Stu Vincent Introduces Us To Five Bluegrass Artists
You Should Get To Know
Stu Vincent is host of the popular radio show on Blues & Roots Radio called 'Hillbilly Boogie' which is now also available to listen to on WBCM Radio Bristol.
When we asked Stu what got him into radio he said, "I think of myself as, quite simply, a music fan who got lucky - and as I read that sentence, I recall an old English teacher who would have apoplexy at my use of ‘got’…. I have finally got my own back!."
He added "My luck started with striking up a friendship with my friend and mentor, Larry who suggested that I should consider sharing my love of music, and Bluegrass in particular, with a radio audience. From there, I connected with a kind and patient soul in Australia (tips hat in Mike’s direction) who taught me the ropes and before I knew what was happening I was live streaming Bluegrass via World Wide Bluegrass (thank you Gracie for that first opportunity)."
Stu continued, "From there I have produced shows for several stations in the US and in Europe but really found my radio ‘home’ five years ago when I joined Blues & Roots Radio (thank you, Stevie)."
Stu's shows are also available as a listen on demand, on The Sound Cafe Podcast Page HERE
We asked Stu to suggest to us five Bluegrass artists who we should listen to.
Comprising Eli Wildman, his sister Aila Wildman, Victor Furtado and Sean Newman.
All are extremely accomplished musicians; Eli Wildman has twice won the Mandolin competition at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention and the Mt. Airy Fiddler’s Convention three times – Aila has won the Old Time Fiddle and Best All Round Performer at The Galax Fiddler’s Convention – in addition to winning the Old Time Banjo competition at Galax three times, Victor Furtado was awarded the 2019 Steve Martin Prize For Excellence In Banjo – Sean Newman is a multi-instrumentalist who plays bass with The Wildmans but is also accomplished with guitar, mandolin, banjo & fiddle.
I love that The Wildman’s music crosses genres but as I was asked to suggest some Bluegrass & Old-Time artists, here they are with Garfield’s Blackberry Blossom.
It would be remiss of me not to share a video of Victor Furtado; here he is from about five years ago - there’s a little wind noise on the video but, I’m sure that you will agree, the playing is mesmerizing.
It seems only natural that the next artist that springs to mind that you should have a listen to (if you haven’t already) is Gina Furtado.
Twice nominated for the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, Gina was previously the banjo player with Chris Jones & The Night Drivers but now leads her own band – The Gina Furtado Project.
In addition to Gina, The Gina Furtado Project comprises, the renowned, Max Johnson on bass, Malia Furtado on fiddle and Drew Matulich on guitar. Before forming The Gina Furtado Project, she released a solo album ‘True Colours’ but the Project have since released the album ‘I Hope You Have A Good Life’ and several singles including (to my ears) the Celtic-tinged ‘Alley Cat’ and her most recent release ‘Gone’.
A band which my mentor, Larry, introduced me to was Tellico and their ‘Relics and Roses’ became an instant favourite and, as soon as it was available, ‘Woven Waters’ was eagerly bought. In 2019, Anya Hinkle of Tellico won the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at MerleFest with ‘The Ballad Of Zona Abston’ which featured on ‘Woven Waters’.
There is a wonderful (longer) video in which Anya describes being introduced to Zona Abston by Hippie Jack which I would recommend. Over the past year or so, Anya has released a number of excellent singles – ‘Road Of The Winds’, ‘Hills Of Swannanoa’, ‘I Belong To The Band’ and, most recently, the powerful ‘What’s It Gonna Take’.
One of my favourite singers: Anya Hinkle.
A few years ago my good friend Deb told me that I should keep my eye on a young fella called Mason Via from Danbury, North Carolina and I heeded her words.
Shortly afterwards we attended the Stokes Stomp in Danbury were I got to hear Mason play and Deb’s recommendation proved to be correct. A few years later, I MC’d at a festival at Union Grove where I had the pleasure of introducing Mason on stage and his playing was superb.
More recently, I saw that Mason had auditioned and had been invited to appear on American Idol. The single that he released with Sierra Ferrell, ‘Mardi Gras’ is accompanied by a very polished video and is a very catchy song too (and have played this on Hillbilly Boogie); I hope that Mason has an enjoyable and successful experience with American Idol as he has certainly worked very hard and deserves to gain wider attention.
Here is Mason with ‘Poverty Line’:
CUP O' JOE
So….my last recommendation (for now, anyway): Cup O’Joe
I first met Cup O’Joe when I was involved with the European Bluegrass Music Association and was attending an event hosted by Eagle Music in Huddersfield where The Kruger Brothers were appearing. I had written an article for the EBMA mentioning that Cup O’Joe were the first non-US group to be invited to the Youth Stage at IBMA.
After chatting very briefly to Tabitha Agnew and her father, I (and others) were treated to an impromptu performance by Cup O’Joe for Jens Kruger. I was instantly a fan! The playing of Tabitha with her brothers Reuben (guitar) and Benjamin (bass) has recently been augmented by the addition of David Benedict (of Mile Twelve) – quite literally – into the family as David and Tabitha married.
Here is Cup O’Joe with a Bluegrass version of ‘Fare Thee Well’.
I look forward to seeing them play again and a follow up release to ‘In The Parting’ which included the beautiful ‘Run Run’
More artists from around the world you should get to know