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Ebby Jewell & The Bluegrass Kinsmen Releasing “Renewal”

RenewalEbby Jewell and The Bluegrass Kinsmen are looking forward to their 43rd year of picking Bluegrass. They are working hard to expand their audience by playing some larger venues - a little farther from the Southwest Virginia home base of Tazewell, Russell, and Buchanan Counties, but their heart will stay with their local fans. Ebby Jewell & The Bluegrass Kinsmen who have been around since 1971. Ebby who formed the group with his brother Shelby decided to rebuild the band in 2013 upon the retirement of Shelby.

Ebby began by recruiting new talent while at the same time producing the band’s 5th album comprised of 12 original songs, all written by Ebby and his wife Teresa. In doing so, he was able to breathe some new life into the band (a “renewal” of sorts), stretching the boundaries of Bluegrass somewhat, but still keeping the main focus on traditional Bluegrass. His ambitious objective was helped by having Teresa and 5 other good lead and harmony singers in the band and having 2 outstanding guest musicians - Darrell Webb and Greg Luck - at their availability. The result is a very refreshing album, entitled “Renewal,” with quality singing, a variety of great, new songs, and absolutely, outstanding music!

Production of the album actually began in the early spring of 2013 with 4 singles completed (minus the fiddle) and released to radio stations and promoters as a “Demo” CD. These songs were re-mastered in the spring of 2014 with the fiddle added and are an integral part of the new release. The decision was made to release Renewal, the band’s 5th album, on their own label, TBK Recordings, rather than wait until the fall of 2014 to be picked up by a “major” bluegrass label.

The highlight of this anniversary is the release of their 5th album, entitled Renewal. The title song, written by Ebby’s wife Teresa, is a reminiscence of her happy childhood visits to the home of her grandparents, which was triggered by a return to the old home place and the desire to bring the family together and have the property cleaned up.

But the title Renewal has a double meaning. When Ebby’s Brother Shelby, the initial band leader who formed the band with Ebby in 1971, had to retire in 2011 due to health problems, most of their fans thought that was the end of The Bluegrass Kinsmen. But Ebby and Teresa stepped up to save the band. Ebby has proven to be not only a great band leader, but also a great musician on multiple instruments and a great teacher of how to properly play as a Bluegrass band. Having several years’ of experience performing with The Bluegrass Kinsmen and other bands on banjo, mandolin, guitar and fiddle and several years’ experience teaching these instruments as well as "Bluegrass Band" at Southwest Virginia Community College made him the perfect fit for this task.

Teresa, who is both a great lead and tenor singer in her own right, was able to fill some of the void left by Shelby’s retirement. Further, both Ebby and Teresa are excellent song writers as demonstrated on this album where that wrote all the songs. In doing so, they were able to breathe some new life into the band (a "renewal" of sorts), stretching the boundaries of Bluegrass somewhat, but still keeping the main focus on traditional Bluegrass.

They were also very fortunate to have no less than 3 excellent singers (Tom Short, Ervin Compton, and Ryan Lester) in the band who could sing both lead and harmony, allowing them to be properly fitted to the songs. In addition, Ebby and Ricky Kennedy are excellent singers as well and make a major contribution to the solid harmony on the recording. The result is a very refreshing album with much variety in both the singing and the type of songs.

Production on the album started in the early spring of 2013 before the new band were fully recruited. This was made possible by the limited availability of guest musicians: bass player and former band member Robin Smith, the talented “do-it-all” Darrell Webb who began his Bluegrass career with The Bluegrass Kinsmen at the tender age of 15, and the outstanding fiddle player Greg Luck, with whom Ebby had recorded in the past. The plan was to complete project in 2013, which soon proved to be impossible due primarily to a busy schedule. However, four songs where completed (minus the fiddle) and released as a “Demo” album in the spring of 2013. Those songs have been re-mastered with the fiddle added and are an integral part of the finished product.

Renewal is scheduled to be released for sale to the public during the week of May 19th. Initially, purchases can be made directly from Ebby or Teresa or by mail order. (Please visit www.BluegrassKinsmen.com for details.) Later on, Renewal will be available for purchase on-line from websites such as BluegrassKinsmen.com, CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes either as a CD or as mp3 downloads. A few selected “music stores” will also carry the Renewal CD.

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