• An Outbreak of Bluegrass

    A funny thing happened during Wednesday night’s showcases at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass – some bluegrass broke out. Unfortunately, not a lot of folks witnessed it; the crowd was the smallest of the week. But those who stuck with the program

  • Bluegrass Current Flows in Cumberland River

    Harlan, Kentucky is likely mentioned in more bluegrass songs than any other place in the world. Any band comprised of residents of Harlan County had better have their bluegrass act together. The boys in Cumberland River exude bluegrass from the time

  • Keeping the Mountain Faith

    Imagine that your little family band has been playing at churches and small local festivals for over a decade. Just as the kids are becoming of age, you score a contract with Mountain Home Records and release a highly-acclaimed album.

  • Town Mountain, a Mountain of Bluegrass

    Fans of traditional bluegrass had good reason for optimism before the sound check was concluded for the Tuesday evening showcase featuring Town Mountain. The setup featured a single condenser microphone at mid-stage, hinting at the old-style performance to follow. The

  • Tuesday night at IBMA

    Appearing on Tuesday's official showcase, The Farewell Drifters put on a show sure to continue the what-is-bluegrass and what-belongs-at-IBMA debate. After an earlier release from the group that had clear bluegrass ties, including a Scruggs-style banjo component, the Drifters have moved in

  • Bearfoot – Tuesday at IBMA

    If there is an effort by the IBMA to “expand the tent” with the inclusion of more non-traditional bands, it was fully evident in the Tuesday night showcase lineup. The festivities began with Bearfoot, a name befitting a band whose

  • Livewire’s One-and-Done Reunion

    Apparently, playing in a bluegrass band is a lot like riding a bicycle. Once you learn how to do it, you don’t forget how, even if years go by without doing it. You might wobble a bit, but the basics

  • Breaking the Rules with the Hillbenders

    You have to give IBMA credit for listening to those who complained that new and tradition-breaking bands were locked out of prized official showcase slots in the past. But just in case anyone missed the association’s more open approach during

  • Pandolfi: Quit Fighting, Start Playing

    Chris Pandolfi had some succinct advice for those on both sides of the “what is bluegrass” debate – stop picking fights and start picking. “We’re not trying to reposition old bluegrass fans,” the banjoman for the Infamous Stringdusters said in Tuesday’s