News/Thoughts

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True Grass Again

Many revere Lorraine Jordan as the keeper of tradition in bluegrass music. She originally hailed from the coast of North Carolina but currently resides in Garner, NC, which is just outside of Raleigh, NC. She holds court in her namesake coffee shop/music venue, Lorraine’s Coffee House, when she is not out on the road with her band, Carolina Road. She ...

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Performing Across The Pond

So you want to perform overseas? Let’s talk about Europe. It has its own challenges and definitely has rewards. Being the wayward troubadour that I am (also the name of my new album) brings about it’s own pains and pleasures. As 2017 came to a close, I spent 10 weeks on the road with five days at home. The last ...

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Folk Alliance Turns 30

A few years before Americana Rhythm Music magazine came into being, the now publisher called me and asked if I wanted to accompany him to San Diego, CA. for a music conference. He hoped that I could help him and the publisher of Singer magazine staff a trade booth to free them up to do some networking at the conference. ...

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Yes, We Hear You Now

Every since Uncle Dave and Aunt Betty left their front porch and took their Guitar and Fiddle up on the stage at the local high school auditorium, there has been a need to electrically amplify the performer’s picking and singing. Almost any audio amplifier will work as a public address system and drive a garden variety loud speaker with enough ...

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Women Bluegrass Pioneers

Recently, at the International Bluegrass Music Association gathering in Raleigh, NC, the AR folks staffed a booth in the exhibit hall. Across from the AR booth was an exhibit promoting a filmmaker’s effort to honor music pioneer, Alice Gerrard. Should you not know, Alice Gerrard along with Hazel Dickens, her friend and fellow pioneering woman in bluegrass music, were among ...

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Lovin’ The Local Jam

While the masses of music lovers gather at music festivals all summer long, and congregate in renovated theaters, coffee houses, and such; the backbone, if you will, of bluegrass music, exists all over rural America in small towns and communities on any given night of the week at something called Jams. They’re often free, usually involve dinner and/or desert, lots ...

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Hangin’ With Mac

When I was a young kid in the late 1940s, a local radio station, WSVA-AM, aired live country music daily from their Harrisonburg, VA studio. My mother kept that string-music (her words) playing in our home every day. Mac Wiseman was a musical renaissance man at WSVA. He read the news, weather and commercials; was the MC for the live ...

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Singing In The Glen

Not long ago, I had the sad mission of attending the graveside service for the husband of a friend. The service was held at a hill top cemetery located above the small village of Singers Glen in western Rockingham County Va. A preacher from the church located at the bottom of the hill soothed our hearts and minds by playing ...

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On The Road With Mike Aiken

‘On the Road’ articles can be metaphorical or plain old reality. Let’s talk about the reality of being on the road, getting from gig to gig to gig and home again. Sam Bush said at a concert, “I get paid to travel. I play for free.” True words Sam, very true words. We all got into this business to feed ...

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Making The Connection

Have you ever wondered how your favorite act magically wound up appearing at the local theater Friday night? Maybe you happened upon your ideal festival featuring nearly all of your favorite bands or you dial in to your favorite local radio or internet station and hear an amazing new song … do you ever wonder how they got hold of ...

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