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