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IBMA Announces 2016 Leadership Bluegrass Class

IBMA Leadership BluegrassNashville, TN -- The International Bluegrass Music Association has announced its Leadership Bluegrass Class of 2016. Leadership Bluegrass is an intensive three-day program of advanced interactive learning experiences. A cross-section of people with exhibited or potential leadership qualities examine the opportunities, choices and challenges of the current music industry, in bluegrass and beyond. The program is taught by high-profile music industry and business professionals, and encourages independent and collaborative thinking, new perspectives and a fresh approach to the issues facing the modern bluegrass community.

Donna Ulisse sets Songwriting Escape 2016 Schedule

Songwriting EscapeFour time IBMA Songwriter of the Year nominee Donna Ulisse has set the initial 2016 schedule and locations for her Songwriting Escape instrument and songwriting workshops. She and her team will return to all three locations they taught in last year. The 2016 schedule is further down in this article.

From Africa to Appalachia and the 5-String Banjo

Cheick Hamala Diabate, Left and Sammy Shelor, Right. Photo Virginia Foundation for the HumanitiesRoanoke, VA -- Jefferson Center in partnership with the Virginia Folklife Program is proud to present “From Africa to Appalachia” on Thursday, January 14, 2016. The development of the 5-string banjo, among the very first truly American-born instruments, provides a revelatory lens on the development of American popular music and culture, and the immense contributions of African cultural traditions. The instrument we now know as the banjo was derived from lutes brought by enslaved Africans to the New World, most notably the West African n’goni and kora. The European violin (fiddle) and the African-derived banjo likely comprised “the first duet” in the New World, providing the cornerstone of American musical forms for centuries to come. Sammy shelor joins Cheick Hamala Diabate for this outstanding event.

Smithsonian Folkways Presents "Conversations with North American Banjo Builders"

Conversations with North American Banjo BuildersIn May of 2011, Craig Evans packed up his video equipment and headed out across the United States to capture the thoughts and methods of the modern-day individuals who build one of America's most iconic instruments: the banjo.

Fred Bartenstein on Josh Graves at ICMC 2016

Josh GravesThe misty chilly Middle Tennessee weather scene today makes one think of accounts of the Scottish Moors. Despite not being able to offer each of you some Lagavulan, this update should warm your heart. Gradually more of the International Country Music Conference (ICMC) 2016 program is taking shape. ICMC has always been hospitable to Bluegrass and 2016 is no exception. Once again Fred Bartenstein of Yellow Springs, Ohio will be sharing his expertise with us. Bartenstein will be discussing “How Josh Graves Made Flatt and Scruggs Hip.”

FreshGrass Announces 2015 Workshop Series

FreshGrass Workshop SeriesNorth Adams, MA -- Lively workshops focusing on instruments, bluegrass techniques — and known to break into legendary jam sessions — are a signature feature of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MASS MoCA) FreshGrass festival. This year’s workshop lineup is a who’s who of Americana music talent, led by the inimitable finger-picker, Happy Traum; Berklee College of Music’s American Roots Music Program; and Grammy Award-winner Alison Brown. FreshGrass takes place on September 18–20, 2015, and turns all of MASS MoCA into a stage with a bold lineup of top-tier musicians, luthier demonstrations, pop-up concerts, family programming, downtown camping, and the FreshGrass Award — celebrating fresh talent through competitions in band, duo, banjo, and fiddle categories with more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. The 2015 lineup of performers includes Dwight Yoakam, Punch Brothers, The Del McCoury Band, Leftover Salmon, Jerry Douglas presents Earls of Leicester, Sara Watkins, Sarah Jarosz & Aoife O’Donovan, Greensky Bluegrass, Houndmouth, Alison Brown, Willie Watson, Vieux Farka Touré & Julia Easterlin, Peter Rowan, Lost Bayou Ramblers, Mr. Sun, Flatt Lonesome, The Ballroom Thieves, Birds of Chicago, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, Twisted Pine, Quiles & Cloud, Cat and The Moon, and a FreshGrass tribute to Johnny Cash.

Bluegrass Music's Holder Brothers Awarded Share America Foundation Scholarships

Garrett Holder (second from right) receives the 2015 Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship and Trevor Holder (second from left) is designated as a future recipient by Randall Franks (third from left). Others joining the presentation are (from left) Gary Knowles, SAF chairman; Jimmy Terrell, SAF vice chairman; and James Pelt, Share America Foundation secretary. (Share America photo by Jane Scroggins)Ringgold, GA -- The Share America Foundation, Inc. announced its 2015 scholarship winner recently at the Ringgold Depot in Ringgold, Georgia. The events help fund the organization’s Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship. Pearl and Floyd Franks are the late parents and former entertainment managers of actor/entertainer Randall Franks, "Officer Randy Goode" from TV's "In the Heat of the Night." The scholarship honor students excelling in the Appalachian musical arts. Guitarist Garrett Holder, 18, of Ringgold, Ga. was selected as the recipient of the 2015 scholarship. Holder’s 14-year-old brother Trevor, who began playing banjo at age 11, was selected as a Pearl and Floyd Franks Scholarship Designee.

Banjo Greats Gather at Grey Fox for Keith-Style Banjo Summit July 17

Bill Keith with Jonny CodySurely a highlight of this year’s Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival will be a very special Keith-Style Banjo Summit hosted by Béla Fleck and Tony Trischka. Joining them to honor the music and enormous influence of Bill Keith will be a “Who’s Who of Banjo” including Noam Pikelny, Mike Munford, Eric Weissberg, Marc Horowitz, Mike Kropp, and Ryan Cavanaugh, along with Bill Keith himself. The 90-minute Keith-style banjo gathering will be on Friday, July 17 beginning at 7:00pm at the Creekside Stage.

Banjoist extraordinaire Bill Keith (beaconbanjo.com) is one of just a handful of musicians to have a whole style named after him.

Audio-Technica Expands Online Video Series Exploring Mic Techniques

Audio-Technica Banjo MicAudio-Techcnica expands their online video series by exploring Mic techniques in real-world applications. Their new videos cover mic techniques for various instruments including banjo, brass instruments, dobro, mandolin, organ, piano, saxophone, small ensembles, stereo techniques, strings and woodwinds. Audio-Technica, a leading innovator in transducer technology for over 50 years, has posted the latest videos in its series exploring different aspects of mic technique, mic placement and more. Utilizing some of Audio-Technica’s most acclaimed and popular products – including 40 Series, Artist Elite®, 20 Series and others – these videos illustrate various tips and tricks for capturing audio in real-world applications.

Inaugural Monroe Mandolin Camp Video Competition

Monroe Mandolin Camp Video CompetitionNashville, TN -- Announcing the Inaugural Monroe Mandolin Camp Annual Video Scholarship Competition. Mon Man Camp is looking or fun, creative videos of candidates performing a Bill Monroe composition, and telling us why this music is important to them! The winning candidate will be awarded a full scholarship, including tuition, lodging, meals, and t-shirt to the September 9 - 13, 2015, "Mon Man Camp" being held in Kingston Springs, TN (just outside of Nashville).

Monroe Mandolin Camp Announces Two Showcase Performances

Monroe Mandolin CampOn Wednesday, September 9, 2015, the Monroe Mandolin Camp Instructors Mike Compton, David Davis, Skip Gorman, David Long, Casey Campbell, and Mark Royal (plus all-star backup band), will be performing LIVE on Music City Roots, showcasing that traditional bluegrass roots style mandolin playing created by Bill Monroe. What a fantastic night to showcase our world-class instructors, and to shine a spotlight on Bill's music! We'll create our own Monroe-Mandolin-Mania! Show starts at 7pm. You can attend in person at The Factory in Franklin, TN, or view via the live telecast from the comfort of your own home. For details of where to go for the broadcast via Lifestream, visit Music City Root's webpage.

Dr. Banjo Says Picking Season is Coming. Want to jam?

Pete Wernick Bluegrass CampRight about this time of year, many pickers start thinking "This summer I'm going to show my stuff as a musician." If you're starting to get those thoughts, I'd like you to know of a way to help that to actually happen.

15th Anniversary Banjo Camp North Celebration May 15-17

Banjo Camp NorthBanjo Camp North is a three-day celebration of the five-string banjo, featuring instruction, demonstrations, concerts, and jamming presented by some of the best and best-known banjoists on the planet. They provide in-depth instruction in Bluegrass, Old Time and Folk styles. We always have top-flight fiddlers and guitarists on hand as well to lead classes on those instruments and provide support onstage at faculty concerts and demos and at the many jams that run throughout the weekend. In addition, this year we’re excited to offer classes on singing and harmony vocals at several levels.

Original Blue Grass Boys Special Presentation at Monroe Mandolin Camp

Monroe Mandolin Camp 2015Original Blue Grass Boys giving a Q&A and demonstration. One-On-One knee to knee private individualized tutorials with an instructor of your choice. An opening night jam where you don't know who of Nashville's finest will show up to hang out and play tunes with you. Learning the Art of Mandolin Construction from world-class luthiers Paul Duff and Will Kimble (and rumor has it that Steve Gilchrist may make it this year as well)! The camp is excited to present to you four of Bill Monroe's greatest-and enduring-sidemen. They are Glen Duncan, Tom Ewing, Mark Hembree and Blake Williams, who entered Monroe's band between 1979 and 1986.

Dr. Banjo Says Picking Season is Coming. Want to Jam?

Annie SavageRight about this time of year, many pickers start thinking "This summer I'm going to show my stuff as a musician." If you're starting to get those thoughts, I'd like you to know of a way to help that to actually happen. No, it's not a new music book or DVD (though we do offer those) ... it's an opportunity to come together with others like yourself, in your area -- people with the same goals -- and start making music together.

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