DONNA ULISSE AND
THE POOR MOUNTAIN BOYS
"Bluegrass Monday" at Collins Theatre
There we were, noses pressed against the window pane, patiently waiting for one of our favorite bluegrass bands to appear. Had it really been that long? What? Couple of years? Four years, actually, almost to the day! But the Collins Theatre schedule for 2018 was released, and there they were! DONNA ULISSE AND THE POOR MOUNTAIN BOYS were returning for a show. We marked our calendars! KASU 91.9 FM DJ Marty Scarbrough, who hosts the fourth Monday events called "Bluegrass Monday," knows how to pick 'em!
A lot of really good things have happened for Donna and the Poor Mountain Boys. Donna Ulisse is the current "Songwriter of the Year" for the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA). She took the same honor in 2016 for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). She writes for herself and the band. She writes for other headliners like Del McCoury, Claire Lynch, Doyle Lawson, Larry Stephenson, Volume Five, and many more.
Things began to take off into the stratosphere in the early 1990's, when Donna released a country album on Atlantic Records. Edging toward bluegrass music all the while, she was making an impression on bluegrass fans. By 2007, she recorded her first bluegrass album. It's nine albums and many miles later, and there's no stopping this songwriter and her amazing band. Her current album, "Breakin' Easy" is a favorite of music writers and critics, who call the CD one of the best of 2017. "Breakin' Easy" is on the charts, in Bluegrass Today, and on SiriusXM's "Bluegrass Junction."
You've met Donna on her vocals and guitar work. Here are the other very important folks who make up the Poor Mountain Boys: Rick Stanley, Donna's husband and leader of the band, on guitar and vocals--yes, he's a cousin to the legendary Ralph and Carter Stanley; Greg "Papaw" Davis, banjo and vocals; Mason "Smiley" Nolen, mandolin and vocals; and sitting in doing terrific bass work was Searcy, Arkansas' own Harry Clark.
Donna and Rick
Harry Clark (at rear) and Greg Davis
A show doesn't drive itself. Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys know how to move a show along. There's a little talk, a little connecting to the next song or a favorite artist from a while back, and spot-on bluegrass vocals and
instrumentation. These are seasoned veterans that I would recommend to anyone who loves the real deal. They're the real deal and we love 'em!
Here's what we heard on that magical night with Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys:
Ain't That a Pity, I'm Gonna Shine; I've Got That Back Home Feeling Again; Send Me the Pillow That You Dream On; Don't It Sound Like We Were Made for Each Other; John Hardy (by Papaw Davis); Fist City (honoring her legendary friend, Loretta Lynn); You Don't Have to Walk That Far No More; Black Snake (moonshine, slidin' down the mountainside); Down the Road (by "Smiley" Nolen); Whispering Pines (a Johnny Horton tune); and How Mountain Girls Can Love. Set 2 One-Way Rider; Me and Loretta ("Loretta lit a fire in me!"; (My Music Is) Showin' My Roots; I'm a Little Past Lonely; It Coulda Been the Mandolin; Hard-Cry Moon; Just Because (Rick); Where My Mind Can Find Some Rest; Diggy Liggy Li/Diggy Liggy Lo (a Doug Kershaw song); Here Comes My Baby Back Again (tribute to the late Dottie West, who won a Grammy for the song in 1965); Somehow Tonight (Mason); I'm Not Afraid to Say My Heart Belongs to Jesus; We Got This Love Thing Figured Out; and the encore was Whatever Winter Brings. Solid show by some of the best that bluegrass music has to offer!
DONNA ULISSE AND THE POOR MOUNTAIN BOYS
L to R: Mason Nolen, Harry Clark (at rear), Greg Davis, Donna Ulisse, Rick Stanley
For more information or booking:
The 2018-2019 Tour
Mar. 24, 2018 Campbell Co. Courthouse, Rustburg, VA
Mar. 25, 2018 American Legion Post 238, Hughesville, MD
Apr. 6, 2018 Pennyroyal Opera House, Fairview, OH
May 12, 2018 Doyle Lawson Bluegrass Festival, Denton, NC
May 19, 2018 The Strand Theater, Lewisburg, WV
Feb. 9, 2019 Everett's Barn, Suwanee, GA
Mar. 2, 2019 Luckett's Bluegrass Series, Leesburg, VA
Mar. 21, 2019 42nd Annual Sertoma Youth Bluegrass Festival, Brooksville, FL
Mar. 29, 2019 Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival, Wilmington, OH
More to come in 2019
Terry's Café, 201 S. Pruett, Paragould, serves a delicious catfish buffet starting at 4:30 PM CT on Bluegrass Monday nights!