Sunday, September 30, 2012

Rambling Rooks Debut at IBMA WofB - Saturday

The Rambling Rooks

The Rambling Rooks, a new bluegrass band composed of high profile artists Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby, and Kenny Smith along with Rob McCoury standing in while the group seeks a banjo player, made their debut before a crowd of several thousand at IBMA's World of Bluegrass Fan Fest on Saturday evening.  The band is seeking limited dates for 2013 and has a recording contract in the works with Rounder Records. They are currently seeking a banjo player to join the group.

Ronnie Bowman

Ronnie Bowman has achieved recognition as a three-time IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year as well as performing on two songs which achieved Song of the Year at IBMA, one of which he also co-wrote. He has performed with Lost and Found and the Lonesome River Band, and has written two #1 country hits performed by Kenny Chesney and Brooks & Dunn. While he was with LRB, the band achieved Album of the Year in 1991.

Don Rigsby

Don Rigsby  has performed with the Bluegrass Cardinals, J.D. Crowe & the New South,  the Lonesome River Band and Longview.  He is a two time Grammy nominee and two time SPBGMA Traditional Male Singer of the Year. He served as director of the Center for Traditional Music at Morehead State University in Kentucky, from which he graduated.  He is best known for his sparkling mandolin play and fine tenor voice. He has often appeared in a duo with Dudley Connell singing traditional music from the early days of bluegrass.

Kenny Smith

Kenny Smith is a two-time IBMA guitar player of the year and, with his wife Amanda Smith, was named as IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year in 2003. Their band has released five CD's together and Kenny's solo album Studebaker was very well received. He has also released a variety of instructional materials for the guitar. 

Bowman, Rigsby & Smith

Rob McCoury
 Rob McCoury played with the Rambling Rooks for this performance, but the band is seeking a permanent banjo player. Those wishing to be considered for the banjo position should apply here:

The Rambling Rooks are booking limited dates for 2013 and will release a recording on Rounder Records soon. 

Kenny Smith

Ronnie Bowman & Don Rigsby 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Gibson Brothers Win IBMA 2012 Entertainer of the Year

The Gibson Brothers were named Entertainer of the Year last night at the 23rd Annual International Bluegrass Music Association Awards show at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The win was the culmination of twenty years of hard touring, dedicated song writing, and a fine musicianship. Here's a few pictures of their triumphant day, beginning with an on-air performance at WAMU Bluegrass Country, Washington D.C.'s and the world's FM bluegrass station. 

Eric Gibson

Leigh Gibson

Mike Barber

Clayton Cambell

 Joe Walsh

The Gibson Brothers

Radio Host Katy Daley

At the awards show, The Gibson Brothers took home two awards: Gospel Recorded Performance for their recording of Joe Newberry's "Singing as We Rise" with Ricky Skaggs and Entertainer of the Year. This particular award is the most coveted award offered by IBMA.  The Gibson's work is distinguished by the personalities of two men who tell their stories and sing their songs from somewhere deep within, without pretense or elaboration beyond the song itself. Their win may herald a return to simpler days while, at the same time, reflecting the singer/songwriter tradition of which they are a part. The Gibson Brothers have chosen to eschew putting out an annual recording in favor of waiting a little longer and assuring that every piece of each CD is filled with the best original work they can wrote or choose to cover.

The Awards Show
The Gibson Brothers sing "They Call It Music"

Eric Gibson

Joe Newberry & Leigh Gibson


Leigh, Kitsy Kuykendall & Eric

Remembering Their Late Father 
"Singing as We Rise" 

A well deserved and much appreciated award!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

IBMA 2012 - Wednesday

It's really hard to fully immerse myself in attending an all consuming week of thinking about, listening to, and being in bluegrass music and to post regular blogs. Here's a brief photo portfolio of some highlights from Wednesday. 

Steve Gulley & Chris Jones
Recording an Interview for Sirius/XM

Bob Webster - WAMU on Air
Steve Dilling & Russell Moore
on air at WAMU 

 Bill Evans on Air at WAMU

Jim Gaudet & the Railroad Boys
at WAMU 

Larry Stephenson on air at WAMU

Stephen Mougin & Son
On Stage 

Rebekkah Long & Kitsy Keykendall
at Showcase Brunch

Gabrielle Gray & Dr. Richard Brown
Internationl Blugrass Music Museim 

American Drive
Debut Performance at Showcase Brunch 

Irene Lehmann
Official WAMU Photographer

John McKuen 
Evening Tribute to the Carter Family 
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band 

Jim Hurst Showcase
The Guitar Master 

Tammy Rogers of The Steel Drivers

The Future of Bluegrass

Award show today. Hope for much more tomorrow AM

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

IBMA World of Bluegrass 2012 - Monday

This year's World of Bluegrass opened on Monday with a fine, and very well attended, keynote address by Missy Raines and Chris Jones emphasizing our sense of community and mutual inter-dependence in music and showing the importance of innovation and change through video clips of Sonny Osborne, Mac Wiseman, Eddie Adcock, and Doyle Lawson focusing on the importance of change within and around the bluegrass community.  A good start for a day filled with reunions with old friends, meeting new people, exchanging ideas and strategies, listening to and making great music, and getting too little sleep. What follows is a brief set of impressions and no commentary. There simply isn't time to be an observer and a participant. I'll try to do this every day, but really don't know if it's possible. Enjoy what's here and look for several approaches to summing it all up.

Live on Air
Carl Jackson, Larry Cordle, Jerry Salley

Katy Daley

Greg Cahill

Ronnie Reno

Cold Country at WAMU

Chris Tesky - General Manager WAMU

Dawn Kenny - After Hours Showcase

Jim Hurst - After Hours Showcase

Jim Roe & Mike Bub - IBMA Board Meeting

IBMA Board Meeting

Big day today. More tomorrow, I hope.

The Candidate by Paul Harris - Book Review

Paul Harris has written a political  potboiler billed as a suspense thriller that offers neither suspense nor thrills. In The Candidate (Vantage Point Press,382 pages, paper, $14.95) Harris has created a book that reads more like a treatment for two hour TV movie whose release is cynically timed to coincide with the election than as a suspense novel. The characters are cardboard cutouts, one dimensional and without genuine interest. The plot is mostly predictable and without real tension. I finished the book as a responsibility occasioned by my having agreed to review it rather than out of any genuine interest in the characters or the situation. Ordinarily, a thriller takes on a life of its own, driving the reader to run to the finish while relishing the chills and surprises as they arrive. Compared to a first rate genre novel by Lee Child or Harlan Coban, this work doesn't deserve shelf space.

Mike Sweeney, a young organizer of migrant workers in Florida, is called to Iowa to join the presidential campaign of retired war hero and U.S. Sendator Jack Hodges, whom he sees as a game changer for the country, charismatic, humane, and idealistic.  As the novel opens, an assassination attempt on Hodges life fails, and a strange, crazed, alien looking woman is arrested and sent to jail where she refuses to communicate in any way and is soon labeled as a mentally ill nutjob.  Meanwhile, Mike is noticed by Hodges' campaign manager Dee Babineaux, a cynical campaign operative who celebrates ends over means as she uses the event to catapult Hodges' campaign to national prominence. Sweeney is soon tapped to conduct defensive  background research to seek to find the assailant's background and motivation. There follows a series of events that take Mike on the first of two trips to Guatemala as the result of a mysterious document signalling a contribution from Hodges' wife to a retired Guatemalan general along with the corruption of Sweeney's moral vision. The tale is complicated by a drug-dealer first wife and an idealistic blogger who follows Sweeney to Latin America.  The plot, characters, and settings are all deeply stereotyped and shallow, often predictable, and fail to raise the heartbeat or drive the reader to stay with this slight story which should be read in one or two sittings but is too easily put aside.

Paul Harris

The author, Paul Harris, is the U.S. correspondent for The Observer and The Guardian, British newspapers. The text shows is unfamiliarity with both American idiom and culture. I really cringed when he referred to the Washington "Memorial." Anyone living and working in Washington, D.C. should know that there's a Lincoln Memorial and a Jefferson Memorial, but a Washington Monument. Much of the rest of the book could have been written between assignments without researching further than Wikipedia.

The Candidate by Paul Harris is published by Vantage Point in trade paperback at a retail price of $14.95. It was provided to me through TLC Book Tours in exchange for a review.

Other Stops on this Book Tour
Tuesday, September 4th:  West Metro Mommy 
Wednesday, September 5th:  Broken Teepee 
Thursday, September 6th:  Fiction Addict
Monday, September 10th:  Peppermint Ph.D. 
Wednesday, September 12th:  Mockingbird Hill Cottage 
Monday, September 17th:  Kritter’s Ramblings
Tuesday, September 18th:  Staircase Wit
Wednesday, September 19th:  Seaside Book Nook
Thursday, September 20th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Friday, September 21st:  It’s a Crazy, Beautiful Life
Tuesday, September 25th:  Crazy for Books 
Thursday, September 27th: Proud Book Nerd
Monday, October 1st:  Book Addict Katie
Wednesday, Oct. 3rd:  The Blog of Litwits