International Bluegrass Vol. 27, No. 7 July 2012
The World Remembers
Also in this issue... Deals-of-the-Day Shakespeare with Banjos Sneak Previews of WOB 2012 Win a Bluegrass Cruise for Two
20 The World Remembers Doc Watson
Friends and fans from around the globe pay tribute to our beloved Doc in a collection of unforgettable stories and eulogies.
16 Mountain Song at Sea: The Ultimate Bluegrass Cruise
Jam with Del, Dawg, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Tim and MORE! Our new membership campaign launches on July 2 with exciting discounts and a chance to win a cabin for two on an extraordinary bluegrass cruise.
10 How To Sell Tickets with Deals of the Day by Caroline Wright
If you give them enough thought at the front-end of your event, Groupon, Living Social, and other Deals of the Day can be very powerful tools for promotion.
12 Bluegrass and The Bard by Jen Larson
What happens when the music of Steve Martin, the banjo picking of Tony Trischka, and the words of William Shakespeare come together on a summer night in Central Park? Magic!
15 Court Settlement Concerning Radio Fees, ASCAP and BMI, by Dwight Worden
After two years of litigation over fees payable by commercial radio for 8.5 million+ musicial works, the Radio Musical License Committee (RMLC), ASCAP, and BMI have reached a settlement.
7 New Awards for Promising New Talent!
IBMA introduces the Momentum Awards, to recognize and encourage artists and business people who are in the early years of their careers in bluegrass music.
WHAT’S INSIDE ib july?
WOB 2 0 Septem 12 ber 24-30 Nashv il Tenne le, ssee
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5 How To Read Issuu 6 Editor’s Letter 8 World of Bluegrass News 11 Webinar: Getting a Solid Return on Your Investment 14 Leadership Elections 19 Fresh Sounds in the World of Bluegrass 34 Heard ‘Round the World 37 Industry News 49 Final Note: Dream Team Bluegrass Trios
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International Bluegrass Vol. 27, No. 7 July 2012 IBMA Staff Nancy Cardwell, Interim Executive Director Jill Crabtree, Member Services / Convention Services Director Katherine Coe, Administrative / Media Assistant Caroline Wright, Interim Editor & Special Project Director IB/International Bluegrass Editor: Caroline Wright, firstname.lastname@example.org Designer: Katherine Coe, email@example.com Please enjoy the music of Doc Watson in this digital issue! “Sheeps In the Meadow/Stony Fork” (Medley), Traditional, arranged and adapted by Doc Watson, copyright © Hillgreen Music (BMI); from Doc & Merle's Guitar Album, Flying Fish, released November 30, 1971; with Doc Watson (lead guitar), Merle Watson (rhythm guitar), Mark O'Connor (fiddle & mandolin), T. Michael Coleman (bass), Pat McInerney (percussion); coproduced by Mitch Greenhill and Merle Watson; kindly provided by Mitchell Greenhill. Photography All images of Doc Watson by Jim Gavenus; used with his kind permission. www.gavenusphoto.com INTERNATIONAL BLUEGRASS (ISSN #1095-0605) IBMA: Working together for high standards of professionalism, a greater appreciation for our music, and the success of the worldwide bluegrass community.
The monthly emailed publication of the International Bluegrass Music Association; 2 Music Circle South, Ste. 100; Nashville, TN 37203; USA; Phone: 615-256-3222, 888-GET-IBMA; FAX: 615-256-0450; E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.ibma.org Statements of fact and opinion are made on the responsibility of the writers alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of the officers, directors, staff or members of IBMA. Portions of International Bluegrass may be reprinted provided that explicit citation of the source is made.
how to read issuu The newsletter that brings you the freshest, ripest bluegrass industry news on the planet has now gone digital, with a beautiful full-color interactive magazine that looks and behaves like a print magazine! We hope you enjoy the new digital edition of the IBMA newsletter, IB: International Bluegrass. It's an exciting new way to experience the world's bluegrass news -- as a gorgeous digital magazine, a new hybrid of website and print publication. For those of you who prefer to read the July issue of International Bluegrass in the traditional way, please click here for the July table of contents on the IBMA website. But please give our new digital edition a try! There's a very special surprise in our digital edition. We won't spoil the surprise -- but we invite you to go ahead and turn up your speakers! If youâ€™re not currently an IBMA member, we hope you enjoy this complimentary edition of our newsletter, and we invite you to join or renew your membership today. Join by September 27 and youâ€™ll be eligible to win the Mountain Song at Sea bluegrass cruise package! How to read the new digital International Bluegrass Check out the toolbar at the top of the "page." The slider bar on the left zooms in and out of the pageview. The single page/double page icons? Click back and forth between them for a one-page or two-page view. The little arrows facing away from each other will open to a full-page view; simply click on the X to get out of it. Use the arrows in the center of the toolbar to navigate back and forth between pages. In a two-page view, click on the thumbnail pages at the bottom of your screen. You can use your arrow keys to navigate, too.
BLUEGRASS IBMA Business Conference September 24-27 Nashville Convention Center sponsored by:
WELCOME to NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
International Bluegrass Music Awards September 27 Ryman Auditorium
to buy tickets: (888)438-4262 or www.worldofbluegrass.org
editor’s letter behind the scenes at international bluegrass Today is Sunday, the Lord’s Day for some, a day of rest and play for others, and a workday for a group that currently includes... me, on a beautiful Hawaiian day, slaving over a hot newsletter - the very issue you’re reading right now. After writing and editing for a couple of hours I peek at Google News for diversion. Something in the little custom bluegrass news feed section catches my eye - an article from NPR called “Fresh Bluegrass For A Sultry Summer.”It talks about a group of jammers from the Capitol Area Bluegrass and Old-time Music Association, who gather every couple weeks to pick bluegrass at a park in Virginia. I click PLAY to listen to the accompanying clip. It’s a fun if slightly uneven rendition of “Gold Rush,” played by a group of enthusiastic musicians of varying abilities. As I listen, I think of my own local society, Bluegrass Hawai‘i, which will gather this afternoon for one of several monthly jams. Today, it’s at lovely Waimea Valley on the North Shore. I already know I don’t have time to attend the jam. This newsletter’s an important one for IBMA and I want it to be great, and I must keep at it. But I take a moment and reflect. All around the world today, enthusiastic musicians of varying abilities will be gathering together, in parks, VFW halls, church rectories, pastures, taverns, backyards, cafes, parking lots, and kitchens, taking much-loved old mandolins and guitars out of their cases, rosining up bows gently or impatiently, tuning banjos with varying degrees of success, trying to remember all the chords and words of the tunes they want to share with others. All around the world, people will gather today to make a little bluegrass music together, ignoring, for at least a few hours, every single social obstacle that might prevent their paths from crossing. I accepted this job at IBMA - one of the most tremendously challenging jobs I’ve ever had - to support that simple phenomenon: I wanted to help make bluegrass music happen in the world, wherever and whenever possible. I’ve seen the deep, pure uncomplicated joy people experience when they hear and play it, the way they open up to the music, and to each other. It might seem a little idealistic to some, but I know how good I feel when I hear it and play it, and I’d simply like to help bring that experience to others. Bluegrass provides otherwise incompatible humans with a simple common language and a simple shared goal: Let’s pick a song and try to make it work. I’ve seen it happen time and again. Those of us who are fortunate enough to have roots deep in bluegrass may not realize that for some people, it is a fragile young shoot that must be nurtured, tended and encouraged to grow in our communities. But grow it does - in unlikely places like Poland, Denmark, Greece, the Czech Republic, Japan… and Hawai‘i. Which naturally makes me think about my new Facebook friendish* Diptanshu Roy, a mandolin player in Calcutta, India. Diptanshu has fallen in love with the music of Sam Bush, Bill Monroe, David Grisman, Mike Compton, John Hartford, Mike Marshall, Chris Thile, and Tim O’Brien. He gigs with some fine local folk musicians, but his secret dream is to play in a classic bluegrass configuration: mandolin, fiddle, banjo. He believes he might be the only bluegrass musician in India. As unlikely as it seems, my secret dream is to prove him wrong. As unlikely as it seems, this is the thought, on a perfectly glorious Hawai‘i morning, that propels me back to work... with a smile.
Caroline Wright * A friendish is a friend you haven’t met yet.
IBMA inaugurates “Momentum Awards” to recognize emerging artistic & industry talent The International Bluegrass Music Association is proud to announce a new annual slate of awards designed to recognize promising new talent in bluegrass music. The IBMA Momentum Awards will be presented to an inaugural group of recipients at World of Bluegrass 2012 in Nashville, September 24-30. The Momentum Awards focus on artists and business people who are in the early years of their careers in bluegrass music. Five artists will receive performance awards, while three industry awards will go to key contributors in the bluegrass business. The Momentum Awards are not to be confused with the long-standing IBMA Awards, which are the gold standard for peerrecognized excellence in bluegrass music. The Momentum Awards will acknowledge something undeniable about bluegrass music—that many of its most dynamic artists and entrepreneurs are young or relatively new to the genre, and there are perhaps more artists playing bluegrass or bluegrass-related music than at any time in decades. IBMA looks forward to recognizing the best of them. Performance awards will go to one band, one vocalist and three instrumentalists. There is no category for new recorded music, but the release of an album or a single and its reception will be an important consideration for artist awards. On the industry side, eligible career paths will include (but are not limited to) management, labels, promotion, radio, publicity, marketing, association leadership and recording. “The talents of emerging artists and industry professionals are essential to keeping bluegrass alive and growing, and the IBMA board feels these individuals deserve special recognition for the hard work and the many contributions they are making to the industry as a whole,” says IBMA Interim Executive Director Nancy Cardwell. “The Momentum Awards are a supplement to the current IBMA Awards structure, created to encourage growth and a wider sense of ownership and pride in the organization.” Momentum Award winners will be selected by a multiple committee-driven process. The initial committee will compile lists of eligible candidates based on recommendations from the IBMA membership and an outreach process within the bluegrass community, and a second committee will decide on the recipients. Regional and local associations will be encouraged to identify serious emerging artists for consideration, but any IBMA member may suggest an artist or industry leader for consideration by emailing a letter of recommendation to email@example.com. Anyone previously nominated for an IBMA Award may not be considered for a Momentum Award. Honorees will receive a newly designed trophy or memento, and their names will be included on the IBMA website with all other award recipients. IBMA Momentum Awards are intended to encourage professionalism in bluegrass music among every generation. For more info, please contact the IBMA office at 888-GET-IBMA or firstname.lastname@example.org. 7
world of bluegrass news A look behind the scenes, as we plan World of Bluegrass Nashville ‘12 and beyond
World of Bluegrass 2012 will be our last WOB in Nashville for a while, as next year’s event - and those through 2015 - will be held in Raleigh, NC. Our staff and extraordinary, hard-working volunteers are planning many magical events to make our Nashville conference and festival simply unforgettable. Don’t miss this one! Here’s a little taste of what’s happening behind the scenes, and what to expect in September…
Five new acts added to showcases
The lineup of acts that will participate in WOB’s official showcases in Nashville has been finalized! Congratulations to American Drive, Jim Hurst, I Draw Slow, Pert Near Sandstone, and Volume Five, added recently to the bill.
Latest conference news
Here are just a few of the panelists confirmed for the 2012 WOB business conference in Nashville: The amazing Harry Stinson is gathering his own panelists for his session on Creative Music Arrangement. His first confirmed panelist: Jerry Douglas! Kristin Scott Benson and Tony Trischka have agreed to join moderator Ira Gitlin on a panel called What I Learned from Earl about Music & Life
Reaching Out To Your Community with Bluegrass Music will be moderated by Tom Kopp with panelists Barry & Holly Tashian and Paul Byrum
Songwriter Focus: The Words & Music of Larry Cordle will feature Larry Cordle (of course!) with his friends Larry Shell and Carl Jackson Cindy Baucom, Katy Daley, Penni McDaniel, and Donica Christensen will participate in a PR & DJ roundtable called Getting Your Music On The Air For bluegrass history buffs: All Things Pre-War Banjo (with Steve Huber of Huber Banjos) and The History of the Kay Bass (with Roger Stowers) Confirmed participants for The Gospel of Writing Bluegrass Gospel Songs: Jerry Salley, Donna Ulisse, Sherrill Blackman, Myrna Riquier, and Mark "Brink" Brinkman
IIIrd Tyme Out and Charlie Sizemore added to Fan Fest lineup Award-winning bluegrass band Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out and stellar bandleader/songwriter Charlie Sizemore have been added to the 2012 Fan Fest lineup, reports Carl Jackson, who is booking talent for the event (with an assist from Mark Newton, who is co-producing). They join an impressive lineup that includes Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Balsam Range, The Grascals, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Claire Lynch Band, Blue Highway, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Dale Ann Bradley, Marty Raybon, The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, The SteelDrivers,
Jim Lauderdale, Josh Williams Band, Sierra Hull & Hwy 111, Della Mae, The Roys and Volume Five. These generous artists will donate their performances to raise money for the Bluegrass Trust Fund (which helps bluegrass music professionals in time of emergency need) and IBMA's mission, to foster a greater appreciation for bluegrass around the world.
Routh appointed to conference planning committee Daniel Routh, founding member of Nu-Blu, has been appointed to the 2012 IBMA Education Committee, the group that determines the slate of topics, presenters and speakers at WOB. He joins committee chair Lisa Jacobi and members Sheila Selby, Roger Moss, Casey Campbell, Regina Derzon and staff liaison Caroline Wright. Welcome, Daniel!
Visit ibma.org for the latest World of Bluegrass updates! See you in Nashville in September, and Raleigh in 2013! * Artists and topics subject to change without notice.
Don’t be left out this year! Looking for advertising & promotional opportunities at World of Bluegrass 2012 in Nashville? Consider these strategies to reach hundreds, even thousands, of people in the worldwide bluegrass community! Good… An ad in the conference program and on our website at www.ibma.org Better… A booth in the exhibit hall to display your product and interact with potential customers Best… An event sponsorship package tailored specifically to your marketing goals Don’t miss this golden opportunity to share your message, your product, or your music with a captive audience of some of bluegrass music’s most dynamic and enthusiastic professionals and fans!
WELCOME to NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
save the date The IBMA Awards Nominees Press Conference Wednesday evening August 15 The Loveless Barn Nashville, TN Stay tuned for details!
how to sell tickets with deals of the day and not lose your shirt in the process If you subscribe to a deal-of-the-day (DOD) service like Groupon or Living Social, you may have seen deals for hugely discounted tickets to events that are just a few days away. And if you’re a promoter, you might have had a visceral reaction, even had a twinge of pain, when you saw that sadly obvious, last-ditch effort to build an audience. Right now, there’s a Living Social deal in my area for a big dance event next week. Publicity for the event seems thin—its Facebook page has just 20 invitees, of which only 3 have committed to attending the event, and not a word about it appears in local news. It looks as if the promoter, desperate to fill seats, decided to offer slash-rate tickets through a DOD. However, another local promoter has found a fairly creative and proactive way to harness the true power of deals-of-the-day: as a vehicle for pre-sales. Though still practically nascent, the BAMP Project of Honolulu has produced successful events with Smokey Robinson, Morrissey, Jimmy Cliff, Cake and other internationally acclaimed artists. When I received a Groupon email for a BAMP event far, far in the future - a big multimedia show by celebrity chef Robert Irvine of Dinner: Impossible - I called BAMP cofounder Matty Hazelgrove to investigate. Obviously, BAMP was doing something very, very different with DOD.
concentrate on regular business because they were so overwhelmed with the business coming through for a reduced rate. So why did you decide go with a DOD for your Robert Irvine show? We thought long and hard about how we can utilize Groupon to be a benefit for an event. Groupon has a huge database of people who are interested in good deals. We figured the best way to keep the correct image of the event was to do this as a presale. We looked at it this way: If we can reach a lot of people through a mass mailing through Groupon—and granted, we’ll be taking a significantly lesser portion of the revenue than we normally would—but as long as we control it on the front end, we can dictate how many tickets we’ll have available, and at what price level we want to discount those tickets so it doesn’t hurt our bottom line too much. It’s actually marketing that directly pays for itself. We’re only taking a reduced portion of the revenue if the ticket is sold—but if the ticket is sold, it’s basically paying for itself on the spot. That’s the approach we’ve taken. I think it probably will be our ONLY approach when using Groupon.
IB: What did you know about deals-of-theday before you started? Matty Hazelgrove: I’d seen Groupon used before for live events. It seems like it’s usually used for events that aren’t selling to their fullest capacity, and people want to try to invigorate interest by having a deep discount. We thought that looked like an act of desperation, and felt it was unfair to the people who purchase in advance.
Would you have priced tickets differently if you weren’t offering them through Groupon? We lay out all the expenses and revenues up front. For this particular event we have three price levels—P1, P2, P3. We increased the quantity of P3 and set the location of those tickets in close proximity to the stage. Though the seats are really close to the stage, we’re getting the same amount of revenue we would have gotten for the nosebleed section. We’re not losing out on revenue; we’re accounting for it up front. Instead of selling the $35 tickets in the nosebleed section, we gave people the added value of them being directly behind the $150 seats. It took us a while to figure out how we could make it work for us.
We’ve also heard a lot of negative stories about how Groupon negatively impacted some peoples’ businesses, because they didn’t think it through about how it would all work, and next thing they knew, they were getting pennies on the dollar for their product, and they couldn’t really
What was your experience of the Groupon organization? Hazelgrove: They’re very easy to work with. They provide a service, and they definitely want to get compensated for their service. I can’t disclose the exact terms of the deal, but they do require that
you offer at least a 50% discount, and of the remaining 50%, there is a revenue share with Groupon. Is Groupon the only DOD service you considered? Yes. It seems to be the one that has the largest reach. If we’re going to treat it like a marketing expense--a marketing engine for us, basically—we want it to reach as many in-boxes as possible. That makes the most sense for us. [Groupon mails to different segments of its database] based on the discount you’re offering, or the type of event. Some deals go to everybody; some only go to a specific segment. When did your mailing go out? A couple months ago, and it only lasted about four days. We didn’t sell the entire quantity we had allocated, but we sold about 80% of them. We’re pretty happy. We’ve definitely benefited from the Groupon sales. Any other advice for promoters who might consider using a DOD to sell tickets? Think it through and incorporate it into your business plan on the front side, as opposed to using it solely in a last-ditch effort to fill seats. You just have to make sure you use it to your benefit, as opposed to trying to sell $50 seats for $25 at the last minute, when you really need to sell those seats for $50. It might take a while to figure out how to make it work for you, but if you can give it enough forethought, it can be a very powerful tool. In four days in April, BAMP sold at least 120 pairs of tickets at $86 per pair, for gross revenue of more than $10,000.
getting a solid return on your investment prepping, attending & Following up for WOb 2012 The intense schedule and after-hours music at music industry conferences like World of Bluegrass can be overwhelming for attendees. There’s so much going on! If you’re not careful to plan your week before arriving in Nashville, it might slip by before you know it. The last thing you want to do is to remember, on the way home from WOB, that you missed a session--or an opportunity to meet an event producer, journalist, or label rep--that might have changed your career. Join our July 24 webinar (6-7:30 p.m. Central), hosted by IBMA’s Nancy Cardwell and Jill Crabtree, to pick up some ideas on how to immediately start planning the best use of your World of Bluegrass time! During our one-and-a-half-hour session, we’ll take a careful look at the schedule, talk about advance contacts and promotion, and make custom recommendations for what would benefit you individually. Perfect For: Artists and band managers, event producers, merchandisers, broadcasters, songwriters… anyone “on a mission” to maximize his or her investment as an attendee of World of Bluegrass or a similar music industry conference. Also great for anybody who wants to learn more about World of Bluegrass! If you decide to register for WOB, we’ll refund the fee of your webinar. Cost: $20 for IBMA members or $40 for non-members… and as mentioned above, it’s free to those already registered for World of Bluegrass! Class size limited to 25.
Webinar FREE for registered World of Bluegrass attendees! July 24 “Getting A Solid Return on Your Investment: Prepping, Attending & Following Up for World of Bluegrass 2012” Register now by calling 615-256-3222!
bluegrass & The bard
“As You Like It”
L-R: Tony Trischka, banjo; Jordan Tice, guitar; Skip Ward, bass; Jesse Lenat, guitar/vocals; Tashina Clarridge, fiddle (photo by Steve Martin)
On June 21st, the Public Theater in New York City officially launched its historic 50th anniversary season of “Shakespeare in the Park” at the Delacorte Theater with an innovative and bluegrass-infused production of As You Like It. At first glance, one might not assume that the work of William Shakespeare and bluegrass music would be a natural fit. But thanks to the creative vision of director Daniel Sullivan, composer Steve Martin, a remarkably talented cast, and an acoustic music ensemble solidly anchored by Tony Trischka, we once again have proof of the genre’s versatility and ability to convey a wide variety of emotions. As You Like It is a romantic comedy originally published in 1623. In addition to being Shakespeare’s most music-filled play, it is also famous for the monologue that begins, “All the 12
world’s a stage…” The plot consists a series of interlocking episodes that revolve around nearly universal themes, including sibling rivalry, the fickle nature of love, lust and longing, and the endurance of family bonds and friendships. Though Shakespeare originally set the play at court in France and in the mythical Forest of Arden, Sullivan relocates the story to the rural American South of the 1840s. The play begins at the fortress-like log homestead of Duke Frederick, who has usurped power from his elder brother Duke Senior, and in a fit of rage, banishes all of his followers. This disgruntled group retreats to the bucolic Forrest of Arden for a series of escapades during which they engage in lively and at times poignant dialogue about rural life and mortality, and partake in a deer hunt. Meanwhile, two brothers - Oliver and Orlando de Boys - are bitterly at odds over the fact that the elder refuses
to honor his duty to help the younger advance in his education and court prospects. As a result, younger brother Orlando takes matters into his own hands and challenges Charles the Wrestler to a prize match, managing to infuriate the Duke and his beguiling daughter, Rosalind. Like his fellow courtiers, he and his elderly retainer flee to the forest. The Duke mistakenly assumes that Rosalind is in cahoots with Orlando, and banishes her. She daringly assumes the disguise of a young man named Ganymede and proceeds into the forest with her cousin, also disguised. The plot thickens when Ganymede encounters the lovelorn Orlando, pining over Rosalind. Instead of revealing her true identity, Ganymede offers Orlando a “bromance” of sorts, advising him on how to get past his feelings as a ruse to probe the depth of his love for her. Further complications arise when a local shepherdess develops an impossible crush on Ganymede, while Touchstone, a court jester, becomes enamored of a randy goatherd. The story concludes in a joyous crescendo of revealed identities and intentions, fervent declarations of love and a multiple-nuptial hoedown, replete with high spirited flat-foot dancing. In comedy, as in bluegrass, timing is everything, and in this production, it is deftly handled by a stellar cast that includes Lily Rabe (Rosalind / Ganymede), Andre Braugher (Duke Senior / Duke Frederick), Renee Elise Goldsberry (Celia / Aliena), Omar Metwally (Oliver de Boys), David Furr (Orlando) and Oliver Platt (Touchstone). As You Like It also features musical direction by Greg Pliska and sound design by ACME Sound Partners. Live, onstage music duties are more than capably handled by Tony Trischka (banjo/musical direction), Tashina Clarridge (fiddle), Jordan Tice (guitar), and Skip Ward (bass). Jesse Lenat, a Brooklynbased actor and singer/songwriter who plays the role of Amiens, contributes lead vocals. Award-winning musician and bandleader Tony Trischka is widely considered to be a master of the five-string banjo. With a career spanning over 35 years, he has led and appeared with several innovative bands (Country Cooking, Breakfast Special, Skyline) and performed with luminaries such as The Allman Brothers,
Boston Pops Orchestra, and Kate & Anna McGarrigle. In January 2007 Trischka released, to critical and popular acclaim, Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, which featured new music and performances by a legion of legends that included Earl Scruggs, Béla Fleck, Alison Brown, Tom Adams, Kenny Ingram and Steve Martin. In 2010 he produced Martin’s Grammynominated album, Rare Bird Alert. Fiddler Tashina Clarridge is a Boston-based musician with roots in bluegrass, Irish, old time and Texas fiddling styles. She has performed at Carnegie Hall as part of MacArthur Fellow / Grammy-winning bassist Edgar Meyer’s Young Artists program; shared the stage with Darol Anger, Tony Trischka, and Mike Marshall; and is a Grand National Fiddle Champion and 11-time Grand National finalist. Guitarist Jordan Tice, an accomplished instrumentalist and composer, has toured Europe and the U.S. and appeared in concert with Mark Schatz, Frank Wakefield, Darol Anger, Paul Kowert, and Brittany Haas. He has released two solo albums on Patuxent Records as well as one as part of a trio, Corbett, Chrisman, and Tice, with Wes Corbett on banjo and Simon Chrisman on hammered dulcimer. Rounding out this talented ensemble is Ohio native Skip Ward, a Grammy- winning bassist who puts his classical and jazz training to excellent use in a wide variety of genres ranging from bluegrass to fusion, rock and blues. Skip is no stranger to major theatrical productions, having toured with such productions as Million Dollar Quartet, Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats, and West Side Story, to name a few. Trischka and his merry band of musicians perform a pre-show set of bluegrass tunes that includes such classics as “Earl's Breakdown,” “Sandy Boys,” “Blackberry Blossom,” and “Clinch Mountain Backstep.” Throughout the play, in delightfully choreographed moments, the band emerges from the forest to accompany the exiled court and punctuate their various turns of fortune with lilting fiddle and guitar arrangements and up-tempo music contributed by instrumentalist, writer, composer and reigning IBMA Entertainer of the Year, Steve Martin. As lyricists are concerned, Martin couldn’t have had a more illustrious co-collaborator than William Shakespeare. He rises to the occasion by setting Shakespeare’s verses to music in four featured songs, “Under the Greenwood Tree,” “Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind,” “The Horn,” and “The Lover and His Lass.” Martin also contributes two fine original tunes, “Run Orlando Run” and “Trip Audrey Trip.”
The Public Theater’s brilliant staging of As You Like It as a rustic American tale, with Steve Martin’s creative musical compositions, is a winning combination. With the addition of Tony Trischka and company, it is no surprise that critics and audiences alike have enthusiastically received this production. As Trischka reflects, “By the end of its run, As You Like It, with its bluegrass score, will have been seen by approximately 50,000 people. A good portion of those folks may well have not had much exposure to bluegrass.” The fact that bluegrass music was performed before an appreciative audience of this size in a relatively short amount of time--the play ran from June 5-30, inclusive of previews--demonstrates the power of such a production to expand bluegrass music’s fan base beyond traditional contexts. This bodes well for the viability and relevance of the genre. Speaking both as a New Yorker and as a bluegrasser, I found that experiencing Shakespeare steeped in the “high lonesome” sound in an outdoor theater seemed to magically dissolve the surrounding urban sprawl on a warm summer night, and transport a thoroughly modern metropolitan audience to another place and time. The classic themes of conflict, love and familial relations heard in any number of bluegrass standards can indeed be found in the “ancient tones” of Shakespeare’s timeless poetic language, which made for a wonderful and memorable evening. What a rare pleasure it was to hear the powerful sounds of bluegrass resonating over the rocks and rills of Central Park in the heart of New York City!
Jen Larson is a Brooklyn-based bluegrass vocalist, guitarist and songwriter, and IBMA member (Leadership Bluegrass ’10). In addition to performing regionally in the Northeast, Jen serves as the Assistant Visual Resource Manager for the Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.
Leadership elections set; members will elect reps in July Professional members of IBMA are encouraged to participate in elections to be conducted this summer to determine leadership on the association’s board of directors. Members with email addresses on file with IBMA will participate in this election via secure online balloting, while those without access to the Internet will continue to vote via paper ballots as in the past. Please contact IBMA if your email contact information has changed recently. IBMA thanks the following candidates for running: Agents, Managers & Publicists Brian Smith, Leadership Artists Emilee Warner, Crash-Avenue Artists, Composers and Publishers Chris Pandolfi, The Infamous Stringdusters Tim Surrett, Balsam Range Event Production Craig Ferguson, Planet Bluegrass Michael Ramsey, Red, White & Bluegrass Recording, Distributing & Marketing Logan Rogers, Thirty Tigers Ben Surratt, The Rec Room Studio Two “At Large” seats appointed by the board will also be open at the board’s September meeting. Those elected by their membership group will assume their role on the board on September 23, 2012 and the term ends in 2015. The IBMA Board of Directors is the policy making body responsible for the association's mission achieved through its programs, functions, business affairs and property. The board is also responsible for appointing its officers and delegating day-to-day management of the association to committees and staff. They serve without compensation and are expected to bear of the cost of attending all board meetings and IBMA functions. 14
court SETTLEMENT Court Settlement Concerning Radio Fees ASCAP and BMI On January 27, 2012, Federal Judge Denise L. Cote of the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York approved a settlement resolving two years of litigation between the Radio Musical License Committee (RMLC) and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), concerning the fees payable by U.S. commercial radio to publicly perform ASCAP's 8.5 million+ musical works. Shortly thereafter a similar settlement with Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) was announced. The RMLC represents a majority of U.S. radio stations (10,000+ stations), while ASCAP represents approximately 425,000 songwriters, composers, and music publisher members, and BMI represents approximately 500,000 songwriters, composers, and music publisher members, and 7.5 million musical works. The settlements reflect a change in the calculation method for fees that radio stations pay to ASCAP and BMI, caused by a return to a revenue-based fee structure of 1.7% of revenues. The ASCAP and BMI settlements are similar, but not identical, with the ASCAP settlement having received court approval as of this writing and the BMI settlement pending court approval. No one knows exactly what the future revenues will be, and therefore the amount of the fees is not known, but the RMLC projects a reduction in the fees radio will pay to ASCAP and BMI, while ASCAP and BMI project a possible dip in the fees in the early years, followed by increasing fees as future revenues climb. . The settlement covers the seven-year period from 2010 to 2016. RMLC Chairman Ed Christian, CEO of SAGA Communications, responded to news of the ASCAP settlement with this statement: "This is a gratifying result for the radio industry, which reflects the current realities of our industry and puts the industry back on sound footing insofar as its licensing relationships with ASCAP are concerned. We appreciate the goodwill which ASCAP has demonstrated in working with our industry to get this resolution." John LoFromento, ASCAP CEO, commented: â€œThe process of building this agreement was based on mutual trust and appreciation, and reflected both sides clear understanding of the challenges and opportunities we each see for the future. I want to thank the Radio Musical License Committee for its creative approach and respecting the value provided by music creators in our negotiations.â€?
ASCAP at www.ascap.com/press/2011/1205_ASCAP_RMLC.aspx RMLC at www.radiomlc.org/ BMI at www.bmi.com/
mountain song at sea: Become a member of IBMA by September 27 for a chance to win an Our new membership campaign launches on July 2 with exciting discounts and a chance to win a fabulous cruise to the Bahamas for two with The Steep Canyon Rangers, The David Grisman Sextet, Peter Rowan, The Del McCoury Band, Punch Brothers and MORE!
Join NOW for your chance at a Bluegrass Cruise For Two!
Just in time for World of Bluegrass discounts and the last rounds of Awards voting, IBMA’s new membership drive features a sale on professional membership that is perfect for bands and businesses--“four for the price of three”--and a contest for an oceanview cabin for two on the Mountain Song at Sea bluegrass cruise, sailing from Miami to the Bahamas and back on February 1-4, 2013. All current members of IBMA (including professional, Grass Roots, youth, lifetime & organizational members) as of September 27, 2012 will be eligible for the drawing!
On February 1, 2013, Mountain Song at Sea will set sail from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas aboard the Norwegian Sky, a luxurious ship full of amenities–pools, hot tubs, a casino, and music on multiple stages, around every corner! The entire ship has been chartered for the festival, which boasts a fantastic lineup: The David Grisman Sextet, The Del McCoury Band, The Punch Brothers, The Steep Canyon Rangers, Tim O'Brien and Bryan Sutton, The Kruger Brothers, Peter Rowan, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, The Travelin' McCourys, Shannon Whitworth, Della Mae and Town Mountain. Highlights will include concerts in intimate venues, spontaneous artist collaborations and jam sessions, and opportunities for tons of fun interaction between artists and fans in activities like beer and wine tastings, workshops, games–and a poker tournament with IBMA Entertainers of the Year, cruise hosts The Steep Canyon Rangers! Thanks to the generosity of The Steep Canyon Rangers, Mountain Song Productions and Sixthman, one very lucky person will receive a cruise package for two with an Ocean View cabin (value: $2,030), in an exciting drawing to be held onstage during Fan Fest! IBMA members are also eligible for a 10% discount on the cruise—in case you want to make sure you sail, whether you win your tickets or not! Sixthman, known for their awardwinning music-themed cruises, will take your reservations at 877/379-9189. When you call, be sure to mention your IBMA membership to receive the discount. Current IBMA members as of September 27, 2012 will be eligible to win! If you’re not currently a member, we hope you enjoy reading the newly designed digital version of International Bluegrass, and we invite you to consider joining or renewing your
The ultimate bluegrass cruise oceanview cabin for 2 on an extraordinary Baha mas bluegrass cruise! membership! IBMA welcomes musicians, industry pros, and grassroots supporters and fans as members, and our “four for the price of three” professional membership sale is good through the end of 2012 (call 1-888-GET-IBMA directly to take advantage of that offer!). And remember, if you join on or before September 27, you’ll be eligible to win the Mountain Song at Sea cruise package. Click here to join IBMA today! The prize package will include the cabin for two, port taxes and fees, and non-carbonated and non-alcoholic beverages onboard. Transportation from the prize recipient’s house to the port in Miami is not included, nor are onboard gratuities ($12/day per person), island excursions and souvenirs. For more info, visit http://www.sixthman.net/events/view/id/19. IBMA employees, IBMA board members, IBMA contract employees, cruise company employees and employees/agents of the bands performing on the cruise are not eligible to win. If the cruise is canceled, the prize recipient will get a rain check for a future cruise. If the winner cannot use the cruise, he or she may transfer it to a family member or friend. It may not be sold. Thanks to the collective energy and resources of members like you, IBMA provides the worldwide bluegrass community with many special and valuable services, discounts, programs and experiences, including… • Our monthly International Bluegrass e-newsletter, packed with useful info and the latest news • The World of Bluegrass: an annual Business Conference, Awards Show and Festival with significant member discounts. (Join us in Nashville Sept. 24-30, 2012, and in Raleigh, NC in 2013-2015!) • Monthly webinars at discount rates • Group plans for event liability insurance for event producers • Health and instrument insurance plans • Marketing data on bluegrass consumers • Bluegrass industry and fan databases for marketing • Rental car discounts • Career opportunities like The Gig Fair, DJ/Artist and Songwriter/Producer receptions • Showcase opportunities for bands and songwriters
• Marketing efforts like the soon-to-be-launched www.BluegrassNation.org, a place to connect online with new fans • Year-round songwriter mentors and a songwriter series at Nashville’s Bluebird Café • Leadership training and networking opportunities through Leadership Bluegrass, World of Bluegrass seminars and mentor sessions, and help from staff 365 days a year • Support for and info about international bluegrass communities • Access to whitepapers and articles at ibma.org • The Bluegrass Hall of Fame and IBMA Awards Jam with • The Bluegrass Trust Fund—created to help individuals in the Del, Dawg, bluegrass community in times of emergency need • Support of the Foundation for Bluegrass Music’s “Bluegrass Pete, the in the Schools” program and grants • The Bluegrass Grammy Award and the Bluegrass sales chart in Steeps & Billboard—both initiated by IBMA MORE! • A member listserv… and more!!! Visit IBMA's website and become a member NOW, or call 1-888-GET-IBMA to join our worldwide bluegrass community—and for your chance to win a cruise for two with Mountain Song at Sea!!! Visit the Mountain Song at Sea website for oceans of information on this exciting bluegrass getaway! Rules and additional info for the cruise membership promotion may be found here.
FAN FEST SEPTEMBER 28-30
NASHVILLE CONVENTION CENTER Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver The Steep Canyon Rangers Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out Balsam Range The Grascals Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice Claire Lynch Band Blue Highway The Nashville Bluegrass Band Dale Ann Bradley
Marty Raybon The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper The SteelDrivers Jim Lauderdale Josh Williams Band Sierra Hull & Hwy 111 Della Mae The Roys Volume Five & many more!
to buy tickets: www.bluegrassfanfest.org or call (888)438-4262
FRESH SOUNDS IN THE WORLD OF BLUEGRASS July 2012
Clayton Knight Runs Real Good www.eclecticaacoustica.com The Oak Ridge Boys; Back Home Again - Gospel Favorites Gaither Music Group www.gaither.com www.oakridgeboys.com Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show Take Me Back Pinecastle Music, www.pinecastlemusic.com www.karlshiflett.co Various Artists Music City Roots: Roots Moments, Season 1 www.musiccityroots.com Jesse McReynolds Love Songs from the Pick Inn www.JimandJesse.com Various Artists Scenic City Sampler: A Unique Collection of Songs from Chattanooga Musicians and Songwriters www.sceniccitysampler.com 19
If you’re reading this story in our new digital newsletter, turn up your volume and enjoy “Sheeps In the Meadow / Stony Fork” (Medley), Traditional, arranged and adapted by Doc Watson, copyright © Hillgreen Music (BMI); from Doc & Merle's Guitar Album, Flying Fish, with Doc Watson (lead guitar), Merle Watson (rhythm guitar), Mark O'Connor (fiddle & mandolin), T. Michael Coleman (bass), Pat McInerney (percussion); coproduced by Mitch Greenhill and Merle Watson; kindly provided by Mitchell Greenhill.
The World Remembers
DOC WATSON Shortly after the great Arthel “Doc” Watson died on May 29, at age 89, we invited his friends and fans around the globe to share their thoughts and memories of him for this month’s newsletter. We were especially interested in hearing from people whose lives Doc changed in some way, by his music or his example. We also wanted stories that would illustrate his warmth, humility – and his sense of humor and whimsy. The response was overwhelming. If only we could share them all! There are treasures in each of the stories we’ve selected to include here. They reveal Doc as an artist whose singular influence has leapt genres and generations, whose simplicity and humanity profoundly moved the people who knew him well—and those who never got to shake his hand. For a humble man who was, as he called himself, “just one of the people,” Doc Watson leaves an extraordinary musical legacy that seems timeless, indelibly etched on the pages of history. We will miss him.
Jeff Cardey, Rawhide (Brussels, Belgium) I am a Canadian mandolin player living in Brussels, Belgium. On a warm summer evening in South Carolina around 1999, I was touring with a trio performing classical guitar music. I'd just begun to learn some mandolin for fun. The people I was staying with had a little attic as a listening room to relax in. Each night we would retire to the listening room where he played Doc Watson and Ricky Skaggs CDs. I'd never heard of Doc and proceeded to have my mind blown away. I had no idea guitar could be played in such a way! Something about his singing went right to the bone. I went home and bought the same album, quit playing classical music and started learning to play bluegrass and trying to sing. I now play in Belgium’s oldest bluegrass band, an award-winning band that is still making waves throughout the festival circuit here in Europe after 35 years. I can say without a doubt that Doc profoundly changed my life forever and for the better. I've never shed a tear when hearing of other bluegrass stars passing, but on hearing of Doc's passing, the tears they fell like raindrops. Cindy Baucom, “Knee-Deep In Bluegrass“ (Elkin, North Carolina) Having been raised less than 10 miles from Deep Gap, NC, there are many memories of Doc Watson I can recall. But I would like to share a memory that made a profound impact on me. It was around 1990 and Doc had spent most of the afternoon on-the-air with me, performing songs and chatting about his music and his gratitude for the Merle Watson Memorial Festival (eventually known as Merlefest). Before leaving, he asked if I would have time to make some 21
recordings for him from our production library at the radio station. I told him I would be happy to, but silently wondered: What kind of music would Doc Watson want for his personal collection? He said to go to Sound Effects and gather birds, wind, the ocean and any other “nature” sounds I could locate. “That's my music,” he said. Michael Smith, Reservoir Road (Greely, Colorado) As a young man, I was fortunate to have seen Doc perform in concert three times. This was in the early 1980's and Merle was still alive. Doc traveled and performed with Merle, who played fingerpicking and slide guitar, and T. Michael Coleman, who played electric bass. The most amazing concert I've ever witnessed was a night Doc performed at a little theatre in Arvada, Colorado. Doc had laryngitis but he didn't let that stop him from meeting his obligations to the packed house. Except for talking through “Tennessee Stud,” all songs played were instrumentals. Between Doc, Merle and T. Michael, they played a ten-minute rendition of “Wabash Cannonball” that defies human comprehension. People who consider folk music a primitive art form should have witnessed this artistic and technical masterpiece. First, they played it at a tempo no train – even one pointed downhill with a strong tailwind – could have kept pace with. Doc would pick two verses, then Merle would fingerpick a couple, then Doc let it rip, then Merle played slide. Even T. Michael ripped off a couple of solos on his fretless electric bass. Throughout every solo, you could pick out the structure of the tune, so the melody never got lost in the landslide of notes, and yet each verse was unique. I doubt those guys repeated a phrase. And I don't think they ever came close to hitting a clunker. Doc looked as if he had to put a little effort into playing that fast, but Merle looked relaxed – almost bored. It was one of those barnburners where the audience should have been whooping and hollering approval, but everyone was so stunned we simply stared in amazement. When they finally wrapped it up, there were a couple of moments of silence as the audience caught its breath. We erupted in applause. Doc grinned, but Merle never showed any emotion. Doc didn't have enough voice to tell us to settle down. T. Michael attempted to calm us down, but we couldn't. I've seen people on TV get “touched by the hand of God” and wig out. That night I was touched by
artistic genius. I've attempted to describe it to people with little success. Even Doc Watson fans cannot grasp the feeling of that night. It was utter joy. Dix Bruce, guitarist (Concord, California) In the introduction to my 1998 book of transcriptions of Doc Watson's early recordings [Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley: Original Folkways Recordings 1960-62, Mel Bay MB97056], I tried to assess Doc's importance to guitar playing and to American music in general. Here's what I came up with: “These are Doc Watson’s first commercially released recordings. And what an auspicious premier they make! His playing from this period turned the role of the acoustic guitar in traditional American music completely around, and elevated it to equal status with the fiddle and banjo as a lead instrument. Up to that time it had played mostly a supporting rhythmic role. Doc Watson truly revolutionized the role of the guitar in folk, old time, bluegrass, and country music.” I also mentioned that those first recordings, not to mention Doc's subsequent recordings, served to introduce or popularize a large number of the songs that have become folk, bluegrass, old time, and country music standards: “Crawdad Song,” “I’m Sitting on Top of the World,” “Lee Highway Blues,” “The Coo-Coo Bird,” “Rising Sun Blues,” “Shady Grove,” “My Home’s Across the Blue Ridge Mountains,” “Way Down Town,” “Will the Circle Be Unbroken,” “Amazing Grace,” “ Sally Ann,” “Old Ruben” (“Reuben’s Train,” “Train 45”), “The Old Man at the Mill,” “Troublin’ Mind,” “Handsome Molly,” “John Henry,” and “Wayfaring Pilgrim.” While my introduction sums up my appreciation of Doc as an icon who did much to shape the sound of contemporary folk, bluegrass, and country music, it doesn't cover my personal thoughts on Doc and what his music has meant to me as a guitarist, singer, and musician. In my estimation, Doc is THE giant of traditional American music. My personal acquaintance with Doc began in the late 1960s. I knew him from his recordings and reputation as a wonderful guitarist and folk musician. His guitar playing was truly unexplainable, unbelievable, unfathomable. How could anyone play that fast and that precisely? I certainly couldn't, even when I slowed the LPs from 33 1/3 rpm down to 16 rpm. He seemed unknowable. In 1972 friends recommended a three-disc album by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band that featured the contemporary rock band playing music with an astounding number of the most important country and bluegrass musicians, from Maybelle Carter to Roy Acuff to Jimmy Martin to Earl Scruggs. Doc was among them. On the
recording, one can hear him talk and play music with the other musicians in a relaxed and casual atmosphere. At this point I had not seen Doc perform live but listening to the recording, hearing his humility as he laughed and joked with the other musicians, made me feel like he was an old friend. The whole project, and Doc especially, changed my direction musically. It opened up whole worlds of music to me, all of them subsets of the general country and folk universe, but new and newly dear. It inspired me to learn new songs, techniques, and styles. It also made me want to see and hear Doc play in concert and possibly meet him. At the time I went to the University of Wisconsin, not exactly a regular stop on the bluegrass or folk tour. I figured the only way to hear Doc would be to get the student union to sponsor him in concert. Before I knew it the concert was scheduled and we were on our way. My next concern was whether enough people would want to attend. Doc's traditional music didn't have quite the pull on my generation as, say, The Jefferson Airplane or Led Zeppelin. I needn't have worried; the concert quickly sold out. I conned the entertainment committee into buying dinner for Doc and Merle. I figured this might be a great way to hang out with them, talk with Doc, and learn the secret of his virtuoso playing. Though I never discerned that “secret,” the dinner was a dream come true. Several of my fellow students tagged along and we all had a wonderful time. Doc and Merle were both incredibly friendly and very nice to us all. Doc was jovial and casual, just like I'd heard on the “Circle” recording. He happily answered all our questions about playing and music and life. Just like an old friend.
“That, in and of itself, was a lesson to me –
to be open to all types of sounds…” I remember being surprised at his ease and sophistication. He was a country gentleman, perfectly at ease and welcoming, very well informed about everything – current events, politics, and on all sorts of music from jazz to rock to rockabilly. He seemed to be very much a renaissance man, at least musically speaking. That, in and of itself, was
a lesson to me – to be open to all types of sounds and to try to understand and enjoy them all. He had kind words for us all and for everyone else we asked about in the music business. The concert that followed was bliss. He and Merle played all the songs they were known for and many more. It was one of those events that you didn't want to end. And he was the same friendly, casual, joyful Doc I'd come to admire. When I heard of Doc's illness, I began to list in my mind all the tunes, all the songs, all the techniques and styles that I'd learned from him. The number of songs alone was staggering. I realized that I'd included over fifty tunes I'd directly or indirectly learned from Doc in my “Parking Lot Picker's Songbooks,” (Mel Bay Pub.) from “Amazing Grace” to “Columbus Stockade Blues” to “Way Downtown” to “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?” To say that he greatly influenced me, and my music, is a gross understatement. He also influenced the way I think about music and my audience. I witnessed, through the years, Doc welcoming all kinds of music and musicians into his fold. I saw him encourage younger folks and musicians trying to do things a little differently. I watched him on stage and television, heard him on recordings and felt that he truly loved being there and sharing his music with the people that came to see him. He was good man and a good role model and I want to be like him. Andy Agardy, Salt Lake City, Utah My favorite Doc memory was from a show in downtown Salt Lake City about six years ago. Huge crowd, a beautiful night, everyone on blankets, quiet and relishing in the Americana soul. Some drunk fool sits on our blanket, right up front, and starts babbling to everyone obnoxiously. I politely tell the dude, “Shhhhh!” To which he responds, “Oh... this is ACOUSTIC music!” And then he stands up, walks to the stage in front of 10,000 people, and lets out a primal scream. Then, out of Doc's mouth… “I remember when I had my first beer too, son!” That night, listening to him play, I felt more soul in the music than I ever have. It was inspiring, amazing, beautiful. What a gift he gave us all. I am so thankful for him! Sure will miss the old boy, but he is pickin’ again in the pines with Merle now. Dan King, guitarist (Scottsdale, Arizona) Back in the late 1960′s, there wasn’t much to do in Phoenix, where I lived. On summer afternoons, the
mercury would routinely spike to 110 degrees plus and the prevailing wisdom was to take dental records along if you were foolish enough to engage in any outdoor activity. I was a young boy then, but I had already plunged headlong into the inviting world of performance music. I was a guitar player. My musical heroes at the time were electric rock guitarists with long hair and loud amplifiers. They were glamorous sorts who were long on image. Some were very talented and some, I concluded later on, were not. So here I was holed up in my parent’s swamp cooled home on a summer day, bored to tears. Desperate for entertainment, I decided to check the local PBS station to see what was on. Doc Watson was on. Here was a man with a guitar. He was blind, older than my heroes, and not glamourous by any stretch of the imagination. But man, was he blazing on that acoustic guitar.
I sat mesmerized for the entire program while Doc’s fingers and voice made the sweltering Phoenix summer heat seem tepid by comparison. Doc Watson lived to be 89 years old, a true legend in his own time. All the superlatives apply to this fine, fine musician, but the one description to me that encompasses what Doc was all about is this: Doc Watson was the Genuine Article. Rest in peace, teacher. May your good Lord grant you the sight, in heaven, to see how many people’s lives you changed during your brilliant shining stop on planet Earth. Geoff Morris, Wall-To-Wall Bluegrass (Victoria, Australia) It has been a very heavy-hearted and emotional time these past few days. Doc was a lifelong hero of mine, ever since I first held that big solid twelve-inch mono Folkways recording of the Watson family and heard “Everyday Dirt,” with that staggeringly unbelievable, scintillating guitar. Never heard anything like it in my life before or since – except, of course, for more Doc!
In 2007 I and seeing-eye dog Milo came across to bluegrass America, largely to hear Doc play. We arrived very late and the Black Mountain festival had ended but luckily Doc was still there, so we raced up the hill, past sundry bemused officials, and jumped out of the electric cart. I joked that I had come ten thousand miles to meet him, and indeed I did... for all of perhaps 25 seconds, before his minders whisked him away. This Monday night, during my usual show time, I am doing a substantial tribute to Doc. I'll find it a very difficult thing to do, but I truly want to have the privilege to send the old bloke out in style. Doc as a human being, and his peerless playing, means so much to me and always will. Rémy Baïlla, Mister Jay’s Band (Marseilles, France) I'm just a little French who loves your old music! Doc Watson was a great guitar player. I would to say a big thanks to my father. He introduced me to Mister Doc Watson. What a great idea! I heard Doc’s songs to learn acoustic guitar. And now I play country in two bands in France. I am a part of “Mister Jay's Band” (contemporary country, many original songs with bluegrass and folk influences). We have many shows and festivals in France. It's so amazing when we play! (Sorry for my English...) He was a mentor for me. R.I.P. Mister Watson, thanks for your music and your talent. Becky Johnson, author, Inside Bluegrass: 20 Years of Bluegrass Photography (Chapel Hill, North Carolina) For 15 years, I was a staff photographer for MerleFest, the annual music festival in memory of Doc's son, Eddie Merle Watson, in Wilkesboro, NC. I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world to have had the honor and privilege of not only being able to capture magic moments on film, and to be backstage with my friends and colleagues, musicians, tech people, and the like… but also to spend quality time with Doc Watson himself. One of my responsibilities early on at MerleFest was to drive musicians in a golf cart to various stages on the Wilkes Community College Campus. Doc was one of my regular passengers. One time, as we were driving along the crowded gravel road from the backstage area to the upper
campus, we talked about how I had become close with his daughter, Nancy Watson, over the past few years. “Nancy thinks the world of you, you know,” Doc said. I was taken aback by his directness, and thrilled at the same time. I couldn't believe Doc Watson was sitting next to me, saying this. It was one of the biggest moments in my life, a real affirmation that I was on the correct life path. I have often thought about that golf cart ride, and the powerful impact it has had on me, through the years. Later on, a friend of mine overheard Doc's words backstage: “I like Art Menius. He's a good MC, but I really like that Becky Johnson!” Micheal Irwin, Winter Park, Florida I saw Doc the first time when I was 15 years old at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. This would have been about 1968. He was with Merle. Anyway, during a break between songs, someone dropped an empty bottle and it rolled a long way down to the front of the stage. Everyone was really quiet. Doc stopped for a second, raised his head, and said, “I hope it wasn't expensive.” The place erupted in laughter. The last time I saw him was at New Orleans Jazz Fest. He tore it up. I cried, it was so good. God bless you, Doc.
“I cried, it was so good.
God bless you, Doc.”
Paige Anderson, singer/guitarist, Anderson Family Bluegrass (Grass Valley, California) I was 9 years old when I heard my first Arthel Lane “Doc” Watson album. My Dad would take me to guitar lessons on Monday nights, and on the way we'd listen to The Best Of Doc Watson 1964-1968. Hearing that album inspired me, as I told myself, “I want to play like that someday!” I still tell myself that to this day. Back in 2010, our family band Anderson Family Bluegrass was invited to play at the 10th Annual Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. At that festival, we were able to see so many of our musical heroes right in front of us, singing their hearts out and playing their music with such soul... it was amazing! Before we had to head to our stage and get ready to perform, my siblings and I had the chance to watch Doc perform on the Banjo Stage. The festival had a seating area on the side of the stage where we all sat to watch Doc Watson, David Holt, and Richard Watson. Being so close, seeing, hearing, and feeling the music of this amazing person, was humbling. It seemed surreal to my siblings, and myself especially. 25
Doc was such a legend and inspiring person to so many people in the world, and that will always continue. We can't thank him enough for what he contributed in the musical world. Rest in peace, Doc. Tom Wolf, Benson, North Carolina The first time I saw Doc was in 1964, when Ralph Rinzler was promoting both Doc and Bill Monroe, often at the same venues. This was the case when they came to our college, Oberlin. As I recall, Doc did a set first, then Bill and the Blue Grass Boys came on with a set to finish the first half. To start the second half, Doc and Bill did some wonderful duets, mostly (if not all) Monroe Brothers’ tunes. Too bad their respective record companies never let them record together… and the tape of that concert was stolen from my stored belongings a few years later. About six months later, Doc again came to our college to perform – this time, he was scheduled to play with his old-time fiddling father-in-law, Gaither Carlton. However, when Doc arrived (driven down from Cleveland by a bunch of “Watsons” – relatives who all looked more or less like him!), he explained that Carlton was ill, so couldn’t travel on this tour. Fortunately, we had a wonderful old-time musician in the class just behind mine at Oberlin—the late Andy Woolf, a fiddler from New York, who actually did his doctorate in Folklore at MIT on the subject of “Musical Etiquette in Jamming at Old Time Music Festivals in Appalachia,” or some such title! After a wonderful first half, when Doc was resting backstage, I suggested that he start the second half by having Andy join him for a few fiddle tunes. Not wanting to accept such a proposal without knowing the quality of Andy’s fiddle-playing – and not realizing that Andy was standing right next to me, fiddle and bow in hand – Doc paused for a minute and said, “You know, when I go a-fishin’, I don’t like to pull up my line until I’ve got a good, strong nibble, so I know there’s something there.” I turned to Andy and said, “I think he wants to hear what you can do.” Andy launched into “Soldier’s Joy.” After two bars, Doc exclaimed, “Hold it right there! That’s good enough for me. We’ll start off with that one, and then you can just tell me what you want to do for a little encore.” Len de Vries, Leiden, Netherlands It was the mid- or late seventies, before disco, an era when the Flying Burrito Brothers, Country Gazette, Johnny Cash and even Hoyt Axton were
touring Europe. As a teenager I found a beautifully packaged triple album called Will the Circle Be Unbroken in the sales bin in a record store. There was this man called Doc Watson playing on it, with lightning guitar licks, great voice and spontaneous dialog between songs. Wim Bloemendaal played some Doc Watson on his “Nashville” radio show when a new album came out. Then I moved to the big city (The Hague) for my studies and found a specialty record store that sold piano rolls by Scott Joplin, speeches by Churchill, sounds of steam locomotives and jets taking off, and – all of Doc’s records! I was a happy teenager. So what was the connection between this pimpled teen from the lowlands and a mountain man from North Carolina? Darned if I know. I just liked his music. It was honest: what you hear is what you get. Every album I bought, I carried home in pleasant anticipation, a feeling I have not had for decades. His warm and pleasant voice, his playing, the selection of songs – from downhome mountain music to Gershwin, from Tom Paxton to John Hurt. Let’s not forget Merle’s playing – he caused me to start fingerpicking and trying to play slide. Doc’s albums with Merle are my favorites; they were bluesy and soulful. In 1979 or ’80 I walked home one afternoon and saw a poster pasted on a wall. I stood there for at least a minute, trying to comprehend that Doc and Merle were actually going to perform in my town. It was a long few weeks! Finally the day arrived. I can remember the skipping of my heart when Doc walked out with his hand on T. Michael Coleman’s shoulder. The show was over in two blinks of an eye. Boy, was I a happy puppy. Wim Bloemendaal had the show recorded and a few weeks later it was aired. I still have the recording, transferred to CD. I finished my studies, moved to a part of the country without serious record stores, listened to the dozen or so Doc records I had, and tried to steal one of his licks on guitar. I heard of Merle’s death on the radio one day and there were tears stinging in the back of my eyes then. He and Doc had touched my life with their music. Life went on, and in the parts where I lived there was no country music anywhere. The radio went from disco to glam to whatever and I ceased listening to music for a decade or so. That was, until we got a computer and Internet. About the first thing I searched for was Doc. He was in his seventies, still playing and performing! That first Google search was a perfect moment of joy. Before going to sleep, my wife and I are more than
happy to sit in bed, watching MerleFest or the Three Pickers, time after time. After more than 40 years of listening to Doc Watson, I still appreciate and enjoy his music. Pamela Rice, Turtle Island, North Carolina The photo is of the guitar cake I made for Doc Watson's surprise birthday party one year. Everything was edible but the toothpicks holding in the edible tuning keys. Guitar was chocolate, base was vanilla; it weighed 79.8 lbs. and fed 1500 guests. Our daughter Mindy helped me make it. Photo was made just before I painted the strings with edible real gold and silver. Tony didn’t think it could be done. It was fully life-size and he was worried about where I was going to find a life-size Gallagher guitar pan to cook a monster cake in. He was torn up for months thinking I would fall flat on my face. If it had not been for Mindy, I might have taken a baseball bat to it. Tony measured it and it fit perfectly in the truck of his Presidential Town Car, so he drove it to the Walker Center in Wilkesboro himself, speeding as always even up the mountains. But we made it.
Alexandria in the old green room. Tony handed the guitar to Doc and Doc kept running his hands over it. He said, “This is the first time I’ve seen this guitar since Clarence owned it!” Even if Tony had not been the one to hand Doc the guitar, he would have still known which guitar it was. Once Doc started to play it, he just lit up. He would play something and just die laughing. He didn’t want to give it up; he was having a blast. So Tony just kicked back and enjoyed listening and watching Doc laugh while he played it. The Birchmere was famous for its after-parties with the staff and musicians once the doors were locked. If we left by 3 a.m., that was early. That night they finally wanted to close and go home around daylight, but Doc was still wide open, laughing and playing the D-28. They politely asked us to put the guitar away and leave several times. Doc ignored them, and Tony was not about to take the guitar away from Doc and spoil his partying with it. So Gary Oelze, the owner, finally kicked us three out. The only time in my life I have ever been kicked out of a club, it was for hanging with Doc Watson! I know that’s one for the books.
“How can we ever imagine a world without Doc Watson?”
Doc could feel colors. He wired his own house and he could feel the colors of the wires and differentiate between the colors. Every time I hugged him, he said, “You have the prettiest black hair.” He felt the color just by my hair brushing against his cheek. When he and Rosa Lee got their new red van, Tony and I came to their house on a visit. Doc wanted us to check out his new ride. He walked over to the van and put his hand on the fender. He said “Tony, come over here and feel this red paint.” That was the first time Tony ever tried to enter Doc's world of perception. He put his hand beside Doc's and closed his eyes for a while. Then he went over and put his hand on our blue Town car the same way. He said, “The temperature of blue is different than of red, Doc!” Doc said, “Uh-huh. They sure are, son.”
Doc was superhuman… there is no other description for it. People missed that because they see blindness as a huge handicap. That keeps you in the dark about what is going on around you. Doc knew more about what was going on around him than anybody. He just didn’t let on. The first time Doc played the D-28 since Clarence [White] had owned it, we were at the Birchmere in 28
Tony is just as devastated over losing him today as he was the day Doc left us. He says if it had not been for Doc, there would be no Tony Rice the musician. Doc had that much influence on his musicianship. I have to agree, when he says the words to him from Laura Cash say it all: “How can we ever imagine a world without Doc Watson?” Art Dudley, columnist (Stereophile); guitarist with the Mountebank Brothers (Cherry Valley, New York) In the wake of his passing, a writer for the AP said that Doc Watson’s music evoked the sound of a mountain stream; I couldn’t put it better if I tried. To lots of us, there was something pure and relentless and clear about his singing and playing. Something right. Coming to Doc as I did, after years spent listening to rock and jazz and classical music, it seemed I’d discovered something that had been inside of me all along: something in my DNA, just waiting to light up the board when I first heard Doc Watson. I bought my first Doc Watson record in the 1990s – not long before I became a father – and in the years after, I bought as many more as I could find. I saw Doc and his talented partner, Jack Lawrence, in concert on many occasions, and when my daughter
was old enough for a long drive, I brought my family to MerleFest. My love affair with bluegrass started with one man, and while my sorrow at his passing is deep – like saying goodbye to the person who gave me my first book – so is my gladness at having shared the earth with a giant. John Sharon, DisabilitiesUnderstood (Chelmsford, Massachusetts) It was the summer before my 9th grade year, and my sister and I went to see Doc Watson at the Rehoboth Beach Convention Hall in Delaware. I didn’t know much about him at the time, only that he had a rich baritone voice and played a mean flat-pick guitar. As he came out on stage that night with his son Merle, I noticed that he grasped Merle’s arm as he walked gingerly to his seat. Woah. The dude was blind. The concert was a stunning blur of talent and playfulness. Early on I had noticed a harmonica holder on stage, but nobody touched it all night
long… until the encore. Merle led his dad back out on stage, and Doc picked up that harmonica holder and did a medley of harp tunes that didn’t end for what seemed like 30 minutes. His lips flew across the harmonica like it was greased with butter, and he wailed and bent notes and brought us all to tears and to our feet. When it was all over, I leaned over to my sister and said, “I want to learn how to play that thing.” A week later, I went to a music store and bought my first harp, a Hohner Marine Band in the key of C. Doc Watson died yesterday at the age of 89, and I can’t help thinking about that concert back in the summer of ’78. What if I had missed it? What if Doc hadn’t done that encore medley? And what if Doc had never lost his sight? Would he have ever started playing music at all? Would I? It seems that when he lost his sight at an early age, Doc turned to music. But he was no mediocre musician whose talent got recognized because of the obstacles he had overcome. Rather, he was an astoundingly talented fellow who happened to be blind. Maybe his blindness pushed him to excellence; maybe it had nothing to do with the remarkable successes he attained.
I get frustrated sometimes when the human interest stories in the media focus on all the amazing things a person with a disability can do, like somehow we’re better than other people because of… well, because of what, exactly? Because we choose not to swim in the pool of self-pity? Because it looks from afar like we struggle all the time? Because we’re just getting on with our lives? Doc, you were an amazingly gifted musician, and I don’t really care whether your blindness had anything to do with it. You inspired me to pick up a harmonica, not because you had a disability too but because your God-given talent got under my skin and gave me an idea. After all these years, it’s clear to me that no, I’ll never play like you. But you know something? I don’t have to. I’ll just keep playing for the love of it and I’ll think of you every time I strap on that harp holder and purse my lips. Mitch Greenhill, Folklore Productions International (Santa Monica, California) For over thirty years, Doc Watson has been an important and constant presence in my life. Every couple of weeks the phone rings. “How’s Doc?” I begin. “How’s Mitchell?” he responds. And we’re off. First we talk business – my company, Folklore Productions International, has been representing him since 1964, when Ralph Rinzler handed the job over to my father, Manny Greenhill. But eventually the conversation turns to music, or family, or how to wire a house. It’s hard to accept that those days are gone, that Doc won’t be answering the phone. Or telling a story. Or singing about Omie Wise or Milkcow Blues or Summertime. Or, honor of honors, inviting a guitar solo with those magic words, “Take it, son.” I first met Doc at the 1963 Newport Folk Festival. He came with others, including Tom Ashley, Fred Price, Clint Howard. Doc’s wife Rosa Lee sang, as did his mother Annie. Rosa Lee’s father Gaither Carlton played fiddle. It was a little Watauga County ecosystem, right there amidst the mansions and tennis courts of Newport, Rhode Island. And to me, a Northeastern city boy just entering college, it provided a window into a beautiful world of Southern mountain music, deep and wide family ties, and a close relationship with rural nature. Later Doc would lament that he could no longer hear the birds and insects of his youth, those sounds that had guided his sightless wanderings through the Blue Ridge hills of his youth. And once he brought me up short by musing, “If my father hadn’t bought my 30
uncle’s car, I don’t know when I’d ever have got to town.” Meaning Boone, some ten miles away from the family home in Deep Gap. A short while after Newport, Doc performed at the Club 47, the coffee house near Harvard Square where many of us cut our musical eyeteeth, learned our first guitar chords, and played before our first audiences. This time there was no Watauga County ecosystem; Doc played solo. Solo performers were common at the 47, but this was different, a whole other level of connection, commitment and musicianship. When Doc tore into “Black Mountain Rag,” I thought the plaster would peel off the walls of that venerable room. And when he sang of Tom Dula, it was clear that he, unlike the Kingston Trio, felt a personal stake. (Doc knew the Dula family and held strong opinions on who was to blame for Laurie Foster’s murder.) He was clearly nourished by some powerful wellspring, even as he eagerly ventured outside its musical boundaries. Now, many years later, I’m a good deal older than the Doc Watson I first met. I’ve experienced the sad honor of serving as pallbearer to both Doc and, back in 1985, his son Merle. My own father has passed, and I run the family business with my son Matt. Family connections run deep between the Watsons and the Greenhills. In his later years, Doc’s religious faith became even more important to him. He donned overalls to get baptized again, in a mountain stream. And not long ago, he ignored our tacit agreement to avoid talk of religion or politics, and expressed his concern for my immortal soul. For him it was maybe a bit awkward, but necessary; for me it was a moment to treasure, an emblem of his regard. And even if I did not follow his literal prescription, I feel that my spiritual life has been nourished by the decades of Doc Watson’s friendship. His example of fair and ethical dealings in this world, his fidelity to who he was and where he came from, and his sense of staying on the right path – in music and in life – are not going away. They are permanently embedded in those who were fortunate to know Doc Watson. Nancy Cardwell Erdos, IBMA (Nashville, Tennessee) My late husband, Frank Erdos and I were lucky enough to be invited to warm up for Doc Watson and Jack Lawrence at a concert in Springfield, MO in 1986, with our bluegrass band, Homegrown. Originally from Connecticut, Frank was born with a type of eye cancer called retinoblastoma and ended up losing his sight at age three. (He always said he was grateful for three years of vision, because he
could understand the concepts of things like color and perspective -- as well as just knowing what a human face really looked like.) Frank was a gifted banjo, guitar and mandolin player, singer and songwriter who loved bluegrass and country music, and Doc was always one of his heroes -- as a musician, and as a good role model: a hardworking man making his way in the world without sight. I think they had similar talents in the areas of woodworking and building and fixing things. Frank was so excited to meet Doc in person, finally, and he was proud to share the news that our daughter, Erin Faith, was on the way. (Erin’s 25 now. She also has had to deal with retinoblastoma, but because it was caught so early she is still with us, still has good vision and has been in remission for 24 years.) Frank had forgotten, in his excitement, that Doc had just lost his son, Merle, in an accident the year before. A brief shadow crossed Doc’s face and voice, and then he smiled and said, “Children are a great blessing.” I don’t remember much more about that night, other than Jack Lawrence’s green, high-top tennis shoes; how the sound of their two guitars were different in the mix so you could differentiate them; that one of the songs Homegrown did was “Dig a Little Deeper in the Well”; and that I was struck by the power of Doc’s vocals and soulful French harp as much as by his phenomenal guitar playing. Also, there was always something about Doc’s emcee work that drew listeners in and made them feel like they were sitting across the living room on a couch, rather than in a grandstand among thousands in Winfield, Kansas or scattered across a sea of lawn chairs at MerleFest or in a big, fancy performing arts center. Doc’s music has always dazzled me and made me feel at home—at the same time. Laurie Lewis, singer/songwriter/musician (Berkeley, California) At the magical age of 14, I went to the Berkeley Folk Festival for the first time and heard Doc Watson. I flipped for the guitar, and with the help of a friend a few years older than me and much more accomplished, I started struggling through “Deep River Blues” and Doc's early Vanguard recordings, and the Folkways “Old Time Music at Clarence Ashley's” may be the first albums I ever bought. They are still some of my favorites. I was lucky enough to get to see Doc a number of times in Berkeley when I was a teenager. One of the most memorable was the day I walked into Lundberg's Guitar Shop, and saw a man with his back
turned to me, playing a gorgeous gold-plated banjo. At the end of the tune, he said, in that unmistakable voice, “Yessir, that is a fine banjo.” It was Doc, right there, only about three feet away from me. I just stood there quiet as I could be and listened. When I met Doc years later, it was because of my recording of “Who Will Watch the Home Place?,” which he said his wife, Rosa Lee, loved. I remember playing at the Dahlonega Bluegrass Festival and seeing Doc sitting in the wings listening to us onstage. I happened to glance back when Tom Rozum and I were singing “Teardrops Falling in the Snow,” and Doc had tears running down his cheeks. I could barely make it through the rest of the song. Niall Toner, singer-songwriter (Dublin, Ireland) I was at MerleFest last April where I had the good fortune to hear and see Doc Watson playing his regular stint. He played, as always, superbly, displaying all of his awesome talent, and there was no sign that he might be slowing up or contemplating retirement. I was back in RTE Radio One on Wednesday last, recording my first “Roots Freeway” show for next Saturday evening, when I heard the news about Doc's passing. I was, like so many others, very saddened, and I wanted to rush to my computer and write a tribute, right away. However, I got distracted by other sad news when I learned that Irish blues legend Red Peters also passed away recently. Both of these men had a huge affect on me and my music. May they rest in peace. In 1981, I was involved, with a couple of Doc fanatics, in putting Doc Watson and his band on at Liberty Hall. Doc and Merle and T. Michael Coleman accepted my invitation to dinner at our house in Knocklyon, and Doc spent the afternoon playing my battered old 1938 model Army and Navy Gibson guitar for the neighbour's kids, before tucking in to a feast of wild Irish salmon prepared by Moira and Carol Hawkins. We felt at the time that it might show disrespect to a blind man to be taking photos, so the only memory of his visit is in our own hearts, and the hearts of the folks who shared that precious evening with us. I have, however, one surviving shot from Doc’s visit that I can include here. It was taken in the dressing room at Liberty Hall. As you can see, we were a lot younger, thinner and hairier… and totally stricken.
Henri Deschamps, Mast Farm Inn (Valle Crucis, North Carolina) I initially thought I had known about Doc Watson my whole life. After all, I grew up in the South, in a manner of speaking. And while the Allman Brothers came just after the Beatles in my cherished stack of 33′s in high school, thanks to a friend named Rick Shore, Doc and The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band were also there by the time I got into college. Music mattered a great deal in our lives at that time. And perhaps then, more than now, music was where we got our education. My earliest recollection of Doc is while doing my best to be a hippie at Boston University, where knowing about Doc meant you were cool. No apologies, we all start out shallow. Forty-two years later, the only music I really listen to now flows from Celtic, through old-time, to bluegrass and acoustic roots. Bill Monroe, Earl Scruggs, Dr. Ralph Stanley, The Carter Family, Blue Highway, Alison Krauss and The Avett Brothers all make a lot of sense to me, and there are so many outstanding artists in bluegrass & roots music today I see little reason to seek my solace elsewhere. And while I thought I knew about Doc before, I realized I knew very little until we moved to the Western North High Country about seven years ago. I kept hearing, in hushed reverential tones from a lot of friends and neighbors, “Did you know that Doc Watson lives here?” It was said in much the same way folks would ask if you knew the Dalai Lama or Albert Schweitzer lived here. Although I met and spent some time with Doc, and once spent a few hours alone with him chatting about all kinds of things, I cannot say I knew him well. He was actually quite hilarious, much like Dan Tyminski, with “out-of-the-blue” quips followed by explosions of mirth that you never saw coming because you were in the middle of something serious. But then again I knew him very well for two reasons. First and foremost, with Doc what you see is what you got in every way, and second, his spirit was so present in our world, it’s almost like you felt he was just out of sight, just over yonder, but right there. And for me, because Doc embodied so perfectly so much of what I love about Western North Carolina, I was with him a lot every day. Ask almost anyone who knows our mountain region and villages, and knows Doc, and they will tell you the same thing. That is no minor matter. At least for us. But it is very hard to explain or describe because it is so personal and intimate. While I don’t think he ever farmed, he
grew up like all here surrounded by small family farms. So to me, clear as day, Doc was a North Carolina Mountain Farmer… farmer in the sense that you can take the artist out of the farm, but you cannot take the farm out of the artist. And if you know a North Carolina Mountain farmer, you know someone a lot like Doc. He was about a lot of things, but what I remember most today are his humanity, compassion, his humility and simplicity. It was not his image or brand; it is who he was. There is a simplicity that comes from ignorance, like the simplicity of a young child, but there is a simplicity like a farmer’s that comes from profound understanding. Chopin said of music what can also be said about people and their struggles to become all they can be: “Simplicity is the final achievement. After one has played a vast quantity of notes and more notes, it is simplicity that emerges as the crowning reward of art.” In that respect, Doc was a simple man, much like Charles Church, Tommy Walsh, Keith Ward and John Cooper are simple men. A poet’s job in this world is to say everything about something in a phrase; to help us see how the proverbial drop contains the entire ocean. And what did Doc have to say about himself? “Doc Watson, Just One of The People,” and he meant it in ways more profound than one might garner at first glance. He meant a lot to us here, and he will always be with us, just over yonder. While his music will continue to speak for itself, here we have a profound and intimate affection for Doc, and we are above all grateful for who he was as a man. Willard C. Watson III (Boone, North Carolina) My first encounter with Doc Watson was a CD, Black Mountain Rag, a “best of” CD of his and Merle's on the Flying Fish label. This CD tickled my ears as a freshman in college, and I never in my wildest dreams thought I would ever get a chance to meet this famous relative. Doc was a favorite cousin of my greatgrandfather Willard Watson, whom I am named after. To boot, I never even knew about my heritage until I moved up to Boone for college from Fayetteville, NC. My father never thought it important to mention until he found out I was accepted to Appalachian State University! I was privileged to work as an intern for ASU's Sustainable Development program's Community Outreach on the Musicfest 'n Sugar Grove in 2010. This gave me a chance to learn about Doc's history and meet the man himself. Doc was a humble man who only took pride in things that he built, such as the best porch swing I ever sat in,
with ball bearings from a WWII-era tank. He was the best person I ever had a chance to share a breath with, and he would tell you what it meant to be a man. As a young man in love myself, I asked him what his secret was, that kept him in love with Rosa Lee all these 60+ years. He said “Son, when it's real, you don't need a secret!” After lunch on the day of our visit, I took Doc to get some shampoo, pick up his dry cleaning, and to see his dear Rosa Lee in the nursing home. We went with Doc’s long-time friend Tommy Walsh, my internship adviser during my time with the Sustainable Development program. He has some trouble walking, so when we went to the nursing home, he needed a wheelchair. As I pushed Tommy’s wheelchair, Doc held on to my elbow, and we made our way to Rosa Lee's room. Doc spoke up and said, “Son, I bet this is the first time you've ever had to take care of two handicapped people, huh?” I replied, “Yes, but I've always heard many hands make the load lighter so it's no problem to me.” He just laughed his full-bodied laugh and said “Well, I guess you're right there, son!” We went to Rosa Lee's room and all cried as Doc and Rosa Lee tried to speak to each other, but she had suffered a severe stroke and all they could do was hold hands. I will never forget Doc’s laugh, or their love, which was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen.
We are grateful to Jeff Cardey, Cindy Baucom, Michael Smith, Dix Bruce, Andy Agardy, Dan King, Geoff Morris, Rémy Baïlla, Becky Johnson, Michael Irwin, Paige Anderson, Tom Wolf, Len DeVries, Pamela Rice, Art Dudley, John Sharon, Mitch Greenhill, Nancy Cardwell Erdos, Laurie Lewis, Niall Toner, Henri Deschamps, Willard C. Watson III, and Mark Cosgrove for sharing their thoughts and memories of Doc Watson.
Recommended Fred Bartenstein’s biography of Doc Watson at the International Bluegrass Music Museum Henri Deschamps’ Doc Watson tribute page Doc Watson, Blind Guitar Wizard Who Influenced Generations, Dies at 89 (from the New York Times) Doc Watson, Clarence Ashley Footage Unearthed for New Documentary (from Billboard.com) Fred Robbins’ Bluegrass Picking Page
Mark Cosgrove, guitarist (Doylestown, Pennsylvania) I was just discovering how much I loved the guitar in general when I discovered Doc Watson. I was a child in the ‘60s and a teenager in the ‘70s and came through rock 'n' roll music having discovered Clarence White with The Byrds just around the same time the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band gathered people for Will The Circle Be Unbroken record. One listening to Doc's “Black Mountain Rag” made me an instant convert to flatpicking guitar forever. His tone and precision, coupled with his enormous feel and musicality, to this day places him in a category of guitarists and entertainers all his own. There will never be another one like him, and his loss leaves a giant void. I owe so much to this man. The times I was fortunate enough to be around him were always backstage somewhere, and it's unthinkable, in that environment, to burden a person with gushing about how they've changed your life. You just don't do that. But I kind of wish I had found a way... I would not be making my living as a musician if it weren't for you, Doc. Thank you, Arthel “Doc” Watson. I will miss you forever.
Photos by Jim Gavenus
heard ‘round the world The international bluegrass scene, as reported from all over the planet
new international bluegrass releases Blue Grass Boogiemen: Live at Cafe De Stad (recorded at a Blue Grass Boogiemen concert in central Utrecht, the Netherlands) Blue Grass Boogiemen pictured left The Dark is Barking from Rawhide, a Belgian band Redhills by I Draw Slow, the 'neo-old-time' band based in Dublin, Ireland; to be released by Pinecastle Records. Customers who pre-order Redhills from the Pinecastle website will also receive a free digital copy, delivered on the release date, and will receive the single 'Goldmine' instantly after their purchase. Look for their official WOB showcase in Nashville! Dial, by 0039 (Italy; formerly Bononia Grass); with a new name and lineup, and a “new kind of bluegrass —‘Bluegrass Made in Italy’”—and five original songs by Paolo Ercoli.
European bluegrass music association (EBMA) Reports We really appreciate these fine reports from our friends in the EBMA! Bluegrass is taking root and growing all over the world, as these reports reveal... Obrigado to André Dal Lentilhas, who sends news from Portugal: Béla Fleck will perform at the World Music Festival (Festival Músicas do Mundo - FMM), in Sines, Portugal with Malian singer Oumou Sangaré on July 21. A video of Sangaré singing 'Djorolen', accompanied by Fleck, can be seen here. Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti, allegedly Portugal’s only bluegrass band, will appear once again at the country’s biggest festival, Festa do Avante, on September 8-9. (Check them out at www.reverbnation.com/stonebonesbadspaghetti ) Dziękuję to Miroslaw Parejko, who lets us know about his band’s adventures in Poland: WiesBand Bielany (pictured right) performed at the Spring Bluegrass Festival Willisau in Switzerland earlier this year, and they’re now giving “serious thought to starting in their village the first and only Polish bluegrass festival, BluegrassDay Bielany, which is provisionally scheduled for 30 July 2012.” A website and Facebook page for the event are in preparation. The 2012 BluegrassEvening Bielany is planned as an intimate evening with bluegrass music by two or three bands. In May 2011, the Wiesband Bielany became the first Polish band to perform country music at the Philharmonia of Wroclaw, supporting the Joscho Stephan Quartet. This year they launched their KinderGarden Bluegrass Summit – a series of concerts for children in kindergartens and primary schools. See details on their website at www.wiesbandbielany.pl 34
heard ‘round the world Molto Grazie to Martino Coppo of Red Wine & the EBMA Board, checking in from Italy:
Brothers, who started their European tour in Copenhagen.
After celebrating the release of its new CD, Red, Red Wine played at the international Bluegrass Festival in Willisau, Switzerland, and the Strakonice Bluegrass Jamboree in the Czech Republic. The band has also started working on its Bluegrass Party #4 which will take place at the Modena Theatre in Genoa on November 16 with special guest Peter Rowan—with whom they’ll also play dates in France and other Italian locations during Rowan’s European odyssey.
The Danish spring concert season is winding down and will finish with a visit from Rocks & Ivy from Belgium and Holland.
On August 2 Ronnie Bowman and The Committee will play an intimate house concert in an old villa in the mountains in Genoa. Email email@example.com for details. It’s time to enroll in the 7th Urbino MinierAcustica Music Camp. The first week, from August 19--25, will be dedicated to coaching and group music moderated by Thierry Crommen on harmonica, Stéphane Wertz on guitar, and André Vandomber on rhythm guitar. The second week, from August 26—September 1, will be focused on folk music and bluegrass: Russ Barenberg will teach the guitar class, Martino Coppo will teach the mandolin, and Irish accordionist David Munnelly will give the first workshop diatonic accordion class. For more information, please visit www.MinierAcustica.org. благодаря to Lilly Drumeva, reporting from Bulgaria: Lilly of the West will host the first mini-bluegrass music festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, July 11, in front of the Sofia Theatre in Zaimov Park, at 7.30 pm, with special guests Candy Floss, a young band from Slovakia. Also, check out Lilly’s new video (“'Gotta lotta rhythm in my soul'”) with her band, Lilly of the West, at www.youtu.be/F5cNyTmLopg. Mange tak to Spencer Sorenson over in Denmark, who shares the following … This spring Danish bluegrass fans enjoyed performances by two Swedish bands (South Drive and a return visit from the Hillfillies), a Norwegian band (Julie and the New Favorites), as well as Danish group Muleskinner. They were also thrilled to host G-Runs 'n Roses and the first-class American band the Gibson
The fall season will kick off with music from a brand new Danish band, Ungrassified (pictured below). “We are pleased to have some new bands starting here,” says Sorenson, “and hope that the trend continues.” Dank je wel to Cor & Margaret Sanne ( www.cms-country.nl ) in the Netherlands, who let us know that Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa will appear in an exclusive concert in Holland on July 17, at Turfschip, Zuideinde 15, Nieuwkoop. The band will include Emory Lester (mandolin, harmony vocals) Kene Hyatt (bass) and Mike Scott (banjo, vocals). On July the band will play in Norway with Vince Gill and Bobby Bare. And dank to Guido de Groot, also from the Netherlands, who tells us that the second Pijnackerplein Bluegrass Festival took place on June 30 on the most beautiful square in Rotterdam, and featured bands like Lucky Tubb and the Modern Day Troubadours (USA), the Blue Grass Boogiemen (Netherlands), and more. Merci beaucoup to Christopher Howard-Williams, reporting from France: The Craponne Country Rendezvous (July 27-29) will feature The SteelDrivers, Ronnie Bowman, and Howlin' Fox this year. The La Roche Bluegrass Festival (August 1-5) will feature thirty bands from all over Europe and the USA, including Ronnie Bowman, Bearfoot, and Hickory Project from the US, They Call Me Rico (Canada), Blackjack (Czech Republic), Le Chat Mort (Spain), and Turquoise (France). The festival is family-friendly with plenty to do for kids, and locally-produced food and drink. Visit www.france-bluegrass.org.
Other american bluegrass abroad Peter Rowan will play a handful of very special solo dates in England and Ireland in August/September 2012. Pete will return to Europe in November for more shows in Italy and the Czech Republic, in distinguished European company! (Red Wine pictured below) From August 9 to August 18, Bill Evans, Barbara Lamb, Todd Phillips and Tim May will tour Russia, appearing at music festivals in Vologda, Tomta, Perm and Yekaterinburg. Oregon’s Foghorn Stringband (Caleb Klauder, mandolin, vocals; Stephen 'Sammy' Lind, violin, vocals; Reeb Willms, guitar, vocals; Nadine Landry, bass, vocals) recently completed a tour of Europe that began in Ireland and ended in Switzerland. They contributed posts about their experiences to the Prescription Bluegrass Blog, and the final post--dealing with their shows in Geneva and the surrounding area--can be read on the PBB blog, and their Stateside schedule for the next couple of very busy months is there, too. American band The Coloradas are planning another European tour for September, with shows in Germany, Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Norway. Promoters interested in booking them for dates on the tour can contact Roy Davis via Austrian mobile: +43 664 8715118 or through the Coloradas’ website, Twitter, or Facebook page. Visit www.thecoloradas.com.
Tours, Events & Other news The 6th Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival in County Mayo, in the west of Ireland, welcomed back Mayo's top bluegrass act, the Rocky Top String Band, to 29 June-1 July event. The lineup also included the acclaimed Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys from Great Britain. www.westportfolkandbluegrass.com
which should be very useful to anyone interested in the banjo. De Smaele’s complete thesis “Banjo attitudes” is available on the site in French; an English translation is in progress. His website is www.home.base.be/desmaele51/banjo/Accueil.html Canadian banjo adventurer Jayme Stone will tour Canada extensively this month, and he’s also deeply involved with a banjo concert written by Canadian composer Andrew Downing, which is set to premiere at the Home County Folk Festival on July 22 with members of Orchestra London. The program will also include tunes by Stone and Downing, arranged for chamber symphony. Visit www.jaymestone.com. Sad news from promoter Laurent Eeckhout in Namur, Belgium: no Picnic Festival in 2012— “Je suis au regret de vous annoncer qu'il n'y aura pas d'édition 2012 de notre bel événement. Le manque de moyens financiers ne nous permettra pas d'organiser un huitième Picnic Festival dans de bonnes conditions. Je remercie les fidèles de la première heure (et ceux des heures suivantes...) d'avoir participé, apprécié (j'espère...), de nous avoir aidé, encouragé, soutenu. Nous espérons revenir en 2013 pour vous proposer à nouveau un festival original et unique dans notre belle région. D'ici-là, portez-vous bien, abusez du bluegrass, du celtic et de la Guinness, on compte sur vous pour porter haut ces valeurs!” Salut, Monsieur, et merci. The Guildtown Bluegrass Music Festival will kick off in Perth, Scotland on July 20th--23rd, 2012 at the Guildtown Village Hall & Playing Fields, Hall Rd, six miles north of Perth on A93. Featured acts will include Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa, Rough & Rocky Road (CZ), Goldrush, Home Made Jam, Dapper McDans, Blue Horyzon, New Redwing, Little Giants, Kentucky Cow Tippers and John Weighell & Co. Visit www.scottishbluegrass.com for info.
Banjo player, enthusiast, and researcher Gérard De Smaele of Fauroeulx, Belgium has a new website that features his performing, recordings, and publications, and an ample liens (links) section Please send your international bluegrass news to Caroline Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org. We welcome bluegrass news from all over the globe, and will include it in our newsletter as time and space permit!
industry news Agents & Managers The June 2012 issue of Her Nashville, a popular Music City women’s magazine, included an article called “Pioneering Ladies of Music Row” by writer Elizabeth Ulrich. The women profiled in Ulrich’s story include BMI powerhouses Patsy Bradley and Frances W. Preston, PR pioneer Liz Thiels, and Denise Stiff, whose DS Management roster has included Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, and newest client, Sarah Jarosz, and who has just begun consulting for the Steep Canyon Rangers. Stiff was also executive music producer on O Brother, Where Art Thou, and produced the concert, CD, and Alison, Denise, Gillian DVD for the film’s “Down from the Mountain” tour. Thank you, Denise, for nurturing and building the careers of musicians whose work has meant so much to so many people. Check out the article at www.HerNashville.com. On June 19, The Grascals announced that they’d signed an exclusive booking agreement with Nashville’s Conway Entertainment Group. Headed by industry veteran Tony Conway, CEG is now the exclusive agent for the band, which was signed to the Mountain Home Music label earlier this year. Visit www.conwayent.com or www.thegrascals.com.
Artists & Composers Congratulations to the following artists topping bluegrass charts at press time: Bluegrass Unlimited: Song - “Pretty Little Girl from Galax,” by Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Rural Rhythm, written by Milan Miller Album - Sounds of Home, by Blue Highway (Rounder) Bluegrass Music Profiles: Song - “Carolina Moonshine Man;” by Lou Reid & Carolina; KMA Records; written by Lou Reid, Ray Edwards & Terry Foust Album - All In, by The Boxcars, Mountain Home Records Billboard: Album - Stars and Satellites, by Trampled by Turtles, BANJODAD 09/Thirty Tigers BluegrassToday.com: Song - “Nobody Knows You,” by The Steep Canyon Rangers, written by Graham Sharp, Rounder Records
IBMA is honored and delighted to offer congratulations to Mike Auldridge and Andy Statman, both 2012 recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) National Heritage Fellowships. Auldridge, one of the world’s finest resophonic guitarists, was hugely influenced by Josh Graves, who sold him his first Dobro. A 1967 graduate of the University of Maryland, Auldridge worked as a graphic artist for a commercial art firm and then for the Washington Star-News. He started playing music full-time when the newspaper shut down in 1976, and was a founding member of the legendary Seldom Scene, with whom he played for many years. He also worked with Emerson and Waldron, Cliff Waldron and the New Shades of Grass, Chesapeake, The Good Deale Bluegrass Band, and John Starling and Carolina Star. Mike has also toured with Lyle Lovett and Emmylou Harris. He currently plays with Darren Beachley and The Legends of the Potomac. He is a Grammy winner, Frets Magazine's "Dobro Player of the Year" and most recently, recipent of the IBMA's Lifetime Achievement Award. Statman, a former protégé of David Grisman, is a legendary mandolin virtuoso and composer perhaps best known these days for his amazing 37
klezmer music--he's a clarinetist, too. He recorded and/or toured with Ricky Skaggs, Béla Fleck, and Vassar Clements, as well as the Grateful Dead, Bob Dylan, Itzhak Perlman, and Stéphane Grappelli. Congratulations to both of these deserving musicians. The gentlemen of Hot Rize, accompanied by their very special companion act Red Knuckles & the Trailblazers, will appear at Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival this month, July 21 in Oak Hill, N.Y.; at the Grand Targhee Festival on August 12 in Alta, Wyo., at the Strawberry Music Festival in Camp Mather, Calif. on September 1, and at the Pickin' in the Pines Festival in Flagstaff, Ariz. on September 15-16.
Musicans Against Childhood Cancer
Life Goes On, the new project from Musicians Against Childhood Cancer, includes 39 songs by 139 artists, all recorded live during the annual MACC festivals from 2006—2011, except for the title cut, written by Dale Pyatt and Steve Thomas, which was recorded at Randy Kohrs’ Slack Key Studio in Nashville. Kohrs, Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley, Carl Jackson, Rickey Wasson, and Ronnie Bowman share lead vocal duties on the song and are joined by a host of other musicians on harmony vocals and instrumentation. Check out the video at www.youtu.be/wNdsrn3RVt0. Moody Bluegrass Two... Much Love: A Nashville Celebration of the Moody Blues, released a year ago this month, continues to have legs, a very worthy followup to the 2004 Moody Bluegrass project. Featuring Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Tim O'Brien, John Cowan, Harley Allen, Sam Bush, Emma Harvey, Larry Cordle, Ronnie Bowman, Jon Randall, Jan Harvey, Peter Rowan, David Harvey, Tim May, Andy Hall, Andy
Tod, Stuart Duncan, Alison Brown, Aubrey Haynie, Barry Crabtree, Carl Jackson, Daniel Carwile, Jill Crabtree, Debbie Nims, Tom Shinness, Patty Mitchell, Glen Duncan, John Caldwell, Teresa Steed, Russell Smith, Marcia Campbell, Jeff Taylor, Brian Christianson & The Settles Connection (Odessa Settles, Calvin Settles, Wayne Settles, & Todd Settles), the 2011 CD also includes the Moody Blues: Justin Hayward, John Lodge, Graeme Edge, Ray Thomas and Mike Pinder, marking the first time since 1978 that these five musicians have all appeared on a new recording. Produced by David Harvey. Check it out at www.moodybluegrass.com. Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper welcome Nathan Livers of Louisville, KY on mandolin. Congratulations, Nathan! For info, see www.Flamekeeperband.com. Take Me Back, the new album from The Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show, will release on July 17th. The first release since 2003 for Shiflett, the album is currently available for pre-order on iTunes and at www.pinecastlemusic.com. The material includes songs by Don Gibson, Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, Bob Wills, Faron Young, Willie Nelson, and Floyd Tillman, and new tunes: “Song on the Jukebox” written by Monroe Fields and a gospel song called “Open up your Heart (and Let Jesus In),” written by Karl Shiflett. The band’s current line-up: Karl Shiflett (lead vocals/rhythm guitar). Kris Shiflett (acoustic upright bass), Chris Hill (banjo/harmony vocals), C.J. Lewandowski (mandolin/harmony vocals) and Billy Hurt (fiddle). Congratulations! Now relocated to the Phoenix, AZ area and discovering a whole new bluegrass community there, James Reams will return to the East Coast this summer for several dates, including the Park Slope Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jamboree in Brooklyn, NY, a two-day event of concerts and workshops. www.facebook.com/events/314477158629859/ Josh Shilling’s first solo project, Letting Go, includes an all-star cast of players and singers like Cia Cherryholmes, Jim VanCleve, Randy Kohrs, Molly Cherryholmes, and Aaron Ramsey, as well as legendary producer Mike Clute (Restless Heart, Faith Hill, Diamond Rio), plus co-writer Jimmy Olander (guitarist for Diamond Rio), who played guitar on track 2 entitled "Don't Move." Mark Beckett played drums on
industry news the project and Kevin "Swine" Grantt played bass on most tracks. Visit www.joshshilling.com. The Steep Canyon Rangers have released five new videos in support of their 5th album, Nobody Knows You. Their first official video, for the foot-stomping song “Long Shot,” was filmed in their home of Brevard, NC. They’ve also released a set of five “webisodes” that highlight each individual member of the quintet-Charles Humphrey III (bass/vocals), Mike Guggino (mandolin/vocals), Graham Sharp (banjo/vocals), Nicky Sanders (fiddle/vocals) and Woody Platt (guitar/lead vocals).
piano), Rob Ickes (Dobro, Weissenborn guitar), Ashby Frank (mandolin), and Viktor Krauss (upright bass) and will be released by Pinecastle Records in September 2012, during IBMA's World of Bluegrass. Nine new songs by Niall, including versions of his recent releases “William Smith Monroe” and “Tomorrow,” will be included. Donna Ulisse & The Poor Mountain Boys were proud and happy to be included once again in the lineup for the CMA Fan Fair and Music Fest. Donna and her band performed a set on the WSM/Durango stage on Sunday, June 10. Visit Donna at www.donnaulisse.com. Also included on the roster at the CMA event: The Grascals, who performed on the Acoustic Stage and were introduced by WSM’s legendary broadcaster and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs. The multi-award winning band recently released its latest album Life Finds A Way on Mountain Home Records. Visit www.grascals.com.
Banjo player Bill Evans asked us to let you know that the new video for his song, "The Distance Between Two Points” (created with Sarah Fisher of Blue Lotus Films) is now available for your enjoyment at www.youtube.com/user/BillEvansBanjo. It features Evans on banjo, David Grier on guitar, Mike Marshall on mandolin, Todd Philips on bass and Tashina Clarridge, Tristan Clarridge and Darol Anger on fiddles. The track was produced by Anger with production assistance from Evans, Marshall and Tom Size, and recorded at Fantasy Studios, Berkeley in July 2011, engineered by Tom Size. The song was written by Evans and his 19-year-old daughter, Corey Evans. Evans’ new CD, In Good Company, is currently #1 on the FOLK-DJ List charts. Evans adds a few words about the video: “It was a one-camera shoot with a crew of four. We shot various scenes repeatedly from different perspectives to give the sense of a multicamera filming.” Irish singer/songwriter Niall Toner, the “Godfather of Irish bluegrass,” recently recorded a new album at the Loud Studio in Nashville. Produced by Keith Sewell, the project includes Sewell (guitar, fiddle, mandolin, banjo,
(L-R): Shane Collins (WPAP/Panama City), Jimmy Fortune, Teddy Gentry (Alabama), Sharla McCoy, Rhonda Vincent, Jamie Dailey, Darrin Vincent, Elaine and Lee Roy. (Not pictured: Ricky Skaggs) Photo by Martha E. Moore
Another exciting CMA bluegrass event took place with a special in-the-round performance for a large group of radio programmers at Nashville’s Tracking Room studio. Hosted by Sharla McCoy of McCoy and Associates, “Bluegrass Generations” brought together a group of bluegrass legends with some of Nashville’s hottest young stars. Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent, Jimmy Fortune, Dailey & Vincent and The Roys assembled onstage for an hour to tell their stories and talk about their musical heroes, and then performed a couple of songs. The one-hour event has been packaged for radio. Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum will appear in a concert
industry news under the stars at 7 p.m. on July 6, at Twisted Oak Winery in Vallecito, Calif. They’ll be joined by The Bee Eaters - brother-sister duo Tristan and Tashina Clarridge, joined by hammered dulcimer player Simon Chrisman. This fall, the Northeastern bluegrass community will be treated to the New York Banjo Summit Tour, with Béla Fleck, Tony Trischka, Bill Keith, Pete Wernick and Eric Weissberg! Look for shows featuring this incredible ensemble in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia between October 25 and November 4. www.new.drbanjo.com/calendar/ Congratulations to bassist-at-large Dennis Crouch, who fulfilled a personal goal when he played a gig in Hawai‘i last month with Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. With the KT performance at the Waikii Music Festival on the Big Island, Crouch, who has played on stages in lots of places with just about everybody, finally fulfilled his dream of performing in all 50 American states.
as you round the corner... he's already gone! He's an inspirational musician / songwriter and thinker! It is so satisfying to try keep up with him... and you can't stop smiling along the way!" Felicitations to Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, who celebrate 20 years together this month with a June 2 concert at Bluegrass Underground’s Volcano Room. Congratulations to Travers Chandler & Avery County, who released Pardon Me, their new traditional bluegrass project, last month on Mountain Fever Records. Visit www.averycountyband.com or www.MountainFever.com
Looks like Eddie & Martha Adcock will take a little time off this month, after they return from their tour of Europe - though they will appear at the Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival in Conway, Mo. on July 6. ( www.starvycreek.com ) On August 3, they’ll be back in the saddle with an appearance at the Podunk Bluegrass Festival in Norwich, Conn. ( www.podunkbluegrass.net ) and another on August 5 in Sharpsburg, Md. at the Evensong Farm Barn ( www.evensong-farm.com ). They’ll be joined by their friend, bass legend Tom Gray. Singer/songwriter Kathryn Caine recently released a new project, When I Was His Wife, for which she wrote or co-wrote all but one tune. Her band includes Andy Thacker on guitar and mando, Tom Hogge on vocals and banjo, Darrell Muller on bass, James McLaughlin on drums, Jay Starling on Dobro and Peyton Tochterman, who contributes vocals on “The Whiskey Song.” Purchase or download at Kathryn Caine's Bandcamp site. This month Keller Williams releases Pick, his 18th album and his debut with The Travelin' McCourys. Recorded at Nashville's famed Butcher's Shoppe Recording Studio in early 2012, Pick includes 12 cuts (originals and covers). "Playing with Keller is like being in a two-car chase on a mountain road,” comments Ronnie McCoury, “trying to catch him, only to find that 40
John Cowan with Millie Hicks of The Miracle League (photo by Lorie & Matthew Jones)
The John Cowan Band performed at a benefit concert at the historic Dalton Freight Depot in Dalton, GA last month. The event was a Bluegrass Bands Helping Hands production, with proceeds benefiting The Miracle League of Whitfield County, GA. Cowan’s band helped fund a $1,000 grant for The Miracle League, a baseball league created specifically for young players with disabilities.
"The money raised by the show will go towards the purchase of uniforms and equipment to help get the league started,” said Millie Hicks, Miracle League Advisory member. “We want the Miracle League players to have a full baseball experience. We are so thankful to Bluegrass Bands Helping Hands and their continuing and faithful support." MilkDrive, the jazz-grass band from Austin, TX, released its second studio album, Waves, on June 19. The new project features special guests Noam Pikelny (of Punch Brothers) and Futureman (of Béla Fleck & the Flecktones), was recorded at Mountainside Audio Labs in Nashville, and produced by Bil VornDick (Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck). After a release show at Austin’s famed Cactus Café, MilkDrive embarked on an extensive summer tour that includes venues in Texas, Colorado, Montana, Michigan and New York. The band will also appear at a number of festivals, including Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and Yarmonygrass. They’ll also perform in an official showcase at our World of Bluegrass! For more information, see www.milkdrive.com The band Monroeville (pictured above) was recently honored to be a part of the new trail unveiling for the Tennessee State Rocky Top: Smoky Peaks to Crafts & Creeks program. A video at www.monroevilleband.com/monroeville-rocky-top-trails-unveiling/ features the band performing for The State Commissioner of Tourism Development at the Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery in Gatlinburg, TN. Chatham County Line celebrates the release of its new live CD/DVD project, Sight & Sound, this month, with dates this month in the Northwest and California. Check out the preview of the new project at http://www.chathamcountyline.com/Films/SightSoundCommercial.htm A couple of artists are seeking funding for new projects through Kickstarter campaigns. As of June 21, with about 12 hours to go, Casey Driessen achieved his goal of $15,000 to fund his Fiddle/Sticks: The Drummer Project, a collaborative exploration of rhythm which pairs Driessen—known for his percussive fiddle/violin technique--with some landmark drummers and percussionists: Jamey Haddad (world percussionist for Paul Simon and Berklee College of Music Professor); Futureman (jazz fusion drumitar inventor with Béla Fleck & the Flecktones); and Kenny Malone (legendary Nashville country session drummer). Congratulations, Casey! Chris Henry and The Hardcore Grass, a band that consists of Henry, Michael Bub, Scott Simontacchi, Shad Cobb and Christopher Hill, is seeking $10,000 by July 7 to record THREE new albums in July: one of its best original material, one of "bluegrass hits," and one of bluegrass gospel. “We're planning on recording in analog to 2" tape the way the old recordings were originally done,” Henry says. “After that, I'm going to have the files digitized so I can mix and master the album myself.”
industry news The Hardcore Grass will appear every Tuesday night at The Station Inn in Nashville with an assortment of special guests, in addition to their regular Thursday night appearances at Bootleggers Inn on lower Broad in downtown Nashville. See live streaming info and more at www.christopherhenry.net, and click here to check out Chris’ Kickstarter campaign. Congratulations to Daniel Routh of Nu-Blu, recently appointed a director of the North Carolina region of the Independent Country Music Association (ICoMA). The association exists to promote independent country singers and songwriters from across the globe. Visit www.icmanet.com
The legendary Jack Tottle is enjoying his retirement on the Big Island of Hawai‘i, where he has formed a new band called Bluegrass Jack. The founder and former director of East Tennessee State University's Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Program performs with his band on the first Saturday of each month at the Nanbu Courtyard Cafe in Kapa'au in the North Kohala community. Other band members include Anne Pontius, Lala Power, Steve Ryan, and Chris Wej. The group’s catalog consists primarily of traditional bluegrass tunes and Tottle’s original songs and instrumentals (including material from his 1999 recording The Bluegrass Sound and his upcoming release, The Eagle.) The band has also worked “Kohala March,” a Hawaiian classic, into its repertoire. “It was written by Henri Berger, the founder and first director of the Royal Hawaiian Band,” says Tottle. “As far back as 1877, Berger conducted King Kamehameha V's band. Sol Ho‘opi's wonderful steel guitar recording of the piece inspired us to learn it!” The Greencards will play plenty of interesting dates this summer, including Winfield, the Mountain Of The Sun Festival, a very special charity event in Connecticut and some pristine sounding indoor venues and theatres. Check out their schedule at www.thegreencards.com
Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice is having a great summer, traveling to bluegrass festivals all over the country. In June, the band performed at the Ogden Music Festival in Ogden, UT for the very first time an event that’s an eclectic mix of folk, Americana, and bluegrass music. The band was thrilled to meet legendary Texas musician Robert Earl Keen, who headlined the event.
Banjo stylist Bill Evans has a jam-packed schedule through mid-August that includes appearances in San Rafael, CA at the Osher Marin JCC's Summer Nights Festival (July 7); at a house concert in Charlottesville, VA on July 13; at a Scruggs-Style Solos bluegrass banjo workshop for all level players in Takoma Park, MD (July 14); at the 5th Annual Mike Seeger Commemorative Old Time Banjo Festival (with Adam Hurt, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Evie Ladin and The Old 78's) at the Birchmere Music Hall, also on July 14. On the weekend of July 15, Evans will appear at Camp Bluegrass at South Plains College in Levelland, TX with Alan Munde, Steve Smith, Tim May and many others. The end of the month will find him at NashCamp Bluegrass Week in Fairview, TN (July 30- Aug. 3) with Tim May, Claire Lynch, Fletcher Bright, Matt Flinner, Missy Raines & Todd Livingston. In August, Evans will tour
Russia with Barbara Lamb, Todd Phillips and Tim May. Have a great trip, Bill! Please send us a postcard. Visit Bill Evans online at www.billevansbanjo.com The entire Tim O’Brien family (or at least seven members of the combined families of siblings Tim and Mollie) has just released a Roger Miller cover album called Reincarnation. “O'Brien Party of 7” rocked the crowds at Telluride last month. Visit www.timobrien.net
Americana Music Association executive director Jed Hilly announced appointments and promotions June 27. Danna Strong, currently Director of Operations, will add Conference Producer to her title. Michelle Aquilato has been named Director of Marketing. Whitney Holmes has been named Operations Coordinator. Kim Fowler, of Two Dog Media, has been retained to handle publicity for the Association. For additional information, visit www.americanamusic.org
Congratulations to Michael Johnathon and all the folks at WoodSongs! Their Broadcast #614, Celebration of Appalachia/Mountaintop Removal, has won the National 2012 TELLY Award. The broadcast featured Emmylou Harris, Darrel Scott, Molly Andrews and others. WoodSongs airs on PBS-TV stations nationwide, 507 radio stations, American Forces Radio Network, the Bluehighways TV Network and online. Visit www.WoodSongs.com
Congratulations to Seven Mountains Bluegrass Association on their 30th anniversary celebration July 28 at Allenberry on the Yellow Breeches, in Boiling Springs, PA. Bill Yates and the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band will perform. Bring your lawn chairs! Info: www.sevenmountainsbluegrass.org The 13th chartered chapter of SEBA, the Southeastern Bluegrass Association, met May 19 in Jacksonville, FL. Local VP Ronnie Davis may be contacted at email@example.com The Kansas Bluegrass Association will host their Pickin’ on the Plains bluegrass and folk festival July 20-22 in Colby, KS at the Thomas County Fairgrounds two miles north of I-70, exit 53. Headliners include Dailey & Vincent, Driven, The McLemores, Cody Shuler & Pine Mountain Railroad, Larry Booth, Sappa Strings, Triple L, High Plains Tradition and more. Info: 800-611-8835.
Big Machine Label Group - whose artist roster includes Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, The Band Perry and Martina McBride - is the first record label in the U.S. to receive royalties from Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, or any other radio company. The deal was announced the week before the CMA Music Fest in Nashville, and a day before a group of lobbyists from radio and record companies arrived in Washington, D.C. to continue the debate, according to the June 10 issue of The Tennessean. Clear Channel Chairman and CEO John Hogman said the deal squarely addresses the concerns record labels have had about terrestrial radio being the only medium that doesn’t pay performance royalties. In exchange, Big Machine’s artists agreed to cap their royalties from play on Clear Channel station websites and simulcasts on the chain’s iHeartRadio streaming service to a portion of a fixed percentage of revenue. The agreement sidesteps SoundExchange, the non-profit tapped by Congress to collect online radio royalties for music streamed online.
Events & Promoters Our condolences to the staff, volunteers, friends and family of MerleFest, the extraordinary music festival that had the late Doc Watson as its beloved figurehead (with Doc’s late son, Merle, as its inspiration). The 29th Annual Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Center, Davis & Elkins College in Augusta, WV kicks off July 29 through August 3. Coordinator John Rossbach brings together a spectacular lineup for workshops, demonstrations, special presentations, concerts and picking sessions throughout the week. Participants jam into the wee hours all over campus and there are evening concerts featuring master bluegrass artists and special guests. Picking time with the teaching staff is part of the program for all students. Doyle Lawson is this year’s Guest Master Artist. Fiddle classes will be taught by Byron Berline, Darol Anger, and Adam Haynes. Mandolin instructors are Jesse Brock, Mike Compton, and Alan Bibey. Teaching banjo are Alison Brown, Bill Emerson, and Ned Luberecki. Guitar is taught by Steve Gulley, Chris Jones and Tyler Grant. Dobro/Resonator Guitar is taught by Mark Panfil. Marshall Wilborn teaches Bass. Vocal instructors are Carl Jackson & Tammy Rogers. Staff Musicians for the week are Ira Gitlin, Neel Brown, John Seebach and Mary Burdette. See www.augustaheritagecenter.org/bluegrass/ The Kentucky Music Weekend will be held July 27-30, 2012 at the Iroquois Amphitheatre in Louisville, KY. The weekend includes folk, Americana and bluegrass music, plus food and craft vendors. For info, visit www.kentuckymusicweekend.com The Grand Ole Opry honored Ricky Skaggs on his 30th anniversary as an Opry member on May 15, 2012. Ricky’s milestone anniversary was celebrated with performances by fellow Opry members Alison Krauss, Josh Turner and The Whites, plus special guests Dailey & Vincent. The Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival, nominated three times for IBMA Event of the Year, will take place August 9-12 at El Rancho Manana in Richmond, MN. A long list of headliners includes Marty Raybon, Robin & Linda Williams, Larry Stephenson, Chris Jones & the Nightdrivers, The Scrubbs, Bob Bovee & Gail Heil and more. For more information, call 1-800-635-3037 or visit www.minnesotabluegrass.org
The Turnbull Family will present the Back Forty Bluegrass Festival August 2-5 in Curryville, MO. Featured bands include Marty Raybon & Full Circle, The Boxcars, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Don Rigsby & Midnight Call, the Darrell Webb Band, Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers, Nothin’ Fancy, Audie Blaylock & Redline, James King Band, Jimmy Allison & the Ozark Rounders, The Martins and more. Visit www.backfortybluegrasspark.com The 12th Annual Bluegrass & Old Tyme Music Festival will be hosted by Friends of Milford State Park & Nature Center on July 27-28, in Junction City, KS. Brightwater Junction, The Petersen Family, North Forty, Jimmy Allison & the Ozark Rounders, the KBA Treblemakers and the Ready Brothers will perform. See www.milfordlakebluegrassfestival.com
Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wernick (pictured above) is now offering a series of scaled-down jam classes on-site at bluegrass festivals coast to coast. Wernick Method teachers will offer reduced-price versions of the popular jam classes for two hours each day at a growing list of fine festivals that already includes Huck Finn Jubilee, Music in the Mountains, Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Poppy Mountain and more. This month Wernick returns to the Northeast for his Bluegrass Jam Camp on July 16-19, just before Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in Oak Hill, NY, about 30 miles southwest of Albany. Camp times will be Monday 1:00-5:15; and Tues., Wed. and Thu. from 9:00-5:00 daily, with extended hours Wednesday to allow Jam Campers to secure campsites at Grey Fox.
industry news Camp times will be Monday 1:00-5:15; and Tues., Wed. and Thu. from 9:00-5:00 daily, with extended hours Wednesday to allow Jam Campers to secure campsites at Grey Fox. Camps provide a jamming immersion experience with low-pressure, experienced teaching by Wernick and Ira Gitlin, with hands-on learning in large and small groups. Participants learn how to play lead, fake solos, sing harmony, and learn backup techniques and jam etiquette. Visit www.drbanjo.com. Congratulations and best wishes to Henri Deschamps and The Mast Farm Inn in Valle Crucis, NC, which was inducted into the Historic Hotels of America last month ( see full story at www.themastfarminn.com/historichotels ) The program is part of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Mast Farm Inn is one of fewer than 235 hotels and resorts throughout the country recognized by Historic Hotels of America for preserving and maintaining historic integrity, architecture and ambiance. Flagstaff Friends of Traditional Music will present Pickin' in the Pines Bluegrass & Acoustic Music Festival on September 14-16, 2012 in Flagstaff, AZ. This year’s lineup includes Hot Rize with special guests Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers; Blue Highway; The SteelDrivers; Laurie Lewis and The Right Hands; The Foghorn Stringband; Burnett Family Bluegrass; Run Boy Run and more. Visit http://pickininthepines.org/ for information. On Friday, June 29, PineCone: Piedmont Council for Traditional Music and the Town of Cary, NC partnered to present Kickin Grass, with students from PineCone's Bluegrass Music Camp for Youth. This free concert was part of Cary's Starlight Concert Series, held at the PageWalker Arts & History Center. Students demonstrated what they learned during a week of bluegrass music camp taught by Charles Pettee (mandolin & guitar) and Kickin Grass members Pattie Hopkins (beginner & intermediate fiddle) and Lynda Dawson (songwriting). The council continues to promote jams and sessions. The PineCone Bluegrass Jam meets the second and fourth Monday of the month at Raleigh’s Busy Bee Café, the PineCone Irish Music Session meets every Sunday afternoon at Tír na nÓg, and a monthly shape note sing is held on the fourth Sunday afternoon of each month at the Friends Meeting House in Raleigh. These sessions are free and open to the public. See www.pinecone.org Blogger Ted Lehmann, who posted daily accounts and photos of the Jenny Brook Bluegrass Festival in central
Vermont, let us know that J.D. Crowe sold his RB75 travel banjo to a fan at the festival. J.D., who is retiring from touring this year, said he didn't want to carry it home on the plane! Check out Ted’s blog at www.tedlehmann.blogspot.com Congratulations to the Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series, which recently received a Pinnacle Award in the entertainment and recreation category from the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association (NETTA). The awards pay tribute to individuals, groups, businesses and organizations that significantly contribute to the region's economy through tourism promotion and development. “We were thrilled to be recognized for our contribution to tourism by NETTA,” said Steve Johnson of Mountain Music Entertainment, producer of the Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series. “Our objective has always been to bring headline entertainment to the region while giving back to the community and to be recognized for that is a wonderful accomplishment.” The Center for Texas Music History and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum invite you to visit the brand new Texas Music Roadtrip exhibit, running now through Oct 14th at the Bullock Museum in Austin. The largest exhibit ever organized on Texas music, the Roadtrip takes visitors on an interactive voyage of musical discovery across the Lone Star State. The exhibit includes rare musical artifacts, images and biographies of Texas musicians, audio and video clips, and a number of other items highlighting the unique musical heritage of Texas, including a feature on Old Settler's Music Festival! Look for their free live music series every Friday in July. The preliminary lineup has been announced for Yonder Mountain String Band’s Harvest Music Festival, October 11--13, 2012 in Mulberry Mountain, Ozark, AR. So far, it includes Leftover Salmon, The Jayhawks, North Mississippi All-Stars, the Mickey Hart Band with Dave Schools, Sam Bush, Punch Brothers, Dumpstaphunk, Split Lip Rayfield, The Gourds, Wookiefoot, Cornmeal, and more. Visit www.yonderharvestfestival.com for more.
The Kentucky Music Park in Hartford, KY, which calls itself Kentucky’s only dedicated music park, golf course, and campground, will host Bluegrass on the Greens on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, July 4-6, with music by James Monroe, Kings Highway, Tommy Brown and County Line Grass, Kody Norris and Watauga Mountain, Mary Rachel Nalley, and Blue River Bluegrass. Visit www.kentuckymusicpark.com for more. The Americana Music Association announced the 2012 nominees for the Americana Honors & Awards at a celebration presented by Nissan at the end of May. Actor and music aficionado John C. Reilly announced the nominations, hosted by Jim Lauderdale, at The Grammy Museum’s Clive Davis Theatre. The concert’s tribute to icons Levon Helm, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson, described as “the heartbeat of the [Americana] genre,” concluded with a loving rendition of ”Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Congratulations to Americana award nominees, including these past IBMA award winners, nominees, and members… • Gillian Welch for Artist of the Year • Gillian’s The Harrow & The Harvest for Record of the Year • “Come Around,” written and performed by Sarah Jarosz, for Song of the Year • Tom T. Hall’s “I Love,” performed by Patty Griffin, for Song of the Year • Buddy Miller, Chris Thile, and Darrell Scott for Instrumentalist of the Year • Gillian Welch & David Rawlings and the Punch Brothers for Duo/Group of the Year The Americana Honors & Awards return to the Ryman Auditorium on September 12, 2012 (as part of Nashville’s Americana Music Festival, which runs from September 12-15, 2012). Mumford & Sons have announced details of their unique Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers in the United States this August. Each one-day outdoor event will “combine the intimacy of a community celebration with the excitement of a world-class music festival,” according to the press release, beginning with a concert and ending with a series of smaller events involving local businesses, venues, and local vendors. The four carefully-selected host locations: the Eastern Promenade in Portland, ME (Aug. 4); downtown Bristol, VA/TN (Aug. 11); Page Park in Dixon, IL (Aug. 18); and the Fairgrounds in
Monterey, CA (Aug. 25). Tickets for all Stopovers will be priced at $69, with no additional charges or fees, and are available exclusively at www.gentlemenoftheroad.com In a statement, the band explained the novel idea for these events. "The Gentlemen of the Road Stopover is based loosely upon our favorite festivals like Colorado's Telluride Bluegrass and Scotland's Loopallu Festivals. We want to stop off in towns where bands don't usually tour, and celebrate the local people, food and music. We're keen to promote the town's local businesses, and we'll be using the local bars and venues for after-show parties, whilst working closely with the local people to get everyone involved in making these shows spectacular. There will be a host of our friends playing too, and the vibe falls somewhere between 'travelling Victorian circus' and 'Victorian travelling circus'. It should be a whole lot of fun." Visit www.gentlemenoftheroad.com and www.mumfordandsons.com
Bluegrass Underground (pictured above), the famed subterranean bluegrass concert venue at Cumberland Caverns in McMinnville, TN, will celebrate its Fourth Anniversary blowout on August 11 with the return of The SteelDrivers, the first national headliners to play the venue back on Aug. 16, 2008. Better get those tickets now! Visit www.bluegrassunderground.com
Print, Media & Education Singer, writer, guitarist, bandleader, and broadcaster Chris Jones is now contributing regular columns to www.BluegrassToday.com . His June 20 installment offers a set of invaluable and very funny rules of the road for inexperienced traveling musicians, including these:
industry news • If a sign by an exit advertises gas, food, and lodging, but you don’t actually see any gas, food, or lodging from the highway, it isn’t actually there. It’s a cruel trick to make you drive into their struggling downtown and gaze at their nicely decorated but completely closed gas stations. • In general, unless you’re some kind of miracle worker with the “malted waffle” iron, the complimentary breakfast at most road hotels is a reminder that you get what you pay for. • Do not eat Chinese food at a truck stop. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings will release the new box set Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection on July 10, four days before the celebrated American folk musician would have turned 100 years old. For a special pre-sale including an instant album download AND to hear a previously unreleased Woody Guthrie song, please visit www.folkways.si.edu/woodyat100 A panel discussion of the legendary Hank Williams’ influence on American singer/songwriters took place on June 20 at the New School in New York City. With support from Oxford American Magazine, the New School presented a free screening of The Last Ride, the new film about Williams’ mysterious final days, followed by a panel discussion of the musician’s historic place in American music. Starring Henry Thomas, Jesse James and Kaley Cuoco, with Fred Dalton Thompson, The Last Ride was described by Oxford American editor Mark Smirnoff as “a hypnotic romp about what is possibly country music’s most tantalizing true story.” Panelists included Harry Thomason, the film’s director, an award-winning director/producer of several TV series, including Designing Women, mini-series such as The Blue and the Grey, and director of events including both Presidential Inaugurals of President William Clinton. Also appearing: Hank Williams’ daughter, singer/songwriter, award-winning author, and film producer Jett Williams, with four songs on the film soundtrack and a book, Ain’t Nothin’ As Sweet As My My Baby: The Story of Hank Williams’ Lost Daughter; Benjy Gaither, son of gospel legends Bill and Gloria Gaither and creator of The Last Ride soundtrack. The film’s soundtrack, released by Curb Records on June 19, contains some of the best-known Hank Williams songs as well as new material written specifically for the film, performed by Jett Williams, Michael English, The Isaacs, the late Johnny Cash
and Waylon Jennings, plus numerous country and gospel artists. For more information, visit www.thelastridefilm.com or www.curb.com South Plains College Creative Arts Department in Levelland, TX, is seeking a multiinstrumentalist instructor of bluegrass and modern music. A bachelor degree is preferred; associate degree required with majority of music experience in bluegrass with minor experience in modern music. For more information, see the posting at South Plains College or contact Cary Banks at 806/716-2280. Those who love their bluegrass with a side of snickers will be happy to hear of the return of the Bluegrass Intelligencer ( www.bluegrassintelligencer.com ). The brainchild of Utah band the Deadly Gentlemen, this clever parody site —similar to www.theonion.com —has been on hiatus since December 2009 but recently returned with new stories, including… “David Grisman, Bill Keith Pass Actual Torch To Younger Generation,” “Steve Kaufman Tapped To Head Federal Guitar Program For Unemployed Men,” and “Grateful Dead Cover Duo, Lost in Space Jam, Returns to Earth Displaced in Time.” Heh! Rural Rhythm Records recently produced “Christmas: The Mountain Way,” a live performance musical show that showcases Christmas and its traditions in the Appalachian Mountains. On June 19, the show was filmed before a live audience for broadcast on national cable network BlueHighways TV. The performance, which took place at the historic Bell Theater in Pineville, KY, was hosted by Mike Scott (Mike Scott’s Nashville Band, Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition, Jim & Jesse, Bill Monroe) and featured performances by Steve Gulley, Dale Ann Bradley, Marty Raybon, Audie Blaylock, bands Cumberland River from Harlan, KY and Common Strings from Bell County, KY; and students from the Cumberland River Academy. The show is the brainchild of Rural Rhythm Records owner Sam Passamano, Jr., music business veteran Tony Spinosa and artist/producer Steve Gulley. “Christmas: The Mountain Way” will air on BlueHighways TV during the 2012 Christmas season; music from the program will be available on CD. A special edition DVD will also be produced featuring live 47
performances, interviews with the artists, and stories about their Christmas experiences. Visit BlueHighwaysTV.com and RuralRhythm.com There are 127 songs mentioned in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie books—most played by her beloved Pa, Charles Ingalls Wilder, on the fiddle that traveled with him all the way from the Big Woods to the prairie. Last month, artists and producers of the “Pa's Fiddle Project” celebrated the release of Pa's Fiddle: Charles Ingalls, American Fiddler, the third release in the planned 10-CD series that highlights the life and music of one of America's greatest fiddlers. Songs on the CD include "Buffalo Gals," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," "Polly Put the Kettle On," "Life Let Us Cherish," "All the Blue Bonnets," "Golden Years Are Passing By," "Boatmen's Dance," "Mary of the Wild Moor," "The Campbells Are Coming," "Haste to the Wedding," and more, performed by Bryan Sutton, Matt Flinner, Matt Combs, David Grier, Jeff Taylor, Dennis Crouch and others. Pa’s Fiddle producer/creator Dale Cockrell also co-produced the new PBS concert video based on the project, which began airing nationally on PBS stations in early June. The concert was filmed at the Loveless Barn in Franklin, TN before a live audience and included performances by musician and musical director Randy Scruggs and an all-star string band
featuring Matt Combs, Dennis Crouch, Chad Cromwell, Hoot Hester and Shad Cobb, Randy Travis, Rodney Atkins, Ronnie Milsap, Ashton Shepherd, The Roys, Natalie Grant and Committed (NBC Sing Off champions). Actor Dean Butler, who played Almanzo Wilder on the Little House series, teamed up with Cockrell to produce the unique show. The CD is available at www.laura-ingalls-wilder.com and in retail outlets.
labels & Distributors After 5½ years Ryan Baker is leaving the staff at Sugar Hill Records in Nashville to pursue a Master’s degree at the Information School in Berkeley, CA. “I will sincerely miss working with the wonderful staff at Sugar Hill and Vanguard, and each artist, manager, and colleague in the industry that I’ve had the pleasure to work with over the years,” Baker says. For marketing questions at Sugar Hill, Ryan suggests contacting: Corey Bonnette, firstname.lastname@example.org or Hunter Camp, email@example.com
Welcome, new iBMA Members! Lucille Allen Melissa Armstrong Hunter Camp Henry Carrigan Dag Ivar Caspersen Robert Chandler Stacey Conley Wilmer Conn Stephen Cox Bill Dahlberg Joseph Dalferes Jesse Daniel Michael Daves Bill Davis Curt Ferguson
Laura Ford Karla Haege Wyatt Harman Tammy Harman Glen Harrell Lloyd Harvey Randy Houser RL Humphrey Tim Johnson Garland Johnston Peter Keiser Cheryl Kidd Peter Knupfer Edgar Loudermilk Christopher Luedecke
Dale Martin Kendra McKinnon Tyrone Neff Tim Newcomb Gary Paczosa Jeff Partin Lynn Phipps Terry Populus Dale Pyatt Richard Roach Nancy Rogeski Stev Rogeski Tim Shelton Kevin Shepherd Davis Shingleton
Stuart Smith John Stone Jeff Talmadge Barry Tollison Mary Underhill Patton Wages E.K. Waller Angie White Chris Williamson Miles Yocom
final note Dream Team Bluegrass Trios If you could create a dream team bluegrass trio, who would be in it? Name the tenor, lead and baritone, any three singers, living or otherwise. Then: What song would you ask them to sing first? –Question posted on IBMA’s Facebook page, June 2012 Mickey Flatt: Peter Rowan--lead, Doyle Lawson--tenor, and Sonny Osborne--baritone. Song would have to be "Little Bessie." Ryan Paisley: Ricky Skaggs--lead vocals. Corey Hensley—tenor. Earl Scruggs—baritone. And I would have them sing “A Beautiful Life” but you need a bass in there, so… Jason Carter--bass. Paul Dantan: Doc Watson, John Cowan and Dan Tyminski, I guess... singing "Wake Up, Little Maggie," my favorite a cappella song ever. Matt Downing: James King--lead. Don Rigsby--tenor. J.D. Crowe-baritone. I'd force them to sing anything they wanted to. Because they’re just that great. Gina Evans: Vassar Clements, fiddle; Earl Scruggs, banjo; and Bill Monroe, mandolin. Gotta play foot-stompin' "Katie Hill" and sing "Little Footprints In The Snow."
Christian McAdams: Jimmy Martin, John Duffey, and Jerry McCoury. The most erratic combination in bluegrass! Mike Ward: John Hartford, baritone; Charlie Waller, lead; John Duffey, tenor, singing "Proud Mary." Dianne LeTourneur Pendleton: Alison Krauss, Mickey Harris, Christian Davis. Any song. Sunni Krantz: Darrell Webb--lead, Bill Monroe--tenor, Ralph Stanley II--baritone. "When HE Reached Down HIS Hand For Me." Nelson Peddycoart: Lester Flatt-lead, Bill Monroe-tenor and Doc Watson-baritone. First song--“Mother's Not Dead.” David Vernon Bonham: Jimmy Gaudreau, Keith Whitley, J.D. Crowe; song: “Distant Drums.” Chris Thomas: John Duffey, Tony Rice, & Del McCoury singing "Were You There?"