Great news! We have finally launched www.boysfromindiana.com and we have a great article here that tells all about the World’s Largest Online Museum for the Boys From Indiana:
Our latest album, “Here Come Feller and Hill…Again!”, is still receiving great reviews and we would like to share a couple of them with you. Our friends over at the Prescription Bluegrass Blog have released the latest review found at the link below:
Another great review from the good folks over at Bluegrass Unlimited magazine can be found at the link below:
We had such a great time making this album and we’re still excited about it. If you haven’t picked up a copy of it yet, get on over to the Feller and Hill store and put one in your cart. We’ve got plenty left and they make great Christmas gifts.
So pick one up today and see what everyone’s talking about!
Lonnie, eldest brother of Tom Feller (Feller and Hill) is in need of prayers. He was admitted early Monday morning to University of Cincinnati West Hospital with chest pains where doctors discovered immediately a 100% blockage. A stent was placed which immediately helped make him more comfortable. He was then transferred to downtown UC hospital, in the intensive care unit, for recovery.
On Wednesday, Lonnie was moved from ICU, after his heart showed a ten percent increase in blood flow. There doesn’t appear to be any long-term damage and he may get to come home today and return to work as soon as next week. The prayer requests seem to be working and we ask that you continue to pray and show support.
Over the past 30+ years, Lonnie has quietly learned and mastered the banjo stylings of Sonny and Wynn Osborne, JD Crowe, and Sammy Shelor, and continues to play locally, at many churches across the area. He helped to form the bluegrass gospel group Crimson Hill several years back. Lonnie just turned 49 in September and has been in the flooring business most of his adult life, while playing music in his free time.
Lonnie has recently added lead singing to his arsenal and a fine singer, he is. The video link below features him at a recent performance at Hope Baptist Church, in Dillsboro, Indiana, with Pastor Tom Holt and Jeremiah Gabbard on guitars.
Prayers, card and letters for the support of his speedy recovery can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, or:
Feller and Hill Music, LLC
c/o: Lonnie Feller
527 Ridge Ave
Greendale, IN. 47025
A chance email, early last week, turned into a whirlwind trip to Washington D.C., for Feller and Hill. While doing some day to day business promoting our new album “Here Come Feller and Hill…Again!”, I sent a few email inquiries out regarding some guest spots on popular bluegrass radio shows. Later that morning, I received a call from WAMU’s Katy Daley. We had met Katy, in person, last year at the Delaware Valley Bluegrass Festival, in Pilesgrove, New Jersey. She seemed very personable, but tired, that day. Any bluegrass festival in 90+ degree weather can wear a person out, and Katy was the festivals main emcee that day, so we totally understood the fatigue that I’m sure she was feeling. Katy is also someone I’ve admired for some time, even before getting the chance to meet. She has been very helpful and influential in the bluegrass community. Back to our story: Katy agreed to open a spot for Feller and Hill to appear live on her “Katy Daley Show” on Tuesday, April 8th. This meant a trip to Washington for us. I hadn’t been to D.C., aside from traveling through, since my days with the Larry Stephenson Band. We looked forward to the upcoming trip, which was only a week away. In my excitement, I thought it would be neat to arrange a “jingle-type” promotion for our upcoming spot on the Katy Daley Show. Any bluegrasser will likely recognize the built-in marketability-factor in the name Katy Daley. In addition to Katy’s name, it was a bluegrass song originally recorded in the ’60’s by Paul “Moon” Mullins and his Bluegrass Playboys, popularized by Dr. Ralph Stanley, and has gone on to become one of today’s bluegrass standards. Chris and I wrote a quick 18-second jingle, filled with facts about our appearance on the show (who, what, when, where, why, etc…), and performed to the tune of Katy Daley. I didn’t really expect much to come of it, if anything. We mainly did it to have fun and just go the extra-mile. I had sensed a slight bit of disappointment in Katy’s voice, while on the phone going over details of our appearance, when I informed her we wouldn’t be bringing the whole band, but just the two of us. I guess I felt compelled to work a little harder to win her over. The logistics vs. economics of a trip like this determined wether or not we could afford to take the whole band. Neither were in our favor, so we decided to make a two-man appearance and bring our A-game.
Listen to Feller and Hill’s Katy Daley promo here:
Evidently, our A-game won over several folks at WAMU, including Gary Henderson, who just couldn’t get enough of our custom-promo. Katy and the staff made us feel at home, right away. We felt very comfortable by the atmosphere they provided. Our one-hour portion of the show went by before we knew it. Katy took us a tour of the station and informed us of some exciting things they had in the works. I think the bluegrass community owes much to the folks at WAMU, such as Ray Davis and Gary Henderson, who have spent entire careers promoting bluegrass and bringing it to the world on a large scale.
After we finished our visit with Katy, we traveled down towards the capitol. It had been so long since I visited the area, I had nearly forgotten how beautiful the scenery was. We traveled roads through many wooded areas with very tall and elaborate high-bridges. Many folks were out walking and enjoying the trails and the beautiful dogwood and cherry blossoms. It has been a very long winter, in the Cincinnati area and even a longer one in the D.C area. So, I’m sure folks are really enjoying themselves this week. We drove towards the Washington Monument with the windows down enjoying a warm breeze, when I received a call from an old friend. I don’t really think of Dudley Connell as old, but we have known each other for many years. When I worked with Larry Stephenson many years ago, we did many shows together with Dudley. Dudley was in and out of the music scene (no pun intended), in those days. Dudley and Larry had worked on many recording projects together and I got to know him, through Larry and all the times they would meet to rehearse, or just hang out. Dudley invited us to stop in and visit with him, at his office. He has, in my opinion, one of the coolest jobs in the world, at the National Council for the Traditional Arts in Silver Spring, Maryland. He spends much of his time archiving historical recordings (tapes and old records) to the digital format. If you loved music, as we do, this would be a wonderful job to have. Dudley seemed very gracious about his fortune to work at such a great job. We also took the opportunity to just catch up. Often, we see each other at shows, but don’t have much time to visit. It’s difficult to visit when schedules are tight and the ability to rest comes few and far between. We enjoyed our visit with Dudley, who is and has always been a class-act.
When we booked our visit with Katy Daley, a friend of mine found out about the show and contacted another friend, who we haven’t seen in a long time, Jay Armsworthy. Jay hosts a weekly show, called “Bluegrass on the Bay”, broadcast every Wednesday on worldwidebluegrass.com, from his home in California, Maryland, and let him know that we were in the area. Jay called and asked if we would be willing to stop in and record a show with him. It was a couple hours farther for us. But, since we don’t get out to the area very often, we decided to splurge and make the most of our trip. We had a very relaxing drive (unlike the morning rush-hour we experienced that took one-hour and forty minutes to drive twelve miles from our room to the WAMU station) down to California, Maryland. The trip to California was a very scenic-drive filled with old historic buildings and more beautiful trees. For whatever reason, there seemed to be an abundance of very well-maintained classic-cars, too. I think there may have been a car show in the area, but regardless, we enjoyed seeing them. We visited Jay and his wife Michelle. Jay is also a fine musician and asked if he could join in with us on a couple of numbers for the show. He surprised us by knowing our song Big Blue Roses and he never missed a beat. We recorded about an hour segment for Jay’s show on the following night. We finally made our way back to the room and kicked back for the first good night of rest we had, since leaving home.
We returned yesterday with a sense of accomplishment and pride. We were a bit nervous about performing the “Government Blues”, our latest single, over the airwaves–in the nation’s capitol. Katy asked about it and we joked that either people would love it, or there will be some black cars pulling up, outside the building, when we get done. It can be difficult for musicians/bands to make spur-of-the-moment trips, such as this. It can be especially difficult, when money is tight and when the schedule of bookings leaves much to be desired. We weighed the benefits vs. the loss and decided that we had more to gain by making a trip and spending our time and money by bringing our music to some key people, who have the power to bring it to the masses. A small investment (less than $500), may very well be returned ten-fold, in many different forms, including bookings, CD sales, merchandise sales, and the potential stimulation of our music on the bluegrass charts. Those are all things that would be much more difficult to do, as we sat at the house and saved our money. Would we do it again? Most definitely!
Our intentions for starting this blog page, from the beginning, have been a means to communicate in a casual way and engage our fans with the daily happenings of Feller and Hill. It was certainly not intended as a forum to discuss those who have gone on. With that said, I have received an overwhelming positive response to the last couple of posts, in which I discussed this very thing and how those heroes of ours have affected our lives and our musical careers. With this in mind, I will attempt to point out a few ways that Ray Price changed my musical and personal life.
I will admit that I discovered Ray and his music just recently, in the big picture. Before 2009, I knew of Ray and had heard his music, but had never studied the details of how Ray’s voice, along with the music, created such a unique and timeless sound. When Chris Hill and myself first began our musical journey together, around this time, Ray was one of our first go-to artists, because of his incredible singing, style, and his vast library of music. We look for music that is different. We strive to create original music that sounds old. Ray Price’s music has been a constant resource for us. With a career that spans back to the late 1940’s all the way up to recent years, his longevity will likely never be recreated.
Chris (Hill) is much more of a Ray Price historian than myself. For that reason, I will not try to go on and on about Ray with details of his career. All of this information is readily available all over the internet. I will share a conversation that Chris and I had just this past week when reports started coming in of Ray’s failing health. We started talking about how few of the pioneers of Country, Bluegrass, and traditional music are really left~~not many! Willie Nelson, Stonewall Jackson, Little Jimmy Dickens, Bobby Osborne, Jimmy C. Newman, Merle Haggard…..these are just a very few (and I know I left many out) of the greats who are still with us. It leads us to the question, will their music die with them when they go? In music, it is necessary for an artist to create a sound that is unique, when combined with talent, (sometimes good looks or an image), songwriting ability, and great musical arrangements, will spawn a long-lasting musical career. But, I don’t think that means that new artists must be exclusively unique and cannot learn and pay tribute to the musical pioneers, in their own ways. I do believe by doing this, a new artist can spark a new interest and even a fan base for a seasoned artist, by paying homage to them in a way that does their music and image justice. I also believe that by doing this, new artists can do their part to help keep the music of our pioneers alive forever. The music industry has changed so much, in recent years, that we will likely not see many more, if any, 30 or 40 year careers. Artists like George Strait, Reba Mcentire and Alan Jackson are perhaps the few exceptions to that. The careers of George Jones, Buck Owens, Roger Miller, Ray Price, Johnny Paycheck, and so many more, will never be recreated. If I had to teach someone who knew nothing about country or traditional music, I would have them study the careers and music of these greats, as their first assignment.
I mentioned that the music scene has changed so much, in recent years. There are many reasons for this, but perhaps the biggest reason has been the social media age. I am a big fan of social media, but it can also be a mixed blessing. I just read yesterday, that pop-singer Beyonce released a brand-new album a few weeks back. She went about this in a way that was completely non-traditional, for an artist of her stature, anyway. She refrained from all of the traditional advertising and marketing techniques, which can incur huge expenses for artists. Instead, she exclusively used social media as her advertising means. She sold over 400,000 copies of her new album in the first week of sales. What does this mean? It means that the playing fields are being leveled. It means that smaller artists, via social media, can become more competitive with larger artists. I think that part is a blessing. However, the big problem I have with social media is that it also brings out those who are trying to make a quick buck or take advantage of other people. In the past two years, how many times have you seen false reports of a celebrities’ death (known as the death hoax on Facebook)? Too many to count? I agree. From Jon Bon Jovi, George Jones, and now Ray Price. I was caught up in the George Jones death hoax a good six months before he actually died. I felt awful that I had commented on his death, publicly, only to find out he was alive and well. How do these false reports get started and why? Is it some kind of a cruel joke? Are people just really bored and want attention that is gained by starting such a hoax? How disrespectful and unsettling is it to the friends and families of celebrities who are affected by these hoaxes? Don’t the pioneers of the entertainment industry deserve better than this? What ever happened to the days of respecting entertainment figures and their privacy? I know there’s always been a degree of this that goes on, but it seems like it gets worse with each public figure that we lose. Will social media continue to be as mainstream as it has become? Or, will advertisers and marketing firms lobby to shut them down? I’ve already heard buzz of content limiting and restrictions on Facebook and other social media sights. This is an interesting topic, which could be an entire blog all by itself, whose outcome remains to be seen.
To sum things up: Out of respect for our pioneer and industry greats, please do your homework and find reliable sources, regarding the death of these musical heroes, or any public figure, before publicly announcing or re-posting. Seeing it on Facebook does not equate that it’s true. I would also add that it’s in all of our best interests to research these artists and their music. Even if it isn’t your favorite music, you can learn so much just looking at their careers and the way they did things. It wasn’t just by luck that their careers were so long-lived. In the words of Faron Young~~Ray, “There’s Not Any LIke You Left”! Rest in peace, Ray.
It was a pretty typical Sunday evening for me. My family and I still lived down the street in the old “turn-of-the-century” house, in which we were doing some pretty extensive remodeling. Southeastern Indiana has never been very “outdoor friendly”, during the fall months on into early December. On that day, I found myself inside, perhaps relaxing after working on installing a tin ceiling in the family room. The family room at the old house doubled as my “music room”. It was here I could often be found rehearsing and researching musical and technical skills I needed to make my return to the bluegrass music scene. I had been in and out of that scene for years, since leaving the Larry Stephenson Band, in April of 1993 to take a day job at a trucking company. Never being content with sitting on the sidelines, I dreamed of being back on that stage with the right people. As a result, I decided to work on my trade and learn as much as I could. Finding free time to do that, when you’re working 70 plus hours a week, can be a challenge. To help facilitate, I managed to keep a few (local) festivals a year worked into my schedule.
While attending those few shows a year, I always made it a point to visit with musicians and friends, whom I had met years earlier in my former bluegrass career. One of those people was Dempsey Young. I recall seeing and hearing Dempsey for the first time in the late ’80’s. His style and charm immediately caught my ear. Of all the great mandolin players on the road, at that time, there was just something about him and his playing that was unmistakable. I recall one of our first encounters. I was only 15 or 16 at the time. I was shy and not-so-worldly. I recall thinking that Dempsey looked like one of my ex-girlfriend’s Dad (who was not a big fan of mine) and every time I saw him it was the first thing that came to mind. I remember mentioning this to Dempsey in my shy and awkward way. I suppose it was the only way I could think of starting a conversation with him without being obvious that I was obsessed with his mandolin playing. Dempsey got a real kick out of this and we seemed to hit it off immediately. It was then that I felt more and more comfortable asking questions and just watching and listening. Dempsey loved to get out and pick. I recall a show, in Oklahoma, where there was a great jam back stage, after the show. I sat up-close and tried to learn all I could. He didn’t seem to mind and I think he sensed my willingness to learn, but always seemed to appreciate my respectable approach. Years later, I brought a custom built mandolin I had bought to him, for inspection. He pointed out some good points and some not-so-good points about the instrument. That honesty really impressed me. I have seen many great pickers, whom I know are constantly bombarded with custom instruments, praise literally every instrument which is put in their hands. I’m sure this is mainly done out of courtesy and in hopes not to insult the builder, but I always admired Dempsey’s honesty and determination not to mislead.
That Sunday evening of December 10th, 2006, as I sat in the family room relaxing and surfing the internet on my old Dell, before the days of Facebook (I think it was actually MySpace back then), I received a message from good friend Shayne Bartley. I read it in disbelief. Shayne told me that one of our heroes, Dempsey Young, had taken his own life, earlier that morning. I was stunned. I had last seen him in July of that year, at the MACC, in Columbus, Ohio. Normally very cheery and in a wonderful mood, Dempsey seemed a bit distraught that day, even with me. He asked me a question that day that sort of took me by surprise. He asked me how I continued to go out and work “these shows”, year in and year out, for so little money. As he went on, I sensed that Dempsey had concerns of his own, perhaps money, maybe feeling like he was spending too much time on the road? I did not pry, as I never wanted to make him feel uncomfortable. I didn’t think much more about it that weekend, but simply found it odd. I later realized that Dempsey may have been the one looking to me for advice or reaching out and I just didn’t realize it at the time. That feeling will likely always be with me. In these situations, I think it’s just human nature to ask oneself if there’s something we could have said or done to prevent a friend or loved one from taking their own life. The only advice I can offer is that all we can do is just be who we are and be the best friend we can. As I stated in my last blog post, cherish those moments, because you never know if there will be more.
I decided to attend the visitation and funeral for Dempsey. I made the 8 hour journey later that week and met and stayed with friends Darrel and Phyllis Adkins (from the MACC, in Columbus, Ohio), down in Rocky Mount, Virginia. We went for dinner and then onto the visitation. I was so impressed by the numbers of people who showed up and for the courage that Dempsey’s family and band members showed for those couple of days. I think they held up wonderfully, considering the circumstances. I was also very pleased with the support shown to his family and bandmates by the bluegrass community. I’ve always felt like bluegrass people are family and this situation really proved that to me. Something positive, as a result of this great gathering of bluegrass musicians and fans, was getting to see many of each that I had not seen in years. But that positive feeling didn’t last long, as I realized how Dempsey’s death would also affect those people and made me feel sad for them, as well.
Dempsey Young was a great man, musician, and influence on my life, who left this world too soon and I’m taking this opportunity to tell my story and pay tribute, in his honor. Rest in peace, Dempsey.
It has been said that all good things must come to and end. It’s easy to assume that these good things will always be there and last forever. I started in the music business when I was just a kid. I was fortunate to have met many of the people in the bluegrass business, as a kid, that I remain friends with today. It’s much like having family members when you’re out on the road to talk, laugh, and share great experiences with. I always joke that going to a bluegrass show is like going to a family reunion, but with people that you like. I say that in jest, but families often have difficulties being able to get along with each other, now don’t they?
Word came in late last night from Jim Peva (bluegrass and Bean Blossom historian) that Myron Dillman, 79, of Peru, Indiana, has passed away. Myron, or “Mr. D”, as the “Bean Blossom family” knew him, was father to Dwight and Tim Dillman. For years, Mr. D was a staple at Bean Blossom and could be seen driving the water truck around Bean Blossom’s grounds keeping the dust at bay and delivering ice to all who could catch him as he sped by on his “Gator”. I always enjoyed talking to him and teasing him about various things. He was certainly feisty, but always enjoyed the conversation. It has occurred to me that Mr D. was also single-handedly responsible for saving the longest running bluegrass festival in the country, as he was father to Dwight Dillman, who purchased the park and made major improvements, in 1998. Mr D spent many years playing fiddle on and off with Dr. Ralph Stanley. I don’t know that Dr. Ralph has ever known a greater fan of his music than Mr. D. My sincerest condolences go out to the Dillman family. Mr. D will be greatly missed and his legacy will live on.
Another report came in late yesterday, from our friend Ted Lehmann (author of the blogspot “Ted Lehmann’s Bluegrass, Books and Brainstorms”) that Steve Dilling, long-time banjo player and emcee for Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme out, will be retiring from the road. Steve has been a true friend of mine through the years. I first met him when I was about fifteen years old. The year was around 1988 and I was traveling with a group to Denton, North Carolina for a couple of weekend shows. During our layover, I spent a memorable week with his family, which included his parents Don and Linda and wife Macy. I went water skiing with the Dillings and we still have a good laugh or two about it when I get to see them. They are all truly first-class folks. Steve was banjo player for the Bass Mountain Boys, at that time. He’s always had the gift of stage presence and has been a huge contributor to the consistency of the IIIrd Tyme Out sound. Many groups have their “good days” and “bad days”, but IIIrd Tyme Out has been one of the most consistently great sounding bands ever in the business. Steve’s off-stage personality and friendship are something I will definitely miss. I can only hope I will get to see him and his family occasionally, as Feller and Hill continues traveling the roads.
Everyone has experienced losing or saying goodbye to a friend. I think the key here is learning to never take for granted those great moments we share with those who have made an impact in our lives. Never pass an opportunity to tell someone how much you appreciate them or love them, because you never know if and when you’ll see them next. Some of the best times and memories I’ve had involve these two great men and I will continue to cherish those times. I wish Steve the best of luck and I am confident he will be successful in anything he chooses to do.
Good morning everyone! Our good friend Bill Hallock, from the Prescription Bluegrass Blog, has posted a wonderful story about his visit with us. While performing in Duncan, Oklahoma, Bill and his family attended the show and spent the afternoon with us. Have a look at the fine story that he took away from his time spent visiting with Feller and Hill and the Wildwood Valley Boys:
My beloved Granny has went on to be with the Lord. She leaves behind a loving family and a great musical legacy. She was a blessing to everyone who knew her. She left a lasting impression on everyone she met. Below is the official obituary posted today:
Margaret Etta Holt, 96 of Milan passed away peacefully Sunday September 8, 2013 at her residence. Margaret was born Monday March 19, 1917 in Owsley County, Kentucky the daughter of Perry and Ida (Barrett) Gabbard. She married Anthony L. Holt October 1, 1937 and he preceded her in death March 1, 1989. Margaret was a homemaker and was a member of the Hope Baptist Church. She loved her farm home, gardening and spending time with the Family. Margaret is survived by Sons: Aubrey (Thelma) Holt; Jerry (Rose) Holt; and Tom (Joyce) Holt, Bill (Dottie) Holt; Daughter: Judy (Merle) Feller all of Milan; 17 Grandchildren, 30 Great Grandchildren, 10 Great-Great Grandchildren. Funeral services will be Friday September 13, 2013, 11AM at Hope Baptist Church, 15593 US 50, Dillsboro with Dr. Phil Gabbard officiating. Burial will follow in New Craven Cemetery at Milan. Friends may meet the Family 5-8PM Thursday at the Hope Baptist Church. Expressions of sympathy may be given to Hope Baptist Church Building Fund. Laws-Carr-Moore Funeral Home entrusted with arrangements, (812)654-2141. Box 243 Milan, In. 47031. Go to www.lawscarrmoore.com to make an on-line condolence.
What a great year 2013 has been for us, so far. When we set out 4 years ago, we just wanted to make a great CD for ourselves, our families, and friends and play some regional dates. We never imagined we would have people in other countries listening to our music, much less having the opportunity to traveling to them, as well as our own United States. We want to say thank you to all of the friends we’ve made in the radio world and the fans who requested our music. We’ve been so fortunate to have a number 2 song on the Bluegrass charts and a number 1 song on the Bluegrass Gospel charts. And we just got news today that our debut album was the 2nd most played album on XM Sirius radio’s Bluegrass Junction for July. Thank you to everyone who’s helped make it possible and we look forward to seeing you all soon.