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OLA BELLE REED AND SOUTHERN MOUNTAIN MUSIC ON THE MASON-DIXON LINE

Dust-to-Digital is excited to present the first in-depth look at the life of Ola Belle Reed, a groundbreaking artist who is one of the all-time greatest performers of authentic, old-time music. Ola Belle Reed’s 1960s recordings, some of the earliest she ever made and available here for the very first time, are counter-balanced by a disc of modern-day field recordings of her descendants and those within her Appalachian community that she inspired. This deluxe edition highlights Ola Belle’s deep repertoire – folk ballads, minstrel songs, country standards, and originals – and traces the impact her music made and is still making today.

About this release:
In 1966, folklorist Henry Glassie traveled from Philadelphia to the town of Oxford, Pennsylvania to see Alex & Ola Belle and the New River Boys and Girls play their exciting brand of Southern mountain music live, on the air, in the back of the Campbell’s Corner general store.

Over the next two years, Glassie would record the deep repertoire of Ola Belle Reed – folk ballads, minstrel songs, country standards, and originals like “I’ve Endured,” penned by Ola Belle herself. Glassie also chronicled the remarkable story of the migration of communities from the Blue Ridge Mountains toward the Mason-Dixon Line prior to WWII.

Some four decades later, Maryland state folklorist Clifford Murphy struck out to discover if this rich musical tradition still existed in the small Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania towns where it once flourished in 2009. Murphy, amazed by what he encountered, began making audio recordings to document the descendants of Ola Belle’s musical legacy. Ola Belle Reed died in 2002 yet her influence is still reverberating throughout old time and traditional music.

About Ola Belle Reed:
Born to a musical family in the mountains of Ashe County, North Carolina in 1913, Ola Belle Reed became a prolific songwriter and performer. Known for her unique style of banjo playing and singing, Ola Belle Reed inspired many musicians throughout her life. Thirteen years after her death in 2002 yet her influence is still reverberating throughout old time and traditional music.

In January of 1966, folklore graduate student Henry Glassie made the first professional solo recordings of Ola Belle Reed. Glassie would go on to become one of the most celebrated folklorists in the United States, a distinguished professor, and a renowned scholar throughout the world. Reed would go on to become one of the leading lights of the Folk Music Revival and winner of the prestigious National Heritage Fellowship. Glassie’s landmark collection of early Ola Belle Reed recordings were recently deposited in the Archives of Traditional Music, an ethnographic sound archive located at Indiana University in Bloomington.

This project is a co-production between Dust-to-Digital, Maryland State Arts Council and Indiana University.

Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley

The album pairs Rob Ickes, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 15-time Dobro Player of Year, with rising singer/guitarist Trey Hensley whom Ickes recently discovered while recording in the Tri-Cities area of East Tennessee. After collaborating with Hensley on an album track from Blue Highway’s current release, and inviting him to guest on some live shows, Ickes was inspired for the two musicians to record a studio project together.BEFORE THE SUN GOES DOWN is the result of that effort and it is a unique project in the way it seamlessly blends contemporary bluegrass and the spare studio stylings of classic ‘60s and ‘70s country music.

Hensley’s voice is something of a miracle, a throwback to the great country singer icons of the genre’s first golden era, at one moment evoking an early George Jones or Merle Haggard, and at another, Conway Twitty or Hank Snow. The fact that Hensley is still just in his early 20’s makes the experience of listening to him even more astounding. His talent has drawn the attention of more than his fair share of Music Row heavy weights including Marty Stuart who said: “Trey Hensley is the real deal—I’m one of his biggest fans.” Dobro master Rob Ickes is the perfect musical foil to Hensley’s prodigious talent, both as a musician and co-producer. His Dobro ornaments Hensley’s vocal lines with perfect finesse one moment and with jaw-dropping fire the next, showing why he is one of the best to ever pick up the instrument. On the production side of things, Ickes has a solid hand and deep musical understanding which enables him to draw the connections between bluegrass and early country to create a cohesive and highly successful end result.

The 13-track album includes a hard-driving cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s masterpiece “Georgia on A Fast Train,” which showcases Trey’s acoustic guitar chops, “My Way Is The Highway,” an original by Trey that elicits a classic country vibe, as well as the album’s title track, which is an elegantly played country shuffle that illustrates just how well Ickes and Hensley have absorbed the sounds of shared musical influences.

Featuring: Ron Block, Mike Bub, Susanne Cox, John Gardner, Aubrey Haynie,Shawn Lane, Andy Leftwich, John Randall Stewart, Dan Tyminski and Pete Wasner

“In the ever changing world of country music, it’s comforting to know that the real deal still exists.” —Marty Stuart

“I’m sure I don’t make a true ‘critic’ since I’m already such a fan, but the new album from Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley is a wonderful piece of work. And my songwriting side is truly overwhelmed. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” —Merle Haggard

“The Trey Hensley/Rob Ickes collaboration…features both electrified honky tonk and Doc Watson-style acoustic bluegrass boogie with some killer flatpicking. And above all that enthralling, nuanced singing.” —Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots

Claire Lynch

Long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. She was the 2013 Female Vocalist of the Year for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and a 2012 recipient of the United States Artists Walker Fellowship. Her career has been decorated with many other accolades including two GRAMMY nominations and three International Bluegrass Music Association Female Vocalist awards in 2010 and 1997.   Recently, at the 2014 IBMA Awards, she received two trophies: “Song of the Year” for Dear Sister, a co-write with Louisa Branscomb and title cut of her latest Compass Records release; and “Recorded Event of the Year” for a guest vocal appearance with Special Consensus on Country Boy; A Bluegrass Tribute to John Denver  (Wild Montana Skies).

Dolly Parton credits Claire with “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.” Claire’s harmonies have graced the recordings of many stellar musicians. Equally gifted as a songwriter, her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites and others.

Blazing her own trail in the mid 70’s when there were few role models for a young woman in the genre, Claire Lynch made history when she led the Front Porch String Band, which evolved in the 80’s and 90’s into “one of the sharpest and most exciting post-modern bluegrass bands on the circuit.” She formed her own Claire Lynch Band in 2005 and has since consistently been a top pick of prestigious publications, critics and audiences across the U.S. and beyond.

Claire grew up in Kingston, N.Y. until the age of 12, when the family moved to Huntsville, Alabama. There she began her education in country music and got caught up in the bluegrass revival of the 1970’s, joining a band called Hickory Wind. Later, the band changed its name to the Front Porch String Band with Claire’s vocals as its centerpiece.

In 1981, after their first nationally-released recording, the group retired from the road, and Claire pursued dual careers in addition to raising a family. As a songwriter, her tunes have been recorded by such luminaries as Patty Loveless, The Seldom Scene, Cherryholmes, Kathy Mattea, The Whites and Stephanie Davis. At the same time, she became a much sought-after session vocalist.

In 1991, the Front Porch String Band was resurrected with the album Lines and Traces, a move that ultimately led to the launching of Claire’s solo career in earnest. Friends for a Lifetime was released in 1993 followed by Moonlighter in 1995 (Claire’s first GRAMMY nomination) and Silver and Gold in 1997 (also nominated for GRAMMY glory). She was named the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year in 1997 and enjoyed many chart successes. The band wrapped up the 20th century with the album Love Light in 2000. At that time Claire took what she thought would be a full-fledged break from music, stepping away from the grind of daily touring. She wasn’t sure when–or if–she would return. “I hadn’t planned to come back. Then one day I opened my catalog of songs and realized that I’d written my life,” she said.

Little by little, the lure of music worked its way back. She sang harmony on The Grass is Blue and Little Sparrow which led to promotional touring as backup vocalist for Dolly Parton. She graced albums by other artists with her background vocals including Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Pam Tillis, Alison Brown, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea and Ralph Stanley. Today, the impressive list of other guest appearances continues including spots on albums by Donna the Buffalo, Sara Watkins, the Gibson Brothers, Jonathan Edwards and Jesse Winchester.

In 2005, Lynch struck out on her own, forming the Claire Lynch Band and releasing the aptly named New Day CD. It was a hit on the bluegrass charts and earned her IBMA nominations for “Song of the Year” and “Female Vocalist of the Year.” In 2007, Rounder Records featured a brilliant catalog of music from her previous five albums on their label and titled the anthology collection, Crowd Favorites. More IBMA nominations followed as well as an induction into the Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.

Whatcha Gonna Do, Claire’s next release (2009), was called “a stripped-down production with sumptuous acoustic atmospheres” showcasing…the instrumental brilliance of her four-piece band.“ After a busy touring schedule in 2010, she received three IBMA nominations including “Song of the Year” and “Recorded Event of the Year,” winning the 2010 trophy for Female Vocalist of the Year.

Ms. Lynch’s USA Walker Fellowship Award ($50,000.) was one of 50 salutes given from United States Artists (USA) for 2012. The USA Fellows represent the most innovative and influential artists in their fields – including cutting-edge thinkers and traditional practitioners from the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater arts, and visual arts.

In January 2013, after a long, successful stint with Rounder Records, Claire signed a recording deal with esteemed Nashville roots label Compass Records, called by Billboard Magazine, “…one of the greatest independent labels of the last decade.”  With their co-founder Garry West producing, she released the ninth solo recording of her career titled Dear Sister. By Summer, the album had reached the #1 position on the Roots Music Reports Top 50 Bluegrass Chart seven times and was nominated for “Album of the Year” at the 2013 IBMA Awards.

The current Claire Lynch Band is a powerful juggernaut, a quartet that has the innate ability to perfectly interpret the beauty, subtlety, and genre-defying sophistication of Claire’s music. The Claire Lynch Band features like-minded musicians blending tradition and innovation – two-time IBMA-winning bassist-clawhammer banjo player-dancer-percussionist Mark Schatz, soulful mandolinist-guitarist Jarrod Walker, and young string wizard Bryan McDowell, who at 18, won an unprecedented triple win at the Winfield, Kansas National Flatpicking Championship.

Touring behind Dear Sister  (2014 IBMA “Song of the Year”) has provided the band the opportunity to present fresh, timeless material, including the title track – a tear-inducing masterpiece co-written by Claire with Southerner Louisa Branscomb. It’s an intimate farewell letter shared between a brother and sister, their lives ravaged by the destruction of the Civil War and delivered with all the tenderness Lynch is known for.

The band’s newest release (Sept. 2014) was a seasonal project titled Holiday! on Claire’s own label Thrill Hill Records. It was recorded during the interim of her last and next Compass recordings and includes seasonal favorites, a couple originals (Claire Lynch/Steven Sheehan’s Heaven’s Light and Henry Hipkens’ Snow Day) and even a rendition of In the Window, a traditional Chanukah song.

As one observer writes, “Listening to Claire Lynch sing is not something to be undertaken casually. Her songs and stage presence demand the listener’s rapt attention. She’s an intensely soulful singer, whose distinctive voice resonates with power and strength, yet retains an engaging innocence and crystalline purity. She’s also a songwriter of extraordinary ability who can bring listeners to their feet with her buoyant rhythms or to their knees with her sometimes almost unbearably poignant and insightful lyrics.” (Dave Higgs-WPLN Nashville, -WAMU Washington DC)

In 2014, Digital Journal.com listed Claire as “One of the 10 Best Angelic Voices of Our Time”.  She shared that honor with such luminaries as Judy Collins, Alison Krauss, Sarah McLachlan, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris.

Ray Wylie Hubbard



When it comes to down ’n’ dirty roots ’n’ roll, nobody in the wide world of Americana music today does it better than Ray Wylie Hubbard. 
Except, it seems, for Hubbard himself. After riding a decade-long career resurgence into the national spotlight with 2012’s acclaimed The Grifter’s Hymnal and his first ever appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman (“I didn’t want to peak too soon,” quips Hubbard, 68), the iconoclastic Texas songwriter is back to continue his hot streak with The Ruffian’s Misfortune — his 16th album(and third on his own Bordello Records, via Thirty Tigers) released April 7, 2015.
From his humble beginnings as an Oklahoma folkie in the ’60s to his wild ride through the ’70 progressive country movement, and onward through the honky-tonk fog of the ’80s to his sobriety-empowered comeback as a songwriter’s songwriter in the ’90s, Hubbard was already a bona fide legend by the time he really found his groove right at the turn of the century. That’s when he finally felt confident enough in his guitar playing to dive headlong into his own inimitable take on the blues, a form he’d admired but steered clear of for decades, thinking its mysteries were beyond his grasp as a basic chord strummer. “I used to go see Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb and Freddie King, all those cats, but I never could play like them — I guess because I never took the time or effort to try — until I was in my 40s and learned how to finger pick,” says Hubbard. “Once I learned how to finger pick, I started going, ‘Oh, OK, this is how they did all that!’ 



Then I started learning open tuning, and then slide, and it was just this incredible freedom that gave all these songs a door to come through that wasn’t there before. It was like all of a sudden having this whole other language or a whole other set of tools to add to my arsenal.” In lieu of drugs and alcohol, that language became Hubbard’s new addiction — and the title of his 2001 album Eternal and Lowdown somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy: 14 years further down the road, he’s still chasing hellhounds deep into the underbelly of the blues, with a Lightnin’ Hopkins gleam in his eyes and a Rolling Stone swagger in his boot steps. The Ruffian’s Misfortune is his latest missive home from this leg of his long journey. Its message? Don’t wait up.
Packing 10 brand new songs into just under 34 minutes, The Ruffian’s Misfortune is the tightest and most focused record of Hubbard’s career.


Tony Furtado – The Bell


Very few musicians of any stripe so personify a musical genre as completely as Tony Furtado embodies Americana roots music. Tony is an evocative and soulful singer, a wide-ranging songwriter and a virtuoso multi-instrumentalist adept on banjo, cello-banjo, slide guitar, and baritone ukulele who mixes and matches sounds and styles with the flair of a master chef (he’s also an accomplished sculptor, but that’s another story). All the music of America is in Tony’s music. Relix hit the nail on the head when writing of Tony Furtado: “True talent doesn’t need categories.”






The Bell, Tony’s brand new album, is a special CD for a number of reasons. After 25 years of recording for such record companies as Rounder, Dualtone, What Are Records and Funzalo, Tony is finally completely independent, with his own label, YousayFurtado Records, and only one set of ears to answer to: his own. This is the first album in a long time on which Tony had complete artistic control. It’s his music, done his way. Tony proudly describes The Bell as “the most personal album of my career,”  and that begins with the songs. A songwriter of increasing breadth and sophistication, Tony addresses the weighty themes of life and death here with a hard-won sense of peace and acceptance. Several of the songs on The Bell (including “Tired Lion”  and “Ashes of Man”) deal in one way or another with the death of Tony’s father, to whom the album is dedicated. Balancing those songs are compositions celebrating the birth of his son (“Star”) and his own creative re-birth (“Broken Bell,”  “Low Road”  and “Give Me Your Soul”) that accompanied his recent regaining of control of his music and career with a move to a new record label and management team.

The Bell is also special to Tony as it represents a return to his banjo-playing roots, with the banjo and cello-banjo far more prominent than in recent years. Long-time fans will certainly applaud this back-to-the-future move—and groove to the swampy vibe of the instrumentals “Astoria”  and “Jo Jo.”  Tony says that playing more banjo “feels like home,”  and that he especially likes the “moody and menacing”  feel of the lower- voiced cello-banjo, a relatively new instrument for him. Because Tony is so happy about the new CD—and just because he can—The Bell is being simultaneously released with Copper and Tin, a mostly instrumental EP containing six cuts including the tunes “8th of January”  and a traditional Irish medley of “The Blackhaired Lass/Rakish Paddy/The Ladies’  Pantalettes.”
Now that’s the way to run a record company.

Jacob Tovar and the Saddle Tramps




Jacob Tovar is a man from a different era, a different time. With a gentleman’s handshake, a booming voice, a contagious smile and a quick wit, this Tulsa, OK performer effortlessly connects with all walks of life through his sincere songs of country, western, and old-fashioned honky tonk. He’s played with Junior Brown, Bill Kirchen, Wayne Hancock and many other respected artists.

With many family roots in Perry, OK, Jacob grew up in the country, learning the lessons of a long, hard-worked day. His late brother, Josh, was his inspiration to pick up the guitar. His mother was also an influence, instilling an innate sense of melody through the long lost art of whistling, which Jacob takes seriously. His transformation as a professional artist quickly took place upon his move to Tulsa, immersing himself in the deep talent pool of that fine city.


Jacob Tovar & The Saddle Tramps debut album was recorded at Fellowship Hall Sound with Jason Weinheimer and is slated for an August 2015 release. Jacob has very recently been on tour with Wink Burcham in Europe and is looking forward to playing some summertime sets in Tulsa before the album release!



I Draw Slow



Dublin roots band I Draw Slow have been drumming up enthusiastic reviews in Ireland since the release of their top 10 selling second album, Redhills. Irish national broadcaster RTE made Redhills album of the week and Redhills has been welcomed to the playlists of stations across the country. However, their impact abroad is redrawing the map for these Irish/Americana songwriters.

I DRAW SLOW’s 2015 released 3rd album, WHITE WAVE CHAPEL is a creative progression for I DRAW SLOW. The sound is rooted in the style of the Appalachian Mountains and draws on the traditions of Irish music while incorporating all that’s great about modern Americana.  I DRAW SLOW have created a whole new songbook of stories and melodies with this album. It features tales of dark and light, of debauchery and love, of trouble and joy that are sure to become firm favourites with their growing fan base at home and abroad.


They have been described in the UK press as “American top league equivalents” destined “to blow the opposition away”, drawing favourable comparisons with Gillian Welsh and Alison Krauss. The band has played to audiences in the UK, Germany, Denmark and Belgium and started 2012 with a performance with the Legendary Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and an appearance at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow Scotland.


I Draw Slow is a five-piece outfit comprising vocals, guitar, fiddle, banjo and double bass. Holden siblings Dave (guitar) and Louise (vocals) have been writing together for two decades. In 2008 the pair teamed up with Violinist Adrian Hart, Claw hammer banjo player Colin Derham, Double bassist Konrad Liddy to form I Draw Slow


The Sound: Alt-country, folk, roots, old-time, Americana The five have created a new sound, rooted in the old time style of the Appalachian Mountains, drawing on Irish traditional music and modern Americana. However, this is a whole new songbook of stories and melodies. These are dark tales of debauchery and trouble swinging from the kind of well-crafted melodies that survive.

River Whyless

“Sometimes it can be hard to stand out in the crowd when you’re producing experimental folk rock. Plenty of groups are capable of harmonizing well and turning simplistic rhythms into infectious anthems, but it’s rare to find artists who can evoke as much emotion as River Whyless.”  – Paste Magazine

“Throughout all five tracks on River Whyless though, I’m reminded of the difference between a hand-knit hat and one run off an endless conveyor belt, between baking cookies from scratch or just cutting into a big Nestle log of pre-made dough. We lose a closeness to things when they come to us processed through machines, and the way this music from River Whyless comes to us feels hand-wrought. There’s something valuable about that process, even as we look to the future.” – Caitlin White, The Bluegrass Situation




River Whyless is: Halli Anderson, Daniel Shearin, Ryan O’Keefe and Alex McWalters

Awna Teixeira

Portuguese-Canadian, multi-instrumentalist, Awna Teixeira began her musical career in 2001 performing all over North America and writing songs with various bands before joining Po’Girl, one of Canada’s hardest working international touring acts, in 2005. Over the course of creating five albums and seven years of solid-touring in 15 different countries, on 4 different continents, and playing between 200 and 250 shows a year, Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira have become the core of the highly-esteemed and internationally-recognized band, Po’Girl. Awna, while still working with Po’Girl, released her 1st solo album ‘Where The Darkness Goes” in 2012, her EP ‘Thunderbird in 2013, and is releasing her 2nd solo album ‘Wild One’ March 2015.



In her formative years, Awna toured and did street performances nationally with The Derby and The Red Eyed Rounders. She then teamed up with the all-girl, country-folk band Barley Wik with whom she released two full length albums, touring nationally for three years. Barley Wik won numerous Vancouver Island Music Awards including, “Album of the Year,” “Most Listenable CD,” and “Best Acoustic Act.” 
Upon meeting Allison Russell of Po’Girl, instant chemistry led to the start of a great, new musical adventure. Awna quickly packed her suitcase and began touring full-time with Po’Girl, first as their bass player and back-up vocalist, and quickly moving into accordion, banjo, guitar, ukulele, gutbucket bass, percussion and lead vocals. Awna first showcased her song writing abilities with Po’Girl on their 2007 album, “Home To You,” with the beautifully heart-wrenching compositions “Old Mountain Line”and “Drive All Night.” 
Starting in 2012, Po’Girl decided to slow their touring schedule in order to pursue other musical projects. Inspired by her many years on the road, her Portuguese-Canadian heritage and her numerous international-touring experiences, Awna embarked on her first, long-awaited, solo project bringing together an incredible collection of songs in her album “Where The Darkness Goes.”  From the Portuguese-Fado inspired “Minha Querida”and “Velai Por Nos” to the deep soul of roots music with her claw- hammer style banjo on songs like “Stand Tall” and “In The Days,”  Awna’s solo project takes you on a deeply satisfying musical journey.



On her 2012 solo release tour of the UK and Netherlands, Awna received amazing five-star reviews and was called the next”undisputed Queen of Roots Music,” by No Depression. With her fantastic song-writing ability and compelling stage presence, Awna has been likened to such legends as Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton.
In 2013 Awna released her first ever EP “Thunderbird”. Setting up a home recording space in Salt Lake City, Utah she recorded five songs, playing, singing and recording everything herself. This EP takes on a much more strip down feel and showcases some of her back catalog. She also drew and designed the cover art for this release and has plans for another EP release in 2015.
In June of 2014 Awna travelled back to her home town of Toronto, Canada recorded songs for her next full length release Wild One which was released receiving rave reviews on her first release tour March 2015 in the EU/UK.

Ralph Boyd Johnson

Ralph Boyd Johnson is a world-class singer-songwriter from Calgary, Alberta, Canada. The title “songwriter” does not clearly define Ralph’s work. He’s a wordsmith, a poet, and an observer of life who writes songs and poems of every style and genre. His poetry and compelling delivery of the spoken word is what sets him apart from other songwriters.
 Ralph has been compared to Steve Earle, Bruce Springsteen and John Prine and is cut from the same cloth as icons hank Williams Sr., Tom Waits, Lou Reed and the like. His debut CD, “Dyin to Go” produced by Billy Cowsill and Tim Williams was nominated for a 2002 Prairie Music Award.
 In the spring 2002, Ralph performed the single “What Do Ya Right?” in the CMT music special, “Farm Tracks, A Celebration of Roots Music” hosted by Jim Cuddy and also featuring, Tim Williams, Sue Foley, Stephen Fearing, National Dust and Linda McRae. 
 Red Motel Pictures (Jeth Weinrich, Director) selected the single, “Common Clay” as the front piece to the feature film soundtrack, “Cowboy Stories” to be distributed by Paramount Pictures (EU) later this year, with Willie Nelson also featured on this soundtrack.
 “Dyin To Go” was bolted together as a calling card showcasing the range of Ralph Boyd Johnson’s purely original and Canadian work from Folk to Roots Rock to Country and Spoken word. Media have expressed their support of his debut album with ONLY POSITIVE reviews:

CBC Saturday Night Blues:“Ralph Boyd Johnson is the real deal.  You know it when you hear the commitment in his voice.   You know he’s lived his songs, been down a few dark alleys and come out the other end.   This CD jumps out at you.  Everybody involved did a great job.”Holger Petersen

Penguin Eggs Magazine:
Dyin to Go: it’s terrific.  As good a debut album as I have heard in a long time.  Roots music welcomes a brand new voice.  Look out for Ralph Boyd Johnson. Les Siemieniuk.

backroadreviews.com:
“God, it pisses me off when someone with this much talent, who has worked so long to share his gifts with the rest of the world, gets passed over and lost in the cracks.  I really hope that this doesn’t happen because this guy needs to be noticed quick, and in a big way.” BJ Weikert, South Carolina
Ralph has written over 250 songs including one on the charts: “The Fool is the Last One To Know”, which he co-wrote with Billy Cowsill.  He first gained notoriety at the 1997 Calgary Folk Festival, by partaking in a songwriter’s workshop with Chip Taylor (Wild Thing, Angel of the Morning), Cindy Church and Sylvia Tyson.  He shared the stage with Dave Alvin, Joe Ely, Victoria Williams, Kevin Welch, and Blue Rodeo. He has opened for such acts as Jeff Healy and the Matthew Good Band in 1997, Vance Gilbert and Fred J. Eaglesmith in 1998 and Amos Garrett in 1999.