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Archive for the ‘Bluegrass Festivals and Shows’ Category

Sierra Hull, The Voice of an Angel



I have been looking forward to seeing Sierra Hull since I saw her last, 10 years ago at the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) Awards Show in Louisville, Kentucky. The first time I met her was in the green room of the Fan Fest for the awards show. I was shooting photos of Ricky Skaggs and over in the corner of the room was this tiny little girl playing the mandolin, attempting to keep up with Ricky, note for note. Apparently she was doing a good job of it because Ricky stopped mid-chorus and walked over to the little girl struck up a conversation. One of those conversations I don’t truly understand, one between two incredibly talented musicians, which usually turns into a musical conversation that I must admit turns me extremely jealous! The two new friends shared a couple of tunes with one another and that seemed to be the end of the situation.

Ricky&SierraI left the green room to head to stage front, stopping along the way to chat with Del McCoury, which was awesome in itself! But what was in store for the crowd on stage was really the awesome event of the night. Ricky Skaggs started off with his normal hard hitting stuff, but changed gears a bit by telling the crowd he wanted them to meet his new friend, his 12 year old friend, Sierra Hull. Out came the little girl that just a short bit ago was hiding in the corner of the green room! Now on stage with one of bluegrass’ biggest and best! Needless to say, she killed them! I think what amazed the crowd the most was her mandolin skills. But what we all didn’t now at that moment in time is that we were listening to what has become one of the most incredible female voices in bluegrass music today, my opinion of course!

Long story, I know, but one thought was cool enough to share. I’m not sure if this story proves I’m old man that has seen today’s young bluegrass stars grow up, or not. But I like to think it’s a great example of how young people shouldn’t give up on their dreams. I know in the green room that night Sierra knew she had talent, but having talent isn’t enough, she also had determination! I think that’s something we need to share and instill in our children.

Even if you don’t care for bluegrass music like my dear wife, you should really check out Sierra Hull, she truly has the voice of an angel!

Here’s her official website…

and some samples from her latest CD…

And here’s the rest of the shots from tonight’s show… Enjoy!



Del McCoury & Keller Williams at the Madison Theater


Check out these shots from the Del McCoury & Keller Williams “Delloween” show on October 28th.

Click here for the entire gallery. Enjoy!

2011 Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival


Once again, Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival has come and gone. This year was the 19th annual Poppy Mountain, and my 13th year of shooting. I can’t say for sure but I’d guess that I’ve shot close to 20,000 photos throughout my years at Poppy. Even after all those years I find myself finding new things to shoot every year. And this year was no different. This year I shot over 1,800 photos and about 3 dozen videos. After editing, I’ve posted 1,200 shots in this year’s gallery.

This year’s show featured another great lineup. Some Poppy Mountain regulars and some great new bands including Summertown Road, Weary Jammers, Whiskey Bent Valley Boys, Poacoeus, Billie Renee & Cumberland Gap, Melvin Goins & Windy Mountain, Don Rigsby, The Chapmans, Hillbilly Gypsies, Josh Slone & Coal Town, New Found Road, Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time, Marty Raybon, Dr. Ralph Stanley
Russell Moore & III Tyme Out, Steel Drivers, Mike Snider and Dave Evans.

Here’s the entire gallery. Enjoy!

Bluegrass Festivals & Shows


Fall is the bluegrass time of year for me. I just got back from Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival, and shortly before that I was at Mandolin Farm Bluegrass Festival.

Since I’ve been around so many of my bluegrass fans recently I thought I’d post a link to a bunch of past galleries from festivals and shows I’ve shot. I have been asked if I have a place where you can go to see photos from “just bluegrass shows”. I’m not sure if that means they don’t care for my other photography, or they just love bluegrass, but I’m happy to oblige.

The link below is to a gallery of quite a few shows. I’ll be digging out from my archives and adding to it until everything I’ve ever shot is uploaded. Stop back often and check up on where I am in the process. I’ll be adding shows from 1998 up until just tonight’s show at the Richwood Opry.

Be sure to pass this along to any of your friends, family or festival owners.

Here’s my entire Bluegrass Music Collection. Enjoy!

2011 Mandolin Farm Bluegrass Festival


Mandolin Farm Bluegrass Festival is back! Despite missing last year due to personal reasons, and this year’s 100º Labor Day weekend weather, owner and promoter Willie Jarrells pulled off another great weekend of bluegrass entertainment.

Although Mandolin Farm is a fairly young festival, it has become one of the favorites of festival goers looking for great bluegrass music in a family friendly setting. From the moment you pull up to the main gate at Mandolin Farm you know you’re among family. After all, who, other than family, would actually help you set up your camper? Or for that matter set it up all the way for you, as you sit and watch? And the staff doesn’t disappear after they set you up. Help is always within a few minutes away at “The Farm”, from Willie’s dad helping out with electric to his uncle taking deposits for your site next year.

Beyond a first-class staff, you’ll also find top-notch bluegrass music at Mandolin Farm. Rhonda Vincent, IIIrd Tyme Out, Mountain Heart, Ralph Stanley, Marty Raybon and Dailey & Vincent are among the many great acts that have entertained crowds at Mandolin Farm. And in case you’ve not had enough bluegrass after the music stops on stage, you can always catch one of the many jams throughout the campsites. This year one of the favorites were the Weary Jammers. As host band, the Jammers entertained the crowd on stage for two shows on both Friday and Sunday as well as playing late into the night off stage.

If you’re looking for a great festival with the best of facilities, great music and a staff that make you feel like family, then you should put Mandolin Farm on your list of “must attend” events.

Check out the entire gallery here. Enjoy!

Brown County Bluegrass Festival


I’ve talked about going to Brown County Bluegrass Festival for a few years now, and once I found out IIIrd Tyme Out was on the schedule for the 2011 show I decided it was time I went.

The festival is held on the Brown County Fairgrounds and has plenty of great camping spots. It’s not your typical bluegrass festival camping on grass or in the middle of a field but there’s plenty of great level spots with reliable electric. The people that run the place is great. I was only there for the one day, but in that amount of time I heard quite a few visitors bragging on the festival. The lineup was great as well. If I had the time I would have liked to stay for the entire weekend but decided Thursday was the best day to give it a go. IIIrd Tyme Out played twice and as usual, both shows were great.

If you’re looking for a new festival to try out, and live in the greater Cincinnati area, Brown County would be a great choice!

Having only spent one day there, the gallery is small compared to my typical bluegrass festival galleries. I also shot quite a bit of video which I’ll post on my YouTube Channel soon. If you’re a IIIrd Tyme Out fan and would like to check out those videos then visit my FaceBook page to check for updates. Here’s my personal FaceBook page. And my BluegrassPhotography.Net FaceBook page.

Here’s the entire gallery. Enjoy!

2011 Appalachian Uprising Bluegrass Festival


Appalachian Uprising Bluegrass Festival

Bluegrass friends have told me for years that I should check out the Appalachian Uprising Bluegrass Festival. So when I saw that Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, one of my favorites, was playing at the Uprising I decided this was my year to check it out. Great decision! I have been to both very large and very small festivals and I’d put this one right in the mix of the top festivals in the country. The lineup was, and always been great for a festival of this size. You’d have to be a bluegrass fan to understand, but I’m always amazed that national acts play at such small venues. To those not into bluegrass, it would be like, say the Eagles playing at your county fair. The main difference is of course the Eagles would not come out afterwards and jam with their fans. But that’s just bluegrass!

The one thing that stood out to me about this festival was that it was attended by not just bluegrass fans, but due to the lineup also included a rather “different” crowd. I’ve never been to a Grateful Dead show, but after the Uprising, I feel like I’ve experienced something rather close to one. A good part of the crowd was “Deadhead Like”. The other thing that stood out to me was that a lot of the younger non-bluegrass types brought their children. There were tons kids running around all weekend. Not teenagers, but younger. As you’ll see in the galleries, the kids really caught my eye. Not that kids aren’t at most bluegrass festivals, but as you’ll see in the photos, the “bluegrass kids” have never stood out to me like these kid.

Lastly, I should mention that the lineup met every expectation. As I noted, Nitty Gritty Dirt band is one of my favorites so there are a ton of shots of them playing. John McEuen (banjo player) even came over to me during one of the songs and asked that I get a shot of him showing the head of his new Deering banjo. Then gave me his business card to send it to him. Sam Bush was great as usual. And of course Del McCuory Band was great. Del even played with Sam Bush for a few.

If you’ve never been to the Uprising, put it on your list of must see shows!

Here’s the entire gallery. Enjoy!

Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival 2010


Every September for the past 12 years I have ventured off to the Poppy Mountain Bluegrass Festival in Morehead, Kentucky. I started off the first year as a “Poppy Virgin” only going for the closing weekend but over the years have become the “Poppy-razzi” on the mountain. As the “official” photographer I once again went nuts with the camera this year. Although still haven’t come close to my record 2400 shots taken a couple of years ago.

I’d like to thank Marty Stevens for bringing back our old Poppy Mountain! We have missed it over the past few years. I’d also like to thank all my friends on Poppy for putting up with me always having my camera in their face. Especially the jammers trying to play music with my flash going off!

Lastly, I’d like to dedicate this year’s gallery to our old friend Ralph Smith! He was missed this year and will always be in our hearts.

You’ll find all the photos here. Enjoy!