20170814

Bluegrass Symposium to be Held in Raleigh!

An academic conference focused on the study of bluegrass music called "The Bluegrass Symposium" will debut in Raleigh, NC Sept. 29-30 at the Raleigh Convention Center, as a part of the International Bluegrass Music Association's World of Bluegrass week.

Dale Ann Bradley to Release New Album this Week!

Dale Ann Bradley will release her self-titled album on Pinecastle Records on August 18. 

Produced by Bradley, the CD includes a duet with Country Music Hall Of Fame member Vince Gill, "I Think I'll Just Go Away," a song from the Stanley Brothers repertoire.

20170811

Texas Festival Gets Squeezed Out by Urban Sprawl !

imageThe Austin area’s Old Settler’s Music Festival will move to a new site starting with the April 19-22, 2018 festival.

The 30-year-old organization was surprised and disappointed to receive a letter on Aug. 8 from Scott Roberts, owner of the Salt Lick Barbecue Pavilion in Driftwood, informing the board that the property would not host the festival in 2018.

20170809

Reactions to the Passing of Glen Campbell

Tributes from the country music community pour in following news of the passing of Glen Campbell.

The country legend died today at 81 years old.

 "One of the greatest musicians, singers, entertainers, and beautiful human beings has left this life for the next life where no disease is allowed to enter, thank God! It takes a prepared person to go a place, and Glen was prepared. I knew him and loved him so much. My condolences to precious Kim and the family. Much love and prayers for you all." -Ricky Skaggs

20170803

Sisters’ Bluegrass Tribute to Dad Celebrates Good Times at Irish Pub!

imageIn a new CD straight from the heart, sisters Wendi Kilman and Kelli Lewis of “The Boyz and the Beez,” pay musical tribute to their late father with two songs that celebrate his favorite place to throw back an IPA: Rosie McCann’s Irish Pub and Restaurant in Santa Cruz, California.

“Road to Rosie McCann,” a bluegrass song on the CD was already partly penned by their dad Fred Sherry Smith last year as an ode to the pub he loved.

But Fred, 86, died unexpectedly in December - never having completed the piece - so when Wendi found the lyrics on his desk, she decided to finish them, admitting she was worried about “doing them justice.”

Another song on the CD about the pub, “Thirty-two Steps to Rosie McCann's,” was written by Kelli before Fred’s death and was actually the inspiration for him to start writing his song about the pub.

The sisters, female vocalists from the “Boyz and the Beez,” have delighted live audiences in Southern California with their swing music for years.  Kelli lives in Huntington Beach and Wendi in Costa Mesa.

This latest CD, entitled, “Shoe Tree” is a gift to their dad, an extraordinary singer, musician and human being.

Wendi said even though she’s not a songwriter, the words to complete the song flowed as if Fred were sending them her way.

The playful, catchy song is about Fred “training” so he can continue to walk up those 32 steps to the pub for a drink, to meet his friend Mike, socialize and delight in the portrait of a pretty woman who looks like (actress) Jane Seymour.

A sample of the upbeat lyrics:

“It’s a big long bar in Santa Cruz,
I don’t go for the food, I go for the booze.
I’ve been a looong, looong time on the Road to Rosie McCann…
climb 32 steps if I have to crawl.”

One of Wendi’s favorite lines of blended dad and daughter lyrics from the song:

“It’s great to be alive I often say. Think I’m gonna have another IPA. Looong, looong time on the road to Rosie McCann.”

Wendi said her dad, “Never stopped getting excited about music and making himself better…He’d always say, “I’ve got a new goal.”

Daughter Kelli said she was always intrigued by her dad’s stories of being in the music business and performing on television and in movies during the1950s.

Fred, a decorated U.S. Army veteran, who as a child sang in movies, got his first big break in 1952 when he won the Horace Heidt national radio contest with an impeccable rendition of Cole Porter’s “Begin the Beguine.” He was a tenor with a crisp, velvety voice.

Wendi remembers bringing his recording from the Horace Heidt show into second-grade show and tell and puzzling her 7-year-old class mates who had stuffed animals and slingshots to share. It seemed so natural to Wendi because music was always such a part of the household.

In the 1950s after winning the competition, Fred launched his career with the Jones Boys quartet. The group would come to open for the likes of Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Bobby Darin, as well as make appearances on the Ed Sullivan and Arthur Godfried shows.

Later in the 1950s, Fred became a studio singer, working with Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Andre Previn, Shelly Mann, Peggy Lee.

Fred often let his music meet his humor by picking up any instrument for an impromptu number at home. Kelli remembers that every year on the day she and her sisters and brother returned to school after summer vacation, Fred pulled out his upright bass and from the front lawn belted out, “Happy Days are Here Again.”

He left the full-time music business to open a lighting store after marrying and having four children.

But he never stopped singing and performing.

The CD is called “Shoe Tree,” because Fred became known in his Northern California community for nailing old boots and other footwear to a tree on his property, rather than see them wasted. There is also an original song on the new CD, about the tree, “Dad's Shoe Tree,” written by Kelli. It’s a catchy upbeat tune that brings a smile to listeners.

Before Fred passed he knew his daughters were going to record a “Shoe Tree” CD and expected to see both he and Kelli’s songs featured. His name will remain as the songwriter, but Wendi’s name will be there too.

Kelli says of her dad, “He taught me you’re never too old to do what you want to do."

'Shoe Tree' by Boyz and the Beez is available online worldwide at over 700 quality digital music retailers now.

20170802

Hee Haw Star; Lulu Roman, Coming to Great American Bluegrass TV

imageLulu Roman, former television star of Hee Haw, will take to the Great American Bluegrass stage along with Chosen Road, the King James Boys, and show host, Reagan Riddle and the Primitive Quartet, performing staging production for Great American Bluegrass TV in October. 

20170731

Chris Hillman’s Fall Release - BIDIN’ MY TIME– Holds A Spot for His Bluegrass Roots!

imageChris Hillman, a founding member of the Byrds, Flying Burrito Brothers, Manassas, and the Desert Rose Band, is widely acknowledged as a seminal figure in the creation of country rock and an architect of American popular music.

On September 22, 2017, Hillman will release Bidin' My Time, his first studio album in over a decade. Tom Petty produced the album at his studio in Southern California, and Hillman's longtime collaborator and co-founder of the Desert Rose Band Herb Pedersen served as Executive Producer.

Bonfire Records Signs First Artist - Wilson Banjo Co.

imageBonfire Records has signed Upstate South Carolina bluegrass band Wilson Banjo Co.

Their first full-length album SPIRITS IN THE HILLS will be released in October.

Bonfire's mission is to develop American roots music artists and artists local to the Greenville, SC area.

Mike Scott Hosts “BLUEGRASS RIDGE” TV Shows!

imageBanjo master Mike Scott recently hosted Heartland TV's hit show "Bluegrass Ridge”.

Scott hosted four episodes and the first episode, which will air starting the week of July 31st includes Scott’s music video “Take Me Lord And Use Me”.  Below is airing schedule for the four episodes hosted by Mike Scott:

Flatt Lonesome Knows Where to Go !

Award-winning group to release album during World of Bluegrass 2017

imageFrom the moment of their brilliant self-titled debut in 2013, it’s been clear that Flatt Lonesome is, as the title of their 3rd album claims, “a Runaway Train.

Multiple IBMA, SPBGMA and Dove nominations and awards, top charting songs, Billboard charting albums, countless media appearances (including becoming familiar faces on the legendary Grand Ole Opry stage), and a demanding tour schedule all combine in testimony to the phenomenon that is Flatt Lonesome.

American Banjo Museum Announces BANJO FEST 2017 and Hall of Fame Inductees!

imageDuring the weekend of Sept. 7th – 9th, the focus of the banjo world will be on Oklahoma City as the American Banjo Museum honors the 2017 imageinductees into the American Banjo Hall of Fame with three days of concerts, informal performances, parties, jams and other musical events called BANJO FEST!

BANJO FEST weekend festivities begin with a reception beginning at 6PM on Thursday, September 7th at the American Banjo Museum in Bricktown. The evening will feature live music - including a very special performance by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder, John McEuen, as well as the presentation of the American Banjo Museum Awards of Excellence.