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.