At the young age of 14, Houston Caldwell wrote a letter to Dan Hays, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Executive Director, in hopes of making his dreams of being on the IBMA stage come true. Every year in the fall, IBMA’s World of Bluegrass takes place in downtown Nashville, and Kim Fox invites 25 kids or more from all over the United States to showcase their progressing talents and abilities on stage. This is a great way for young musicians to learn and grow from others their age. Houston heard all about it and decided he wanted to become a part of this exciting atmosphere. At this time, he was playing in his local youth band, The Galax Little Leaves, along with Asa Gravely, Grace Wilson, Ben Hill, and Mackenzie Neff. In 2006, they got the chance to perform in the Kids on Bluegrass program at IBMA. When the band later went their separate ways, Houston and Asa formed the band Broken Wire with Courtney Burroughs, Nick Keen, and Dustin Pyrtle, and in 2007, Houston got them involved in the Kids on Bluegrass program. In 2008, Broken Wire, along with Kendra Coomes, Grace Wilson, and youth band, Full Throttle, joined Houston on the IBMA stage. By this time, Houston was becoming a big part of Kim Fox’s Kids on Bluegrass and was always finding ways to help his local fellow musicians get involved with music as much as he could. Kids on Bluegrass was a major starting point for well-known musicians such as child mandolin prodigy Sierra Hull, and acoustic music wonder Sarah Jarosz. Houston helped to kick start a lot of young musicians’ careers as he was always willing to play with anyone and always wanted to get other kids involved in music.
At Inaugural HoustonFest, Courtney Burroughs and Kendra Coomes wanted to put together a “Kids on Bluegrass Program in honor of Houston’s hard work and dedication to the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Kids on Bluegrass. Many of the kids who have performed with Houston at IBMA will be performing in honor of Houston and HoustonFest.
2012 Houston’s Bluegrass Kids Participants included:
Adam Larkey, Ashley Nale, Lindsey Nale, Grace Wilson, Channing Russell, Cory Piatt, Brandy Miller, Daniel Greeson, Jacob Burleson, Albert Hash Memorial Band Program from GCHS