The Travelin’ McCourys

The Del McCoury Band has been touring for many years together and Del is travelin’ a little less now. This left the rest of the Travelin’ McCourys some free time to play some music with a little different focus on the vocals. They are playing a few shows at festivals around the country this year and Wintergrass 2009 will be one of them. And aside from playing at Wintergrass Ronnie, Robbie and Jason will be teaching mandolin,banjo and fiddle as part of the Wintergrass Academy.

They have been Travelin’ together along time now, Ronnie started with Del in 1981 at age 13, Robbie started 1987, Jason in 1992 and Alan in 2005. During this time they have won IBMA Entertainers of the Year 9 times -Instrumental Band of Year twice-Song of the Year once-Album of the Year Twice-Instrumental Album of the Year once-Recorded Event of the Year once-Fiddle Player of the Year 3 times-Mandolin Player of the Year 8 times.

Ronnie McCoury-mandolin, Robbie McCoury-banjo, Jason Carter-fiddle, Alan Bartram-bass


New Addition to The Wintergrass 2009 Danilo Brito

britoBrazilian mandolinist Danilo Brito will be playing at Wintergrass this year. Danilo plays a bandolim – the Brazilian version of the mandolin. He’ll join Choro Famoso for his performances. A highly regarded musician in Brazil, he is making a rare U.S. performance and will be playing with Choro Famoso.Here is a link to a clip for Danilo Brito
Here is the link to Danilo’s website as translated on google from it original version in Portuguese. Click on the link in the corner of his site that says “Previous Site” and you will be able to enter the site.

Not exactly bluegrass or Americana but certainly his playing is extraordinary and will entertain and watching his skills might help you figure out an elusive mandolin lick.

Molly Adkins & Martin Stevens

Molly Adkins and Martin Stevens have been playing together as a duet since the fall of 2007. This duo of two young performers have been on the Oregon and Washington bluegrass scene since they were young pickers. Molly is the daughter of a veteran Wintergrass performer, guitarist  Dale Adkins which gave her the opportunity to learn from the areas best.  She recorded a solo album at the age of 12 in 2005. This was a project Molly put together to help out to donate funds for Oregon’s Misty River’s band member Carol Harley’s medical costs from her leukemia.  Molly has been writing and recording since she was 9 and won the songwriting contest at the Wheeler County Bluegrass Festival in 2006.

Molly Adkins and Martin Stevens

Martin Stevens is also a well know figure in the local scene. He has played Wintergrass before with “Athena and the River City Boys”. His fiddle playing has won him a notoriety on the fiddle contest circuit with wins beginning at age  6, and again at 7, he won the Washington State Small Fry Fiddle Championships. He also has won the Jr Jr division multiple times, many regional titles, and has placed 2nd, 4th, and 7th at the World Championship Weiser Fiddle Contests (in the small fry, jr jr, and jr divisions). He has most recently added Washington’s Young Adult Fiddle Championship to his list of triumphs.

A perfect addition to the Wintergrass 2009 lineup, two musicians who have grown up around the  Wintergrass music community. And don’ t forgot to check them out on Myspace

Blue Highway

Blue Highway is back at Wintergrass 2009 following a great 2008 for the band.   SPGMA award nominations (the awards are the week before Wintergass)  , Tim Stafford (along with co-writer Steve Gulley) and Wayne Taylor, have been nominated for Bluegrass Songwriter of the Year for 2009,BGMA: “Through the Window of a Train”, Bluegrass Album of the Year; Rob Ickes, Dobro Performer of the Year; and Tim Stafford, Guitar Performer of the Year. NPR’s FOLK ALLEY added  “Through the Window of a Train” to their  Top Ten 2008 FAVORITES. Two 2008 IBMA awards “Through the Window of a Train” Song of the Year written by Tim Stafford and Steve Gulley. Rob Ickes won his 10th Dobro Player of the Year making him  the most awarded instrumentalist in the history of the IBMA Awards.  Previous albums by the band have been Grammy nominees  Best Bluegrass Album (2005-Marbletown) Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album (2004-Wondrous Love)

To learn more about the new album there is a great 7 minute video about the album at this link:
Blue Highway has been touring together since 1994 with the same lineup playing original music from the start, something pretty unique in bluegrass. (Jason did take a leave of absence at one point)bluehighway

Tim and Rob will also be teaching this year at the Wintergrass Academy. Rob also will be appearing at Wintergrass 2009 in the group Three Ring Circle

Blue Highway’s skills as players, singers and songwriters create a definite Blue Highway sound with the band playing all originals, with many songs of everyday life. As great as they are at picking they do feature their vocals often on accapella gospel songs.

Tim Stafford-guitar Wayne Taylor-bass Shawn Lane-mandolin,fiddle Jason Burleson-banjo Rob Ickes-Dobro

Laurie Lewis and The Right Hands

laurie-right-handsLaurie Lewis and the Right Hands will be at Wintergrass 2009 playing both on Saturday and Sunday. The Right Hands bring together some great California bluegrass musicians with some great North Carolina bluegrass musicians. Laurie, Tom Rozum and Todd Phillips from the hills of Berkeley and Craig Smith (okay he was originally from San Bernadino) and Scott Huffman from the hills of the Blue Ridge. Laurie and the Right Hands have just released their first live cd with “Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands-Live

Tom has been playing mandolin and singing with Laurie since 1986 and when they are not playing with the full band tour as a duet. Their 1986 duet cd “The Oak and the Laurel was a Grammy nominee for the 1996 “Best Traditional Folk Album.”  Todd has been playing bass  with  Laurie since 1996 and has played on countless cd’s as a session bass player. Todd’s production of “True Life Blues: a Tribute to Bill Monroe which had appearances by Todd,Laurie,Tom and Craig won a 1997  Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album. Scott has been playing guitar and singing with Laurie since 2004 and his guitar and singing also appear on Craig’s solo album “Craig Smith.  Craig has been friends with Laurie going back to his California days in the 70’s and Laurie has continued to play with him through the years.  Craig is a highly regarded banjo instructor back in the Winston-Salem area of North Carolina.

They always are great live with originals songs, great instrumentals and some times you even get Laurie doing some dancing.

Laurie Lewis-fiddle, guitar Tom Rozum-mandolin,mandola,guitar Scott Huffman-guitar Craig Smith-banjo Todd Phillips-bass

Widow Maker

widowmakerwidowmaker2Widow Maker, a 2008 IBMA showcase band,  is a bluegrass band that has created a hybrid sound out of two kinds of acoustic music. The blend brings an original sound by mixing an old-timey sound with a traditional bluegrass sound. Then add to that hybrid some country and rockabilly influences and you get the Widow Maker sound. A common theme when people talk about Widow Maker is they have there own sound.  Widow Maker is based out of Canada but band member Will White has the true bluegrass pedigree being raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virgina.  Widow Maker has released one cd “The Awful Truth” while various band member have solo releases. Canadian fans may be familiar with band member Craig Korth as host of Fire on The Mountain on CKUA.

Craig Korth- guitar, banjo  Will White-banjo,guitar, National steel guitar Julie Kerr- guitar Bryan Myhre-fiddle, mandolin  Dale Ulan-slappin’ bass

Readers Session Details

Attention classically trained music reading string students and players, orchestra conductors and teachers:

Alternative styles specialist, cellist Renata Bratt and NW Orchestra Teacher/ Director of the Wintergrass Youth Academy Beth Fortune will be presenting “Wintergrass Music for String Orchestra” in conjunction with the Wintergrass Bluegrass Festival in Tacoma, WA on Thursday February 19, 2009.

Teachers, directors, students and note reading string musicians of all ages are all welcome and encouraged to participate in this unique workshop/ reading session which will cover pertinent topics such as “arranging string music on the fly from a lead-sheet” and “building accompaniment and bass lines for all string players.”  We will also feature a reading session of the very best in alt-styles orchestral arrangements featuring the work of Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, Jeffery Bishop, Randy Sabien, Bob Philips, Renata Bratt, and more.  The best of the music selections will be worked up for a mini performance at the end of the session which is open to the public.  Don’t pass up this opportunity to work with one of the most influential alternative styles specialists in the country — Renata is almost single-handedly changing the definition of cello and string music in general!

Thursday February 20, 2009 from 5:00-8:00 pm
The Church on XXXXX Street in Tacoma, WA
$20.00 which will include a materials packet and a Thursday Night wristband for admittance to all Wintergrass venues.  Participation is free to all WGYA participants and Wintergrass Academy participants. Do we want to offer this free to the teachers from the IBMA workshop?
Answer: Yes! We’d love to have them if they can make it.

Your bowed string instrument, a folding stand, a pencil, and an open mind!

This workshop is sponsored by W-ASTA, Pepper Music, D’Addario, and Wintergrass