bluegrass

Brian Setzer Remakes Bluegrass Classic Blue Moon of Kentucky

"Blue Moon of Kentucky," the opening track on Brian Setzer's 'Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL!" (out April 19 on Surfdog Records), has withstood over 65 years of remakes and covers, but it's never been put to the test quite like it is by Setzer.

Setzer goes jazzy, muscled and completely instrumental on the bluegrass standard -- enshrined in 1989 as the official bluegrass song of Kentucky – turning what Bill Monroe wrote as a "country waltz" into a western swing anthem that finds the rockabilly legend picking his way through a series of lightning quick riffs.

Originally written in 1946 for Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs and the Bluegrass Boys, "Blue Moon of Kentucky" has been covered countless times by a number of esteemed artists. Setzer joins a list that includes John Fogerty, Patsy Cline, Ronnie Hawkins, LeAnn Rhimes, Paul McCartney, Ray Charles, Jerry Reed, Jimmy Martin, and Elvis Presley.

Read more about this release on Brian's website.

The Del McCoury Band and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band Release Joint Album

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.

With common roots in the rich musical gumbo of the American south in the 19th and early 20th centuries, bluegrass and jazz have sat alongside one another with a myriad of common influences and musical vocabularies that have nevertheless remained largely unexplored until now. 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.

Known as one of the premiere ambassadors of bluegrass, the Del McCoury Band is fronted by veteran Del McCoury,  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.

The Bluegrass Ball w/ The Travelin’ McCourys

Chances are if you’ve been to a bluegrass festival the memories most prevalent in your mind are not so much that of the “scheduled” performers but more of the impromptu jams and unscheduled collaborations.  It’s with that spirit that the McCoury family decided to embark on a traveling bluegrass festival that they are calling The Bluegrass Ball.

Ask most string musicians young or old and they will mostly likely tell you they either want to play with the McCoury family if they have not already.  The McCourys are known for not only their ability to play with just about anyone but also for actually doing it!  Due to this willingness to play with other musicians, the McCoury family is known as heavy weights on the festival and bluegrass scene, even having their own wildly successful festival “Delfest”.  The McCoury’s decided to not only play in this festival but also promote it themselves making the festival on wheels more accessible to fans by playing more intimate venues that collaborate in giving fans a great value at a reasonable price.

Along for the ride over 4 nights in both Chicago and St. Louis are mandolin extraordinaire Jeff Austin (Yonder Mountain String Band), Drew Emmitt (Leftover Salmon and Emmitt-Nershi Band), and bluegrass up and comers Head for the Hills. This run of shows will be nothing short of epic. With this particular line up there are sure to be some phenomenal collaborations and each show will certainly be unique from the next!

The Travelin’ McCourys:

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.

Jeff Austin:

Jeff Austin is best known for his many years playing mandolin for Colorado heavy hitters, Yonder Mountain String Band. Yonder has always played by their own set of rules bending bluegrass, rock and roll, and countless other influences. While most known for his playing with Yonder Mountain String Band, Jeff has played with countless musicians and is sought after by countless musicians and festivals alike.



Drew Emmitt:

Revered as one of the most energetic and innovative mandolin players on the jamband/newgrass scene today, Emmitt’s “inestimable talents” (An Honest Tune) don’t end with just the instruments that can be picked.  Holding the wheel steady on acoustic and electric slide mandolin, acoustic and electric guitar and mandola Emmitt also showcases on recent solo albums superlative storytelling and versatile vocal abilities. Drew Emmitt is best known for his over 20 years with Leftover Salmon and also the past few years with The Emmitt-Nershi Band

Head For the Hills:

Rooted in the tradition of bluegrass, the music of Head for the Hills is a vibrant mixture of homegrown compositions, traditional harmonies, and an innovative approach to improvisation.  The groups’ lyrical nature and songwriting seems to evoke reminiscent feelings of inspiration. In the live setting, Head for the Hills can venture into the myriad of musical styles and sonic landscapes that caters to a boundless array of listeners.

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Who:  The Bluegrass Ball featuring The Traveling McCoury’s, Jeff Austin, Drew Emmitt and Head for the Hills

Where and March 10th & 11th at The Abbey Pub – Chicago, IL

Where: March 12th & 13th at The Old Rock House – St. Louis, MO

WEB

Emmitt-Nershi Band Announces New Bassist

With Tyler Grant recently announcing his departure from the Emmitt-Nershi Band fans have been anxiously awaiting the announcement of the new bass player for the band.  Today the Emmitt-Nershi Band website and facebook will be making the announcement that Johnny Grubb of Railroad Earth will be filling the spot.  Throughout Johnny's 7 years with Railroad Earth he had played with Billy Nershi on many occasions opening up the doors for this opportunity.  The bands lineup change is effective as of now and all upcoming dates will be played with Drew Emmitt (mandolin/vocals), Billy Nershi (guitar/vocals), Andy Torn (banjo) and Johnny Grubb (bass).  Below is the official announcement that will be posted on the webpage and facebook from Johnny.

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Hello, World!  Rather than make someone else come up with an announcement for who the new bassist will be, I thought I'd try to follow in Tyler's gracious footsteps and do it myself.

My name is Johnny Grubb.  I went to school at Appalachian State University and saw Leftover Salmon many, many times my first couple of years there.  After ASU, I spent a good year rolling burritos, washing dishes and playing bluegrass in my hometown of Atlanta before serendipitously running into John Skehan of Railroad Earth one night at a gig of ours.  They just happened to be on the lookout for a new bassist and long story short, I spent 7 years in that band, playing several metric tons of great music and meeting lots of great folks all over the country.

One of the folks I met and had the good fortune of playing with on many occasions was Mr. Billy Nershi.  RRE was signed to SCI Fidelity Records for a number of years and we got to be friends with a bunch of the SCI/Mad House folks in time.  RRE always was and still is a full-time commitment. I just couldn't keep it up with the birth of my second boy last January, so I bowed out a year ago and spent this past year getting a web development consultancy off the ground, getting to know the virtues and vices of the various open source software scenes out there and being home with my wife and boys for the first time ever.  The itch to play some bass didn't come back until just a few months ago after getting into the most recent Larry Keel and Stringduster's CDs.

In any event, I cruised by this website last month to see what they were working with from a technical standpoint.  The meaning of Tyler's announcement that he was leaving didn't really hit me until the next day, at least not the part where I should give Billy a call and see who they have lined up.  I wasn't looking for another full-time gig, nor to be in another rock band per se, so after speaking with Billy and Drew it seemed like the parameters were pretty well lined up for everybody and here I am!

Just to put a bow on top of everything, I met Andy years ago when he was with Larry Keel and didn't find out until the last few weeks that he was a member of the Broke Mountain Bluegrass band with Travis from the Infamous Stringdusters and my good friend Anders from Greensky Bluegrass.  It's nice to be a part of this small world and I want to thank my new bandmates for having me aboard.  I will see you all soon.

Greensky Bluegrass CD Release

The music that Greensky Bluegrass performs can best be described as a breath of fresh air, relaxing, invigorating and a welcomed change from the current climate.  The Kalamazoo, MI based quintet uses traditional bluegrass instruments – dobro, banjo, guitar, upright bass and mandolin – to create original songs that are unique, yet familiar and cover songs unconventional to their roots (The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan).

The Midwestern boys had an incredible 2010, touring nationally, performing alongside Mickey Hart and Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead and featured at the Rockygrass Festival in Lyons, CO, on the main stage at the Grey Fox Festival in upstate New York and in front of an audience of thousands at the All Good Festival in West Virginia. Additionally, the quintet delighted campers at the All Good Festival by performing a surprise midnight to sunrise ‘Guerilla Grass’ jam session that was captured by CNN and featured here.

Greensky Bluegrass has quickly become one of the most exciting touring acts on the road today, performing their trademark sound nationwide at over 160 spirited shows a year. This energy is captured perfectly on their live double-CD releases, All Access: Volume One and Volume Two. All Access is a series of recordings of select shows from the road, Volume One was released and subsequently sold-out in 2010 and Volume Two was released later in that same year.  Each installment offers nearly 30 songs, originals and covers.

Since winning the 2006 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest, Greensky has been touring constantly and all the hard work is certainly paying off. Recent highlights are too many to list, but include selling out venues in many parts of the country, sharing the stage with musical heroes, getting asked to play shows with the likes of Tony Rice and Peter Rowan, Sam Bush, Yonder Mountain String Band and Railroad Earth. Greensky Bluegrass is Anders Beck (dobro), Michael Arlen Bont (banjo), Dave Bruzza (guitar), Mike Devol (upright bass) and Paul Hoffman (mandolin).

Check out Greensky Bluegrass at Sullivan Hall in NYC on February 10th.

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Union Street Preservation Society:

USPS is a collective that is a link in the lineage of folk and blues musicians such as Robert Johnson, Duane Allman, Steve Earl, Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt. Our goal is to educate people through music and by talking about the history of the music. This generation is spiritual bankrupt (and increasingly financially so) and in need of something authentic. We seek to provide that communal experience. Join in on the project, sing along, learn some history and contribute any way you can. The society is always accepting new, honorary members who are willing to delve deeper into the music, both intellectually and spiritually and physically.

John Hartford Stringband Nominated Best Folk Album

MEMORIES OF JOHN (Red Clay/Compass Records), the 15-song tribute to the late, great John Hartford — the banjo wizard, guitar picker, vocalist, musical innovator and multiple GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist who penned the megahit “Gentle on My Mind” — that was recorded by members of his former band and special guests, has been nominated for a 2011 GRAMMY Award for Best Traditional Folk Album.

The John Hartford Stringband, the same group of musicians who appeared on Hartford’s last five Rounder Records projects and were his final touring band — Chris Sharp on guitar, Bob Carlin on banjo, Matt Combs on fiddle, Mike Compton on mandolin and Mark Schatz on bass — were joined by special guests Tim O’Brien, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown, Alan O’Bryant, George Buckner and Eileen Carson Schatz to make the album that commemorates Hartford.
The album features Hartford himself on several previously unreleased tracks recorded before his death in 2001 as well as voiced instructions to the band from previous rehearsal tapes. Renditions of hit original Hartford songs, traditional fiddle tunes (“Three Forks of Sandy,” the album’s opening track), country and bluegrass songs refashioned by Hartford (“The Girl I Left Behind Me,” “Love Grown Cold”), rarely heard Hartford originals (“You Don't Notice Me Ignoring You”) unreleased compositions (“Madison, Tennessee”), the story-poem “For John” and more fill the loving tribute to one of the most influential artists in American music. The album ends with Hartford’s own whistling song “Fade Out.”
“John Hartford is now in the clouds, but his spirit can rest easy,” says CountryChart.com. “His friends have honored his memory in the best possible way. They have created a remarkable album that breaks new ground while exploring the music of a legend.”
This fall, Hartford was inducted into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame, and in 2005, was awarded the Americana Music Association’s President’s Award. He received multiple GRAMMY awards and nominations throughout his career, including Album of the Year for the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack and Best Folk Performance for his song “Gentle on My Mind,” one of the most recorded songs of all time. He also appeared on TV in the 1960s and ’70s, on “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour,” “The Johnny Cash Show” and “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour.”
The John Hartford Stringband will tour in 2011; scheduled concerts include the International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis in February, Merle Fest in North Carolina in April, and CBA Music Camp and the 36th Annual Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in California in June.
The 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards will be presented Feb. 13, 2011. The full list of GRAMMY nominees is available here.

The Wheel | A Musical Celebration of Jerry Garcia

On December 4th, the musicians bring us full circle in a tribute to Jerry Garcia's musical legacy. Join us as we come together to celebrate the music and where it will take us next.  Join the Rex Foundation for a one-of-a-kind evening to celebrate the music and the musicians, and to help us cover just a little more ground.

Set up in festive cabaret style with reserved seating on the floor, The Fillmore, with its beauty and iconic connection to Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead, sets the stage for this special occasion.  At the pre-concert reception, enjoy hearty finger foods and beverages as you reconnect with friends and family. Your generous reception/concert ticket purchase of $150 or $500, of which all but $70 is a charitable contribution, will fund Rex Foundation grant making, and you'll receive a print of the event poster designed by Cory and Catska Ench.

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In 1962, Jerry Garcia began playing the banjo and exploring bluegrass music, forming a band called the Hart Valley Drifters that included David Nelson on guitar. In 1964, Jerry and his pal Sandy Rothman packed up a tape recorder and took off for the American South on a bluegrass pilgrimage, especially wanting to see "Jim and Jesse" (McReynolds), of Dothan, Alabama. Jerry was delighted to see them perform and get Jesse's autograph, and he held Jesse's mandolin playing and music in high esteem for many years. Jim and Jesse went on to legendary status in the bluegrass world, with more than 45 years at the Grand Ole Opry, Grammy nominations and awards, and membership in any Hall of Fame that means anything to this music.

Meanwhile, in 1969, as the Grateful Dead released Aoxomoxoa, they also turned to their own musical roots. Jerry, wanting to play his new pedal steel guitar, reconnected with old friend John "Marmaduke" Dawson and with Nelson, forming New Riders of the Purple Sage. As the Grateful Dead continued to evolve, in 1973 he formed another bluegrass band, Old and in the Way, with David Grisman, John Kahn, Peter Rowan and Vassar Clements.

Fast forward to today: David Nelson and Friends fire up fans with their electric sounds, and the New Riders play their past favorites along with new songs written by David and Robert Hunter. Grammy Award winner and five-time Grammy nominee Peter Rowan is a bluegrass singer/songwriter whose career spans over five decades; his continuous stream of original recordings, collaborative projects and tours has garnered a devoted, international fan base.

Now Jesse has just released Songs of the Grateful Dead - A Tribute to Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter. Collaborating on this special album of 12 classic Dead songs, from Black Muddy River and Ripple to Franklin's Tower and Standing on the Moon, is none other than David Nelson. And, to top it off, there's a brand-new McReynolds-Hunter tune called Day by Day. Check out the music and get a sampling of Jesse McReynolds' talents here.

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Reception, Food and Premium Seating Concert Tickets

(All but $70 is tax deductible)

Includes Drinks, Hearty Finger Food and Event Poster

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Lightning: $500.00 - Reserved Front Floor Seating

Thunder: $150.00 - Reserved Floor Seats

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6:00 - 7:30 p.m. Reception

7:30 p.m. Doors Open for Concert

8:00 p.m. Music Begins

Reception/Concert Tickets available through the Rex Foundation website or call (415)-561-3135 and through GDTS,TOO

A Hot Rize Halloween at the Boulder Theater

Hot Rize has marked 32 years in bluegrass, keeping its legend growing by delivering first-class music and entertainment as only it can. The band rose to prominence in the early 80's, appearing frequently on such national broadcasts as "A Prairie Home Companion", Austin City Limits, and on The Nashville Network. Their stage show gained renown, featuring their soulful and distinctive bluegrass combined with their wacky but musically deft "alter-ego" country swing band, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. The group performed in almost every state, as well as Europe, Japan, and Australia.

The traditional-yet-progressive foursome started in January, 1978, based in Colorado and naming itself after the secret ingredient of Martha White self-rising flour, the product Flatt & Scruggs promoted in the 50s and 60s. With national touring and multiple #1 bluegrass radio hits Hot Rize became a premier attraction and stylistic trend-setter. In 1990, the band was feted as Entertainer of the Year by IBMA at its first annual Awards Show. Throughout the 1990s, the group continued to perform occasionally for a loyal and growing fan base.

Following the untimely passing of original member Charles Sawtelle in 1999, the group reorganized in 2002 with Nashville studio ace/multiple Grammy-winner Bryan Sutton on guitar, and has continued to play selected shows each year, delivering its signature sound to a new generation of followers. Hot Rize has remained a top attraction in bluegrass, well into its fourth decade. In 2009, the band was selected to co-host the 20th annual IBMA Awards Show. The year 2010 will see increased activity, including major festivals and new studio recordings. More Info / Buy Tickets

Mountain Standard Time featuring special guest Michael Kang

As a bluegrass band that's anything but traditional, Mountain Standard Time follows in the footsteps of such Colorado greats as The String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon. While leading acoustically with guitar, mandolin, and banjo, MST brands its own style, boasting a big, full-band sound with saxophone, electric bass, drums, and electric effects.

The members of Mountain Standard Time hail from all over the country, yet their musical paths crossed in Nederland - a small, Colorado mountain town steeped in bluegrass music. Whether you chalk it up to fate or coincidence, music goers everywhere are coming together to enjoy the "explosive bluegrass" that these six friends and musicians have come to create. MST has performed all over Colorado and across the country, with appearances at Wakarusa Music Festival, 10,000 Lakes Festival, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival contest finals, among other events.

Mountain Standard Time's roots stem from late night "picks" among the bluegrass faithful, making music lovers dance from mountain towns to backwoods campfires. Rich lyrics, original melodies, vocal harmonies and driving back beats have been moving fans across the country, while the band's unique charisma has been winning hearts. More Info / Buy Tickets

Boulder Theater | October 21, 2010 @ 9PM

The Infamous Stringdusters + Trampled by Turtles Announce Tour

The definition of bluegrass is being challenged.  Ever since the "O Brother" bubble burst, string-bands have developed into the mainstream redefining bluegrass and shifting the limiting paradigm of acoustic instruments.  Divergent string-band worlds collide as thrash grassers Trampled by Turtles and virtuosic-jammers The Infamous Stringdusters team up to bring you the Fly Palomino Tour.

The Infamous Stringdusters are at the forefront of a new movement in bluegrass music and touring in support of their Sugar Hill release Things That Fly.   Their unmatched virtuosity has enabled them to take acoustic music to a completely new level. They wield an expansive repertoire touching on masters from Jimmy Martin to John Hartford, but their strength lies in their original compositions.  Dedication to arrangements sets them apart and extended improvisation makes every performance completely unique. The live Stringdusters experience is anti-formulaic, groove friendly, and mind-expanding - not your granddaddy's bluegrass. Unless your granddaddy was Jerry Garcia.


Trampled by Turtles continue touring in support of their latest release, Palomino, which in April became their first #1 debut on Billboard’s Bluegrass chart.  Separating the band from the pack is the contrast of their lightening fast, punk-influenced barn-burners and their lonesome, Townes Van Zandt-inspired ballads. Frontman/songwriter Dave Simonett’s vocals and lyrics capture  the stark MN landscapes and the mood of the North Country like no other current artist with his hauntingly beautiful songs. The bands' unique mixture of rock influences and authentic style have garnered them coverage from a wide range of publications from Daytrotter to Paste to Relix to CMT.
Fly Palamino Tour Dates:

11/04/10 Chicago, IL @ Double Door
11/05/10 Ann Arbor, MI @ Blind Pig
11/06/10 Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Ballroom
11/08/10 Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall
11/09/10 South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
11/10/10 Cambridge, MA @ Middle East
11/11/10 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
11/12/10 Falls Church, VA @ State Theatre
11/13/10 Baltimore, MD @ 8×10
11/14/10 Charleston, WV @ Mountain Stage
11/16/10 Asheville, NC @ Grey Eagle
11/17/10 Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
11/18/10 Wilmington, NC @ Soap Box Laundro Lounge
11/19/10 Charlotte, NC @ Visulite Theatre
11/20/10 Atlanta, GA @ Variety Playhouse