Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 19, 2015

Joni Bishop, Nashville singer-
songwriter, entertaining guests
at the house concert

     JONI BISHOP is a Nashville singer-songwriter of the highest degree! She refers to herself as a "creativity troubadour," which implies that it isn't only about the music. It is certainly a lot about the music, which she has honed throughout the years from the tender age of about eight. This excellent self-styled fingerpicker drew inspiration from the likes of James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, and Paul Simon. That comes through in her music. Joni's original songs are about home and Grandma and quilts and gardens. Her vocal and instrumental arrangements are entirely her own and they are unique. It is a pleasure to watch and listen to Joni as she spins her musical tales. Joni plays her mountain dulcimer from a standing position with a strap around her neck, such as a Dobro(r) player might play that instrument. She is entirely comfortable with her guitar or her dulcimer, and she weaves a little talk and some singing into each selection.
     Joni's creativity has spread out in all directions, and when she performs, she brings along stunning original works of art and amazing cigar-box guitars which she builds from the box upward. All the parts, everything. The instruments are playable and most are for sale, as are her other art works. You may have figured out by now that Joni Bishop is one of a kind. She has blazed her own trail and made herself a name in Nashville, TN, and wherever she goes to perform.
     We first heard Joni Bishop when she performed with Pam Setser on Thanksgiving Day 2015 at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR. We already knew Pam as part of the popular group Apple-Setser-and-Rounds. Joni was such a pleasant surprise! We knew we wanted to hear her again. When she mentioned that she would be at a house concert in Olive Branch, MS, just before Christmas, we definitely wanted to be there. At Joni's suggestion, we contacted homeowners Richard and Mary Sojourner about attending the invitation-only performance. We had to wait until somebody canceled--the house was already full. When Richard e-mailed us, we were thrilled to learn that we could attend. The home was beautifully decorated for Christmas, and there must have been at least 50 people who attended. It was Joni's sixth performance for the Sojourners, so people knew what fun was in store.
Pam Setser and Joni Bishop perform at the
White Oak Theater, Mountain View, AR
      Joni's song selection for the evening was perfect for the season: Away in a Manger, Little Drummer Boy, When God Made You, Mary Had a Baby, We Three Kings, Grandma's Garden, Go Tell It on the Mountain, Christmas in the Trenches (a John McCutcheon song that you must hear), Toys, Endless Christmas, Walking in a Winter Wonderland, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, two Old English carols: Soul Cake interwoven with God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, What Child Is This, On the Road to Bethlehem, Stone by Stone, Send Yourself Home for Christmas, Threads, Dream Anyway (in honor of Mother Teresa, written after the Nashville tornado a few years ago), Buzzed (Texas Swing number about coffee and love), Mary Did You Know, Children Go Where I Send Thee, Twelve Days of Christmas, Amazing Grace, I'll Fly Away, Ain't That Love, repeat of Christmas in the Trenches by request, and Silent Night (sung in English and Latvian, Joni's family's native tongue).
     Somewhere in the middle of the program was a pause for wonderful food and beverages. The Sojourners know how to have a house concert! Special thanks go out to Richard, Mary, and all those other family members and friends who helped with the concert. We cannot wait for the next one in 2016!
     Want to hear more Joni Bishop? Visit her website to listen and learn more about this amazing, talented artist. Do yourself a favor and order a CD or two! You'll be glad you did!
     For more information:  www.jonibishop.com
     Pick away on your cigar box guitar!

Monday, December 28, 2015

December 28, 2015
Flyer from The Lucy Opry
     THROUGH THE MODERN MIRACLE of electronics and YouTube in particular, Memphis bluegrass music from the late 1970's and 1980's has come alive once more! We have Jackson, TN, guitarist-vocalist KEVIN WRIGHT to thank for this splendid YouTube link! (See link below) Settle in with that cup of coffee or hot chocolate and be ready to smile or shed a few tears for things and people we know and those we remember fondly whenever that G-run is struck.
     Whether it was Yarbrough's Pickin' Post, the beloved Lucy Opry in one of several locations (Fite Road, a Quonset hut, the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center, or a one-room schoolhouse), or the Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack in that same one-room schoolhouse 'way out on Pleasant Ridge Road, it was bluegrass in Memphis. Oh! What a happy time that was! Check out some very important bluegrass names on that flyer!
     Click the link to the past in Memphis bluegrass:  http://youtu.be/3LTVVM8CHUo
     Enjoy the link. You will want to watch it more than once! We are all trying to keep bluegrass music alive in the Memphis-West Tennessee region. Do your part. Find a jam, grab the instrument out of the closet, and loosen up the fingers. Get ready to pick!
Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Shack and Sign
4325 Pleasant Ridge Road, Lucy, TN

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

DECEMBER 12, 2015
Mother Nature's splendor at Blanchard Springs in Arkansas

       TAKE SOME MOUNTAINS, add some rivers, throw in a few earthquakes, and a lot of rain, ice and snow, and multiply by 70 million years (more or less), and the results are caves, caverns, creeks and streams, waterfalls, and beauty that is unsurpassed. Throw in some park rangers, some critters, spelunkers, and visitors from near and far, and one begins to appreciate Arkansas, known as the Land of Opportunity.

       This writer is an admitted fan of the annual event around Blanchard Springs, Fifty-Six, AR, known as Caroling in the Caverns. The location is a few miles north of Mountain View, and during the weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the caverns are lighted with soft candle-like lights which emphasize the formations from the dome down to the stalactites and stalagmites that tell the 70-million-year story of Mother Nature's handiwork.

Fans enjoying the beauty of Blanchard Caverns
before the show begins
*NO photos, video recording during the performance
        Fans of the event wait with their tickets in the lobby of the Visitors Center before they travel down by elevator about 216 feet to the semi-dark room. The Center supplies each visitor with a cushion to sit on. Caves are damp--wet, even. About 100 people are seated in bleachers. Six carolers wait in the darkness and they begin to sing "Silver Bells" as they descend the stairs to turn and sing to the audience. Oh! It is just magic!

       The carolers, dressed in seasonal splendor, are Robert Gillihan (mandolin, vocals), Mary Gillihan (choral director, bells, vocals), Marion Spear (vocals), Pam Setser (group leader, guitar, dulcimer, spoons, vocals), Ron Haynes (guitar, vocals), and Abby Spinks (vocals). Their masterful harmonies bring such Christmas joy to the room. How the musicians move around in the slippery darkness to pop up here, there, and yonder is amazing! Special thanks to Pam Setser and all the carolers for their wonderful, inspiring work year after year! Thanks, y'all!

L to R: Ron Haynes, Pam Setser, Mary Gillihan
Marion Spear, Abby Spinks, Robert Gillihan
wishing us a Merry Christmas as we leave the caverns
Thanks to Vic Setser for his help with photography

        The song selection for this performance is as follows: Silver Bells, I'll Be Home with Bells On; Beautiful Star of Bethlehem; Joy to the World; Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella; Do You Hear What I Hear; When He Spoke; There He Is; O Come All Ye Faithful; God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen; Mary, Did You Know; The Bells of St. Mary's; Deck the Halls; Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; Santa Claus Is Coming to Town; White Christmas; The Ozark 12 Days of Christmas (a Mary Gillihan specialty); Jingle Bells; Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree; Old-Time Christmas; Angels We Have Heard on High; Silent Night; and as the group departed, We Wish You a Merry Christmas. We left with them, singing right along!

       As we depart the Visitors Center, we are asked to walk across a shallow, squishy pad of water, Woolite(r), and another ingredient. The procedure is brief, painless, and not damaging to shoes or feet. The purpose is to try to control white-nose syndrome in cave bats. The syndrome is deadly to bat populations, and the staff at Blanchard Caverns is trying to control the spread of the disease.

      This writer recommends a weekend (or longer) in the Ozarks any time you can get away, especially for Caroling in the Caverns. You will need to select your weekend, your day, and the hour you would like to attend a performance. Shows are generally at 2:30 and 4:30 PM (Central). There are good hotels, motels, and B-n-B's in and around Mountain View, AR. Splendid restaurants in the area will suit just about every taste. We enjoy the Rainbow Café on the Square, JoJo's Catfish Wharf with its great view of the river, and Tommy's Pizza. We were sad to learn of the passing of Tommy Miller (1943-2014), who had strong ties to Memphis, TN, and who loved his life in Mountain View. Tommy's family continues the fun and good pizza at the restaurant. R.I.P. Tommy!

Santa Claus lands on the lawn of Pinewood Cabins
Why not pick (or sing) a Christmas song right now? You already know the words!

For more information:
Web:  http://YourPlaceintheMountains.com
E-mail:  mvchamber@mvtel.net
Mountain View Area Chamber of Commerce: Phone (Tickets/Info): 870.269.8068
Toll Free: 888.679.2859


Thursday, December 3, 2015

December 3, 2015 
     YOU WELL KNOW how much you and I and so many of our readers love 'our' bluegrass music. We especially don't care for anybody messin' with our jams, our iPods, our CDs, our TV shows, or our radio programs that are bluegrass- or old-time music-related. We just don't like it a'tall!
       Along comes SIRIUS XM and their threat to preempt or abandon Bluegrass Junction on Channel 61. Many of you subscribe to that service for the one bluegrass music channel that is available, don't you? Your channel selector never moves, right?
      Here are some things that you can do and in a fast hurry! You can E-MAIL the men in charge of SIRIUS XM. Both of them! They are Steve Blatter at steve.blatter@siriusxm.com and Scott Greenstein at scott.greenstein@siriusxm.com.
     Here is a suggested note for that e-mail:
     I would like to strongly express to you my OBJECTION if the Bluegrass Channel 61 is
     preempted or removed altogether.
     I hope you understand how upset we will be if bluegrass is taken off for one second.
     Very sincerely,
     _______________ Your name
     Call Sirius XM at 212-584-5100 and let your voice be heard. ASK FOR A MANAGER! That's important! If you have a subscription to SIRIUS XM, ask for a refund for the weeks that SIRIUS XM will be off the air as a trial run. If you don't call or write, the Bluegrass Channel 61 could be removed permanently. Don't let that happen! Bluegrass musicians have contacted me already, saying that they will drop their subscriptions if the Bluegrass Channel 61 is taken off the air.
     The full story about this coming event is in www.bluegrasstoday.com. Be sure to read it.
     Get busy! This is your fight to save SIRIUS XM Bluegrass Channel 61. If you snooze, you lose!

     Pick away! 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

NOVEMBER 26, 2015
     WE ALL KNOW what country cookin' is like! We also know that it gets even better around holiday season. Given that Thanksgiving 2015 was just around the corner, we decided to try the buffet version of Thanksgiving dinner at The Skillet Restaurant at the Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR. We gathered a friend and hit the trail early on Thanksgiving morning.
     The timing was perfect, and we arrived at the top of the mountain at the Folk Center just as folks were lining up. It seemed that we weren't the only ones who had been to the Folk Center on Thanksgiving Day, because while we made it for the first seating, the Center was prepared for at least four more hours of lines and seatings for Thanksgiving dinner.
     The tables were spread with salads, holiday meats of all kinds, dressing and two kinds of gravy, vegetables to please every guest, and casseroles galore. There was plenty of bread, and the patient waitstaff was ready with water, tea, and coffee. Our hats are off to the waiters and waitresses for their great work in handling four hours of hungry guests. Beautiful desserts were on trays on racks on carts. We saved room for dessert and sampled delicious pies and other sweets. To call it a feast would be a serious understatement! We felt truly blessed as we enjoyed the beautiful Thanksgiving meal and left to relax for a few hours in our comfortable cabin at Dry Creek Cabins which are a short walk/drive from The Skillet. What came next was every bit as good as the meal.
L. Pam Setser -
R. Joni Bishop
Pam Setser and Joni Bishop onstage at White Oak Theater

      We had tickets for a gospel concert at the White Oak Theater, which is near everything else at the Ozark Folk Center. Music Director Daren Dortin had arranged for music by two wonderful musicians--one well-known local multi-instrumentalist and singer named Pam Setser--and her friend and fellow performer from Nashville, TN, Joni Bishop. Pam and Joni play a variety of instruments, and they focused on the mountain dulcimer and acoustic guitar. They sang together and separately, as they alternated who was singing and who would sing next. Pam Setser grabbed a couple of tablespoons from the dining room at The Skillet (not really) and wore those spoons out! This lady can play the spoons! She said that she had worn out several pairs of spoons throughout the years. Joni Bishop stood and played her mountain dulcimer in a fashion similar to the way a Dobro[R] player might play, with a strap around her neck to hold the dulcimer. Pam and Joni  have their own unique styles of playing and singing. Their styles work very well together. We hope to hear them again soon!
Pam Setser and Joni Bishop onstage at White Oak Theater
Ozark Folk Center, Mountain View, AR
      Their choice of songs: Wayfaring Stranger, Twelve Gates to the City, Beulah Land, Grandma's Garden, The Unclouded Day, Blessed Assurance, This Little Light of Mine, I Saw the Light, I'll Fly Away, Consider the Lilies, Threads, Hallelujah I'm Ready, Will the Circle Be Unbroken, Steal Away Home, Swing Low Sweet Chariot, When God Made You, and Walkin' in Jerusalem Just Like John.
     Catch Elisa Brock's Pam and Joni YouTube video of Hallelujah I'm Ready by clicking here:
https://youtu.be/HpOLtJeuwLY   Thanks, Elisa, for the video!
     Special thanks to Daren Dortin, Pam and Joni, and the rest of the crew at the Ozark Folk Center for a job very well done.
     Happy Holidays to all!
     Pick away!   
Further Information:
Pam Setser   www.pamsetser.com
Joni Bishop  www.jonibishop.com
Ozark Folk Center  www.ozarkfolkcenter.com

Sunday, September 20, 2015

SEPTEMBER 19, 2015

       It all started with a short drive south down ol' #7 in Mississippi! The target was beautiful, tree-lined Rowan Oak, the legendary home of an even bigger legend, author William Faulkner. A wonderful new friend, Kathryn McGaw, a real Thacker Backer, provided us easy access to the home. The official name of the scheduled event is Sarah Fest, and sure enough, a fabulous spur-of-the-moment (not really) music event sprang up on the side porch. We Southerners are known for spontaneity!

      Hosted by Mississippi Public Broadcasting's Thacker Mountain Radio Hour host Jim Dees, accompanied by the talented TMR house band, the Yalobushwhackers, the gig was off to a fantastic start. The 'live radio show happens in Off Square Books in downtown Oxford on Thursdays on MPB 90.3 Oxford-University. "Put yo' hands on the radio!"

       There was even a lovely white-haired lady in a beautiful green blouse, Kaye Bryant, who kicked things off with her story of actually knowing and having daily conversation with William Faulkner. It doesn't get any better than that!

       First up to perform was Atlanta artist Chris Lopez, whose performance name is Tenement Halls (think Simon & Garfunkel). Couple of numbers later, we thought he was terrific!

       Then came Southerner Jon Langford (South Wales, that is) who performed with the talented Kelly Hogan and the Yalobushwhackers, along with Oxford's own Jack Pendarvis on accordion. You know Jon from the Mekons! Great stuff! We hope to hear more from them! Joining this group was Amy Ray (think Indigo Girls). Amy was great! She appears in a video that is too big to use here! Amy was accompanied by Kelly Hogan and Jeff Fielder in an amazing number called "Take This Meanness Outta Me". Killer music!

       Minton Sparks was next, accompanied by her multi-talented friend, John Jackson. These two Tennesseans have produced several CDs and videos together. Stories? Minton has stories. We always enjoy hearing the stories and listening to John's guitar work, which is perfectly suited to Minton's stories about life down South. We have followed Minton's work for over 25 years, since that first time we heard her on "A Prairie Home Companion" with Garrison Keillor.

       We would be remiss if we didn't share this photo of Minton Sparks renewing childhood friendship with our friend Claire Turner. We dare not ask what all they said in their little chat!

YouTube videos: Minton and John performing "Giddyup Gibson" and "Time Flies" listed here:
https://youtu.be/YnX_tWKKi4Q  and  https://youtu.be/uxSallwq9Bg

       The show concluded with all the artists onstage to sing Bob Dylan's classic "Ride Me High," which included audience participation! It was an incredible afternoon!

YouTube video: Closing number with all guest artists performing listed here:

Further information:
Thacker Mountain Radio Hour on MPB  www.thackermountain.com
Tenement Halls (Chris Lopez)  www.awakemysoul.com
Jon Langford  www.jonlangford.de
Amy Ray  www.amy-ray.com
Minton Sparks  www.mintonsparks.com
Rowan Oak  www.rowanoak.com

Sunday, June 28, 2015

JUNE 27, 2015
Gazebo at the Rossville, TN, Town Square

The first-ever bluegrass and old-time music jam at the Rossville, TN, Town Square was held on Saturday, June 27, 2015. What a glorious day it was for bluegrass and old-time music. Musicians and fans alike came out to play and listen to the music we all love! There is no jam on Saturday, the Fourth of July. The restaurant and businesses on the Rossville Town Square will be closed for the holiday. The music jam will return on Saturday, July 11, 2015.
With the Town's hearty approval, Cindy Krag, of www.cindykragcatering.com stepped up to sponsor the event. Cindy and Betty Knox Salmon are joint owners of The Original Wolf River Café and the new town square gift store called In High Cotton. We are so grateful for their help in launching the jam! They invite you to eat at the café and to shop at the gift store. Furthermore, we can tell you that this is an ongoing event on Saturday evenings (5:30-9:00 PM Central) until rainy weather delays or postpones the event. Look for us on the Rossville Historic Town Square until about mid-October, when the musicians will take a break until the spring of 2016.

There is delicious fried catfish with all the trimmings at The Wolf on Friday ('til 10 PM), Saturday ('til 9:30 PM), and Monday ('til 8:00 PM). In addition, there is a full menu of other items and good ol' iced tea! In High Cotton Gift Shop stays open late on the nights that the café is also open late. Drop in and shop for that special gift for someone!
Thomas Dunavent, Mike Quick, Michael Osborne,
Fans at rear enjoying the music
Here are some photos from the bluegrass and old-time jam! You're invited to come and play, sing, or just enjoy the music. We must mention that the jam will adhere to bluegrass music traditions: A circle of performers who take their turns or pass to the next player, acoustic stringed instruments only, no drums/microphones/amplifiers, no drugs or alcohol, and no solicitation (political, personal, or religious). We keep it simple so that everyone can enjoy the music.
Wayne and Lil Byrd, Marilyn and Coley Graves
Coley Graves, Marilyn Graves, Lil Byrd, Wayne Byrd
Thomas Dunavent, Mike Quick, and Michael Osborne at rear
Foreground: Valerie Gray, Ken and Stephanie Chappell
Bruce White, Coley Graves, Marilyn Graves, Donna Gray, Karl Gray

Michael Osborne Mike Quick,
 Thomas Dunavent
Marilyn Graves and Coley Graves at rear
Foreground: Lil and Wayne Byrd
Marilyn Graves, Coley Graves,
 Thomas Dunavent,
Mike Quick, Michael Osborne 
Thomas Dunavent, Michael Osborne,
Marilyn Graves,
Coley Graves, Bruce White, Mike Quick
Wayne and Lil Byrd, Marilyn and Coley Graves
Karl Gray and Donna Gray
Michael Osborne at far left
Fans listening at rear
Two fans chatting and enjoying the music
on a lovely Saturday evening in Rossville

Rossville Town Square Bench dedicated to the
Memory of Aaron German
Grandson of Lowell & Betty Knox Salmon

Plaque in Memory of Aaron German
Grandson of Lowell & Betty Knox Salmon
Seen at lower right in bench photo above

Friday, June 5, 2015

(December 8, 1922 - June 1, 2015)
Jean Ritchie, truly a voice of America, has been called home.
Through the magic of the internet, we may hear Jean Ritchie again and again:
A memorial gathering for Jean was held on Sunday (June 7, 2015) from 2-5 PM local time at
Davis and Powell Funeral Home, 616 Chestnut Street, Berea, KY.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be sent to Appalachian Voices,
171 Grand Boulevard, Boone, NC 28607
Donations to Appalachian Voices may also be made online!
Pete Seeger and Jean Ritchie singin' on the porch in times gone by!
There are many YouTube videos of both Pete Seeger and Jean Ritchie. Give a listen sometime!
How very rich they made all of our lives, whether we know it or not.
Rest in peace, dear Jean and Pete! We are better because you lived and gave us your music!
Pick away in that Angel Band!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

MAY 25, 2015
LCpl Timothy R. Creager
Graduate of Craigmont High School
Killed by enemy fire July 1, 2004
El Anbar Province, Iraq

In gratitude to all men and women who now serve, have served, or have paid the ultimate price in service to America.
Pick a tune for these fine service men and women: Dear Sister; Kennesaw Line; Two Little Boys; Missionary Ridge; or Me and John and Paul. Or how about America the Beautiful, The Star-Spangled Banner, The Stars and Stripes Forever, Battle Hymn of the Republic, or Amazing Grace? Or select a favorite of your own.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Prairie Home Companion
Ryman Auditorium
Nashville, TN
May 9, 2015
Garrison Keillor: "It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon...."
     This writer never gets tired of listening to or seeing in-person master storyteller Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion"! If you have ever listened once, you're hooked! It is public radio at its very best.
       So, when it was announced that Prairie Home was headed to Nashville and the Ryman Auditorium, I was a goner right there! Gone! I got online for tickets and for advanced reserved parking literally in the shadow of that grand old auditorium revered by country and bluegrass music fans around the world. The real, true home of the Grand Ole Opry (in my opinion), this beautiful notion of Col. Tom Ryman's to build a tabernacle for religious services has turned out to be so much more.
      Once I took a look at the guests for the week, I was gone even further...into the stratosphere! It was Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder (Paul Brewster, Russ Carson, Mark Fain, Eddie Faris, Cody Kilby, Andy Leftwich, Bob Mummert, and Tommy White) with Sharon White Skaggs, Stuart Duncan, Keb' Mo', and the fine singer Christina DiGiallonardo. Along with that stellar crew, came the PHC (Broadway Breakfast) Band with Rich Dworsky, Chris Brown, Chris Siebold, Richard Kriehn, and Todd Parks, plus the regular voice-over and sound effects folks: Tim Russell, Sue Scott, and Fred Newman. Looking at all those people on the stage, I could have fallen into a dead faint. I didn't though, because I was in the balcony.
      The radio program, with its five segments, is timed to the second. There is NO 'dead air' in Keillor's tightly packaged and presented two-hour radio festival of music and stories. I can only hope that you heard the program or listened to the re-broadcast. We will try to hit the highlights and show you some too-dark and too-blurry photos taken from high in the balcony at the Ryman.
  •      Introduction: "Tishomingo Blues"
  •      Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Sharon White Skaggs perform "No Doubt About It" and a soulful tune about what might be left behind in "When I'm Good and Gone"
  •      Garrison Keillor and Christine DiGiallanardo perform "The Times They Are A-Changin'" / "It Ain't Me Babe" / "Tennessee Waltz" (popular songs  revisited PHC style and carrying a Nashville flavor)
  •      Stuart Duncan and the PHC (Broadway Breakfast) band with a 'bluegrassed-up' version of Waylon Jennings' "I've Always Been Crazy"
  •      Powdermilk Biscuits Theme Song w/ Rich Dworsky and the PHC (Broadway Breakfast) Band (Heavens! They're tasty!)
  •      Guy Noir, Private Eye w/Garrison Keillor as Guy Noir and Ricky Skaggs as parking lot attendant
  •      Keb' Mo' (real name Kevin Moore) on guitar and vocals with "My Baby Wants to Go to France", followed by "The Worst Is Yet to Come" with Keb' Mo' and Christine DiGiallanardo
  •      Garrison Keillor spends a moment announcing the passing earlier on this day of Johnny Gimble, renowned Texas fiddler. Stuart Duncan and Richard Kriehn stand with twin fiddles and saw off two great tunes dedicated to Johnny Gimble:  "Cheyenne" and "Cherokee Shuffle"
  •      Halftime stretch for the audience
  •      Garrison Keillor and Christine DiGiallanardo revisit Neil Sedaka's "Breakin' Up Is Hard to Do" (21st Century style)
  •      Sue Scott and Garrison Keillor's imaginary Mother's Day phone call (No pressure at all, of course, to 'call your mother' on Mother's Day!) 
  •      Keb' Mo' on resonator guitar with "Henry" ("When Henry Plays That Steel Guitar")
  •      Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Sharon White Skaggs perform "Home Is Wherever You Are"
  •      Garrison Keillor's weekly report with "It's been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon...."
  •      Keb' Mo' and Ricky Skaggs perform together in amazing fashion with "Infinite Eyes" (audience standing ovation)
  •      Garrison Keillor reflects on Nashville, the Opry and the Ryman Auditorium
  •      Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder close out the show with a burning version of "Bluegrass Breakdown"
Music and show details available at the Prairie Home Companion Website: www.prairiehome.org
Much of the artists' music from the show and their other performances can be found on their albums, YouTube, and other locations.
Pick away!
"Places everybody! We're going 'live in 5 seconds."

You really do need to tour the Ryman on 5th Avenue
off Lower Broad in Downtown Nashville

Garrison Keillor and the cast for the evening

Fred Newman, Tim Russell, Sue Scott with Garrison
PHC (Broadway Breakfast) Band at rear

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Sharon White Skaggs
plus the PHC (Broadway Breakfast) Band

Newman, Russell, Scott, DiGiallanardo, Keillor as Guy Noir
and Ricky Skaggs as parking lot attendant

Stuart Duncan and Richard Kriehn in tribute to the
late Texas fiddler Johnny Gimble (d. 5/9/2015)

Keb' Mo' on guitar and vocals with the PHC (Broadway
Breakfast) Band

Keb' Mo' with the PHC (Broadway Breakfast) Band

Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder with Sharon White Skaggs

Keb' Mo' on resonator guitar and vocals with Ricky Skaggs
on mandolin and vocals with "Infinite Eyes" --
A stellar Ryman moment with a standing ovation!



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

APRIL 15, 2015
Bryan McDowell, Claire Lynch, Mark Schatz, Jarrod Walker
IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY NIGHT. . . but for a few fantastic hours, the storm was inside Nashville's revered home of bluegrass music, the Station Inn! The Claire Lynch Band blew into town from Missouri and before they headed for an extended road trip to Florida and beyond. Just so you know, Claire Lynch and her band mates pick up a storm that would have competed with the weather that night! We came through cloud-to-ground lightning, sheets of rain, and hail in our return home after the show, but it was worth every hailstone!
Claire Lynch has been performing for more than 30 years and she shows no signs of slowing down! The singer-songwriter is widely known for her performances in the Front Porch String Band and now as the lead singer in the Claire Lynch Band. Claire is the three-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year. Her unique interpretation of her own songs and those of others (Dear Sister [written with Louisa Branscomb, IBMA Song of the Year], Kennesaw Line, Wabash Cannonball, Thibodeaux, and Hills of Alabam, for example) put her distinctive style in a class by itself.
Bryan McDowell also has bluegrass music in his blood. The North Carolina native is well-known for his expertise on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. In fact, Bryan took top honors at Walnut Valley in Winfield, KS, in all three instruments. . . and on the same day! And wait 'til you hear his solo and harmony vocals with Claire Lynch!

When Mark Schatz picks up the upright bass, other bass players step back and just give him room. Mark is highly respected for his work on the bass and also on the clawhammer banjo. Lest we not forget, Mark Schatz can hold his own with anybody when it comes to buck-dancing on a plywood board or even a 'Station Inn Customer Parking Only' sign he used to buck-dance at the Station Inn a few months back. Whatever it takes! Mark's wonderful vocal harmony work brings a special richness to the sound of the band.

The newest member of the Claire Lynch Band is Jarrod Walker, a Florida native, who has performed with his brothers Cory and Tyler. Tampa Bay's Bluegrass Parlor Band was his first gig. Jarrod has performed on an ABC special with Ricky Skaggs, Christian Ward, and Sarah Jarosz. NashCamp's promoter, Cindy Sinclair, liked what she heard of brothers Cory and Jarrod. She got the brothers several appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. Jarrod has also performed with Missy Raines and Rebecca Frazier. He joined the Claire Lynch Band at the start of their 2015 tour throughout America. Jarrod plays guitar and mandolin and sings harmony vocals in the band.

But enough about these wonderful musicians. We need to tell you what they did at the Station Inn. Before we get too deeply into their program, we should mention the beautifully-carved Station Inn sign that hangs above the stage in this hallowed bluegrass hall in Nashville. Raymond Hunt created the sign. You may be aware of his extensive body of work in art: Bill Monroe Posters, a piece called "No Letter Today," and many more works in pen and ink. Google Raymond Hunt. You will be amazed at what you learn about this incredible man. While Raymond is in ill health, we all have him to thank for some wonderful artwork and memories of the Station Inn. Wishing you the best, Raymond!

Oh, about the program: Couple of warm-ups with Gone But Not Forgotten and Hummingbird. Main program: Doin' Time, My Florida Sunshine (written by Bill Monroe), 40 West, Dear Sister (IBMA Song of the Year (written by Claire Lynch and Louisa Branscomb), Second Wind, Snow Day (written by Henry Hipkens), The Knot (written by Mac MacAnally), Buttermilk Road, Paul and Peter Walked, Crossing Muddy Waters (written by John Hiatt), Hank Williams' You're Gonna Change or I'm Gonna Leave, Leavin' on That Evenin' Train, That's What Makes You Strong (a beautiful version by Claire and Bryan in tribute to the late Jesse Winchester, who performed his song with Claire on her Whatcha Gonna Do album), Mark Schatz's Sally in the Garden/Soldier's Joy, Hills of Alabam (written by Claire Lynch and Mark Fair), and the band closed with Hummingbird (written by Greg Jennings and Tim DuBois).

Claire Lynch's newest release is a wonderful compilation called Hills of Alabam, which draws from three popular releases: Front Porch String Band (1983), Lines & Traces (1991), and Follow Me Back to the Fold (2000). Strong stuff that will have you singing along at the top of your lungs. You already know all the words!

For more information and the band's schedule:  http://www.clairelynch.com

Google each performer to see what is available from their collections of CDs.

Pick away!