News/Thoughts

Cover Stories

55 Years And Counting

Born and raised in Lebanon OH, Larry Sparks is one of the few early generation bluegrass pioneers still performing today. Although Larry played in country and rock music bands in high school, in 1964 his bluegrass career began when he joined the Stanley Brothers on the recommendation of aquaintence Moon Mullins. “Carter Stanley is the one that got me with ...

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Chasing Her Dream

Singer/Mandolinist Amanda Cook started singing music with her dad when she was in her mid-20s through her mid 30s. Her dad, a well known banjo player in their hometown and regionally in Florida, bought her a mandolin to play when they formed the band. “I was literally learning to play an instrument while I was in the band,” she admitted. ...

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Radio Personality Elizabeth Cook Sings Too

I first got dialed into Elizabeth Cook – literally – as a regular listener to the Outlaw Country radio station on Sirius XM radio (channel 62). Cook has been a daytime host of her own radio show, Apron Strings, for over 10 years. Her freeform approach and her candid commentary is a hit with many listeners. She often talks about ...

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If You Wanna Get To Heaven

My high school years were in the 70s and 80s. I grew up in a rural, agricultural community and attended school with a bunch of kids that were a product of that setting. It was an exciting era in music, producing what some still call “the best music ever.” Allman Brothers, Marshall Tucker, Eagles, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, 38 Special ...

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Jeff Scroggins and Colorado

Jeff Scroggins grew up in a very small farming town in Dibble Oklahoma, milking cows on a dairy farm. Like many teenage boys in the 70s and 80s, Jeff dabbled in rock and roll music in high school. “They found a picture of him in a Kiss cover band,” his son Tristan told me. “He played a lot of electric ...

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Grammy Nominated Sister Sadie

It’s probably not evident here in the article, but the ladies clearly enjoy each others company, picking on and laughing with each other constantly. You can listen to the full interview on our podcast, Americana Music Profiles. I was fortunate to have all five together on the phone at the same time, and it was quite hilarious, and lot of ...

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Songs From The Road

The bluegrass/roots/folk scene has expanded exponentially in recent years, and the talent level has progressed right along with it. Artists are doing things today with traditional string instruments that Jimmy Martin and Bill Monroe probably never imagined wereto be you could probably count the number of top acts with 10 fingers, to a time when there are better than 10 ...

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Hard Drivin’ Carolina String Band

Calling Town Mountain a hard drivin’ Carolina string band is just the beginning of the story. While at first glance, one could assume they are a straight up bluegrass band, from about the first chord, you know you’re in for more than just another bluegrass concert. Not that this is a bad thing, but in this case, the fellas from ...

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Strings Done Differently

Balsam Range, over the past 11 years, has played themselves into perhaps one of the most solid, consistent, contemporary bluegrass acts out on the road today. The same five guys who first got together in Darren Nicholson’s (mandolin, vocals) kitchen back in 2007, are the same five guys still playing together today, and are now on tour with their ground ...

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The Highland Travelers

Adam Steffey started playing bluegrass music in the early eighties, as a freshman in high school, on a mandolin his grandfather got him at a flea market. “I was actually a late starter,” he commented. “So many kids these days, they are eight years old and just blastin’ already. But I took an interest in it right away. I took ...

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