The BIB doesn't usually carry news about US artists unless there's some Irish connection. However, Mikaya Taylor (left) from Lawrenceburg, KY, is a striking example of the rising generation of young musicians in the States. Twelve years old now, she has been attracting attention for the past two years with a traditional bluegrass repertoire. It's not impossible that she and her band Raging River may be festival headliners over here some time in the future. A video sample of her singing appeared on Bluegrass Today last year.
The BIB also doesn't do reviews, but we're happy to draw attention to Hold your head up high, a new album by the North Carolina 'soulgrass' band Hank, Pattie & the Current, due for release this month. Pattie Hopkins Kinlaw has played at the annual Omagh bluegrass festival with Lynda Dawson of Kickin Grass. so her masterful fiddling and vocals are already known over here. Banjoist Hank Smith has led a Béla-Fleck-&-the-Flecktones tribute band and studied under Jens Kruger. They are backed by NC musicians E. Scott Warren (bass), Ben Parker (guitar, vocals), and Robert Thornhill (mandolin, vocals). A feature on the launch of the band appeared in Sept. 2015 on Bluegrass Today, and they are now on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Their music is described as
... combining traditional bluegrass and infusing it with their own flair, drawing from a melting pot of styles including Latin and jazz. They approach music and improvisation with deep emotion, lightning-fast thought and reaction, compose intricate, as well as dulcet melody, vocal harmony and lockstep rhythm. For them, music is an endless playground of texture, tone and space that allows for pure joy in playing.
This album should reward close study by progressive pickers, and is well worth a listen even for those whose tastes are more for traditional bluegrass,