Dale Ann Bradley’s star gets brighter in 2019

Published 1:35 pm Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Dale Ann Bradley introduced her new album, “The Hard Way,” this past weekend to audiences at Renfro Valley and Nashville and was scheduled for Bristol, an appearance that was postponed because of unusual weather-related problems in that part of Virginia.

Her appearance at Renfro Valley on Friday was called a “coming home party” because the artist had devoted six years there as a performer, most notably as a member of the New Coon Creek Girls.

Music City, where she has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and is no stranger to entertainment circles there, welcomed her to City Winery on Saturday night for the launching of her new album.

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The planned show on Sunday night would have been staged at the Crooked Road General Store in Bristol. Although the weather interfered, that concert will be rescheduled soon.

Bradley needs no lengthy introduction in 2019. She is widely known and greatly appreciated as one of today’s leading bluegrass music stars. The introduction of a new collection of songs, however, is another matter. Her fans are always ready and waiting for that announcement. They will wait another two weeks before “The Hard Way” is available for purchase.

Within the early weeks of this new year, her status in the music world was confirmed when she was named Female Vocalist of the Year at the 36th annual National Convention of the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America. That ceremony in Nashville in January was barely ahead of Bradley’s second Grammy award nomination

The artist and members of her all-girl band, Sister Sadie, were in California in February for the awards. Although they did not win, their nomination speaks loudly about their place in the world of bluegrass music.

In the past few years, Bradley has been named Female Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Not once, but five times has she been recognized in that category by IBMA.

A year or so ago, Bradley became a member of the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame, an honor that she treasures as a native Kentuckian who lived her childhood years just off U.S. 119 between Pineville and Harlan. She was a student at Bell County High School, where her unusual interests and great talents were recognized and encouraged by one of her high school band directors.

Before Renfro Valley invited her to perform there early in her career, Bradley had begun appearances at Pine Mountain State Park with a bluegrass group led by her band director. She always mentions her indebtedness to him for his leadership and direction. She shows her love for her home, for the “mountains and hollers” of Kentucky, and appreciation for being able to share that love with fans all over the world.

Evidence of her tremendous talent just keeps being added to her resume. This new album, “The Hard Way,” features some original bluegrass compositions, some possibly unexpected “old songs” from various artists, and one notable new song that was co-written by Bradley and her brother, Nathaniel Price. Price, a resident of Bell County, co-penned “Pretty, Dark Hearted Emma Brown” with his sister.

Incidentally, the new album was self-titled and self-directed by Bradley. The title she chose is from a song written and recorded by Jim Croce in 1973 which he titled “The Hard Way Every Time.”