An iconic mandolin and fiddle player, Sam Bush has rewritten the game of bluegrass, especially when it comes to live performance within the genres of string, acoustic and rock-n-roll music.
Among his many accolades and awards was his 2001 “Album of the Year” Grammy as part of the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” film soundtrack. With his early days as a member of the groundbreaking New Grass Revival, to his current role fronting the endless touring juggernaut that is the Sam Bush Band, he continues to be an open book — in inspiration and in conversation.
Leading this year’s International Bluegrass Music Association awards with eight nominations, Haywood County group Balsam Range is atop the mountain of bluegrass.
Formed in Raleigh in 1999, Chatham County Line has emerged as one of those unique branches of tone and approach in bluegrass. Whereas other popular groups may focus on lightning-fast finger pickin’ or a thunderous foot-stomp, Chatham County Line adheres more to the songwriting, ballad roots of the genre.
Throughout the 1980s, Ricky Skaggs was the toast of country music. Twelve #1 hits, eight CMA and ACM awards, a member of the Grand Ole Opry, and fronting one of the most successful touring acts around, he was a true ambassador of the genre, onstage and in the studio.
When the Town of Canton relaunched its Labor Day Festival a couple years ago, it was in a crucial move to reinvent the century-old event — and also the downtown itself.
If Canton’s legendary Labor Day festival – the oldest in the south – is to survive, it’s going to have to become self-sufficient.
Canton officials and town staff met for four hours Feb. 16 to discuss achievements and goals, but will have to spend even more time discussing revenues and expenditures.
The longest running Labor Day festival in the South is meant to commemorate the contributions of the organized labor movement in the Unites States; appropriately, the Town of Canton’s popular weekend event wasn’t just spent guzzling sweet tea, pounding barbecue and listening to bluegrass.
Where to from here?
It’s the lingering question within bluegrass and string circles nowadays. Amid the traditional pickers and grinners, there is an urgency arising in recent years, one that wonders just what will happen to the beloved, deeply held music once the last of the elder statesmen vanish.
It is the heartbeat of a town and its people.
While some communities pride themselves on their Christmas, 4th of July or Memorial Day festivities, the town of Canton showcases Labor Day — a time every year when any and all cheer the workingman, the blue-collar nature of a place as special and unique as its inhabitants.