Wintergrass 2015 Performers-Dale Ann Bradley

 Dale ann bradley


Raised in the coal fields of Appalachia, life for Dale Ann Bradley was much like her musical heroes from the same area in the southern mountains. No running water or “safe” electricity was available until she was a senior in high school. “One light socket and an extension cord kept a 1950’s “Philco” refrigerator, box fan, and radio going. Looking back now I know how dangerous that was.”
“Tar paper will keep the roof from leaking and soup beans taste the best on a coal stove.” Along with living in an extremely rural atmopshere, there were heavy religious restrictions as well. “Primitive Baptist” was the church denomination where her father was, and still is, a minister and pastor. He also worked construction and is a retired coal miner.

No musical instruments were permitted in any service, and, in the churches in the mountains, no musical staffs would be found. They sang from a little hymnal called The Globle. Singing that was, and still is, very similar to Ralph Stanley’s accapella spirituals. Television was very limited as well. Someone gave the family an old black and white TV. An aluminum antenna was the only way to obtain reception. “We would pick up PBS and occasionally the Knoxville, Tennessee TV stations, depending on the elements.” It’s during this time that she was mesmerized by The Porter Wagoner Show. “That was entertainment,” Dale says.

Due to lack of accessibility and religious restrictions, it was nearly impossible to get recorded music to listen to. A great uncle who had left Kentucky and did well in Detroit bought her an 8 track tape player as well as tapes from her favorite entertainers. She was around fourteen when she received her first guitar. “It was a little plywood, small body guitar, but it had six strings and I made a pick from a milk jug. Drove everybody crazy.”

This band would allow her to start her musical journey. They obtained regular regional gigs, recorded a couple of 45 singles and she had the opportunity to get in front of an audience. In the early ’80s, “Backporch Grass” got into the finals of “Marlboro Country Music Round Up” held in Lexington. Most of the acts were country bands so it was really special that a bluegrass band from southeastern Kentucky would end up in the last round. The prize was an opening spot at Rupp Arena for Ricky Skaggs, Hank Jr. and Ronnie Millsap. Though their bluegrass band did not win, Dale Ann met an all- female bluegrass band that would play a big part in her career, “The New Coon Creek Girls.”

After marrying, moving to Jacksonville, Florida, and giving birth to her son, Dale Ann returned to Kentucky. She hadn’t preformed in a couple years. Knowing that she really craved making music, she called on former “Backporch Grass” band mate and friend, Harold McGeorge to assist her in starting her career again. They began writing and making trips to Nashville to knock on doors. On the way back home from one of these trips, they made a stop at Kentucky’s famous Renfro Valley. She dropped off a demo there and received a call before she got home that day asking is she could perform that coming Friday night on The Barn Dance. She was invited to stay and entered into an extensive contract with the entertainment center.

While at Renfro Valley, she performed on all shows and recorded on The Sunday Morning Gatherin’, which still remains the second oldest radio show in America next to The Grand Ole Opry. Dale Ann also recorded two solo albums during her tenure at Renfro Valley. “I can’t put a price on all I learned at Renfro Valley.” Dale Ann says. She joined “The New Coon Creek Girls” while at the Valley and performed with them until 1997. She recorded four albums on Pinecastle Records with the band.

Pinecastle then offered her a solo deal. Sonny Osborne would be producing and she had always been a huge Osborne Brothers fan. Her first release, “East Kentucky Morning,” propelled her into international media and airplay. She charted on Billboard, Gavin and International Bluegrass charts, was featured in Billboard magazine and dozens of major industry publications. The Grand Ole Opry opened its doors for Dale Ann to guest several times as a result of this project. Her second release, “Old Southern Porches,” garnered more of the same accolades. “I was getting album reviews that I couldn’t read,” she laughs, “They were from all over the world.” The third Pinecastle release was a gospel album, “Songs of Praise and Glory,” which also shined especially in the Gospel market.

Dale Ann then moved to Doobie Shea Records where she recorded “Cumberland River Dreams” and “Send the Angels Down.” Both of these projects were co-produced by Tim Austin and Dan Tyminski. Having a stellar cast of musicians as well as incredible vocalists such as Allison Krauss and Dan Tyminski guesting on the project was a dream come true.

Garnering international attention, venues were opening up in places Dale Ann had never dreamed, including two tours in Japan, two in Ireland, Canada, cruise ships and all over the United States.The Opry was offering her many guest spots as well. “It takes my breathe every time I walk out there. I know it always will.” After the folding of Doobie Shea Records, Dale Ann found herself thinking about her future recording home.

Dale Ann had a wish that she would be able to work with “banjo wizard” Alison Brown. She had been watching Brown’s Compass Records for a while and knew they were on the cutting edge. She felt she could grow there and was thrilled when Brown felt the same and agreed to produce. The first Compass release, “Catch Tomorrow,” set Dale Ann in a whole new sonic and visual world. The album was reviewed by even more indepth publications such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, The Tennessean, and numerous others.

After several nominations for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Female Vocalist of the Year Award, in 2007 Dale Ann took home her first IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award. She also took this honor with her from the Grand Ole Opry House and in 2008-2009 from The Ryman Auditorium.

The second Compass Records release “Don’t Turn Your Back” kept the train rolling for her. In 2011, she recorded her third release with Alison Brown. This album included “Country Songbird” Pam Tillis. Dale Ann, along with Pam Tillis, penned the title cut, “Somewhere South Of Crazy,” and in 2011 the song was a nominee for Song of the Year and Album of the Year. In 2011-2012, the IBMA bestowed the Female Vocalist of the Year to her for the fifth time.

Dale Ann has always expressed in her recordings the boundlessness of Bluegrass music and its musicians and vocalists by incorporating songs from all styles into her shows and albums. “Bluegrass can go anywhere, do anything, rip your heart out and make you laugh.” The songs are true and full of passion. The artists love it like their families, which in reality is where all the emotion comes from. The roots of this tree are strong and the branches are blooming. Through all the ups and downs, happy and sad times, Dale Ann has always had a song. No one has handed her anything. She has garnered international success doing the kind of music she loves.

More songs from her pen, heart, new audiences, and vocal collaborations, and wherever the words, strings and melodies take her is where you will always find Dale Ann Bradley.


Wintergrass 2015 Performers-Birds of Chicago

Birds of Chicago, “This year’s biggest roots surprise” says L.A. Times, is a collective built around husband and wife duo JT Nero (Chicago, IL) and Allison Russell (Montreal, QC). Since forming in 2012, they’ve toured internationally 10+ months of the year.
BOC - Photo Credit Gabriel Judet-Weinshel(1)
Their brand of rock and roll poetry can be a little hard to categorize, for people that insist on categorizing… their voices are undoubtedly the centerpiece – Nero’s fractured country soul croon is wrapped in Russell’s silver and gold tones for a harmony blend that is like nothing else in music today. Fired by the band it’s a full tilt revival – streamlined poems, deep grooves, sharp hooks and joyful singing straight from the gut.

Birds of Chicago’s self-titled debut album, released at the beginning of 2013, was a critics’ darling – with glowing praise rolling in from both sides of the Atlantic for Nero and Russell’s evocative poetry and simmering vocals. The decision to put their respective bands (JT’s “JT & The Clouds” & Allison’s “Po’ Girl”) on hiatus and tour together was a pivotal move, applauded by their fans, and growing numbers of new listeners.

After a year of hard touring, and much buzzed about appearances at summer festivals (Strawberry, High Sierra, Kerrville, Hillside, Delfest, Vancouver Island among others) the band decided to record a live album in front of their hometown fans. The result “Live from Space,” released January 2014, captures this rising band in absolute top form. By turns raw, raucous, whispered and hushed, it revealed the band’s full dynamic range.  Americana UK says, “‘Live From SPACE’ leaves no genre unaccounted for, no touchstone unturned.  A Cappella spiritual, soul, acoustic balladry, driving country rock – it’s all there. And that’s only the first four tracks.”

Russell and Nero are most at home on the road, zigzagging across North America and Europe in their family band van, with their new baby daughter, Ida Maeve, in tow. Coming soon to some festival, theater, pub, VFW hall, roller rink or living room near you  – dovetailing their voices in songs of hope, despair, love…. and electric seahorses. It’s familiar and strange stuff – the everyday and the magical – light and shadow, shadow and light.

Wintergrass 2015 Performers-Pearl Django


With a performance history spanning almost two decades, Pearl Django endures as one of the most highly regarded Hot Club style groups working today. Although the band’s roots are firmly in the music made famous by Django Reinhardt and Stephan Grappelli, its extensive repertoire includes traditional jazz classics and original compositions. Pearl Django has performed at festivals, dances and nightspots throughout the U.S. and abroad. They have played at the prestigious Festival Django Reinhardt in Samois sur Seine and have been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The band’s signature style is marked by pristine and dexterous string work, colors of Bal Musette, the steady pulse of rhythm guitar and an unmistakable swing that delights audiences of all musical sensibilities. Throughout the years, Pearl Django has cultivated a devoted and enthusiastic following and they continue to play to packed houses wherever they perform.David Lange

Voted favorite area jazz band 2003, by Seattle Weekly readers!
“Pearl Django play(s) gypsy jazz…and they do it with such verve, skill and pleasure that they’re pretty much irresistible to jazz and non-jazz listeners alike.”
—Seattle Weekly

“Pearl Django: The gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt done to perfection!”
—Paul de Barros, The Seattle Times (2002)

Ryan Hoffman & Troy Chapman, Guitar; Michael Gray, Violin;
David Lange, Accordion; Rick Leppanen, Bass

Background: (very brief)
The group’s inception was as a trio in Tacoma, Washington in 1994.  The focus of Pearl Django was, and is, to incorporate the music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli with American swing music. They quickly expanded to a quintet, adding a violinist and a third guitarist.  In 1999, along with the release of their third and fourth CDs, the group incorporated their own record label, Modern Hot Records. At about the same time, MHR signed a national distribution agreement with City Hall Records in San Rafael, California.  The October 2000 release of Avalon put the group on the national map with seven weeks of Gavin top-forty airplay and sales of 15,000 copies.  In May 2001, Pearl Django was featured on All Things Considered.  In June 2002, Pearl Django performed at the prestigious Festival Django Reinhardt in Samois sur Seine, just outside of Paris, France. As of 2007 Pearl Django is working as both a quartet and a quintet (with accordionist, David Lange) All of the members are contributing original compositions to the band’s expansive repertoire. They have released 11 CDs to date.

“If Paris is the city of love, then Pearl Django’s music is the flirtatious accompaniment.”
— (review of Under Paris Skies)

Wintergrass 2015 Performers-Mr Sun

Photo by J. Elon Goodman

Darol Anger’s latest project Mr. Sun will be performing at Wintergrass 2015. This quartet consists of Darol on fiddle, Joe Walsh on mandolin (Gibson Brothers, himself), Grant Gordy on guitar (David Grisman, Jake Schepps) and Ethan Jodziewicz on acoustic bass.

Mr Sun comprises 3 generations of some of the sharpest minds to apply themselves to the American String Band.
Legendary fiddler Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent, and is a member of the original “nuclear” generation of pickers who extended Bluegrass, Jazz, and Classical music to find their common ground. Joe K. Walsh is recognized as one of the foremost contemporary mandolinists, with 4 award-winning years in the Gibson Brothers. Joe has also won acclaim and affection for his vocals and his guitar and octave mandolin work. Grant Gordy is a standout in the crowded field of Acoustic Guitar Wunderkinds. Grant’s work has been widely recognized for its kaleidoscopic excellence and startling emotion, fusing Jazz and Bluegrass concepts to an unprecedented degree. The group recently added the spectacular young bassist Ethan Jodziewicz, who currently studies at Curtis Institute with Edgar Meyer. Ethan is one of the most virtuosic and versatile bassists anywhere, and is now helping to revolutionize the bass’ role in American String Music.
The 4 musical points-of-view in Mr Sun are so strong and personal that one might imagine the group could explode but for the palpable love and humor that emanate from every note they play. The group means to take a relaxed approach to rewriting its own chapter in the American Music Saga, with a new CD on the way, entitled The People Need Light.

Wintergrass 2015 Performers – The Del McCoury Band

Guitarist and singer Del McCoury has been playing bluegrass since the early 60’s including being a member of the the Father of  Bluegrass and Grand Ole Opry members Bill Monroe and the  Blue Grass Boys. After leaving the Bluegrass Boys he formed his band Del McCoury and The Dixie Pals.  When his sons Rob and Ronnie started began performing with him in the 80’s the band evolved into the Del McCoury Band with the band eventually becoming  members of the Grand Ole Opry in October 2003.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The band and its members have been nominated for and  have won a variety of awards including IBMA’s  Male Vocalist of the Year 4 times,Entertainer of the Year 9 times,Instrumental Group of the Year 2 times.,Song of the Year 1 time,Album of the Year 2 times, Fiddle Player of The Year 5 times, Bass Player of the Year 5 times, Mandolin Player of the Year 8 times!! Plus a couple of Grammy Awards!! Del was inducted into the IBMA Hall of Fame in 2011.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

In 2010, Del was the  recipient of a lifetime achievement award from the National Endowment for the Arts in the field of folk and traditional arts.

He has also performed with Preservation Hall Jazz Band,The String Cheese Incident and Donna the Buffalo, and recorded with Steve Earle.


 Del McCoury-guitar, Rob McCoury-banjo, Ronnie McCoury mandolin, Jason Carter-fiddle, Alan Bartram-bass



Wintergrass 2015 Performers-The Dustbowl Revival

The Dustbowl Revival is a Venice, California-based collective that merges old school bluegrass, gospel, pre-war blues and the hot swing of New Orleans to form a spicy roots cocktail. Known for their roaring live sets, Dustbowl bravely brings together many styles of traditional American music. Some call it string band-brass band mash up. Imagine Old Crow Medicine Show teaming up with Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens, or Bob Dylan and The Band jamming with Benny Goodman and his orchestra in 1938. It’s infectious, joyous music – a youthful take on time-worn American traditions.

Named “Best Live Band in LA” by The LA Weekly, each Dustbowl performance promises to be a white-knuckle ride through the history of American folk music that rarely stays just on the stage. Call it the new old-timey dance hall sound made fresh by some of the best soloists in the business. After placing several songs on ABC and Fox and having tunes featured in independent films like “Made In China” (winner of SXSW) winning Americana song of the year from the Independent Music Awards (Tom Waits judging), playing festivals like Outside Lands and Live Oak and opening for bands like Lake Street Dive, Rebirth Brass Band, Preservation Hall Jazz Band and Trombone Shorty, the band began barnstorming more extensively across the USA.

 Founder Z. Lupetin came west from Chicago and placed a humble Craigslist ad to get the circus started. The group has grown steadily from a small string band playing up and down the west coast, into a traveling mini orchestra featuring instrumentation that often includes fiddle, mandolin, trombone, clarinet, trumpet, ukelele, drums, tuba, organ, a bass made from a canoe oar, harmonica and plenty of washboard and kazoo for good luck.

Photographed by Tuan Lee at No Vacancy Hollywood
Photographed by Tuan Lee at No Vacancy Hollywood

Wintergrass 2015 Performers-Blueberry Hill


The Blueberry Hill band is a family band from the Stanwood, WA area. They have been playing bluegrass for quite awhile now with performances at many of the the regions bluegrass festivals including the Darrington Bluegrass Festival and Shelton’s Bluegrass from The Forest. This is their first formal Wintergrass performance as yoOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAu could always find them jamming in the halls at Wintergrass. The band members are Dad -Kevin Miller on guitar, Mom-Sarah Miller on bass, Daughter- Aida Miller on mandolin, Son-Forrest Miller on banjo and “Uncle”-Loren Postma on Dobro

Kevin learned to sing and play guitar from his two uncles when he was a kid.  Family summer campouts on the river gave rise to huge campfires and bluegrass jams.  It really gets in your blood when you’re young.  Kevin plays guitar, mandolin, harOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAmonica, upright bass, and sings songs from past and present.  He grew up on a farm in Darrington, Washington — an area rich with bluegrass music, but dirt poor in radio reception.  With all those towering peaks, the t.v. would barely work.  So, he wrote his own songs.  He composes lyrics and music for the band, and gives a few music lessons to the kids.


Aida- was interested in a variety of musical genres at an early age.  She learned to play flute in a school band, but the structured play wasn’t her cup of tea.  Since then Aida has become an accomplished guitarist and mandolinist.

She earned her first guitar by makiOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAng jewelry, which is worn by the likes of Rhonda Vincent and the Cherryholmes girls!   Aida’s finest gift, however, is her voice.  She began singing with her guitar at the age of 9, and her smooth, earthy style turns heads.





Forrest was eight years old during the 2003 Darrington Bluegrass Festival, when he heard the OHOP Valley Boys rehearsing for their performance.  When we lOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAeft the jam he asked, “Dad, what’s that round thing?  I want to get me one of those!”   He dug ditches and saved up enough cash for a starter banjo, which only kept him happy for a little while.  In his quest for tone, he now plays an autographed Rich & Taylor, Sonny Osborne Deluxe banjo.    His work ethic is something to admire.

Sarah has been a roots music enthusiast for years, but just recently emerged as a right-fine upright bass player.   Since she took up bass in 2009, the  Blueberry Hill family band has rapidly improved.  She started out on an old beater bass ” Wilbur”.  Wilbur wasOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA a workhorse they found cheap, but he didn’t have the tone.  They finally put Wilbur out to pasture in 2011, and got Sarah a nice hybrid upright called Sal, who is easy to play, with a monster voice.  Sarah works hard, never missing a beat.




“Uncle” Loren Postma was adopted by Blueberry Hill in 2010.  Loren is an exciting dobro technician.  He’s also a delightful vocalist, with a vast musical background, and knowledge of many genres.  He took the Blueberries under his wing, when he found out what they had planned.  The result has been a musical journey beyond their wildest dreams.  LorenOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA has played and performed with numerous acoustic bands in the Pacific Northwest. .  Loren’s enthusiasm for bluegrass music is a driving force in our Blueberry Hill band.