Archive for May 2012

ROMP ticket sales up 10 percent

May 29, 2012

The ninth annual ROMP: Bluegrass Roots and Branches Festival is barely a month away.

And Danny Clark, marketing director for the International Bluegrass Music Museum, said, “Our advance ticket sales are averaging 10 percent ahead of last year to date. They’re coming from all over the U.S. and several foreign countries.”

If that trend continues through the end of the June 28-30 festival, ticket sales could top the 15,000 mark this year.

Last year’s festival at Yellow Creek Park, which was headlined by Steve Martin and Emmylou Harris, sold 13,693 tickets.

That event was easily the largest of the 27 bluegrass festivals Owensboro has had since 1985.

It was 44 percent larger than the previous record of 9,500 total tickets sold for the International Bluegrass Music Association Fan Fest at English Park in 1995.

ROMP is the museum’s largest fundraiser.

This year’s festival is headlined by Vince Gill and Old Crow Medicine Show.

“We’re getting a lot of buzz about them as well as the Punch Brothers and the Carolina Chocolate Drops,” Clark said. “And we’re starting to hear a lot about  Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three as well as The Deadly Gentlemen. There are several acts with big followings.”

Some Rye Grass, a Japanese supergroup, will be performing at the festival, and it’s expected to draw some fans from Japan.

Clark said members of Monroeville, NewTown, the 23 String Band, The Deadly Gentlemen and the Lonesome River Band will be conducting workshops during the festival.

When the final act leaves the stage each night, the “after party” begins in the park’s Pioneer Village.

“The after-party stage this year will be on the porch of the one of the cabins,” Clark said. “That will make it a lot more rustic.”

The after parties, which run into the wee hours of the morning, “are a big selling point for the festival,” he said. “They draw a mostly younger crowd that camps on site.”

The party was so popular last year  that Bawn in the Mash, a Paducah-based band, asked to perform at the after party rather than on the main stage, Clark said.
Other bands performing for the after parties are Farewell Drifters, Renegade String Band, Belfry Fellows, The Deadly Gentlemen and The 23 String Band.

Last year, Clark said, “We had just under 500 campers. We expect to have even more this year.”

Camping for the festival is $10 per person.

Advance tickets through June 15 are $30 for a single day and $85 for all three days.

Museum members can get a three-day pass for $60 and college students for $65.  

Children 14 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.
At the gate, tickets are $35 for one day and $90 for three. There are no student or members discounts at the gate.

Acts scheduled to perform include Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players, Some Rye Grass, Jesse McReynolds & Friends performing a tribute to Jerry Garcia, Vince Gill, Greensky Bluegrass, Grandview Junction, Higher Ground, Don Stanley & Middle Creek,  Renegade String Band, Belfry Fellows, Monroeville, Town Mountain, The Farewell Drifters, Lonesome River Band, The Deadly Gentlemen, Punch Brothers, County Line Bluegrass, Kentucky BlueGrass AllStars, Arnold Shultz Revival, The Expedition Show, NewTown, NewFound Road, Bearfoot, Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three, The 23 String Band, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Old Crow Medicine Show.

For information and tickets, call the museum at 926-7891.

THE BROTHERS COMATOSE, “Respect The Van,” no label. 11 tracks.

May 29, 2012

The Brothers Comatose — actually brothers Ben and Alex Morrison along with Gio Benedetti, Philip Brezina and Ryan Avellone — is a San Francisco band that describes its sound as “strong bluegrass-influenced folk rock.”

But it sounds pretty much like progressive bluegrass.

The Morrisons say they were influenced by their family’s acoustic music parties and after a brief foray into the punk and rock scenes came back to string band music.

“Respect The Band” is a strong album that should get them a lot of bookings at the more progressive bluegrass festivals.

“Modern Day Sinners” takes on the hypocrisy of modern politics with shades of ’50s rhythm & blues and doo-wop.

“Pie For Breakfast” is a blazing fast song about eating pie while watching snow fall in a strange town and missing the woman he loves.

“The Scout” is about a man who wants to stay young forever.

“120 East” is about the band’s journey to and from The Strawberry Music Festival.

“Morning Time” is a duet with Ben Morrison and Nicki Bluhm.

And “The Van Song” is a tribute to their 1988 Chevy G20 tour van.

It’s a good album with good vocals and good picking.

The Brothers Comatose is a band worth watching.

Can’t find it in stores? Try

JIMMY GAUDREAU & MOONDI KLEIN, “Home From The Mills,” Rebel. 14 tracks.

May 21, 2012

Jimmy Gaudreau and LawrenceMoondi” Klein both have impressive bluegrass resumes.

Gaudreau burst on the national bluegrass scene in 1969, when he replaced John Duffey in  the legendary Country Gentlemen.

Duffey went on to found the Seldom Scene. And in the early 1990s, Klein replaced John Starling as the lead singer and guitarist for the Scene.

Then, Gaudreau and Klein joined forces in 1996 to create the short-lived supergroup Chesapeake with Mike Auldridge and T. Michael Coleman, two other former members of the Seldom Scene.

Chesapeake, which was only together a couple of years, played a blend of bluegrass, country, folk, blues and jazz.

Then, in 2007, Gaudreau and Klein got back together for a tour of England and Scotland.

That was followed by “2:10 Train,” a 2008 album that was well received.

And now, they’re back with “Home From The Mills.”

The title cut is a ballad about a man who leaves the New England mills to play his guitar in the city because “factory work can make a boy lose his mind.”

The album is not bluegrass and it’s not really folk.

But it’s a good sound that fans of both should enjoy.

There are a couple of Tim O’Brien songs — “Bending Blades,” a ballad that finds a man longing for the days when he was still loved, and “Rod McNeil,” a ballad about a music promoter who died some years back.

There are a couple of traditional instrumentals — “Whiskey Before Breakfast/Red Haired Boy” and “Fisher’s Hornpipe.”

There’s a Fats Waller jazz tune from the 1930s (“It’s A Sin To Tell A Lie”), a French opera number from the 1880s  (“Enferment Les Yeux”) and an old Albert E. Brumley gospel song (“I’d Rather Live By The Side Of The Road”).

Other songs include Gordon Lightfoot’s “Shadows,”  Townes Van Zandt’s “If I Needed You,” John Starling’s “C&O Canal” and Eric Andersen’s “Close The Door Lightly When You Go.”

Again, it’s not exactly bluegrass. But it’s probably close enough for most fans.

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VARIOUS ARTISTS, “Putumayo Presents Bluegrass,” Putumayo World Music. 13 tracks.

May 14, 2012

Putumayo World Music was created in 1993 to promote music from around the world.

Through the years, the label has created albums of African, Asian, Brazilian, Caribbean and a lot more styles of music.

Now, Putumayo is offering its first collection of bluegrass music.

And it’s a good one.

There’s a good blend of new groups and artists who have been around for two decades or more.

Alison Krauss & Union Station is represented by “Every Time You Say Goodbye” from 20 years ago.  And David Grisman and the late Jerry Garcia are featured on “Jackaroo,” a song they recorded in the early 1990s.

Peter Rowan performs “Man of Constant Sorrow.” James Alan Shelton does “Shady Grove.” The Seldom Scene sing Bob Dylan’s “Boots of Spanish Leather.” And Sam Bush performs “Diamond Joe.”

Newer artists are also represented — Railroad Earth’s “Been Down This Road,” Crooked Still’s “New Railroad,” Uncle Earl’s “The Last Goodbye” and Town Mountain’s “Diggin’ on the Mountainside.”

While the album is probably aimed at an audience that’s not overly familiar with bluegrass, it’s a good collection for long-time fans as well.

Can’t find it in stores? Try starting May 22.

CARRIE HASSLER, “The Distance,” Rural Rhythm. 8 tracks.

May 7, 2012

Carrie Hassler burst on the bluegrass scene in 2006 with a hit single called “Seven Miles To Wichita” off her first album, “Carrie Hassler & Hard Rain,” which spent 11 months on the bluegrass charts.

She’s been delivering good, solid bluegrass ever since.

“The Distance” moves a little closer to country music with an electric guitar and a steel guitar on “Catch My Breath,” which sounds like a song you might find on a classic country jukebox from the 1960s.

It’s a great falling in love song, but not really bluegrass.

The first single off the album, Gram Parson’s “Luxury Liner,” however, becomes a blazing bluegrass tune with Hassler’s handling.

Steve Gulley, who produced the album, joins Hassler for a duet on Carl Jackson’s “Eugene & Diane,” a ballad about a guitar picker and a society woman whose status in life keeps them from ever declaring their love for each other.

The title cut is a ballad about a woman who packs her bags and moves 500 miles, looking for a new life.

“All I Have To Do Is Breathe” is a ballad about taking life more slowly and living day to day.

It’s another strong release for Hassler.

The only problem is it’s not an album. It’s an 8-track EP (extended play).

EPs are popping up more and more often these days. Maybe it’s the economy. But fans can only hope for a full album from Hassler before long.

Can’t find it in stores? Try