Most recent news: On February 2, 2014, Bluegrass singer Dale Ann Bradley was awarded the traditional Female Vocalist of the Year by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America in Nashville, Tennessee.
Raised in the coal fields of Appalachia, life for Dale Ann Bradley was much like her musical heroes from the same area in the southern mountains. No running water or electricity was available until she was a senior in high school. “One light socket and an extension cord kept a 1950's "Philco" refrigerator, box fan, and radio going”, as quoted by Dale Ann. "Tar paper will keep the roof from leaking and soup beans taste the best on a coal stove."
Along with living in an extremely rural atmosphere, there were heavy religious restrictions as well. "Primitive Baptist" was the church denomination where her father was, and still is, a minister and pastor. No musical instruments were permitted in any service, and, in the churches in the mountains, no musical staffs would be found. They sang from a little hymnal called “The Globle”. Singing that was, and still is, very similar to Ralph Stanley's accapella spirituals. Television was very limited as well. An aluminum antenna was the only way to obtain reception. It's during this time that she was mesmerized by The Porter Wagoner Show.
Due to lack of accessibility and religious restrictions, it was nearly impossible to get recorded music to listen to. A relative bought her an 8 track tape player as well as tapes from her favorite entertainers. She was around fourteen when she received her first guitar. "It was a little plywood, small body guitar, but it had six strings and I made a pick from a milk jug".
It was her junior year in high school when a new band director Mearl Risner, came to her school. He was a childhood friend of her mother and grew up in the same small community where Dale Ann, her mother, and grandmother were raised. The band director and his wife sang weekly during the summers at Pine Mountain State Park in Pineville, Ky. They invited Dale Ann to perform with them and this band configuration became the "Backporch Grass."
After marrying, moving to Jacksonville, Florida, and giving birth to her son, Dale Ann returned to Kentucky. She hadn't performed in a couple years. Knowing that she really craved making music, she called on former "Backporch Grass" band mate and friend, Harold McGeorge to assist her in starting her career again. They began writing and making trips to Nashville to knock on doors. On the way back home from one of these trips, they made a stop at Kentucky's famous Renfro Valley. She dropped off a demo there and received a call before she got home that day asking is she could perform that coming Friday night on The Barn Dance. She was invited to stay and entered into an extensive contract with the entertainment center.
While at Renfro Valley, she performed on all shows and recorded on The Sunday Morning Gatherin', which still remains the second oldest radio show in America next to The Grand Ole Opry. Dale Ann also recorded two solo albums during her tenure at Renfro Valley. She joined "The New Coon Creek Girls" while at the Valley and performed with them until 1997. She recorded four albums on Pinecastle Records with the band.
Pinecastle then offered her a solo deal. Sonny Osborne would be producing and she had always been a huge Osborne Brothers fan. Her first release, "East Kentucky Morning," propelled her into international media and airplay. She charted on Billboard, Gavin and International Bluegrass charts, was featured in Billboard magazine and dozens of major industry publications. The Grand Ole Opry opened its doors for Dale Ann to guest several times as a result of this project. Her second release, "Old Southern Porches," garnered more of the same accolades receiving album reviews from all over the world. The third Pinecastle release was a gospel album, "Songs of Praise and Glory," which also shined especially in the Gospel market.
Dale Ann then moved to Doobie Shea Records where she recorded "Cumberland River Dreams" and "Send the Angels Down." Both of these projects were co-produced by Tim Austin and Dan Tyminski of the famed movie “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou”. Having a stellar cast of musicians as well as incredible vocalists such as Allison Krauss and Dan Tyminski guesting on the project was a 'dream come true'.
Garnering international attention, venues were opening up in places Dale Ann had never dreamed, including two tours in Japan, two in Ireland, Canada, cruise ships and all over the United States. The Opry was offering her many guest spots as well. After the folding of Doobie Shea Records, Dale Ann found herself thinking about her future recording home.
Dale Ann had a wish that she would be able to work with "banjo wizard" Alison Brown. She had been watching Brown's Compass Records for a while and knew they were on the cutting edge. She felt she could grow there and was thrilled when Brown felt the same and agreed to produce. The first Compass release, "Catch Tomorrow," set Dale Ann in a whole new sonic and visual world. The album was reviewed by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribune, The Tennessean, and numerous others.
The second Compass Records release "Don't Turn Your Back" kept the train rolling for her. In 2011, she recorded her third release with Alison Brown. This album included "Country Songbird" Pam Tillis. Dale Ann, along with Pam Tillis, penned the title cut, "Somewhere South of Crazy," and in 2011 the song was a nominee for Song of the Year and Album of the Year. In 2011-2012, the IBMA bestowed the Female Vocalist of the Year to her for the fifth time.
The doors will open at Noon and the show starts at 2:00 pm. Tickets are $15.00 a person and you can purchase them at the door or by sending a check or money order to Jay Armsworthy, P.O. Box 741, California, MD. The tickets will be held at the door. A bar b que will be available for sale prior to the show. The American Legion is located on the corner of Maryland Rt. 381 and 231 in Hughesville, MD. For more information, visit www.americanlegionbluegrass.com or call 301-737-3004.