All posts tagged: Bluegrass

Chris Stapleton - Traveller

Saturday Soundtrack: The acoustic side of Chris Stapleton

Readers who follow country music know the singer, songwriter, and guitarist Chris Stapleton. But I enjoy seeing those from other genres hearing his “brown liquor” voice for the first time and recognizing both a unique talent and a kindred spirit with whatever type of music they love.* Born into a Kentucky coal-mining family, Stapleton absorbed a variety of musical influences growing up, including from the incomparable Aretha Franklin who he described as “the greatest singer that ever lived.” That tells you right from the beginning that his tastes are excellent and his standards high. Stapleton toiled in the Nashville song-writing business for more than a decade while also fronting one of my favorite bluegrass bands, The SteelDrivers, from 2007 to 2010. In 2015 he broke through as a solo performer with the award-winning album Traveller, was featured at the 2015 CMA Awards show in a breakout live performance with Justin Timberlake, and hasn’t looked back. Stapleton’s voice is a treasure, but his songwriting and guitar playing are also top notch. In this edition of the …

Saturday Soundtrack: Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass  began playing together more than 18 years ago, and they remain road warriors today, making up to 175 tour stops a year. Based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, these five musicians play bluegrass music and much more on traditional bluegrass instruments. In fact, Greensky Bluegrass fits nicely into the progressive bluegrass and jam band category begun lo those many years ago by Sam Bush and the New Grass Revival, II Generation, and others. Today, they are often compared—and share the stage with—String Cheese Incident, the Infamous Stringdusters, and similar bands. While they’ve played hallowed country music halls such as Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, they also play to large audiences in venues less frequently connected to traditional bluegrass acts, such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Bonnaroo, and the New Orleans Jazz Festival. The band has been described as “a live force of nature renowned for bringing rock ‘n’ roll showmanship to high-energy bluegrass…. Their unpredictable performances remain the stuff of legend attracting diehard devotees who typically travel far and wide to experience multiple gigs.” The internet has a …

About “More to Come…The DJB Blog”

Hi.  I am David J. Brown (hence the DJB) and I originally created this blog in 2008 to send random thoughts on a few things I care about to friends, family, and others who may share the same passions.  I began this as a way to capture photos and memories from a family vacation.  After the trip was over, I simply continued writing. Over the years the blog has changed to have a more definite focus, which is reflected in the updated menu items and look.  Several years ago I began writing a Monday email to my staff about things that were on my mind, and this discipline led to a regular feature on the blog which you can find under “Monday Musings.”  Professionally, I am a national nonprofit leader with a four-decade record of growing and strengthening organizations at local, state, and national levels. Throughout my career, I have been passionate about connecting people in thriving, sustainable, and vibrant communities. You can learn more about my professional consulting work through my Bearden Brown LLC …

Adventures in Moving

My father, after helping with at least the fifth move of one of his children to some new town and new apartment through the wonders of U-Haul, declared that he had “enjoyed his last Adventure in Moving.” U-Haul no longer uses that phrase for their tagline, but after driving two full days from Tennessee to Washington with a van of family furniture, I am channeling my dad.  No more adventures in moving for me! Andrew and I flew to Nashville on Monday, where my sister Debbie met us at the airport and deposited us at the U-Haul office to pick up our van.  Then my niece’s husband Jason and their daughter Kate joined us to help load the van.  They were a godsend (not to mention Andrew’s many contributions over the three days), and we quickly had all the pieces of my dad’s home that were moving to Maryland strapped in and ready to go. We already have a family bedroom suite from the Bearden side of our family (my grandmother’s family), but after my …

Red Wing Roots Music Festival 2016 (Or “Thank God for Sierra Hull”)

Everybody experiences growing pains.  Even music festivals. 2016 was the fourth year for the Red Wings Roots Music Festival held in the beautiful Natural Chimneys Park in Mt. Solon, Virginia.  Hosted by the Steel Wheels, this regional Americana and roots music gathering in the Shenandoah Valley has been eclectic from the beginning, and not all the musical acts have been of the same quality.  But the festival had maintained a nice balance between audiences that were there to party and have a good time and for those who came to listen to some of the country’s best acoustic musicians. (Chris Thile, Sam Bush, I’m With Her, Tim O’Brien, Jon Jorgenson, Claire Lynch, Sarah Jarosz, Del McCoury, and Darrell Scott all showed up over the first three years.) But with the ominous warning on the front page of this year’s festival guide that there would be more “plugged in and turned up” bands, a shift was clearly underway.  Friday’s lineup confirmed that approach…and the balance between the different audience shifted.  Not for the better. I can …

Real Country

There was one upside of being stuck in traffic – and then stuck in the car wash line – on a February day with 60+ degree weather. The Bluegrass Junction station on Sirius XM radio was featuring a live concert of The SteelDrivers – a band I highlighted in my Favorite Roots Music Albums of 2015 post last December.  (Oh yeah, it was also the winner of the “Best Bluegrass Album” in that other little year-end list – The Grammy’s.) After playing “If it Hadn’t Been for Love” from their first project (the black album), fiddler Tammy Rogers mentioned that “some singer you might have heard of – named Adele” – had covered that song earlier this decade and featured it in her Live at the Royal Albert Hall DVD.  I knew Andrew would love this. So I returned home and told Andrew the story.  I mentioned that Chris Stapleton – who wrote and sang on the original SteelDrivers version – just won Country Album of the Year for both the CMA and Grammy’s, which …

60 Lessons From 60 Years

Here are 60 things I’ve learned in my (now) 60 years of life: 1.  Discipline is remembering what you really want. 2.  The graveyard is full of folks who thought the world couldn’t get along without them. (Mary Dixie Bearden Brown and others) 3.  Baseball is (much) better than football. 4.  I have been lucky in love. 5.  Few things sound better than a solo acoustic guitar played by Doc Watson (Deep River Blues), Tony Rice, (Shenandoah), or Norman Blake (Church Street Blues). Or, if you want to go next generation, Bryan Sutton (Texas Gales). 6.  Good things can come from bad situations, if you’ll stop wallowing in your sorrow and seek out the good. 7.  I have become my father.  I repeat many of the same stories. (Did you know that I paid more for my last car than for my first house?)  I read funny articles from the newspaper out loud at the dining room table, sometimes to the consternation of my wife and children. I cackle when I laugh. I am a …

Beer and Bluegrass

Beer and bluegrass.  Betcha never thought of that combination before. Yeah, right. At a festival that took “parking lot picking” to its logical conclusion (i.e., it was held in a parking lot next to the Clarendon Courthouse Metro Station), Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen rode to the rescue when the organizers of the Clarendon Arts & Crafts Beer Festival’s Acoustic Music tent were struggling with a bad sound system and horrible logistics (the sets were almost an hour late in starting). When the Dirty Kitchen band finally began their set  in the tent’s lengthening shadows, we were only ten minutes away from the festival’s posted closing hour. Somehow, with six Virginia Craft Brewers and about a dozen local food trucks to choose from, it didn’t seem to matter! The artist who was really shortchanged in the logistical and sound mess was Christie Lenee. This finger-style guitar tapper was new to me, but she has obviously been making waves in the acoustic music world for a while. Her inventive sound reminded me of Michael Hedges, but …

Congratulations 2014 International Bluegrass Award Winners

It took 10 months, but the 2014 International Bluegrass Awards caught up with my Best of Bluegrass 2013 post from December. Turns out, my picks were prescient. The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards were presented on Thursday evening in Raleigh, NC.  Three of my five choices from the end of the year were winners at the IBMA showcase. Let’s begin with congratulations to Claire Lynch for winning the “Song of the Year” award for Dear Sister.  I recognized this as a special song back in 2012, and have loved this tale taken from letters written before the Civil War Battle of Stones River in my hometown of Murfreesboro. Claire co-wrote this lovely tune with Louisa Branscomb. It is one of her best ever, and highly deserving of the award. Thursday was a big night for banjo phenom Noam Pikelny. His Noam Pikelny Plays Kenny Baker Plays Bill Monroe – one of my picks in December – won Album of the Year at IBMA. This is not just a terrific concept album, it is a terrific album period. …

Claire Lynch Band at Home at IMT

Monday evening’s Institute of Musical Traditions show at St. Mark’s Presbyterian Church had the feeling of a “living room concert” as founder and emcee David Eisner put it. The Claire Lynch Band – in what has become an annual tradition – put on a  musically adventurous yet still familiar and engaging show for a full house of family and appreciative fans. The 2 1/2 hour concert had all the elements of a Claire Lynch show:  great singing by Claire and the band, sick guitar work from Matt Wingate, jazzy fiddle from Bryan McDowell, and lots of fantastic bass from the incomparable Mark Schatz. There were a number of swing tunes, which fit Claire’s voice to a T, tossed in with the bluegrass and folk.  While performing songs from her most recent CD, the first-rate Dear Sister, Claire also reached back into her catalog, especially including tunes from the Watcha Gonna Do CD from 2009.  The Mockingbird’s Voice and Barbed Wire Boys were two standouts among many. There’s so much to like in Claire’s work these …