Monday, January 9, 2012

An Interview With Bluegrass Artist Donna Ulisse At Engine 145

Country music fans remember Donna Ulisse from her time on Atlantic Records when she released a critically acclaimed traditional country album Trouble at the Door with 3 singles and two videos and appeared on “Hee Haw, “NBC’s Hot Country Nights”, “Nashville Now” and “Crook and Chase”. Bluegrass fans have been getting to know Donna over the past few years through her own brand of bluegrass; mostly self-written. Her 2007 CD When I Look Back featured the song ”I’m Calling Heaven Down” which won the Top Bluegrass Song in the 2009 Just Plain Folks Awards. The title track from her 2009 release Walk This Mountain Down was in the Bluegrass Unlimited charts for six months and in June 2009 she was the #1 artist on Sirius XM Satellite radio’s Bluegrass Junction and her song “I Lied” was #1 five different times during the same year. As a writer she has recently had songs recorded by Claire Lynch, Darin & Brooke Aldridge and also co-wrote the title cut to Louise Mosrie’s “Home” which was the #1 Folk album in the nation in January 2010. Ulisse released her third bluegrass CD Holy Waters in April of 2010. Some people would call it a bluegrass gospel album, others label it as more spiritual. She refers to it as her own “soul journey”.

2011 proved to be the busiest year every for Ulisse as she and her band The Poor Mountain Boys took their music to an international audience for the first time with a tour of Russia at the invitation of the U.S. Embassy to play four bluegrass festivals. She also released her fourth bluegrass CD, "An Easy Climb" in June 2011 which has spent the second half of the year climbing all of the bluegrass music charts.

I had an opportunity to interview the delightful Ms. Ulisse for Engine 145 and talk about her journey in bluegrass for Engine 145.  Check out a snippet below and and then read the entire interview HERE.

We did four different venues. The first show we did, there was a horrible tragic boating or fishing accident the same day where a whole bunch of people died. In Russia, they would normally cancel the performance and everyone in the country would mourn. But because they brought us all the way over there, they let us perform our show. When I did the song “Who Will Sing For Me?,” I dedicated it to those that had lost their lives. And that was a real standout moment. They were just precious. They were so moved that we would recognize their disaster. They talked about it afterwards for a long time. But all of them had standout moments. And because they don’t have anything else to give you, they’re taking their jewelry off and giving it to you as a thank-you for moving them so much. They’re giving me jewelry and I’m turning around and giving away all my jewelry. (Laughter)

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