07 April 2022

Stellings retire, and more news of past visitors

Stelling Banjo Works announce that this is the last year for the company; sales of Stelling products continue, but no further repair work is being undertaken. Geoff Stelling (right) and his wife Sherry are in good health and intend to enjoy retirement after building banjos since 1974.

More details are in John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today. In the statement there that 'Stelling got his start working with Greg Deering of Deering Banjos', 'with' doesn't mean 'for': the two collaborated, with Deering making necks for Stelling's innovative pot-and-tone-ring assembly, and were briefly partners before Deering set up his own company in 1975 (see Carolina Bridges's article 'Deering Banjos today' in the Apr. 2013 Banjo News Letter).

Alan Munde, whose Staghorn was no. 12 in the Stelling production series, was the first high-profile banjo player to use a Stelling as his main instrument throughout his subsequent career. Geoff Stelling was inducted into the American Banjo Museum Hall Of Fame in 2020 as a designer and manufacturer.
Lorraine Jordan and her band Carolina Road have released a gospel album, I can go to them, on the Pinecastle Records label. The title track, in a stunning a cappella arrangement, can be heard on YouTube. The album is reviewed by Braeden Paul on Bluegrass Today.
The Lonesome River Band, headliners at the 2014 Omagh festival, have reached no. 1 on the Bluegrass Today monthly chart with their latest single, 'Mary Ann is a pistol'. More details are on the Mountain Home Music Company press release, and the song can be heard on Bluegrass Today and on YouTube - where there is also a video of it being performed live by the LRB.
The Bluegrass Situation online magazine yesterday published 'Carrying the tradition of bluegrass, the Po' Ramblin' Boys keep on truckin'', a substantial feature by Matt Wickstrom, interviewing Laura Orshaw, fiddler with the Po' Ramblin' Boys from east Tennessee, and C,J, Lewandowski, their longtime mandolinist. Well worth reading for the views of what Orshaw's joining has meant for the band and for her; for what they're doing to keep bluegrass alive; for how the band came to link up with Smithsonian Folkways; and for the tale of how Lewandowski came to own Jimmy Martin's old pickup truck.

© Richard Hawkins

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