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On the bluegrass charts

            Bell Buckle recording artist Crandall Creek continues to make waves on the bluegrass charts.

            Drivin’ Me Insane hit the charts in March and settled in for a total of 28 weeks so far. The song stayed in the top 5 of the Bluegrass Today Grassicana Weekly Airplay Chart for several months. Drivin’ Me Insane also has appeared on the Fan Voted Chart.

            This Heart of Mine debuted at No. 1 when it was released in May.  

This fall saw the release of a third single, The Bean Song. By November The Bean Song and Drivin’ Me Insane were in the top 10 of the Bluegrass Today chart. The singles also appeared on The Bluegrass Jamboree chart.

             The three songs are from the band’s upcoming CD, Headed South. The album is in the final stages of production and will be available in December.

            Jerry Andrews of Moundsville, rhythm guitar and vocals, founded the band in 2015. He is joined by:

  • Kathy Wigman Lesnock of West Finley, Pennsylvania, lead and harmony vocals.
  • Dustin Terpenning of Bloomingdale, Ohio, banjo, mandolin and guitar.
  • Abby Latocha of Mannington, West Virginia, lead and harmony vocals, guitar and mandolin.
  • Trish Imbrogno of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, upright bass and vocals.
  • Wyatt Kidd of Moundsville, West Virginia, fiddle.
  • Roger Hoard of Wheeling, West Virginia, guest lead guitarist.

            While Jerry and Kathy are principal songwriters, Abby, Dustin, other band members and even family collaborate on the songs. The result is original bluegrass and gospel true to the band’s Appalachian roots.

              Valerie Smith of Bell Buckle Records is the executive producer of the band. Jamie Peck of Jamie Peck Productions in Wheeling records and produces Crandall Creek. Mastering is by JP McMullen III of Highland Mastering in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Bruce Winges of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, handles the band’s publicity and media.

Fiddle player joins Crandall Creek

           Crandall Creek did not have to look past its home town for a fiddle player.

            Wyatt Kidd of Moundsville has joined the West Virginia-based bluegrass band.

            Bell Buckle recording artist Crandall Creek is a high-energy bluegrass band based in Moundsville. They write original songs in the bluegrass style. Their CD, Headed South, is in final stages of production.

While the fiddle is his primary instrument, Wyatt also has been known to play banjo, guitar, mandolin and bass on a professional level.

            The 21-year-old first picked up the violin at the age of 9 after hearing about a string program at his school. He became interested in old-time fiddle tunes after hearing Charlie Daniels’ The Devil Went Down to Georgia. He learned those fiddle tunes by sitting in on local jams and listening. After doing that for a few years, Wyatt was ready to perform.

            He became known in the Ohio Valley and beyond though his work with local bands.

              Wyatt joins Crandall Creek founder Jerry Andrews (guitar, vocals), Kathy Wigman Lesnock (vocals), Dustin Terpenning (banjo, mandolin), Abby Latocha (vocals) and Trish Imbrogno (upright bass). Guitarist Roger Hoard is the band’s special guest recording artist.

              While Jerry and Kathy are the primary writers of Crandall Creek’s original songs, the rest of the band collaborates on their music.   

              Crandall Creek has been making waves in the bluegrass world. Their single Drivin’ Me Insane sat in the top 10 for 27 consecutive weeks. The band just released another single, The Bean Song. Both of those songs are on the upcoming Headed South CD.

               Jamie Peck Productions of Wheeling records and produces Crandall Creek.

Farther down the road to recovery

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (October 28, 2020) - Crandall Creek’s Jerry Andrews completed his third surgery as he continues his recovery from colon cancer. 

The October 26, 2020 procedure was for a medical port to accommodate chemotherapy. Jerry took his first dose of chemo the day after the surgery. He is scheduled to receive 12 light doses of chemo over the next six months. 

“One down and 11 to go,” Jerry says. “I am very thankful for the treatment UPMC has given.” 

Doctors at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center free of cancer. The chemo is to ensure he recovers. 

 Jerry hopes that by sharing his story others will take it upon themselves to get cancer screening tests. If Jerry had a colonoscopy at age 50, he would not have had the surgery 14 years later. Patients who are 50 or older account for 91 percent of new colon cancer cases. 

The American Cancer Society recommends that people start screening for colon cancer at age 45, and people in good health should be screened every 10 years. Removing precancerous polyps by colonoscopy reduces the chance of getting colon cancer by up to 70 percent. 

Crandall Creek’s second album, Headed South, is in the final stages of production. The band now is working on its third album. 

With the addition of Abby Latocha (vocals, guitar and mandolin), Trish Imbrogno (upright bass and vocals) and Wyatt Kidd (fiddle, guitar, banjo and mandolin), the future looks bright for Crandall Creek and Bluegrass Music Endeavors Foundation.

Crandall Creek releases The Bean Song

          MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (October 16, 2020) - Sitting on an overturned five-gallon bucket, picking beans and feeling the good earth.  Life does not get any better than working the garden in a well-worn pair of jeans on a summer day. 

            Kathy Wigman Lesnock paints that picture in Crandall Creek’s latest release, The Bean Song. 

            The song grew on Kathy one day when she was working her garden in rural Pennsylvania. “The chorus popped into my head and I sang it over and over until I could get back up to the house and record,” Kathy says. 

            She worked on the song for a bit, then put it away. 

            Sometime later, Kathy brought the song out during a Crandall Creek band practice. The band members collaborate like a family on songs, with each person listening, putting parts in and sometimes taking parts out. 

            Crandall Creek founder Jerry Andrews came up with a better opening line. Dustin Terpenning and Lilli Gadd had some good input on another part. As the band worked it grew into the finished song you hear now. 

            “It is an honor to be the featured vocalist on The Bean Song,” Kathy says. “And I am equally excited about our new band member, Abby Latocha, singing harmonies on the song.” 

            “I find a great sense of contentment and thankfulness in my garden,” Kathy says. “I think The Bean Song reflects that.” 

            We hope you enjoy this song as much as spending a summer day in a well-worn pair of jeans picking beans…and feeling the good earth.

Update on health, band members

            MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va. (September 9, 2020) – West Virginia’s Crandall Creek has shared some terrific news with their followers, starting with an update on band leader Jerry Andrews’ ongoing battle with colon cancer. 

             Following surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, doctors were able to tell Jerry that the surgery had been a success, and that he was cancer free. It is hard to imagine how liberating how such a report must be, and we share with many others in wishing Jerry good luck going forward. 

            Jerry has a temporary ileostomy, which will be surgically reversed in six weeks. Once healed, Jerry will have a series of 12 chemotherapy treatments over six months. 

            “I am thankful that this is going to turn out well,” Jerry said. “I also want to thank all those who sent prayers and wished me well – there is strength in faith and community.” 

            Jerry hopes that by sharing his story, others will take it upon themselves to get cancer screening tests. If Jerry had a colonoscopy at age 50, he would not have needed the surgery 14 years later. Patients who are 50 or older account for 91 percent of new colon cancer cases. 

            The American Cancer Society recommends that people start screening for colon cancer at age 45, and people in good health should be screened every 10 years. Removing precancerous polyps by colonoscopy reduces the chance of getting colon cancer by up to 70 percent. 

            The band has also announced the hiring of Abby Latocha as their new lead singer, following the recent departure of their bass player and vocalist, Lili Gadd. Abby, a resident of Mannington, W.Va., has just turned 20 years old and has been pursuing music and songwriting since she was a young teen. Her music up to this point has been focused on country and Americana. 

            A new single featuring her lead vocal is expected quite soon. 

            Crandall Creek has also announced Patricia Imbrogno, who goes by Trish, as their new bassist. Living in Pittsburgh, she has many years of experience as a professional musician in a wide variety of genres, including bluegrass, of course. Trish received a classical education, and spent much of her career in that realm, but is a convert to the grass, and a 2018 graduate of Leadership Bluegrass. 

            Other members of Crandall Creek include Dustin Terpenning on banjo, Kathy Wigman Lesnock on mandolin, and Roger Hoard on guitar.

The beginnings of BMEF

By Bruce Winges 

MOUNDSVILLE, W.Va., (Feb. 23, 2020) - Bluegrass was music to Judy Kesterson’s ears when she needed money to help recovering addicts. 

A couple of years ago Judy was facing a challenging funding environment as director of Miracles Happen, a residential treatment facility in Wheeling, W.Va., for those recovering from alcohol and drug abuse. Crandall Creek, a bluegrass band from nearby Moundsville, helped fill that need by donating money from its shows to Miracles Happen. 

“They not only play wonderful music,” Judy says, “but it also is wonderful for them to reach out to the community.” 

Jerry Andrews started Crandall Creek Band (named after his favorite place to fly fish in Wyoming) in 2015. Jerry writes songs, plays guitar and sings. He had a vision for a bluegrass group made up of musicians who reflect his West Virginia roots in the songs they play and write. 

As the band was finding its voice, Jerry brought Donna Ulisse to Moundsville for a concert. Kathy Sacra-Anderson, manager of Hadley Music Group, was with Donna and met Jerry. She put the idea in Jerry’s head to give money earned from concerts back to the community. 

 “I found an attorney to do the paperwork,” Jerry says, “and away we went.” 

Bluegrass Music Endeavors Foundation was born. The foundation is a 501c3 committed to producing first-rate affordable bluegrass concerts that raise funds for charities. 

Tiny Moundsville (population 9,318, give or take) is the home of the Strand Theatre, which was built in 1920 and restored over the past several years. Profits from Crandall Creek’s Strand concerts are plowed back to the community – band members take no money from those events. In addition, Jerry says the band members agreed to give 10 percent of their profits from festival shows to charity. The money is funneled through Bluegrass Music Endeavors Foundation. The band also collects non-perishable items for the Feeding Body and Soul Soup Kitchen in Moundsville. 

Members of the band like the idea of giving more than their music to the community. 

“I think the mission is wonderful,” says Kathy Wigman Lesnock, vocalist and song writer. “I am that way in my personal life, church life and I am glad to be that way in my band life.” 

“I think it is great to give back to the community and do it through the music we love,” says Dustin Terpenning, who plays banjo and mandolin. 

“I am excited to be able to help people,” says Lilli Gadd, who sings, plays bass and guitar. “I am happy to donate through causes that are meaningful to us.” 

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve donated my music and time…” says Heather Wharton, who plays fiddle and sings. “I feel that sharing God’s gift is the best way to connect with other people and help them heal.” 

Community support has been “incredible,” Jerry says. “And everyone we give to has been incredibly appreciative.” 

Jerry does his own research to find where the money can do the most good. He also hears about community needs through word of mouth. 

The band has raised thousands of dollars and 8,000 non-perishable food items. 

Here are charities that Crandall Creek has supported through Bluegrass Music Endeavors Foundation: 

St. Jude’s Children’s Research 
Miracles Happen 
Reynolds Hospital Cancer Research 
Feeding Body and Soul Soup Kitchen 
Helping Heroes veterans’ group 
Sacred Solutions adoption agency 
Black Lung Clinic at Cabin Creek Health Systems 

And then there is the music itself. 

Crandall Creek Band plays high-energy original music that reflects the West Virginia mountains and traditional bluegrass. They collaborate to create original material. The band’s first CD, Goin’ Down Home, came out in 2019. It was self-produced and recorded at Jamie Peck Productions in Wheeling. 

The band since has signed with Bell Buckle Records out of Bell Buckle, Tenn. Their second CD, Headed South, was produced by Jamie Peck and Valerie Smith of Bell Buckle. It is due out this spring. 

The band also made appearances at the 2019 IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh and the 2020 SPBGMA band competition in Nashville. The band makes numerous area appearances, including at the Railyard Restaurant in Elkins, W.Va., the Penn Alps Restaurant in Grantsville, MD.  

Jerry gave the band’s first CD to Judy of Miracles Happen. They knew each other through mutual community ties.   

“I listen to that CD every day,” Judy says. “It is soothing.”

Jerry Andrews (left) of Crandall Creek talks with Peggy Brafshak of Reynolds Memorial Hospital. The bluegrass band donated water and Gatorade to the West Virginia University Medical facility.  [Photo by Sharon Andrews]

Jerry Andrews (left) of Crandall Creek talks with Peggy Brafshak of Reynolds Memorial Hospital. The bluegrass band donated water and Gatorade to the West Virginia University Medical facility. [Photo by Sharon Andrews]

Crandall Creek helps those fighting COVID-19

             While coronavirus closed the door on live bluegrass shows, it opened the door for Crandall Creek to help those fighting the virus. 

            Moundsville-based Crandall Creek bluegrass band donated bottled water and Gatorade to Reynolds Memorial Hospital, a West Virginia University Medicine facility, in Glen Dale on Saturday, April 4. 

            “This is our way of saying ‘Thank you’ to those on the front lines of this virus,” said Jerry Andrews, founder of Crandall Creek. “This is our community involvement.” 

            Peggy Brafshak of Reynolds Memorial said the hospital was “most appreciative” of the donation. She and Jason Milczewksi received the water and Gatorade at the hospital. 

            The donation was made through the Bluegrass Music Endeavors Foundation, a non-profit 501c3, founded by Jerry. Band members Jerry, Kathy Wigman Lesnock, Dustin Terpenning, Lilli Gadd and Heather Wharton give a portion of the money from their concerts to the Foundation. 

            Also donating to this effort were Roger Hoard, guitarist who records with the band; Jamie Peck, who has recorded and produced the band; and Bruce Winges, who designs graphics for the band and sits it occasionally. 

            Bell Buckle recording artist Crandall Creek is a high-energy bluegrass band based in Moundsville. They write original songs in the bluegrass style. Their CD, Headed South, is in final stages of production and will be released this spring. 

            “We are looking forward to performing again once the virus threat is over,” Jerry said. “In the meantime, we want to help where we can.”     

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Crandall Creek Band

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