Author: Brandli, Darby

November President’s Message

California’s 2009 World of Bluegrass

When we talk about attending the IBMA World of Bluegrass, many in our local bluegrass community have little idea of the influence CBA members have in this event. While it is true many of our members live in other states and countries and also participate in the World of Bluegrass, I think it essential our membership body become aware of the “movers and shakers” in the IBMA and the World of Bluegrass who are card carrying members of the CBA and who reside in California. The CBA is a major player in “our” world of bluegrass.

The resident California CBA members were all over the place at IBMA: planning the event, winning awards, producing and/or performing at the Awards Show at the Ryman Auditorium, playing showcases (ours and others), hosting Gala Events, giving seminars at the Business Conference, performing at Fan Fest, sponsoring booths at the Fan Fest Exhibition and participating fully in all the events. I hope I don’t leave anyone out of this mix….I could not be everywhere at once.

The big winners of the week were Roger Siminoff, Chris Stuart and Ivan Rosenberg. Roger won for Print Media Person of the Year for his contributions to Siminoff’s Luthiers Glossary, Banjo Newsletter and the Bluegrass Breakdown. Roger is the current Area Activities VP for the Central Coast and a monthly contributor to the Bluegrass Breakdown, The Luthier’s Corner. The Song of the Year Award went to Chris Stuart and Ivan Rosenberg (co-writers) for “Don’t Throw Mama’s Flowers Away” recorded by Dan Paisley & the Southern Grass. Chris’ band, Chris Stuart and Backcountry, sang the song the night before the Awards Show at the Ryman when they performed in the CBA Suite. These are huge honors for these CBA members.

Other resident California CBA members participating in the IBMA World of Bluegrass were (in alphabetical order):

Janet Beazley performed with Chris Stuart and Backcountry and was a member of the Showcase Talent Committee.

The Brombies ( Jo Ellen and George Doering) had many performances at Artist Showcases and appeared in the CBA Suite with Patrick Sauber (CA) and Mike Bub. The Brombies also performed at the 2009 Father’s Day Festival.

The Christian Bluegrass Association (Rich and Deb Ferguson) had a booth during Fan Fest.

Janet Deering of The Deering Banjo Company had a well visited booth and big presence in the Exhibition Hall during Fan Fest.

Bill Evans of BEML (Bill Evans and Megan Lynch) played showcases and I saw his book Banjos for Dummies on many an exhibitor’s table.

Angelica Grim “hosted” our Suite and performed with her band at an Artist Showcase sponsored by Patuxent Music. Angelica’s CD was getting a lot of attention at the World of Bluegrass from those in the industry.

Leroy Mack McNees and his wife Jan hosted the Bluegrass Chapel.

OMGG (Obviously Minor Guys and a Girl) were invited to appear on the main stage as part of the IBMA Kids on Bluegrass Program directed by Kim Fox and assisted by Frank Solivan. AJ Lee, Marty Varner, Nate and Max Schwartz stole our hearts. They were real pros and represented themselves and us well. OMGG also performed in our Suite and jammed like crazy everywhere. We can be very proud of them. They were four of twenty-eight young people invited to play for the WOB.

Carl Pagter (CBA Member #1) is the Treasurer of the IBMA Foundation and co-hosted a luncheon and, as a Board Member, represented the International Bluegrass Music Museum.

Sammy Passamano III of Rural Rhythm Records was a presenter of Radio & Online Promotion in the Crash Course for Artists: an Intro to the Business of Bluegrass.

Rural Rhythm Records hosted a gala reception which featured just about everyone on their roster. The Passamano family presented their “Class of 2009” which includes the likes of Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Carrie Hassler, Lou Reid, Audie Blaylock and Redline, The Lonesome River Band among others. Quite an impressive stable of artists for a California based company and their artists were up for awards and showcased everywhere all week long. Lovely people, lovely family.

Chris Stuart, in addition to being awarded the Song of the Year Award and showcasing his band Chris Stuart and Backcountry, wrote and produced the 20th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards show held at the Ryman Auditorium. Chris was also a World of Bluegrass Program Committee member.

Yvonne Tater is a member of the IBMA Education Committee and also played bass for the Bluegrass Chapel.

Peter Thompson (radio host of Bluegrass Signal on KALW) was a discussion leader for a Broadcast, Label & Artist Forum: New Models for Effective Music Delivery.

Dana Thorin presented her line of music related goodies from her company Music Caravan all week at the Exhibition Hall and was ably assisted by Brenda Hough.

Randy Torno was found in the Exhibition Hall presenting his Bluegrass Jam School program. This program was developed at The Blueridge Pickin’ Parlor in Granada Hills and is now ready to hit the road. Randy has developed a very comprehensive program/package that provides everything necessary to establish and run a Bluegrass Jam School at a festival or as a continuous program.

Eric Uglum performed with Chris Stuart and Backcountry during the event.

Austin Ward, bass player with both Chris Stuart and Backcountry and Sierra Hull and Hwy 111. The Sierra Hull band performed on the main stage at Fan Fest and at the Ryman Auditorium. The band was nominated for the Emerging Artist Award. (Sierra Hull was nominated for Mandolin Player of the Year)

Christian Ward performed with Chris Stuart and Backcountry on fiddle.

Joe Weed of Highland Studios writes a monthly column for the Bluegrass Breakdown called “Studio Insider”. Joe conducts business in Nashville during the IBMA World of Bluegrass week. Check out exactly what Joe does on the “tile” found on the website’s message board page….pretty impressive career he has.

Betty Wheeler hosts a big Dobro Get Together in our Suite every year at the IBMA. Everyone who is anyone in the Dobro World comes through the door.

Craig Wilson, CBA Board Member, played mandolin and sang with the Leroy McNees Band during the Bluegrass Chapel. Craig is also making a name for himself as a luthier and brought three of his Wilson Mandolins with him.

Dwight Worden is on the IBMA Board of Directors and was everywhere during the week. Dwight moderated the Membership Constituency Meeting for Associations.

I have four more CBA Californians to add to this list although all four have moved out of state leaving only their parents here. Rob Ickes won Dobro Player of the Year again, a remarkable feat and a remarkable musician. Tashina Clarridge placed second in the Grand Master Fiddler Championship. Tashina is now performing in a band called the Bee Eaters who will be touring in California later this year. Megan Lynch performed with Bill Evans (Bill Evans and Megan Lynch) and moderated a seminar during the business conference entitled: Teaching Bluegrass: An Alternative Revenue Stream. Megan also conducted one of her Fiddlestar Music Camps preceding Fan Fest and appeared with Pam Tillis at the Grand Ole Opry. Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen performed brilliantly in multiple showcases and were selected as the CBA Emerging Artist and will appear as such at the 2010 CBA Father’s Day Festival.

The CBA is a major player in the IBMA and the annual event known as the World of Bluegrass held each year now in Nashville. Our membership should be proud of our Association and what we contribute to the music.

Posted:  11/13/2009

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