Bluegrass legend Bobby Osborne and Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers will participate in a special presentation next Tuesday at the Miami University Regionals in Hamilton, OH. It is jointly sponsored by the University’s Appalachian Studies program and The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County as part of the Southwestern Ohio Bluegrass Music Heritage Project.
As serious bluegrass fans will know, The Osborne Brothers got their start in the Miami Valley region of Ohio, after their family moved their from their birthplace in Kentucky when Sonny and Bobby were young. They were part of a migration that affected thousands of American families during and following the Great Depression as workers in the Appalachians moved to larger cities looking for employment.
During the April 25 event, Mullins will engage in a conversation with Osborne about the history of bluegrass in the area, and sing a number of songs with The Radio Ramblers. Joe knows Bobby well, and will lead him through a discussion about his early days on radio in Middletown, and performing at some of the clubs and night spots that surrounded Cincinnati and Dayton. Those were tough times for The Osborne Brothers, before they got to Nashville, where Bobby got to know and play with a lot of other performers in the area.
The entire evening’s entertainment will be streamed live online for the benefit of those who can’t make the show. Starting at 7:00 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, you will be able to watch on the Miami Regionals’ YouTube channel.
Things will kick off with a set from Joe and the Ramblers, performing songs that were either written in or connected to this region. After a brief intermission, he and Bobby will sit and chat for roughly 45 minutes, and then he will sing a few with the band.
Topics to be explored include:
- Appalachian migration to the Miami Valley
- bluegrass performance venues
- media, recording studios, record labels and record stores
- amateur bluegrass gatherings
- the importance of gospel and sacred music
- bluegrass in urban communities
- 1970s bluegrass revival
There is no charge to attend the event at the Harry T. Wilks Conference Center, located at 1401 University Boulevard in Hamilton.
Anyone interested in the history of bluegrass music, or in the topic of Appalachian studies generally, will certainly gain a great deal from attending, or tuning in online to hear Bobby Osborne’s story.