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Powerful: Bill Monroe Remembered Premieres June 10

Monroe_powerful_ketThe long-awaited premiere of a powerful new documentary produced by the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY takes place at 9:00 PM EDT on Tuesday, June 10, 2014  on Kentucky Educational Television.

POWERFUL: Bill Monroe Remembered tells the poignant, riveting story of Ohio County, KY native Bill Monroe, Father of Bluegrass Music, through the remembrances of dozens of his “Blue Grass Boys,” the name given to the 161 sidemen and women who, at various times, were members of his band from the 1940s until his death in 1996.

Portions of this documentary were first shown at the museum’s Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration on the anniversary of Monroe’s 100 birthday, September 13, 2011. Prominent bluegrass musician Pete Wernick, a/k/a Dr. Banjo, attended the celebration and wrote this description of POWERFUL for the bluegrass community:

“The movie “Powerful“, about Bill Monroe, made its debut right on Bill’s 100th birthday, and it is a truly awesome and amazing piece of work. The meat of the 2-hour film is beautifully shot and edited stories from his stunning cavalcade of sidemen… including Earl Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, Bobby Hicks, Jack Hicks, George Shumate, Peter Rowan, Del McCoury, Byron Berline, Glen Duncan, Bill Keith, James Monroe, Lamar Grier, and on and on.

 “These men were at their ease, very-well recorded, telling it like it was, and the subject matter and editing makes the time just fly by, as a deep and rich portrait emerges of the cross-eyed child who could lift a 1000 pound log, kick a mule in the jaw with “the sound of an exploding watermelon”, scare the devil out of his musicians, and melt your heart with a kind word or act, or soulful song.

 “This movie, by Joe Gray of Louisville, KY, is no less than a masterpiece in my opinion, with very high cinematic values, deeply insightful, and beautifully woven — probably the best movie ever about bluegrass.”

POWERFUL actually had its genesis as far back as 2003. In September of that year, in a clearly time-dated and historically impactful project, the International Bluegrass Music Museum launched its Video Oral History Project to professionally record the histories of the living members of bluegrass music’s 1st and early 2nd generations. In so doing, the museum created an archive of a vastly under-documented segment of our nation’s cultural heritage by filming in-depth, first person interviews conducted by knowledgeable historians. Many of the interviews were augmented with concert footage.

Midway through the Video Oral History Project’s process, it became apparent that the Blue Grass Boys’ remembrances about Bill Monroe had not been captured for posterity and would be lost forever if immediate action was not taken to record their histories. This loss would have been a travesty, since “bluegrass” is one of a scant handful of original American music genres, and as such, is an integral part of our nation’s cultural heritage. The pioneering members of the genre contributed to the shaping of the sound and its popularity in lands far and wide. Their influence on acoustic music in the 20th Century has since led to the establishment of bluegrass communities throughout North America, Japan, Europe, Russia, Australia, and elsewhere. This worldwide bluegrass community is currently estimated in the tens of millions and growing exponentially as the genre opens wide to its roots and branches.

The museum therefore set out to create a definitive document that would tell Mr. Monroe’s story in a way in which it had never before been told. POWERFUL: Bill Monroe Remembered, takes the viewer back to the early days of bluegrass music through the stories of those who lived it. What emerges is a powerful and enduring portrait of one of America’s most important musical creators.

After its premiere on KET, the International Bluegrass Music Museum will show POWERFUL: Bill Monroe Remembered on each day of its upcoming festival, ROMP, June 25-26-27-28.

See KET schedule info for Powerful: Bill Monroe Remembered  including rebroadcast of this special at other times.

The ROMP website is; the museum’s website is

For more information, call 888 MY BANJO.

Free Bluegrass Museum Admission to active military members and their families

Blue-Star-Museum-201413 Kentucky museums offer free admission toactive military personnel and families from Memorial Day to Labor Day this summer.

This includes the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro.

FRANKFORT, Ky. — Thirteen Kentucky museums will offer free admission to active military members and their families this summer as part of the Blue Star Museums initiative.

A collaboration of the Department of Defense, the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families and thousands of museums nationwide, the Blue Star Museum program was started five years ago as a military appreciation effort aimed at connecting military families to cultural resources in communities where they’ve moved or are based.

“The Blue Star Museum initiative is a special way for Kentucky military personnel to spend time with their friends or family in a unique setting,” said Lori Meadows, arts council executive director. “The growing list of participating museums provides a chance for visitors to explore not only fine art but also music, science and local history in the Commonwealth.”

Currently, participating Blue Star Museums in Kentucky are:

  • Kentucky Museum, Bowling Green
  • Eloise B. Houchens Center, Bowling Green
  • Historic RailPark & Train Museum, Bowling Green
  • Behringer-Crawford Museum, Covington
  • Aviation Museum of Kentucky, Lexington
  • Frazier History Museum, Louisville
  • Historic Locust Grove, Louisville
  • Muhammad Ali Center, Louisville
  • Kentucky Gateway Museum Center, Maysville
  • International Bluegrass Music Museum, Owensboro
  • Owensboro Museum of Science and History, Owensboro
  • Hopewell Museum, Paris
  • East Kentucky Science Center, Prestonsburg

The official window for free admission at Blue Star Museums runs from Memorial Day, May 26, through Labor Day, Sept. 1.

For information about Kentucky’s participation in Blue Star Museums, see the Arts Council announcement.

Concerts at the IBMM – Spring 2014

Thanks to Samson Grisman for curating our Winter/Spring 2014 Concert Series this season. And huge thanks to the following bands for bringing their talent to the museum’s devoted audiences:

January 12, Colin O’Brien

January 24, Vickie Vaughn Band

February 7, Head for the Hills

February 24, Foghorn String Band

March 16, Don Stiernberg Trio

April 17, Bradford Lee Folk and the Bluegrass Playboys

May 2, Missy Raines Band

May 22, Scott Simontacchi 



Call ahead for tours in January and February

The doors to the International Bluegrass Music Museum are closed except by appointment in the months of January and February. During this typically slow visitor season, staff produce 28 All-School Bluegrass Assembly Programs, twice-monthly Concerts, Saturday Lessons every other week, and prepare for ROMP,  new exhibits, and a busy spring, summer and fall touring season.

Please call 270-926-7891 if you want to visit the museum; we are happy to schedule your tour.

Jam sessions take place on the first Thursday of the month year ’round.


2013 Governor’s Award for Community Arts awarded to International Bluegrass Music Museum

October 29th: the museum receives the 2013 Governor’s Award for Community Arts.

The museum will be closed on Tuesday October 29 for the awards ceremony in Frankfort.


From the Kentucky Arts Council press release above:

Community Arts Award – In 1985, the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Ky., began to develop — and has since maintained — an environment in which people of all ages can discover the richness of bluegrass music. The museum is the world’s only facility dedicated to the history and preservation of bluegrass music, an important chapter in Kentucky’s musical songbook. Through its exhibits and displays, special events including a video oral history project and the overwhelmingly popular ROMP Festival that attracts thousands of visitors from across the globe, the museum ensures the living legacy of bluegrass music continues.

More details about why the International Bluegrass Music Museum has fostered community involvement and is so deserving of this award is available on the Kentucky Arts Council website for the awards.  News about the ceremony and recipients of other 2013 Governor’s awards is also on the awards page.

Clark County artist creates 2013 Governor's award

The recipients of the 2013 Governor’s Awards in the Arts will each receive a handcrafted, turned wooden sculpture by Clark County artist John Keeton when Kentucky presents the state’s highest honors in the arts.



2013 Monroe Camp Faculty Members

Mike Compton – Camp Director

Mike ComptonBorn in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1956, Mike took up the mandolin as a teenager, and in 1977, moved to Nashville and quickly found work with veteran banjoist and former Monroe sideman Hubert Davis. In the mid-1980’s, he was recruited to help found the Nashville Bluegrass Band, and the group quickly became one of the most prominent and admired in bluegrass. He worked closely with John Hartford, recording six albums with the Hartford String Band and touring extensively until Hartford’s death in 2001. That same year, Mike performed as a Soggy Bottom Boy on 2001’s Grammy Album of the Year, O Brother, Where Art Thou? He’s Mike Compton — Grammy and IBMA award-winning recording artist; solo, duo and band performer; passionate teacher and advocate for the mandolin.

Mike is well-known as one of the foremost authorities on Monroe-style Mandolin. Mike serves again as your Camp Director. For more information on Mike Compton, see

Richard Brown, Associate Director

Richie BrownRichard Brown has been a bluegrass musician in the Boston area since the mid-sixties. He has played with prominent New England bands and nationally known bluegrass artists. Richard’s playing is heavily influenced by Bill Monroe’s style and “old style” mandolin players. He is currently bandleader of the Boston-based Reunion Band. Richard serves on the Board of Directors of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, and is associate director of the Museum’s Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp.

Roland White – Faculty Member

rolandWhiteGrowing up in rural Maine in a household of musicians, Roland White’s passion for music was instilled at an early age, playing a $2.50 “tater bug” mandolin alongside his siblings. By the time the family moved to Burbank, California, in the early 1950’s, the children were ready to take their careers to the next level. By the mid-50’s the White brothers met banjo player Billy Ray Latham who, along with Roland and Clarence, formed the nucleus of the Kentucky Colonels. In 1967, Roland was recruited to play guitar with Bill Monroe, a job that lasted for the better part of two years, until White signed on as mandolin player with Lester Flatt’s newly formed Nashville Grass. After a fateful automobile accident in 1973, Roland returned to Nashville and joined the band Country Gazette.  Since 1989, Roland has played with the Nashville Bluegrass Band.

Roland returns again as an instructor at mando camp,   is the author of several instructional mandolin publications and regularly teaches mandolin lessons.  See the Roland White page for more information on his books, mandolin lessons, his current band, and other musical endeavors.

Skip Gorman – Faculty Member

2009 National Cowboy Poetry GatheringSkip Gorman was born in Rhode Island in 1949 and introduced to traditional music at an early age.  An encounter with Monroe at age twelve was a pivotal moment in the young musician’s life, and aside from being a masterful cowboy singer and fine fiddler, Gorman is one of the premier mandolinists in the style of Bill Monroe.  In 1977, Skip recorded his first album of old-time cowboy songs and fiddle tunes, Powder River, which, along with his Trail to Mexico (1983), was among the very first attempts by a folk revivalist musician to reintroduce the older traditions of American cowboy music. In 1995, Gorman’s Rounder debut, A Greener Prairie, was released to universal acclaim.

Skip has taught at mando camp for several years. For more information, see

Jesse Brock – Faculty Member

jesseBrockWinner of the 2009 IMBA Mandolin Performer of the Year, Jesse Brock has spent a lifetime in bluegrass, starting with his family band at the age of nine, and later with national acts such as Chris Jones and the Night Drivers and The Lynn Morris Band. Jesse first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry at age 11.  He has performed on stages with Ricky Skaggs, George Jones, Willie Nelson, Alison Krauss, The Tony Rice Unit, among others. Jesse was an integral part of Michael Cleveland’s two solo albums on Rounder and is a solo artist in his own right, with an IBMA award-nominated CD Kickin’ Grass.  Aside from his touring schedule, Jesse teaches mandolin in Yarmouth, ME, at the highly-acclaimed 317 Main St. Music Community School.

This is Jessie’s first year as a Monroe-Style Mandolin Camp faculty member.  For more information see


Mark Royal, Adjunct Faculty Member

markRoyalHailing from Ohio County, Kentucky, birthplace of Bill Monroe, Mark stays true to his roots as an avid follower of the Bill Monroe mandolin performance style.  An important fixture on the regional bluegrass scene, he has attended several mando camps in the past, and joined the camp as an adjunct faculty member in 2012.


Will Kimble – Luthier

willKimbleBorn in 1969, Will fell in love with mandolins in 1997, and began building in 2000.  His father, Fred Kimble, taught Will how to build and still works with him to this day.  He is also influenced by his friend and mentor, Lynn Dudenbostel.  Will and his father are inspired by Loar-era Gibsons as they pursue their passion of building mandolins.

Will (along with fellow Luthier Paul Duff) will be providing mandolin repair, advice, and construction and care sessions at mando camp.
Paul Duff – Luthier
paulDuffPaul’s passion for building mandolins was born out of a chance encounter with the music that was to become such an important part of his life – a bluegrass performance in Western Australia.  After building his first mandolin in 1982, Paul became fascinated with the array and diversity of skills, many from a bygone era, required to successfully build a mandolin. In the almost three decades since, he has been focused on refining, developing and applying these skills to his one true passion; the mandolin family of instruments produced by Gibson in the 1920s.

Paul (along with fellow Luthier Will Kimble) will be providing mandolin repair, advice, and construction and care sessions at mando camp.

Hours of Operation

Regular hours:
Tuesday - Saturday
10am-5:00pm CST
1pm -4pm CST

Closed on Mondays

Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day.


Museum members always get in free
Adults / Seniors: $5
Students: $2
Children under age 6: free
Group Rates: Call 270-926-7891
Special pricing & event packages are available for tours or groups.
Call 270-926-7891 to arrange a unique trip, live performance, or guided tour:

Enjoy the Museum!

888-MY BANJO (toll-free)

Museum Entrance
117 Daviess Street
Owensboro, KY 42303
between the Ohio River & 2nd Street

Mailing Address
International Bluegrass Music Museum
207 East Second Street
Owensboro, KY 42303

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