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!