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Vol. 29 No. 3 March 2014



WOB 2014


International Bluegrass

Vol. 29 | No. 3 | March 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 Cindy Baucom/Vice Chair Craig Ferguson/Director, Event Producers Becky Buller/At Large Craig Havighurst/Secretary, Print/Media/Education Danny Clark/At Large Carl Jackson/Director, Artists & Composers Jamie Deering/Director, Merchandisers/Luthiers William Lewis/At Large Regina Derzon/Director, Associations Ned Luberecki/Director, Broadcast Media

Stephen Mougin/At Large Brian Smith/Director, Agents/Managers/Publicists Ben Surratt/Director, Recording/Dist./Marketing Tim Surrett/Director, Artists/Composers/Publishers Angelika Torrie/Director, International Elizabeth Wightman/Treasurer, At Large



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 10| a chat with the carolina chocolate drops 12 | earls of leicester 14| nickel creek reunites 16| rhonda vincent

News 5 | 2014 WOB news and info 15 | Google + hangout with henri 18 | membership spotlight: event insurance & Risk Management

Departments 4 | from the executive director’s desk 20 | bluegrass music industry news 22 | Fresh sounds 23 | welcome new members

From the Executive Director’s Desk



tick your head out of your shell and have a look around...

with Nancy Cardwell


ometimes we in the bluegrass biz get so busy in our routines – with increasing loads of emails to answer, new music to chase, and new projects to promote – that we don’t take time to stare out the window and check out a change in scenery; or climb out of the window entirely and walk through a new neighborhood. I just returned from a refreshing five days at the Folk Alliance International conference in Kansas City, where I had the opportunity to venture a bit outside of bluegrass town and into its nearby neighborhoods. FAI Executive Director Louis Meyers has been attending IBMA’s World of Bluegrass for the past few years, freely admitting to stealing a few of our ideas for his own convention. It has been more than 10 years since I’d been to Folk Alliance in Toronto and Memphis, so I decided it was time to return the favor and see what good ideas I could steal from them. I saw more familiar faces than I expected, particularly in the new Music Camp that Folk Alliance launched this year, which ran in conjunction with their conference, ‘boogie ‘til you die’ (around 4 a.m.) showcase schedule, and heartwarming awards program.


International Bluegrass

High points included: a Pete Seeger tribute sing along with hundreds of us joining in on “Good Night, Irene;” checking out some fine bluegrass bands I was already acquainted with and discovering some new favorites; being inspired to write songs again by amazing songwriters like Irene Kelley, Buddy Mondlock and Michael Johnson (probably more songwriters per square inch than anywhere on the planet, last week); pondering the “free” model of doing business at a seminar led by Woodsongs Old Time Radio Show host Michael Johnathon; meeting Ronny Cox—the actor who played guitar in the movie, Deliverance; and thoroughly enjoying a keynote interview with Crosby, Stills & Nash’s Graham Nash— which ended in another sing-along, this time “Teach Your Children.” Former Vice-President Al Gore was there to talk about climate change, and IBMA member Stephanie Ledgin led a session on the positive impact of music for Alzheimer patients. I ran into a Carolina Chocolate Drop in the hallway, cheered on Sarah Jarosz and the ladies of Della Mae, and discussed the similarity of rap music rhythms to syncopated banjo rolls with the newest member of Gangsta Grass. I shared a couple of laughs with old friends Pete & Joan Wernick and Alan Munde; heard about all the new Hot Rize news and pondered the thought of Waldo Otto on Twitter; had dinner (something I never have time to do, especially at World of Bluegrass) with IBMA members Lisa Jacobi, her

From the Executive Director’s desk

husband Joe, and Joan Kornblith of Voice of America; and I met Byron Berline’s lovely wife, Bette (and bought Byron’s autobiography, A Fiddler’s Diary at Dana Thorin’s Music Caravan/ General Store for the plane ride home). I caught up with legendary producer Bil VornDick, and heard about a couple new projects that I can’t tell you about (but you’re going to love). I caught up with Marideth Sisco from my old house concert booking days in the Ozarks in the ‘80s-early ‘90s who was all over the 2010 film Winter’s Bone and its soundtrack (yes, she’s the lady in the rocking chair), and I helped Jim Lauderdale carry one of his guitars down the steps of a shuttle. I got some good suggestions for future World of Bluegrass events from Dennis Cash, Daniel Routh, Kari Estrin, Mike Drudge and Bill Evans, and I came home with a suitcase full of business cards for potential new Bluegrass Town exhibitors, sponsors and showcase bands. I tacked up some of our more gorgeous World of Bluegrass posters from over the years, set out a big basket of chocolate, cranked up the Tony Rice, Steep Canyon Rangers and Bluegrass Unlimited sampler CDs on my laptop, and manned an IBMA booth for three afternoons in the FAI exhibit hall. Our “Practice Random Acts of Bluegrass” and “Bluegrass Nation” stickers went like hot cakes, and of course the chocolate was rather popular too. When folks looked up and read “bluegrass” in the sign over my head, they smiled. It’s a friendly music. They wanted to tell me their bluegrass stories, and about the bluegrass artists who had cut their songs. Of course the smiles could have been from hearing John Duffey’s screaming tenor on that BU sampler, Tony Rice singing Gordon Lightfoot, or the Steeps being their own uniquely talented


selves. Everybody needs another cool sticker for an instrument case or truck bumper, and did I mention the chocolate was very popular? (When I ran out, I had to break out the licorice jelly beans that I was hoping to keep for myself.) It’s always interesting for me to attend an event that I’m not in charge of, just to compare notes on a variety of ideas ranging from signs in the hallways and showcase organization, to exhibit hall set-up, catering, and volunteer shirts (that looked like retro gas station uniforms!). I passed out dozens of World of Bluegrass Talent Buyer Focus “save the date” invitations, and encouraged some hot bands from California, Colorado and Canada to showcase. I heard about Claire Armbruster’s new business and actually got to talk more than five minutes with fiddler Dee Specker from New York and journalist Hilary West from Toronto (again, something I never get to do at World of Bluegrass); and I sampled some most amazing barbecue. I came back to Nashville with a suitcase full of ideas and a fresh perspective. Whether you’re a bluegrass artist checking out websites and promotional ideas from a band in an entirely different genre, an event producer comparing poster designs from some entirely different kind of festival, or a music educator borrowing teaching techniques from the classical or jazz world, I highly recommend a walk through a new neighborhood to get the creative juices flowing.

International Bluegrass



Tickets, Registration and Hotel Reservations available on: Monday, March 31 for IBMA members & Monday, April 14 for non-members.

If bluegrass musiC the conference that



International Bluegrass

you, come to bluegrass music.

World of Bluegrass 2014 | Raleigh, NC The IBMA’s World of Bluegrass is the annual bluegrass music homecoming, taking place September 30-October 4 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The week features four separate events and hundreds of offerings for every music professional and fan. •

IBMA Business Conference

Wide Open Bluegrass Festival

International Bluegrass Music Awards

Bluegrass Ramble.

WOB News and info

Hotel reservations are contingent upon the purchase of a ticket and/or registration to at least one WOB event. In addition to first crack a tickets and hotel reservations, IBMA members get deep discounts on all ticket purchases.  You can too…  Join the IBMA today at! More information, updates, and announcements are forthcoming or visit for the most current information.

More information, updates, and announcements are forthcoming or visit for the most current information.


International Bluegrass




bluegrass events

IBMA Business Conference Tuesday-Thursday (9/30 - 10/2) Raleigh Convention Center The IBMA Business Conference is the premier industry event and trade show where top music professionals—including artists, agents, journalists, merchandisers, record labels, publicists, publishers, talent buyers, luthiers and more—come to share and discover the latest tools, strategies, technology and sounds.  This year’s conference will feature many new and improved features sure to strike a chord such as a reinvigorated Gig Fair, new pitching session, Talent Buyers focus track, interactive workshops, thought provoking speakers and more. The IBMA business conference: network, promote, and lead.

Wide Open Bluegrass Festival Friday-Saturday (October 3-4) Red Hat Amphitheater/Raleigh Convention Center Wide Open Bluegrass features the best in our traditional and acoustic music community on three stages in beautiful downtown Raleigh! With so much talent, there is a flavor for every fan!  Festival proceeds help support the Bluegrass Trust Fund, a non-profit organization helping those in the bluegrass community in times of emergency.  Last year’s Wide Open Bluegrass sold out, so be sure to get your membership today and take advantage of early ticket sales and discounts.  Don’t miss a note of the action!  


International Bluegrass

World of Bluegrass 2014 | Raleigh, NC

WOB News and info

International Bluegrass Music Awards Thursday (October 2) Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts Memorial Hall The International Bluegrass Music Awards Show is the biggest night on the bluegrass calendar. The Awards recognize outstanding achievement and pioneering efforts in the genre, and the best in bluegrass perform for an always packed house. Be sure to grab tickets quickly for this one.   Celebrate bluegrass music at the IBMA Awards!

Bluegrass Ramble Tuesday-Saturday (9/30-10/ 2) Downtown Raleigh/Raleigh Convention Center The Bluegrass Ramble is IBMA’s innovative new festival of showcases in clubs and restaurants in downtown Raleigh. Official showcase performances at the IBMA’s annual World of Bluegrass Business Conference form the premier platform for introducing talent and new music to the bluegrass community.   Ramble along and catch some of the hottest acts shaping bluegrass music today!

Testimonials “The board of directors took a big chance in moving from Nashville, but it looks like it paid off in a big way.” -Bluegrass Today

“Totally awesome week! I got a lot of business and networking conducted, and lots of positive energy in the air . A wonderful  reunion, too, with friends from around the world!” -Trisha Tubbs

“…a new, re-imagined, and re-invigorated IBMA has successfully held its first convention in Raleigh, and it was a smash hit from every perspective.”  -Ted Lehmann

International Bluegrass


“This week saw the Owensboro vision of 1985-1986 brought fully to life. I wish Terry Woodward, Sonny Osborne, and Burley Phelan could have seen it.”   -Art Menius


Catching up /with the


chocolate with Taylor Coughlin




hen North Carolinabased band Carolina Chocolate Drops took the stage in the Spinnaker Lounge on board the Norwegian Pearl during Mountain Song at Sea, there wasn’t even room to take a swig of your margarita. The SRO crowd was visibly anxious to see and hear one of bluegrass and Americana’s most intriguing and powerful bands.


Beyond the roots/folk/bluegrass success they’ve had, Carolina Chocolate Drops has grown their fan base with a song on The Hunger Games soundtrack called “Daughter’s Lament.” The group has also recorded with The Chieftains, and have been featured on records on The Civil War (Divided and United: Songs of the Civil War), Bob Dylan (Chimes of Freedom: Songs of Bob Dylan), and Johnny Cash

International Bluegrass

(We Walk the Line: A Celebration of the Music of Johnny Cash). The group’s latest album Leaving Eden, produced by Buddy Miller and out on Nonesuch Records, garnered much attention. International Bluegrass caught up with founding member Rhiannon Giddens after Mountain Song at Sea after both parties had a chance to shake the sand out of their instrument cases.

International Bluegrass How did you prepare differently for the Mountain Song at Sea (MS@S) cruise as opposed to a normal gig? Rhiannon Giddens We didn’t do any different preparations, really. Just packed our swimsuits and planned on doing two of the best shows we could! IB What more does the MS@S experience offer you as an artist? RG It offers is a great chance to take a break from traveling, and an opportunity to hang out with other artists (not to mention the cruise stuff!).

IB You speak often of Joe Thompson being a major influence on your band before beginning. Who else has been an influence on you personally, and as a band? RG New Lost City Ramblers, Peggy Seeger, Dolly Parton, Mississippi Sheiks, Cousin Emmy, Odetta, Jill Scott, Joe and Odell Thompson together….list goes on! IB You have a great way of bridging traditional, old time music with current themes and attitudes like “Country Girl” and the cover of “Hit ‘em Up Style” by R&B artist Blu Cantrell. When it comes to arranging that music, what do you find is the biggest challenge?


RG We don’t really find that music a challenge actually, we just try to do the best arrangement we can with what we have, and however that comes out is how it comes out. We don’t try to put anything particular on it; we just try to let the music speak for itself. IB Carolina Chocolate Drops stick to their roots and originality. In a musical world that can become very influential, how do you stay authentic? RG Authenticity is such a difficult word - in my book it means staying true to yourself and your roots, whatever they are.  

“.. we just try to let the music speak for itself.” We are what our experiences make us – [it] means we are people of the 21st century. As long as we are listening to our hearts and feeling good about what we are putting out, while staying knowledgeable about what we are doing, I think we stay ‘authentic.’ IB Your voice, Rhiannon, is so wonderfully versatile. Who have you listened to that has inspired your singing, and how have you crafted your own voice? RG Thank you very much. I have listened to a lot of different voices over the years, from all the Disney soundtracks to the biggest opera

divas of the 20th century, to Adele, to India Arie and Reba McEntire. I steal from the best and mix it all up and then let the voice come out. It gets a little bit easier the older I get! IB Your band has had some recent personnel changes. What have Rowan Corbett and Malcom Parson added to the band, either individually or together? RG Rowan I’ve known for years and brings a bit more of a Celtic/rock influence to the band from his years in an Irish band; his approach to the bones is completely different from Hubby’s, which is really neat.

International Bluegrass

He also plays, in addition to guitar and banjo, some percussion we haven’t had before: the Irish drum, Bodhran and the Cajon. Malcolm brings an incredible facility on the cello and a great knowledge of the jazz idiom, and they both bring a great thirst for knowledge of the older styles of music and feel for the mission of the band. The Carolina Chocolate Drops have a busy tour schedule with dates at MerleFest, Delfest, Bonnaroo, and more. To see them at a stage near you, click here.



earls of leicester by Shannon Turner


WHAT DO THESE MUSICAL ACTS HAVE IN COMMON? The Traveling Wilburys. Cream. The Highwaymen. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. They are so-called “supergroups,” loaded with untold talent and put together to create “limited edition” music; that is, they are not necessarily bands who regularly record and tour together with an outlook for the long term. Take bluegrass for example, where the genre is full of supergroups: The Bluegrass Album Band, with Tony Rice, J.D. Crowe, Doyle Lawson, Bobby Hicks, Jerry Douglas, Vassar Clements, Todd Philips and Mark Schatz. Don’t forget Muleskinner, David Grisman’s project with Peter Rowan and Clarence White. Very recently, there has been Punch Brothers’ banjo man Noam Pikelny’s


touring project, which includes Bryan Sutton, Barry Bales, Luke Bulla and Jesse Cobb. All of these bands, and the musicians within them, have contributed to the fabric of modern popular music. What about Flatt & Scruggs, then, with the Foggy Mountain Boys? Now THERE’s a supergroup! Aside from Lester and Earl, there was Josh Graves on the Dobro, Paul Warren on fiddle, Curly Seckler’s mandolin and “Cousin Jake” Tullock’s bass. This combo was perhaps the quintessential Flatt & Scruggs line-up, helping to define and cement the Flatt & Scruggs sound that has influenced every generation of musicians and fans since. Who can begin to match Flatt & Scruggs in the modern bluegrass community? Moreover, who in the world could match

International Bluegrass

Flatt & Scruggs playing Flatt & Scruggs music? Enter Exhibit A: The Earls of Leicester, founded by Jerry Douglas and featuring – get this –Barry Bales on bass, Tim O’Brien on mandolin, Paul Warren’s son Johnny on fiddle, Charlie Cushman stepping into the huge shoes of Scruggs and singer/hit songwriter Shawn Camp taking on the mantle of Lester Flatt. That particular group of musicians, in that particular combination, may be the closest presentation that modern bluegrass could hope for, compared to the Flatt and Scruggs of 1954. It all came about when Douglas was working on some overdubs for an album with Johnny Warren and Charlie Cushman. As the trio worked, the idea for a Flatt & Scruggs band began to take shape.

“If there was a love child between Lester Flatt and Hank Williams, it would be Shawn.” “I always wanted to put have a band that sounded like Lester and Earl,” Douglas said recently in an interview. “If I was to put it together, [Charlie and Johnny] are the first two guys, because they are the clones of Earl and Paul Warren. “I originally was thinking Del McCoury was gonna be Lester and Tim was going to be Seckler, and I would do Josh Graves,” Douglas said. “But Del was so busy with his own band, and he was in the band with the Masters of Bluegrass; he was doing so many things. So I was thinking about another Lester and my wife, Jill, said, ‘What about Shawn?’ It hadn’t occurred to me, but she was exactly right, and it was perfect. For his part, Shawn said he was thrilled to be a part of the project, but a little overwhelmed, too. “It’s just mind-blowing to look around and see all these great pickers,” he says, still amazed nearly a year after the project’s began. “The first night of rehearsal was up above Jerry’s garage. Tim wasn’t able to make it, but the rest of the band was. We kicked into something and I just had to stop them and was like, ‘I can’t believe I’m standing in the middle of you guys!’” Camp said the resemblance between the band in Jerry’s garage and the classic band felt almost supernatural. “It’s just shocking,” he said. “It’s as close to Flatt and Scruggs being in the room with me that I’ve ever been involved with.” Douglas understood from the beginning that it might be tricky to put together a Flatt and Scruggs band, without it being a “tribute” project, or a mere cover band. It is much more. Despite the talent contained in the band, there are no show-off extended breaks, no left-field licks. Instead, all the songs are played exactly like the Lester, Earl and the Foggy Mountain Boys played them. Camp determines to sound as close to Lester in both singing and speaking voice as he can, without going over-the-top into caricature. The Earls of Leicester, as best they are able, are attempting to actually present, and represent, this crucial slice of bluegrass history. “We are trying to play the exact same solos,” agreed Douglas. “We tune sharp,

because Flatt & Scruggs tuned sharp, but not on purpose. They tuned to Lester’s guitar, and whatever Lester took his guitar out of the case, wherever that guitar was, that’s what they all tuned to.” “We do everything like them. The arrangements, we don’t stretch ‘em out. They weren’t a jam band. That wasn’t even thought of. We’re really trying to honor the time period of what they did. We also want to let people know what the impact of their music was on the music the rest of us are playing now, every day.” Listening to the Earls of Leicester can be a very important history lesson, if one pays attention. “They are sort of a generation that new

It’s an honor to try to represent their music as closely as we can. It’s all out of respect. Hopefully, we’re getting close.”

“There is such a wide impact that every song seems to have by doing it the original, ‘right’ way. If you do improvisation with your picking, it’s kind of like you’re getting off the path,” Camp said. “The strength in the melody is sometimes playing it the ‘right’ way. So when you’re in there, playing it with these guys, there’s just no doubt that you’re doing it ‘right’ because you can feel that music moving across the crowd.”

bluegrass people are skipping past now, people who are just learning about bluegrass and how to play bluegrass. They think that Alison Krauss and Union Station is the first thing they should listen to, and Alison will tell you it’s not. And I’ll tell you it’s not, and J.D. Crowe would tell you it’s not. Everything he came from was from Earl Scruggs. New people need to know that, and that’s another reason that I started the band, to just educate.”

Douglas sums it up this way: “Flatt & Scruggs is not new; it’s been done. [The Earls of Leicester are] not trying to be better, do the songs better than them, because it’s impossible to do that. We’re just trying to educate a little bit, and show how a band works. For some, it will be an introduction and we’re saying, ‘Look, this something you missed that you’re gonna wish you had seen. After you see us do it, think about them doing it, because they invented it.”

Camp knows that while there is great risk to an undertaking like the Earls of Leicester, there is also great reward. “People have been trying Flatt & Scruggs ever since that band was together, but there are very few that do nothing but Flatt & Scruggs,” he said. “Yeah, it’s pretty intense. The focus is intense on trying to do it right. It’s an honor to try to represent their music as closely as we can. It’s all out of respect. Hopefully, we’re getting close.” {PULL QUOTE}

In the end, for Douglas, it’s all about the music and who you play it with. “We’re not doing this to be Flatt & Scruggs clones; we’re doing it because we love it. There just happens to be this vibe in the band that I’ve never heard anyone else be able to do.” Note: The Earls of Leicester expect to record an album later this year, with a few supporting tour dates.


And there’s an art to doing it the right way; no frills wanted here.

International Bluegrass




“We’re back”

by Taylor Coughlin IT’S BEEN 25 YEARS SINCE THEY DEBUTED AS A BAND and after a nine-year hiatus it just seems about the perfect timing: Nickel Creek has announced a new album and subsequent tour.

Fans of the platinum-selling trio will be happy to hear that going back into the studio together was a great process for the band.

There was a collective gasp when Grammy and IBMA award winners Nickel Creek announced their selfdescribed indefinite hiatus in 2005 after their last album release Why Should the Fire Die? Sean Watkins (guitar, vocals), his sister Sara (fiddle, vocals) and Chris Thile (mandolin, vocals) sparked a fire when they began singing and playing together, garnering fans throughout multiple genres. The break meant different projects for each musician. Sara played with Garrison Keillor many times and was successfully solo, as was her brother Sean who announced in late 2013 he would release a solo album; the two played together, also. Thile made a most noteable impact with Punch Brothers, while also collaborating with Michael Daves, apprearing on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, and more.

“We were excited every day to be there,” Sara Watkins said in a statement. “Having grown up singing together, there is something natural about our voices and it’s really fun to harmonize. Our voices have come to match each other’s really well. Sean and I are siblings, and Chris is about as close to a sibling as you could get.”

After buzzing rumors of a reunion in the past couple of months, it was confirmed on February 3 that Nickel Creek was indeed reuniting, releasing a new album (A Dotted Line)


on April 1, with a subsequent tour. Word spread like wildfire along with the single “Destination,” capturing an invigorating sound, with Sara’s vocals soaring over the track. Tickets went on sale for the tour and many dates sold out instantly, including a two-night stint at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Their new album, A Dotted Line, comes out April 1 on Nonesuch Records, with a release on vinyl on April 29. The new album was produced by Eric Valentine. A Dotted Line is available to pre-order on iTunes and on CD and vinyl in at now with an instant download of “Destination” and “Love of Mine.”

International Bluegrass

Sean Watkins also added, in a statement: “It feels more natural and easy than it ever did, by far. Getting to spend time alone with our own musical personalities has helped us mature.” Chris Thile also chimed in: “There’s a joyful aspect to Nickel Creek no matter what we’re doing. Things just steer themselves into that sort of place. We will go poke around in the dark corners but always with a heavy dose of optimism.”


Susan Woelkers introduction Susan (Meyer) Woelkers with GW Entertainment will serve as in independent consultant for sponsorship development for this year’s conference. Here’s a little about her! She has always had a love for music. She sang her first solo in church at age 5. She continued her musical journey with her high school marching band and chorus as well as performing at various events in her hometown. This love for music brought her to Nashville, TN to travel with a mixed ensemble for her college as part of a Public Relations

team. After graduation she retained a position at Sony Music for the next 17 years where she held a variety of positions including Coordinator in A&R Administration before being promoted to Executive Assistant to several label presidents. From there she took a position as the Director of Sponsorships for the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) where she secured and maintained sponsorship/partnerships for the organization as well as other NSAI related events including the songwriters festival, Tin Pan South. “I’m looking forward to using my experience with both music and sponsorship to help make this conference the best yet” says Susan.

Top Reasons to Join the “Google+ 101” Hangout If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right? That’s what Dad always said. There is a multitude of ways to get yourself socialized on the internet, but one brand is becoming the big dog on campus, beating out Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn for brand coverage: Google. This next “webinar” is re-labeled a “hangout” since that is what Google names their online gatherings. Much like a webinar, these hangouts enable people to see each other via webcam, chat, share info and screens, and well, hang out.

WHO: You, other fine bluegrass folk,Taylor at IBMA and Henri Deschamps WHAT: “Google+ 101” Hangout WHEN: Tuesday, March 25th, 6pm CST WHERE: Your PC WHY: Well, read below! Here are the top 5 reasons to get on board and join our Hangout with IBMA Board Member and owner of The Mast Farm Inn in North Carolina, Henri Deschamps.


It’s free (for IBMA members). For nonmembers, it’s a small fee of $20, helping out with our tech services.


You’ll get noticed online easier (if you so choose). Google Plus is SEO rankings are unmatched. Google is still the name of the game in search and Google Plus improves your search rankings, essential to attracting a new, bigger audience.

3 2

Hangouts are easy-to-do, free, and fun. No downloads or potential viruses here!

Circles. No, this isn’t geometry. Think of circles as the different circles of people you 15 interact with in your life: family, friends, colleagues, the public. Sometimes you want to share content with your best friend, and sometimes you want to share it with the world. The way Google describes Circles: “people see all of the content you want them to, and none of the content you don’t.”


Hangout with other IBMA folks, expand your own circle, and learn something new! 15


the two


of / Rhonda


by Bill Conger

Country and bluegrass get their spotlights on singer’s latest album


t would certainly be understandable if Rhonda Vincent had a bit of a musical identity crisis. After all, some people say she sounds country while other fans proclaim her as bluegrass. Which one is it? She puts that question to rest with her new CD, Only Me, a two disc set that features six songs from each genre. Vincent had discovered the answer herself years before, but she was puzzled when people initially began to label her sound. “There weren’t defining lines,” Vincent says of her years growing up in a musical family. “Early on, when I was five-yearsold, we [The Sally Mountain Show] had a television show, a radio show, and made our first recording. My grandpa would sing a Bill Monroe song. My Aunt Kathryn would sing a Kitty Wells song. Mom would sing Loretta Lynn. Dad would sing Jimmy Martin. It was just all music.” When she would perform with them at festivals, people said her voice was “so country” and that she needed to be in


country music. Later in life, the country music label, Giant Records, signed her. “I’m recording with the best of the best, managed by Jack McFadden, and recording with James Stroud,” says Vincent. “They bring me in the office soon after we record, and they said, ‘Can you get the bluegrass out of your voice?’ I was dumbfounded when I heard that.” Later on, a confused Vincent received clarity on the issue thanks to, she says, George Jones. She had put together her first bluegrass band and was opening shows for the Hall of Famer. Then, one night in Salem, VA, the truth hit her after finishing the concert. “We came off stage with a bluegrass band after our show. We sold out of every CD in 15 minutes,” says Vincent. “ It was like this mob scene! It was unbelievable. They were saying, ‘We love your country music.’ It was like a light bulb went on: It’s the perception of the listener. It doesn’t matter.”

International Bluegrass

Vincent’s first disc on the new project is geared towards bluegrass with songs like “Busy City,” “I’d Rather Hear I Don’t Love You (Than Nothing At All),” and “I Need Somebody Bad Tonight.” Country singer Daryle Singletary helps out on “We Must Have Been Out of Our Minds,” while country legend Willie Nelson stepped into the studio to pick and sing on the title cut, “Only Me.” “I purposely did that,” Vincent explains. “The obvious choice would have been to put him and Daryle on the country side. I thought it would be more unique to have them sing on the bluegrass side. Then, to have Willie play was unbelievable. You know his guitar style the minute he starts playing.” Rhonda and her band, The Rage opened for Nelson at the Ryman Auditorium in 2009. The two didn’t sing together then, but she had the opportunity to meet him. “We recorded at separate times,” Vincent explains about having Nelson sing on

“Only Me.” “I was actually there when he was recording, and I got to hear him live, going down, knowing that this is going to be awesome.” Nelson said he was grateful to be included on the album. “The bluegrass pickers on this song are some of the best that I have ever heard,” Nelson said. “When I think of bluegrass, this is the sound that I hear. Rhonda’s voice is beautiful. I am thankful for her letting me be a part of it all.” The second disc embraces traditional country songs like her most requested tune, “Beneath Still Waters” that she performed on the “Country’s Family Reunion” television show, her selfpenned tune “Teardrops Over You,” Grand Ole Opry star Bill Anderson’s “Once A Day,” “Bright Lights & Country Music,” and George Jones’ “When The Grass Grows Over Me.” She also laid down her vocals for the familiar Osborne Brothers/ Ernest Tubb standard “Drivin’ Nails.” “I purposely wanted to do [“Drivin’ Nails”] because I recorded it in bluegrass,” Vincent said. “I wanted to record it in country to show the similarity that my voice is the same.” The album is thickly laced with the steel guitar genius of Mike Johnson.

“Somebody said it should be Michael Johnson with special guest, Rhonda Vincent,” Vincent says. “He’s my favorite steel player. He’s an ACM [Academy of Country Music] Player of the Year. I love the steel guitar. It’s my favorite instrument. It just doesn’t get any better.” Other musicians on the project include Tim Crouch, Kevin Grantt, Carl Jackson, Catherine Marx, James Mitchell, Michael Rojas, and Lonnie Wilson. “I did find that this whole project has given me a new perspective on somewhat of a different way of singing,” says Vincent. “I didn’t realize that until I was recording ‘I’d Rather Hear I Don’t Love You (Than Nothing At All),’ which is the very first one that we did for this project. My fiddle player made a comment about how awesome that was and how different I was singing. ‘Really?’ I started thinking about it and really saying I need to adapt that style. He said that is what it’s all about. That’s the way [I] should always sing. I really tried to rein that in and found that all of these songs were a bit of a different way to sing for me.” Vincent’s singing has earned her two Grammy awards, and for seven years in a row, from 2000 to 2006, her peers picked her as the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year. Last year, she won the fun honor of

“Best Album of All-Time with the Worst Album Art” from the Huffington Post for A Dream Come True. “How crazy was that?!” Vincent says of the award. “Just because the Beatles were in it, that was probably one of the coolest things ever.” The Post poked fun at the bluegrass diva, saying, “Hey, look! Your Sunday School teacher made an album! Hailed today as one of the best bluegrass records of the past 30 years, Rhonda Vincent’s first album may also have one of the all-time dweebiest covers. The hair. The sequins. The font. The blush. The lavender. The hair. Everything about this screams the early ‘80s (which is all the dorkier considering that the record came out in the early ‘90s). But if you are able to unsee that awkwardness, the performances on this extraordinary debut are all utterly thrilling.” “What people don’t probably realize, though, that was the look of the day,” Vincent explained. “They said I looked like a Sunday School teacher. I like that. That’s good. There could be a lot worse things. I was actually 8 3/4 months pregnant with my second child in that picture, which is why we had to do the headshot.”

“I just want to keep on touring, and be like Grandpa Jones. The day I go to heaven I want to be standing on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.”

Now, with her daughters out of college and married, Vincent is burning up the road on plenty of tour dates in 2014. “I can absolutely enjoy touring,” says Vincent. “I love the guys I travel with. These guys are at the top of their game, world class musicians. I just want to keep on touring, and be like Grandpa Jones. The day I go to heaven I want to 17 on the stage of the Grand Ole be standing Opry.”

International Bluegrass



Event Insurance & Risk Management by Elizabeth Wightman, SteelBridge Insurance Services and IBMA Board Treasurer


s most industry members know, there is a lot of work that goes into keeping the bluegrass gears turning. Behind every amazing festival, concert, album, music video, instrument, website design, radio show etc...there is a group of passionate, hard working staff, board members and usually many volunteers.  As members of IBMA you have access to insurance benefits that support all of this work through SteelBridge Insurance. SteelBridge not only supplies a real voice (not to mention fellow bluegrass fans) when you call but more importantly a straightforward easy to read pricing guide that has deep discounts for IBMA members. As festival and concert season ramps up there is a lot for event producers to do and so little time for them to do it. Of course, purchasing insurance is on your “to do” list but unfortunately it often gets pushed to the bottom after talent buying, completing the venue contract, marketing, and 100 other things.  And, as if thinking about insurance weren’t enough, you need to be thinking about general risk management issues as well. All of this can be daunting. So, here are some questions to help you get started with the process.

How much General Liability coverage is adequate for your event? Have you considered all of the factors such as total attendance, venue accessibility, time frame of the event, assets at risk, etc.?

Have you thoroughly reviewed your contracts to make sure your insurance meets the requirements set forth in those contracts? Are you taking on any risks you haven’t yet identified?

Do you require your Vendors (craft, food, stage, lighting, tent, etc.) to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance naming your event as Additional Insured? Do you have a mechanism in place to review and track these certificates?

Beyond General Liability coverage, what other coverages do you need? Do you need rented equipment coverage to satisfy the terms of your lease agreements?  Are you concerned about injuries to your volunteers and do you need Volunteer Accident Insurance?  Are you concerned about your event

being cancelled or curtailed due to weather or other risks that might threaten your event income? Do you need to explore Event Cancellation Coverage or Weather Insurance? •

Are you utilizing an event safety risk assessment checklist to help you identify risks? Do you have a safety team and a safety plan in place?  Do you have a written plan in place to provide to event staff so that they know the proper procedures to follow in case of emergency?  Have you determined who will speak at your pre-event staff meeting to discuss risks?

Nobody ever wants to think or talk about insurance and risk management (or the idea that something bad could happen) much less spend money on it. However, it’s better to spend a little time and money on it up front than to find out after a claim that you didn’t plan appropriately.  Unfortunately, there are many horror stories about claims and lawsuits that could have been avoided with some simple planning.  Fortunately, there are many resources you can avail yourself of to help you with this process and ensure that you have a safe and fun event. For more information on taking advantage of  the SteelBridge Insurance membership benefits please click here:


International Bluegrass

MARCH 2014


On the Charts as reflected at press time Billboard: Alan Jackson, The Bluegrass Album at number one; Rhonda Vincent, Only Me at number two; The Devil Makes Three, I’m a Stranger Here at number three. Bluegrass Today Monthly Airplay: Joe Mullins and Junior Sisk, “Wild Mountain Honey,” (written by Arthur Q. Smith) at number one; Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, “Where I Am,” (written by Chris Jones, Tom T. Hall, Dixie Hall) at number two; and “It’s Just a Road,” by The Boxcars (written by Keith Garrett) at number three.

Bluegrass Unlimited songs: “I’m Putting on my Leaving Shoes,” by Big Country Bluegrass (written by Tom T. Hall, Dixie Hall, Troy Engle) at number one; “Grandpa’s Way of Life,” by Spinney Brothers (written by Brink Brinkman) at number two; and “Brothers of the Highway” by Dailey & Vincent (written by D. Johnson, N. Witt, and K. Williams) at number three. Bluegrass Unlimited albums: Three Chords and the Truth by James King at number one (Rounder); The Streets of Baltimore by The Del McCoury Band (McCoury Music) at number two; and No Borders by Spinney Brothers (Mountain Fever) at number three.

Association Assertions The Northern Indiana Bluegrass Association reported their stage was lost in a fire that started in the warehouse where the stage was stored. Both Tri-State festivals will continue this year as planned, and the association has insurance, but as with insurance, they are not sure how much will cover the cost. They are remaining optimistic about getting a new stage that can better fit their needs.

The Central New York Bluegrass Association is holding a membership drive through March to increase their community of passionate ‘grassers. If you’re in the area, join the association! For more info on how to join, visit The Southeastern Bluegrass Association is turning 30 this year. Congratulations! SEBA promises to upgrade the interactive experience online as part of membership, and encourages everyone to get involved to make the next 30 years even greater. SEBA is based in Atlanta, GA.

Standing ‘o!’ Congratulations to Erin and Aaron Youngberg (Finnders & Youngberg) who are celebrating their new baby girl: Ophelia Rose. The family is happy and healthy. Nu-blu is celebrating playing together as a band for 10 years! In honor of the occasion, the band released Ten, an album of ten of their best loved songs. They’re

also embarking on The Ten Tour. Check their tour dates here. Congratulations to The Grascals who are also celebrating their 10 year anniversary playing music together. Catch the band on tour, and pick up their November 2013 release When I Get My Pay! *Editor’s Correction: Last month we reported the winners of the Northern

California Bluegrass Awards. We regret to say we left out the winner for Best Fiddle Player -- Mark Wardenburg. Congratulations, Mark! Junior Sisk and Rambler’s Choice were named Bluegrass Band of the Year at the 40th Annual Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) in Nashville February 2.

In remembrance Harry West, longtime co-proprietor of Harry & Jeanie West Fine Musical Instruments in Statesville, NC, died on January 25. He was 87 years old. (Reported by Bluegrass Today)


Tom Henderson, founder of The Bluegrass Parlor Band and longtime bluegrass DJ in Tampa, FL, has passed away. Tom’s popular radio program This Is Bluegrass aired on Tampa’s WMNF from 1971 until October 2013, when he retired. Tom was honored with a Distinguished Achievement Award in 1988 (then a Certificate of Merit). He will be sorely missed throughout the bluegrass community.

International Bluegrass


For the record The Citizen’s Stamp Advisory Committee listed Bill Monroe as an “approved subject” and will therefore feature The Father of Bluegrass on a future U.S. postage stamp. His grandson, James William Monroe II (aka Jimbo), confirmed with Cybergrass. The date is yet to be determined.

It was announced Dobro player Phil Leadbetter will release an album this year titled The Next Move from Pinecastle Records. Leadbetter’s got a lot of friends, but the following will be on the album helping him out: Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes, Mike Bub, Shawn Camp, Steve Wariner, Joe Diffie, Marty Raybon, Sierra Hull, Sam Bush, Kenny Smith, and many more. Music City Roots is heading overseas to be part of the United Airlines 10th Annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The show will stream on Saturday, March 1, 2014 at 7:30 pm local time/1:30 pm central time. The event will be filmed for MCR’s second season on American Public Television.

Shannon Slaughter has joined Grasstowne playing guitar and singing lead. He’ll still play with his band Shannon & Heather Slaughter and County Clare; the two bands have worked out an agreement on a schedule that will allow Slaughter to play in both.

Sean Dysinger has joined the Bluegrass Today team as their Sponsorship Director. Dysinger resides in Owensboro, KY (home to the International Bluegrass Music Museum, and birthplace of IBMA) telling us that working in the bluegrass music industry must be in his blood.

Travis Frye and Blue Mountain have signed with Kindred Records. Living in the Moment will be their first album on the label and is expected out this spring.

Late last year, Danny Paisley suffered a pair of heart attacks, and underwent surgery. Along with his medical bills, he was forced to cancel many tour dates, and mounted understandable financial difficulty. A fundraiser has been set up to help the great singer. Click here to donate online, or you may send a check to:

Bryan Sutton will come out with his fourth solo record, Into My Own, this spring from Compass Records. Helping Sutton out are: Noam Pikelny and Rob McCoury on banjo, Jason Carter, Stuart Duncan and Luke Bulla on fiddle, Ronnie McCoury and Sam Bush on mandolin, with Greg Garrison, Alan Bartram and Dennis Crouch on bass. Dailey & Vincent have welcomed esteemed young guitarist Seth Taylor (formally of Mountain Heart) to full time member status of the band. Albon Lee Clevenger and Clyde Marshall have joined The Kevin Prater Band on fiddle, and guitar and mandolin, respectively. Nathan Stanley has signed with Willow Creek Records and will release Every Mile in April.

Dan Paisley 559 Church Hill Road Landenberg, PA 19350 A benefit concert for fiddler Steve Thomas and his wife Janet took place in Nashville with many big names on February 20. The show brought in $4,000 for the couple who lost their home in a fire on New Years. Donations may still be mailed with checks made payable to Steve Thomas and mailed to: PO Box 1016, Gallatin, TN 37066 Irish ‘grasser Niall Toner will be a judge for the 22nd Annual Chris Austin Songwriter Contest at this year’s MerleFest in April, along with Jim Lauderdale, Charles Humphrey III, and Darrell Scott. MerleFest is April 24-27 in Wilkesboro, NC.

Lynda Weingartz has been named the new CEO for AirPlay Direct, the global leader in digital delivery to radio. Weingartz has been with AirPlay Direct since 2011 and has helped grow many partnerships. Congratulations, Lynda! Swedish band G2 will be in Nashville recording their newest album, Mind Over Matter this spring. Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen have been in the studio working on their follow-up to their first Compass record, On the Edge. No word yet on a release date. Dave Vaught of the VW Boys was hospitalized at the beginning of February from complications from a recent treatment. Cards may be sent to Dave at this address: Dave Vaught 507 Hickory Road Bristol, TN 37620 Grant Gordy is leaving the David Grisman Quintet to focus on other pursuits. Gordy played guitar in the band for six years.

Rounder Records will release the DVD of Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell on March 11. The performance was recorded at the Fox Performing Arts Center in Riverside, CA last fall. Visit for details on where to purchase the DVD. Gentlemen of Bluegrass have signed on with Pinecastle Records. Carolina Memories will be released this summer. Balsam Range is in the studio recording their next album. “We’ve been blessed to have the great material to work with on every project,” Surrett said in a statement, “but I think we all agree that this collection of songs is the strongest yet. We are all fired up about this album!”

Alison Krauss and Union Station will go on tour with Willie Nelson for 35 dates this spring and early summer. Get tour dates and details here. The Spanish bluegrass band Grazztrio released their new album Three Sheets to the Wind in January. It may be purchased on iTunes. PineCone – Piedmont Council of Traditional Music is holding their award winning bluegrass camps in Cary, NC June 23-27 and registration is open! For details on prices and registration, click here.


MARCH 2014


Frank Wakefield, Taylor Baker & Friends: Listening to Frank Wakefield and Taylor Baker play songs on their album (of the same name) you’d almost believe you were sitting in on one of their jams; it’s intimate, fun, and emits chemistry. Each song is artfully crafted, appropriately playful, and instinctively emotive; you can tell the two are having a grand time playing together. On their Patuxent Music release, they play with Brennen Ernst (guitar), Tom Mindte (3rd mandolin, accordion), and Stefan Custodi (bass) to round out a blend of contemporary, and familiar classics with technical precision and colorful style. These two demonstrate the versatility of the mandolin’s sound, and this album is a great example of what can happen between two very good friends and masterful musicians. (, Patuxent Music)



Irene Kelley, Pennsylvania Coal: From the opening verse of Kelley’s co-written piece with Peter Cooper titled “You Don’t Cross My Mind” to the final note of “You Are Mine,” the well-respected singer and songwriter graciously demonstrates strength, style, and compelling songs. The cast of co-writers and guest musicians add to the already-high quality of the album, with Mark Fain in the producer’s seat, with all songs co-written by Kelley. The product is a vivid look into Kelley’s life (“Pennsylvania Coal,”) along with themes of love, new and old (“You Don’t Cross My Mind,” “Things We Never Did,” “Better With Time,”), life lessons (“Garden of Dreams”), and more. Pennsylvania Coal is a real diamond. (

Darren Nicholson, Things Left Undone: Balsam Range’s premiere mandolin player continues to make a great name for himself producing his newest album, Things Left Undone. Nicholson’s redhot mandolin picking, solid guitar playing, and rich vocals all set the foundation for a fine album. Songs lean from bluegrass into country, ballads, and lickety-split instrumentals. The host of guests include Rhonda Vincent, Carl Jackson, Steve Sutton, Steve Thomas, a couple of his Balsam Range bandmates, and more. If you haven’t thought of Darren Nicholson as a breakout solo artist yet, this album should change your mind.

Blackberry Winter, Still Standing: From the band whose music was featured in the Oscar winning film Winter’s Bone comes a new album of long-loved folk tunes and originals. Listening to Blackberry Winter takes you to the Ozarks; sun-kissed, nostalgic, and thoughtful. The raw vocals and simple harmonies are rich with heart and soul. Each instrument shines bright throughout its own pieces through the album, but especially David Wilson’s fiddle and Marideth Sisco’s lead vocals will break your heart. Blackberry Winter are favorites in Southern Missouri, and Still Standing is a solid piece in their repertoire.



Tom Mindte, Something I’ve Been Working On: Owner and operator of Patuxent Music, Tom Mindte has released something of his own: Something I’ve Been Working On, a 13-track album chock full of great traditional and original mandolin tunes. Mindte was able to gather an all-star cast of pickers such as Danny Knicely and Jordan Tice (guitar), Jesse Baker, Mark Delaney and John Brunschwyler (banjo), and David Knicely on bass. Patrick McAvinue, Casey Driscoll and Nate Leath share fiddle, with Ethan Hughes is on reso-guitar. With some Buzz Busby influence, Mindte pays tribute while carving his own style and presenting it all in “Vivid Sound” as labeled on the CD cover. (

International Bluegrass

Three Tall Pines, Taproot: Providing more mounting evidence that Boston’s bluegrass scene is a stout one, Three Tall Pines’ latest album comes out of the gates with grace and fire. Joe Lurgio (mandolin) and Nick DiSebastian (bass) are now located in Tennessee (yes, IBMA’s staff member Joe), and Conor Smith (fiddle) remains in New England, yet their sound embodies the quality so honed by the Northeastern bluegrass region. Taproot demonstrates the delicate balance of intelligently arranged traditionals with standout originals of which the band should proudly claim. Darol Anger, Brittany Haas, and Lauren Rioux all guest on the album. Get a free sampler at NoiseTrade. (

NEW MEMBERS: FEBRUARY Larry Alexander John M. Alexander Mary Blank Kenneth Bowman Susan Bowman Lacie Carpenter William Cook Doug Crowley Richard Devecchis Ted Drake Joel Farmer Kelly Farmer

Timothy Fogelman Crystal Hoffman Chad Johnson Ken Kanline Sean Keliiholokai Stephen Light Anna Lynch Ed McFarland Benji Minton Robbie Morris Wayne Morrison James Oliver

Tony Polecastro David Schmidt Patricia Schmidt William Stringer Wayne Tate John S. Taylor K. Brian Whitt Glenn Woodsum Thomas Worm Virginia Tourism Coporation GBS Production, LLC



in 2007, the Foundation for Bluegrass Music is a non-profit charitable organization (501c3) created to serve as an “umbrella” under which funds can be placed and disbursed to support educational, literary, artistic and historic preservation activities of public benefit.


Some examples of programs that can grow under this umbrella: • Bluegrass in the Schools (grants, workshops, other resources)

may be designated to create or sustain a particular program or may be unrestricted. And by combining it with the gifts of others, the legacy of the music and your contribution grows and takes on even greater importance.

• Academic conferences

All gifts

• Historic preservation

– no matter the size – are acknowledged and are tax deductible as a charitable donation.*

• Literary work and related efforts • Public artistic presentations of an educational nature • and other works of a charitable nature

Make a donation today. Visit the Foundation website or call 615-256-3222 for information.



International bluegrass Vol. 29 No. 3 March 2014

International Bluegrass March 2014  
International Bluegrass March 2014  

The newsletter that brings you the freshest, ripest bluegrass industry news on the planet has now gone digital, with a beautiful full-color...