Archive for February 2010

Dove bluegrass nominees

February 23, 2010

Here are the Gospel Music Association’s nominations  for bluegrass artists at the 41st annual Dove Awards scheduled for April 21 in Nashville:
Bluegrass Recorded Song of the Year
“I Heard My Savior Calling Me,” by Rhonda Vincent
“On The Other Side,” Dailey & Vincent
“This World Is Not My Home,” Ricky Skaggs
“When We Fly,” Little Roy Lewis & Lizzy Long
“Working On a Building,” Patty Loveless

Bluegrass Album of the Year
“Blue Ridge Mountain Memories,” The Marksmen Quartet
“Breaking Like Dawn,” Little Roy Lewis & Lizzy Long
“I Have Been Blessed,” The Far City Boys
“I Just Want to Thank You Lord,” Larry Sparks
“Lord, Bless This House,” Nothin’ Fancy
“The Isaacs…Naturally,” The Isaacs

BRAND NEW STRINGS, “No Strings Attached,” Rural Rhythm. 13 tracks.

February 22, 2010

East Tennessee-based Brand New Strings was formed a little over a year ago by veteran musicians Randall Massengill, Tim Tipton, Mike Ramsey, Stuart Wyrick and Matt Leadbetter.

Massengill and Ramsey are the group’s lead singers.

“No Strings Attached” is their first album, a blend of traditional bluegrass music with modern lyrics.
“Merry Go Round” and “The First Date,” a pair of uptempo love songs have already been getting some airplay. But this isn’t really an album of love songs.

“Law of the Land” finds a man fighting the government to keep it from taking his property.

“The Blues Club” finds a man on the “blue side of lonesome.”

“Rainy Nights and Memories” is a pretty ballad.

“High On A Hilltop” is a lonesome ballad about a cheating lover.

“Living Water” is a great a capella gospel song. It’s part of a trio of gospel numbers that includes “Caught Up” and “When My Feet Touch The Streets of Gold.”

Probably the most moving song on the album is Massengill’s “Prayer From Home,” which finds a child praying for the soldiers in a war as his father’s body is being loaded onto a plane for shipment back home.

Guests include Ron Stewart, Dale Perry, Don Gulley and Steve Gulley.

A strong debut album by a good new band.

Can’t find it in stores? Try

LARRY STEPHENSON, “20th Anniversary,” Pinecastle. 13 tracks.

February 15, 2010

Larry Stephenson is approaching 40 years in bluegrass, but this album marks  his 20th anniversary as a band leader.

The actual anniversary, however, was February 2009.
Stephenson began his career with his own band — Larry Stephenson & The New Grass — when he was in his early teens.

In January 1979, he hit the road with Bill Harrell & The Virginians, playing mandolin and singing high lead and tenor. In 1983, Stephenson moved to The Bluegrass Cardinals.

Six years later, he formed the Larry Stephenson Band.
The 20th anniversary album features an all-star cast of friends — David Parmley, Connie Smith, Marty Stuart, Ricky Skaggs, Ronnie Reno, Sonny Osborne, Dudley Connell, Jamie Dailey, Darrin Vincent, Del McCoury and Dale Ann Bradley.

Two versions of “Talk To Me Lonesome Heart” with Smith and Stuart are included — a country version and a bluegrass version. But really, there’s not that much difference.

Smith’s voice still sounds great and it would be nice to hear more from her.

Connell sings lead on a strong version of Mac Wiseman’s “The Bluebirds Singing For Me.”

Dailey & Vincent add great harmony to the Louvin Brothers’ “Give This Message To Your Heart.”

“Have You Come To Say Goodbye” features a powerful duet with McCoury and “This Heart of Mine Can Never Say Goodbye” offers a great duet with Bradley.

It’s definitely an album Stephenson’s fans will want.

The only problem is there are so many guests that Stephenson, one of the most powerful tenors in bluegrass, doesn’t get a chance to really shine on his own here.

Look for it in stores Feb. 23. If you can’t find it, try

Bluegrass Returns to its Roots

February 12, 2010 is planning a big April at Diamond Lake Resort, 7301 Hobbs Road.

The new company — owned by John Lampkin and Steve Chandler — is staging the Diamond Lake Gospel Jubilee on April 17 and the ninth annual Bluegrass Returns to its Roots festival there on April 23-24.

The bluegrass festival began at the Executive Inn Rivermont eight years ago and moved to the RiverPark Center last year.

“We’re trying a new location this year,” Jan Kinsey Lampkin, spokeswoman for the company, said Friday. “We’re giving it a family focus this year.”

The focus is also changing from national bluegrass acts to regional.
Lexington-based J.D. Crowe & The New South will headline the festival inside the 750-seat Diamond Lake Theatre.

Crowe is a member of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame.

Other acts include County Line Bluegrass, The Kings Highway, Randy Lanham & The Bluegrass AllStars and Barry Lanham & The Footstompin’  Express Cloggers.

Gene Lanham will be master of ceremonies and will perform as his alter ego, Elmo Skimmyhorn.

Workshops are planned in vocal harmony, clogging and various bluegrass instruments.

Lampkin said the festival is also emphasizing the attractions at the resort — camping, go-carts, paddle boats and fishing.

The festival will begin with an open mic on April 23. The bands perform on April 24.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for children 6 to 12. Children 5 and under are admitted free with a paid adult.

A portion of the ticket sales will go to benefit the Big Rivers chapter of the American Red Cross.

They’re available at Diamond Lake Resort.

The Diamond Lake Gospel Jubilee will feature Jeff and Sheri Easter, The Crossmen, Paul Gatewood, the Gloryroad Travelers, Molly Troutman, the Glory Bound Singers, WE Three, the Revival Music Group and Deena Ashley, master of ceremonies.

Tickets are $13. Campers at the resort get a $2 discount. Children are admitted free.

A portion of the ticket price will benefit the Haiti Food Program missions ministry of Owensboro missionaries David and Judy Heady.


February 11, 2010

The International Bluegrass Music Museum’s seventh annual River of Music Party is scheduled for June 24-26 at the RiverPark Center in Owensboro, Ky., and Yellow Creek Park in Thruston.

Here’s the lineup:


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 23:  AT THE MUSEUM    9 AM to 11 PM                                                                                                                         

  9:00      BLUE GRASS BOYS in Jams, Filming, Storytelling, Performances

                   Live and on RBI, Radio Bluegrass International

12:00      LUNCH BREAK 


  2:00      BLUE GRASS BOYS in Jams, Filming, Storytelling, Performances

                     Live and on RBI, Radio Bluegrass International

  5:00      SUPPER BREAK

   6:00      BLUE GRASS BOYS in Jams, Filming, Storytelling, Performances

                     Live and on RBI, Radio Bluegrass International





10:00      PIONEERS & BLUE GRASS BOYS: Storytelling and Jamming on RBI

                     Fred Bartenstein & Katy Daley, Moderators                     


12:00      LUNCH BREAK 

  1:00      Pete and Joan Wernick                                                                  

  1:30      Pete Wernick Jam Campers

  2:00      Mac Martin & The Dixie Travelers                          

  3:00      The Dismembered Tennesseans                                                        

  4:00      Jimmy Martin Jr. & The Sunny Mountain Boys                                 

  5:00      Hall of Fame Unveiling, Legends Supper/Legends Concert

                   Kitsy Kuykendall, Mistress of Ceremonies 

  7:00      The Dillards                

  8:00      Legends Recognition Ceremony of PIONEERS & BLUE GRASS BOY

                     David Holt, MC with Celebrity Escorts          


  9:00      Doc Watson, David Holt, and Richard Watson                     




10:00      PIONEERS Storytelling, Live on RBI 





10:00      PIONEERS and BLUE GRASS BOYS Jam                                          

12:00      Steel String Session                                                                       

  1:00      Summertown                                                                   

  2:00      Stringtown                                                                                        

  3:00      23 Strings Band                                                                    

  4:00      The Professors of Bluegrass                                                                                

  5:00      New Appleseed Band (Japan)                                                                   

  6:00      Michael Cleveland & The Flamekeeper Band                                                           

  7:00      Claire Lynch                                                                      

  8:00      Josh Williams Band                                                                  

  9:00      Dailey & Vincent                                                            

10:00      G2 (Sweden)                                                                                    




9:00       Rounder Retrospective on RBI                      

Marian Leighton-Levy, John Harrod, Dick Spottswood, Bill Nowlin 



10:00      Up-N-Gone                                                                             

11:00      Kings Highway                                                                       

12:10      Kentucky Wild Horse                                                        

  1:15      Roland White Band                                                         

  2:15      Kentucky BlueGrass AllStars                                                      

  3:00      Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike

  4:00      Rockin’ Acoustic Circus

  5:00      Acousticure (Hungary)                                                                               

  6:00      Danny Paisley & Southern Grass

  7:00      Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

  8:00      The Isaacs                                                                          

  9:15      Another Headline Act TBA soon                            

10:30      Packway Handle Band

JOSH WILLIAMS, “Down Home,” Pinecastle. 12 tracks.

February 8, 2010

Back in 1993, Pete “Dr. Banjo” Wernick put together a band he called the Bluegrass Youth All-Stars to perform at the International Bluegrass Music Association awards show at the  RiverPark Center in Owensboro, Ky.

The band — which would make a great supergroup today — consisted of Michael Cleveland on fiddle, Josh Williams on banjo,  Chris Thile on mandolin, Cody Kilby on guitar and Brady Stogdill on bass.

Williams went on to work in the Special Consensus and Rhonda Vincent’s band, The Rage.

Now, he’s on his own with his first solo album since “Lonesome Highway,” which made several “best of” lists back in 2004.

Williams moved from banjo to guitar several years back. And the IBMA has named him guitar player of the year for the past two years.

His tenor/baritone vocals rank him among the top male singers in the genre as well. He really shines on lonesome ballads.

“Kodak 1955” finds the singer sorting through a box of family photos. The title cut tells the story of two generations of a family battling hard times on the farm and the new generation struggling for a better life off the farm.

Jimmy Martin’s “The Last Song” and Murray F. Cannon’s “Dream of Me” are songs about the lives of traveling musicians.

Guests include Williams’ old bosses — Greg Cahill and Vincent — Darrin Vincent, Jamie Dailey, Tony Rice, Randy Kohrs , Stuart Duncan, Aaron McDaris, Kenny Ingram, Tina Adair, Mickey Harris, Jason Carter, Greg Blaylock and Carl Jackson.

“Down Home” is a strong sophomore effort by a rising star in bluegrass.

Look for it in stores Feb. 23. If you can’t find it there, try

DAILEY & VINCENT, “Dailey & Vincent Sing The Statler Brothers,” Rounder/Cracker Barrel. 12 tracks

February 1, 2010

The Statler Brothers hit the road with Johnny Cash in 1964 and racked up 33 Top 10 country singles before their retirement in 2002.

In January 1966, their “Flowers on the Wall,” climbed to No. 4 on Billboard’s Hot 100 (pop) charts.

A piece of trivia: At the 1965 Grammy awards, the Statlers took home the “best contemporary (rock and roll) performance by a group, vocal or instrumental” trophy for “Flowers.”

Among the runners up: “Help!” by The Beatles.

Count Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent — the hottest act in bluegrass music as the second decade of the 21st century begins — among the rabid fans who know such trivia.

On previous albums, they’ve recorded the Statlers’ “Years Ago,” “There Is You” and “More Than a Name on a Wall.” And in 2008, Dailey & Vincent sang the Statlers’ “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine” at the quartet’s induction ceremony for the Country Music Hall of Fame.

So, it’s only fitting that the reigning International Bluegrass Music Association entertainers of the year record an entire album of their musical heroes’ songs.

There’s “Flowers on the Wall,” “Class of ’57,” “Hello Mary Lou Goodbye Heart,” “Too Much On My Heart,” “Susan When She Tried,” “I’ll Go To My Grave Lovin’ You,” “Elizabeth,” “Bed of Roses,” “Do You Know You Are My Sunshine,” “My Only Love” and “Thank You World.”

These are bluegrass versions — well, except for the piano and percussion — of country classics, but they sound remarkably like the originals.

It’s a great collection for fans of either group.

The album is available in Cracker Barrel Old Country Store locations, at and