June 19, 2020: In light of our nation’s current events, a supergroup composed of some of Denver’s best bluegrass pickers has been formed to back a newly announced fund created by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Foundation, whose vision is to support diversity and inclusion as essential to the well-being and continued growth of bluegrass music.
The Arnold Shultz Fund is named for a talented African American musician from western Kentucky, who had a big impact on the music of Bill Monroe (known as the Father of Bluegrass music) and the development of bluegrass. The Fund will be used to support activities increasing the participation of persons of color in bluegrass music, which may include scholarships, awards or projects.
Richard S. Brown, DMD, a nationally known mandolinist in the Monroe style, a member of the IBMA Foundation’s board of directors and an African American, will co-chair the Arnold Shultz Fund advisory committee along with noted bluegrass historian, author, and Bluegrass Hall of Famer Neil V. Rosenberg, Ph.D. “Shultz is long overdue for recognition because of his influence on bluegrass music,” Dr. Brown said. “Arnold played with Bill Monroe’s fiddling uncle Pen Vandiver as a guitarist. Shultz was also a sought-after fiddler and later hired Bill to play guitar for him at dances. Bill Monroe told me about Arnold Shultz and their dance gigs more than 50 years ago, when I was in my twenties. The stories would always end with Bill saying, ‘Now, isn’t that something?’ Yes, it’s time to take Arnold Shultz, one of our hidden legends, out of obscurity and into the mainstream.”
The Denver Bluegrass Allstars featuring Andy Hall and Chris Pandolfi (the Infamous Stringdusters), Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass), Greg Garrison (Leftover Salmon) and flatpicking champion, Tyler Grant, will make their debut on Friday, June 26 with a free livestream from Denver’s Mighty Fine Productions.
“I’m elated to get out of the house and make some new music with my favorite Denver pickers. And it feels really good to bring something new to our collective fan base after three months of Zoom and archival footage,” shared Greg Garrison.
“We feel it’s incredibly important to help promote diversity in bluegrass. A portion of proceeds from [the Denver Bluegrass Allstars] stream will go to the brand new Arnold Shultz Fund, powered by the IBMA Foundation,” shared Andy Hall. “The goal of the foundation is to increase the participation of persons of color in bluegrass music. Let’s do what we can to help make bluegrass a place for everyone!”
Although the stream will be provided free of charge, viewers are encouraged to make contributions, where a percentage of proceeds will be donated to the Arnold Shultz Fund. Donations can be made here.
For more information, please contact Ariel Rosemberg.