Wednesday, December 13, 2017

DECEMBER 12, 2017

     Most, if not all, of us know by now that our delicious bluegrass music got an early start in Scotland, Ireland, Wales, and England...with influences from France and Germany (and many other places) for good measure!
     That said, we need to remind you about just how haunting and beautiful the tunes and reels are that are still being played today in small groups and before large audiences all around America and in those home countries.
     We recently learned that "Christmas with the Celts" was going to come to the amazing City Winery in Nashville, TN. With deep roots in Scotland and Ireland, we knew we needed to see and hear "Christmas with the Celts". The group of singers, instrumentalists, and dancers just blew us away! Irish step-dancing is fast and definitely not easy! Five lovely dancers showed us how it's done in the fashion of "Riverdance". Younger children from a local school were dressed in their Christmas finery and joined in the merriment with singing and clapping to the insistent Celtic drumbeat. It was busy on that stage and the time just flew by.
     We will introduce The Celts by name and instrument. And because our Gaelic accent left the family 300 or more years ago when they migrated to America, we will tell you what is on the "Christmas with the Celts" CD. The CD is available at, along with several others and a DVD or two.
     The Celts are: Ric Blair (guitar, vocals, piano, bodhran), Eimear Arkins (fiddle, vocals), Fiachra O'Regan (uillean pipes), Sean Cunningham (flute), Patrick Martin (bass, vocals), and Matthew Burgess (percussion).
     "Christmas with the Celts" CD: God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen/Joy to the World; Balulalow; Christmas Eve; Little Drummer Boy; Da' Day Dawis; O Holy Night; Baloo Lammy; The Wexford Carol; What Child Is This/Irish Reel Set; The First Noel; O Come, O Come Emmanuel; The Greatest Gift; Drowsie Maggie/Rakish Paddy; Silent Night; and in addition the group included: John Lennon's incredible 1971 classic, So This Is Christmas, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town and the finale on this particular evening was Jingle Bells.
     Now, we will show you photos from the amazing "Christmas with the Celts" presented by the City Winery in Nashville. Catch the Celts soon, and by all means visit the City Winery at 609 Lafayette in Downtown Nashville, Tennessee.


Thursday, November 30, 2017

NEWSFLASH! "Bluegrass Today" publishes review of NO TIME FLATT by John Curtis Goad on December 5, 2017. Go here: 
 November 27, 2017
      Every once in a while there comes a new band that makes the listener wonder where this band has been. In 2015, NO TIME FLATT came together around Jackson, TN, and got really serious and really busy honing and refining their sound. The old friends in the group came up with some original songs, some familiar bluegrass standards with a twist, and even a few country classics, again with a new feel. They put together their first album, No Time Flatt, and Clark Shaw's Old Country Store in Jackson threw them a CD release party. The band expected maybe 50 people to show up for the party. Four or five times that many showed up and packed the restaurant. It was quite a night! 
     No Time Flatt is building a reputation for superior quality instrumental work and tight four-part vocal harmony that audiences really enjoy. The band's energy fills an auditorium, and the crowds really let them know that they "get it".

     The members of the band are as follows:  Kevin Wright (Humboldt, TN, guitar and vocals), Patrick Cupples (Dyersburg, TN, bass and vocals), Becky Goodrum Weaver (Montezuma, TN, fiddle and vocals), Kevin Keen (Corinth, MS, mandolin), and Steve Moore (Jackson, TN, banjo and vocals).
      No Time Flatt recently performed at Bluegrass Monday (4th Monday each month) at the Collins Theatre in Paragould, AR, and here are the songs they performed for the enthusiastic audience:  Set 1: Suzanne, It Takes One To Know One, You Can Have Her, Roundup, This Heart of Mine, Look Down That Lonesome Road, Where No Cabins Fall, Fox On The Run, Angelina Baker, Say Won't You Be Mine, Before The Cold Wind Blows, Dim Lights Thick Smoke, and Ten Plagues. Set 2: Lonely Moon, Dollarhide, Dixieland Delight, Kentucky Mandolin, Beulah Land, Keen Mountain Prison, The Golden Rule, It Must Be Love, Smoky Mountain Rain, Foggy Mountain Special (w/different banjo styles), Foolin' Around, Long Gone, and the encore was the beautiful Jimmy Fortune song, I Believe.
     Bluegrass Monday is sponsored by KASU 91.9 FM on the campus of Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, along with other hometown business owners. Marty Scarbrough is the Program Director, and he hosts programming at The No Time Flatt performance will be replayed on Sunday, December 3, 2017, at about 12:30 PM CT. Tune in to 91.9 FM or hear it streaming online at on the program called "Down Home Harmonies," hosted by Mr. Scarbrough.
     Before we go...Did you know that fans of No Time Flatt are called FLATTHEADS? Yep! We readily admit that we are Flattheads!
Website: No Time Flatt or Facebook
Contact: Kevin Wright or 731.616.1208

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

THE YEAR WAS 1967...
(with thanks to Francis Albert Sinatra)
October 13, 2017 -- Icebreaker -- 50 Years Hence
Updated March 14, 2019 (pi day...3.14) 
Bluegrass Music Content?  Virtually none, except that in recent years a group of White Station High School Spartans met on campus after school for a little bluegrass music pickin'.
     I WISH TO THANK so many people that I don't dare start naming them for fear that I will leave someone out. I'll just jump right in here. The White Station High School class of 1967 listened to Simon & Garfunkel's "Mrs. Robinson" on the radio and in the #1 hit movie of that year, The Graduate. Appropriate title, don't you think?
     So that a number of 1967 graduates can view the photos I took at Novel, the new bookstore where Davis-Kidd and Booksellers of Laurelwood once stood, I have chosen to present the pictures here from the class' icebreaker at that brand-spanking new bookstore. Thanks to class member, John Vergos, for his part in helping to save a bookstore on that corner of Perkins Extended in Memphis, TN. That's it...not a lot of chatter from me. Here we go! Enjoy the little trip and congratulations, Spartans, on your 50th class reunion!
     Before we jump completely in, we wish to remember those 45+ Spartan classmates who have passed away since graduation. Anne Marie Chapman, who passed away in the summer of 2017, was a driving force behind this reunion, and she would be so proud of the way the committee picked up the job and ran with it!
     A favorite teacher and friend who also passed away in the summer of 2017, was Mr. Danny Hollingsworth. The kids loved him and he loved them. Check out the green Spartans bench in front of the gymnasium at 514 South Perkins Road. The class of 1967 purchased the bench in memory of those classmates, Mr. Hollingsworth, principal Rush W. Siler, and other teachers who have passed on.
NOTE:  Visit the WSHS67 Facebook page at:

Friday, July 21, 2017

City Winery - Nashville, TN
July 16, 2017
       CAROLINE HERRING showed up on stage at the City Winery in Nashville, TN, on a recent Sunday evening, and she completely charmed the roomful of fans and supporters! She even brought some members of her fan club! We were not familiar with her work, but we are now! We bought a couple of her newer CDs, and they haven't left the CD player in the car. We hope to hear more from this talented singer-songwriter who reminds us a little bit of the late Kate Wolf with a tad of Joni Mitchell thrown in for good measure. There's no doubt that Caroline Herring stands on her own, and her story-songs will transport the listener to another place and time. Did you know that twenty years ago, this Atlanta-based artist co-founded the very popular "Thacker Mountain Radio" which comes out of Mississippi Public Broadcasting (MPB)? We are regular listeners at 90.3 FM from Oxford, MS.
Caroline Herring performing at Nashville City Winery
 Here are the songs she sang for the packed house: Wise Woman (went to the mountain and came back a 'wise woman'), Tales of the Islander (about artist Walter Anderson, from Caroline's album "Golden Apples of the Sun"), The Great Unknown (loosely based on Dante's "Inferno"),Meadows of Dan and Black Mountain Lullaby (a medley about Cecil Sharp's song-collecting in Appalachia in the 1920's), Thin Places (mesmerizing places for the Celts of early Scotland that jolt us out of old ways of seeing the world), and Sam's Song ("curled up in your little bed / one little curl upon your head") 
       And did you also know that one of her favorite artists it comes...Minton Sparks?
L to R: Caroline Herring and Minton Sparks after
performances at Nashville City Winery
In addition to her appearance with Minton Sparks at City Winery on July 16, 2017, Caroline Herring can also be seen at the following venues:  July 23, 2017 - Hindman Settlement School Appalachian Writers' Workshop, Hindman, KY; and October 27, 2017 - Eddie's Attic in Decatur, GA, for her CD Release Party.
       MINTON SPARKS may resemble your kindergarten teacher as she stands before you, simple attire and a lacy handkerchief tucked into her belt, hair up in a loose bun, and comfy low beige heels. Don't let that fool you! This Tennessee storytelling artist with roots from here to Arkansas and beyond has some hard-hitting stories of family life down South that will make  you howl and weep, often in the same moment. She has the art of the spoken word down pat! You know the people in her stories without really knowing them personally: Abusers of women and children, mean drunks, cigarette-puffin' aunts (called Cluck, Cackle and Peck), loose women like Vickie Pickle's mama, gold diggers, women in prison who are hardened by life itself, carnival workers (Wanna go faster on the Tilt-a-Whirl?), a granny who threw undies at Tom Jones at Murphy Center (MTSU in Murfreesboro, TN), hoping to play basketball one day for the legendary Pat Summitt (Which young girl didn't want to play for her?), and even an incident when meeting Minnie Pearl. One of Minton's most touching stories concerns a grandmother's purse, which Minton inherited after the grandmother's funeral. The contents of the purse resembled those of our own dear mother, and maybe yours, except for a very special letter. We shall let Minton tell you about that.
Minton Sparks accompanied by John Jackson at
Nashville City Winery
     We have followed Minton Sparks' career since we first heard her on "A Prairie Home Companion" and thought to ourselves, " Who IS THIS?" I knew 30 years ago that I wanted to hear more stories and to watch her work her magic with a little dancing and great use of her arms and her entire body, all of it accompanied by the very talented John Jackson on guitar, banjo, and an occasional vocal lick. We have been fortunate enough to see Minton at Rowan Oak, the home of author William Faulkner in Oxford, MS, and in Memphis, TN, at the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center, in Nashville, TN, at The Basement and also at City Winery. Oh, and at we saw her at least once at Off Square Books, Oxford, MS. We're loyal fans!
       There are so many stories that we will skip through with a few words to identify the ones we heard on July 16, 2017, at City Winery on Lafayette Street in Nashville: (singing): "If I Needed You, Would You Come to Me", Slick Willie Webb and Muffin Top, Opal Potts' Obituary, Where I'm From, Back Then More Than Now, Her Purse, Strip Mall Carnival, Gold Digger, Tennessee Prison for Women, Fight Club (happened at home and involved harsh discipline with whippin's and a Hot Wheels track), Suburban Snakehandler, and Minnie Pearl in a club having a snifter of sherry.
       Minton Sparks can be seen and heard on July 29, 2017 at Eddie's Attic in Atlanta, GA, with Lonnie Holley; and on August 6, 2017, at Nashville City Winery with singer Marshall Chapman.
For more information:
Caroline Herring
Minton Sparks
Caroline and Minton can be seen on YouTube as well
These artists have wonderful CDs and even a DVD or two.