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Sturgill Simpson Tours the Southeast
New Album: High Top Mountain

9916Sturgill’s hitting some GREAT towns in the SouthEast…
Wed 9/4 – Asheville, NC – The Altamont Theatre
Thu 9/5 – Chattanooga, TN – Scenic City Roots
Fri 9/6 – Louisville, KY – The New Vintagee
Sat 9/7 – Knoxville, TN – Barley’s Knoxville
Sun 9/8 – Atlanta (Decatur), GA – Eddie’s Attic
Mon 9/9 – Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre
Wed 9/11 – Charlotte, NC – The Evening Muse
Thu 9/12 – Raleigh, NC – The Pour House Music Hall
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sturgill-simpson-high-top-mountainNashville sounds like Nashville again on High Top Mountain, the debut release from singer-songwriter Sturgill Simpson. From furious honky-tonk and pre-outlaw country-rocking to spellbinding bluegrass pickin’ and emotional balladry, the album serves as a one-stop guide to everything that made real country music such a force to be reckoned with. Pure and uncompromising, devoid of gloss and fakery, High Top Mountain’s dozen instant classics evoke the sound of timeless country in its many guises and brings back the lyrical forthrightness and depth that permeated the music Simpson absorbed during his Kentucky childhood.

“…this is GOOD COUNTRY. You know, the kind cut from the same mold as Waylon, Willie, and Johnny. ..outlaw, gritty, country-rock with a shot of bourbon (no ice.) …We’re glad he gave up the railroad and got back to writin’ songs. There is something here for sure. Something I think any music lover (country or not) can appreciate.” —MOKB Presents

“’The most outlaw thing that I ever done is give a good woman a ring,’ sings Simpson on ‘Life Ain’t Fair And The World Is Mean,’ off his new album, High Top Mountain, which mostly works to subvert the outlaw myth. Not that Simpson disdains outlaw’s forefathers, but High Top Mountain tells his own story. He started recording it in mid 2012, laying down tracks at Hillbilly Central and other studios in Nashville with players like ‘Pig’ Robbins on piano and Robby Turner on pedal steel. Simpson says the record is an effort to ‘capture the music my grandfathers played.’ The album is named after a cemetery where many of Simpson’s family members are buried, near his family’s home in the Appalachia coal town of Jackson, Kentucky. The town is on the Kentucky River in Breathitt County, about 50 miles south of Sandy Hook, where Keith Whitley was born, and also not far from Cordell, where Ricky Skaggs was born. ‘I love it. In my heart it will always be home,’ says Simpson” —Davis Inman, American Songwriter

For more about Sturgill Simpson and further tour dates, please visit: http://sturgillsimpson.com.

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John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range Debut
at the Grand Ole Opry March 8th

Performing Music from Their Independently Released Album DAYLIGHT

DAYLIGHT_coverJohn Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range Performances:
Fri 3/8 Nashville, TN  WSM 9am
Fri 3/8 Nashville, TN The Grand Ole Opry 7pm
Sat 3/9 Knoxville, TN WDVX 1:30pm
Sat 3/9 Knoxville, TN The Shed
Thu 3/14 Athens, GA The Melting Point

Kind Words About Daylight:

“Hopkins’ vocals complement the use of fiddle, mandolin, banjo, and Dobro played by BR to produce a Southern sound that is truly alive… The deep tone of Hopkins’ vocals have the ability to convey edge and grit in songs [with] original lyrics are consistently honest, at times tongue-in-cheek, and at other times thoughtful…”
–Valerie Bertolami, Performer Magazine

“Pure musical joy, with songs ranging across every musical style from bluegrass and gospel to jazz and blues to country… often blinds with dazzling light.”
–Henry Carrigan, Country Standard Time

“Front and center here is Hopkins’ deep, rich and sensual baritone. His singing is warm and melodious in tone, inviting one to pay closer attention… Daylight is deserving of brighter shade.”
–Bill Clifford, Jambands.com

“I Will Lay Me Down” listed as a recommended track in indie releases
CMT’s Craig Shelburne

“They make music that’s both country and grass, while being pure expressions of neither.  There are banjo rolls and mando scratches throughout… Purists may scoff (as purists are wont to do), but the results are enough to satisfy the lover of hyphens in me.” –Scott Foley, KRFC’s Routes and Branches

“Love a rich, deep country voice? Then John Driskell Hopkins is your man.”
–Mary Armstrong, Philadelphia City Paper

“A voice huskier than Charlie Daniels after a hard night.”
Jim Farber, New York Daily News, #5 in Top 10 picks in music release week

“…what a great sound for John! I’m excited for people to hear him in this raw and broken-down format, his unique voice front and center!”
–Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers)

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been in the thick of it, swattin’ it out with a bonafide Bluegrass band with power vocals coming from a fellow with a pedigree like John Driskell Hopkins possesses. I don’t see anything but clear sailing for this song [Runaway Train].”
–Jerry Douglas

“John Hopkins’ new album, Daylight, has rich vocals and excellent pickers that are wrapped around well-crafted songs. What’s not to love?”
–Jim Lauderdale

“The unusual Sunday Jan. 27 WDVX Blue Plate Special [John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range] was the most highly attended yet in 2013, and one of the biggest turnouts in memory.  Even before the show went live on the air, the standing-room-only audience’s excitement was electric.”
–Sarah Waldrip, Blank News 

“A colorful collaboration… with meaty vocal performances that fluctuate from smooth croon to bluesy spittin’ growl, Hopkins takes us on a lively journey backed by a fine, fine group of ace musicians.”
–Janet Goodman, Music News Nashville

Listen HERE  “In Search of a Song with Jason Wilber”
John Driskell Hopkins’ interview with Executive Producer Rich Reardin
JDH_BR_by_JolieLorenPhotog_words
 
For more about John Driskell Hopkins and Daylight, visit www.JohnDriskellHopkins.com.

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John Driskell Hopkins & Balsam Range Debut at The Grand Ole Opry 3/8 And Perform Select Dates in The South

John Driskell Hopkins and Balsam Range Performances:

Fri 2/1 Asheville, NC Isis Music Hall
Thu 2/14 Nashville, TN The Basement
Fri 3/8  Nashville, TN The Grand Ole Opry
Sat 3/9 Knoxville, TN The Shed
Thu, 3/14 Athens GA The Melting Point
More dates tba at www.JohnDriskellHopkins.com

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John Driskell Hopkins and Balsam Range are excited to perform at The Grand Ole Opry on Friday, March 8th! “I’m doubly honored to be able to play my own songs in one of the greatest music venues in the world,” says Hopkins. They will be performing music from Daylight, which was was independently released on Jan 22nd and will also be performing at select shows throughout the year.

JDH_BR_byJolieKimmelHopkins, widely known as a founding member and bass player for the Zac Brown Band, has been performing music for 20+ years. After hearing Balsam Range on Sirius XM one day, Hopkins, a lover of roots music of all varieties, called them up to see about accompanying him on his original tunes in a new album and a new musical bond was formed with outstanding results in Daylight.

Of performing with with BR, John says “Being on stage with Balsam Range is like body-surfing in warm butter-cream icing with hillbilly cherubs. Smooth…” Balsam Range is Buddy Melton (fiddle, vocals), Darren Nicholson (Mandolin, vocals), Marc Pruett (Banjo, Vocals), Caleb Smith (guitar, vocals), and Tim Surrett (bass, dobro, vocals).

What Folks Are Saying About Daylight:

“A twang-tastic new record… The chemistry between Hopkins and the band is smoking and they shine on the 13-track platter.”
-Jeffrey Sisk, The Daily News

CMT’s Craig Shelburne listed “I Will Lay Me Down” as a recommended track in indie releases

“…what a great sound for John! I’m excited for people to hear him in this raw and broken-down format, his unique voice front and center!”
-Oliver Wood (of the Wood Brothers)

“a voice huskier than Charlie Daniels after a hard night.”
Jim Farber, New York Daily News, #5 in Top 10 picks in music for the week of Jan. 20, 2013

“John Hopkins is a serious student of all kinds of music, and I think it comes through well in the songs he writes. He really runs the gambit from soft, Gospel-sounding acoustic, to hard, driving rock-swing things. John is a ‘power singer,’ and man he can deliver.”
–Balsam Range’s Marc Pruett

“John Hopkins’ new album, Daylight, has rich vocals and excellent pickers that are wrapped around well-crafted songs. What’s not to love?”
–Jim Lauderdale

“An excellent group of songs that fits somewhere in the acoustic country/indie/roots area… If you drew line graphs plotting the changes each song brings to a CD – tempo, subject, mood … – some CDs would flatline and the majority would show moderate spikes up and down. Daylight’s graph would look like the EKG of a person on speed, and every song is a good one.”
–Larry Stephens, Lonesome Road Review

“What pushes this album past other examples of country singers adopting bluegrass trappings is the diverse capabilities of Balsam Range. They’ve never been a traditional bluegrass band, and the arrangements here are more like acoustic country arrangements than Appalachian bluegrass. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that this sounds like one of the classic MTV Unplugged albums, which subverted the rock canon by killing all the electricity and forcing the performers to look inward for their power.”
–Devon Leger, Hearth Music, No Depression

Daylight has some material in common with ZBB, but is even more rootsy, thanks to Balsam Ridge’s involvement on every track. Resonator guitar heads are going wild over ‘Runaway Train,’ with Jerry Douglas sitting in. Banjo innovator Tony Trischka guests on the title cut.”
–Philadelphia City Paper

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The following concerts are in conjunction with a benefit Larry Keel and Natural Bridge is hosting for an entire weekend for our good friend Billy Constable. Billy has been diagnosed with a brain tumor and has just had brain surgery and does not have insurance. LKNB will be accepting donations on his behalf, donating their merchandise sales and hosting a 50/50 raffle to raise money for Billy to offset his medical expenses.  
Visit www.billyconstable.com for more info.

Melting Point in Athens, GA 12/8
Legal Grounds in Rutherfordton, NC 12/9
Pour House in Charleston, SC 12/10

Billy has been diagnosed with a lump on the lower portion of his brain which has been causing increasingly frequent seizures. He is currently seeing medical specialists and gathering evaluations. The expense is certain to be high, and Billy is without medical insurance. We are coming together, as friends and fellow musicians, to help offset those costs.

Billy Constable grew up in a very musical family in Avery County, and he has been playing music for most of his life. Billy is part of Avery County’s Wiseman family, which includes a number of professional musicians including Scotty Wiseman, Lawrence Wiseman, David Wiseman, Fiddling Jimmy Wiseman, banjo picker Kent Wiseman, and Billy’s mother, Lois.

Billy began playing guitar professionally as a youngster with bluegrass great Charlie Moore, who had married Billy’s mother. He also played in Douglas Dillard’s newly formed “post Dillards” bluegrass band The Doug Dillard Band from Hollywood, which also featured Byron Berline and occasional guests like Vassar Clements and Sam Bush.

Billy’s approach to the banjo is firmly rooted in Appalachian string music, but it can be deceptively eclectic. His influences begin at home and with his family, but Billy’s repertoire is vast, and he is comfortable in most musical situations. In addition to banjo, Billy is also an accomplished musician on the guitar, mandolin and violin.

Travers Chandler writes in Bluegrass Today, “I was well aware of what a musical giant Billy Constable was. He had spent time with The Doug Dillard Band, toured with Kenny Baker and Josh Graves, and later worked with envelope-pushers like Larry Keel, Leftover Salmon, and String Cheese Incident on both banjo and guitar.  It wasn’t until I had moved to Asheville in 2010, though, that I became aware of what a rare human being he was – both as a friend, and a brother in the order of acoustic music. We had spoken a time or two during my research on Charlie, and I knew of his prowess and ability to play all kinds of acoustic music: jamband, gypsy, rock and roll… The guy is a genius.”

“He was a mentor to all of us,” Jon Jon Davis said [in an interview in the Boone Mountain Times with Frank Ruggiero],“and he’s played with everybody.”

LKNB’s Mark Schimick says in the same interview, Billy Constable was the main bluegrass teacher for Jon Jon and myself,” he said. “When he first heard us play, he heard a bunch of green musicians, as far as bluegrass is concerned, but he heard how we knew to play the rhythm to it,” Schimick said.

During the next couple years, Constable became their bluegrass mentor, teaching them how to play solos, sing the parts and behave on the road. “In a lot of ways, he helped us all get started on how to become professional musicians,” Schimick said. “Playing with him is like playing with family,” Schimick said. “He’s just as down to earth playing on stage as he is hanging out.”

For more information about Billy Constable and for updates on his medical situation, please visit:  www.billyconstable.com.

If people would prefer to mail a donation, please mail to:
Dave Ruch
155 St James Place
Buffalo NY 14222
dave@daveruch.com
716-884-6855


myspacelogologo_reverbnation

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Larry Keel and Natural Bridge have got a fun weekend in store to celebrate Earthday. They are playing shows in Athens, Ohio; Martinsville, VA; Harrisonburg, VA, and Charlottesville, VA.

Here are a couple great interviews …

Let’s start with Thursday April 16th in Athens, Ohio and an interview with bassist Jenny Keel:

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge prepare for a weekend at Jackie O’s

Bridget Mallon • For The Post • bm257008@ohiou.edu

Jenny Keel. Photo by John C Hancock

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge will open the Almost Bluegrass Fest tomorrow night at Jackie O’s Pub and Brewery.

Keel and his band mates – Mark Schimick, Jason Flournoy and Jenny Keel – will share their eclectic style with Athens during the show. The band uses acoustic instruments including guitar, banjo, mandolin and upright bass.

The Post’s Bridget Mallon spoke with bassist Jenny Keel about the band’s music, its future plans and playing in Athens.

The Post: How would you describe Larry Keel and Natural Bridge’s style of music?

Jenny Keel: We’re a very powerful acoustic ensemble. We play original mountain music. It’s kind of like mountain rock music. It’s really high-energy, emotional and fun. It spans a lot of territory, all with acoustic instruments.

Post: What inspires Larry Keel and Natural Bridge songs?

Keel: Larry writes about everything. There’s historical topics, there’s mountain living, there’s philosophy, there’s family, moonshine, animals, love, war … anything with soul and magic inspires us musically.

Post: What do you hope people take away from your live shows?

Keel: I hope that they have a really good time and leave with a smile on their face and that they want to do it all over again together sometime.

Post: What is your favorite part of playing with Larry Keel and Natural Bridge?

Keel: Just connecting with people all across America and the world and having great honest encounters with people. Our mission every night is to have a good time with people and to go on a musical journxey together … and just to be open for anything that might develop.

Post: What are the band’s future plans?

Keel: To keep making magic as often as we can together as a band and together as human beings. Do something good every day, that’s our goal. Also keep writing music and working to create more music.

Post: Have you played in Athens before?

Keel: Oh yes, we’ve played several venues on the college campus and at festivals around the area. We love the local musicians, and we’re looking forward to getting back there.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE AT: http://thepost.ohiou.edu/Main.asp?SectionID=3&SubSectionID=5&ArticleID=31284

Here is an interview with banjo player Jason Flournoy for Friday, April 16th in Martinsville, VA:

Bluegrass and more set Friday in concert at Rives

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

By ELIZA WINSTON – Bulletin Staff Writer

Jason Flournoy. Photo by Jon C Hancock

Guitarist Larry Keel and his band, Natural Bridge, are known for their bluegrass, but concert-goers can expect to hear much more when the group performs here Friday, said banjoist Jason Flournoy.

“We are a string band that looks like a bluegrass band, but we play just about everything,” Flournoy said. “It is hard to put the band in any certain category.” Keel, an award-winning musician and Virginia native, and Natural Bridge will play Friday at the Rives Theatre in uptown Martinsville. The concert is first sponsored by Friends of the Rives Theatre, a new volunteer group dedicated to preserving the uptown venue. It took over the theater on Jan. 1.

Flournoy, who has been on the bluegrass circuit for more than a decade, said the group plays everything from bluegrass and rock ’n’ roll to jazz and reggae. The audience can expect to hear music that “sounds like everything from Grandmaster Flash to Bill Monroe,” he said.

The performance will feature material off the band’s recent release, “Backwoods.” Keel and Natural Bridge’s performances are always high energy, and the band feeds off the energy of the audience, Flournoy said. ”If the crowd is ready to rock out,” he explained, “the band will be even more fired up.”

Keel, who was born in Manassas and lives in Natural Bridge, has been playing guitar since he was 7. At 18, he became a contracted musician to play bluegrass at the Tokyo Disneyland theme park in Japan for seven months. Since then, he has recorded several CDs, won first place at the guitar competition at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado, and has played at MerleFest in North Carolina and many other bluegrass festivals.

Mark Schimick. Photo by Jon C Hancock

Natural Bridge, which formed in 2005, also includes Mark Schimick on mandolin and vocals and Keel’s wife, Jenny Keel, on upright bass and vocals. The band does about 130 shows a year, said Flournoy, who lives in Asheville, N.C. He said touring the Southeast is a lot easier than states such as Colorado, because shows are closer together on the East Coast.

Read more here: http://www.martinsvillebulletin.com/article.cfm?ID=23265

You can also see a fun blurb here in the Roanoke Times.

Mandolin player Marck Schimick also went live on air for a tv interview in Martinsville this past Monday.

Then Saturday, LKNB heads on into Harrisonburg to play the Clementine and then on Sunday to a big Earthday event at the Charlottesville Pavillion.

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Photo by Bright Life Photography

Thursday night in Charlotte, NC at the Double Door Inn

The audience at a Larry Keel performance is not simply being entertained, instead, they are having their hearts and brains happily steamed in a boiling cauldron of blazing instrumentation and BRAND NEW original sounds. Driven jamming is linked in flawless cohesion to brilliant and multiple variations. This band is anything but ordinary! A band of kindred spirits who share a common musical vision.

MORE INFO: http://www.charlottecultureguide.com/event.php?id=7806

Friday night 3/19 at the New Earth Music Hall in Athens!

A two-time national flatpick champion, Keel is known for his guitar style and a low, soulful voice. Also performing: Crawford-band Efren, which released its debut, “Thunder and Moan,” late last year. The evening will be the public’s first chance to taste Iron Tankard Old Stock Ale, the first of four beers in Terrapin’s “Georgia Theatre Sessions,” a limited series of ales brewed to raise funds for the reconstruction of the Theatre.

Terrapin Beer Co. will release the first of its “Georgia Theatre Sessions” brews at a benefit concert for the theater March 19.

At 7 p.m., Terrapin’s Iron Tankard will be tapped at New Earth Music Hall. The old stock ale is named after the iron swimming pool that was housed in the Georgia Theatre when it first opened as a YMCA. BorderHop Trio and Larry Keel and Natural Bridge will play at at 9.

Iron Tankard is the first of four beers in the “Georgia Theatre Sessions” series. Each beer takes on a name from a different era in the building’s life.

READ MORE: http://www.onlineathens.com/stories/031810/mar_592140577.shtml http://onlineathens.com/stories/031110/mar_582889242.shtml

Saturday3/20  at the Pour House in Charleston, SC

Springing Ahead

The Pour House presents a two-day season-change session

by Brian Sewell

On Saturday, Larry Keel will play two sets on the main stage. A bluegrass guitar virtuoso with a fierce flatpicking style, Keel is guaranteed to entertain. With Natural Bridge, his amply capable band of pickers, Keel’s music bridges the gap between traditional bluegrass and contemporary Appalachia.

The Atlanta-based duo of Jeff and Johnny Mosier work Americana stylings and folk music traditions into tasteful tunes. They’ll welcome acclaimed fiddler and mandolinist David Blackmon as well. All three are members of the ensemble Blueground Undergrass.  ~Charleston City Paper

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.charlestoncitypaper.com/charleston/springing-ahead/Content?oid=1844877

If you are in the south and wanting to hear some kickass flatpickin, a strong and steady bass, with some fiery mandolin and banjo; get your bum in gear and head out to one of these shows!

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By Chris Starrs  |  Online Athens Banner Herald |  Story updated at 12:40 pm on 10/3/2009

www.onlineathens.com

It's been quite a year for flatpicking legend Larry Keel, but he's quick to point out that the show is far from over in 2009. Photo by Jon C Hancock

It's been quite a year for flatpicking legend Larry Keel, but he's quick to point out that the show is far from over in 2009. Photo by Jon C Hancock

It’s been quite a year for flatpicking legend Larry Keel, but he’s quick to point out that the show is far from over in 2009.

The Virginia native, who will perform with his band Natural Bridge on Friday at the New Earth Music Hall, has spent much of the last year on the road promoting his latest album “Backwoods” (which was co-produced by Keller Williams) and has some interesting projects moving to the front burner.

“In November, we’re going to be playing the ‘Bass and Grass’ event in Perry, which is just a fantastic thing,” says Keel during a recent interview from his home in Rockbridge County, Va., in the Blue Ridge Mountains. “It’s a great family event with music and jamming and fishing at this beautiful, 150-acre private lake. ‘Bass and Grass’ combines picking workshops with fishing and just hanging out – everyone enjoys it.”

The one-day event will feature a performance alongside his brother, Gary Keel, as well as an appearance by Gove Scrivenor, whom longtime Athens music fans will remember for his spirited guitar and autoharp performances at the Last Resort in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Keel, whose melding of bluegrass and progressive acoustic music has earned him a sterling reputation in several circles, also is scheduled to spend Halloween in Pomeroy, Ohio, serving as a guitar instructor at the Fur Peace Ranch, owned and operated by legendary Jefferson Airplane and Hot Tuna guitarist Jorma Kaukonen.

“I’m very excited about doing the teaching thing there,” says Keel, who will appear in Athens with his wife, Jenny (bass, vocals); Mark Schimick (mandolin, vocals); and Jason Flournoy (banjo, vocals). “It’s a lot like ‘Bass and Grass.’ It’s all about helping people learn to be better pickers. I’m really psyched about that. And there’s also supposed to be a concert with me, David Bromberg and Jorma and that’s already sold out.”

In December, Keel will host the Keel Family Holiday Event in Atlanta with Tony Rice, the Traveling McCourys and the Lee Boys. And before the end of the year, Keel says he’s got a special announcement that he was unable to share in late September.

“We’ve been touring really hard from coast to coast during the spring and summer and now we’re settling down into our fall pace,” he says. “I’ve got something big lined up that I can’t really talk about at this time, but is really going to be special. … But it’s just been a fantastic year. We feel really blessed, especially considering how crazy the world is now. It’s really gratifying to see how much people love music.”

Keel says he first played in Athens “14 or 15 years ago” with his former band McCraw Gap, and he notes that while he’s played a number of venues in town, he’s going to miss not being at the Georgia Theatre, although he’s enthused about performing at New Earth.

“Athens has always been good to me,” he says. “We always have a good time there.”

When asked if he ever considered putting down his acoustic guitar to play some six-string electrified lightning, Keel – who points out that his band no longer plays in front a microphone in favor of plugging in – says, “I know some fantastic drummers, but at this point in my career, I prefer the instrumental lineup we have. To me, the mandolin is the drums and the banjo is the organ. But there may be room for that in the future.”

If you go…

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge

When: 9 p.m. Friday
Where: New Earth Music Hall, 277 W. Dougherty St.
Cost: $8 in advance, $12 at the door
Call: (706) 543-8283
Online: www.newearthmusichall.com, www.larrykeel.com

Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Sunday, October 04, 2009

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