Bluegrass

Vince Gill, Sam Bush, Ricky Skaggs and More Join Moody Bluegrass Two

Following 2004’s critically and commercially acclaimed tribute to the legendary Moody Blues, the GRAMMY nominated Moody Bluegrass, along with the highly successful Moody Bluegrass Live, Nashville’s finest have come together again to honor the Moody Blues with Moody Bluegrass Two…Much Love available nationwide on June 21, 2011.

“We have had so many cover versions of our songs over the years, but none have stood out like Moody Bluegrass. Nashville's most outstanding musicians have once again brought a new dimension to our songs, “ said Ray Thomas, co-founder of the Moody Blues.

Producer David Harvey returns for this second volume, which perfectly blends the brilliant songwriting of the Moody Blues with the bluegrass sounds of mandolins, banjos and even clogging. The collection of bluegrass covers includes Moody Blues members Justin Hayward, John Lodge and Graeme Edge, as well as band co-founders Mike Pinder and Ray Thomas and a wide assortment of Music City’s finest including Vince Gill, Sam Bush and Ricky Skaggs.

The record spans the entire Moody Blues catalogue, and includes fan favorites such as "Tuesday Afternoon" and "I Know You're Out There." Moody Bluegrass Two translates the Moody Blues’ original songs seamlessly and much like the first bluegrass tribute, the beauty of the original Moody Blues music shines.

Moody Bluegrass Two also features the talents of Tim O'Brien, Harley Allen, Peter Rowan, Jan Harvey, Ronnie Bowman, Emma Harvey, Larry Cordle, John Cowan, Jon Randall, David Harvey, Tim May, Andy Hall and Andy Todd.

For more information visit www.moodybluegrass.com.

Trampled By Turtles @ Telluride Bluegrass Fest

Trampled by Turtles, the highly regarded Duluth, MN acoustic 5-piece, will be making their debut at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival this summer.  They’ll be appearing Friday, June 17 at 4:30 pm (right after Jerry Douglas and before Emmylou Harris – great company to keep).

The band’s incendiary sets at SxSW 2011 and Coachella showed up in countless best-of lists and fest recaps by NPR, Esquire.com, American Songwriter and the Boston Globe, to name just a few.

It’s been a steady climb for the band since the April 2010 release of their breakthrough record, Palomino. The album is still holding in the Top 5 on the Billboard bluegrass charts, and critical acclaim has accompanied TBT’s word-of-mouth reputation as a live band not to be missed. While it’s the band’s energy and quicksilver picking that has made them a favorite on the tour and festival scene, it’s the songwriting that seals the deal. All the band members cut their teeth in rock, punk and metal bands but their original material draws from the same well of inspiration as Townes Van Zant, Dylan, Neil Young, Del McCoury and Ralph Stanley, putting their own unique spin on this classic genre.

Trampled by Turtles have been tapped to provide music for the Adult Swim cartoon Squidbillies, and will be releasing a split vinyl/digital single with fellow Minnesota band Motion City Soundtrack in June 2011. Stay tuned for further details

Sarah Jarosz 2011 Summer Tour Dates

In case you haven't had a chance to listen, here's what folks are saying about Follow Me Down, the sophomore release from Sarah Jarosz out today!

-- Click here to listen to Sarah's NPR Feature on All Things Considered!

-- Click here to stream Sarah's cover of Radiohead's "The Tourist" featuring Punch Brothers.

-- Click here to watch the EPK.

“Widely regarded as one of acoustic music’s most promising young talents: a singer-songwriter and mandolin and banjo prodigy with the taste and poise to strike that rare balance of commercial and critical success.” – NEW YORK TIMES

*** ½ (out of four) – USA TODAY

"One of the fastest-rising stars in the roots music scene, and rapidly crossing over to the mainstream too.” – MSN MUSIC

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Sarah Jarosz Summer Tour Dates:

5-17     New York, NY - Rockwood Music Hall
5-18     New York, NY - Housing Works Bookstore Cafe
5-22     Austin, TX - One World Theatre - 2 shows
5-25     Annapolis, MD - Ram's Head Tavern
5-26     Vienna, VA - Jammin' Java
5-28     Nashville, TN - Grand Ole Opry
6-01     Asheville, NC - Grey Eagle
6-02     Charleston, SC - Spoleto Festival
6-03     Tryon, NC - Tryon Fine Arts Center
6-05     Nashville, TN - 3rd and Lindsley
6-07     San Francisco, CA - Slim's
6-08     Chico, CA - Sierra Nevada Big Room
6-09     Ashland, OR - CultureWorks
6-10     Corvallis, OR - First Presbyterian Church
6-12     Seattle, WA - Tractor Tavern
6-13     Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
6-15-19  Telluride, CO - Telluride Bluegrass Festival
6-25     Owensboro, KY - ROMP Music Festival - IBMA Museum
6-26     Santa Monica, CA - McCabe's
6-28     Los Angeles, CA - Hotel Café
6-29     San Diego, CA - Anthology
7-08     Winnipeg, CAN - Winnipeg Folk Festival
7-14     Glasgow, Scotland - CCA Glasgow
7-16     Bedford, UK - Civic Theatre
7-17     Sheffield, UK - Greystones
7-18     Bristol, UK - St. Bonaventure's
7-19     Norwich, UK - Norwich Arts Centre
7-20     London, UK - Bush Hall - Part of a Communion Show
7-22     Nottingham, UK - The Glee Club
7-23     Gateshead, UK - Summertyne Festival
7-27     Teton Village, WY - Grand Teton Music Festival/Walk Festival Hall
7/29     Lyons, CO - Rockygrass

The Bluegrass Ball Plays Post-Phish in NV

The Bluegrass Ball is excited to announce the addition of a very special Phish after-show event with The Travelin McCoury's and Emmitt-Nershi Band on Tuesday, August 9th and Wednesday, August 10th at The Horizon Casino in Stateline, NV!  These shows will be the 6th & 7th installments of Bluegrass Balls whose goal is to bring the spirit of a bluegrass festival on the road and to venues across the countries.  Part of the excitement and success of the Bluegrass balls is due to the impromptu jams and unscheduled collaborations - that feeling that you never know what might happen, who might jam, and who might show up on stage.  Tickets are on-sale now and available at www.InTicketing.com - included with tickets is a FREE Pre Phish pool party on 8/10!

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The Travelin’ McCourys do not stand still. They are on the road–and online–entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres. It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music. No other band today has the same credentials for playing traditional and progressive music. As the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo continue their father’s work-a lifelong dedication to the power of bluegrass music to bring joy into people’s lives. And with fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram, the ensemble is loved and respected by the bluegrass faithful. But the band is now combining their sound with others to make something fresh and rejuvenated.

Town Mountain Releases 'Steady Operator' Today

Town Mountain release their third studio project Steady Operator today on Pinecastle Records. Produced by GRAMMY Award winner Mike Bub (formerly of the Del McCoury Band), the album was tracked live in the studio and features bluegrass originals written by band members Jesse Langlais and two-time International Bluegrass Music Association Songwriter Showcase selection Phil Barker. This is the first release on Pinecastle since it was purchased under new ownership.

Town Mountain brings a unique energy with their mix of original bluegrass material mixed with slow country crooning and a honky-tonk edge. Born out of the all night jam sessions and fertile picking scene of western North Carolina, Town Mountain has emerged as one of the premier young American bluegrass bands. With superb original material about topics ranging from love lost and heartache, to the weariness of a midnight drive across America's heartland, to environmental commentary on mountainside development, Town Mountain's music is sincere, honest, and heartfelt. They've played national festival stages like Merlefest (where the shared the stage with Jim Lauderdale during his bluegrass set this year), Rockygrass, and Pickathon. Full schedule of summer tour dates below.

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ON TOUR:

May 13-14 - Aiken Bluegrass Festival - Aiken, SC

May 21 - Birdfest - Panola, SC

May 29 - White Squirrel Festival - Brevard, NC

June 2 - Avogadro's Number - Fort Collins, CO

June 3 - Gold Hill Inn - Gold Hill, CO

June 4-5 - Pagosa Folk 'N Bluegrass Festival - Pagosa Springs, CO

June 8 - Music City Roots - Nashville, TN

June 9-10 - Festival of the Bluegrass - Lexington, KY

June 15 - The Mast Farm Inn - Banner Elk, NC

June 18 - Mo Daddys - Asheville, NC

June 30 - WDVX Blue Plate Special - Knoxville, TN

July 1- The Station Inn - Nashville, TN

July 2 - Music on the Square - Jonesborough, TN

July 7 - Ulrich Museum at Wichita State University - Wichita, KS

July 8 - Salida Cafe - Salida, CO

July 9 - Crested Butte Music Festival - Crested Butte, CO

July 13 - Bunning Park Concert Series - Rock Springs, WY

July 15 - Bluegrass on the Bay - Great Falls, MT

July 16 - The Summer Music Festival at Roseberry - McCall, ID

July 18 - St. Maries Council for the Arts Concert Series - St. Maries, ID

July 19-21 - McMenamin's Old St. Francis School - Bend, OR

July 22-23 - Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival - Stevenson, WA

July 28 - Top of the Rockies Ralley - Paonia, CO

July 29 - Oskar Blues - Lyons, CO

July 31 - Fiddles, Vittles, and Vino Festival - Colorado Springs, CO

August 11 - River Jam Concert Series - Charlotte, NC

September 16 - Downtown After 5 - Asheville, NC

September 22-23 - Jammin' at Hippie Jacks - Crawford, TN

October 8 - Blue Ridge Big Sky - Moravian Falls, NC

Del McCoury and Preservation Hall Release Joint Album Today!

Fans who have been streaming American Legacies, the unprecedented collaboration between bluegrass music’s legendary Del McCoury Band and New Orleans music giants, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, can finally snag a copy of the album for themselves today, April 12th, as the set is released in multiple configurations designed to appeal to casual listeners and dedicated followers alike.  The musical partners are also celebrating the event with the release of a new video that gives a sneak peek at the cross-genre blend on both a musical and personal level, with comments from Del McCoury, the PHJB’s Ben Jaffe and more, available at http://www.mccourymusic.com/americanlegacies.cfm, where the curious can still stream the project in its entirety as well as order it directly from the source.

The set—and the joint tour organized to bring its music to venues around the country—have already gotten plenty of attention for its remarkable blend of traditions. The twin legacies of bluegrass and jazz are combined in ways that underline their points of contact while preserving their distinctive characteristics, as horns blend with string band instruments to produce something at once refreshingly new and yet profoundly familiar, from the opening, tradition-based “The Band’s In Town” through the closing “One More ‘Fore I Die.”  And whether they’re tackling a decades-old standard or a new composition, the two groups bring fierce musicianship, deep respect and a rollicking good humor to the musical table in a way that makes the joy of the encounter unmistakable.

Known as one of the premiere ambassadors of bluegrass, the Del McCoury Band is fronted by veteran Del McCoury, who apprenticed in the honkytonks of Baltimore and with Bill Monroe before starting his own band more than 40 years ago.  A hero to east coast bluegrass audiences through the 1970s and 1980s, he stepped onto the national stage with a move to Nashville in the early 1990s that started the Del McCoury Band on an unprecedented streak of International Bluegrass Music Association awards and international acclaim.  Today, McCoury, along with a band that includes his sons Ron and Rob, are admired by hard-core bluegrass traditionalists and eclectic music fans and stars alike as they make appearances everywhere from the Bonnaroo Music Festival to late night network TV shows to their own popular Delfest.  For millions of fans across the US and around the world, the Del McCoury Band is simply the face of bluegrass.

Founded just a few years before McCoury joined Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been carrying the distinctive sound of New Orleans jazz around the world on behalf of Preservation Hall, a unique venue that embodies the city’s musical legacy.  With a cast of musicians schooled through first-hand experience and apprenticeship into the music’s historic traditions, the PHJB has served as an irreplaceable, vital link to the earliest days of one of America’s most beloved forms of popular music, evoking the spirits of times past in an ever-evolving modern context that has found them traveling around the world.

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Del McCoury/Preservation Hall Tour Dates:

April 13 - St. Charles, MO @ Family Arena
April 14 - Lawrence, KS @ University of Kansas- Leid Center
April 15 - Appleton, WI @ Fox Cities PAC
April 16 - Naperville, IL @ Pfeiffer Hall
April 17 - Fayetteville, AR @ Baum Walker Hall at Walton Arts Center
April 19 - Wilmington, NC @ The Sarah Graham Kenan Memorial
May 12 - Los Angeles, CA @ UCLA- Royce Hall
May 27 - DelFest, Cumberland, MD
June 10 - Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
July 7 - Winnipeg Folk Fest
August 6 - Edmonton Folk Fest

The Greencards' new 'The Brick Album' features Vince Gill, Sam Bush

From the first notes struck together in 2003 through tours with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson, up to and beyond their fourth studio album in 2009, The Greencards have won steadily escalating acclaim for their multi-dimensional Americana vision. Each step they’ve taken has widened their appeal. Their releases have topped the Billboard Bluegrass charts. In both 2008 (for their Viridian album) and 2010 (for Fascination), they were nominated for Grammy Awards in the “Best Country Instrumental” category. They’ve earned ovations from “newgrass” music devotees at MerleFest and from indie-rock loyalists at Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Festival. RollingStone.com noted, “This imported band is creating some of the finest Americana around.”

But this four-piece band, spearheaded by Australians Carol Young and Kym Warner, is interested less in past accomplishments than in looking ahead for new goals to achieve. Produced and engineered by studio veteran Justin Niebank (Vince Gill, Marty Stuart, Keith Urban), The Brick Album on the band’s own Darling Street Records is the first to successfully infuse The Greencards’ eclectic musical references with the excitement they generate onstage.

“We’ve been striving for this since our first record,” says mandolinist Warner. “We recorded totally in one room this time, with very little isolation. It was all about doing the performance now, without going back to add anything later on.”

“What you’re hearing is all one take,” bassist and singer Young adds. “If someone really didn’t like what we’d done, we’d play it all again from the top rather than drop the part in. When you drop in a part, you lose a little bit of the feel. You’ve got to get a run-up to it.”

That immediacy was heightened by the addition of two new members of the group. Tyler Andal, a young fiddle whiz from Tennessee, reinforces both The Greencards’ grounding in roots music and their eagerness to let in the fresh air of newgrass, rock, folk elements, Latin America and much more. “He thinks outside the box,” Warner explains. “We’ve always had a strong rhythmic aspect to our music, and Tyler definitely brings that.”

The other recent arrival, former National Flatpicking Championship winner Carl Miner, excels as a guitarist in that tradition but more importantly applies his virtuosity equally well beyond it. “He’s good at everything,” Warner says. “He’s one of the most versatile musicians, and probably the most consistent, we’ve ever played with. With Tyler and him in the band, everyone is pulling in the same direction.”

Make that “directions.” The Brick Album kicks off with “Make It Out West,” a rhythmically irresistible chant powered by guest artist Sam Bush’s slide mandolin, with lyrics conjuring restless dreams and far horizons. From there the songs take listeners through ever-changing vistas — the Spanish-inflected “Heart Fixer,” whose vocals by Young and guest artist Vince Gill stir memories of Marty Robbins; the slinky, teasing “Mrs. Madness,” written by Warner after a night of watching Bored to Death; the magical “Girl in the Telescope,” which floats like a feather in sunlight; “Tale of KangaRio,” an intimate Brazilian dance of mandolin and guitar; “Loving You Is the Only Way To Fly,” a dreamy evocation of the Louvin and Everly Brothers, the pillars of classic country duet vocals.

There’s much more, but two tracks bear special mention. The wistful “Faded” is a sweetly harmonized tune, so natural that you don’t even notice its unusual 5/4 time signature. Similarly, “Adelaide” is a brisk instrumental, built over a rushing stream of chord changes made accessible by melodies and solos of eloquent coherence.

“As we get older, the more I think about it, the more we want something in music you can cling to,” Warner says. “That comes with melody. What we do on The Brick Album allows us to have something not only on the record but also on our live show. It brings it back to “more than anything, this is about lyrics and harmony.”

It’s also about integrating fans more than ever into the band’s process. The Greencards followed an independent path with The Brick Album, partnering with its followers rather than with record labels to fund its sessions. In exchange for contributing to the “Buy A Brick” project, each donor had his or her name permanently inscribed on a brick within the wall that comprises its cover art.

“The times have changed a lot in the music industry, not so much in the creative side but in business side of making music,” Warner says. “We just wanted to give something unique and special to people, not just by sending them an early copy of the record by putting their names on the artwork. That makes them fully a part of it.”

But it’s the music that makes us all part of this journey. Warner and Young were both steeped in country music; she charted several No. 1 singles in her homeland as a solo artist and he won the Australian National Bluegrass Mandolin Championship for four consecutive years. They moved to Austin, put together the first incarnation of The Greencards there and today call Nashville home.

Along the way, they have picked up some influential fans. Their 2009 release, Fascination, prompted Rosanne Cash to say, “The Greencards are a little island of truth and beauty in a sea of artifice and mediocrity. What a fine group, and what a great collection of songs.” Buddy Miller called it one of the year’s “most inventive discs.”

With this new release, the world becomes more than ever The Greencards’ stage. Their sound defies category, balancing taste and technique, engaging lyrics and melodies and wildly creative arrangements. There may be a wall on The Brick Album’s cover, but the future suggested on these tracks knows no barrier.

Steep Canyon Rangers Join Steve Martin on New Album

The Steep Canyon Rangers (SCR), have joined iconic comedian, Steve Martin on his sophomore album entitled Rare Bird Alert to be released TODAY, March 15, 2011. Bringing bluegrass music to new audiences, SCR continue their meteoric rise as passionate ambassadors for the bluegrass music they love. With Martin, SCR played for more people than any other bluegrass band in 2010.  This year will be even bigger, as the group prepares a nationwide tour with Martin to support their collaborative project.  The Rare Bird Tour will kick off in New York City with three sold-out performances at the famed Joe’s Pub March 15-17 as well as a return appearances to the Late Show with David Letterman on March 16 and The View on March 17.

When Martin, an accomplished banjo player and songwriter, handpicked SCR to tour and record with him last year, they jumped at the chance.  “Serendipity has made a better match than any bluegrass computer dating service,” jokes Martin. With Rare Bird Alert, Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers have created an album filled with the traditional bluegrass sound, bursting at the seams with banjo, fiddle and lyrics that are both fun and reflective.

The title track “Rare Bird Alert” perfectly scores the lonely ache and melancholy of bird watching. Paul McCartney guests on “Best Love” a foot-stomper about love and the little things.  On “Go Away, Stop, Turn Around, Come Back” SCR’s lead singer, Woody Platt, tells the story of love, breakup and reunion while “Jubilation Day” bounces with the delight and renewed vigor that can come from a breakup. The Dixie Chicks lend their considerable talent to “You” the saddest un-sad song about a past love with no regret. The closing tracks on the record showcase Martin’s comedy roots.  On “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs” Martin and SCR create a gospel song for those without one while “King Tut” allows Steep Canyon Rangers to put their bluegrass-spin on an old Martin favorite.

After a year jam-packed with tour dates, including Carnegie Hall, and headlining festivals such as Bonnaroo, Merlefest, New Orleans Jazzfest, Newport Folk Festival, Martin helped SCR introduce bluegrass to millions of who may have been hearing it for the first time and SCR show no sign of stopping. For more information, please visit www.steepcanyon.com.

Del McCoury and The Preservation Hall Jazz Band Celebrate Mardi Gras

In honor of Mardi Gras this week, Bluegrass Legend Del McCoury and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band have shared the song “One More ‘Fore I Die” off their upcoming collaborative album, American Legacies (out April 12th).  Click HERE to stream/download the track, which premiered at NPR yesterday.  The two also filled the historic Preservation Hall yesterday for a special performance on Lundi Gras Day. Today they will team up again for the Preservation Hall Parade that occurs annually on Mardi Gras.  The parade will gather on the corner of Dauphine and Frenchmen Streets and will commence at 2:00pm.  The parade route will conclude at Preservation Hall.

Del and the PHJB will also celebrate the advance release of a special Mardi Gras themed vinyl edition of American Legacies. Manufactured exclusively for Record Store Day (April 16) 2011, this special edition vinyl is green on one side and gold on the other, featuring a purple label.  Limited to 1000 copies, a small number have been made available for sale exclusively at Preservation Hall during this very special event.

About American Legacies:

American music fans have an unprecedented opportunity to hear two masterful groups explore the common ground where bluegrass and jazz meet when the Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band release their collaborative American Legacies project on April 12th via McCoury Music and Preservation Hall Recordings.  Inspired by the success of the Del McCoury’s participation on 2010’s PRESERVATION, a PHJB project made with multiple artists to benefit New Orleans’ unique Preservation Hall venue and its Music Outreach Program, the set offers a dozen songs filled with deep respect and joyful virtuosity.  Complementing the release, the two groups have announced a joint tour that will feature them performing on their own and together in a groundbreaking concert experience.

American Legaciesis a no-holds-barred tour of songs and sounds that sum up the simultaneous (and often intersecting) histories of two distinctively American musical forms—the jazz that has drawn music lovers from around the world to New Orleans for more than a century, and the “hillbilly jazz” of bluegrass, created more than 60 years ago by Del McCoury’s one-time employer, Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys.

Available Everywhere on April 12, 2011

Del/PHJB Tour Dates:

March 19 - Boston, MA
March 27 - Columbus, GA
April 9 - Tucson, AZ
April 13 - St. Charles, MO
April 14 - Lawrence, KS
April 15 - Appleton, WI
April 16 - Napierville, IL
April 17 - Fayetteville, AR
April 19 - Wilmington, NC
May 12 - Los Angeles, CA
May 27 - DelFest, Cumberland, MD
June 10 - Bonnaroo, Manchester, TN
July 7 - Winnipeg Folk Fest
August 6 - Edmonton Folk Fest

Brian Setzer Gives Bluegrass a Rockabilly Spin

With its forays into bluegrass and traditional jazz, Brian Setzer's new album 'Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!' (out April 19 on Surfdog Records) has the guitar legend testing new waters and putting his signature Stray Cat stamp on a few instrumental favorites. Setzer didn't set out to create an all-instrumental affair but couldn't resist temptation when the music started heading in that direction.

"I didn’t start writing an instrumental record, per se," says Setzer. "I wrote 7 songs with lyrics, and then all of a sudden I just took a turn and started fooling around with 'Blue Moon of Kentucky,' except without any vocals. I started playing melody chords and thought, 'Wow, this is pretty cool!'  So the direction turned about halfway through my writing. I had never done an instrumental record, but I thought, well, now’s the time."

Setzer wrote six originals and revitalizes five jazz-bluegrass classics – “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” "Earl's Breakdown," "Cherokee," "Be-Bop-A-Lula," and "Lonesome Road." Recording each gave Setzer the chance to revisit old techniques and try new tricks, such as playing banjo on the Earl Scruggs' classic “Earl’s Breakdown,” or substituting jazz chords into traditional bluegrass on the Bluegrass Boys’ “Blue Moon of Kentucky.”

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'Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!' Tracklist

(all songs written by Brian Setzer, unless otherwise noted)

1. "Blue Moon of Kentucky" (written by Bill Monroe)

2. "Cherokee" (written by Ray Noble)

3. "Be-Bop-A-Lula" (written by Tex Davis and Gene Vincent)

4. "Earl's Breakdown" (written by Earl Scruggs)

5. "Far Noir East"

6. "Intermission"

7. "Go-Go Godzilla"

8. "Lonesome Road" (written by Gene Austin, Nathaniel Shilkret)

9. "Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown"

10. "Hot Love"

11. "Pickpocket"