This will probably be a rather abbreviated column as I have not been out and about this last month – six weeks. I was back to the program just in time for the spring fund drive. I wish I could tell you at the time of this writing how it went, but it has not been. Confused? Let me know how you resolve it. Anyhow, I feel I can project with a reasonable amount of certainty that it went well because – because – Sunday Bluegrass listeners have always responded well to the fund drives and they are greatly appreciated. It shows you do want the type of program I bring to the airways, and it shows management and many others outside that there is an audience for bluegrass, traditional country and old-time country music.
OK, where do we go from here? How about me telling you about a couple of new CDs I have received.
Larry Stephenson has a new Pinecastle release. Larry can always be depended on for a good show and a good release. This one is no exception. The title tune, "The Sound (That Set My Soul On Fire)" is a grabber. It is a song he wrote about the music he heard when he was ten and set the pace for him. A friend played him an album of the Osborne Bros. featuring "Rocky Top" and that was all the jump-start or perhaps all the fire-starter he needed. Twelve songs that include "I Know One," "Whose Heart Are You Breaking Tonight," "Patches," "Knoxville Girl," and an instrumental version of "My Wild Irish Rose" that's a little faster than I have heard it played. This CD is good, and all good Larry Stephenson fans should have one. In addition to Larry's fine band, they are joined by Randy Howard, Gene Wooten, Terry Eldridge and Sonny Osborne.
This next one, also from Pinecastle, has me a little confused. The CD is also a very good one and is new from The New Coon Creek Girls. Why am I confused this time? I was laboring under the belief that The New Coon Creek Girls, as such, were no longer. I had heard or read or something that the group now had male members and was known as Dale Ann Bradley and Coon Creek. But don't let that throw you, that's Our Point Of View (title of the new CD). Some great gospel numbers, some old familiar songs and some new ones. You'll like "Muleskinner Blues," "Clinging To A Saving Hand," "Danny Boy," "These Old Blues" and all the rest. This is a truly good one by this group of ladies, The New Coon Creek Girls.
While we're on the subject, Pinecastle is celebrating their 7th anniversary. Read the following very carefully. As part of their anniversary commemoration, here's a deal: With the purchase of any new release from PC between August 1997 and December 1998, they will be giving a FREE – bet that grabs most of you by the attention line – CD titled On The Charts. Inside each CD or cassette will be an anniversary reply card. Complete the card, mail to Pinecastle with $2 for S&H and it will be sent to you. Wait, don't stop reading closely now, because THERE IS MORE! By returning the reply card you will automatically be entered into a grand prize drawing. What, you might ask, is the grand prize? It is just that, a grand prize. From Pinecastle, an expense-paid trip to 1999 IBMA, deluxe accommodations, private concert by the Pinecastle artist of your choice (subject to some restrictions) and round-trip airfare to Louisville, Ky. Should 1999 IBMA be in another location than Louisville, I have been told that alternate arrangements will be made. Check your favorite record shop or Pinecastle artist for a new PC release of your choice. Either of the above would be good for starters.
Rebel has two good new releases now also. So much new stuff coming, and good new stuff. Bill Harrell and The Virginians released The Cat Came Back. This is stuffed with many great familiar tunes all done in the great style of Bill Harrell. In addition to the title tune, you will recognize "Hobo Bill's Last Ride," "Trouble In Mind," "Little Maggie," "Soldier's Last Letter" (a Redd Stewart song), "Tennessee Border," "The Baggage Coach Ahead," "This Danged Old Town" and much more. This is a good one.
Cliff Waldron, Old Friends and Memories is also new from Rebel. I am not that familiar with this group, but after listening to this CD, it will get played on Sunday Bluegrass. "Greenville Trestle High," "In The Good Old Days (When Times Were Bad)," "The Legend," "Blue Bonnet Lane" and more. Another real good one in the new column.
West Point, Music Ranch USA: Shows start at 7:30 p.m. April 10, Kentucky Blue, well-known local group; April 24, another well-known local group, Steve Cooley and the New Horizon band. One date, which initially led to some "this date, that date" confusion, has still another change. Unfortunately, The Country Gentlemen are not going to be coming to West Point. Not in the near future at this time. May 8, last officially reported date, will not happen now. Better luck next time. The Saturday-night shows have had some full-house to SRO turnouts recently. Bluegrass fans should show the same kind of support for our kind of music everywhere.
At Shepherdsville, April 2 (Thursday), two top "everybody's favorites," The Lewis Family and Jim & Jesse. How can you not go and then continue to claim you love bluegrass music? I plan to be there for that. I have been out of the net long enough. For those who will take a little drive for a big show, head to Fairborn High School Auditorium, Fairborn, Ohio (at Dayton) April 4. Showtime (6-11 p.m.) features Lonesome River Band, Lynn Morris Band, James King Band and a special appearance by Longview. Longview consists of Dudly Connell, Glen Duncan, James King, Joe Mullins, Don Rigsby and Marshall Wilborn.
This will have to be it for this time. Stay tuned, WFPK, 91.9 FM, Sunday 8-11 p.m. I'm back. Oh, if you didn't get to call in a pledge during the fund drive, it is not too late. Just call the station and tell them your intentions. Tell them I asked you to. Thanks and a special thanks to those who called and/or sent cards while I was out. Thank you.