Donna Ulisse and the Poor Mountain Boys will perform a concert of bluegrass music on Monday, Feb. 24, at 7 p.m. at the Collins Theatre, 120 West Emerson Street, in downtown Paragould. The concert is part of the Bluegrass Monday concert series presented by KASU 91.9 FM.
In 2018, Ulisse was named “Songwriter of the Year” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America. In 2016, she received that same honor from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). The following year, the IBMA gave her the “Song of the Year” award for her composition “I Am A Drifter” which was a hit for the bluegrass band Volume Five.
Dozens of Ulisse’s songs have been recorded by numerous prominent bluegrass artists including Del McCoury, Claire Lynch, Doyle Lawson, Larry Stephenson, Volume Five, the Bankesters, Nu-Blu, and Darrin and Brooke Aldridge. Ulisse’s songs have been number one bluegrass hits not only for other musicians but also for herself.
Ulisse was born into a musical family in Virginia and grew up surrounded by the traditional music that was prevalent in her home state.
In the 1980s, Ulisse was an in-demand vocalist in Nashville for demo recordings and for singing background vocals. In 1991, she released a critically-acclaimed country music CD for Atlantic Records. During that period in her career, she was a regular guest on the TV programs Nashville Now on the Nashville Network and Hot Country Nights on NBC-TV as well as the syndicated program Crook and Chase. She has also appeared on Hee Haw, RFD-TV’s Simply Bluegrass and Heartland TV’s Bluegrass Ridge.
Later in the 1990s, Ulisse focused her attention on songwriting, and her songs were well-received in the bluegrass music community. That response to her songs led to recording her first CD of bluegrass music in 2007. She has since recorded 11 additional bluegrass music CDs, primarily featuring her own compositions.
Ulisse is married to Rick Stanley, a cousin to bluegrass legends Dr. Ralph Stanley and Carter Stanley. Rick Stanley leads Ulisse’s band, the Poor Mountain Boys. Ulisse and her band perform at bluegrass festivals and venues throughout the country, and they have appeared multiple times on TV and radio programs.
The other members of the Poor Mountain Boys include Greg Davis on banjo, Evan Winsor on bass, and Mason Nolen on mandolin. All of these musicians also appear on Ulisse’s newest CD, Time For Love, which was produced by bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson and released by Billy Blue Records.
In addition to touring with her band, Ulisse also conducts songwriting workshops across the country. She is the author of The Songwriter in Me: Snapshots of My Creative Process.
More details about Ulisse and her music, including videos of past performances, are available at www.donnaulisse.com.
Seating at the concert is first-come, first-served. Doors to the theatre will open at 6 p.m. KASU will literally “pass the hat” to collect money to pay the group. The suggested donation is $5 per person.
In addition to the concert, Terry’s Café, 201 South Pruett Street in Paragould opens on Bluegrass Mondays to welcome bluegrass music fans. The café serves a country-style buffet meal beginning at 4:30 p.m. on the evenings of Bluegrass Monday concerts. Concessions will also be available at the Collins Theatre.
Bluegrass Monday concerts are held on the fourth Monday night of each month. These concerts are presented with support from sponsors including Bibb Chiropractic Center, the Posey Peddler, Holiday Inn Express and Suites of Paragould, and KASU.
KASU, 91.9 FM, is the 100,000-watt public broadcasting service of Arkansas State University in Jonesboro. For more information, contact KASU Program Director Marty Scarbrough at firstname.lastname@example.org or 870-972-2367. Bluegrass Monday is also on Facebook (search “Bluegrass Monday.”)