The Williamsons #1 party was full of honors and fellowship as fellow artists, songwriters, DJ’s and industry professionals came out to celebrate their success. A few of the dignitaries included Legendary producer Vic Clay was there as well as 11th Hour, Amber Butler from the Singing News, Tim McFarland of the Adams Family,Tony Griffith, Pam Weston and Mark Hampton of WCNW. Les Butler presented each member of the Willimsons with a plaque in honor of their song, “Shout.“ More surprises soon followed as the Williamsons received a proclamation from Senator Thompson and Senator Boggs,both of Oklahoma, congratulating them on their accomplishment. Rick Francis also sent a letter on behalf of the Singing News congratulating the Williamsons.
The Williamsons were not the only ones honored that night as Les Butler, President of BMG, also presented Lee Black a plaque as one of the co-writers of the hit song. “When I sent the Williamsons producer, Donn
Popular Bluegrass artist Lizzy Long added to her list of hit songs with, “God Is There.” The song featured a guest appearance by fellow bluegrass artist, Rhonda Vincent. “Lizzy is an incredibly talented artist and the fans love her. It’s great to see people all across the country respond to this song,.” added Les Butler.
November has already been a month of excitement and celebration for Butler Music Group and more news will be coming next week. Stay tuned as the last Monumental Mondays news is announced.
About Butler Music Group
Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Butler Music Group provides professional management and consulting services to Southern Gospel and Bluegrass artists including Eighth Day, Heaven’s Mountain Band, Kramers, Tammy Jones Robinette and Williamsons.
BMG subsidiary, Family Music Group, is the label and radio promotion division of BMG. Label or Radio Promotion artists include the Williamsons, Canton Junction, Hagees, Matt Hagee, Jimmy Fortune, Oak Ridge Boys, Dunaways, and many others.
Les Butler has been actively involved in Southern Gospel Music for over 37 years as a musician, producer, manager, former publisher of the Singing News, and as a nationally syndicated radio host. Butler started Butler Music Group in 1978, and purchased Family Music Group in 2003. He is a past March of Dimes AIR award, as well as winner of the Paul Heil Broadcasting Award in 2011. Butler’s syndicated radio show, Les Butler and Friends, is heard across America and abroad. Butler’s playing and production credits include Palmetto State Quartet, Steeles, Dunaways, Crabb Family, Easter Brothers, Marksmen Quartet, Earl Scruggs, Bowling Family, Jimmy Fortune, Marty Raybon, and many more. Butler’s publishing companies are Hurry-Up Publishing/BMI and Hush Jean/ASCAP. He continues to host Harmony Road TV, a nationally televised Southern Gospel TV show, and he has recently started hosting a daily Southern and Bluegrass Gospel video blog at southerngospel365.com.
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Tags: bluegrass, Butler Music Group, Lizzy Long, southern gospel, Williamsons
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Good day everyone! Darrin and I would like to make somewhat of a sad but yet exciting announcement. As most all of you know, bands members come and go from time to time. Though Darrin and I always try to embrace change it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always easy for us. After five and a half years our friend Christian Davis is departing our band. Christian will be pursuing a solo career and with his voice and talent we expect big things for him. He has been a blessing to us and we have enjoyed singing every note with him. You can check out www.christiandavisonline.
We are very excited to announce our newest member of Dailey Vincent. His name is Aaron McCune. Aaron hails from Clay West Virginia but he and his wife now make their home in Southern Illinois. Aaron has filled in for Richard Sterban of the Oak Ridge Boys, he has sang for Wynonna and Willie Nelson. He sang for Gold City Quartet for five years and became a bass singing star with in the gospel community. Aaron grew up playing bluegrass with his family and friends and plays the guitar with a thumb pick. Lester Flatt is one of Aaron’s heroes. Though he hasn’t played in a few years he’s working hard on getting brushed up and ready to play again. Aaron will make his debut at our Land Fest this coming weekend in Denton North Carolina. Please join us in making Aaron feel welcomed into our D&V family!
Tags: Aaron McCune, bluegrass, Dailey and Vincent, Southern Gospel News
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Nashville, Tenn. -In preparation for her second Bluegrass project, Tammy Jones Robinette has signed with powerhouse Bluegrass label, Rural Rhythm Records.
The deal comes on the heels of Tammy’s first Bluegrass release last year. Produced by Mark Fain (versatile bass player and longtime band member of Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder), Let it Shine was warmly embraced by both Bluegrass and Gospel critics, earning three entries for consideration in the initial nomination process by the IBMA.
Despite her new arrival to Bluegrass, Tammy Jones Robinette is definitely not new to the world of music, having already built an incredibly successful career as a top Southern Gospel artist and songwriter. Last year, she celebrated two back to back #1s and was named “Favorite Female Vocalist” at the 2015 Gospel Music Fan Awards. (To read more about her work in Southern Gospel, click HERE.)
However, raised in Middlesboro, KY, smack dab in the middle of the Bible and Bluegrass belt, Tammy’s love for Bluegrass was nurtured right along with her faith. Her father played mandolin and was a huge Bluegrass fan. During her formative years, her home was filled with the music of artists like Bill Monroe, Lester Flatts & Earl Scruggs and Jim & Jesse, which had a huge influence on her music.
Tags: bluegrass, Rural Rhythm Records, Tammy Jones- Robinette
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By Tina Wakefield
Four young women with a heart and passion for God and music mix together to create a transforming experience for any audience. While listening to the Hall Sisters perform, one could close their eyes and feel as though they had been transported back in time to the days of The Andrew Sisters where harmony was queen. Jessica, Natalie, Lydia, and Valerie Hall possess great talent for singing and playing their way into the very heart of their audiences. The Hall Sisters enjoy a variety of musical styles, and perform music from all genres including Gospel, Bluegrass, Folk songs, and Oldies, as well as fiddle and instrumental tunes. There is even an Annie Moses Band influence that is obvious within the group, coming from the instruction the girls received from this popular band.
Jessica Hall, the oldest of the sisters, plays mandolin, guitar, and piano and is the alto singer for the group. Jessica is also considered the leader of the group and is responsible for arranging the music for The Hall Sisters. Jessica says that in learning to lead, “I had to learn that I was not right all the time. To be a real leader, you need to be humble and willing to accept correction from others.”
Being the one in charge can have its humorous side as well. Jessica was responsible for starting an a cappella song on a specific note. Unfortunately, she forgot the note and started the song too high. The group had to stop and restart the song on the correct note and that’s one moment she’ll never forget! Jessica says that while singing she feels the Lord’s pleasure and as long as she can sing, she is happy. She adds that their parents have been their spiritual leaders and encouragers and the grandparents have been the prayer warriors praying for unity and safety as they travel.
Natalie Hall is a gifted musician as well as singer, possessing the ability to play the violin as well as the mandolin. Natalie’s goal is that others would be drawn to Jesus through the light that shines in her. She is the high voice for the group and Jessica says that her voice is “one of the strongest that she has ever heard.”
Music is Natalie’s ministry to reach others but it does not define her totally. She enjoys being outside with her dad whether cutting grass, trimming bushes, or working in the garden. If she wasn’t singing, Natalie says she would most likely be a Dental Assistant working for her father and also at home learning to be a homemaker.
Natalie truly has a strong tie with her family and loves spending her spare time with either parent. Just as she enjoys time with her dad outside, she equally loves to cook with her mom. Natalie has had her share of kitchen disasters and told us how a recipe went wrong. She was baking cookies with her mom and turned the page for the remainder of the recipe, but the page stuck and she ended up with a totally different recipe to finish the cookies. As it turned out, the cookies were mixed with a granola recipe, which was definitely interesting. The family didn’t eat very much of that recipe, but they do love her homemade bread.
Lydia Hall has the great ability to light up the stage when she begins to minister through song and violin. Her steadfastness is based on the fact that, as she says, “I need Him everyday, and every hour of my life.” Lydia continues, “We live in a dark world but music can definitely penetrate the darkness and I want everything I do to point to Jesus.”
Lydia would love to perform overseas someday, as music speaks every language and she would love to meet others in different regions of the world. She has a tender heart for orphans and children and loves to understand how they see Jesus. A song that The Hall Sisters perform called: “Some Children See Him,” is a favorite of the group because it speaks about children from all nationalities and how they view Jesus.
Lydia’s beautiful voice can soar from alto to soprano for the group and her favorite song to sing is, “Brethren, We Have Met to Worship.” She describes this song as glorious and worshipful and their performance of this song makes this writer smile.
Lydia encourages older singers who may be thinking of retiring and wondering if anyone still wants to hear the old songs to never give up. She feels that people love the old songs for the memories. These songs can recount a time when things were better for most people and the world was not so crazy. Even movies reach back and take songs from The Golden Era because they anchor people and give them a secure hook to the past.
Valerie Hall is the youngest member of The Hall Sisters. Valerie laughs, “It is hard learning to take correction from my older sisters!” She says that learning to pull her share of responsibilities of a singing group has been good for her, but if she could be the leader for just one day it would be fun to be the one correcting the older sisters. Honestly, she said she would not change a thing about The Hall Sisters because she feels the presence of God when performing and loves “feeling” the music when she plays.
Valerie sings soprano and plays the cello for the group. She says that she loves to relate to the audiences, smiling at them and seeing them smile back, and making sure she conveys the message behind the song. For Valerie, it is hard doing the same thing everyday, but she would never want to stop because she loves feeling the Lord’s presence when performing. To other young people interested in music, she says: “Keep going, don’t ever give up, but make sure that you are doing it for the right reason: to glorify God. It is worth all the practicing. It is definitely worth it!”
We are sure to be hearing more from The Hall Sisters in the very near future, as they are one of the up and coming young groups in Gospel music. The ladies have just finished filming several music videos in Nashville, TN. in January to be aired on YouTube. They have plans to return to the studio this spring to work on a full Christmas CD and another album.
Be sure to see The Hall Sisters in concert when they are in your area and you will be blessed by the music, spirit, and energy of these four young women. You may purchase one of their current projects entitled, Snow and True Blue Love on their website www.hallsisters.com .
Written by Tina Wakefiled.
First published by SGN Scoops digital magazine, February 2015. For current SGN Scoops issues, click HERE.
Tags: Annie Moses Band, bluegrass, Christian artists, christian country, Folk music, instrumental, sgn scoops, southern gospel, The Hall Sisters, Tina Wakefield
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NASHVILLE, TN Highly-esteemed bluegrass band Blue Highway and its members are nominated for a total of five awards in two prestigious awards ceremonies this weekend.
Tags: Blue HIghway, bluegrass, Grammy for Best Folk Album, Rob Ickes
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Buddy Melton, an award-winning voice that was nearly silenced
Members of Balsam Range honor the Lord’s saving power with “Stacking Up The Rocks”
Nashville, TN — Five talented friends from the blue-collar county of Haywood in North Carolina, got together one night for a jam session … and it felt good. Soon, the band Balsam Range was born, and now, five albums later, this high energy acoustic band has won awards and garnered fans worldwide. They have been invited to play some of the most iconic stages in the USA including The Grand Ole Opry, MerleFest, Music City Roots, Mountain Stages from The Lincoln Theater, The Zac Brown Band Southern Ground Festivals and coming up in the Spring of 2015, Stagecoach, California’s huge Country Music Festival.
During his recovery, Buddy felt that his strength and muscle tone were diminishing. He pushed himself and started riding his mountain bike, setting a goal for himself that his wife and doctors thought impossible and even foolish. He was determined to compete in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak East of the Mississippi River. The race is 6,684 feet above sea level with 10,357 feet of vertical climbing. He trained rigorously and in 2013, Buddy participated in the race, and despite continuing to struggle with issues from the farm accident, he finished 87th in the Men’s 40-44 age bracket, and 489th overall out of 719 riders.
Balsam Range went on to release its 5th album in 2014 and this year, at the IBMA Awards, Balsam Range was named ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR, VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR. And the determined singer and fiddler? Well, Buddy Melton won the MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Award.
Buddy wrote a very song that is performed a cappella on
the album FIVE. “Stacking Up The Rocks” was inspired by a Biblical passage from Joshua, which Buddy’s mother shared with him in the hospital as he recovered from his injuries. It was written to honor what the Lord has done in Buddy’s life, and as a reminder for everyone of God’s saving power. A line in the song says, “…So that all the people of the earth might remember that the hand of the Lord is mighty.”
Others have noted the talent of Balsam Range and invited the band into more opportunities. The band provided the music for DAYLIGHT, a swampy, original Americana release by John Driskell (“Hop”) Hopkins, founding member of the Zac Brown Band. Balsam Range also provides music and appears in the upcoming motion picture thriller, Careful What You Wish For, directed by Elizabeth Allen and starring Isabel Lucas, Dermot Mulroney, Nick Jonas and Paul Sorvino.
The men of Balsam Range actively give back at every opportunity, raising more than half a million dollars for various regional and national charities. For their annual Winter Concert Series, held at the historic Capitol Theater in Canton, NC, the fellas have each chosen a charity that will benefit from each of the 5 concerts in the series.
Balsam Range released its 5th album in 2014. The appropriately titled, FIVE, debuted at #4 on Billboard Bluegrass, where it remained for 6 consecutive weeks. The album is available on the Mountain Home Music Company label, and it contains one song that has a unique meaning to these five friends.
The band is enjoying a career high, however, that nearly didn’t happen.
Singer/fiddler, Buddy Melton sustained serious head injuries in an accident on his farm in 2012. For the first few days, it was uncertain whether he would survive. Family, band mates, friends, and the extended family music lovers all hit their knees and prayed for Buddy’s recovery.
Later, Buddy was told by docs that, due to the severity of his head injuries and especially the damage to his sinuses, Buddy was not likely sing again, or ever sound the same. The band was already in the studio working on PAPERTOWN and as he recovered, Melton “just had to know.” He called up guitar player/singer Caleb Smith and asked Caleb to take him to the studio, although doctors and Melton’s wife, Carla, were against the idea. Although he was incredibly weak, Melton stepped up the microphone and delivered the poignant “Wide River To Cross” and his voice was still there … a voice that had helped to define the Balsam Range sound and now would take a 4th album to an ALBUM OF THE YEAR win at IBMA 2013.
Tags: Balsam Range, bluegrass, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News
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Nashville, TN Butler Music Group’s Les Butler and Roger Johnson of Heaven’s Mountain Band recently announced an exclusive management agreement between Butler and the fast rising Bluegrass Gospel group. Butler Music Group will be working extensively with Heaven’s Mountain Band in management and every aspect of their professional careers.
Regarding working with Les Butler and Butler Music Group, Heaven’s Mountain Band’s Roger Johnson said “We love to work with Brother Les. We have a really great relationship as friends as well as professionally”. Johnson added, “When it comes to traditional Bluegrass Gospel we feel that Bro. Les has kept our kind of songs and music from going away’.
Les Butler added “Over the past couple of years, I have gotten to know Roger Johnson, his family and all the fine folks who make up Heaven’s Mountain Band. Our business relationship quickly segued into a friendship”. Butler continued “We’ve prayed, worshiped, preached, and sung together all across the country during the past few months. If I had to explain Heaven’s Mountain Band in a word, that word would be ‘real’. The wonderful singing and great musicianship of the band is a given. But what sets them apart is the songwriting of group member and leader, Roger Johnson, who just happens to be one of the best songwriters in gospel music.”
Tags: bluegrass, Heaven's Mountain Band, Southern Gospel News
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We asked Sherri George .. What is your favorite Christmas Memory?
I love Christmas! As I was putting air in my tires yesterday, I remembered the Christmas after I drove home from New York .. and asking for something my parents couldn’t believe I wanted! As I was getting ready to drive home, the dad in the family I was renting an apartment from asked if he could check my tires. Turns out, the tires only had 14 pounds of air in them! In the 15-hour drive home, I could have blown a tire if he hadn’t taken that little tire gauge and checked them for me .. and I didn’t have a cell phone or AAA back then. So when my parents asked me that year what I wanted for Christmas, I immediately said, “A tire gauge!” They laughed, thought I was kidding, and asked again, “Really, what do you want?” I kept telling them, and finally they stopped asking, and looked at each other like their child had lost her mind lol .. When we opened gifts on Christmas Eve, there in a little box under the tree was a noisy little present when you shook it, and I knew it was my tire gauge! Mother and Daddy watched especially close as I opened it, and I really did beam and jump up to hug them. They finally believed that’s what I wanted! lol .. I’ve never driven anywhere since that day without a tire gauge in my glove compartment, or started a trip without checking the air in my tires. I still appreciate Bob and Adele Pastore in Mamaroneck, NY .. appreciate their kindness in letting a kid from Kentucky stay in their home in a wonderful area while I worked for the NBA .. and for keeping me safe by caring enough to check my tires. Guess that’s one of my very favorite Christmas memories! Everyone stay safe and happy this holiday season, and please glance down at your tires before you travel, too!
Tags: bluegrass, Christmas 2014, Sherri George, Southern Gospel News
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1 What was your favorite dish yesterday?
Sweet potato casserole
2 Did you watch any sports?
Watched the cowboys get smoked
3 Did you watch the Macy’s Day Parade?
A little of the parade.
4 Does your family have a tradition on thanksgiving that is special to your family?
Thanksgiving has never been a big traditional holiday. We eat with in-laws, watch football and that’s about it. It is one of my favorite weekends .
5 Tell us a few of the things that you are thankful for in 2014?
Thankful for our new band members, thankful for my wife and son. Mom is in bad health in a nursing home. Thankful we could celebrate her 80th birthday this week.
Tags: bluegrass, Southern Gospel Music, Southern Gospel News Magazine, Tim Maze
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Nashville, TN – Brother/sister duo THE ROYS won the Bluegrass Artist of the Year award for the fourth consecutive year at last night’s 20th Annual ICM Faith, Family & Country™ Awards show. “Truly humbled once again,” noted Elaine of the honor. “We thank the Lord Jesus and Mom and Dad,” added Lee. Following their acceptance of the award, THE ROYS delivered a stellar version of the poignant “Mended Wings” from THE VIEW, their fourth Rural Rhythm Records’ release. The disc hit stores in September, debuted at #2 on the Billboard Top 10 Bluegrass Albums chart, and generated a #1 single with “No More Lonely” on the Bluegrass Today Weekly Airplay Chart.
The popular Bluegrassers were previously honored with the following ICM Awards: 2013, 2012 & 2011 Bluegrass Artist of the Year; 2012 #1 Inspirational Country Single (“I Wonder What God’s Thinking”), and the 2010 & 2009 Duo of the Year.
The star-studded 2014 Awards show was hosted by legendary entertainer Ray Stevens and Megan Alexander of Inside Edition, and was taped for future broadcast across multiple outlets. Performances by Rhonda Vincent; American Idol finalist and BMG recording artist Danny Gokey; Grand Ole Opry member John Conlee; CMA award-winner John Berry, and Curb recording artists Sweetwater Rain and Rachel Holder made for an outstanding evening of music.
Stay social with THE ROYS
Tags: bluegrass, christian country, Family & country, ICM Faith, Mended Wings
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