News/Thoughts

Featured Articles

Alice Gerrard

If you are a fan of Alice Gerrard who, along with her duet partner the legendary folksinger, Hazel Dickens, pioneered the emergence of women in bluegrass, you might be interested in this bit of information. Several years ago at the IBMA convention in Raleigh, NC, the AR trade booth was located near an exhibit explaining a film producer’s effort to ...

Read More »

Red Wing VII Is Near

It’s almost here! One of the larger, perhaps more popular roots music festivals in Virginia is about to happen. Beginning Friday, July 12th, 2019 several thousand music fans will make their way to the unique festival grounds of Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon Virginia, for the Red Wing Roots festival hosted by the Steel Wheels band. Nestled in the ...

Read More »

6 String Travel Companion

Guitars As Traveling Companions This piece brings me to thinking about my life and its relationship with guitars. I am getting ready to sail a 53’ sailboat to Bermuda and am trying to decide which of my guitars to take with me. To go weeks without playing is unthinkable and makes me twitch. A guitar has got to be on ...

Read More »

Merlefest Names 2019 Song Contest Winner

Every year, at the famed Merlefest, songwriters enthusiastically via for a chance to compete for the crown as the best songwriter at the Chris Austin Songwriting contest. Now in its 27th year, the contest allows up-and-coming songwriters to perform for a panel of music industry professionals and serves to give talented songwriters exposure. In the Bluegrass category this year, Tellico’s Anya Hinkle took ...

Read More »

Bluegrass Love Story

On Friday, May 24th, 2019 a special wedding took place – which was the kickoff to the Chantilly Farm Bluegrass & BBQ Festival held on Memorial Day weekend. It’s truly a “bluegrass love story.” In 2018, two long-time supporters of the festival, Grace Butler and Jamie Hart, shared one of the most special moments of their lives with festival fans ...

Read More »

Front Porch Roots School

We are believers in live music and are cheerleaders for the venues in which live music is taught and performed. And we believe that local encouragement of live musical engagement is vitally important. We recently began seeing posts on our social media outlets regarding activities at a music school and performance venue in nearby Charlottesville, VA named The Front Porch. ...

Read More »

Covered In Style

A few years ago my wife and I made our annual trek to MerleFest, where thousands gather every April for this premier music event. As you might imagine, like any outdoor festival, you’re either in a camp chair or spread out on the ground. And as often happens in April, there are rain showers, which leave the ground constantly damp. ...

Read More »

Bill Collings; On Making Guitars

My road to Collings guitars started about 15 years ago when the then product manager at Takamine guitars (Mike Markure) took me to the Collings booth at winter NAMM and introduced me to Collings’ GM, Steve McCreary. Over the years I would see Steve once a year at NAMM and walk away stunned by his soft-spoken passion for the instruments ...

Read More »

Beyond Appalachian Music

Sometimes we lovers of Americana string music and its associated entertaining pleasures do not take the listening, watching, feeling, tasting leap very far beyond our Appalachian roots. However, there are some more great Americana experiences waiting for us out there. Information about two such experiences recently found their way to our desk. Let me tell you about them. The Academy ...

Read More »

Pickin’ With Jenny

A plectrum can be a thin flat piece of slightly flexible material held by or worn on the fingers and used to pluck or strum stringed musical instruments The plectrum is often called a pick or flat pick if used by a player to produce individual notes. Players of string-music know that there are many types of picks that will ...

Read More »