Jon Weisberger is a powerful man in the bluegrass world. An award-winning songwriter, his music appears on many new releases each year. As a record producer he guides the work of other artists in the studio, most recently Missy Werner’s Turn This Heart Around. And he tours as a member of Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, playing bass. He has also written extensively about bluegrass, including liner notes for numerous projects.
On top of all that, he’s the Chair of the Board of Directors for the International Bluegrass Music Association, who oversees and directs the organization’s work on behalf of the music. If you have his ear, you’re tied in to what’s happening in bluegrass.
Weisberger is also a recording artist, but not in the traditional sense. A second songwriter project of his own material is set for release on September 30. Titled I’ve Been Mostly Awake, for the secondary meaning of the IBMA acronym during World of Bluegrass week, the album includes 13 tracks he has co-written, with his various collaborators featured as lead vocalists.
Top names like Dale Ann Bradley, Tim O’Brien, Claire Lynch, The Gibson Brothers, Sierra Hull and Chris Jones appear, supported by a crack band called The Lonesome Heirs, consisting of Andy Falco on guitar, Ned Luberecki on banjo, Jesse Brock on mandolin, Jeremy Garrett on fiddle, and Weisberger on bass.
The album title is also a reference to the fact that all proceeds from CD sales will be donated to the institution he leads. It will available for sale throughout the World of Bluegrass week coming up in Raleigh, NC.
As a tease, John has agreed to allow us to stream the opening track here at Bluegrass Today.
“We chose Dark Cloud Rising for the album’s first track in part because it’s a pretty ‘grassy’ number that sets the pace for the album, but mostly because it’s the one that features just the members of the Lonesome Heirs, with Jeremy Garrett—a former bandmate and one of my best friends—singing.
We’ve written a lot together, including half a dozen Stringdusters cuts as well as songs recorded by Terry Baucom, Missy Werner, G2 Bluegrass Band and others.
This is one of our more recent collaborations, and as often happens, it began with a melody Jeremy had come up with while on the road. It had something of an old-time, mountain music feel to it, and so we tried to stay to true to that with the structure of the song, the lyric theme and the choice of words.”
Radio programmers can get the tracks now from Airplay Direct. The rest of us will have to wait until the end of the month.