Friday, 29 February 2008

Europe in Bluegrass Now

In the March issue of Bluegrass Now magazine:

* the 'Band to Watch' column by Dave Higgs features Cages Bend of the Nashville area, with emphasis on the band's Cornish-born banjo-player and master mandolin-maker Sim Daley;

* the 'Aircheck' column by Larry Robinson features EBMA member Jaap C. de Gues, who has presented his 'Let there be Country' show every Wednesday over Origineel FM (105.5, 106.2) from Spijkenisse, the Netherlands, for the last seven years;

* the EWOB 2007 CD gets a very positive review; and

* there's a snippet (with photo) on how well Chris Stuart & Backcountry were received at the Dolder 2 club in Feuerthaler, Switzerland, on their recent tour.

Thursday, 28 February 2008

Old-time music TWO weeks in Spain

An earlier post announced that the Spain Music Week would be held for the second year running in Casa Nueva Luna, near Almeria, Andalucia, hosted by old-time master musicians Dave Bing and Kate Lissauer.

The first week (3-10 May) is now overbooked, and applications are invited for a second week (10-17 May) on the same terms. For full details and contact data, see our original post.

Wednesday, 27 February 2008

Third Navacerrada Bluegrass Festival, 12 July

Javier Julian Sánchez of the committee organising the Third Navacerrada Bluegrass Festival, reports that the Festival will be held this year on 12 July. The organisers will be glad to hear from all European bands who are interested in taking part in the Festival. The terms offered are: expenses of travel by car, and accommodation. Contact - through the Festival website, or by e-mail.

For posts on the European Bluegrass Blog on last year's Navacerrada festival, see here and here. The Festival also has a MySpace site.

Hickory Project back in Europe!

From tomorrow (Thursday) you may look forward to seeing a wonderful live-show of the amazing Pennsylvania-based Hickory Project.

The Hickory Project has some of the best musicians in bluegrass today. Award-winning mandolin player Anthony Hannigan and Florida fiddle champion Sue Cunningham put together a group of band members fused by excellence. The music, the arrangements, the original selections will delight any music lover. You'll make a wise choice when you visit a Hickory Project concert. Just sit back and enjoy!

Thurs. 28 Feb.: Bluegrass in Basel, Basel, Switzerland, 7.30 p.m. with food from 6.30 p.m.
Fri. 29 Feb.: Ghost City Saloon, Country & Western Freunde Haag/H., Austria, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 1 Mar.: Bluegrass na Blatech Festival, Blata (near Jicín), Czech Republic
Tues. 4 Mar.: KD MLEJN, o.p.s. - Klub Mlejn, Prague, Czech Republic; Kovár(ova 1615/4 Praha 13 Stodulky 155 00 IC: 27452581 e-mail; 8.00 p.m.
Thurs. 6 Mar.: Buurthuis Ter Cose, Opcosenstraat 7, Nieuwerkerken-Kozen, Belgium, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 7 Mar.: available; contact NOW
Sat. 8 Mar.: Kulturhuset Karens Minde, Wagnersvej 19, Copenhagen, Denmark (Bluegrass Music Denmark), 9.00 p.m.
Sun. 9 Mar.: Det Bruunske Pakhus, Fredericia, Denmark, 8.00 p.m.
Tues. 11 Mar.: The Colonial Country Club Valthermond, ‘t Veurof, Zuiderdiep 71, +31 591 513103, Valthe, the Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.

Wed. 12 Mar.: available; contact NOW

Thurs. 13 Mar.: Illertal Cowboys , Vöhringen, Germany, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 14 Mar.: Lindenhalle 'St Patrick's Day Party', Ehingen, Germany, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 15 Mar.: Haberhaus Kulturklub, Schaffhausen, Switzerland, 8.00 p.m.

For more information visit A.R.T. Promotions.

The Ebony Hillbillies fill the gap

At the start of a European tour by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, the Bluegrass Blog carries a feature on how the Ebony Hillbillies from New York City stepped in to fill a gap in the recent Wintergrass Festival programme when the Chocolate Drops had been unable to come. The feature includes a link to a story in the Tacoma News Tribune.

The Hillbillies appeared at Wintergrass as a quartet: as a duo, comprising Norris Bennett (guitar, banjo, dulcimer, etc.) and Rique Prince (fiddle) they appeared at the EWOB Festival at Voorthuizen a few years ago.

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Lost Highway tour in UK cancelled

The ten-day concert tour in the UK by Ken Orrick & Lost Highway (USA), announced in an earlier post, has been cancelled as Ken Orrick is critically ill in hospital with pneumonia. Arrangements are being made, where possible, for those who bought advance tickets to be able to use them for the following tour by the Dick Smith/Mike O'Reilly Band (USA/Canada).

Former Niall Toner Band member wins Oscar

At the 80th annual Academy Awards ceremony on 24 February, the Music (Song) Award went to 'Falling slowly' from Once. The music and lyrics are by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who also played the leading roles as a Dublin busker and a Czech immigrant. Their acceptance speeches can be seen here.

Glen Hansard was formerly a long-time member of the Niall Toner Band and of Niall's country-rock band, Hank Halfhead and the Rambling Turkeys. The Niall Toner Band are scheduled to play at the forthcoming EWOB Festival on 1 May 2008.

New window display for 4WD

Four Wheel Drive (NL/D/B) have reorganised, rebuilt, and redecorated their MySpace site, which can be reached at this new address.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

Eleventh EWOB Festival, 1-3 May 2008

On May 1, 2 and 3 the eleventh European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival will take place in the Dutch village of Voorthuizen, under the auspices of the European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA). At least 42 bands from 12 different European countries, and the USA, will perform on stage. Among the guests from the USA this year are singer/songwriter Sally Jones & the Sidewinders, and Dick Staber & Judith Chasnoff.

The Festival also includes a Trade Show, workshops, bluegrass karaoke, the EBMA members' and open meetings, a children's programme with music instruction by professional musicians, and almost unlimited jamming. At the end of the Saturday night concert the title ‘#1 European Bluegrass Band’ will be awarded, based on the voting of all musicians performing at the Festival. The winning band will perform as guests at the annual IBMA convention, Trade Fair, and Fan Fest in the USA.

The full text of the press release, with contact data, is here.

Wonder why: new CD by Janet Holmes

Northern Ireland singer/songwriter Janet Holmes launched her new CD, Wonder why (Big Bear Hug Music BBH1), on 20 February in Belfast as part of the Belfast Nashville Songwriting Festival. Nine of the thirteen tracks are original compositions. On the following night - also as part of the Festival - Janet played support to Nanci Griffith.

In addition to Janet (lead and harmony vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar), musicians on the CD include Colin Henry (guitar, resonator guitar, Weissenborn guitar, banjo, harmonica), Ivan Muirhead (lead guitar), and Jonathan Toman (banjo), among others. Janet, Colin, and Ivan performed at two early EWOB Festivals in the band Birddog, and Jonathan can be heard on the Banjo influences CD produced by legendary French banjoist Jean-Marie Redon.

Friday, 22 February 2008

At last! - the Sons on CD

At last! The Sons of Navarone have released their first CD.
Available worldwide from Guido. For details, visit the Sons' website.

Thanks to Bluegrass in Belgium for the news. The Sons recently played two dates in the UK, as mentioned on an earlier post on the European Bluegrass Blog.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Jamie Dailey and Europe

The February issue of Bluegrass Now magazine includes an article by Jason Duke on the Dailey & Vincent band.

The article recounts that Jamie Dailey took part in a successful Young Leaders trip to Switzerland in 2003, and followed this with a trip to Germany in 2007 (reported in the Bluegrass Blog). Jason Duke adds:

He may well be the first bluegrass entertainer to ride a bicycle through a nudist colony. He is now pondering a Young Leaders trip to Spain, and a vacation in Greece, for his adventures in 2009. And, of course, his fingers are crossed for the possibility of a little international touring!

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Europe and the origins of County Sales

Europe - and specifically the UK - was a crucial factor in launching Dave Freeman's County Sales, the premier supplier of bluegrass and old-time music records. In a major interview with Dave Freeman by the BBMA's Richard Thompson on the Bluegrass Blog, it emerges that County Sales were sending records to customers outside the US right from the start:

As a matter of fact, that is how we really got started into the business full time, by taking over supplying American country LPs to European customers for a British country music magazine (Country News & Views) that had such a service but then lost its USA supplier in Nashville. So we took over...

Country News & Views was run by the late Charles Newman of Lowestoft, Suffolk, England, and Rodney McElrea of Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. Rodney McElrea - an outstanding country-music record collector - has taken part in the McAuley Lectures series at the Omagh Appalachian & Bluegrass Festival for the past few years.

Wednesday, 13 February 2008

Kruger Brothers tour begins in UK, 8 March

Eagle Music in Huddersfield, England, who presented a 'Deering Weekend' in 2007, will have a return visit from Greg and Janet Deering to promote Deering Banjos on Saturday 8 March.

This is part of a day-long workshop/concert event. The highlights are the Kruger Brothers, appearing in the first show of their European tour. The Deering Celebration Weekend takes place at Eagle Music’s own North Light Gallery, and tickets and further information are available from Eagle’s website. Thanks to for this news.

Other dates in the tour include:

Mon. 10 Mar.: Solingen, Germany; concert at New Acoustic Gallery
Tues. 11 Mar.: Solingen, Germany; concert at New Acoustic Gallery
Wed. 12 Mar.: Bern, Switzerland; concert at the Konservatorium
Sun. 16 Mar.: Zurich, Switzerland; concert in Kammermusiksaal, Tonhalle
Tues. 18 Mar.: Prague, Czech Republic; concert

A chance to play in Branson, MO: correction

Nancy Cardwell of IBMA reports:

An event producer friend of mine at Silver Dollar City, in Branson, Missouri, is exploring the idea of having an international bluegrass stage (where he would present bluegrass bands from outside the US) at a multi-day festival, the latter part of May 2009. If you know of any bands already planning to tour in the US in that time, please let me know and I'll pass along the info. This gig wouldn't pay enough to be the only reason for a band to fly over here, but if they're in the neighborhood anyway, it would be a great thing to pick up. Rhonda Vincent and I both played at this theme park in the 1970s - it's a nice place. (You work a lot, but the sound is good, you're treated well by management, the park is beautiful, the quality of bands is excellent, and it's definitely a chance to sell a lot of CDs - although a percentage of sales usually goes to SDC.)

Contact Nancy by e-mail if you're interested. The proposed date was originally, and wrongly, shown as May 2008 on this post.

Monday, 11 February 2008

The Moss Piglets from Minnesota

The Moss Piglets band ('Alternative Hillbilly & a Hole Lot Mo'!') won the 2006 Minnesota Bluegrass and Oldtime Music Association 'Race for a Place' contest, and were voted Best New Band at the Cabooze Bar's 2004 Battle of the Jugbands Contest. They would like to know if their music would be palatable to European audiences. Their two CDs - The Moss Piglets (2002) and Bitter root (2006) - can be sampled on CD Baby through their website. For bookings, e-mail or call +1 651-644-0810 or +1 651-275-9741.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

First Annual Summer Fiddle Camp, Czech Republic, 21-25 July

Fiddler, bandleader, and luthier Jiří (George) Králík reports that his First Annual Summer Fiddle Camp will be held from 21 to 25 July 2008 at Tyniste nad Orlici, in the foothills of Orlicke Hory, 130 km east of Prague, in the Czech Republic.

Classes in English and Czech, for over five hours a day, will include bluegrass, old-time, swing, classical technique, and musical theory. Full details can be found here.

First Barcelona Bluegrass and Old-time Festival, 23 Feb.

The First Barcelona Bluegrass & Old-Time Festival will be held at the Sala Monasterio, Barcelona, on 23 February 2008. The organisers are proud to be able to launch bluegrass and old-time music in Barcelona, in a central venue, with four bands:

RC Brothers: four-piece band playing classic bluegrass (Monroe, Stanley...)
Tin Horn Hank: Scots trio (guitar, banjo, mandolin) living in Barcelona
Lluís Gómez and his band, with songs and instrumentals from his first CD (featured on the Bluegrass Blog)
Aaron Pell: songwriter from North Carolina, now living in Barcelona

The Seventh Al Ras Festival of Bluegrass and Old-Time Music will be held at Mollet del Vàlles on 14 June 2008.

Friday, 8 February 2008

Mountain Heart in Switzerland

Mountain Heart played on Thursday 7 February and Friday 8 February at the Schützenhaus Albisgütli in Zurich, Switzerland, during the 24th International Country Music Festival, which lasts from 1 February to 16 March. The warm-up act on Thursday was Rüdiger Helbig & Huckleberry 5. Mountain Heart have published a first instalment of photos from their trip on the Bluegrass Blog.

The festival, which has made a point of featuring top-notch US bluegrass acts on an exclusive basis, will celebrate twenty-five years in 2009. A comeback show by Cherryholmes is in the planning stage.

Two Krüger Brothers concerts at New Acoustic Gallery, Solingen

The concert to be given by the Krüger Brothers Band at the New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, on Tuesday 11 March is already sold out.

The good news is that another concert by the Krügers has been arranged - on Monday 10 March at the same time, 19:30, and for the same price, €25. Book early! Tel.: 0212/2474007 or e-mail.

Oliver Waitze
New Acoustic Gallery
Neuenhofer Str. 12
42657 Solingen - Höhscheid

Niall Toner interviewed on IBMM's RBI

Mike Lawing of the International Bluegrass Music Museum at Owensboro, KY, reports that there will be a short interview at 8.30 a.m. Central US time tomorrow morning (Friday 8 February) with Niall Toner of Ireland, on the Museum's twenty-four-hour internet radio service, RBI (Radio Bluegrass International).

RBI has been a free service to listeners since the IBMM launched it in May 2007. As from Tuesday 8 January 2008, all Museum members have been assigned a password which allows access to the RBI stream as part of their memberships. Listeners who do not wish to join the IBMM will be able to listen to RBI by paying a monthly subscription of $4.00.

To obtain your password, send an email with PASSWORD in the Subject column to Mike Lawing or call him at +1 (270) 926-7891. There is no extra charge to existing members. All new members will receive their password when their membership purchase is complete.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe in the Netherlands

Cor Sanne of CMS Productions reports that Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe from Nashville will be performing in an exclusive Dutch concert on Wednesday 9 July in Turfschip, Zuideinde 15, Nieuwkoop, the Netherlands. The show starts at 20.30 and ends at 22.30. Tickets can be obtained at €15,00 pp via or +31 (0)172-573118.

The lineup will be: Jimmy Bowen (mandolin, vocals), Rick Briggs (banjo, vocals), Blake Bowen (bass), Mark Stockton (guitar), and Randy Graham (various instruments/vocals).

Randy Graham was a member of the original Bluegrass Cardinals in 1974, has since played with Doyle Lawson, Baucom, Bibey, Graham & Haley, and Continental Divide, and last month formed his own agency, the Graham Talent Group.

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Another town on CD Baby

Since last night, Another town, the latest CD by Four Wheel Drive, has been available through CD Baby. All fourteen tracks can be sampled here.

Carolina Chocolate Drops tour, Feb.-Mar. 2008

An earlier post on the European Bluegrass Blog gave the dates that will be played in Ireland and the UK by the Carolina Chocolate Drops African-American old-time string band, in late February and early March.

The band will continue their tour with the following dates on the Continent of Europe:

Mon. 10 Mar. New Morning, Paris, France
Tues 11 Mar. Mediator Club, Perpignan, France
Wed. 12 Mar. Le Jam, Montpellier, France
Thurs. 13 Mar. Blues Autour du Zinc, Beauvais, France
Tues. 18 Mar. Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Wed. 19 Mar. Landgoed Roepaen, Ottersum, the Netherlands
Thurs. 20 Mar. Q Bus, Leiden, the Netherlands
Fri. 21 Mar. N9, Eeklo, Belgium

Bluegrass wins in BBC TV talent show

Katherine Selby of reports that the Carrivick Sisters, from Devon in south-west England, have won their round of a new BBC TV talent show, 'Upstaged'. To win, they had to perform for six hours inside a glass box at the Millennium Square in central Bristol on two successive days, and will be continuing today. Anyone within reach has been able to join them for a jam inside the box. They can be seen playing in video footage on the 'Upstaged' website.

Charlotte and Laura Carrivick are only 18. Their singing and playing of mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and dobro made a great impression at last year's European World of Bluegrass Festival in the Netherlands. Thanks to for the news, and to Jan Michielsen of Four Wheel Drive for bringing it to our attention.

Get to know your acoustic guitar

For everyone who owns an acoustic guitar and wants to know how to get it sounding its best and keep it that way, Acutab Publications have published a new DVD, Get to know your acoustic guitar, by Marty Lanham, master luthier and Nashville's first choice for instrument maintenance, repair, and restoration. Among many topics covered are buying your first guitar and moving up to better ones. The two-hour DVD costs $35.00. Acutab have a high reputation for instructional material, and this looks like being useful to very many musicians.