Mountain Road and Big Country Bluegrass

Mountain Roads RecordingsThe recently established Mountain Roads Recordings of Bristol, Tennessee, was formed by Karl and Gail Cooler to focus on unique sounds that originate in the mountains that we all love so well. They want to promote already established bluegrass and old time bands as well as to discover and present to the music community unknown, but nonetheless talented musicians.Currently Karl works for the City of Bristol, and Gail is a school librarian.

Mountain Road Recordings has signed its first recording artist, Big Country Bluegrass, a Southwest Virginia traditional bluegrass band currently entering its twenty-first year in the business. The band has begun recording sessions at Eastwood Studios in Cana, Virginia, and hopes to have its first project with Mountain Roads ready for release in early summer.

Big Country Bluegrass delivers an authentic, hard-driving style of bluegrass that has become known to many as ‘Galax’ or ‘Mount Airy’ style bluegrass and that makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform from festivals to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry.

The link up first came when the couple were living in South Carolina where they met Big Country Bluegrass. Subsequently Karl took on the driving responsibilities for Big Country Bluegrass. This he did over the period of 18 months or so, taking the band to festivals from Maine to Florida. Later Karl also became the webmaster of the Big Country Bluegrass website.

This past Christmas Tommy and Teresa Sells were visiting the Coolers at their home – now in Bristol, Tennessee – and the subject of the next Big Country Bluegrass album arose. Tommy told Karl that he didn’t have the time to be a record producer. Consequently the Coolers decided to form Mountain Roads Recordings and take their support of Big Country Bluegrass, bluegrass and old time music to the next level.

Gail Cooler provides a little background on how she and Karl decided on the charming name for the label …..

“We love traveling down beautiful mountain roads and going to bluegrass and old time festivals; that’s how we decided on the name of our label.”

Tommy Sells, in turn, commented …..

“We’re excited about the move and look forward to working with them.”

Big Country Bluegrass are Tommy Sells (mandolin), Teresa Sells (guitar and vocals), Jeff Michael (fiddle, lead guitar and vocals) Johnny Williams (rhythm guitar and vocals), Lynwood Lunsford (banjo and vocals) and Alan Mastin (acoustic bass fiddle).

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About the Author

Richard Thompson

Richard F. Thompson is a long-standing free-lance writer specialising in bluegrass music topics. A two-time Editor of British Bluegrass News, he has been seriously interested in bluegrass music since about 1970. As well as contributing to that magazine, he has, in the past 30 plus years, had articles published by Country Music World, International Country Music News, Country Music People, Bluegrass Unlimited, MoonShiner (the Japanese bluegrass music journal) and Bluegrass Europe. He wrote the annotated series I'm On My Way Back To Old Kentucky, a daily memorial to Bill Monroe that culminated with an acknowledgement of what would have been his 100th birthday, on September 13, 2011.