Monday, 31 December 2007

Be part of bluegrass history

Pieter Groenveld and Liz Meyer of Strictly Country Records /Strictly Music, the Netherlands, have a New Year's request for all friends of European bluegrass: Become part of bluegrass history by sponsoring the new SCR compilation, 10 years of EWOB.

The double album consists of tracks by fourteen US & Canadian guests and thirty-four of Europe’s finest, including all the #1 European Bluegrass Bands from 1999 onwards, recorded at the annual European World of Bluegrass Festival. The Festival helps to nurture bluegrass bands and events all over Europe, generates tour possibilities for US bands, and - through the annual EWOB CDs - helps European bands to get airplay in the homeland of bluegrass music. Pieter points out:

The EWOB CDs are the biggest commitment Liz and I have made to giving something back that can make a difference in the music world... This double album, 10 years of EWOB, is our most significant contribution yet, and will be an important vehicle for a whole generation of bands from a continent with a wealth of great musicians. The promotional value of the 10 years of EWOB compilation for European bluegrass and EWOB will outweigh the first ten years of EWOB CDs combined.

The full text of the SCR release is here. Contributions are welcome at any time, but your name can be added to the 10 years of EWOB CD booklet only until 20 January 2008. Later sponsors can be listed in the EWOB 2008 CD booklet. Contact Pieter by e-mail or at

SCR Productions
PO Box 628
2130 AP Hoofddorp
The Netherlands
Tel. +31 (0)297 347 101
Fax +31 (0)297 347 488

Saturday, 29 December 2007

6th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, 3 May 2008

Walter outside the Hank Snow Country Music Centre, the former CN Railway station at Liverpool, Nova Scotia

Walter Fuchs, chief organiser and MC of the 6th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival at Bühl (Baden), Germany, confirms that on 3 May 2008 the Festival will present a programme full of nothing but the best in bluegrass music.

An outline of the programme was given on an earlier post of the European Bluegrass Blog. Full details, in German, with times, ticket prices, and contact data, can now be seen on the Festival flyer and on its website.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Christmas greetings

On behalf of the European Bluegrass Music Association, the European Bluegrass Blog wishes a happy and peaceful Christmas and a joyful and prosperous New Year to all its readers, to all lovers of bluegrass and kindred musics, and to all people of goodwill everywhere.

Sunday, 23 December 2007

Another town: new CD from Four Wheel Drive

Four Wheel Drive officially released their new CD, Another town, during the weekend of 7-9 December. The album is on the band's own label, Stoney Man Records, named in honour of 4WD's former bass player and lead singer, the late Theo Lissenberg, composer of the song 'Stoney Man Mountain'.

Four Wheel Drive consists of Joost van Es (fiddle, vocals), Jürgen Biller (banjo, vocals), Jan Michielsen (guitar, vocals), Alfred Bonk (upright bass, vocals), and Edu Grin (mandolin, vocals). A preview of Another town can be heard on the 4WD MySpace site. Jan Michielsen reports:

We gave three concerts on that weekend, one in Belgium for our Belgian fans on Friday 7 December in a place called 'The Singer' in Rijkevorsel. On Saturday night there was a CD party/concert at the Waldorfschool in Utrecht; it was a full house, and every fourth visitor bought a CD.

On Sunday afternoon we played a gig in 'De Amer', a prestigious venue in Amen (Holland). The concert was videotaped and put on YouTube (type in 'Four Wheel Drive Bluegrass'). That first weekend we sold about 100 CDs.

Jürgen Biller and Joost van Es at The Singer

Friday, 21 December 2007

Christmas wishes from Germany

We wish everybody a nice and peaceful Merry Christmas, and may all your wishes for 2008 come true. Stay healthy.

Beate and Andy Glandt

Season's greetz from Holland!

Season's greetings from Lucy (above), Ciska, and Arnold Lasseur! Arnold (lead singer and mandolin player of the Blue Grass Boogiemen) adds: 'I'd like to take any opportunity to wish as many folks well as possible, anytime, any place and anywhere!'

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Packway Handle Band in Europe, 24 Jan.-17 Feb.

The band hone their single-broomstick technique

The Packway Handle Band from Athens, Georgia, USA, are a young, adventurous, and original band with a classic five-piece lineup. Since the band formed in 2001 they have released two full-length albums and a seven-track EP Extreme. Their third full-length album, Packway Handle Band, will be released in early 2008, coinciding with their three-week tour in the UK, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands.

Thurs. 24 Jan.: Celtic Connections Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
Fri. 25 Jan.: Celtic Connections Festival, Glasgow, Scotland
Sat. 26 Jan.: Birnam Arts Centre, Birnam, Perthshire, Scotland
Sun. 27 Jan.: Harbour Arts Centre, Irvine, Ayrshire, Scotland
Tues. 29 Jan.: Kilbarchan Old Library, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Wed. 30 Jan.: Wallace Bennett Suite, Arts Guild Theatre, Greenock, Invercluyde, Scotland
Thurs. 31 Jan.: Regal Theatre, Bathgate, West Lothian, Scotland
Sat. 2 Feb.: The Tollbooth, Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Sun. 3 Feb.: Jumpin Hot Club, The Cluny, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland, England
Thurs. 7 Feb.: JC De Bunker, Gemert, Holland
Fri. 8 Feb.: Gipsy Horses Ranch, Westerlo, Belgium
Sat. 9 Feb.: Max, Stavoren, Holland
Sun. 10 Feb.: Café Den Bromfiets, Bonheiden, Belgium
Tues. 12 Feb.: Café Patin, Antwerp, Belgium
Wed. 13 Feb.: Burgerweeshuis, Deventer, Holland
Thurs. 14 Feb.: Palace Hotel, Brussels, Belgium
Fri. 15 Feb.: Strandpaal 28, Assenede, Belgium
Sat. 16 Feb.: Salle Des Fetes, Arrigny, France
Sun. 17 Feb.: 013, Tilburg, Holland

Belgian band in demand in the UK

Ron Stevens of the Heart of England Bluegrass Venue reports that the HOEBV's schedule for 2008 opens on Friday 8 February with a concert by the Sons of Navarone - Thierry Schoysman, Guido Bos, Benjamin Steegen, and Eugene O’Brien, from Belgium. Tickets £5.00 on the door. The HOEBV is at Kenilworth Sports and Social Club, Upper Rosemary Hill, Kenilworth CV8 2PA. For tickets and info, contact Ken Harris: +44 (0)2476 312258. (The HOEBV spring schedule also includes shows by two fine USA groups: Ken Orrick and Lost Highway, and the Dick Smith-Mike O'Reilly Band.)

The Sons of Navarone will be playing on the previous night (Thursday 7 February) at the Windmill Acoustic Music Club, Windmill Public House, Church Lane, Ewshot, near Farnham, Surrey GU10 5BJ, England. Contact Gary and Sherryl Payne: +44 1276 609954 or e-mail.

In the early summer the Sons return to the UK to take part in the Coastline Bluegrass Music Event (MySpace site) at Plas Uchaf Farm, near Llandudno Junction, North Wales LL28 5PD, on 6-8 June.

The current #1 European Bluegrass Band, the G2 Bluegrass Band from Sweden, will be headliners at the Coastline festival.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Scholarships available for Transatlantic Bluegrass School

An earlier post on the European Bluegrass Blog announced the Transatlantic Bluegrass School, to be held 7-11 May 2008 in Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales (UK). Instructors include Bobby Hicks (fiddle), Kenny Smith (flatpick guitar), Amanda Smith (vocals), Emory Lester (mandolin), Ross Nickerson (5-string banjo), and Mike Bub (string bass).

Nadine Highfield of Transatlantic Bluegrass reports: 'We have established a scholarship program, which will offer free tuition to younger bluegrass musicians who might otherwise not be able to participate. This has been developed in an effort to encourage the development and appreciation of bluegrass music in musicians between 16 and 25 years of age... Bluegrass music will only thrive if we continue to encourage and support young musicians with a serious interest in playing and performing. We are delighted to be able to use this program to extend access to those dedicated individuals who will become our next generation of fine bluegrass musicians.'

Full terms and conditions, together with an application form, are available here.

Roberto Dalla Vecchia: news and 2008 gigs

Roberto Dalla Vecchia sends his wishes for everyone: 'a beautiful Christmas season with family and friends, and a New Year full of incredible music!'

Roberto recently made a twenty-day tour in the USA with guitar wizard Mark Cosgrove, receiving a warm welcome at venues in Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Tennessee, Oregon, and Washington. He also played a benefit concert for Emergency in Washington DC, and would like to encourage everyone to support this non-profit organization. Pictures of the tour are here, and videos from the last show of the tour are on YouTube here and here.

More pictures from FlatMEETing, the first meeting of Italian flatpickers, are here. The Open Spaces tab book is back in stock, still at €12.00 euro (Paypal); shipping is free. Order from Roberto by e-mail, with your address. And Roberto's Christmas music favorites can be heard here; click on the 'Play' button.

As his 'Link of the Month', Roberto recommends Becky Taylor's radio programme 'Out of the box' on, every Tuesday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (US EST).

2008 gigs:

Fri. 25 Jan. and Sat. 26 Jan.: Roberto Dalla Vecchia and Luca Francioso in concert at 7:30 p.m.; Acoustic Jam, Soldiers' Theatre, Vicenza, Italy. Info & tickets tel. 0444 717281

Sun. 24 Feb.: Workshop and concert, 'Un week-end di chitarre a Tombelle', Vigonovo (VE), Italy. Info tel. +39 328 871 9891

Mon. 24-Sat. 29 Mar.: 23rd edition of the International Workshop of Acoustic Music, Virton, Belgium.

Fri. 4 Apr.: Roberto Dalla Vecchia and guests in concert, 21:00; vicenzAcustica 4, Vicenza, Italy. Info tel. +39 0444 505183

Fri. 30 May-Mon. 2 June: Acoustic Guitar Workshop 4, Italy. Info tel. +39 0444 505183

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Lluís Gómez Quartet CD now out in USA

The new instrumental CD Lluís Gómez Quartet, announced in the EBB on 24 November, is now available in the USA, and can be bought on CDBaby, on the Trad Music website (Scotland), and from Nechville Musical Products.

Lluís wishes everyone a merry Xmas and a happy new year.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Single Mic Contest at Branson, 17-18 May 2008

Silver Dollar City at Branson, MO, holds its Bluegrass & BBQ festival for the whole of the last three weeks of next May (10 May-1 June 2008). Artists taking part include Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, the Grascals, the Steep Canyon Rangers, and many others.

Other features include the Second Annual Single Mic Championship, to be held on 17-18 May. Both amateur and professional bands are invited to take part. The Grand Prize includes a professional photo shoot and national publicity. Full details for entry are on the website.

Several European bands make expert use of the single-microphone system. However, the championship is billed as 'National', so please check with the festival organisers whether bands from abroad are eligible, before your band makes plans to be in Branson in May.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Happy holidays from Switzerland!

'All I need is a pig in a pen...'

Lilly Pavlak, who operates Lilly's Bluegrass Agency, sends these messages of goodwill to all her bluegrass friends everywhere.

Lilly heads for a bright future at the wheel of the Bluegrass Bus

Songwriter's fourth tour of Ireland, 14-29 July '08

Gary Ferguson (guitar, vocals) will make his fourth consecutive tour of Ireland from 14 July to 29 July 2008, together with David Miner (dobro, vocals) who accompanied him in 2006 and 2007. The tour will include concerts and workshops on Dobro playing and songwriting. Contact Gary here or here. Full details are on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

Gary will have two new CDs available for the tour; a Rebel Records project, Bill Emerson and the Sweet Dixie Band, with Tony Rice, Jimmy Gaudreau, Mark Newton, Paul Williams, Pete Goble, Dudley Connell, Tony Trischka, etc. The second project is Gary Ferguson and Friends: Live at Podunk, recorded at the Podunk Bluegrass Music Festival in East Hartford, CT, with Mike Auldridge, Ron Stewart, Emory Lester, Gail Wade, Kene Hyatt, and Marc Roy.

Friday, 14 December 2007

Red Wine with Tony Trischka in 2008

Tony Trischka (photo by Angelika Rinnhofer)

Martino Coppo reports:

As we are getting ready to celebrate Red Wine's thirtieth birthday with a show in Genova on 28 February 2008, we're also working on a few Italian/European dates around April/May 2008 to present our new CD Winter's come & gone; and it seems like we're gonna have a special guest who already toured with us in 1989 for the release of our first LP, Full taste - banjo wizard and three times IBMA 2007 Bluegrass Awards winner Tony Trischka!

If by chance you know someone who could be interested in booking Red Wine & Trischka for that time, please let us know.

Red Wine
P.O. Box 13, 16032 Ruta (GE) ITALY
Tel.: +39 010-5702353; +39 348-7805876

New contact data for CMS Productions

Cor J. Sanne, of the Netherlands agency CMS Productions, announces that as of this moment CMS has a new e-mail address. Please enter the new address on your files and delete the old one.

Broadcast interviews from World of Bluegrass 2007

Niall and Steve Huber

Niall Toner reports that on 27 and 28 December 2007, at 6.00-7.00 p.m. each evening (Irish time), the Irish national station RTE Radio One will broadcast the first two programmes in the 'Nashville Sessions' series. These will feature writers, performers, and instrument-makers interviewed by Niall and his producer Aidan Butler during their visit to the IBMA convention in Nashville during October 2007. Guests include Greg Cahill, Pete Wernick, Barry and Holly Tashian, Steve Huber, Goldheart, Broken Wire, Si Kahn, Steve Kaufmann, Keith Sewell, Wendy Buckner, and many more. Details of further interviews with bluegrass people will be announced in early 2008.

Niall and David Harvey of Gibson

The NTB are currently working on CD #3, provisionally titled We believe in clean endings, featuring again all original material. Recording should be completed before mid-January, with hopes of a release date in early February. The NTB schedule for 2008 includes the Athy Bluegrass Festival; see details here.

New chair of IBMA's International Committee

After fifteen years as the chair for IBMA's International Committee, Dick Kimmel has decided to step down from that post. Richard Hawkins, of the EBMA and the Bluegrass Ireland Blog, will take on the position. Dick, who enjoyed working with the international bluegrass community and especially enjoyed his trips to bluegrass events in Europe, says:

While I will greatly miss chairing the international committee, I feel it is time to have a non-US person at the helm. With the enthusiasm for international bluegrass of the new IBMA president, Greg Cahill, and the new IBMA international board person, Rienk Janssen, it was a good time for me to move on. I feel international bluegrass has made great strides in the past fifteen years and I see even greater success in our future.

On behalf of EBMA, sincere good wishes to Richard in his new role - and also to Dick, who now may have time to consider again bringing his music to Europe.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Country Cocktail in the USA

Country Cocktail (CZ) made a successful autumn tour in the USA. Personnel for the tour were Eduard Kristufek (mandolin, harmony vocals), Pavel Kristufek (5-string banjo), Jarda Chmel (upright bass, harmony vocals), and Dennis Schut (lead vocals, guitar). The Kristufek brothers are also well known luthiers, and Dennis (NL) is also lead singer of the Dutch band Spruce Pine. Mirka Musilova (banjo, harmony vocals) guested on some songs.

The band played seven shows, including the highest saloon in the USA (10,000 ft plus) at Leadville, CO; the Station Inn and Gibson Showcase, Nashville, TN; and Byron Berline's Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival in Guthrie, OK.

Country Cocktail are preparing to record a new CD in spring 2008, and hope to tour the UK in the summer. They are booked for the SBA's Guildtown Bluegrass festival (19-20 July 2008), and are looking for extra UK dates between 10 July and 1 August. Photos and a video from the Guthrie festival can be seen here. Contact the band via e-mail (1), (2), or (3).

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Carolina Chocolate Drops in Ireland and GB, Feb.-Mar. 2008

l-r: Dom Flemons, Rhiannon Giddens, Justin Robinson

The Carolina Chocolate Drops, leaders of the revived black stringband tradition, will be in Ireland and the UK early in 2008. The schedule is:

Tues. 26 Feb. Errigle Inn, Belfast, NI
Thurs. 28 Feb. Strule Theatre, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, NI
Fri. 29 Feb. Bronte Centre, Rathfriland, Co. Down, NI
Sat. 1 Mar. Seamus Ennis Centre, Naul, Co. Dublin, RI
Sun. 2 Mar. Playhouse Theatre, Derry, Co. Londonderry, NI
Mon. 3 Mar. Maverick @ Zebra, Maidstone, Eng.
Tues. 4 Mar. St Bonaventure's, Bristol, Eng.
Wed. 5 Mar. Arts Centre, Windsor, Eng.
Fri. 7 Mar. Cluny, Newcastle, Eng.
Sat. 8 Mar. Tolbooth, Stirling, Scot.
Sun. 9 Mar. Memorial Hall, Sheffield, Eng.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Festival listings for 2008 on EBMA website

EBMA is currently updating the festival listing for 2008. Could all festival promoters please check out the information and date about their festival on --> festivals/concerts? Any additions and changes should be e-mailed to me.

Thank you for supporting us to keep our information up to date!

Angelika Torrie
EBMA webmistress

Monday, 10 December 2007

Robirohi keep their word despite tragedy

Richard Hurst of the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, reports:

Dear friends,

I write to inform you of the tragic news that Robirohi's fine violinist and vocalist, Tarmo Vardja, was killed in a car crash in Estonia on Saturday last, 8 December, whilst on his way to meet the rest of the band members for a performance that night.

The band decided to go ahead and fulfil their engagements in Northern Ireland & the Republic of Ireland this week and flew into Dublin earlier this morning. They will take to the stage in Trinity Methodist Church Hall in Lisburn tonight, Monday 10 December, without their fiddle player of the last ten years.

I will be meeting the band this afternoon as I have been asked to compere at the concert tonight. We are filled with admiration that, in spite of the deep sadness and hurt they must be feeling, they have decided to go ahead with their four-night tour and will return to Estonia on Friday in time for Tarmo's funeral, which I believe is scheduled to take place next Saturday, 15 December.

More information will be made available in the coming days, I'm sure. I understand that Tarmo was 57 years old and the father of seven grown-up children.

Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.

New DVD: Rawhide live

What the fans have been begging for over the years: Rawhide has released its DVD Live. It gives an appropriate reflection of the music and unique humorous atmosphere Rawhide creates on stage. The DVD includes an uncut one-hour show at the Fredericia Bluegrass Festival 2007 (DK), and as bonus a 25-minute set at EWOB 2007 plus an original recorded in 1993!

See for yourself why Rawhide was chosen #3 European Bluegrass Band for two consecutive years. You can enjoy them now from your lazy chair for just €10 (+ €2 to get the DVD to your lazy chair). Contact the band by e-mail or their website.

Kickin' Grass tour rescheduled

Jamie Dawson (mandolin), Patrick Walsh (bass), and Lynda Wittig (guitar) of Kickin' Grass

For several reasons the first European tour of North Carolina based bluegrass band Kickin' Grass, planned for May 2008, has been moved to March 2009. We hope to raise interest in this great band with growing recognition in their own country by that time, and look forward to working with any promoters interested in a special and original sound of bluegrass music.

Stay tuned for more news on this! Thank you,

Angelika Torrie
A.R.T. Promotions

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Bluegrass gospel band suspends operations

Ireland's only bluegrass gospel band, the Low Country Boys of the Ards Peninsula, Co. Down, Northern Ireland, are booked for concerts up to 29 December 2007. After that, Mark Thompson (mandolin/vocals) and Graeme Thompson (guitar/vocals) have decided to take a break from playing concerts for at least twelve months to spend more time with their families.

Gibson Young (banjo) and Ivan McFerran (bass) will continue playing concerts, and can be contacted through the band's website, which is worth a visit.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Andy Owens & Druha Trava tour: cancelled

Andy Owens has been obliged by circumstances beyond his control to cancel his projected European tour with Druha Trava in January and February. Andy writes:

This was not a lightly made decision,... and it pains me, as I have never cancelled a single show in my life, much less a whole three-week tour of five countries.

He hopes to be able to reschedule the tour at some time in the future.

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Smoketown Strut at IBMM

Thanks to Jan Michielsen (of Four Wheel Drive) and Pieter Groenveld (of Strictly Country Records), who were both members of the band Smoketown Strut back in the 1970s, for these photos of posters - for shows which Smoketown Strut played with Charlie Moore and with Bill Clifton and Red Rector - now framed and on display at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY.

Photos by Pieter Groenveld

Four Wheel Drive now have a MySpace site and will soon have a new album available. Watch the European Bluegrass Blog for details!

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Kruger Brothers

On 31 October the European Bluegrass Blog announced that the Kruger Brothers had launched their renovated website, as reported in the first issue of their e-newsletter. Issue #2 announces three concerts by the Brothers in December:

7 Dec.: St Albans Town Hall (Water Street), central Maine, 7.00 p.m.; all seats $10, general admission.

8 Dec.: The Grand, Ellsworth, Maine, 7.30 p.m. Advance tickets $18; $20 at the door. Call +1 (207) 667-9500 to reserve tickets. Sponsored by Holden Cabinet & Millwork, Inc. / Nickerson & O'Day, Inc. / Russell, Silver & Silverstein, PA

11 Dec.: Hayes Performing Arts Center, Blowing Rock, North Carolina, 7.30 p.m. Adults $20 / Students $15. Call +1 (828) 295-9627 for more information.

Shopping benefits bluegrass

Elizabeth Fuhrman Bragg, curator of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY, sends a friendly reminder to use when doing holiday shopping online. In this way, a portion of what is spent will be donated to the IBMM at no extra cost to the purchaser.

The method is easy to use and allows shopping with Amazon, Toys R Us, and hundreds of other stores; the customer also gets exclusive savings and discounts including free shipping, coupons, and more. Go to the website and select International Bluegrass Music Museum to support. Then use the links to shop your favorite stores. The donation will count automatically when you check out. A demo video on how to do it is here.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Praise for European musicians at IBMA

Casey Henry writes about this year's IBMA's World of Bluegrass in the November 2007 issue of Banjo Newsletter, and has some nice things to say about three European bands who performed there. One is the current #1 European Bluegrass Band, G2 (Sweden); another is her old friends Red Wine (Italy).

Casey has most to say about Red Wine's compatriots and G2's predecessors as #1 - 'a hilariously great band called the Mideando String Quintet... their show was incredibly entertaining. They have a sly sense of humor and can pull off outrageous stunts.'

And about London-born Sam Morrow, banjo-player with the Dixie Bee-Liners, Casey's judgment is: 'Outside of Steve Sparkman, Sam is the best Stanley player I've heard.'

Monday, 26 November 2007

Irish banjo-player for San Francisco

Photo by Ronnie Norton

Bill Whelan, clawhammer-banjo player in Dublin's highly regarded Rough Deal String Band will be playing at the 9th Annual San Francisco Bluegrass and Old-Time Festival (SFBOTF) on 1-9 February 2008.

A six-page interview with Bill by R. D. Lunceford appears in the October 2007 issue of Banjo Newsletter. Among many other things, Bill speaks highly of his banjo made by Johannes Bonefaas, originally from the Netherlands and now living in Denmark.

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Flatpicker's tunebook by Oliver Waitze

Flatpicker's tunebook, by Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery, is a collection of thirty classics from the genres of traditional bluegrass, gypsy & swing, traditional Irish music, Italian music, and world music.

The bluegrass section includes 'Forked deer', 'Lost Indian', 'Golden slippers', 'Big Sciota', 'Sally Goodin', 'Salt Creek', 'Whiskey before breakfast', 'President Garfield's Hornpipe', and 'Golden Eagle Hornpipe'. Tunes are shown in tab and standard notation, and the book comes with a sixty-track audio CD. Flatpicker's tunebook is published by Schell Music at €22.95.

Lluís Gómez Quartet CD

The Lluís Gómez Quartet have released their first CD, Lluís Gómez Quartet, recorded in Spain and mixed and mastered in the USA by Tim Carter in Nashville and Dave Harris in North Carolina. Some of the eight original compositions and two Irish tunes from the album can be heard on Lluís's MySpace site.

Musicians taking part, in addition to Lluís (banjo), were Ricky Araiza (guitar), Joan Pau Comellas (harmonica), Maribel Sànchez (upright bass), Tom Corbett (mandolin, guitar), Tim Carter (banjo), Jose Mari Pulido (banjo), Bernard Molloy (fiddle), and Victor Estrada (theremin). Lluís adds: 'Help me to record a second one - the best CD for this Xmas time!'

Bobby Hicks in Europe, May 2008

As mentioned earlier on the European Bluegrass Blog, legendary fiddler Bobby Hicks will be teaching the fiddle course at the Transatlantic Bluegrass School in Newport, Wales, from 7 May to 11 May.

This is a rare opportunity for Europeans to hear, meet, and learn from a supreme bluegrass fiddler, who is considering extending his trip to other parts of Europe. If you have a booking to suggest around that period, please contact Cathy Hicks by e-mail.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Time after time on the Bluegrass Blog

Lilly Drumeva's new CD Time after time, which was announced on the European Bluegrass Blog in June, has been given a substantial and detailed feature by John Lawless on the original Bluegrass Blog. Read it here.

Uncle Earl on video and blog

For everyone who did not get enough of the neo-old-time all-girl string band Uncle Earl during their recent tour in the Netherlands and the UK - the band's long-awaited 'kung-fu clogging video', to the tune 'Streak o' lean, streak o' fat', can now be seen on YouTube here. Cameo appearances are made by Casey Driessen, John Paul Jones, and others whom you may recognise.

And thanks to FOAOTMAD for the news that American bluegrass writer and photographer MaryE Yeomans, now living in Wales, has posted on her blog a long and enthusiastic illustrated account of the last Uncle Earl show in the tour - in Bristol, England.

Since the end of the tour, Abigail Washburn (banjo) has gone to spend Thanksgiving with American friends in Switzerland; Kristin Andreassen (guitar) will be going to Paris to rehearse with the Irish band Grada; K.C. Groves (mandolin) will be on the Mediterranean littoral; Laura Cortese (bass) is going to a dance workshop in Newcastle, England, before touring with her solo project in Ireland and the UK in December.

Rayna Gellert (fiddle) is offering a fiddle workshop at 7.00-9.00 p.m. on 13 December in Chiswick, west London. £35. Contact her by e-mail.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Andy Glandt at Vilnius Bluegrass 2007

Andy Glandt reports that he had a great weekend in Lithuanian's capital, Vilnius, during Vilnius Bluegrass 2007 on 16-17 November:

I was there at invitation of Algirdas Klova and the Lithuanian Bluegrass Music Association... I introduced my new program, 'The Singing Banjoman'.

On Friday night I was part of a live performance of a folklore show in the Lithuanian TV, and on Saturday I gave a workshop and played at the festival. If you want to see photos of the festival, please go here. If you want to see the TV show, please go here. I sang two songs, one in English and one folk song in German. The English song starts around 31:30 minutes and the German one around 43:50 minutes.

I made a lot of new friends there and hope to go back there some day and I want to thank everybody who helped organizing that festival and gave me such a great time.

Friday, 16 November 2007

Robirohi in the north of Ireland, 10-13 December

Estonian band Robirohi took part in the church performances and gospel concert at this year's Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival in Omagh, Northern Ireland. They made such an impression that a return visit has been arranged for the band, who will be playing next month at:

Mon. 10 Dec. Trinity Methodist Church, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland
Tues. 11 Dec. Clontibret Church Hall, Co. Monaghan, Ireland
Wed. 12 Dec. Royal Hotel, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Thurs. 13 Dec. Mourne Country Hotel, Newry, Co. Down, Northern Ireland

For inquiries 'phone +44-2892-648523; mobile 07834243009.

Robirohi consists of Robert Kreutzwald (guitar, banjo, vocals), Tarmo Vardja (violin, vocals), Aivar Nurmik (mandolin, vocals), Indrek Vainu (dobro, autoharp, guitar, vocals), and Jurgis Kazjava (upright bass)

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Petr Brandejs Band news

This information from Petr Brandejs expands, corrects, and replaces the EBB post of 19 October:

The 13th annual autumn weekend workshop of the Petr Brandejs Band and friends was held in Male Svatonovice, Czech Republic, on 12-14 October. There were 90 participants and 12 instructors from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and USA. The crowd at the sold-out Saturday 'teachers' show' was more than 250 people. Video footage with Czech commentary, shot for NTv (Nase Televize), can be seen here.

More pictures will soon be on the Petr Brandejs Band website (English version available), where you can now see photos from earlier workshops.

The next PBB workshop will take place in Novy Jicin, CZ on 8-10 February 2008. More info is here.

In July, Petr Brandejs is going to work closely with Dagfinn Pedersen and do a similar workshop in Norway again.

The PBB is almost ready to record their 5th CD again with its original, traditional, English and Czech material.

And just in case - the Petr Brandejs Band dates:

14 December: Country Club Alabama, Karvina, CZ
20 December: Concert for students, Novy Jicin, CZ
9 February 2008: Kino Artefakt, Novy Jicin, 19:00
1 March 2008: Bluegrass na Blatech, Guest House Diana

For further information contact:
Petr Brandejs
Bludovice 137
74101 Nový Jičín
mob.: +420 777 122 569
Skype name: brandejspetr

Berklee bluegrass band in Finland

The Bluegrass Blog reports on a trip to Europe by members of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., USA, where the Acoustic String Principal programme enables banjo, mandolin, acoustic guitar or fiddle players to take a degree course.

The Pop & Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki, Finland, which is a member of the Berklee International Network of schools, recently invited Berklee College to send over a bluegrass band as part of its Close Encounters concert series. A Berklee band - consisting of faculty members David Hollender (banjo) and John McGann (guitar, mandolin, vocals), and students Nate Leath (fiddle, vocals) and Eric Robertson (mandolin, guitar, vocals) - went to Helsinki last week, where they were joined by Finnish bass student Eero Tikkanen, and took part in concerts and teaching.

Read the full story here.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Deadline for EWOB 2008 showcases: 20 Nov. 2007

Liz Meyer writes on behalf of the EBMA:

The 11th European World of Bluegrass Festival will be held in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, on 1-2-3 May 2008. The deadline to apply for a showcase at EWOB 2008 is 20 Nov. 2007. Get your application here or here. Send it by post with your CD. Contact info is online. It's good to back up with an e-mail, so we know your package is on the way.

Bluegrass bands from Europe, the USA, and beyond: we want to see your band on the EWOB stage!

Our purpose: We're proud of European bluegrass. From traditional to progressive, we know how good it can be, and we want the rest of the world to find out! We're building a busy bluegrass highway to the USA. The EWOB Festival creates a unique opportunity for the best bluegrass bands from Europe and the USA to play side by side for promoters and press. In ten years, some of our finest moments have been released by Strictly Country Records on ten EWOB CDs: 229 songs performed by 124 European bands have become part of recorded bluegrass history. Thanks to the EWOB CDs, DJs around the world are playing European bluegrass on radio.

The 3-day EWOB Festival is the apex of the month-long European World of Bluegrass, busy weeks of festivals and concerts mostly concentrated in the 'Bluegrass Month' of May. The EWOB Festival is always held in the Netherlands (Holland), and typically features 42 bands, including 4-5 guests from the USA & Canada. Luthiers and music shops sell their goods at our Trade Show. Bluegrass event promoters, music press, radio DJs, musicians, and bluegrass lovers come from around the world to see the bands. In 2003 EBMA's European World of Bluegrass Festival received IBMA's coveted 'Bluegrass Event of the Year' Award.

EWOB stages and CDs have featured Europe's finest bands alongside an impressive array of special guests from the 'Bluegrass Homeland' that has included Dan Paisley & the Southern Grass, John Reischman & the Jaybirds, the Chapmans, the Kate MacKenzie Band, Bill Clifton & Pick of the Crop, Randy Waller & the Country Gentlemen, Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, Laurie Lewis & her Bluegrass Pals, the Claire Lynch Band, Sally Jones & the Sidewinders, Mike Stevens & Raymond McLain, Hickory Project, Liz Meyer with Nugget, Si Kahn, Andy Owens with Druha Trava, Kristen Grainger & Dan Wetzel, the Tammy Fassaert Band, and many more.

But EWOB is much more than a festival! Like IBMA in the United States, EBMA is a trade organization that works hard to equip our bands with professional tools to build their careers. And every year, the musicians who play at EWOB choose our most exciting band to send to Nashville to play at IBMA's World of Bluegrass. Come play your music at EWOB, and cast your vote for European bluegrass!

All are welcome to apply. See you at EWOB 2008!

Friday, 9 November 2007

G2 on the Bluegrass Blog

Today's posts on the Bluegrass Blog include a feature by John Lawless on the current #1 European Bluegrass Band, G2 from Sweden. Mentioning in particular the songwriting skills of G2's guitarist and lead singer Christoffer Olsson, John considers them an impressively talented band who could make a big splash next year in Nashville, where they will be on the main showcase stage during IBMA's World of Bluegrass. Read the full feature here.

As from 2 November, G2 also have a new look to their website. Their new CD, Where the tall grass grows, was released this week. The official launch party and concert will be held on Monday 12 November at 20.00 in the Södra Bar & Veranda, Södra Teatern, Mosebacke Torg 3, Stockholm.

Tribute to Slovakian bluegrass

The Bluegrass Blog also carries a report by guitarist Stephen Mougin (of the Sam Bush Band) on his recent trip to Slovakia and his admiration for Slovak bluegrass musicians, ending with the words: 'I’m sorry that US audiences don’t get the opportunity to see these guys more often!' Members of Druha Trava also took part in the final concert of Stephen's visit.

Thursday, 8 November 2007

First Munich Banjo Camp successful

The instructors provide a friendly atmosphere

The first Munich 5-String Banjo Camp, held on Saturday 3 November and Sunday 4 November and hosted by Rüdiger Helbig (D) and Ross Nickerson (USA), was a great success. The sixteen pickers attending the intense two-day workshop came from all parts of Germany, as well as from Switzerland and Austria. A second Banjo Camp is already planned for 8-9 November 2008.

Messages from satisfied students can be read here. A full account will appear in the next Bluegrass Bühne. For more information contact Adiaha Bürkmiller; tel. 0176-23 64 07 02; e-mail.

Classwork in progress

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Chris Stuart & Backcountry tour, 8-24 November 2007

The tour by Chris Stuart & Backcountry (USA) begins tomorrow, Thursday 8 November, in Munich, Germany. The full schedule, as shown on the A.R.T. Promotions website, is:

Thurs. 8 Nov.: Rattlesnake Saloon, Schneeglockenstrasse 91, Munich, Germany.

Fri. 9 Nov.: Clubheim Illertal Cowboys, Sandbergweg 17, 89269 Vöhringen, Germany. Tel. 7306-924400. 8.00 p.m.

Sat. 10 Nov.: Country Freunde Mittelrhein, Koblenz, Germany. 8.00 p.m.

Sun. 11 Nov.: Folkclub Venne, Venner Folk Frühling e.V. D-(im Gasthaus Linnenschmidt), 49179 Venne Hauptstr. 29, Germany. 8.00 p.m.

Wed. 14 Nov.: Partycentrum 'De Vriendschap' (reservation: +31 22 957 14 48), Wognum, the Netherlands. 8.00 p.m.

Thurs. 15 Nov.: Biografen, Storegade 55, 4780 Stege, Denmark. Tel. 55 81 42 10. 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 16 Nov.: Kulturhuset Karens Minde Wagnersvej 19, Copenhagen, Denmark. (Copenhagen Bluegrass Night, with Downtown Ramblers (S) + Sugar Hill (DK)). 8.00 p.m.

Sat. 17 Nov.: Bruunske Pakhus, Fredericia, Denmark

Sun. 18 Nov.: 't Veurof, Zuiderdiep 71, +31 591 513103, The Colonial Country Club, Valthermond, Valthe, the Netherlands.

Wed. 21 Nov.: Restaurant Sternenberg (upon invitation), Hofstetten, Switzerland. 8.00 p.m.

Thurs. 22 Nov.: Bluegrass in Basel, QuerFeld Hall, Gundeldingerfeld, Dornacherstr. 192, +41 61 423 96 91; Basel, Switzerland. 7.30 p.m.

Fri. 23 Nov.: available

Sat. 24th Nov.: Dolder 2, Feuerthalen, Switzerland. 9.00 p.m.

Old-time Music Forum for Europe

Dick Glasgow of Causeway Music organises the Causeway Dulcimer Festival at Bushmills, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland. He has just launched an Old Time Music Forum for this side of the Atlantic, which can be found either here or at the Causeway Music website.

The Causeway site includes Dick's Old Time Music page. He also has a MySpace site which features his fine hammered-dulcimer playing and gives a taste of what he and his German wife Sabine can do on many other instruments.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Help the IBMA (and the EBMA)

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) is currently undertaking a large-scale update of its radio/dj list. This is one of the IBMA's most requested member services, and is used mostly by independent artists looking to distribute CDs for airplay, and by event producers looking to promote events in their region.

The IBMA would be glad of help in updating the list by completing the information below for each radio station within your area that is currently programming bluegrass. For each radio station, please supply the following:

Call letters [or other station name]
Bluegrass DJ

Contact Katy Leonard by e-mail, or by post at the IBMA office, 2 Music Circle South, Suite 100, Nashville, TN 37203, USA.

This information is also important to the EBMA, which is preparing the 2008/9 edition of the European Bluegrass Directory. So if you're sending info direct to IBMA, please send a copy to Thierry Schoysman by e-mail.

Nechville News on the Internet

Nechville Musical Products, originators of the revolutionary Helimount banjo and associated innovations, are merging their print newsletter Banjovia with the Internet-based Nechville News. Subscribers will receive banjo setup tips, notice of scheduled workshops and special events, new product announcements, and special savings on Nechville products for list members.

Newsletter back issues, product manuals, and the official Nechville screen saver can be downloaded here.

On Friday 9 November from 9:00 a.m. to noon (EST), Tom Nechville will be interviewed by host Carol Beaugard on WFDU Radio, broadcasting in the New York City area and on the World Wide Web. You can tune into the live broadcast by going to the station's website and clicking on their live radio link.

Nechville Music Center has a list of Nechville banjos in stock at dealers all over the world, and an ever-growing worldwide network of retail dealers. Nechville Banjos carry a lifetime warranty for the original owner, and a ten-day review period for new purchases.

Monday, 5 November 2007

Mismountain Boys: new CD

The Mismountain Boys from Bergamo, Italy, who released their CD Back to traditions earlier this year (reported on the European Bluegrass Blog in May), are now releasing a new CD, The old home, which will be available at the end of this month from the band at live shows and from selected selling points.

Like Back to traditions, the new album comprises bluegrass standards together with classic country material such as 'Another song, another drink', 'My Oklahoma home', 'Ring of fire', and 'He'll have to go'.

Sore Fingers Week in UK, 24-28 March 2008

The thirteenth Sore Fingers Week will be held from Monday 24 March to Friday 28 March 2008 at Kingham Hill School, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England. The US instructors for intermediate and advanced courses are:

Guitar: Scott Nygaard
Singing: Keith Little
Songwriting: John Lowell
Dobro: Sally Van Meter
Fiddle: Megan Lynch
Bass: Danny Thompson
Autoharp: Mike Fenton
Old-time fiddle: Thomas Bailey

Sore Fingers are currently in communication with Ron Block (banjo), John Reischman (mandolin), and Joe Newberry (old-time banjo).

Beginners' courses will be taught by UK instructors:

Banjo: John Dowling
Mandolin: Dan Norton
Fiddle: James Dewdney
Guitar and bass: TBA

The residential course (five full days' tuition, six nights' accommodation, and three meals a day, with several accommodation options) finishes with the annually renowned tutor concert. For more information see the Sore Fingers website or call John Wirtz or Moira Wirtz at +44 (0)1373 813590.

Read John Wirtz's press release here.

Sunday, 4 November 2007

New Groundbreakers album

Most requested, the latest CD by Jussi Syren and the Groundbreakers (Finland), is out on the Goofin Records label. The fifteen tracks are all new versions of the band's most requested songs, with special guests. Sound clips can be heard on the Groundbreakers' website.

The band's upcoming tour schedule includes dates in the Carolinas and Georgia (USA) in April 2008.

Friday, 2 November 2007

Korby Lenker in Ireland, 29 Nov.-10 Dec. 2007

American singer-songwriter Korby Lenker, born in Idaho and now based in Nashville, TN, will make a solo tour in Ireland between 29 November and 10 December, and will appear on Niall Toner's 'Roots Freeway' show on RTE 1, the national radio station. He recorded two CDs (2002, 2003) with his west coast bluegrass band, the Barbed Wire Cutters, and a further album of gospel songs, David Goliath's old-time gospel hour (2004). Since 2001 he has also released four albums of original material (mainly in the and acoustic rock genres), which have been well received.

Tour dates will appear on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog. For further info, contact Michael Grimes, Priorland, Naul, Co. Dublin, Ireland; phone +353 01 8413100; mobile +353 01 8413100; e-mail

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Kruger Brothers' renovated website launched

The Kruger Brothers of Switzerland and North Carolina have launched their completely renovated website. Volume I, no. 1 of their e-newsletter announces:

In addition to the latest news and info on concerts and recordings, you'll find YouTube videos of the Krugers, exclusively provided by the Krugers themselves, their own photos from on the road, and so much more! Check it out, and be sure to let us know what you think... We are committed to keeping the website vibrant with new items added regularly.

The site includes news of their new CD, The suite, as well as

* coverage of the 5th annual Carolina in the Fall Festival, held at Wilkesboro, NC, on 19-20 October;
* the Krugers' invitation to headline at the North Forks Bluegrass & Roots Music Festival in Hotchkiss, Colorado, in June 2008;
* and the 'Night of Stars' concert at Lovett Auditorium, Murray State University, KY, on 29 November 2007, when the Krugers will perform their composition 'Music from the spring: a romantic serenade for banjo, guitar, bass & Orchestra' with the MSU Symphony Orchestra.

The Kruger Brothers International Fan Club Inc. has been founded by Don & Brenda Baldwin and Emily Boyett as a non-profit organization Oklahoma. The band has also launched a MySpace site.

Monday, 29 October 2007

First Spanish tutor for bluegrass guitar

Josep Traver's La guitarra acústica: Bluegrass is the first book to be published in Spanish on bluegrass guitar. It is suitable for beginners, as well as for advanced players who want to deepen their knowledge of acoustic folk guitar in general and the bluegrass style in particular.

It covers different aspects of bluegrass guitar: general characteristics, repertoire, accompaniment, chord inversions, harmonic substitutions, improvising, scales, arpeggios, and techniques such as flatpicking, crosspicking, and Carter family style. The text is divided into nineteen parts of progressive difficulty, so that the sections of most interest to the reader can be treated as independent units.

Format: 74 pages and a CD with 99 audio tracks of all examples. All the exercises are shown in standard notation as well as in tablature. Price: €23. On sale at Casa Beethoven y Audenis, Barcelona; Musical tres y Platero, Badalona; or online from Dinsic Publicacions Musicals SL, Santa Anna 10, E 3a 08002 Barcelona; telephone +93 318 06 05; fax +93 412 05 01.

Que viva España

Lluis Antonio Gomez Martinez reports from Spain that the 7th edition of the Al Ras Festival of bluegrass and old-time music will be on 7 June 2008: 'We're booking groups, and we're open to book European bands!'

Lluis's new CD will be released in December 2007. Guest artists on the album include Tom Corbett (mandolin) and Tim Carter (banjo), who also mixed the CD in Nashville. The ten tracks include bluegrass, jazz, and Irish tunes; all but two are original compositions. Two tunes from the CD can be heard on MySpace.

Lluis is also writing tabs and articles for Tom Nechville's newsletter Banjovia. Tabs for the David Grisman tunes 'EMD', 'Opus 38', and 'O'Banion's wake', as well as Liz Carroll's 'Lost in the loop', can be downloaded at the Nechville website.

And a video of the Lluis Gomez Quintet on stage at the 2007 Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Longford, Ireland, can be seen on YouTube.

Friday, 26 October 2007

German bluegrass grandparents

Helena Glandt, born 25 October 2008

Banjo-player and bandleader Andy Glandt and his wife Beate announce that yesterday their daughter-in-law gave birth to their grandchild Helena (weight 3140 gram, height 50 cm). The proud grandparents send the above photo.

Andy's other interests include his bands (Fox Tower Bluegrass Band, 3unterwegs, Piece of Cheese, and the Kralik & Glandt Trio) and his family programme, children's programme, and Wolkenkratzer programme. Contact Andy by e-mail or at +49-3641-331001, +49-172-941-3523.

Eberhard and Monika Finke of Bluegrass-Bühne magazine are expectant grandparents at present. However, they can report new contact data, as they have been given new telephone numbers and e-mail addresses. Contact them at:

Eberhard and Monika Finke
Schülinstrasse 3/3
89073 Ulm, Germany
Tel. +49-731-1761770 for Monika; tel./fax +49-731-1761771 for Eberhard and Bluegrass-Bühne

6th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, 3 May 2008: lineup

The Infamous Stringdusters

Walter Fuchs reports that the lineup for the 6th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival has now been finalised:

The Infamous Stringdusters (USA)
Don Rigsby & Midnight Call (USA)
Frigg (FIN)
Main Spring (D)

The 6th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival will be held on 3 May 2008, beginning at 14.00 in the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt, Bühl/Baden, Germany. Information and tickets: +49 7223 931616.

In the IBMA awards three weeks ago, the Infamous Stringdusters received three awards - for Emerging Artist, Album of the Year (shared with J. D. Crowe & the New South), and Song of the Year (for 'Fork in the road', written by Chris Jones and John Pennell).


Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Red Wine on Woodsongs

Red Wine (Silvio Ferretti, banjo; Luca Bartolini, guitar; Stefano Cavallo, bass; Martino Coppo, mandolin) appeared on Michael Johnathon’s Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour on 1 October, in live performance together with the veteran Celtic music group Boys of the Lough.

A link to the video of the show is now available on the Bluegrass Blog. Details of the rest of Red Wine's US schedule can be found on an earlier post on the European Bluegrass Blog.

The audience at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco - one of the band's engagements - has been estimated at over half a million people during the three days. Warren Hellman, organiser of the completely free festival, received an IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award this year.

Tribute to Mick Larie

Thanks to Jean-Marie Redon and Sharon Cort for news, photos, and video footage of the TV tribute to the late Mick Larie, produced by Patrick Sébastien, one of the main TV producers in France.

Musicians taking part included Jean-Marie (banjo), Kathy Chiavola (guitar), Sharon Cort (guitar), Christian Séguret (mandolin), Dany Vriet (fiddle), Riquet Sere (bass), and Olivier Caste (vocals). The show was recorded on 29 August and broadcast on the France 2 channel on Saturday 1 September. Jean-Marie explains:

Mick Larie was one of Sébastien's closer collaborators for more than 15 years. They also, with time, became close friends. This is the reason why Sébastien called me and said he wants to do something special for Mick in his next TV show. He asked to have the band Long Distance Mick and myself had founded a long time ago. In the past we had made several TV shows with Sébastien, playing with some well-known artist like Sacha Distel for example. He also asked to have some US artist. My choice was naturally going to Sharon and Kathy as they were close friends with Mick.

Part of the show can be seen on internet here, together with footage of the early Long Distance band playing 'Foggy Mountain breakdown'.

EWOB 2007 CD details now on line

Thierry Schoysman of Bluegrass in Belgium reports that full details of the European World of Bluegrass 2007 CD (Strictly Country Records SCR-65) are now available here, together with those of the other nine European World of Bluegrass CDs, all produced by Liz Meyer.

Details include all song titles, author and publisher credits, band personnel and contact data ('phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and website links).

Coming gigs: Coppo-Dalla Vecchia

Roberto Dalla Vecchia reports that he'll be playing in sweet Switzerland again this coming weekend:

I'm really excited about it because I'll be playing these gigs with mandolin wizard Martino Coppo. He's been a guest musician in my previous CDs and I'm so happy about this musical partnership.

Sat. 28 Oct.: Restaurant Lerchenberg, Zurich. Info tel. +41 (0)44 271 5566

Sun. 29 Oct.: House Concert, Lausen BL. Info tel. 061 423 96 91; e-mail; Bluegrass in Basel

Hope to see you very soon,
Yours in Doc,
Roberto Dalla Vecchia
'Flatpicking Guitar with Italian Gusto!'
MySpace site

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Transatlantic Bluegrass School brings top US musicians to Wales

The first Transatlantic Bluegrass School will be held on 7-11 May 2008 in Newport, Pembrokeshire, Wales, giving bluegrass musicians in Europe an opportunity to learn from the very best contemporary and traditional musicians and vocalists. The instructors are:

Fiddle: Bobby Hicks
Flatpick guitar: Kenny Smith
Vocals: Amanda Smith
Mandolin: Emory Lester
String bass: Mike Bub
Banjo: Ross Nickerson

The residential course begins with a reception on the evening of 7 May, followed by four days of bluegrass music classes, elective workshops, and two faculty concerts. The total cost for all activities is £195. Demand is expected to exceed available spaces for the course, so early registration is suggested. For further information about the course, location, and tutors, visit the school’s website.

For further information, please contact:
Nadine Highfield, Transatlantic Bluegrass School
01239 881334 (within the UK),
011 44 1239 881334 (from the US)

Read Nadine's full press release here.

Monday, 22 October 2007

EBMA website upgraded

As part of the continuing improvement of EBMA services, Angelika Torrie, EBMA treasurer and webmaster, reports:

From this moment on, the EBMA's website is based on CMS (content management system - for the experts among you, it's Typo3). It's much easier to maintain and will also enable us to distribute maintenance of specific sections to specialised people. Please check out the new old look and if you spot something that doesn't work, please let me know by e-mail. Thank you for visiting EBMA.ORG!

Bluegrass Calendar 2008

Gary Reid of Copper Creek Records reports:

We are pleased to announce the release of the 2008 Bluegrass Calendar, a striking 14-month publication that – this year – pays homage to the Women in Bluegrass.* For folks who can’t wait to get started, this edition contains the months of November and December for 2007, as well as all of 2008. Additional information can be found here.

We also offer discounted pricing to associations (the calendars make great fund-raising items), retail establishments, and musicians wishing to resell items on their show dates. Please ask for details!

Note: our website automatically calculates shipping charges for within the US. Orders shipping to Canada and Europe will be calculated for the actual rate of postage due.

*Artists featured include Margie Sullivan • 3 Fox Drive • Sally Love • Cherryholmes • Hazel Dickens • Rhonda Vincent • Laurie Lewis • Lynn Morris • Valerie Smith • Fiddlers: Becky Buller, Megan Lynch, & April Verch • Bass Players: Nancy Cardwell, Jeanette Williams, & Sharon Gilchrist • Banjo Players: Casey Henry, Murphy Henry, Janet Beazley

MSQ album launch, 10 November

Tutte le direzioni ('Every direction'), the latest album by the Mideando String Quintet, will be officially launched at 21.00 on Saturday 10 November in the Bastione Alicorno, Padova (Padua), Italy. The launch will be accompanied by a live concert by the MSQ, to which admission will be free.

The new CD features seven original songs with Italian or English lyrics, plus two covers with new arrangements by the band ('Video killed the radio stars' by the Buggles, and 'These are the days of our lives' by Queen), and Mideando String Quintet's very special versions of 'Will the circle be unbroken' and 'Turkey in the straw'.

Mideando String Quintet
phone (+39) 049 8021556
mobile (+39) 338 8227001

Sunday, 21 October 2007

John Hunter

The Bluegrass Ireland Blog reports that John Hunter of Sixmilecross, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, died on the evening of Saturday 20 October while at a music session, shortly after singing. John suffered a critical heart attack several years ago.

John and his wife Noreen made their mark on the bluegrass scene in Ireland by their duet singing and by organising for several years - till John's ill health intervened - the successful Bluegrass Weekends in their home town of Sixmilecross. A feature on the Weekends appeared in Bluegrass Europe #21 (Oct./Nov. 2001). The funeral will be at Beragh church, about four miles south of Omagh, at 1.00 p.m. on Tuesday 23 October.

European presence at IBMA's World of Bluegrass

At IBMA's World of Bluegrass (1-7 October) in Nashville, TN, European bluegrass was strongly represented by the Mideando String Quintet (Italy), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2006; G2 (Sweden), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2007; Meantime (Slovakia), #2 European Bluegrass Band 2007; and Red Wine, who were en route between Lexington, KY, and San Francisco (see our earlier post).

New recordings available at World of Bluegrass included Red Wine's Winter's come and gone (RW 006); the MSQ's Tutte le direzioni; and - from G2's new album Where the tall grass grows - a four-track sampler which was distributed to all registered attenders.

Colonel Thomas Taylor, who presents 'Taylor's Top Tunes' and 'Blue Ridge Gospel Wagon' on WorldWideBluegrassRadio, is keen to receive recordings from bluegrass bands in Europe and elsewhere outside the USA. Contact him through the WWB website or at

Col Thomas Taylor
106 La Colline Street
Morganton, NC 28655
+1 828 433 6205
+1 828 433 0593

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Andy Owens & Druha Trava tour, Jan.-Feb. 2008

Andy Owens (USA) and Druha Trava, who were among the headline acts at the 10th EWOB Festival, will begin a tour in western and central Europe on 16 January, with confirmed dates so far in Amsterdam (18, 19 Jan.), London (23 Jan.), and North Wales (25 Jan.), Dublin (26 Jan.), Galway (29 Jan.), and Scotland (31 Jan.-2 Feb.). From 3 February they will be in the Czech Republic. Full details will appear on Andy's website.

Banjo workshop in Munich, 3-4 November 2007

Update (October 20, 2007): Adiaha Bürkmiller informs us that, while most workshop tickets are gone, there are a (very) few left. Contact her at the address below to secure your place on this banjo journey.

A bluegrass workshop for 5-string banjo will be held at Unterhaching in south Munich (München), Germany, on Saturday 3 November and Sunday 4 November 2007. The teachers are Rüdiger Helbig (D) and Ross Nickerson (USA). Rüdiger and his band, the Huckleberry Five, were the cover feature in the June-July 2007 issue of Bluegrass Europe.

The cost of the workshop, with snacks and coffee, is €180. With single room for one night and breakfast, the cost is €250. There is also a 'Bluegrass Evening' on Saturday, with the Huckleberry Five in Weyarn/OBB.

The programme includes:
· Right- and left-hand techniques
· Backup playing
· Practice habits and priorities
· Scruggs style and Keith style
· Up-the-neck work
· Jamming with others
· Rhythm and timing
· Playing in different keys and tunings
· Playing by ear and learning to play without tablature

Contact Adiaha Bürkmiller: tel. +49 (0)176-23640702; e-mail. The workshop flyer can be seen here.

Ross Nickerson, author of the Banjo encyclopedia and many other teaching aids, will also be giving workshops in Amsterdam, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Oslo, and Copenhagen between 7 and 13 November.

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys: live DVD

The Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys from Somerset, south-west England, are planning to release a DVD, including film taken over the last few years but centred on a live show to be held at their home base, the Wellington Arts Centre, on Saturday 1 December 2007. Admission is free, but only about 130 tickets are available, and can be ordered from the band by e-mail. The DVD is scheduled for release in spring 2008.

The band have three shows on their schedule between now and the filming: a charity show on Saturday 27 October at Wellington School, in which Thunderbridge appear at 8.00 p.m.; a free-admission show at 9.00 p.m on Thursday 8 November at The Martlet, Langford Budville; and Fry's country club on Saturday 10 November at Keynsham, near Bristol. Other shows follow on 14 and 15 December; full details are on the Thunderbridge website.

Thunderbridge also tip their hats to the website, founded nearly a year ago as a medium for publicising bluegrass in the UK.

Monday, 15 October 2007

Steve Louvat at Gelbressée, 20 October

Laurent Eckhout reports that Steve Louvat will play fingerpicking guitar next Saturday, 20 October, at Gelbressée, Belgium, as leader of the trio Bartaba, performing original songs in French. The show starts at 20.00. Gelbressée is a few kilometers east of Namur; full details, including a location map, are on the event website.

A wealth of photos taken at this year's Picnic Festival at Namur can be seen on the Namurimage website. The next edition of the Picnic Festival (already the 4th!) will be on 6-7 September 2008. Details will soon appear on the festival website.

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Beppe Gambetta: schedule 2007-8

Guitarist Beppe Gambetta has a busy schedule during the next three months, with four solo concerts and a residential master class in Italy during 17-20 October and 13-14 December.

He will also be playing nineteen solo concerts (as well as an 'Italian Guitar Night' with Franco Morone) and conducting three workshops during the 'Gitarre zweier welten' tour in Switzerland, Germany, Luxembourg, and Austria between Thursday 15 November and Saturday 8 December. Full details are on his website.

16th Beppe Gambetta International Workshop, 3-10 August 2008

Beppe Gambetta thanks all those who took part in the 2007 Workshop in Ambroz (Slovenia), which seems to have been one of the best yet. In response to the comments of students, further changes and improvements will be made in 2008. The program will be conducted by Beppe and Steve Kaufman (USA), and the two classes, each of fifteen students, will have alternate lessons from both teachers. Classes will be held only in the mornings, with afternoons being devoted to jamming and socialising. All details will be posted on the workshop website, which will soon be open to receive subscriptions.

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Uncle Earl at Het Turfschip, NL: SOLD OUT

Cor and Greet Sanne, of CMS Productions in the Netherlands, report that the concert of Uncle Earl in 'Het Turfschip' in Nieuwkoop, Holland, on Wednesday 7 November is now completely sold out. Cor adds:

This will be the final show in this venue for 2007. In December we'll take a break but on Sunday 13 January we'll be back with a great New Year's concert with the Bluegrass Boogiemen, the Ranch House Favorites, and Grand Ole Country. Show starts at 14.00 hrs. Tickets may already be reserved via e-mail only as per right now. Tickets are €15.00.

'Het Turfschip' in Nieuwkoop is famous for its atmosphere. People really listen and we intend to keep it that way. No smoking allowed. In 2008 we'll be doing bluegrass on a more regular basis. This year we had bluegrass, western swing, country, and singer/songwriter shows. Each and every one of them were sold-out shows.

For the rest of the European tour by Uncle Earl, see the band's website.

Friday, 12 October 2007

Tim O'Brien in France, 18 October-3 November

The Tim O'Brien + Turquoise concert in Vichy on 21 October, already announced below, is part of a tour in France by Tim O'Brien, following several appearances in Ireland. The complete tour, as shown at present on his website, is as follows:

Thurs. 18 Oct.: Le Nouveau Pavillon, Nantes, Brittany
Fri. 19 Oct.: Le Bacardi, Callac, Brittany
Sun. 21 Oct.: 15:00, Theatre Valery-Larbaud, Vichy, Auvergne
Wed. 31 Oct.-Sat. 3 Nov.: Festival Mandolines de Lunel, Lunel

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Rachel Harrington in Europe, 10-26 October

Rachel Harrington, from Oregon, USA, has begun a tour in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and the UK, in a duo act with multi-instrumentalist Zak Borden on vocals, mandolin, and guitar. Her work is described as 'from the crossroads of country, folk and bluegrass', and the guest artists on her new CD The bootlegger's daughter include such bluegrass musicians as John Reischman and Danny Barnes.

Wed. 10 Oct.: London: in-studio recording session with Bob Harris, on BBC Radio 2
Thurs. 11 Oct.: London: the Luminaire
Sat. 13 Oct.: Netherlands, Ottersum: Roepaen
Sun. 14 Oct.: Belgium, Hamont: Pebbles
Mon. 15 Oct.: Netherlands, Hilversum: in-studio session with Paul Harvey, on Dutch National Radio
Mon. 15 Oct.: Netherlands, Heerlen: Café De Zotte
Tues. 16 Oct.: Germany, Bonn: Mausefalle
Thurs. 18 Oct.: UK, Oswestry: the IronWorks
Sat. 20 Oct.: UK, York: the Band Room
Sun. 21 Oct.: UK, Sheffield: West Street Live
Tues. 23 Oct.: UK, Leicester: the Musician
Wed. 24 Oct.: UK, Oxford: the Purple Turtle
Fri. 26 Oct.: London: Green Note

Full details on the website.

The long harvest reissued

Thanks to FOAOTMAD for the news that The long harvest, a ten-album set of ballads recorded in the 1960s by Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger, has been reissued on CD after being out of print for thirty years.

Each disc has three or four Child ballads, each of which is represented by four or five versions ranging from older to newer texts. The purpose is to show how ballads travelled from Europe to the USA, and what became of them in the process. Many of the newer texts are truncated, humorous, or reduced to children's songs.

The reissue set consists of Volumes 1-10 of the ballads and an eleventh CD of the original notes in PDF form. The sets cannot be broken up and sold as individual CDs. The full set costs $110 (p&p incl.) in the USA and is not directly available elsewhere at present. It can be obtained in Europe for $125 (p&p incl.), through the address available from FOAOTMAD by e-mail.

Andy Smith

Ron Stevens of the UK sends the sad news that Andy Smith, a central figure of the British bluegrass scene, died on Monday 1 October after several years of serious illness. The funeral took place at 11.15 a.m. on Tuesday 9 October in St James's church, Styvechale, Coventry, England. Those attending were asked to donate to the Lewy Body Disease Association in lieu of bringing flowers. Ron adds:

This great guy, who was the friend of anyone who ever played the banjo in the UK, and his wonderful music with his sister Jan were major contributions to the Midlands bluegrass scene, never to be forgotten. His innovations and inventions were known both sides of the Pond, and I personally have met USA performers who are still the proud owners of an Andy Smith capo. Our heartfelt sympathy goes out to Barbara and all Andy's family at this most distressing of times.

Wasteland Green in Netherlands and UK, 21-5 October

Wasteland Green: Friedrich Barniske, Arne Zauber, Susanne Werth

Friedrich Barniske, of the Hot String Quintet from Berlin, will bring a trio project, Wasteland Green, over to the UK for a first short visit in late October 2007, presenting songs from folk, pop, jazz, and country. As well as Friedrich, the trio consists of Susanne Werth (lead vocals) and Arne Zauber (guitar, chromatic button accordion, lead vocals). Their first CD, Beautiful tonight (Nov. 2005) was released on Acoustic Concerts Berlin Records and presents 14 tracks. More information is on the group's website.

Tour dates include:

Sun. 21 Oct.: Amsterdam (NL) / De Badcuyp Centrum for Muziek (3.00 p.m.)
Mon. 22 Oct.: Canterbury Festival (UK) / Festival Club
Tues. 23 Oct.: Dartford (UK) / Folk Club at the Working Men's Club
Wed. 24 Oct.: Windsor (UK) / Windsor Arts Centre
Thurs. 25 Oct.: Ewshot (UK) / Acoustic Music Club at the Windmill

Friday, 5 October 2007

IBMA Awards Show LIVE

Our friends from The Bluegrass Blog report that they will be carrying the 2007 International Bluegrass Music Awards Show live from backstage the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee tonight (October 5, 2007 - 03.30 am continental European time).

Update 4 (last one): The IBMA website now features the full listing of all 2007 awards recipients and a press release.

Update 3: And if you didn't believe us, here's a photo of Richard Hawkins on stage at the Grand Ole Opry (third photo in the second row; with our good friend Greg Cahill) - don't they look awesome?

Update 2: You can now find the full Awards Show coverage by The Bluegrass Blog here.

Update: The Awards Show is over: congratulations to the winners! One award was presented by the 2006/2007 #1 European Bluegrass Band, Mideando from Italy, and another by our very own Richard Hawkins, EBMA Board member, editor of this blog and the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.