Wednesday, June 7, 2017

June 13, 2017
     NO TIME FLATT is here to let you know they're all set and  ready to play! They have their music and their energetic sound like they want it, and they are getting good responses wherever they play. Founded in 2015, No Time Flatt plays some old standards, some new songs, and some unique styling of songs from other genres. Meet No Time Flatt right here!
       Patrick Cupples (bass, vocals) is from Dyersburg, TN. His musical influences came from family and also classic country, blues, and the big band sound. Through it all, he says that he owes much to the founding fathers of bluegrass music. Patrick is a rhythm guitarist and also a sound engineer for 'live and studio work.
       Kevin Wright (guitar, vocals) lives in Humboldt, TN. He has won guitar competitions, and he spent 12 years with Stone County Connection, which also won several local and regional bluegrass music contests. His influences began with singing church hymns as a child. Kevin's bluegrass influences are Flatt & Scruggs, Tony Rice, Doyle Lawson, J.D. Crowe, Keith Whitley, and others from across the music spectrum.
       Becky Weaver (fiddle, vocals) was raised in Hornsby, TN, and now lives in Montezuma, TN. She began to get serious about the fiddle when she was about ten years old and received classical training. Her banjo-picking father encouraged her in the traditional sound of bluegrass and country music. Her influences are Alison Krauss, Stuart Duncan, and Kenny Baker. While Becky played with local bands across Southwest Tennessee, she began playing with some dear friends who eventually became known as No Time Flatt.
       Steve Moore (banjo, guitar, vocals) grew up in Medina, TN, and he now lives in Jackson, TN. His banjo is hot! His vocals are strong, whether they be lead, baritone, or tenor. Steve took a real interest in bluegrass in his early teens, starting with guitar and moving on to banjo. Traveling throughout the United States with his work, he was able to draw musical influences from all parts of the country.
       Kevin Keen (mandolin) is a native of West Tennessee. He now lives in Corinth, MS. His musical influences, as with so many bluegrass and country music players, began in church, at square dances, and by listening to the Grand Ole Opry. Kevin also began his playing with guitar, gradually moving to the mandolin. His experiences playing all over the Deep South at churches, festivals, and contests, have only enriched his playing and his love for bluegrass music.
       There's a CD Release Party on Tuesday, June 13, 2017. The party is at Brooks Shaw & Son's OLD COUNTRY STORE, 56 Casey Jones Lane, Jackson, TN 38305. It's a 'live concert and dinner buffet from 7:00-9:00 PM CDT. The $13 buffet includes meal, drink, tax, and tip. The new CDs called "No Time Flatt" will be available. You're all invited!

      NO TIME FLATT was expecting maybe 50 to 75 people to attend the CD release party!  What they got was at least two and a half times that number! There were over 200 people in the dining room to hear the band. Local friends, family, former teachers and classmates, and folks who had been following the band from the very beginning--all were there to wish the band well with their first CD.
      We will tell you the songs we heard on that wonderful night: Suzanne, Bluebonnet Lane, Before the Cold Wind Blows, Roundup, This Heart of Mine, Look Down That Lonesome Road, I Believe, Fox on the Run, Say Won't You Be Mine, Dim Lights Thick Smoke, Cheyenne/The Old Home Place/Cheyenne (unique arrangement by No Time Flatt), Ten Plagues, Cherokee Shuffle, Lonely Moon, Dollarhide, Dixieland Delight, Bach's Violin Partita No.3 in E major, first movement (Becky on fiddle), Handsome Molly, Carolina in the Pines, Keen Mountain Prison, Wayfaring Stranger, and Long Gone.
      Here are Patrick Cupples' thoughts about the evening: 
     "THANK YOU FLATTHEADS! We were so humbled and blown away by everyone's support of our debut CD project by coming out to the CD release party last night at Casey Jones Village/The Old Country Store in Jackson, TN. We can't even begin to thank everyone enough for their support of our music and our band. You were a great, energetic & fun crowd and we hope that we can continue to entertain you for many more years. There are so many people to thank who contributed to last night's success. Thanks to Clark Shaw and his very supportive staff at The Old Country Store, Mark & Sharrye Holder for the sound engineering, Betty Westmoreland for her tireless support of bluegrass music, our Corinth Pickers on the Square 'support group', our families for enduring the countless hours it takes to be part-time musicians, and our fans, the FLATTHEADS! Y'all are the greatest and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts! We will see you all again soon!"
       And one more very important thing! Did you know that fans of No Time Flatt are referred to as...wait for it...FLATTHEADS?
For more information:
Website: No Time Flatt or Facebook:
Contact: Kevin Wright or 731.616.1208

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

JUNE 4, 2017
It was a rainy day, but oh, the evening! Some weeks ago, we noticed that there would be something coming up at the City Winery on Lafayette Street, right in the heart of Downtown Nashville, Tennessee. We called a friend, navigated the online ticket process (very easy, just give them your name when you arrive), and headed for Music City USA.
     The City Winery is in a divine old plumbing equipment warehouse. It's been completely renovated and spruced up to entice people from all over to eat wonderful food (and "Blue Suede Cake" for dessert) and try a vast number of wines from literally everywhere.
"Blue Suede Cake" and coffee
City Winery
 The warehouse look is gone. There are bars, a lounge, a big room, and all kinds of nooks and crannies in which people can gather to hear topnotch entertainers from Nashville and just about anywhere else you can think of. It's really a lovely venue with valet parking, if you prefer.
Gretchen Peters at City Winery
     On this particular Sunday evening, we came to see and hear singer-songwriter Gretchen Peters, whom we had never seen before. Renowned storyteller Minton Sparks introduced Gretchen to us there in the lounge. My word! Can this lady deliver a song about the realities of life? Oh, yeah, she can! She is a seasoned professional with a serious knack for nailing songs onto your soul. Her guitar work is perfect accompaniment to what she sings about. She has a rich music background and a bunch of fine recordings. We regret it took us this long to finally hear Gretchen. It won't be the last time. We've already spotted the fact that she'll be back soon...and bringin' more notables with her.  
Gretchen Peters at City Winery
    Gretchen Peters' program for the evening: Hello Cruel World, The Matador, Blackbirds (on a 'newish' album), Five Minutes (and oh, what can happen in that length of time), and she closed her portion of the show with Idlewild. Putting ideas and lyrics to music is such an art, a real skill. Gretchen Peters hits hard and tells it like it is. We're instant fans of her and her masterful work! There are YouTube videos and CDs for your listening pleasure.
     Minton Sparks came onto the stage accompanied by her long-time friend and very talented guitarist, John Jackson. John Jackson has a deep musical background and has worked with some of the very best names you would recognize. Poet, novelist, essayist and producer of CDs and DVDs, Minton wore what Mama might have called her 'Sunday dress' and low beige heels. On her arm was the well-known purse. Her ardent fans know the importance of the purse in Minton Sparks' show. We would dearly love to define what it is that Minton Sparks does, exactly, but she tells wonderful stories about life in the South, about Southern women, about church-goin' folks who are often nicer at church than they are at home, about a strip mall carnival, and just a simple question, 'Where you from?' Southerners know how to handle that one. She tosses in some University of Tennessee basketball and the late legendary Pat Summitt (tall, leggy country girls all wanted to play for Pat), along with the one about three aunts all hunched over down at the barn there at home. They're smokin' cigarettes and talkin' bad about other people. Can't you just see 'em?
Minton Sparks and John Jackson
at City Winery
"Her Purse"
     Minton opened with "Gold Digger," and you have already figured out that it's about a conniving woman. She followed with our personal favorite, "Her Purse". When Grandmother died, Minton got her purse. The contents were almost exactly the items that were in our own mama's purse. Almost. Our mom let us go through the purse during church to keep us quiet. Remember that? Minton's grandmother's purse had in it a little box of Chicklets, an open pack of Lifesavers, a comb, half a stick of gum, keys to the shed, little red plastic change purse that you squeeze to open and get the coins out and put in the collection plate, and the big secret that no one but Grandmother ever knew about: a secret love letter from a farmhand written long ago. There were powerful feelings in that love letter. Minton got an unexpected view into the soul of her newly-departed grandmother. We got the feeling that she was kinda sorry she found that letter.
     Minton took us to a scene at the Tennessee State Prison for Women where women are summoned by their numbers, not their names. State custody was rough on the little kids who had to play outside the prison on a seesaw or a swing. Her thoughts took her to the soulful "His Eye Is on the Sparrow" as she left us there deep in thought. John Jackson's artful accompaniment fits every Minton story perfectly.
     "Cluck, Cackle, and Peck" is about those three aunts sneaking cigarettes down at the barn at the home place. Minton moved around the stage like an old hen clucking, cackling, and pecking the ground. The women gathered down by the barn didn't spare anybody they knew: this one's big as a house, that one has dyed her hair and who does she think she's foolin', and that other one's husband is running around on her and she has no idea. Can't you just hear them?
     "Fight Club" is tough to hear. All in the name of religion and walking the straight and narrow, some women and their children received harsh punishment at home behind closed doors. It was 'corporal punishment and Bible verses,' and the treatment was known as 'spiritually justified ass-whippin's'. We have learned of late that this kind of thing went on in the homes of some of our own friends. It changes who they are.
     Moving right along, Minton Sparks has many more incredible stories about the lives of the very Southerners who are all around you right now. Not all are dark. How many are true? Well, we couldn't say. She dubbed the Mary Kay lady as the "Shepherdess of Skin Care" whose husband got mad when she would come home late. Minton even ran into Minnie Pearl (AKA Sarah Cannon) in a bar once upon a time and was dumb-struck by seeing the Grand Ole Opry legend. Minton told how it seems that we begin to tell these Opry stars (or any stars) some of the most intimate details of our lives, perhaps just to keep the conversation going. Why do we do that? "Vickie Pickle's Mama" at the local swimming pool is hilarious.  "Fill 'er up?" (gas station attendant) and "The Lunch Lady" are two favorites that we hope to hear again soon."The Carnival" story involves the handsome, flirty ticket taker (tan arms and a tattoo that said 'Mother'), and it reminds all of us women of Fair Park and the Tilt-a-Whirl or the Himalaya ride. "Wanna go faster?" Minton Sparks can jerk us right back into the 1950's and '60's and make us feel exactly what we felt back then. How does she do that? She's the best at what she does, and John Jackson ties it all together with his magical guitar and even a banjo or a resonator guitar now and again.
     Catch each of these fine performers again soon. You'll be glad you did! Thanks again to each artist for what they do!
Minton Sparks and John Jackson at City Winery
heading off the stage to meet-n-greet
For more information, touring schedules, and where to find their merch:
Nashville City Winery  844.263.9050
Gretchen Peters
Minton Sparks
John Jackson  Google this East Nashville treasure and read for yourself.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 27, 2017

Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack
Lucy, Tennessee
       PRO FOOTBALL SEASON 2017 is still a way off yet, but TERRY BAUCOM & THE DUKES OF DRIVE have definitely scored a big TD!
       The NFL Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, has selected its inductees for the 2017 celebration on August 6, 2017. Inductees are: Morten Andersen, Terrell Davis, Kenny Easley, Jerry Jones, Jason Taylor, LaDainian Tomlinson, and Kurt Warner.
       The kicker (pun intended!) is that for the first time ever, a renowned bluegrass music band has been selected to entertain at the ceremony. Yes! You read that right! This is one ceremony that we hope is televised, especially the part where Terry Baucom and the Dukes of Drive will be performing.
       Members of the Dukes of Drive are: Terry Baucom (Monroe, NC, banjo and vocals), Joey Lemons (King, NC, mandolin and vocals), Will Jones (Cana, VA, guitar and vocals), and Joe Hanabach (Pfafftown, NC, bass).
       Be sure to check out the Dukes' new album Fourth and Goal.
For more information:
Terry Baucom and The Dukes of Drive on Bluegrass Today, Facebook, and YouTube
Terry Baucom
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2017 Class at
Correction and apology:  The mandolin player's name is JOEY Lemons. The above information has been corrected. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May 22, 2017  
Marty Scarbrough introducing
Nothin' Fancy
Marty Scarbrough under Collins
Theatre Marquee
NOTHIN' FANCY just rolled through Paragould, AR, to rock the Collins Theatre again! Marty Scarbrough, Program Director at KASU 91.9 FM, chose very well to feature the band at "Bluegrass Monday" in May of 2017. We recall the dynamic quintet's appearance in 2014, but we couldn't recall what happened to 2015. We had no blog record of their appearance at the theatre in 2015. Band leader Mike Andes cleared up the question when he mentioned an ice storm in the area in February of 2015. Mystery solved! We stick pretty close to home when there is ice or other threatening weather in that area of northeast Arkansas.
     May 22, 2017, provided fine weather for a trip to see this wonderful band once again. We went, we ate at Terry's Café prior to the concert, and we were delighted with their performance. If you missed them, you may wish to travel to Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, for some shows over the next few days. The band is worth the trip!
L to R: Chris Sexton, Caleb Cox, James Cox, Mike Andes, Mitchell Davis

     We shall borrow from ourselves and our 2014 blog to create a combo-blog with introductions of two new yet fabulous musicians and new photos.
     'Nothin' Fancy rolled into Paragould in a big, bright yellow bus. They parked beside the Collins Theatre. People naturally noticed. A bus like that is a pretty big deal in Paragould. Actually, that bus is about as far as the 'fancy' label goes. They're not a fancy band, but their music is pure magic! The band has a yellow busload of honors from the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) and the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). Frankly, it was difficult to hold this band down in their native spot in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. As leader Mike Andes said, "Someone should write a song with those four words (Shenandoah Valley of Virginia)." Too late, Mike. Somebody wrote it already.
     Mike Andes, the self-taught professional singer and mandolinist, is a founding member of Nothin' Fancy, the band which began to take shape in 1994. Prior to that, Mike formed the East Coast Bluegrass Band. He describes his appearance as sort of leftover-hippy. Don't let that fool you for one minute. There is a big voice on this guy, along with his expert mandolin artistry. His inspiration for the band's music is Charlie Waller and the Country Gentlemen, with a lot of the Seldom Scene thrown in for good measure. The affable instrument builder (mandolins and fiddles, even a 5-string fiddle) and performer is also a proud grandfather.
     Mitchell Davis plays banjo in the group. He can also handle vocals, the guitar, and the fiddle. He was smitten with Earl Scruggs and Don Reno at a young age. Mitch also comes out of the East Coast Bluegrass Band. His early mentors were also the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene. Mitch produced several of the Nothin' Fancy albums.
L to R: Chris Sexton, Caleb Cox, James Cox (at rear),
Mike Andes, Mitchell Davis
     Chris Sexton is the 'fiddle player's fiddle player'! Chris was, and still is, known as a successful violinist. He has performed with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra, the Roanoke Symphony, and the Loudoun symphony. He has a master's degree in violin pedagogy [teaching violin through private lessons]. Chris also performed with the East Coast Bluegrass Band. There's more! There is Chris' violin work that could be heard in recent years on the Discovery Channel, the Learning Channel, PBS and the National Geographic Channel. He is a sought-after session musician and a natural performer who is fun to watch. Handling vocal parts as well, Chris fits in perfectly with Nothin' Fancy.
     Caleb Cox comes to Nothin' Fancy with his powerful voice and guitar work. We were thrilled to be introduced to this young man and his talent. He seems completely at home in his role as amazing guitarist and singer.
     James ("Cool Cat") Cox is Caleb's brother. He hangs to the back of the stage arrangement of Nothin' Fancy, but the man is a very accomplished upright bass player. Virginia has reared many a fine bluegrass musician, and James and Caleb Cox are two great examples of the younger generation in bluegrass. We think that the future of bluegrass music is very bright with these young men!
L to R: Chris Sexton, Caleb Cox, James Cox (at rear),
Mike Andes, Mitchell Davis
     Here's the program for the concert:
     SET ONE: Headin' Back to Ol' Tennessee, I Know That Dreams Come True, The Leaves Mustn't Fall, Sunny Side of the Mountain (Caleb Cox featured), Handsome Molly, Little Wooden Crosses, Andersonville, The Circuit Rider, Cheap Whiskey, Uncle Pen
     SET TWO: All the Same in Love, War, and Games; Someday We'll Meet Again, Sweetheart; Two Different Worlds; Tupelo County Jail; Redwood Hills; Simon Crutchfield's Grave; Secret of the Waterfall; Lonesome Without You; Grandma Bought a Hog; The Touch of Your Hand; Orange Blossom Special; Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" ("Spring" solo by Chris Sexton) followed by a standing ovation; Encore: The Last Train from Poor Valley
For more information:
Nothin' Fancy website:  Search them on Facebook, too. Latest album: "Nothin' Fancy: Where I Came From" (Mountain Fever Records, 2016)
Bluegrass Monday on Facebook
KASU 91.9 FM with Marty Scarbrough (on the campus of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro) will replay the concert by Nothin' Fancy on Sunday, May 28, 2017, on "Down Home Harmonies" at 12:30 PM CDT. Catch the show on radio or online (
The Collins Theatre: 120 W. Emerson St., Paragould, AR
Terry's Café: 201 South Pruett, Paragould, AR. Delicious catfish buffet served on "Bluegrass Mondays" from 4:30p to 6:45p prior to performances at the Collins Theatre.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

L to R: Bryan McDowell, Claire Lynch, Mark Schatz, Jarod Walker
We've updated on 5.24.17 with new bookings from Washington and Oregon on the West Coast to the Canadian provinces on the East Coast and even in the middle. More coming! Drop back and click the post from 2.27.17 to see where we are going to be now and in the future. We hope to see YOU soon at a show or festival!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Belmont Opens Gallery Of Rare Vintage
Guitars From A Reclusive Collector
Article by Amy Eskind / WPLN Nashville, TN
Nashville Public Radio 
April 25, 2017  
Steven Kern Shaw died unceremoniously in hospice care in August 2015 at age 72. You will not find an obituary. Yet what this guitar and mandolin collector amassed in his life is astounding.
Gibson F-5 mandolins signed by Gibson acoustic engineer Lloyd Loar in 1922-1924 are considered the finest mandolins ever made. Shaw owned six. Martin D-45 guitars made mid-1930s through 1942 are considered to be the finest steel string flat top acoustic guitars ever made. Shaw owned four. Martin style D-28 guitars with herringbone top trim made in the mid-1930s through mid-1940s are widely believed to be the finest bluegrass guitars ever made. And Shaw collected a whopping 43. Shaw's 500-piece collection is now a Belmont University treasure.
Music In His Blood And Royalties To Spend
Shaw was the son of clarinet player and band leader Artie Shaw and Betty Kern, the fourth of his eight wives -- the one just after Lana Turner and just before Ava Gardner. His parents divorced when he was two years old, and his father abandoned him. That same year, his grandfather on his mother's side passed away. He was Jerome Kern, beloved composer of the classics "Ol' Man River," "The Way You Look Tonight" and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes." He left Shaw with a trust.
Shaw became a frequent shopper at Gruhn Guitar (sic) in Nashville. Store owner George Gruhn says Shaw never developed the musical brilliance of his father, nor his grandfather, but was nevertheless drawn to the finest quality vintage guitars and mandolins.
L to R: Randal Morton, GEORGE GRUHN, Christian Stanfield
Breakin' Up Winter, Cedars of Lebanon State Park
Lebanon, TN, March 2014

"He was a collector and a hoarder," Gruhn says. "He was not a great player, but he had a considerable amount of knowledge about the instruments. He was going for the cream of the crop. His basic income throughout life was, frankly, royalties from Jerome Kern, which supported his collecting habits."
The instruments had been stored in Shaw's house, without a security alarm or climate control--effectively taking 500 of the finest vintage guitars and mandolins out of circulation.
"His house, when we finally got into it, looked a lot like some of those TV shows about hoarders, the compulsive hoarders," Gruhn says. "He wouldn't let anyone in his house. He was afraid that people would find out what he had and break in. He was not one of the happier people that I've met."
"Late in his life he had no will, and I persuaded him that he really needed to have a will," Gruhn says. "The idea that it could be enjoyed by others and seen and heard was something that was pleasing to him, although he didn't want that done until after he was dead."
"These are important pieces of our cultural history, they are great instruments, they are fine study examples to show the evolution of some of the iconic instruments in American history, and these are the models that truly are the archetypes for virtually all of the instruments that followed," Gruhn says.
"These instruments are almost alive, and they have soul and personality. When you pick one up, the great instruments don't feel inanimate," Gruhn says. "They actually feel alive."
Some of the instruments have sapphires, engraved pearl inlays, and ivory pegs. According to Gruhn, the 1927 Gibson F-5 mandolin is rarer than a Stradivarius violin.
     "It's not a servant, it's a partner. It makes suggestions you might not have thought of otherwise.
     Bill Monroe, when he got an F-5 mandolin, his entire playing style changed. After he got an
     F-5 he started to do that chopped rhythm that could drive the rhythm of a 5-piece band."
Shaw's will was signed a mere two weeks before his death, bequeathing the $9.5 million collection to Belmont University. President Bob Fisher says he had to think twice about offering a home to the collection on campus. "My first response was, 500 guitars, what in the world do you do with them? Where do we put them?"
But Fisher quickly realized the university was a perfect fit. "We've got some people at Belmont that can play guitars!" he says, describing a guitar culture on campus that includes not just guitar majors, but even students in nursing and business studies.
A New Home In The Belmont Library
Fisher says he's already received a personal education in what these vintage instruments add to the art of making music. "I always was wondering, what's the difference between my old Silvertone guitar and a Martin anyway," he says. "Well, now I know. It's big."
"It's a treasure," says Doug Howard, dean of Belmont's Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business. "Our students don't really know yet the treasure that we have in store for them. The students that come here often are really trained, really competitive, but they want to take it to that next level. It's hard in life to think about a situation where you'd have an opportunity to check out and play some of the really finest instruments that have ever been made, and to have that access really a few steps away from your dorm room."
The Gallery of Iconic Guitars, or The GIG, is tucked behind the circulation desk inside Bunch Library at Belmont, and is open daily. Admission is free to students, faculty and staff and children under 12, ad $5 to the general public. One hundred instruments are currently on display, with a select few available for playing in the sound-proof gallery. University officials are currently devising a secure method for loaning out the 400 additional instruments.
For more information:
Nashville Public Radio
Photo, Listen, Article
Gruhn Guitars, Inc.
  2120 8th Ave., South
  Nashville, TN 37204
Belmont University
  1900 Belmont Boulevard
  Nashville, TN 37212
Blogger's Note: Special thanks to George Gruhn for his foresight in preserving the magnificent Steven Kern Shaw collection now called The Gallery of Iconic Guitars: The GIG at Belmont.

Thursday, April 20, 2017


APRIL 20, 2017
     GREAT FOOD AND FUN happen every Thursday night at the Old Country Store in Jackson, TN! In the Dixie Café inside the store, there's a buffet of all kinds of meats, fish and vegetables plus desserts and drinks just waiting to be enjoyed. Prices are reasonable. On the little stage there is bluegrass and country music from local musicians, and anyone is welcome to join them in playing and singing some of the old songs we know and love. It's just a barrel of fun for about three hours! If you haven't been, hop on over to I-40 Exit 80A at the Casey Jones Village and get comfortable inside the Dixie Café. You can even go to EPlusTV6 on the Internet to view an early-morning TV show 'live from the Dixie Café on Monday through Friday from 6:00 to 9:00 AM Central Time.
      Here are some candid shots of the scene from Thursday night, April 20, 2017. We had a ball! We hope you'll drop by any Thursday night around 5:30 or 6:00 for a great meal and lots of good music!