Thursday, October 4, 2007

IBMA and the Bluegrass Blog

I’m consumed with jealousy as I read the daily blogging by Brance Gillihan and John Lawless of The Bluegrass Blog from the IBMA annual convention in Nashville. They are getting terrific mileage and lots of scoops from their work. I expect to listen to tonight’s IBMA awards show live on Bluegrass Junction at XM radio while reading their live blogging simultaneously. Their posts on Josh Williams leaving Rhonda Vincent and the Rage, Carrie Hassler’s very good showcase appearance, Grasstowne, and Mountain Heart all added important information about what’s happening in the world of bluegrass music. This morning they wrote about the formation of the Dan Tyminski Band, which will tour this year while Allison Krause takes a sabbatical. Of particular interest to us will be Tyminski’s appearance at the Jenny Brook Family Festival in Weston, VT on the last weekend in June. The news of the Tyminski Band apparently appeared in The Bluegrass Blog before any other reference to it, other than their booking at Jenny Brook, showed up on the web. The note that Adam Steffey will be touring with the Tyminski band raises a question about whether Steffey will be leaving Mountain Heart on the heels of Steve Gulley and Clay Jones.

Since its inception a little of two years ago, The Bluegrass Blog has recorded over a million page visits by providing up-to-date news and views about the world of bluegrass. By developing The B, an internal blog, John and Brance have invited people to blog on their blog and opened new sources of information and viewpoint. (By contrast, this blog is approaching 15,000 recorded page views during its eight month life, although it actually has a few more because I only started my hit counter after I had begun blogging.) The Bluegrass Blog stands as an invaluable resource to the bluegrass community. As its reputation for accuracy and lack of hidden agenda has spread, so has its access to news. It appears to me that it has become a first contact for many musicians and promoters seeking to highlight news of movements, changes, and opportunities in bluegrass music. Because of Brance’s technological expertise, The Bluegrass Blog is pioneering in providing news, information, and more recently, entertainment through the use of video and audio. The failure of their podcasts (called Grasscasts) was sad to me, because I learned a whole lot from listening to the people they interviewed. I can only hope they decide to re-introduce these interesting and useful audio features.

For a person and fellow blogger trying to follow Bluegrass music and report on it, The Bluegrass Blog is an invaluable resource, and I’m grateful to them for their efforts and happy for their successes.