Category: Featured

Tom T. Hall | Olive Hill, KY | Bluegrass Trails

“Portions of the Carter County town of Olive Hill, KY … were as quiet as we’d come to expect from rural Kentucky, but the town is both big enough (population over 1,500) to boast some activity and its residents curious enough to approach us wondering what on earth we obvious out-of-towners were doing poking around somewhere like Olive Hill. “Blame Tom T.”, we said. “Who else?”

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The Osborne Brothers | Hyden, KY | Bluegrass Trails

‘There were/are signs on Osborne Brothers Way on the outskirts of the town commemorating Sonny and Bobby, born here in 1937 and 1931 respectively and still with us today, but nothing that said Osborne Brothers in the veritable ghost town of Hyden itself. Firmly on the bluegrass map, the town hosts a popular multi-day annual bluegrass festival, The Osborne Brothers Hometown Festival, at the town’s Bobby Osborne Pavilion. The festival started in 1994 as a benefit for the Thousandsticks Volunteer Fire Department and Hyden hosted its 25th festival in August of 2018. Festival weekend is probably as good a time as any to visit the town, and if doing so you should find it a livelier than how we found late on a mid-October afternoon.’

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Kenny Baker | Jenkins, KY | Bluegrass Trails

“We did our pre-departure homework, so we were confident at the time that we’d find some reference in Jenkins or neighbouring Burdine/East Jenkins to master fiddler and former local boy Kenny Baker, best known for his 25-year tenure with Bill Monroe, the longest tenure of any of Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. But no, nothing. Not on the streets of the town, nor among the foliage of the town’s Sam Bentley Cemetery. We came up short.”

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Jimmy Martin | Sneedville, TN | Bluegrass Trails

“… Sneedville, Tennessee, may be one of the poorest towns in the US… but at least it can lay claim to being the hometown of Jimmy ‘King of Bluegrass’ Martin. Suffice it to say, this is the only reason we found ourselves on the streets of the town searching out signs of Sneedville’s favourite son while receiving inquisitive stares from the few locals we encountered; Sneedville is a friendly town (we got free coffee), but it’s still the kind of place where everybody knows everybody else and if you ain’t from round these parts then you’re gonna stand out. We did.”

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The Ryman Auditorium

“It was upon the Ryman Auditorium stage in December 1945 that the ‘Father of Bluegrass’ Bill Monroe presented to the world the sound of a new musical genre…. ‘bluegrass’, as it was to become known, was born. Today, bluegrass remains a staple on venerated stage where it started.”

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Bluegrass Island Festival 2017

“The heavy-hitting pioneering and ground-breaking history; the beaches; the lighthouses; and the swashbuckling maritime vibe of North Carolina’s Outer Bank were enthralling and educational. But even they, and if you’ll pardon the oh-so pathetic pun, played a very distant second fiddle to the 4 days of foot tappin’ and artist mingling that was the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival in Roanoke Island Festival Park, known for a period every year as Bluegrass Island.”

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Billy Strings | Bluegrass Island 2017

“Although it’s less than three years ago now that we met and saw guitar sensation Billy Strings live for the first time, we’re pretty sure he’s a bit of a bigger deal now than he was back then; playing now to sold-out venues and headlining major festivals, his rise since has seemingly been as rapid as his pickin’ as he continues to push boundaries, straddle genres, shred strings, and dazzle all who witness his sets.”

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Ricky Skaggs | Cordell, KY | Bluegrass Trails

“Rural Kentucky is home to many a country and bluegrass music heavy-hitter, two of which – one dead, one very much alive – were of particular interest to us on this day, and we went searching for signs of them in two Kentucky towns that you’d probably otherwise have no reason to visit. First up was Cordell, KY boyhood home of one Ricky Skaggs.”

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WBRF 98.1 Blue Ridge Backroads | Galax, VA

“We had tickets for the following day’s Rex Fest bluegrass musical bonanza, but on its eve we got a taste of what is to come by attending a performance by Galax resident and banjo picker Stevie Barr (& Friends) in the town’s historic Rex Theater. The 100-mile-an-hour performance of premier pickin’ was awesome and was broadcast throughout the region as Blue Ridge Backroads via the town’s Classic Country WBRF
98.1.”

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12 hours ago

My Grass Is Blue

🎉 LARRY STEPHENSON | HAPPY BIRTHDAY 🎉

Happy 64th #BluegrassBirthday to someone who always keeps it real, Larry Stephenson, born on this day, October 24, in 1956.

📸 : Performing at the ‘A Lester Flatt Celebration’ in Liberty Square, Sparta, TN. October 14, 2017.

Happy birthday, Larry! 🎂
#bluegrass #bluegrassmusic #mygrassisblue #happybirthday #larrystephenson #birthdayboy #mandolin #mando #mandolins #mandoplayer #bluegrassmandolin #mandolinplayer #mandolincafe #bluegrassmusician #onthisdayinbluegrass #pickinandgrinnin Larry Stephenson Band
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