff member. Our new Publications Editor & Special Projects Director will edit and write publications and press releases, manage content and promotion of BluegrassNation.org, manage professional development for IBMA members year round, and serve as a staff liaison with several committees. We’re looking for someone who has experience in the areas of journalism & publicity, education, social networking, and organizing programs and events. Knowledge and appreciation of bluegrass music (past and present), familiarity with the bluegrass music industry, an open mind, good communication skills, creativity, the willingness to be a team player, and the ability to meet deadlines are also key. IBMA is an equal opportunity employer. Compensation and benefits will be based on experience. Please submit resumes and a brief note stating why you are interested in the position to firstname.lastname@example.org by Dec. 20, 2012.
Job Opening at IBMA
IBMA expresses appreciation to Caroline Wright, out-based in Hawai‘i, who has served on staff since May 2012 as Publications Editor/Special Projects Director when Nancy Cardwell was appointed interim Executive Director of IBMA, and who joined us for World of Bluegrass in Nashville. “Caroline has been a tremendous help and inspiration, and we hope she will continue to freelance for us occasionally and remain active in IBMA projects,” Cardwell said. “Her creativity, expertise and willingness to go the second mile have helped us launch a new chapter for IBMA, as we continue to work together for the future of bluegrass music.” “Working for IBMA has been an extraordinary experience and a tremendous honor,” commented Wright, who has decided to stay in Hawai‘i, where she’s lived since 1990, to work on other projects. “This has been one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs I’ve ever had, and it was tremendously difficult to turn down the opportunity to come to Nashville and do the job in person, especially with all the exciting changes on the horizon. With Nancy Cardwell at the helm, I am confident that IBMA is in the hands of an enthusiastic, hard-working leader who will always do her best for the music we love, and I look forward to remaining involved as much as I am able.”
It was a tough decision, maybe the toughest of my life. When Nancy Cardwell offered me the full-time position with IBMA, resident in Nashville, it just about drove me crazy. What an honor, what an incredible opportunity! Even in Hawai‘i, bluegrass is a huge part of my life. Now I had a chance to relocate to Music City and work for IBMA and be exposed to some of the very best bluegrass on the planet on a more or less constant basis! Oh, it was so terribly, terribly hard to say no. And it’s really hard to explain why I would turn down such a magical opportunity. But here’s the story: For weeks after Nancy offered me the job, I agonized over the decision. I made lists, did research on Craigslist, tried to picture myself in a little cabin home on the hill, somewhere in East Nashville. At one point, a friend here in Hawai‘i asked me what I would do with my life if money were no object. “I’d be writing full-time in a place on the beach on the North Shore of O‘ahu!” I said without hesitation. “Yeah, right!” We both laughed, knowing it just wasn’t going to happen. Well, here’s the picture, truly worth a thousand words:
Behind the Scenes at IB with Caroline Wright
This will be my new backyard for the next eight months or longer. I’ve become a sitter for a house about 50 feet from the sea on the North Shore of O‘ahu, where I am responsible for a couple of polite cats, a small, unruly herd of chickens, and the daily collection of a few delicious brown eggs. In short, it’s a writer’s fantasy opportunity – an extended creative retreat in a truly idyllic place. And the opportunity presented itself when I least expected it. My Christian pals will tell me it’s the Lord, working in His mysterious ways. My Buddhist buddies might tell me it’s my good karma catching up with me. My Jewish friends might say it’s because I’m a mensch! Whatever the reason, I’ve been given the gift of long periods of uninterrupted solitude in an extraordinarily beautiful location. I have a couple of long-simmering writing projects -one that is bluegrass-related -- big projects that need time and space. Which I’ve suddenly been given, in spades. So I’m going to accept this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s not going to last forever; I might yet find myself drawn to Nashville, or somewhere else on the planet. But for now, I’m going to sit at the edge of the sea and do what I can to pull elusive, shimmering prose from it. Warmest aloha,
Just a couple days before I had to make a decision about the IBMA position, I held out my hand to the universe to see what might fall into it, and into it fell… this place.
Caroline would like to say MAHALO (thank you) to Nancy Cardwell, Jill Crabtree, Katherine Coe, Lisa Jacobi, Judy McDonough, John Fabke, Tom Kopp, Ben Surratt, Caroline Isachsen, Ricky & Sharon White Skaggs, Sam Bush, Playing On The Planet, Erin Erdos, Shelley & Jason Burleson, John McEuen, John Cowan, John Carter, Laura, & Anna Maybelle Cash, and the officers and board of IBMA for the extraordinary experiences… and all of YOU, for reading IB and supporting IBMA and bluegrass music!
Behind the Scenes 7
Alane Anno photography
“The camaraderie of being with my picking buddies... Seeing a lot of friends and acquaintances I’ve had for years and years... I think I’ll probably miss that as much as anything. ” -J.D. Crowe 8
“I put in my time...”
A Conversation With J.D. Crowe In 1956, the legendary Jimmy Martin hired a Kentucky banjo player fresh out of high school, a kid named J.D. Crowe. Young Crowe, who picked up the five-string banjo after hearing Earl Scruggs, worked with Martin for five years – learning invaluable lessons in musicianship, band leading, and harmony singing in the process. His already remarkable banjo playing – clean, crisp, and always in the pocket no matter what the tempo – propelled him toward the launch of the Kentucky Mountain Boys with Doyle Lawson, Red Allen (later replaced by Larry Rice), and Bobby Slone. When Lawson departed to join the Country Gentlemen in the early ‘70s, the Kentucky Mountain Boys gave way to J.D. Crowe and the New South. The New South lineup of Crowe, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Ricky Skaggs, and Bobby Slone is considered by many as one of the best bluegrass bands that ever existed, and its eponymous 1975 album, known by some as Old Home Place and by others simply as Rounder 0044, is considered by many as one of the best and most influential bluegrass recordings ever made. J.D. won a Grammy in 1983 (with the New South, Best Country Instrumental for “Fireball) and became a member of the IBMA Hall of Honor in 2003. In December, he’ll receive an honorary Doctor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky. The first bluegrass musician to receive such an honor from UK was Bill Monroe, who was granted the degree in 1984. Except for a break between 1988 and 1994, when he worked for the United States Post Office, J.D. has been a full-time working musician all his life. He’s now decided to retire for good -and in this exclusive interview with Caroline Wright, he talks about what compelled his decision, his own bluegrass heroes, his favorite gig ever, and more…
CAROLINE WRIGHT for IB: Congratulations on your retirement! When exactly did you make the decision to retire? Probably about a year ago. It was something I wanted to do. It was time. I feel good about it. I put in my time. IB: Are you stepping away from the scene completely – touring, performing, recording, everything? I’m not going to have a band anymore. I’m going to be doing some playing with Longview and with the Bluegrass Album Band – a few shows, probably -- and then myself, Doyle Lawson and Paul Williams are getting together some shows for 2013… and I’ll get together with Del McCoury, Bobby Osborne, Bobby Hicks, and Jerry McCoury for the Masters Of Bluegrass. Most of us have been in the business a long time, and we’re cutting back and getting close to retirement. We just got together and agreed it would be a neat thing to do for a little while, and still be involved in the playing. We all love it; we don’t want to totally quit. IB: The last time I saw you, we had a conversation about how hard it is to be on the road. What’s the most challenging thing about being a bandleader? What are the things you won’t miss? You always worry about making sure you can get there, and that you have transportation, that the guys know what’s going on; you have to get your motels… You’ve just got all this pressure on you, making sure you get there and back home safely. I just think it’s time to do something a little different. I’m ready for it.
J.D. Crowe 9
IB: What are the things you will miss most about being on the road? The camaraderie of being with my picking buddies... Seeing a lot of friends and acquaintances I’ve had for years and years… I think I’ll probably miss that as much as anything. IB: As a man who’s about to retire, what’s your best advice for a musician? Everybody’s different. Of course, my wife’s always said I’ve been retired most of my life anyway! ‘You play all weekend and you’re home for four or five days…’ IB: Have you and your wife managed to tuck away a nest egg for retirement? Yes, we have. Another thing I won’t miss is the economics of the business right now. Everything’s just so outlandishly high! Fuel, motel rooms, food… If you’re gonna be comfortable, it costs a lot to travel. I figure I’ve done it long enough that if I can’t be comfortable, then I don’t wanna do it. The economics right now just aren’t good. Someone starting out is going to have a rough time. I’m not sure they’re gonna tough it out. How much effort do you want to put in? How much sacrifice do you want to make? How much frustration do you want? A lot of people don’t want to do what it takes, but that’s what happens in the music business, unless you’re awful lucky. IB: What is your biggest regret as a bluegrass musician? What do you wish you might have done better or differently – or maybe not done at all? We all can look back and see things we should have done a little differently, and maybe better… but you just do at the time what you think will work. The one thing I tried to do was to have good people in the band. You try to impress the new guys who come into the band: If you’re gonna play in this
band, you play what we do. I always wanted a band sound. I didn’t want my musicians to play as individuals. I wanted them to play as a band. That’s what makes good music. IB: Do you think you achieved that for the most part with the New South? Pretty much. I think so, yes. IB: When you think about the “New South sound,” who are the band members who exemplified that sound? I think the band would have to be myself, Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, Bobby Sloan and Jerry Douglas. When you say New South, that’s what people think of. Although I had some good bands after that! We were different, though; we didn’t sound the same. That was my doing. You can’t ever duplicate the same sound. It’s too much effort. New people came into the band, and as long as they knew the material and knew what we did, by God I let em have their way to sing it. You can’t make somebody sound like somebody else. It doesn’t work. You have to let ‘em sound like themselves, and not try to change them. IB: Doesn’t that sort of contradict what you said about having a band sound? That’s what I wanted at the time, because every time somebody changes – especially the lead singer. Your sound changes. I was willing to go 51%-49% to them. IB: They could bring their own unique sound as long as they were willing to compromise and contribute to the band sound? That’s right! It’s a two-way thing. You have to use people to the best of their abilities, you know. There’s some bands where, when people leave, they bring someone in
that sounds close to what they had before, but most of the time, they’re gonna change a little, especially your lead singer. It changed when Ricky and Tony left; it changed when I added Glenn Lawson and Jimmy Gaudreau… We had it together but it was different. When Keith Whitley came in the band, that was a different sound, but that’s what I wanted at the time. I didn’t try to make him sound like somebody else. You really can’t do that. It just doesn’t work. You have to let ‘em have a little of what they can do. They have to feel comfortable. The main things I stressed: Know all the material, get the timing, and work as a group. That’s all I required. IB: Who are YOUR bluegrass heroes? Who do you admire, in and out of bluegrass music? Two names: Flatt and Scruggs. That’s why I play the banjo. If not for them I would probably be playing electric guitar somewhere! I’d just be one of a trillion guitar players in the world.
J.D. Crowe & The New South L-R: Matt DeSpain, Dwight McCall, J.D. Crowe, Kyle Perkins, Rickey Wasson
You can’t sound like everybody else; you’ve gotta have your own thing. It’s really hard to try to get something different and keep it in perspective with bluegrass without making a drastic change. People condemn bands for not sounding like so-and-so and this or that. But you can’t do that! You can’t sound like somebody else. You’ve gotta do your own thing. That’s what I always suggest any band do: try to do their own deal, whether it’s good, bad or indifferent! Do what you feel like. Everybody has their mentors and their heroes, but I’ve always believed in the saying that you cannot beat a man at his own game. IB: From your perspective, what have been the biggest changes in bluegrass music and the bluegrass industry during the span of your career? To be honest with you, I don’t see too much change. The only thing that’s changed is it’s got more musicians. IB: When and where exactly is your last gig with the New South? December 9 at the Birchmere. We always have a good time over there. It just happens that’s the way it turned out. J.D. Crowe 11
IB: If you could relive one gig again, which one would it be? It would have to be 1975, the year we went to Japan! The band was myself, Skaggs, Rice, Douglas, and Sloan. That was our first appearance there. We were treated like royalty. We landed in Tokyo and an entourage met us; there must have been 30 people! We never touched our baggage or our instruments. They totally took charge. The promoter, who I knew very well, spoke great English, and of course we always had interpreters with us. They said, ‘Don’t worry about it! Your instruments will be safe.’ Of course you know how we felt about our instruments! We just let those guys take care of it. When we got to the venue, our instruments would be backstage, and all we had to do was tune them up and go out and play. We were over there for 10 days and it was just a whirlwind. It was a great, great time. The people had such a great appreciation for the music. We knew they would enjoy it, but it was just really far more than we ever expected. Every show was sold out. At our next-to-the-last concert, we were in Tokyo, I think, and when we finished, they stormed the stage! The Japanese police officers had to literally get us out of the building, and they took us out back to the limo, and people were climbing on the cars when we left! That was really a scary experience. But that’s how much they enjoyed it. That’s how they showed their appreciation. For one night, I knew how Elvis felt. We went back in ’79 and Keith Whitley was with me, and a totally different band. It wasn’t quite as… intense as the first time. A lot of different bands had been over there between ’75 and ’79 so they were exposed to it a lot more. But it was still great! IB: What would you like to say to promoters of bluegrass music? Any words of wisdom or advice? The only thing I can say, really, which I’ve preached for years, is that they need to update their sound people. I have played on so many
bad sound systems… except sometimes it wasn’t all a problem with the systems themselves; it was the people who operate them. They’re fooling with the soundboard the whole time you’re up there performing! That’s a thing with the bluegrass industry: they’ll spend $50,000 on talent and $500 on a P.A. system. Tell me that makes sense! They get cheap sound systems and people running ‘em for little or nothing. When people pay money for a ticket, they expect to hear what they hear on the CD; a lot of times they don’t even get close to that. You asked a question a while ago, about what I’d miss the least? That’s it, right there! Bad sound systems. One more thing: I don’t think bluegrass music has progressed near what it should have. The talent out there has not been promoted right, and it has not progressed because of that. I hate to say this, but there are a lot of people in bluegrass that don’t want it to progress too far. IB: What do you think about that? In layman’s terms, I think that’s a crock! It HAS to progress. It can’t stay the same. If you’re gonna stay the same, you’re gonna die. IB: The members of the New South are continuing on after you stop touring with them, as a band called American Drive. What lesson would you hope these fellows have learned from you?
[laughter] I think I’ve learned as much
from them as they have from me! It’s a two-way street there. Maybe about the music… keep it honest and do what they want to do, what they feel.
IB: What are your passions? How will you spend your days after you retire?
IB: She probably has the honey-do list all ready to go!
Oh… loafin’! [laughs uproariously] No, I’ve got a lot of things I like to do: I go to a lot of car shows, old relics and classics and muscle cars. I’ve got a couple cars, and I’ve got a lot of friends in the business. I like to play golf… hunt a little bit… Just maybe, I’ll be able to visit some of my friends I’ve made down through the years. We live so far away from each other, but maybe now I’ll be able to go spend a little time with them.
Oh, yeah! And I’ve got some things on it my own self!
IB: Who will keep you company in your golden years? Hopefully my wife will! Her name is Sheryl; she’s a retired schoolteacher; she taught kindergarten and first grade. She has a lot of patience!
IB: What’s your golf handicap? Front nine or back nine? [laughter] I’m not ever gonna be a golf pro. I just go out to have fun. If it’s good, it’s great… If it’s bad, it’s still great. On behalf of all your friends at IBMA, best wishes on a tuneful, productive, and happy retirement, J.D.!
when we finished, they stormed the stage! The Japanese police officers had to literally get us out of the building, and they took us out back to the limo, and people were climbing on the cars when we left! That was really a scary experience. But that’s how much they enjoyed it. That’s how they showed their appreciation. For one night, I knew how Elvis felt. J.D. Crowe 13
Heard ‘Round the World The international bluegrass scene, as reported from all over the planet Tours & Events John & Moira Wirtz of the Sore Fingers Summer School have shared news of their premier European instructional camp for bluegrass/old-time skills, set for 1-5 April 2013 at Kingham Hill School, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England. The lineup of instructors is pretty impressive…
The band have had quite a year, releasing their first CD, Proper Job, and playing numerous festivals, the highlight of which was the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival, where they joined Peter Rowan on stage! Link: www.tinyurl.com/bw2t5kq
Autoharp: Karen Mueller Autoharp Beginners: Heather Farrell-Roberts Bass: Eric Thorin Banjo: Bill Evans Banjo: Noam Pikelny Fiddle: Fletcher Bright Guitar: Tyler Grant Guitar: Chris Eldridge Mandolin: Jesse Cobb Old-Time Fiddle: Dirk Powell Old-Time Banjo: Chris Coole Singing: Mollie O’Brien/Rich Moore Banjo Beginner: John Breese Fiddle Beginner: Laura Carrivick Guitar Beginner: Gary Payne Mandolin Beginners: Charlotte Carrivick
The committee of the European World of Bluegrass Festival (EWOB) in the Netherlands has extended the deadline for band applications by two weeks. If your band wishes to play at EWOB 2013, your application should be delivered not later than 15 December 2012. Link: www.tinyurl.com/cjfagun
Link: www.sorefingers.co.uk/ The Athy Bluegrass Festival in Athy, Co. Kildare, was founded in 1991, making it Ireland's oldest annual bluegrass event. Sadly, promoter Tony O'Brien, who has been its organizer since 1997, has decided not to continue the festival after this year. Flats and Sharps, the young favourites of the British bluegrass scene, performed at the Royal Albert Hall last weekend as part of the Schools Prom promoted by Music for Youth.
Heard ‘Round the World
Other News The Old Home Place Ain't The Same Anymore, the eighth album by Finland’s Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers, has now been released on Snowflake Records and is getting plenty of rotation in the USA by DJs like Dennis Jones, Charlie Hall, Bob Mitchell, and Gracie Muldoon. The project was recorded in a two-day session, 100% live with no overdubs, and is completely analog. Bulgaria’s own Lilly of the West has released a new video for her version of “Walkin’ After Midnight,” from the album Swings & Heartaches. Link: www.lillydrumeva.net or www.youtu.be/-zeOjlrTfjQ
A terrific article about the long-awaited return of Swedish bluegrass favorites G2 appeared in Bluegrass Today. The band has been on hiatus since 2010 and is now planning a new recording and tours of Europe and the United States. Link: www.bluegrasstoday.com/g2-back-at-it-in-2013/ We’ve heard from a gentleman named Stergios Lustas, representing a group of enthusiasts in Greece who have decided to create the Greek Bluegrass Music Association. The Association's website is under construction. Contact Stergios by e-mail at email@example.com. Los Hermanos Cubero in Spain will appear in the Travelogue Studio production La muerte en la Alcarria, a film produced, written, and directed by Fernando Pomares. Link: www.vimeo.com/53084760 Australians Kristy Cox and the Davidson Brothers have been named as final nominees for 2013 CMAA Golden Guitar Awards. The Davidson Brothers brand new track 'Transpacific' was named as a finalist for Instrumental of the Year. Congratulations!
Mid-November saw the release of 13 Tunes in a Sepia Tone, the new recording from Italy’s Ruben Minuto and Matteo Ringressi. The duo has worked together since summer 2010, and now are regular sidemen for many Italian and American musicians, with whom they share the stage with all over Europe. They also play guitar and banjo (and both sing) for Bluegrass Stuff, one of the oldest and most respected Italian bluegrass bands, active since 1977. From Joan Kornblith of Voice of America, this lovely photo she has captioned “Bluegrass in Bangkok”… Thanks, Joan!
American Bluegrassers Abroad Audie Blaylock & Redline, Bearfoot, and Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms will perform in the congress hall of the Pyramida Hotel in Prague on Tuesday 4 December at 8.00 p.m., an unforgettable triple header bluegrass concert! Pictures: Flats and Sharps (left) and “Bluegrass in Bangkok” (right)
Heard ‘Round the World 15
Bluegrass Music Industry News December 2012
Artists & Composers Congratulations to the following artists on the bluegrass charts at press time: Bluegrass Unlimited National Bluegrass Survey, #1 song: “Carolina Moonshine Man” by Lou Reid & Carolina; written by Ray Edwards, Terry Foust & Lou Reid (KMA). Album chart: Callin’ Me Back Home, by Lou Reid & Carolina (KMA). a
Billboard Albums Chart, #1 album: Carry Me Back by Old Crow Medicine Show (ATO) BluegrassToday.com, #1 song of the month: “My Heart Is On The Mend” (Compass Records) by The Larry Stephenson Band AirPlay Direct Monthly Global Radio Indicator Chart, Kenny & Amanda Smith Jake Schepps’ Expedition Quintet will perform the world premiere of “Flatiron” Dec. 1 at the new eTown Hall in Boulder, Colo. “Flatiron” is a 25-minute contemporary classical work composed for the quintet, which features banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle and bass. The Farthest Horizon, the new album from The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, debuted at #3 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Album Chart. The Daughters of Bluegrass, led by the inimitable Miss Dixie Hall, have launched a new single, “Walking Through Bethlehem,” performed by Sonya, Rebecca and Lily Isaacs
16 Industry News
Agents & managers; artists and composers; associations; broadcasters; events & promoters; labels; merchandisers & luthiers; print, media & education, publishers and more!
with Laura Cash on fiddle and Beth Lawrence on upright bass. Miss Dixie reports that they’ve been mastering a new box set! Link: www.tinyurl.com/ch9qvcz www.youtu.be/vrckbLL6NWU Michigan bluegrass band Detour is donating proceeds from the sales of its song "Homeless Of The Brave" to Goodwill’s Patriot Place project. Patriot Place is a transitional housing community for Northern Michigan’s homeless veterans. The band recently presented Goodwill with a check for $1,000, the first of what they hope will be many installments. The song was written by band member Jeff Rose about the plight of homeless veterans. Rose was "stunned to learn that there are approximately 70,000 homeless veterans in this country and over 600 in northern Michigan alone." Over Veteran’s Day weekend, Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers hosted the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival in Wilmington, OH. Since 2003, Joe and his family have hosted the festival, which this year included The Gibson Brothers, Junior Sisk
The April Verch Band
& Ramblers Choice, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage and more. For Joe’s family, the highlight of the weekend was a successful fundraiser in memory of Prudence Mullins, Joe's mom, who had passed away just two weeks before the festival. Janet Davis Acoustic Music donated a Martin guitar for a raffle, which resulted in ticket sales of $2000; other fundraising generated a total $2500 donation to the local Breast Cancer Fund in memory of Mullins’ mother. The April Verch Band recently recorded tracks with Sammy Shelor and Mac Wiseman for a new CD (scheduled for release on April 2, 2013). Yonder Mountain Spring Band has announced that it will embark on a midwinter tour starting January 10, performing at some of the band’s favorite venues from the Deep South to the Midwest. Link: www.yondermountain.com/tour Donna Ulisse has shared a link with a video clip of “I'm Gonna Shine,” a tune from
her new Christmas CD, All The Way To Bethlehem, from her performance on Fox 17's Tennessee Mornings show. Link: http://youtu.be/cJDsygPP79A "Lonely Souls and Broken Hearts," a song written by Irish singer/songwriter Niall Toner, was featured on an episode of the television series Nashville on November 7. Written at an IMRO Songwriting event and included on his Mood Swing album on Avalon Records, Toner recorded the song with Clem O'Brien and Dick Gladney. The vintage wardrobe of singer-songwriter Nora-Jane Struthers was recently featured on a new video for H&M Life, the retailer’s video channel. Link: www.youtu.be/Rn6mV9uBBUw "Back Home Again,” the first single from the new Jett's Creek album, was released in late October. The new album, provocatively called The Wait is Over, was produced by Clay Hess and is scheduled to release in February 2013 on Mountain Fever Records.
Industry News 17
Speaking of Clay Hess… congratulations to Clay and his wife, Samantha West Hess, on the birth of their daughter, Magnolia Belle Hess, in November! Congratulations to Nu-Blu on the release of its first all-gospel album, Nail by Nail, on Pinecastle Records. The first single from the project is “Martha and Mary,” written by Becky Buller and IBMA’s own Nancy Cardwell. The song debuted at #8 on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Top 20.
are happy that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline lent their support for the “Pistol and the Pen” video by allowing us to use their logo and phone number on the video for those in need of help,” said Sammy Passamano III of Rural Rhythm. "Anyone seeking help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can call 1-800-273TALK, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week."
Just in time for the holidays, Alison Krauss & Union Station will offer bundles of music and other merchandise, including a Complete AK Album Collection CD Set for $148.70 -- with all 14 of Alison’s albums, from Too Late To Cry through Paper Airplane and Raising Sand. Link: www.alisonkrauss.merchmo.com
Check out the first video from Casey Driessen’s Fiddle/Sticks project, recorded in June with the legendary Kenny Malone at Zac Brown's new Southern Ground Studio in Nashville, TN. “We came partially prepared with melodic pieces, a whole bunch of toys, and our vibe open to collaboration and experimentation,” says Driessen. “I'd love to be long-winded about this, but I'd rather you enjoy the video!” Link: www.youtu.be/48xhM85dJKY
Mary J. Hale, Founder and CEO of The Pink Arrow Project, is proud to announce that The Roys have joined the organization to help raise awareness of the campaign. The organization helps cancer survivors and their families and also helps fund groundbreaking cancer research.
Grammy winner Peter Stampfel is the recipient of the 2012 Brown Jug Award, which he received onstage at the Park Slope Bluegrass and Old Time Music Jamboree, an annual event held in Brooklyn, NY that is coordinated and hosted by James Reams.
Timeless Hits From the Past Bluegrassed is the new Cracker Barrel project from Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, 12 tracks with guest vocalists Pam Tillis and Sonya Isaacs. The album will be available at all Cracker Barrel locations, CrackerBarrel.com, Amazon and iTunes, beginning Monday, January 7, 2013. Rural Rhythm Records recently released the emotional new music video for the song “Pistol and the Pen” by the Darrell Webb Band from their album Breaking Down The Barriers. With the serious subjects of depression and suicide as its themes, the video received endorsement from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “We
18 Industry News
Musician and actor Randall Franks recently had the pleasure of teaching actress Mia Wasikowska some mandolin basics for a film role. Also on the set, and
enthusiastic about bluegrass, according to Franks, were actors Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy and Jason Clarke. Franks’ five film appearances this year will also include a role in Lukewarm, a November TV movie with John Schneider.
Associations A profile of Michael Hall, president of the Northern California Bluegrass Society, appears in the Middle Tennessee State University Debate Team Newsletter’s fall issue, and mentions NCBS and bluegrass! Link: www.mtsu.edu/debate/2012%20Newsletter.pdf The West Michigan Bluegrass Music Association has changed the name of their annual MayFest event to June Grass Festival and the dates will be June 28-29, 2013. The location will continue to be the Kent County Fairgrounds in Lowell, MI.
Events & Producers The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs announced today that the American Music Abroad program, an international exchange program that uses music as a means to engage underserved audiences worldwide, is now accepting applications for American musicians for the 2013-2014 season. The program consists of month-long, multi-country tours for approximately 10 American musical groups, all chosen to foster cross-cultural engagement and understanding. Musicians from a variety of American musical genres are encouraged to apply. Ensembles will be selected on the basis of artistic quality and commitment to educational and cultural engagement. The deadline for applicants is January 18, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. PST. Link: www.amvoices.org/ama/
Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale will tour to support their new album, Buddy and Jim, coming Dec. 11 via New West Records. On Nov. 21, the two played a sold-out Music City Roots show; they’ll do a Dec. 15 Grand Ole Opry performance at the Ryman Auditorium and a Cayamo cruise in January. An official tour will begin on Feb. 1 with appearances in Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York City and Nashville’s Mercy Lounge on March 1. Eddie & Martha Adcock will host the 13th Annual Christmas Bluegrass Benefit Concert For The Homeless at the Station Inn in Nashville on Sunday, December 9, 2012 at 7 pm. They will be joined by co-hosts Donna Sonner, Gene & June Johnson and Valerie Smith this year! Performers include The J's, Sam Bush, Joe Zauner, Valerie Smith, Roland White Band, Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe, Mark Newton & Steve Thomas, Alan Sibley & the Magnolia Ramblers, and Eddie & Martha Adcock with Gene Johnson plus special surprise guests; sound by Clark Williams. Donation at the door is $15; larger amounts will be gratefully accepted. Please bring items that individuals and families can use : soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and paste, deodorant, razors, shave cream, combs, personal-size tissues, new socks & underwear, washcloths, sewing kits, pens, pencils and small notebooks. Proceeds and gifts will be distributed through Room In The Inn, a local shelter system. For information call 615-255-3307. Link: www.stationinn.com The Christmas in the Smokies Bluegrass Festival, hosted by Lorraine Jordan, will take place December 12-15, 2012 at the Ramada Inn & Smoky Mountain Convention Center in Pigeon Forge, TN. In addition to Jordan’s band, Carolina Road, headliners will include Doyle
Industry News 19
Lawson & Quicksilver, Marty Raybon, Ralph Stanley II, The Larkins, Jerry Butler & the Blu-J’s, The Gary Waldrep Band, Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition, Goldwing Express, Mountain Faith and more. (Photo by Ted Lehmann) Info: www.bluegrasschristmasinsmokies.com Jeanette Williams, Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike, and others will perform at an upcoming benefit for a West Nashville food pantry called The Little Pantry That Could. The concert will take place Sunday, December 2 from 3-6:00 pm at the West End Community Church, 235 White Bridge Road in Nashville. Doors open at 2:00 pm. Admission is $10. For more information call 615-260-5769. Link: www.TLPTC.com MerleFest, slated for April 25-28, 2013, has announced that its lineup will include the Charlie Daniels Band on Saturday evening; a performance by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and a special all-star tribute to Doc Watson, assembled by Sam Bush. The Appalachian Cultural Music Association announced that it would be relocating its Mountain Music Museum and Pickin’ Porch to State Street in Bristol, TN after the first of the year. In January 2013, Indie Connect will host the world’s first global, completely virtual music conference and expo. It will consist of speakers from around the globe, showcases by artists and record labels of all genres, an extensive virtual music industry trade show, nonstop international networking, contests and much more. The conference will include prominent speakers from around the globe such as Ariel Hyatt (Ariel Publicity), Madalyn Sklar (founder of GoGirls Music), Andrew Apanov (founder of Dotted Music and Ultimate-Guitar.com and more. Links: www.virtualmusicconference.com and www.indieconnect.com
20 Industry News
Labels Flatt Lonesome has signed a longterm recording contract with Pisgah Ridge Records (an imprint of Mountain Home Music Company). The group recently finished recording their debut album at Crossroads Studios for a first-quarter 2013 release. Flatt Lonesome won the SPGMA Band Competition in 2012. Rural Rhythm Records has released three new Christmas songs to radio: “Christmas the Mountain Way” by Dale Ann Bradley and Steve Gulley, “There’s A Way In The Manger” by Marty Raybon, and “Christmas In the Mountains” by Cumberland River. The tracks and the complete album, Christmas The Mountain Way, are available now at AirplayDirect.com. The live concert will also air on BlueHighways TV this month. Regina Joskow has accepted a position with Rounder Records; she’ll oversee publicity efforts for the label.
Merchandisers & Luthiers Bennie Boling, banjo player for the Farm Hands, has become the newest endorsee of Huber Banjos. Boling will play a Huber on tour with the Farm Hands, a Nashville-based quartet regularly performing over 150 dates a year. Tom Nechville of Nechville Banjos has written a heartfelt blog post about Steve Martin’s boosting of the banjo’s profile. Link: www.nechville.com/nechvilleBlog2/?p=56
Print, Media & Education The Wall Street Journal recently ran a terrific review, written by Eddie Dean, of Bluegrass Bluesman, the new Josh Graves memoir edited by Fred Bartenstein. Link: www.tinyurl.com/cmbjguf The Murphy Method Banjo Workshop, sponsored by the Oregon Bluegrass Association and led by renowned banjo player and author Murphy Henry, will take place January 11-13 in Portland, OR. To register, contact Casey Henry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 615/513-8620. Vivian Williams, who started playing fiddle with bluegrass bands in Darrington, WA around 1960, was profiled in the fall issue of Bluegrass Express, published by the Oregon Bluegrass Association. Williams is recognized as the first woman to perform bluegrass music in the Northwest, according to writer Ken Cartwright, who has done lengthy research on the topic.
John Hart of NewFolkRadio.com has launched a new venture called Acoustic Music Pinboard, a new website whose goal is to “publicize your band, label, news, event, concert, achievement, profiles, etc. using images and text.” The site is very similar to Pinterest. Link: www.AcousticMusicPinboard.com Chris Henry’s video series, Formlessness Into Form, features commentary and video essays by artists like Alan O'Bryant, Sam Bush, Billy Contreras, Billy Smith, Ed Griffin, Michael Manning, David Grisman, Dale Crider, Billy Sandlin, Sam Grisman, Tuck Tucker, Julie Lee, Tim O'Brien, Dave Ferguson, Verlon Thompson, Chris Hill, Matt Combs, Rob Ickes, Larry Atamanuik, Angel Snow, Bela Fleck, Richard Brown, Matt Flinner, Rachel VanSlyke, Amanda Contreras, Benita Hill, Marty Raybon, Mike Compton, Adam Industry News 21
Olmstead, Andy Hall, Shad Cobb, John Hedgecoth, Susie Coleman, Kirk Pickering, Rocky Alvey, Ashleigh Caudill, Milly Raccoon, Tim Roberts, Brittany Haas, Dominick Leslie, Phoebe Hunt, Tommy Oliverio, Jenna Hutton, Milly Raccoon, and Mike Bub. The third video in the series explores goals of creativity, the healing aspect of music, creating in front of an audience, working from scratch, the significance of water as a creative symbol, and the connection between dreams and creativity. Link: www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUD9niznPKM
Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands were delighted to offer live video streaming of a late-November concert at The Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse. The band, which consists of Lewis, Tom Rozum, Chad Manning, Patrick Sauber, and Sharon Gilchrist, was joined by special guests the T Sisters and Richard Brandenberg.
Over Jordan Condolences to the family and friends of Connie Gately, who performed and recorded with Babe Lofton as Connie & Babe and the Black Mountain Boys, later the Backwoods Boys. Occasionally Connie performed with banjo player Joe Drumright as Connie & Joe. He wrote the now-standard “Home is Where the Heart Is,” a song recorded by David Grisman and nominated for a Grammy. November also marked the passing of Willard “Red” Spurlock, a fixture of the Dayton-area bluegrass scene for six decades. He was a member of The
22 Industry News
Doc & Rosa Lee Carlton Watson
Redheads with Red Allen and Frank Wakefield and also recorded a few years later, with the Powell Brothers, the original version of "Loneliness" and his banjo instrumental "Spur-lock Fones.” James Reams has let us know of the passing of his friend and musical compadre, Walter Hensley, also known as the Banjo Baron of Bluegrass. A pioneer of the music, Hensley was one of the finest practitioners of Baltimore-style bluegrass. Link: www.bluegrasstoday.com/pickin-withwalter-remembering-a-legend/ Our condolences to the family and friends of Rosa Lee Carlton Watson, who died at age 81, six months after the passing of her husband, Arthel "Doc" Watson. (Photo by Brian Barker) Links: www.mountaintimes.com/watauganews/articles/Rosa-Lee-Watson-dies-at-81-id-023560 or www.youtu.be/rTtwy49PJhs
FRESH SOUNDS Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Live at Red, White and Bluegrass! Label: Mountain Home Music Company, www.crossroadsmusic.com Swing 42, Deboucher Information: email@example.com Various Artists, Rural Rhythm Presents Christmas -- The Mountain Way (2 disc set, CD & DVD) Label: Rural Rhythm Records, www.ruralrhythm.com
Darrell Webb Band, Breaking Down the Barriers Label: Rural Rhythm Records, www.ruralrhythm.com Ray Edwards, Portrait of a Bluegrass Songwriter Label: Rural Rhythm Records, www.ruralrhythm.com
IBMA MEMBERS Returning
Kathy Anderson Scott Anderson Peg Becker Lloyd Blake MD Steve Bonafel Les Butler Joyce Cullen Robert Earl Davis Jan de Mooy Janet Deering Phyllis Derrick Montie Elston Phyllis Erck Craig Ferguson Elizabeth Fortune Gilah Friedberg Terry Gold Steve Goldfield Doris Gray Steve Harris Charles Hearn
Argen Hicks Christopher Howard-Williams Sarah Jarosz Pattie Jeffries Peter Jung James Kehoe Dawn Kenney Larry Klein MD Thomas Knight Katy E Leonard John Lowell Patricia Lundberg Matt Malick Art Menius Donna Mentzer Molly Nagel-Driessen Yvonne Ohlson Pete Peek Bill Price Thelma Pryor Mark Schatz Bill Senneff
Abby Shuman Tim Smith Steve Thomas Tim Timberlake Iris Tucker Donna Ulisse Chris Wadsworth Gary Wallace Whit Washburn Kirt Webster Willie Wells Gary Yarbrough
Richard Bicknell Jeff Clair Lisa Husted Jeffrey McCorkle Old Crow Medicine Show Bob Pepper Erin Stamper
International Bluegrass 23
Banjo legend J.D. Crowe will retire from the road in December. Do you have a favorite message or memory of J.D. you’d like to share? Wayne Shaw: I watched you perform at Renfro Valley as well as Nashville through out the years. Thanks, J.D., for the memories... Joshua Kemble: We are all gonna miss your playing, Mr. Crowe! Alan Jeffries: I got a copy of 0044 from J.D. when I was 12 years old in Sussex NB, Canada. Thanks for all the wonderful music. Blake Vance: My favorite J.D. memory is how he went out and embodied awesome every day for the past 60+ (sic) years. Terry Houser II: The old Jimmy Martin stuff is my favorite, but love it all! Thanks, Mr. Crowe, you are a national treasure! Fred Robbins: One of several videos of JD I made on the 2011 Grey Fox Masters Stage. I found his sense of humor is as wonderful as his music! Banjo Masters - Explaining their Banjos - Grey Fox 2011: http://youtu.be/lBQHugRwIzM Kevin Baucom: Crowe and The Album Band changed the way I listened to music... the impact is still major. Phillip W. Jones: Mr. J.D. Crowe helped me get through law school. Alan Kaye: Changed the world of bluegrass and made me a lifelong fan. Randy Ihara: I lived in Lexington, KY for 12 years back in the 1970s and I used to go see JD and the New South (Bobby Sloan, Tony Rice, and Larry Rice) at the Red Slipper Lounge in the Holiday Inn on Saturday nights. The place was always packed with fans and the music was great. The instrumentals were superb and the trio vocals were tight. Tony Rice's guitar playing always amazed me (still does), and J.D. was a phenom. I got my inspiration to play banjo from J.D. I'll never forget those days. Matthias Zorn: Vielen Dank für Ihre Musik und Inspiration! Ich wünsche Ihnen alles Gute und einen geruhsamen Lebensabend. Translation: Thank you for your music and inspiration! I wish you all the best and a leisurely retirement. From Matthias Zorn (Germany) Kathy O'Connell: Met J.D. at Nashcamp... great guy. Thanks for the inspiration!
Phil Leadbetter: 11 of the best years of my life running up and down the road with you. Our friendship went way beyond the music and continues today. Now... maybe I can catch you at home on the weekend, and we can go to some car shows !!! Tina Ray Miller: My 14-year-old son plays a "J.D. Crowe Blackjack", and he got to meet him at Dumplin Valley a couple of years ago. J.D. was the sweetest man to my son, and my son still talks about how nice he was. Thanks for all of the music, J.D.!!! Christopher Howard-Williams: Trip to France about ten or twelve years. I was your chauffeur and we had a real ball. Thanks for all the music and the memories. I loved the standing ovation we all gave you at IBMA ... A special moment for a special guy. Pepper Jackson: J.D. at Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival with Paul Williams and Doyle Lawson... two hours of pure bluegrass history! George Kaye: You don't retire from music, you retire from hitting the sack at 6am. Tadd Igarashi: I saw J.D. & 'Old Home Place'-era New South in Japan in '75 when I was still a teenager. Their music was one of the best ever in any music genre. Mike Wayock: I got to see J.D. for the first time a few weeks ago at the Station Inn while visiting friends in Nashville. He's an inspiration and one hell of a picker. I grew up outside of Philly and didn't really get into bluegrass until a few years ago, but I can honestly say he's one of my musical heroes. Right up there with Jimmy Page and Jimi Hendrix. Keep on pickin', brother! Karen Brigner Byington: May the Good Lord bless you in this time. We know you will miss the road and we will miss seeing you there. But take it easy and keep on playing and believing! Our prayers are with you always. <3 Miki Leppert: You, my friend, are in the background of many good memories. Thank you, now go golf! Rocky L Menix: Time to do some Fishin!!!
Final Note 25
The newsletter that brings you the freshest, ripest bluegrass industry news on the planet has now gone digital, with a beautiful full-color...
Published on Nov 30, 2012
The newsletter that brings you the freshest, ripest bluegrass industry news on the planet has now gone digital, with a beautiful full-color...