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Pinecastle Records rises

Jeffrey Remz  |  August 13, 2010

For once, there is some great news in the music business - and I do mean business. At a time, when labels seem to be folding and sales are down - way down - came the word this week about the resurrection of bluegrass label Pinecastle Records.

The label shuttered very very quickly in February when founder Tom Riggs decided to close it down because of personal health issues. The decision seemed quite a shock. After all, the North Carolina-based label (it had previously been in Orlando) had two albums slated to come out only weeks later from Josh Williams and the Larry Stephenson band. Pinecastle had released nearly 200 releases from such acts as The Osborne Brothers, Jim & Jesse, Chubby Wise, Larry Stephenson and John Cowan. While the label closed, the distribution wing of the family business, the Music Shed, remained in operation.

This week, it was announced that long-time bluegrass fan, Dr. Lonnie Lassiter of Columbus, N.C., who also was a friend of the Riggs family, decided to put his money where his heart was. Lassiter bought the label. He also brought back two folks, who had been with the label at the end, Ethan Burkhardt and Matt Hood. Good move there by Lassiter since both know what the label was about and, of course, the music.

The exact plans for the label are unclear since neither Lassiter, Hood, nor Burkhardt could be reached for comment today. The Bluegrass Blog reported that the new Pinecastle owns the masters to all previous label releases, which will be back in print as the label moves ahead.

Much credit goes to Lassiter for having the guts and courage to plunge in where few others dare to tread. These are most difficult times in the industry with sales consistently down. There is not a lot of money to be made.

From a cultural standpoint, this is a big gain also as Pinecastle has enjoyed a good reputation for putting out quality music over the years. Let's hope that the new Pinecastle gets established and on its feet. Perhaps a rising tide will help all bluegrass labels.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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