Top Ten Reasons for Leigh Gibson to Be IBMA’s 2011 Male Vocalist of the Year

It's probably taboo to come up with a list like this weeks before the 2011 IBMA Awards in Nashville. My affinity...delete that...love for the music of Eric and Leigh Gibson led me to wave off any superstition. I will also say that all of the nominees for Male Vocalist of the Year are highly deserving. While the guys prepare their speeches, I want to celebrate Leigh Gibson's inclusion with a Late Night Style Top Ten List. So here goes. Top Ten Reasons for Leigh Gibson to be IBMA's 2011 Male Vocalist of the Year: Read more [...]

What a Ways We’ve Come: the 19th Annual Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival

Joseph Saroyan warms up with the Manhattan Valley Ramblers.The Saroyan family returned from the 19th Annual Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival in New Hampshire where my duo, the Manhattan Valley Ramblers, performed. Joseph, who will be three years old in September, never let go of his his 1/16th scale fiddle while we were there. His almost constant sawing on the slackened strings made him known to just about everyone in attendance. When he approached the Gibson Brothers backstage, he said hello to all of them by name with only a little help from Dad. Clayton Campbell, who has fiddled in the band for eight years, watched Joe with the fiddle and bow and affirmed my sense that the time has come for lessons.The Saroyan family returned from the 19th Annual Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival in New Hampshire where my duo, the Manhattan Valley Ramblers, performed. Joseph, who will be three years old in September, never Read more [...]

One More River to Cross

Rick at home in Sacramento, California in June of 1993. Scott Freeman (who took the photo) relates that this long-neck Pete Seeger five-string was given to Rick after he assisted with editing Pete's book "Where Have All the Flowers Gone?"In search of old-time music at my first bluegrass festival, the California Bluegrass Association’s Father’s Day Bluegrass Festival in 1993, I fell into the expeditionary forces of the “Lewis and Clark” of clawhammer banjo: Rick Abrams and Edwin Lacy. While walking around the festival I heard the unmistakable lope of slowed-down frailing on open-back five-string banjos. It was Rick and Edwin giving a workshop. Following their presentation for the gathered crowd Read more [...]