Monday, 30 June 2008

Lilly Drumeva: news

Lilly of the West showcase party (left to right): Yassen Vassilev (guitar), Ivan Penchev (fiddle), Lilly Drumeva (fiddle), Svoboda Bozduganova (bass), Lubos Novotny (dobro), Lubos Malina (tin whistle)

Lilly of the West performed on 25 June 2008 at the American embassy in Sofia, Bulgaria, invited by US ambassador John Beyrle for his farewell party. The event was attended by the Slovak ambassador, Miachal Kotman, and the director of the Czech Cultural centre in Sofia, Machael Pospisil. The band, with the lineup shown above, will appear on the Bohemian Bluegrass Festival in Pisek, Czech Republic, 25-27 July 2008, and will be on stage on Sunday 27 at 14.15.

For more news and photos (including Lilly with rock legend Mark Knopfler, now on tour with his acoustic band), click here.

A message from Niall Toner

From Niall Toner to the editorial team of Bluegrass Europe and Jan Michielsen of Four Wheel Drive:

I am writing to thank you for the wonderful feature on me and my band in the current issue of Bluegrass Europe magazine. The entire article is just superb, and special thanks should also go to Jan for doing such a great job. I hope the lads in Acousticure don't mind too much!

A recent develpment since your article is that all the Niall Toner Band CDs are now available worldwide as downloads from both iTunes and, and my tune from GTA4, 'Nun's Island Reel', is now also available in the USA as a ringtone on mobile 'phones... I hope this is seen as an encouragement to other writers and composers, in that you just never know where your songs and tunes are going to take you!

Also, speaking of tunes and songs, as mentioned by Jan in his article, we are always keen to make our material available to other bands and artists to record. If there's anyone out there who is looking for original songs or tunes, please don't hesitate to contact me for demos and lyric sheets. Apart from the thirty-six originals on our three CDs, there are many, many more songs of mine just waiting to be discovered, and it's also worth bearing in mind that I also write in many other genres of music, including country, country-rock, and traditional Irish styles. My details are all on the Bluegrass Guide pages in Bluegrass Europe.

Thanks again for all your encouragement and support, and NTB hope to get to meet with many more of you around Europe in the future.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Lonesome Road Band in Austria, July-Aug.

J. Larry Keith of the Lonesome Road Band writes:

Greetings to everyone in the European bluegrass community! I have visited your web-page this morning and was pleasantly surprised by the amount of activity of bands performing. The Lonesome Road Band is scheduled to arrive in Austria on 26 July (with some luck from US Air) and can't wait to perform there! We were so welcomed by our Austrian friends last year that we immediately started to plan our 2008 before we returned to the United States. This year's plan has been coordinated with great help from Werner Lexer. A series of workshops and concerts will start on 28 July [see the EBB post of 2 June] and concerts by Lonesome Road to follow.

Some conflicts within our band has forced us to change the line-up this year and we will introduce Brandon Couch on mandolin/vocals to the European bluegrass family. He is a talented young man from South Carolina, USA, and has agreed to fill in for our friend Paul Eaton for this season. Paul will be back with us in September. We would love the opportunity to meet bluegrass fans and have a chance to share our music and friendship with ya'. Looking forward to seeing you all!

For information or contact in Austria,please e-mail Bernd Scheumann. This family will have our complete itinerary and booking information. All the best from our families!

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Songwriter's fourth tour of Ireland

Gary Ferguson (guitar, vocals) will make his fourth consecutive tour of Ireland from 18 to 29 July 2008, together with Colin Henry (dobro, guitar), and with the singer Janet Holmes on some dates. The tour will include concerts, radio interviews, and a songwriter workshop with Mick Hanly. Full details are on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

Gary will have a new CD available for the tour; 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. The Bluegrass Unlimited review of Live at Podunk can be read here.

Janet will also have her new CD Wonder why available at the venues when she appears. This is her second CD, but this time Janet has written nine of the thirteen tracks herself. Co-produced by Cormac O’Kane, the album has some of Ireland’s finest acoustic musicians. As Damien Murray of the Belfast Telegraph wrote, 'Holmes is a world-class artist and one of our most underrated talents.'

Stringdusters at #1

The multi-award-winning Infamous Stringdusters (USA) toured Europe for the whole of May and into the beginning of this month. For everyone who missed a chance to see them and/or wants to go on listening, their thirteen-track CD The Infamous Stringdusters (SUG-CD-4043) was released by Sugar Hill Records on 10 June, is already #1 on the bluegrass charts, and is generating a lot of buzz within the bluegrass, folk, and Americana community.

Mideando String Quintet: news

Upcoming gigs for the Mideando String Quintet include:

6 July: Vesuona, Venice, Italy
17 July: Piazza dei Martiri, Belluno, Italy
19 July: Acustica Unplugged Festival, S. Dona' di Piave, Venice, Italy
24 July: Piazza del Sindacato, Cadoneghe, Padova, Italy
25 July: Giardini di Torre, Ponte di Brenta, Padova, Italy
3 August: The MSQ are special guests at the Festival Europeen de Bluegrass Music, La Roche-sur-Foron, France
30 September: Trento, Italy
18 October: Altaforum, Campodarsego, Italy

MySpace site

Friday, 20 June 2008

Radio Free Ulm: 'Americana'

Friedrich Hog, whose 'Americana' two-hour radio show is broadcast from midnight every Monday on Radio Free Ulm, will present it as usual on 23 June. He is leaving the next day for Trnava, Slovakia, to attend the Dobrofest (26-28 June), so on 30 June Herbert Schildhammer will present the 'Americana' show, and Peter Wroblewski will present 'Country time' from 8.00 to 10.00 p.m.

Peter will include a report from the CMA Music Fest (Fan Fair) in Nashville, which he attended. Friedrich will be back to present 'Americana' on 7 July.

Wells Fargo & the Nightingale

Cousin Marcellus, Jim (Singer) Wells, Big Boy Wells, the Nightingale, and Fargo

Wells Fargo & the Nightingale is a new band on the Italian scene, playing 1950s stomping hillbilly stringband music with a strong bluegrass influence. As well as vintage country-bluegrass classics, they play original songs by their lead singer Antonella 'The Nightingale' Tambakiotis, and bass player Wainer 'Fargo' Rimondini, who both come from the rockabilly band T-Model Boogie.

The band also comprises Mauro 'Jim (Singer) Wells' Toniaka (lead guitar, 6-string banjo), who also plays rock'n'roll in the P-51 Airplanes; Andy 'Big Boy Wells' Damiano (mandolin); and Marcello 'Cousin Marcellus' Ghirri (5-string banjo), forming 'the ultimate boppin' hillbilly western frontier sound'!

For more info and audio and video recordings, visit the band's website and MySpace site, and Marcello's own MySpace site. Wells Fargo & the Nightingale can also be seen in action on YouTube.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

2nd Munich Banjo-Camp

Adiaha Bürkmiller from Munich reminds us that the 2nd Munich Banjo-Camp takes place 7th to 9th November 2008. The 5-String-Intensive-weekend's teachers are Rüdiger Helbig (GER) and John Dowling (GB).

There are only a few places available still, so if you want to participate, you have to act quickly!

Further information may be found on or by phone +49.176.23 64 07 02 (Adiaha Bürkmiller).

Saturday, 14 June 2008

New Niall Toner Band CD

The new CD NTB3 from the Niall Toner Band (IRL) is out today, 14 June. The release was delayed by the inclusion of a video, shot at Athy Bluegrass 2007 by Kate Bradbury, and a bonus track, 'Nun's Island Reel', aka 'The Real Reel', an Irish-style tune composed by Niall in the early '90s, and now included in Grand Theft Auto IV, the biggest selling video game in history. The tune will soon be available worldwide as a ringtone - it already is in the USA.

NTB3 is available in all good record shops from today, and it and the two previous NTB CDs are also available on i-Tunes, via Amazon, from Bardis Music, or by post from the Niall Toner Band website. The band, which took part in the 2008 EWOB Festival, also has a MySpace site.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Open House Festival, Belfast, 24-8 September

The Rockridge Brothers (Sweden)

The Tenth Coors Open House Festival will be held in the Cathedral Quarter, Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 24-8 September 2008. The programme for this year can now be seen on the Festival website or in a 48-page brochure.

In addition to strong elements from Irish traditional and other genres, over a dozen bands - mostly from North America - represent a wide spectrum of bluegrass/old-time/cajun/mountain folk music. They include the Wilders (USA), who toured widely in Europe in 2007; the Rockridge Brothers (Sweden); the Samsonites (USA/NL); the Southern Tenant Folk Union (UK); and Prison Love (IRL).

More details and sound clips are on the Festival website. In addition to the stage shows, there will be bluegrass and old-time sessions and a master class in American-style fiddling.

Note: from 16 July to 6 August this year, the Rockridge Brothers will be touring in New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia, including the famous Clifftop old-time festival. Full details are on their MySpace site.

Al Ras Festival, 14 June: programme update

Lluís Antonio Gómez Martinez reports that the schedule for tomorrow's Al Ras Festival at Mollet del Valles, Barcelona, Spain, now reads as follows:

14:00 - Lunch and jamming
16:00 - Old-time banjo workshop
17:00 - Mandolin workshop
18:00 - Concerts

Tin Horn Hank
Gabe & Kathy
Lluís Gómez Bluegrass Band

Break / El Mago / Alan
Homenaje a los pioneros (Homage to the pioneers of bluegrass, old-time, and Celtic music in Spain)

Toni Giménez
Barcelona Ceilidh Band
Sedo & Adrià García
R.C Brothers

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Pictures from Coastline Bluegrass Music event

Jens Koch of G2, with banjo

The Third Coastline Bluegrass Music Event took place last weekend at Plas Uchaf Farm, near Llandudno Junction, North Wales. You can now see here dozens of photos taken at the Event, showing lots of people enjoying themselves in fine weather at a beautiful location - together with G2 Bluegrass Band, the Sons of Navarone, and Longway.

Thanks and congratulations to the organisers of the Event, which also has a MySpace site.

The Conwy estuary: end of a perfect day

Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe at the Turfschip: only a few seats left!

Cor Sanne of CMS Productions reports:

We hebben nog slechts 10 tot 12 plaatsen over. Reserveert u snel indien u dit exclusieve optreden graag wilt bijwonen!

We have only 10 to 12 seats left to sell. Make reservations fastest in case you want to be a part of this exclusive performance!

For details of the show, see the European Bluegrass Blog for 5 June.

Monday, 9 June 2008

EWOB Festival 2009: dates

The Twelfth European World of Bluegrass Festival will take place on 21-22-23 May 2009 at 't Trefpunt, Voorthuizen, the Netherlands.

Remember: you read the dates here first on the EBMA's European Bluegrass Blog!

Sirius about European bluegrass

Liz Meyer reports:

Two of our recent houseguests were Nashville musicians who both host bluegrass programs on Sirius Satellite Radio, here for the European World of Bluegrass 2008. They told us that Sirius Bluegrass was programming a track every hour from the 10 years of European World of Bluegrass CD throughout the month of May. We'd like to say thanks to Sirius for that great airplay, and to Rounder for their generous community spirit, reflected by their mailing our 10 years of EWOB CD to bluegrass and Americana radio in the USA. This tremendous support means a lot to so many musicians.

10 years of European World of Bluegrass
(SCR-66/ 2-CD set)
America and Europe join hands.
CDs available from CD Baby

'If Bill Monroe were alive he would be very proud of you' (Dan Crary)

Strictly Country Records/ Strictly Music
PO Box 628
2130 AP Hoofddorp
The Netherlands

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Bluegrass in Basel Going Strong

Regional bluegrass association Bluegrass in Basel has announced an amazing series of concerts by touring bands from the USA for the autumn season.

On September 10, the Lovell Sisters will play their only show in Switzerland. Crowd favourites, The Crooked Jades, are scheduled for an October 16 performance while Sawmill Road will perform on November 13. Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike will play on December 10, 2008.

In addition, an exclusive after-work show by Way Out West from Arizona will take place on Thursday, June 19. For full details see the updated website of Bluegrass in Basel.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe at the Turfschip, 9 July

Cor & Greet Sanne of CMS Productions announce that Jimmy Bowen & Santa Fe, based in Nashville, will play an exclusive European concert on Wednesday 9 July in the Turfschip, Zuideinde 15, in Nieuwkoop, the Netherlands.

Jimmy Bowen (mandolin, lead vocals), from North Carolina, played from 1988 to 1995 with the world-famous Charlie Waller & the Country Gentlemen, and later with David Parmley & Continental Divide before forming his own group at the end of the 1990s. A high point in their career has been playing for the US president at the White House in Washington.

Rick Briggs (banjo, vocals), also from North Carolina, has been playing music since he was 13, with bands including those of Dale Ann Bradley and Connie Smith. Bobby Nicholas (lead guitar, vocals), from Canada, now lives in the USA, and has played guitar for Terri Clark and Patty Loveless. Blake Bowen (electric bass), Jimmy's son, has been a member of Santa Fe since the band began. Ollie O'Shea (fiddle) is no stranger to country, bluegrass, western swing, or Americana. He has also played with Buddy Miller and Jim Lauderdale, and in Greg Cahill's Chow Dogs band which toured Europe a few years ago.

Doors open at the Turfschip on 9 July at 19.15 hrs. The show begins at 20.00, with two sets of 45 minutes. Admission €15. Only 90 seats are available, so tickets should be reserved by e-mail. Intimate and extremely cosy concerts at this venue only! Great sound system. CDs available during intermission and after the show.

Frédéric Arsonneau commemorated

On 4 June 2008 the AEGC Bluegrass and Old-Time Association of Paris, France, commemorated the first anniversary of the death of their beloved president, Frédéric Arsonneau.

Contact the new president:
Bernard Saintagne
12 avenue Foch
+33 (0)1 41 19 64 31
AEGC e-mail
AEGC website

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

The Chapmans on video

The Chapmans (USA), who made a big impact with their appearance at the EBMA's European World of Bluegrass Festival in 2005, are putting three new videos on line for the enjoyment of their fans. The videos can be seen here.

MySpace site
ReverbNation site

Monday, 2 June 2008

Bluegrass in the Alps, 25 July–3 August

Lonesome Road Band at Lesachtal Valley in 2007

From 25 July to 3 August the association 'Forum Lesachtal' hosts the first Lesachtal Valley festival Bluegrass in the Alps. The valley is located in the very south of Austria, at the interface of Germanic, Slavic, and Romanic cultural areas. Therefore it is predestined for interacting of different people, cultures, and musical styles.

Bluegrass in the Alps offers a fascinating punch of workshops and concerts with the American top bluegrass ensemble Lonesome Road Band. The famous guitar player John Keith attended Dolly Parton for four years in the US. Banjo player Charles Wood, award-winning national banjo champion, was already a guest of David Letterman.

Bluegrass workshops:

Workshop banjo/country music/bluegrass – theory and exercises – with banjo champion Charles Wood, North Carolina, USA
Workshop guitar/country music/bluegrass – theory and exercises – with star guitarist John Keith, North Carolina, USA

Workshop from Monday 28 July to Sunday 3 August: €240
Workshop from Friday 1 August to Sunday 3 August: €140

The workshops take place at Volksmusik-Akademie in Liesing/Lesachtal, respectively at 9-12 a. m. and 2-5 p.m.

Pay participation fee (from Austria): Account number: 16.386
Bank code number: 39364 (Raiffeisenbank Kötschach-Mauthen)

Pay participation fee (from abroad): IBAN: AT 18 3936 4000 001 6386
BIC: RZKTAT2K364 (Raiffeisenbank Kötschach-Mauthen)

Single room bed and breakfast: €25 per day and person
Double room bed and breakfast: €20 per day and person
Lunch or dinner: €9 per meal and person

Applications: E-mail to Forum Lesachtal. Applications are valid with the assignment of the participation fee. No refunding of the participation fee!

Saturday 2nd August, 8.00 p.m.
Concert by the US bluegrass ensemble Lonesome Road Band

Contact and information:
Werner Lexer
Strajach 11
9951 St Jakob
Tel.: +43 664 28 30 282

This information can be read in German here, or in both English and German on the festival website.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Four Wheel Drive at Kötz Festival

Joost van Es (fiddle), Jurgen Biller (banjo), Ulli Sieker (mandolin), Jan Michielsen (guitar), Alfred Bonk (bass)

The Country & Western Friends Koetz 1982 e.V., dedicated to fostering and promoting country music, held their 25th Internationale Kötzer Country Music Festival on 23-4 May, with six international bands and over 600 fans in the Kötzer Günzhalle, Kötz, Germany.

The festival presents a wide spectrum of country music. Bluegrass has always been a important part, and US artists such as the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Weary Hearts, and Jim Eanes have played there in the past, as well as many major European bluegrass bands.

This year the Kötz audience gave a great reception to Four Wheel Drive (NL/D/B), with Ulli Sieker of the Looping Brothers on mandolin. Peter Wroblewski, president of the Country & Western Friends, says: 'Never before had a bluegrass band such success at our festival!' A full account of the festival (in German) is on the Friends' website, together with many photos.

Joost van Es (fiddle) will be playing for the Friends again in July as a member of the Gail Davies Band at the Pfleghofsaal, Langenau.

Peter Wroblewski and Joost van Es