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 05.24.17
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  
   6        FAIRFAX, VA   Fairfax County Government Center
   7        RICHMOND, VA   The Tin Pan 
   8        CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA   Front Porch
   9        MONTCLAIR, VA (Trio)   House Concert --  Private Event 
 28-29   STEVENSON, WA   Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival  (CLB)
  30       BOISE, ID   Private Event
    1-5    FAIRVIEW, TN (Nashville Area)  Nashville Bluegrass Camp @ Camp Marymount (Claire
 18-19  SALMON ARM, BC (CANADA)   Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival  (CLB)
 20-25  SORRENTO, BC (CANADA)   Nimble Fingers Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Workshop
 26-27  SORRENTO, BC (CANADA)   Nimble Fingers Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival
    5-7   SISTERS, OR (Claire Only)   Americana Song Academy (Claire Teaching)
   8-10  SISTERS, OR  (TRIO)   Sisters Folk Festival (Trio)  
     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)
      6     CHESTER, NS (CANADA)   Chester Playhouse
      7     ROGERSVILLE, NB (CANADA)   Rogersville Bluegrass Site  (CLB)
      8     DORCHESTER, NB (CANADA)   Shepody House
    11     MT. STEWART, PEI (CANADA)   Trailside Music Café & Inn
    12     SUMMERSIDE, PEI (CANADA)   Harbourfront Jubilee Theatre
    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) 
   3-5    NAUVOO, AL (Camp McDowell)   Alabama Folk School
            Claire Lynch & Louisa Branscomb Songwriting Course:
            What a Day for a Daydream
     9     TORONTO, ON (CANADA)   HeliconianHall
   10     OTTAWA, ON (CANADA)   Private Event
   11     OTTAWA, ON (CANADA)   RA Centre, Clark Hall
   12     LONDON, ON (CANADA)   The Aeolian Hall

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 

Friday, February 10, 2017

January 31, 2017
L to R: Bryan McDowell, Claire Lynch, Molly Tuttle, Jarrod Walker, Rob Ickes
At rear: Trey Hensley and Mark Schatz
      It comes as no surprise that Nashville, Tennessee, is the place for all kinds of music. When it comes to bluegrass music, we often think of the beloved Station Inn, the Ryman Auditorium, the Grand Ole Opry, and another spot or two. We are delighted to know that the City Winery at 609 Lafayette Street has acknowledged the popularity of the real, honest, people-oriented genre called bluegrass. The founding fathers, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, the Louvin Brothers and more, are considered the first generation. We have them to thank for starting it all. Now that we are well into the second generation and heading toward the third wave with younger bluegrass artists, we notice that much of the music has stayed the same, yet change has started. The New Grass Revival kicked it off and artists from everywhere are putting their own special touches on the music. "Everything old is new again" has found its way even into bluegrass music. See below just what I am talking about. They are grabbing songs from everywhere and doing them 21st century style. We love it!                                                                      
Molly Tuttle
Jarrod Walker, Bryan McDowell, and Molly Tuttle
       At our recent visit to the City Winery, we were first introduced to MOLLY TUTTLE, a West Coast native who has found her way to Nashville. Students of the music recognize the Tuttle name from the band known throughout California and the Western states. Molly comes right out of THE TUTTLES, a band founded by her father Jack Tuttle. Molly Tuttle is a keeper! She is comfortable at the microphone with her powerful voice, and her guitar style is something to see and hear. Molly is the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Award winner. That means just watch her move up fast!
       Molly Tuttle brought us six quick songs and we would have loved to hear more. She performed Friend and a Friend, Girl in My Shoes, Lightning in a Jar, Old Man of the Mill (clawhammer-style on the guitar, amazing!), Cold Rain and Snow, and White Freightliner Blues.
L to R: Trey Hensley on guitar and vocals and Rob Ickes on Dobro (r) and vocals
        Two of the hottest artists on the bluegrass/country music scene are ROB ICKES [Dobro(r) and vocals] and TREY HENSLEY (guitar and vocals). Rob and Trey even joined Molly Tuttle on several songs. Oh! What a night! Rob goes back many years with the incredible band BLUE HIGHWAY. Trey has been working his way toward Nashville from his hometown of Telford, which is near Jonesborough in East Tennessee. You need to hear his powerful voice and his guitar work! To borrow from Molly Tuttle's song, those two gentlemen are some serious 'lightning in a jar'! Fast, solid, and awesome, Ickes and Hensley are blazing their own trail. Here is what they dished out to the fans: Fast Train to Georgia, My Way Is the Highway, Willie Jones (a Charlie Daniels song), Pray Enough (you never can!), Pride and Joy (a Stevie Ray Vaughan song), Ballad of a Well-Known Gun (from their "Country Blues" album), That's What Leavin's For, ("Country Blues" album), and Leave My Woman Alone (a Ray Charles song).
L to R: Bryan McDowell on fiddle, Claire Lynch on guitar, Mark Schatz on bass, and Jarrod Walker on mandolin
      THE CLAIRE LYNCH BAND hardly needs an introduction around Tennessee and neighboring states, especially Claire's home state of Alabama...after her family moved to the South from New York. Do you remember Claire in THE FRONT PORCH STRING BAND from a few years back? Of course you do! Claire plays guitar and handles lead vocals. She is the three-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year. Her fine band consists of three-instrument winner (all on the same day!)  at Winfield, KS, Bryan McDowell (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Jarrod Walker (mandolin, guitar, vocals), and two-time IBMA Bass Player of the Year Mark Schatz (upright bass, banjo, vocals). Claire has recently remarried and been introduced to her Canadian husband's songwriting Canadian friends. Songwriter that she is, Claire fit right in with the songwriters to our North. The result of combining American and Canadian songwriting is just splendid! The Claire Lynch Band gave us a solid performance of songs by Canadian songwriters from their "North by South" album, which is Grammy-nominated. Here is their selection: Kingdom Come, Molly May (by J.P. Cormier), Milo (by Claire), Cold-Hearted Wind, All the Diamonds in the World (by Bruce Coburn), Empty Train, Black Flowers (by Lynn Miles), and Gone Again.
       Claire Lynch asked the previous performers back out on stage, where they performed together. It doesn't get any better than that! We heard I've Been All Around This World, Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad, and an encore with audience participation (we were just waiting for the chance!) on the old familiar song called Goodnight Irene. I am still blown away by all that talent right there on the stage of the beautiful City Winery in my own hometown, Nashville, Tennessee.
For more information:
Claire Lynch Band  
Ickes and Hensley
Molly Tuttle
City Winery Nashville   Just Google the Winery     

Thursday, February 9, 2017

in Tennessee and
Surrounding States
UPDATED!   Aug. 3, 2017
Call or Contact Before Traveling
Weather and Road Conditions Can Affect Outdoor Events
All times Central
WEEKLY  T.B. Sutton Store, Sutton's Ole Time Music Hour, Granville, TN (near Carthage, eastern Middle Tennessee)
On display now: Gallery of Iconic Guitars (of GIG) at Belmont University, Nashville, TN
Fridays, 6p ET, Year 'round at Rocky Branch Community Center Jam, Walland, TN 865.738.3732
Saturdays 7p ET, May-Oct., Pickin' on the Porch, Wood-N-Strings Dulcimer Shop, Townsend, TN 865.448.6647
August 2017
Now-Aug. 28 Summer Sunset Music Series, Fridays, Great Smoky Mountains Heritage Center, Townsend, TN
1-5 Pickin' in Parsons, Parsons, WV
5 Texas State Championship Banjo Contest
17-19 46th Northwest Arkansas Bluegrass Festival, Harrison, AR 870.426.3477 or 870.577.2455
31-Sept. 3 41st Annual Salmon Lake Park Labor Day Festival, Grapeland, TX 936.697.5949
September 2017
1-3 Jana Jae Fiddle Camp/Music Festival, Grove, OK
15-16  Sandyland Bluegrass Reunion, Nacogdoches, TX 936.569.1179
29-30 Townsend Fall Heritage Festival & Old-Timers Day, Townsend, TN or
29-Oct. 1 Reelfoot Arts & Crafts Fair, Tiptonville, TN
October 2017
4-7 13th Annual NELA Bluegrass Festival, Oak Grove, LA 318.789.4062
5-7 Paluxy River Fall Bluegrass Festival, Oakdale Park, Glen Rose, TX 254.897.2321
11-14 40th Anniversary Turkey Track Festival, Waldron, AR 479.537.3717
15-21 Fall Fest Pickin' Texarkana RV Music Par, Texarkana, TX 903.255.0011
Some information provided by:
Alabama Bluegrass Music Association Newsletter, Sharon Camp
Arkansas Bluegrass Association Newsletter, James and Barbara Waddle
"Bluegrass Today" Online Magazine, John Lawless and Terry Herd
Mid-South Bluegrass Flyer Association Newsletter, Curly Ward
Ozark Folk Center, Mountain View, AR
*Special Note Lifetime Senior Pass for National Parks Price Increase! For those 62-over, get a free lifetime pass at any National Park Visitors Center NOW! In person, it's $10. Online, it's $10 + $10 processing fee at  On August 28, 2017, the cost for the lifetime pass skyrockets to $80. Examples of National Parks/Monuments: Hot Springs NP, Mammoth Cave NP, Shiloh NMP, Great Smoky Mountains NP. Call before traveling to be sure they have passes in stock. Get those lifetime Senior Passes before August 28, 2017!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Nashville, TN  Music City Sheraton
February 5, 2017
Annual SPBGMA National Convention awards voted upon by attendees at the festival - reported by Bluegrass Today's John Lawless
SPBGMA is the Society for the Preservation of Blue Grass Music of America, which is based in Kirksville, MO.
Promoter of the Year   DA Callaway
Radio Station of the Year   Sirius XM 061, Bluegrass Junction
DJ of the Year   Kyle Cantrell, Sirius XM 061
Songwriter of the Year   Daryl Mosley
Album of the Year   Dig in the Dirt, The Farm Hands, Pinecastle Records
Bass Fiddle Performer   Mickey Harris
Dobro(r) Performer   Tim Graves
Guitar Performer   Josh Williams
Fiddle Performer   Hunter Berry
Banjo Performer   Aaron McDaris
Mandolin Performer(s), Tie, Larry Stephenson, Danny Roberts
Female Vocalist (Overall)   Charli Robertson
Male Vocalist (Overall)   Junior Sisk
Gospel Group   The Farm Hands
Vocal Group   Flatt Lonesome
Instrumental Group   Rhonda Vincent & The Rage
Band (Overall)   Flatt Lonesome
Entertainer(s)   The Farm Hands
Song   Dig in the Dirt, The Farm Hands, Pinecastle Records
Congratulations to all winners of the 2017 SPBGMA Awards at the Nashville Convention!