Holy Bucket Bluegrass Festival

Norris Hot Springs

Norris Hot Springs

This Memorial Day – Monday May 25th, Norris Hot Springs will be hosting their 5th annual Holy Bucket Bluegrass Festival. Enjoy a soak in the Water of the Gods while listening to the best live acoustic music in the region. Featured performers this year:
4:00 The John Lowell Band

5:30 Anne & Pete Sibley

7:30 Sally Newsome & the Norris Hot Strings

John Lowell, the founder and cornerstone of nationally acclaimed Kane’s River, is a master of driving rhythm and inventive flatpicking lead guitar. A sensitive, clear-voiced singer, John is hailed as one of the genre’s finest songwriters. His work has been performed by Bluegrass Etc., Valerie Smith, and other national recording artists. This year’s festival set will feature over fifteen of John’s great original compositions. John is a veteran of Wheel Hoss, one of Montana’s best early bluegrass bands, and he toured with Loose Ties throughout the 90s. He has released three well-received recordings with Ben Winship as the Growling Old Men. John was honored by Flatpicking Magazine with a cover photo and feature article in their January, 2009 issue. The John Lowell Band will feature Russ Smith on the doghouse bass and the hot picking Tom Murphy, on the mandolin.

This Year’s First Place Winners of Prairie Home Companion’s annual talent show, the Great American Duet Sing-Off, Anne and Pete Sibley are about the vocals – the words and the harmonies. Anne & Pete have been singing together since they met in their high school choir. They were inspired by duet performers of traditional acoustic music when they began performing at their local Hootenanny in Jackson, Wyoming. Anne’s powerful songwriting, vocals and guitar paired with Pete’s solid melodic clawhammer banjo and soulful harmonies highlight their recordings and live performances. Since 2004 they have been offering their blend of original folk, bluegrass, old-timey and traditional yet original songs to wider audiences. They played at Merle Fest last month and will be performing on the main stage at Colorado’s Rocky Grass festival this July. Don’t miss this great chance to hear locally one of the best duets in the business.

Sally Newsome and Tom Murphy starting playing music next to the pool at Norris Hot Springs five years ago. It soon became clear that soakers counted on the poolside performances, coming as much to hear these talented performers as to heal their aching bodies in the Water of the Gods. Thus began the tradition of live acoustic music at Norris. When Kris Clone returned to Montana that same year, the Norris Hot Strings were formed. For the next two years Sally and the Norris Hot Strings played in the Poolside Dome twice a week, often joined by their friend Quinton King on lead acoustic guitar. Sally Newsome, a native to Bozeman, grew up singing. She was lead singer right our of high school for various bands including The Sol Congress and Bluejack, before picking up the guitar in 2000 and beginning her own songwriting. Sally’s amazing voice and warm stage presence have become a favorite to all that have been lucky enough to catch her performances. There’s a special magic that happens when Kris, Quinton and Tom lock in to Sally’s vocal groove. It is a rare treat to behold.

So check out The Holy Bucket. Montana Meat on the grill, local salads and specials, T-shirts and hats, and cold beer, wine, and soft drinks will be for sale. Gates open at 3:30. Tickets are an affordable $15 /adults and $3 /kids under 12, for an evening of music and a memorable soak. No Advance Sales. Rain or Shine. Please Carpool. For their sake, leave pets at home.

Mike & Tari’s Memorial Day Campout at West Fork Campground

Mike & Tari Conroy host an annual Memorial Day bluegrass campout at West Fork Campground near Darby, MT

Date:  May 22-25

Location:  West Fork Campground

Bring food for potluck dinners and breakfast on Sunday.  Tari cooks gravy for the bisquits in the worlds largest skillet on Sunday morning.  Bring warm clothes, it is COLD up there this time of year.  It often rains and sometimes snows.  There are  heated wall-tents for jamming and a big campfire to huddle around.

Pictures from West Fork ’08

Click for Google Maps and Directions

Click for Google Maps and Directions

Google Map

Click for Google Map and Directions

Idaho Sawtooth Bluegrass Association Fall Festival

It’s not too early to put this one on your calendar. This year it will be in beautiful Donnelly, Idaho at the Mountain View RV Park. A sneak preview of bands include: Tradition, Chicken Dinner Road, Will Williams and Gravel Road, Conroy-Frank Bluegrass Coalition, PanHandle Polecats.

For lodging reservations: Mountain View RV Park 208.325.2679, Long Valley Motel 208.325.8271 (Donnelly), Holiday Inn Express 208.634.4700 (McCall).

For more information go to http://www.idahosawtoothbluegrass.org

Bluegrass In Schools


The Foundation for Bluegrass Music believes strongly in passing bluegrass music along to the next generation of fans and musicians.

One of our goals is to help educators (elementary – university level, including home schooling parents) to become more “bluegrass aware.” Bluegrass music, a relatively new style of music (the classic sound jelled in the mid-‘40s with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys), is one of the very few musical genres to originate in the United States—so it has a roots music cultural value for American students in particular. Like jazz and blues, it’s also a valid style of music for teaching improvisational skills.

Perhaps more so than most other genres, bluegrass music connects students to a larger, multi-generational community of musicians and fans who love the music. Learning to play a bluegrass instrument is usually a life skill—something that folks continue to do for a number of years after they leave high school music programs.


The Foundation for Bluegrass Music’s “Bluegrass in the Schools” program includes:



  • A 67-minute educational DVD,
    Discover Bluegrass: Exploring American Roots Music, complete with downloadable lesson plans for each of six units, targeting students age 8-13 (available at $3.00, for educational purposes)
  • Teacher Workshops held in conjunction with major bluegrass festivals across the country, to give educators the tools to utilize bluegrass music in the classroom.
  • Matching $200 Mini-Grants to help fund live, educational presentations of bluegrass music for students
  • A variety of local programs implemented by our members, including: bluegrass camps and workshops at festivals, after school bluegrass clubs, two-week artist in residency programs where a bluegrass band works with orchestra students who already play stringed instruments, special bluegrass-related lesson plans and units planned during the school day, and live educational presentations from touring bands at school assemblies.
  • An online Bluegrass in the Schools Implementation Manual
  • An international Bluegrass Lesson Plan Competition with award-winning lesson plans posted on this website
  • Regional Bluegrass in the Schools Workshops for Artists interested in developing in-school bluegrass presentations.


For more info on the Bluegrass in the Schools program, contact Nancy Cardwell at  (615) 256-3222 , 888-GET-IBMA or nancyc@ibma.org. For info on the Foundation for Bluegrass Music go to www.bluegrassfoundation.org or contact Dan Hays at danh@ibma.org

Alaska Bluegrass Cruise 2009

Alaska Bluegrass Cruise 2009

Alaska Bluegrass Cruise 2009

Happy New Year from the Alaska Bluegrass Cruise. The 2009 cruise will be a very special event this year.  It’s the 30th Anniversary of Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver.  This year  you will be entertained by one of the finest groups in bluegrass while enjoying the majesty of Alaska.  This year we will also have a talent show with 1st,2nd and 3rd place prize money for our participants. 

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver

Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver

Solos, duo’s, trio’s and groups can participate. The contest will be held before Doyle’s performances, so even if you don’t place in the top 3 you can always tell your friends you opened for Doyle Lawson. This will be great fun and all you have to do to be eligible for the contest is to sign up for our cruise.  2009 is Your year to join us for this awesome cruise experience! We still have a few spots left…don’t miss the boat! Contact us with any questions you may have and we will be more than glad to assist you.

Greg & Carla

2008 MRBA party at Forrest Flatts

We have set the date for the associations’ 2008 annual party.

Date: Aug 8-10, 2008

Location: Forrest Flatts in Turah (take the Turah exit and look for the signs)

This year the association will provide the steaks.  Dinner will be a potluck. I think. Please post your comments here if this isn’t right.

Like last year, we’ll have some great giveaways.  This is our big party of the year and a great time to get to know your fellow members and enjoy the rewards of membership in the Montana Rockies Bluegrass Association.

Spring Festival 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008 marked our 9th year of getting together in the spring to perform. This years lineup:

2008 Festival Line-up

12:00-12:30 Kids In Bluegrass
12:35-1:05 Chester Rudyard And Mullan Road
1:10-1:40 Blue To The Bone
1:45-2:15 Three Rivers Bluegrass
2:20-2:50 Bill And Verna Molenda And Friends
2:55-3:25 Leftover Biscuits
3:30-4:00 The Accousticals
4:05-4:35 Wise River Mercantile
4:40-5:10 The WheelWrights
5:15-5:45 Mike And Tari Conroy And Friends
5:50-6:20 Pinegrass
6:25-6:55 Too Hot Too Handle
7:00-7:30 New South Fork
7:35-8:05 Will Williams And Gravel Road
8:10-8:40 Darby Sireens
8:45-9:15 Gravely Mountain Boys
9:20-9:50 Ramblin‘ Rose
9:55-10:25 Black Mountain
10:30-11:00 Greg Boyd and Friends

All of the bands sounded great this year. We just keep getting better year after year.

We all headed over to the American Legion and jammed together into the wee hours of Sunday morning. Lots of folks stayed over and camped there. The jamming was great.

Here’s a little snipet of Rebecca in the kitchen that night (for some reason my camera doesn’t seem to pick up the bass, sorry)