July 2022

The Tradition

Notes & Queries – July 2022

Queries Q: When it comes to Clarence White’s guitars, it seems most of the attention is given (and not inappropriately so) to the iconic 1935 D-28 that ended up in Tony Rice’s hands. But, from what I’ve read, Clarence used the D-28 mostly for rhythm (perhaps owing to it not being set up very well)… Read the full article

Bill Poffenberger

Classic Fiddler From the Early Days of Bluegrass I have recently been listening to some of my older bluegrass albums and kept hearing wonderful fiddle breaks and backup, particularly on the Emerson and Waldron albums. I knew that the fiddler was Bill Poffenberger but I didn’t know much about him. I remember meeting him at a… Read the full article

The Artists

Laura Orshaw

Solitary Diamond Photo by Scott Simontacchi Solitary Diamond, the title of Laura Orshaw’s debut album, resonates on a number of levels. The words themselves come from a couple of songs from the project, but they refer to a concept, too. The songs on Solitary Diamond, she says, tell stories from different vantage points of those… Read the full article

Gary Ferguson

Color His Songs Red, White, And Blue And Emerald Green “Around 1990, [Rebel Records owner] Dave Freeman asked if I had any songs I’d like to send to Larry Sparks,” Ferguson recalls. “I sent ten songs. One day I received a letter from Larry Sparks. He said he liked about eight of those songs, and… Read the full article

Balsam Range 

Celebrating 15 Years of Bringing Western North Carolina Bluegrass to the World Photo By Caty Smith When it comes to the top tier of bands that have found success in this uniquely-American music genre we call bluegrass, the story of the rise of Balsam Range is tale of good things coming from an impromptu house jam,… Read the full article

The Sound

Ringing in the Changes

Geoff Stelling Bids Farewell to Banjo Making After 48 Years It may seem an odd thing to say in an age when the options for professional-quality banjos are plentiful, but there once was a time when they didn’t extend much beyond Gibsons.  But by the mid-70s, when Geoff Stelling was thinking about starting his own business… Read the full article

New York’s Bluegrass Bassman

Photo by Justin Camerer Although the bass is not the most glamorous of bluegrass instruments, it is certainly just as important as every other instrument in the band.  It is the glue that holds the band together and without glue, you only have disparate pieces.  About twenty years ago I was producing an instruction video… Read the full article

The Venu

New Kid on the Block of Traditional Music Programs

Warren Wilson College While it has only been around for a short time, Warren Wilson College’s Traditional Music program is well on its way to being a go-to destination for Appalachian culture immersion.  Now offering a major (BA) and a minor in music with a concentration in Traditional Music, the program features “a unique concentration… Read the full article

Appalachian Music Program

West Virginia University For bluegrass music fans, West Virginia represents the heartland of the deep and rich musical traditions of Appalachia.  The old rural mountain lifestyle that first generation bluegrass singers remember fondly in their songs about the old log cabin and the homeplace have been passed down in the bluegrass music tradition in such… Read the full article

Center for Appalachian Studies

Appalachian State University In the heart of the western North Carolina mountains is the small town of Boone. Named after the historical figure Daniel Boone, who lived in the area for two years in the 1700s hunting and trapping before moving westward through the Cumberland Gap into what is now called Kentucky, Boone also features… Read the full article

Bluegrass Music Program

Colorado College Colorado College, located on a ninety-two acre campus in downtown Colorado Springs, is a small liberal arts college comprised of only two thousand total students (only 500 of the 20,000 annual applicants are accepted each year).  The difference between Colorado College and the many other small four-year liberal arts institutions in the United… Read the full article

Milan Music Fest

Expands to 5 Days As it Celebrates 25th Anniversary in Southeastern Michigan While a lot of bluegrass music was performed live around the country from the second half of 2021 on, lingering aspects of the COVID pandemic still left artists and music fans on edge as this new year plays out. The good news is… Read the full article