Carol Beaugard reports on Leadership Bluegrass

Here is another set of reflections on Leadership Bluegrass 2010, this time from Carol Beaugard, host of Lonesome Pine RFD, heard on both WFDU-FM in the New York City metro market and on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country online. Her show airs from 6:00-9:00 a.m. each Thursday, and from 9:00 a.m. ’till noon on Fridays (listen online).

Carol blogged about her time in Nashville on the Bluegrass Country site, and also sent along this report for Bluegrass Today – plus a set of photos from Leadership Bluegrass.

“It’s taken me almost a full week to begin to process the extraordinary experience of going through the Leadership Bluegrass class. For me it truly was a life-changing experience.  The IBMA has created a program that offers an intensely in-depth education on key facets of the music industry. The presenters educated us on topics ranging from music publishing and licensing to artist representation to new modes of broadcasting music and information and more.

Keynote speakers included Doyle Lawson, who spoke on Artist Leadership and shared an in-depth study of his career beginning with his early days with Jimmy Martin through his work with JD Crowe and the Country Gentlemen and onto his years leading his band, Quicksilver. Rob Ickes also stopped by during the conference’s focus on bluegrass youth and adult education to discuss his work leading his Nashville-based resophonic guitar camp. At the conclusion of his talk he entertained us with a solo rendition of The Old Rugged Cross.

The scope of achievement represented by the conference presenters was formidable but the variety and depth of talent among my classmates was amazing. We got to meet 25 colleagues who all dedicate their lives to bluegrass. Some were festival promoters, others marketing specialists, managers, agents, broadcast personalities and musical artists. We assembled from different parts of the country and the world and we started the conference as strangers and ended the program as friends.  The program was so intense and concentrated – we all developed a bond because we all realized that we were experiencing an educational process that is truly unique, with long-term transformative impact.

I’ll repeat what I’ve shared since my return. I encourage everyone and anyone working in any facet of bluegrass music to apply and attend Leadership Bluegrass. If you’ve applied in years past but weren’t selected – apply again and don’t be disheartened. IBMA can only accept 25 applicants each year and you should try to attend. You will learn so much and you’ll come away with friendships that you’ll treasure forever. It’s the gift of a lifetime and the greatest wish I can share with each of you is the hope that you can be part of a future class someday.

One thing’s for sure – and this I’m certain we can all understand and relate to – we all share such a deep and abiding love for bluegrass. It shapes us, it motivates us, it inspires us and it guides us to do all we can to preserve and better the music. I love being a part of this music and a part of this community. It’s “Our Town.”

Just for the record – it wasn’t all hard work.  I arrived in Nashville early and went out to the Station Inn to see The Time Jumpers perform C&W/swing music at its best. I ran into Sammy Shelor who was in the audience enjoying the music. On Wednesday night I gathered a few of my classmates to go back out with me to the Station Inn and that night we saw David Peterson with his country band, featuring Bryan Sutton on guitar, Shad Cobb on fiddle and Dennis Crouch on bass.  Mike Bub and Richard Bailey (The Steeldrivers) were in the audience hanging out and I would up sitting next to Lee Ann Womack.  It was fun, fun, fun!!!”

Here are a few more of Carol’s photos from Leadership Bluegrass.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.