Sunday, December 25, 2016

Playlist Christmas Day 2016

Hi Folks.

If you were able to tune in for our Christmas show on Christmas Day, we hope you enjoyed our 100% Christmas selections.

Jim Beaver

Artist / Song / Album / Label

  • Dr. Elmo Shropshire / Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer / Dr. Elmo Bluegrass Christmas / Time Life
  • Pike Brothers and the Pine Hill Ranchers / All I Want For Christmas Is You / 45 RPM single / Rebel
  • Charlie Moore / My Christmas Dream / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Wade Mainer / Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Delia Bell & Bill Grant / The Last Christmas Tree / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Landon Messer, Lowell Varney / King Of The Jews / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Rhonda Vincent / Dreaming Of Christmas / Christmas Time / Upper Management
  • Flint River Boys / Christmas In Kentucky / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Joe Isaacs / Home For Christmas / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Randall Hylton / Slippers With Wings / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Cedar Hill / Merry Christmas You All / The Songs of Dixie and Tom T. Hall / Good Home Grown 
  • Helen & Anita Carter / Mama Sang / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Lizzy and Little Roy / The Christmas Whittler / The Christmas Whittler-Single / Blue Circle
  • George & Mary Williamson / Ebenezer / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • RidgeRunners / The First Gift of Christmas / The Songs of Tom T. and Dixie Hall / Good Home Grown 
  • Patsy Montana / Christmas Without Daddy / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Patty Loveless / Bluegrass, White Snow / Bluegrass, White Snow / Epic
  • Becky Buller / Our Gingerbread House / The Christmas 45 / Dark Shadow
  • Tim O'Brien / Bah Humbug / Christmas On The Mountain / Universal South
  • Lulu Belle & Scotty / Empty Christmas Stocking / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Delia Bell & Bill Grant / The Greatest Christmas / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Terry Smith / What's In This Cookie? / Christmas In The Air / Rhinestone Rooster
  • Terry Smith / A Christmas Stocking's Story / Christmas In The Air / Rhinestone Rooster
  • Joseph Spence / Santa Claus Is Coming To Town / The Rounder Christmas Album / Rounder
  • The Stonemans / Prayers And Pinto Beans / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Ralph Stanley / I'm Going Home, It's Christmas Time / Christmas Time with Ralph Stanley / Freeland
  • The Roys / With Bells On / Bluegrass Kinda Christmas / Rural Rhythm
  • The Roys / If We Make It Through December / Bluegrass Kinda Christmas / Rural Rhythm
  • The Pike Brothers and the Pine Hill Ranchers / Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy / 45 RPM single / Rebel
  • Tusco Heath / Joe's Boy / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • The Stanley Brothers / Christmas Is Near / Christmas Time's A-Comin' / Time Life
  • Hilltoppers / I'll Be Home When The Snowflakes Fall / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Andy Griffith / The Christmas Guest / The Christmas Guest - Stories and Songs of Christmas / Sparrow Records
  • Benny Martin / Santa Claus Is From The South / Christmas Jamboree / Hollywood
  • Jim Eanes / It Won't Seem Like Christmas / Christmas Jamboree / Hollywood
  • Helen White / Christmas Promise / Christmas Along The Crooked Road / Independent release
  • Hylo Brown / Christmas In The Hills / Christmas Jamboree / Hollywood
  • Delia Bell & Bill Grant / Christmas in the Mountains / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Bob Smallwood / That Light Is Guiding Me Home / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Eddie & Martha Adcock / One Starry Night / A Pinecastle Christmas Gathering / Pinecastle
  • Emma Smith / Memories Of Christmas / Christmas Memories / Old Homestead
  • Jim Eanes / Christmas Doll / Christmas Jamboree / Hollywood
  • Jimmy Martin / Lord We Sure Need Some Rainbows In December / To Mother At Christmas / Gusto Records
  • David Parmley & Continental Divide / Christmas in the Mountains / A Pinecastle Christmas Gatherin' / Pinecastle
  • James King / Call Collect on Christmas / O Christmas Tree / Rounder
  • Delia Bell & Bill Grant / My Little Silver Bells / O Christmas Tree / Rounder
  • Wayne Taylor and Friends / Go Tell It On The Mountain / Praise His Holy Name-A Christmas Celebration / Raincoe
  • Tony Trischka with Dudley Connell & James King / Precious Child / O Christmas Tree / Rounder
  • Billy Boone Smith / Walking Through Bethlehem / The Songs Of Dixie and Tom T. Hall / Good Home Grown 
  • Ralph Stanley / Just A Moment Now To Pray / Christmas Time with Ralph Stanley / Freeland
  • Rhonda Vincent / Christmas Medley / Christmas Time / Upper Management
  • Bill Keith / Auld Lang Syne / O Christmas Tree / Rounder

Monday, December 19, 2016

Jim's Best of Slightly Obscure Traditional Bluegrass Albums of 2016

Hi Folks.

Many folks produce "best of" lists at the end of the year, and there seems to be a lot of overlap in music, especially when so many of the evaluators draw from the same well.

I've made it a goal in my musical endeavors to dig deeper and unearth jewels that might have been overlooked, and I enjoy presenting those recordings, both new and classic, on various radio programs that I produce at WHUS.

The following list, in no particular order, represents my opinion of some of the best new bluegrass albums to be released in 2016 outside of the mainstream.  I encourage you to seek them out.

High Fidelity - High Fidelity - self-released

This album is a real sleeper.  I might never have heard of it except for an internet tip, and I am forever grateful to have found it.  Jeremy Stephens (guitar), Corrina Rose Logston (fiddle), Kurt Stephenson (banjo), Vickie Vaughn (bass), and Daniel Amick (mandolin) combine to create real bluegrass as it existed in the exciting early years of the genre.  About half the songs are gospel, and all the songs are as true to the early vision as possible.  Jeremy is a well-known multi-instrumentalist known for his excellent Reno banjo picking and his guitar picking with the famous Chuck Wagon Gang.  He picks guitar on this album and recently announced his departure from the CWG to spend more time on this kind of project.  Corrina is a superb young fiddler, and Kurt is amazing on the five.  I can't wait to see what they do next.

Alex Leach - New Traditional - self-released

Of all the young folks getting into bluegrass in recent history, very few have an authentic mountain sound like Alex Leach.  His album "Mountain Heartache" from a few years back was one of the best of that year, as is his follow on this year.  Alex is the regular banjo picker with Ralph Stanley II and the Clinch Mountain Boys and continues to host a very popular traditional bluegrass radio show on WDVX on Tuesday evenings.  The sounds of East Tennessee and the surrounding areas of North Carolina and Virginia are dominant here, and if you like it traditional and deep catalog, you'll love this.

Ruben & Matt and the Truffle Valley Boys - I Like The Old Time Way - self-released

As a follow up to last year's surprisingly great first release, this international band with roots in Italy has a love affair with the early bluegrass of the late 1940s and early 1950s, and seeks to recreate that sound in all its single mic texture and with what sounds like the technology of the time in its simplicity.  The music is just as fresh as it was in those early days, and it has all the tell-tale human elements that demonstrate this is the real thing.  All the singing is in English and only occasionally can you even detect an accent. This group has done some incredible research and woodshedding to pull this off, and they succeed.

Mickey Galyean & Cullen's Bridge - My Daddy's Grass - Rebel

This one is more mainstream than Mickey's last album thanks to the insight of the Freemans at Rebel Records.  For those new to this band, Mickey is the son of regional bluegrass hero Cullen Galyean from Surry County, North Carolina.  Cullen won the banjo competition at the first bluegrass festival at Fincastle, and made many pioneering recordings with Folkways and County.  Mickey got into bluegrass in a powerful way several years back when he helped release a tribute album of his dad's music, and then an album with Rich In Tradition.  This is Mickey's second release with his own band, Cullen's Bridge, and it is a great representation of original and classic traditional music from Surry and surrounding areas. 

The South Carolina Broadcasters & Cousin Jimmy B - Best of the Lowe Vintage Radio Show Vol. 1 - John Boy & Billy

In the interest of full disclosure, I am "Cousin Jimmy B" and was the producer and announcer of the 15-minute 4-times-a-week radio show that aired on WPAQ Mount Airy NC for 15 months between 2015 and 2016 featuring the South Carolina Broadcasters.  I signed on because I believe this group has something wonderful and original to offer folks who are starving for new sounds that are unmistakably traditional.  The trio of Ivy Sheppard, David Sheppard, and Andy Edmonds, all from Surry County NC, have roots in old-time and bluegrass traditions, and the music they write and perform reminds the listener of both without actually being full-out either.  They are all multi-instrumentalists and their three-part vocal harmonies are out-of-this-world.  World-renowned 78 record collector Joe Bussard makes a rare musical appearance on this recording.  Their 2015 release "Tell Me Truly" was a more cohesive effort than this radio transcription, and the upcoming album from the group promises to be amazing, so this one will have to do until then.

Travers Chandler - Archaic - Patuxent

It's hard to know what Travers is up to at any given time whether making music with his now-defunct band Avery County, to his newest endeavor with former Bluegrass Brother Steve Dowdy, or writing his Charlie Moore biography, or driving a big rig around the country, but it is clear that Travers knows what blue collar bar room bluegrass that incubated in the Baltimore and Washington DC area in the 1950s and 1960s is all about, and he obviously seeks to keep it going.  His mandolin picking is powerful with all the tremolo one would expect from an old Buzz Busby record, and his singing is raw and emotive.  This CD is really what might be the last Avery County album before Travers' next project, and its mix of honky-tonk country and bar room bluegrass makes it nearly unique in modern bluegrass.

The Karl Shiflett and Big Country Show - Sho Nuff Country! - Patuxent

Karl has been making bluegrass in this configuation (albeit with lots of personnel changes) for over 23 years, and this latest effort is a fantastic collection of honky-tonk, western swing, and early sounding bluegrass.  Tom Mindte over at Patuxent Records may be the only producer giving voice to music like this today, and thank goodness we have him and his label.  Karl's band is one of the best ever, with the dynamo combination of Brennen Ernst on banjo and guitar, Billy Hurt, Jr., on fiddle, Justin Harrison on mandolin, and Kris Shiflett on bass.  Of course Karl is the man out front on guitar and lead vocals.  As a DJ, I love records like this that I can pop in the player and hit any track for a great experience.

The Po' Ramblin' Boys - Back To The Mountains - Randm Records

This group emerged in 2016 with a great debut CD on Randm Records, a label with only a couple of bluegrass acts. The group consists of C.J. Lewandowski (Vocals, Mandolin), Jereme Brown (Vocals, Banjo), Josh ‘Jug’ Rinkel (Vocals, Guitar) and Jasper Lorentzen (Bass).  C.J. comes from the Missouri bluegrass tradition and spent time with Karl Shiflett and James King before starting this group.  Jereme is the son of mountain style bluegrass man Tommy Brown from Kentucky and still performs with his dad as well as this band, so even as a young band they are quite experienced in the tradition. They play great originals and covers, and are worth checking out live and on CD.

Since my collection is less than orgainized at the moment, I may come back and add more later.

Jim Beaver

"Bluegrass Cafe" playlist - 12/18/2016 -- THE (MOSTLY) CHRISTMAS EDITION

With just one week to go before Christmas Day, it seemed quite appropriate to
play mostly Christmas music on Sunday's
Bluegrass Cafe.  Not only did we include some newer and older Christmas tunes from a bunch of your favorite (we hope!) performers, but we also snuck in a few Christmas songs from some classic Country Music performers.  Hope you enjoyed the mix!  

While the majority of the music heard on Sunday's show was Christmas-themed, there was also an eight-song interlude of songs found on some of our favorite Bluegrass releases of 2016.  Among these were favorite 2016 selections from several performers, including Lou Reid & Carolina, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Corrina Rose Logston, the Earls Of Leicester, Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice, Travers Chandler, Balsam Range, and Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show.  This was my last broadcast of 2016, but during the January 1st edition of Bluegrass Cafe, we'll share more favorites from 2016, I'm sure.

Join Jim for the Christmas Day broadcast next Sunday, as it is certain to be a dandy!  

Warm wishes to you all for a very Merry Christmas, and I will look for you again on January 1, 2017!  

Amy O.

  • Katy Hill / Del McCoury Band / RockyGrass / Blue Planet
  • Christmas Lullaby / Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver / Merry Christmas From Our House To Your House / Self-Produced
  • 12 Days Of Bluegrass Christmas / Foxfire / Blue Ridge Mountain Christmas / Pinecastle
  • Jingle Bells / Country Gentlemen / Christmas Time Back Home / Rebel
  • I'm Going Home, It's Christmas Time / Ralph Stanley / Christmas Time With Ralph Stanley / Freeland Recording Co.
  • Christmas In The Blue Ridge / Lou Reid & Carolina / Rollin' On / KMA Records
  • Our Gingerbread House / Becky Buller / The Christmas 45 / Dark Shadow Recording
  • Christmas Time In The Country / Carson Peters & Iron Mountain / single / Self-Produced
  • Merry Christmas Everybody / Spinney Brothers / single / Mountain Fever Records
  • Hobo On A Train / Lou Reid & Carolina / Rollin' On / KMA Records
  • Kentucky Borderline / Rhonda Vincent & the Rage / In Concert, Volume One--All The Rage / Upper Management Music
  • Soppin' The Gravy / Corrina Rose Logston / Bluegrass Fiddler / Patuxent Music
  • Why Did You Wander? / Earls Of Leicester / Rattle & Roar / Rounder
  • Hang A Wreath / Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice / Poor Boy's Pleasure / Mountain Fever Records
  • Red Rover / Travers Chandler / Archaic / Patuxent Music
  • Blue Collar Dreams / Balsam Range / Mountain Voodoo / Mountain Home
  • Pick Me Up On Your Way Down / Karl Shiflett & Big Country Show / Sho Nuff Country! / Patuxent Music
  • Reindeer Boogie / Hank Snow / Hillbilly Holiday / Rhino
  • Blue Christmas / Ernest Tubb / The Definitive Collection / Decca
  • To Heck With Ole Santa Claus / Loretta Lynn / Hillbilly Holiday / Rhino
  • Santa Looked A Lot Like Daddy / Buck Owens & His Buckaroos / Christmas With Buck Owens & His Buckaroos / Sundazed
  • All I Want For Christmas Is You / Buck Owens & His Buckaroos / Christmas With Buck Owens & His Buckaroos / Sundazed
  • Ridin' Home On Christmas Eve / Riders In The Sky / Merry Christmas From Harmony Ranch / Columbia
  • I Never Spend A Christmas That I Don't Think Of You / Statler Brothers / Christmas Card / Rounder
  • An Old Christmas Card / Jim Reeves / Twelve Songs Of Christmas / BMG
  • Precious Child / Tony Trischka / Glory Shone Around:  A Christmas Collection / Rounder
  • Old-Fashioned Christmas / Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys / Christmas Time's A-Comin' / Time Life Music
  • If We Make It Through December / Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum / Winter's Grace / Signature Sounds
  • Christmas In Virginia / Lost & Found / Christmas In The Mountains / Rebel
  • O Christmas Candle / Stony Point Quartet / Christmas Time Back Home / Cracker Barrel
  • Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree / Rhonda Vincent / Beautiful Star:  A Christmas Collection / Rounder
  • Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow / Ricky Skaggs / A Skaggs Family Christmas / Skaggs Family
  • Christmas Lullaby / Doc Watson / Sugar Plums / Sugar Hill
  • Christmas In The Mountains / David Parmley & Continental Divide / A Pinecastle Christmas Gatherin' / Pinecastle
  • Frosty The Snowman / Reno & Smiley / The True Meaning Of Christmas / King
  • Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer / Lynn Morris Band / O Christmas Tree / Rounder
  • Christmas The Mountain Way / Dale Ann Bradley & Steve Gulley / Christmas The Mountain Way / Rural Rhythm
  • Christmas Time Back Home / Country Gentlemen / The Early Rebel Recordings, 1962-1971 / Rebel
  • Christmas Time's A-Comin' / Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys / Christmas Time's A-Comin' / Time Life Music
  • Beautiful Star Of Bethlehem / Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys / Christmas Time Back Home / Rebel
  • New Star Shining / 5 For The Gospel / Christmas Time In Eastern Kentucky / Hay Holler
  • Joy To The World / Stony Point Quartet / Christmas Time Back Home / Cracker Barrel
  • Silent Night / Seldom Scene / Sugar Plums / Sugar Hill
  • Mary's Christmas / Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver / Merry Christmas From Our House To Your House / Self-Produced
  • The Friendly Beasts / Johnson Mountain Boys / O Christmas Tree / Rounder
  • It Came Upon The Midnight Clear / Louvin Brothers / Hillbilly Holiday / Rhino
  • I Feel The Christmas Spirit / The Isaacs / Christmas Time's A-Comin' / Time Life Music
  • Sleigh Ride / Tony Trischka / Glory Shone Around:  A Christmas Collection / Rounder

Monday, December 05, 2016

Playlist - 12/4/2016 with Cathy Day & Keegan

Carter Stanley
Hi Folks,

Two of our three hours were preempted Sunday, but we were able to bring a packed hour of music to our listeners, including our traditional bluegrass gospel set, with the able assistance of Cathy Day and Keegan.  Both Cathy and Keegan are soon-to-be regulars on Bluegrass Cafe.

Al Batten
We had a couple of remembrances including a song from Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion Band (an NC band) to remember Al Batten who passed away November 20th, and an early song from The Stanley Brothers to remember the great Carter Stanley who passed away 50-years ago on December 4th.

Cathy and Keegan pretty much programmed the rest of the show. You can check out the playlist below.

Join Amy next week for more great bluegrass music as she makes the banjos and fiddles ring.

Jim Beaver

Artist / Song / Album / Label

  • Aubrey Haynie / Tobacco Patch / Doin' My Time / Sugar Hill
  • Balsam Range / Something 'Bout That Suitcase / Mountain Voodoo / Mountain Home
  • Red, Harley and Greg Allen / Roust-A-Bout / 45 RPM single / King Bluegrass
  • Dale Ann Bradley / East Kentucky Morning / Dale Ann Bradley / Pinecastle
  • Earls Of Leicester / Flint Hill Special / Rattle & Roar / Rounder
  • Gibson Brothers / Eastbound Train / Brotherhood / Rounder
  • The Wildwood Valley Boys / When it's Snowing in the Mountains / Christmas in the Mountains / Rebel
  • Dolly Parton / I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby / Little Sparrow / Sugar Hill
  • David Grisman / Sophronie (feat. Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, J.D. Crowe & Roy Husky Jr.) / Home Is Where The Heart Is / Rounder
  • Ronnie Bowman / Stone Cold Blue / Starting Over / Sugar Hill
  • Dry Branch Fire Squad / Jesus on the Mainline (Live) / Live At the Newburyport Firehouse / Rounder
  • Marty Raybon & Full Circle / Didn't It Rain Children / This That And The Other / Rural Rhythm
  • Al Batten and the Bluegrass Reunion Band / Way Down In My Soul / Dont Be Left On The Mountain / Self-released
  • Flatt and Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys / You Can Feel It In Your Soul / Foggy Mountain Gospel / Columbia Legacy
  • The Stanley Brothers & The Clinch Mountain Boys / Gathering Flowers For The Master's Bouquet / 1949-52 / Bear Family
  • Rhonda Vincent & the Rage / You Don't Love God If You Don't Love Your Neighbor / In Concert, Volume One / Upper Management
  • Forbes Family / Lord Don't Leave Me Here / Family Treasury Volume 2 / Rebel
  • Daily and Vincent / The Fourth Man in the Fire / The Gospel Side Of Dailey & Vincent / Cracker Barrel
  • Blue Highway / Hallelujah / Original Traditional / Rounder
  • Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys / Beautiful Star of Bethleham / Christmas in the Mountains / Rebel