Richmond, Virginia October 28, 2006 – Bluegrass lovers mill around chatting about the music, the performers or their favorite foods while others sit and listen intently to the sound that makes the music uniquely Bluegrass. Performers and promoters may stop by for a quick howdy with the fans. Sounds like a Bluegrass Festival!
It is an entirely new type of Bluegrass Festival. One which is being delivered to the worldwide Bluegrass community by fans and lovers of Bill Monroe’s creation through www.WorldWideBluegrass.com or as the all volunteer staff calls it the WWB. The WWB is online 24/7 broadcasting over 56 hours of live DJ shows and comes complete with a chat room, web browser and white board.
Nationally known acts are played, new releases are heard but a unique result of this mixture of DJ’s is the playing of music from around the world of bands that often would not have a larger outlet for their talent. All artists with properly licensed material are encouraged to submit music for possible air time. This allows listeners in the USA to hear bands from Canada, Easterners to hear the sounds being made in the Rockies and request for Flatt and Scruggs coming from Europe resulting in the fans experiencing the world wide appeal of the music.
The chat room is what makes the WWB a live and interactive musical festival. Listeners–let’s call them "GrassChatters" — share their knowledge and their stories about the music, artists drop by unannounced and chat and, yeah, sometimes even recipes are exchanged. WWB attracts listeners from all around the world including Holland, Germany, Norway, Canada, Australia and Asia just to a name a few. For those that are listeners, www.WorldWideBluegrass.com has four player options (Windows Media Player, Real Player, WinAmp and Quicktime) connecting to the continual streaming audio for listening enjoyment.
The hard driving force and determination in making this happen is station manager Gracie Muldoon ‚Äì a Kentucky girl ‚Äì now living in Cincinnati. In September, the WWB celebrated its first year anniversary by improving the chat room, audio stream and adding several new DJ’s. Gracie admits that she’s come to love Bluegrass only in the last 10 years (she was an old rocker too but raised in a Bluegrass Gospel home). The reason she turned to bluegrass was because she got more and more into the “acoustic” sound. She started with the rock ‘n’ roll of the 70’s, went to old country music and finally, to Bluegrass. She admits now that although she still listens and likes other genres of music, Bluegrass reigns supreme.
Gracie hosts three weekly shows on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays from 1pm – 3 pm. Her Muldoon in the Afternoon broadcast features live interviews with top Bluegrass stars.
As Gracie will say, she has "captured" some of the greatest talent in bluegrass and broadcasting to fill the live DJ Spots. The DJ’s for WWB are all volunteers often utilizing their own music collection and always developing their playlists. DJ’s hosts for a minimum two hour show, but you never know when another DJ will stop by and "kick off" a show. The twenty DJ’s hail from around the United States and Canada and in the near future Geoff Morris from Australia and Lonnie Meeker, a founding member of Union Station, will begin airing their shows bringing to twenty-two the volunteer staff of DJ’s and expanding the meaning of www.WorldWideBluegrass.com.
The diverse volunteer talent brings a mixture of music and something for all who appreciate Bluegrass.
Some of the shows lineup and DJ’s Profiles include:
Jeff Deford shares his collection of hard to find roots music to on-the-edge and out-of-bounds acoustic bands during his show Bluegrass Roots and Branches. Born and raised in rural Indiana, Jeff was exposed to music at an early age via his parents’ LP and 45 collections and singing in church. Many of Jeff’s Saturdays evenings growing up was spent listening to the Grand Ole Opry and watching Hee Haw. During his college years, Jeff DJ’ed for a company who put together corporate and private parties which helped to expand his musical tastes. Having collected his fair share of music, especially from the ’50’s, he was becoming increasingly attracted to older material and early radio shows. Jeff had been exposed to the music of the Grateful Dead and was intrigued with the origins of some of the tunes they played. While researching their music he states, "I was astounded to find out how many tunes actually had their roots in bluegrass and old-time string bands." It was at that point he rediscovered his fascination with acoustic music. Jeff had always been attracted to the acoustic sound, dating back to watching Flatt & Scruggs’ appearances on the Beverly Hillbillies.
Terry Poirier, of New Brunswick, Canada, brings his show Kickin’ Canadian Grass to the internet twice weekly. The youngest son of bluegrass music pioneer Eddy Poirier, Terry has been playing the upright bass and piano since he was 4 years old. As a child and pre-teen, he appeared many times on the ATV television series, Up Home Tonight. In addition to singing in the Poirier band, Terry has jammed with many artists such as Mark O’Connor, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Del McCoury Band, Bob Paisley and The Southern Grass, Rhonda Vincent and Ronnie Bowman to name a few. Over the years, he has been part of several bluegrass bands and currently, he plays with Ray Legere and Friends, the Poirier Family, Friend Bluegrass Band and with Roland Bougeios Jazz Band.
Down-Under-the-Box is hosted by Becky Taylor of Virginia at 7 am on Fridays. This time frame allows the show to play at 8 pm in Australia and the Bluegrasser’s from down under have responded. Becky also has a show at 10 am Tuesdays call Out-of-the Box. Becky says, "I’m all about making music – just another avid player who enjoys living with music as their core activity." She began playing banjo around 1970 and her background includes professional performing, recording and teaching which began in 1973 and continued through 1986. Becky has taught stringed instruments privately and in Junior College. An accomplish banjo player, she consistently places in the top positions in the few contests she has entered. The ‘day-job’ routine for Becky became history in Nov 2005 when she pursued her dream of music. Recently, Becky has started a band which she named Becky Taylor & Open Fire. They are currently working on their first recording. Becky has a studio where she teaches private lessons, builds banjos and repairs instruments. Not to be idle, she also moderates at www.banjoloung.com and has just began divinity school.
Country Unplugged is hosted by "Uncle" Billy Dunbar who began broadcasting on American Forces Radio while serving in the Air Force and stationed in Southeast Asia in the sixties. In 1974, while at a small market station outside of Omaha, Nebraska, he covered the Midwest with the only bluegrass music in Nebraska and the Central Midwest. Eventually, Uncle Billy moved the show to Power House Country WOW Am/Fm Omaha – playing music there until 1990. He is a charter member and has been on the Board of the Great Plains Bluegrass Association for 10 years. In 1990 Uncle Billy moved to Des Moines, Iowa, where he worked part-time at an oldies rock & roll station until an old friend asked him to do a bluegrass show at a station in Osceola, Iowa. Upon retirement he began producing a two-hour bluegrass show for a station in Stuart, Iowa, which also airs from a station in Jefferson, Iowa. Uncle Billy says, "I haven’t received many awards in the broadcasting field to brag about yet, but am proud of my Texas Proud Hillbilly Heart Plaque as favorite Medium Market Country D. J., and prize my induction into the NTCMA Midwest Country Music Hall of Fame."
Other shows include the Ole Dominion Jamboree with host Jim Ellis featuring music from Virginia’s rich heritage of musicians from the Carter Family to Nothin’ Fancy. Runnin’ the Ridge is hosted by father and son duo Paul and Jonathan Estep. Dana Allen brings us bluegrass music from a Maryland perspective with Maryland Bluegrass. WWB also features two live Gospel shows on Sunday, Up on the Hill from 6am to 8 am EST and the Blue Ridge Gospel Wagon from 2pm until 4 pm EST.
All of the DJ’s bring a personal touch to their shows but three DJ’s go even further than broadcasting. Roger Randolph, host of The Bluegrass Express is the IT guru for WWB and Vicki Abbott of Abbott’s Bluegrass Habit is the Administrative Assistant who keeps everyone in the loop through countless emails and dedicated hours weekly. Also, Julie Raye host of Bluegrass with Julie Raye is the WWB webmaster.
Besides this talented and dedicated group of volunteers, the Chat Room is where the community of bluegrass lovers from around the world meets and sets www.WorldwideBluegrass.com apart from other internet or traditional broadcast stations. It allows mixing of the Bluegrass community not just from the USA but also from around the world. When a show is broadcasting ‚ÄòGrassChatters’ can make request, offer comments or may participate in Steve Bilbry’s Bluegrass Connection version of name that tune. The Chat Room also has a web browser allowing the DJ’s or ‚ÄòGrassChatters’ to surf to the web site of the current band that is playing to learn more about them. The White board is used by the DJ’s for pictorial or informational postings.
Bill Monroe gave the world Bluegrass. Now, www.WorldwideBluegrass.com gets that world connected. Join them, share the experience and be a part of a Worldwide Bluegrass Festival!
Gary V. Williams October 2006 www.vabluegrass.com