Dec 122017

Erin Enderline
Emi Sunshine
Porter Union
Brent Cobb
Joshua Morningstar
Cody Jinks
Tennessee Jet
The Steel Woods
Dallas Moore
Justin Wells
Johnathan Parker
Kayla Ray
Ward Davis
Sunny Sweeney
Dustin James Clark
Jackson Taylor

This week I bring you all Mr. Jesse Kramer. Please share this interview to help spread Jesse’s music to others and remember to like this page if you like these interviews to ensure you don’t miss any upcoming musicians. Thanks I hope you enjoy.

Round 1 – If you were asked to describe your music to a group of people that had never heard it, how would you describe it?

Jesse – “It’s my own sound but I’d describe it as rock, roots, & alternative”

Round 2 – Can you tell us your favorite lyrics of all time and tell us why those lyrics made such an impact on you personally?

Jesse – “You want answers that time will only tell” from my original wasn’t meant to be- my favorite lyrics change all the time but for right now I’d say it’d be that. It fits and it reminds me that there’s so much left to learn and to keep working”

Round 3 – If you could chose anyone, who would you love to write a song with?

Jesse – “Foy Vance, because his songwriting is so in depth but understandable. He uses metaphors in a way that seems simple but hold more..if that makes sense lol…I feel like I relate to him and his writing”

Round 4 – Most people love pets so to step away from the music a little, do you have any pets and if so can you tell us about them?

Jesse – “I have a blue heeler mix with a dachshund. Her name is Opal and she is 6 months old”
Round 5 – What are your favorite hobbies outside of the music World?

Jesse – ” I like hanging with friends and I like pawn shops”

Last Call – This is an open question so you can say anything you want to the fans and people reading this.

Jesse – “I love my music and I love playing music. I think anyone who chases their dreams should be supported as much as possible- even being still calls for support, love, friendship, respect, and honesty..”

Dec 102017

It’s time once again to feature one of the BEST FESTIVALS in Wisconsin The Blue Ox Festival which is also one that I have on my radar to attend soon.  You know that I take great pride in my festival articles, and I enjoy finding new bands within these lineups. Festivals are a great way to have many bands in the same vicinity, where a guy like me can find of so much information about an abundance of bands all at once.

I can start my steel guitarist series live editions again next year, which I plan to pick back up soon. Many of these artists have albums on my TOP 50 of 2017 like Mr. Tyler Childers, and if you are a regular reader of what I DO you already know 16 of my TOP choices now!

So on June 14th-16th Wisconsin will be full of Americana and Bluegrass acts up in the woods of Eau Claire on the scenic 75 acre campground called Whispering Pines Campground which is right off HWY 94 near the Minnesota border. I’m going to discuss camping and maps first, and then get into local area hotels next.  Right below is adetailed map of the area, and the different packages for camping and staying on the premises.

  • No food or beverage carry-ins are allowed in festival bowl area.
  • Supplies, food, and beverages can be brought to your campsite. There is not an onsite store so bring your supplies. Wood and ice are available to purchase in the campgrounds.
  • You will be subject to search at the gates.
Unreserved Tent Camping is Included with all Tickets

The campground features tall pine trees, lots of shade, and beautiful views.

Blue Ox features several different camping options:

  • Electric Reserved (Power up your RV or Camper) You may park one unit with a steering wheel on your site. Your campsite does not include festival admission. A General Admission Ticket MUST be purchased separately.
  • RV/Camper Reserved If you plan to bring an RV, pull behind or pop up camper you will need to purchase an RV/Camper reserved site. This will ensure that you have enough space for your unit. All vehicles over 20′ require a reserved RV site.  A General Admission Ticket MUST be purchased separately.
  • Car Camping If you prefer to park your car at your campsite or use your car as your sleeping unit, simply purchase a Car Camping pass and you will receive a tag for your vehicle to be parked at your site. If your vehicle is over 20′ you will need an RV site rather than a car camping pass. A General Admission Ticket MUST be purchased separately.
  • Unreserved Tent Camping Tent camping is included with your admission ticket, your car can be parked in the lot adjacent to Whispering Pines. (Sites are first come first serve basis)
  • Unreserved Family Tent Camping This area is considered quiet camping and the curfew will be enforced. Tent camping is included with your admission ticket, your car can be parked in the lot adjacent to Whispering Pines. (Sites are first come first served)

Whispering Pines Campground is has a beautiful 75-acre landscape. It offers many great features and amenities:

  • The campground is heavily wooded and most sites offer plenty of shade.
  • Amenities include a permanent shower building, a camping store, and you won’t have to walk far for all of the festival action.

Individuals that will be camping in an RV and have a Reserved Site in Electrical, Family Reserved, or Reserved Pines/Fields will have to opportunity to move in to their site a day early on  Wednesday June 13th. To Signup –> Click Here

The campground opens on Thursday, June 14th at 7:00 a.m.

Whispering Pines Campground is located at 5024 Crescent Ave, Eau Claire, WI 54703

Best Western Plus Eau Claire Conference Center
3-star hotel
Relaxed rooms with free WiFi & breakfast
Free breakfast

Holiday Inn Eau Claire South I-94


3-star hotel
Modern hotel with a steakhouse & pool
Free Wi-Fi

Metropolis Resort & Conference Center

3-star hotel
Lively resort with a water park & dining
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast
DEAL 28% less than usual

The Oxbow Hotel and The Lakely

Boutique Hotel
Hip hotel with a lively bar/restaurant
DEAL 22% less than usual

GrandStay® Residential Suites Hotel – Eau Claire

2-star hotel
Straightforward suites with free Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Super 8 Eau Claire I-94

Free breakfast

Inn Towne Hotel


Hotel 678 Wisconsin St

Americas Best Value Inn – Campus View

2-star hotel
Hotel with meeting spaces & 2 pools
Free breakfast

Hampton Inn Eau Claire

3-star hotel
Low-key rooms, free Wi-Fi & breakfast
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Hampton Inn & Suites Chippewa Falls

3-star hotel
Relaxed hotel with pool & free breakfast
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Days Inn West-Eau Claire

2-star hotel
Laid-back lodging with a fitness room
Free breakfast

Super 8 Eau Claire WI

2-star hotel
Budget hotel with free breakfast & Wi-Fi
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Scottish Inns & Suites

3-star hotel
Free breakfast

Badger Motel

Roadside pick with modest rooms
Free Wi-Fi

AmericInn Hotel & Suites Eau Claire

2-star hotel
Simple pick with free Wi-Fi & breakfast
Free Wi-Fi
Free breakfast

Best Western Plus Eau Claire Conference Center

3-star hotel
Relaxed rooms with free WiFi & breakfast
Free breakfast

The Lismore Hotel Eau Claire – a DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel

3-star hotel
Conference hotel with a rooftop lounge

Holiday Inn Eau Claire South I-94

3-star hotel
Modern hotel with a steakhouse & pool
Free Wi-Fi

Holiday Inn Express & Suites Eau Claire North

2-star hotel
Traditional rooms & an indoor pool
Free breakfast

Country Inn & Suites By Carlson, Eau Claire, WI

3-star hotel
Casual option with an indoor pool
Free breakfast

Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Eau Claire Chippewa Falls

Relaxed hotel with an indoor pool
Free breakfast

Staybridge Suites Eau Claire – Altoona

4-star hotel

Upmarket all-suite hotel with a pool

Bus Route 1
Best Western Trail Lodge – 3340 Mondovi Road
Thursday: 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm

Quality Inn – 3117 Craig Road
Super 8 – 1151 W. MacArthur Avenue
Pick up location is on Craig Road between the two hotels
Thursday: 3:40pm, 4:40pm, 5:40pm, 6:40pm, 7:40pm, 8:40pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:40am, 10:40am, 11:40am, 12:40pm, 1:40pm, 2:40pm, 3:40pm, 4:40pm, 5:40pm, 6:40pm

America’s Best Value Inn – 809 W. Clairemont Avenue
Thursday: 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm, 7:45pm, 8:45pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:45am, 10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm

Bus Route 2
The Oxbow Hotel – 516 S. Galloway Street
Thursday: 3:25pm, 4:25pm, 5:25pm, 6:25pm, 7:25pm, 8:25pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:25am, 10:25am, 11:25am, 12:25pm, 1:25pm, 2:25pm, 3:25pm, 4:25pm, 5:25pm, 6:25pm

The Lismore Hotel Parking Ramp Downtown – 333 Gibson  Street
Thursday: 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm, 7:30pm, 8:30pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:30am, 10:30am, 11:30am, 12:30pm, 1:30pm, 2:30pm, 3:30pm, 4:30pm, 5:30pm, 6:30pm

7th & Water Street
Thursday: 3:35pm, 4:35pm, 5:35pm, 6:35pm, 7:35pm, 8:35pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:35am, 10:35am, 11:35am, 12:35pm, 1:35pm, 2:35pm, 3:35pm, 4:35pm, 5:35pm, 6:35pm

Clarion Hotel – 2703 Craig Road and 
Hampton Inn
– 2622 Craig Road
Thursday: 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm, 7:45pm, 8:45pm
Friday-Saturday: 9:45am, 10:45am, 11:45am, 12:45pm, 1:45pm, 2:45pm, 3:45pm, 4:45pm, 5:45pm, 6:45pm

The times listed are departure times. Please be ready to board the shuttles at the above times. Shuttle service will return to all locations after the close of the last show. No buses will leave the festival unless full from 9 p.m. to the end of the last show. Bus schedules may change during weather related emergencies.

Prices are $30 for a 3 day pass, $15 for a 1 day pass. Rides are unlimited for the day purchased. Please have EXACT CASH when purchasing your pass, you can purchase the pass from the driver.

So, now that you have all of thy information on how to lay your head and the days you’ll need the hotel let’s look at the FUN STUFF like the music and the activities that transpire at the Blue Ox, some of the food vendors and anything else I can find for you.
HERE is a complete map of the entire festival straight from the website, also you can purchase the tickets by clicking any of those links.


Tyler Childers will perform at the 2018 Blue Ox Music Festival

Tyler Childers

Jack Klatt will be performing at the 2018 Blue Ox Music Festival


Thursday, June 14th

  • TBA


  • TBA

    8:45-10:00 PM

  • TBA

    7:00-8:00 PM

  • TBA

    5:30-6:30 PM

Friday, June 15th

  • TBA


  • TBA

    8:45-10:00 PM

  • TBA

    7:00-8:15 PM

  • TBA

    5:30-6:30 PM

  • TBA

    4:00-5:00 PM

  • TBA

    2:30-3:30 PM

  • TBA

    1:00-2:00 PM

  • TBA

    11:30-12:30 PM

Saturday, June 16th

  • TBA


  • TBA

    7:45-9:15 PM

  • TBA

    6:00-7:15 PM

  • TBA

    4:45-5:30 PM

  • TBA

    3:00-4:15 PM

  • TBA

    1:15-2:30 PM

  • TBA


Dec 092017

AlanAlan Jackson Celebrates a Landmark Year
With Show-Capping CMA Awards Performance!

With a year of sold-out shows and packed houses in the rearview mirror, newly-minted Country Music Hall of Famer Alan Jackson’s Honky Tonk Highway Tour adds more miles and rolls into 2018, leading to more great cities with a year-long lineup of shows!

The country music icon will hit the Honky Tonk Highway again beginning January 19, heading down the road to a city near you as he plays arena concerts, amphitheatre shows, and some of the biggest annual festivals and multi-day events on the country music calendar (detailed listing below). The tour extends the superstar’s 2017 trek that began in front of sold-out crowds in Florida, Oklahoma, California and RodeoHouston and wrapped in front of SRO audiences in Wisconsin, Minnesota, Louisiana and Texas.

Tickets and information for all Honky Tonk Highway Tour dates are available at, where you can find information about Alan, his tour schedule, music and more. Jackson is again teaming up with CID Entertainment to offer fans VIP experiences at many of his 2018 shows.

Alan Jackson’s Honky Tonk Highway Tour will find the country icon performing hits that have gained him legions of longtime fans, songs that continue to draw new crowds as a younger generation discovers his music. Jackson’s repertoire stands the test of time; it has impacted a field of artists who cite Jackson as an influence. It’s these same songs – many written by Alan – that earned him his newfound place alongside country music’s greatest names and cemented his place in its history with membership in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Fans will hear the songs they love from the man who wrote them and made them famous, including his debut hit “Here in The Real World”…signature songs such as “Chattahoochee,” “Drive” and “Gone Country”…party anthems “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” and “Good Time”…and many, many more.

Jackson’s tour announcement follows his show-ending CMA Awards performance celebrating his 2017 induction to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Alan and his band, The Strayhorns, reminded fans what they’ll enjoy on the Honky Tonk Highway Tour in 2018 as he closed out “Country Music’s Biggest Night” with back-to-back performances of “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” and “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” (the latter with hosts Carrie Underwood and Brad Paisley), bringing the star-filled audience to its feet as the likes of Luke Bryan, Keith Urban, Eric Church and others could be seen singing along to Alan’s memories of “livin’ that honky tonk dream.”

Alan Jackson’s touring history has taken him across America and to places far beyond, and his music has gained him fans around the globe. In 2018, he’ll continue his tradition of “keepin’ it country” for people far and wide as he travels the HONKY TONK HIGHWAY, bringing nearly 30 years of hits to a city near you!

Alan 8
(partial listing – more dates to be announced/added)

Friday, January 19 – Lexington, KY (Rupp Arena) **++
Saturday, January 20 – Little Rock, AR (Verizon Arena) ^^++
Thursday, February 8 – Independence, MO (Silverstein Eye Centers Arena) ^^
Friday, February 9 – Indianapolis, IN (Bankers Life Fieldhouse) ^^
Thursday, February 15 – San Antonio, TX (San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo) **
Friday, February 16 – Grand Prairie, TX (Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie) ^^
Friday, March 23 – Toledo, OH (Huntington Center)
Saturday, May 24 – Pittsburgh, PA (Venue TBD)
Friday, April 27 – Baltimore, MD (Royal Farms Arena)
Saturday, April 28 – Albany, NY (Times Union Center) ^^
Friday, May 4 – Tuscaloosa, AL (Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre)
Saturday, June 23 – Orange Beach, FL (The Wharf) ^^
Friday, July 27 – Central Point, OR (Country Crossing Music Festival) **
Saturday, July 28 – Mountain Home, ID (Mountain Home Country Music Festival) **
Thursday, August 16 – Vienna, VA (Wolf Trap)
Friday, August 17 – Gilford, NH (Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion) ^^
Saturday, September 15 – Charlotte, NC (Spectrum Center) ^^

**Date is already onsale
^^Tickets onsale Friday, November 17
++with special guest Lauren Alaina

Dec 092017

Roby Dome at Marion County High School

The Kentucky Bluegrass Music Kickoff will be held at the Marion County High School Roby Dome January 26-27 2018. Overnight package deals and tickets are available HERE. You know folks I try my best to cover as much music as possible and its not easy, but I think I manage to pull it off quite nicely.

This is an eastern Kentucky event that I have been asked to cover from a PR company that I often work with, and what a blessed event they have set up for this community. Folks this event helps involve youth and encourage them to play music, which I think is essential for today’s youth.

This year’s featured performer is Grammy nominated Michael Cleveland And Flamekeeper who’s precise attention to detail has attracted much attention from Bluegrass purists and new fans alike. His album just barely missed my TOP 50 however I have featured him on this website many times. He will blow you away if you have never witnessed his professional attitude and love fo0r this genre.

I’ll be bringing you MANY great Bluegrass events this next year IN FACT out of covering 175 festivals 40 of them are Bluegrass, and another 45 of them book both Bluegrass and Americana based acts. All over America these festivals are spreading and thriving becuase of people like me and people like you!

2018 Singer/Songwriter entry forms are available HERE 

AgCredit Nex-Gen Bluegrass Music Singing Contest entry forms are available HERE

AgCredit Nex-Gen Bluegrass Music Youth Contest entry forms are available HERE

Dec 092017



Not too long ago I had the opportunity to see Country Legend John Conlee on the Opry. Now John is another Country Legend with a new album coming out in 2018, like a LONG list of them that mainstream media is ignoring. Soon I’ll be posting about another Country Legend in his prime, Gene Watson. Mr. John sang a new song for law enforcement called “Walking Behind The Star”.

This album will be the third and final installment of his cherished “Classics” series, and I feel this will be one of his best because of the song choices on it. I truly admire many of the songwriters he collaborated with on this album, like Rory Feek who wrote “Bible And A Belt”.  Songwriting Legend Hugh Prestwood wrote “Learning To Live” and “Unborn Voice”, as well as a often overlooked Merle Haggard song called “Jesus Take A Hold” from the 1970 “Hag” album.

This album is available for pre sale off his website and off ITunes, but not anywhere else yet. He has slowed down on the touring some, but at 71 he still plays many shows across America and overseas. We will be reporting more about this album for sure in the following few months, keeping an eye on him.

Classics 3 Track Listing:
1. “Got My Heart Set On You”
2. “Learning How To Love”
3. “Working Man”
4. “The Carpenter”
5. “A Bible And A Belt”
6. “The Shade”
7. “Unborn Voice”
8. “Living Like There’s No Tomorrow”
9. “The Rock”
10. “Lonely Don’t Know When To Leave”
11. “Could You Love Me One More Time”
12. “Jesus Take A Hold”

ABOUT JOHN CONLEE:   Kentucky native and Grand Ole Opry member, John Conlee, has one of country music’s most recognizable voices. Self-penned and signature hit “Rose Colored Glasses,” was the first of over 30 hit singles, most of which charted in the Top 10 or better. Some of the songs from the John Conlee hit list include “Back Side of Thirty,” “Lady Lay Down,” “Friday Night Blues,” “Common Man,” “I’m Only In It For The Love” and “Domestic Life.” All of Conlee’s hits have that unmistakable common thread – that unique voice. In 2015, Conlee released Classics 2 that includes a tribute to law enforcement titled “Walkin’ Behind the Star,” and in 2018 Classics 3 will be released.

Dec 092017

I don’t need to tell you any more about Mr. Whitey Morgan And The 78’s unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years. His last album Sonic Ranch made my TOP 50 OF 2016, and I have featured his shows many time on this website. I have watched him perform at so many venues in so many states it’s not funny, however this New Years Eve I will see him in  Kentucky..I have not been to him in Kentucky before at least that I can recall?

I have a nice lead on a bed and breakfast across the street, so I don’t have to drive..not that I’m worried because well I don’t post personal stuff on here..but I’m having a bout with my liver. I cannot drink anymore, it’s taken so much damage in my past. I’ll be honest I don’t really miss the blackout drunks, however I DO STILL enjoy listening to Ol Mr. Whitey sing about whiskey and being inebriated. So if you see me BUY ME A WATER, because i’m supposed to stop the cokes too. Dammit now the coke colas are MY vice..

Anyways getting back on track here, lets talk about the fact he has Mr. Ward Davis as an opener whom played the Ryman with Mr. Cody Jinks Read about Ward Davis at the Ryman HERE and I have went to see him play all over this year. I follow that scene and that crowd quite prevalent, and have many good friends within it. We’re waiting for a new album from this songwriting genius, with much anticipation, and all we know right now is the song “Geronimo”. I went to see him at the Warehouse In Bowling Green and you can go there and watch the video of the song.

Now THEN let’s chat for a moment about a DEFINITE addition to my TOP 50 of 2017 (SEE if you read me on a regular basis I HAVE REVEALED 15 TOP 50 already). Mr. Alex Williams is one of the few that I saw on Big Machine Records that doesn’t scare me. In fact I was beyond impressed with what he has brought to the table here, and I cannot wait to feature his set on here, and bring you videos and commentary on what I see!

Mr.Josh Card And The Restless Souls is another opener I am truly looking forward to seeing that night.You know folks one thing this website is known for is discovering opening acts many other websites overlook. I don’t spend time with comment forums and discussions with my readers INSTEAD I’m busy studying people and books. I’m NOT making fun of anybody I’m just stating how I RUN my business, and it garners me more results.

Here is HIS BIO from his website:

Josh Card was raised in a small “one stoplight” town in Northeast Florida, where everybody knows your name, the County Fair is the best time of year, and simpler ways of living still exist. His small town beginnings and humble Southern upbringing landed him at age 13 holding a guitar that his Grandmother bought him, sitting on the porch of the house his Grandfather built, at the end of a dirt road, trying to play along with her Conway Twitty albums. The rebellion stage soon followed, and driven by teen angst and a thirst for loud music, Josh spent the next 15 years playing in several successful punk and hardcore acts, touring internationally and releasing several albums.

Now, residing in Louisville, KY, Josh has reunited with his roots to play the music that he has carried with him throughout the years. The songs he’s been writing and storing are finally being heard. Josh went into the studio in November of 2016 and recorded his first Country album. Pulling elements and influence from his Honky-Tonk and Outlaw heroes, Josh has made an album that provides to his listeners what modern day Country music lacks: authenticity, honesty, substance, and soul. On February 17th, 2017, Josh will release his debut full length album, “Josh Card and The Restless Souls” digitally, on CD, and vinyl record. Building steam with his passionate and captivating live performances, there is no doubt this album will pave the way for his future in music. There’s a new name in Country music, and like Josh’s idols that came before him, he’s doing things his way.

NOW WHERE IS THIS YOU ASK well This New Years Eve night I’ll be at the Plaza Theater in the heart of Glasgow Kentucky and you better get tickets NOW because the 35, and 25 are the ONLY ONES LEFT for this event.  This is a VERY NICE venue and I fully intend to bring you much information on this show. From their website:

As far as outlaw country goes, Whitey Morgan is the real f’ing deal. Whisky-soaked, weed-smoked, firepit-stoked. The redo of Johnny Cash’s ‘Bad News’ seals the deal.  — Detroit Metro Times

Outlaw’s always been the rough-around-the-edges, tough guy uncle at the country music family picnic. Denim and leather, not Stetson and Nudie. Hair by Pennzoil, not Pomade. But, in the right hands—Haggard, Paycheck, Junior, Willie and Waylon and now Whitey Morgan—Outlaw is more than beards and bandanas, ink and attitude, it’s damn folk music.  It’s about doing the best you can, about getting by and about cold beer and colder women—everything that keeps the honky tonks full on a Saturday night. It’s about standing up when it’d just be easier to fall down.

Dec 062017

Merlefest Announces Artist Additions to 2018 Lineup
Tickets on Sale Now

The annual homecoming of musicians and music fans returns to the campus of Wilkes Community College in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. The newest additions to the lineup join over 75 artists that have already been announced, including Kris Kristofferson, Jamey Johnson , Robert Earl Keen, The Devil makes Three, Balsam Rangeand the Atlanta Pops Orchestra Ensemble, Mission Temple Fireworks Revival featuring Paul Thorn Band, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, and The Mccrary Sisters, a Midnight Jam hosted by Town Mountainand Jim Lauderdale, and many more.

WILKESBORO, N.C. (December 5, 2017) – Merlefest, presented by Window World, is proud to announce new artist additions to the lineup for MerleFest 2018, which will be held April 26 – 29, 2018: Elephant Revival, Rhiannon Giddens, Rodney Crowell, and Shinyribs.

Elephant Revival – Elephant Revival is a unique collection of multi-instrumentalists blending elements of gypsy, Celtic, Americana, and folk. Brought together by a unified sense of purpose, Elephant Revival communicates the importance of harmony among all living things and uses music to unite us in ways that no other medium can. Elephant Revival is scheduled to play the Hillside Stage on Friday.

Rhiannon Giddens – Singer-songwriter Rhiannon Giddens is the co-founder of the GRAMMY award-winning string band Carolina Chocolate Drops, playing banjo and fiddle. Giddens’ 2014 Grammy nominated solo debut, Tomorrow Is My Turn, blends gospel, jazz, blues, and country, and showcases her dazzling vocal prowess. Giddens follow-up album Freedom Highway, largely comprised of original songs, was released to widespread critical acclaim in February. She performed at the Obama White House and duets with country star Eric Church on his powerful anti-racism hit “Kill a Word.” Last year she received the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award for Singer of the Year and the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Bluegrass and Banjo and in 2017 won the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” award. In 2018, Giddens will be the guest curator for the Cambridge Folk Festival. Giddens also has a recurring role on the recently revived television drama Nashville . Rhiannon Giddens is scheduled to play Saturday on the Watson Stage.

Rodney Crowell – Rodney Crowell is a multiple Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter who has written or recorded 15 #1 songs on the Country music charts. He has also won six Americana Music Awards, including the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award for Songwriting, and he is a member of the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. His songs have been recorded by country legends (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, George Strait), to current country chart toppers (Tim McGraw, Keith Urban) to blues icons (Etta James), and rock and roll legends (Van Morrison, Bob Seger). Crowell’s latest album, Close Ties , was released in March 2017 on New West Records to critical acclaim. Rodney Crowell is scheduled to play the Cabin Stage on Friday.

Shinyribs – SHINYRIBS is the continuation of Kevin Russell’s musical journey that began in Beaumont, TX when, at 14, he found his father’s guitar under his bed, along with a sewing machine, a billy club and a box of comic books. Luckily he chose the guitar. Following his family’s oil boom and bust migratory path he landed in Shreveport, LA where he formed his first band. Picket Line Coyotes were a Husker Du meets Elvis Costello hybrid that lived and died between the “Arklatexabamassippi” borders much like their unfortunate animal namesake. That’s what took him to Austin where The Gourds were born from those Coyote ashes. That storied band of pumpkins came to an end after 18 years of good times and hard travelin’. From that point on Russell, has been riding high on the Shinyribs river of country-soul, swamp-funk and tickle. A Shinyribs show is an exaltation of spirit. It’s a hip shaking, belly laughing, soul-singing, song-slinging, down-home house party. Shinyribs is scheduled to play the Watson Stage on Thursday.

“For over 30 years, one of the major factors that has built and sustained MerleFest has been the quality of the artists and performances that our guests see over the 4 day festival,” says Ted Hagaman, Festival Director. “People truly feel that the festival is a great value and that is why music fans and families return year after year. We feel that the 2018 lineup again reflects the diversity and quality of performers and we look forward to another successful festival in April.” The 2018 current lineup may be viewed at .

Tickets for next year’s festival may be purchased HERE or by calling 1-800-343-7857. MerleFest offers a three-tiered pricing structure and encourages fans to take advantage of the extended early bird discount. Early Bird Tier 1 tickets may be purchased from November 14 to February 18, 2018; Early Bird Tier 2 tickets from February 19 to April 25. Tickets will be sold using Tier 3 pricing at the gate during the festival.


About Merlefest
MerleFest was founded in 1988 in memory of the son of the late American music legend Doc Watson, renowned guitarist Eddy Merle Watson. MerleFest is a celebration of “traditional plus” music, a unique mix of traditional, roots-oriented sounds of the Appalachian region, including old-time, classic country, bluegrass, folk and gospel and blues, and expanded to include Americana, classic rock and many other styles. The festival hosts a diverse mix of artists on its 13 stages during the course of the four-day event. MerleFest has become the primary fundraiser for the WCC Foundation, funding scholarships, capital projects and other educational needs.


About Window World
Window World, headquartered in North Wilkesboro, N.C., is America’s largest replacement window and exterior remodeling company, with more than 200 locally owned offices nationwide. Founded in 1995, the company sells and installs windows, siding, doors and other exterior products, with a total of over 14 million windows sold to date. Window World is an ENERGY STAR partner, and its window products have earned the Good Housekeeping Seal for 10 consecutive years. Additionally, through its charitable foundation Window World Cares , the Window World family provides funding for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which honored the foundation with its Organizational Support Award in 2017. Since its inception in 2008, Window World Cares has raised over $7 million for St. Jude. Window World Inc. also supports the Veterans Airlift Command, a non-profit organization that facilitates free air transportation to wounded veterans and their families. For more information, visit or call 1-800 NEXT WINDOW. For home improvement and energy efficiency tips, décor ideas and more, follow Window World on Facebook and Twitter .

For more information, visit Merlefest


Dec 052017

Bluegrass Underground is a television show that I do usually binge watch in one fail swoop because I just don’t watch TV much. However now, I won’t be able to do that because they will no longer be taping one whole season back to back..and by the time you read this whole article you’ll know why.

This might excite some of you and might anger some of my Bluegrass purist readers, either way they have opened up a whole new echelon of structure to the show by moving it to the caverns. Now, they have a permanent place to host the show, which also seats an additional 500 people. This move also enables them to provide better parking, more bathrooms, and more handicapped facilities. This new cavern is located in Pelham Tennessee,at the base of Monteagle Mountain and it is such a surreal setting that has yet to be utilized discovered by anyone else.

Now comes the part that may or may not anger some, the WIDER RANGE of artists that will be appearing on the iconic show. NO LONGER will it be Bluegrass ONLY, bands like Here Come The Mummies, The Turnpike Troubadours, and even Country Music Legends like Bobby Bare are all scheduled to appear on the show in 2018.

Now folks these tickets aren’t on sale until December 9th, and upon their sale I will embed the direct link to EACH SHOW by clicking the date on the left, for the following show. It will also direct you to the link for the map of the venue, so you can choose your seats.

Season VIII PBS Bluegrass Underground Tapings

March 24: Billy Strings and Sweet Lizzy Project
March 25:The Sam Bush Band and Aaron lee Tasjan
April 20: Brandi Carlile
April 21: Kathy Mattea and The Tim O Brien Bluegrass Band
April 22: Lettuce and The Rev. Osagyfo Sekou
May 19: Flatt Lonesome and Turnpike Troubadors
May 20: Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper and Mary Gauthier
April 28, The Del McCoury Band with Sierra Hull
June 8: Piano-palooza with Davina & The Vagabonds and Jason D Williams
June 16: Keller Williams
July 21: Scott Miller
August 11: Mountain Heart
September 8: john Anderson,Bobby Bare and James Otto
Oct. 31: Here Come The Mummies
Nov. 3: Dailey And Vincent

Dec 042017

Erin Enderline
Emi Sunshine
Porter Union
Brent Cobb
Joshua Morningstar
Cody Jinks
Tennessee Jet
The Steel Woods
Dallas Moore
Justin Wells
Johnathan Parker
Kayla Ray
Ward Davis
Sunny Sweeney
Dustin James Clark

This week I bring you all Mr. Jackson Taylor. Please share this interview to help spread Jackson’s music to others and remember to like this page if you like these interviews to ensure you don’t miss any upcoming musicians. Thanks I hope you enjoy.

Round 1 – If you were talking to someone who had never heard your music before how would you describe your music?

Jackson – “We are “modern evolution of what country music should be”. We aren’t a dress up band who is pretending like it’s another decade. We are simply the greatest honky tonk band in the fucking universe. We are now, today, this moment. We respect tradition, but are not slaves to it, same as our hero’s who came before us.”

Round 2 – I know that you enjoy drawing and have even sold some artwork. Can you tell us a little about that and let people know where they can find some of your art?

Jackson – “I have always enjoyed drawing, but I gave it up when I was a kid. Last year I started again just to relax and decompress and it’s turned into a viable second career. All my prints are available at

Round 3 – I know that you are a huge comic book fan, have you ever thought about making your own comic series since you enjoy drawing? If you did what would it be about?

Jackson – “I have already started. My first issue is done, once I have three issues finished I will start self publishing them. It takes about a month to write, pencil, ink, color & letter a 22 page comic book. I can’t talk about it until my copy right comes though.”

Round 4 – Is there any new music in the works or any idea when we may see a new album?

Jackson – “We just released a new song called ‘A Long Line Of Lovers’. After 17 CDs I don’t know if I will do anymore full CDs. I may just release a new song and video digitally every 6 months.”

Round 5 – Besides drawing which we have already talked about, what are some of your hobbies outside of the music World?

Jackson – “I have been obsessed with grappling and BJJ for years. Touring keeps me so busy there really isn’t much time for hobbies. I have always been an avid non fiction reader and am starting to film some, shooting shows as well as documentaries. Grappling, shooting and film making are pretty close to my heart.”

Last Call – This is an open question so you can say anything you want to the fans and people reading this.

Jackson – “Music is expression, don’t get caught up on labels. Someone pretending like it’s 1974 or 1950 are far less original and honest than someone breaking new ground. I don’t personally like country rap, but if it’s organic I will give it a listen. The drama geek hipsters in their attempt to gentrify country music have scarified authenticity in search of being “authentic”. Music should be natural and express who you are, not who you wish you were. Basically be Dwight Yoakum.”

Dec 032017

Old Salt Union man what can I say besides you will more than likely see them atop my TOP 50 of 2017. They are defiantly one of the many  bands bringing this new approach to Bluegrass, many of the purists don’t appreciate. Some call it “Newgrass” some call it “Freshgrass”, in fact a few years ago they WON the Freshgrass competition and garnered the attention of Miss Alison Brown banjo professional and co-founder of Rounder Records.

Once signed they released their self titled debut album for them this year, even though they have four previous albums this one brought more attention being on a more mainstream Bluegrass label. I think the production of this album is just exceptional and the songs were well written, however the instrumentals were equally impressive.

They recently released a video for their cover of “You Can Call Me Al” dressed in their ’80s-inspired finest, Old Salt Union’s Rob Kindle, Ryan Murphey, Jesse Farrar, Justin Wallace and John Brighton opted to recreate Simon’s now-classic “You Can Call Me Al” music video to go along with their cover. The song is included on their self-titled Compass Records debut, which is out now.


Dec 022017

You know this year has been a terrific year for new releases, and as I work on my TOP 50 which Mr. Joshua will also provide a TOP 50 as well, I began to reflect upon all of the passed on Country Legends with unreleased material like the recent album of Waylon Jennings that Shooter put out on the BCR label.

Country Rewind Records has put out a super fine project recently, and I wanted to touch on it for a moment. First off this isn’t a TOTALLY NEW album, but yet it has some unreleased material the public has never heard before. The songs on TIMELESS haven’t been heard since their recording in 1972, included in a series of musical recordings from top artists at the time as part of a United States recruitment program.

Performers such as Dolly Parton, George Jones, and Waylon Jennings would record fifteen-minute performances that would be distributed to over 2,000 radio stations throughout the world intended for commercial release. Tom Gramuglia of Country Rewind Records, says that he can’t wait for fans to hear these recordings – which put the recorded genius of Conway Twitty on full display for all to hear.

Now then folks, these songs were remastered and enhanced by his daughter Miss Joni and other session people to embellish this project even further. Conway’s daughter Joni Twitty Ryles and John Wesley Ryles along with Grammy Award winning engineer Mark Capps, pianist Ron Oates, guitarist Kevin Williams, and guitarist Tony Durante all took over the duties of doing that.

While the sessions that comprise TIMELESS weren’t the typical Decca recording session with Owen Bradley producing, these tracks – cut at the studio of former Elvis Presley band member Scotty Moore – drip with as much perfection as anything he cut at Bradley’s Barn. It wasn’t like a typical session where everything was perfected,” explained Ryles. “But, these songs are an incredible gift, and Daddy was sounding as incredible as he ever did. These recordings make my heart smile, and I think his fans will feel the same way.”

For more on TIMELESS and other Country Rewind Records productions,

TIMELESS Track Listing:
1. (Lost Her Love) On Our Last Date
2. Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)
3. Hello Darlin’
4. How Much More Can She Stand
5. Working Girl
6. I Can’t See Me Without You
7. I Love You More Today
8. Crazy Arms
9. 15 Years Ago
10. Honky Tonk Man
11. The Image Of Me
12. If You Were Mine To Lose
13. Proud Mary
14. Next In Line

COUNTRY REWIND RECORDS…Bringing Unreleased Traditional Country Music Into The Contemporary Country Era

Founded by Thomas Gramuglia of Hindsight Records in 2014, Gramuglia obtained a treasure chest of unreleased recordings from recruitment radio shows from the ‘60s and ‘70s. The superb CCR collection of original master recordings contains music from more than 100 country music legends and trendsetters (including intimate performances by country music greats such as Loretta Lynn, George Jones, Connie Smith, Faron Young, Dolly Parton and many more). These recordings were never released for commercial use. After a diligent quest to collect appropriate and legal permissions from artists and/or their estates, Country Rewind Records (CRR) has now recorded and produced multiple, quintessential, “must-hear” projects. With the mission to transfer these never-heard-before tracks to a high quality, state-of-the-art recording; complemented by contemporary instrumentation and background vocals, Country Rewind Records will release this historical American music to America’s music generations of the future.

Current Country Rewind Projects:
THE LOST NASHVILLE SESSIONS [Waylon Jennings] (2016)

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN [Ferlin Husky] (2016)

HERE I AM AGAIN [Mickey Gilley] (2016) – Available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store™

THE LOST TAPES [Connie Smith] (Produced by Marty Stuart/2015)

YOU DON’T KNOW ME [Faron Young] (2014)

Limited editions are available at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store™.

Future Country Rewind Projects:
Jeannie C. Riley • Johnny Russell • Bob Luman • Carl Smith • Barbara Fairchild • Skeeter Davis • Cal Smith

Dec 022017

As many of you know I write up a large “to do” list all the time. Sometimes I get really backed up and need to figure out way to condense things to get it all done. Also, sometimes it turns out becoming more appealing to YOU my readers. Speaking of reading (since you are reading this) you aren’t one of the many that reading has become a thing of the past.

Many people ask me WHERE I get the most of my information from, well READING of course. Whether it be from books or emails, or LEGIT websites..folks Wikipedia is NOT LEGIT for ANYTHING. Phone calls and going out and being seen at shows, and talking to people earned my knowledge of just about everything I know about.

So now I was thinking HEY I got this list of books I wanted to touch on with articles and tell you about,for your own research, and your own library. I probably read about 14 hours a week, usually an hour in the morning and an hour at night. Nonetheless whatever you do reading is a great way to enrich your brain, and keep your spelling correct, so HERE IS a nice list of Country Music related books released lately.

If you remember not long ago at the Nashville Palace I wrote about Country Legned Wanda Jackson who amazed us with her still amazing voice. Age has truly not faltered her voice in any way, and a few months ago she released an autobiography.

She still is quite a pleasant show person, making jokes about everything from life to politics. To the briskly honest statement that she recently lost her husband…then she pointed to the sky and siad “Well I haven’t LOST HIM,I KNOW where he is”..her performance warmed my heart and brought me much joy inside.


BMG has announced it will release legendary rockabilly and country music pioneer Wanda Jackson’s autobiography Every Night Is Saturday Night: A Country Girl’s Journey to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on November 14, 2017. The iconic performer known as the “Queen of Rockabilly” and the “First Lady of Rock & Roll” landed more than thirty singles on the country and pop charts between 1954 and 1974. Featuring over eighty photographs from her personal collection and a foreword by Elvis Costello,Every Night is Saturday Night is the rockin’ great-grandmother’s chance to finally share the story of her fascinating life and career in her own words.

Jackson’s most recent album was 2012’s Unfinished Business, which was produced by Justin Townes Earle and included covers of songs written by Townes Van Zandt and Woody Guthrie, she still tours intermittently. So when she comes around it’s best to get out and see her!

From her website:
Wanda Lavonne Jackson is an American singer, songwriter, pianist and guitarist who had success in the mid-1950s and 1960s as one of the first popular female rockabilly singers and a pioneering rock-and-roll artist. She is known to many as the “Queen of Rockabilly” or the “First Lady of Rockabilly”,she has played for many Muddy roots functions and many other festivals I am involved with.

Jackson mixed country music with fast-moving rockabilly, often recording them on opposite sides of a record. As rockabilly declined in popularity in the mid-1960s, she moved to a successful career in mainstream country music with a string of hits between 1966 and 1973, including “Tears Will Be the Chaser for Your Wine”, “A Woman Lives for Love” and “Fancy Satin Pillows”.

She had a resurgence in popularity in the 1980s among rockabilly revivalists in Europe and younger Americana fans. In 2009 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an Early Influence. The book will chronicle the Queen of Rockabilly and the first Lady of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s rise to prominence following her discovery by Country Music Hall of Famer Hank Thompson. Elvis Costello contributed the foreword, and the book will feature more than 80 photos from her personal collection.

Every Night is Saturday Night will also include passages on why she refused to return to the Grand Ole Opry after more than 50 years, the challenges of touring America with an integrated band during a racially intolerant era, her personal memories of her relationship with Elvis Presley and how she ultimately found the love of her life, her husband Wendell Goodman.

Wanda Jackson was instrumental in the launch of the career of Roy Clark, and even Elvis himself hallowed Wanda Jackson as special in many ways. She will reveal in this book the reasons why she hasn’t returned to the Opry in fifty years, and details about her first boyfriend in the music world. I’m telling you right now THIS ONE is a book I have been waiting to read for a long time.

This book is one I have been eagerly waiting for, because he will reveal much about his turbulent life both on and off the road. His defiant and off the podium politics have turned many people on and off his side for the past twenty years…and he doesn’t care. In 2016 he was elected into the Country Music Hall Of Fame, in 2008 he became an Opry member, and plays almost every other weekend the TRUE Opry fashion of what it means to be a member.

In one of his songs called “Carolina”  he remembers his youth with descriptive things like Goose feather snowfalkes and others. In this book he chronicles his entire life in depth, and offers his own advice on how to handle the business and other scenarios. His main focus of help is don’t concern yourself with the people that are NOT there, you are there to entertain the ones that ARE.

A huge portion is dedicated to producer Bob Johnston, who is responsible for his move to Nashville, his start of the Volunteer Jams and pretty much all of what he’s famous for from 1967-1980. He writes about his wars with unreliable vehicles, wild parties and being broke. Pretty much some times that many musicians can relate too,  but to be honest with all the technology and modern things we have now I think they had it harder in the 70’s.

The Volunteer Jams have been hallowed as iconic and precious throughout the years and they are highly collectable on vinyl for people like me. For a man that has spanned over six decades of Country Music and noted for his musical craftsmanship of precise notation, who was a well sought after session player, he is a humble Christian and vocal political figure. This book details how he was personally named by Bob Dylan to play on his albums over anybody else they suggested to him.

Ricky Skaggs is a name that  is synonymous with both Bluegrass and Country Music, he was brought up a child prodigy having mastered the mandolin by age 6. He joined the Clinch Mountain Boys at the age of fifteen, and at twenty one he was considered a Bluegrass star.

This book talks candidly about his losses and strained relationship with his children. How he reinvented his failed relationship with God and went back to his roots to begin recording and performing Bluegrass after having a semi successful mainstream Country recording career.

This book includes the hallowed ten commandments of Bluegrass handed down to him by Bill Monroe, and his personal accounts of nearly forty years of the music business. It also includes a candid look at his most loved Gospel songs and brings us closer to what motivates him as a performer.

You know, when people talk to me about outlaws they always fail to mention this man Jimmy Martin. I’m going to include this from the website about this book:   Jimmy Martin was just twenty-two years old when Bill Monroe asked him to join the Blue Grass Boys. That invitation was the start of a career that spanned half a century and culminated with Martin’s induction into the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Hall of Honor. Always an enigmatic figure, Martin was as famous for his temper as he was for his talent.

On assignment from the Oxford American magazine, fiction writer and music critic Tom Piazza drove from his home in New Orleans to Nashville to interview Martin and found himself pitched headlong into a world he couldn’t have anticipated. Martin’s mercurial personality drew the writer into a series of escalating encounters (with mean dogs, broken-down cars, and near electrocution), culminating in a harrowing and unforgettable expedition, with Martin, to the Grand Ole Opry.

Though, or perhaps because, visits to the Opry like the one Piazza recounts were common for Martin, and though he frequently played on its stage and always hoped to become a member, he died before seeing his dream fulfilled. True Adventures with the King of Bluegrass is the funny, scary, and powerfully poignant portrait of one of the legends of American music.

This book heralds his outlaw antics and wild personality as both iconic and magnetic, however his personality often prohibited him from being included in the Nashville establishment. His often Opry appearances still kept him from being a member, a goal he died before achieving.

Miss Lynn Woodruff Gray has been heavily involved in Country Music for many many years, and has embellished it with her love and memories of the Legends that would dwell there. In my eyes she is just as much of a Legend of the genre as they were. Her previous book called “I Guess You Had To Be There” was an absolute masterpiece and a pleasure to read multiple times.

She told Gary Hayes Country  “My latest book is available on Amazon. SITTIN’ AT A BUS STOP, WAITIN’ ON A TRAIN. It talks about how a song made a difference in my life after the loss of my son. It has been a lot of help to several who have also lost someone.”

Grief is a long road without end, and time is not the healer, but what you do with that time that heals. The choices you make in your journey meet with many challenges, but there is always an open door for better days. You may take two steps forward and six steps back, but it is those two steps that will make the difference. Holding to the rope railings of a swinging bridge as you move forward, is a shaky endeavor, but not one that can’t be accomplished if you keep moving. This is what Lynn realized when coming to terms with her emotions. It was like sittin’ at a bus stop, waitin’ on a train.

Whisperin’ Bill Anderson: An Unprecedented Life In Country Music a 360-page representation of Anderson’s journey published by University of Georgia Press featuring respected music journalist and Grammy-nominated music producer Peter Cooper as a contributing writer. It includes rare, never-before-seen photos and eye-opening personal stories from Anderson’s nearly eighty years of living – from early days of radio broadcasting in Georgia, to standing alongside the greatest country music stars in the world onstage at the Grand Ole Opry, to being named BMI’s first ICON Award winner in the country music genre.

Whisperin’ Bill Anderson is easily one of the most distinguishable voices in Country music today and probably one of the foremost prominent figures left on the weekly Opry roster to host it. He has had so many major Country Music cuts you couldn’t count them all. This book chronicles all of his accomplishments within one of the longest and most iconic careers in history.

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