All posts by wilsonpickins

New Band for Kristi Stanley

DSC_0260On the brink of releasing her debut album with Union House Records, Kristi Stanley is proud to introduce the new band, RUNNING BLIND, that will be backing her on tour. Compiled from years of experience, high skill levels, and polished stage presence, there is no doubt that this group will do a fine job supporting Kristi’s powerful vocals.

Guitarist, as well as Kristi’s band-leader, Randy Blevins of Kingsport, TN is a self- taught musician, coming from a musical family learning to play bass and guitar at an early age, he performed with his family in church and with several local bands. Randy is no stranger to the bluegrass circle, he has received awards in NC, VA, and TN, individually as a guitarist and in band competitions.

Mandolinist, Tommy Austin, played guitar and sang with his mother in church growing up in Fall Branch, TN. Tommy has played and recorded with several bands including; The Horsecreek Mountain Boys, Clear Creek, The Rising Wind, Limited Edition, Tennessee Skyline, and The Hopsons. The past several years, Tommy has played with his wife, Vickie, in Appalachian Trail. Tommy has traveled across the United States, as well as done tours in Ireland, Scotland, and England playing bluegrass. Also, contributing songwriting talents, Tommy has had songs recorded by artists such as Mark Newton, Josh Williams, and the Daughters of Bluegrass. Tommy’s song, “A Christmas Tear” was chosen in the top three in the Chris Austin songwriting competition at Merlefest.

Bass Player, Vickie Austin began singing at an early age with her dad in church. At age 13, her parents bought her an upright piano for her birthday. She sang and recorded two gospel music projects with her sister and won several talent competitions throughout her teenage years, including Kingsport Idol, where she continued to help judge for many years following her first place win. In time, Vickie joined and recorded a bluegrass album with the Twin Springs Bluegrass Band, singing lead and playing upright bass. She and her husband, Tommy, have performed and recorded with the band Appalachian Trail for the past twelve years. Vickie has also recorded vocals and bass on some commercials, and has been a musical extra in the upcoming biographical movie about the original 1927 Carter Family recordings, “Born in Bristol”. Along with vocals and bass, Vickie is also an accomplished songwriter and has had one of her songs reach the top ten in the International Bluegrass Music Awards songwriting competition.

Fiddle player, Ashley Davis is originally from Fayetteville, NC. Her parents encouraged her to pursue music, teaching her piano and guitar as a small child. Ashley enjoyed listening to Bluegrass on WQDR FM every Sunday night where she first heard Alison Krauss and Rhonda Vincent. At age 13, Ashley taught herself fiddle and was mentored by Mr. Leslie Sandy, a former member of Bill Monroe’s band, The Bluegrass Boys. By the time Ashley was 15 she was performing with the local bluegrass band in Fayetteville, Bill Jordan and Southern Bluegrass. Ashley has been a member of The Parsons band, Sweet Potato Pie, and the Tyler Williams Band. In 2007, Ashley recorded her first solo album, “Fiddlin’ with Les,” which is titled in honor of her musical mentor. She is currently studying for her Marketing degree at East Tennessee State University.

Resonator guitar player, Travis Houck began his musical journey as a young teenager in Chilhowie, Virginia when he first started performing with his family’s gospel band. He attended East Tennessee State University to join their Bluegrass program where he toured with the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Advertising. He also began touring with Barry Scott and Second Wind prior to graduating. In 2010, Travis was nominated for a Grammy Award for his work on the band’s debut record, In God’s Time. Travis was founding member of Monroeville for which he received the Horizon Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Travis currently resides in Sevierville Tennessee with his wife Amanda.

Banjo player, Chad Love is a third generation musician from East Tennessee and like many, he grew up playing music with his family. Chad is no stranger to holding down the banjo duties in a band having shared the stage with The Holston Mountain Boys, Darrell Webb, Wildfire, Broke Mountain Bluegrass, Hit & Run, Long Road Home, and The Duty Free Band.

The band, in it’s entirety, can be enjoyed for the first time out tomorrow at the Bristol Spring Bluegrass Festival in Bristol VA. You don’t want to miss this event! Promoters can reach out to Melanie Wilson at Wilson Pickins Promotions to book this amazing up and coming band.

Wilson Pickins Welcomes Nightflyer

11146551_1134219736604175_6533825637793652381_nWilson Pickins Promotions proudly announces that they have just added Ohio-based Nightflyer to their diverse team of bluegrass bands.

Nightflyer brings to the table an incredible sound infused with soul, traditional bluegrass drive and an ability to truly stir your emotions. These highly skilled musicians offer decades of experience between them and a respect and love for their craft that exudes each time they take the stage with their electrifying performance.

The band’s lead singer and guitarist Richard Propps consistently receives rave reviews on his powerful and often awe-inspiring vocals and excellent guitar playing. Superb mandolinist and occasional lead vocalist Rick Hayes spent four years touring nationally with the Gibson Brothers, and received a coveted Highlight Review from Bluegrass Unlimited on his solo CD, FLY BY NIGHT. Tony Kakaris is the rock solid heartbeat of Nightflyer on the standup bass, lending baritone as well as lead vocals to the group. Tim Jackson adds spice to the mix with his fiery dobro performances, and an occasional lead and baritone. Rounding out the sound is Ronnie Stewart, contributing killer banjo, and sweet lyrical tenor and lead vocals. Each individual is outstanding on their own, but this is truly a band that is greater than the sum of its parts.

“Flyer” fans everywhere will want to be on alert as there is a new project taking shape to follow the widely successful, RAIL RIVER & ROAD. The guys are in the studio and working on choosing the perfect mix of new material. Nightflyer performs all over the United States and Canada and can be found this year on festival stages like the Bean Blossom Festival in Indiana, Mandolin Farms Bluegrass Festival in Kentucky, Back Forty Bluegrass Festival in Missouri, and the Miami Valley Bluegrass Heritage Festival in Ohio, just to name a few.

Please contact Wilson Pickins Promotions to book Nightflyer for your festival stage or venue at 864-359-7999 or by email at

Gil Benson to Branded Bluegrass

GilNot long ago, Gil Benson, an outstanding fiddle player from the Cincinnati, OH area, took part in a very successful project he recorded with the popular Indiana-based band, Branded Bluegrass. MOST WELCOME, was released in 2016 and has not only received escalated bluegrass radio airplay, a boost in their band following and bookings, but also a series of nine SPBGMA nominations that stemmed from it, for both the album and it’s participating members, including Gil.

Until just recently, Gil had been playing locally with a band close to home and filling in with Branded and some other bands as often as he could. Benson has now made the decision to join on as an official band member with Branded Bluegrass.

“I’ve been filling in on fiddle with Branded Bluegrass for nearly two years for gigs that Albert Swain couldn’t make. When Larry asked me to step in full time this past February at SPBGMA, I thought it was the right time to commit to their group. They’re (Larry, Jesse, Mike, Tristen) a fun group of fellas that bring a lot of energy and laughs every time we get together. I look forward to playing music with these guys each and every time out.” -Gil Benson

Branded Bluegrass couldn’t be happier than to have Gil on board with the band and looks forward to touring with him and recording their upcoming project.

Folks can find Branded Bluegrass this weekend at the Mississippi Bluegrass Reunion in Purvis, MS, and promoters can book the band with Wilson Pickins Promotions at 864-359-7999,


New Song Release From EAST OF MONROE

Up and coming, Virginia and Maryland-based Americana/bluegrass band, East Of Monroe is releasing a new single from their record By The River’s Edge. The new single, “Say What You Mean”, written by the band’s guitar player and also one of the lead vocalists, Gary Alan Ferguson, was the winner of the 2015 DCBU Hazel Dickens Songwriting contest.

14680744_1123359644367874_6431026591484899902_nEast Of Monroe records and plays mostly original tunes along with a few covers of some diverse favorites. The deeply experienced band members all have different influences and backgrounds that account for the many styles of music the group plays. This all creates a melting pot of pleasant and enjoyable music for the listener as it comes together in a unique and entertaining way. Their new release, By the River’s Edge, has placed them in a position to be a force on the acoustic scene.

“While reviewing some new CDs and music for The Grass You Love, I happened upon East of Monroe. Before I realized it I had listened to the entire project! Great album! Above all else, a great listening album! Highly recommended!” 
-Kenneth Berrier, “The Grass You Love” on WEHC Emory, Virginia & WOPI Bristol, Tennessee

East Of Monroe showcases the talents of Billy Budd on bass, Gary Alan Ferguson on lead guitar, mandolin and vocals, Jackie Frost on guitar and vocals, Lisa Kay Howard Hughes on mandolin and vocals, Wally Hughes on fiddle, resonator guitar and vocals, and Terry Wittenberg on banjo and vocals.

East Of Monroe has a rescheduled CD Release party (due to a snow storm earlier in the year) on March 16th at The Kenmore Inn in Fredericksburg, VA. where you can hear this and the many of the other tracks from this terrific new acoustic record live and in person.

By The River’s Edge, with new single “Say What You Mean”, is available for radio programmers on AirPlay Direct and publicly on popular download sites or the band website. Promoters can contact Wilson Pickins Promotions regarding bookings at 864-359-7999 or


Steve Wilson Assumes Official Agent Role With Wilson Pickins

Growing promotions and booking agency, Wilson Pickins Promotions, had a banner year in 2016, signing a diverse team of incredible artists from around the country. With growth, comes staff expansion and we are thrilled to announce that our silent partner up until this time, Steve Wilson, will be assuming the role of promoter/agent, working alongside wife, Melanie to successfully further the exposure of all of their bands.

steveSteve, also the banjo player for his band Wilson Banjo Co., has been working on small projects for the agency here and there, mostly on technical side utilizing his at home recording studio, but looks forward to getting more involved with all aspects of the business and working closely with the bands. He is very impressed with all of the talent teamed up with the agency and has had the privilege of performing with many of them as well. Probably the biggest impact on Steve has been the dedication and loyalty shown not only by Melanie to the bands, and the hard work that goes into what she does, but the high level of teamwork that goes on between the bands all supporting each other out in the world. Everyone seems to truly want to see the others succeed. He says “it’s just not something that you see in any other genre of music and it’s awesome.”

Steve worked for Gibson Custom Art division in Nashville, TN, where he honed his Luthier skills which led him to building his current line of Wilson Custom Banjos. He also has an at-home recording studio where he works on local and some agency projects, demos, miscellaneous album tracks and currently his upcoming record with his own band.

The couple is excited to see what the future brings for this incredible team of musicians and looks forward to contributing whatever they can to furthering the bluegrass music they love.

Follow all of the updates and news from Wilson Pickins Promotions online or on Facebook.

New Single From Pinecastle Recording Artist Kim Robins

Pinecastle Records is pleased to announce the signing of bluegrass artist, Kim Robins to the label, and is releasing to radio the first single “Eye For An Eye”, from her upcoming album RAINING IN BALTIMORE. Kim Robins couldn’t be more proud than to have joined forces with Pinecastle, or excited about her first release with her new album.

“I am grateful to Pinecastle Records for giving me the opportunity to finally live out my dream. It is such an honor to be on an outstanding label with such amazing artists. I am so humbled by everyone who has helped me achieve this goal. I hope you all enjoy this project as much as I have enjoyed making it. When I first heard “Eye For An Eye”, I knew it was a song I wanted to record. I loved the melody and it gave me the ability to show off my vocal range.
I tend to 
gravitate toward songs with a darker subject and this song was right up my alley.”
-Kim Robins

krraininginbaltimorecoverThe album follows Kim’s popular 2013 release, 40 YEARS LATE, which ultimately earned her an IBMA nomination for Momentum Vocalist of the Year in 2015, as well as garnering a high volume of airplay on bluegrass radio. Though Robins took a brief reprieve for personal reasons, her fan base continued to grow as a result of her first album’s success along with her many appearances on high profile stages across the country while promoting it.

With RAINING IN BALTIMORE (Produced and Engineered by Ron Stewart and Rickey Wasson), Kim continues down her path of songwriting discovery as she delivers even more great original and personal, storytelling songs. Also included are songs brought to her by some of bluegrass music’s most prolific songwriters, plus a few familiar tunes the audience may recognize. A very well thought out project with diverse song choices and something to offer everyone, this record will be one to watch in 2017.

Appearing with Kim on the new single, “Eye For An Eye”, written by Kim Fox, are Ron Stewart, Adam Steffey, Harold Nixon, Shannon Slaughter and Alicia Wasson. Shannon Slaughter, who appears as a guest vocalist throughout much of the project had this to say:

“Kim has really delivered the goods with her latest project! I’m so proud to be a part of it. A-plus singing and A-list picking make this a record you’ll want to add to your collection for 2017. It’ll definitely be in mine!”  -Shannon Slaughter

Kim and her band, 40 Years late, will be making appearances during the SPBGMA festivities this coming weekend where you can see her energetic show and get the chance to meet her in person and hear the new single live. Check her out at the Troubadour Bluegrass Sessions at the Texas Troubadour Theatre in Nashville on Friday, February 3rd, at 8:30 PM and the Norwalk Music & Marshall Bluegrass Festivals Showcase at the Music City Sheraton, Suite #2081, at 11:00 PM.

Radio programmers can download the new single, “Eye For An Eye”, on AirPlay Direct. Promoters and media can reach out to Melanie Wilson, Wilson Pickins Promotions, to schedule interviews or book Kim for events and bluegrass festivals.

GRAVEL IN MY SHOE Released to Radio

Willie Wells & Blue Ridge Mountain Grass and Wilson Pickins Promotions are excited to announce the release of GRAVEL IN MY SHOE, produced by Edgar Loudermilk, to radio through AirPlay Direct. The album is a well thought out collection of traditional bluegrass music, some you will remember and some original music that is sure to please.

coversetnew1athumbContinuing the family tradition his father Bill founded, Willie Wells heads up this current version of the Blue Ridge Mountain Grass band. Singing lead and tenor, Willie is proud to perform alongside the individual talents of his bandmates. They each bring many years of stage experience with them. Larry Klein, known for his soulful Dobro playing, is the group’s only remaining original member. He was also the host of NPR’s “The Bluegrass Sound” for 30 years, having retired from the radio only recently. David Prosser and Don Ashley came to the band as a duo from the well-known Carolina Rebels band, founded by David’s dad Hank. David’s straight-ahead Scruggs style banjo is lightning fast and metronome perfect. He sings lead and harmony. Don’s hard-driven double-stop fiddle style and bass voice is an integral part of the band’s sound. Keeping the band’s beat steady and true is bassist Tommy Thomas. He can also walk up and down the neck when called on. Writing some excellent original material, both melodic and lyrical, is mandolin player Patrick Russell.

All of the band members contributed a great deal to the new record and are looking forward to promoting it in the coming year. For bookings, please contact Melanie Wilson, Wilson Pickins Promotions, at 864-359-7999.