A Farewell from the Publisher

Bluegrass Now - now onlineWhen we noted last week that Bluegrass Now would cease publication after this current (12/08) issue, it was noted in the comments section that no statement from the publishers had been issued.

Longtime publishers Wayne and Deb Bledsoe have now released such a statement on the magazine’s web site.

For our long-time friends and supporters, Deb and I would like to let you know that our December edition will be the last issue of Bluegrass Now.

As I’m sure most of you are aware, the current downturn in the U.S. economy has taken its toll on most industries, and bluegrass has been no exception. While Bluegrass Now’s fan-base support has remained strong, many corporations have had to reassess their disbursement priorities with regard to such things as advertising. It should be noted however, that the decline in advertising revenue is not unique to the music industry. The Chicago Tribune announced recently its intentions to file for Chapter 11, and the New York Times and Wall Street Journal are considering similar actions due to the sharp decline in advertising revenue.

Although Bluegrass Now has avoided the magnitude of problems afflicting the major publishers, the economic downturn has impacted us in a variety of ways. After prolonged deliberations, we have decided that rather than compromise the integrity and quality of the magazine, which we have sought to maintain since its inception in 1990, we will cease publication at the end of this year.

Deb and I have enjoyed tremendously our 18-year run with Bluegrass Now. We sincerely hope that the magazine has been instrumental in helping to advance the industry, because it has brought us priceless friendships with a multitude of fans, artists and industry leaders. I find it especially gratifying that a significant number of our writers and technical staff has been with us from the beginning and there is no way to thank these people for their support and unwavering confidence.

While I fear omitting some very deserving names, I would like to express a special thanks to Kate McHaney, who served as our Layout and Design Editor from the beginning. In addition to being a great designer, Kate is also a great friend.

I would also like to thank Nancy Cardwell and Jim Muller, who have contributed content to the magazine for the past eighteen years. Kirk and Becky Brandenberger played a major role in the development of the Bluegrass Now charts; Hilary West has served as our Canadian Editor and Lily Pavlak has made major contributions regarding bluegrass activities in Europe. Jason Duke of Ciphertek Systems has provided tremendous technical assistance, as well as contributing numerous feature stories. Our Editor, Caroline Wright, is not only a wordsmith par excellence, she has also been a wellspring of innovative ideas for new ways to present bluegrass to our international readership. Finally, a special note of gratitude is due the late Randall Hylton. Without Randall, Bluegrass Now would never have been launched. His sound advice, professional support and personal friendship were a constant source of encouragement in the early years.

While the time has come to cease publication, we are not ending our association with bluegrass. We will continue to be active members of the International Bluegrass Music Association. I will continue to produce and host three bluegrass radio programs for the University of Missouri (KMST-FM), and will also continue my emcee duties at various festivals. Make no mistake about it, however: our main focus, beginning in 2009, will be to experience the joys of retirement, particularly the increased time with our grandkids!

Please accept our most sincere and heartfelt thanks for your support and friendship over the years. If you’re a subscriber, you’ll be hearing from us by e-mail regarding our obligation to you; we appreciate your patience as we sort everything out, and work to close up shop. In the meantime, if you have comments or questions, please feel free to contact me by email (wbledsoe@fidnet.com) or phone (573/341-7336).

With warm regards,
Wayne and Deb Bledsoe

Farewell to a bluegrass institution.

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics.

A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe.

He wrote the annotated series I’m On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.