Posted tagged ‘international bluegrass music museum’

RANDY LANHAM & FRIENDS, “A Fiddler’s Prayer,” no label. 14 tracks

June 30, 2014

Randy Lanham is the music director at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky.

He leads the museum’s “Bluegrass in the Schools” program at 23 elementary schools, teaches the museum’s group lessons, has about 40 private students a year and works with five to six beginning bluegrass bands.

He and his brother, Barry, operate the Lanham Brothers Jamboree at Diamond Lake Resort a few miles out of town.

Lanham won the 1991 Kentucky state fiddle championship, moved to Nashville at age 20 and went on to perform with such country singers as Clay Walker, Wade Hayes, Tracy Lawrence and Tanya Tucker and to tour with George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson and Faith Hill before he decided to get off the road and come back home.

This summer, he’s releasing his first bluegrass gospel album, “A Fiddler’s Prayer,” which features Lanham’s fiddle along with a group of friends and family, picking and singing.

Two tracks — “How Great Thou Art” with Jenny Beth Willis and Wade Hayes and “I Surrender All” with Blackberry Jam — were recorded live at the Jamboree.

And “Give Me Jesus” with Joe Christian was recorded for a radio show a few years ago.

The rest were done in a recording studio this year.

Lanham performs fiddle solos on “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” “I Heard The Voice of Jesus Say” and the title track, which he wrote.

His daughters — Skylar, Emma and Addie — sing “Jesus Loves Me.”

And four generations of Lanhams — John, Bill, Randy and Skylar — perform “What A Friend We Have In Jesus.”

Wade Haynes sings “The Old Rugged Cross.”

The CD is available for free download at

People who want an actual copy of the CD can purchase one for $12 on the site.

All proceeds go to charity and Lanham said people who download the CD free can make a donation “if you feel led.”

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.

Old Crow Medicine Show added as headliner

March 17, 2012

Old Crow Medicine Show, a 14-year-old Nashville-based string band with a rock ‘n’ roll attitude, has been signed to headline one night of this year’s ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival at Yellow Creek Park.

Gabrielle Gray, executive director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, which sponsors the festival, said the band will headline either June 29 or June 30.

 Vince Gill, a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, will headline the festival’s opening night on June 28.

ROMP has also signed The Deadly Gentlemen, a Boston-based band that describes itself as featuring “a lot of three-part harmony singing, group shouting, really dense rhymes and an almost rap-like phrasing.”

Gray said ROMP is the only festival Old Crow Medicine Show has scheduled so far for 2012.

“They’re mostly playing indoor, limited-seating, high-ticket venues,” she said. “That’s a trend. Most of the bigger bands are starting to do that.”

Gray said ROMP was able to sign the band “because I’ve been after them to come for years.”

Theaters can produce more revenue for bands, she said, “but the festival atmosphere is infinitely more exciting for the fans and the bands.”

Old Crow Medicine Show’s sound, which has been variously described as alt-country, old-time, Americana and folk/country, “is in the direction of progressive bluegrass,” Gray said. “They are open to trying anything new and exciting.”

After last year’s ROMP, the museum polled those who had attended on what new bands they would like to see.

Gray said Old Crow Medicine Show and The Avett Brothers topped the list.

The Deadly Gentlemen, she said, is “one of the most exciting new bands I’ve heard in awhile.”

Members include Greg Liszt, who has a Ph.D. from MIT in molecular biology, but left science to play banjo on tour with Bruce Springsteen; Mike Barnett, who toured with bluegrass legend Jesse McReynolds as a fiddle player when he was 15; and Sam Grisman, son of mandolinist David Grisman.

ROMP has been adding more bands on the fringes of bluegrass for the past few years.

Gray said that’s because the music continues to evolve.

She said Bill Monroe, who’s known as the father of bluegrass music, “went to his grave with a different type of music in his head, but he was a captive on his own success. He was afraid his fans wouldn’t like it.”

This, Gray said, “is the most exciting time ever for bluegrass.”

This year’s ROMP lineup also includes Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Greensky Bluegrass, Pokey LaFarge & the South City Three, Lonesome River Band, The 23 Sting Band, Bearfoot, Monroeville, The Farewell Drifters, Town Mountain, The Expedition Show, NewTown, NewFound Road, Renegade Stringband, Snap Jackson & The Knock On Wood Players and Grandview Junction.

Tickets are available at or by calling 926-7891.

Early bird specials — $28 for a single-day ticket, $80 for a three-day general pass, $60 for a museum member or college student and $30 for a high school student — are in effect until April 1, Gray said.

From April 2 through June 15, single-day tickets are $30; general three-day passes, $85; college student, $65; museum members, $60; and high school students, $35.

At the gate, single-day tickets will be $35 and three-day tickets, $90.

Children 14 and under are admitted free with a paying adult.

Bill Monroe Centennial next week

September 7, 2011

Some of the biggest names in bluegrass music will be in Owensboro next week to celebrate what would have been Bill Monroe’s 100th birthday.

Monroe, “the father of bluegrass music,” was born on Jerusalem Ridge near Rosine on Sept. 13, 1911. He died on Sept. 9, 1996, and is buried in Rosine Cemetery.

The International Bluegrass Music Museum will celebrate the Monroe centennial with three days of music Monday through Wednesday at the RiverPark Center, featuring all the members of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Fame who are still performing.

The list includes banjo great Earl Scruggs, whose banjo playing as a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in the mid-1940s set a standard for future generations of bluegrass musicians.


Monroe’s son, James Monroe, will also be featured.

Gabrielle Gray, the museum’s executive director, said fans are coming from across the country as well as in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.

Several Japanese fans are coming, she said.

Gray said this will be the largest gathering of bluegrass legends ever at a single festival.

“I checked with Lance LeRoy (a Hall of Fame agent and manager),” she said. “He said there has never been a festival with a lineup like this. We’re going to have one enormous headliner after another.”

And there may never be another with the same lineup. Age is catching up with some of the legends.

Doc Watson and Mac Wiseman had to drop out of this year’s festival because of health problems. And fiddle great Kenny Baker died this summer.

“This might be the last chance to see some of these legends perform,” Gray said earlier.

Performers include Ralph Stanley, Curly Seckler, J.D. Crowe, Everett Lilly, Jesse McReynolds, the Lewis Family, Rodney Dillard, Doug Dillard, Melvin Goins, Paul Williams; Bill Clifton, Tom Gray and Eddie Adcock.

One of the world’s oldest bluegrass bands, The Dismembered Tennesseans, will also perform. The band has been active since 1945, the year Scruggs joined Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.

Tickets — which range from $100 to $175 for all three days — can be purchased at the museum at 117 Daviess St. or by calling 926-7891.

Single-day tickets will be available at the RiverPark Center’s box office on the day of the show. The $35 seats will be located in the balcony.

“We won’t know how many single-day tickets will be available until that day,” Gray said. “People should buy them early in the day.”

Jane Beshear, Kentucky’s first lady, will be in town at 9 a.m. Monday to greet students attending a preview of the musical, “Young Monroe” in the RiverPark Center’s Cannon Hall.

The musical will be performed again as part of the Monroe Centennial at 7 p.m. Monday in Cannon Hall.

Mike Cooper, Kentucky’s tourism commissioner, and Lindy Casebier, deputy secretary of the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet, are slated to attend the centennial, Gray said.

Schedule for the Monroe Centennial Celebration

July 29, 2011


at the Owensboro RiverPark Center


10:00                     Opening of the new Bill Monroe Centennial Exhibits

1:00                        Welcome Ceremony featuring the Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp 2011 Faculty & Campers         

2:00                        The Rodney Dillard Band

3:00                        Everett Lilly & The Lilly Mountaineers

4:00                        The Dismembered Tennesseans

4:45                        Supper Break

7:00                        Musical: Young Monroe

9:00                        Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys



10:00                     Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys Documentary Premiere (120 min)

12:00                     Lunch Break

1:00                        Bill Clifton         

2:00                        Eddie Adcock and Tom Gray with Martha Adcock

3:00                       Curly Seckler

4:00                        Jesse McReynolds & The Virginia Boys

4:45                        Supper Break

7:00                        Pioneers and Blue Grass Boys Recognition Ceremony

8:00                        Earl Scruggs Family & Friends

9:30                        James Monroe


10:00                     The Lewis Tradition

11:00                     Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain

12:00                     Lunch Break

1:00                        Paul Williams & The Victory Trio

2:00                        J D Crowe & The New South

3:00                        Bobby Osborne & The Rocky Top X-Press

4:00-6:00              Blue Grass Boys and Pioneers Stage Jam

James Monroe to perform at Centennial Celebration

July 29, 2011
James Monroe, son of the “father of bluegrass music,” will perform at the RiverPark Center on Sept. 13 as part of the three-day Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration.

The celebration is sponsored by the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

Bill Monroe was born on Jerusalem Ridge near Rosine on Sept. 13, 1911.

He died on Sept. 9, 1996, and is buried in Rosine Cemetery.


Gabrielle Gray, the museum’s executive director, said having James Monroe perform on his father’s 100th birthday will make the event more special.

The Centennial Celebration lineup includes banjo great Earl Scruggs, whose banjo playing as a member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys in the mid-1940s set a standard for future generations of bluegrass musicians.

“I remember Earl from when I was a little boy and he was in my father’s band,” James Monroe said Thursday.

He was born in 1941, four years before Scruggs became a Blue Grass Boy in 1945.

James Monroe was recruited by his father to play bass in the Blue Grass Boys in 1963, when he was 22.

He switched to guitar in 1969 and became the band’s lead singer when Roland White left the band.

White, a member of the faculty at this year’s Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp at the museum, is slated to perform with other faculty members at the Monroe Centennial on Sept. 12.

Monroe said he’s looking forward to being part of the event.

“It’s really big,” he said of the celebration of what would have been his father’s 100th birthday. “Bluegrass fans are doing things all over the world. There are celebrations in England, Scotland, Australia. Scotland is where the Monroes came from.”

Monroe recorded with his father on 35 sessions through the years.

James Monroe left his father’s band in 1971 to strike out on his own with a new band, The Midnight Ramblers.

In 1983, he took a brief stab at country music, exchanging The Midnight Ramblers for Tennessee Thunder. But a few years later, Monroe was back in bluegrass with James Monroe & The Midnight Ramblers.

In 2008, he was inducted into the North American Country Music Hall of Fame.

Monroe has performed several times in Rosine, but he has rarely been in Owensboro.

In 2002, when the bluegrass museum opened on a daily basis, Monroe came to the celebration to present the museum with one of his father’s stage costumes.

“They really outdid themselves,” he said at the time. “I think it’s wonderful. They did a great job on my father’s room.”

Monroe said he has cut back on touring in recent years and doesn’t perform nearly as much as he used to.

But he said he’s working on a tourism project in Ohio County.

“I still own the Uncle Pen property at Rosine,” he said. “I want to build it back the way it looked and make a little tourist attraction.”

Pendleton Vandiver, an Ohio County farmer and well-known fiddle player, took in  Bill Monroe, his nephew, when Monroe was orphaned at 16.

Bill Monroe wrote the bluegrass classic, “Uncle Pen,” in honor of Vandiver.

Gray said tickets are still available for the Sept. 12-14 Monroe Centennial Celebration.

“This is for people who adore Bill Monroe” and traditional bluegrass music, she said.

Gray said tickets have been sold to fans across the country as well as in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Japan and New Zealand.

Several Japanese fans are coming, she said.

Other performers include Ralph Stanley, Curly Seckler, J.D. Crowe, Everett Lilly, Jesse McReynolds, the Lewis Family, Rodney Dillard, Melvin Goins, Paul Williams; Bill Clifton, Tom Gray and Eddie Adcock.

Tickets — which range from $100 to $175 for all three days — can be purchased at the museum at 117 Daviess St. or by calling 926-7891.

Emmylou Harris coming to ROMP

March 2, 2011

Emmylou Harris will join Steve Martin in headlining the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s eighth annual River of Music Party on June 23-25 at Yellow Creek Park.

“She’s the headliner we were searching for,” Gabrielle Gray, the museum’s executive director, said of Harris. “This is the biggest lineup for a bluegrass festival ever in Owensboro.”

Some might rank the 1988 International Bluegrass Music Association Fan Fest lineup here, which featured Harris (with Vince Gill, Carl Jackson, Jerry Douglas and Emory Gordy Jr. in her Angel Band) and Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys, in the same category.

But this year’s ROMP, which bears the new name ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches Festival, is definitely the most eclectic of the festivals staged in Owensboro since 1985.

“It’s the strongest lineup we’ve ever had for ROMP,” said Terry Woodward, vice chairman of the museum board.

The lineup includes Harris, Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Punch Brothers featuring Chris Thile, Pete & Joan Wernick, Audie Blaylock & Redline, Tony Rice, Mountain Heart, Trampled By Turtles, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike, The 23 String Band, the Josh Williams Band, The Infamous Stringdusters, The Professors of Bluegrass and Sarah Jarosz.

Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers will top the Thursday night lineup. The Carolina Chocolate Drops and Harris will headline Saturday night.

“I had a call from a boy in Louisville who had heard that Steve Martin was coming,” Woodward said. “He said there’s a lot of buzz in Louisville about us.”

Gray said she’s still hoping to sign some international bands for the festival.

“We’re going wild on the lineup this year because the city has asked us to be the brand for Owensboro,” she said. “It’s incumbent on us to put on the best artists we can find.”

Woodward said: “We’re trying to bring some notoriety to the area. I think this lineup will be a huge success.”

Most of the acts appeal to demographics other than traditional bluegrass fans.

“We’re going to see a lot of people this year who have never been to ROMP,” Woodward said. “People from out of town had better make their hotel reservations early.”

It’s an expensive lineup, but, he said, “You have to spend money to make money. I think it will be a huge success. I’ve been talking to some sponsors, but I was waiting until we had the final headliner before I talked to them again.”

Gray said ticket sales are already “way ahead” of past years and ROMP is more than three months away.

The festival has attracted crowds of around 7,000 (spread over three days) in the past.

Tickets for all three days are $70 for general admission, $50 for museum members, $55 for students and $60 for senior citizens and active-duty military.

One-day tickets, which aren’t sold in advance, are $25 for all groups.

Three-day tickets can be ordered by calling 926-7891.

This will be Harris’ third performance in Owensboro. She also performed at the old Executive Inn Rivermont in August 1983.

Harris began her career as a folk singer in the mid-1960s, struggled in Nashville as a waitress in 1970, moved into West Coast country rock with Gram Parson’s Fallen Angel Band in the early 1970s and then became an established country singer in 1975.

While other country singers were crossing over into pop, Harris was moving the other way — toward a bluegrass sound, but still firmly anchored in country.

She has been nominated several times for IBMA awards in the past.

An estimated 2,000 people huddled under blankets, quilts and several layers of clothing that damp September night in 1988 to hear Harris and her Angel Band.

An inch of rain had fallen earlier in the day, and a cold breeze blew off the river.

“‘We have to do this more often,” Harris told the crowd. “I’m having fun.”

Twenty-three years later, she’s coming back to do it again.

The lineup doesn’t include traditional bluegrass musicians because the museum has created a second festival this year on Sept. 12-14 to celebrate what would have been Bill Monroe’s 100th birthday.

Monroe, “the father of bluegrass music,” was born on a farm outside Rosine on Sept. 13, 1911. He died Sept. 9, 1996, and is buried in Rosine Cemetery.

That lineup includes every active member of the IBMA’s Hall of Honor — Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Doc Watson, Jesse McReynolds, Mac Wiseman, J.D. Crowe, Bobby Osborne, Eddie Adcock, Tom Gray, Kenny Baker, Curly Seckler, Everett Lilly, The Lewis Family, Bill Clifton, Rodney Dillard, Melvin Goins and Paul Williams.

“Between the two festivals, Owensboro is going to get a lot of exposure this year,” Woodward said.