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!
I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am that our “happy little festival” in Brooklyn has been nominated for the IBMA 2014 Event of the Year! And “YES!” it is an honor just to be nominated. Wow! This is just so exciting!
The Park Slope Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Jamboree has been a labor of love for me for 16 years now. I almost chucked in the towel on the Jamboree after my partner, Tina, passed away but something deep inside me just wouldn’t let me give it up. And I’m so glad I didn’t!
Last year’s festival honored Bill Keith with the Brown Jug Award for his contributions to bluegrass music and I’m proud to see that he has been selected as a 2015 Inductee into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame.
I hope the news of this nomination encourages more folks to come out and join us on September 25-26 for our 16th Jamboree. We’ve got a great lineup of artists and workshops planned! More information is available on this website under the “Jamboree” tab.
Sure had a great time back east and catching up with folks. Our concert at the Jalopy Theatre was fun as always. I just love the intimacy that venue provides. And then the band and I headed off to Pennsylvania for the Wind Gap Bluegrass Festival. You couldn’t have picked a nicer weekend or prettier spot for a festival. It’s always a rip-roaring good time at Wind Gap and this year we raised the bar even higher. If you missed us in June, I’ll be back east again in July for a special performance at the First Unitarian Church in Brooklyn as part of the Good Coffeehouse Concert Series. Tickets are on sale through Brown Paper Tickets.com. See you soon!
I was contacted by a reporter from West Virgina for permission to use I song I wrote back in 2001 about the Buffalo Creek Flood on their show “Inside Appalachia” which will air this Sunday at 7 AM and 6 PM (also available as a downloadable podcast). Of course I was more than happy to have them use the song and I hope that many of you will have an opportunity to listen in to the program or download it from their website. It just reminded me once again of the power of music in our world. As a songwriter, I look for events and issues that really speak to my heart for inspiration. Sometimes the songs that result surprise me. They seem to take me over as they struggle to life. As I work on new material for my next album, it’s good to be reminded that the songs I’ve written in the past are still being used to tell the story and raise awareness years later. By the way, “Buffalo Creek Flood” is available on the Barnstormin’ album that can be downloaded for free from NoiseTrade. Enjoy!
It was so great to get a chance to go to the IBMA World of Bluegrass again. For some years this event has conflicted with the Park Slope Jamboree, but I’m happy to report that is no longer the case! Let me just say kudos to the City of Raleigh for making all of us bluegrassers feel so welcome. It was a total immersion experience and I LOVED IT! Catching up with old (and young!) friends and fellow musicians was just the tip of the bluegrass blade for me. I was in constant motion from the time I arrived. Hanging out with Bill Keith (the Brown Jug Award winner at this year’s Jamboree) at his special reception for winning the Distinguished Artist Award was a highlight as was walking the red carpet for the awards show. I enjoyed myself immensely and am already chomping at the bit for next year’s soiree!
Best Jamboree EVER! That’s pretty much the comment that I kept hearing from folks about this year’s Park Slope Jamboree. We had the biggest crowd ever, the best food ever, and the best entertainment ever…so I guess I’d have to agree!! My thanks go out to all of you who came out and supported our “happy little festival.” And to the performers who gave their time and talent to entertain as well as to educate. I was deeply honored that Bill Keith was able to be with us and to accept this year’s Brown Jug Award…though we had to call it a Brown “Hug” Award since yours truly went off and left the award sitting at home! The photos are in and I’ve posted a few on the Jamboree page of my website. The 15th Annual Park Slope Bluegrass and Old Time Jamboree is officially in the books, so mark your calendars for 2015′s event scheduled for September 25 and 26. See you then!
I have to say that I was thrilled by the response we for the 1st Annual Arizona Bluegrass Film Festival right here in Phoenix. Thanks to all of you that came out for the event! Arizona Republic even wrote a nice article about the festival. Several of those present were brand new to bluegrass…and that was music to my ears! It just doesn’t get any better than to share my passion for this music with someone who’s just had their first sip of vintage bluegrass. As they learned about how this music came into being; listened to clips from the likes of The Seldom Scene, David Grisman, Doyle Lawson, The Travelers and Del McCoury; and experienced the love and family atmosphere that surrounds this genre…many were changed, converted by their exposure to the genuine article.
Plans are already underway for a bigger and even better film festival in 2015. Stay tuned!
Had a blast at Wind Gap last weekend. It’s great to be back east with the band and performing at these festivals that I’ve loved for so long. We’ll be performing at Jalopy Theatre on Friday, 6/20, so mosey on down and join us for some great music and hear the latest info on the 15th Anniversary of the Jamboree. Big doin’s planned for that event this year! The band will be heading back out to Cross Fork, PA for the Smoked Country Jam. We perform on Saturday at 2 and 7. Hope to see lots of old (and young!) friends at these events. Be sure to say “Hi!”