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!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

APRIL 8, 2017
Rossville TN United Methodist Church built 1923
     THE FARM HANDS QUARTET from over around Nashville and Humphreys County in Middle Tennessee, dropped by the Rossville, TN, United Methodist Church on a perfect Saturday afternoon in April. The beautiful church was built in 1923 on land owned by the J. L. Crawford family after the original building was destroyed by fire. Pastor Roger Joseph welcomed the band and the audience, and we found him to be quite clever and funny! He shared a few stories of his own 'country livin' when he was a youngster. While the Farm Hands Quartet did not start another blaze at the church, their brand of bluegrass and gospel bluegrass is plenty hot! Apparently, church members and other bluegrass fans alike who packed the sanctuary were hungry and ready for some outstanding harmony singing and pickin' like nothin' you ever saw or heard! Toes were a-tappin' and hands were a-clappin'.
Sign to advertise the Farm Hands
The Farm Hands Bus/Van
     In the relatively brief time (2010) that the current band has been together, they have wasted no time in refining their sound and distinguishing themselves with the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA, or as fans pronounce it: spig' ma). The Farm Hands are the SPBGMA 2016 winners of Bluegrass Vocal Group of the Year and Bluegrass Gospel Group of the Year.
L to R: Tim, Don, Daryl, Keith
L to R: Tim, Don, Keith, Daryl
      TIM GRAVES handles Dobro(r) responsibilities in the expert fashion that sorta comes with DNA. His uncle was bluegrass hall-of-fame member, Josh Graves. Uncle Josh, as he was known, introduced Dobro(r) to the world of bluegrass. Tim has performed with Bobby and Sonny, the Osborne Brothers, and his own previous band was Tim Graves and Cherokee. Tim holds 11 awards for SPBGMA Dobro(r) player of the year. He performed on the Grand Ole Opry for 20 years. He sings, too!
     DARYL MOSLEY sings and plays bass. He performed at the Grand Ole Opry for 10 years, and he is a four-time nominee for SPBGMA Male Vocalist of the year. Daryl was named SPBGMA Songwriter of the Year in 2016.
     KEITH TEW is the guitarist, vocalist, and smiling-est fellow in the band. He has had his own band, High Strung, and he has performed with Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Vassar Clements, and Rock County. Grammy-nominated for his songwriting, Keith is a past winner of the SPBGMA Song of the Year award.
     DON HILL is the 'new kid' in the band. His banjo is lightning-hot, and he has the distinction of being state champion banjo player in Alabama, Kentucky, and Tennessee. He has performed with Bobby Osborne and also Jesse McReynolds. Don is the tall, quiet fellow in the band. He, too, handles vocal harmony in the Farm Hands.
     Here is the program of exciting bluegrass and bluegrass gospel music that we heard on that lovely April Saturday afternoon:
     Anywhere Is Home; Crying for Crumbs; There's Just the Four of Us; The Way I Was Raised; The Great Speckled Bird (Tim Graves instrumental); The World Would Never Know, But I Would; Nashville Skyline Rag (Don Hill instrumental); The Bible in the Drawer: Mama Prayed and Daddy Plowed; Dig in the Dirt; Colors; Ask the Blind Man--He Saw It All; and the encore with audience participation was I Saw the Light. Great music with an even greater message!
Farm Hands Quartet
L to R: Tim Graves, Don Hill, Keith Tew, Daryl Mosley
     You can catch the Farm Hands Quartet again on MondaySeptember 25, 2017, at the Collins Theatre, 120 W. Emerson St., Paragould, AR, at "Bluegrass Monday" sponsored by KASU 91.1 FM on the campus of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro. The concert will be replayed on KASU 91.9 FM on the following Sunday, October 1. Listen online at about 12:30 PM CT to "Down Home Harmonies" with DJ Marty Scarbrough, Program Director at KASU.
For more information;
The Farm Hands Quartet
Rossville United Methodist Church  
KASU 91.9 FM  

Monday, April 3, 2017

The Morton Museum
of Collierville TN History
Takes Us Back to the
"Good Ol' Days"
March 25, 2017
Mural depicting Collierville TN in earlier times
 "Remember those Good Ol' Days when a bottle of Coke(r) was only a nickel..?" (lyrics credit to Steve Gregory, Tennessee Gentlemen Bluegrass Band), and they were indeed some 'good ol' days'. The Morton Museum of Collierville TN History (formerly known as "The White Church") at the corner of Poplar Avenue and North Main Street in Collierville has a wonderful collection of items on display that were made and/or distributed in the town. Remember the Wonder Horse(r)? Made in Collierville in a Quonset hut just off the Historic Town Square. There are many other items, plus artifacts from the Battle of Collierville during the War Between the States or, as some hard-liners would say, the War of Northern Aggression. Today's version of that sad event is known simply as the Civil War.

Quonset Hut on South Main before
refurbishing in 2015-16
Wonder Horse(r) made in Collierville, TN
"Giddy-Up, Horsie!"
On March 25, 2017, the museum held a sort of open house in which artisans wore authentic costumes and displayed samples of quilting, weaving, candle-making, and other crafts which were popular during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Of course, there was music from back in the day, and local musicians displayed and explained the instruments they used while performing.
     Originally scheduled for location at the Log Cabin on the Town Square, the event was moved indoors to the Museum when unpredictable spring weather threatened to dampen the quilts and the spirits. Like the troupers they are, artisans and musicians moved indoors and the spectators and fans followed. The lovely stained-glass windows and the feel of the hundred-plus year-old church made for a perfect background to the pages out of the history books. It was splendid!
     We shall simply show you some photos of the event. We shall also encourage you to visit the Morton Museum of Collierville History at your first opportunity. It's worth the trip!
     Special thanks to all who volunteered their time and expertise to entertain and inform the visitors!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bluegrass Monday, Collins Theatre
Paragould, AR
March 27, 2017
     Chris Jones and the Night Drivers is a name well known and respected in bluegrass music circles. It took them considerable time to get back around to northeastern Arkansas, but the fans at the Collins Theatre welcomed the band with enthusiasm. KASU FM 91.9 (on the campus of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro) and its Program Director, Marty Scarbrough, proudly presented the band to Bluegrass Monday (4th Monday of each month) on March 27. All the members of the band have played with some industry heavy-weights, and pooling their collective talents made for a smooth transition.
L to R: Mark Stoffel, Chris Jones, Jon Weisberger, Gina Clowes

     Chris Jones (guitar, vocals) has been at this game for over 30 years and he has produced 12 CDs. Made to Move was recently released and it already has a number one hit--"I'm a Wanderer". Chris' songs have been recorded by the likes of the Gibson Brothers, the Infamous Stringdusters, and the Chapmans. In 2007, he won the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) award for Song of the Year. In addition to writing and recording, Chris is one of the hosts of Sirius XM's Bluegrass Junction, and he has twice captured honors for IBMA Broadcaster of the Year. Furthermore, Chris writes a column for the "Bluegrass Today" website. Busy fellow, that Chris Jones!
     Jon Weisberger (bass, vocals) has served as the bass player (three-time IBMA winner) for the band for a number of years. As with Chris Jones, Jon writes songs and hosts programs on Sirius XM's Bluegrass Junction. You may often catch Jon on bass at Nashville, Tennessee's Station Inn and with the Roland White Band.
     Mark Stoffel (mandolin, vocals) handles the mandolin and vocals like the pro that he is. Originally from Germany, Mark has recently become an American citizen. Welcome to America, Mark! Formerly with the band Shady Mix, he performed at Bluegrass Monday on two occasions with that band. He has been a Night Driver for ten years.
     Gina Clowes (banjo, vocals) is the newest member of the band. Her banjo work is smooth and spot-on! In earlier times, Gina could often be seen as a finalist at the banjo competition at the Galax (VA) Old Fiddler's Convention. Prior to coming aboard with the Night Drivers, Gina was a member of the band Bud's Collective and is on three CDs from that group.
     We like to tell you what songs each band does at these concerts; however, several songs received no introduction as to the titles. Because the microphones on the vocals were rather "muddy-sounding," we could not decipher some words and weren't able to guess at the titles. We shall take a chance at some titles on the Night Drivers' program:
     The Old Bell (written by Jon Weisberger), I Guess I Missed It, Life Song (Last Song? Instrumental by Gina Clowes), You Always Come Back to Hurting Me (made popular by Johnny Rodriguez), Sleeping Through the Storm (Gospel), Edelweiss (Instrumental interpretation by German-American Mark Stoffel), Gone, I'm a Wanderer (written by Thomm Jutz, Charlie Stefl, and Jon Weisberger), Laurie (written by Chris Jones and Jon Weisberger), You're Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone, One Night in Paducah, Cowboys Ain't Supposed to Cry (made popular by Moe Bandy), What the Heck (Instrumental by Mark Stoffel), Raindrops Fell (written by Chris Jones), Once You're Gone (written by Jeremy Garrett and Jon Weisberger), Dark Hollow, Deep River ("I'm divin' in but I'm not comin' up"), Pinto the Wonder Horse Is Dead, and Wolf Creek Pass.
     We had hoped for a bit more "punch" or "drive," which seemed to be lacking. It could have been the trouble with the sound. The band's instrumental work was superior, and we wish we could have understood the titles and words to several of their songs. All in all, we enjoyed the band and their performance.
     The performance will be repeated on KASU FM 91.9 on the Internet ( on Sunday, April 2, at around 12:30 PM CDT during the bluegrass program called Down Home Harmonies, hosted by DJ Marty Scarbrough. Be sure to listen!
Additional Information:
Chris Jones and the Night Drivers or
KASU FM 91.9

Sunday, March 26, 2017

MARCH 24, 2017
     NOW AND AGAIN...every once in a while...a real sweetheart of a bluegrass jam just sort of emerges from somewhere. Such was the case on a recent Friday evening. Local pickers were there, some loyal fans, too, and even a wonderful family from Nova Scotia showed up! How good is that? You can't predict this stuff, and when it happens, it's just magic!
     We will soon begin our 18th year of Friday night jams at the Collierville TN Historic Town Square, but at the moment we are still indoors trying to escape unpredictable March weather. We always welcome musicians at any level; fans, too, at any level! It's all free and it's all acoustic bluegrass music. No mics or amps, no alcohol, and no smoking/vaping in or near a jam group on the Square.
     Getting back to the sweetheart part, we kicked off the jam at about 6:30 PM BST (Bluegrass Standard Time). Each musician and fan picked out a spot to pick or watch--no assigned seats or order of importance. No chiefs, no "stars"--we're all in this together! We're just folks meeting weekly to have a good time around bluegrass music. Our current warm and dry location inside the Common Cup Coffee Shop just adds to the joy! Hot coffee, spiced tea, hot chocolate, and a few snacks make life just about "Friday night perfect" in our way of thinking.
     We will cut to the chase and show you photos from the jam, and we will ask you to join us at your first opportunity. We will move to the great outdoors on Friday, April 14, and take our chances with the weather. Bring lawn chairs or your pickin' stool and head on out to the Town Square around 6:30 PM. Stay as long as you wish. The Square is extraordinarily beautiful at this time of year, and there are restaurants and our favorite dairy bar to fill that hollow spot in case you get hungry. See you soon at the Collierville, TN, Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Jam! 
Pick away!  ( I )====='----<::}
Snapshots of a Bluegrass Good Time

Monday, February 27, 2017

FEBRUARY 25, 2017
Country Oaks Bed & Breakfast - Mountain View, AR
     A Parlor Pickin' always has my name on it! And if the weather cooperates on a February day in beautiful Mountain View, Arkansas, we peel out and head for the hills. The beautiful Country Oaks B-n-B and her owners, Jerry and Carole Weber, along with various rescued pets, are the ideal hosts for what has become an annual invitation-only event.
       Guests at the inn on 12 rolling acres are treated to comfortable accommodations and a couple of killer breakfasts while staying there for the weekend. Come Saturday night, the guests and some folks from around town and beyond are further entertained by incredible performers from the Mountain View and Batesville areas.
       Not staying at the B-n-B? You won't starve or have to sleep in your car. Here are some suggestions: Check out Pinewood Cabins on the corner of the Town Square. Hungry? Stop in at JoJo's Catfish Wharf just out Hwy 9 at Jack's Fishing Resort. For breakfast, it doesn't get any better than P.J.'s Rainbow Café on the Town Square. Best breakfast in town! 
       Right on schedule at the Parlor Pickin', Pam Setser shows up with her dulcimer and those spoons that fascinate everybody. Pam is known throughout Arkansas for her performance with her family's band, also The Leatherwoods and the very popular Apple-Setser-Rounds trio. Pam's stunning vocals, her touch on the dulcimer and guitar, and the delightful click sound of her 'magic' spoons are crowd pleasers.

Irl Hees, bass; Pam Setser, dulcimer; Gary Rounds, guitar
      Gary Rounds comes in looking just like Santa Claus, only much thinner and more handsome. His beautiful hair and beard get everybody's attention immediately. His guitar work is sublime. His vocal renderings on the songs in their program are unbelievable. You wouldn't think Santa Claus could sing like that, but he can. One of Gary's best features is his terrific sense of humor. He enjoys a back-and-forth swap of funny remarks with guests and band members. He's a dandy!
       Irl Hees is hardly a stranger to music lovers in this part of the world, since he has performed with Lost Highway, Cedar Hill, and Rhonda Vincent and The Rage, to drop a few names. He is 'the bass player's bass player' and he sings lead and harmony in fine style. Irl is almost always seen working on a toothpick in his mouth whether he is singing or slapping the bass. The toothpick is always there.
Irl's daughter Hannah backed by
  Pam Setser and Gary Rounds 
on "Steel Rails"
This superb musician brought reinforcements with the addition of his daughter Hannah, who joined the group and sang harmony and even lead on several songs. Hannah also plays guitar, and at a young 20 years of age, she is already a seasoned veteran. We hear that Irl knows at least one of The Cleverlys up close and personal.
Irl Hees on upright bass
with "Amazing Grace"
         Two gentlemen who were missing from the roster are Batesville's own, Brad Apple (multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter, producer), who is ill, and fiddle player Tim Crouch, who had a prior commitment. While we missed Brad and Tim, the artists who performed were warmly received by the 40+ guests who filled the parlor for a wonderful night of music and fun. 
       We like to let folks know on this blog just what they missed if they could not attend the annual Parlor Pickin', so here is the program: Bonaparte's Retreat, Darcy Farrow, Across the Great Divide (a Kate Wolf song), All of My Memories (John Denver song), Steel Rails (a Louisa Branscomb song done beautifully by Hannah), Just Remember I Love You (a Firefall song), Sweet Dreams (best known by Patsy Cline), 2:10 Train (a Tom Campbell song from an album by Linda Ronstadt and the Stone Poneys), Honky Tonk Heaven, Down on the Corner (...out in the street!), Where the Soul Never Dies, There Is a Time (from the Darling family on "The Andy Griffith Show"), I've Got a Name (Jim Croce), Help Me Make It Through the Night (made popular by Sammi Smith, written by Kris Kristofferson), the Petticoat Junction Theme Song (sung by Irl Hees) [Can you detect themes of early rock, country music and early television shows running through here?], and Long Black Veil (written by Danny Dill of the early Grand Ole Opry husband-and-wife team called Annie Lou and Danny).
       After a short break for coffee and dessert and visiting with folks we haven't seen since last year about this time, the second set kicked off with Scotland the Brave, Everyday (a Buddy Holly song), These Days, The Lighthouse, Daddy (written by Irl Hees), Carry Me, Carrie (Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show), Homeless, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face (Roberta Flack), When Times Were Good and You Were Mine (written by David Lynn Jones, songwriter friend of the artists and several in the audience), I Know Who Holds Tomorrow (Alison Krauss and the Cox Family, performed  by Hannah), Drifting Too Far From the Shore, Amazing Grace (solo on bass, Irl Hees), Streets of London, and Walkaway Joe. It was an astounding pickin' (and singin') in that parlor!
     If you haven't experienced Mountain View and Stone County, Arkansas, you need to go! The music, the sights, and the food all over town are just incredible!
For more information:
Country Oaks Bed & Breakfast
Pinewood Cabins
Pam Setser or Facebook Search PamelaGSetser
Gary Rounds  Facebook Search Gary-Rounds
Irl Hees  See Acoustic Music Camp - Irl Hees
Mountain View, Arkansas Chamber of Commerce
JoJo's Catfish Wharf at Jack's Fishing Resort  Facebook @jojoscatfishwharf
P.J.'s Rainbow Café  On the Square...just ask around!

Updated 04.03.17  
Below are listed upcoming opportunities to see The Claire Lynch Band LIVE!
For further information, click on the weblink in blue type. We hope to see you soon!
Learn more about the Claire Lynch Band at  
  29       WILKESBORO, NC   MerleFest  (CLB)
   11      BELLA VISTA, AR (Trio)  Mildred B. Cooper Memorial Chapel
   12      FAYETTEVILLE, AR (Trio)  Artosphere
   13      FAYETTEVILLE, AR (Trio)  Artosphere
   14      FAYETTEVILLE, AR (Trio)  Walker Park
   6        FAIRFAX, VA   Fairfax County Government Center (TRIO PERFORMANCE)
   7        RICHMOND, VA   The Tin Pan (TRIO PERFORMANCE)
 28-29   STEVENSON, WA   Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival  (CLB)
    1-5    FAIRVIEW, TN (Nashville Area)  Nashville Bluegrass Camp @ Camp Marymount (Claire
 18-19  SALMON ARM, BC (CANADA)   Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival  (CLB)
     13   WINFIELD, KS  (Claire Lynch & Mark Schatz)
              Walnut Valley Hands-On Workshop 
     14    WINFIELD, KS   Walnut Valley Festival  (CLB)
     16    GLENMONT, OH   Mohican Bluegrass Festival  (CLB)
      7     ROGERSVILLE, NB (CANADA)   Rogersville Bluegrass Site  (CLB)
    13     ST. JOHN, NB (CANADA)   Imperial Theatre  (CLB)
    14     LUNENBERG, NS (CANADA)   Lunenberg Folk Harbour Fall Concert Series (Tentative)
    15     RIVERVIEW, NB (CANADA)   Caseley Park  (CLB)
   19     HIAWASSEE, GA   Georgia Mountain Fair  (CLB) 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February 11, 2017
Jake Landers in the Encore Room of the Ritz Theatre
Sheffield, AL
     After a maddening dash up, down, and around US Highway 72, we stumbled upon the sign that implied 'this way to Sheffield'. Suffice it to say, the road was not marked well and it was beginning to get dark. Whoo boy! It was a stretch to eat a burger and get to the Ritz Theatre (at 111 W. Third Street) in time to catch some notables you may have heard of: Jake Landers (for whom the event was begun in 2010), Carl Jackson, the Claire Lynch Band, and Iron Horse.
Featured bands at the Jake Landers Bluegrass Concert
Sheffield, AL
      We shall start with Carl Jackson, whose very name sends shivers down the spines of singer-songwriters. This treasure from Louisville, Mississippi, has a couple of Grammys and three International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, and he has performed with everyone from Glen Campbell to Dolly Parton.
     While we were a little late getting in and settled at the Ritz, we were dumbfounded by Carl's selection of songs and his guitar work. It's just magic! Here is his program: Letter to Home, a gospel medley of instrumentals: Amazing Grace, The Old Rugged Cross, 'Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, and When They Ring Those Golden Bells. Carl closed with Lee and Ruby Pearl, a song about his parents. Those who know my own story will understand why that title brought tears. Thanks, Carl!
Iron Horse from their website
The band performed 'live at the Jake Landers
Bluegrass Concert in Sheffield, AL
     Next up was Iron Horse, a very popular band from Killen, Alabama. The band members are: Tony Robertson (mandolin, vocals), Vance Henry (guitar, vocals), Anthony Richardson banjo, vocals), and Ricky Rogers (bass, vocals). Iron Horse introduced Jake Landers, singer-songwriter, who performed several songs with the band. Jake was one of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, and he is in the Alabama Music and Bluegrass Halls of Fame. Here is the selection: Rubber Wheels, This Is the Girl I Love (Jake wrote it and the Front Porch String Band [now the Claire Lynch Band] recorded it 'way back when); Walk Softly (written by Bill Monroe and Jake Landers); I'll Follow Jesus (Jake, Pete Kuykendall, Bobby Hicks); Rip Tide; American Joe; Going Off the Rails on the Crazy Train; Orange Blossom Special; Foggy Mountain Breakdown; Shot in the Dark; Enter the Sandman; the Alabama State Song (audience participation); and Elton John's classic, Rocket Man.
Claire Lynch Band promo picture
Bassist Todd Phillips stood in for
Bassist Mark Schatz
Jake Landers Bluegrass Concert, Sheffield, AL
     The headliner band was the Claire Lynch Band with Claire Lynch (guitar, vocals), Bryan McDowell (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Jarrod Walker (mandolin, guitar, vocals), and standing in for double Grammy winner, bluegrass legend Mark Schatz on upright bass was another upright bass legend, Todd Phillips, who is another double Grammy winner, a founding member of the David Grisman Quintet, and member of the Bluegrass Album Band, among others. 
     The band led off with Cold-Hearted Wind, from their latest album, "North by South," on which Claire collaborated with several well-known Canadian songwriters. Next was Children of Abraham, You're Gonna Change or I'm Gonna Leave (tribute to the songwriting Alabama native, Hank Williams), Kingdom Come, Molly May (by J.P.Cormier), Little Rabbit (instrumental by Bryan McDowell and Jarrod Walker), Missionary Ridge, Milo (by Claire Lynch), All the Diamonds in the World (by Bruce Coburn), It's Worth Believin' (by Canadian, Gordon Lightfoot), Doin' Time, Black Flowers (by Lynn Miles), Empty Train, and the encore was the very popular Dear Sister, IBMA 2014 Song of the Year (written by Claire Lynch and Louisa Branscomb).
     Beautiful night of music with top-of-the-heap artists. We were especially honored to meet Jake Landers, who is widely respected throughout the bluegrass music world. He is a delight with the most charming personality! The Ritz Theatre, now that we know where it is, is comfortable and beautifully renovated. Not having an aisle down the center of the room was a bit of a problem, but we made it. We look for more bluegrass events from the Ritz and other North Alabama locations. Personally, the best festival we ever attended was at Barton, Alabama, in the summer of 1980. We passed a highway marker on February 11, 2017, that said Barton > and just seeing that sign brought back some very pleasant memories of a time not so long ago.
For more information:
Alabama Bluegrass Music Association
Jake Landers  Google for his musical accomplishments
Iron Horse  Facebook Search @ironhorse.bluegrass
Carl Jackson
Claire Lynch Band
Todd Phillips