Thu, 09/22/2016 - 11:50 am

Central North Carolina’s Swift Creek has released a music video for “Bluegrass Hurricane” from the album Magnolia, a collection of original Bluegrass and Americana music. The album consists of truly original tunes penned primarily by band member, Kevin Brown. The album was produced and recorded at the Rubber Room in Chapel Hill, NC by acclaimed producer and musician, Jerry Brown.

"Bluegrass Hurricane" is an uptempo walk through the history of bluegrass, touching on founding fathers Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs, and seminal events in bluegrass history (The Bristol Sessions, the 1970's "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" project, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou"). Brown was inspired by the real hurricane that threatened last year's IBMA World of Bluegrass Conference and Music Festival. An instrumental highlight is stunning triple fiddles by Swift Creek's Stephen Fraleigh. The 2016 IBMA World of Bluegrass fest is set for Sept. 27-Oct. 1 in Raleigh, NC.

“Last year, World of Bluegrass began with the threat of Hurricane Joaquin off the coast, and lots of consternation about whether it would make landfall and wash out the entire WOB weekend,” Kevin Brown says. “That potential outcome inspired a plethora of #bluegrasshurricane tweets.  Fortunately, Joaquin stayed well offshore, but an unrelated weather pattern brought torrential rains to the Carolinas which forced all of the scheduled events into the Raleigh Convention Center.  Despite the obstacles, World of Bluegrass 2015 was a rousing success, and I came away with the inspiration for a song.”

Magnolia includes some very impressive covers, and even a parody. The album wraps with “Ashes of Love” and a delightful old-time radio feel.

Swift Creek is Kevin Brown (guitar, vocals), Casey Elder (mandolin, dobro, vocals), Stephen Fraleigh (fiddle, banjo, vocals), Dennis Hoyle (bass), and Ann Searcy (vocals). Brown is the prolific songwriter behind much of Swift Creek’s music.

1.    Wake Me Up To Drive (K.Brown) 3:49
2.    Rattle Them Bones (K.Brown) 4:29
3.    Bluegrass Hurricane (K.Brown) 3:07
4.    Broken Bird (K.Brown) 4:28
5.    Life In The Slow Lane (Parody, K.Brown) 4:03
6.    Afterglow (K.Brown) 4:40
7.    Sail Away Ladies 2:05
8.    The Levee (K.Brown) 5:22
9.    Harlem River Blues (J. Earle) 2:59
10.  Irene (A. Platt of The Honeycutters) 4:32
11.  The Way (T. Scalzo) 4:04
12.  Ashes of Love (J. Wright, J. Anglin) 3:01

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 6:52 am

She's worked with some of the finest, including Dolly Parton, and now Holly Norman is back with her second bluegrass album.

TAKING CARE OF BLUEGRASS – A TRIBUTE TO ELVIS is available now, (Release date October 14, 2016). The first single released to radio is "Moody Blue," a tasteful bluegrass spin on the Elvis classic.

Holly Norman's sophomore album is a 'grassed up collection of 12 Elvis songs and 1 original written by Holly. It is a must-have for Elvis and Bluegrass fans alike.  Holly is joined by some of Nashville's finest musicians for a memorable ride through Elvis' musical career.

The CD features special guests James Burton, Elvis's legendary guitarist, and Elvis backing quartet, Terry Blackwood & The Imperials. Top notch players on this tribute to The King include ​Rob Ickes, Stuart Duncan, Aubrey Haynie, Glen Duncan, Scott Vestal, Kevin Grantt, Alan Bartram, and Justin Moses.

Holly’s prior bluegrass CD, Appalachian Angel, was released in 2014.

The new album is available to radio through the AirPlay Direct digital download service.

Order Taking Care of Bluegrass - A Tribute to Elvis now and learn more about this vivacious artist at www.hollynorman.com

CC Rider
In The Ghetto
Always On My Mind
Moody Blue
Love Me Tender/Are You Lonesome Tonight
Kentucky Rain
Little Cabin Home On The Hill
Separate Ways
Suspicious Minds
Viva Las Vegas
I'll Remember You
Long Live The King
Sweet, Sweet Spirit

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 6:59 am

Annie Savage (M.M.Ed) has released a new Savage Fiddler Method book. Join The Jam! A Method of Jamming for Traditional String Players” is the second installment in Annie’s educational book series. Her previous book, “The Savage Fiddler Method,” has become a popular resource and is a cornerstone of Annie’s educational method and programs.

Annie guides players to “think like a real musician.” She teaches that jamming is the fine art of playing well with others; a skill that is used in bluegrass, blues, rock, and nearly all forms of music. Jamming is the combined skill of improvisation and knowing when to play and when to not play. It is seldom taught in conventional music classrooms, and yet, is an essential component to the enjoyment of playing music.

Attendees at the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Business Conference in Raleigh, NC experienced the Savage Fiddler Method when Annie hosted a workshop during the annual event. The IBMA Education Committee tapped Annie to present her method at the conference, and her book was also available.

“Join The Jam!” expands on Annie’s first method book with a goal of giving string players a thorough understanding of thinking in terms of chords, back up and harmony parts; all in addition to teaching the licks and skills needed to play like a fiddler with authentic style and accurate technique. The book presents a variety of exercises and technique checks to guide the player in an easy, fun and interesting way. This second installment of the Savage Fiddler Method, “Join The Jam!” does for JAMMING what the Savage Fiddler Method did for PLAYING TUNES. 

“Jamming is the fine art of playing well with others on your instrument,” Annie says in the book’s introduction. “It is a critical thinking skill that is a cornerstone skill for the 21st century string player to know about in order to become a well-rounded player and mentor.”

The first part of the “Join The Jam!” book focuses on creating breaks out of the melodies of several jam friendly songs, understanding licks and plugging those licks into songs. Students are encouraged to begin to craft their own style of break (or solo). The second part of the book involves several ways of getting traditional string players to think in terms of chords, using arpeggios, twin parts and ensemble work.

“An essential part of jamming is knowing how to play back up by ear so I encourage players to use the notation if necessary and then quickly learn to chord without seeing the changes,” Annie says.

Annie brings a vivacious and versatile program to the classroom and the stage. It is a popular method that she has developed over thirty years of performing professionally with a versatile range that runs from down-home bluegrass fiddler to conservatory musician. Annie began Suzuki violin before she turned 3 and she is an enthusiastic performer and teacher of a primarily Bluegrass, Celtic and Classical repertoire, believing that all of these genres have their unique place on the American stage. She is a certified Wernick Method instructor.

Annie has performed with artists including Ricky Skaggs, Aretha Franklin and Asleep at the Wheel and has produced 13 CDs. A founding member of the band Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Annie can currently be found touring and teaching with her new project, The Savage Hearts (www.thesavagehearts.com). The group released a very special new album on October 21, 2016, called Playing It Forward.

Along with string pedagogue Annie Savage, The Savage Hearts includes Kevin Slick, Kit Simon, and Bianca Bentz. The group specializes in high energy performances and providing educational outreach. Playing It Forward, includes feature spots for the band member’s own children and students of the Savage Fiddler Method right along with well-known guest fiddlers like the award-winning Becky Buller, Greg Blake, Jeff Scroggins, Ellie Hakanson and more. Playing It Forward includes songs from the Join The Jam! book which allows readers to hear professional performances of those tracks.

Annie’s desire is to bridge the gap between notation and by-ear learning and to help foster a deep understanding of musicianship in her students and through the workshops she offers. Through a conservatory background that includes graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Boston Conservatory and studies at the Berklee School of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory as well as 12 years of teaching orchestra in public schools and universities, Annie has grown to believe that the ultimate joy of making music lies in a student’s ability to play and perform with others. Her teaching method and website, are designed to teach the art of jamming and improvisation with a careful eye on the development of technique.

Annie lives in Colorado with her husband and children. She claims one overriding professional goal: “Total world domination through vibrating wooden boxes!”

Tue, 11/29/2016 - 7:07 am

Husband and wife duo, Michael and Jennifer McLain, have been playing music together since their first date. Both fluent banjo players, the pair grew up in musical families, touring and performing throughout North America. The power couple have announced the release of their new album, Hit the Road and Go, (November 4, 2016).

When not making appearances on outlets including the Grand Ole Opry, NPR, and PBS’ own Song of the Mountains, the McLain’s are regulars at Kix Brook’s (of Brooks and Dunn) Arrington Vineyards, located just a short drive outside of Nashville, TN. A CD release event was held recently at Arrington Vineyards.

Described as having a “sweet and pure, even angelic," Jennifer has recorded vocals for major and indie labels, as well as shared the stage with Vince Gill and Lionel Cartwright. Michael’s career began at a young age, traveling internationally to Japan, Mexico, and even Brazil for performances with the McLain Family Band. He also recorded with the Claire Lynch Band and has taught guitar, banjo, mandolin, and bluegrass ensemble at Belmont University in Nashville, TN for 13 years.

The McLain’s are joined by Grand Masters Championship fiddler, Dan Kelly, who has played and toured with the likes of Roy Acuff, Alan Jackson, Faith Hill, the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band and many more. On upright bass and harmony vocals is the lovely Kori Caswell.

Hit the Road and Go is a refreshing bluegrass blend of energized tunes and ambient acoustic instrumentation.
Track List
3. RESTLESS (3:17)
5. SOUTHBOUND (2:51)
7. MCINTOSH (3:00)
9. BUSY BEE CAFE (3:28)
10. BOOM TOWN (2:49)
11. LADY OF SPAIN (3:44)
12. I’M READY TO GO HOME (3:49)

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 6:40 am

Dates have been announced and registration is now open for the 2017 Kruger Brothers Music Academy, an intensive and inspiring educational weekend for acoustic music players of all levels, beginner to advanced.

Now in its 6th year, this very exclusive event offers masterclass instruction in banjo, guitar and bass by the internationally renowned Kruger Brothers. This year, the trio will be joined by The Kontras Quartet, bringing excellence in violin/fiddle, viola and cello to the academy offerings.

The Kruger Brothers Music Academy will be held from the evening of Thursday, May 4 and continuing through midday Sunday, May 7, 2017. The annual event is a truly unique opportunity for attendees to immerse themselves in musical discussion, instruction, and collaboration in a fun workshop environment. The program is conveniently held at the Wilkesboro Holiday Inn Express in North Carolina, allowing participants to enjoy meals, lodging, instructional and jam sessions plus interaction among participants and artist presenters, all under one roof.

The Kruger Brothers entertain and uplift audiences throughout the world, but agree that sharing the academy experience with acoustic musicians is a highlight of their musical year.

"We love to welcome friends old and new to our hoetown for this annual event," says Jens Kruger. "It is a very special experience."

The Kruger Brothers Music Academy highlights the music of the Kruger Brothers and their extraordinary abilities as caring teachers and mentors. The camp offers classes focused on technique and theory, plus a variety of fun activities, including late-night jam sessions. The program is designed primarily for adult participants. Attendance is limited.


An opportunity for classical and folk musicians to meet in Wilkesboro, the heart of American Folk Music, and to participate in the merging of the musical world of both genres.

A unique, one-of-a-kind musical workshop: three full days and four nights of classes, jamming and sharing with like-minded music lovers.

Individual instrument classes in guitar, banjo, bass (upright and bass guitar), viola, celllo and violin.

A discovery of the unity of the musical world through illuminating workshops, group discussions, jam sessions, targeted lectures and concerts.

An understanding of, and appreciation for, music on a deeper level.

A shared insight into the inner workings of the "emotional language" of music.

An opportunity for participants to perform at the Academy "Night of Stars" on Saturday evening.

The opportunity to meet old friends and make new ones.

Thursday, May 4 through Sunday, May 7, 2017
Holiday Inn Express Wilkesboro
1700 Winkler Street, Wilkesboro, NC 28697

Full Academy attendance including meals and three nights at the Holiday Inn Express – $985
Full Academy attendance (without hotel) – $785
Spouse and Observers – access to jam sessions, concerts, and meals but no classes – $485
Space is limited. Please register online. A deposit is required at the time of registration.
Remember, the academy is for players at all skill levels.

Wed, 01/25/2017 - 6:14 am

Known for inventive compositions and virtuosic performances, The Kruger Brothers have announced tour dates for 2017, with more dates to be added.

Since their formal introduction to American audiences in 1997, The Kruger Brothers’ remarkable discipline, creativity and their ability to infuse classical music into folk music has resulted in a unique sound that has made them a highly respected fixture within the world of acoustic music. The honesty of their writing has since become a hallmark of the trio’s work.

Highlights for 2017 include the release of The Roan Mountain Suite during MerleFest in April. The commissioned original composition honors the region and history of Tennessee’s majestic Roan Mountain, and features the Kontras Quartet. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Kruger Brother’s first appearance at MerleFest, considered one of the premier music festivals in the country. Held on the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the late Eddy Merle Watson, son of American music legend Doc Watson.

In May, the trio hosts its 6th annual music academy in Wilkesboro, NC., an opportunity for musicians of all skill levels to study and jam with the artists, and will one another.

Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger began singing and playing instruments at a very young age, and began their professional career in 1979. With the more recent addition of New York City native, Joel Landsberg, (who comes with his own noteworthy musical pedigree, having studied with jazz great Milt Hinton), the trio has been performing together since 1995, and is now based in Wilkesboro, NC.

Jens Kruger is known for innovative banjo composition and performance, integrating Folk music with European Classical music. He was nominated for Banjo Player of the Year in 2016 by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Jens was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music in 2013, the fourth recipient of this prestigious honor.

Uwe Kruger shines as a singer who is both direct and emotive, and for his impeccable guitar playing. He is also the lyricist for the group’s original songs. 

The Kruger Brothers’ music is magically thoughtful, lyrical, simple and complex. Experiencing a Kruger Brothers performance is a profound musical experience. In their ever-expanding body of work, The Kruger Brothers – Jens Kruger (banjo and vocals), Uwe Kruger (guitar and lead vocals), and Joel Landsberg (bass and vocals) – personify the spirit of exploration and innovation that forms the core of the American musical tradition. Their unique brand of acoustic music is crafted around their discerning taste, and the result is unpretentious, cultivated, and delightfully fresh.

In addition to their regular concert schedule, The Kruger Brothers perform classical pieces regularly with select symphony orchestras and string quartets throughout the world.

For more information and additional dates as they are added, visit www.krugerbrothers.com


January 26        Ashe Civic Center: West Jefferson, NC

February 9        Meymandi Concert Hall: Raleigh, NC

February 11      Berger Performing Arts Center: Tucson, AZ

February 13      Highlands Church: Scottsdale, AZ

February 17      Stoughton Opera House: Stoughton, WI

February 23-24 Wintergrass Music Festival: Bellevue, WA

March 1            Country Music Festival: Zurich, Switzerland

March 16          World Café Live: Philadelphia, PA

March 18          WMC Alumni Hall: Westminster, MD

March 19           National Gallery of Art – West: Washington DC

March 21           Joe’s Pub: New York, NY

March 25           Davis Theater: Concord, NC

April 27-30        Merlefest: Wilkesboro, NC

May 4-7             Kruger Brothers Music Academy: Wilkesboro, NC

May 11-12         Silver Dollar City: Branson, MO

May 13              Woodlands Auditorium: Hot Springs, AR

May 14              St. Paul’s Episcopal Church: Fayetteville, AR

June 24            Willingham Theater: Yadkinville, NA

July 27-28         RockyGrass Festival: Lyons, CO

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 8:08 am

The World --- The troubadour. The minstrel. The wandering musician peddling tunes from town to town, sharing tales old and new.

It is the age-old story of the touring musician, and it is very much the story of Chris Jones and the Night Drivers. The group is set to release the aptly named Made To Move, (Mountain Home Music Company) on February 10, 2017; a distinctive offering from a truly global band of troubadours.

“I claim three or four home states and one home Canadian province,” Jones notes. “Our band has members scattered all over the continent, and we travel the world playing music together.”

In addition to the itinerant Jones, the Night Drivers include Jon Weisberger, who made his way to Tennessee from Ohio and has traversed the globe as a touring musician; Virginia native Gina Clowes; and Mark Stoffel, who makes his home in Southern Illinois by way of his native Germany. Stoffel recently took the oath of US citizenship.
Like the complex individuals who comprise this talented group, the songs on Made To Move are multi-faceted: an intelligent and introspective blend of the traditional, contemporary, meaningful, and provocative. There are songs of hardship and hope, songs that inspire and captivate, and yes, even a Bluegrass love song that weaves a tale without ending in someone’s untimely end.
Staying true to the strengths that make The Night Drivers both original and tenacious, ten of the twelve tracks are written by the band. 
“Gone like a long freight train rumbling through the night. Gone like a big jet plane trailing out of sight. Gone just like yesterday’s news.” These are the opening lines to the album’s lead off song “All the Ways I’m Gone” (Jones/Weisberger). Then comes “The Wanderer,” which takes the path of the journeyman; a path that is part contemplation, part pilgrimage. “On my way to God’s great kingdom. Grateful for the road ahead, grateful for the miles that I have come.” This is the wanderer.
The group offers a new take on the very traditional “Dark Hollow” with a skillful, mid-track modulation. “Raindrops Fell” and “Living Without” are from the pen of bandleader, singer, and guitarist Chris Jones. They both speak of love lost but not forgotten with musical moods varying from the melancholy to the upbeat. There are four new songs from Jones and bass player Jon Weisberger, showcasing the diverse lyrical and melodic range of the dynamic writing duo that has contributed to every CJND release.
From the drive of “Range Road 53” to the Gospel number “Sleeping Through the Storm,” and on to the broody but vocally powerful “Silent Goodbye,” each number contributes to a significant and well-rounded album. The inclusion of “What the Heck?!” by Mark Stoffel (mando/vocals) and “Last Frost” by vocalist and banjo powerhouse Gina Clowes demonstrates excellence and creativity in the musicianship of CJND. 
Even among touring musicians, there is something unique about the continual journey of Chris Jones and the Night Drivers. Four distinct personalities who bring a variety of experiences and influences to a common place. Movement, change, coming together and saying farewell, making the most of time together with meaningful ideas … this is the soul of the band and the spirit in which four minstrels offer Made To Move

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 11:53 am

Blue Night Records has announced the forthcoming release of a very special project. Some of acoustic music’s most respected and gifted artists have come together for the creation of Rescue Me! which is truly a “cause for paws.”

From its inception, the project has had one driving purpose: to support the furry creatures who so enhance our lives with love and loyalty. Now, at last, that purpose has materialized with energy and joy as a 12-track compilation album of tender tunes that honor our four-legged friends. Rescue Me! is a heartfelt collection of Americana music featuring songs that are thought-provoking, uplifting, engaging, and downright funny.

“We invite others to join us in raising awareness of and providing financial support to animal rescue organizations,” says Blue Night Records President, Steven Briggs, who co-produced the album with singer/songwriter Amy White.

All of the tracks on Rescue Me! were donated to the project by the songwriters and performers: Mary Ann Kennedy, Kathy Chiavola, Cindy Mangsen, Robin Flower, Libby McLaren, Annie Lalley, Heidi Muller, Mark Weems, Ashley Jo Farmer, Friction Farm (Aidan Quinn & Christine Stay), Effron White, Jamie Anderson, Amy White, and Joel Mabus. And with great joy, Blue Night Records has pledged to donate all of its profits from Rescue Me! sales and full CD downloads to animal welfare organizations.

Pre-orders for Rescue Me! will be available starting on Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2017. The formal release date is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, April 30, 2017.

For more information, please visit www.bluenightrecords.com

Tue, 02/14/2017 - 12:59 pm

Pinecastle Records has released Hanging Tree, the latest project from Blue Mafia, the spirited group that has been called "unabashedly bluegrass."

Hanging Tree is the band's second release on the North Carolina record label. Pray For Rain was released to wide acclaim in 2015. Blue Mafia's independently released debut album, My Cold Heart, was released in 2013 and quickly shone a light on the Indiana band, leading to their signing to Pinecastle.

Blue Mafia was founded in 2011, the brainchild of husband and wife team, Dara Wray (mando, vocals and rock solid songwriting) and Tony Wray (guitar, vocals). The skilled ensemble is rounded out by Mike Gregory on bass, Kent Todd on fiddle and vocals, with the recent addition of Curtis Bumgarner on banjo.

The band enjoyed a busy schedule during the recent SPBGMA convention in Nashville, with a mainstage performance, several showcases, and participation in a songwriting workshop which was hosted by Larry Cordle.

Blue Mafia is characterized by Tony's dynamic guitar playing; three strong vocalists in Dara, Tony and Kent; plus skillful harmonies with consistently tight picking. Dara has proven to be an exciting new songwriting voice in the genre and she contributes three originals to this new album: "The Man You Know," "You Belong To Me," and "Life." Ironically, Dara is reluctant to label herself as a "songwriter," yet she has demonstrated a brilliant gift for crafting illustrative lyrics and melodies with a familiar feel.

Additional songs were culled from various sources, like "With Body And Soul," which Dara's father and uncles used to perform. Blue Mafia gives it their touch in homage to those elders. The group chooses songs that truly move them personally, like "Who You Are," which was written by Kevin Hayes, a fan and friend of the band. The title cut caught the attention of Tony and Dara as they watched the popular movie, 'The Hunger Games,' for which the tune was originally composed.

Hanging Tree is available to radio through the AirPlay Direct digital download service. Fans may pre-order immediately through this LINK.

Like A Mining Man
Hanging Tree
Sweet Mary Of The Mountains
The Man You Know
With Body And Soul
Baby You're Gone
Midnight Rain
Loneliness And Desperation
Say Won't You Be Mine
You Belong With Me
Who You Are

Mon, 04/24/2017 - 4:42 pm

Pre-orders are currently active through Elderly Instruments for Blue Night Records’ forthcoming release, Rescue Me! A Cause for Paws. This very special project features some of acoustic music’s most respected and gifted artists who’ve come together on a compilation that supports animal rescue and awareness efforts.

From its inception, the project has had one driving purpose: to support the furry creatures who so enhance our lives with love and loyalty. That purpose materialized with energy and joy as a 12-track compilation album of tender tunes that honor our four-legged friends. Rescue Me! is a heartfelt collection of Americana music featuring songs that are thought-provoking, uplifting, engaging, and downright funny.

“We invite others to join us in raising awareness of and providing financial support to animal rescue organizations,” says Blue Night Records President, Steven Briggs, who co-produced the album with singer/songwriter Amy White.

All of the tracks on Rescue Me! were donated to the project by the songwriters and performers: Mary Ann Kennedy, Kathy Chiavola, Cindy Mangsen, Robin Flower, Libby McLaren, Annie Lalley, Heidi Muller, Mark Weems, Ashley Jo Farmer, Friction Farm (Aidan Quinn & Christine Stay), Effron White, Jamie Anderson, Amy White, and Joel Mabus.

With great joy, Blue Night Records has pledged to donate all of its profits from Rescue Me! sales and full CD downloads to animal welfare organizations.

Pre-orders for Rescue Me! are available now through Elderly Instruments.

The formal release date is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, April 30, 2017.


BARN CAT – Mary Ann Kennedy
POSSUM AND PEARL – Kathy Chiavola
OUR CATS – Cindy Mangsen
GET A DOG – Annie Lalley
MY OLD CAT – Heidi Muller
KITTY KITTY – Ashley Jo Farmer
WHY, WHY, WHY – Friction Farm
CATTITUDE – Effron White
I MISS THE DOG – Jamie Anderson
THE BEST DOG – Amy White



Tue, 04/25/2017 - 6:17 am

The Kruger Brothers will release a remarkable new project during MerleFest 2017 and will share the Roan Mountain Suite through a live stream, hosted on Facebook.

The Roan Mountain Suite is the 5th commission granted to composer Jens Kruger and the Kruger Brothers trio. The project coincides with the 50th anniversary of the inaugural meeting to conserve the Roan, an effort initiated by the late Stanley A. Murray, husband of patron, Judy Murray, of Kingsport, TN.

The trio has become world renowned for their unique classically-infused folk/acoustic music. Characteristically, this latest original work combines elements of classical, chamber music, folk, jazz and bluegrass. It was commissioned to honor the region, history and legacy of Tennessee’s Roan Mountain. The Kruger Brothers are joined on the album by The Kontras Quartet

Thu, 08/17/2017 - 6:56 am

One song at a time. That’s how Colorado’s Barbara Jo Kammer approaches her passion as a music therapist, her life as a performer, and it’s how she navigated the challenging journey to recovery from decades of alcohol addiction. One Song at a Time also happens to be the fitting title of Kammer’s debut solo album.

A pleasing collection of American Roots music, One Song at a Time was produced by KC Groves, award winner and founder of the group Uncle Earl. Groves brought together a stellar group of players to support Kammer on her debut project.

With the help of a crowd-funding campaign through the Indiegogo website, Barbara Jo set her sights on the lifelong goal of recording an album. Kammer is something of a poster child for the mantra, "it’s never too late." She proudly shares that her dream has come to fruition at age 62, a blessing that she credits to being in recovery since July 1, 2007.

"I hope to inspire and bring joy to those who suffer from addiction," she says.

In addition to her role as performer and band leader, Kammer is an active music therapist working with elders in retirement communities. She also works with other women struggling with addiction/alcoholism. Kammer has pledged a portion of CD sales to Harmony Foundation, the Colorado addiction treatment center that the artist herself attended.

The new album includes a pleasing selection of covers and two original songs that deftly weave Kammer’s own personal story. Her version of the George Jones hit, "Choices" is nothing short of inspired, and the inclusion of the classic "I Can See Clearly Now" is a brilliant addition. Traditional favorites and popular classics show Kammer’s versatility with a powerful voice that is reminiscent of greats like Linda Ronstadt, Joan Baez, or Mary Chapin Carpenter.

The album includes a poignant original tune written by Barbara Jo. "The Winning Side" is an honest and personal glimpse at the artist’s journey through addiction.

I used to create lots of chaos for me, my family and friends;
had to give up the fight, admit I wasn’t right.
There’s healing in living amends
~ from "The Winning Side" by Barbara Jo Kammer

The singer/songwriter began harmonizing to commercial jingles at the tender age of 2, according to her mother. Dad was a Barbershop singer who harmonized with his young daughter, and introduced Barbara Jo to her first Bluegrass Music with the song, "Mountain Dew."

With a seasoned band of musicians called the Hippie Buckaroos (Doug Lindsay, Bob Backlund, Norm Strassner, Jeff Becker, and Darryl Thompson) Barbara Jo has become a popular fixture on the acoustic music scene in and around Colorado. The group was named among the Best 10 Cover Bands in Colorado by Westword Magazine in 2016.

"Singing has carried me through my entire life - all through grade school, high school, college, with country, blues, rock, jazz bands, and classical training," Kammer says. "Now, I work with elders in retirement homes and as band leader for Barbara Jo and The Hippie Buckaroos. I am one grateful singer for sure."

Sat, 09/30/2017 - 12:44 pm

Named the Vocal Group of the Year at this week’s International Bluegrass Music Association Awards in Raleigh, NC, Flatt Lonesome releases Silence In These Walls, the 4th CD from this powerhouse vocal and instrumental group. The album is available today, Friday, September 29.

Fiddler and vocalist, Charli Robertson, comments on this latest project: “Looking back on six years of traveling and making music together, it's so cool to see how each of us have matured musically -- especially when reflecting on our debut album, Flatt Lonesome, to this fourth album, Silence in These Walls. This album really shows who we are -- not only as a band, but also individually. It has nine original songs and seven were written or cowritten by Kelsi and Paul. They are both awesome writers, and I'm glad they've gotten to show that talent off with this album.”

Silence In These Walls (Mountain Home Music Company) is replete with expressive vocal and instrumental performances, increasingly sophisticated songwriting, and inventive arrangements that have become the hallmark of the group.

With an ever-increasing emphasis on original material, the group honors Country and Bluegrass recording styles with a powerful sense of musical exploration. Melancholy themes of heartbreak, the harshness of life’s lessons, glowing moments of faith and love requited; all spring vividly from this innovative collection.

Much of the album is contemplative, almost brooding. In tone and theme, it is startlingly evocative and sophisticated. Topics like anxiety, questioning seasons in life, and making bittersweet choices of the heart are explored.

In a nod to the musical traditions they hold dear, and almost in summary of the varied emotional themes, the band includes “Where Do You Go,” a thoughtful song that first appeared on Country icon Glen Campbell’s 1970 album, Try A Little Kindness. Charli takes the vocal lead, and those distinctive familial harmonies bring it poignantly home.

“Personally, the playing and singing on this record came so easy for me,” Charli says. “It felt so natural because it's the music that I love so much. Over time, you learn what works and feels good for you and your band, and I think this album reflects that. I hope people enjoy listening to it as much as we enjoyed making it!”

These six young artists keep raising the bar on their own creative game. Flatt Lonesome owns this material through the commanding individual and collective performances of Charli Robertson, Buddy Robertson, Kelsi and Paul Harrigill, Dominic Illingworth and Michael Stockton.


Thu, 11/09/2017 - 4:10 pm

Recording artist, Mara Levine received two CDs from songwriter, Sue Shann at the 2016 SERFA (Southeastern regional chapter of Folk Alliance International) conference. One song of Shann’s resonated with Mara the moment she heard it. With a message that is both timeless and timely, “You Reap What You Sow” grabbed Mara immediately.

“I loved the melody, especially on the bridge,” Mara says. “I love to invite audience participation and the chorus was catchy, singable and the entire song resonated with me as a positive message about doing your best at whatever you do and reaping the rewards or fruits of your labors. One could also interpret the song to mean caring for others and nurturing relationships, in particular, keeping your word and your commitments and that this will be returned to you in kind.”

With plans to begin work on a new album, Mara knew she wanted to include “You Reap What You Sow” on the project. She imagined the song with a bluegrass feel and quickly set to the task of seeking out the best of bluegrass talent for the recording.

With Mara on lead vocals, the result is an exquisite bluegrass offering featuring the talents of Greg Blake and Mollie O’Brien (Harmony Vocals), Bob Harris (Guitar), Rob Ickes (Dobro), Andy Leftwich (Mandolin), Mark Schatz (Bass), and Scott Vestal (Banjo).

The song fits beautifully with the overall theme of Mara’s forthcoming CD, Facets of Folk, which includes several socially conscious songs, some songs about being a better person and considering how we treat others, as well as some favorites and new discoveries written by contemporary songwriters. The new album is set for release in early 2018.

“You Reap What You Sow” is available now.

Singer and jewelry designer Mara Levine is known as an exceptional song-finder, selecting and then creating beautiful interpretations of fine traditional and contemporary songs. Her second CD, Jewels and Harmony, received stellar reviews, and was the #1 album, with the #1 song and #1 artist positions on the International Folk DJ Chart for January 2013, placed #3 overall  for 2013, and was named #4 Cover Album of 2013 by Cover Lay Down. Levine was selected for a Juried showcase at the 2014 NERFA conference and she tours nationally, often sharing shows with the trio Gathering Time. They will tour Germany together in April 2018. Mara also performs in duos with Caroline Cutroneo and Terry Kitchen. She has appeared on numerous radio programs and performed at various venues and festivals throughout the country.

Wed, 11/29/2017 - 10:48 am

Legendary country music singer, songwriter and animal advocate, David Frizzell, is supporting animal rescue with his new 10-song CD and storybook, Barnyard Christmas. This original project presents the story of the birth of Christ as told by animal characters that were present at the manger.

Pre-orders for the CD and storybook are available now. Visit the artist’s website at www.davidfrizzell.com for more information.

During the month of December, those who adopt an animal through Music City Animal Rescue, or make a minimum donation of $20, will receive an autographed copy of David's CD/storybook (while supplies last). There are other perks for those purchasing the CD with information available on the organization’s website.

Music City Animal Rescue is a non-profit, foster home based rescue that provides food, shelter, and medical care to abandoned, abused and neglected animals. The rescue takes in many types of animals including cats, dogs, rabbits, chickens, horses and goats.

“I believe that ALL of God’s creations were witness to the birth of Jesus,” says MCAR Director Vickie Harris. “Humans and animals alike, bowed in His presence. What a blessing that David has chosen to share his CD with our organization to help us continue to fulfill our rescue mission.”

For Nashville area fans, Music City Animal Rescue will join David Frizzell for his performance at the Midnight Jamboree on Saturday, December 9th for a special adoption and animal rescue awareness night. MCAR supporters are invited to an autograph and photo session with Frizzell. The free show begins at 10pm at the Texas Troubadour Theatre, 2416 Music Valley Drive in Nashville. The Midnight Jamboree is the second longest-running radio show in history.

With Barnyard Christmas, Frizzell gives a unique perspective on the meaning of Christmas, through the eyes of animals that were present at the birth of Jesus. Rather than one of the three wise men, we hear from a camel named Ali Baba who carried one of those wise med to Bethlehem. There’s a lazy "mule headed mule," the horse, Ol' Stray, and a pair of identical sheep named Pete and Repete, voiced by David and his brother Allen, who argue playfully over who first saw the precious baby. The other barnyard characters are clever and sweet, including the Lil' Burro who made sure that Joseph and Mary reached Bethlehem in time for the sacred birth. The 10-song album (and accompanying storybook) presents a tender and whimsical musical tale, woven brilliantly by Frizzell with guests Allen Frizzell and the Martin Family Circus, and an impressive list of talented musicians.

“The greatest story ever told…the birth of Christ as told by the animals that were there. What a blessing for me to create these amazing animated characters as they tell of their participation in the birth of Christ and the wonderfully talented artist, graphic designers, musicians, singers, studio engineers and co-producer who help bring the whole project to life. From my heart to yours!” ~David Frizzell

Producers: Harrison Tyner & David Frizzell
Engineers: Tom Pick & Steve Chandler
Arranger: Harold Bradley
Recorded at Hilltop Recording Studios in Madison, TN
Vocals, mixing and mastering at Frizzell Studio 

Musicians: Eric DiNenna (drums), Darran Smith (guitar), John Marcus (bass) Perley Curtis (steel/dobro), Hargus "Pig" Robbins (piano), David Hoffner (electric piano), Jimmy Capps (guitar), Harold Bradley (guitar)

Wed, 12/20/2017 - 6:50 am

The numbers are in! New Jersey based recording artist, Mara Levine landed soundly in the #1 spot for the month of November on the Folk DJ chart with “You Reap What You Sow,” a bluegrass song with a powerful message that is clearly resonating with radio folks and fans alike this holiday season. 

Co-produced by Bob Harris (Vassar Clements), “You Reap What You Sow” showcases Mara’s warm, crystal clear lead vocals on an exquisite bluegrass offering that features the musical talents of some very familiar names in bluegrass and acoustic music. Greg Blake and Mollie O’Brien provide harmony vocals; plus there’s Bob Harris (Guitar), Rob Ickes (Dobro), Andy Leftwich (Mandolin), Mark Schatz (Bass), and Scott Vestal (Banjo). 

Upon first hearing the song, penned by Susan Shann, Levine was moved. "The entire song resonated with me as a positive message about doing your best at whatever you do and reaping the rewards or fruits of your labors,” Levine says. “One could also interpret the song to mean caring for others and nurturing relationships, in particular keeping your word and your commitments and that this will be returned to you in kind." 

The song fits beautifully with the overall theme of Mara’s forthcoming CD, Facets of Folk, which includes several socially conscious songs, some songs about being a better person and considering how we treat others, as well as some favorites and new discoveries written by contemporary songwriters. The new album is set for release in early 2018. “You Reap What You Sow” is a special offering for bluegrass audiences from the forthcoming folk collection.

Wed, 01/31/2018 - 4:12 pm

In 2017, she received an IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award. This year, she will be inducted into the Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

With such accolades, it would be understandable if Louisa Branscomb chose to rest on her laurels at the comfort of her Alabama farm. Instead, the multi-award-winning artist and songwriter has been busy in the studio for months, working on a new recording of songs she has written or co-written.

An impressive list of top singers and players join Branscomb on the album, set for release on Compass Records this Spring. The impressive creative undertaking includes nearly 30 special guest artists, in addition to Louisa. Lending their unique vocals, harmonies and picking are Sierra Hull, Rob Ickes, Molly Tuttle, Dale Ann Bradley, Tina Adair, Becky Buller, Jim Hurst, Mike Compton, Shad Cobb, Stuart Duncan, Claire Lynch, Russell Moore, Kristin Scott Benson, and others. With recording not yet complete, the list may continue to grow.

“I’m so touched and grateful to the talented friends, old and new, who join me on this CD,” Branscomb says.

Mel Tillis, Alison Krauss, John Denver, Claire Lynch … all are among the many, many renowned artists who’ve recorded or performed Louisa Branscomb’s songs over the years. She has had more than 175 cuts by artists in Americana, Bluegrass and Country music. She has also recorded 11 albums of her own, is an author and is very active as a teacher and mentor for other songwriters. Her Woodsong Farm, located in Alabama, is home to retreats and workshops attended by new and seasoned songwriters from around the world.

Learn more about Louisa Branscomb at www.louisabranscomb.com

Wed, 02/07/2018 - 10:51 am

Mountain Home Music Company recording artists topped the list of winners in the 2018 SPBGMA Awards. The fan-voted awards were presented Sunday, Feb. 4 during the annual convention held in Nashville by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America, (SPBGMA).

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver took the stage to receive both the Bluegrass Vocal Group of the Year and the Bluegrass Entertainer(s) of the Year honors. In characteristic humility, Bluegrass Hall of Famer, Lawson, was quick to thank fans and friends on social media and acknowledge other artists, posting: “Thanks to all who chose to make DL&Q their favorite Vocal Group and Entertainers Of The Year at the SPBGMA this year . I am grateful beyond words. And Blessed beyond belief!” Lawson added his congratulations to all of the award recipients as well.

Donna Ulisse was thrilled to receive the Songwriter of the Year award. The prolific writer shared these comments on Monday: “I am still all dreamy and over the moon about last night’s award. I meant it when I said that being recognized for something I work so hard on, and have for as long as I can remember, by the bluegrass community leaves me completely humbled.” Ulisse further promised to work at “paying all these blessings forward,” something she does regularly as a songwriting instructor and mentor.

Kristin Scott Benson of The Grascals received the award for Banjo Performer of the Year, and posted this message for fans and her bandmates on social media: “Thanks to everyone at SPBGMA and especially each of the Grascals for the banjo award last night. I appreciate you all!”

As a touring recording artist, wife of a musician, and devoted mother, Kristin works hard to maintain balance in her life. Just prior to sharing gratitude for the SPBGMA award, Kristin shared praise on Facebook for son, Hogan, and his own recent honor. Hogan took the top prize at a school science fair for his invention, The Speedy Unspooler. Congratulations, Hogan Benson!

Mountain Home Music Company is a premiere Bluegrass label with global distribution, representing such elite artists as Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, The Boxcars, Lonesome River Band, Balsam Range, The Grascals, The Snyder Family Band, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Danny Roberts, Crowe Lawson Williams, Newtown and Flatt Lonesome.

Mountain Home is a division of Crossroads Entertainment & Marketing, Inc.

Here’s a glance at select upcoming tour dates for Doyle, Donna and Kristin. Check artist websites for full schedules.


02/16/18 – Winter Gospel Music Convention – Palmetto, FL

02/10/18 – Fairview Ruritan – Galax, VA

02/11/18 – Appomattox County High School – Appomattox, VA

02/16/18 – Bluegrass First Class – Asheville, NC

02/17/18 – Meadowgreen Park Bluegrass Music Hall – Clay City, KY

02/23/18 – Marysville First United Methodist Church – Marysville, OH

02/24/18 – Niswonger Performing Arts Center – Greeneville, TN

03/02/18 – The Franklin Theater – Franklin, TN

03/03/18 – Davis Events Center – Fulton, MS

03/09/18 – Hebron Baptist Church – Statesville, NC

03/10/18 – Mountain View Bluegrass Festival – Mountain View, AR

03/16/18 – Little River Bluegrass Barn & Event Center – Radford, VA

03/17/18 – Mountaineer Opry House – Milton, WV

03/18/18 – Owen County High School Auditorium – Owenton, KY

03/23/18 – Sertoma Spring Bluegrass Festival – Brooksville, FL

03/24/18 – Blue, Brew & Que Festival – Kenansville, NC

04/06/18 – First Brethren Church – Buena Vista, VA

04/07/18 – Reidsville High School – Reidsville, NC

04/13/18 – Cornerstone Missionary Baptist Church – Street, MD

04/14/18 – Parrish Auditorium at Miami University – Hamilton, OH

04/29/18 – National Cornbread Festival – South Pittsburg, TN

05/05/18 – Song of the Mountains at Lincoln Theater – Marion, VA

05/06/18 – Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival – Winchester, VA

05/10/18 – DL&Q’s Bluegrass Scramble at Asheboro Country Club - Asheboro, NC

05/10-13/18 – DL&Q’s Bluegrass Festival at Denton Farm Park – Denton, NC


02/26/18 – Collins Theater – Paragould, AR

03/25/18 – American Legion Post 238 Bluegrass Concert Series – Hughesville, MD

04/06/18 – Pennyroyal Opera House – Fairview, OH

05/12/18 – DL&Q’s Bluegrass Festival at Denton Farm Park – Denton, NC

08/18/18 – Gandy Dancer Festival – Mazomanie, WI

09/13/18 – Dumplin Valley Bluegrass Festival – Kodak, TN


02/23/18 – Majestic Theater – Chillicothe, OH

03/03/18 – MBOTMA Winter Bluegrass Wknd – Plymouth, MN

04/15/18 – Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival – Fernandina Beach, FL

04/16/18 – Boys & Girls Club of Amelia Island – Fernandina Beach, FL

04/17/18 – Amelia Island Chamber Music Festival – Fernandina Beach, FL

05/04/18 – Madison Chamber Music Festival – Madison, GA

05/08-09/18 – Bluegrass & BBQ Festival – Branson, MO

05/19/18 – BBQ, Blues & Bluegrass – St. Joseph, MI

05/28/18 – BBQ & Bluegrass Festival – Pigeon Forge, TN

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 7:30 am

Tom Eure has released The Coin, The Prayer & The Crow, his 6th original album. The singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist creates music that is at once robust, and the next moment lilting. It is a heartfelt fusion of Folk, Celtic, and Appalachian influences.

Tom grew up in Roanoke Rapids, attended Appalachian State University, and resides near Charlotte. With its rich musical history and traditions, Eure's home state of North Carolina provides endless inspiration.

As a sought-after studio musician, Eure has appeared on over 45 albums, smoothly transitioning between genres. He’s the fiddler for 2015 CMA award winners Flatland Tourist, spent seven years with the Cajun band Carolina Gator Gumbo, and is part of the Celtic music group Thistledown Tinkers. Experiences with such varied acts have served to enhance Tom’s “folk process” of absorbing musical traditions and allowing them to shape his own unique sound.

“Because I play several instruments, I’ve been lucky enough to work with bands from all types of genres,” Eure says. “I've worked with acts in Celtic, Cajun, Americana, Rock and more, and every one of those experiences influences my playing and my writing.”  

The Coin, The Prayer & The Crow finds Tom Eure joined by a new musical partner, Amelia Osborne, who is equally skilled at fiddle, banjo, bodhrán, mandolin, and as a vocalist. The two multi-instrumentalists swirl together fiddles, banjos, drums, mandolins, guitars, and rousing vocal harmonies, painting a musical picture that is fresh and uplifting.

The new album features Eure on vocals, banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin and bass. His various influences weave tastefully, and in almost imperceptible ways, like sweet memories.  

“I feel like my music career has not been unlike a world traveler,” Eure notes. “I’ve been visiting all these wonderful places and am able to bring my favorite parts back with me. Picking up on something and passing it along, sharing it, that’s what folk music is all about. The new album is a celebration of life, love and music that is the next logical step in what I call my ‘folk process’."

Eure has performed at top venues including The Blue Bird Cafe in Nashville and the iconic CBGB’s Gallery in New York City, as well as theaters, festivals and Highland Games throughout the states. Tom has opened for some of the best in the business, including James McMurtry, Chris Smither, and the late Warren Zevon. In concert with Osborne, the duo moves seamlessly from one instrument to another, keeping the performance fun, fresh, and engaging. They draw on their many musical influences to create a sound that is new yet familiar, risky yet comfortable, and always with a focus on the integrity of the song.

The Coin, The Prayer & The Crow is available now. The collection of 13 songs is a joyful retrospective of Tom’s Celtic and Appalachian influences with an eye set on the future.

Wed, 03/14/2018 - 7:51 am

With her song, "You Reap What You Sow" continuing to enjoy outstanding chart results for airplay across multiple genres, New Jersey based singer, Mara Levine, has announced an upcoming April tour in Europe.

Levine released a preview track from her forthcoming Folk/American album Facets of Folk in the 2nd half of 2017. She invited bluegrass luminaries to join her on "You Reap What You Sow," a song with timely and inspiring lyrics that resonate with listeners. The decidedly bluegrass treatment features Greg Blake (vocals), Bob Harris (guitar), Rob Ickes (dobro), Andy Leftwich (mandolin), Mollie O'Brien (vocals), Mark Schatz (bass) and Scott Vestal (banjo). The song was co-produced by Bob Harris.

Mara Levine's version of "You Reap What You Sow," penned by Susan Shann, was the #1 song on the International Folk DJ Chart for November 2017, and reached  #16 for the year. It has been on Bluegrass Today’s “Grassicana” Chart for 9 consecutive weeks in 2018, peaking twice at #9.

"It means so much to me that there is now an airplay chart, “Grassicana,” that represents the combination of Bluegrass and Americana music reflected in my unique crossover project," Mara says, "and I am very grateful to all the DJs who have shared this important and timely song with their listeners."

Mara will perform with Folk/Americana partners Gathering Time in Ireland and Germany, and with the award winning Dutch Country duo John and Nienke (Zingga) in the Netherlands.

Gathering Time was voted best band runner-up (and top folk band) in the 2011 Long Island Press readers' poll. The trio is like a high-energy Peter, Paul & Mary or a co-ed Crosby, Stills & Nash; a folk-rock harmony trio especially active on the northeast regional folk scene. Gathering Time's most recent release, Keepsake, is the trio’s 4th album. The recording debuted at #1 on the Folk DJ Charts for March 2016, and produced several top-charting songs.

John & Nienke Geuzinge-Havinga are an award-winning duo with a passion for fine stringed instruments and known for compelling vocal harmony.

Mara Levine has been called “one of the best singers of her generation" by Christine Lavin. Praised for creating beautiful interpretations of songs, ranging from traditional to contemporary, her repertoire has been described as extraordinary and unique. Her latest CD Jewels and Harmony was the #1 Album on the Folk Chart for January 2013 and #3 for 2013.  Her recording of "By My Silence"(Ellen Bukstel/Nick Annis) with Gathering Time, was #1 on the Folk Chart for September 2017 and #19 for the year.

Mara Levine - European Dates: April 2018

Saturday April 7
Muintir na Tire Hall, 8:30 p.m.
Buttevant, County Cork, Ireland 
Shared bill with Gathering Time

Sunday April 8
Old Schoolhouse, 8:00 p.m.
Clashmore, County Waterford, Ireland
Shared bill with Gathering Time

Monday April 9
Village Arts Centre, The Square, 8:15 p.m.
Killworth, County Cork, Ireland
Shared bill with Gathering Time

Tuesday April  10
O Gliasains Pub. Concert Room, 8:30 p.m. 
Sixmilebridge, County Clare, Ireland
Shared bill with Gathering Time

Thursday, April 12
Altes Sportheim Illerberg, 8:00 p.m.         
Ulm, Germany
Shared bill with Gathering Time

Saturday, April 14
Ehingen St. Patrick's Day Festival, 7:00 p.m.    
Lindenhalle, Lindenstraße 51  
Ehingen (Donau), Baden-Württemberg Germany
Shared bill with Gathering Time and Arthur Martinez & seine Band Tejas aus Texas

Friday, April 27
Podium Cafe Peter en Leni, 8:30 p.m.
Steendam, Netherlands  
Shared bill with John & Nienke     

Saturday, April 28
Brouwcafé De Hofnar, 8:30 p.m.
Scheveningen, The Hague Netherlands
Shared bill with John & Nienke