CURRENT RELEASES
CD-377

Bill Emerson
String Time
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My first encounter with Bill Emerson's banjo playing was in the early 1960s on the bargain Coronet label release, Bill Emerson and his Virginia Mountaineers, Banjo Pickin' N' Hot Fiddlin', Country Style.  Later I found a Volume 2 with the same title.  I purchased these albums from the record rack of a five and dime store like I assume many others did.  The recordings in String Time: The Early Recordings of Bill Emerson are taken from these 1962-1963  Coronet sessions.

In these early performances Bill Emerson demonstrates all the things one looks for in a model of superb bluegrass banjo playing.  His performance is immaculate, with surprising and creative banjo arrangements of many standards and a few originals that have become classics.  Emerson's powerhouse picking is accompanied  by a stellar group of supporting musicians.  Of special note is the atom-splitting mandolin of Frank Wakefield.  When I was an aspiring banjo player, I listened to these recordings with great attention and pleasure as I attempted to learn the tunes, arrangements, and the subtle mysteries of the bluegrass banjo roll. ...more
   
CD-373

Serene Green
If it Wasn't for Longing
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“If I have seen further,” Isaac Newton once wrote, “it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”  Bluegrass musicians can certainly relate. Our music wouldn’t exist without the foundational work of Bill Monroe, Flatt & Scruggs, the Stanley Brothers, and all the others who established the sound in the 1940s and ’50s. But with each new generation, the list of giants gets longer. Today’s young musicians also stand on the shoulders of the Country Gentlemen and the Seldom Scene, the New Grass Revival and David Grisman, Alison Krauss and Doyle Lawson. The vantage point rises ever higher, and the vistas become ever grander.

On this, their third album, Serene Green is clearly enjoying the view, while paying ample respect to the shoulders under their feet. The band’s six original selections sit comfortably alongside a half-dozen well-chosen covers, and lose nothing in the comparison. The vocal trio of bassist Shane McGeehan, guitarist Michael Johnson, and mandolinist Quentin Fisher oozes conviction. Banjoist Steve Leonard adorns his solid breaks and backup with dazzling cascades of triplets, while the newest band member, Katelynn Casper, swings ferociously on fiddle and delivers a powerful performance of one of Dolly Parton’s most moving songs. more....

   
CD-357

The Country Gentlemen Tribute Band
Yesterday and Tomorrow
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If ever there was a modern bluegrass band worthy of note as both a leader in innovation and a transmitter of tradition, it would be the Country Gentlemen.  They naturally and seamlessly fused those two paths, doing so with a contagious enthusiasm and high-level musical excellence that greatly increased the size and spectrum of the bluegrass fan base and inspired countless musicians' hearts and minds to stretch.  Without a doubt, the Gents impacted the entire bluegrass genre while catching the ears of folk, country, rock'n'roll and pop fans too.  

...And if ever there was any single bluegrass band today with the most respect for that iconic group's sound, it would be the Country Gentlemen Tribute Band, who are carrying on that tradition in the same spirit of high standards and expansive inclusiveness.   

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CD-045

Bob Scott & Stone Ridge
Do You Wonder?
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Bob Scott -guitar, lead & tenor vocals
Joel Fox - banjo, lead vocal on chorus
Ron Webb- mandolin, baritone vocal on chorus
Pat White- fiddle
Kelly Coffee- bass

Recorded in 1999, Released in 2023!

   
CD-366

Bernard Linnette Interactive
My Offering
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A native of Norfolk, Virginia, Bernard's fascination with the resounding thunder of the drum set began at an early age. His legacy of playing percussion is rooted in his childhood, where he was the drummer for his church choir at age 9. Bernard reflects on such greats as Elvin Jones and Jazz Messenger phenomenon Art Blakely and attributes Steve Ellington and Billy Higgins as major influences in his style.

While studying at Rutgers University, Bernard formed invaluable and lifelong associations with some of the most respected names in Jazz, including Kenny Barron, Grady Tate, Michael Carvin, Larry Ridley, Paul Jefferey and Ted Dunbar.  A proven and articulate clinician, Bernard served as part of a clinic conducted by the legendary saxophonist Sonny Stitt. more.....

   
CD-372

Alan Munde
Excelsior
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Dreaming about winning the lottery is just that for most people – a dream. It became a reality for banjoist Alan Munde when he won the 2021 Steve Martin Banjo Prize. The windfall allowed him to go to the studio and record his thirteen original compositions and two Elliott Rogers's penned tunes that make up this collection. Alan surrounds himself with many mandolin hugs and the sweet sounds from some of his favorite pickers on these new recordings. Excelsior is a collection of Alan's original music written to showcase his strong remembrances of people or places he encountered in his 50-plus years of music. more.....

   
CD-371

Appalachian Reign
Remembered
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As I grow older and reflect on my life, the period when I was active in the Washington, DC Bluegrass community brings back cherished memories. In 1975, I organized a band called Appalachian Reign which performed at area night spots and East Coast festivals from 1975 to 1984. A group of famous musicians lived in the area and I was fortunate to have many of them in the band as full-time players or as occasional fill-ins Dick Smith and Chris Warner were committed to touring bands but both of them were available for almost every gig for several months. The original cast of band members was myself as front man, guitar and vocals; Danny Kimball on mandolin and vocals; Dave Goldman on fiddle; Dick Drevo on banjo and Dave Bowen on bass. As most bands go, the personnel changed from time to time but I was fortunate to be able to recruit good musicians to join. Many of them had played and recorded with well-known touring bands. Regular band members over the years were Page Duppstadt on banjo; Nevin Lambert on mandolin; Steve Spence on banjo; Jim Duke on bass; Roger Green on bass; Jim 'Ratso' Silman on bass; Pat Murphy on banjo: Buford Johnson on mandolin; Bill Torbert on mandolin; Stafford Markham on banjo.........more
   
CD-369

Stephen Wade
Hands on the Tune
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On this live concert album recorded in 2017 and 2022, Stephen Wade draws from songs, melodies, and styles rooted in Southeastern folk tradition. Based on a lifetime of personal contact with exemplars of this music, his performances attest to a welcome truth: that individuals adapting a traditional tune can renew a shared repertory. These performances feature a variety of five-string banjos—open back, resonator, a wooden-hooped mountain design, a gourd, and a Civil War-era fretless—as well as guitar. In addition to solos, Stephen is joined by multi-instrumentalist Zan McLeod and Dobro-player Russ Hooper. This collection, equally divided among old favorites, new interpretations, and numbers he has never previously recorded, forms a companion to Stephen’s forthcoming book, Our Common Life: Folklore from the Front Porch to the Concert Hall (University of Illinois Press). 72-minutes with illustrated booklet.

A 2013 Grammy nominee, Stephen authored the prize-winning book The Beautiful Music All Around Us: Field Recordings and the American Experience. Prior to that work he edited and annotated A Treasury of Library of Congress Field Recordings, and for a decade wrote and narrated a series of occasional song studies for NPR’s All Things Considered and Morning Edition. On Labor Day 1979 he performed for President Carter at the White House.

   
CD-364

Tex Rubinowitz
Bad Boys 1980
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.......Tex returned to Washington, where he met such like-minded musicians as Billy Hancock, Jim “Ratso” Silman, Eddie Angel, and Bob Newscaster. In 1978  Tex recorded two original songs on a single for Ripsaw Records: “Hot Rod Man” and “Ain’t It Wrong.” The success of “Hot Rod Man” led to a European tour and airplay. The song appeared in the soundtrack to the 1984 film Roadhouse 66, was used 15 years later in a television commercial for Anco windshield wiper blades, and has been covered by a number of subsequent rockabilly acts around the world. To their surprise, Tex and his band the Bad Boys were embraced from the start by the emerging punk and new wave scenes, exposing his music to a much larger audience than he’d ever expected. ...more
   
CD-360

Eddie Ray Buzzini
Eddie Ray
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            “I plan to carry this music forward to the twenty-second century.”
Eddie Ray Buzzini’s bold declaration is not so far-fetched, as he was born in 2007 and may well still be picking in 2101. A second of Eddie Ray’s aspirations is to convince his contemporaries that bluegrass and particularly banjo music is cool, up-to-date, and should be considered legit. Confirming his commitment to both intentions, the music on Eddie Ray’s solo debut album covers well over a century of compositions. Ranging from “When You and I Were Young, Maggie,” composed in 1864, to several new songs written by Eddie Ray, the disc offers a wide array of American music in the bluegrass style.
            Eddie Ray, whose given name is Ettore, lives in a multi-lingual household in Mooresville, North Carolina where his Swiss-Italian father and East-Tennessee born mother offer him a vibrant mix of European and Appalachian culture. He plays his grandfather’s banjo and listens to Flatt & Scruggs and Reno & Smiley as well as many of the contemporary bands that are playing today. Eddie Ray’s musical tastes are not limited to bluegrass. Country classics, Latin Jazz, and the guitar of Eddie Van Halen are all on his listening and playing agenda. ...more
   
CD-361

Shane McGeehan
Your Love for Me is Gold
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     Shane has heard his father's banjo playing since birth. He spent his summers running around bluegrass festivals and dropping in on jams since before he was big enough to hold a guitar. For Shane McGeehan, life as a bluegrass musician was an inescapable fate. In the summer of 2015 he met his bandmates in Serene Green. Since then they've recorded two albums , played countless shows, and developed a fan-base all over the east coast. On this debut solo album he showcases the sound he has honed during his formative years. Comprised mostly of original songs and a few choice covers, the album demonstrates Shane's knack for honest and insightful songwriting, his technical command of the upright bass and the guitar, and his singing which is at the same time strong and full of warmth. In addition, he has put together a powerhouse band. You can hear the excitement and admiration the musicians have for one another. The band sounds relaxed and spontaneous, eagerly pushing each other to greater musical heights. It's like listening to a good jam among old friends. His respect for the first generation pioneers of bluegrass music is clearly evident, but he is certainly not bound by convention or tradition. No doubt, after listening to this album we will all look forward to whatever the future holds for Shane and his musical endeavors.
   
CD-358

Leon Morris
The Best of Leon Morris
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Canada was a hotbed of country music in the 1930s and 40s, as Leon Morris was growing up in Simcoe, Ontario. The music of Canadian country super-stars Hank Snow and Wilf Carter, also known as Montana Slim, and their emulators was ubiquitous on radio throughout the country.  Fans could also tune in mainstream country stars from the United States on WLS (Chicago), WWVA (Wheeling), and sometimes on a clear night, WSM in Nashville. At home in Ontario, Leon's family performed locally with his mother on piano, brother on guitar, two fiddles and an accordion.

When Leon was old enough to start playing, his older brother showed him how to play the G, C, and D chords on the guitar. He practiced his playing and singing diligently and by the age of 13, he was ready to show his talent.  The event was a local amateur talent contest for kids near his hometown. Leon took first place by yodeling a couple of Wilf Carter songs. more.......
   
CD-348

Mark Schatz & Bryan McDowell
Grit & Polish
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Mark Schatz-
Mark Schatz was born April 23, 1955 into a musical family. He began his formal musical training with cello at age ten and later switched over to string bass. His first performance was in 1971 on electric bass in a high school rock band. Inspired by a love for folk and traditional music, he took up the guitar, mandolin, and clawhammer banjo. He received his Degree in Music Theory and Composition from Haverford College, and studied for a year at Berklee College of Music.

Bryan McDowell is a person predictable only in his consistent excellence.
Fiddler, vocalist, and master of stringed instruments, his reputation is solidifying as a musician of great interest on the acoustic scene.     more....

   
CD-355

John Colianni Trio
Ahead of the Crowd
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  If you have John Colianni’s previous albums on Patuxent, you know from my liner notes that we go way back. In the notes to After Hours I relate how I first heard John perform in the final round of the first Thelonious Monk Piano Competition in 1987. What I didn’t mention was the earlier connection where my “day gig” intersected with my jazz life. Until I retired in 2013, I was a union representative with the American Federation of Government Employees working with locals at various federal agencies, one of which was the State Department. I don’t remember if it was during an administrative hearing or negotiations but during a break I got into a conversation with Carl Sosebee, the attorney representing the agency. I somehow steered the topic to my favorite subject, jazz. I told him that I did a radio show and taught jazz history at Georgetown and American universities, probably implying that I would rather devote my time to those activities than the somewhat contentious labor-management issue we were confronting. Carl sure brightened up and told me his brother-in-law was a jazz pianist and would be in a competition at the Smithsonian that was coming up. Carl is still with the government, currently senior counsel at the Peace Corp. He gets his musical satisfaction through his guitar.    more....
   
CD-346

Five Mile Mountain Road
Swingbilly Swagger
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For fiddler and founder of Five Mile Mountain Road Billy Hurt, Jr., Swingbilly Swagger is about more than just the band’s latest release. The title bears its own bravado representing an admixture of styles that rural musicians— including himself, his bandmates, and their mentors—have long absorbed and transmitted. In Billy’s home of Franklin County, Virginia, a profusion of musical influences thrive and inspire traditional musicians. And his word for this synthesis is swingbilly.

The term refers to Billy’s regional musical history. Older players that Billy met in his youth—figures that included Clark Kessinger, Burke Barbour, Jim Eanes, Clinton Gregory, Willie Gregory, Raymond Neighbors, and Bob Riley, as well the earlier presence on recordings of the Blue Ridge Highballers led by Charley La Prade, and above all, the legendary Charlie Poole—drew from a rich American songbook. They brought their music to the new media of radio broadcasts, phonograph records, and live public performances. more....

   
CD-352

Shannon Bielski & Moonlight Drive
Tennessee Heart
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Shannon Bielski began her musical journey at age seven with piano, soon progressing to violin. In her teens she took lessons in bluegrass fiddle from the phenomenal Rickie Simpkins, performed and recorded with the Zekiah Swamp Cats, and won a Public Performance Scholarship to attend the world-famous Bluegrass, Country, and Old-Time Music program at East Tennessee State University where she expanded her skills and talent with the help of teachers like Hunter Berry and Jason Leek. Her dreams of having her own band floated in the clouds over the moonlit mountains of Virginia on her drives north from Tennessee. Led by Shannon’s powerful and clear vocals, Moonlight Drive features hard driving instrumentals and heart-felt originals, with Kyle Windbeck on guitar, Rob Benzing on banjo, and Greg Mulley on bass. The ensemble won first place in the 2018 DCBU Mid-Atlantic Bluegrass Band Competition. Shannon has also been recognized for her song-writing talents, taking first place in the 2018 Deer Creek Fiddler’s Convention Songwriting Contest. more....
   
   
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