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THIS YEAR'S EVENT


Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder

With a jaw-dropping 14 Grammys and 13 awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), mandolin legend Ricky Skaggs’ career speaks for itself. Getting his start in traditional bluegrass groups, he earned an opening spot for Ralph Stanley at the age of just 16. Shifting his focus to country music in his 20s, Skaggs achieved 12 number one hits and became the youngest-ever inductee into the famed Grand Ole Opry. Over his illustrious career, Skaggs has played with many other musical legends both old and new including but not limited to Merle Haggard, Earle Scruggs, Clint Black, Emmylou Harris, Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglass, Dwight Yoakam, Ry Cooder, The Moody Blues, Bruce Hornsby, and Phish. Now Skaggs returns to his bluegrass roots with the blistering sextet, Kentucky Thunder.

As astounding as that list of legendary musicians is, Skaggs counts the current configuration of Kentucky Thunder among the best group of musicians he has ever worked with.  "This group of guys meets my approval every night," Ricky says.  "Each and every one of the pickers in Kentucky Thunder totally amazes me in every show...and that, to me, outweighs any award we could ever win."  The all-star lineup of Kentucky Thunder includes Andy Leftwich (fiddle), Paul Brewster (tenor vocals, rhythm guitar), Eddie Faris (baritone vocals, rhythm guitar), Scott Mulvahill (bass, bass vocals), Russ Carson (banjo) and Jake Workman (lead guitar).  Live at the Charleston Music Hall was honored in 2004 with a Grammy Award for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group for the Harley Allen-penned track, "A Simple Life."

Ricky Skaggs has often said that he is "just trying to make a living" playing the music he loves.  But it's clear that his passion for it puts him in the position to bring his lively, distinctively American form of music out of isolation and into the ears and hearts of audiences across the country and around the world.  Ricky Skaggs is always forging ahead with cross-cultural, genre-bending musical ideas and inspirations.

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Jon Stickley Trio

Jon Stickley Trio has been making waves with the independent and fan-funded release of their 2nd album, Lost at Last, this past October. The originality and sheer energy of this genre-bending ensemble serves as a welcome wake up call for those who experience it. With roots in gypsy jazz, bluegrass, and hip-hop in an “exhilarating all-acoustic swirl” (Acoustic Guitar Magazine), Jon Stickley Trio combines Jon Stickley’s rapid-fire flatpicking guitar with the sultry and wild, yet refined, melodies of Lyndsay Pruett on violin set over the deep groove of Patrick Armitage on drums. The three have fused their collective styles into a repertoire of exciting and innovative original music along with some captivating covers. Lost at Last was recorded in the band’s hometown of Asheville, NC at the iconic Echo Mountain Studios under the watchful eye of producer Dave King (The Bad Plus).

The New York Times’ Nate Chinen writes “… there’s hardy cohesion among the players — no less on the Gypsy standard ‘Valse de Wasso’ than on ‘Darth Radar’ a turbocharged original with a ska upbeat and a shredding melody. And when Mr. Stickley and friends turn to bluegrass, as on ‘The High Road,’ by Tim O’Brien, they sound both respectful and free.” Premier Guitar Magazine also took note of “Darth Radar,” with Jason Shadrick calling it, “a rapid-fire take that moves from a serious ska beat to burning surf-style runs that would make Dick Dale proud.”

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Despite the fantastic combination of raw talent that will grace the stage at LandJam this year, it's the very important cause that will be the central focus. Piedmont Land Conservancy has helped to preserve over 30,000 acres of land in the Piedmont Triad, and with the help of members, donors, landowners, and events such as LandJam, are well on their way to preserving 30,000 more.

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