Bluegrass

Mike Farris will play 2 sets at Bonnaroo

The Americana Music Association's 2007 "New and Emerging Artist" shows no signs of slowing down this summer and his audiences continue to fuel his incendiary live shows from Nashville to his recent performance at Spain's Azkena Rock Festival! Catch him whenever possible and don't miss him during his two performances at this year's Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival!

mike-farrisFarris' rousing and spiritual live shows have won over thousands of fans and his reputation as a force of positive energy continues to grow. This summer Farris will perform at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival for the second year in a row and is one of a selected few artists performing more than two sets at the internationally respected festival. Farris, along with Phish, The Low Anthem, and Moe, to name a few, will play a full set at one of the festival's larger stages, Which Stage, and a short set at the dynamic Sonic Stage.

To round out the summer, Farris has been invited to appear at the Strawberry Festival in Yellowstone National Park in May, the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in June and the High Sierra Music Festival in July. In August, he will be opening for the incomparable Patti LaBelle at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.

These nationally and internationally respected appearances reiterate how energetic Mike's sets are live. From the SHOUT! Live record to summer shows, Mike gives everything he has to his live performance.

Featuring the McCrary Sisters and the Roseland Rhythm Revue, Mike Farris SHOUT! LIVE captures the energy, power and emotional conviction that has become synonymous with a Mike Farris performance. The album features songs from four nights of recording during the fall of 2008 and was released on both vinyl and CD on April 14th by INO/Columbia records.

Upcoming Tour Dates:
6/14/2009 - Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival - Manchester - TN
6/19/2009 - Liberty Hall - Lawrence - KS
6/21/2009 - Telluride Bluegrass Festival - Telluride - CO
7/04/2009 - High Sierra Music Festival - Quincy - CA
7/05/2009 - High Sierra Music Festival - Quincy - CA
8/06/2009 - Heritage Place Ampitheater - Conroe - TX
8/07/2009 - Antone's - Austin - TX
8/14/2009 - Snowbird Resort - Salt Lake City - UT
8/15/2009 - Snowbird Resort - Salt Lake City - UT
8/16/2009 - Snowbird Resort - Salt Lake City - UT
8/19/2009 - Hollywood Bowl - Hollywood - CA

Matt Flinner Trio Nashville CD Release Party

In August of 2006, with the backdrop of the Rockies to inspire them, the Matt Flinner Trio (Matt Flinner (mandolin), Ross Martin (guitar), and Eric Thorin (bass)) threw down a challenge to one another: write a new tune each day while on tour and perform it that evening. The first gig was at a small art gallery in Salt Lake City and barring a frantic evening of photocopying and rehearsing, the show was a success. The players continued with their daily musical challenge, giving birth to the concept of the "Music du Jour" tours and later the Music du Jour album. Between Flinner, Ross, and Thorin, over sixty new tunes were composed during three western US tours, and in December 2008 the trio committed the twelve best to record at the Compass Sound Studio. With Music du Jour the Matt Flinner Trio sets a new standard for the bluegrass trio sound and creative output.

 

 

flinnerMulti-instrumentalist Matt Flinner has made a career out of playing acoustic music in new ways. Starting out as a banjo prodigy who was playing bluegrass festivals before he entered his teens, Flinner later took up the mandolin, won the banjo contest at Winfield Kansas in 1990, and took the mandolin award there the following year. Flinner's decision to focus on eight-stringed instruments, especially the mandolin, was primarily a function of opportunity.  He explains, "I was getting more work on the mandolin." Sugarbeat, an eclectic quartet that also featured banjoist Tony Furtado, lead vocalist and guitarist Ben Demerath, and bassist Sally Truitt allowed him the opportunity to master the mandolin in a contemporary folk and bluegrass context.

 

 

Flinner is now widely considered one of the hottest mandolin players on the acoustic scene. He tours actively with the Matt Flinner Trio, as a member of the 'new acoustic' trio Phillips, Grier & Flinner, as a member of Darrell Scott's band, and with guitarist Frank Vignola (David Grisman Quintet). Flinner also special guests on banjo with Leftover Salmon and in the fall of 2008 was a featured soloist with Trey Anastasio and Carlo Aonzo during Orchestra Nashville's performance of "Concertino" (Don Hart). He most recently appeared on comedian Steve Martin's new recording The Crow and the Vignola Collectives' March 09 release, Gypsy Grass.

 

 

With his singular combination of taste, tone, and time, Matt Flinner has and continues to create a sound that is unique to his vision and makes an important statement in the evolution of acoustic string band music.

The Gibson Brothers' new album in stores Now

Bluegrass duo The Gibson Brothers' talk about the "feel" of their new album, Ring the Bell. "It makes me think of being young and growing up in our small farming community in New York," explains Leigh. "It evokes memories of fellowship with the men who knew my Grandfather Gibson at church on Sunday mornings.  We'd see folks at the hardware store or the bank during the week and then see them all again at church each Sunday."

gibsonEric agrees that there is an elated intensity to the album. "There is a lot of joy in the music. I think you can tell in listening that we poured our hearts out - not that you can't tell on our other records - but the joy in our playing and singing. At the same time, it feels like our most hard-driving bluegrass album; there's more thump on it, a bigger sounding record than we've ever had."

That bigger sound comes from having the whole band - Mike Barber (upright bass), Clayton Campbell (fiddles), and Joe Walsh (mandolin guitar), and guest Mike Witcher from Missy Raines & The New Hip (resonator guitar) - playing on every track. "I'm very proud of how the band served each song," agrees Eric.  "There's not a lot of 'look at me' acrobatic playing.  It's more 'let's support the vocals, let's support the message of the song, the feel of the song'."

While Eric admits to loving all of the songs on the album, he cites the title track as one of his favorites. "It feels so uplifting to me," he says "and I love my brother's harmony on it." Leigh adds, "This song is a call to action for coming together in a world that sometimes seems intent on tearing itself apart. More than just nostalgia, it's a song about love of fellow man."

Produced by the two brothers plus bassist Mike Barber, Ring the Bell features six originals (including a co-write with Bob DiPiero) and new songs by Shawn Camp/Paul Kennerly, Chet O'Keefe, Joe Newberry, and Marshall Warwick, and a relatively obscure Tom Petty song, "Angel Dream." Staying true to their upstate New York farm boy roots, The Gibson Brothers recorded two agricultural-themed songs for this record, one written by Leigh ("Bottomland") and one by Eric ("Farm Of Yesterday"). "Bottomland", originally recorded for an unreleased Skaggs record, is given an old-timey treatment here and touches on the lives of sharecroppers. "Farm of Yesterday" was written as a tribute to their parents and the family dairy farm that belonged to the Gibson family from 1865-2000. Eric showed the song to Leigh who was moved but said, "it might be too personal to put on the record."  Eric replied, "Laying it out there could be the difference between a good record and a great record." "Farm Of Yesterday" is Leigh's favorite song on the album: "I told Eric he'd now written one Haggard would sing."

Of the album as a whole says Eric "I think everything about it - from the album cover to the songs - is an attention getter and I hope folks will notice. Brother bluegrass acts are almost as old bluegrass itself, but I feel like we've carved out a special niche for ourselves. We've hung in there and toughed it out - we're still in our 30's but I feel like we're bluegrass lifers."

Dale Ann Bradley new album and Station Inn CD release party

It's 9 a.m. on a rainy January day in Nashville, five days into 2009.  Dale Ann Bradley is coming up the studio steps without a raincoat, carrying a guitar and a folder full of lyrics.  She's been on the road for 14 straight days, it's 25 degrees and pouring, but never mind all that.  She's been shaping the concept of her new project, the follow-up to her Compass Records debut Catch Tomorrow, for months, and she can't wait to kick off the first song. She's let her heart guide her way through stacks of songs, looking for those that capture something beyond great music, something that gives voice to what she's been living and breathing in her own life for the last year.

dale ann bradleySo take a seat around the coffee table at the Compass Sound Studio--where Dale Ann Bradley sits with an old D-28 and producer and banjoist Alison Brown puts her gentle mark of genius on arrangements--and let Dale Ann tell you about Don't Turn Your Back in her own words: "It needs to be more than a record," she's says. "This is my dream album. I want it to inspire people to hang in with whatever they're facing--to find the hope and inspiration to keep going. I want to share the music that's touched me and I want to put everything into it that has been given to me over the past year."

This is Dale Ann Bradley. She's the 2007 & 2008 IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year and has been hailed by Alison Krauss and Ricky Skaggs as one of the greatest vocalists in country and bluegrass music. A former Coon Creek Girl and mainstay at Kentucky's Renfro Valley Barn Dance, Bradley commands a list of awards as long as Highway 40, yet a few minutes with her tells you she is something even more than extraordinarily gifted--she's extraordinarily human. A Primitive Baptist preacher's daughter out of the hills of Kentucky where no musical instruments were allowed, Bradley grew up in a self-described "backwoods holler" down a rural road where electricity and running water weren't available until she was in high school--something she has more in common with the first generation of bluegrass than her contemporaries in today's scene.

Dale Ann Bradley is nothing if not a great storyteller, but her ability to step into someone else's shoes and make their story her own for a few minutes, that is what allows every note sung and played on Don't Turn Your Back to be believable. In the company of some of best bluegrass pickers and singers including Stuart Duncan (fiddle/banjo), Deanie Richardson (fiddle), Alison Brown (banjo), Gena Britt (banjo), Steve Gulley (vocals), and Mike Bub (bass), Bradley explores Don't Turn Your Back's undeniable themes of bravery and hope through the eyes of mothers, lovers, trains, and one shiny, soon-to-be-lucky penny.

Staying true to her daughter-of-a-preacher roots, Don't Turn Your Back includes three bluegrass gospel numbers: the humorous "Rusty Old Halo", The Carter Family's "Fifty Miles of Elbow Room",  and the traditional "Heaven", which features reigning IBMA Entertainers of the Year Jamie Dailey and Darrin Vincent. Sharing her love of classic rock and its influence on her music and voice, Bradley includes bluegrass versions of Fleetwood Mac's "Over My Head"and Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down", yet stays close to tradition with the Kentucky mountain ballad "Blue Eyed Boy". Courage is the silver thread running through all twelve tracks of Don't Turn Your Back, and it is in these songs that Bradley lays out all she's got: "Anybody Else's Heart But Mine" teaches us how to push through a broken heart, "Will I Be Good Enough" (Branscomb, Claire Lynch on guest vocals) whispers hope to uncertain parents, and "Music City Queen" (Bradley/Branscomb) documents the dauntlessness of those who come to Nashville seeking stardom. The title track calls for giving life's highway one more chance.

Dale Ann Bradley's mountain soprano has been called "shimmering" (The Washington Post), "angelic" (Billboard), and "exceptional" (Bluegrass Unlimited). An acclaimed musician and currently living in Nashville, TN, Bradley fills every stage and studio with humor, grace, and integrity. Don't Turn Your Back will be available on Compass Records May 19, 2009.

Spring Creek @ Boulder Theate

Spring Creek celebrates the release of their Rebel Records debut "Way Up on a Mountain" at Boulder Theater CD Release Party.

These musical road warriors have held tight to the bluegrass tradition, emulating the first generation greats while presenting a youthful, fresh sound. They eat, sleep and drink their craft within a musical community steeped in bluegrass.  Never satisfied with the ordinary, these four voraciously search for unique or little-known songs, which they mold and shape through intricate instrumental arrangements and pristine vocal harmonies.

In 2009, Spring Creek will join the ranks of Ralph Stanley, Kenny & Amanda Smith and Steep Canyon Rangers as a Rebel Records recording artist. Spring Creek's creative original songs and meticulous harmony vocals caught the attention of the nearly 50 year-old Charlottesville, Virginia, bluegrass label—which has never signed a Colorado-based band.  Spring Creek will release Way Up on a Mountain on May 5, 2009.

Spring Creek have two independent albums on the shelf, including 2008’s Lonesome Way to Go, expertly produced by Grammy award winner Sally Van Meter.  The album has won praise from bluegrass critics and DJs alike, and can be heard on bluegrass radio all over the world.

Spring Creek are the 2007 Telluride and RockyGrass Festival winners, and are the first band to win both titles in the same summer.  Their reputation for excellence made them the most in-demand Colorado bluegrass band this past summer, earning them spots at more than ten regional festivals.  Their songs have already become local jam standards and have been covered by internationally touring acts such as Uncle Earl.  In addition, the band's original crowd favorite "High Up in the Mountains" won the Vox Populi Award for Best Americana Song from the Independent Music Awards.

Luther Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart & Jimbo Mathus tour as South Memphis String Band

south-memphis-string-bandThe South Memphis String Band, a trio composed of Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars), Alvin “Youngblood” Hart (Grammy-winning bluesman) and Jimbo Mathus (Squirrel Nut Zippers), launches its first tour on April 23, 2009 in Dallas, Texas, targeting the East and South. The three friends, bound by Memphis and North Mississippi roots, will tour ahead of recording their debut album later this year. So far only two songs have been unveiled, both at the trio’s MySpace page myspace.com/southmemphisstringband. So the April and May dates will be an opportunity for fans to get in on the ground floor.

Although they’d known each other for years, the trio’s musical spirit gelled last year when they recorded a yet-unreleased album with Luther’s father, legendary producer Jim Dickinson, called New Moon Jellyroll Freedom Rockers.

The South Memphis String Band was greatly influenced by the Mississippi Sheiks, Gus Cannon & the Memphis Jug Band and other string bands and jug bands of their ilk, as well as Mississippi Delta and Hill Country blues. They will travel with a passel of guitars, mandolins, banjos, lap steel guitars and harmonicas.

Luther Dickinson is lead guitarist and vocalist for the North Mississippi Allstars as well as lead guitarist for the Black Crowes. The son of producer Jim Dickinson was born and raised in West Tennessee, where he played concerts and gained recording experience with his father and brother, Cody. The family moved to the hills of North Mississippi in 1985. Luther befriended the musical families of Otha Turner, R. L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. They were the inspiration for Luther and Cody to form the North Mississippi Allstars in ‘96. The Allstars have been nominated for three Grammy Awards in the Best Contemporary Blues category. Luther produced two Otha Turner albums: Everybody Hollerin' Goat and From Senegal To Senatobia. Luther was recently featured in Rolling Stone as one of the “New Guitar Gods.” He has recorded with the Replacements, Mojo Nixon, Toy Caldwell, Billy Lee Riley, John Medeski and Robert Randolph (as The Word), John Hiatt and Jon Spencer, in addition to Turner, Burnside and the elder Dickinson.

Though born in Oakland, California, Alvin “Youngblood” Hart had family connections in Carroll County, Miss., and spent time there in his childhood, hearing his relatives’ stories of Charlie Patton. Influenced by the country blues, Hart is known as one of the world's foremost practitioners of that genre. He’s also a faithful torchbearer for the ‘60s and ‘70s guitar rock of his youth, as well as Western Swing and vintage country. His music has been compared to that of artists ranging from Leadbelly and Spade Cooley to Led Zeppelin and Thin Lizzy. Hart plays acoustic and electric guitar as well as banjo and sometimes the mandolin. Bluesman Taj Mahal once said of him, “The boy has got thunder in his hands.” In 2003, Hart's album Down in the Alley was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album. In ‘05, Hart received a Grammy Award for his contribution to Beautiful Dreamer — The Songs of Stephen Foster. He was featured in the Wim Wenders film The Soul of a Man, which was part of Martin Scorsese’s 2003 PBS series “The Blues,” and also appeared in the documentary Last of the Mississippi Jukes.

Guitarist, songwriter, vocalist and producer Jimbo Mathus grew up in Clarksdale, Miss. He first caught the public’s ear in the 1990s with the hyper-ragtime vaudeville act the Squirrel Nut Zippers. Since then, he has released many recordings of his own in a style he describes as Mississippi Music. “Basically,” Mathus says, “I combine the myriad styles of deep roots music in a type of alchemy. Blues, country, gospel and soul all go into the equation equally.” His last outing, Knockdown South, was released on his own label and received much critical acclaim, including the No. 2 spot on Honest Tune magazine’s Best of 2005 list. He runs the Delta Recording Service, a studio based in Clarksdale, and is sought out by many artists seeking the old-school style of recording. One such artist was Elvis Costello, who recorded his Grammy nominated “Monkey to Man” single in Mathus’ studio in 2005. He has produced two blues CDs that were nominated for Blues Music Awards in 2006, Duwane Burnside’s Under Pressure and Big George Brock’s Club Caravan. Additionally, he contributed vocals on the North Mississippi Allstars’ 2006 Grammy-nominated Electric Blues Watermelon. Mathus sums it up: “I break down walls and stereotypes with my music. I confuse people. I use Mississippi music, which is renegade music at heart, as my inspiration and motivation. I use it as a tool to reach people, to express my own feelings and continue to express those that came before me. I keep the old stories alive while they help keep me alive.”

Mathus says, “Luther, Youngblood Hart and myself have been musical co-conspirators for over a decade. It is only fitting that we should come together with acoustic instruments and perform Mississippi music.”
 

Tour dates:
April 23 – DALLAS, TX Sons of Hermann Hall
April 24 – AUSTIN, TX Antones
April 25 – HOUSTON, TX  Continental Club
April 26 – NEW ORLEANS, LA House of Blues Parish Room
April 27 – BIRMINGHAM, AL  Work Play Theatre
April 28 – MACON, GA  Hummingbird
April 29 – ATLANTA, GA  Eddie's Attic
April 30 – CHARLOTTE, NC  Evening Muse
May 1 – CARRBORO, NC  Carrboro Arts Center
May 2 – RICHMOND, VA  Capital Ale House
May 3 – ANNAPOLIS, MD  Rams Head On Stage
May 5 – NEW YORK, N.Y.  Joe's Pub (9:30pm slot)
May 7 – SELLERSVILLE/PHILADELPHIA, PA - Sellersville Theatre
May 8 – ALEXANDRIA, VA  Birchmere (supporting Dr. John)
May 9 – MEMPHIS, TN  Otherlands

Dale Watson | The Truckin' Sessions: Volume Two

Dale Watson has made a career out of defying contemporary country music standards. The Austin, Texas maverick has remained tried and true to the spirit of authentic country giants like Johnny Cash, Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, and in the process has grown into an artist equal in stature.  Over his 25-plus year career, Dale has released one country classic after the next, while raising the roof with fiery performances at the smallest of honky-tonk dives to legendary music halls like The Grand Ole Opry.

Following up his critically acclaimed 2007 release From The Cradle To The Grave, Dale Watson returns with his second album on Hyena Records entitled The Truckin' Sessions: Volume Two. The collection reprises the most celebrated album in his discography, 1998's The Truckin' Sessions. A tribute to truck-driving men (and even a truckin' queen), the album's 14 songs pay homage to those who commandeer a mighty 18-wheeler rig for their livelihood. Through his sharp songwriting and soulful baritone vocals, Dale captures both the humor and sadness of lives lived on the road, while empathizing with these iconic characters of America's highways. Abetted by his seasoned band that has logged countless road miles themselves, The Truckin' Sessions: Volume Two is a big wheeled, classic country ride not to be missed.

Dale Watson's The Truckin' Sessions: Volume Two is available In-Stores and Online on April 21.

The Truckin' Sessions: Volume Two Tracklist:

1. Drag N Fly
2. Jack's Truck Stop & Cafe
3. Truck Stop In LaGrange
4. 10-4
5. Yankee Doodle Jean
6. Hey Driver
7. Hero
8. I Got To Drive
9. Truckin' Man
10. Me And Freddie And Jake
11. Truckin' Queen
12. Let This Trucker Go
13. No Help Wanted
14. Texas Boogie

Dale Watson Tour Dates:

04-03 | Carls Corner, TX | Willie's Place at Carl's Corner
04-04 | Forth Worth, TX | Stagecoach Ballroom
04-06 | Austin, TX | The Broken Spoke (6:30pm)
04-06 | Austin, TX | The Continental Club (10:30pm)
04-10 | Houston, TX | Blanco's
04-11 | Austin, TX | The Broken Spoke
04-13 | Austin, TX | The Continental Club
04-18 | Helotes, TX | Floores Country Store
04-20 | Austin, TX | The Continental Club
04-22 | Tucson, AZ | Vaudeville 
04-23 | Phoenix, AZ | The Rhythm Room
04-25 | Bakersfield, CA | Fish Lips Bar
04-26 | Indio, CA | Stage Coach Festival
04-30 | Oss, Netherlands | Groene Engel
05-01 | Tilburg, Netherlands | 013
05-02 | Groningen, Netherlands | Oosterpoort
05-03 | Zoetermeet, Netherlands | De Boerderij
05-04 | Lichtenvoorde, Netherlands | Stonevalley
05-05 | München, Germany | Rattlesnake 
05-06 | Arnhem, NL | TBA
05-07 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | Paradiso
05-08 | Austin, TX | The Broken Spoke
05-11 | Austin, TX | The Continental Club
05-16 | Spring, TX | Private Event
05-18 | Shreveport, LA | Eldorado Casino
05-22 | Newport, KY | The Southgate House
05-29 | Houston, TX | Blanco's
05-30 | Austin, TX | The Broken Spoke
06-12 | Chicago, IL | Martyr's
06-13 | Janesville, WI | Bass Creek Golf Course @ The Big Red Open
06-14 | Green Bay, WI | Oneida Casino
06-19 | Windelsbach, Germany | Old West Ranch
06-20 | Untermeittingen, Germany | Four Corners
06-21 | Untermeittingen, Germany | Petrol Club
06-24 | London, UK | The Luminaire
06-25 | London, UK | The Kings Head
06-27 | Skjaak, Norway | Skjaak Country Festival
07-03 | Delft, Netherlands | Stars & Bar
07-04 | Ydre, Sweden | Ydre Country Festival
07-10 | San Antonio, TX | Hangin' Tree Saloon
07-11 | Austin, TX | The Broken Spoke
07-17 | Austin, TX | One World Theatre w/Ray Price
07-18 | Bandera, TX | 11th Street Cowboy Bar
07-29 | Boise, ID | Grove Plaza "Alive After Five Series"
07-31 | Seattle, WA | Tractor Tavern
08-02 | Happy Valley, OR | Pickathon Roots Music Festival

Jeremy Garrett Delivers a Diverse Acoustic Collection w/ I Am A Stranger

garrett"It's my best attempt at not being too shallow," laughs The Infamous Stringdusters' Jeremy Garrett when you ask him about his first solo project, but don't take him at his word.  Indeed, it doesn't take more than a moment's worth of listening to I Am A Stranger for anyone to realize that the young singer, songwriter and fiddler has accomplished much more than that.  Debuting on March 31st as a Sugar Hill Records digital-only release, the album serves up a healthy portion of cutting edge bluegrass along with a few curves that will leave even the most jaded listener satisfied with the project's depth.

Like bandmate Andy Hall, whose Sound Of The Slide Guitar earned the IBMA's Instrumental Album of the Year title in 2008, Garrett highlights his Stringdusters bandmates on a tasty selection of material while leaving plenty of room for contributions by a carefully chosen assortment of friends and colleagues who just happen to be among bluegrass and country's finest.  "Honestly, the musicians were as big a part as the songs were," he says.  "I envisioned how each song would go with particular musicians in mind, and there were songs I wanted to do but didn't because the musicians weren't right, and others that I added because the musicians fit them so well--like Julie Elkins on banjo, whom I've played with since we both lived out west, or Shawn Lane, who's one of the best mandolin players on the planet."

Choosing to focus on "songs that were fairly simple, but with some real depth," Garrett spent the early part of 2008 assembling a collection of actual and future classics.  Some, like the title track and the light-hearted "I Knew You Would Love Me," offer convincing evidence of his own writing talents; others come from grass-rooted favorites like John Pennell, Jeff White and Craig Market, while the genre's stalwarts get a nod in a delicious recap of Flatt & Scruggs' "What's Good For You," sung with Americana sweetheart Abigail Washburn.

But while much of I Am A Stranger is devoted to the kind of energetic bluegrass that Garrett's been contributing to the Stringdusters over the past four years, other numbers stretch out to reflect other aspects of his musical personality--and again, whether he's accompanying himself on the mournful "Fields Of My Mind," learned years ago in his native Idaho, leaning on Music City stalwarts Paul Franklin and Jeff Taylor for piano and steel on Hank Thompson's "Today," or borrowing a song from personal favorites U2, each setting is carefully crafted and each performance compelling.

For those already familiar with his career, the breadth, substance and spirit that pervade the set will come as no surprise.  After moving to Nashville some seven years ago, Garrett swiftly ascended into the ranks of the city's busiest musicians, serving stints with Chris Jones and Ronnie Bowman while filling in with legends like Bobby Osborne before launching the Stringdusters with a group of like-minded colleagues.  The group quickly jumped into the forefront of a bluegrass youth revolution with the release of Fork In The Road (2007), earning the IBMA's Emerging Artist, Album and Song of the Year honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association for its compelling vocals--many featuring Garrett's wailing tenor--instrumental brilliance, engaging song choices and blend of taut, hard-driving precision with loose, funky jams.  Grabbing a brief time-out from a hectic tour schedule, the group went back into the studio to produce last year's follow-up, The Infamous Stringdusters, and then hit the road again.

"This one became a super-intense passion for me," Garrett says as he recalls working on his own album in between 'dusters tours.  "Somehow holes opened up, and we recorded for a total of about five days, and wrapped it up at the beginning of December.  By that point, I'd been concentrating on it so hard that I just took a break from it--but you know," he adds," I listened to it again for the first time in a while not long ago, and I thought it sounded pretty decent."  To which it only needs to be added, don't take his word on that either; whether a bluegrass, Americana or just plain good music fan, any listener will find that I Am A Stranger is one enduring introduction to the full breadth of one of the scene's brightest talents.

Sarah Jarosz's Song Up In Her Head Streets 6/16

Sarah JaroszSeventeen-year-old Texas native Sarah Jarosz emerged on the scene about five years ago as someone to watch.  Jamming onstage with bluegrass icons David Grisman and Ricky Skaggs, she played her mandolin with a sure touch and real joy.  It looked and sounded comfortable in her then twelve-year-old hands.  She started writing songs on the guitar and took up the banjo.  While her instrumental talents are formidable, let's make one thing clear:  Sarah is a singer.  Her voice is velvety smooth, agile, and powerful occasionally reminiscent of such disparate artists as Natalie Maines and Patty Griffin.  With subtle use of colors and effects, she inhabits her songs the way a fine actress does her role. Overall, her music feels good, avoids overreaching. Nothing's contrived.

About to graduate from high school this spring, Sarah is that rare self-possessed teenager. Her schoolteacher parents have raised her well, providing the skills, support, and freedom to become the confident artist that she is. Beautiful, talented, and just a little mysterious in a wholesome, Texas hill country kinda way, Sarah is at home in this world. She knows what she's about and is ready to get out there and make her mark.

"Song Up In Her Head," produced by Jarosz and award-winning engineer and producer Gary Paczosa, features a mix of her original new-old-timey ballads, and two well chosen covers, the Decemberists' "Shankill Butchers" and the Tom Waits/Kathleen Brennan co-write, "Come On Up To The House," which mesh flawlessly with the other eleven songs.  Her collaborators include teenaged peers, including Samson Grisman and Alex Hargreaves, as well as well-known veterans of the acoustic scene, including Chris Thile, Darrell Scott, Stuart Duncan, Mike Marshall and Jerry Douglas.  It's an impressive coming out party, a survey of where she's been so far, and a good indicator of where she's headed.  [Adapted from the liner notes by Tim O'Brien]

SARAH JAROSZ TOUR DATES 2009 

April 18th Old Settler's Music Festival, Austin, TX
June 6th Pagosa Folk 'n Bluegrass Music Festival, Pagosa Springs, CO
June 11th Blue Rock Studios < CD Release Party >, Wimberly, TX
July 18th Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Wimberly, TX
July 26th Rocky Grass, Lyons, CO

Debut Album From Joey+Rory Streets October 28th

Joey + Rory- for the Grateful Web

Joey+Rory, along with Grammy-award winning producer Carl Jackson, have put the finishing touches on their debut album, The Life Of A Song, to be released by Vanguard/Sugar Hill Records on October 28th.  Having produced such greats as Alison Krauss and Merle Haggard, Jackson proved the perfect choice to help husband and wife team Rory Feek and Joey Martin create a traditional country album, seasoned with acoustic elements and equal doses of humor and sincerity.

 

"Working with Joey+Rory is a total joy for me," states Jackson.  "They are the real deal, not an act simply called 'country' whose music contradicts that label.  What makes it even more special is that I believe the only thing they love more than a great country song is each other."

 

Joey+Rory are nothing if not authentic; The Life Of A Song might be listened to as a soundtrack to their simple country lifestyle.  The couple resides in an 1870's farmhouse in tiny Hardison Mill, TN, where Joey helps run a nearby family restaurant called Marcy Jo's Mealhouse.  Perfectly in their element, Joey+Rory sing of scuffed cowboy boots ("Boots"), dusty rodeo arenas ("Rodeo"), and cherished vinyl records ("Sweet Emmylou").  They beg the listener to sing or dance along (the brash and buoyant "Cheater Cheater") before hushing the room with the lovely austerity of "Heart of the Wood."  Even the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic "Free Bird" is putty reinvented in the hands of this pair, as adventurous as they are respectful of country music's roots.

 

Together, the couple contributed their songwriting talents to seven of the album's 12 tracks, including the lead single, "Cheater Cheater."  Already an established songwriter and founding partner of Nashville publishing company Giantslayer Music, Rory has three #1 hits to his credit (Blake Shelton's "Some Beach", Clay Walker's "The Chain of Love" and Collin Raye's "Someone You Used To Know"), and has had cuts by Kenny Chesney, Randy Travis, Terri Clark, Mark Wills, Reba McEntire, Waylon Jennings, Lorrie Morgan, Buck Owens, John Michael Montgomery and Charlie Pride, among others.

 

Joey, who performs lead vocals for the duo, is also a veteran recording artist (previously signed to Sony Records, her debut album and single were never released). The pair only started performing as a duo for the audition of CMT's hit series Can You Duet in early 2008.  The pairing proved to be a hit with thousands of fans as well as Naomi Judd, one of the show's judges and Joey+Rory's most fervent supporter.  CMT is now home to Joey+Rory's debut video for "Cheater Cheater," currently in medium rotation.