Thursday, May 23, 2019

MAY 23, 2019

       IT'S BEEN A GOOD WHILE COMING, even though this artist has been a Nashville, TN, singer-songwriter who has been writing for some time with other very talented writers. That was then; things are really moving quickly these days! IRENE KELLEY hails from Pennsylvania coal country, and she is familiar with the hard times of coal miners and their families. Her albums reflect where she has been and what she has experienced: These Hills (2016), Pennsylvania Coal (2014), Simple Path (2009), and Thunderbird (2005) represent just some of her work. Her most recent project with Mountain Fever Records  is Benny's TV Repair (2019), named for Irene's father's business in the times before broken TVs were just discarded. Television sets were actually repaired by folks like her dad, Benny. Can you remember back that far? We can! We dreaded seeing that big, empty hole over in the corner of the den while the TV was off being repaired.
       We are real fans of Irene Kelley, her musical family, and her band. Currently on tour with Benny's TV Repair, Irene amassed an impressive list of friends for the album: Bryan Sutton (guitar, resonator guitar), Adam Steffey (mandolin), Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Matt Menefee (banjo), Steve Cropper (yes, him, on electric guitar), and Mark Fain (bass). Harmony vocals on the album are no less impressive: Justyna Kelley (Irene's daughter), Jimmy Fortune, Jerry Salley, Wayne Southards, Dale Ann Bradley, Brooke and Darin Aldridge, Carl Jackson, and Ronnie Bowman. Whew! What a fantastic lineup of instrumentalists and singers!
       You are encouraged to buy the album at to hear her incredible music. She begins with Something About a Train Sound, continuing with Bluegrass Radio, Cabbage Head, Thunderbird, Out of Arkansas, Benny's TV Repair, Highway Back to You, Anything to Help You Say Goodbye, Hills of Home, Faster Than Angels Could Fly, and ending with Walk With Me Today.
       You can hear Irene Kelley's full 30-minute performance from Benny's TV Repair at The 615 Hideaway on YouTube. Furthermore, you can hear her interview with Terry Herd of Bluegrass Today on Sunday, May 26, 2019, at 9:00 PM CDT.
       We recommend Benny's TV Repair and Irene Kelley's other albums for some fine bluegrass music! Click each photo below for a better view.
L to R: Nate Lee, Wayne Southards
Irene Kelley, Mike Bub,
Blake Williams' arm
SPBGMA Showcase Nashville
L to R: Nate Lee, Wayne Southards
Irene Kelley, Station Inn, Nashville TN
Matt Menefee and Irene Kelley
Manila, Arkansas
L to R: Daughter Sara Jean Kelley,
 Irene Kelley, Mike Bub, Justyna Kelley
Station Inn, Nashville TN

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Collierville, TN, Historic Town Square
April 27, 2019
       TRADITIONAL LOG CABINS WERE ONCE very busy places where hard-working families eked out a living by farming and with hand tools and crafts that are hardly recognized today. During infrequent periods of rest and relaxation, they played music and sang the old songs of the British Isles and everywhere else throughout Europe. On this particular windy Saturday, the Morton Museum of Collierville History brought back to a historic log cabin a sampling of the music, crafts, and customs of centuries now past. The cabin was moved to  its present site at the Historic Town Square from another location in Shelby County, Tennessee. The Morton Museum is located at Poplar Avenue and Main Street in what had become known as "The White Church" for its beautiful exterior.
       The old log cabin was made ready for musicians Lee Cagle and Mary Baddour to sing and play old tunes from long ago on the dulcimer, autoharp, and guitar. The grounds around the cabin were filled with artisans in authentic dress who showed onlookers how things were done in the late-1800's to early-1900s. Times were truly different, and today's younger generation has hardly a clue about how things were built or made 'back in the day'.
       We will give you Lee and Mary's song selection and also show you some pictures from the event. Perhaps for some of you, the songs and the photos will bring back memories of another simpler place and time.
       Song selection:  Sandy Boys, Rock the Cradle Joe, John Stinson's #2, Kiowa Special, Gold Watch and Chain, Pig's Foot/Catfish/Roscoe, Hand Me Down My Walking Cane, Winder Slide, Old Joe Clark, Barlow Knife (feather/noter), Liza Jane, Southwind, Black Mountain Rag/Whiskey Before Breakfast, Wildwood Flower, and Amazing Grace. Thanks to Lee and Mary for their performance as the craftsmen and -women showed some of their work and how things were made.
       Here are some photos from Heritage Day at the Collierville Historic Town Square. Click each one to get a better view.
At the old spinning wheel
Chatting about how things were made 'way back when
A child's toy (hoop) and candle-making
Showing items from earlier times
L to R: Lee Cagle (mountain lap dulcimer),
Mary Baddour (clawhammer banjo)
Lee (L) and Mary (R) at the old cabin on the Square
Lee and Mary performing an old-time song
on mountain lap dulcimer and clawhammer banjo
Mary Baddour on clawhammer banjo
Look closely at the feather in Lee Cagle's right hand
as she plays a tune on the mountain lap dulcimer
For more information:
Morton Museum of Collierville History
The Town of Collierville
Main Street Collierville
Tour Collierville Magazine
Lee Cagle Dulcimers

Friday, May 10, 2019

May 8, 2019
L to R: Ben Garnett (guitar, vocals), Missy Raines (bass, vocals),
and George Jackson (fiddle, banjo, vocals)
        WE LOVE THE LAIDBACK FEEL of a house concert presented by folks like Mike and Lisa Albert, who offer great music, good food and beverages, the family dog Waverly, and lots of friendship. Mike and Lisa recently climbed the heights of the bluegrass and folk music world with their selection of the fine Missy Raines Trio, who were on their way to perform in Texas and stopped in to entertain us. We go back quite a way with Missy Raines, to her days with the likes of Claire Lynch, Jim Hurst, and too many others to count. In case you missed a few Missy facts, she hails from Short Gap, West Virginia, and furthermore, she proudly totes a 1937 Kay bass which has on it some interesting touches from previous owners. Missy said that her dad bought the Kay bass originally for himself, but Missy wound up with it later on when she switched from playing guitar.
L to R:  Ben Garnett, Missy Raines, George Jackson
       Missy is a seven-time winner of the Bass Player of the Year from the prestigious International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), and she is by far one of the most distinguished female instrumentalists of the current era. Her trio consists of major-leaguers Texan Ben Garnett (guitar and vocals), along with New Zealander George Jackson (fiddle, banjo, and vocals). Missy plays her bass in a vigorous manner, bowing it on occasion, and she handles vocal parts as well.
       Here is the song selection from the first set by the Missy Raines Trio:  Angeline, Man of Constant Sorrow (a unique version), Allegheny Town, Under a Dark Sky (from her "Royal Traveller" album, 3rd one with Alison Brown and Garry West's Compass Records), Swept Away ( also from "Royal Traveller," selected as the IBMA's "Recorded Event of the Year"), I've Endured, and South (from George Jackson's newest album called "Time and Place," which is a fantastic fiddle album for driving and listening in your car).
L to R: Missy, George, and Ben at the record table during the break
       Following a short break for delicious refreshments and a trip past the record table to view albums, T-shirts, and other goodies from the trio, fans returned to their seats and the trio returned to perform their second set: Whiskerhead Goes to Leningrad (great title), Fearless Love, West Virginia Coal Miner's Blues, Buckets of Rain, Royal Traveller (title cut on the album, named after a thrift store suitcase Missy bought because the inside of the suitcase reminded her of her mother's powder or perfume; she also noticed that on the handle of the suitcase which she purchased was the label 'Royal Traveller'), and the final song was with George Jackson on banjo playing Blackjack.
Waverly with Melinda Bailey Buchanan
Waverly just chillin' to the music
       What a fine evening with these 'royal travelers'. I must tell you that Missy took her time thanking the Alberts for their hospitality, this writer for asking the Alberts to hold the concert in their home, and the amazing Joe Taylor, who is now 93 and wasn't able to be at the concert. Missy and Joe's friendship goes back many years, and she thinks of him as her "second dad." While she was at the Alberts' home, she called and talked with Joe. It did them both good. Some may not know that Joe Taylor was an original member of Memphis' own Tennessee Gentlemen bluegrass band. The others were Troy Castleberry, Bob Bowen, and Willie Burroughs. Joe is the last surviving member, and we wish him well for years to come. Joe is special, and he did so want to be there to hear the Missy Raines Trio.
For more information:
Missy Raines
Ben Garnett
George Jackson and Facebook
Compass Records
Find these musicians on YouTube to hear more fine music from them.

Born May 10, 1909 in Nickelsville, Virginia
Quoted from The Writer's Almanac by Garrison Keillor
May 10, 2019
       NOBODY PLAYED MUSIC quite like Maybelle Carter! Nobody before or since, though others have come close now and again. Still, you recognize when it's Maybelle on that big ol' guitar onstage at the Ryman Auditorium, the real home of the Grand Ole Opry, sponsored by WSM (We Shield Millions, the slogan of the National Life and Accident Insurance Company.
       "When she was 18, she and her cousin Sara and brother-in-law A.P. Carter cut an audition record in Bristol, Tennessee, for Ralph Peer of the Victor Talking Machine Company. Also recording that day was Jimmie Rodgers, 'The Singing Brakeman.' It was the beginning of commercial country music in the United States. Maybelle was the guitarist, and she used her thumb to play melody on the bass and middle strings, and her index finger to fill out the rhythm, what she called 'scratch style' guitar.
       "Through the years, the Carters recorded many traditional songs, including 'Wabash Cannonball,' 'Wildwood Flower,' 'Keep on the Sunny Side,' and 'Will the Circle be Unbroken.' Their first release for Victor was 'Wandering Boy' which starts:
       Out in the cold world and far away from home
       Somebody's boy is wandering alone
       No one to guide him and keep his footsteps right
       Somebody's boy is homeless tonight
       Out in the hallway there stands a vacant chair
       Yonder's the shoes my darling used to wear
       Empty the cradle, the one that's loved so well
       How I miss him there's no tongue can tell"
      Thanks to Garrison Keillor, who is a big fan of country and bluegrass music. Special thanks to the Carter Family for their many contributions even today to the music we love. Remember Mother Maybelle on this, her birthday, and pick one of her songs today the way she might have picked it so very long ago.

Monday, May 6, 2019

May 4, 2019
L to R: Rebecca Pool, Shay Pool, Lukas Pool, Scott Pool
Behind Shay Pool is Eden Pool
      WHAT A THRILL TO SEE a new band emerge in bluegrass and old-time music! The players aren't "new," but putting it all together for public appearances is still sorta new. It happened on Saturday, May 4, 2019, at the renowned Ozark Folk Center in Mountain View, AR. The various parts of this band have been emerging for quite some time: from the mountains of Arkansas, from a close-knit family dedicated to paying it forward, from the wonderful Mountain View Music Store, from the prestigious Berklee College of Music, and straight from the heart!
       Introductions are surely in order, so let us introduce The Pool Family Band: Scott Pool (dad, guitar, vocals), Shay Pool (mom, fiddle, vocals), Lukas Pool (son, clawhammer banjo, vocals), Rebecca Pool (daughter, fiddle, cello, vocals), Eden Pool (Lukas' wife, upright bass, fiddle, vocals), and Jules Metcalf (Eden Pool's mother, vocals). The music is old-time and spot-on! We are so thrilled to see this come together over the past 15 years or so! Mea culpa: We failed to get a photo of Jules Metcalf on "Hard Times," which is one of our favorite Stephen Foster songs. We beg Jules' forgiveness for the faux pas!
      The song/tune set list for their show is as follows: Coleman's March, Her Bright Smile Haunts Me Still, Old Yeller Dog, The Maggie West Waltz, Wish I Had My Time Again, and Hard Times (featuring Jules Metcalf).
       We recommend The Pool Family band for sheer musical enjoyment with that old-time string band flavor.
       Be sure to visit the Mountain View Music Store at or call 870.269.9044. For general information about Mountain View, AR, visit the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce at Click each photo for a better view. Enjoy!
L to R: Shay, Eden, Scott, Lukas, and Rebecca Pool
L to R: Rebecca, Eden, Shay, Lukas, and Scott Pool