Everyone! It’s been quite a while since the last up-date. I’ll fill you in
on what’s been going on since then.
I played banjo and guitar on several great projects released in 2006
and 2007. These two years have been among the most rewarding and exciting
times I’ve ever experienced as a musician. My sincere thanks to my Lord,
and all the great folks I have been working with.
The sessions for the “Fiddler’s Green” project by Tim O’Brien received
a Grammy for the Best Traditional Folk Album of 2005. This was an exciting
project for me to play banjo on, along with Tim, Jerry Douglas, Dan
Tyminski, and Dennis Crouch. The song “Look Down That Lonesome Road” from
that same project, was voted the 2006 Song of the Year by the folks at the
IBMA. Tim’s CD’s “Cornbread Nation” and “Fiddler’s Green” were released simultaneously,
and have won much national acclaim in the Folk, Celtic, and Bluegrass
fields. It was a pleasure to play banjo on these two releases with all
these great musicians.
Other projects released in 2006 were “All American Bluegrass Girl", by
Rhonda Vincent, “New Day” by Claire Lynch, “Monroe Approved” by Chris
Henry, “He Put the Color in the Rose” by The Village Singers, and “Let’er
Go, Boys!” by the incredible Michael Cleveland. Michael’s project was
voted “Instrumental Album of the Year” for 2006 by the IBMA. Those are a
few CDs that come to mind right away that I had the pleasure of playing
on. Thanks to all these great artists for having me!
February 2006 marked the release of Marty Stuart’s “Live at the Ryman”
CD. Marty’s Fabulous Superlatives, along with fiddler Stuart Duncan, dobro
legend Uncle Josh Graves, and yours truly, performed two hours of
basically un-rehearsed Bluegrass and Country music for a sold out Ryman
crowd. The audio engineer Les Banks, recorded the entire show to disc and
presented it to Marty afterwards. We had no idea we were being recorded.
Marty approved, and released the recording on his newly formed Superlatone
label. The CD was Grammy nominated for Recorded Event of the Year, 2006.
Adding to the list for 2006 is the remarkable four CD box set by Vince
Gill titled “These Days”. I played banjo and guitar on some of the songs
on the acoustic disc titled “Little Brother“ contained in the set. This
collection is the definitive showcase for the song writing, vocal prowess,
and un-matched musicianship of Vince. The set contains 43 original
compositions by Vince, with an all-star cast of duet partners, musicians,
writers and arrangers.
To top it off, beginning in October 2006, Vince took this incredible
entourage of sixteen players and singers, and stage crew on a successful
national tour of more than 30 U.S. cities. The tour was titled “These
Days” , and many of the songs contained in the box set were brought to the
stage. Starting again in January 2007, the tour continued, with only a few
breaks until early July.
On July 1, 2007, my longtime sweetheart Carla and I were married in a
private ceremony in downtown Nashville. She is truly the light of my life,
and we have a beautiful home just north of Nashville. As Vince sings, “
I’ll take these days over any that I’ve ever known”. How true!!
A Three hour DVD of the “These Days” show was recorded in high
definition format at the Ryman July 3rd and 4th to
sold out crowds both evenings. The show has also aired several times on HD
NET. We played the Ryman auditorium on July 5th for the annual
Bluegrass Concert Series, to a SRO crowd. What fun!
July 14th marked the beginning of the Vince Gill “Family and
Friends” tour which included Amy Grant and the Del McCoury Band. What
incredible shows they were! Vince took the audience and the band each
night on a three to four hour musical journey, with traditional and new
Country, Jazz, Rock & Roll, Bluegrass, and Sacred music. The venues were
sold out nearly every night. We all had a great time together, and made
some unforgettable music. It was a real treat to play and sing with Amy
Grant. A kinder, sweeter person you will never meet, except maybe Vince!!
The tour ended in mid-September, performing shows in over 100 U.S. cities,
and we all were ready to rest and be at home with our families. Thanks a
million Vince, I love you man! As a footnote, after watching Vince play
his many vintage guitars night after night, I was inspired to buy a
vintage 1952 Fender Telecaster RI electric guitar. Now I can relate to
some of the fun he has on stage!
Backtracking to November 2006, found us at the Skaggs Studio in
Hendersonville, Tennessee, to do an acoustic album with the legendary
Merle Haggard. The album titled “The Bluegrass Sessions” was the first of
it’s kind to be done by Merle. I remember him telling me, “I want to hear
these instruments”, comparing the acoustic setting to his usual electric
stage situation. We arranged our chairs in a circle, and the magic
unfolded as Merle began to sing. What a special time this was to set
beside Merle and be a part of his music. I’ll always remember those
moments feeling the music, watching, and hearing him, as he sang. Thanks,
Throughout this incredible musical journey of the past two years, I
have remained active on the vintage and new instrument scene. I’m still
working with Gruhn Guitars in Nashville, and tending to an expanding
business at home. I have designed a new Charlie Cushman signature series
banjo for the American Made Banjo Company under the brand name Kel Kroydon.
I’ll be showing you some pictures and telling you more about the new banjo
Thanks for visiting my website. May God continue to Bless each one of
us…. Charlie Cushman