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Down To The Roots

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by Wayne Erbsen They didn’t call her Mother Maybelle for nuthin.’ Nope. In addition to being the mother of three girls (Helen, Valerie June, and Anita), Maybelle Carter certainly earned the title of Mother of Bluegrass Guitar. Starting in 1927, her lead and rhythm guitar playing laid the foundation that was built upon by those [...]
Bluegrass hero Lester Flatt had a lot to be proud of. One of his most lasting achievements was the G run that bears his name. You can hear this distinctive guitar run in practically every traditional bluegrass song that can be played on the guitar using a G shape chord. In its original form, it [...]

Vern Williams (December 9, 1930– June 6, 2006) Vern was a singer and mandolin player who wasinstrumental in introducing Bluegrass music to the West Coastof the United States. Williams was born in Newton County, Arkansas (or Bullfrog Valley, Pope County, Arkansas), as part of a musical family, that played either the fiddle, the guitar, or […]

The Orange Blossom Special was a deluxe passenger train which inspired the tune by the same name. The song was written and copyrighted by Ervin T. Rouse in 1938 and the first recording took place in 1939 by Ervin and Gordon Rouse. There has been a bit of controversy as to the original composer of [...]
If the “big bang theory” helps to explain the origin of the universe, perhaps “the big bang theory of bluegrass” will shed some light on the origin of the bluegrass music universe. First, let me say that there are two schools of thought as to the origins of bluegrass music. One has Bill Monroe single-handedly [...]
When we talk about the most popular bluegrass songs, “Nine Pound Hammer” nearly always floats to the top. Let's follow the scent and try to sniff out the origins of this famous tune. After the Civil War, when able-bodied men were scarce, former slaves and convicts were conscripted to build tunnels and lay track in [...]
  The Country Gentlemen In the early 1970s “Fox on the Run” was among the most requested bluegrass songs. Along with “Rocky Top,” a bluegrass band could scarcely play a show without fans yelling for “Rocky Top” or “Fox on the Run.” The song was written in 1968 by an Englishman named Tony Hazzard and [...]
Merle Haggard was perhaps one of the most influential country music artists in his life. With songs of troubles, love and life, he was able to capture the attention of the public. His style remained true. Haggard held very little back. He wrote lyrics that came from his heart and he sang in just the [...]
He Held Nothing Back! I may be one of the last people from The Bluegrass Jamboree to realize that Anthony Howell played all the musical instrument parts, on all the songs, in his new album ‘Hold Back The Dawn.’ The songs were written by a variety of Traditional, older, and more contemporary writers, including himself. [...]
Introducing The Roller Family The Roller Family is from a small town in Wisconsin, and the family members (Dan Roller (dad), Sharon Roller (mom), Abigail, Lindsey, Madison, James, Ellie, Redia, and Titus) are used to spending a lot of time together, in their home. Typically, during the day, they will be working separately or together [...]
New Release Available The brand-new CD Album, by the Mike Mitchell Band, produced by Mike Mitchell, Amanda Cook, & The Mosley Brothers, and released by Turnberry Records is ‘Fathers & Sons’. ‘Fathers & Sons’ is a collection of stories about both Fathers and Sons, and is also an in-depth look at some of the aspects, [...]
Route 23 In Kentucky, Highway US 23 is considered a Kentucky Heritage Trail. The reason for that is a history of many Country Music stars hailing from that area, such as Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle, The Judds, Chris Stapleton, Billy Ray Cyrus, Tom T. Hall, Ricky Skaggs, Keith Whitley, Dwight Yoakam and Patty Loveless. There [...]
Introducing Kaintuck Band The latest album by Kaintuck Band is ‘Hold Whatcha Got’, and was recorded and mastered by Jeff Baxter, and produced by Jim Armstrong at JB Audio in Louisville, Kentucky in 2023. Previously, I was unfamiliar with the band, except for a couple singles receiving airtime on the Jamboree. So, I was looking forward to reviewing the Project.   This is the fourth album, for the band, which was formed in 2017. The musical contributors include Jim Armstrong – Fiddle, lead & tenor vocals, Sonny Doak – acoustic Guitar, lead vocals, Mark Payne – 5 string Banjo, Bobby Parton – Mandolin, and newest member Larry Franklin - upright bass, lead & baritone vocals.   The band comes to you, at this point, with prestigious and deep experience by the individual musicians. (See info on their website.) In my opinion, the individuals also fit together very well, to produce a cohesive and entertaining collective sound. CD's available by contacting Kaintuck Band Hold Whatcha Got The album contains 12 songs, six Bluegrass selections, and six Bluegrass Gospel songs. The selections are primarily covers and traditional songs, some of which are 100 years old, while one of the Gospel tracks is a new, original, written by Jim Armstrong. Now, as far as the tracks; ‘Girl From West Virginia’ (Clyde & Marie Denny, Wade Hill) is the first and is lively, moving, and fun. ‘The title track, ‘Hold Whatcha Got’ is a Jimmy Martin Classic, with this rendition being very well done! ‘Nellie Kane’ (Tim O’Brien) rather than say, ‘hard-driving’ which I feel is often over used, I prefer to say, ‘the progressions & breaks are excellent, along with the lead vocal, and I believe the band had fun with this.’ ‘Using My Bible as a Roadmap’ (Don Reno, Charles Schroeder) is a good, light, banjo tune, that follows with mandolin, guitar, and fiddle. ‘Dreams of a Miner’s Child’(Andrew Jenkins/Public Domain), is a traditional and somewhat mournful tune, which was written over 100 years ago. ‘Milwaukee, Here I Come’(Lee Fikes), is a fast movin’ tune that fully involves the whole band. A real toe-tapper! ‘Lonesome Feeling’ (Billy Henson) is a Traditional tune, that may have the best instrumentation of the project, along with excellent harmony. ‘You Go To Your Church’ (Phillips H. Lord/Public Domain), is simple, lively, and upbeat Bluegrass about diversity & unity. Extra Good! ‘Slipping Away’ (Bill Anderson) is a good example of a Bluegrass arrangement, but the tune is not my favorite. ‘Crying Holy To The Lord’ (Public Domain) is Traditional, old timey, with an unknown composer. It is genuine Gospel, with a Bluegrass arrangement. ‘Do You Call That Religion’ (Public Domain) is another example of an old, Traditional, set to a Bluegrass arrangement, and well done. ‘Walking Down God’s Road’ (Jim Armstrong) is a new, original Bluegrass Gospel song, and a fitting wrap up for the album! Following Traditions Kaintuck Band tells everyone that they are committed to keeping the traditions [...]
You Know It's Bluegrass If it’s true that it’s been almost three years since the last album debut by ‘Lorraine Jordan & Carolina Road’, then their fans and Bluegrass fans in general will be thrilled to see and hear the new album, ‘A Little Bit of Bluegrass’, released by Pinecastle Records. The Lady of Tradition, [...]
The Album ‘Living in The South’, is the new album by Starlett & Big John, and released by Rebel Records. There are a whopping fourteen songs included in the album! I was lucky enough to see Starlett & Big John in person this last year and purchased one of their previous albums. Last year, I [...]
Who They Are The Original ‘Burnett Sisters Band’ very definitely relied on the talents of Kathleen Burnett, now Kathleen Ray, as the Lead singer and rhythm guitar player, for about the last eight years. Along with her three sisters, Anissa, Sophia, and Anneli, the band typically played Bluegrass, Bluegrass Gospel, and ‘Old Time Roots’ music. [...]