Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Those of us who do not have access to cable/satellite for channels with bluegrass music can still watch top performances on Montana PBS.  The 5 AM Mondays slot has been changed to "Jubilee," but still features great artists.  Last Monday it was Dale Ann Bradley who performed in Missoula recently. Other special events have excellent music as well.  Check your local PBS schedule for these.


For Immediate Release:
Balsam Range, Lester Flatt, Reno & Harrell and the best performances of Bluegrass & Gospel Music--PLUS Rhonda Vincent as Co-Host for first episode of new series!! 
Nashville, Tenn. (Sept. 28, 2015)—"Reno's Old Time Music" will treat fans to a sweet October lineup! The month's bag of "goodies" includes another episode of FRONT PORCH GOSPEL; a celebration and look back at the legendary career of Lester Flatt; a show featuring IBMA Entertainer & Vocal Group of the Year Balsam Range; a family reunion of sorts with Reno & Harrell; and the premiere of a new series of shows called HATS OFF THE BLUEGRASS, co-hosted this month by the reigning Queen of Bluegrass Rhonda Vincent. For more information on "Reno's Old Time Music," please visit and click on the TV Show tab.
"Reno's Old Time Music" airs weekly in prime time on Saturday night at 7:00 P.M. Eastern and on Thursday morning at 6:30 A.M. Eastern on RFD-TV and is sponsored by Derksen Portable Buildings and the Old Time Music Store (click HERE for more information and for exact times in your area).
October 3 – 8: Front Porch Gospel
​Start the month off with some musical inspiration! A fan favorite, FRONT PORCH GOSPEL compiles never-before-seen Gospel performances from the guests of "Reno's Old Time Music" to enkindle the heart and delight the spirit. Gather the family, tune in and usher in the fall with a renewed purpose! Don't miss it! 
October 10 – 15: Balsam Range
Recently honored by the legislators of their home state of North Carolina, IBMA Entertainer & Vocal Group of the Year, Balsam Range is fronted by the reigning Male Vocalist of the Year and stellar fiddler Buddy Melton. Backed by the superb harmony/bass of Tim Surrett, the incredible guitar chops of Caleb Smith, the gifted mandolin playing of Darren Nicholson and the banjo stylings of GRAMMY award-winner Mark Pruett, these boys can always be found regularly at or near the top of the singles and albums charts. If you want to see the best of today's Bluegrass talent, then this is the show for you!   
October 17 – 22: Lester Flatt
No conversation about the founding of Bluegrass can ever be had without the name Lester Flatt, a guitar player and singer for Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys--the group is cited by many historians as the first and best group to ever play in the genre. Flatt later partnered with Earl Scruggs to form Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, ushering in a new era of Bluegrass that would endure for the next 23 years. Remaining true to Bluegrass until his passing in 1979, Flatt left behind a legacy of music and classics that will forever shape the genre. Join us as we explore the incredible music and talent of Lester Flatt through archival footage, interviews and performances only available on "Reno's Old Time Music."
October 24 – 29: Reno & Harrell
When one hears the name Reno & Harrell, one can't help but recall the 1960's Bluegrass act featuring Don Reno and Bill Harrell and The Tennessee Cut-ups. However, the current rendition of the group was formed by their laureate sons, Don Wayne and Dale "Deacon" Reno (Ronnie Reno's younger siblings), and Mitch Harrell, who continue their amazing legacy. Tune in and watch them perform and reminisce about their legendary fathers.
October 31November 5: "Hats Off to Bluegrass"
"Reno's Old Time Music" is pleased to premiere a brand new series of shows paying homage to the best performances by its guests throughout the years. Each episode is co-hosted by Ronnie Reno and one of today's biggest Bluegrass stars, who will talk about each performance and do a little "super pickin'" of their own. This month's co-host will be the reigning "Queen of Bluegrass," the lovely and talented Rhonda Vincent.
This award-winning weekly music/talk show is the brainchild of Producer/Host Ronnie Reno, whose over-60-year career helped forge the sound and songs of so many legendary Bluegrass and Country Music entertainers, including Reno & Smiley, The Osborne Brothers, Merle Haggard, The Reno Brothers, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Vassar Clements, Sammi Smith, Johnny Paycheck, Mac Wiseman and Conway Twitty, to name just a few.
Reno began airing his show in 1993 on another network as "Reno's Old Time Music Festival.” It was the first and only national television show featuring Bluegrass and acoustic music and could be seen in 28 million households. Because of the show’s rich music/talk format and Reno’s influence in getting top-name guests, the show was a huge success, earning Reno a nomination for the prestigious Cable Ace Award for“Best Musical Series" and the nickname "The Dick Clark of Bluegrass."
Today, "Reno's Old Time Music" has nearly doubled its carriage with its transition to the RFD-TV network, reaching an estimated 47 million homes weekly and pulling an estimated 1.3 million monthly viewers. Although the name has changed slightly, the format remains largely the same, which includes performances by Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition and the weekly featured guest, an interview segment, the extremely popular “Super Pickers” segment and a sterling closing performance by the guest, who is joined by Reno on the Main Stage. Reno was honored with both the IBMA "Distinguished Achievement" (2006) and "Broadcaster of the Year" (2013) awards due to the continued success of the show.
Reno has recently released his first album in over a decade, LESSONS LEARNED, on Rural Rhythm Records, available on iTunes, Amazon and wherever Bluegrass and Country music are sold. 
For more information on Ronnie Reno or "Reno's Old Time Music," please visit
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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


                                            Billings Elks Lodge view from Lewis Avenue

My post of September 20 lamented my frustration with an inability to  download photos from my digital cameras onto Windows 10.  While I still cannot do that, I have found a "duct tape and baling wire" solution - well figuratively speaking at least. I tried using my old XP machine to download from my camera then putting those shots onto a USB flashdrive. It took some time for me to understand how to download that drive onto Windows 10, but I finally had success. It is very primitive, but that is the best my old brain could come up with. It would be nice if I could use my router however I think my old XP computer would need internet access which it no longer has. It was still no "piece of cake" as blogspot would not accept my new Windows 10 browser.  Fortunately I could easily import my Firefox info and use Firefox to get my photos up.  Well at least I can now get my digital cameras back to recording bluegrass activities once again. Whew! (Probably only real techies like Trent Indreland know what the hell I am writing about here.  Still not sure that I do!)

                                                   First jam at the Billings Elks. 

Door shown is right on the south parking lot. Vehicles can be parked right at the door. This is very convenient. Pickers can still park in the front lot and come all the way down through the Lodge, but most are preferring to drive around to the back. We can now enter any time from before 7 PM until 9 PM. Many pickers and listeners have been taking advantage of this feature. I hope to see you all there soon.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015



We now have 8 bands scheduled to play for the Showcase on Friday Oct 16th.  They are not the order of play as of yet tho.  Bands can come early and warm up in rooms in the basement or 1st floor of the Chapel.  We have a GREAT line-up!  It will be a good show!
1.  Ed Pierson Band
2.  Plots and Rocks
3.  Highway 302
4.  Bluegrass County Line
5.  Song Dog Serenade
6.  Spur of the Moment
7.  The Hillbillings
8.  Memory Lane

ROGERS NOTE: We have heard these groups before and there should be some good bluegrass performed.  The one exception is "Memory Lane."  This old guy does nothing close to real bluegrass. He sings old "classic country" stuff. He does do a fairly good yodel, but I don't think he even begins to know what real bluegrass is all about.  
Notable by their absence are old standbys "Cold Frosty Morn" and "Canyon Creek" (Ramblin' Laurels").

Sunday, September 20, 2015


I have taken photos of the new YBA jams at the Billings Elks Lodge however they have not been shown on this blog. I have complained about my old e-Machine computer running Windows XP in past posts and suggested this blog might soon go dark.  It was just giving me too many problems. I finally broke down, shook the cobwebs out of my wallet, and bought a new one which is much better - with a few notable exceptions. It resulted in Facebook giving me a NEW account with no friends, posts, or history and totally shutting me off from my old account. As a result I told Facebook to shove it, or at least to close my account(s) which is about the same. A new machine made it seem obvious that updating as much as possible was the only sensible thing to do. So now I have Windows 10 as my OS. That is great EXCEPT I cannot find any way to download photos from my digital cameras onto my new computer and then onto this blog. Windows 10 seems to only accept new photos from wireless cameras. So I could shoot with my cell phone, but I have much better digital cameras than that.  If anyone knows of a way to download digital camera photos onto Windows 10 I would certainly appreciate hearing about it. My current state of research seems to indicate that the camera companies will need to develop firmware for each camera model to download to Windows 10. Neither Nikon or Canon (my cameras) have done so at this time. I do still have available my old photos from this blog so I may occasionally stick a stock file photo on a new post. Thank you for bearing with me on this. One way or another I plan on including photos with many future posts.


We have now had two Friday night jams at the Elks Club on Lewis Avenue in Billings and they have been at least moderately successful. Some 12 to 15 pickers and several spectators have shown up. Old standbys including Clayton Olson, Paul Dextras, David Nelson, Larry and Lalonnie Larson have attended. We can come any time between 7 and 9 PM, but this old fiddler would appreciate having more experienced folks be there when the jams begin. It is frustrating when mainly new and novice musicians fill most of the seats. We need more people who know more tunes in order to really get started. The manager has been very accommodating and has even sent some of her patrons down to  listen to the music.  The picking room is very spacious with plenty of seating and the acoustics are adequate to my ears.  While you can enter from the main upstairs door it is best to drive around to the back (South) side of the building and come directly into the room we play in which is on the lower level. One caveat is that the sun is now setting around 7:15 PM and it is totally dark soon after.  It would be a good idea, the first time you attend, to get there while there is still light to see by. The entry to the paved lot is a bit rough. Also if you need a music stand be sure to bring your own. I was totally bummed out by the jam situation at the Lincoln the past couple of years, but I now plan to attend most all of the Elks jams. I hope to see you all there next Friday night.


The first Elks Jam was quite a success.  A dozen pickers participated and several fans attended.  The manager was very accommodating and sent some of her patrons down to listen. The room is VERY spacious. Any pickers who are dependent up a music stand are reminded to bring their own.  On last Friday we had one mandolin, a fiddle, banjo and a bass guitar.  The remaining pickers had guitars which is about typical for a YBA jam.   

Friday, September 4, 2015


From Yellowstone Bluegrass Association president Sharon Karlson:

Good news!  We no longer will be jamming at the Lincoln Center, so we have been looking for a new venue.  The Board met on Wednesday and unanimously voted on The Elks Club basement to jam in!  We will begin next Friday, Sept 11th.  The elks is located on Lewis Ave on 9th or 10th St.,  Lewis is South of Grand Ave.  Very easy to find.  The basement has access doors in the South parking lot of the building, and you can come anytime from7-9PM.  No security or time frame to get in.  Its a very large , comfortable room with plenty of chairs.  I think we will like this, and the management is delighted to have us!  But we will now begin to pay rent for the use of it, so the Board has also decided to increase our memberships by $5.00, beginning as of now, and for 2016.  So a Single membership will now be $20.00 a year, and Family membership will be $30.00 per year... still a very good deal for what we provide.  I am very excited about our new venue, and want to Thank those involved in helping us search.
Have a safe Labor Day weekend everyone. and will see you at the Elks Club at 7PM next FridaySept 11th!

ROGER'S NOTE:  As the new site must be rented I believe those fans who come to listen would be willing to purchase a membership to help pay for the facility.  The Lincoln was free of charge, but we have to help the Elks out with some rent.


The NOVA Center For The Arts is looking for actors, musicians and singers for their Christmas Time's A-Comin' production. Auditions will be from 7 to 9 p.m., Sept. 14 and 15. Sing your choice of a bluegrass/country tune or Christmas carol. Others may bring a Karaoke CD or accompanist music while bluegrassers may accompany themselves on their instrument. Be prepared to cold read. Auditions are open to newcomers to the theater.

Aspirants should also probably be prepared for several rehearsals and actual performances over several days time 


The U.S. Navy Band will perform a free concert at the Shrine Auditorium at 7:30 PM on Sept. 9. This show features "Country Current" the Navy's premier country-bluegrass ensemble. Each member of the seven piece group is skilled on multiple instruments. The band utilizes banjo, acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, fiddle, electric bass, upright bass, dobro, pedal steel guitar and drum set. We have heard them in the past and they are good. And how can you beat FREE?

 The NOVA Center for the Arts is planning a holiday season production based on Tex Logan's great bluegrass song, "Christmas Time's A'Comin.' This provides an opportunity for area bluegrassers to get on stage for a genuine theatrical musical. More information will be provided as it becomes available.