The Ramseur Story

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This was my first grade photo from 1975. For our very first "show and tell", I played The Fleetwoods' 45 RPM record, "Come Softly To Me", that I found in my parents' collection. The school was W.R. Odell Elementary, our colors were green and white, and our mascot was the Dragons - the greatest school mascot ever. This rural school was made up of blue-collar white and black folks whose families were primarily cotton mill workers and farmers. My teacher, Ms. Fries, was a first-year teacher and only 22 years old. She treated all her students as if they were her own children even though she did not yet have any. When I dropped the needle down on the industrial looking record player, she smiled and asked me to play the record again for our principal, Mr. Larry Riggs. It was at this moment that I saw the profound effect that music could have on people.

My father started my sister and I on a healthy diet of classic country music. He would often say that Hank Williams Sr. was a poet, especially after we would hear "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." I fondly remember listening to 8-track tapes of Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Red Sovine, Slim Whitman, and George Jones while my father drove us around town in his 1978 F150 white Super Cab pickup truck.

Concord is located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. The Piedmont is in the middle section of the state, between the mountains and the ocean. I grew up in this area and fell in love with the Piedmont Blues. Rev. Gary Davis, Josh White, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Blind Boy Fuller, Pink Anderson, John Jackson, and many other great Piedmont Blues artists are from my neck of the woods.

While growing up in Concord, my best friend was the great-grandson of J.E. Mainer. J.E. lived off of Poplar Tent Road and was the leader of J.E. Mainer and his Crazy Mountaineers, an old-time string band. This type of music predated bluegrass and, in fact, J. E. and his banjo pickin' brother, Wade Mainer, were huge influences on Doc Watson, Bill Monroe, and the Stanley Brothers.

I first heard the Violent Femmes on WDAV's "Flipsides" in 1983. The Femmes were mixing acoustic music with a punk edge. Ever since then, I have looked for bands that have that same acoustic/punk sound. While this is a very rare thing to find, when it DOES occur, it can be a very powerful thing.

"Flipsides" was an alternative rock radio show on WDAV 89.9 FM (Davidson College, Davidson, NC) that would air from 11:00pm to 1:00am. I would listen to it each night while growing up - it was a big influence on me.

The Crockett family was a great promoter influence located in the Charlotte, NC area. They promoted pro-wrestling shows among the mill-working, blue-collar folks in the southeast in the 60s and 70s before going nationwide in the 80s. Nature Boy Ric Flair was, and still is, the greatest world champion to ever step into the squared circle. He was surrounded by a great cast of characters including Ole, Gene and Arn Anderson, Dusty Rhodes, Thunderbolt Patterson, Rufus R. 'Freight Train' Jones, #1 Paul Jones, Blackjack Mulligan, Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat, Harley Race, and others. These wrestling shows created a lot of excitement and pandemonium around The Carolinas and as a kid, it was larger than life.

The Charlotte Motor Speedway was eight miles from the house that I grew up in in Concord, NC. In the 70s, NASCAR was still regarded as a regional sport and most of the fans were working class. At that time, the president of the Charlotte Motor Speedway was Humpy Wheeler. Humpy may go down as the greatest promoter to ever live. He was a genius in how he worked his events - his strategies had a big effect on me from a young age. Growing up in the Piedmont, everyone had a driver. Mine was David Pearson in the Wood Brothers #21 Purolator Mercury. Along with Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Bobby Allison, Dale Earnhardt, Buddy Baker, and Cale Yarborough, it was a great time to be a fan. Long before stock car racing was a mainstream sport, it was very much like independent record labels - rebellious, in your face, unconcerned about the status quo. Very rock-n-roll.

Tommy Faile was a member of Arthur Smith and the Crackerjacks and had a velvet smooth, baritone country voice. When I was growing up, The Arthur Smith show on WBTV was a mainstay in all the blue-collar households in the Piedmont. Tommy Faile was the working man's poet. He wrote "Phantom 309," which was a hit for Red Sovine and was covered by Tom Waits. Faile also scored a regional hit with "The Brown Mountain Light." Randy Travis has personally told me how big of an influence Tommy Faile was on him. Faile was a local legend and world-class talent.

My grandparents were charter members of the Fisher Street Church of God in Kannapolis, NC. As children, my sister and I would go to worship services with them a few times a year. The church was full of cotton mill workers and children from the local orphanage. Although there were lots of poor people in attendance, in some ways, they were very wealthy because the room was always overflowing with love. Church of God gospel music features a piano style where the left hand bounces back and forth, very much like boogiewoogie or ragtime-style piano. As soon as the music would start, the church would immediately fill up with the sounds of clapping, shouting, and praise. This music really stuck with me and I saw (and heard!) that everyone was singing from the heart. I would rather hear someone with less talent sing a song with heartfelt conviction than a great vocalist who is just going through the motions.

While living in Winston-Salem, NC in the early 90s, I became a weekly shopper at "Rave On," a record store that was located on Peters Creek Parkway. The shop owner and I got to know each other well and one day, he asked me if I had ever heard of Sammy Walker. He told me that Sammy was discovered by Phil Ochs and that I should check him out. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any of Sammy's music anywhere! One day, while in the shop, the owner gave me a copy of Sammy's self-titled second album. I later discovered that Sammy was living in North Carolina, so I reached out to him and a friendship began - Sammy even played a concert for my 30th birthday party!

In July 2000, I invited Martin Stephenson over from the United Kingdom and introduced him to many North Carolina musicians. We recorded a field recording album titled "The Haint of the Budded Rose - A Musical Ramble Through North Carolina." It was a tribute to old-time music, especially that of Charlie Poole. A special moment during our journey was Martin playing beside the tombstone of Charlie Poole.

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The Avett Brothers

THE AVETT BROTHERS made mainstream waves with their 2009 major label debut, I and Love and You, landing at #16 on the Billboard Top 200 and garnering critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, Paste, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Time. 2012 saw The Carpenter hit #4 on the Billboard Top 200, while People, USA Today, and American Songwriter lauded the album. The group appeared on Jimmy Kimmel LIVE! twice in a few months' time. During their second performance, the Brooklyn Philharmonic joined to pay homage to Brooklyn with "I and Love and You" at Mr. Kimmel's request. Their eighth studio album, Magpie and the Dandelion, debuted at #5 on the Billboard Top 200. They performed on

The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman, and accompanied Chris Cornell for a Pearl Jam tribute on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The band supported The Rolling Stones in Raleigh during 2015's Zip Code Tour. True Sadness achieves THE AVETT BROTHERS highest career debut to date and dominates multiple charts. The Rick Rubin produced album hit #1 on Billboard’s Top Albums Chart, #1 Top Rock Albums Chart, #1 Digital Albums Chart, #3 on the Billboard Top 200, and scored two Grammy nominations. Recently, THE AVETT BROTHERS were inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame. They continue to be revered as one of the top folk-rock acts in the country.

 
 

Bombadil

Fences is something new for our band Bombadil. It is more than just an album; it is a new path, a reset after several challenging years. It is the discovery of a group voice, the willingness to explore collaboration between old friends, and an openness to let new voices into the fold. We embraced limitations when writing the album, using only fingerpicked guitar, piano, upright bass, percussion, and harmony vocals. We recorded over 12 days at Tiny Telephone in San Francisco. The inimitable John Vanderslice produced and pushed us to embrace danger

and to listen for heart, not perfection. The recordings are all first takes, a document of new ideas being quickly embraced, mistakes being left alone as intention. We hoped to catch lightning in a bottle and I think that we did. It is something I am proud to have been a part of and am excited to share with the world. To me, it is an example of the power and positivity of collaboration, of a group of human beings working diligently on a shared vision. If nothing else, I can say that we tried as hard as we possibly could. I can't wait to do it again.

 
 

David Childers

Singer-songwriter David Childers is the proverbial study in contradictions. A resident of Mount Holly, North Carolina, he’s a former high-school football player with the aw-shucks demeanor of a good ol’ Southern boy. But he’s also a well-read poet and painter who cites Chaucer and Kerouac as influences, fell in love with folk as a teen, listens to jazz and opera, and fed his family by practicing law before turning in his license to concentrate on his creative passions. The legal profession’s loss is certainly the music world’s gain. Childers’ new album, Run Skeleton Run, releasing May 5, 2017 on Ramseur Records, is filled with the kinds of songs that have made him a favorite of fans and fellow artists including neighbors the Avett Brothers. Scott Avett contributes to four tracks, and Avetts bassist Bob

Crawford co-executive-produced the effort with label head Dolph Ramseur. (Crawford and Childers, both history buffs, have recorded and performed together in the Overmountain Men). In fact, it was Crawford who kickstarted this album, Childers’ sixth solo effort, by suggesting he reunite with Don Dixon (R.E.M., the Smithereens), who’d produced Crawford’s favorite Childers album, Room 23 (done with his band the Modern Don Juans). Crawford also suggested tracking at Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium Recordings. Crawford has also called Childers “a great friend, a great thinker and a great man … a true North Carolina treasure.” But let’s take out “North Carolina,” because Childers is the kind of treasure who can spread joy wherever people love listening to great songs. In other words, just about anywhere. Or everywhere.

 
 

Liz Vice

Gospel, soul, and R&B-infused artist Liz Vice is from Portland, Oregon. With a love of storytelling, she has found herself transitioning from behind-the-scenes in the film and video world to behind the mic. The songs from "There's A Light" feature dynamic, soulful vocals, with classically influenced, timeless lyrics that reference her deep-rooted spirituality.

Vice grew up as the middle of five children. She was raised by her mother, and when she was a little girl, she would hide in the basement dancing and lip-synching to songs from the radio and soundtracks from her favorite films. Vice vividly remembers her mother’s voice singing “rise and shine and give God the glory, glory” every morning to awaken the children.

 
 

Samantha Crain

You Had Me At Goodbye is the latest offering from Oklahoma native Samantha Crain, whose eccentric warble takes center stage on this collection of pop-minded, art punk-influenced tracks. Produced by John Vanderslice (Spoon, The Mountain Goats, Strand of Oaks), the new album is chock full of darkly humorous, witty lyrics and off-kilter vocals that expertly quench a thirst

for unabashed quirkiness. Samantha has toured with artists like First Aid Kit, Thao and the Get Down Stay Down, and Brandi Carlile, and her music has earned praise from places like Rolling Stone, and Spin, who said Samantha "deftly conveys the small-wonder pleasures and pains of everyday existence." Samantha will embark on a national headlining tour later this year.

 
 

Steep Canyon Rangers

GRAMMY® Award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers effortlessly walk the line between festival favorite and sophisticated string orchestra. They’re as danceable as the most progressive, party-oriented string band, and equally comfortable translating their songs for accompaniment by a full symphony. It’s that mix of serious chops and good-natured fun that earned the Steep Canyon Rangers the GRAMMY® Award for Best Bluegrass Album in 2013 (for "Nobody Knows You"), and that drew celebrated comedian/banjoist Steve Martin to them when he needed a backing band. The Rangers are world-class musicians who are just as at home taking the stage at Carnegie Hall as they are knee-deep in a mountain brook, fly rod in hand. It has been more than fifteen years and nine studio albums since the Steep Canyon Rangers formed in Chapel Hill. The band received rave reviews for their last album (the Jerry Douglas-produced "Radio"), with No Depression commenting that it is "one of those albums that’s packed with hits." Now, in 2017,

the band is working on their highly anticipated tenth studio album. “It’s really gratifying to play music with people you can trust, who hear something and pull what’s best out of it into something truly special,” says banjoist Graham Sharp. “As a songwriter, my favorite part of the whole thing is watching the band bring these ideas to life.” When they aren't in the studio, the Steep Canyon Rangers maintain a rigorous touring schedule with shows all over the U.S. (both with Steve Martin as well as headlining dates). They also appeared on "A Prairie Home Companion" with Steve Martin last December. “We’re just getting started,” guitarist/lead vocalist Woody Platt exudes. “It’s almost daunting, to think about how much more there is that we want to accomplish as the Steep Canyon Rangers. Each time I get off stage, I ask myself, ‘Was that fun? Did that feed your soul?’ That’s how we go about it, and more times than not, the answer is a rounding ‘Yes.’ We’re totally committed.”

 
 

The National Reserve

Imagine driving down the long, straight roads of the deep Midwest. The sun is setting in front of you and on the radio is something soulful yet gritty, with just a hint of twang that is the sound of American roots. This is The National Reserve. The band is a labor of love from singer and guitarist Sean Walsh. In each song you can almost hear the years of driving long hours to play gigs for barely enough money to cover gas, all because there is nothing better than being on stage playing

rock and roll music. Their music echoes back to another era, an analog age when just a guitar, an amp, and cord were enough. This authenticity gives The National Reserve a refreshingly modern sound, one that fits right in line with today’s take on the Americana lineage. With two EP’s under their belt, the first full length album is nearing completion with a release planned for early 2018. Until then, The National Reserve will continue to put in the miles, leaving their mark along the way.

 
 

Ruen Brothers

Ru & Henry Stansall - from Scunthorpe, Northern England - were first discovered by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and Zane Lowe (twice being named Zane’s 'Hottest Record In The World'). The pair have since found themselves songwriting with The Weeknd, touring with George Ezra and Tom Odell, sharing material with Lana Del Rey, and recording an album produced by Rick Rubin at Shangri La Studios. The brothers have also performed at Coachella, Radio 1 Big Weekend, Isle of Wight, ACL & CMJ. From pub circuits to being on the same bill as The Rolling Stones, the Ruen Brothers have received critical acclaim. They have been featured in GQ, Wonderland, Notion, tmrw, Q, NME, and Burberry. The Los Angeles Times named them as 'Best New British Music Coachella 2015' and 'Coachella 2015: 10 Artists to catch at the fest before they get huge.’ The Ruen Brothers have received airplay on KROQ, KCRW, ALT 98.7, BBC Radio, XFM (Radio X) and a host of independent stations across

the US and UK. They were also featured on Dermot O'Leary's 2014 Saturday Sessions Album which reached number 1 on the UK iTunes Chart. Single ‘Unknown’ (released November 4th 2016) was featured on Apple Music’s ‘Best Of The Week’ playlist and received notable radio airplay in the US and UK. ‘Genevieve, Come Out Tonight’ is the band's latest single and features Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The song has received international airplay. Apple Music put ‘Genevieve, Come Out Tonight’ in their Breaking Alternative playlist and featured the song on iTunes’ US home pages for Rock and for Alternative in the Hot Tracks and New Releases. The Ruen Brothers currently reside in NYC and perform a weekly residency at the Manderley Bar within the McKittrick Hotel. They recently performed at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in June 2017, where they were joined on stage by Chad Smith during their performance of ‘Genevieve, Come Out Tonight.’

 
 

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