One of the great charms of bluegrass music is the fact that much of the audience, as well as the people who work in support of the bluegrass industry, are actually musicians themselves. The folks who book and promote your favorite artists, work at the record labels, volunteer at festivals, host radio programs, write about the music, manage regional and national associations, build instruments, and record audio and video tend to be pickers and singers as well, some playing as well as the top touring pros.
There are any number of reasons why someone might opt for a behind-the-scenes role as opposed to the bright lights of the stage, but bluegrass is surely in good hands when the community who hold up the industry have as deep and abiding a love for the art form as the entertainers do.
One such is Jack Hinshelwood, former Executive Director of The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail, a native Canadian who resettled in southwestern Virginia. He took several years away from his career as an engineer to helm The Crooked Road during the time they introduced their annual Mountains Of Music Homecoming celebration, and served the music and the organization well. Jack has since moved on from this position, is back in environmental engineering, and has decided that now is the time to make a musical statement of his own.
A talented guitarist, Hinshelwood has taken first place at the Knoxville World’s Fair Guitar Championship, and the Wayne Henderson Guitar Championship, and is a two-time winners of the guitar contest at the Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, VA. He also plays a mean fiddle and sings in the old time and bluegrass styles.
Jack has recently completed a pair of recordings titled 50 Years In The Making – Old Time, Blues, and Bluegrass Music, Vols 1 & 2, which bring together a bevy of top performers supporting Hinshelwood in the studio on a set of 22 popular numbers. These include Michael Cleveland, Jim VanCleve, and Ivy Phillips on fiddle; Doyle Lawson and Scott Freeman on mandolin; Butch Robins and Allan Walton on banjo; Ronnie Simpkins, Jacob Eller, Wayne Taylor, and Jeff Hoffman on bass; and Rob Ickes on reso-guitar among many others.
Singing with Jack are Lawson, Taylor, and Phillips, along with Trey Hensley, Sandy Shortridge, and Dale Perry.
The concept behind 50 Years In The Making was to create an album that preserves the many songs he has had in his repertoire over the years, as a tribute to the lasting legacy of Appalachian traditions and songs.
Hinshelwood has released a video where he premieres one of the tracks, Bill Monroe’s Southern Flavor, along with his spoken and picked introduction.
50 Years In The Making, Vols 1 & 2 is being marketed for pre-sale on Kickstarter. By pledging $25 or more, you will receive both volumes as either a CD or download when the project releases in April. The Kickstarter page also includes more information about the recordings, and a concert on April 5 to celebrate the release.