I hope everyone is safe during these times. Part of the truth of life is we feel compelled to pursue our goals, despite what may be happening around us. Sometimes we feel nervous, stretched, or even at risk, maybe that lets us know we’re on the right track, or in the right boat. Filming this documentary felt like that at times.
I had some doubts and fears when we started making the documentary. Yet my heart kept telling me what an amazing opportunity, to be able to tell a story of survival, an inspiration for those who think “not me”. We all fear, but that can create growth and change.
Every year I get so excited as the Park Slope Bluegrass, Old-time Music Jamboree approaches! This year is no exception. We have a great family-friendly event planned for folks in the Brooklyn area. It’s so heartwarming to see all the kids come out to this event, some of them have instruments that are bigger than they are! But that doesn’t deter them one little bit, nosiree! We’re happy to support their efforts and encourage them to continue pursuing the bluegrass music that we all know and love.
So I’m thrilled to have 12-year old banjo champ, Nora Brown, performing as part of the Saturday evening concert lineup (9/16) which also includes Jim Gaudet and the Railroad Boys. Nora just took the blue ribbon at the Appalachian Stringband Festival and she is an amazingly talented performer. Reminds me of Hazel Dickens. You folks are in for a treat Saturday night! Plus Nora has graciously offered to lead a workshop earlier in the day geared to young banjo enthusiasts and I’m sure it will be a popular choice among event attendees.
We also have a special kid’s presentation from 3:15 to 4:15 that will include songwriting and a performance of that song by all those who attend the presentation! So bring your young ‘uns and enjoy a wonderful day on Saturday, Sept. 16th, at the Old Stone House located at 336 Third St. in Brooklyn. Click here to download the 2017 Schedule. See you there!
I’ve been keeping pretty busy this summer with the movie project but we’re still hitting the festivals and performing in concert! The west coast band just got back from the Wildlife West Music Festival, a great event near Albuquerque, NM and earlier in June we performed at the Route 66 Bluegrass Festival in Victorville, CA.
The east coast band will be in concert at the historic Tompkins Corners Cultural Center in Putnam Valley next weekend and, of course, we have the Park Slope Jamboree coming up on September 15th and 16th.
It’s been a travel-packed summer so far with more on the horizon, but you’ll have to wait until later to read all about that! Hope you had a fun-filled summer vacation!
I want to let you know about a charity event that I will be participating in this December. It’s called the Cure GM1 Charity Concert. The folks that have organized this event, and some of those participating in it, have young children that have been diagnosed with a rare, and fatal, disease called GM1. Those living with GM1 must watch as their children lose the ability to walk, stand, speak, even swallow. Their vibrant lives are cut drastically short. But there is good news. A cure may be on the horizon thanks to promising research from Auburn and UMass Medical Schools. All that’s lacking to gain FDA approval is the required testing. I know that you can’t all drive down to Tucson, AZ and support this fundraising effort, but you can donate online. Please consider the Cure GM1 Foundation as you plan your holiday giving. Every little bit helps move them closer to possibly having a cure by 2017. Thank you and God bless.
Hi folks! I just got back from the 2016 World of Bluegrass conference. What a week! I’m planning to share more of the happenings with you in the upcoming Barnstormer Newsletter next month but thought you might like a sneak peek!
The highlight of the week was, of course, the IBMA award show. Hobnobbing with Bluegrass Unlimited’s Kitsy Kuykendall, bluegrass legend Ronnie Reno, my buddy Larry Stephenson of the Larry Stephenson Band, as well as all the good folks from Bluegrass Today before the show was so much fun. But I had no idea what an emotional experience was in store when I arrived that evening. You could have knocked me and a whole bunch of other folks over with a feather when my dear friend, Danny Paisley’s name was called as the Male Vocalist of the Year. I’ve known Danny for just about his whole career. We’ve played at the same festivals, clawing for every scrap of meat off the bluegrass bone we could get. It brought tears to my eyes and to those around me, to see him stand up there, obviously shaken, and accept his award. And he certainly deserved the win. Wow! What a thrill!! Congratulations Danny…you are an inspiration to us all!
It’s been a hectic 4 weeks! I was back east recording four more songs for the new album, running the Park Slope Jamboree, and then attending the IBMA World of Bluegrass Conference. I feel like I’ve been through the wringer, wrung out and then hung out to dry!
There’s just too much to tell in one little bitty blog so I’ll save the full story for the newsletter which should be coming out in early November. It felt great to be back in the recording studio with long time bandmates Mark Farrell, Doug Nicolaisen, and Nick Sullivan with special guest Kenny Kosek who is an amazing fiddler. Now the album is almost 2/3 done and we’ll be wrapping up the remaining songs over the winter in sunny AZ.
The Jamboree was another rousing success. We had a terrific bunch of bands for the Saturday concert. I even ran into a couple of bands from the Jamboree at the World of Bluegrass showcases. It was such an honor to award the Brown Jug to Drew Smith this year. He may have a bookcase full of trophies, but I know he’ll treasure the Brown Jug for years to come!
And speaking of Brown Jug winners. I ran into Bill Keith at World of Bluegrass and got a chance to congratulate him on being inducted into the Hall of Fame. The IBMA Conference was a whirlwind of activity and not just because Hurricane Joaquin chose that weekend to make landfall! I have no idea how the organizers and the City of Raleigh managed to move all the outdoor events into protected areas, but they did! I was on pins and needles during the Special Awards Presentation as I waited to hear the winner of the Bluegrass Event of the Year. It was heartwarming to have photos of our little Jamboree up on the big screen for everyone to see. We didn’t win, but we were up against some real giants with RockyGrass and the Lester Flatt Celebration tying for the trophy. Thank you all for your support and best wishes, this nomination meant so much to me. I just love our happy little festival in Brooklyn!