France & Scotland
December 17, 2016
We had a wonderful trip to France and Scotland in October. We stayed with our friends Gerard and Bernadette in Normandy, France. There we were able to visit the coastal cliffs in the city of Etratat, we attended a local music jam, and we performed for the Normandy Country Association (www.normandycountry.net) on October 15. The other performers that night were The Muddy Hill Boys (http://benjaminleheu.wixsite.com/themuddyhillboys) and M. Soul (www.m-soul.com), who does Johnny Cash songs. Multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Leheu (member of The Muddy Hill Boys) played bass for us on our set and he sang lead on “My Rose of Old Kentucky.” Our friend Gerard joined us on stage and played harmonica on “Little Girl in Rome” both on Saturday night, as well as on Sunday, October 16, in Amboise, France, where we performed at the Festival Hillbilly Bop (www.festival-hillbilly-bop.com/?lang=en), a celebration of “all things America” in the ‘50s—music, cars, and clothing. What a blast! Benjamin again played bass for us and the other band that day was “The Hot House 4” (www.thehothousefour.com) from the United Kingdom. Once our performances were over, we were able to visit Brittany, France, and stay at an Air B’n’B owned by Gerard and Bernadette’s friends, Edwige and Jean-Claude. We did lots of sightseeing on the coast there in the town of Erquy. We toured the impressive Mont St. Michel on our way back to Normandy. Thanks to Gerard, Bernadette, Benjamin, Edwige, Jean-Claude, Normandy Country, Festival Hillbilly Bop, and all of our friends in France for their gracious hospitality and for making the trip so memorable! Our trip to Scotland took us to the southwestern coast and the small village of Achnamara for an annual gathering of international musicians hosted by our friends Dick and Jackie Edie. No hotels there so the local residents generously provided rooms in their homes for the musicians. We stayed with Dave and Christy (and their cute dog, Maizie). The weather was great in Achnamara, and in addition to the super music, delicious meals, and lots of laughter, we did some sightseeing around the local area including the awe inspiring coastline. Our thanks go to Dick, Jackie, Dave, Christy, Colin (for a ride from the airport), all the musicians, and everyone who worked so hard to make this weekend gathering a great success. Here’s a link to the previous Achnamara jam in 2014 (https://youtu.be/mL15XNZXl9I) Music truly does bring people together. We capped off our trip with an unexpected night in Reykjavik, Iceland, when we missed our connecting flight due to mechanical problems with the plane. Don’t worry, Icelandair paid for our hotel and meals during the stopover! We’re glad to be home and over our jet lag now, with lots of great memories to last for years and years. See our photo gallery for some of the fun!
December 6, 2016
Here is a link to a video of us performing Eight More Miles to Louisville at Normandy Country concert on October 15, 2016. Benjamin Leheu is the bass player.
Festival Hillbilly Bop
December 6, 2016
Attached is a video clip from our show at Festival Hillbilly Bop in Amboise, France, on October 16, 2016. Benjamin Leheu is playing the bass.
Way Up North
September 12, 2016
In July, we spent a wonderful week in Newfoundland, Canada, with our hosts, Gerard & Geri Beaulieu, owners of the Gateway to the North RV Park in Deer Lake, Newfoundland. Gerard took us to his cottage on the ocean at Nicky’s Nose where “Great Cod” the fishing was good! He even pulled off a traditional New England Clam Bake on the beach including lobster, crab, mussels, clams, corn, potatoes and of course cod fish, all cooked right there in a pit on the beach. Thank you Gerard & Geri for your hospitality. Gerard is a fine harmonica player and introduced us to a new old song “Big John McNeal." Check our photo page for a picture of Gerard and his big fish which he caught while we were there.
Old Time Music & Maple Syrup, Monterey, Virginia
September 12, 2016
We had a great time at the Highland County Fiddlers Convention in Monterey, Virginia (known for its fine maple syrup), on July 15-16. Weather was great, jamming was fun, contests were terrific! Mac won third place in the open category for his harmonica playing of Turkey in the Straw. Way to go, Mac!
June 6, 2016
*** NEWS FLASH *** Annie & Mac’s latest CD just released! Entitled “Stirrin’ the Pot,” it features Annie & Mac singing songs made famous by such artists as Uncle Dave Macon, the Blue Sky Boys, Webb Pierce, Ernest Tubb, Merle Travis, the Delmore Brothers, Grandpa Jones, and the Stanley Brothers. We stirred the pot of old time music and found a selection that we hope will entertain you—or at least amuse you! The CD is very easy to obtain at the CD Baby website www.cdbaby.com. We hope you will pick up a copy and start listening today and keep on enjoying that old time music! Here's a direct link http://cdbaby.com/cd/anniemac4
France, here we come!
May 23, 2016
Seawitch Fiddlers Festival in Rehoboth
November 3, 2015
Our last summer fling was to the beach at Rehoboth, Delaware, for the annual Seawitch Festival and Fiddlers Convention. We were joined by Mac’s fiddler cousin “Doc” Spitler and his wife Jean. Doc entered the fiddle competition, Mac competed in banjo, and the three of us were the “Country Cousins” in the band contest. Mac came home with third place in banjo. After the contests were over we went to a jam session for the musicians at the Catchers Restaurant. Doc had the most years of experience and he was in his element jamming with the other fiddlers, keeping up with the youngsters and having a ball. (See photo gallery.)
November 3, 2015
It’s been a busy summer here in Annie & Mac Ville. At the end of August we visited Campobello Island in New Brunswick, Canada (see photos in gallery) with our friends George and Suzi. In September we had guests from Normandy, France, (Gerard & Bernadette). Gerard joined us on the harmonica for a gig in Virginia--you can see it on YouTube—https://youtu.be/mSwgNu_rvhk
and then we all took a couple of road trips together. The first was to the Rockbridge Music & Dance Festival in Buena Vista, Virginia, and the second was a tour of West Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, and Northern Tennessee (for the Rhythm & Roots Reunion Festival in downtown Bristol). The weather was great and the festival was huge—many stages and non-stop fantastic music. Our trip finished up on the Blue Ridge Parkway at Tuggles Gap Motel & Restaurant in Floyd, Virginia. Photos of our travels are in the photo gallery.
Coming Soon--A New CD!
August 6, 2015
Every six years it seems we produce a new CD (2003, 2009 and now 2015). We have been hard at work in the recording studio and will be in the process of finishing up this exciting project soon. We’ve invited a few of our musical friends to join us on a rather eclectic mix of songs including old-time tunes, love ballads, and even a few blues numbers. Be on the lookout for an announcement sometime later this year that the new CD is ready for sale!
Maple Syrup and More
August 6, 2015
Monterey, the maple syrup capital of Virginia, was the sight of the annual Highland County Old Time Fiddler’s Convention. We were there on Saturday, July 18th, and enjoyed the great jamming in the campground plus the competitions. This was the first year the festival was held in July (rather than June like past years). Mac won third place in the “open” category for his harmonica rendition of Boatman. Way to go Mac! See you in Monterey next summer y’all.
May 20, 2015
We had a visit from Hugh and Molly who saw us on YouTube and happened to be traveling through our part of Virginia. Although the visit was brief, Hugh demonstrated how to play the “Newfie” spoons (from Newfoundland). Hugh is from Canada and he has promised to order us a pair of the original spoons. Hugh also graciously gave us a copy of his book of poetry “Moments in Time.” He is quite prolific and wrote a poem for us and our Appalachian Music. You can see the poem in our photo gallery. Enjoy!
Loudoun Bluegrass Festival
May 20, 2015
We had a blast at the 6th annual Loudoun Bluegrass Festival on May 9th at the Loudoun County 4H Fairgrounds in beautiful Leesburg, Virginia. This family friendly festival had lots of great bands, jamming, workshops and competitions. We added the “old time” flavor and Mac took first place in the banjo competition. (www.bluegrassloudoun.com)
Seawitch Fiddlers Festival
November 5, 2014
We attended the Seawitch Fiddlers Festival in Rehoboth, Delaware, on October 25th and had a blast. The weather was perfect for one last fling at the beach this year. The kids, parents, and pets were dressed to the nines and the music was ringing at the fiddlers festival. We formed a pickup band with Michael (banjo) and Janek (bass), with Annie playing guitar and Mac playing harmonica (see our photo in the Photo Gallery). We called ourselves “La Marmotte Band,” played three blues songs and won second place in the band contest. Mac and Michael also placed in the banjo category, second and third respectively. Once again, music shows how it can bring perfect strangers together and make them friends.
Old Time Music Hall of Fame
October 16, 2014
Well, we made it to Le Mars, Iowa, for our induction into the Old Time Music Hall of Fame. The actual Hall of Fame museum is located in Anita, Iowa, a couple hours away so unfortunately we didn’t get to see it on this trip. Our photograph and homemade banjo that Mac made will be hanging on the wall there with memorabilia from Hank Williams, Patti Page, John Carter Cash, and many, many others. The induction ceremony took place at the National Old Time, Country, Bluegrass and Folk Music Festival (held the week prior to Labor Day every year at the County Fairgrounds in Le Mars, Iowa). We performed several times at the festival and enjoyed meeting many new fine musicians and wonderful folks. See our photos in the photo gallery.
39th Annual National Old-Time Country, Bluegrass & Folk Music Festival & Contest
July 4, 2014
We are looking forward to our trip and attending the 39th Annual National Old Time Country, Bluegrass & Folk Music Festival & Contest at the Plymouth County Fairgrounds in LeMars, Iowa. We “got some ink” as they say about our being inducted into the Old Time Music Hall of Fame at the festival. An image of the entire article is included in our photo gallery. We will be at the festival on Friday and Saturday, August 29 and 30. We perform Friday at 2 pm (Main Stage), and 5:45 pm (Village Stage) and will participate in the Harmonica Howl at 8 pm in the workshop building. On Saturday, we perform at Noon (Oak Tree Music Show at the Dance Hall), 3:15 pm (Village Stage), 6 pm (Main Stage--this includes the Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony), and 9:30 pm (Beantown Music Show at the Dance Hall). It is a privilege to be included with musicians such as Jimmie Rodgers, the Carter Family, Johnny Cash and Patti Page (previous inductees) as well as John Carter Cash (fellow 2014 inductee). We appreciate the hard work and achievements of Bob and Sheila Everhart who founded and manage the Old Time Music Hall of Fame plus the organization that runs it along with the festival, a music museum and a performance arts theater. Old time music is our American heritage and the Everharts are working hard to value and preserve it. We are humbled and appreciative to be a part of this effort. (www.ntcma.net) (See the festival flyer in our photo gallery.) HOPE TO SEE YOU THERE!
"You Take the High Road..."
July 3, 2014
Our friends Dick and Jackie were the perfect hosts when we stayed with them for a week in Scotland. Most of the time we stayed at their home in Achnamara on the water. Saturday night we were treated to a community jam session which included none other than the “Newcastle Four,” which of course are Colin, Steve, Wayne, and Mark (see photo gallery), very fine musicians from Newcastle, who came to Achnamara for the weekend. At the jam, we were treated to an eclectic mixture of authentic Scottish music on uilleann pipes and accordion, American music (Dylanesque, etc.), and Northern England traditional songs. Oh, we almost to mention the exceptional kazoo break on that tearjerker “Don’t Say Goodbye if You Love Me.” (Guess you had to be there to really appreciate it.) The rest of the week, Dick and Jackie graciously housed and fed us and took us sightseeing all around the area, culminating with a day in Edinburgh. How can we ever thank them enough? Hopefully they will come to Virginia so we can reciprocate! Aye, laddies and lassies!
"Je t'aime Normandy Country !"
July 2, 2014
Doing our best to learn a little French, a little about wine, and a lot about cheese, we spent a week in Normandy, France, hosted by our good friends, Gerard and Bernadette. We are very grateful for their authentic French cooking, hospitality, and individualized tour guiding. We also have to send a large thank you to all the members of the Normandy Country association, including their president, Celine, and her husband Christophe, who head the organization. We received much love and appreciation when we performed for Normandy Country on May 24, experienced firsthand the joy of their unique line dancing (see their website—www.normandycountry.net) and met and played with so many excellent musicians, it’s impossible to count them. Again, our heartfelt thanks to everyone there for their hospitality and generosity. Our concert finale video is posted on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4soeaPUi-s&list=UUXYqpnCoZISHKJ1_AHuCkkA&feature=share)
Merci et “A bientot !”
Highland County Fiddlers Convention
July 1, 2014
“Maple Syrup Anyone?”
The hills of Monterey, Virginia, set the scene for the third annual Highland County Fiddlers Convention. And those hills were alive with the sound of music in the campgrounds well into the wee hours of the morning during the festival which ran from June 19 to 22. Food and craft vendors added to the merriment. Fortunately we disregarded the weatherman’s forecast calling for rain, because there was really very little of it to dampen the fun. Mac took third place in the open category for his harmonica playing. See you next year in Monterey! (www.highfiddle.com)
Loudoun Bluegrass Festival
June 30, 2014
“The Grass Was Blue” at the 5th annual Loudoun Bluegrass Festival on May 10th at the Loudoun County 4H Fairgrounds in beautiful Leesburg, Virginia. What a fine family friendly festival with lots of friends, jamming, workshops and competitions. We did our best to add a little “old time” flavor to this bluegrass festival. The rain did not stop the festivities, as there was plenty of cover with the fairground buildings. Lo and behold, we took third place in the band competition and Mac won first place in the banjo competition. (www.bluegrassloudoun.com)
Gathering in the Gap Results
May 21, 2014
Mac was honored to be one of the ten finalists in the songwriting competition at the Gathering in the Gap Festival on May 17. We really enjoyed all the songs and the talent represented was immense. Congratulations to Glen Simpson on winning first place! Unfortunately, Mac’s song did not place, but we formed a pick up band at the festival and entered the old time band competition in which we received first place (see photo gallery). Mac played harmonica, Annie played rhythm guitar, and we joined our new friends Matthew on banjo, and John on bass. The name of the band was appropriately “Cool Day Critters” in honor of the somewhat chilly weather that day. This festival is great and we encourage everyone to attend. It is held at the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park in Big Stone Gap right in the heart of where Appalachian mountain music originated. The website is www.gatheringinthegapmusicfestival.com.
Gathering in the Gap
May 2, 2014
We just received word that Mac is one of the finalists in the songwriting contest at the Gathering in the Gap Music Festival in Big Stone Gap, Virginia, on May 17. He will be competing in the finals that day at the festival. You can check out the festival information at their website www.gatheringinthegapmusicfestival.com
NEWS NEWS NEWS
March 1, 2014
We have lots of exciting news to share.
Plans for our trip to France are firming up. We arrive in Paris on May 22 and head to Normandy from there. On May 24, we’ll have an afternoon jam session followed by our concert for the Normandy Country Association (normandycountry.net). (See the promotional flyer in our photo gallery—hope you speak French!) Our friends from France, Gerard and Bernadette, were here a few weeks ago and we are working on a song Mac wrote in French about the Marmotte (groundhog), which we will all perform together on May 24 at the concert. Mac sings and plays harmonica, while Bernadette and Annie back up on vocals and guitar, and Gerard will play the triangle (it’s a cajun tune).
We’ve also been contacted by another music group in France and hopefully we’ll be able to meet them while we are there. Their group is called Chantimor, they specialize in singing sea shanties, and they are located in Brittany. The website is chantimor.com and you can also see them on YouTube.
We leave Paris on May 30 and head to Glasgow, Scotland, to visit our friend Dick, he was one of the first friends we made on YouTube and he visited our home in Virginia several years ago when he was in the States for a banjo workshop. He played the bagpipes in our backyard and also played the uilleann pipes in a video we posted on YouTube. (Amazing Grace, posted April 10, 2008, http://youtu.be/B3PZcmJJJ7I) Now, we’ll have a chance to play music in his hometown too. We’ll be in Scotland until June 6 when we head home for Virginia.
Back in the USA, we have been honored to be inducted into America’s Traditional Old Time Music Hall of Fame. This is very exciting for us and we will be in LeMars, Iowa, on August 29-30, to attend the National Old Time Music Festival, where the induction will take place and we will have a chance to perform also. It is very humbling to be included with many great old time musicians with this honor. You can see more information on the website (ntcma.net). We will have more details on our website as things get firmed up.
Witches and Banjos
November 16, 2013
We attended the 24th Annual Sea Witch Halloween and Fiddlers Festival on October 26 & 27 at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. The weather was beautiful, the crowds were big and the fun was fantastic. Mac competed in the banjo category and won third place. We performed in the band category as “the Virginia Hams” with our friends Tom on guitar and Shreve on fiddle. The fiddler’s festival was greatly impacted last year by the landfall of hurricane Sandy and as a result, they are still trying to get the musicians to come back out and compete. So we strongly encourage all of you fiddle and banjo players, old time and bluegrass bands (both adult and youth) to attend this event next year. You’ll enjoy the hospitality from this community, Halloween fun, a beautiful beach, and a chance to perform and possibly win some prizes. Next year’s festival will be October 24-26, 2014, and the website is:
Here is a link to a video posted on YouTube from this year’s festival
August 27, 2013
Annie & Mac provided the soundtrack for a new public TV show called “Virginia’s Treasures” exploring the world of Virginia antiques. The pilot will air on WVPT on September 26, 2013. You will hear our version of Red Haired Boy in the background while enjoying the adventures of antique buying and selling. Here’s a link to the trailer
And this is the website