Sounds Like Home
We’re excited to announce that the Sounds Like Home Concert, held for the past five years as a Friday night festival kick-off, has become the Sounds Like Home Stage at Louie Bluie! Bluegrass legend Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle will headline this stage (formerly known as the Community Stage), on Saturday, September 26, along with the Pinnacle Mountain Boys reunion featuring founding member Don Gulley, Steve’s father.
Since its launch in 2010, Sounds Like Home concert has showcased performers from the Cumberland Mountains and felt like homecomings on the grounds of Cove Lake State Park. We’re excited to bring these friends of the festival to Saturday’s line-up.
Steve Gulley grew up in the Cumberland Mountains of East Tennessee and Kentucky, following in his father’s footsteps as a professional musician, performing regularly at Kentucky’s Renfro Valley with his longtime friend and musical collaborator Dale Ann Bradley. He was a regular with Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver before co-founding Mountain Heart and Grasstowne.
Steve’s new record, Steve Gulley and New Pinnacle, features new band members Bryan Turner, Gary Robinson, Jr. and Matthew Cruby. Released in March 2015 on Rural Rhythm Records, it features the single, “Leaving Crazytown,” and has been received with enthusiasm by bluegrass fans.
History of Sounds Like Home (Written by Bradley Hanson in 2014)
What began as a celebration of cultural continuity has become a pivotal anchor in the yearly cycle of East Tennessee’s regional music. What started as an event to showcase community has now formed one of its own. We are pleased to be entering year five of this rare musical gathering, Sounds Like Home: A Night of Music From the Cumberlands.
In 2008, legendary bluegrass group the Pinnacle Mountain Boys reunited to open the second annual Louie Bluie Music and Arts Festival. The performance was the first in 35 years for the classic lineup of Don Gulley, Buster Turner, Larry McNeely, Charlie Collins, and Allen Collins. What might have been a one-time commemoration was formally instituted two years later in 2010 at the first Sounds Like Home concert. Once again, the bluegrass fivesome rejoined on the festival stage. On the same night, Steve Gulley, Don's son, brought his award-winning band Grasstowne to headline the concert—fully marking the evening with the spectacle and symbolism of family, tradition, and heritage. The Friday night event was an emotional and musical success, a magical cultural moment, and launched the annual performance that this year reaches its fifth edition.
Since 2010, the Sounds Like Home community, like any other, has experienced its joys and sadness, its high marks and its losses. In 2011, Buster Turner, the Pinnacle Mountain Boys' founding member, died at 82 years old. In his place, nephew Bryan Turner, a gifted young bluegrass multi-instrumentalist, assumed his uncle's position at the 2011 concert, securing the Turner legacy even more firmly. Banjo innovator Larry McNeely missed the reunion that year as well for health reasons, and subsequently retired from public performance. Bluegrass mainstay Bill Rasnick stepped in to take over the banjo duties, just as he had in the original Pinnacle Mountain Boys after McNeely's first departure in the late 1960s. In 2012, the group lost another key member when Charlie Collins passed away, bringing to an end the life and career of perhaps Campbell County's most beloved and admired, most far-traveled, musical son. Byron Doss, one of East Tennessee's best-respected bluegrass fiddlers, assumed Collins' role, joining a band he had followed and revered since he was a young boy. Don Gulley, out front on lead, and Allen Collins, shoring up the band on bass, continued to insure the Pinnacle Mountain Boys' original bluegrass sound. The ensemble of Gulley, Collins, B. Turner, Rasnick, and Doss return in 2014 for their third reunion performance together.
Steve Gulley and Grasstowne returned to Sounds Like Home in 2011 for a second successful appearance. That year also marked the first headline performance by Dale Ann Bradley, a multiple time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year Award winner and a decade's long and close friend of Don and Steve Gulley. From her first song on the Cove Lake stage, it was clear that Bradley would become an integral part of the yearly event. She and Steve returned as a duo in 2012 and 2013. Last year also saw a performance from Cumberland River, a short-lived but highly popular bluegrass ensemble that included Steve’s son Brad Gulley. Three generations, then, stretched together across the night of music.