IB International Bluegrass Music Association Vol. 28 | No. 6 | June 2013
INTERNATIONAL BLUEGRASS International Bluegrass Music Association Vol. 28 | No. 6 | June 2013
3 | “Banjo at Berklee College of Music” by Chris Pandolfi 5 | Dark Shadow Recording: Interview with Stephen Mougin 6 | Steep Canyon Rangers to Host Award Show at World of Bluegrass 7 | 40th Anniversary of Festival of the Bluegrass 12 | Joe Lurgio to Join IBMA Staff 13 | Showcase Artists for WOB Bluegrass Ramble Selected 13 | Bluegrass Nation Updates 14 | Fresh Sounds 15 | Bluegrass Music Industry News 18 | Heard ‘Round the World 19 | WAMU’s Bluegrass Country – IBMA World of Bluegrass Showcase Submission Guidelines 20 | Camping at World of Bluegrass in Raleigh
IBMA Staff Nancy Cardwell Executive Director Jill Crabtree Member / Convention Services Director Taylor Coughlin Publications Editor / Special Projects Director Katherine Coe Administrative / Media Assistant
IB | International Bluegrass Editor: Taylor Coughlin email@example.com Designer: Katherine Coe firstname.lastname@example.org
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; 608 W. Iris Drive; Nashville, TN 37204; USA; Phone: 615-2563222, 888-GET-IBMA; FAX: 615-256-0450; E-mail: email@example.com; Website: www.ibma.org Statements of fact and opinion are made on the responsibility of the writers alone and do not imply an opinion on the part of the officers, directors, staff or members of IBMA. Portions of International Bluegrass may be reprinted provided that explicit citation of the source is made: “Reprinted with permission from International Bluegrass, the publication of the International Bluegrass Music Association, www.ibma.org .”
Banjo at the Berklee College of Music By Chris Pandolfi A few weeks ago I was up in Boston as a guest teacher at the Berklee College of Music, and I’m happy to report that the banjo is cool again. I was there for two days, working with students in the American Roots Music Program on everything from right-hand techniques to strategies for young professional musicians. Compared to my time there as a student roughly ten years ago, much has changed. These days there is a clear acknowledgement of the importance and popularity of traditional music. Acclaimed faculty are attracting talented students, some of whom will surely be a part of the next wave of exciting acoustic bands to hit the scene. Berklee is playing its part in the string band boom with a program that’s barely five years old, but already significant. It was great to go back and check it all out.
I was a student at Berklee from 2001-2003. I started playing the banjo only a few years earlier as a freshman at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire. I was relatively inexperienced compared to other players my age, eager to keep learning and working on my craft. I wanted to go to music school, and my main goal was to work primarily on banjo, rather than choosing guitar as a principal instrument, a workaround that other banjo players had used at in the past. Tony Trischka, my teacher at the time, suggested the Berklee College of Music as a place that might welcome the banjo, given its growing popularity. Tony introduced me to Matt Glaser (then chair of the Strings Dept.), and Matt was a big help in making this happen despite the fact that banjo was not part of Berklee’s curriculum. I started in the fall of 2001, working mainly with guitar teachers but taking all my proficiency exams on banjo, as well as my ensembles, etc. I was a banjo principal, but the instrument was still relatively obscure in the grand scheme of things. In 2001 we were still well before the wave of Mumford madness that is now reorganizing the hierarchy of popular musical styles. But the beginnings of that movement were well underway. Bela Fleck was finding big audiences for his ultra-progressive take on the banjo, and the Avett Brothers were creating a buzz as they played bars in the Southeast with their own brand of banjo-driven punk-rock. The bluegrass world seemed to be thriving in its own way, heavy on integrity but still somewhat protected from mainstream appeal. Young players were coming out of the woodwork and promising new bands were starting to form. We were playing banjos and fiddles, some of us internalizing the lessons of bluegrass music, but all of us striving to find a more modern voice with these old wooden instruments, a voice that reflected the world around us. After all, that is the natural order of musical evolution. With no true banjo principal available to students, I flew under the radar at Berklee. At one point, a high profile guitar teacher refused to teach me, and he hadn’t even heard me play. There was only one acoustic ensemble, with little direction, and I always got some curious looks from students and teachers alike when I broke out the banjo in a new class. Some thought it was cool, but most didn’t know what to make of it. I was relatively inexperienced, but I was dedicated and eventually I found my place there, working with David Newsam–amazing guitarist, great teacher and good friend. I left Berklee equipped with a lifetime of theoretical knowledge and poised to pursue a career as a player. I made the most of it, and in 2004 I was off to Nashville to live the dream and start a band. Several years later, as the Stringdusters were getting established in Nashville, I heard that the new President of Berklee, Roger Brown, was coming to the Country Music Hall of Fame to give an honorary degree to the great Earl Scruggs. Earl was at the helm of the original bluegrass revolution, when bluegrass was new and popular in the 1940s and ‘50s. He was the original innovator, and though bluegrass has seen long swings of more “traditional” strains dominating the genre, Earl’s progressive spirit is more alive now than ever before. Honoring him 60 years later was a clear sign of the times. A few years after that, in 2009, the American Roots Music Program was born at Berklee. Today banjos are everywhere, from small festivals to the Top 40 chart. Roger Brown, along with Matt and other acoustic-minded faculty, have embraced this trend and created a great environment for young players to flourish. The program is thriving; it’s wonderful to see. My recent trip included private lessons with all nine banjo students as well as coaching sessions with several acoustic ensembles. There are some very talented players there, as well as established resources that will help them thrive. Wes Corbett and Mark Simos are among the acclaimed professors that will be a big part in drawing talent to the program, and Matt Glaser, with his eclectic acoustic background and deep ties to the various different ‘roots’ traditions, is
an ideal Artistic Director. On a side note, the acoustic music community will always deeply miss John McGann, a genius musician and committed teacher who was a big part of this program in the early going. We love you, John. So the bluegrass secret is out, and leading institutions like Berklee have opened their doors to the aspiring pickers of the world. And rightly so–this music is as real as it gets, and the influence of almost 70 years of bluegrass is finally bleeding into the bigger musical picture. Programs like American Roots will be a part of that growth moving forward, connecting students with teachers and each other as they prepare to make music for the world. It’s official: the banjo is cool again, and a new crop of talented young players are on the way.
Dark Shadow Recording takes off with plenty of Mojo By Taylor Coughlin It happened at a bluegrass festival when he was 9 or 10. He was struggling with a capo that just wouldn’t work. It broke. So he went over to a merch tent where another musician realized his problem, and gave him a new capo. And that was it. The simple act of helping another on their musical journey is what musician (and music teacher, producer, recording engineer, songwriter, label owner, dad, and husband) Stephen “Mojo” Mougin learned that day, and what he continually strives for. It’s why he rushes from music lesson, to coaching a band, to engineering, and off on tour with The Sam Bush Band. “I love when I can help someone get to a new place musically,” he says. He wants to help musicians in meaningful ways, like how the stranger helped him by gifting a new capo. He has found this through teaching (he holds a degree in Vocal Music Education from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst), and then some: Dark Shadow Recording, his studio and label. Dark Shadow Recording got its start around 12 years ago. Mojo had been playing in bands and teaching, and got into recording because he wanted to be a better studio player. Fast forward a few years, and it has turned into more than he had originally planned – in the best way. In 2009, he started the Bluegrass Harmony Training Series with lessons highlighting tenor and baritone vocal harmonies. Russell Moore and Ronnie Bowman were featured, respectively, in the instructional recordings. He got together with friend and banjoist Ned Luberecki (together as Nedski & Mojo) and recorded Nothing More and thus was born Dark Shadows Recording as a label, with those three releases under its belt. Success has continued for DSR. Dynamic family band The Rigneys recorded their album with Stephen in 2011 and then signed on to the label. He was captured by the family’s individual and collective talents, and invested in their development and success as their recording engineer,
producer, and band coach. They will have a new album out later this summer. As an all-around task master, Stephen works with bands that have a desire to learn and grow musically, work hard, and of course, make great music. “If you create the best music you can make, you’ll find your audience,” he says. As a musician himself, Mojo says he is able to help artists so much because he has been in their shoes (and still is). The artists are able to trust his suggestions because they know they are coming from a wealth of talent and experience. At the end of the day for Stephen and Dark Shadow Recording, the work is all about paying it forward and working for the common goal, which is rooted in bluegrass music’s deepest values. The bluegrass community is different by their desire to work together to make great music and help each other as much as they can along the way. This common goal is what keeps Mojo inspired to teach, record, mix, coach, write, and simply do. Just like getting a capo from a stranger in a merch tent at a bluegrass festival, Mojo is paying it forward for bluegrass music in his own way; through his teaching, coaching, playing, writing, recording, and everything else involved that makes him thoroughly well-rounded, the family of bluegrass is growing, developing, and remaining inspired to play on. Dark Shadow Recording can be found online and on Facebook and Twitter. Watch an exclusive video of The Rigneys and Dark Shadow here.
The Steep Canyon Rangers to host 24th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Reigning “Bluegrass Album of the Year” Grammy Award winners and the 2011 IBMA Entertainers of the Year, North Carolina’s own Steep Canyon Rangers, will host IBMA’s 24th annual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Sept. 26 at Raleigh, NC’s Duke Energy Center for the Performing Arts. Known as bluegrass music’s biggest night of the year, the International Bluegrass Music Awards acknowledges the year’s outstanding talent and achievements, honors new Hall of Fame inductees, and waves the worldwide flag for bluegrass music. “It is quite an honor for Steep Canyon Rangers to be hosting the International Bluegrass Music Awards this year,” said Steep Canyon Ranger’s guitar player and vocalist Woody Platt. “We are a North Carolina-based band and we are excited to see the event take place in Raleigh. We hope to do our part to help make the event successful."
The Steep Canyon Rangers are Platt, Mike Guggino (mandolin), Charles Humphrey III (bass), Nicky Sanders (fiddle) and Graham Sharp (banjo). The group first formed during their college days at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ten years later, the band has only deepened their commitment to roots music performing with fierce instrumental prowess, but also providing deeply moving songwriting and harmonies, infusing traditional bluegrass with contemporary themes and arrangements.
Festival of the Bluegrass Celebrates 40 Years Let the Bluegrass Community Roll On! By Nancy Cardwell In his summary of six years of ethnographic field research titled “The Portable Community: Mobility and Modernization in Bluegrass Festival Life,” Robert Owen Gardner of the University of Colorado at Boulder examined participants’ involvement in bluegrass music and festival culture in the American West. “Participants left their community-starved home neighborhoods to cultivate what I refer to as ‘portable communities,’” Gardner says. Bluegrass music boasts virtuoso level instrumentalists and some of the finest, most soulful singers in any genre. But surprisingly, the great music isn’t what the participants in Gardner’s survey talked about the most. Their involvement with bluegrass music was “driven by a quest for intimate community, open and equal social relations, and simple living,” Gardner notes, “elements they found in short supply in their daily lives.” The late Mitch Jayne of Bluegrass Hall of Famers, The Dillards, said bluegrass doesn’t make fans, it makes believers. One of the reasons people are drawn to this music—and stay involved—is the community of people that flourishes around the music. Borrowing from the Flatt & Scruggs gospel standard, “Let the Church Roll On,” the theme song for this article might well be, “Let the Bluegrass Community Roll On!” Community is something Bob and Jean Cornett, producers of the Festival of the Bluegrass at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, KY June 6-9 understand thoroughly. It’s a big part of the reason the festival is celebrating its 40th anniversary this month, and also a big part of the reason the Cornett’s grandson Roy Miller Cornett and his wife, AnnaMarie have joined the production team to carry the event into the future. In honor of FOTB’s 40th, the entire city of Lexington is showing up to celebrate with a weeklong event called “BOB 2013,” June 3-8. The acronym stands for “Best of Bluegrass,” but for anyone who has been to the festival, the name conjures up Bob Cornett’s smiling face at the festival, as he wanders around the park shaking hands and sharing his latest idea for projects that utilize the power of bluegrass to connect generations, transforming what we traditionally think of as “education,” inside and outside school classrooms. Dating back to 1968 when J.D. Crowe & the New South reigned five nights a week onstage at Red Slipper Lounge, Lexington has been a hotbed for bluegrass for quite some time. AnnaMarie says the city is realizing, “Hey, we are bluegrass. Bluegrass music belongs here…It’s being reclaimed.”
“In a lot of ways BOB is an experiment for us and for the city of Lexington,” Roy Miller says. “We want to try and make it grow every year, to the point in the future that if you like bluegrass music, you’ll be saying, ‘Meet me in Lexington!’” There are cycles of popularity for bluegrass music, Jean Cornett says, “and I’ve been here long enough, I’ve seen a few of them. You just ride the wave when it comes along.” One of the secrets to FOTB’s longevity as a bluegrass festival is that they maintain a consistent brand, but they’re also willing to experiment with some new bands who may be considered on the edge. The adage is true: If you do things the same way every year, you can’t expect the results to be different. “You have to [experiment],” Jean says. “We came up with a theory years ago that we would book two new bands every year. That meant that two backs would have to be dropped off and get on some kind of a rotation. That worked, until I kept booking the Seldom Scene,” she smiles. “We’ve added a lot of new bands this year,” Roy Miller says, “and we’re going to do instrument workshops—which we’ve never done before. We’ve got the Boxcars, and Dailey and Vincent, whom everyone’s been asking for. We haven’t had Blue Highway in a long time, and we’re having them this year.” Longtime attendees are excited about the Masters of Bluegrass combination, and the Cornetts are pleased to bring back the 23 String Band, who played FOTB for the first time last year and absolutely enthralled the crowd (and immediately sold out all their t-shirts and CDs after their set). Forty years ago Bob Cornett left state government to work for the Council of State Governments, and Jean was in real estate. They had six sons, who would grow up to look a lot like their dad and each other. They’re immediately recognizable on the festival grounds: tall, slim, big smiles and premature white hair. The Cornetts had recently attended another bluegrass festival, and Bob spoke to some friends at the state about having a festival at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington. ”We didn’t regard ourselves as particularly knowledgeable about bluegrass,” Bob says, “but they said, ‘Why, sure.’ So we did. Jean will say that I was the one who came up with the idea of doing it, but she is the one who ended up showing me what I was doing wrong and fixing it.” The first line-up featured Ralph Stanley, Bill Monroe, J.D. Crowe, The McLain Family, Doc Watson and Vernon McIntyre, among others. They lost $10,000. The second year they cut their losses to $3,000, and by year three they were just past breaking even. “There have been good years and bad years,” Jean says. Bob Cornett has always said that in their marriage and business ventures he is the “big vision” dreamer who comes up with the ideas about where they should go, and Jean is the one who goes out in the field, catches the mule, and hitches it to the wagon so they can get there. “I had to dig the ditches and clean out the latrines,” Jean says. “He needed someone to clean up after him, and that’s the truth.” “And those people are scarce,” Bob smiles. Jean was originally from Lenore, North Carolina and Bob grew up in Hazard, Kentucky. “We met first in World History class at Berea College in January of 1948,” Bob recalls. “I was sitting on the back row at the beginning of the semester with a buddy of mine, and we would whisper to each other, not paying any attention to the teacher. But I got to noticing a skinny little blackhaired girl, and the more I noticed her, the less I paid attention to that buddy of mine. I reached
up and tapped her on the shoulder—she had a sweater in the chair next to her—and I said, ‘If you’ll move your sweater, I’ll come and sit beside you.’ I was a smooth operator,” he smiles. “And she said, ‘If you want that sweater moved, you’ll move it yourself.’ So that’s been the story of my life,” Bob laughs. It went on from there, and we got married in January three years later.” FOTB has been a family venture. “And it’s not just people with the last name of Cornett,” Roy Miller says. “There are a huge number of folks who come to this event every year, for lack of a better word, who are family,” as he goes on to name two and three generations of attending families who faithfully support the festival every year. “We could not do this without the love for that event by a whole lot of people. We don’t have employees. When you come into the front gate, it’s going to be my uncles and cousins and second cousins and their friends. I’ve got two kids on the schedule this year,” Roy says. “And it could be that when you call, it’s Miller that answers the phone—a two year old,” AnnaMarie adds. “I’m very proud of the festival, and where it seems to be headed,” Bob Cornett says. “The city of Lexington now sees it as an asset. I think clearly when we started, it was just something that ‘a few hicks’ did. It was not viewed as belonging to Lexington.” Roy Miller says the vision for the festival has not changed, but rather “society and the community has gotten on board with what we’re doing.” “I think that’s true,” Jean says. “We’ve stayed the course,” Bob agrees. “Watching Miss Jean for years—and it’s been 62 years we’ve been married—when she sets out to do something, she makes a genuine commitment to do it well,” Bob says. “I think people really sense that festival belongs to them. And that’s not just words. They really do sense they’re coming to their own show. They’re not just buying tickets to come and sit at an event.” The name for the festival was coined by Raymond McLain (the elder one), of the McLain Family Band, who served as an advisor for the Cornetts over the years. They also credit Lou Ukelson from Cincinnati, who sold albums in the early years and produced the 10th anniversary Festival of the Bluegrass LP album. Later Charlie and Doris Chase, who worked a different festival every weekend for years selling their albums and cassettes and CDs, served as “scouts” for Bob and Jean, sharing ideas about how other festivals did things and news about hot, new bands.
After the first year at the Kentucky Horse Park, the festival moved to Masterson Station Park so the city could renovate the horse park. Everyone liked the new site so well, the Cornetts ended up staying there for around 15 years, moving back to the new Horse Park in order to grow the event with increased amenities for RVs and campers. Over the years there have been a number of fond memories—primarily “the lasting friendships,” Jean says. Bob remembers the year when principal Faye King’s students from the bluegrass program at Stanton Elementary School were on the grounds for one of the early camps, and Alison Krauss and Ricky Skaggs had agreed to show them a tune. “I don’t remember the name of the tune, but Ricky picked it out for them slowly, note by note, and you could see that it was driving him a little nuts,” Jean says. “Then when they finished, he said, ‘Well. Maybe now we can play it a little faster.’” And a little girl with a mandolin fixed him with a steely glare and said, “Well, I don’t know it yet; I’m just six years old. What did you expect?” and the entire group of campers and teachers burst into laughter. “Ricky had all the patience in the world with those kids that year, and it was a good festival,” Jean says. She remembers a mentally handicapped gentleman who attended the festival for years everyone knew as “Mr. Spoons.” Dressed in distinctive attire, “he would come to the festival and play the spoons all day, every day, everywhere,” Jean says. “He loved the children. He was everybody’s friend, and everybody would feed him. He would also sell roses.” Roy Miller says his earliest memories of Festival of the Bluegrass are a series of little things “like running the store and selling t-shirts, and this giant container of ice for cans of soda. There was a stand Ben Scroggins had where you could spin a giant wheel and win prizes.” Roy also remembers the group of campers at “Hippie Hill” who would go to Goodwill every year and buy couches and recliners, and then hoist them up in the branches of large sycamore trees, tied in place with rope. Festival of the Bluegrass has always had a robust off-stage jamming scene, but in recent years like many other festivals, the jamming has fallen off. “During the last three years we made a very concerted effort,” Roy Miller says. “I would approach local and regional bands that would be coming to our festival anyway and say, ‘I’ll give you a primitive camping ticket. All I ask of you is that you sit around your campsite and play for two hours on Friday and two hours on Saturday night. They would be doing that anyway, but if you do that with half a dozen different groups, you’ve created a situation where there’s always going to be someone playing, which inspires other people to pull their instruments out of the car. It’s really worked out well, and the picking has increased tenfold.” Like many festivals with a long history, many attendees come back and camp in the same place every year, naming campsites and reserving them a year in advance. One, “Woo-ville,” even has their own website. “Everyone formed their own communities and boundaries,” Roy says. “We didn’t realize the importance of those ad hoc communities that formed out there. When we moved back from Masterson Station, we had to go back to the way they were doing it, and let people form their own communities.” “That says it all,” Bob says. “There are a whole lot of communities out there. There’s one distinguishing characteristic of bluegrass music as compared to other types of music, and that’s it. It comes from the (community). And that comes from bluegrass music’s origins in places like eastern Kentucky, where folks came together on front porches to entertain each other and to share—to talk and string beans, or any number of things. The music was a part of it. It was a
self-forming community, and that’s what this is. That’s what will keep it alive. I’m confident there will be a Festival of the Bluegrass in 40 more years.” When it comes to advice for new festival producers, Jean says, “Well, I guess I really ought to say how I feel about it. We enjoyed going to other festivals, but we were disgusted with what people put up with, in the way of paying customers. We’ve made every effort to be nice to our customers. As far as I’m concerned the bands work for me. I don’t work for them, and I let them know that. They are on my staff to entertain the people who pay to come through the gate.” Some events are purely a commercial venture. “It’s been beyond commerce for us since the start,” Bob says. “We did it because we wanted to.” Roy Miller agrees. “I’d rather have one person show up and camp all week long, rather than sell 50 one-day tickets. The person who camps outs out all weekend long through the rain and everything else; is your best ambassador. A person who comes for one day to see a band; it’s just a concert to them. The people who come out all weekend long; they’re family.” “The campers ought to be the backbone of your festival,” Jean says. In fact, 70% of FOTB attendees camp out at the event. You can tell it was started by a large family with a lot of kids,” AnnaMarie says, “because it’s a family festival. It’s kid-friendly. There are bubbles, a puppet show, and an instrument petting zoo with Charlie & Mary Jo Leet on the schedule this year. We want families. We want kids. This is the preservation of a culture, and I think it’s one of the most important things about the festival.” “I have never, in my entire life, not known Festival of the Bluegrass, including when I was in the womb,” Roy Miller Cornett says. “It’s happened every year I’ve been alive. Then five years ago Grandma sat me down and said, ‘You don’t want this. You don’t realize how much work it is.’ And she was right. It’s a lot more work than you realize. But at the same time, what I told her was, on the second week of June if there was no Festival of the Bluegrass, I don’t know what I’d do with myself. I’ve got a 15 year old son who has been working at the festival store. Last year he brought a friend with him to work, and this year he has three friends who want to come and work, because they’ve been talking about it all year, about how much fun it is.” “In December our kids will come up to us and say, ‘Is it festival time yet?’” AnnaMarie says. “Some families put on a family reunion. We put on a bluegrass festival,” Roy says. There are 43 Cornetts on the schedule this year, from the immediate family—over fifty counting second cousins. “Just see what happened because you moved that sweater,” Jean quips. Organized by the Lexington Area Music Alliance (LAMA), BOB 2013 kicks off Monday, June 3 with the Cleverlys, The Moore Brothers Band and an interview with IBMA’s Nancy Cardwell on WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour at the Lyric Theater, followed by a BOB Kickoff Party at Natasha’s with Gangstagrass, the band from New York City that recorded the theme song for the FX network hit show, Justified. On June 4 Newtown will perform at the Southland Bowling Lanes, and Alison Brown will be at Willie’s. The Flint Ride Millers and Appalatin will be featured on Red Barn Radio June 5, and the concert will be filmed for the Kentucky Educational Television (KET) series, Kentucky Muse. Bluegrass Collective will be featured at the city’s “Thursday Night Live” event at the 5/3 Pavilion, followed by the first night at FOTB with Lonesome River Band, Coal Town Dixie and Newtown. Dailey and Vincent will take the festival stage on Friday, June 7, along with Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out and the 23 String Band. Saturday’s line-up includes the Masters of Bluegrass featuring Del McCoury, J.D. Crowe and Bobby Osborne; Town
Mountain; Seldom Scene (Jean’s perennial favorite); and more. Shuttles will run from bluegrass venues in Lexington out to the festival grounds Thursday – Saturday, for campers who want to check out some of the music in town. Live bluegrass music is featured three nights a week during the summer and on Mondays and Wednesday nights year round in Lexington, Roy Cornett notes—a recent development over the past five years.
Joe Lurgio to join IBMA staff June 6 as Convention Services / Membership Director IBMA is pleased to announce that Joe Lurgio will join the IBMA Staff as the Member Services & Convention Services Director June 6. Hailing from New England, most recently the Boston area, Lurgio has been surrounded by acoustic music since childhood. He was raised in Rhode Island by his singer/songwriter mother, and his uncle. At a young age, a drive to play all bluegrass instruments was ingrained in him, as well as a deep love and respect of acoustic music. He regularly attended monthly jam sessions and festivals along the Rhode Island/Connecticut border, learning bluegrass at a young age. Although he didn’t realize it at the time Joes says, "playing and listening to the folks at those sessions turned bluegrass from a hobby into a way of life for me". He graduated from Green Mountain College (VT) in 2002 with a degree in Environmental Science and has spent the last decade managing large scale engineering projects at a private firm. But Lurgio's passion for bluegrass has kept him up late into most nights working his second "job," promoting folk and bluegrass events in the Northeast. With ties to both the old and the new, he is very excited to bring his energy for bluegrass to work for the members of the IBMA. He brings a unique mix of skills including project management, event coordination/promotion, database management, IT skills, and the connections that come from being a musician himself and an active part of the bluegrass community. “We’re thrilled to welcome Joe to the IBMA team,” said Executive Director Nancy Cardwell. “In addition to his organizational and event management skills and his background with the music itself, he brings a high level of enthusiasm and positive energy to the staff. We’re all looking forward to working with him.” Lurgio will be coordinating overall logistics for the World of Bluegrass and managing Member Services and databases, as well as acting as staff liaison with several other IBMA committees, and assisting with some Foundation for Bluegrass Music projects.
Showcase artists for WoB Bluegrass Ramble selected Congratulations to the following acts who have been invited to perform as part of the Bluegrass Ramble Showcase, which will take place at the Raleigh Convention Center and six different venues throughout downtown Raleigh, Tuesday through Saturday of World of Bluegrass. Dave Adkins & Republik Steele The Bankesters Breaking Grass Travers Chandler & Avery County Kristy Cox & Calder Highway Cumberland Gap Connection Detour Bill Evans Bradford Lee Folk & The Bluegrass Playboys Front Country Grasstowne The Gravy Boys Band Todd Grebe and Cold Country Growling Old Men Henhouse Prowlers
The Honey Dewdrops Kathy Kallick Band Kickin’ Grass Band Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys Red Wine Kevin Richardson & Cuttin’ Edge Southern Raised Johnny Staats & The Delivery Boys The Steel Wheels The Stray Birds Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line The Toy Hearts Wildfire Jeanette & Johnny Williams Wood & Wire
What’s new on Bluegrass Nation? May was a busy month for Bluegrass Nation’s Backyard Bluegrass Sessions!
We welcomed The Spinney Brothers, MilkDrive, and Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen to jam outside of IBMA’s offices. Be sure to keep up with Bluegrass Nation on Twitter and Facebook to see when the videos will be released! The Roys have recorded an exclusive track-by-track commentary on their latest album Gypsy Runaway Train, which you can watch here. Learn all about the stories behind the songs, and read more about the album in “Fresh Sounds.”
Fresh Sounds: June Claire Lynch, Dear Sister: With one of the most distinguished voices in bluegrass music, Claire Lynch sure knows how to deliver. On Dear Sister, raw emotion and a bit of a country hue boldly shine on the debut album with Compass. The two-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year deservedly gets fantastic support from the likes of Tim O’Brien, Alison Brown, and Rob Ickes, along with the usual tight ensemble. Key tracks: “Doin’ Time,” “I’ll Be Alright Tomorrow,” and title track “Dear Sister.” (www.clairelynch.com, Compass Records) Clinton Gregory Bluegrass Band, Roots of My Raising: While some people stick to their roots, some wander along. Clinton Gregory has found his roots again, and they’re in bluegrass. The country-turned-bluegrass artist debuts an album rich in melodies and deep in soul, giving new spins on bluegrass and country favorites, and diving deep into gospel and original songs. Key tracks: “Roots of My Raising,” “Sittin’ On Top Of The World,” and “Crucifixtion.” (www.melodyroundupmusic.com) Karen Lynne, Shine Your Light: Karen Lynne has a gift for delivering melodies that are warmly received, with words that soothe and inspire. On Shine Your Light, Lynne delivers gospel messages of love, faith, resilience, and strength. With support from Daryl Mosley, and Stella Parton on a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Coat of Many Colors,” Lynne’s latest album is a special one. Key tracks: “Coat of Many Colors,” “Will There Be Any Stars,” and “Walk Slow.” (www.karenlynne.com) Mike Scott & Friends, Home Sweet Home: Producer and performer Mike Scott assembled an all-star group of musicians to salute the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War with an instrumental album. The 14-song album includes songs popular during the Civil War era. Adam Steffey, Rob Ickes, Bryan Sutton, Aubrey Haynie, Tim Stafford, Mike Compton, Ben Isaacs, and Jeff Taylor join Scott in paying tribute to a rich heritage. Key tracks: “Battle Hymn of the Republic,” “Turkey in the Straw,” and “The Battlefield.” (www.RuralRhythm.com) Sleeping Bee, Heyday Maker: Skilled musicians and longtime friends Andy Goessling (guitars, mandolin, Bouzouki, Dobro) and Lindsey Horner (acoustic bass, whistles) join together with a collection of songs unique to their definitive styles and joyfully imaginative tastes. Together, the songs that make up this project reflect a rich freedom and impeccable musicianship. Folk fans will enjoy the Bob Dylan cover. Key tracks: “Spirits,” Moorish Melody,” and “I Threw It All Away.” (www.lindseyhorner.com) The Expedition Show, Stormy Horizons: From Mountain Fever Records comes the 7th album for The Expedition Show, which shows off great songwriting from banjo picker and founding member Blake Williams and soulful harmonies. Throwbacks to old Earl Scruggs and Hank Williams songs round out the album which has a horizon more sunny than stormy. (www.mountainfever.com) The Roys, Gypsy Runaway Train: Brother and sister power team, The Roys, go full steam ahead on their latest venture. With a feeling of more freedom, Lee and Elaine explore the highs and lows of life while balancing their signature harmonies and broad sound. Gypsy Runaway Train is a fun, emotional, and compelling album from the award-winning duo with solid originals
and favorite covers. Key tracks: “Half of Me,” “Another Minute” and “Gypsy Runaway Train.” Out June 4. (www.theroysonline.com, Rural Rhythm Records) The Spinney Brothers, No Borders: Nova Scotia brothers Allan and Rick are pros at bringing lyrics and to life with their latest Mountain Fever Records release No Borders. The songwriting is stronger than ever, touching deeply with relatable humor, emotion and compassion. With instinctive instrumentation and modern twists on traditional storylines, No Borders is an impressive attribute to their discography. Key tracks: “Grandpa’s Way of Life,” “On That Glorious Day,” “The Moon Saw Me Crying.” (www.spinneybrothers.com, Mountain Fever Records) Trinity River Band Today Don’t Look Like Rain: With high energy, and tight harmonies, Trinity River Band have garnered a following with their professionalism and equal likability. With a fine blend of original songs, and covers from Pure Prarie League, and Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner, this album definitely pleases anyone with an affinity for bluegrass, gospel, and country. Key tracks: “Today It Don’t Look Like Rain,” “Riptide,” and “From Now On.” (www.trinityriverband.com)
Bluegrass Music Industry News Chart toppers at press time Billboard: Steve Martin & Edie Brickell’s Love Has Come For You has stayed at Number 1 since its release five weeks ago. Steven Curtis Chapman’s Deep Roots is at Number 2, and Dailey & Vincent’s Brothers of the Highway is at Number 3 for its third week on the shelves. Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart: Dailey & Vincent’s “Steel Drivin’ Man” at Number 1, Marty Raybon “That Janie Baker” at Number 2, and The Gibson Brothers “They Called It Music” at Number 3. Bluegrass Unlimited Songs: Marty Raybon “Dirt Road Heartache” Number 1; Balsam Range “Any Old Road (Will Take You There)” at Number 2, and Grass Cats “The Mountains, My Baby and Me” at Number 3. Bluegrass Unlimited Albums: Balsam Range Papertown at Number 1, Road Into Town by Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass at Number 2, and Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice’s The Story of the Day That I Died at Number 3. Welcome to the band! Bass player Blake Bowen has joined Shannon and Heather Slaughter in County Clare. He has worked previously as a member of Randy Waller & The Country Gentlemen, Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper, and the Tina Adair Band. Grasstowne announced that Blake Johnson is their newest member, playing guitar and singing lead.
Blake lives in Roxboro, NC and has been playing guitar since he was ten years old. More recently he worked with Travers Chandler and Avery County. Ronnie Bowman will be playing guitar and singing with The Likely Culprits, stepping in for Ashby Frank who has signed a six month contract with Carnival Cruise Line to perform onboard their ships. In addition to Ronnie, Deanie Richardson is on fiddle, Austin Ward on bass, Brandon Bostic on guitar, with Melanie Cannon and Garnett Bowman on vocals. Randy Barnes is the new bass player with Marty Raybon & Full Circle. He joins Chris Wade on banjo, Zach Rambo on mandolin, and Tim Raybon on fiddle and sock rhythm guitar. Marty, of course, handles the lead vocals and plays guitar. Daniel Patrick, 18, is the newest band member of The Roys, on banjo. The announcement comes just ahead of their June 4th album release of Gypsy Runaway Train (see more in Fresh Sounds), and before summer gigs kick off. Strictly Business Newtown has recently brought on Moore Bass Entertainment to help represent them for live appearances. The company is managed by Jason Moore, bass player with Mountain Heart, hence the name. Rural Rhythm Records has entered into an exclusive distribution deal with New Day Distribution for exclusive distribution to the CBA market (association for Christian retail). New Day Distribution will have exclusive distribution rights to the Christian market of physical CDs for both the Rural Rhythm Records and Rural Rhythm Christian lines. eOne Distribution will maintain their exclusive distribution for both physical CD’s and digital distribution to the Mainstream market. APA Nashville has signed Dailey & Vincent to their roster. The duo, celebrating its five-year anniversary, has earned two Grammy nominations, three consecutive IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards for "Entertainer of the Year" and three awards for "Vocal Group of the Year," respectively, and over 40 other awards and honors. They have multiple #1's and currently have two albums in the Top 10 on the Billboard charts. Sleepy Man Banjo Boys are now being represented by the prestigious William Morris Endeavor, a talent agency, with offices in major entertainment centers like New York, Nashville, Los Angeles and several others around the world. Rural Rhythm Records is launching a new series of classic bluegrass reissues for online download which they are calling Rural Roots Digital. The first two re-releases include timeless albums from Red Smiley and The Bluegrass Cutups, and fiddler Curly Fox. Both of these reissues are available from familiar download sites like iTunes, Amazon and Google. They are also offered to bluegrass radio programmers via AirPlay Direct.
Grant deadline: June 30 From the Foundation for Bluegrass Music: A fund of $10,000 has been earmarked to support public projects in memory of Doug Dillard and Arthel “Doc” Watson. Of special interest are bluegrass music-related projects and programs that involve education or youth. This is a
competitive application process and candidates must meet the Foundation’s Grant Application Guidelines. Grants awarded will be announced during IBMA World of Bluegrass week, September 24-28, 2013, with funds available after January 1, 2014. Donations to the Foundation for these and related efforts are welcomed in any denomination, and these grants will be funded regardless of donations received. The deadline to apply is June 30. Click Here for a grant application form. To learn more about the Foundation for Bluegrass Music, click here. To watch a video about the Foundation’s grant to Guitars in the Classroom program in Clay County, West Virginia and its positive impact on students and teachers, click here.
Goings-on Bluegrass at the Ryman kicks off another summer season on June 20 with the prized Vince Gill. Others slated to perform are Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver with Junior Sisk and Ramblers Choice (June 27); The Gibson Brothers with Balsam Range (July 4); Ralph Stanley & Jim Lauderdale (July 11); Dailey & Vincent (July 18); and Ricky Skaggs (July 25). More information and tickets can be found at www.ryman.com/bluegrass. The Huck Finn Jubilee takes place over Father’s Day weekend (June 14-16) in Ontario, CA. Ricky Skaggs, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Pete Wernick and Long Road Home, Larry Stephenson Band, Bluegrass Etc., Don Rigsby and Kenny Smith as Rambling Rooks, Special Consensus, The Hillbenders, Della Mae, and more will perform. The event includes camping, classic cars, vittles, and lots more. For camping info and tickets, visit www.huckfinn.com. Song of the Mountains, the award winning public television concert announces their eighth season beginning on June 15th. Twenty Four new episodes will feature Bobby Osborne & Rocky Top Express, Rodney Dillard & the Dillard Band, Roni Stoneman, Sierra Hull & Highway 111, Janie Fricke, the Steeldrivers, Balsam Range, the VW Boys, Chuck Wagon Gang, Morehead State University Mountain Music Ambassadors, Lonesome River Band, Redhead Express and the Seldom Scene. Viewers can check local listings and websites of their local public television affiliates to see when these new episodes will air in their areas. Let’s Help ‘em Out! Fleming County High School in Flemingsburg, KY has a new bluegrass program for students, and is looking for some help. They are in need of instruments, concert gigs, and general support. If you have any or all, please call the number (606)-845-6601, and ask for Sarah Wood who is their instructor. The Bluegrass Music Association of Iowa is raising funds to overall support its mission by selling copies of “The Cookie Book,” chock-full of cookie recipes that will make your mouth water. The book sells for $13.50, inclusive of tax and shipping. To order, or donate, visit BMAI’s website here: www.iowabluegrassmusic.com. From greeting guests to leading school tours, there are opportunities for volunteers to share their time and talents at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN. To learn more, attend one of the following “Get the Scoop on Volunteering” information sessions
July 10th, 17th, 24th or 27th, from noon until 1:00 pm at the museum. Includes ice cream compliments of Blue Bell Creameries! For more information or to make a reservation, contact Sandy Conatser, Volunteer Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org or 416-2092. Get involved today! Congratulations! John McEuen will receive the 2013 Charlie Poole Lifetime Achievement Award. Banjo player McEuen, who is scheduled to top the bill at the 18th Annual Charlie Poole Music Festival, is to receive the award at a presentation to take place on Friday evening June 14th at Governor Morehead Park, Eden, North Carolina. Afterwards he will showcase his special talents in concert at the festival. On Saturday June 15th McEuen will deliver a guitar and banjo workshop. Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn welcomed their baby boy on May 19th in Nashville. Juno Fleck weighed in at 5 lbs 10oz. Washburn delivered the baby while Fleck was on stage in San Francisco. Everyone is happy and healthy! In remembrance Former Blue Grass Boy, Roger Smith of Milton, Indiana passed away Wednesday, May 22. He was 86 years old. Smith worked with Bill in the Blue Grass Boys during 1956 and ’57, switching between banjo and fiddle during his two years with the band. Autoharpist and singer Chris Twomey of Ireland has passed away. Twomey was one of the pioneers of bluegrass and old-time music in Ireland. Heard Round the World In April, bluegrass enthusiasts from Australia and New Zealand proposed a new organization called the ‘Australasian Bluegrass & Old Time Music Association’ to be formed “to assist in representing and coordinating the people and organizations with an interest in the music, across state and international boundaries in the region.” One of the primary responsibilities of the new association will be to set the foundations for and build a new music festival. The new festival, ‘Mountaingrass’ will be held in Harrietville, Victoria, Australia; November 22-24, 2013. Handl, from Czech Republic, won the European World of Bluegrass award for #1 Bluegrass Band. The EWOB took place May 29-31 in Voorthuzien, the Netherlands. The Moonshine Brothers (Sweden) and Trativod (Czech Republic) tied for second place. The proud winners of the Audience Popularity Awards were Sunny Side (Czech Republic), The Bluegrass Playboys (Netherlands), and G-Runs & Roses (Czech Republic). Giant Mountains Band, winners of the Caslav (Czech Republic) Banjo Jamboree in 2010, are proud to announce their first CD, Long Lonesome Road. The album features original songwriting from American mandolinist Lucien G. Holmes and stellar musicianship from the band. The CD is available for download or purchase (10€, including shipping). Have a listen or get it today at gmband.cz. Lilly Drumeva, Bulgarian bluegrass pioneer and founder of Lilly of the West, has written and recorded a new song in the Bulgarian language. The title is “Кънтри в душата” ('Country in my
soul'), inspired by her love and passion for country and bluegrass music. Enjoy Lilly’s new song and photos of Lilly of the West on YouTube. A professional video will be released very soon. Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen will join as tutors at the La Roche Bluegrass Workshop in La Roche sur Foron, France July 30, and August 1, 2013. The workshop aims to help players of all levels who want to jam but aren’t quite sure if they are good enough or how to get started. The cost is €120 for the workshop + €75 euros for accommodation and food. Sue Thompson and Mathilde Cousin will host a vocal harmony class; James Field will be on hand to teach effective rhythm guitar; Raphaël Maillet (Fiddle), Dorian Ricaux (guitar and mandolin), PierreYves Lechat (banjo) and Pierre Bastide (dobro) complete the lineup of tutors. The workshop is organized by Pierre Bastide who can be contacted on email@example.com. Attention bands from outside the U.S.: IBMA's International Committee, together with the EBMA and Nechville Instruments, will host a number of 'Foreign Affairs' showcases, and would like to show the Americans that there is bluegrass music all over the world. These showcase programs will probably be held in a venue in Raleigh, close to the Convention Center, late at night on Thursday, Friday and possibly Saturday, when the Award Show and the official Wide Open Bluegrass programs are over. Please let us know if you plan to be there, and if you are willing to perform on one of these nights. Email Rienk Janssen at mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAMU’s Bluegrass Country - IBMA World of Bluegrass Showcase Submission Guidelines Each year at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass Festival, WAMU’s Bluegrass Country sets up shop for live in-studio interviews and performances. These 20-25 minute exclusive broadcasts are streamed online, and on the radio (105.5 FM in Washington, DC; 93.5FM in Frederick and Hagerstown, MD), plus in front of a lucky studio audience. WAMU is looking for the pickers and players to be part of this prized and always anticipated ongoing event during WOB. Are you interested? When and where? Tuesday, September 24 through Friday, September 27, starting at 3 and going until 6pm Eastern Time in the Raleigh Convention Center, Raleigh, NC. To be considered for one of the 24 broadcast showcases, please submit the following info no later than June 30, 2013. 1. A working link to band website and Facebook page. 2. No more than three MP3s or Youtube video links of your performances, or a physical copy of your latest CD and press kit. 3. Your Contact information: name, phone number and email address Submissions may be made online to Chris Teskey at email@example.com, or by mail to: Broadcast Showcase Submissions, WAMU’s Bluegrass Country, 4000 Brandywine St., NW, Washington, DC 20016
No phone calls, please. The final schedule will be announced no later than August 1, 2013. We look forward to working with you in Raleigh in September! Good luck!
Camping at World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC; September 24-28 Fully equipped camp sites are available at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds which is locally approx. five miles from downtown and the main event campus (RCC, PAC, Red Hat Amphitheater, etc). Drive time is an estimated 10-15 minutes depending upon time of day. There are 50 sites that are reserved there as a block for IBMA attendees, and there is a reservation-by-email process. The spots are spacious and in a new area of the fairgrounds which will accommodate an RV, easily including room for an additional vehicle. Cost is $25 per night and includes full hook ups. The reservation process is as follows: Call Claudine Davis/ NC State Fairgrounds at 919.733.5709 ext. 4501 or email her at Claudine@ncagr.gov. More sites will be added as needed and based upon availability. Note: it is an NCSU home football weekend and this location is near the stadium; reserving early is suggested!