Take off the gloves and put on the mitts

The election season is finally over with a few post-count legal maneuverings left to go.

It is now time for all candidates on every tier of government to take off the boxing gloves, shake hands and come out fighting for the American people rather than against each other.

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A new fiddling master

Fiddling has always been part of my life, since the earliest tunes that I looked up at my great Uncle Tom and heard him play to this very day. I have come to know and learn from some of the greatest fiddlers in history. They have richly blessed my life.

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A hall of fame event

One of my favorite events of the year is the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame induction honoring those who have shared their lives with us on the road singing His message.

Among this year’s 2010 SGMA class of Hall of Fame inductees are Danny Gaither, Little Jan Buckner-Goff, and Sam Goodman, Bill Hefner, Connie Hopper and Arthur Smith. Read more

Singing the praises

I enjoyed the great honor of attending the Singing News Fan Awards recently at Dollywood. This was the first time the event was held at Dollywood as they partnered also with the Southern Gospel Music Hall of Fame for its annual inductions. The Hall of Fame and its museum are at Dollywood.

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Bluegrass Honors

In recent weeks I have seen a lot of great bluegrass performers honored in their craft and sharing their talents with enthusiastic audiences.

This adventure in musical joy began with the Front Porch Fellowship Bluegrass Gospel Music Awards held at the National Quartet Convention in Louisville, Ky. Read more

The faith of Palin

Bluegrass gospel music filled the Freedom Hall Expo Center in Louisville, Ky. for over two hours before the annual 2010 National Quartet Convention turned its focus on one of the leading political figures since 2008 – Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.
The former Republican candidate for United States vice president stood before thousands of gospel music fans and shared her personal thoughts about faith, family and our country. Read more

We don’t do that here anymore

Have you ever taken your shoes to be worked on? Does anyone do that anymore? I remember when fixin’ shoes was cheaper than buyin’.

Of course, back then they were quality made and lasted a long time if cared for properly. I’ve been looking for a brand new pair of blacks and a brown for about a month now. Every where I look they are just not quite right. The pair I am trying to replace is about new but they are worn out with a few holes. I was looking at them and found that a percentage was made in one country – Mexico, another percentage in the European Union and then assembled in China.
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Southern gospel music and Dolly too…….

Hearing good four-part harmony is something that has always made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Ever since the days when the sounds of “The Gospel Singing Jubilee” helped me energize sleep out of my pre-school eyes as we got ready to go to church, Southern gospel music has been part of my life.

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Grand Ole Opry star Jesse McReynolds urges America to unite

I have heard Jesse McReynolds called the iron man of bluegrass. He is certainly one of the strongest and most innovative musical talents that I have ever known.

From the first time as a youth that I looked up on the stage of the Lavonia Bluegrass Festival at he and his late brother Jim, I knew that they were the most polished musical act I had seen.

Jesse’s musical talents were at the core of that polish and today at 81, he is still creating and working to find new ways to reach audiences that may be unaware of the body of work that brought him to the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

But he is the first to say his latest venture is more an attempt to leave a legacy of encouragement to his fellow Americans.

Throughout his career he has shared his love of the United States of America and his home state of Virginia through live performances, numerous recordings and through his own military service.

McReynolds said with the trends he has seen in America over the last few months, he was led to write an anthem from his heart that reflects the feeling he wanted to share with his fellow Americans.

What happens when you bring together a Bluegrass Hall of Famer Jesse McReynolds (www.jimandjesse.com), Grand Ole Opry star John Conlee (www.johnconlee.com), Country Music Hall of Famer Jimmy Fortune of The Statler Brothers (www.JimmyFortune.com), Gospel Music Hall of Famer Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys (www.oakridgeboys.com), and some of Nashville’s hottest pickers?

Jesse’s anthem for Americans – “United We Stand”

“I love this country. I served in Korea. There is hardly a town across this great nation that my music has not taken me,” McReynolds said. “I’ve come to know its people and the strength we have when we work together. We are Americans, citizens of the United States of America; our future depends upon us pulling together. I have the faith that if we do, we can turn this country towards a positive future – ‘United We Stand – Divided We Fall.’”

The Grand Ole Opry star, who is known as an American master of the mandolin, wrote the song and created two versions welcoming Charlie Cushman on banjo, Steve Thomas on fiddle and guitar; Kevin Grant on bass for the bluegrass version.

For the country version, he welcomed even more stars including RFD-TV’s Marty Stuart (www.martystuart.net) playing guitar and Grand Ole Opry star Buck White of the Whites (skaggsfamilyrecords.com/) playing piano; Steve Thomas on guitar; Kevin Grant on bass; Chris Wood on drums; and Tommy White on steel guitar.

J&J Music released the new single in association with Crimson Records to over 1,500 radio stations featuring country, bluegrass, gospel and folk music.

“I hope that fans of my music will call in and request it,” McReynolds said. “But more than that, I hope that all those who love this great country will take this song to heart and unite for the future of America.”
United We Stand is available for digital download at itunes, Amazon.com and more information can be found at www.jimandjesse.com.

Jesse is not letting any grass grow under his feet since coming Oct. 5, musically he will push the lines of bluegrass again as Woodstock Records releases Jesse McReynolds & Friends with David Nelson & Stu Allen, Songs Of The Grateful Dead: A Tribute to Jerry Garcia & Robert Hunter.

Rufus A. Doolittle

One of the more interesting characters I have met in my life is my second cousin twice-removed Rufus A. Doolittle. No matter how many times the family removed him he just kept coming back. If you meet Rufus on the street, he will always have on his old blue Bibb overalls covering nearly 300 pounds of his favorite dishes. He always said he was built more for comfort than for speed.

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