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Old time country music is alive and well in Nebraska

Many across America recently sat watching PBS as Ken Burns walked us through his perspective of the history of country music. It was an amazing effort in taking a wide-ranging American experience that encompasses more than a century of talents who shaped music locally, regionally and ultimately those who shined nationally and internationally. He shaved it down to a multiple-hour documentary which reflects greatly upon our genre.
But for me, I recently traveled across 7 states to attend the 44th Annual Old Time Country Music Festival in Fremont, Nebraska. I was among fans who traveled from around the world – Australia, New Zealand, Canada and all across the United States to hear and see artists of all types.
The performers shared folk songs and tunes brought by Irish, English, German, Scottish pioneers as they settled in the Americas. Songs and tunes created by the cowboys and cowgirls, from the deserts, from the mountains, performed by old and young. Bluegrass, folk, Americana, gospel, western, country, blues and even a touch of country-flavored rock and roll encouraged attendees to clap their hands, mouth the words, and kick up their heels.
Performers from around the world who also perform traditional country were part of the lineup. From the earliest fiddle tunes to the country songs the audience sparked to in the 1950s to the 1990s, no attendees went away without a musical memory to make them smile.
The event offered three stages from the intimate acoustic stage where artists performed for an elite group of 40 fans to stages to the main stage which featured well known artists from all the genres. Youth performed alongside legendary stars reflecting a tradition of its long history perpetuated by organizers Bob and Sheila Everhart and the National Traditional Country Music Association exposing new talents to audiences who seek to see their favorites.
As part of the event, the association presented its music awards and inducted America’s Old Time Country Music Hall of Famers which they have done since 1977.
Some among this year’s honorees were Grand Ole Opry star Jeannie Seely, and country singers Jeannie C. Riley, Gail Davies, Jimmy Bowen, and Doreen Brown of Canada. Arizona Hall of Famer Ed Gary was given a Lifetime Achievement Award. I was also privileged to be in this year’s class of Hall of Fame inductees.
I encourage you to visit https://www.music-savers.com/hall-of-fame to see a full list of inductees and their CD awards for this year and learn more about how to support the organization, its Iowa museum, and when and where you can support future events. Check out some of these amazing acts and get their music.

Jeannie Seely writes the songs and Infamous Stringdusters test Gravity in new CDs

GRAMMY® award-winning country music legend Jeannie Seely’s long-awaited new album Written in Song is now in select stores and available through digital retailers.
Written in Song is such an exciting project for me for many reasons,” Seely said. “It consists of 14 songs that I have written over the years, most of them recorded by my peers and my heroes. It’s also very rewarding to know that these songs have stood the test of time and are just as viable today. I am extremely grateful to the musicians and singers who made them sound brand new.”
The Grand Ole Opry songstress, known as “Miss Country Soul,” continues a whirlwind media schedule to promote the 14-track album full of original songs recorded by Merle Haggard (“Life of a Rodeo Cowboy), Dottie West (“He’s All I Need”), Ernest Tubb (“Sometimes I Do”), Willie Nelson (“Senses”) and more.
Seely brings back the traditional country sound that fans have been longing for on Written in Song. Standout tracks include “Leavin’ & Sayin’ Goodbye” featuring special guests Kenny and Tess Sears, “Senses” with guest Connie Smith and Marty Stuart and “We’re Still Hangin’ In There Ain’t We Jessi” with Jan Howard and Jessi Colter. Written in Song is distributed by Smith Music Group.
Like Jeannie Seely on Facebook or visit jeannieseely.com.
Bluegrass virtuosos The Infamous Stringdusters released Laws of Gravity, debuting at #3 on iTunes Country Chart and #1 on the Amazon Bluegrass Chart. The new album marks a return for the Grammy-nominated acoustic five-piece.
The Infamous Stringdusters — Andy Hall (dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), and Travis Book (upright bass) recorded the album in Nashville and co-produced it with Billy Hume (Ludacris, Ying Yang Twins).
“This is the record I’ve been looking forward to making since the band started,” Hall said. “As pure of a Stringdusters sound as there is. All original, all us, recorded live for you. From bluegrass to jams, to songs relevant to the times, the music here is a true representation of what makes us tick.”
The band will take this album on the road for an extensive tour that has already begun.
“We are a band,” Pandolfi said. “We play live together, and more than any one song or achievement, this is what we do. Now we have an album that captures that.”
Learn more at www.thestringdusters.com.

Chicken in the country and a Tennessee Moon

Great Country Moments is a special internet production of Springer Mountain Farms® that in January will feature episodes with Janie Fricke, Oak Ridge Boys, Rex Allen Jr., Mark Chesnutt, Bill Anderson, Jeannie Seely, Confederate Railroad, Charley Pride and Ronnie McDowell. The program is available online at www.greatcountrymoments.com.
Through the one-of-a-kind story segments, the featured country stars will take viewers through some of the best times of their career and reveal emotional, exciting, and memorable moments that fans have never heard first-hand. Along with the videos will be trivia questions that viewers can answer to enter a contest to win a variety of prizes. A grand prize of a free freezer full of chicken will be given away to one lucky winner who participates in the trivia contest.
The “Great Country Moments” series features a new video being released each week. The recipe segments will reveal the artist’s favorite homemade recipes using Springer Mountain Farms® chicken, along with a written recipe that will be available to viewers. Some of the stars featured in the series include Charlie Daniels, The Oak Ridge Boys, Tanya Tucker, Ronnie McDowell, Deborah Allen, Jimmy Fortune and many more.
“Springer Mountain Farms enjoys many wonderful partnerships with the country music community. Great Country Moments is another great outlet to feature some of country music’s finest with an added bonus, their favorite chicken recipe! We have created a living cookbook that fans and Springer Mountain Farms® chicken lovers can follow along with. I can’t wait to try the recipes out in my kitchen!” said Gus Arrendale, President of Springer Mountain Farms.
On the bluegrass front, check out the new Pinecastle release Jan. 17 from Ray Cardwell called Tennessee Moon
Tennessee Moon has a clear New Grass influence in producer Pat Flynn. However, with nine out of twelve tunes written by Cardwell, the album is his own take on that classic sound.
“I feel my music is based upon the traditional style of bluegrass and old timey music my parents raised me on, and the collection of musical experiences I’ve had in my journey through life, Cardwell said. “My songwriting is a direct reflection of new ideas balanced with the traditions of the past.”
Flynn also adds his talents on guitar and harmony vocals to the album along with fellow New Grass Revival alum John Cowan lending tenor and harmony vocals on many of the tracks. Cardwell has already built a touring band of incredible musicians to take his music on the road as Ray Cardwell & Tennessee Moon.
Ray honed his musical chops playing in The Cardwell family bluegrass band in the late 1970’s. In the ‘80s he spent time playing rock and reggae before moving to Nashville in the ‘90s to be a member of the bluegrass band, the New Tradition. He returned to his home state of Missouri a few years later to raise a family while teaching vocal and instrumental ensembles. Along the way he has had experience with an eclectic mix of musical genres from bluegrass and Americana to musical theater and Motown. Now living in Nashville,  Cardwell has returned to his musical roots while blending in his varied influences to create a style all his own. For more information, visit RayCardwell.com.

Jeannie Seely marks 48 years with the Opry

Grand Ole Opry friend Jeannie Seely celebrated her 48th Anniversary with the show recently.
“The Grand Ole Opry has been a part of my life since I first heard it at four years old,” she said. “For many years it seemed like an impossible dream to even attend it, let alone be on it. After I started seriously pursuing my career, I made it my goal to, someday, somehow, become a member of the Opry!”

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