Tuesday, January 19, 2016


From the IBMA:

The world is still reeling from the loss of Eagles front man, guitarist and songwriter Glenn Frey. Frey died on January 18 in New York City, following complications of rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and pneumonia.
Again, you may think that the Eagles and Glenn Frey don't have anything to do with bluegrass, but this time you'd be mistaken. In the very earliest days of the band, the dawn of the 1970's, the Eagles were made up of Frey, Don Henley on drums, Randy Meisner on bass and one Bernie Leadon on guitar and...banjo! Leadon brought a bluegrass/country sound to the Eagles that was very apparent in the group's early music, most notably in the giant hit, "Take It Easy."
Bernie was liberal with the use of his banjo onstage in those days, as well. "Midnight Flyer," from the On the Border album, was often performed live in The Eagles' sets, with Meisner singing and Frey landing a compelling slide guitar (before the later advent of guitarists Don Felder and Joe Walsh, Frey often played the lead himself).
Today, in memory and celebration of the life and music of Glenn Frey, we feature the bluegrass sound of "Midnight Flyer," from 1974. Along with The Eagles, that's Jackson Browne playing guitar on the far stage left.
Thanks to IBMA member Artie Werner for sharing the link!
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This comment was made to my earlier post regarding a coming concert: " Roger, you are correct. they are not very typical. more of a jam band/bluegrass band. They officially go by "Greensky Bluegrass." Thanks, Mark Bruscino, you are totally correct of course.  I had referred to them as the "Greensky Boys."  This brings up a subject not discussed on this blog for sometime: What music was played in the southeastern U.S. before "bluegrass" which came into being in the 1940's?  Well, some just called it "mountain music" which evolved from the tunes which came with the Scots-Irish who settled around North Carolina during colonial times and later..  During the 1930's and especially with the advent of live radio, duets often brothers, became popular.  These usually featured guitar-mandolin or guitar-clawhammer banjo accompaniment  They included the Monroe Brothers, Bill and Birch; Carter and Ralph Stanley, and later the Louvin Brothers and even the Everlys.  Another very early group was the BLUESKY BOYS and I don't recall if they were more than a duo. Anyway the Blue Sky Boys were probably in the back of my mind when I wrote:  "Greensky Boys."  In fact they were likely how the Green Skies picked their moniker as well.

This also proved to be a major problem when Bob Massey and myself started the bluegrass group in Billings  The Massey's were originally from Georgia, but had belonged to a bluegrass club in Omaha called the "Great Plains Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association." That general name was used in Minnesota and elsewhere, too. Our new board finally decided to call us the Northern  Plains  Bluegrass and Old Time Music Association."  What we did not understand was that "old time music" simply referred to the mountain music prior to bluegrass.  So we ended up with folks who wanted to perform lots of tunes outside of bluegrass and it's predecessors.  We still have that problem even though the name was changed to the "Yellowstone Bluegrass Association."  As I said to another leader of our local group, "Bluegrass is basically hillbilly music and we don't have many hillbllys in Montana, but we have lots of cowboys."  As a result the YBA will likely never be a pure bluegrass club.  Darn it anyway!



Debut Album Makes “2015 The Best Of” List
Group To Perform On Main Stage At SPBGMA Convention
Nashville, TN (January 18, 2016) – Rural Rhythm Records group Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle have been very busy since the launch of their self-titled debut album almost a year ago.  The Bluegrass Situation called the debut album by Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle “one of the most highly anticipated bluegrass albums for 2015” soon after the release of the first single “Leaving Crazytown” , written by Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford, was released in the Fall of 2014.  “Leaving Crazytown” went on to reach #1 six times on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart, “which is very rare occurrence and incredible achievement for a new group”, noted Terry Herd from Bluegrass Today.  The single also reached #3 on SiriusXM radio – Bluegrass Junction’s Most-Played Tracks Chart and Top 10 on the Bluegrass UnlimitedNational Bluegrass Survey Top 30 Chart.
“Leaving Crazytown” and “She’s A Taker”, written by Steve Gulley & Tim Stafford, placed #3 and #6 on Bluegrass Today’s 2015 Year End Airplay Chart.  In addition, “You’re Gone”, written by Steve Gulley & Adam Haynes, reached #1 on SiriusXM radio – Bluegrass junction’s Most Played Tracks Chart in November and currently “She’s A Taker” is moving up the Bluegrass UnlimitedNational Bluegrass Survey Top 30 Chart at #19 in the January 2016 magazine.  Also in the same Bluegrass Unlimited issue, after 7 months on the chart, the album is currently moving up the chart at #5 on the Top 15 Bluegrass Album Chart.
David Morris from Bluegrass Today posted Dave’s Dozen: Best Of 2015 and included the debut album by Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle on this prestigious list.  Morris commented, “Gulley took a chance last year, leaving a successful gig with Dale Ann Bradley to step out on his own with a young band. But the band’s first single hit the charts right out of the gate, and he hasn’t looked back since.”  This is a thought that is also shared by Freddy Smith from WDVX in Knoxville TN, “Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle's debut CD is the best project to hit music airways in my opinion…The personalities of this band are that of humble, hardworking, and good hearted people.  Steve Gulley has never received the credit he deserves and I am a firm believer that this CD will change that!...”
Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle was awarded with a 2015 IBMA Official Showcase Band performances during the convention in Raleigh last Fall.  These showcase performances gave fans and promoters the opportunity to see Steve Gulley (vocals, guitar) perform live with his impressive New Pinnacle group consisting of; Bryan Turner (bass, vocals), Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin) and Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals).  The group has now been awarded by SPBGMA to perform on the main stage during the upcoming 2016 SPBGMA convention in February.  More details regarding the mainstage performance and other showcase performances during the upcoming SPBGMA convention will be forthcoming.
Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle is available on AirPlay Direct for DJ downloads and the album is available on Amazon, ITunes and wherever Bluegrass music is sold.
Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle is now touring the US in support of their debut album.  Go to the band’s web site at www.stevegulley.com for a complete listing of tour dates.
The Gulley family name enjoys a rich musical heritage that reaches across generations with strong roots in Bluegrass and Mountain Gospel music.  It starts with long time radio personality Don Gulley who was a founding member of the Bluegrass group the Pinnacle Mountain Boys. Don’s son, Steve Gulley, has carried on the family tradition performing for many years with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, as a founding member of Bluegrass super groups Mountain Heart and Grasstowne,as a regular featured performer at Renfro Valley and with Steve’s longtime friend and colleague Dale Ann Bradley.
Steve Gulley & New Pinnacle includes; Steve Gulley (guitar, vocals), Bryan Turner (bass, vocals),Gary Robinson, Jr. (mandolin) and Matthew Cruby (banjo, vocals).Steve Gulley certainly does not need any introduction to the Bluegrass community with accomplishments that include 16 years as a featured performer, staff musician, music director, studio manager and producer at Renfro Valley, KY.  From 1994-96 Steve was a member of Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver and a founding member of Mountain Heart ('98 - '06),  Grasstowne ('06 - '11) and with longtime friend Dale Ann Bradleythrough 2014. Steve is a winner of 4 IBMA Awards including Co-writer of the 2008 Song Of The Year, "Through The Window Of A Train", by Blue Highway and SPBGMA Multi award winnerincluding 2008 Album Of The Year, "The Road Headin' Home”, by Grasstowne.
In addition, Steve has produced many albums at his Curve Recording studio in Cumberland Gap, TN, including the Dove nominated album “Healed” for Locust Ridge, the critically acclaimed Civil War album project “God Didn’t Choose Sides”,and the Christmas CD/DVD and broadcast of “Christmas The Mountain Way”, which aired on RFD-TV’s FamilyNet and BlueHighways TV networks.
Steve has put together an impressive group of musicians to form New Pinnacle pulling some of the top talent in his Tennessee / Kentucky / Virginia border state community that he has called his home all his life.

Saturday, January 16, 2016


Progressive bluegrass band the Greensky Boys will be performing in Billings, MT, on Tuesday. March 22, 2016 at 8 PM at the Babcock Theater. What is their music like?  "We're existing in a few different places at once: we're a bluegrass band and a rock band  . . . (we are)  the complete opposite of bluegrass. So, by definition, we are contrasting everything that isn't bluegrass with everything that is."   Huh?  So what does that mean?  To find out you will just have to attend - unless you have heard them at a previous concert. Tickets are $20 in advance and $22 at the door. They may be purchased at the Pub Station box office, online at www.1111presents.com or by phone at 877-987-6487. 1111 Presents is the promoter of this show.


International Bluegrass Music Association

We want to thank everybody for casting 197 votes in our "What do you like to listen to?" poll from Thursday! We LOVED hearing from you!
The results were interesting:
Once again, traditional bluegrass won the day. With 45% of the votes, it's clear that many of you prefer your 'grass the old school, hardcore way that Bill, Earl and Lester invented it.
31% decided you were down the middle, with eclectic tastes that sometimes skew a bit north of Newgrass but south of that high lonesome sound. Many of you mentioned bands like the Steep Canyon Rangers, the Infamous Stringdusters and the great Tony Rice.
Just 10% said you were progressives, enjoying the new and evolving sounds that build on tradition but aren't afraid to jump off the railroad tracks. The Punch Brothers and Greensky Bluegrass were repeated favorites.
Lastly, I had to respect those of you who insisted you simply couldn't choose - you love it all! "From trad to rad," said one reader.
And it's true - there is so much talent in the spectrum, from Kenny Baker's fiddle with Bill Monroe, to the banjo style of Steep Canyon's Graham Sharp, to the amazing mandolin of Chris Thile. We all have our favorite bands and sounds, but it's important to hear and share all that is bluegrass.
We promised we would show a few clips from the category that got the most votes, so here are a few treats of the traditional bluegrass sound, from bands that oughta know.
Enjoy, and have a great weekend!
Del McCoury Band, "52 Vincent Black Lightening"
Bill Monroe, "The Wayfaring Stranger"
The Stanley Brothers, "Worried Man Blues"
Flatt & Scruggs
Bill Monroe - The Wayfaring Stranger
I get chills each time I watch this video... This is Bill Monroe, by himself, singing The Wayfaring Stranger.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


Back in December I neglected to list the location for "Winter Pick" which is in Gardiner, MT, at the Mammoth Entrance into Yellowstone National Park.  It is three days of jamming over three floors of the Super 8 with lots of good food, good friends and good fun.  Hey, where else in the northern states can you pick bluegrass for hours and then go swimming outdoors in a wild river in January?  Winter Pick can be the bluegrass experience of a lifetime. I hope to see you all there.

Robert Grosvenor has announced that January 29, 30 & 31 are the dates for Winter Pick 2016.  Get your reservations in soon for the Super 8 Building B.  We don't want it filled up with tourists too soon. This is one big bluegrass party.  If you haven't attended make 2016 the year to do so. You won't regret it.  

Picking friends show up from all over MT and elsewhere.  The reservation number at the Super 8 is (406) 848-7401.  My reservations are in  Are yours?

Friday, January 8, 2016



Frank Solivan
Cooks Up New Album
Family, Friends & Heroes

Out March 4th on Compass Records

“Frank Solivan just keeps getting better, as a songwriter, arranger, singer and, not the least, instrumentalist. But don’t take my word for it. Check out his new project for Compass Records, Family, Friends & Heroes.” —Bluegrass Today 
“It’s a toast to the things that matter in life and testimony to how good music can feel when talent is fused with soul and sincerity.” —Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots 
(Nashville, TN) January 7, 2016  –  Following Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen's GRAMMY nomination, IBMA Award, and top prize in the Mid-Atlantic Song Contest, bandleader FRANK SOLIVAN continues the pace in 2016 with a solo release, FAMILY, FRIENDS & HEROES. Available March 4th, the album pays homage to Solivan’s family and features the pristine playing of his closest musical heroes. Special guests include members of Dirty Kitchen along with Sam Bush, John Cowan, Jerry Douglas, Rob Ickes, Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury, and more. 
Recorded in an intimate, living-room style, Family, Friends & Heroes is a glimpse into Solivan’s heart. Highlights are plenteous and include a take of “Pretty Woman”, with Del McCoury on high harmony, “Wayfaring Stranger”, featuring the vocals of Lorene Solivan (Frank’s late mother); “The Fishing Song”, written by Ty Smith (Frank’s cousin); “Are You Missing Me”, featuring frank’s cousin, Megan McCormick (Jenny Lewis); and “Leaving On A Jet Plane”, featuring John Cowan’s mighty tenor. 
A prolific force from the stage, the studio, and even in the kitchen, you can expect Solivan and his band to continue to entertain fans as they tour in 2016. Select shows (*) will feature favorite dishes from Solivan’s forthcoming cookbook, and two shows (*DKE) will feature the group’s full-blown “Dirty Kitchen Experience,” through which attendees can expect to be fed both musically and physically. These special shows begin with dinner prepared and served by Gourmand Frank Solivan himself and end with an intimate performance by Frank and the band. 


Ed Capen has released this schedule for 2016 in Wyoming:

Jam schedule for Thermopolis & Worland for 2016. Please copy and keep for the year. Email me any questions.

Thermopolis  at 5:30.... Jan. 15   Feb. 5 / 19   March 4 / 18   April 1 / 15   May 6 / 20   June 3 / 17   July 1 / 15   Aug. 5 / 26   Sept. 2 / 16   Oct. 7 / 21   Nov. 4 / 18   Dec. 2 / 16

Worland  at 6:30... Jan. 11   Feb. 8   March 14   April 11   May 9   June 13   July 11   Aug. 8   Sept. 12   Oct. 10   Nov. 14   Dec. 12     

Thursday, January 7, 2016


From the IBMA:

"To celebrate Earl Scruggs' birthday, here's a question for you - what is your absolute favorite Earl Scruggs tune of all time? Is it "Foggy Mountain Breakdown?" "Reuben?" "The Ballad of Jed Clampett?" "Cryin' Holy Unto the Lord?" Something else?"

 Roger's note:  If you are not familiar with any of these or do not even know who Earl Scruggs was then you sure ain't a bluegrasser in my opinion.

BTW: I heard some good sounds on that PBS special from my last post. A lone fiddler in eastern Europe was cranking out a great rendition of "Sally Ann."  No, not the "Ballad of Sally Ann"  from the New Nashville Cats, but old time Sally Ann.  I have an instrumental by Bobby Osborne and Kenny Baker of that tune and it got me and my own fiddle going on it again.  (The original "Nashville Cats" included Floyd Cramer, The Nashville Brass, Chet Atkins, Boots Randolph and Charlie McCoy. They were all frequent sidemen for other recording artists of the Nashville sound decades ago.)

Monday, January 4, 2016


You can still access very interesting bluegrass music on the Tube.  Recently network TV has featured bluegrass from Africa and PBS had Leftover Salmon on at 11:34 on Bluegrass Underground last Saturday night.  Check your schedules for that show late Saturdays. You can always record it if you are not a night owl. Tonight, Monday Jan. 4, 2016, you can view PBS World Channel at 10 PM to catch "Banjo Romantika: Bluegrass Music and the Czech Imagination."  Then you will learn what REALLY brought down the Iron Curtain!