BERLIN – The Berlin Chamber of Commerce will welcome back bluegrass legend Ronnie Reno and The Reno Tradition as the headlining act for this year’s 15th Annual Berlin Fiddlers Convention.
On Friday, Sept. 21 through Sunday Sept. 23, Berlin will say hello to some of the most talented bluegrass musicians in the world.
Not only will Ronnie Reno and his band perform on Friday night and Saturday morning, they will also serve as professional judges in this 15th annual event that attracts thousands of acoustic music lovers and dozens of pickers from all over the east coast.
Reno, the eldest son of the legendary Don Reno, carries a tradition and legacy as no other act in bluegrass music. Reno started playing Mandolin and singing with his father’s band at the age of 10. He would help to create the signature sound of Reno and Smiley by recording on many of their albums in the late 50’s and 60’s.
After 10 years with Reno and Smiley, he was drawn to yet another legendary group, The Osborne Brothers. It was the sound of the harmony they created together that inspired Ronnie to stay with the group for five years. While with The Osborne Brothers, he helped provide a vocal blend that was the cornerstone of the harmony for which the band is now famous.
While The Osborne Brothers were touring as an opening act for Merle Haggard, Reno’s vocal talents came to Haggard’s attention. Haggard was so impressed with his vocals and the blend of their voices that he offered Reno a job as his opening act. It was so popular that Haggard asked Reno to stay on stage during his set and harmonize with he and Bonnie Owens. This led to a nine-year relationship with the legendary Haggard.
Reno recently helped produce a brand new bluegrass CD for Haggard entitled “The Bluegrass Sessions” that features the Hag’s infamous vocals backed up by Reno and other industry giants like Marty Stuart and Alison Krauss.
The Reno Tradition band is made up of some of the finest musicians in bluegrass music in Heath Van Winkle, Jackie Miller, Mike Scott and John Mayberry. The show is a musical journey that takes you through the life of Ronnie Reno, Don Reno, The Reno Brothers, and the legends that Reno has had the privilege to play and record with over the years. You’ll hear the original songs written and recorded by Reno, his father, and the songs and sounds he helped create throughout his career. The show is a high-energy presentation with tight harmonies, driving instrumentals and a stage presence that only years of entertaining can bring.
The Reno Tradition will perform on Friday, Sept. 21 from 7-10 p.m. on Main Street in Berlin and again at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22. Local favorite Frank Nanna and The String Dusters will again be the opening act for the free concerts and share the emcee duties with event Chairman Steve Frene. The competition part of the Fiddlers Convention starts at noon on Saturday and continues until 5 p.m.
By popular demand, Sunday, Sept. 23 will feature a Bluegrass Gospel Jam from 10 a.m.-noon followed by a regular bluegrass music Jam and Pickin’ Party from noon until 3 p.m. Due to the previous year’s success of the Sunday events, they will now be held right on Main Street at the main stage area across from the Atlantic Hotel.
Local Bluegrass band The Country Grass, who has performed regularly in Berlin at Victorian Charm every Thursday night and several times at The Globe, will be hosting the Sunday events. All bluegrass musicians of all skill levels are invited to bring their instruments and join in the fun. No advance registration is needed.
Limited seating will be provided for the Fiddlers Convention and spectators are asked to bring a lawn chair. Limited handicapped parking will be available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Taylor Bank Parking Lot on Pitt Street. Satellite parking and a free shuttle service will be available on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. departing from Berlin Intermediate School on Franklin Avenue and Rt. 113. Plenty of signs will direct traffic to parking lots. Local traffic should be aware of the Main Street closure from 4 p.m. Friday, Sept. 21 through 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 23.