Joe Mullins taking over Bluegrass Junction for Industrial Strength Bluegrass

Joe Mullins is taking over SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction at the top of each hour this weekend, starting at 5:00 p.m. this afternoon, in celebration of today’s extended vinyl re-release of the all-star bluegrass project, Industrial Strength Bluegrass – Southwestern Ohio’s Musical Legacy, on Smithsonian Folkways.

Running through Sunday, each new hour will begin with a track from the album, introduced by Joe, along with his commentary about the songs, artists, and the history behind their relation to the region. Mullins is a second generation bluegrass broadcaster himself, whose father moved the family north from Kentucky to find work around the Dayton/Cincinati area.

That is the theme of the whole album, the Appalachian people who migrated to the midwestern industrial cities from their mountain homes in search of a better life. Of course their love for what was then called “hillbilly music” came with them, leading to the development of bluegrass clubs and labels in cities like Dayton and Cincinnati, not to mention Detroit and Chicago as well.

Joe described how his own love for the music was nurtured by the scene where he grew up.

“My bluegrass journey has been a lifetime labor of love. I live six miles from the auditorium where the first bluegrass college concert was held, and where the Stanley Brothers track in the ISB vinyl set was recorded. Adding in classic bluegrass from our neighborhood was so exciting, and these older recordings connect perfectly to the songs we recorded for the 2021 release. The tunes and artists added from the past 60 plus years represent the foundation of Ohio’s bluegrass traditions; industrial strength then and now!”

The album contains a mix of classic cuts, and newly-recorded ones made especially for this album, featuring some of the biggest names in the music.

Here’s a complete track listing from Industrial Strength Bluegrass, including the bonus tracks included only on the just-released, vinyl two LP set.

Side A

  1. Readin’, Rightin’, Route 23 – Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers
  2. Are You Missing Me – Dailey & Vincent
  3. 20/20 Vision – Dan Tyminski
  4. You’ll Never Be The Same – The Traditional Grass (LP bonus)
  5. Baby Blue Eyes – Vince Gill
  6. When He Blessed My Soul – Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver

Side B

  1. Barefoot Nellie – Jim Lauderdale and High Fidelity
  2. Once More – The Grascals
  3. Mountain Strings – Sierra Hull
  4. Stone Wall – Red Allen & The Allen Brothers (LP bonus)
  5. Suzanne – Mo Pitney and Merle Monroe
  6. The Singer – The Hotmud Family (LP bonus)

Side C

  1. Larry Sparks Medley: Dark Hollow/A Face In The Crowd/These Old Blues – Josh Williams, Bradley Walker and Russell Moore
  2. Ninety-Nine Years Is Almost for Life – Dave Evans (LP bonus)
  3. Garden Tomb – The Isaacs and The Oak Ridge Boys
  4. He’s Everything to Me – Larry Sparks (LP bonus)
  5. From Life’s Other Side – Lee Ann Womack

Side D

  1. I’m Bound to Ride – The Stanley Brothers (LP bonus)
  2. Stone Walls and Steel Bars – Ronnie Bowman, Don Rigsby, and Kenny Smith
  3. Shakin’ the Grate – The Boys From Indiana (LP bonus)
  4. Family Reunion – Rhonda Vincent and Caleb Daugherty
  5. The Rolling Mills of Middletown – Larry Cordle
  6. We’ll Head Back to Harlan – Bobby Osborne

All 23 tracks will be featured this weekend on Bluegrass Junction, with Joe’s introductions, and once its completed, they’ll start it over, running through Sunday.

Industrial Strength Bluegrass is available for download, on audio CD, or on LP, via Smithsonian Folkways online.

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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.