Archive for January, 2008

Cadillac Sky

January 26, 2008

Cadillac Sky returns to Wintergrass 2008 for just one day this year. This is a band that favors hard driving progressive bluegrass.  This band  traditional roots are express in a song that is a tribute to Bill Monroe “Never Been So Blue”, yet they are moving towards the future with their style and original tunes. Mandolinist Bryan Simpson is becoming a pretty successful songwriter with songs being recorded by artists including George Strait, Martina McBride, Gretchen Wilson, Diamond Rio.  Formed in 2002 they have really made a mark already in acoustic music. Ricky Skaggs signed them to his Skaggs Family Records because he really liked the sound and values of this band Highlight of 2007 for this band were being nominated for Emerging Artists of the Year at the 2007 IBMA Awards, appearing at the Grand Ole Opry and on the CMT program Loaded. For more info on this Cadillac Sky check out their very cool website.

Bryan Simpson-mandolin, Mike Jump-guitar, Matt Menefee-banjo, Ross Holmes -fiddle, Matt Blaize-bass

Sarah Jarosz

January 25, 2008

Sarah Jarosz from Austin, Tx is going to be the opening performer on Thursday night in the Pavilion. Sarah is one of the young musicians who will be leading this music into the future. Sarah plays clawhammer banjo and  mandolin. Though only 16 years old she has performed with an amazing array of musicians  including  Earl Scruggs; Tim O’Brien; Chris Thile & The How To Grow A Band; Mike Marshall & Chris Thile;  The Infamous Stringdusters. She won a songwriting during the 2007  SXSW Music Conference at the 25th Annual Austin Music Awards.  Take a look at her Myspace page for some samples of her playing.

New Sponsors for Wintergrass

January 24, 2008

This year Wintergrass has a couple of the best labels lending their support. Rounder Records and Sugarhill Records. Both of these labels have some great bands appearing this year and through the years many of the artists have recorded for these labels.

Rounder Records was formed in 1970 in Cambridge, MA by Ken Irwin, Bill  Nowlin and Marian Leighton-Levy. From the founders this company has grown to over 120 employees. Bluegrass and old-time music has always been a big part of Rounder even as the company has expanded to other forms of roots music.  Rounder artists at this years festival include The Grascals, Bobby Osborne, Michael Cleveland,Darol Anger & Mike Marshall.

Sugar Hill Records  was formed in 1978 by Barry Poss. The focus of Sugar Hill was to record  the younger generation of musicians who learned bluegrass from their parents but added some of the influences of other styles of music. Poss wanted to focus on bands that would give Sugar Hill a signature sound. This sound continues with some of the Sugar Hill artists that will be at Wintergrass this year: The Seldom Scene, The Infamous Stringdusters, Chris Thile and The Punch Brothers, and TheDuhks.


New Wintergrass Venue-The Varsity Grill

January 24, 2008

The Varsity Grill is a large restaurant just 1/2 a block from the Hotel Murano accessible either via
Broadway or Ct. C, which is the alley-like street directly across from the hotel courtyard.
Wintergrass will be using the upstairs space which is complete with a spectacular bar, stage and dance
floor.  It’s large enough to accommodate the dances but apart from the restaurant enough
to be its own thing. You can also get drinks at the upstairs bar and food and drink
downstairs. We’re excited about being there as are the owners and think this is the start of
a new Wintergrass tradition. This new venue will host workshops,national and regional bands and will host both the Friday and Saturday night dances.

Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper

January 22, 2008

Fiddle fans will not be disappointed when this band takes the stage. Michael Cleveland just won his fifth fiddle player of the year at the 2007 IBMA awards. And the band won Instrumental band of the year. Michael started fiddling at four and was a member of the Bluegrass Youth Allstars at the 1993 IBMA awards. Michael has toured at a young age with Dale Ann Bradley ( current bandmate Jesse Brock also was in Dale Anns band at that time) and then Rhonda Vincent. Jesse Brock on Mandolin also played with Dale Ann and toured with The Lynn Morris Band. Todd Rakestraw has written some great tunes including Gentle River that Alison Krauss recorded on her first album. John Batchelor is self taught banjo player who has been playing for about 5 years. And those of you that have been to Wintergrass before will have seen Marshall Wilborn here before with The Johnson Mountain Boys, The Lynn Morris Band, and Longview.

Michael Cleveland-fiddle, Jesse Brock-mandolin, Todd Rakestraw- guitar, John Mark Batchelor-banjo, Marshall Wilborn-bass

Wintergrass Schedule!!

January 21, 2008

The Wintergrass 2008 is out! The schedule is now available on the website so start your planning. And as you know that at any festival the schedule might change due to travel arrangements and unforseen problems. There is a new stage this year at the Varsity Grill just up the street from the main festival site The Hotel Murano.

Here is the link for the schedule

Alhambra Valley Band

January 19, 2008

The Alhambra Valley Band was formed in the Northern California area in 1986. This band has played all the big festivals in the Northern California area and their album “Willow Pass Road” is a great example of hard driving California bluegrass.  Take a look at there website, there is a great section there on the history of this band.

“I had the opportunity to hear the Alhambra Valley Band. was thoroughly impressed with the timin’, the singin’ and the band as a whole; and especially the hard drivin’ rhythm player.” ..James King @ the Bowers Mansion Festival, 8/14/04

“I want to say special congratulations to each member of the Alhambra Valley Band,
headliner for Saturday night….they absolutely stole the hearts of everyone in earshot.
What singing….what playing”
.. Rick Cornish, CBA Chairman of the Board @ the Good Old Fashioned Festival, 7/12/04Lynn Quinones – Songwriter, Lead Vocals, Rhythm Guitar • Jill Cruey -Vocals, Fiddle • Dan Large – Vocals, Mandolin • Mitch Polzak – Vocals, Banjo •
Bruce Campbell -Vocals, Bass

Ruthie Foster

January 18, 2008

Ruthie Foster is going to be participating in this years Wintergrass 2008 part of the Thursday night Black & Bluegrass show that Laura Love is presenting at Wintergrass 2008. This show is going to highlight the influence of black string band music on bluegrass. Ruthie is an amazingly powerful singer coming from a blues, classic early soul and R & B beginning. The combination of Ruthie and Laura will be a highlight for sure. Here are some of the critical acclaim that the reviewers have raved on Ruthie “a songwriter and singer as good as Foster doesn’t fit in genres- She creates her own.”- James Porter, Time Out Chicago

“The album takes its name from ”Phenomenal Woman,’ a Maya Angelou poem set to music by Amy Sky and David Pickell, but Foster’s voice would earn the superlative anyway.”- Shay Quillen, The Mercury News (CA)
Ruthie’s voice with the musicians Laura has lined up will make this a very unique Wintergrass first!

Tune Up for Wintergrass 2008

January 16, 2008
Tune Up for Wintergrass 2008
Our friends at Festival Preview produced this annotated preview playlist including two tracks by most artists performing at the upcoming festival. Sample each tune or download tracks from the Amazon MP3 store. Each track is annotated with expert commentary from the editors at Festival Preview.

This is a great site for people looking for festivals and band information of all kinds. The site is set up so you can look at several sub blogs for different genres of music or the main blog. The main blog is and the Roots blog is This site has lots of current info on bands playing Wintergrass this year and bands that have played here in the past.  This is an essential site for those who travel to music festivals around the country.

Hot Club Sandwich

January 16, 2008

Hot Club Sandwich takes it’s name and musical style from the famous Quintette Du Hot Club de France. These great Gypsy string band style jazz band from the Seattle area are going to be playing a dance set and a concert set at Wintergrass 2008. This style of string band jazz influenced many of the early bluegrass musicians and is having a resurgence in the past few years. A great tribute to these early string bands but certainly not a time piece of a band. Their latest cd “Green Room” has landed at #11 on the CMJ Jazz charts. Check out there website and listen to their clips but don’t forget to check out their mighty fine hats!

Ray Wood-guitar, Kevin Connor-guitar, Greg Ruby-guitar, James Schneider-bass, Matt Sircely-mandolin,Tim Wetmiller-violin


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