Saturday, 31 May 2008

Iris DeMent in Ireland, 22-26 July

Not strictly bluegrass, but Iris DeMent's concert schedule shows the following concert dates in Ireland in late July - no other shows by her outside the US are listed:

Tues. 22 July: Button Factory, Dublin

Wed. 23: Spring & Airbrake, Belfast

Thurs. 24: Watergate Theatre, Kilkenny

Sat. 26: Campbell's Tavern, Cloughanover, Headford, Co. Galway

Among the other dates on her schedule is the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival (October) in San Francisco - its organiser, Warren Hellman, received an IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2007.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Cajun Company CD release in Amsterdam

The Cajun Company, multi-award-winning Cajun band based in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, are releasing their new CD, La prairie ronde, produced by Dirk Powell. The release party will be held at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, on Sunday 1 June. Doors open 15.00, concert at 16.00. Admission €10. Full details and audio samples are on the band's website.

The band consists of Bas van der Poll (Cajun accordion, lead vocals), Pauline Groenendijk (lead fiddle, harmony vocals), Monique Neuteboom (acoustic guitar, harmony vocals), and Herman van Rijn (rhythm instruments, vocals). Monique has taken part in many EBMA EWOB Festivals as a member of the Inlaw Sisters and as an MC.

Monday, 26 May 2008

News from the New Acoustic Gallery

Duo Vibracao's CD A jazzy note will be released on Peter Finger's label Acoustic Music Records on 20 June 2008. It includes swing manouche, jazz, choro, and new acoustic music. The Duo consists of Oliver Waitze (acoustic guitars) and Jesper Rübner-Petersen (mandolin), with Max Schaaf of the Joschua Stephan Trio as special guest on acoustic bass.

You can preorder now (€18 inc. P & P) from Oliver Waitze by e-mail or telephone: +49 0212/2474007.

After three years Pierre Bensusan returns to the New Acoustic Gallery with a concert (€25) on 26 September followed by a two-day workshop (€195) on 27-8 September. Only 75 tickets are available for the concert, so advance booking is recommended.

Other workshops at the NAG include a workshop on fingerstyle blues and jazz by Felix Schell (5-6 September) and a weekend mandolin workshop by Jesper Rübner (24-26 October). For more info, contact:

Oliver Waitze
New Acoustic Gallery
Neuenhofer Str. 122
42657 Solingen
+49 0212/2474007

Honours for Hermann Lammers Meyer

CMR Nashville Country News reports that Hermann Lammers Meyer, radio presenter and DJ for CMR Nashville for Germany, has just received two major awards from the European Country Music Association.

Hermann, who is a great supporter of bluegrass in the shows he presents on Twangtown USA,, Radio Morningstar, and other stations, won the ECMA European Radio DJ of the Year award. As a performing and recording artist with eight albums to his credit, he received Top Album of the Year award with Yesterday once more in the annual ECMA awards for 2007. Full details and a list of the other winners are on the ECMA website.

Saturday, 24 May 2008

EWOB events, 25 May-21 June

Contact data and website links are on the EWOB Festival website, where a list of all EWOB events up to 21 June 2008 can be downloaded.

Sun. 25 May
Beppe Gambetta (I), Haldenstein, Switzerland
Blue Dew (NL), Long Journey Home, Geldermalsen, Netherlands
.357 Stringband (USA), Hellevoetsluis, Netherlands
Fishguard Folk Festival, Fishguard, Pembrokeshire, Wales, UK
The Wailin' Jennys (USA), Langholm, Scotland, UK

Tues. 27 May
Beverly Smith & Carl Jones (USA), Dartford, Kent, England, UK

Wed. 28 May
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), Fuerth, Germany
Beppe Gambetta (I), Spandau, Germany
The Wailin' Jennys (USA), Bury, Lancashire, England, UK

Thurs. 29 May
EWOB Bluegrass Night, Basel, Switzerland
Jamboree 2008, Strakonice, Czech Republic
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), Dreieich, Germany
Beverly Smith & Carl Jones (USA), Lewes, Sussex, England, UK
The Wailin' Jennys (USA), Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Fri. 30 May
Beppe Gambetta (I), Krumbach, Austria
Jamboree 2008, Strakonice, Czech Republic
Thierry Lecocq & Thierry Ganchou Group (F), Jouar, France
Acoustic Guitar Workshop, Recoaro t (Vicenza), Italy
The Wailin' Jennys (USA), London, UK
Americana Festival, Glasgow, Scotland, UK

Sat. 31 May
Jamboree 2008, Strakonice, Czech Republic
Poutnici (CZ), Zaluzi u Plzne, Czech Republic
Acoustic Guitar Workshop, Recoaro t (Vicenza), Italy
Crooked Still (USA), Newcastle, England UK
The Wailin' Jennys (USA), Oswestry, Shropshire, England

Sun. 1 June
Acoustic Guitar Workshop, Recoaro t (Vicenza), Italy
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), BluegrassFest, Bratislava, Slovakia

Mon. 2 June
Acoustic Guitar Workshop, Recoaro t (Vicenza), Italy
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), Waldkraiburg, Germany

Fri. 6 June-Sun. 8 June
Rootsinpyhtaa 2008, Ruotsinpyhtaa, Finland

Sat. 7 June
Sacred Sounds of Grass (D), Oldenburg, Germany

Fri. 20 June-Sat. 21 June
36th Annual Banjo Jamboree, Caslav, Czech Republic

Thursday, 22 May 2008

Stringdusters in Europe on YouTube

Incidents from the current month-long tour of Europe by the multiple-award-winning Infamous Stringdusters (USA) are being recorded on video and posted on YouTube on behalf of the band. The fourth and latest instalment - including footage from Fredericia, Denmark, and Lievelde, the Netherlands - can be viewed on the Bluegrass Blog.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Coastline Bluegrass Music Event, 6-8 June

John Prytherch reports:

Now in its third year, the Coastline Bluegrass Event, held at Plas Uchaf Farm near Llandudno, north Wales, goes from strength to strength.

Nominated by as the ‘Favourite Bluegrass Festival of 2007’, in the Top Ten of the Guardian’s ‘Folk Festivals’ for 2008, and listed in the Telegraph’s ‘Best Events for 2008’.

The Event offers extended workshops for all the acoustic bluegrass instruments, starting with an introduction to bluegrass for beginners and those who have come from other genres, right through to the advanced levels. The workshops offer a unique opportunity for people to participate in fun-filled, informative instrument and vocal workshops, which start them on the road to playing music.

The tutors are experienced band members with a wealth of knowledge who also perform in the concerts and are on hand over the full weekend. This provides great opportunities for the participants to learn and get together in traditional ‘picking’ sessions with so many talented people on site.

Appearing as headline band from Sweden will be G2 [above], who won the #1 European Bluegrass Band award at the EWOB Festival, hosted by EBMA (European Bluegrass Music Association) in Holland. In October 2007 they showcased at IBMA in Nashville. Later this year they appear at Bill Monroe’s Bean Blossom Festival, the IBMA showcase at Nashville in the USA, and the 17th Annual Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival at Omagh, N. Ireland.

Sons of Navarone from Belgium and Longway from Scotland will also be appearing.

If you would like more info, please ring me on +44 (0)9911 244418.

Monday, 19 May 2008

Bluegrass to fill Bratislava streets

By Jana Liptáková
Spectator staff

JUST as the weather warms up, a variety of large open-air concerts are taking place in Bratislava and across the country. One of them is the Bluegrass Stage, a competitive event featuring bluegrass bands from Slovakia and abroad, which takes place at Hviezdoslavovo Square in Bratislava’s Old Town on May 25.

'There are a lot of excellent bluegrass musicians here', Kamila Trávničkova of Camille, the concert’s organiser, told The Slovak Spectator. 'But there is something of a vicious circle: if Slovak bluegrass musicians don’t have a place to perform, no one knows about them. And this often happens to genres out of the mainstream. So I would like more people to get to know it.'

As well as introducing bluegrass, the event will serve as a preliminary round of the prestigious Banjo Jamboree, in the Czech Republic. The 36th year of the Banjo Jamboree, which is the oldest bluegrass festival in Europe, opens in Cáslav on June 20 and 21.

The Banjo Jamboree is also a competition, and Slovak bands that wanted to qualify had to go to the Czech Republic. 'So the organisers asked whether I wanted to set up something like it in Bratislava', Trávničkov told The Slovak Spectator.

To spice up the event, Trávničkova also invited some Slovak bluegrass and country bands who are competing for spots in Slovak festivals such as the Dobrofest Trnava, Fest Dobré Bohunice, Mlyn, Countryfest Rozmarín Terchová, Folkscéna Skalica, Bluegrass Evening in Horná Poruba, Rača Fest and Bluegrass Fest, an international festival of bluegrass and acoustic music.

The competing Slovak bands include Union Citygrass, Candy Floss, Krok, Tieň, Fairway, and Grunt. Dessert and Bluegrass Comeback will represent the Czech Republic. Eastern Station band and solo guitarist Tamas Szoke are from Hungary. Blue S.P.A.M. is a Hungarian-Slovak mix, while Stressed Hedgehog consists of US and Slovak musicians.

Of the Slovak performers, Trávničková highlighted Meantime, a band of singer Danka Hroncová and five excellent musicians from Bratislava, Pezinok, and Zvolen. It will perform as a guest of the event after the competitive section.

'Meantime is the only non-American band that performed at the anniversary of the Nashville bluegrass festival in the United States last year', Trávničková told The Slovak Spectator. It was also ranked the second best European bluegrass band last year.

The second guest will be one of the competition’s judges, Stano Palúch. This violinist will perform with Michal Vavro and Michal Barok and show his versatility by performing bluegrass.

'We put Stano Palúch on the jury because, as well as being an excellent musician, he is known for playing various styles', said Trávničkova. 'He plays jazz, he did a song with [Slovak singer] Jana Kirscher, he plays folklore, ethno, world music and bluegrass.'

Petr Brandejs, from the Czech Republic, and Roman Áč, from Slovakia, both known on the local bluegrass scene, complete the jury.

More bluegrass within sight

Bluegrass fans will be happy to know that Camille is preparing another excellent event. One week after the Bluegrass Stage, on 1 June, the Infamous Stringdusters, a US band that is touring Europe, will perform in the Slovak capital.

One of the biggest discoveries of contemporary bluegrass in the United States, the band consists of six young musicians who after only two years since forming won three bluegrass awards at the International Bluegrass Music Association in Nashville last year, including Best Album, Best Song, and Emerging Artist of 2007.

The concert, which Meantime will open for the Stringdusters, starts in the House of Culture Zrkadlový Háj in Bratislava’s Petržalka district at 18:00. And the third year of the Bluegrass Fest takes place in Zrkadlový Háj between October 10 and 11. The programme features 24 bands from Slovakia and abroad.

What: Bluegrass Stage
When: 25 May, 14:00
Where: Hviezdoslavovo Square
Tickets: free

Saturday, 17 May 2008

EWOB events, 17-24 May

Contact data and website links are on the EWOB Festival website, where a list of all EWOB events up to 21 June 2008 can be downloaded.

Sat. 17 May
.357 Stringband (USA), Basel, Switzerland
9th Spring Bluegrass Festival, Willisau, Switzerland
Festival Pod Mednikem, Pikovice, Czech Republic
Old Rebel Pub, Sloupnice (near Usti nad Orlici), Czech Republic
Poutnici (CZ) Lomnice nad Popelkou, Czech Republic
Dick Staber & Judith Chasnoff (USA), Nieuw-Buinen, Netherlands
Beverly Smith & Carl Jones (USA), Almeley (Herefordshire), United Kingdom

Sun. 18 May
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), Landau, Germany
Alison Krauss & Robert Plant 1(USA/UK), Oslo, Norway
Rawhide (B), Andijk, Netherlands
New Prohibition Band (D) Berlin, Germany

Mon. 19 May
Alison Krauss & Robert Plant (USA/UK), Bergen, Norway

Wed. 21 May
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), Konstanz, Germany
.357 Stringband (USA), Gijon, Spain
Beverly Smith & Carl Jones (USA), Bridlington, United Kingdom

Thurs. 22 May
Beppe Gambetta (I), Innsbruck, Austria
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), Ulm, Germany
Alison Krauss & Robert Plant (USA/UK), London, United Kingdom
Beverly Smith & Carl Jones (USA), Newcastle upon Tyne, United Kingdom

Fri. 23 May
Beppe Gambetta (I), Sedrun, Switzerland
Petr Brandejs Band (CZ), Zlin, Czech Republic
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), Tuebingen, Germany
25. Int Country Music Festival, Grosskoetz, Germany
American Journeys Festival, Caimbra, France
Thierry Lecocq & Thierry Ganchou Group (F), Jouar, France
Roberto Dalla Vecchia (I), Sarzana (La Spezia), Italy
Beverly Jones & Carl Jones (USA), Berwick-upon-Tweed, United Kingdom

Sat. 24 May
Beppe Gambetta (I), Zurich, Switzerland
Eric Cousin Banjo Workshop, Schaffhausen, Switzerland
Poutnici (CZ), Teplice, Czech Republic
Infamous Stringdusters (USA), Baden-Baden, Germany
25. Int Country Music Festival, Grosskoetz, Germany
Matching Ties (USA/UK/D) Spalt, Germany
Thierry Lecocq & Station (F), Enghien les Bains, France
Roberta Dalla Vecchia (I), Sarzana (La Spezia), Italy
Beverly Smith & Carl Jones (USA), Herefordshire, United Kingdom

Friday, 16 May 2008

Photos from EWOB 2008 on the Bluegrass Blog

Photo by Jan de Mooy

The original Bluegrass Blog carries fourteen excellent photos taken by Jan de Mooy at the 11th European World of Bluegrass Festival in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, on 1-3 May. They appear with Jan's captions giving full details of the performers shown. Above: Bluegrass Cwrkot (CZ), winners of the #1 Audience Popularity Award.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

Bühl Festival to expand to two days in 2009

Walter Fuchs introduces Don Rigsby & Midnight Call at the Johannes Platz

Walter Fuchs reports that on 3 May at 19.00 it was officially announced that from next year on, the Bühl International Bluegrass Festival in south-west Germany will expand to two days as a result of the success of this year's festival, which was nearly sold out with two open-air concerts in the morning on two different stages in the middle of the city, in addition to the afternoon and evening shows. Photos from this year's event can be seen on the festival website.

On the plans for next year, Walter adds:

We start Friday night with two bands and on Saturday the usual four bands. In 2009 it will be held on Friday 1 May and Saturday 2 May. As far as our plans go there'll be four U.S. groups, one Austrian, and one German band. Our mayor is mighty proud and happy and so am I.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Niall Toner composition on Grand theft auto 4

Press release

Songwriter Niall Toner is delighted to announce that a song of his is featured on the biggest-selling video game of all time, Grand theft auto 4, with sales in excess of $7 million since its launch on 29 April.

Niall's song is called 'The Real Real' (originally 'Nuns Island Reel'), and is played during the scene in an Irish pub in NYC. Niall composed the song in 1990, and recorded it originally as a single for release on the Irish market which never happened. Then, through a publishing deal with Bardis Music in Dublin and Crucial Music in LA, the song was pitched and accepted for inclusion in GTA4.

When asked what this meant to a songwriter, Niall replied: 'This is the kind of break that every songwriter dreams about, and it's the biggest thrill of my writing career. It goes to show that you should never lose faith in a song you are proud of, and I hope it serves as an example to other writers who are waiting for a break. I would also have to say that this would never have happened without the hard work and dedication of two very determined publishers, Peter Bardon of Bardis Music in Dublin, and Tanvi Patel of Crucial Music in LA. Thanks, guys, let's get working on another one.'

Niall's new CD with his band, NTB3, which is his third all-original, all-acoustic project, is to be released on Avalon Records (AVCD006) on 25 May at Studio One in the RTE Radio Centre in Donnybrook, Dublin 4. For further information contact Niall at +353 (0)59-9157570/(0)87-2877299 or by e-mail.

Portrait of a winning band

Acousticure (Hungary), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2008, celebrate the award on stage near midnight on Saturday 3 May at the eleventh European World of Bluegrass Festival at Voorthuizen, the Netherlands.

Below: Zsolt Pinter (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocal) delivers the acceptance speech on behalf of bandmates Geza Kremnitzky (mandolin, banjo, vocal), Peter Gyergyadesz (bass, vocal), and Andras Toth (guitar, banjo, dobro, mandolin, vocal). Photos by courtesy of Liz Meyer.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

EWOB Events, 6 - 13 May 2008

.357 Stringband 07-05-2008 Fuerth Germany

Infamous Stringdusters 07-05-2008 Lauf Germany

Sally Jones & the Sidewinders 07-05-2008 Spanbroek (Wadway) Netherlands

Midwob Festival 07-05-2008 Zoeterwoude Netherlands

Chatham County Line 07-05-2008 Leicester United Kingdom

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant 07-05-2008 Manchester United Kingdom

Bill Keith Banjo Workshop 08-05-2008 Solingen Germany

Infamous Stringdusters 08-05-2008 Meiningen Germany

Fredericia Bluegrass Festival 08-05-2008 Fredericia Denmark

Acoustic Night 08-05-2008 Genova Italy

Sally Jones & the Sidewinders 08-05-2008 Valthermond Netherlands

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant 08-05-2008 Cardiff United Kingdom

Chatham County Line 08-05-2008 Renfrewshire United Kingdom

Beverly Smith & Carl Jones 08-05-2008 Pembroke, Wales United Kingdom

CCC Inc 09-05-2008 Hoofddorp Netherlands

Infamous Stringdusters 09-05-2008 Lutherstadt-Eisleben Germany

Fredericia Bluegrass Festival 09-05-2008 Fredericia Denmark

Acoustic Night 09-05-2008 Genova Italy

Chatham County Line 09-05-2008 Chorley United Kingdom

Beverly Smith & Carl Jones 09-05-2008 South Molton United Kingdom

Irish Night 10-05-2008 Greifenburg Germany

Bluegrass 10-05-2008 Skrolovice near Zdar nad Sazavou Czech Republic

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant 10-05-2008 Duesseldorf Germany

Fredericia Bluegrass Festival 10-05-2008 Fredericia Denmark

Acoustic Night 10-05-2008 Genova Italy

Mideando String Quintet 11-05-2008 Vlagtwedde (Harpel) Netherlands

Beverly Smith & Carl Jones 11-05-2008 Bridgewater (Somerset) United Kingdom

Chatham County Line 11-05-2008 Newcastle United Kingdom

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant 11-05-2008 Brussels Belgium

Infamous Stringdusters 11-05-2008 Lievelde Netherlands

Chatham County Line 11-05-2008 London United Kingdom

Big Bear Festival 12-05-2008 Zuidlaren Netherlands

Alison Krauss & Robert Plant 13-05-2008 Paris France

Sally Jones & the Sidewinders 14-05-2008 Teufen Switzerland

The 2008 European Bluegrass Band Awards

Acousticure receive their award as #1 European Bluegrass Band; with Ronald Groot, festival committee chairman (left) and Angelika Torrie, EBMA board of directors (right). Photo by Lilly Pavlak

The weather was almost perfect for the 11th European World of Bluegrass Festival, sponsored by the European Bluegrass Music Association on 1-3 May. Attendance remained at peak level, the little Dutch town of Voorthuizen bursting with bluegrass music for 3 days as bands performed throughout the village, and musicians jammed in every corner of the festival venue. The EWOB 2008 Festival featured 41 wonderful bands from 15 countries, including special USA guests Sally Jones & the Sidewinders, Appalachian Uprising, and Dick Staber & Judith Chasnoff, and EWOB's first groups from Norway (Ile Auto and The Holstein United Bluegrass Boys) and Spain (Lluis Gomez Quartet and Autopista 6).
The EWOB 2008 Festival in the Netherlands is the apex of the 30-day European World of Bluegrass, fostering the growth of bluegrass music in cooperation this year with 195 European festivals and events taking place during the "International Bluegrass Month" of May. The EWOB Festival is a music festival and professional convention with trade show and workshops, and hosts the annual European Bluegrass Band competition. In 2003, EWOB became the only European festival ever to win the International Bluegrass Music Association's prestigious Bluegrass Event of the Year Award.
We are very pleased to announce the winners of the 2008 European Bluegrass Band Awards, chosen by the EWOB 2008 Festival musicians as their reigning champions:
#1 European Bluegrass Band 2008: Acousticure
, Hungary
#2 European Bluegrass Band 2008: Petr Brandejs Band, Czech Republic
#3 European Bluegrass Band 2008: Four Wheel Drive, NL/G/B
In addition to the professional band awards, the EWOB Festival audience always elects its own favorite groups from the three days of showcase performances:
#1 Audience Popularity Award, EWOB 2008: Bluegrass Cwrkot, Czech Republic
#2 Audience Popularity Award, EWOB 2008: Blackjack, Czech Republic
#3 Audience Popularity Award, EWOB 2008:
Sunny Side, Czech Republic
The #1 European Bluegrass Band 2008, Acousticure, is the first bluegrass band from Hungary to appear at this colorful international gathering, performing at the past 2 European World of Bluegrass Festivals. An energetic 4-piece group of impressive multi-instrumentalists, Acousticure keeps the sound crew hopping with frequent instrument changes. Their young spokesman, mandolin-fiddler-guitarist Zsolt Pinter, has spent enough time in the USA to speak English like a native, and has a remarkable command of bluegrass-country vocals. Acousticure's musical vision playfully fuses bluegrass influences from old-time to newgrass, often incorporating their native Hungarian folk music. (An example of the latter, Kis Kece Lanyom, can be heard on the European World of Bluegrass 2007 CD from Strictly Country Records.) The US bluegrass scene will get a chance to experience Acousticure onstage in Nashville at the International Bluegrass Music Association's (IBMA) World of Bluegrass convention in October 2009, where they will perform as the #1 European Bluegrass Band.
Zsolt Pinter: fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocal
Geza Kremnitzky - mandolin, banjo, vocal
Peter Gyergyadesz - bass, vocal
Andras Toth - guitar, banjo, dobro, mandolin, vocal
Congratulations to all the EWOB 2008 award winners, and many thanks to all the talented musicians who traveled to Holland to share their music at the EWOB 2008 Festival. It was unforgettable.

Monday, 5 May 2008

"10 Years of European World of Bluegrass" is #1 on FOLK RADIO for airplay in April 2008

Liz Meyer of Strictly Country Records and EWOB reports "European bluegrass is making its mark! Our new double CD, "10 YEARS OF EUROPEAN WORLD OF BLUEGRASS" is #1 on FOLK RADIO for airplay in April 2008! The 3 songs listed are the tracks most played, but many tracks from this remarkable album have been getting airplay. The album features 48 bands from 15 lands, including the #1 European Bluegrass Bands, 15 guest artists from the USA and Canada, and 33 of Europe's finest. Most of the radio programs reporting their playlists here are located in the USA and Canada, but a handful of Australian DJs report, as well as Israel, New Zealand, and Germany.
We'll be sending more news on the heels of this report, because the European World of Bluegrass 2008 Festival has just ended, and we are preparing the press release to let you know the winners! And the 10 YEARS OF EWOB CD has just received its first press review, from the Louisville Music News in Kentucky - a "5-star" review from bluegrass writer and DJ Bob Mitchell!"
View complete list here...
Strictly Country Records/ Strictly Music
PO Box 628, 2130 AP Hoofddorp
The Netherlands
TEL: +31-297-347-101