2018

Gretchen Priest – Fiddle


Gretchen Priest - FiddleGretchen Priest divides her time between performing, teaching fiddle and running the Musical Heritage Center of Middle Tennessee (also known as the Fiddle and Pick) that she founded in 2008 in Pegram, Tennessee, just west of Nashville.
Her school teaches traditional acoustic instruments with a staff of 35, many of whom are among Nashville’s leading recording and performing professionals.

Gretchen, along with her husband Tim May, formed the band Plaidgrass by merging the traditions of Irish, old-Time and bluegrass music and the instrumentation of fiddle, bouzouki, bodhran, bass and banjo in a variety of configurations. Prior to opening the Fiddle and Pick, Gretchen toured with the bluegrass band Crucial Smith and the Celtic rock band, Ceili Rain. She is often a featured performer on the Grand Ole Opry, Mountain Stage, the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, and many festivals across the country.

Robert Bowlin – Guitar

Robert BowlinAs a Blue Grass Boy: Robert Bowlin was the last fiddler to join the Blue Grass Boys. He plays on the recording of “Boston Boy” that closes the boxed set “Music of Bill Monroe, 1936-1994”

Recording Sessions: 1/9/1994

Before and After: A multi-instrumentalist, Bowlin won the 1979 National Guitar Championship. He has created audio lessons in twin guitar and twin mandolin playing for Musicians’ Workshop, and has recorded as a sideman with many bluegrass and country artists. He has been a member of the Osborne Brothers’ and Kathy Mattea’s bands, and currently plays lead guitar and fiddle with the group Shady Mix.

For more information about Robert, visit: https://RobertBowlin.com

Wil Maring – Songwriting

Wil MaringAs Wil Maring sat for long summer hours as a teenager at her family’s roadside vegetable stand, picking out self-made tunes on her Sears guitar to pass the time, she never dreamed of the path she would one day follow. Wil has become a highly acclaimed songwriter, a previous winner of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest, and has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry with her original music, in addition to touring extensively in Europe and Japan. She honed her songwriting skills playing music professionally in Europe with her group Shady Mix.

Wil Maring and virtuose guitarist and fiddler Robert Bowlin have been recently combining talents to create beautiful original acoustic music which straddles the fence between bluegrass, folk and country music. Wil’s beautiful airy vocal style and heartfelt lyrics have raised the eyebrows of the acoustic music world in recent years with the release of her three solo cds and four band cds with her band Shady Mix. Robert, a two-time National Fingerpicking and Flatpicking Guitar contest winner, has been a band member with legendary artists like Bill Monroe, Maura O Connell, Kathy Mattea, the Osborne Brothers, and many more. Their music will leave audiences spellbound long after the show is over. For bigger venues, Wil sometimes appears with whole band, Shady Mix, which includes instrumental lineup of upright bass, fiddle, mandolin, and sometimes banjo.

As Dave Higgs, respected host of Nashville Public Radio’s nationally syndicated bluegrass program describes the performance: “Absolutely, hands-down some of the most mesmerizing, exciting, interesting and enjoyable acoustic music I have ever heard. Wil’s songs are just in a league of their own, and the picking…. the interplay between (the musicians) is simply astonishing. Not clones — but an inspired group with a different message. I love it!”

WHAT FOLKS ARE SAYING:

“Wil Maring, one of the most underrated writers in bluegrass, returns with a new collection of songs about familiar topics like home, family, the road, and relationships. Her approach is refreshingly intimate and subtle, rendering the songs simultaneously contemporary and timeless, in a way that rewards repeated listening. The singing matches the grace of the songwriting, and her top notch regular band, with great guests like Rob Ickes and Stuart Duncan, couches everything in shimmering, spacious sound. Plus there’s a great cover of a Steve Winwood song – how’s that for contemporary bluegrass?”
– Bruce Bergathon “Acousticity” WGLT, Bloomington, IL

“This is the best stuff I’ve heard at TAXI since I can’t remember when. The songs are beautifully written and memorable, the lyrical imagery is vivid and intense, the level of musicianship is stunning. Oh, and did I forget to mention the singing?! Well, the singing is pretty damn great too. I believe every word. I am forever under the singer’s spell. Music of this caliber deserves to be celebrated. Superb. Can’t wait to hear more.”
– TAXI rep., the biggest independent A and R company

“With “The Calling” she has established herself as one of the genre’s premier songwriters. Her songs are always thoughtful, tastefully arranged, arrestingly executed, melodically interesting and pack a 20-megaton emotional wallop. And, as though that wasn’t enough to send everyone into perpetual euphoria, she has developed an original sound as well–propelled by her beautiful, one-of-a-kind voice that is lilting and gorgeous yet tempered with a tough-edginess that makes for a simply exquisite combination. I especially enjoyed the ominous “Black Snake of the Sky,” the inspiring “Keeper of the Farm,” the hauntingly poetic “Going Down,” the introspectful “Window Seat” and the killer cover of “Back in the Highlife Again.”
– Dave Higgs, syndicated Bluegrass Breakdown, WPLN Nashville, TN

“Wil Maring is a dynamic songwriter, guitarist and singer. She has created a homespun quality and sound while performing deep rooted bluegrass music mixed in with the sound of folk. There is clarity and brilliance in her masterpieces. She has a passion in her voice while performing songs dear to her heart such as “Keeper of the Farm”. The song is poetic in nature with a down-home feeling. The lyrics contain visions of the past that will take you down an old path leading to a family farm that is filled with history. It is a heartfelt song in its overall interpretation of its presence, and in a land of memory dear to her heart called family. Overall she brings forth great music that will last a lifetime.”
– Peggy Leyva-Conley, former Editor/Columnist, Delta Snake Blues Magazine San Jose, California

“When you are finished reading this review, please, please go to her website and have a listen to her voice. I can’t even begin to describe what it is about it that attracts me so. Is it the easy back-porch alto, the slight twang, the way it just sounds real? Maring’s lovely vocals are surrounded by her Shady Mix bandmates as well as acoustic luminaries such as Stuart Duncan and Rob Ickes. The soft bluegrass arrangements are perfect for the contemporary rural themes of the songs. ……Whether you focus on the heartfelt poetry of the lyrics or the gently intricate playing, Maring and company welcome you to a very genuine place in the country. Essential!”
– Michael Devlin, Music Matters Reviews

“Don’ get much better than this…. Nothing else to add except to urge you buy this excellent album.”
– Maverick Country Music Magazine, United Kingdom

“Congratulations, Wil, on another great record! Strong songwriting, excellent production, and stellar players – this one will be getting lots of spins!”
– Bud Johnson, host of syndicated Acoustic Accents, Tok, Alaska

“Wil…Got home from the post office awhile ago, laid down with headphones and listened to your tunes….whew!! I just finished taking it all in. So many different grooves and perfect backup to your lyrics and voice. This project is just plain right, that’s all I can say at the moment. You must be proud to be able to produce such an awesome album. Any of the writers we know should be so lucky as to come up with lyrics and melodies like yours! What a great trip your CD is…no kidding! ”
– Kevin Lynch, WWUH, West Hartford, CT

For more information about Wil, visit: https://www.myspace.com/wilmaring.

Paul Glasse – Mandolin

Paul GlasseGrowing up in Poughkeepsie, NY, a young Paul Glasse was introduced to the unusual acoustic draw of the mandolin. Though as an adolescent he cut his teeth on Bluegrass, Old Timey, and New England Traditional Music, it was the Siren of Texas Swing that would lure him to Austin, Texas in 1977. Under the tutelage of the great electric mandolinist, Tiny Moore (Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys) Glasse immersed himself in the vocabulary and vibe of Texas Swing. Known for its quick-pulsed tempo and unusual blend of early Country and Western fused with the jazz harmony of late 30’s Benny Goodman/Charlie Christian swing, this indigenous art would be the unique and central core of his musical identity.
To the right, a youthful Paul Glasse, 1981 Buck White International Mandolin Championship winner(middle), pictured between 1982 winner Nashville recording artist Mark O’Connor (left) and 1980 winner Bobby Clark (right). A decade-long success championing mandolin contests in the late 80s would hone his technical picking prowess and morph his interest into the rapid-fire compendium of Bebop jazz. A fondness for a short, recognizable “head,” followed by blazing improvisation became the signature sound of Glasse, and his compositional skills. (Photo of Paul with his electric mandolin courtsey of JazzMando.com)

Permanently rooted in the promiscuously vibrant Austin musical scene, Glasse’ regular appearances at local performances have become of the many treasures of this town’s nightlife. Known internationally for its cadre of talented players and musical originality, Austin with it’s notably raw brilliance has all the musical attraction and potential of Nashville, sans the gloss. Though he has toured with such notables as Lyle Lovett, it’s the incubating environment of this musical homebase that defines the originality and sensibilities of his music.Paul furthered his traditional education through his coursework in the University of Texas, where he filled the Big Band guitar slot with his 5-string electric mandolin. Michael Stevens, former Senior Design Engineer of the Fender Custom Shop, introduced a special signature Paul Glasse Model Mandolin. He also owns the original darker sunburst prototype that Michael made in 1982. Barry Mitterhoff (Hot Tuna) borrowed this for some touring before his own “Paul Glasse Model” was completed. These mandolins are played by, Aubrey Haynie, Tom Rozum, and Don Stiernberg among others.

Two albums grace his discography, and lately, a compilation double CD re-release of these (with bonus tracks!) record this magnificent ground-breaking music for posterity and of course, serious aural study for the aspiring jazz mandolinist.

Kudos:

1st place 1981 Buck White International Mandolin Championship Kerville, Texas
Winner Professional Mandolinist division Shriner Central Texas Pick-off.
1st Place 1987East Texas Mandolin Championship
1st Place 1989 Walnut Valley (Winfield) Mandolin Championship
Multiple appearances on Austin City Limits including as a featured performer with his own group
Inductee Texas Western Swing Hall of Fame
Featured on an NPR All Things Considered profile/interview with Noah Adams
Awarded a six month apprenticeship with Johnny Gimble as part of Texas Folklife Resources “Master/Apprentice” program
Custom Builder Michael Stevens “Paul Glasse Model” electric mandolin
Endorsee, D’addairo Strings
National Association of Jazz Educators citation for “outstanding musicianship.
“Featured on voluminous projects with artists such as Tiny Moore, Johnny Gimble, Mark O’Connor, Jethro Burns, Mike Marshall, Tony Trishka, Jerry Douglas, Howard Levy, Peter Rowan, Lyle Lovett, Willie Nelson, Eldon Shamblin, Allison Krause, Kelly Willis, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Michelle Shocked, Laurie Lewis, Riders in the Sky, Asleep at the Wheel, and many others.

Paul’s bio courtsey of Ted Eschliman – JazzMando.com

Brad Davis – Guitar

Brad Davis - Flatpick GuitarA talented guitar instructor and writer, Brad has been a columnist for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine since 1996 and is currently Takamines main guitar clinician, conducting dozens of music store clinics for Takamine each year. He has taught at Steve Kaufman’s Flatpick Camp, Nashcamp, Camp Bluegrass, the St. Louis Flatpick Weekend, the Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend, and more. He has also produced four instructional DVDs for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, “Flatpick Jam”, Volumes 1, 2, & 3 and a book/DVD/CD course called “Flatpicking the Blues”. Additionally, he has produced several instructional courses for Mel Bay Publications, including the “Blue Book of Speedpicking”, and a series of instructional Ear Training Cds.

After spending years on the road playing country with Marty Stuart, bluegrass with Earl Scruggs, newgrass with Sam Bush, Gypsy jazz with John Jorgenson, and rock with Billy Bob Thornton, Brad Davis steps out front to prove that he can hold his own as a solo artist, songwriter, and band leader.

Brad Davis spent ten years (1992-2002) performing on stage as a member of Marty Stuart’s road band. For the past six years he has played lead acoustic guitar with Earl Scruggs and Friends, and for the past five years he has played lead electric and acoustic guitar with movie actor Billy Bob Thorntons rock band. He spent two years (2003-2004) as the guitar player for the Sam Bush Band and also performed with John Jorgensons Gypsy jazz Quintet in 2005. He occasionally performs with an exciting new bluegrass band, calling themselves “Greenbroke,” consisting of Brad Davis, John Cowan, John Moore, and Dennis Caplinger.

Brad has worked for, or recorded with, Willie Nelson, Emmy Lou Harris, Pam Tillis, The Forester Sisters, Tommy Shaw (Styx), David Lee Roth (Van Halen), Sheryl Crow, Sam Bush, Warren Zevon, and The Sweethearts of the Rodeo. He is currently the host of Commerce County Line, a singer/songwriter television program on the iTelevision network (see www.myccl.tv). Additionally, Brad has recorded two album projects featuring Billy Bob Thornton on Mercury Records and has toured both Europe and the United States as the lead guitar player for Billy Bob Thorntons band. Brad’s two solo recordings on FGM Records “I’m Not Gonna Let My Blues Bring Me Down”, and “This World Ain’t No Child Anymore” were both released to rave reviews. He also appears on an FGM concert DVD video release “Live in Kansas City” with Cody Kilby and Tim May.

A prolific songwriter Brad has had his songs recorded by various country and bluegrass artists, including country star Tim McGraw (A’int No Angels). He has played on Marty Stuart’s gold selling album “This Ones Gonna Hurt You”, the Marty Stuart “Hit Pack”, and Marty’s last MCA recording “The Pilgrim”. He played on the soundtrack of Steven Seagals “Fire Down Below”, and performed music for Billy Bob Thorntons Miramax releases “Daddy And Them” and “Waking Up In Reno”. He also recorded with Sheryl Crow, and others, on the Johnny Cash tribute album “Kindred Spirits”, played guitar on Warren Zevons final Grammy-winning recording, “The Wind”, and was on Sam Bush’s Sugar Hill release “King of My World”.

For more information about Brad, visit: https://BradDavisMusic.com.

Dix Bruce – Guitar


Dix Bruce
is a musician and writer who has performed and recorded music in the San Francisco Bay Area since the mid-1970s. He is well-known in jazz and bluegrass music circles for his work with a variety of bands from bluecrass and country to jazz and bib band. He has recorded four duo CDs with guitarist Jim Nunally. For several years Dix was a clinician for the C.F. Martin Guitar Company conducting guitar clinics up and down the West coast. Dix also does studio work on guitar, mandolin, bass, and banjo, and has recorded two LPs with mandolin legend Frank Wakefield.

Dix has produced over fifty music books and DVDs. His latest publications are four book/CD sets for mandolin and guitar entitled “Gypsy Swing & Hot Club Rhythm” and “The Parking Lot Picker’s Songbooks.” Dix wrote and recorded music for three versions of the best-selling video game “The Sims.” He has taught at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, The California Coast Music Camp, Greater Yellowstone Music Camp, Camp Bluegrass, California Bluegrass Assn. Music Camp, Walker Creek Music Camp, and the American River Music Camp. His recent book/ CD sets are entitled, All Time Favorite Parking Lot Picker’s Mandolin Solos, Old Time Gospel Crosspicking Guitar Solos, and Christmas Cross Picking Solos for Guitar.

For more info about Dix visit MusixNow.com

 

Irl Hees – Bass

Irl Hees - BassOn December 11th, 1976, at 16 years of age, Irl Hees began playing the upright bass.  It was a very important day in his life.  Up to that day, he had been playing a washtub bass; one quarter-inch strand of nylon clothesline cord on a number 3 galvanized washtub.  After that day, he never looked back.

He began working with Oklahoma banjo player Kenny Cantrell the following year, and took several more regional band gigs over the next 10 years. Irl was the original bassist in the Midwest group “Radio Flyer”, and in the late 80’s, Irl began a group called “Down The Road”.  The band lasted about 6 years.  It was during this time that he joined with several others to produce and record “The Missouri Session”, a CD devoted to showcasing several Midwest bluegrass bands and musicians in a studio setting.

Irl began playing professionally in 1995 when he joined Rhonda Vincent’s country band.  In 1996, he was part of the original RAJ’E band, which later became Rhonda Vincent and the Rage.  Irl then joined Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, and eventually did two stints with Chris, appearing on Chris’s “Just A Town” album.  In 2002, Irl joined the Lonesome River Band, and recorded “Window Of Time” with LRB.

The Grand Ole Opry, The Jerry Lewis Telethon, Music City Roots, Larry’s Country Diner, are just a few of the venues Irl has appeared on over the years.  He has performed with actress Mare Winningham and her ‘Jewgrass Boys’ several times, and he knows Miles Cleverly of the Cleverly Trio personally, although he’s never seen Miles perform.  That’s OK, because Miles has never seen Irl perform, either.  Irl has also worked with Roy Rogers Jr. as a Highrider for two years.

Irl now enjoys teaming with bandleader Clay Hess in the Clay Hess Band, and does occasional session work for other bluegrass performers.  He still has the old wash tub as a reminder of where he came from, but prefers the acoustic upright bass, although he has toyed with donating the wash tub to the IFWS…..the International Foot Washers Society.

Ned Luberecki – Banjo

Ned is the 2018 IBMA Banjo Player Of The Year and an all-around bluegrass legend. Ned is an incredible banjo picker and music educator. Ned is funny.  He was a member of Paul Adkins & The Borderline Band, The Rarely Herd and, most recently, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers for over a decade. 

The Baltimore, MD, native, who now makes his home in Nashville, TN, is a partner in the Nedski & Mojo duo and a favored guest on stage and in studio with artists ranging from Jim Lauderdaleto Tony Trischka to Ray Stevens to Sam Bush.  Since the early 1980s, Ned has maintained a busy schedule of private lessons, along with workshops and camps in the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Europe. He is the author of Alfred Publications three-part Complete 5-String Banjo Method and has pioneered on-air instruction with his popular “More Banjo Sunday” and “The Sunday Banjo Lesson” on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction, where he also hosts the regular newgrass show, “Derailed,” keeping us laughing all the way down the road.  For several years now, Ned has also been the voice of the IBMA awards show.  He and his Bluegrass Junction compadres were honored with a 2016 IBMA Distinguished Achievement award.  Check out his critically-acclaimed latest album, Take Five, when you have a moment, as well as his new series of instructional videos for TrueFire.com. Visit Ned online at Nedski.com.

httpvh://youtu.be/LAkQc0Im7uI

Sam Swank – Fingerstyle Guitar

Sam Swank - Fingerstyle GuitarSam Swank is a life-long Dallasite who started playing guitar in 1968 when his father brought home a copy of “Are You Experienced” by Jimi Hendrix to supplement his record collection, which consisted of “The Monkees Greatest Hits” and “Revolver” by the Beatles.

Sam has made his living as a professional musician and guitar instructor for 25 years. He studied classical guitar with Rick Madriguera at Eastfield College and Tom Johnson at the University of North Texas. He has recorded and performed with such diverse talents as Johnny Reno, Olivia Newton-John, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Andy Timmons. (Sam believes Andy is really coming along!)

Sam’s approach to teaching is always tailored to individual needs. He specializes in acoustic fingerstyle and classical, as well as rock and blues styles. He enjoys corrupting strict classical and acoustic players with rock and blues music, and vice-versa. He even plays bluegrass well enough to fool undiscriminating listeners, but tries not to tell too many people. Sam really likes helping people improve their guitar skills.

 

Gerald Jones – Banjo / Mandolin

Gerald Jones - Banjo / MandolinGerald Jones, founder and director of Acoustic Music Camp, is a favorite instructor at many bluegrass and roots music camps around the nation, teaching banjo, mandolin, and many special topics such as “Jam Survival Skills.” He’s a skilled player in many different styles, including bluegrass, western swing, country, classical banjo and Polish war hymns. He’s played on stage or recorded with Jim “Texas Shorty” Chancellor, Vince Gill, Sam Bush, Hank Thompson, Red Steagall, Jethro Burns, Jerry Douglas, Tanya Tucker, Junior Brown and many more. He is the inventor of the Jones/AcousticPlus banjo pickup endorsed by Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Alan Munde and many others. As a banjoist, he’s been a two-time finalist in the National Bluegrass Banjo championship in Winfield, Kansas.

Gerald has taught music for almost 30 years, and counts among his students Marty and Emily Erwin of the Dixie Chicks, and Max Johnston of the Gourds. He was the editor of Mel Bay’s bimonthly webzine Banjo Sessions and a frequent contributor to Joe Carr’s Mandolin Sessions. As Joe said of Gerald, “Students love him because he jams a lot with them and teaches as much out of class as in!”

For more information about Gerald, visit: TheGeraldJones.com.

 

Nate Lee – Mandolin


Nate Lee playing mandolin at the fiddle house nashville tn
Nate Lee is a 2015 IBMA Momentum Award winning instrumentalist and renowned teacher of private lessons and music camps. While attending the Bluegrass & Country Music Program at South Plains College, Nate joined the Alan Munde Gazette. He toured with the band for six years and played fiddle on their second release, Made To Last.  After moving to Nashville in 2012, Nate toured with Irene Kelley, Town Mountain, and the Jim Hurst Trio. Although Nate is in demand on stage and in the studio, his first love is teaching. With more than thirteen years’ experience as a teacher and workshop instructor, Nate has gained a loyal following of students who enjoy his comprehensive teaching methods and relaxed, encouraging demeanor.  Nate can be found playing mandolin, twin fiddle, and singing with the Becky Buller Band.  He is also a member of the IBMA Leadership Bluegrass committee and a 2014 graduate of the program.  For more info on studying music with Nate and to check out his Plays Well With Others solo album and his popular new teaching DVD, How To Play A Break On A Song You’ve Never Heard Before, visit TheNateLee.com and PlayNately.com

Alan Tompkins – Banjo

Alan Tompkins - BassBLUEGRASS TODAY calls Alan Tompkins “a true Renaissance man,” and the title certainly fits.  A native of the farming and coal mining country of western Kentucky, Alan grew up steeped in the sounds of classic country, gospel, and bluegrass music.  He performed in several bands in his home town of Madisonville, Kentucky before moving to Texas in 1983, where he earned MBA and law degrees at SMU.

It was a thrill for Alan to produce and record his first album, No Part of Nothin’ , released in 2012.  The album features a lineup of incredibly talented musicians and singers, many of whom are Grammy® or IBMA award winners or nominees.  The list includes Sam Bush, Deryl Dodd, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Ron Stewart, Stephen Mougin, Gerald Jones, Greg Cahill, Ned Luberecki, Mike Bub, Randy Kohrs, Brad Davis, Nate Lee, Bobby Davis, and Steve Rhian.

Alan is the founder and President of the Bluegrass Heritage Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of bluegrass music in America.  The Foundation produced Fanning the Fire, an award-winning short film about bluegrass music that screened in more than 25 film festivals across the United States, in 2011.  He’s a 2009 graduate of the IBMA Leadership Bluegrass program and presently serves as the chair of the planning committee for the program.  Alan plays a Huber Banjo, some great, really old Gibson banjos, a 1961 Kay bass, a New Standard Cleveland bass, Beard dobros, and few other great instruments.

For more information about Alan, visit: AlanTompkins.com