Wednesday, January 28, 2015

JANUARY 26, 2015

MONROE CROSSING blew into Paragould, AR, recently on their annual ABM Tour(Anywhere But Minnesota) throughout the South. Smart people! They left their home base when the
temperature was a frigid 14 below zero! Very smart people! To say that the band is dynamic, lively, traditional, and edgy would be an understatement. They are all of that and then some. Monroe Crossing hits the stage and plays as though their hair were on fire! Hundred miles an hour for two wonderful sets! Oh! These folks are good! You are going to want to see Monroe Crossing when they begin their 2016 ABM Tour which brings them right back through Paragould to the stage at the beautiful Collins Theatre. (Monroe Crossing even has a summer bluegrass cruise planned for 2016, if you cannot wait until next January to see this exciting band and some of their bluegrass band friends. See information about the 2016 Monroe Crossing Bluegrass Cruise below this blog. Plan now to go!)

KASU 91.9 FM Program Director Marty Scarbrough arranges for Monroe Crossing (note where their strong influences originate) to stop by the Collins Theatre for "Bluegrass Monday" each January, before the band begins to work its way back to Minnesota. KASU 91.9 FM originates from the campus of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR. Marty takes it one step further for each band by playing the audio portion of their shows each Sunday afternoon following the band's performance. Monroe Crossing's Bluegrass Monday show will be part of Marty's Sunday bluegrass and old-time show on Sunday, February 1, 2015, from 12:30 PM until 3:00 PM Central. Be sure to listen if you were not able to catch Monroe Crossing 'live and in full living color! Or listen again if you're still awe-struck by how wonderful this band is! Listen 'live at 91.9 FM or online at

Monroe Crossing has an amazing cast of characters! Lisa Fuglie handles fiddle and fine vocals; Matt Thompson plays mandolin and fiddle, along with handling the MC work for the band; Mark Anderson plays bass like nobody you have ever seen; Derek Johnson is on guitar and superb vocals; and David Robinson plays banjo and handles the bass vocals. Snappy dresser, too, that David! Put them on your list as a must-see band. You will not be disappointed! They are traditional bluegrass, newgrass, gospel, and 'a little bit rock-n-roll'.

Here are the selections from Monroe Crossing: Set 1 - Mule Skinner Blues, Old Home Place, Ground Speed, Sonny Don't Go Away, Chattanooga, River of Jordan, Doin' My Time, Sea Cruise, In the Pines, Long Cool Woman in a Black Dress, Who Will Watch the Homeplace, and The Bullet Train. Set 2 - Rocky Top, Joy Joy Joy, Footprints in the Snow, Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Crazy, 20/20 Vision (And Walkin' 'Round Blind), Atlanta Church (in Minnesota, not Georgia), Hoboes in the Roundhouse, The Chicken Dance, Nail That Catfish to the Tree (Instrumental with fabulous local clogging sisters Lillie Doyle and Jacqueline Doyle), Purple Rain (bluegrass style), At Last, Orange Blossom Special, and two standing ovations with Act Justly Have Mercy and Walk Humbly with Your God, followed by Man of Constant Sorrow (from O Brother, Where Art Thou?). The band must have been plum' tuckered out! The appreciative audience begged for more!

Marty Scarbrough introducing Monroe Crossing at
the Collins Theatre, Paragould, AR

David Robinson, Matt Thompson,
Derek Johnson, Lisa Fuglie,
Mark Anderson
Lillie Doyle and Jacqueline Doyle
Matt Thompson, David Robinson,
Lisa Fuglie, Derek Johnson,
Mark Anderson
Lillie and Jacqueline Doyle,
Mark Anderson, David Robinson,
Matt Thompson, Lisa Fuglie
Derek Johnson behind Lisa Fuglie

We should also mention that Terry's Café opens from 4:30 PM  to 6:45 PM each Bluegrass Monday for a delicious buffet dinner prior to the show which begins at 7:00 PM. The little mom-n-pop café is in walking distance from the Collins Theatre. Be sure to make that a part of your bluegrass adventure in Northeast Arkansas.

Sign up and post your Northeast Arkansas bluegrass and old-time music events at the Yahoo group that this writer began just for YOU! Let us know what is going on in your neck of the woods! It's free! Here is the information:

For additional information:
Historic Collins Theatre, 120 W. Emerson St., Paragould, AR
Terry's Café, 201 S. Pruett, Paragould, AR (near the Collins Theatre)
KASU 91.9 FM
Monroe Crossing
Monroe Crossing Bluegrass Cruise

Coming up at Bluegrass Monday at the Collins Theatre, Paragould, AR:
February 23, 2015   Nothin' Fancy
March 23, 2015       The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band (Leroy Troy)
April 27, 2015         David Davis and the Warrior River Boys
May 18, 2015          Darrell Webb Band (date change due to Memorial Day)
June 22, 2015          The Jeanette Williams Band
July 27, 2015           Breaking Grass
August 24, 2015      Southern Raised
September 28, 2015  The Farm Hands Bluegrass Quartet

Pick away!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Bluegrass Show and Jam
The Old Country Store Dixie Café
Jackson, TN
January 24, 2015
       We can sniff out a bluegrass show and jam just about anywhere around Tennessee, Arkansas, or Mississippi! One recent sniff-out took us to Jackson, Tennessee, and the Old Country Store at I-40 Exit 80A. You're familiar with the location, I'm sure. The Old Country Store in Casey Jones Village is a strong supporter of bluegrass and old-time music. Thanks to all the Brooks Shaw family and extended family for their support over the years.
          So, there we were on Saturday evening, January 24, 2015, in the Dixie Café section of the Old Country Store. We were ready for a good meal and a good bunch of bluegrass music. We found both. We shall tell you the names of the three bands which performed, mention some of their songs, and show you some photos of their performances.
Savannah Grass:Tom Cox, Coley Graves,
Wayne Jerrolds, Mike Garrett
          The first band up featured Wayne Jerrolds and Savannah Grass, which featured Wayne Jerrolds on fiddle, Coley Graves sitting in on upright bass, Tom Cox on guitar, and Mike Garrett on banjo. Savannah Grass played the following songs and tunes: Jambalaya; Dim Lights, Thick Smoke, and Loud, Loud Music; If I Should Wander Back Tonight; Rubber Dolly; Bill Bailey; Just Because; T for Texas; Once More; Lady Be Good; Mockingbird; In the Sweet By and By; Danny Boy; and Swing That Hammer.
Savannah Grass: Tom Cox, Coley Graves,
Wayne Jerrolds, Mike Garrett 
The next band was Rudy Moore and the Bluegrass Pals, which
featured Rudy Moore on guitar, Steve Killingsworth on upright
bass, Scottie Baugus on banjo, Kevin Keen on mandolin, Bobby
Isbell on Dobro(R), and Raybon Moore on guitar. The Bluegrass
Pals played the following songs among several others: Long Journey Home, Love of the Mountains, Foggy Mountain
Special, Nine Pound Hammer, Tennessee in 1949, Bringing
Bluegrass Pals: Scottie Baugus, Kevin Keen,
 Steve Killingsworth,
Rudy Moore, Bobby Isbell, Raybon Moore
 Mary Home, Pain in My Heart, I Want to Go
Back to the Old Home, Fireball, Rocky Top,
Blue Ridge Mountain Home, Bluegrass Special, A Beautiful Life
and Foggy Mountain Breakdown
Bluegrass Pals: Scottie Baugus, Kevin Keen, Steve
Killingsworth, Rudy Moore, Raybon Moore,
Bobby Isbell

The host band for the bluegrass show and jam was Baxter Qualls and the Golden Bluegrass Gospel Band, with a few members of Junkyard Grass filling in for the evening. Baxter's Golden Bluegrass Gospel Band was: Baxter on guitar, Wayne Jerrolds on fiddle, Tyler Chatham on guitar, Joe Cupp on banjo, and William Moore on upright bass. Here are a few of their songs: Cabin in the Pines, Some Old Day, Rose of Old Kentucky, Reuben's Train, High on a Mountain, My Lord Knows All About Me, Right Before My Eyes, Fireball Mail, I Wonder How the Old Folks Are at Home, Home Sweet Home, Singing Waterfall, and Lost Indian.
Golden Bluegrass Gospel Band: Wayne Jerrolds, Tyler Chatham,
William Moore, Joe Cupp behind Baxter Qualls
The event ended with a brief jam featuring Marilyn Graves on hammered dulcimer, Coley Graves on guitar, William Moore on upright bass, and Raybon Moore on guitar. Fans who came out for the occasion showed their appreciation with applause and requests. Folks who just happened to be in the Old Country Store to eat and shop came back to the Dixie Café to see where all the good music was coming from. Everybody stayed a while to listen, tap their feet, and clap their hands. We wish to thank Baxter Qualls for putting on the show and jam. There may be others to follow. We hope so!
Marilyn Graves, Coley Graves, William Moore, Raybon Moore
Additional Information:
Old Country Store, 56 Casey Jones Lane, Jackson, TN 38306
Ph. 731.668.1223 or 1.800.748.9588

Pick away! 

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


       FLUFFO is our neighborhood sweetheart. She had spent two wonderful years with us...until January 12, 2015. She wandered wherever she chose to go. We all fed her, kept water out for her, and just let her be. She didn't bark, bite, growl, approach or attack. She was just our little darlin'. She is a free spirit, determined not to be cornered or captured. Many had tried and failed. She had not counted on evildoers cloaked in do-gooder attire. We could have told her that a dark cloud was on her horizon.

       Enter Dark Cloud from Piperton, Tennessee. She set her sights on "rescuing" Fluffo. They know her at the local animal shelter. She showered us and Fluffo with dog food and treats, plus expensive bedding. Dark Cloud made dozens of trips up and down our streets watching for the dog as she plotted her strategy to grab Fluffo. She quoted Bible verses and square footage of her massive house and yard, telling us what all she could do for this dog. Be wary of folks who spout Bible verses and tell you how good they are. All Fluffo ever needed was her freedom to wander and do as she pleased.

       With the assistance of Turncoat who lives nearby (I can no longer call him 'neighbor'), Dark Cloud cornered and captured Fluffo in the fenced back yard of Turncoat's mother just across the road. It was a cold, gray afternoon, and Dark Cloud's husband Milquetoast dragged the dog across the yard to a cage that had been prepared for the capture. Fluffo ran from them, fought them, but she was overpowered. I stood on my porch crying and screaming, "Please don't take her! Please leave her alone! Please! Please, don't do this!" It was a rough day.

       Dark Cloud and Milquetoast got this precious free spirit into their car and drove off. Dark Cloud did all of this under the pretense of, "God bless you for taking such good care of this dog," which she had said many times over the past two months. It was all a deception, for the Dark Cloud knew the day would come and she was prepared.

       While Fluffo's freedom has come to an end, at least for now, we neighbors who loved and nurtured her will miss her every hour of every day. We are devastated, sick to the core of our being. She deserved so much better than to be grabbed by greedy hands and dragged into a cage and forced to live indoors in captivity. Dark Cloud cannot conquer Fluffo's free spirit! Never!

       Please keep Fluffo and her real friends in the neighborhood in your thoughts and prayers! Special thanks to those who kept her fed and watered and who allowed her to just be herself.

       She is a good dog. Our little darlin'.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Graves Family Band / Wildwood Express

Donna Phillippy, Kayla Harkness, Gary Graves, Katye Benedetti, Marilyn Graves, Bass Player Gary Spraggins,
and Coley Graves
       It is long past overdue that someone (me) told you about the powerful bluegrass and gospel  influence of the Graves Family Band, often known as Wildwood Express. Whether it is bluegrass, bluegrass gospel, or regular gospel, Coley and Marilyn Graves are right there and willing to play. Their daughter Donna Phillippy and son Gary Graves, along with their grandchildren and extended family, are able to join Mom and Dad on very rare occasions.
       Coley and Marilyn Graves were both reared in musical homes. They chose to continue the tradition throughout their more than 50 years of marriage. Over time, it seemed right to include their children, Donna and Gary, in their family music. When grandchildren came along, they soon joined the growing Graves Family Band.
       Time and work schedules often make it impossible to get everyone together for a performance, but on January 10, 2015, an opportunity popped up with the Golden Circle Opry in Jackson, TN, and the audience on that very cold evening was thrilled to hear the rare performance. Son Gary brought along his daughter Kayte Benedetti, and daughter Donna brought her daughter Kayla Harkness. Coley and Marilyn said that it stirred some old memories of playing and singing together years ago.
After the performance at the Golden Circle Opry on January 10, 2015: Bobby Benedetti, Kathey Graves, Gary Graves, Katye Benedetti, Marilyn Graves, Coley Graves, Kayla Harkness, Curtis Phillippy, and Donna Phillippy
       We should tell you the songs they performed at the most recent Golden Circle Opry: Foggy Mountain Top, Little Cabin Home on the Hill, Keep on the Sunny Side, The Old Country Church, Hallelujah Square, Old Slew Foot, Somewhere Between, I'll Fly Away, Daddy Sang Bass, Where the Soul Never Dies, Old Village Church on the Hill, and Just Over in the Glory Land.
       Coley and Marilyn Graves and a supporting group of performers can be seen regularly at the Collierville (TN) Historic Town Square Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Jam on Friday evenings from mid-April through mid-October. The jam moves indoors to the Collierville United Methodist Church from mid-October until mid-April, when the group again returns to the town square. All are welcome to attend the Collierville jams at no charge. All skill levels are encouraged. The band also often appears at Discovery Park of America in Union City, TN, and other regional bluegrass and old-time events.
       The Golden Circle Opry is held in the South Jackson Community Center just off  US 45 South on Highway 18. John Few and Albert Hall originated the event, which is held on the second Saturday night of each month from November through April. Three or four bands are booked for the Golden Circle Opry each time. Some bands that have played for the event are: Wildwood Express, Providence Road, Wayne Jerrolds, Crosswind, Hatchie Bottom Boys, Stone County Connection, the Sparks Family, Lisa Lambert, Corinth Courthouse Pickers, Cypress Creek, and others.
Pick away!
For more information:
Coley and Marilyn Graves -
Golden Circle Opry (John Few) -
Discovery Park of America -  
      Breakin' Up Winter 20   
March 5-8, 2015

       Many of you already know about Breakin' Up Winter (BUW), the authentic old-time string band festival and gathering which is held annually at Cedars of Lebanon State Park, just east of Nashville, TN, on I-40 and a little bit south of Lebanon, TN on US 231. The Nashville Old-Time String Band Association (NOTSBA) hosts the very popular festival. The event is simply delightful! Not geared toward bluegrass music, the festival aims to uphold real old-time music by hosting presenters who are renowned in this early-music genre--and by offering plenty of jamming opportunities. There are also concerts throughout the weekend. There are vendors who show up with books, CDs, strings, parts and supplies of all kinds. There is even a gentleman who is a real pro at recording your genuine 'scratchy-disc' sound on his gently preserved turn-of-the-century recording device. There is lodging, and camping, on the grounds of the park. Food is served daily if you pre-arrange for all of that. Local restaurants, hotels and motels are available as well.
       Guest presenters for BUW 20 are as follows: Vesta Johnson, Riley Baugus, The Corklickers, Bobby Fulcher, John Balch, Martin Fisher, Roby Cogswell, Rick Fretter, and dare we say it. . .The Hogslop String Band! There! We said it.
Contact information:
Get on up to BUW 20 for a 'country-dog good time'!
Pick away!