Lynwood Lunsford Interview
By Art Menius
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 15:18:48 -0500
1st question: A. Do you have anything to add about the following two topics which you specifically mentioned?
“I would like to talk about LBG2000 and how I learned things that encouraged me to take this step.”
“I would like to talk about why I want to front a band and try to make a career in bluegrass, rather than some other business.”
Answer: As far as LBG2000, I want to encourage anyone with a real interest in learning how this industry really works, to attend the next one, if at all possible.
The reason I choose to make bluegrass my career is because I LOVE IT and I believe in it, for now and the future. I believe it is a good investment.
2nd. question: B. Do you have anything you want to say about the state of the industry, especially as it relates to new bands trying to make it?
Answer: I believe bluegrass music offers more opportunities than ever for new bands to succeed. However, they must do their homework. They must plan, have goals, be good at what they do, have their own sound, and be willing to make sacrifices and work hard to succeed. If you expect a talent buyer to hire your band over others, you must be better than the competition. They must attend Leadership Bluegrass.
3rd question: C. I need quotes about how the first three months went, how the sound of the band is developing, how the plan is working, and how bookings look for 2001
Answer: The first 3 months have been phenomenal. First, we met the deadline with the new recording. We debuted it at the IBMA with some excellent results. We were able to give promoters a copy right away and it has paid off with several bookings already. We also showcased at the CBA suite and that has resulted in a booking at Grass Valley in 2001, a festival that some bands have tried for years to get on. The band sound has developed in to everything I hoped it would. From the first stage appearance in Maine this past summer, we have developed a stage show (very important) that incorporates some comedy, a short segment of gospel music, done with just guitar and mandolin, that transports the audience back in time, via the Mist! y Valley Boys Quartet “time machine”. We have the jackets with sequins that look somewhat like the old Buck Owens and his Buckaroo’s outfits. We have gotten a good response from these. Bookings and radio airplay have blown my mind. I already mentioned Grass Valley, we are going to Texas on a big festival near Austin in August. We are booked on a big festival in Charlotte, Mich. We got on the Butterwood Festival in Littleton, NC in Oct. That is some of the biggest ones. All these and we’re just been concentrating our efforts on the southeast! We are getting tremendous airplay throughout the country. With luck, we may have a song on the BU charts by spring. One station in NJ has us at #4 out of 65 for the week of 12/15/00. I mean, against LRB, III Tyme Out and Doyle Lawson. Those are the bands we have to measure up against if we are to succeed and, so far, it looks like we have been.
4th question: D. I’d like to get quotes from Johnny and Kerry. Does Kerry have an email address?
5th question: E. What have I omitted that you would like included?
First, Nina Miller has stepped down as publicist and I have hired Rebecca Pittard to fill her place.
We have been given the OK by Hay Holler records to begin work on a new project that will be all gospel. We go in the studio in Feb. to start recording that. With a tentative working title of “The Land of Heaven” and a possible release date of 6/1/01, it will be in that same style as “A Portrait of the Blues” with that straight-ahead traditional approach.
“I was impressed with Lynwood’s picking, particularly how he does the backup and fills for vocals, since I first heard him with Lost & Found. After getting to know him personally, I recognized that he had a good understanding of the business side of our music, even before he attended the first Leadership Bluegrass.”
“The instrumental album, Pick Along, has done very well. Sales were hampered by the fact that Lynwood was not in a national touring band during the first few months of its release. It is still selling well. I’m glad that we did it.”
> Why you encouraged Lynwood to put his own group together
“Industry wide, I think there is a dearth of bands playing what I call ‘real’ bluegrass. In the ten years I have been operating this label, I’ve found that there is a huge market for the music of new bands who play in the old ‘raw’ style of bluegrass.”
> How the new album is doing for you
“Portrait Of The Blues is doing fine. We didn’t release it until the week of IBMA, so we got no benefit from the festival season. Lynwood’s band has some good festival bookings in 2001, so I think sales of the album will pick up. The album is getting very good airplay, internationally as well as in the US.
> Your outlook for their future
“I think Lynwood can take his band just as far as he wants to go. He understands the music and the marketplace better than most bandleaders I know, and he has the burning desire to make it in the industry. Hay Holler will support his efforts to the fullest extent of our ability and resources, as we do with all our artists. This is the only reason we are in the business part of bluegrass music.”