President: Rebecca Minnick
Vice-President/Pickin' Post Editor: Robin Thixton
Treasurer: Paula Halfacre
Secretary: Sonya Cotton
(Right to Left)
Lea Cockrell (not shown)
Dave Howard (far right rear)
Micky Nelson (far left)
Jan Nelson (far right front)
Jackson Cooper, Legal Counsel
Sonya, a native Texan, relocated to Louisville, KY. in 1988. She is a founding member of B.A. and has held the office of Secretary since 2001. She has worked as a volunteer for IBMA World of Bluegrass (WOB) since 1999 and in the position of WOB Volunteer Manager for more than 10 years. She's an alumni of Leadership Bluegrass 2012, won the 2015 Parking Lot Picker Award at Festival of the Bluegrass and plays upright bass.
Originally from Chetwynd, British Columbia in Canada, Robin Thixton began playing the banjo at age 14 where she performed for several years on the west coast of Canada and the US with the bluegrass band, Just for Fun. She is also an Alumni of South Plains Jr. College in Levelland, Texas famed for its bluegrass and country music program. While there she was under the tutelage of famed banjoist, Alan Munde.
After leaving college, Robin found herself in Nashville, TN performing for over a decade with the all-female bluegrass group, Petticoat Junction, who were one of the earliest artists on the bluegrass record label, Pinecastle Records. After performing with Petticoat Junction, Robin went on to pick with bands such as Blue and Lonesome, Bull Harman and Bull’s Eye, the Kati Penn Band, and Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike
Upon meeting her husband, Louisville native and fellow banjo picker, Murrell Thixton in 2009, Robin moved to Louisville and has since become involved with the Louisville Bluegrass Music Association, Bluegrass Anonymous. You can catch her out pickin’ banjo with Ida Clare.
Paula is a recent retiree who serves on the Bluegrass Anonymous / Louisville Bluegrass Music Association Board as Treasurer after working 30 years as an Operations Manager for a National Advertising, Marketing, and Promotions company. Paula loves traditional music and has been playing guitar and singing since the 60’s when Folk music was on the scene. While Paula has played various musical styles throughout her life, in the last few years she has come home to her love of bluegrass. The first bluegrass song she ever heard as a little girl that made a lasting impression on her was Salty Dog! Once you get the bug…you don’t get over it!
Dave serves as Director of Louisville Folk School, a traditional music education community he founded in 2015, and sits on the board of Bluegrass Anonymous - Louisville's Bluegrass Music Association. Dave moved from his childhood home of Owensboro, KY to study Art History at University of Louisville, and recently apprenticed as a fiddler through a Kentucky Arts Council Masters Apprenticeship Grant for Folk Arts. When he isn't busy performing around the country as a mandolinist with award winning progressive bluegrass bands, he can often be found running joyfully through the woods near his home in the historic Clifton neighborhood.
Micky Nelson spent her teen years strumming guitar and crooning folk songs. Then one day some truly remarkable friends introduced her to bluegrass and the banjo. Since retiring, Micky has spent the past 4 years renewing her musical connections, circulating through living rooms, music stores, folk school, and bars in search of others who share her bluegrass addiction. She plays banjo for Hillbilly Revival, a 5 piece bluegrass band. Although new to website management, she is eager to bring the resources of our community to our website.
Jan is a retired Jefferson County Public School elementary teacher, currently working part time with small groups of academically at-risk students. In her spare time she enjoys working out, cycling, and attending bluegrass festivals. Jan is often found toe tappin' at local bluegrass jams. She looks forward to serving our Bluegrass community on the BA Board.
Bluegrass Anonymous, Inc. is a non-profit grass-roots organization founded in October 2001 by a group of friends who wanted to preserve the traditions of bluegrass music, promote the music and support its musicians. Founders included Mike Bucayu, Chris Brandstatt, Mike Rengers, Susan Miller, Charlie Logsdon, Glen Hensley, Dina Hoskins, Michelle Skinner Bucayu, Jackson Cooper, Paul Colon and Sonya Cotton. The name was the brain-child of Mike Bucayu and Chris Brandstatt, who wanted to provide a 12-fret program to those who ar addicted to bluegrass music and needed a fix in the Kentuckiana region. In 2006 the organization became a 501c3 non-profit entity. In 2010, the organization unofficially began to use the title The Louisville Bluegrass Music Association along with its legal title to help identify the organization.
Thanks must be given to Art Menius, the Minnesota Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Association and the California Bluegrass Association for sharing their knowledge and strategy for organizing a bluegrass association.
With the help of Amy Bordogna the organization’s website was started in 2002 and she helped start the organization’s Yahoo group, BGAnon@YahooGroups.com., where the group exchanges information related to bluegrass music.
Board members have hosted open Bluegrass jams at various Louisville family-oriented venues over the years. Long-running jams included The Hideaway (Bardstown Road), The Lighthouse (Frankfort Avenue), the Do-Drop Inn and the Bluegrass Brewing Company (BBC) in St. Matthews.
In the early 2000’s B.A. and the Lighthouse (bar/grill) hosted several bluegrass shows including James King with Dayle Eskridge & Changing Times, Auldridge Bennett & Gaudreau, Inquire Within Band, Colonel Catastrophe and a Steve Kaufman workshop.
In 2002, B.A. worked with The BBC to host its Bluegrass at the Bluegrass Festival. Performers included Blue Hollow Band with Mike Cleveland, Old Louisville Express with Tony Myers, Corn Island Bluegrass Band, Inquire Within and Roundabout with Chris Brandstatt.
Also in 2002, B.A. hosted a Jam Tent at the Blue Sky Jamfest, an Americana music event held on the Great lawn on the Ohio River in Louisville. Four (4) stages hosted more than 30 bands including Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Richie Havens, John Cowan, Nashville Bluegrass Band, Juggernaut Jug Band, Donna the Buffalo, Los Lobos and more. The B.A. tent hosted jams and an open-stage throughout the event.
In 2005, Tonya Swan, Jefferson Memorial Forest (Fairdale, KY) wanted to produce a one-day Bluegrass festival at the Horine Center in the forest and she contacted B.A. for help. B.A. remains a primary promotor and vendor at the event, now working with current Forest Fest staffer, Rebecca Minnick, who puts the vent together.
In march 2006 B.A. was the primary sponsor of The Banks of the Ohio Bluegrass Festial (BOTO) at the Galt House in downtown Louisville. B.A.’s President at that time, Mike Bucayu, was a primary organizer of the event. BOTO was a weekend festival that included the bands Cherryholmes, J.D. Crowe & the New South, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, Mike Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Mountain Heart, Audie Blaylock & Red Line and Dale Ann Bradley. The event helped to fill the void that was left in Louisville when the IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event moved its conference to Nashville, TN.
Since 2008, B.A. has worked with George Garrett (Cincinnati, OH) to promote and support Itchin’ to Pick, a two-day jam event held each Spring at The Galt House (Louisville, KY). The event was a jam-only weekend event that was held until 2016. In its place, the Kentucky Fried Pickin’ End of Winter Jam replaced it. It began in the Spring of 2017 and is also a jam-only weekend event held at the Holiday Inn Riverfront in Owensboro, KY. B.A. has hosted a jam room at each of these events and provides bluegrass information to attendants.
In 2009, B.A. partnered with Clarksville Parks & Recreation (Indiana). In exchange for B.A. hosting a Band Scramble event in the Fall (October) at Lapping Park at Endris Lodge, during the park’s Fall Festival, B.A. is provided the Endris Lodge to host its annual member appreciation event, The Pig ‘n Pickin’ Roast in May. Both events are filled with jamming, food, fellowship and is open to the public. The October event is widely promoted in the park’s program guide and B.A. widely promotes both events in its quarterly newsletter, The Pickin’ Post, its BA YahooGroup and on its Facebook and Twitter sites.
In 2010, 2011 and 2012 B.A. joined with the Holiday Inn Hurstbourne (Louisville, KY) to host the Holiday Pick-Inn. On the Saturday following Thanksgiving a benefit was held at the hotel with proceeds benefitting The Home of the Innocents, Salvation Army and Center for Women & Families. At each event several bands volunteered their time and efforts to perform during the evening hours. The hotel offered discounted room rates to pickers and opened the lobby and pickin’ rooms for jams. Admission to the events were new toys or monetary donations and each event garnered truckloads of toys and sizable monetary donations to the donor organizations.
Since February 2002 B.A. has produced a quarterly newsletter, The Pickin’ Post. With it’s March/Spring issue, it had produced 65 newsletters, many posted on the B.A. website, Bluegrass-Anonymous.com. The newsletter editors have included Dennis Strope, Glen Hensley, Christine Walsh and currently B.A.’s Vice President, Robin Thixton. It has become a well respected periodical that is distributed free of charge at area businesses and mailed quarterly to B.A. members. In the Fall of each year the publication is widely distributed at the International Bleugrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass Conference. The Pickin’ Post has been nominated for Newsletter of the Year several times at The Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association (SPBGMA) annual awards show.
The organization is present at regional Bluegrass shows, festivals and other events by setting up a table to distribute flyers and information about Bluegrass events and B.A. Since 2013 the association has put together volunteer musicians to perform at regional schools to educate students about bluegrass music, instruments, and the history of this unique Kentucky music genre. In January 2015, it became a partner with Kroger to obtain its Kroger Community Rewards Program, ID# 18963. B.A. receives a quarterly donation from Kroger via this program.
B.A. is proud to be a member of the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association; Nashville, TN.) and the IBMM (International Bluegrass Music Museum; Owensboro, KY).