The producers of the iconic film, Bluegrass Country Soul, filmed in 1971 at Carlton Haney’s Camp Springs Festival, have teamed with Bluegrass Music TV and Man-Do-Lin Productions to bring the feature length movie, and its classic performances, to bluegrass lovers everywhere.
Bluegrass Country Soul premiered in 1972 at the Virginia Theatre in Alexandria, VA on July 7, and was very well reviewed. While building a cult following in theaters, it largely disappeared until producer/director Albert Ihde was able to raise the necessary funds to have the footage converted to a digital format from a remaining film master, and then remastered for digital use. This led to the creation of a Golden Anniversary Edition in 2022, which not only included the remastered film on DVD/Blu-Ray, but also a book about the project and a CD of audio from performances at Camp Spring 1971 that had not appeared in the film.
Interest in this movie started to grow again after it was broadcast one year during World of Bluegrass on the hotel TV channel in the old Galt House in Louisville. It ran essentially uninterrupted, over and over again, and people staying at the main hotel were fascinated with the archival footage contained therein.
On the BCS web site, Ihde recounts some of the reasons this movie touched so many bluegrass lovers.
“Many of the most notable pioneers of the music shared the stage with upcoming young artists who were leading the way to what would soon be called ‘New Grass:’
• Tony Rice first appeared with J.D. Crowe’s band, which soon became the New South
• The week of the festival, Doyle Lawson became the Country Gentlemen’s mandolinist, and would soon start his own group, Quicksilver
• Sam Bush started the New Grass Revival the day after the festival closed
• Ricky Skaggs and Keith Whitley would leave Ralph Stanley’s Clinch Mountain Boys to become major stars on their own
• The Bluegrass 45 would blaze the trail that spotlighted an international bluegrass community
Looking back with the advantage of a half-century’s perspective, we can watch Bluegrass Country Soul to measure where bluegrass was, and where it is today.”
Through this new collaboration with Sammy Passamano of Bluegrass Music TV and Ronnie Reno of Man-Do-Lin Productions, Bluegrass Country Soul will be available to view on Country Road TV, with 1.7 million viewers via YouTube, Facebook, Amazon Fire, Apple TV, Smartphone, and Roku.
Individual audio singles of some of the great music recorded from the stage at Camp Springs in 1971 are also being offered through popular download and streaming services. The first two are Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys doing Man of Constant Sorrow, and J.D. Crowe & The Kentucky Mountain Boys with Train 45.
Here’s video of Dr. Ralph in ’71 at Camp Springs.
And Crowe, with Tony and Larry Rice, on Train 45.
Both singles are available now from the usual places online. More will be coming soon.
Radio programmers who would like airplay copies are invited to contact Sammy Passamano.