Irene Kelley’s signature mix of Bluegrass, Country and Americana appeals to music lovers across all genres. A native of Latrobe, PA, Irene Kelley discovered her flair for songwriting as a teenager and soon found her way to Nashville, TN where her songs were quickly noticed and recorded by Carl Jackson, Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White. While recording an album for MCA and independently releasing two more records and touring worldwide, Irene raised two daughters and scored cuts with Alan Jackson, Trisha Yearwood, Loretta Lynn, Pat Green, Brother Phelps, Rhonda Vincent, Claire Lynch, Darrell Scott, The Whites, the Osborne Brothers and others.
But it’s not just her songwriting that has drawn much deserved attention her way. Kelley’s pure and lonesome vocal prowess has endeared her to a score of music lovers for years, making her one of traditional music’s most beloved musical story-tellers.
Kelley’s debut album for Mountain Fever Records includes what most would consider an artist’s “dream team” of musicians — Stuart Duncan (Fiddle), Adam Steffey (mandolin), Brian Sutton (guitar), Scott Vestal (banjo), Mark Fain (bass) — while also featuring harmony vocals by industry heavy-hitters Claire Lynch, Ronnie Bowman, Sharon White Skaggs, Cheryl White, Dale Ann Bradley, and Steve Gulley, as well as Irene’s own daughters, Justyna and Sara Jean.
“As a vocalist, Irene Kelley glows with beauty and expressiveness. As a songwriter, she shines with a luster that few of her peers can match. This is music to cleanse the soul. This is music to raise you up. This is music to touch your heart. This is the music of Irene Kelley.” – Robert K. Oermann
Multi-instrumentalist Milan Miller may joke that he first moved to Nashville because he “heard they were running out of guitar players,” but his time in the city revealed to him an independent music community that belies any pretense or cliché. With light speed picking and his trusty tenor voice, Miller quickly became a first call sideman and collaborator.
Traveling the world, he has made appearances at venues ranging from Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater to Buck Owens’ Crystal Palace in Bakersfield, California, and from the Grand Ole Opry to Symphony Hall with the Boston Pops Orchestra. Along the miles traveled, his songs have been recorded by some of the most popular names in bluegrass. The fruits of this labor have yielded eight number one songs in the genre, a steady stream of others that have graced the top twenty, two nominations for Song of the Year by the IBMA, and nominations for Songwriter of the Year by the IBMA and SPBGMA.
Miller’s song catalog includes such Balsam Range staples as “Calloway County Flood”, “Burning Georgia Down”(written with Mark Bumgarner), “Caney Fork River”, “Hard Price to Pay”, “The Other Side”, “Papertown”, a song about the resilience of working people, “I Ain’t Leaving”, “A Day in the Life of a Railroad Spike”, “The Other Side of the Mountain”, “Chasing Someone Else’s Dreams” and “I Spend My Days Below the Ground”, a story about the hard life in a mining town that Miller co-wrote with Mark Bumgarner.
In addition he has written “Pretty Little Girl From Galax” and “Little Magnolia” (written with Adam Wright), both recorded by Russell Moore and IIIrd Tyme Out; Terry Baucom’s award-winning “What’ll I Do” (co-written with Mark W. Winchester) and “Carry Me Back to Carolina; In A Perfect World” (written with Glenn Simmons), recorded by Darren Nicholson; and “The Boy From Valdese”, a tribute to the late George Shuffler recorded with the aid of Shuffler’s brother Ron.
Two of these, ”Pretty Little Girl from Galax” (in 2012) and “Papertown” (2013) were among IBMA’s final nominations for the Song of the Year award.
Born in the Black Forest of Germany, Thomm Jutz started playing music at the age of six. He won several nationwide competitions as a teenager before studying classical guitar at the University of Stuttgart. At the same time, he played endless gigs all over Germany and the neighboring countries with Blues and Rock Bands, though his true love has always been Country, Bluegrass and Folk Music.
In 2003 he moved to Nashville to start his creative life over.
Jutz hit the ground running and toured all over the world with veteran troubadour David Olney, Americana star Mary Gauthier and Grammy-winning folk singer Nanci Griffith.
Thomm Jutz is also the owner and operator of TJ Tunes, a creative space where writers, players and artists from different places and genres can come together in a relaxed, rural setting, to write and record.
Jutz has produced albums for Nanci Griffith (for which he received a SESAC award), Otis Gibbs, German vocal star Marc Marshall and countless other independent artists from the US and Europe (for a complete list of projects, click here).
He produced Volumes 1 & 2 of “The 1861 Project”, a collection of new songs about the American Civil War. Marquee artists like Marty Stuart, John Anderson, Jerry Douglas, Maura O’Connell, Connie Smith, Chris Jones, Sierra Hull and many more are featured on these records.
Jutz cowrote all the songs on these albums. “The 1861 Project” has received praise from historians, critics, music lovers and Civil War enthusiasts alike. Thomm also cowrote songs recorded by Kim Richey, Nanci Griffith, Irene Kelley, Peter Cooper and German vocal stars Marshall & Alexander.
Thomm is a member of the 2013 class of Nashville’s prestigious “Leadership Music” program.