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IB bluegrass international

Vol. 29 No. 7 July 2014

...and there’s more!

Wide O pen Bluegrass adds to lineup

The 17th Annual European World of Bluegrass

Northwest String Summit’s Brand of Magic

Bela fleck to deliver keynote!

Fresh Sounds: Balsam Range, Red June, The Osborne Brothers

International Bluegrass Vol. 29 | No. 7 | July 2014

Editor: Taylor Coughlin

Designer: Erin Erdos Humann


Nancy Cardwell Executive Director


Taylor Coughlin Special Projects Director Publications Editor

Eddie Huffman Technology & Office Systems Manager

Joe Lurgio Member/Convention Services Director

Jon Weisberger/Board Chairperson

Alan Bartram/Director, Artists/Composers/Publishers Henri Deschamps/At Large Stephen Mougin/At Large Cindy Baucom/Vice Chair Craig Ferguson/Director, Event Producers Brian Smith/Director, Agents/Managers/Publicists Becky Buller/At Large Craig Havighurst/Secretary, Print/Media/Education Ben Surratt/Director, Recording/Dist./Marketing Danny Clark/At Large Carl Jackson/Director, Artists & Composers Tim Surrett/Director, Artists/Composers/Publishers Jamie Deering/Director, Merchandisers/Luthiers William Lewis/At Large Angelika Torrie/Director, International Regina Derzon/Director, Associations Ned Luberecki/Director, Broadcast Media Elizabeth Wightman/Treasurer, At Large

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International Bluegrass

The monthly emailed publication of the International Bluegrass Music Association

(ISSN #1095-0605) IBMA: IBMA is the trade association

608 W. Iris Drive, Nashville, TN 37204 USA 615-256-3222 | 888-GET-IBMA Fax: 615-256-0450 Email: Website:

that connects and educates bluegrass professionals, empowers the bluegrass community, and encourages worldwide appreciation of bluegrass music of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Statement 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,�

table of contents FeatureS 6| 17th Annual European World of Bluegrass 14| Wide open Bluegrass adds to lineup

News 10|Q&A with Board member Jon Weisberger 16 | Northwest String Summit’s Brand of Magic 23| Taking Care of Business at WOB 24|Welcome IBMA interns 36|BELA FLECK TO DELIVER KEYNOTE ADDRESS 38| Book Review: Donna Ulisse

Departments 4 | Letter from the Executive Director 20| Membership News: Gear Track tips on Instrument safety 27|New members: June 28 | Fresh sounds:

Balsam Range, Red June, The Osborne Brothers and more

30| Bluegrass Industry News


Good Numbers and Good Vibes: The Sign of a Healthy IBMA from Nancy Cardwell


uly 1 is the beginning of the last stretch of organization, project completion and promotion for the IBMA staff, IBMA Awards and Wide Open Bluegrass producers, and more than a few committees who are working together to make World of Bluegrass Week in Raleigh another resounding success. It’s also a time of reflection, both financially and organizationally, as we kick off the new fiscal year with a fresh budget and the second year of our current threeyear strategic plan. IBMA Treasurer Elizabeth Wightman, the Finance Committee and I are waiting for the calendar page to turn so we can crunch numbers for the year-end finance report which will appear in the next issue of this publication and on Things are very positive, in some ways that can be measured numerically and some that can’t. Cumulatively, over 146,000 people participated in the IBMA Business Conference, the IBMA Awards Show, the Bluegrass Ramble, Wide Open Bluegrass, and the Wide Open Bluegrass Street Festival last year in Raleigh— record numbers. Thanks to the hard work of our staff, a great number of volunteer committee members and producers on both the IBMA and Raleigh sides, equal parts well-thought out guidance and a bit of risk taking from the IBMA Board of Directors, hours of work from Board Chairs Stan Zdonik and Jon Weisberger, and YOUR SUPPORT, we sold out the Red Hat Amphitheatre for Wide Open Bluegrass and the Duke Energy Center for


the Performing Arts for the IBMA Awards Show. The new convention center and downtown-based Bluegrass Ramble Showcase series debuted with a bang, bands visited local Raleigh schools, the positive coverage from local and national press we received was overwhelming, and we experienced an IBMA/host conference city synergy between the organization IBMA and our host city like nothing before. We’re putting the final touches on the 2014 events now, which will be even better. If you haven’t received your new World of Bluegrass brochure in the mail yet, give us a call and we’ll send you one. Even better, click here and take a look now. Additional details on the events will be popping up on this month, with an enhanced, interactive schedule – so check in with us frequently online and on our social media pages for exciting news and updates. During the past two years, IBMA membership has grown by 39%. We will end the fiscal year with approximately three times the net projected in our 2013-14 budget. The total liabilities and equity figure on the IBMA balance sheet for May 30, 2014 is three times the amount we posted in May 30, 2013. You can look for specific details in the Finance Report in the August 1 issue of IB. We were able to donate $90,681 to the Bluegrass Trust Fund after Wide Open Bluegrass 2013—the largest amount in the history of IBMA. The Bluegrass Trust Fund, one of the reasons IBMA was organized, is a charity that exists to help members of the bluegrass community in times of emergency need. A percentage of net profit from the festival (formerly known as Fan Fest) is donated every year. You may not hear a lot about the

International Bluegrass

From the Executive Director’s desk Trust Fund since recipients and grant amounts are kept confidential, but it’s working, and a number of people have been helped with significant amounts during the past couple of years I’ve volunteered as their staff liaison. Helping each other, along with learning from each other and working to grow the audience for bluegrass music worldwide, is what IBMA is all about. In addition to the encouraging numbers, there’s an increasingly positive vibe about IBMA out in the global “Bluegrass Nation.” The IBMA Youth Council (led by chair Andrew Rigney) and International Committee (led by Swiss board rep Angelika Torrie) are on the move. More new artists and business leaders are being recognized for their achievements with our new Momentum Awards. Our social media/online presence has vastly increased since staff member Taylor Coughlin came on in March 2013, and we have one of the world’s most widely read (and sharp looking) digital bluegrass magazines. Don’t miss the fresh professional development activities at WOB this year from Taylor’s court, with leadership from Molly Nagel and the IBMA Education Committee. We have an increased value of and content for the IBMA Business Conference overall, and a slate of fresh, exciting ideas with a number of exciting new member benefits from the desk of Joe Lurgio, IBMA Membership & Convention Services Manager—who has been on staff a year also and has also designed our great marketing plan. Thanks to Eddie Huffman, Technology & Office Systems Manager who will mark his first year anniversary with IBMA at the end of July, we have completely revamped our website and database storage, we have an exciting new logo, and very soon we’ll have an improved office telephone system up in running (so you’ll hear something like Tony Rice’s “Cold on the Shoulder” instead of say, Kenny G, when you’re momentarily placed on hold). It would take the rest of this magazine to list everything our hard-working committees and staff do for IBMA every week; the notes above are just the tip of the iceberg. We have a number of stellar folks working part-time on a contract basis including bookkeeper Jacqueline Weiss and accountant Bobbi Cunningham; Wide Open Bluegrass festival producer William Lewis; Bluegrass Ramble Manager Ted Loomis; sponsorship development


consultant Susan Woelkers; world class publicist Judy McDonough; a number of folks working behind the scenes at the IBMA Awards and Wide Open Bluegrass; and graphic designers Landon Elmore, Karen Simon and Erin Humann. A hard-working and enthusiastic “LOC” (local organizing committee) meets regularly in Raleigh with the sole purpose of helping us be successful with World of Bluegrass. IBMA Awards Show producers Chris Stuart and Amy Reitnouer have volunteered their time to putting together a stellar show. We have a phenomenal group of sponsors who make World of Bluegrass happen every year, including Wide Open Bluegrass presenting sponsor PNC, Wide Open Bluegrass National Supporting sponsor D’Addario Strings, IBMA Business Conference National Supporting Sponsor Bluegrass Unlimited, and dozens more. Please look for our sponsor names and brands in ads and printed programs, on our smartphone app and on—and thank them personally with your support and a handshake when you get the chance. The IBMA board voted in April to set aside $20,000 from 2013-14 net profits to start rebuilding our financial reserves. Moving forward, we plan to put 10% of net profit in reserves every year. The sound financial planning of former Executive Director Dan Hays and a number of board members in past years is what got us through some recent challenges with the economy and lagging membership/ WOB attendance numbers. We want to be good stewards of the organization’s money. Of course, IBMA does more than plan an annual five-day long event; year-round, our focus and work is centered on waving the bluegrass music flag around the world, as well as doing everything we can think of to help our members in the industry survive out there in the trenches, grow their businesses, and help them make a better living in the bluegrass biz. Come see what we’re all about during World of Bluegrass in Raleigh this September, or better yet be part of our community now by becoming a member. You’ll see for yourself that the good vibes just keep on coming.

International Bluegrass


EWOB Report

Sun and Song

The 17th European World of Bluegrass Festival in Voorthuizen

By Loes van Schaijk (The Netherlands)


ust about in the middle of the Netherlands, in a little village called Voorthuizen, you are likely to encounter church-goers, tourists, chickens and, every year during Ascension Weekend (last weekend in May), approximately 800 bluegrass enthusiasts who come together for the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival. The 17th edition, held from 29 to 31 May this year, saw 566 paying visitors, 70 (mostly local) volunteers and 42 bands (from 14 European countries and the United States) counting a total of 165 musicians performing on stage. The festival was organized for the first time in 1998 and modelled after the IBMA World of Bluegrass festival after a few IBMA representatives asked their European colleagues to help them put the “I” in “IBMA.” It is by far not the only bluegrass festival in Europe, but it’s special in the sense that musicians of different countries come together to play on the basis of a small compensation for their travelling costs. Unlike their more professional big brother, the EWOB is organised by dedicated bluegrass lovers in their free time, currently in a committee which is independent from the European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA).

Photo by Dieter Fierens

The day before the start of the festival, not only was the campsite already open and buzzing with the sound of banjos, also the Norwegian band Brokeland Bullets spent two hours teaching 28 students at a local music school how to play Man Of Constant Sorrow on bluegrass instruments. Many of the students were so enthralled by bluegrass music that they brought their family and friends to the festival which officially opened on Thursday. That day, some hardcore bluegrass lovers might have felt torn between the EWOB or a festival which was organised for the second time in a city quite nearby, the Gulpener Bluegrass Festival Utrecht (GBFU). However, EWOB ticket sales don’t seem to suffer from having a friendly festival in the area. On the contrary, organiser Joost van Es, himself a professional violinist and a member of 4 Wheel Drive, aims to make his festival a place that musicians of international acclaim will want to include in their touring schedules, that way making it possible for EWOB to book some of these artists as well. Van Es targets a broad audience and therefore includes a diversity of styles in his program.

EWob report

The EWOB program also showed more diversity than in previous years. Bands like Cimpr Campr (Czech Republic), GQ Aqustic (Poland), Hobo Pioneers (Great Britain) and Paradawgma (Germany) might not have been a purists’ cup of tea but did manage to raise the roof with their flaming solos and jazzy repertoire. There was Appalachian old-time by Cookie Tuesday, Irish folk by The Lasses and even solid blues by The Mudbirds. There were also a fair amount of young and female performers on stage, notably multi-instrumentalist twin sisters Charlotte and Laura Carrivick of the English band Cardboard Fox, virtuoso banjo player Tabitha Agnew of the North-Irish family band Cup O’Joe, and singer Angelina Darland of the Swedish band Dunderhead with a voice slightly resembling the style of Crooked Still. Dunderhead clearly had their minds set on winning the band competition, because there was hardly a moment the whole festival when they weren’t standing near the entrance of the festival hall performing extra sets of their music. They were eventually cho-

Photo by Dieter Fierens

sen by their peers (a vote which was confirmed by an anonymous jury) to be the #1 European Bluegrass Band of 2014. As a reward, they may represent Europe by performing at the ROMP festival in Owensboro, Kentucky next year. The honor of carrying the title “#1 Audience Popularity Award” went to The Blue Grass Boogiemen from the Netherlands for their high energy performance and high quality playing. Their response: “Although we don’t believe that music should be about contests and such, we are, of course, very glad the audience seemd to enjoy us a lot.

International Bluegrass

Thank you audience! Your appreciation and support makes everyone a winner.” The Liz Meyer European Innovation of Bluegrass Award was awarded to the Dutch band Stroatklinkers for introducting large groups of people to bluegrass for over 20 years by mixing it with aspects of Dutch folk music and lyrics in the regional dialect. Pieter Groenveld, member of the EWOB committee and sound engineer for the whole weekend, initiated this award in memory of his wife Liz Meyer and her efforts to promote European bluegrass music and to help young bands to get their music heard.


ewob report

The headliners performing on Saturday night were the Czech band Handl, #1 European Bluegrass Band of 2013, singer and banjo player Mean Mary from the US and some old friends of the EWOB inner circle, Amy Gallatin & Still Waters. When the band played Moon Over Water, which was written by Dutch songwriter Elly Beurskens on the passing of her fellow musician Theo Lissenberg, many were moved to tears. Mean Mary and Amy Gallatin were among the people who gave workshops on instrument technique and vocal harmony. There was also the opportunity to take individual classes. For the children, Scotsman Eddie Winship provided a program with songs that they could participate in with gestures, dance and voice. Some people told me that in their opinion the finest moments on stage were the demonstrations of the instruments that were made donated for the raffle (a Blueridge BR-AS40 guitar donated by Boetzkes Mandolins) and the auction (an old-time open back banjo by Prucha and a European dobro by Arie van Spronssen). I’m sure some people never even went into the main concert hall but spent the entire weekend in the Trade Show room, playing on the instruments that the above named builders put up for sale and browsing in “shops” full of strings, picks, books, DVDs,


Photo by Karlijn Pippel

CDs and such. In this room, a lot of jamming went on, just like in all the corners of the building and all over the adjacent campsite. The weather was sunny and perfect to sit in front of the tent or caravan, only taking a break from jamming to sip your coffee, beer or whisky. All kinds of music could be heard in the area, from bluegrass classics such as “Jerusalem Ridge,” Rebecca and Lonesome Pine to klezmer, jazz, pop and fiddletunes from Sweden and the Shetland Islands. But by Sunday morning, peace and quiet returns to Voorthuizen, because the community center is used for a church service which, unfortunately, does not welcome bluegrass gospels. But it gives the European bluegrass lovers a chance to prepare for “the long summer” of festivals like Grevengrass in Germany, Banjo Jamboree in Czech Republic, Tonder in Danmark, Risør in Norway, La Roche in France and Moniaive in Scotland, to only name a few. The 18th edition of EWOB will be held from 14-16 May, 2015.

International Bluegrass

International Bluegrass


Board Q&A with Jon Weisberger, Chair


Shake Getting to Know & your IBMA Board howdy What is your name, occupation, bluegrass connection, position on the board, and how long you’ve been serving? I’m Jon Weisberger - first and foremost, bass player with Chris Jones & The Night Drivers and also a songwriter. I play with other folks, too, from time to time - notably, the Roland White Band, which I’ve been in almost as long as I’ve been a Night Driver - and I’m the on-air producer for “Hand-Picked with Del McCoury,” which airs weekly on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction. For a long time, I worked primarily as a music journalist, and I still write on occasion, as well. I’m in my 10th year of IBMA service as a Board member, having served two 3-year terms in an At-Large position and three 1-year terms as Vice-Chairman of the Board before being elected by the Board as its Chairman last fall.


In brief, what brought you to bluegrass music? You know, I’m a little bit of a throwback to the music’s early days, insofar as I saw bluegrass purely as a piece of a larger country music world for a long time. Bluegrass records were among my earliest buys as a kid, but I didn’t really separate buying Flatt & Scruggs’ Carnegie Hall album from buying Merle Haggard’s Muskogee album - they were both live country music shows to me. What really kicked my interest in bluegrass into high gear in particular was hearing the late Red Allen; I loved his singing (still do!) and just couldn’t get enough of the whole sound, to the point where I thought, “I need to learn how to do this.”

International Bluegrass

What do you hope to bring to the bluegrass community by serving on the board of directors? Probably most importantly, I’d like to bring a perspective to the bluegrass community that balances a knowledge of, appreciation for and abiding love for the musical accomplishments of earlier generations with an enthusiasm for the many ways that artists of today not only build on those accomplishments, but also seek to put their own stamp on the music. It’s easy to lean to one direction or the other - to see the creativity and individuality of today’s artists as a threat to the preservation of bluegrass’s legacy, or to see attention paid to preservation as undercutting the possibilities for bringing new influences and new approaches into the music - but my own experience has shown me that these are false oppositions. For bluegrass to thrive, it has to do both - keep one foot in the past and one in the future - and I hope that I can help make that happen through service to the IBMA.

IBMA board

How have you seen the bluegrass industry change in your time working in it? How much time have you got? Seriously, bluegrass has been affected by larger music industry trends in unmistakable ways. Satellite radio has been a huge game-changer, creating and serving a genuinely national audience of bluegrass listeners and opening a significant new revenue stream for artists and labels. The relationships between artists and labels, labels and broadcasters, agents and promoters they’ve all changed significantly. Artists typically have to engage a lot more in the non-music making aspects of their careers than in the past. Reaching new and younger audiences is more important now than it was when I first really dug into the business. Technology has changed almost every aspect of the business, from recording to communication. The industry doesn’t look like it did 20 years ago, and in 20 years, it won’t look like it does now. We are in the middle of tremendous changes pretty much across the board.

What projects are you working on for the future of bluegrass music right now? The one that’s occupying my attention most right now is a new album I’m right in the middle of making. All of the profits from the sale of the album will go to the IBMA. The idea is to have a dozen or so folks with whom I’ve written songs - some especially for the project - come in to sing them, backed by a band of some of my very favorite musicians. The list of folks involved is incredible - it includes Dale Ann Bradley, Jesse Brock, Shawn Camp, Andy Falco and Jeremy Garrett (Infamous Stringdusters), the Gibson Brothers, Sierra Hull, Ned Luberecki, Claire Lynch, Tim O’Brien, and more. I feel very blessed to know and to be able to work with these folks, who cover such a great range of different approaches to bluegrass music, and to do it all in support of the IBMA. Dan Keen - a former Board member and music business professor at Belmont University - and I have launched a new music publishing company, Wise Kings Global, and we thought this would be perfect for its first project. In line with what I’ve said about the new music business environment, we’ve launched a crowd funding campaign, so anyone interested in learning more about the album, in preordering it or in looking at some of the cool perks we’ve got for higher-level contributions can check it out at

International Bluegrass


Board Q&A (cont.)

IBMA board

What is your favorite (bluegrass) album and why? Oh, gosh, that’s nearly impossible to answer, because so much of my favorite bluegrass was recorded and released before albums really became a thing. That being said, I would probably take a collection of the Flatt & Scruggs Mercury sides with me to that desert island. So much of what I love about bluegrass is embodied in those very early recordings, from blistering numbers like “Roll In My Sweet Baby’s Arms” and “Pike Country Breakdown” to great heart songs like “I’ll Just Pretend” and “I’ll Never Love Another” to gospel classics like “Preachin’, Prayin’, Singin’” - there’s an astonishing amount of variety, and every one of those 28 sides is just brilliant.

What is the best festival experience you’ve ever had? That’s a tough question, too! There have been a lot of great ones, but a couple that stand out to me for personal reasons are the first time I played Bean Blossom, with the Wildwood Valley Boys in 2000, and then when I played at Huck Finn’s Jubilee for the late Don Tucker with Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, in an edition of the band that included Ron Block and Jeremy Garrett. In the former case, it was really moving to finally get to set foot on the stage of Mr. Monroe’s festival, one of such great historical significance; in the latter case, it gave me a sense that it really did seem possible for me to be a full-time bluegrass musician, playing with world-class musicians at a first-rate festival for lots of people.


What is your advice to someone fresh to the bluegrass industry? Also, what is your advice to someone not-sofresh to the bluegrass industry? For someone fresh to the industry, I would say that right from the outset, you have to pay attention to your business - and that’s as true of a musician as it is of anyone doing anything else in the industry. Have an idea of where you want to be in a year and in five years - at least! - and work backward from those goals to develop some kind of plan and timetable for moving forward. Educate yourself - there are folks who have already gone through what you’re about to go through, and you can learn a lot from listening to them. And network! This is still a small industry, and personal connections count for a huge amount, especially early on. Fortunately, the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass is a place where you can get all that done, so attendance there is, for anyone new to the industry, just about mandatory. For veterans, I guess my advice would be to hold on to what’s really meaningful about your experiences in the industry, and let go of the rest. A lot is changing, and success requires being able to navigate in new waters, not just the old, familiar ones - a lot of those are drying up! I also believe that it’s really important to keep in touch with younger industry members, whether by working together or by seeking out mentoring opportunities. If you want to maintain a successful presence in the industry, you’ve got to keep up with it, and be prepared to go outside of your comfort zone - a lot of times, that’s where the action is!

International Bluegrass

From the Executive Director’s desk

International Bluegrass



WOB News

Additional artists announced for

IBMA’s Wide Open Bluegrass Additional artists have been announced for the Wide Open Bluegrass festival, which takes place October 3-4 in Raleigh, North Carolina; the list includes:

Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out The Grascals Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice Special Consensus Town Mountain The Deadly Gentlemen James King Band Larry Stephenson Band Mustered Courage The Roys and The Davidson Brothers

Yonder Mountain String Band Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester with Shawn Camp, Tim O’Brien, Johnny Warren, Charlie Cushman and Barry Bales   Bela Fleck & Abigail Washburn Balsam Range Lonesome River Band Chatham County Line Noam Pikelny & Stuart Duncan Della Mae Of special note in the WOB lineup are two legendary bluegrass artists: Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Jesse McReynolds, from Virginia, and North Carolina’s own Bobby Hicks, a ten time Grammy award winning fiddler who recently received the prestigious North Carolina Heritage Award from the North Carolina Arts Council. For his set, Hicks will be joined by musicians Tony Williamson, Ron Shuffler and other special guests.  


These artists will join the previously announced Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Bruce Hornsby, Del McCoury Band with special guests, Hot Rize (with Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers), Gibson Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Sierra Hull, The Kruger Brothers with Kontras Quartet’s world premiere of new concerto “Lucid Dreamer” and the Wide Open Jam, featuring the superstar lineup of Sam Bush, Bela Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Edgar Meyer, Bryan Sutton and Stuart Duncan as the performers for the ticketed portion of the two-day music festival.

International Bluegrass

Earls of Leicester feat. Shawn Camp

Lonesome River Band

Yonder Mountain String Band

Della Mae

“We’re so pleased that, once again, Wide Open Bluegrass will present such a diverse, acclaimed lineup of artists at both Red Hat Amphitheater and the Raleigh Convention Center this fall,” said William Lewis, Executive Director of PineCone (the Piedmont Council of Traditional Music) and Wide Open Bluegrass producer. “And, in the weeks to come, we may have an additional guest or two to add to this esteemed roster.” Performers for the free Street Festival portion of Wide Open Bluegrass will be announced in the coming months. Balsam Ridge

Chatham County Line

Those wishing to obtain tickets for the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations should go to IBMA’s website, Single day general admission for the ticketed portion of Wide Open Bluegrass starts as low as $50, with a three-day Bluegrass Ramble pass available for $75. Additional details and pricing information are available at the website.

International Bluegrass

15 The Grascals

Strings, local love, and magic: How the Northwest String Summit does it

by Taylor Coughlin


hat are the ingredients for a great festival in 2014?

Is it an impressive lineup? Great camping? Beautiful location? Unique moments unrivaled anywhere else? You’d probably argue all of the above and then some. Seasoned festival goers know there are many special festivals around the country, and everyone is entitled


to their favorite, but perhaps the Northwest String Summit (July 17-20) takes the crown for some of the most positive superlatives in the Pacific Northwest region festival circuit and then some. “It’s so unique and there’s such a positive vibe, it really creates magic,” says festival promoter Skye McDonald. “I know that’s trite. But every show that we have is a special show, for the artists and definitely for the patrons.”

International Bluegrass

The 13th Annual Northwest String Summit began as Yonder Mountain String Band’s first festival (the band currently has the Harvest Festival in the Arkansas Ozarks) outside of Portland, Oregon in the Pacific Northwest’s forests. What began as a gathering for close friends and devoted fans grew into a wider, passionate community all about bringing great music to great people in a beyond-great atmosphere.


“Yonder’s got an amazing musical community, but their fan base – “The Kinfolk” – is absolutely amazing,” said McDonald. “They’re with them through thick and thin. While our event is called the Northwest String Summit, it is really a homecoming and a family affair.”

“When people greet their friends at Summit they don’t say ‘hello,’ they say ‘welcome home,’” said YMSB bass player and vocalist Ben Kaufmann. Well said. So far, the ingredients of this standout festival are: magic, the community, and a ‘welcome home’ attitude. But wait, there’s more. The Northwest String Summit started out as the Dexter Lake Music Festival in nearby Eugene, Oregon, with YMSB curating. With natural growth, it moved to Horning’s Hideout in 2002 when McDonald and business partner Greg Freeman were called upon to take over. Over the years, it gained traction and fierce loyalty in its patrons. As a result of its popularity, and out of respect for the intimate experience and physical landscape, they cap festival attendance each year to 5,000. The NWSS investment in and inclusion of the local and regional community has been integral in the festival’s growth and success: The festival curates some local and regional talent for its stages, supports local and sustainable products and practices, and has paired up with Eugene craft brewers Ninkasi for libations.

“We can always do a better job of incorporating sustainability and including a local aspect,” McDonald said. “We’re really pushing [sustainability and including the local community] because [the festival] has a regionality to it. While it’s gaining national popularity – quite rapidly – it’s still a pretty regional event to the Pacific Northwest. Therefore, we want it to be owned, more or less, by that community.” Case in point: The popular band competition draws applicants from all over the U.S. but the top bands hail from the west coast. By popular demand, the pool was increased to five competing bands for this year’s festival with the winners being: Left Coast Country (Portland, OR), Patchy Sanders (Ashland, OR), The Warren G. Hardings (Seattle, WA), Kitchen Dwellers (Seattle, WA), and The Cherry Pickers (San Francisco, CA). The bands compete on Friday of the festival. Along with expanding the hours of live music on three stages, new to the festival this year is an expansion of previously-mentioned Ninkasi Brewing Company and special sessions with Yonder Mountain String Band (with very special surprise guests), and Greensky Bluegrass. Catering to the psychedelic, hippie-grass vibe, the infamous Further bus (which turns 50 years old this year) will be onsite along with bus owner Zane Kesey (son of author Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest). NWSS patrons can celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Ken Kesey and The Pranksters’ famous road trip to the 1964 New York World’s Fair. “We have some very special sets commemorating the Grateful Dead [at the Further bus] – the psychedelic music with stringed instruments,” McDonald said. Unfortunately common, the festival wasn’t successful right off the bat. As with anything you start out building from scratch, it took hard work, strong business sense, and a will to keep going through uncertainties. It can sound cliché when it’s said that McDonald isn’t in it for the money, but you can tell by the conviction carried in his voice that it’s true.

International Bluegrass


From the Executive Director’s Desk


“[Freeman and I] bring our passion to the table first and foremost, and that’s where we get our most satisfaction,” McDonald said. He added he has learned a lot since starting off, and had some wise words to give any promoter starting out: “You really gotta understand your market and you gotta understand what the venue can withstand, and then naturally grow with it from that point,” he said. “It’s a labor of love.” He added: “Be sure that you can bring something to the table that’s unique that can target a market that wants it and needs it, and that your intent is good, and it will naturally grow from that.”


The success of the festival is evident in the loyal patrons who come back each year, who feel comfortable enough to bring their children, and who turn new friendships into family. “Being a father of two young children, [I know] you can’t go to the same events anymore, but this one you can,” he said. “It’s really cool. We’ve actually witnessed some of those kids that were coming get married at the String Summit and bring their kids back.” The safe, family-friendly vibe is supported by the fact that kids ten years old and younger get in free with an adult ticket. There is a

International Bluegrass

separate family camping area with quiet hours – a place which tends to sell out quickly – and there are activities planned for kids including a parade and morning music starting at 8:30 a.m. with kids’ shows. “One of the things we are very proud of that happened naturally is: we are a very safe and conscientious event,” McDonald said. Attendees of the Northwest String Summit this July can expect to see three nights of Yonder Mountain String Band with various special guests, Sam Bush Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, Railroad Earth, two nights of Greensky

Northwest String Summit


Bluegrass, Darol Anger, Danny Barnes, Steep Canyon Rangers, plus some special collaborations. “We have never had the Steep Canyon Rangers out before, and they’re one of my favorites, personally,” McDonald said. “I expect that to be a phenomenal gig.” A phenomenal gig at a festival earnest in amplifying the magic moments for everyone involved. “We really hope that we give a lot of our artists a little bit bigger foothold; it’s just because of the magic that’s created,” said McDonald. “It’s just one big clusterpluck.” “Before my father passed away, we asked him where he wanted his ashes scattered,” Kaufmann said. “He said: ‘At String Summit, at Horning’s Hideout.’ If there is anything else that needs to be said then I’m at a loss for words.” Tickets for the Northwest String Summit in North Plains, Oregon, July 17-20, 2014, start at two-day packages and go up to four-day packages and can be purchased here. For more information on the Northwest String Summit, visit their website.

International Bluegrass


Membership news

by Molly Nagel-Driessen

tips for Members If you’ve never been the victim of instrument theft, chances are you know someone who has. From bands like The Henhouse Prowlers to the famed stolen Strad, we’ve all heard these sad tales on our favorite forums and social media. GearTrack, one of the newest IBMA membership services, is an online musical instrument registry that aims to deter theft and aid in recovery. Instrument lovers can organize their collection safely in “the cloud.” Victims of theft get stolen alerts to the WatchDog network, tools for search and recover, and more. Buyers and sellers can easily search serial numbers before trading second hand gear. GearTrack is an IBMA member and provide a VIP Upgrade to their free basic service to IBMA members.

GearTrack’s 5 Tips for Protecting Your Instruments 1. Never leave a man behind (in the car) No matter that extreme temperatures could play havoc on your setup. More importantly, car/van/trailer break-ins are one of the most frequent theft stories we hear. 

2. Duck & Cover

4. Take Stock

Your garage may be a great place to practice, but anyone with the motivation and inclination could probably guess that your gear is vulnerable. Put things away after practicing, cover windows when possible and Lock. It. Up.

Take a moment and record all serial numbers. Take photos of identifying marks. These important details can mean getting your instrument back should theft occur. Store these details in a safe place, away from gear. We know a good place…

3. Insure? Just Do It Already! If you make money with your rig, chances are it won’t be covered by your homeowner’s or renter’s policy. Check the fine print and look into instrument insurance. It’s actually not too expensive, and can get you picking quick if disaster strikes.

5. Make Your Mark Try placing a sneaky hidden ID in your instrument (especially if it doesn’t have a serial number) in a place thieves wouldn’t think to look. Do the same with your case.

For more information regarding your IBMA Members’ VIP Upgrade, and to learn about other member incentives, click here or email Joe Lurgio at


International Bluegrass

International Bluegrass



International Bluegrass

Business Conference

Ta k in g c a r e o f b u s in e s s / at

world of bluegrass How to make the most out of your experience

• Musicians who attend IBMA’s World of Bluegrass can certainly expect to have a terrific time: you’re guaranteed to see old friends, jam until the wee hours, and generally just bask in the glow of being surrounded by bluegrass music 24-7 for a few days – what’s not to love about that? • HOWEVER – are you getting the most out of this event from a business standpoint? Preparation now – this summer – can greatly increase your visibility and engagement at WOB 2014. • Be smart and get the very most out of your experience with the best publicity tips from IBMA’s World of Bluegrass publicist Judy McDonough and be on your way to doing better business.

These exclusive tips, and more from other industry experts throughout the coming months, are only offered to IBMA’s Business Conference attendees… have you registered yet? Register by clicking here, and if you have already registered, be on the lookout for Tips from Industry Pros straight to your inbox!

International Bluegrass


Make Welcome: IBMA’s Su mmer Interns Carter Green is from New London, Pennsylvania

and studies Music Business at Belmont University, and also works at the Grand Ole Opry giving tours. He has been playing fiddle since he was 12-yearsold and also plays mandolin. Fun fact about Carter: His first CDs that he bought were Hank Williams’ Greatest Hits and Bill Monroe’s Greatest Hits when he was in second grade.

Toni Doman is one of very few students seeking

the world’s first four year degree in bluegrass music at Glenville State College in Glenville, West Virginia. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts degree in bluegrass music, an associated degree in business, and a minor in digital media. Doman has been an active masters of ceremonies and band member of The Glenville State College Bluegrass Band for three years, with the intentions of promoting and preserving the roots of traditional bluegrass music.

Andy Rigney is a senior at Lipscomb University and is pursuing a degree in Environmental and Sustainable Science. He is the guitarist and lead vocalist for The Rigney’s and has been playing bluegrass for over a decade.  He is the Chair of the IBMA Youth Council and is helping IBMA plan and achieve their environmental and sustainability goals for 2014. 

New members: From June the Executive Director’s desk Brett Bass

Adam Haynes

Will Lowe

Robert Rymer

Teresa Bohm

Todd Hemphill

Brenda Mathews

Donna Smith

Laurence Bumbalo

David Henderson

Carol Maynard

Henry Smith

Nathaniel Burie

Jay Hicks

Deborah Miller

Stephen Snyder

Tim Carter

Jack Honeycutt

Michelle Mitchell

Rick Stanley

Ken Cartwright

Erik Igelstrom

Spencer Mobley

Jennifer Strickland

Chuck Colas

Evelyn Jaeger

Donald Mumley

Wayne Taylor

Peter Cook

John Jaeger

Lennox Nichols

Misty Taylor

Taylor Coughlin

Melanie M. Johnson

Joanne O’loughlin

Mary Trammell

Cheryl Cox

Paul Jonath

Joshua Palmer

Noel Tucker

Sandra Deluca

Cathy Jones

Daniel Perry

Molly Tuttle

John Deluca

Charles Kuester

Daniel Perry

Chris Wadsworth

Stephanie Duncan

William Lacey

Jamie Peters

Lynda Weingartz

Sarah Feldman

Ronald Lafevers

Carson Peters

Ellen Westbrook

Matt Flake

Susan Lafevers

Antone Pires

Jim Williams

Patricia Galfano

Nate Lee

Kathleen Poole

Kevin Williamson

Jackson Hagwood

Rebekah Long

Rickey Rakestraw

Greg Wilson

Linzey Ham

Pat Lopp

Beverly Rash

Vicki Wolford

Rich Harrington

Roy Lopp

Lisa Robertson

James Wolford

Mary Hauser

Corrinne Loucks

Sully Roddy

International Bluegrass


Fresh Sounds

July 2014

Osborne Brothers, Nashville: The last of a four-part pack, Nashville packs the Music City punch you would expect from the classic Osborne Brothers. The superb classic country and bluegrass concoction from this renowned brother duo will blow you away just like their famous recordings of yesteryear. Their harmonies are soaring, tight as ever, chasing that high lonesome sound.  As seven of the songs on the record were recorded in 1975, Nashville takes you back to a simpler time when country music was king. Guests include fiddler Vassar Clements, Hargus Robbins and piano, Leon Rhodes on the electric guitar and Hal Rugg on the dobro and steel guitar. – Andrew Rigney, IBMA Intern


Gentlemen of Bluegrass, Carolina Memories: The name “Gentlemen of Bluegrass” certainly fits the bill when listening to this album - classic bluegrass presented in a fresh and dapper new manner. The Gentlemen›s harmonies are a highlight stacked in tight, three-part fashion. Carolina Memories boasts a tight drive with dashing bluegrass instrumentation. Comprised of both originals like the title track, “Carolina Memories” (written by Lorraine Jordan) and recognizable covers like Flatt and Scruggs’ “Will the Roses Bloom,” this album is well balanced and eager for bluegrass fans across the nation to enjoy. Guests include producer Lorraine Jordan on mandolin, Jason Moore on bass, Josh Goforth on both mandolin and fiddle, Jan Johansson on mandolin, and John Locust on bass.  – Andrew Rigney, IBMA Intern

International Bluegrass

I Draw Slow, White Wave Chapel: The latest effort from Dublin-based roots band I Draw Slow is a shining release of the group’s most sincere songwriting and fierce picking we’ve heard yet. All songs were written by Dave Holden (guitar) and sister Louise Holden (vocals) who have been writing together for over 20 years, and evoke toughness, darkness, nostalgia, and spirit. Featuring also Colin Derham (banjo), Konrad Liddy (double bass) and Adrian Hart (fiddle), I Draw Slow has already made many fans around the world with their refreshing Irish edge woven in. “Valentine,” “Hide and Seek,” and “Old Wars,” are standouts while the entire album shines. “Game of Thrones” actor Aidan Gillen (also from Dublin) appears in the video for “Valentine.” Watch here.

Fresh Sounds

Lynda Dawson & Pattie Hopkins, Traditional Duets: Lynda Dawson and Patty Hopkins come together with tight harmonies and a traditional sound to honor the roots of bluegrass in Traditional Duets. Paying tribute to pioneering artists such as Hazel Dickens, Alice Gerrard, The Carter Family, Del McCoury, Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, the Everly Brothers, Doc Watson and many others, this album puts a fresh face and sound on many well-known and classic tunes. Traditional Duets serves as the duo’s first album apart from their original band Kickin’ Grass, based in Raleigh, NC. The classic songs from the past on the album truly let the duo create their own sound while staying true to the tradition. –Pattie Hopkins will serve on a panel “Mastering Stage Presence” at the IBMA World of Bluegrass business conference this September. – Toni Dolman, IBMA Intern

Red June, Ancient Dreams: In their third album, Ancient Dreams, the trio shines with their vocal three part harmonies, and acoustic original folk sound. Combined of Natalya Weinstein (fiddle), John Cloyd Miller (guitar/mandolin) and Will Straughan (guitar/resonator guitar/mandolin) The trio highlights their vocal harmonies and blending throughout the album and even a capella in the song, “I Am Free.” Each and every song found on Ancient Dreams is an original of the group, and reflects their folk roots and backgrounds and songwriting styles. –Red June will be an official Bluegrass Ramble Showcase act during World of Bluegrass. Don’t miss your chance to see them perform multiple sets in Raleigh Sept. 30 – Oct. 4. – Toni Dolman, IBMA Intern

International Bluegrass

Balsam Range, Five: Balsam Range’s appropriately titled fifth album, Five, encourages listeners to appreciate life and living, all with a story telling feeling to their songs. Five has outstanding of variety, from uplifting gospel songs to a modern bluegrass feeling; the album shines through and through. The title of the album also pays recognition to the five members of the group, including Buddy Melton (fiddle), Darren Nicholson (mandolin), Caleb Smith (guitar), Marc Pruett (banjo), and Time Surrett (bass). The album even pays recognition to classic country singer Dan Seals as Balsam Range covers the number one hit “Everything That Glitters (Is Not Gold). Talent both instrumentally and vocally can be heard in every song. Balsam Range play the Wide Open Bluegrass festival in Raleigh, Oct. 3-4 during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass. – Toni Dolman, IBMA Intern


July 2014

Industry news

On the Charts as reflected at press time Billboard: Nickel Creek, A Dotted Line… at number one; Alan Jackson, The Bluegrass Album at number two; Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers feat. Edie Brickell, Live at number three. Bluegrass Today Monthly Airplay: Ashley Lewis “Rivers Rising” (written by Ashley Lewis) at number one; “Government Blues” by Feller and Hill & The Bluegrass Buckaroos (written by Dixie Hall and Tom T. Hall) at number two; “You’re My Family Now” by Chris Jones and the Night Drivers (written by Chris Jones, Jon Weisberger, and Chris Stuart) at number three.

Bluegrass Unlimited songs: “That’s Kentucky” by Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road (written by Dixie Hall, Tom T. Hall) at number one; “The Game” by Blue Highway (written by Shawn Lane, Barry Bales) at number two; “Wild Mountain Honey” by Junior Sisk and Joe Mullins (written by Arthur Smith) at number three. Bluegrass Unlimited albums: The Game by Blue Highway (Rounder Records) at number one; Only Me by Rhonda Vincent (Upper Mgmt) at number two; The Streets of Baltimore by Del McCoury Band (McCoury Music) at number three.

standing O’! Congratulations to The Boxcars’ Adam Steffey, who graduated with his degree from East Tennessee State University in May with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in English and Psychology. Steffey has been on staff as an instructor in their Bluegrass, Old-Time & Country Music Program. Alan Jackson’s The Bluegrass Album won the first annual Golden Boot award from the popular country music website, The Boot.  Joseph Boland and Tony Watt were both awarded a scholarship to the Berklee American Roots Weekend program in Boston this June. Congratulations! KET’s (Kentucky Educational Television) Jubilee Live broadcast of the 40th anniversary Festival of the Bluegrass was nominated for a regional Emmy in the “Special Events” category.

Doyle Lawson and Del McCoury’s Hall of Fame plaques were unveiled at ROMP June 26 in Owensboro, KY.

Jeff Brown has announced the formation of a new booking agency, Still Blue Entertainment. They will handle representation for Newton & Thomas, Ralph Stanley II, and Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome.


International Bluegrass

Industry news For the Record IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Gig Fair will open up to talent buyers starting July 1. Agents or artists looking to sign up for an appointment may do so beginning August 4. Registration for all closes on September 22. New at WOB: The Talent Buyers Focus, designed to connect talent buyers, agents, artists, and managers. The Talent Buyer Focus will take place on Wednesday and Thursday, October 1 and 2, during the business conference, offering new events to provide more networking, socializing, and business opportunities. Highlights include Agent Pitch Session, A revamped Gig Fair, Exhibit Hall, Talent Buyer Seminar, Hospitality room and evening reception. For more details and registration, click here. John Bowman, one of the five founding members of The Boxcars, has announced that he is leaving the band to pursue solo singing and preaching full-time. Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver have a new album coming out. Mountain Home Music has announced a July 15 release for Open Carefully, Message Inside – Doyle’s 20th Gospel recording, and his 36th with Quicksilver. The Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, based in Texas, has teamed up with Acoustic Music Camp to offer two full scholarships (covering registration and meals, but not lodging) for two deserving young folks to attend the Acoustic Music Camp (Aug. 7-9) in Arlington, Texas. Applications are now being accepted and must be received no later than Friday, July 11. Eligible applicants must be 25 or younger. Preference will be given to residents of Texas and surrounding states.

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper released details on their forthcoming album, On Down the Line. It’s produced by Jeff White, and showcases Cleveland’s famous fiery fiddling and more. Out July 22 on Compass Records. The Boxcars have announced the addition of a new member to their musical team: Dobro player Gary Hultman. Hultman is 20 years old and is currently studying at East Tennessee State University. Steep Canyon Rangers and Bonesteel Films have combined talents to benefit the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation in North Carolina. Learn more and watch “Graveyard Fields” on Vimeo here.

Larry Sparks has released his anticipated 50-year celebration recording, Lonesome and Then Some: A Classic 50th Celebration on Rebel Records. Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen announced their second album for Compass Records, Cold Spell, will be released August 12. The album features guests Leon Alexander, Sam Bush, John Cowan, Rob Ickes and Megan McCormick. Flatt Lonesome will release Flatt Lonesome Too on July 12. Look for them on the official Bluegrass Ramble Showcase schedule, as they will be playing multiple shows during World of Bluegrass, Sept. 30-October 4 in Raleigh, NC.

North Carolina-based bluegrass gospel band Crossroad has released a new album: A New Road.

The Monroe Mandolin Camp directed by Mike Compton will take place September 4-7 in Nashville. Those interested in attending and learning more, please visit

The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, CA, is presenting Country: Portraits of an American Sound. Offered free to the public through September 28, 2014, the exhibit presents images of the pioneers, poets and icons of country music. Guest curators for this exhibit are IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award winner Tim Davis and longtime friend of IBMA and bluegrass Michael McCall of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, as well as Shannon Perich of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American.

The Recording Academy has added a new category to the American Roots Music Field for the 2015 GRAMMY Awards: Best American Roots Music Performance, an artist’s award. The new category will give Americana, and other roots music artists, a home for the recognition of their work. The first round of GRAMMY Award submissions opens in July. If you wish to become a member of the Recording Academy, or renew an existing membership, you can do so here:

Laurie Lewis will be hiking the entire John Muir Trail this August with a longtime girl friend, through the high country of the Sierra from Yosemite Valley to Mt Whitney. She and Kathy Kallick have a new project coming out this fall, a tribute to Vern Williams and Ray Park.

International Bluegrass

Jeff Brown is proud to introduce his new booking agency, Still Blue Entertainment. The agency will now represent Newton & Thomas, Ralph Stanley II, and Jeff Brown & Still Lonesome for booking services.


industry news

Association assertions Four new officers were elected to the Louisville Bluegrass Music Association: President Dan Robinson, Vice-President & Treasurer Robin Roller Thixton, and Secretary Sonya Robles Cotton, along with new board members Lea Cockrell, Dan Fitzgerald, Rebecca Minnick and Justin Moreschi. Paula Barbour is continuing in her role as a board member.

The Minnesota Association of Songwriters has been awarded a Community Arts award from the Metropolitan Regional Arts Council to provide workshops with professional sonwriters over the next 15 months. All workshops are open to the public and cost $25. Contact MAS President Wayne Hamilton at 612-508-0768 for more information.

In Remembrance James Alan Shelton, long-time guitarist with Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys, passed away June 3. Bluegrass Today reported he was in the hospital near his home in East Tennessee being treated for cancer, and died peacefully with his wife, Greta, at his side. Maribelle Robertson Moore, mother of publicist Martha Moore, and fondly called “Lady M� by family and friends alike, passed away peacefully June 2, in Ashland City, Tennessee at the age of 92 following a short illness. Jerry Sullivan of the famous traditional bluegrass gospel group, the Sullivan Family, passed away at his home in Alabama on Saturday May 31.

In Remembrance: Don Light Gospel and Bluegrass industry giant Don Light passed away June 18. A former IBMA Board Member, Don Light helped the bluegrass and gospel industries reach new heights in his storied career, having also helped establish the careers of Keith Whitley, Marty Stuart, and Jimmy Buffett, among others. Bluegrass bands Steep Canyon Rangers and Dailey & Vincent were most recently managed by Don Light. Both bands shared their tributes.


International Bluegrass

industry news

In Remembrance: Don Light

Steep Canyon Rangers: We were approached backstage at Graves Mtn Bluegrass Festival in June of 2004 by a slender, well dressed gray haired man named Don Light. He watched us as we were warming up for our upcoming set and mentioned to us that he would be interested in talking to us about becoming our manager. We had not even played our show, but he said he heard a sound that he liked and thought he could help us.  A few weeks later we were in Nashville and had a meeting with Don Light in his music row office (formerly Chet Atkins office) and a relationship between Don Light (he only liked to be referred to by his first and last name, which he made very clear early on) and Steep Canyon Rangers was formed. Over the next 7.5 years we were proud to have Don Light Talent, with Julie Pennell, represent our group. The more we grew to know Don Light, the more we understood stood

why his reputation in Nashville was impeccable. We loved his connection to old Nashville and his belief in our band was instrumental to us. The 2006 IBMA Emerging Artist award and our relationship with the Grand Ole Opry were two accomplishments among the many we achieved through Don Light.  Being bluegrassers, we could sit in his office and hear stories about Lester Flatt and Keith Whitley all day! Don Light was full of great advice, one liners, striking smiles, but he was also a careful and thoughtful listener.  His interest in bluegrass later in his career was a blessing for us and other groups who were fortunate to benefit from his experience and wisdom.  We’re grateful to have known and worked with Don Light and will try to someday justify his belief that we ‘could be important.’  He was that and more to us.

International Bluegrass


In Remembrance: Don Light

Industry news

Almost ten years ago this year, I was in Owensboro, Kentucky working for Doyle Lawson. After our show a gentleman walked up to me and shook my hand and introduced himself as Doyle’s soon-to-be new manager. His name was Don Light. I had heard Doyle mention his name before but I never thought much about it. As time went on I got to know Don and love and admire him. He told me stories about his days of managing some of the greats like The Happy Goodman Family, Lester Flatt, Keith Whitley, The Oak Ridge Boys and Jimmy Buffett. His stories always captivated me. In December of 2006 I walked in his office and told him that I was going to be leaving Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver and starting my own band with Darrin Vincent. Immediately he asked, “Do you have a manager?” I told him ‘no.’ Long story short, he became our manager, too. Don Light managed us for the first five years of our career and he helped us make some history and do some things that had never been done in our genre. He helped guide us through some of our toughest and most challenging times, yet like a father, he loved us through it all.  On Monday mornings, Darrin and I would walk in the office for a our weekly partners’ meeting with Don Light. Usually he would always start the meeting with some kind of joke, but most always a story from the past. And normally he would have Darrin in on the floor laughing at least twice before we left. Sometimes he would want us to ride with him to have lunch and this was always interesting as we felt he should have been a race car driver and we told him so. One of the funniest things he did that I recall off-hand was us riding to lunch with him. When he pulled in the lot, he parked in a handicapped spot, reached in his console and pulled out a handicap permit and looked at Darrin and I and said ever-sosternly, “My cripple card!” At this point Darrin Vin-


cent nearly broke the windows out of the car from laughing so hard. I’ll have to say, I was pretty tickled myself. Don Light fought hard for Dailey and Vincent’s long term best interests, but he did with class and integrity. One of the last pictures I was given of Don Light was from Nina Fortune. It’s a picture of us performing our show at the Ryman auditorium in Nashville. Nina was standing off to the side of us back stage. She took a photo of Don Light standing there watching us. Mostly all you can see is his silhouette with our backs turned to him as we sang into the beautiful crowded room. It’s a classic picture. When I look at the picture I wonder how many times he stood there watching his acts perform in years past. What a classic picture.  No more will we hear his stories, his one lined zingers. We won’t get to sit on the other side of his desk listening to his years of experience and valuable advice. Never again will we laugh uncontrollably after watching him slam the telephone down after a phone call was finished, a Don Light trade mark. But we’ve got the memories, memories that Darrin and I will hold dear to our hearts. Without Don Light there very well could have never been the Dailey and Vincent brand as even we know it today.  We will miss you greatly, Don Light. Sing with the angels, our dear friend and look for us soon. We love you! Salute. Jamie S. Dailey Dailey and Vincent 

International Bluegrass

Industry news

My first encounter with Don Light was when Jamie and I went to his office to discuss managing Dailey & Vincent. He was well dressed, well spoken, and had bunches of quirks and stories I’d never seen nor heard. I remember for months when we had reached the end of our conversation, Don Light would never say ‘bye;’ it was him hanging up, and if you were in his office to watch him hang up the phone, he would slam it down. The first few times I saw him do this made me laugh for several minutes, and eventually I got used to his way of ending the conversation. My first run-in with Don Light was when I would call him ‘Don.’ It upset him to just be called by his first name; after calling him ‘Don’ he stopped me and said, “Everyone addresses me as Don Light, even Rebecca,” who was his long time love. I said, “Ok Don Light,” and never addressed him any other way after that. He had great sayings like “When dancing with a bear, keep your eye on your partner,” and if someone need info or something ASAP, he would say (I’ll use Jamie as an example) “Jamie just called, he’s jumping up and down like a short stop looking for that contract.” I loved Don Light like a father. We had many private talks about life and the business; he was so kind to me and my family and gave Jamie & I the most prestige’s start anyone could have in a career. Don Light taught us goals and objectives, first: the most important thing, when working on a deal, let it move at it’s own pace and nudge it along without getting a ‘NO.’ If you had a choice to be liked or respected, he would take the latter, and the most important saying Don Light had that resonates every day of my life: Treat others like you would want to be treated. Like I said, Don Light was like a father to me personally. He never had children, so every Fathers day for the past six years, I would give him a call and tell him how

much he meant to me and my family and always told him I loved him, and he would always say, “I’m grateful for the call and I love you.” June 15 was Father’s Day, we were traveling and performing Ontario, CA, I never had the opportunity to call. On Tuesday June 17 at 11:18 a.m. I got to speak with Don Light; again I told Don Light how much I loved and respected him, and how grateful I was for everything he had done in my life and career, and he told me he was grateful for the call and he loved me. The next morning June 18, and Don Light went home to be with the Lord. I’ve praised the Lord for giving me one more chance to tell a man who helped so many reach and achieve goals, I could have never dreamed of nor thought of. I will miss Don Light, but will never forget the impact he has had on my life. Love, Darrin Vincent

International Bluegrass


Press release



ela Fleck, one of the most celebrated and innovative banjo players in contemporary music, will deliver the keynote address during International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass 2014 event, which takes place September 30 – October 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We are thrilled to announce Bela Fleck

as the 2014 keynote speaker for IBMA’s Business Conference,” said IBMA Executive Director Nancy Cardwell. “Bela was the first recipient of IBMA’s Banjo Player of the Year award in 1990, and he’s universally recognized as being one of the most gifted musicians in any genre of music. We look forward to hearing Bela’s thoughts about the power of bluegrass music and what this art form and community has to offer the world.” Fleck’s address is scheduled to take place Tuesday, Sept. 30, acting as the official kick-off for the IBMA Business Conference portion of World of Bluegrass 2014. Located in the Raleigh Convention Center, the PreBluegrass Ramble Hors D’oeuvres & Keynote Reception will take place 4-5:30 p.m. The IBMA Business Conference features the best in bluegrass networking, showcasing and professional development.


International Bluegrass

Bela Fleck to deliver Keynote at WOB

Music critics and fans credit Bela Fleck’s remarkable performing and recording career with reinventing the very image and sound of the banjo. Fleck’s diverse tastes and interests have taken him all over the musical map, with solo projects and collaborations in bluegrass (including his work with seminal progressive band New Grass Revival), jazz, pop, rock, world beat and classical. In 2011, Fleck wrote his first stand-alone banjo concerto, on commission with the Nashville Symphony. This work, entitled The Impostor, along with a new quintet for banjo and string quartet, was released in 2012.

Press release

Business Conference registration, IBMA Award Show tickets and hotel reservations should go to IBMA’s website, Single day general admission for the ticketed portion of the Wide Open Bluegrass festival starts as low as $50, with a three-day Bluegrass Ramble pass available for $75. Additional details and pricing information are available at the website.

The recipient of multiple Grammy Awards going back to 1998, Fleck’s total Grammy count is 15 Grammys won and 30 nominations. He has been nominated in more distinct musical categories than anyone in Grammy history. Those wishing to obtain tickets for the ticketed portion Wide Open Bluegrass (which takes place at Red Hat Amphitheater and Raleigh Convention Center Ballroom Stages), Bluegrass Ramble Showcase passes, IBMA

International Bluegrass



Book Review:

Donna Ulisse

“The Songwriter in Me: Snapshots of My Creative Process” by Taylor Coughlin


n case you’ve never tried it before: Songwriting is hard. Luckily, there are songwriters out there who have not only found success, but are able to express how they do it in an approachable and down to Earth way. Bluegrass and gospel singer/ songwriter, and active IBMA member Donna Ulisse is one of those people: Graciously sharing her story of songwriting from a young age, developing her craft, finding her voice, explaining the nuances of songwriting, and how to improve yours.

“The Songwriter in Me” is available for purchase at Ulisse is an official Bluegrass Ramble Showcase artist at this year’s World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, and will participate on a panel October 4 titled “Songwriters on Songs.” For more information, visit her website.

Ulisse is an oft-popular songwriter at workshops on songwriting, and her new book is a culmination of what she likes to teach in her workshops, as well as her own personal story. She said she was typing a handout for a workshop and got the idea to see where it went with writing a book – with the entire process laid out. Her book reads much like her demeanor in real life: Down to Earth, warm, honest, and endearing. She begins by giving context about her family and early start as a writer. Anecdotes throughout the book, like the one about her playing “teacher” to her siblings (her “students”), give the book a sweet lightheartedness while providing valuable, essential information critical to the songwriting process. Covering everything from the technical side (syllables, rhyming, meter) to the creative side (finding your voice and overcoming creativity shortages), Ulisse chronicles her tried-and-true method of songwriting in a way that is uniquely approachable and encouraging.


International Bluegrass

International Bluegrass



Profile for International Bluegrass Music Association

International Bluegrass July 2014  

TOP STORIES: IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass adds to lineup; Bela Fleck to deliver keynote address; the 17th Annual European World of Bluegrass r...

International Bluegrass July 2014  

TOP STORIES: IBMA's Wide Open Bluegrass adds to lineup; Bela Fleck to deliver keynote address; the 17th Annual European World of Bluegrass r...

Profile for ibma