BGCS Newsletter Vol. III #1, March 13, 2020
All Things Bluegrass Country Soul -
Past, Present and Future!
SAM & RICKY, Now & Then
The poster for Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder outside the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara
When Rip Van Winkle woke up after a 20-year snooze, he found that his tiny village in the Hudson Valley had completely changed. The American Revolution had turned a British colony into a new republic.
I know how he must have felt. After attending concerts by two performers whom I haven’t seen live on stage in nearly 5 decades, I can see that another revolution has taken place. This one is the bluegrass music revolution.
Monday evening, Ellen and I went to our favorite theatre in Santa Barbara, the Lobero Theatre, and saw a fantastic performance by Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder. The thunderous response from our fellow audience members, applauding, hooting and hollering, brought forth the following comment from Ricky: “Wow!” It was an electrifying two hours of original instrumental numbers mixed with traditional favorites. Ricky has an easy going, Will Rodgers style to his stories about growing up in Kentucky, and his loving, if strict, parents. His mother told him that if he misbehaved, she would “throw you through a door, and then make you fix it.”
Albert and Ellen with Ricky Skaggs in his studio
Several months ago, we also had the opportunity to see Sam Bush & The Sam Bush Band in Boone, NC. The theatre nearly shook apart as Sam’s fans responded enthusiastically to the performance. Now known as “The Father of New Grass,” Sam’s song list ranged from Doc Watson to his original “Stop the Violence,” a song he referred to as like "Nine Inch Nails.”
Robert White aka Quail (The New Deal String Band),
Albert, and Sam Bush in Boone, NC, prior to Sam's show
Both Ricky and Sam have come a long way from the time I last saw them perform in Camp Springs, NC, in 1971. Back then, Ricky was a 17-year-old Clinch Mountain Boy with Ralph Stanley, and 19-year-old Sam Bush was on the eve of starting The New Grass Revival. The rest, as they say, is history. When a bunch of young people under the name of “The Washington Film Group” traveled to North Carolina to film Carlton Haney’s Labor Day Weekend Festival, we did not know that we would capture an historic point in bluegrass history. The pioneers of bluegrass were in their prime, and something called “New Grass” was brand new.
Sam Bush and Tony Rice of The Bluegrass Alliance as seen in Bluegrass Country Soul
Curly Ray Cline and Ricky Skaggs of Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys as seen in Bluegrass Country Soul
Those of you who have followed the development of traditional and progressive bluegrass over the years, have seen the incredible growth in this musical style’s popularity. But it comes into sharp focus when you watch Bluegrass Country Soul and then see contemporary concerts. You can see where it all began, and perhaps most surprisingly, you can see today how the music’s traditional roots are still very strong. 
In putting together our “Golden Anniversary, Legacy Edition” of Bluegrass Country Soul, Ellen and I traveled across the country to interview performers on video for the "Special Features" in our commemorative box-set. Both Ricky and Sam were incredibly generous with their time and were a joy to interview. They clearly love the work they are doing, and couldn't be nicer. Fame and stardom have not gone to their heads!
We will have more about our interviews and travels through bluegrass country in upcoming newsletters.

As always, please let us know if you have any questions, comments or stories regarding Bluegrass Country Soul.

Best regards,
Albert Ihde Ellen Pasternack
Producer/Director Executive Director
More Special Features
There is a limited amount of space on a standard DVD disc, even one that has two layers. In order to include all of the “Special Features” we wanted for our upcoming release of Bluegrass Country Soul, we will include a Bonus DVD. This means that our commemorative box-set will now include 5 discs: a Combo Pack (Blu-ray & standard DVD); a 2-disc CD case with 24 songs not heard in the film; and this new Bonus no extra cost to those of you who have already purchased your box set!
This new disc includes recent interviews with Del McCoury, J.D. Crowe, Sam Bush, and Everett Lilly, Jr. We’ve also added a “Photo Gallery” with frames from the movie and production photos.
Everett and Bea Lilly, foreground, and Don Stover and Dewey Renfro in Bluegrass Country Soul
J.D. Crowe and Tony Rice
in Bluegrass Country Soul
Haven't purchased your box set yet? There are still a few copies of the First Edition, Golden Anniversary, Legacy Edition available. Order now and we'll send you your numbered bookplate and a multi-page, color brochure describing the box set's contents in all their glory. Don't miss this opportunity to own or gift what is certain to become a Collector's Edition!
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