Here are some photos from  the “Pickin’ An All Star Jam” show I did with Sammy Shelor, Sierra Hull, Steve Gulley, Dale Ann Bradley, and Michael Cleveland.  We played at the Birchmere April 27th and then headed over the next day to visit with Katy Daley and the brand new amazing studios (check out these photos) at WAMU Bluegrass Country where we performed live and chatted with Katy.  I’m told it was all captured on tape and will be available during their next fundraiser as a premium.  WAMU and I sort of have a long history (at least according to me!) having grown up near enough to DC to tune in (with cable) and I well remember the days when bluegrass music was played all day on this station including during ‘drive time’ on 88.5 radio all over that town. It’s reach and commitment is even greater now of course with BluegrassCountry.org and WAMU continues to serve the bluegrass world in a way not matched by many others.  Thanks to Katy Daley, Lee Michael Dempsey, Gary Henderson, and all those who have made such a difference.  And for having us by the studio and making us feel so welcome.

Some random New Hip pics from this spring, including some shots at Merlefest, backstage at the Carrboro Arts Center, Horizon Records, Tony Lawson and WDVX, my 1937 Kay, and more.  oh yea, and it’s amazing the uses one can get out of a New Hip Stage Plot and input List.  Need an oil change?   We believe in recycling.

Six Potters and a Painter

Location: East Studio
Saturday, December 7, 10AM-6PM 
Sunday, December 8, 12PM-4PM

521 Gallatin Rd. - entrance on Stratton Ave., directly behind The Fuselage 

East Nashville’s hidden gems - side-by-side clay workshops East Studio and Timothy Weber Pottery - open their doors to the public once a year for this holiday market.

-painting and pottery demonstrations
-free Penny Drive penny pots to raise money for Second Harvest (limited supply - at least a couple dozen)

Plus fine handmade pots and paintings by 2 past TACA board members, 1 Governor’s Arts Award recipient, 1 lifelong artist for the State of Tennessee, 1 Sarratt Art Studios instructor…and we’re all nationally/regionally showing artists. This is the lineup that was a 2010 Nashville Scene Critics’ Pick.

This holiday, give your favorite human being something made by a human being!

Russell Harris, Helen Hooper-Hirst, Kelly Kessler, Diana Naisby, Thurman Rivers, Donna Rizzo, Timothy Weber

Jack Pearson Trio at the Station Inn…kicked complete ass.  Event made even better in the company of my bff, Dana…  Life is good.

Tune in online and spend about 30 minutes with us in our living room…and you can be in your living room, or wherever you might be with your phone, computer or ipad…We’ll be playing some music and having some fun, so stop in- leave a comment.  Merry Christmas!

   Missy, Jarrod, Ethan, and Cody

Here’s some photos from our journey to the left coast and back this October.  We drove some hard miles, but we also saw some stunningly beautiful parts of this country.  We drove through rain, wind, snow, and sleet. We walked through (literally) gigantic redwood trees.  We even had a little time to see San Francisco by street car at night. (Thank you Laurie Lewis!)  We took the scenic route up the coast one evening at sunset- listening to beach music (programmed by Ethan), and, Jarrod was truly inspired after a drive through the Rockies and there happen to be an Etch-a-Sketch around….

Life on the road….

More WV time- Mountain Stage!

The last time I played Mountain Stage (before this year), I was playing with Jim Hurst, (so that was a while ago…).  Also performing on that show was Lucinda Williams and Buddy and Julie Miller.  Not bad company… yea, not bad.   So, I was super stoked to go  back to Mountain Stage with the New Hip last week.  Host, Larry Groce told me that the show Jim and I did way back when will be re-aired in the coming months.  I’ll be letting you know when.  And, I’m told The New Hip show we just did will be airing in March 2014.  I’ll let you know about that, too. We were on with Holly Williams, Sam Baker, Charlie Faye, and Gary Nicholson.  What a great venue Mountain Stage is.  They’ve really got it figured out, and treat the artists like gold.  A top notch crew and house band…who all seem to really enjoy their gig.  And, who wouldn’t?  Here’s to another 30 years! 

West Virginia Hall of Fame
The West Virginia Music Hall of Fame is the brainchild of Michael Lipton.  Michael is the guitarist for the long-running (30 years) nationally syndicated radio show, “Mountain Stage”.  This year, I had the opportunity to be part of the ceremony/show held at the Cultural Center Theater in Charleston WV.  Among the very diverse list of inductees were Melvin and Ray Goins, and, Tim O’Brien.  Also performing was a list of who’s who including, Kathy Mattea, Mollie O’Brien, Charlie McCoy, Buddy Griffin, Wayne Moss, and more.  The weekend included a reception at the Governor’s mansion and some great performances by some of the best West Virginia has to offer.  The crew (which is largely the Mountain Stage crew) and a host of volunteers were amazing.  What a huge production and all done as a complete labor of love and respect for the artists that have claimed their home in the mountain state.  
I’m adding the bios on each of this year’s inductees.   Enjoy.
Here are some pics.  
L-R  Melvin Goins, Kathy Mattea, Tim O’Brien, Mollie O’Brien and me.

with Michael Lipton

Melvin Goins during rehearsal
Volunteers Jeff and Victoria Bosley bring in real china each year to feed  the artists and crew.  The plates come from local vintage stores, some are actually made in WV.  It’s a nice touch.

Charlie McCoy and 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, Wayne Moss

Some bling to set the stage!
 Melvin Goins (Born 1933) and Ray Goins (1936-2007). Goodwill, Mercer County
Born on Sinai Mountain, near the coal mining community of Goodwill, Melvin and Ray Goins hold a significant place in the history of bluegrass music. Both together and separately, the brothers played in The Lonesome Pine Fiddlers, The Stanley Brothers, and The Shenandoah Playboys as well as The Goins Brothers Band. From the early ’50s, both have been involved in radio and TV, first on Bluefield radio station WHIS and later on stations in Prestonsburg, Hazard and Paintsville, KY. Ray stopped touring In 1994, due to health problems. He passed away in 2007. Melvin was the first bluegrass musician to be featured on the cover of Smithsonian Magazine and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame as a member of the Lonesome Pine Fiddlers in 2009, and the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in 2011.
* Tim O’Brien - Born 1954. Wheeling, Ohio County
Grammy-winning bluegrass/country/folk artist Tim O’Brien is an incredibly talented and respected multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter. The Wheeling native came to prominence with the Colorado-based bluegrass band Hot Rize, and its country-Western alter ego, Red Knuckles and the Trailblazers. The group toured the world for a dozen years. In the mid-’80s, fellow West Virginian Kathy Mattea scored a pair of Top 10 hits with Tim’s  “Walk the Way the Wind Blows” and “Untold Stories.” In 1990, they recorded the duet “The Battle Hymn of Love,” which went to No. 9. When Tim’s 2005 release, “Fiddler’s Green,” earned a Grammy for “Best Traditional Folk Recording,” he quickly became a sought-after session player and producer. Since Hot Rize disbanded, Tim has released more than 20 CDs including solo recordings and duet projects with his sister Mollie, old time musician Dirk Powell, and, most recently, guitarist Darrell Scott. Tim was named Male Vocalist of the year by the IBMA in 1993 and 2006, while his song “Look Down That Lonesome Road” won IBMA’s “Song of the Year” award in 2006. In 2010, he toured with Mark Knopfler and has recorded with comedian Steve Martin. Tim is a board member of the WV Music Hall of Fame and has played a key role in a number of HoF projects.
* Peter Marshall - Born 1926. Wheeling, Ohio County
While Wheeling native Peter Marshall (born Pierre LaCock) is best-known for hosting more than 5,000 episodes of the five-time Emmy Award-winning game show, “Hollywood Squares,” he is also a gifted actor, singer and entertainer. After moving to New York in his teens, he formed a comedy team with Tommy Noonan and appeared in major night clubs, films, and on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” His first starring role on Broadway was in “Skyscraper” with Julie Harris and, in London, he co-starred with Chita Rivera in “Bye-Bye-Birdie.” In later years, he appeared in major musicals including “Music Man,” “42nd Street,” and Neil Simon’s “Rumors.” Marshall also appeared on television shows including “Love Boat,” “Lou Grant” and “Sabrina the Teenage Witch.” In the 1980s, he performed his role as George in “La Cage Aux Folles” in more than 800 performances. Marshall also hosted the 12-show “Big Bands From Disneyland” series for the Disney Channel. In 2000, he issued the CD “Boy Singer” and, in 2012, “Let’s be Frank with a Touch of Tommy.” In 2009, he and Nick Clooney co-hosted a pair of PBS specials “The Big Band Years” followed by “The Big Band Singers.”
Currently, Marshall is heard nationally on the “Music Of Your Life” radio network and, at 87, continues to perform at venues across the country.
* Wayne Moss - Born 1938. South Charleston, Kanawha County   
An accomplished bassist, guitarist and songwriter, Wayne Moss is a true legend among Nashville studio musicians. His credits include sessions for hundreds of country and rock artists as well as stints in storied Nashville groups, Area Code 615 and Barefoot Jerry. Wayne’s first steady job was with the Pioneer Pals, on Sleepy Jeffers’ popular radio and TV show in Charleston. Meanwhile, his rock ‘n’ roll band, The Versitones, toured West Virginia, playing high schools and other venues. Wayne played the signature guitar line on Roy Orbison’s hit “Pretty Woman,” and the often-imitated solo on Waylon Jennings’s “Only Daddy That’ll Walk the Line.” He also can be heard on Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” Tommy Roe’s million seller “Sheila” and Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde” LP. He resume includes sessions for Simon & Garfunkle, Dolly Parton, Charlie Daniels, Joan Baez, Michael Nesmith and Tommy Emanuel. As a songwriter, his songs have been recorded by The Oak Ridge Boys, Jerry Reed, Chet Atkins, Roy Clark, George Benson, and Willie Nelson. In 1960, he opened Cinderella Sound Recording Studio, currently the oldest continually operating studio in Nashville. Wayne has been honored as a “Nashville Cat” by the Country Music Hall of Fame and continues to perform and record. 
* Ada “Bricktop” Smith - 1894-1984. Alderson, Monroe County
Born Ada Beatrice Queen Victoria Louise Virginia Smith in Alderson, Bricktop was a dancer, singer, vaudevillian, and self-described saloon-keeper who owned the Paris nightclub Chez Bricktop. She has been described as “one of the most legendary and enduring figures of 20th Century American cultural history.” After working as a chorus girl in Chicago and Harlem, Bricktop moved to Paris around 1924 to escape racial tension in the U.S. Soon, Cole Porter hired her to entertain at his parties. His song, “Miss Otis Regrets,” was written especially for her to perform, and Hot Jazz innovators Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli wrote a song titled “Bricktop.” Bricktop’s drew many celebrities including the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and John Steinbeck. Her proteges included Mabel Mercer and Josephine Baker, and she employed Langston Hughes as a busboy. Leaving Paris during WWII, she then opened nightclubs in Mexico City and Rome. In 1961, at age 67, she retired to the U.S. Bricktop made a cameo appearance in the 1974 film “Honeybaby, Honeybaby” and the 1983 Woody Allen film “Zelig.” She continued to perform as a Cabaret entertainer well into her 80s. In 1972, Bricktop made her only recording, “So Long Baby,” with Cy Coleman.
* Eleanor Steber - (1914-1990). Wheeling, Ohio County
Wheeling native Eleanor Steber is considered one of the most important U.S. sopranos of the 20th Century and has often been called “the greatest Mozart singer of them all.” At a time when opera was part of popular culture, she was a true international star, known throughout the world for her full, powerful voice, her ability to master a wide variety of roles and her tireless work ethic. In Wheeling, she received a rich, musical education and, after studying at the New England Conservatory of Music, won the coveted “Metropolitan Auditions of the Air.” From 1945 to 1955 she performed on NBC’s syndicated radio show “The Voice of Firestone” which became one of the signatures of her career. In 1948, Eleanor premiered Samuel Barber’s “Knoxville: Summer of 1915,” a work she had commissioned a year earlier. Both “Knoxville,” and the title role she created for his opera, “Vanessa,” were two of her most notable and proudest achievements. On an historic State Department tour through the Middle and Far East, an audience of 80 million tuned in to watch her sing “Madame Butterfly” on Japanese TV. Over 22 Met seasons, Steber did 427 performances of 34 roles and sang more performances of Mozart leading roles than any other singer in the company’s history. In all, she had an astounding 65 roles in her operatic repertoire. 
* The Swan Silvertones - Formed in 1938, McDowell County
The Swan Silvertones are unquestionably one of the greatest gospel quartets of the ‘40s, ’50s and ’60s. Originally The Four Harmony Kings, and then the Silvertone Singers, the group was founded in 1938 by Alabama native Claude Jeter, who had moved to McDowell county to work in the mines. After relocating to Knoxville, TN, the group was hired by a local radio program sponsored by the local Swan Bakery - and renamed the Swan Silvertones. The Swans went on to record for the King, Specialty and Vee-Jay labels. One of the first gospel groups to add a rhythm section, through each incarnation, the group remained on the cutting edge of gospel. A line from the group’s 1961 song “Mary Don’t You Weep” inspired Paul Simon to write his 1970 hit, “Bridge over Troubled Water” and the group’s unparalleled version of “Saviour, Pass Me Not” was featured in the 1991 film “The Big Easy.” The Swans were inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 2002 and the International Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2003. The sons and nephews of original member Solomon Womack - including Curtis and Friendly who are with us tonight - formed The Womack Brothers who, after teaming up with Sam Cooke, became The Valentinos. In the late ‘70s, the last original Swan, John Myles, retired. His grandson, Rev. RL Bush formed The New Swan Silvertones in 1999 to carry on the group’s legacy.

Raleigh.  Raleigh.  pronounced  Rah  lee.  It just rolls off the tongue in a definite southern and genteel sort of way.  And, for the multitudes of us who flocked there last week for IBMA’s World of Bluegrass and Wide Open Bluegrass, it remains a very satisfying and sweet memory. 

The City of Raleigh lived up to every bit of it’s promise to treat IBMA, and bluegrass fans across the world, both old and new, well.  

Having been to every IBMA Conference since the first one in 1986?, I was proud to see many dreams and aspirations come to life in Raleigh. Not that there haven’t been great years in the past.  Both Louisville and Nashville have hosted IBMA (I’m getting to Owensboro) and there were some great moments in both places.  I live in Nashville and I won’t argue that we were not ‘the singular most important thing on the Music City’s mind’, still I can’t bring myself to dis this town I have grown to love.  So- live with that.

The IBMA Board made a very bold and courageous move to not only take IBMA to a new city, but to redefine and reshape many major components of the trade show known as World of Bluegrass Conference and the Fan Fest (now known as Wide Open Bluegrass) Countless, countless, countless hours of work from the IBMA staff, IBMA Board, along with dozens of other volunteers came together to pull off what is arguably one of this year’s (this decade’s?) most buzzed about event.   

 We know that Raleigh as a city wanted us.  And we know that as a community, IBMA (and bluegrass in general) wanted a city that wanted us.  And would allow us to set aside our struggle to define ourselves and simply celebrate the music we all love so much.  Jackpot.

Sure there’ll be tweaks, fixes, and ‘what to do better next year’.  That’s a given.  But I can personally say I felt the electricity in the air nearly from the moment I arrived to Raleigh.

I used to feel that way in Owensboro KY, where the first of these events were held.  Part of that was, then, like this year, it really was all so new- it was a brand new day- we didn’t know what to expect.  So many aspects of IBMA were completely unchartered territory.  And that always brings an element of anticipation.  But beyond that, there clearly was something deeper in Raleigh last week. 

I drove into town about 3am early in the week and came upon IBMA’s name in ‘lights’ above. (see photo)  It was quiet and not much traffic at that hour. I sat in my car and stared at the emblem and reflected.

I reflected about having a life full of music and how precious that is to me. And how lucky I felt to be able to witness days like these.  Days like these… Keep ‘em coming. 



The Road to Here… Ethan Ballinger

As we are just a few days from our CD Release show for "New Frontier" at the Station Inn this Saturday, Sept 14th… I continue to think about all the people that have made this happen, who’ve helped us get here. One of those people is Ethan Ballinger.

If you’ve been around The New Hip for awhile, then you know Ethan has been a pivotal player in this band from nearly the beginning. Ethan came highly recommended by my good friend and mandolinist extraordinaire, Matt Flinner. Matt had been doing shows with me but when his schedule would no longer allow time for that he told me about Ethan. Ethan joined the band playing mandolin, and played on The New Hip’s first release, Inside Out.

A few years later, when a time came that we needed a guitar player, Ethan let me know that he played guitar (uh…yea…) and would be cool to switch.  At first, I didn’t realize how serious he was about the offer or that he was in no way tied to ‘an instrument’ or to ‘an ego’ about the whole deal… but slowly, I began to understand that he was one of those rare players who care so fundamentally deeply about the music and the song above all else, that he puts himself and his role second to that. …Really?…Oh, I get it..like…that’s what it’s supposed to be about…

I have long since relied time and again on Ethan’s ability to keep an eye (and ear) on the big musical picture. His low-key, (understatement…) yet spot on observations continue to amaze me.

So when it came time to start this album, it was an easy decision to ask him to co-produce.

And easy it was.  And I’ve thought about that fact since, a lot, and I’ve realized what a rare and beautiful gift it is to have THAT much trust and ease with someone when it comes to something that is so personal…like music,  like your soul.

The interesting thing to me is, Ethan and I didn’t discuss production of this cd at great length…I mean, we did some, of course… but we were sort of on the same page, and mostly, I knew that I trusted whatever he wanted to try because I knew he would be thinking about the song, the sound, the big picture, and not about anything else.

Do you have any idea how major that is?? How rare that is? How freaking beautiful that is?

And so to you, Ethan, I thank you.

Thank you for the lushness and the exquisite detail, for the subtle and beautifully harmonic organ lines, for the perfect soul-wrenching guitar sounds, and the guitar layers (all 20,000 of them), and for knowing what I wanted before I did.


September 10, 2013

The Road to here….Thanks to our Kickstarters

Today marks the release of our CD, "New Frontier" on Compass Records. Reviews are coming in, folks are talking about it…and it’s all happening so quickly (now!), kind of like a river that’s brimming up with the melted snow of last winter and rushes by you with a shining glint of things to come.  

And while it’s more than exciting to think about what’s ahead for us, the thing that is most clear in my mind this morning as I sit here in quiet reflection, is how we got here and the people who made this happen.

I’m speaking now of our Kickstarters.  And, though I’ve said it a dozen times before, I’ve never meant it more, "We couldn’t have done it without you."

So, I want to thank each and every one of our Kickstarters here by listing the names of all those who contributed, supported, believed in us, and simply helped us on the road to here.  


Anna Schwaber

Chris Mara

Jacob Hall Gordon

Lisa Burns

Tim Hand

David Gans

Betsy Burnam

Alan Beall

Casey Driessen

Tim Wisner

Letizia Sampaolo

John Westgate

Martin Bacon

James Gerber

Jon Weisberger

Ted Lehmann

Abbe Tiger

Joe Zauner

Emilee Warner

Jason Hiner

Patsy Brown

Trish Galfano

Lee Michael Demsey

Kelly Coty

Kelley Luberecki

Kathy Nichols

Joan Bullard

Jason Brown

Scott Stewart

Tommy Wiggins

Bud Bennett

Maggie Sokolik

Paul Siegmund

Karen Wortman

Larry O’Connor

Dick Daniels

Kevin Russell

Eugene Wolf

The Western Swing Authority

Michigan FolkLive

J Werntz

Heribert Blaetterbauer

Ed Gregory

Alan Tompkins

Dan Hays

D.Dwight Worden

Peg Alofs Becker

Pamela W Davis

Kent Gustavson

Archie and Priscilla Warnock

Hilary West

Amy Beth Hale

Cheryl Hall

Greg Ching

Valerie Leroy

Trisha Tubbs

Neil Tiger

Zach Bevill

Amy Hart

Diana L. Ennis

Justin Hiltner

Karah Stokes

Bob Gregory

Ryan Delaney

Katie Litteral

Claire Lynch

Robert Lococo

Edward Park

Kenny Weiland

Gary Alter

Dana and John Abernathy

Kristine King

Thomas Dunham

Nathan Bell

Nancy Ahlrichs

Erika Brady

Casey Henry

Martha Trachtenberg

Mike Armstrong

Brent Dingus

Sandra Massey

Alan B. Pinkerton Jr.

Nelson Thomas

Robbie Hunsinger

Phil Leonard

Paddy Grinstein

Matthew Jackson

Wendy Mackin

Michael Archer

Sylvia Gilbreath


Mike Burns

Karl Kemp

Patti Garber

Gene Mills

John Harwell

Mark Wingate

David Morris

Pete Salsbury

Jodie Ervin

Joe Surratt

Bob Peelstrom

Kate Hurson

Heidi Herzog

Karen Rhodes

Kim Schubert

Lisa Rogers

Nancy Nikora

Debie Miller

Stefanie Pottinger

Lisa Riblet Jacobi

Bruce Schmidt

Missy Werner

James Tony Rackley

Bill Evans


Ray Rossell

Brandt Ball

Rick Reeves

Robin Flynn

Dudley Delbridge

Greg Maxwell

Bill Payne

Mary Conn

John Cadley

John Stiernberg

Ron Murphy

Robyn Mchugh

Jim Hurster

Pam Daley

Greg Clarke

Monique Sawyer

Ruth Lalley

Karen Breth

Christopher Ernst

Tim Carter

Chalmers Waddell

Kelly Johnson

Frank and Molly Butler

Jenny and Chad Hinegardner

Karl Ahlrichs

Donna Barnhart Lima

Susan Holland

Joyce Broyles



back bent
peering in
in further
black soil
bones made
of fragile
green and

inside the
under world
smells deepen
sounds fade
time thickens
red face



bohemian…    peanut butter.

elusive.  obsessive.  simple.  complete.   joy.

rapture.  rapture.





Headed to Victor Wooten’s Bass Camp Today

Loading up my bass later today and making the short drive west of Nashville to a very special farm near Olny, TN to the home of bassist Victor Wooten and his world renowned Bass camps.  I’ll be joining forces with folks like Steve Bailey, legend Chuck Rainey and Dave Welsch.  Can’t wait!

..and, you’re thinking, what’s this?… is the blog back??  yes, and I’ve been posting here again after a long hiatus.  So, see you again soon….