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Steep Canyon Rangers & Oskar Blues Brewery Announce Partnership

Steep Canyon Rangers and Oskar Blues BreweryNashville, TN -- The popular North Carolina-based bluegrass ambassadors, Steep Canyon Rangers, are proud to announce a new partnership with Oskar Blues Brewery, brewers of Dale’s Pale Ale, Mama’s Little Yella Pils, and other craft beers. This collaboration, which kicks off in January 2015, is the culmination of a long-standing friendship rooted in a shared commitment to music, the environment, and community-oriented charitable causes. A shared love of craft beer helped seal the deal.

IBMA in Need of New Ethics & Conflict of Interest Policies

Code of EthicsThe International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has a long history of leadership problems. In virtually every case, the underlying issue was "transparency" or, the lack there of. The lack of transparency was caused by two factors. Communications were non-existent, late or self-denial and, a lost trust in the leadership as a result. If one goes back through the years of emails and other communications, there is always a common thread and, for the past 12+ years, a common individual in the mix as well.

Telefunken to Sponsor Podunk Bluegrass and Litchfield Jazz Fests

Pictured picking up an assortment of mics at TELEFUNKEN headquarters in Connecticut, (L-R) are Litchfield Jazz Fest audio engineers Brian Silver and Nick Joyce.Telefunken Elektroakustik of South Windsor, Connecticut, recently sponsored two important and historic music festivals in their home state. The Litchfield Jazz Festival, a favorite of the public and critics alike has been going for the past 19 years and the Podunk Bluegrass Festival has been a yearly success since 1996.

Belk Seeks Southern Musicians for 2015 Southern Music Showcase

Belk logoCharlotte, NC -- As part of its 2015 The Road South campaign, Belk, the nation's largest family owned and operated department store, announced today its second year of the Southern Musician Showcase. The Showcase will promote Southern musicians by offering them a chance to win a cash prize and an opportunity to perform at major fashion, sports and music events, a performance wardrobe and stylist provided by Belk and an opportunity for their songs to be featured in Belk television commercials.

Vector Management Adds Nathan Stanley to Roster

Nathan StanleyNashville, TN -- Rising bluegrass prodigy Nathan Stanley has recently joined the Ken Levitan co-founded Vector Management roster for representation. Following his "Bluegrass Album of the Year" win at the 2014 Dove Awards, Nathan Stanley is gearing up for an exciting New Year. At just 22 years old, the Virginia native now joins his Grandfather, Dr. Ralph Stanley as the newest member of the Vector Management roster.

IBMA Desires Change for the Future...

Change and DirectionFor as long as I was a member of IBMA and for the many years since, people have always been asking for change. They want a change. The board needs to change. This or that needs to change. Change. Change. Change. What is it they want changed? What direction do they want association to go in? What is it they want? These questions are rarely asked and, when I ask members, I receive as many different opinions as I do people I ask. There doesn't seem to be any consensus.

Thoughts & Observations of the IBMA Board

Board of DirectorsFirst of all, this is an opinion piece -- not a news story. I've been reading comments through social media, the web, emails sent to me and comments on Cybergrass. There are certainly a lot of upset people and a lot of frustrated people. There are also many members that don't know what their own association is doing. Only a small percentage of members are really active in the IBMA. As one member said, "What is going on? I am a voting member, but do not know anything about the board." Another said, "Apathy is strong within the IBMA." Others have voiced similar thoughts. This indicates many card carrying members just carry the card. IBMA has never been an association to do something for you. It is an organization that members contribute to. For the decade that I was a member, I contributed constantly for various programs, regional rep program, created their first web site, worked on several Bluegrass in the Schools activities, spoke on sessions, mentored others and more. My hands were always involved in something the association was working towards. That is the true nature of IBMA. It really hasn't changed over the years.

Nashville or LA: Session Aces Rate Two Schools of Recording

CMA Close Up/CMA/By Michael Ross
During a recent conversation, session guitar whiz Guthrie Trapp casually referenced a distinction between classic Nashville studio procedure and what he described as Los Angeles or New York types of sessions being done in Music City.

IBMA Board Hemorrhaging Continues with Three More Resignations

IBMAThree more board members of the International Bluegrass Music Association have tendered their resignations. Brian Smith, Henri Deschamps and Elizabeth Wightman joined others who have earlier submitted letters of resignation including Executive Director Nancy Cardwell, Craig Ferguson and Dwight Worden. Board Chairman Jon Weisberger had also offered to resign however the recent board vote was to not accept that resignation.

Introducing a New Depot for Bluegrass Music

R&R ProductionsBluegrass music is no longer under-represented in the Phoenix metro area! In 2014, R&R Productions was formed by two long-time bluegrass devotees, James Reams and Ned Robbins, to promote all things bluegrass in the central desert. “It was heartbreaking to see opportunities like concerts, films, and other events bypass Arizona completely on their way to or from the west coast,” lamented James Reams. “Ned and I put our heads together and pooled our resources with the goal of making Phoenix an oasis for bluegrass artists and a leader in innovative opportunities for bluegrass-related events.”

IBMA Board Turmoil Continues with Second Resignation

IBMAThe International Bluegrass Music Association's Board of Directors is again the focus of IBMA activity as Vice Chair Craig Ferguson of Planet Bluegrass has resigned his position on the board. This comes just after the Executive Director, Nancy Cardwell, tendered her resignation just a few weeks ago. Jon Weisberger, Chairman of the IBMA board wrote us yesterday with more information regarding this latest resignation.

Moonstruck Management Signs The HogSlop String Band

The HogSlop String BandNashville, TN -- A multi-award-winning old-time band, The HogSlop String Band has signed with Moonstruck Management for management and booking. Headed by Josh Trivett, Moonstruck has an impressive client roster that includes notable and award-winning acts such as: Dr. Ralph Stanley, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band, The Roys, Adkins & Loudermilk and former clients like Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Bobby Osborne and more. The Moonstruck team is focused on a deep appreciation for Bluegrass, folk and old-time string music.

IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2014 Attendance Figure Exceeds 180,000

World of Bluegrass 2014Nashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)’s World of Bluegrass event, September 30-October 4, continued its successful run in Raleigh, North Carolina. As detailed in a release today from the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau, preliminary attendance figures for the entire week, which include both local and out-of-town attendees, is estimated to be more than 180,000 people. The release also states that direct visitor spending is estimated at $10.8 million for the entire World of Bluegrass event.

Too Late Press Releases are Becoming Common

 YesterdayI don't know if this is a new trend in promotion and publicity or not but, in the past couple of months, I've received over a dozen press releases for events occurring in just a few hours. In one case, the event was a three day event that began two days earlier. I can't believe that just in the past couple of months that nobody knows their client artists are going to be on television until five minutes before showtime. I can't believe nobody knows their client artist will be performing at a festival until they have already been on stage and are already headed for their next gig. This, however, seems to be the latest fad in PR.

Beyond the Recognition: The Effect of Awards on Music Careers

Pictured at an IBMA Awards after-party are Mickey Gamble (left), president of Crossroads/Mountain Home Music Company of Arden NC, and Tim Surrett of the multi-award winning band Balsam Range. Surrett is the original founder of the Mountain Home label.Nashville, TN --- Artists on the Mountain Home Music Company label garnered the greatest number of nominations of any record label in the recent 2014 IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards. When the awards were handed out, Mountain Home artists walked away with six impressive honors.

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