More info: 937-372-5804 or www.somusicfest.com
As a second generation broadcaster and musician, Joe Mullins has been immersed in bluegrass since birth. Today, he’s one of the major players in the acoustic music scene.
Mullins, the recent recipient of two awards from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), is currently focused on the fall installment of the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival in Wilmington on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12. This year’s performers include Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers and Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time.
“Since we do the festival twice a year, I get to have a good variety of talent,” said Mullins, who also operates several classic country radio stations. “We’ve created a demand among bluegrass and acoustic music fans for many years between the radio network and the event. Timing wise, it has been a great formula over the past decade to do it twice a year.
“We do something before the holiday season and then something about the time we’ve all got cabin fever,” he continued. “It has become a fixture for bluegrass fans and we draw them from well outside the area. We get a lot of Canadians so it’s an international event.”
Mullins’ band the Radio Ramblers has received glowing reviews and massive satellite radio airplay from its latest bluegrass gospel album, “Sacred Memories.” The song, “All Dressed Up,” received an IBMA Award for Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year.
“It has been a really good year,” Mullins said. “The band is playing everywhere and our latest recording has done really well in bluegrass and gospel music so it all pays off. Sirius/XM’s ‘Bluegrass Junction’ has supported our music.
“That satellite radio network has really benefited the whole bluegrass industry in a big way,” Mullins continued. “Millions of people can hear us on demand. To be one of the favorites in their playlist helps a ton.”
Mullins does his part to promote bluegrass and traditional country music through his radio network and its flagship station WBZI. In September 2015, he began hosting “Front Porch Fellowship, a weekly syndicated gospel radio program carried by 200 stations. This work earned him the award for Broadcaster of the Year at the IMBA ceremony.
In October, Mullins was named chairman of the IBMA so his influence on acoustic music continues to grow. However, he balks at the suggestion he’s taking over bluegrass music.
“No, no, no, I don’t want that at all,” Mullins said. “I just want to do something that will have an impact when I’m gone.”