IssueM Articles

Discovering Tony Rice

Like Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs, Tony Rice left such an indelible imprint on bluegrass music and his chosen instrument that scholars and bluegrass fans will be seeking out biographic information and anecdotes about the man and the music he created for decades to come. Leveraging his longtime personal and professional association with Rice here,…

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The Stars, If You Look Closely

This Melbourne, Australia-based outfit has an interesting history. Three of the original members were in a synth-pop band called Schizo Scherzo back in the yesteryear. That band eventually broke up, but about a decade and a half ago they had a chance reunion and instantly re-bonded over their shared passion for the music on the…

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So Much For Forever

East Tennessee’s Authentic Unlimited was formed by three former members of Doyle Lawson’s Quicksilver upon Lawson’s retirement. They are Eli Johnston (banjo), Stephen Burwell (fiddle) and Jerry Cole (bass). Joining the trio are Jesse Brock (mandolin) and John Meader (guitar). Besides working with Lawson’s Quicksilver, members have gained previous experience with such groups as Pine…

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Soft Soothing Fiddle

This meditative 15-song album and accompanying 20-song video by Bluegrass Hall of Fame and Museum educational director Randy Lanham is a true labor of love with a fascinating story behind it. A while back, Lanham’s father was in the hospital and Lanham noticed how hard it was for him to relax or sleep amidst all…

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Linda Neal playing banjo at the Crooked Road jam at the Southwest Virginia Cultural Center.

20 Years of Celebrating the Music and Culture of Southwest Virginia

I have spent many hours driving through the Southwest Virginia region. In recent years, that has meant traveling to the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention on the east side of this unique section of the commonwealth, or while on another journey, spending three days at the newly-created Blue Highway Fest in Big Stone Gap, which is…

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Walt Michael playing guitar in 2022 Photo by Richard Anderson

Walt Michael’s Full Circle Journey 

Exploring Roots and Creating Culture at Common Ground on the Hill This is the story of a musician whose career path led him back to his roots to develop a music and arts community known as Common Ground on the Hill, where “the big tent of bluegrass” is welcoming. Walt Michael, whose peaceful outlook, and…

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