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Country Prose
by Charlie Hansen

Lonesome River BandWe just have a couple of things to write about this month and they both pertain to bluegrass festivals and bluegrass music in general.

First of all we attended the second annual Summerside Bluegrass and Acoustic Music Festival in early November and the festival is becoming a drawing card in Summerside at that time of year. Many of the attendees are from off Island and the organizers deserve a large pat on the back for bringing this festival back to prominence. This festival is where you go to meet friends as well as listen to music although there was a full weekend of music to listen to. All the groups, local, regional and international did very well over the weekend, and, if you haven’t been there, next year’s festival is on November 6, 7 and 8, 2015.

The next thing I would like to talk about will have you longing for summer although winter has not yet begun. The thing that I’m referring to is The 30th Annual PEI Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival. I know that it’s a bit early to talk about this but the tickets are already available and the organization is well under way.

This year’s festival features one of the most enduring bluegrass bands of all time, The Lonesome River Band. These guys have made bluegrass their life’s work and have been at the top of the heap since their first CD in 1991. This group has been winning IBMA awards since 1992 and have amassed individually and as a group 49 awards in various IBMA categories. The Members are, Sammy Shelor, Brandon Rickman, Mike Hartgrove, Barry Reid and Randy Jones

The 30th annual also features The Clay Hess band. Clay has been a member of Ricky Skaggs’ Kentucky Thunder band where he won a Grammy award for the Soldier of The Cross CD back a few years ago and also played guitar in the Sierra Hull Band. Clay has also toured with Mark Newton Band and Mountain Heart. The Clay Hess band members are Clay Hess, Brennan Hess (Clay’s son), Irl Hees, Zach Gilmer and Nick Keen. Clay is a dyed-in-the-wool bluegrasser but also has influences from outside the genre.

The third US band on the bill this year is Ned Crisp and Bottomline out of Ashland Kentucky. Ned and his band have been considered a regional outfit but have recently decided to spread their wings. Their new CD, Taking The Back Roads Home, is produced by Don Rigsby. Bottomline have been awarded Bluegrass Group of the Year Award 2014 by the International Music and Entertainment Assoc. The Members are Ned Crisp, Jared Doss, Bryan Ross, Don Rambo and Tyler Robertson.

For advance tickets contact Shirley Jay at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 902-566-2641—great stocking stuffers.

Until next time don’t forget to support live country and bluegrass music and listen to Bluegrass Island on CFCY 95.1 in Charlottetown and on the web at

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