Archive for June 2019

GENA BRITT, “Chronicle: Friends & Music,” Pinecastle. 13 tracks.

June 24, 2019

In 1990, North Carolina native Gena Britt moved to Nashville to work with Petticoat Junction, a popular bluegrass band at the time.

From there, she went on to work with New Vintage and Lou Reid and Carolina.

Britt formed her own band in 2001, worked with the Daughters of Bluegrass and later the Skip Cherryholmes Quintet.

In 2013, Britt was one of the founders of Sister Sadie and, a year later, she joined Grasstowne.

In other words, she’s been busy as a member of several popular bands.

But this summer, Britt is stepping out as a solo artist with “Chronicle: Friends & Music.”

There are a lot of friends playing and singing on the album.

Alicia Newton sings lead on “Get Up In Jesus’ Name,” an uptempo gospel number.

Brooke Aldridge takes over the lead vocal work on “On And On,” an old Bill Monroe song.

Marty Raybon is featured on “Traveling Poor Boy,” Duane Sparks on the the 1992 Joe Diffie hit, “Ships That Don’t Come In, and Robert Hale on “Looking Forward To The Good Life.”

Britt handles the vocal work on the rest of the album.

“Over And Over” compares love to a train and the singer says she feels like a hobo just hanging on.

“You Don’t Get Over That” says that some people get over lost loves — but some never do.

“Soldier’s Lament” and “Big Country” are instrumentals.

“Runaway Train” finds the singer leaving a man like, well, a runaway train.

“Come To Jesus” is bluegrass gospel.

“Daddy’s Shoes” finds the singer knowing that she can wear her father’s boots, but she can never fill his shoes.

And “Untold Stories” is about a couple who parted years ago and now discovers that it’s time to tear down the walls they’ve built between them.

Good album.

Look for it on July 12.

Bluegrass Hall of Fame sees visitors from 11 countries

June 3, 2019

OWENSBORO, Ky. — By the time the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum in downtown Owensboro celebrated its six-month anniversary in April, it had seen approximately 20,000 visitors from 11 countries, 35 states and at least 470 ZIP codes.

And that was during the late fall, winter and early spring — not prime travel time.

With summer on the horizon, Chris Joslin, the Hall of Fame’s executive director, expects bigger numbers.

Carly Smith, the marketing director, said visitors have come from Great Britain, Japan, United States’ minor outlying territories, France, Netherlands, Australia, Canada, South Africa, Thailand, India, China and Germany.

Terry Woodward, the Hall of Fame’s board chairman, has worked, pushed and contributed money since 1985 to get a world-class bluegrass museum in Owensboro.

“We opened in October, which is not the best travel time,” he said. “I think it’s done extremely well.”

The Hall’s Woodward Theatre has hosted 21 concerts since October.

And several of those shows have been streamed on the Internet.

“The last I heard, the Rhonda Vincent show had been viewed 347,000 times,” Woodward said. “And 150,000 of those were the night of the show.”

He said, “We’ve had comments on the show from people in Russia, Thailand, Japan, New Zealand, Scotland and a lot more countries.”

Smith said, “Opening in the fall gave us time to focus on the Hall of Fame without ROMP coming up. ROMP is when most of the fans are in town. A lot of activities are planned during ROMP this year.”

She’s expecting about 27,500 fans at the bluegrass festival on June 26-29 — about the same as last year.

“During ROMP, Rhonda Vincent and Del McCoury will bring their tour buses to the museum,” Smith said. “They’ll come inside, pick a couple of songs and sign autographs for the fans. We’ll have some smaller bands playing in the lobby. We’re having a film festival too, with documentaries and some of our video oral history films.”

The Pickin’ Parlor at the entrance to the museum has walls lined with good instruments for people to take down and play.

“It is really getting a lot of use,” Joslin said. “It has become a source of real engagement for people. We have some really good musicians and some who just like to strum an instrument and listen to and watch others. We’re getting good crowds in there at the shows.”

He said, “We plan to launch the outdoor shows during the Owensboro Air Show in September when a lot of people are downtown. Starting in 2020, we plan three or four outdoor shows a year.”

The outdoor stage is on the river side of the museum, with a large grassy area for people to sit and listen to the music.

The Hall of Fame has seven full-time employees, he said, plus “two about three-quarter time and a host of part-time workers and volunteers.

“We have people from St. Louis, Louisville and Lexington who have come to several shows,” Joslin said. “We want to see more of that. People have to come to Owensboro intentionally. We have to give them a reason. That’s why we partner with O.Z. Tyler. The museums in town, even Holiday World, give people an incentive to come. To make the trip, they have to have more than one thing to do.”

And with regular concerts by top bands in Woodward Theatre, bluegrass fans have a reason to visit, he said.