Bluegrass Jubilee bonuses: music workshops and jams

Staff Report

PICKENS – Bluegrass music lovers take note: You can enjoy live performances by some of the best pickers around at the fifth annual Winter Bluegrass Jubilee on Jan. 23.

But be sure to bring your instruments, because you also will want to take part in music workshops and jam sessions during the day-long event. A secure check-in for instruments will be provided.

Jubilee activities will take place from 10:30 a.m. until about 7:30 p.m. at the Pickens High School Center for the Performing Arts, U.S. 178 north of Pickens. Doors will open at 10 a.m.

Concert performances in the auditorium will include students in the Young Appalachian Musicians (YAM) program – the future of bluegrass and old-time music – and the highly acclaimed Lonesome River Band, representing the state of the art today.

Other performers include the Hinson Girls, the West End String Band, Left Lane and Last Road. Two college bluegrass ensembles – the East Tennessee State University Pride Band and North Greenville University’s BSUGrass Band – also are on the bill, along with the Sweet Potato Pie Kids, a band composed of top students from the YAM program.

Members of Lonesome River Band will lead some of the afternoon workshops.

Sammy Shelor, five-time winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Performer of the Year Award, will lead a banjo workshop. Brandon Rickman, the band’s lead vocalist, will offer tips on songwriting, and bass player Barry Reed will lead a workshop on his instrument of choice.

Ben Watlington of the ETSU Pride Band will conduct a session on advanced guitar playing. Susan Ware-Snow, an instructor in the YAM program, will offer a guitar workshop for beginners. Instruments will be available for those who want to try their hand at it.

Other workshops on the schedule: mandolin, with Karl Smakula of the ETSU Pride Band; creating leather accessories for your instruments, with Matt Patterson of Iron Side Leatherworx; bucket bass, spoons and other fun instruments, with Terry York; the beginner’s guide to purchasing a guitar or mandolin, presented by Pickins Guitar Co.; opportunities and trends in education with bluegrass music, led by representatives of ETSU and NGU; preparing for your first recording, with Gene Burns; and a fiddle workshop by Josh Johnson.

Proceeds from Winter Bluegrass Jubilee will benefit the Young Appalachian Musicians program, and YAM students from 11 schools and programs will have a chance to play onstage during the event.

Tickets are $12. Children under 12 accompanied by adults will be admitted free. For more information or to purchase tickets:

Staff Report

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