Grascals Debut at #1 on Billboard Chart

The Grascals and Friends Country Classics With A Bluegrass Spin, the newest release by The Grascals on Cracker Barrel Records, spun it's way to the top of the charts this week to debut at number one on the Billboard Bluegrass Album chart. As the title suggests, the project is a treasure trove of country classics, presented with a healthy sprinkling of bluegrass by the two time IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year.

This marks the bands first release since parting company with Rounder Records just a few months ago, and their first release for Cracker Barrel Records. "This is just icing on the cake ... like Cracker Barrel gravy on the biscuit!” said bass player Terry Smith. He added, “The relationship has been so great thus far. Hopefully the sales and great partnership will continue in kind. Also, I wish Friday fish fry was seven days a week!"

"This is something we've looked forward to for so long,” said mandolin player Danny Roberts. He added, “It's doing so well, so quickly. The added bonus of it benefiting St. Jude makes it all the better.”

Chris Ciavarra, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Cracker Barrel said “we are very pleased to see the strength of this CD’s debut and think that it speaks to quality of the music, the authenticity of the musicians, and it shows what a good fit this is with our guests.”

The Grascals, fresh off of a year packed with over 150 shows, are in the running for 10 of the 37th Annual SPBGMA Awards including Instrumental Group of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, Bluegrass Band of the Year, and Entertaining Group of the Year. In addition, the Grascals’ new video, “
I Am Strong” featuring Dolly Parton, premiered in mid-December on AOL.

The Grascals and Friends Country Classics With A Bluegrass Spin is available exclusively at any Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.

Steve Martin to Headline ROMP in 2011

We’ve just learned from Gabrielle Gray at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, that Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers will be part of the ROMP line-up this summer.

Also appearing on the 2011 roster, Tony Rice, Mountain Heart, The Josh Williams Band, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Audie Blaylock & Redline, Pete & Joan Wernick and more.

The River of Music Party runs June 23-25 and will be held at Yellow Creek Park just outside Owensboro. Those who don’t mind roughing it will be excited to know that camping is Free to festival-goers from June 19 - 26. A limited number of electrical hookups are also available for a modest fee.

Now heading into its eighth year, ROMP proceeds are used to help the International Bluegrass Music Museum. For tickets and information, contact the IBMM at (270) 926-7891.

Owensboro Tourism Launches Free iPhone App

You've heard us talk about all the great things going on in the Bluegrass, Blues & Barbecue Region of Western, Kentucky, now here's a great way to see for yourself what's happening in Kentucky's Festival City -- Owensboro.

The new "Festival City" app is available as a free download from the Apple App Store.

Stay up-to-date on the latest news, events, festivals and more.

Mark Newton & Carl Jackson on Into The Blue This Week

Ready to kick the winter blues? How about a little trip back to one of the most memorable bluegrass festivals of the summer? Join us this week on Into The Blue as we sit down with Mark Newton and Carl Jackson to share stories and songs from the new release “Graves Mountain Festival of Music” the All-Star Jam.

Featuring many of the top players in bluegrass, the event was captured this June in Syria, Virginia and just released by Rural Rhythm Records. Check out the Rural Rhythm photos page for some great shots and video clips from the event. For affiliates and broadcast times use our station locator or streaming audio page.

Happy 73rd to Wade & Julia Mainer

Wade and Julia Mainer have enjoyed a number of historic milestones in their lives, but perhaps none more important than the one they plan to celebrate on Sunday, November 28th - their 73rd wedding anniversary.

Often referred to as the “Grandfather of Bluegrass”, Wade is largely credited with bridging the gap between old-time mountain music and bluegrass. His musical career began when he joined his brother's band “J.E. Mainer’s Mountaineers” in 1934. Three years later, he married Julia Brown, a pioneering artist who was known at the time as “Hilbilly Lilly”. Julia and Wade have been performing together ever since.

Considered the oldest living banjo player, Wade Mainer recently turned 103. See a video from Wade’s 101st birthday.

Artist Dick Spottswood has just released a new book about Wade called "Banjo On The Mountain" Wade Mainer-My First 100 Years. It is available now at the Ernest Tubb Record Shops. Our heartfelt congratulations and best wishes to the Mainers on this very special occasion!