The Road From Rosine debuts at IBMA

Jim Van CleveMountain Heart fiddle man Jim VanCleve has the honor of seeing one of his tunes, The Road From Rosine, debuted as the new theme for the International Bluegrass Music Awards show on October 4. The tune will be played during the opening of the show, and going into/coming from breaks.

Rural Rhythm Records arranged for Jim to record the tune, along with fellow Mountain Hearters Adam Steffey on mandolin, Jason Moore on bass and Clay Hess on guitar – plus Ron Stewart on banjo and Andy Hall on dobro.

The annual awards show is being produced this year by a new team, Terry Herd and Cindy Sinclair, and Herd says that they felt like new theme music was a good way to update the show.

“We’ve had a good run with our previous theme Shoulder to Shoulder and it was not an easy decision to retire it, but now in its thirteenth year, we felt it was time for something new, and Jim was the guy to do it.”

Jim says that the opportunity came as a surprise, but that he accepted the challenge right away.

“When Terry Herd contacted me about writing a new theme song for the IBMA Awards Show, I was completely speechless! I was, of course, flattered and really excited, but it seemed like a GIANT mountain to climb, considering the fact that Mark O’Connor and Jerry Douglas, two of my all-time musical heroes, had written the only other two themes that IBMA has used in the past. I really wanted to create something that would stand up, and even more, stand the test of time.

I started working on the melody, on and off, and spent nearly a couple months putting things together. I was trying to make it really ‘theme-ish,’ which is kind of difficult to do! I wanted the song to capture the spirit of bluegrass…the way the founding fathers of the music intended for it to feel, but I also wanted it to embody a sense of where the music is heading, with kind of a forward looking element. So basically, I was trying to write a song that would bridge all the gaps between the past, the present, and the future of our music.

When I was trying to title the song, I started thinking about all the things that inspired it in the first place. I felt like The Road From Rosine was a perfect title, as it symbolized the beginnings of bluegrass via the mention of Rosine, KY, Bill Monroe’s homeplace, and then again, the forward progression of bluegrass, as the musical road lead from Rosine.”

To hear Jim’s new tune, you’ll need to be in attendance at the event, catch the proceedings live on XM’s Bluegrass Junction (track 14), or listen to one of the many after-the-fact broadcasts that will air the following week on bluegrass shows and stations worldwide.

Tickets for the IBMA Awards show at The Grand Ole Opry House in Nashville are available from the Opry box office (800-733-6779) or Ticketmaster (615-255-9600). It’s always a whale of a show, and worth the trip to see bluegrass royalty in formal attire celebrating each other – and our music.

Jim tells us that he expects that The Road From Rosine will end up on a future solo project or a Mountain Heart CD at some point, and that they intend to make it available for download purchase through Rural Rhythm soon after IBMA week concludes.

Speaking of Jim VanCleve and Mountain Heart… (see update below) Here’s a YouTube clip of them performing Jim’s #6 Barn Dance at the River Of Music Party in Louisville, KY. The song was included on the band’s Force Of Nature CD, and Adam Steffey teaches it on his new mandolin instructional DVD.

UPDATE 9/22: Thanks to reader Jonathan Estep who caught my boneheaded mistake above. The song is, of course, Real Time, from Mountain Heart’s No Other Way CD.

Boy… is my face red!

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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.