New Music Friday: Shannon Slaughter Releases New Single

APD SINGLEShannon Slaughter is proud to announce the first single release, “That Old County Road,” from his upcoming album Never Standing Still.  The song was written by Shannon Slaughter and Rusty Hendrix, guitar player from the country band Confederate Railroad, and takes a nostalgic look at growing up in the country and what young people did back then – with maybe a nod to the present as well.  The new single is available to radio programmers at AirPlayDirect or by request.

Never Standing Still is the fourth project and second solo effort from the award-winning singer-songwriter Shannon Slaughter and is set for release on Elite Circuit Records November 15, 2017. Slaughter contributed 9 original songs written or co-written with industry luminaries such as: Ronnie Bowman, Tim Stafford, Mark “Brink” Brinkman, Dale Felts, Terry Foust and Marla Cannon-Goodman, along with songs by Jake Landers and Roger Rasnake. The well-respected talents of numerous musicians and singers are also showcased on this recording with the talents of: Heather Slaughter, Lou Reid, Shawn Lane, Randy Kohrs, Ron Stewart, Steve Gulley, Ron Inscore, Trevor Watson, Cliff Bailey, Tim Crouch, Doug Jernigan, Josh Shilling, and Tracy Burcham.

Slaughter is a proud alumnus of numerous leading bluegrass bands counting membership in The Lost & Found, Larry Stephenson Band, Melonie Cannon, Lonesome River Band, Lou Reid & Carolina, and Grasstowne.  These bands and bandleaders helped shape the foundation of his band County Clare which he formed in 2010.  “I am really proud of the unique sound of County Clare that we have created over the last 7 years,” said Slaughter.

In 2012, Slaughter was the 1st Place Winner in the Country division of MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest for his original song, “I’ve Hit Everything In My Life (But My Knees)“ co-written by Dale Felts and Mark Byrd. He has written songs for Blue Highway, Lonesome River Band, IIIrd Tyme Out, Lou Reid, Mike Bentley, Larry Stephenson, and more. In March 2013, Shannon & Heather Slaughter and County Clare released the album One More Road that included 3 radio chart hits including their killer cover of “If I Were A Carpenter.”  Shannon & Heather’s follow-up album Never Just A Song, released in February 2015, included their #1 chart radio hit “That’s What’s Good In America Today” co-written by Slaughter as well as other chart songs such as “Moonshiner,” “There Ain’t No Need To Be Lonely,” and “Ridin’ The Lightning, Ropin the Storm.”

Please visit shannonslaughter.com and Facebook for more upcoming announcements.

New Single from Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys

Stanley Family Records is proud to announce a landmark new single, “Goin’ Round This World” by Ralph Stanley II & The Clinch Mountain Boys. The song appears on the band’s self-titled album releasing this summer. This is the first recording released since Ralph II honored his father’s wishes by taking over the Clinch Mountain Boys band name last year after his passing.  These big shoes are being filled by the talents of previous Clinch Mountain Boy John Rigsby on fiddle and mandolin, Alex Leach on banjo, Noah Brown on the upright bass, and Ralph II on the guitar.

Ralph II has earned two Grammy nominations on previous albums including a Grammy Award on Lost in the Lonesome Pines along with his father, Dr. Ralph Stanley for their collaboration with Jim Lauderdale. Ralph II has also proven to be an accomplished songwriter and has six solo albums, along with the highly-acclaimed duet album with his father titled Side by Side.

The Ralph Stanley II and The Clinch Mountain Boys’ self-titled album will officially release on Friday, May 26, 2017 during Dr. Ralph Stanley’s 47th Annual Hills of Home Bluegrass Festival to be held Memorial Day weekend in Coeburn. For the past six years, Ralph II has successfully carried on his father’s legacy by running the event. This year will be no exception as it includes a stellar line-up with: Jim Lauderdale, Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, Dave Adkins Band, Flatt Lonesome, and a very special artist announcement coming soon.

 “Goin’ Round This World” was written by Ralph II, Alex Leach, and Joe Rose and will be serviced to radio stations today.  The song was released for sale March 30 on CDBaby  and available on  iTunes, Amazon and more digital outlets.

More on Ralph Stanley II

As one might expect for the son of a renowned banjo player, the first instrument Ralph II ever held was a banjo. At the ripe old age of three, Ralph (or simply “Two” as he is called by his family and friends), had his first lesson from the elder Stanley, learning a simple finger roll. It turned out, however, that he would not be following in his father’s footsteps, when it came to his choice of instrument. He soon fell under the spell of the undisputed king of boyhood musical desires, the guitar.

Despite his interest in the guitar, and the fact that he was occasionally traveling with the Clinch Mountain Boys on the road, he had not yet developed an ambition to play professionally. It took until age twelve and an old 1977 video of the late Keith Whitley during his tenure as lead singer for the Clinch Mountain Boys, to inspire him to become a professional musician. After seeing Whitley with the elder Stanley, he was hooked and spent hours in the family basement honing his skills, and weathering the comparisons to his late Uncle Carter. His persistence paid off, and he took the stage as lead singer with Ralph Sr. and the Clinch Mountain Boys in June of 1995. Since then, he has earned the respect of Stanley fans everywhere, and has garnered praise as a strong new artist in his own right.

Larry Cordle Releases New Gospel Album

Nashville, Tenn.  (March 30, 2017)  – Larry Cordle is very proud to announce his new gospel album Give Me Jesus is now released. A special first run edition, that includes a 12-page booklet with song lyrics and personal notes for each track, is available until supplies run out.  Physical copies can be purchased at larrycordle.com or CDBaby. The album is also available for digital purchase at iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon and more outlets.  He has penned hits for some of Country music’s biggest stars and garnered awards for numerous Country and Bluegrass albums, so when he says this album is the highlight of his career, music fans will definitely want to check it out.

Cordle, AKA The Mighty Cord, rounded up some of his closest friends to bring the album to life.  He is joined by Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, Val Storey, Don Rigsby, Bradley Walker, Lethal Jackson Angie La Primm and Gail Mayes on vocals.

“I’ve been working on this new gospel album for about a year and a half. I had to practically stop working on it while I was undergoing chemo for my leukemia, which by the grace of God is now in remission. I want to thank you all for the prayers sent up for me during and since my treatment” says Cord.

The liner notes were written by his good friend and songwriting buddy Larry “The Rev” Shell who wrote “The Lord, knowing that Larry is a songwriter, gave him the words and melodies to many of these songs. In fact, if you listen to this collection, you will literally hear Larry’s personal testimony of his strong and enduring faith.”  Cord and Shell wrote three songs on the album including one of the stand out tracks “The Old Thing’s Walkin’ About.” To read the unique and very funny story of how this song came about, you will certainly want to purchase one of the limited 12-page booklet copies.

Bluegrass radio programmers will certainly enjoy “The Lonesome Road” with lead vocals by Carl Jackson’s dad, Lethal Jackson and also “God Had A Hand In It,” written by Carl Jackson and Jerry Salley, featuring guest vocalists Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, Bradley Walker and Chris Latham.

Tracks include:

  1. Two Coats (3:28) Trad arr. By Larry Cordle; Vocals: Larry Cordle and Don Rigsby
  2. Give Me Jesus (2:39) Trad arr. Larry Cordle; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Val Storey
  3. It’s A Lonesome Road (2:32) Carl Story; Lead Vocals by Lethal Jackson with Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Bradley Walker
  4. I’ll Meet You In the Morning (3:08) A.E. Brumley; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Val Storey, Bradley Walker
  5. The Old Thing’s Walkin’ About (3:37) L. Cordle, L. Shell; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Angie La Primm, Gail Mayes
  6. This Blood’s For You (3:44) – L. Cordle, L. Shell; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, Chris Latham
  7. God Had A Hand In It (2:31) C. Jackson, J. Salley; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, Bradley Walker
  8. Gone On Before (3:51) – L. Cordle, R. Bowman; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Val Storey
  9. Lost As A Ball In High Weeds (4:27) L. Cordle, L. Shell; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Val Storey, Carl Jackson, Bradley, Walker
  10. The Old Ship Of Zion (2:05) T. Dorsey; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Don Rigsby, Bradley Walker
  11. The First Step To Heaven (3:08) J. Rushing, E. Gordy, Jr.; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson, Jerry Salley, Bradley Walker
  12. Family Bible (3:32) W. Nelson; Vocals: Larry Cordle, Carl Jackson and Bradley Walker
  13. When You Pray, Will You Pray For Me (1:09) A. Mier (for Brother Herb): Vocals by: Larry Cordle, Val Storey, Carl Jackson, Bradley Walker

Radio programmers can download the entire album at AirPlayDirect or request a digital or physical copy.

Please visit www.larrycordle.com or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

More information on Larry Cordle

Kentucky Music Hall of Famer Larry Cordle is also a multi-award IBMA Award Winner, two-time Grammy nominee, and one of Nashville’s most revered Singer-Songwriters penning such hits as “Murder on Music Row” and “Highway 40 Blues.” His songs have been recorded by artists such as Ricky Skaggs, Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Garth Brooks, George Strait, Trisha Yearwood, Reba McEntire, Diamond Rio, Alan Jackson, Trace Adkins and many others. He tours and records with his band Lonesome Standard Time, performs with as a Trio with Carl Jackson and Jerry Salley, and performs every Monday night for New Monday at the Station Inn in Nashville with Val Storey, Carl Jackson and more friends.  In addition to his songwriting and role as a bandleader, Cordle is sometimes featured as a lead and/or background vocalist on some of Nashville’s most awarded and popular music. He’s provided harmony vocals for artists such as Garth Brooks, Blake Shelton, Bradley Walker, Billy Yates, Rebecca Lynn Howard and co-writing pal, Jerry Salley. His lead & harmony singing is featured on Livin, Lovin, Losin: A Tribute to the Louvin Brothers, which won a GRAMMY for Best Country Album in 2003 and the 2004 IBMA Recorded Event of the Year Award.  He’s also featured on two tracks of Moody Bluegrass, alongside artists such as Tim O’Brien, Alison Krauss, John Cowan, Harley Allen et al and again featured as lead vocalist on Moody Bluegrass II.

Soggy Bottom Boys Headlining The Blue, Brew & Que Festival

soggy-bottom-boys-stage

The Soggy Bottom Boys are the Grammy Award winning super group of musicians assembled to perform the soundtrack for the major motion picture “O’ Brother Where Art Thou.” The Soggy Boys line-up is comprised of the genre’s top artists: Dan Tyminski, Stuart Duncan, Ron Block, Barry Bales, Pat Enright, and Mike Compton. The smash hit “I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow” was the chart topping hit that carried this album to one of the top selling soundtracks of all-time.

Dan Tyminski (lead on “I Am A Man of Constant Sorrow”, and member of Alison Krauss & Union Station) along with songwriter Harley Allen, and Pat Enright (Nashville Bluegrass Band), won a CMA Award for Single of the Year and a Grammy Award for Best Country Collaboration with Vocals, both for the song written by Dick Burnett.
http://www.soggybottomboys.NET

Other bands appearing at the Blue, Brew, & Que are: VW Boys, Trinity River Band, Lonesome River Band, and Russell Moore & lllrd Tyme Out.

Lonesome River Band
Lonesome River Band

The Blue, Brew, & Que Festival with feature some of the best Bluegrass Music, NC Craft Breweries, and Bar-B-Que around. Join us for this two day event. Friday, March 31st hours will be 5pm-9pm and feature music from local artist. Saturday, April 1st’s hours will 10-7pm. Tickets for The Blue, Brew & Que will be available online at http://www.ETix.com, beginning November 1st, or by phone at 910-275-0009, at the Event Center box office, or at the door. Accommodations for persons with disabilities are available upon request. For additional information call 910.275.0009.

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Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out

***Artists subject to change and No refunds

What: Blue, Brew, & Que Festival featuring the Soggy Bottom Boys

When: Friday, March 31st, 2017- Gates open at 5pm
Saturday, April 1st, 2017-Gates open at 10am

Where: Duplin County Events Center
195 Fairgrounds Dr.
Kenansville, North Carolina 28349

Tickets: On-Sale Date: Tuesday, November 1st, 2016
$20.00 advance/$25.00 at the gate

Tickets may be purchased at the Duplin County Events Center box office (910) 275-0009 or purchased on-line at http://www.ETix.com.

vwboys
VW Boys

Duplin County Events Center
The Duplin County Events Center is a multi-use venue seating up to 4,400. The Duplin County Events Center hosts a wide variety of events including concerts, sporting events, festivals, conventions, banquets, trade shows, agricultural exhibitions, livestock shows and rodeos…just about anything that will fit through the doors!

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Baseball and Bluegrass with Lonesome River Band

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UNCLE DAVE MACON DAYS PRESENTS
CENTRAL MAGNET SCHOOL’S BASEBALL AND BLUEGRASS WITH LONESOME RIVER BAND
DECEMBER 10TH AT 6:30PM

Uncle Dave Macon Days presents a new series — “Nights of Bluegrass” benefiting Central Magnet School’s baseball program on December 10th featuring the Lonesome River Band and in 2017, February 9th featuring Flatt Lonesome. Both concerts start at 6:30pm. Due to limited seating, book now!

Go to: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/bluegrass-and-baseball-lonesome-river-band-tickets-28761798313?aff=es2

Let’s walk back across time into America’s past. You will find two identifiable features emerging in our culture that are uniquely American: Baseball and Bluegrass. In the hills and hollows of the rural South there were more musicians and athletic talent than you could “shake a stick “at. The rural roots of the South were primed for dual entertainment in the fairgrounds and fields. Out of this atmosphere in the 1930’s and 40’s, Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys propelled their riveting new sound into popularity by introducing each concert with a baseball game –The Bluegrass All Stars—Howard Watts, Chubby Wise, Dave Akeman (Stringbean), and Clyde Moody.

This new musical style was inspired by several influences—European classical, African-American blues and gospel, hillbilly hoedown, and even jazz. With this imaginative promotional idea of playing a baseball game before a concert, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys were able to propel their new genre popularizing and codifying their music from town to town region by region reshaping America’s musical story into a new creation of its own.

Americans became enamored by the new sound. Alan Lomax once stated this about Bluegrass music. It was, “Folk music in overdrive!” In the early days of the Grand Ole Opry, hoe down bands like Uncle Dave Macon had become an institution in the 1920’s through the 1930’s. Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass music were snatched into the limelight and brought the Opry’s listening audiences to a new level.

By the time that Bill Monroe stepped out onto the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in October of 1939, with his imaginative promotional scheme of featuring baseball games before a concert, the music had been accepted. A new chapter in America’s musical history had begun reshaping country music.

George D. Hay, founder of the Grand Ole Opry, once said, “Uncle Dave Macon with his chin whiskers and gold teeth brought the chuckles and applause. Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys have now found a home on the Opry.”

grand-ole-opry-lonesome-river-bandBluegrass and its unusual sound were poised to affect mainstream American music into the popular culture for decades to come. Once again like in days of old, the blend of baseball and bluegrass are coming together for “Nights of Bluegrass” which will benefit the baseball program at Central Magnet School on December 10thand on February 9th at 6:30pm. The 2016 IBMA award nominee—Lonesome River Band will be featured on December 10th. Since its formation 34 years ago, the Lonesome River Band continues its reputation as
one of the most respected bands in Bluegrass.

In 2016 at the International Bluegrass Music Association awards, there were nominations for: Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Gospel Recorded Performer of the Year as well as Musicians of the Year in Banjo, Fiddle, Mandolin, and Bass players of the year. The band seamlessly comes together performing their traditional sound that fans have continued to
embrace over the years. Banjo player, Sammy Shelor, has received more notoriety than any other banjo player in history including the Steve Martin prize for “Excellence in Bluegrass” and as 5-time IBMA Banjo Player of the Year. Their most recent album, Bridging the Tradition debuted at #2 on Billboard’s Top 10 Bluegrass charts.

So…..Mark your calendar Saturday evening, December 10th at 6:30pm at Central Middle School, the award winning Lonesome River Band will perform, building on the familiar Bluegrass sound while adding to its bold progressiveness.

Baseball and Bluegrass Nights presented by Uncle Dave Macon Days at Central Magnet will celebrate the thrilling sounds that are a perfect American original.

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Weep Little Willow by Larry Stephenson Band – Now Released!

weeplilwiw-frtcvr-hires-sq600Weep Little Willow  – A New Album by Larry Stephenson Band

Album Release Party in Garner, NC Postponed Due to Flooding As A Result of Hurricane Matthew

SEE VIDEO MESSAGE FROM LARRY BELOW

October 14, 2016 – From the very first note, fans of traditional bluegrass music can identify the smooth tenor vocals of Virginia Country Music Hall of Famer, Larry Stephenson. Combine Stephenson’s award-winning voice with the talents of Kenny Ingram, Kevin Richardson, Matt Wright on upright bass with guest Aubrey Haynie, and you’ve got an exciting new album release with Weep Little Willow.

The album was produced by Ben Surratt and Larry Stephenson and released today on Whysper Dream Music. The Larry Stephenson Band had scheduled a special album release party at Lorraine’s Coffee House in Garner, N.C. this evening, but the event will have to be rescheduled due to the flooding in eastern N.C. as a result of Hurricane Matthew.

Weep Little Willow can be purchased at iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby, and more fine retail outlets.  For purchases made at www.larrystephensonband.com before midnight tonight,  Stephenson is offering a free download of the band’s 2015 SPBGMA Album of the Year Award Winning album Pull Your Savior In.

Tracks include:

01  Yesterday’s Gone 2:28 (C. Stuart, W. Kidd)
02  It Almost Feels Like Love 2:25 (Randall Hylton)
03  Sweet Little Darling (Don’t You Cry) 2:55 (Billy Smith, Jon Weisberger)
04  Let Those Brown Eyes Smile At Me 3:16 (R. Nail)
05  Nail My Shoes To The Floor 2:27 (Bill Anderson)
06  Weep Little Willow, Weep 3:25 (Donna Ulisse, Rick Stanley)
07  Before I Met You 2:35 (Charles L. Seitz, Joe Lewis, William J. Denny)
08  Kentucky Waltz 3:52 (Bill Monroe)
09 Ruby’s Purse 3:14 (Jerry Salley, Suzanne Mumpower Johnson)
10  Free Me From This Old Chain Gang 3:07 (Mac Wiseman)
11  Best Laid Plans 3:49 (Rick Lang, Troy Engle)
12  Midnight Train 2:34 (Alton Delmore)

On October 22, the Larry Stephenson Band will perform at the Flat-Iron Farm Bluegrass for Hospice event in MD., October 28 at the BooGrass Bluegrass Festival in VA,   November 11 at the Fall Palatka Bluegrass Festival in FL, November 12 at Randy Wood’s Pickin’ Parlor in GA, November 18 at the All American Indoor Bluegrass Festival in VA, and November 25 at the South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival in S.C.

For more tour dates and information on the band, please visit larrystephensonband.com.

Photography, Album Artwork & Design: Dreama Stephenson

MEDIA AND RADIO REQUEST – email penni@hoperiverentertainment.com

MORE ON LARRY STEPHENSON

Throughout his 25-year career fronting his own band, and almost forty years as a major touring performer, Larry Stephenson has been well-recognized and awarded by fans and his peers in the recording industry. In 1996, Stephenson was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame by the Virginia Folk Music Association. Since that time, he has garnered numerous other awards including being named Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year by the Society and Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA.) In 2015, SPBGMA honored the Larry Stephenson Band with the 2015 SPBGMA Album of the Year Award for the Larry Stephenson Band’s album, Pull Your Savior In. In 2008, the IBMA Recorded Event of the Year was awarded to the album, Everett Lilly & Everybody and Their Brother, featuring Everett Lilly, Bea Lilly, Charles Lilly, Daniel Lilly, Mark Lilly, Marty Stuart, Rhonda Vincent, Billy Walker, Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury, David Ball, Charlie Cushman, Larry Stephenson, Joe Spivey, Eddie Stubbs, Jason Carter, Dickey Lee, Freddy Weller, Mike Bub, Rad Lewis, Andy May, Darrin Vincent, Marcia Campbell, Clay Rigdon, Eric Blankenship & Bill Wolfenbarger.

 

Adam Steffey’s New Solo Album HERE TO STAY is Now Released

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9-23-2016 – Mountain Home Music Company

HERE TO STAY, the new solo album by multi-Grammy award-winning artist Adam Steffey, is now released.  Recorded with a team of ultimate hardcore Bluegrass musicians, Ron Stewart on fiddle, Jason Davis on banjo, Barry Bales on bass and Aaron Ramsey on guitar, these well-known works are still true to the original. They are, however, refreshed with new energy that is led by Steffey’s unmistakable mandolin tone and attack.

Steffey’s impressive career includes a record-setting eleven International Bluegrass Music Association Mandolin Performer of the Year Awards – a nomination he received again this year. As a founding member and performer with the 3-time IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year Award-Winning band, The Boxcars, HERE TO STAY proves Steffey is one of the most respected and accomplished artists in music today.

Music critics are loving HERE TO STAY saying…..

“To produce a CD of such high quality from start to finish with songs that are polar opposites in some ways speaks to Steffey’s artistic ability and effort toward perfection. Rather than opposites struggling and pulling the project apart, the whole thing hangs as one unit and the songs serve to show facets of the same gem. If I gave stars, this would receive the maximum- Excellent work.” – Flashpoint

“There’s no other way to describe the effect of Adam Steffey’s new album titled Here To Stay. He is a master of bluegrass who is clearly here to stay, and this is an album that lovers of the genre will hold in high regard.” – Parcbench

Here to Stay is a collection of new versions of some of his favorite songs over the past three decades. His very recognizable rich baritone flows over these songs with the effortless touch of a true master.” – Black Rose Acoustic Society

The opening track, “Mountain Man,” along with “Town That Never Sleeps” made their debut on the Bluegrass Today Top 20 Bluegrass Chart today. To listen and purchase the entire album, visit iTunes, Amazon and more fine retail sites.

  1. Mountain Man
  2. Dear John
  3. The Space I’m In
  4. Town That Isn’t There
  5. Pitching Wedge
  6. Town That Never Sleeps
  7. Twister (Devil’s Dance)
  8. Little Liza Jane
  9. No Place To Hide
  10. Hello Among the Yearlings
  11. Cloudy Days
  12. Come Thou Fount

Radio Programmers can get the album at airplaydirect.com/music/heretostay/

MTSU Theatre is ‘Walking in Sunlight’ with new bio-musical of Uncle Dave Macon

uncledave_wsm_sp8x10_01a-2Rambunctious country music pioneer uncle Dave Macon is most often associated with stage lights, but a new MTSU-produced play shows that the bowler-wearing banjoist much preferred “Walking in Sunlight.”

Taking its name from one of the Middle Tennessee native’s favorite gospel songs, “Walking in Sunlight: The Legacy of Uncle Dave Macon” premieres Tuesday, Sept. 27, in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre and runs through Frlday, Sept. 30.

Curtain times are 7 p.m., and tickets are $8.50 general admission and $4 for seniors over age 60 and K-12 students and available at https://www.showclix.com/event/Walkinginsunlight. MTSU students with valid IDs will be admitted free.

The family-friendly MTSU Arts play follows eight young characters as they discover a book about the “Dixie Dew Drop,” as Macon styled himself during his nearly three-decade Grand Ole Opry heyday. Guided by a character called “The Muse,” they’re magically able to step inside to observe his life’s joys and sorrows and return with a new appreciation for more than his music.

“We wanted this show to be about resilience and the struggles that he (Macon) faced, within and without, and to create a show that young people could learn from,” explains MTSU theatre professor Jette Halladay, the director of “Walking in Sunlight.”

Macon’s jovial, raucous stage persona helped to disguise a life peppered with personal tragedy, including his father’s murder outside the family’s Nashville hotel, the loss of his mule-drawn freight company after gas-powered competitors came to town, and his long struggle with emotional issues. He chose to joke and sing with customers, neighbors and audiences instead of succumbing to sadness, becoming a polished entertainer who proudly carried his instrument case with “Uncle Dave Macon, the World’s Greatest Banjo Player” on the side.

In fact, Macon was an established performer and recording artist before he joined the WSM Barn Dance — the Opry’s original name — in 1926. Born in 1870, he first performed professionally in 1921 for a church benefit in Morrison, Tennessee. Within three years, vaudeville companies were clamoring for contracts, and he was touring with fiddle player Sid Harkreader and cutting records in New York City.

By December 1925, he’d made his first appearance on the Opry. He gradually expanded the duo into a quartet, the Fruit Jar Drinkers, and became the Opry’s first superstar, bringing old-time music, gospel songs, comedy and preaching to all his performances until his death in 1952.

Students DeVante Williams, Ren Creasy and Robbie Ramirez and MTSU English professor and playwright Claudia Barnett penned the new MTSU play after Gloria Shacklett Christy, longtime director of Murfreesboro’s Uncle Dave Macon Days annual music festival, approached Halladay with the idea in the summer of 2015.

“We began researching and gathering information and started writing the play this past January,” Halladay recalled. “Gloria (Christy) and Mike (Doubler, Macon’s great-grandson) were a great help to us. I think they were probably thinking about a musical, but our research showed us that his life was so much more.”

“His life is a legacy of hope, the pursuit of joy for himself and others, and an indomitable spirit,” Christy said. “Uncle Dave was resilient, overcoming life’s unexpected and often painful hurdles, to live his dream and bring dreams to others.”

The cast of “Walking in Sunlight: The Legacy of Uncle Dave Macon” includes actor/musicians Austin Derryberry, James Alex May, Justin Dixon, Tera Alexander, Delaney Keith, Dominic Gillette, Ontario McGregor and Nicholas Emerton. Creasy and Ramirez also are cast members. A complete list of cast and crew is available at http://w1.mtsu.edu/theatre/Program.php.

You can get a little preview of Macon’s music with the Fruit Jar Drinkers, plus his preaching, with the audio of “Walking in Sunlight,” also known as “Heavenly Sunlight,” at https://youtu.be/ccXI3JyRebk. Macon also will be featured in filmmaker Ken Burns’ upcoming documentary about the Grand Ole Opry, festival organizers said this summer.

Area schools also will be able to see the play this fall and next spring by making arrangements with the MTSU Department of Theatre and Dance. An information packet for educators is available now at http://www.mtsu.edu/theatre/docs/UDMedpack.pdf.

Tickets also will be available at the Tucker Theatre box office one hour before curtain times.

For more information, visit http://mtsuarts.com.

 

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MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at http://www.mtsu.edu/trueblue. For MTSU news anytime, visit http://www.MTSUNews.com.

 

 

Weep Little Willow – A New Album by Larry Stephenson Band Releasing Oct. 14, 2016

weeplilwiw-frtcvr-hires-sq600Whysper Dream Music is proud to announce the new album, WEEP LITTLE WILLOW by the Larry Stephenson Band, will be released on Friday, October 14, 2016. Pre-orders are available now at larrystephensonband.com and coming soon on iTunes, Amazon, CD Baby and more fine retail outlets.  Radio programmers are being serviced the first single, “Yesterday’s Gone” today.

The band is offering a special on their Facebook page for the first 25 fans who pre-order WEEP LITTLE WILLOW. They will receive a FREE autographed copy and a digital download for the Larry Stephenson Band’s last album – the award-winning PULL YOUR SAVIOR IN.

2016ibma-merlefest-showcaseToday, the Larry Stephenson Band will perform songs from WEEP LITTLE WILLOW at the Bill Monroe Hall of Fame & Uncle Pen Days Festival in Bean Blossom, Indiana and Friday at the Nothin’ Fancy Bluegrass Festival in Buena Vista, Virginia. Next week, the band heads to Raleigh, North Carolina for the annual International Bluegrass Music Association’s highly attended World of Bluegrass where they will perform at the MerleFest Showcase on September 28 at 10:00 p.m. to be held at The Vintage Church at Longview Center located at 118 South Person Street. On September 30 at 2:45 p.m., be sure to catch their performance at the exciting IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Street Festival on the Davie Street Stage.

Mark your calendars for the WEEP LITTLE WILLOW Album Release Concert on Friday, October 14, 2016 at Lorraine’s Coffee House in Garner, N.C.

WEEP LITTLE WILLOW was produced by Ben Surratt and Larry Stephenson. The album and band includes the talents multi-award winner Larry Stephenson on lead vocals and mandolin with Kenny Ingram on banjo and vocals, Kevin Richardson on guitar and vocals, and Matt Wright on upright bass and vocals.

For more information on the band, please visit larrystephensonband.com.

lsb2015presspic-owresMORE ON LARRY STEPHENSON

Throughout his 25-year career fronting his own band, and almost forty years as a major touring performer, Larry Stephenson has been well-recognized and awarded by fans and his peers in the recording industry. In 1996, Stephenson was inducted into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame by the Virginia Folk Music Association. Since that time, he has garnered numerous other awards including being named Contemporary Male Vocalist of the Year by the Society and Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA.)

 

 

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