Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Dunmore East Trawler Tragedy Appeal

During the storms of 10/11 January, two fishing vessels sank in the Irish Sea with the loss of seven lives. All five seamen on the Pere Charles, from Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, and two from the Honeydew II, of Kinsale, Co. Cork, were drowned. The disaster shocked Ireland and had a further impact for the bluegrass community - Dunmore East has been the welcoming venue of the annual Guinness International Bluegrass Festival since 1995. In addition to local fishermen, one of the dead seamen was from Poland, and one from the Ukraine.

The Dunmore East Trawler Tragedy Appeal has now opened, with an account at the Allied Irish Bank, Ardkeen, Co. Waterford (sort code 93-44-02; account number 12200048). Contacts are: Fr Brian Power, Killea PP, Killea, Dunmore East; Joefy Murphy, lifeboat coxwain; Ciaran O'Mullain.

As well as presenting many bands from Ireland, the UK, and the USA, Dunmore East was the first Irish bluegrass festival to book bands from continental Europe, including the Blue Grass Boogiemen (NL), 4 Wheel Drive (NL), Fox Tower Bluegrass Band (D), Vabank Unit (CZ), New Section (CZ), Jack Danielle's String Band (F), and Blue Railroad Train (F).

Over Easy Festival ends after seventeen years

Verein Over Easy Productions reports with great regret that the Over Easy Bluegrass Festival, which has been held in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, on the last Sunday in June since 1989, will no longer take place. The Festival's idyllic site was rezoned as building land, and no suitable alternative location could be found.

The Festival originated with the Over Easy Bluegrass Band, and has been run since 1995 by Verein Over Easy Productions, which will continue to organise bluegrass shows. A concert by the US duo Still on the Hill is planned for 17 May, in collaboration with the Haberhaus Kulturklub.

Verein Over Easy Productions, headed by its president Franz Elsener, thanks everyone who has been associated with the Festival and contributed to its long-running success.

Tuesday, 30 January 2007

Sons of Navarone

The Sons of Navarone begin a busy February with a concert at 't Smiske, Gemeenteplein 7, 1730 Asse, Belgium, on Friday 2 February at 9.00 p.m. On Saturday 10 February they'll be playing at 'd Oude School, Damstraat 49, Weerde (Mechelen), Belgium. Later in the month they play a short, intense tour of southern and midland England (21-3 February), with shows at the Nettlebed Bluegrass Club, Oxfordshire; the Windmill Acoustic Music Club, Ewshot, Surrey; and the Heart of England Bluegrass Club, Kenilworth, Warwickshire. For full details, see the Sons' website, which can also be reached through the Bluegrass in Belgium website.

Monday, 29 January 2007

Calendar of UK bluegrass events is a site with many useful features. One of the most recent is a calendar page, showing the dates of festivals, concerts, workshops, and other bluegrass and old-time music events taking place in the UK, with links to websites and other contact data.

Eric Uglum Joins Chris Stuart & Backcountry

Christian Ward, Austin Ward, Chris Stuart, Eric Uglum, Janet Beazley

Cybergrass carries the news that Eric Uglum, formerly of Lost Highway, will join Chris Stuart & Backcountry as a full-time member on lead guitar and mandolin. Eric's two stepsons, Christian Ward (fiddle) and Austin Ward (bass), are already Backcountry members.

More details of the band and of The old road to Jerusalem, the latest album on the Backcountry label by Eric, Austin, and Christian, can be found here.

Lost Highway and Backcountry are both well known on this side of the Atlantic from their tours in Europe. Chris Stuart (guitar, lead vocals) and Janet Beazley (banjo, vocals) will be teaching songwriting and bluegrass banjo respectively at Sore Fingers Week 2007 (9-14 April). A.R.T. Promotions is arranging a Backcountry tour of Europe between 9 and 24 November 2007.

Deadline for US trip to EWOB 2007

Kevin Lynch, of the Connecticut Bluegrass Music Association, the IBMA, and U-H Radio Bluegrass (now in its 37th year), reports for the benefit of our readers in North America:

Just one last note to those interested in making the trip to the IBMA-award-winning 10th Annual European World of Bluegrass three-day event in the Netherlands:

1) The trip is 14-20 May 2007 and will include additional excursions built
around the EWOB events.

2) The absolute DEADLINE for reservations/deposits is Monday, 26 February 2007.

I am going as an unofficial guide and assisting my travel agent sister, who has booked this tour as a bluegrass fan, at cost. She has arranged this not-for-profit tour partly as promotion for future trips through her travel agency, but also because of her love of the music.

This bluegrass group trip to the Netherlands has two main goals:

1) To promote international bluegrass, primarily through the EWOB events in this case.

2) To offer bluegrass fans in North America a chance to take this trip at a much lower expense than one could ever arrange on their own.

For details of the First-Ever European World of Bluegrass Group Tour (May 2007) and also of the IBMA 'Fan Fest' Bluegrass Road Trip (October 2007), see here.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

New flatpicking book from Oliver Waitze

EBMA member Oliver Waitze from the New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, is happy to announce his first flatpicking book: Flatpicking: master technique. It presents and explains many backup rhythms, licks, intros, and endings, Tony Rice style, cross-picking, and well known tunes. Written text in German and English; sheet music and tablatures; 100 pages plus audio CD (70 min.). EUR 27,95. Order by e-mail.

New bluegrass festival in Suffolk, UK

Rex Bloomfield reports from the UK that in addition to the established bluegrass sessions, concerts, and other events in Suffolk, Chris Hockley and Ralph Keeble have organised the county's first full-length bluegrass festival.

The Orwell Bluegrass Festival will run from 7.30 p.m. on Friday 27 April to 12.30 p.m. on Sunday 29 April at the Orwell Crossing Lorry Park at Nacton - a modern purpose-built complex in its own grounds, adjoining the A14 eastbound carriageway. It is open-plan in design, with a central glass-covered atrium, patio-style furnishings, a 24-hour restaurant, lounge area, bar, toilet and shower facilities, and space for caravans and camping.

The headliners for the Saturday night concert are the Dick Smith and Mike O'Reilly Band (USA/Canada). Also confirmed to appear during the weekend are the Biggin Hillbillies, Buffalo, Buffalo Smoke, Home Territory, the New Essex Bluegrass Band, and Roots and Galoots.

It is hoped that the BBMA will hold its AGM during the weekend. Ticket prices: £8 for the Friday evening concert; £10 for the Saturday evening concert; £22 for the whole weekend (includes camping/caravan). A £40 weekend ticket will be available to cover two adults and their children.

Wednesday, 24 January 2007

Bluegrass in Copenhagen

Bluegrass Music Denmark announces a series of concerts at the Karens Minde Kulturhus, Wagnersvej 19, 2450 Kbh. SV, Copenhagen.

Friday 26 January, 9.00 p.m.: High on Grass (Sweden) plays traditional bluegrass with tight three-part harmony, and consists of Lars-Åke Hedman (banjo; tenor and lead vocals), Ulf Hedman (bass), Lennart Martinsson (guitar; lead and baritone vocals), Rune Kjäll (fiddle; baritone and lead vocals), and Bengt Adielsson, who joined the band in 1996 (mandolin, dobro; all vocal parts). In 2004, to celebrate ten years as a band, High on Grass released a CD, Unleashed.

Friday 16 February: Double concert - Big Hungry Joe and Græshopperne.

Friday 9 March: The Jeannette Williams Band (USA). A recent CD review in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine said: 'Jeanette Williams is undeniably one of the prolific new voices in bluegrass music... This album is an exhilarating musical treasure for all seasons.'

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

'Twenty below zero' from Finland

Twenty below zero, the new CD by the Clayhill Brothers band from Finland, has just been released on Bluelight Records (BLR 33137-2) and will be soon available through Fennica Records (advance orders can be made via this link) or through

Contact the band by e-mail or by post: The Clayhill Brothers, P.O. Box 288, FI - 00101, Helsinki, Finland.

Check the band out on the Finnish Bluegrass Music Association website. Their own website is opening soon.

The Clayhill Brothers: Risto Vuohula (guitar, vocals), Jukka Särkkä (mandolin), Jyrki Ilvonen (bass, vocals), Matti Lehtola (banjo)

Thursday, 18 January 2007

New CD from Bononia Grass

Thinking it blue! (Tortellino CD 001), the new CD by Bononia Grass from Bologna, Italy, is available for tracks to listen to and buy on CD Baby - the link to it is here. Bononia Grass came third in the European Bluegrass Band of the Year awards at the EBMA's European World of Bluegrass EWOB Festival 2006.

The CD has won very positive reviews in two leading bluegrass magazines: the November 2006 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited and the September / October 2006 issue of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. Steve Dilling (of IIIrd Tyme Out) wrote: 'Your CD sounds great! I wish that the fans over here in the US could hear you guys. Great job!'

Wednesday, 17 January 2007

Second Coastline Bluegrass Music Event, 8-10 June

The second Coastline Bluegrass Music Event will be held on 8-10 June 2007 in a new venue - Plas Uchaf Farm, on the B5381, 1.5 miles (2.4 km) from Junction 19 (for Llandudno) on the A55 through north Wales.

The concert schedule includes A Band Like Alice, Roots and Galoots, Thunderbridge, and the Feet First Appalachian Cloggers, together with Open Mike sessions, jams, and workshops at beginner and intermediate level. Food, bar, and camping will be available on site. B&B or hotel accommodation should be booked early, as this area is very popular with visitors.

An adult weekend ticket is £36 with camping, £32 without; if you book before 1 May, both cost £4 less. Under 16s are admitted free. Book online at the website or by post to C.B.M.E., 7 Castle Place, Abergele, CONWY LL 22 7SS, Wales.

Monday, 15 January 2007

Bluegrass in Sweden on DVD

The January/February 2007 issue of IBMA's newsletter International Bluegrass reports: 'A new DVD entitled De Blanande Bergens Musik: Bluegrass Torsaker 2005 features footage of bluegrass music in Sweden, including festivals and the surrounding countryside. Info: here.'

International Bluegrass's 'Video file' column also notes that new and reissued instructional DVDs from Homespun includes New directions in flatpicking - from bluegrass to European dance, by Beppe Gambetta.

Second Navacerrada Bluegrass Festival, 14 July 2007

The second Navacerrada Bluegrass Festival will be held on 14 July 2007 in the main square of the beautiful city of Navacerrada, Spain, in the mountains 50 km from Madrid. Admission is free, and the event has the support of the city authorities. It is hoped that next year's festival will be a two-day event.

Groups that are confirmed to play in 2007 are Autopista-6, Mar y los Tex, West Union, the Lluis Gomez Trio, High Noon, Foigrass, Hootenanny plus 2 (England), and the Lilli Trio (Bulgaria).

For further information, contact Javier Sanchez and Montse Serramia of Autopista-6 at this link or Pedro Lopez at this link. You can also contact Javier by post at

Javier Sanchez
Parquecollado, Pinos 14
28450 Collado M.

or through the Autopista-6 website, which can be viewed in English by clicking on the British flag.

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Concerts and workshops at the New Acoustic Gallery

The New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, announces its series of concerts and workshops in guitar and mandolin for the spring and autumn of 2007. The roster of artists includes Oliver Waitze, Jacques Stotzem, Beppe Gambetta, and Jesper Rübner. Full details are available from

New Acoustic Gallery
Neuenhofer Str. 122
42657 Solingen
Tel.: +49 (0)212/2474007

Monday, 8 January 2007

Wanted: material(s) representing 10 years of EWOB

In honour of the upcoming celebration of ten years of the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) events, its highlight being the EWOB Festival 2007 in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands (17-19 May), the committee would like to invite anyone who has attended in the past to send information to be considered for publication in a special Tenth Anniversary program.

We are seeking all kinds of material: photos, newspaper articles, funny anecdotes, your personal experiences, your favourite band(s), your favourite song or tune, what were your band's experiences at various EWOB events, etc. In short – feel free to send anything you care to share with bluegrass fans everywhere. Maybe you will see your contribution in the special 'Tenth Anniversary Edition' paper to be distributed during EWOB 2007.

Our deadline for receipt of your material(s) is 1 March 2007. Please send your information via e-mail (or regular mail) to

Adri Richter
Rodenburgstraat 4
2381 BG
The Netherlands

Please note: Materials cannot be returned. Clear, clean copies and/or scans of photos/articles, etc. are acceptable. Thank you all in advance for your support.

For US readers: Come experience the 10th anniversary EWOB events in person! Be part of the first ever European World of Bluegrass Group Tour in May 2007. See here for details.

The Wilders in Europe, May 2007

The Wilders will be appearing in Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands during the EWOB period this year, thanks to Rainer Zellner's Music Contact agency. This is their first trip to central Europe, and the shows includes the Buhl, Willisau, and Zuidlaren festivals. Details of the tour (3 May-28 May 2007) were published a month ago on the Music Contact website. Since then, two further dates have been added - the band is provisionally booked for the Karl May festival at Radebeul on 19 and 20 May (TBC).

Music Contact says 'Bluegrass meets Rock 'n' Roll'; we suggest 'Old-Time meets Honky-Tonk'. Under any label, the Wilders are a high-energy band with a growing reputation, who scored a great success at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Festival at Omagh, Northern Ireland, in September 2006.

Mideando String Quintet plan new CD

The Mideando String Quintet, whose last CD, Viaggio (in English: 'Journey'), was reviewed very favourably in local and selected European publications during 2005-6, are working hard at recording a new CD for release in summer 2007.

The MSQ use acoustic mandolin, octave mandolin or mandocello, violin, acoustic or classic guitar, and electric bass, and their vocals are usually arranged in five-part harmony. Their repertoire includes original material and covers adapted to their personal style - a fusion of various styles, particularly influenced by country & bluegrass music, pop, rock, and a bit of jazz.

In 2005 the MSQ won the 'Padua Grammy Award' for the best acoustic band of the Padova province in Italy. In May 2006 they were awarded the title of #1 European Bluegrass Band 2006 by the vote of their fellow musicians at the 9th EWOB festival, in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands. In this role, they have been invited to represent Europe at the IBMA's World of Bluegrass in October 2007, in Nashville, TN, USA.

In 2006 the MSQ were also the only Italian band invited to the prestigious 40th Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, and to the 15th Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Northern Ireland. For further information visit the MSQ website or contact the band by e-mail or post:

Associazione Musicale MIDEANDO
Via P. Vergerio 6 - 35126 PADOVA - Italy
tel. (+39) 049 8021556 - cell. 338 8227001

The MSQ is booked by A.R.T. Promotions.

Friday, 5 January 2007

Italian bluegrass festival in September 2007

Bluegrass Now magazine carries the following news item in its January 2007 issue:

Marco Centemeri organized a very successful banjo workshop in Italy this past summer featuring Tom Nechville and he would like to organize a full-blown bluegrass festival for 2007. Plans now are to host the festival the second week in September 2007. If your band would be interested in participating in a festival in Italy, please contact Tom Nechville.

The current issue of Nechville's journal Banjovia, with a major illustrated feature on his tour in Europe in late 2006, can be viewed online here.

Thursday, 4 January 2007

Bonne Année y'all - Happy New Year from BRT!

Philippe Perrard, Thierry Lecoq, Sharon Lombardi, Jean-Marie Redon, James Field

Blue Railroad Train report:

L'année 2006 nous a rendu très heureux. Et pour 2007, tout le groupe vous souhaite une Nouvelle Année plein de Bonheur et de Musique!

It was a great 2006. And for 2007, the whole band sends you their Best Wishes for a Happy - and musical - New Year!

BRT are on the cover of Bluegrass Europe #53, with a three-page article on the band by Oliver Brown inside.

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

New bluegrass CDs from Slovakia

The Tomáš Peško Band CD is an unique solo project from the well known banjo player Tomáš Peško, from Slovakia. All the tracks are original instrumentals, written by himself, with the features of bluegrass, swing, and jazz. The band consists also of the renowned mandolin player Michal Barok (well known also from the bands Meantime and WaterFlow), guitar player Vladimir Cik, bass player Andrej Jeriga, and - as recording and performing guest artists - dobro player Peter Szabados, guitar player Peter Balaz, and the excellent fiddler Stano Paluch. The band also had a couple of successful performances (2001, 2003) at the EBMA's EWOB Festival.

In 2006 the CD, recorded five years ago, was released with the title Light in the storm and so far has been very well reviewed, with only positive reactions. Also thanks to the reactions of the public, musicians, and promoters, Tomáš Peško started to reform the band and compose new songs. The band is planning to perform at Bluegrass Fest 2007 in Bratislava, and at more festivals, including events abroad.

Light in the storm can be ordered for 10 EUR (+ delivery costs). For ordering or any questions, please contact us here. While the band website is under construction, you can find up-to-date information about the band here.

Bluegrass Time plays traditional bluegrass music in their own unique modern style, their own songs with Slovak lyrics, and of course a couple of instrumentals. The current band, founded in autumn 2004, is a continuation of the original Bluegrass Time from the late 1990s, led by mandolin player Dušan 'Titi' Bachratý, a bluegrass legend in Slovakia.

Today, Bluegrass Time includes only one of the original members: banjo player, composer, and songwriter Tomáš Peško. Lead vocal, guitar, and some lyrics and music belong to Pavol Stefek; dobro and vocals to Roman Ziatko; mandolin is played by Ernest Krammer; and double bass is in the hands of Jozef Jagersky.

In November 2006 Bluegrass Time released their debut CD, Kvapky rosy, which was recorded by Peter Szabados (Studio SABIK Medvedov), a great Slovak dobro player. The CD can be ordered for 10 EUR (+ delivery costs). For ordering or any questions, please contact us here. You can find more information about the band at the Bluegrass Time website and also here.

Monday, 1 January 2007

Happy 2007 to all bluegrass friends!

We hope you all made it safely into the new year to see many bluegrass events ... and read lots of bluegrass news on our Blog!

If you have news items to be published on our European Bluegrass Blog, you can send these to Richard Hawkins directly. Thank you for your interest in and support of bluegrass music in Europe!

Angelika Torrie
EBMA Webmaster