Friday, 19 December 2014

Old-time / Bluegrass music week in Spain

Would you like to learn to sing, play fiddle, banjo or guitar in traditional American Folk style with some of the finest teachers? Here is an ideal opportunity for an outstanding week for beginners and experienced players, held in May 2015, in a beautiful and remote valley located in mountainous south-eastern Spain, an hour’s drive north of Almeria.  

The team of delightful and generous teachers will include Dave Bing and Ben Townsend (from Virginia, USA), Joff Lowson, Johnny Whelan, Kate Lissauer (from Maryland, USA), Rose Ardron, Sue Clare and Sibs Riesent. With all your food and accommodation needs taken care of  you can leave the daily world behind and fully immerse yourself in music for a whole week.

This Old-Time Country Music Workshop Holiday will allow you to learn playing fiddle, guitar, banjo, or singing, work with some of the world’s finest old-time country musicians, make new friends, enjoy a wealth of great experiences, eat great food, swim, walk, play games, and become more relaxed and healthy than you ever thought was possible in connection with playing music!

In addition to a full tuition program, there is also ample opportunity to play freely together, with everyone encouraged to join in. You will also have the occasion to jam with the teachers and receive one-to-one coaching outside of the daily scheduled classes.
Cost (travel expenses not comprised) is £595, food and tuition included. Booking 5 months in advance of the week you are joining will allow you a discount on the registration fee. 
For additional infos go to website 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Invitation to the 2015 European Bluegrass Gathering

Dear European Bluegrass Friends,
Since 2009, a highlight in the European bluegrass calendar has been the annual meeting in early spring where musicians, fans, event organisers and other activists share ideas and plan coordinated development initiatives for Bluegrass across Europe.
The EBMA is now happy to confirm that arrangements have been made for the 2015 European Bluegrass Gathering (formerly “Summit”) to be held on the weekend of 13-15 March 2015 in Munich, Germany.
The Gathering is open to all, professionals and non-professionals, members and non-members of the European or other bluegrass associations, and previous participants include fans, musicians, promoters, journalists, webmasters, national association reps and anyone else with a personal, professional or organisational interest in Bluegrass in Europe.
The meeting will follow up on plans laid out last year in Prague and and will be hosted by the Munich Bluegrass Friends and their 5th Munich Bluegrass Festival.
Everybody is invited, from all European regions, and we hope to make the 2015 European Bluegrass Gathering a unique event for everybody involved.
Costs and arrangements for travel, food and accommodation as usual are the entire responsibility of the participants. The gathering will be limited to 60 delegates and early booking (in particular of rooms) is advised. Detailed information and registration to be online shortly at our website.
Please help us spread the word to people you think should attend this gathering.
Kind regards,
Angelika Torrie, Chairman of EBMA

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Danilo Cartia & Letizia Sampaolo: upcoming show in Reykjavík, Iceland

This Wednesday some bluegrass music will reach Reykjavík, Iceland! Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia & Letizia Sampaolo announce that they will be playing bluegrass, blues, and americana at one show at Bíó Paradís - Hverfisgata 54, Reykjavík, starting 8:00 pm.

Danilo Cartia, vocal, 5-string banjo, guitar
Letizia Sampaolo, vocal, guitar, autoharp

Danilo Cartia
Phone/fax: +39 068273332
Mobile: +39 3396908450

Friday, 28 November 2014

Downhill Bluegrass Band: new release “Mountain Songs and other Stories”

Maxida Märak, a member of the Swedish indigenous Sami people, is one of Sápmi’s most influential musicians of today that usually performs rap and hip hop. She tours the whole of Scandinavia, telling her audiences about the Sami and the life they lead. 

A few years ago she heard “The Mountain” by Steve Earle – a bluegrass tune that would take her career in a completely new direction. “It really carries a message” Maxida  says. “There’s something in that song that describes my situation as it is today.” 

So, now she’s striking out again, collaborating with Downhill Bluegrass Band in a musical project blending bluegrass with traditional Sami folk musicThe project worked out a full length album – a unique collaboration between bluegrass and gritty Sami music. “The more you listen to bluegrass, the more common ground you find with Sami culture” Maxida says. “Bluegrass music is quite grim and if you don’t listen to the lyrics you’d believe they’re all quite cheerful tunes. But they sing about mining, abuse and suicide.” Well, an explosive album has come out from this project, that is primarily a musical project, but has a more serious undertone, and can be seen as a contribution to the debate on how we manage our natural resources.

”Mountain Songs & other stories” breaks new ground, exploring the similarities between the Sami culture’s musical expression and the American traditional folk music from around the Appalachian Mountains. The mountain has a central role in both contexts, and the mining industry affects the lives of both people and nature on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read more and listen at:

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Save the dates! Bluegrass concerts and more in Belgium

Dear Bluegrassers and fans, here are some dates worthwhile to be saved:

Before leaving to fly back to Nashville, Dec 6-7, 2014, Russ Barenberg will lead a flatpicking masterclass in Brussels. The first day, Saturday 6, will be addressed to all levels guitar players, to introduce them to fundamentals of flatpicking, helping them to improve sound and play more fluidly. On Sun 7 intermediate and advanced guitar players will be showed articulation techniques, dynamics, and how to build the ability to compose and improvise solos. For info, see website or email

A unique event is offered to bluegrasser: Mike Marshall will perform live January 30, 2015, in Mazy (Belgium). Although Mike began his music-making in traditional American music form, his musical horizon seems to have no limit, and this makes this event an occasion to be ready for something musically extreme to happen. Don't miss it! The gig will be followed by a jam session. For info: 

Alan Munde Trio's European Tour, from May 23 to 31, 2015 with Dick Kimmel and Adam Granger will include 6 dates, starting from Switzerland, and then Belgium, Holland, and Denmark. May 24, the Trio will join the banjo players feast in Toogenblik (reservation only), and will conclude the tour in Switzerland, May 31, at the Masters of Bluegrass concert with Mark Johnson and Emory Lester. For info contact

Stay tuned, more details to follow!

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Friday 28 November 2014 - Bluegrass, Irish & Old time Jam - Mazy (Belgium)

Next Friday 28 november 2014, Steve, Laurent & Pascal invite you to a new Bluegrass, Irish & Old time Jam that will be held at the wonderful Zy’coop place, 9a rue de l’usine, 5032 Mazy.

Its purpose is to offer a friendly meeting place for fans of Bluegrass, Irish, Old time music and more globally, for fans of acoustic music who wish to share musical moments between players or listeners. Musicians will be allowed to propose tunes to each other, spontaneously, following the feeling of the moment. However, to allow to everybody to be comfortable, one "standard" piece of the style that will be certainly played will be suggested.
In the Organising team there will be Steve Louvat, Laurent Eeckhout (Picnic Festival) & Pascal Similon from (Atelier Guy Ness) but all volunteers wishing to lend a hand are welcome.
The Jam will be from 8:00 pm until 10:00 pm but you can find more details on the jam web site.  Musicians and fans are requested to come with their instrument... or not, as they prefer, beginners or advanced … but cheerfulness is required! 

Last, but not least, remember to become friends on Facebook, it could help to not miss future jams and similar events!

Monday, 24 November 2014

Phill Morley Memorial Concert - January 2015

As previously reported in the EBMA blog, Phill Morley - cornerstone of British Bluegrass – passed away at the end of August.

On hearing this sad news, Pete (Dr Banjo) Wernick of Hot Rize sent the following message:
I was very saddened to hear of the passing of Phill Morley. He was a delightful guy, friendly and knowledgeable, and always looking to be helpful. I first got acquainted with him at the very first SFW (1996), when I was the banjo tutor and had 37 of the 57 students enrolled that year (!). Phill was called in to help me out and … did an excellent job working in tandem with me. We stayed in touch sporadically after that, and he would send me the newsletter he provided his students. Just that helpful act, sending out an informative newsletter to students, shows his "teacher's heart" as I like to call it. The British Bluegrass scene has lost a special guy, who I'm sure will be long- and well-remembered.

As well as being known as a teacher, Phill was instrumental in establishing and running the East Anglian Bluegrass Festival at Steeple Morden in Hertfordshire, England. Phill’s favourite band was Special Consensus and Phill’s family and friends have decided to hold a memorial concert featuring Special Consensus.

Full details of the memorial concert can be found on the East Anglian Bluegrasswebsite but, in summary, the concert will be held in  Bassingbourn Village College in Bassingbourn, near Royston in Hertfordshire. Special Consensus will play two sets (starting at 5pm) with the Memorial Concert concluding with a Bluegrass Jam led by Greg Cahill of Special Consensus. Tickets can be purchased via the East Anglian Bluegrass website (early booking is strongly advised).

Special Consensus’ album “Scratch Gravel Road” (released in 2012) was nominated for the Best Bluegrass Album GRAMMY Award and the song “Monroe’s Doctrine” from that recording was nominated for the IBMA Recorded Event of the Year award in 2012. Their album “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver” was released in March, 2014. Two songs from ‘Country Boy’ received IBMA awards in 2014: “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” received the Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award and “Wild Montana Skies” received the Recorded Event of the Year Award.

 Note: Claire Lynch will not be joining Special Consensus at
the Phill Morley Memorial

13th International Buehl Bluegrass Festival announces lineup
Today, the City of Bühl-Baden (Germany) announced the lineup of next year's 13th edition of their festival scheduled for 15/16 May 2015 in the great venue Bürgerhaus NEUER MARKT. The festival features two US and four European bands, and knowing that Walter Fuchs is the local bluegrass expert and driving force behind the programme will attract many to the festival again. Early reservation is recommended.
The high class bluegrass acts of the 2015 edition are:

- Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (USA), will be back as a long announced, welcome highlight, for the second time after 2011.
- New Step In Grass (F), formerly known as "Steppin’Stones" (see video below)
- Dunderhead (S), award winning fresh bluegrass Band from Sweden
- new rising stars George Baehr & BaehrTracks (D)
- Rawhide (B), a Belgian band going into their 38th year!
- Milk Drive (USA), with their special blend of Jazz-Grass sound from Austin Texas.

Mark your calendar - this event once again is worth your attention. Check out

And - as a pre-taste, here's a clip of the French band New Step In Grass.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Emory Lester's 2015 European Tour

Emory Lester is one of the élite mandolinists of our time. His musical creativity and skill as multi-instrumentalist have led him to produce his latest "At Dusk", a solo recording, in which his unmatched mandolin playing is powerful and infectious. Undoubtedly, he inspires many of this day's acoustic mandolinists as his sound is clear, and his mandolin techniques are fast, clean and efficient. 

Currently residing in Ontario Canada, but born and raised in Virginia, Emory has been teaching master series workshops at many important and prestigious schools and events, far and wide. He has also collaborated on many recording projects with many prominent artists.

Emory performs with his own band, the Emory Lester Set, at concerts and festivals nationally. At the moment he is performing with ‘Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa’, doing shows across the U.S., Canada, and internationally, with a new recording climbing the bluegrass charts, and enjoying much success and national exposure for Emory’s talent as an instrumentalist and a vocalist. 

His fourteen year partnership with the well-known ‘Clawgrass’ banjoist Mark Johnson has yielded three recording projects, the latest of which is the new ‘Acoustic Vision’. Mark and Emory have toured all across the U.S., and through the Crossroads Music label, have been nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year at the IBMA Awards program in 2007. In 2012, they have also been featured on several performances with Steve Martin ("Late Night with David Letterman").

Their next European Tour in 2015, will include shows in Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy and Germany, as the dates below indicate:
 • Friday, May 22, Zweidlen, Switzerland
Saturday, May 23, Alberswil, Switzerland
Monday, May 25, Zuidlaren, Netherlands
Friday, May 29, Sarzana, Italy
Sunday, May 31, Liestal, Switzerland
Monday, June 1, Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Available dates are: May 26, 27, 28 and 30. If interested, please contact: SwissGrass Productions, Paolo Dettwiler, Email 

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

EWOB 2015: Only two weeks remaining to apply!

Bluegrass musicians from all over the world, this is a reminder that about 2 weeks are left to submit your application for European World of Bluegrass 2015 in the Netherlands. Applications close on December 1, 2014

So, if you wish to take part in the largest bluegrass festival in Europe with 40 bands on stage, lots of picking and gigs in the area, all you have to do is download and complete the 2015 application formYour application and Band bio/info will be forwarded to the EWOB Festival Program Committee. Bands selected to perform at the EWOB Festival 2015 will be informed in January 2015.

But that is not all: Every year small acoustic performances are arranged near the EWOB Festival venue in the town of Voorthuizen, in restaurants or terraces. Therefore, in the form you should also indicate your interest in local gigs.

The same goes for the different workshops that each year are featured. These may include guitar, dobro, fiddle, banjo, mandolin, bass, vocals and songwriting but depend on the availability and willingness of musicians to share their passion with others. So don't forget to state if any member(s) of your band is willing to host (no fee is paid for hosting) or assist in a workshop.

Last but not least, keep in mind that EWOB festival is an acoustic festival, therefore only acoustic bluegrass or bluegrass-related music will be played: no backline will be available and only microphones will be used for both instruments and vocals. Selected bands will be scheduled for a 25 minute showcase. 

We are sure that you don't want to miss this great opportunity to showcase yourself. So, to make sure to join us next year, apply before December 1!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Rome Bluegrass Jam - Thu., 20 November, 2015

Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia is happy to announce that the Rome Bluegrass Jam is back in town, with bluegrass, country music & more!
Among many, fine musicians Trae Buckner and his wife Jamie Lynn Buckner will be much appreciated guests from Morgantown, West Virginia, USA.

If you want to be part of it, please get in touch with Danilo Cartia.

Phone/fax: +39 068273332
Mobile: +39 3396908450


Three rising stars in contemporary US roots music and their 2015 European Tour

After having crossed paths many times throughout their careers, Sara WatkinsSarah Jarosz and Aoife O'Donovan decided to perform together on their 2015 European "I'm with her" Tour. The three acclaimed musicians, three rising stars in contemporary US roots music – ex-Nickel Creek singer and fiddler Sara Watkins, multi-talented prodigy Sarah Jarosz and ex-Crooked Still vocalist Aoife O’Donovan, will have their first performance at the Celtic Connections Festival in Scotland on 28 Jan. Sets will include a mix of each other's songs, cover and traditional songs. The tour full dates are below:

28 Jan • Glasgow, UK Celtic Connections
18 April • Uppsala, SEKonsert & Kongress
19 April • Barcelona, ESBlues & Ritmes
21 April • Bristol, UK Clifton Cathedral
23 April • Biddulph, UK • Town Hall
24 April • Gateshead, UKSage Gateshead
25 April • Bury, UKThe Met
26 April • Sheffield, UKMemorial Hall
28 April • London, UKUnion Chapel
29 April • Oxford, UKSt Johns the Evangelist
2 May • Derry, NICultúrlann Uí Chanáin
3 May • Kilkenny, IEKilkenny Roots Festival
4 May • Sligo, IEThe Hawk’s Well Theatre
5 May • Dublin, IE Whelan’s

Sara Watkins is a singer-songwriter and fiddler from California. She debuted in 1989 as fiddler and founding member of the progressive bluegrass group Nickel Creek along with her brother Sean and mandolinist Chris Thile. In addition to singing and playing fiddle, she also plays ukulele and guitar. She has two solo albums, Sara Watkins and Sun Midnight Sun on Nonesuch Records. In addition to touring on her own, she just completed a Nickel Creek reunion tour.

Sarah Jarosz, from Texas, is a multi-Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who fits comfortably where contemporary folk, Americana and roots music intersect. She switches between octave mandolin, banjo, guitar and mandolin as the songs dictate. Her Build Me Up From Bones gained two Grammy nominations and made NPR’s Top Ten Folk and Americana albums for 2013. It was also nominated for the Americana Music Association’s Album of the Year. 

Aoife O’Donovan from Boston is known for her ethereal vocals and substantive songwriting. After graduating from New England Conservatory, O’Donovan hit the road as the lead singer and principal songwriter/song-finder of Crooked Still, which grew into one of the world’s most acclaimed progressive string groups over the ensuing decade. The stunning versatility and appeal of her voice brought her to the attention of some of the most eminent names in music and led to collaborations across a wide variety of genres with everyone.  

Their enthusiasm for this project comes from writing, arranging, and playing together, while learning how to be a supportive, explosive, good band. Their voices have different dynamic and harmonic possibilities, so they offer the chance to discover the trio's potential experimenting ability.

Do not miss the exciting opportunity of meeting such good musicians playing together as one band. This is going to be real fun!