Herschel Sizemore: Mandolin in B to screen at IBMA Bluegrass Film Festival

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Uncategorized

We are proud to announce that our documentary film Herschel Sizemore: Mandolin in B will screen at this years IBMA’s first annual Bluegrass Film Festival in Raleigh, North Carolina on October 3rd and 4th.
For more information please visit IBMA and we hope to see you there!

“Almost Hear The Blues” Latest Music Video Production

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog, Portfolio, Uncategorized

Backyard Green Films in association with Mountain Redbird Music is proud to release James Reams and The Barnstormers latest music video.
“Almost Hear the Blues” is included on James Reams & The Barnstormers’ 8th CD entitled One Foot in the Honky Tonk . The CD has made two Top Ten CD lists. Here’s what one reviewer had to say: “A wonderful bluegrass album that is just waiting for more of us to discover. As he has consistently done, within this new volume James Reams’ life experiences and those of his ancestors permeate the songs — whether he wrote them or not — not just lending them authenticity but ensuring they are authentic. There are few bluegrass singers who match the lithe and masculine timbre Reams brings to the songs he is called to perform. With One Foot in the Honky Tonk, James Reams further defines his bluegrass, blending the varied elements of the roadhouse with sounds from the hills of Kentucky and her neighbors. One foot in the honky-tonk indeed, but the rest of the Barnstormers’ bodies and their souls are deep in the bluegrass.”

“What’s Her Name?” Backyard Green Films Shoots The Latest Palominos Music Video

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog, Portfolio

Backyard Green Films is proud to release the latest music video that we shot for The Palominos and Randm Records.
Here is the lead single from The Palominos debut EP, “Come On In”, out now on Randm Records.

iTunes:

Amazon.com:

Randm Records:

Lance Hawkins – Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Thomas Zurek – Guitar, Backup Vocals
James Zurek – Bass
Craig Packham – Drums

NCBS International Bluegrass Music Museum Film Festival

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog

We are proud to announce that the documentary film Herschel Sizemore: Mandolin in B has been accepted to the NCBS International Bluegrass Music Museum Film Festival on January 26, 2014. For more information about the festival and show times please go to NCBS

Thank you for all of your support!

A portion of the proceeds to go to Bluegrass Trust Fund

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog

Backyard Green Films is proud to announce that a portion of the proceeds from the DVD sales of Herschel Sizemore: Mandolin in B will be donated to the Bluegrass Trust Fund in Herschel Sizemore’s name. Here’s more information about the trust.

The Bluegrass Trust Fund (the “Trust”) was established in 1987 as a means to offer financial assistance to bluegrass music professionals in time of emergency need. Patterned after similar entities in the music world, the Trust is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable institution governed by an autonomous five-person board of trustees appointed by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

The trustees are responsible for managing the Trust including accepting donations and making decisions on the disbursement of funds to those in need. Since 1987 the Trust has raised more than $400,000 (primarily through IBMA’s Bluegrass Fan Fest and donations from individuals) and has disbursed over half of its deposits to scores of bluegrass professionals and their families when other sources of financial help had failed them. Many times the fund is called on for medical emergencies, at times of death, natural disaster or other hardships. Applying For Assistance Financial grants and loans are available from the Trust to individuals anywhere in the world who are involved as a professional in bluegrass music (or were actively involved at some point in their career).

Examples of such professionals might include artists, composers, broadcasters, media representatives, event producers, agents, educators, managers, and employees of record companies. Families of such individuals may also qualify for assistance. Each request for assistance is judged on its own merits and should demonstrate a financial emergency or circumstance involving dire need. There is no limit to the amount an applicant may request, but grants have generally ranged from $500.00 to $5000.00 due to fund limitations. The Trust also welcomes applications from interested third parties on behalf of individuals in need. All requests and the circumstances surrounding them are held in the strictest of confidence.

Making a Donation: The Trust encourages donations of any size and welcomes planned or estate gifts. All such gifts are acknowledged and may qualify as tax deductible charitable contributions. Over 98% of funds donated and interest earned is used for actual grants and loans with only a small amount needed to cover expenses to administer the Trust.

Herschel Sizemore: Mandolin in B Documentary…Now Available on DVD!

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog

Video

Get your copy today at our Store. Also available at Amazon

Bluegrass legend Herschel Sizemore and his wife Joyce were both diagnosed with cancer on the same day in the Fall of 2011. On the evening of February 19th, 2012 bluegrass stars came out for a special benefit concert in Roanoke, Virginia and the music community that supported the event captures the spirit of the man being feted. With interviews and performances by The Seldom Scene, David Grisman, Doyle Lawson, The Travelers, Chris Thile, and a special reunion of Del McCoury and The Dixie Pals. This is a lasting tribute to one of the greatest mandolin players of our time.

Children of the Stars Now Available!

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog

Video

Using rare archival footage and interviews, Children of the Stars chronicles a UFO contactee group as they relive their past lives on other planets by making their own science fiction films. Produced by Billingsgate and Backyard Green Films. Available on DVD at Billingsgate.org

Backyard Green Films goes with Indiegogo for Fundraising

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog

Backyard Green Films is trying to raise money to finish the documentary film entitled “A Mandolin in B”. The story is about Herschel Sizemore and the many musicians he has influenced. so please go to www.Indiegogo.com/A-Mandolin-in-B to learn more and to become a part of the film.

Traveling Back to Old Virginia

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog

We are getting ready to travel back to Virginia to do another round of interviews for our documentary film “A Mandolin in B”. First with Herschel Sizemore and then down to North Carolina to interview Doyle Lawson during his festival.

Anatomy of a Song

Posted by: Rick  /  Category: Blog

Bluegrass Today just publish a story of The Travelers new song, which Backyard Green Films produced.

By:  | March 20, 2012 |

Editor’s Note: This essay traces a song from the initial idea to the recording and first public performance. We would be interested in similar stories from other songwriters.

On Feb. 19, early in the Herschel Sizemore benefit concert in Roanoke, I was pretty sure I was the most nervous person in the building.

The Travelers were getting ready to play The Tenth Day of September, a song I co-wrote last summer.

Little did I know that my co-writer, John Miller, guitarist for The Travelers, was thinking HE was the most nervous person in the auditorium. John had worked out the guitar introduction just two days before, and the band was performing it live about 36 hours after playing it together for the first time. Adding to the pressure: A California film crew was recording the performance for a short video project.

John nailed the intro and got ready to sing the opening line. This was it. Words that I had written were about to be sung on stage for the first time.

I held my breath…

Tenth Day almost didn’t get written. After Mike Conner, The Travelers bass player, introduced us early in 2011, John arranged a few songs that I wrote or co-wrote with Chris Dockins, and John and I co-wrote two of our own. One of them, River of Tears, grew out of an idea John came up with last summer after jamming at Roanoke’s Fiddle Fest with Paul Williams, Jesse Brock, Sierra Hull and others.

A quick turnaround on that one – scheduled to join The Tenth Day of September on The Travelers album due out later this year on Patuxent Records – emboldened John to throw out another idea.

“Hey, man,” the familiar voice on the other end of the phone said on a mid-August afternoon. “Let’s write a song about Sept. 11.”

My first thought:  No way. That dreadful day was too huge to wrestle into a three-minute bluegrass tune. But John and I were in the early stages of our writing relationship, so rather than reject the idea out of hand, I told him I’d chew on it a bit. I figured I’d wait a week or two, tell him I wasn’t getting anywhere and let the idea die.

My reluctance was rooted in my own experience on Sept. 11, 2001, and in the weeks that followed. As the chief White House correspondent for Bloomberg News at the time, I was with President Bush at an elementary school in Sarasota, FL, when the World Trade Center towers were attacked. Later, I traveled with him to visit a Manhattan fire station that had lost many of its firefighters that day, when he sat with elementary school students who discussed some graphic art projects they created after 9/11, and when he attended a memorial service for those who died at the Pentagon. At his first televised news conference a month after the attacks, I questioned him about U.S. efforts to capture Osama bin Laden.

But as much as I didn’t want to write the song, I couldn’t stop thinking about it as the 10th anniversary of one of the country’s darkest days approached. I don’t have children, but I thought how 9/11 forced many moms and dads to raise their kids alone. I thought how a child who was six or seven at the time, would now be driving and dating. Something clicked. I sat down and started writing from the perspective of a man who had lost his wife and was looking back a decade later.

The chorus came first:

Wish I could turn the clock back

To a day we both remember.

In my heart it’s always

The tenth day of September.

The verses fell into place soon after. The songwriting muses are fickle. Sometimes I have to wrestle with words. Sometimes they just come pouring out. This was one of those pouring-out songs.

The day after I started the song, I sent the roughed out lyrics to John. He cried the first time he read them.

John is a talented arranger and a first-rate flat picker. Within a few days, he had worked up  a melody and sang it to me over the phone. I cried the first time I heard it.

John shared the lyrics with Norman Wright of The Travelers. Norman has played with the Bluegrass Cardinals, the Country Gentlemen and other bands over the years and is a first-rate songwriter. So when I heard Norman was high on Tenth Day, I felt my dream of getting a song cut was about to come true.

Then I waited.

And waited.

And waited some more.

I tried not to get too excited, because I knew it would only take one good song to come along and push Tenth Day to the cutting room floor. Plus I remembered a cautionary tale from my songwriting buddy Cliff Abbott. One of his songs had been recorded by a bluegrass band that everybody knows, but it never made the album because the band landed a deal with a label that required it to go in a different direction.

Finally, on Jan. 19, after what seemed like a decade, I received formal word that The Travelers were, indeed, cutting The Tenth Day of September.

John and Mike had worked together on a soundtrack for a film project by Rick Bowman and Rick was flying in from San Diego for the debut. While he was in Roanoke, he planned to shoot a video project based on the benefit concert for Herschel Sizemore, which Mike was instrumental in putting together. And, at Mike’s request, Rick was also thinking about making a video about the band.

A year ago, I sat in Norman’s living room at one of the band’s first organizational meetings. I hadn’t met Norman or Kevin Church, a terrific banjo picker, before that night but I knew all about their music. I could close my eyes and just about hear Norman’s tenor and Kevin’s baritone singing one of my songs.

One thing led to another. Next thing I knew I was in John’s Christiansburg studio, being a fly on the wall as The Travelers laid down tracks for the song one day and played it live for the first time the next.

The film crew was in the studio, too, and would be at the show the next day. It was fascinating to watch the song come to life, hear Norman and Kevin add powerful harmony parts to John’s lead and watch all four guys work out the final details of the arrangement and lay down tracks. Each layer made the song a bit better. By the end of a long day, The Travelers had made The Tenth Day of September their song.

The next day took just about forever to arrive. But finally, John was introducing the song. Our song! On a stage that would be graced that day by some of the biggest names in bluegrass, who gathered without pay to honor one of their own.

As John sang the opening lines, I don’t think I was breathing.

The rest of it was a blur. Before I knew it, I heard applause.

I felt like I was a small part of the effort to raise money for Herschel Sizemore.

But there was something else, too.

I’ve called myself a songwriter for a couple of years.

Now, at last, I felt like one.