Wednesday at World of Bluegrass: Billy Blue Showcase

Appalachian Road Show with Ed Leonard and Jerry Salley of Billy Blue Records – photo © Bill Warren

Jerry Salley, Billy Blue Records‘ Creative/A&R Director, conducted a showcase of many of the label’s artists in the Raleigh Convention for three consecutive hours on Wednesday afternoon during IBMA’s 2023 Business Conference.

The mini-concert featured 30 minute sessions each with Carson Peters & Iron Mountain, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Dave Adkins, Tennessee Bluegrass Band, Kristy Cox & Grasstime, Joe Mullins & Radio Ramblers, and Appalachian Road Show

“We have an incredible roster of artists,” Salley stressed.

“It’s so good to be part of this record family,” noted Kristy Cox. “Jerry and Erin (Salley) are godparents to my child.”

The Tennessee Bluegrass Band closed with their new single, Coming Down the Line, written by Salley and TBB’s Geary Allen, that is due to be released this Friday. The train song features twin fiddling by Aynsley Porchak and Tim Laughlin.

“It’s so good you can smell the smoke,” teased TBB banjoist, Lincoln Hensley.

Salley presented awards to several of the label’s performers including Darin & Brooke for their #1 song, Jordan, on the Singing News Bluegrass Chart for the month of September. Three awards were presented to Joe Mullins & the Radio Ramblers: Bluegrass Unlimited’s National Album Chart for Mullins’ latest Billy Blue record, Let It Ride, for August 2023; Singing News Bluegrass Chart for Go Spread the Gospel, written by Jerry Salley and Bill Anderson, #1 song for January and February 2023, and Singing News Bluegrass Chart for The Glory Road, #1 song for July and August 2023.

The final award was presented to Appalachian Road Show for their song, Blue Ridge Mountain Baby, written by Barry Abernathy and Jim VanCleve, #1 song for Bluegrass Unlimited Chart for February 2023.

“Appalachian Road Show was my first band to sign with Billy Blue Records. They are nominated for IBMA’s Entertainer of the Year.”

Demonstrating they were worthy of the title, the band closed the afternoon performances with a high energy session that included numerous songs that paid homage to their mountain roots, such as their first hit Dance, Dance, Dance, the instrumental, Wheel Hoss,” featuring the fiery fingers of VanCleve, and ending with the fun audience participation song La La La.

Though not present for the showcase, Authentic Unlimited also earned several awards to be presented at a later time. They were: Bluegrass Unlimited National Chart Before You Miss Me, penned by Jerry Cole, #1 single for January 2023, Singing News Bluegrass Chart, Little Eyes, #1 single for March 2023, and Bluegrass Unlimited National Album Chart, Authentic Unlimited for April 2023.

Door prizes from Billy Blue Records were given out between bands.

“It’s quite a homecoming here at IBMA in Raleigh,” Mullins stated, looking over the packed conference room.

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.