Saturday, 29 November 2008

Banjo Newsletter: 35 years of achievement

Nancy Nitchie and her son Donald accept the Distinguished Achievement Award, with Tony Trischka (left), who gave the introductory address.

The most important periodical for banjo players was founded by Hub Nitchie and his wife Nancy in 1973 as The Monthly Newsletter: The 5-String Banjo, renamed Banjo Newsletter in February 1974. After Hub passed away in October 1992, his son Donald took over as editor, with Nancy as business manager; later their other son, Spencer, joined her. Together they started work on the Maryland Banjo Academy in 1997.

Maryland Banjo Academy

At the IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2008 in Nashville, Banjo Newsletter received a Distinguished Achievement Award at the Special Awards Luncheon. Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for these photos. Lilly recalls:

Nancy and Hub are (were) about my oldest bluegrass friends. I met them at the Bean Blossom festival in 1976, and then again in Carlisle at the Banjo Jamboree in Canada later on. They brought me with their car back to New York for my flight to Europe.

At that time Spencer was a little boy. I can still remember Hub shawed his hair and used some kind of spray to color his head green, so he looked like the green cover of his magazine. Nancy and Donald are still my good friends.

Lilly Pavlak and Nancy Nitchie (with Strictly Country magazine) outside the IBMA trade show stand at World of Bluegrass 2008

Videos of European bluegrass wanted for US TV

Does your band or event have video footage which could be made available for airing in the USA?

A new channel - ZGrass, The Bluegrass Channel, LLC - will launch in March 2009, presenting 'all bluegrass, all day, all the time'. And its managing director, Harold Brown, is looking for all the video he can find from European bluegrass bands. Contact:

Harold Brown, Managing Director
The Bluegrass Channel, LLC
Telephone: +1-305-890-6843

Friday, 28 November 2008

Carolina Chocolate Drops on video

Thanks to Tim Hawkins for the news that the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who have just completed a two-week tour in Britain, can be seen on, one of the most popular blog sites, performing 'Memphis shakedown', a Memphis Jug Band song from 1934, at the Will Shade Gravestone Benefit. The video was posted in April on YouTube.

Thursday, 27 November 2008

Thankful for Bluegrass 2008

The original Bluegrass Blog is celebrating Thanksgiving by running a poll among readers on the Bluegrass Recording of 2008 for which they're Most Thankful.

The list includes the G2 Bluegrass Band (Sweden), the only band listed from outside North America. However, to score points for the band, the name of a particular recording should also be given. The poll will remain open for another week.

US bands in Britain and Ireland, Jan.-Feb. 2009

Thanks to FOAOTMAD for the news that before travelling to Germany in January/February 2009 to play the shows listed in the last Music Contact News, the Wilders (USA) will be playing the following ten dates in the UK in January:

Fri. 16th: Celtic Connections, Glasgow
Sat. 17th: The Warehouse, Lossiemouth
Sun. 18th: The Lemon Tree, Aberdeen
Mon. 19th: Tin Hut Sessions, Huntly, Aberdeenshire
Thu. 22nd: The Sage Theatre, Gateshead (with Kathy Mattea and band)
Fri. 23rd: The Musician, Leicester
Sat. 24th: Tingewick Village Hall, Buckinghamshire
Sun. 25th: The Luminaire, London (with the Hot Seats)
Mon. 26th: Maverick @ Zebra Bar, Maidstone
Tues. 27th: The Ropewalk, Barton-on-Humber

In the same time frame, the Special Consensus (USA) will be playing every night from 14 January to 3 February 2009 in Great Britain and Ireland - see the band's tour schedule for details. Both bands are among the many US acts taking part in the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow, Scotland.

Red Wine receives Regione Liguria Award

On 17 October Red Wine received the 39th Regione Liguria Award for Music 2008, promoted by the Colombo Foundation.

The Award, created by Don Bruno Venturelli, sponsored by Regione Liguria and Carige Bank, has become the event that every year recognises individuals, groups, or organizations from Liguria who distinguished themselves in the culture, music, entertainment, and business professions.

During the short set following the ceremony at Teatro della Gioventù, Red Wine was joined by special guest and friend Michael Guggino, mandolin player for the great NC-based band Steep Canyon Rangers, who was travelling through Italy on vacation with his wife and a couple of friends.

On that same stage Red Wine will host its first 'Bluegrass Party' on 13-14 February 2009, with special guest Tim O'Brien.

More photos from the award evening, taken by Stefano Goldberg, can be seen on the Red Wine website.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

New Acoustic Gallery concerts, 2009

Ana Vidovic: not a bluegrass guitar, but...

Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery, Solingen, Germany, announces the Gallery's programme of concerts for the coming year:

08.03.2009: Ana Vidovic, superstar of the classical guitar! VV €30; AK €35
30.03.2009: The Krüger Brothers Band! VV €30; AK €35
02.06.2009: Joscho Stephan Trio & Richard Smith; VV €20; AK €25
31.10.2009: Duo (Trio) Vibracao featuring Max Schaaf; VV €18; AK €22
06.12.2009: Beppe Gambetta; VV €18; AK €22

Full details of performers are on the New Acoustic Gallery website.

The NAG's first Mandolin Festival is planned for the end of August/ early September 2009. More details will follow. For reservations and more info, telephone Oliver Waitze at +49 (0)212/2474007. Early reservations are advisable, as only 75 seats are available for each concert.

EWOB website better than ever

Thanks to Liz Meyer for welcome news:

Congratulations! Your new EWOB website is online! Please let your friends know it's time to visit the site, and ask them to sign the Guestbook.

The new site looks good, works beautifully, and has music, slideshows, and information on all aspects of the Festival, past and present - you can sign up as a sponsor, a performer, a trade show exhibitor, an advertiser, or a volunteer helper; check the list of all the bands who have performed at Voorthuizen, or the list of all EWOB events throughout Europe this year; listen to tracks from the acclaimed 2-CD 10 years of EWOB compilation by Strictly Country Records; and much more.

The site has been designed and engineered by the Thirsty Lizards team (USA), who specialise in music-related sites - previous customers include the prestigious Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival. (As TSGWebPlus, they also handle business websites in general.)

Happy 30th birthday, COP!

Left to right: Petr Slama, Martin Fridrich, Vlada Ptacek, Jrka Vopava, Zdenek Fik, Misa Leicht, Robert Krestan, Samson Lenk, Jarda Sterba, Pepa Malina

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for photos and a report on the concert that marked the thirtieth anniversary of Czech bluegrass band COP, held on 8 November 2008 in the historic Lucerna concert hall in Prague, which has seats for 1,200. Over 1,500 people attended the show, which included band members past and present, and special guests.

COP were formed in 1978 in Pilsen, and had a powerful influence in spreading bluegrass with their spontaneous live shows and Czech lyrics. A recording of the concert will be released on CD early in 2009, together with a reissue of the CD of their fifteenth-anniversary concert. Lilly's full report, with more details and more photos, will appear in Bluegrass Europe.

The Lucerna

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

Beppe Gambetta in Belgium, 30 Nov. 2008

Bluegrass in Belgium reports:

Everyone present at the Sawmill Road concert in Toogenblik [17 November] will agree we had a wonderful evening. This reminded us of the good old days at Toogenblik in the 90s. We look forward to the next gig in Toogenblik !

Another nice place, 't Ey in Belsele (Sint Niklaas), will have the great Italian bluegrass guitar picker/singer/entertainer Beppe Gambetta.

Sunday 30/11/2008 at 16:00
't Ey
Koutermolenstraat 6b
9111 Belsele (Sint-Niklaas)

Friday, 21 November 2008

EWOB applications deadline: now 1 Dec. 2008

Liz Meyer reports:


Please pass this message on to your own mailing lists and musician friends. Due to some computer breakdowns here, the BAND APPLICATION DEADLINE for the European World of Bluegrass Festival 2009 (21-23 May 2009) has been extended to DECEMBER 1st.

Don't miss EWOB 2009! Apply now!

BANDS FROM AROUND THE WORLD: Your band can perform for festival bookers, agents, concert promoters, radio DJs, and music press from all over Europe! (And a wonderful bluegrass audience too!)

*European bands can compete for the European Bluegrass Band Awards! 'You gotta be in it to win it!'
*You can all VOTE for the winning bands! Remember, only the musicians playing at the EWOB Festival vote for these awards!
*The #1 European Bluegrass Band goes to Nashville to showcase at IBMA the following October!
*You can cast a vote of pride in European bluegrass!
*Join us at the European World of Bluegrass Festival 2009!

Band applications are on the EWOB Festival website.
(And we will launch a brand-new, fantastic festival website in a few days, too!)

EWOB 2009 will be the 12th European World of Bluegrass Festival, held in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, and is organized under the auspices of the European Bluegrass Music Association.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Picnic Festival 2008

Thanks to Laurent Eeckhout, Picnic Festival organiser, for a report and photos of the 4th Picnic Festival, held at Terra Nova in the Citadel, Namur, Belgium, on 6 and 7 September 2008. Laurent writes:

It was a great success for the bluegrass day (and also for Celtic day), as you can see on the picture. We had five bluegrass bands : G-Runs 'n' Roses (CZ), Sons Of Navarone (B), Clo & Milo (B), Sacred Sounds Of Grass (D), and the Lovell Sisters (USA).

The weather was cloudly on the Saturday but no rain and even stars in the sky on the evening (and on stage too...). The Lovell Sisters were wonderful and the audience really loved their show.

The Irish Pub was also very nice, with jam sessions until late at night - musicians from the bands (two of the Sisters, G'Runs...) and from the audience too.

Planning for the Fifth Picnic Festival (5-6 September 2009) is in progress. For information, contact

Laurent Eeckhout
Rue de Soye 19
5190 Spy
+32 (0)472 22 03 26

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

G2 live in concert: Stockholm, 17 Dec. 2008

G2 Bluegrass Band (Sweden), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2007, will perform in concert at the Boulevard Theatre, Götgatan 73, Stockholm, Sweden, on 17 December, beginning at 19:30.

Tickets can be bought at the Boulevard's ticket office (open 12:00-18:00 daily) or through Ticnet, or reserved by 'phone (theatre 08-642 98 00; Ticnet 077-170 70 70). For anyone who can't get to Stockholm: videos of live shows by G2 can be seen on the band's MySpace site.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Thomas Bailey: dates in Europe

Thomas Bailey from Virginia, multi-instrumental master of '21st-century old-time music', will be in Europe during the next ten days to play a few dates. At the Fourth Vilnius Bluegrass Festival in Lithuania, he is headlining the Friday night show (21 Nov.) and presenting an old-time fiddle workshop on Saturday afternoon (22 Nov.).

In the following week he will play two dates in Paris: as solo singer with guitar on Tuesday 25 Nov. in the Café Les Trois Arts; and as fiddler in an evening of string band music on Friday 28 Nov. at the Café Toc-Toques, with Ilan Moss of the Old Timey Messengers (banjo) and Cory Seznic of the Groanbox Boys (guitar).

Thomas Bailey, who toured Scandinavia in autumn 2007 with the Forge Mountain Diggers and has since been playing with the Freighthoppers, will be touring the UK in spring 2009. He also has a MySpace site.

21 Nov.: 4th Vilnius Bluegrass Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania, concert, 20:00

22 Nov.: 4th Vilnius Bluegrass Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania, old-time fiddle workshop, 12:00

25 Nov.: Les Trois Arts, 21 rue des Rigoles, Bellville, 75020 Paris, Ile-de-France 21:00; M° Jourdain; €5

28 Nov.: Toc-Tocques Café, 109 Boulevard Charonne, 75011 Paris, Ile-de-France; 20:00

Bluegrass earthquake at Celtic Connections 2009

Dan Tyminski

Thanks to the Scottish Bluegrass Association for news of the Celtic Connections 2009 Festival, to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, from 15 January to 1 February 2009.

The schedule includes the following bluegrass and old-time music talent: Cherryholmes, Dan Tyminski, the Jerry Douglas Band, Bela Fleck, Tim O'Brien, Crooked Still, Bruce Molsky, Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet, Russ Barenberg, the Hot Seats, Leon Hunt & Guests, the Wilders, Dirk Powell & Riley Baugus.

As the SBA says, this makes Scotland 'the epicentre of a European bluegrass earthquake'. More details are on the Celtic Connections website.

Gold Heart tour in the UK, Apr.-May 2009

News was posted on the European Bluegrass Blog on 7 November of US bands who will be touring in 2009 under the auspices of the Scottish Bluegrass Association. The following dates are announced for the Gold Heart Bluegrass Band from Virginia:

Fri. 24 Apr.: Heart of England Bluegrass Venue, Kenilworth; +44 (0)2476 312258
Sat. 25 Apr.: Jumpin Hot Club, Live Theatre, Newcastle; +44 (0)191 2321232
Sun. 26 Apr.: Comfort Hotel, Nottingham; +44 (0)1159 120080
Mon. 27 Apr.: Zebra Club, Maidstone; +44 (0)1622 744481
Tues. 28 Apr.: Montrose Folk Club, Links Hotel, Montrose; +44 (0)1674 830658
Wed. 29 Apr.: SBA, Regal Theatre, Bathgate; +44 (0)1506 433634
Thurs. 30 Apr.: Wildwood Flower Mountain Music, South Molton; +44 (0)1237 472083
Fri. 1 May: Tacchi Morris Arts Centre, Taunton; +44 (0)1823 414141
Sat. 2 May: Bluegrass Plus Club, Croydon; +44 (0)1737 551191
Sun. 3 May: University Arms, Sheffield; +44 (0)1298 871645

Contact John Sheldon through the Scottish Bluegrass Association website, by phone (+44 (0)1968670038), or by e-mail.

Sunday, 16 November 2008

Advertise in British Bluegrass News!

With new moves taking place within the British Bluegrass Music Association, as reported here on 11 November, Sherryl Payne, bass player with the UK band A Band Like Alice (whose new CD Down to the wire was released in autumn 2008), is now BBMA treasurer and in charge of advertising in British Bluegrass News.

Sherryl reports that BBN's advertising rates have been reduced - £40 is the cost for a full page, £30 for half a page, £20 for quarter page. If you want your festival, concert, recording, instruments, business, etc. to be publicised on the bluegrass scene in Britain, an ad in BBN is strongly recommended.

The next issue will be out before Christmas 2008, and deadline for copy is 1 December. Contact Sherryl by e-mail.

Tom Hanway signed to worldwide distribution deal

American bluegrass composer, banjoist, and guitarist Tom Hanway, now living in Ireland, has hit a major milestone by signing a worldwide distribution deal with Digital Revolution Entertainment for his three releases, originally on Joyous Gard Records. All music from Tom Hanway, Bucket of bees (13 tracks), Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon (15 tracks), and Tom Hanway & Vassar Clements, The Badbelly project (14 tracks) will be available as digital downloads in the following formats: (1) as entire albums, (2) a la carte - 42 songs, and (3) as ringtones. Amazon, Napster, Rhapsody, Lala, eMusic were the first to offer MP3 downloads (on 11/11/2008), with iTunes, Nokia, Liquid, MEdia Net, PassAlong, Puretracks, SNOCAP, SpiralFrog, and more online music stores to follow.

Tom Hanway, Bucket of bees, featuring Sam Bush, Vassar Clements, Jerry Douglas, Stuart Duncan, David Grier, and Tony Trischka, was recorded in New York City and Nashville, Tennessee, produced by Tony Trischka, Larry Cohen, and Tom Hanway. Tom Hanway & Blue Horizon, featuring Vassar Clements, Mark Schatz, and Roy Huskey, Jr., was recorded in Nashville, produced by Tom Hanway and engineered by Bil VornDick. Tom Hanway & Vassar Clements, The Badbelly project, featuring Larry Campbell and Lucy Kaplansky, was recorded in the Bronx, New York, co-produced by Lincoln Schleifer and Tom Hanway.

In Ireland and throughout the world, Tom Hanway’s three albums (42 songs) can now be purchased at this Amazon link, or visit Tom Hanway’s website and search under 'Music Stores'.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

Music Contact News: update

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike: (left to right) Becky Buller, Valerie Smith, Bobby Davis (hidden), Chad Graves, Eric Lambert

Rainer Zellner, of Music Contact Roots Music Booking and Production, announces that more dates have been added to the December tour schedule for Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike,which now reads as follows:

2 Dec.: Haus International, 87435 Kempten, Germany, 20:00
3 Dec.: Cafe de Vriendschap, Wadway, the Netherlands, 20:00
4 Dec.: Landesstelle Unna-Massen, 59427 Unna, Germany, 19:00
5 Dec.: Bischofsmühle, 31137 Hildesheim, Germany, 21:00
6 Dec.: HRZ 't Zwaantje, Lievelde, Netherlands, 20:30
9 Dec.: A-6020 Innsbruck, Germany, TBA
10 Dec.: Halle QuerFeld, CH-4053 Basel, Switzerland, 19:30
11 Dec.: Salmen, 77652 Offenburg, Germany, 20:00
12 Dec.: Wodan Halle, 79098 Freiburg, Germany, 20:30
13 Dec.: 'Country Christmas', Schützenhaus, 89340 Leipheim, Germany, 20:00
14 Dec.: Sudhaus, Tübingen, Germany, 20:30
15 Dec.: Nachtleben, 60433 Frankfurt, Germany, 21:00
16 Dec.: Bottich, 75175 Pforzheim, Germany, 20:15
17 Dec.: Haus der Kultur, 84478 Waldkraiburg, Germany, 20:00
18 Dec.: Kulturforum, 90762 Fürth, Germany
20 Dec.: Restaurant Lerchenberg, CH-8046 Zürich, Switzerland, 20:00

The following dates have also been confirmed so far for the Wilders (old-time meets honky-tonk):

28 Jan. 2009: Blue Shell, 50441 Köln, Germany, 22:00
30 Jan.: Theater, 06295 Lutherstadt-Eisleben, Germany, 19:30
31 Jan.: Albert Einstein Forum, 41564 Kaarst, Germany, 20:00
1 Feb.: Lutherhaus, 49080 Osnabrück, Germany, 18:00
2 Feb.: Neue Welt, 85049 Ingolstadt, Germany, 20:30
4 Feb.: Kulturforum, 90762 Fürth, Germany, 20:00
6 Feb.: Ratssaal, 28816 Stuhr, Germany, 20:00
7 Feb.: Country Messe, Postbahnhof, Berlin, TBA
9 Feb.: Hillbilly Fever Festival, Berlin, TBA
12 Feb.: Lincoln Theater, 67547 Worms, Germany, 20:00
15 Feb.: Four Corners Music Hall, 86836 Untermeitingen, Germany
17 Feb.: Haus der Kultur, 84478 Waldkraiburg, Germany
20 Feb.: Club Bastion, 73230 Kirchheim/T., Germany

and Crooked Still (alternative bluegrass):

1 May: Bürgerhaus, Bühl Bluegrass Festival, 77815 Bühl, Baden, Germany
3 May: Kulturhaus, 74343 Sachsenheim, Germany, 20:00
6 May: Kulturkeller, 36037 Fulda, Germany, 20:00
8 May: Theater, 06295 Lutherstadt-Eisleben, Germany, 19:30
11 May: Neue Welt, Ingolstadt, Germany, 20:30
19 May: Haus der Kultur, 84478 Waldkraiburg, Germany, 20:00

Also playing at the Bühl Bluegrass Festival will be the Moonlighters ('Hawaiian Sounds from New York City'), whose tour dates so far are:

17 Apr.: Wodan Halle, 79098 Freiburg, Germany
21 Apr.: Bottich, 75175 Pforzheim, Germany, 20:15
24 Apr.: ParkTheater im Kurhaus Göggingen, 86199 Augsburg, Germany, 20:00
27 Apr.: Jegelscheune, 90530 Wendelstein, Germany
30 Apr.: Wespennest, 67433 Neustadt, Germnay, 20:00
2 May: Bürgerhaus, Bühl Bluegrass Festival, 77815 Bühl, Baden, Germany

The Horseflies (USA) old-time band are making a sensational comeback with their first studio album in fifteen years: '... a classic mix of Fiddlin’ John Carson, Norman Edmonds, and acid house – basically, what the band do better than anyone else in the world' - Roots (coming in Summer 2009)

And the Bluegrass Jamboree Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music will be on tour from 3 December to 20 December 2009, with the Steep Canyon Rangers (USA), Hunger Mountain Boys (USA), the Toy Hearts (UK), and Roland Heinrich (D). Dates so far arranged are:

3 Dec. 2009 Waldkraiburg
12 Dec. 2009 Offenburg
19 Dec. 2009 Kaarst (bei Düsseldorf)

'Hillbilly Boogie', the country broadcast on free Radio Tübingen, can now be heard worldwide on the internet. Tell your friends! Next live broadcast: 27 June, 21-23:00.

For further info, contact Rainer Zellner at the Music Contact roots music booking and production agency, Saarstrasse 8, D-72070 Tübingen, Germany; +49 (0) 7073 2250; fax +49 (0) 7073 2134; UStID: DE146940684; e-mail; download media data.

New Alison Brown CD: Christmas gift offer

Stephanie Fields of Compass Records (USA) sends this message to the EBMA and other bluegrass associations:

I wanted to let you know about banjo player Alison Brown’s new holiday album Evergreen. It’s her first recording of seasonal music and features lots of banjo pickin’ alongside performances by bandmates Joe Craven and John R. Burr on a variety of well loved holiday classics. The album has received glowing advance press ('The Alison Brown Quartet has packaged a fun and very fine gift for holiday audiences. The musicianship is top notch. If you enjoy jazz or bluegrass, Evergreen should definitely be under your tree!' - and, since I know it’s tough to find fresh acoustic-oriented CDs for the season, I thought your members would be particularly interested to know about the release.

As a special promotion for the album, Compass Records is offering a bundled gift set that includes the CD paired with an adorable banjo cat wine caddie, customised especially for Alison by an artisan in Kentucky and one of her favorite finds of 2008. We would like to extend a 20% off coupon to your members for purchases on our website during November and December 2008, good towards the purchase of the banjo cat gift set or anything else in our catalog.

I look forward to hearing from you,


Thursday, 13 November 2008

Sawmill Road tour in Europe: final schedule

A.R.T. Promotions announces that the final confirmed schedule for this month's European tour by Sawmill Road (USA) - Bruce Johnson (fiddle), Steve Spurgin (bass), Charlie Edsall (guitar), Dick Brown (banjo), and Mark Miracle (mandolin) - are as follows:

Thurs. 13 Nov.: Kulturhalle QuerFeld, Bluegrass in Basel, Basel, Switzerland, 7.30 p.m.

Fri. 14 Nov.: Pfleghofsaal, Country & Western Friends Koetz, 89129 Langenau/n, Ulm, Germany, 8.00 p.m.

Sat. 15 Nov.: Private party, Tullins, France

Sun 16 Nov.: MJC Saint-Saulve, Saint-Saulve, France, 8.30 p.m.

Mon. 17 Nov.: Toogenblik, Cortenbachstraat 11, 1130 Haren - Brussels, Belgium, 9.00 p.m.

Tues. 18 Nov.: [day off]

Wed. 19 Nov.: Partycentrum 'De Vriendschap', Wadway/Wognum, the Netherlands, 8.00 p.m. (reservation: +31 22 957 14 48)

Thurs. 20 Nov.: Colonial Country Club, Valthe, the Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.

Fri. 21 Nov.: Biografen, Storegade 55, 4780 Stege, Denmark; tel. 55 81 42 10, 8.00 p.m.

Sat. 22 Nov.: Karens Minde Kulturhus, Bluegrass Music Denmark, Wagnersvej 19, 2450 Kbh. SV, Copenhagen, Denmark, 8.00 p.m.*

Sun. 23 Nov.: [travel]

Mon. 24 Nov.: private event at school, Germany

Tues. 25 Nov.: Dolder2, Feuerthalen (Schaffhausen), Switzerland

Wed. 26 Nov.: Restaurant Sternenberg, Switzerland (by invitation)

Thurs. 27 Nov.: Tschugg, Switzerland; details tba

Fri. 28 Nov.: living room concert, Vöhringen, Germany

Sat. 29 Nov.: Schütte-Keller, Bühl/Baden, Germany, 8.00 p.m.

Please check with the venue before going there.

*Full details for the Copenhagen concert are:

Årets højdepunkt med Sawmill Road (USA), Blue Mountain Boys (Sverige), Beppe Gambetta (Italien), Little Big Love (DK). Entré på 130,- (100,- for medl. af BMD)

Vi starter allerede kl. 19.00, og der er mulighed for spisning 17.30-18.30. Spisning koster 75,- og skal bestilles hos Arne på eller 36 789 709.

For more information, contact:

Angelika Torrie
A.R.T. Promotions
+41 79 520 56 27

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

European Bluegrass Summit in Bühl, 7-8 February 2009

For the attention of those involved in European Bluegrass Music:

A successful two-day International Bluegrass Summit took place in Nashville as part of the 2008 IBMA World of Bluegrass. This meeting was `facilitated’ by a professional mediator whose method of running the meeting guaranteed constructive discussion and outcomes. A summary of issues raised from this discussion can be seen here.

One very positive outcome was the formation of a new European Summit Steering Committee as a sub-committee of the IBMA International Committee. This Steering Committee includes IBMA International Committee chair Richard Hawkins, IBMA International Board representative Rienk Janssen, British Bluegrass Music Association chair John Wirtz, and Scottish Bluegrass Association secretary John Sheldon.

Following up on this success, bluegrass associations, event organisers, promoters, and activists within the European bluegrass community are now invited to take part in a two-day EUROPEAN BLUEGRASS SUMMIT. This summit meeting will use the same professional mediator and methods of ‘facilitation’ as used in Nashville, and is supported by the IBMA.

Aims of the EUROPEAN BLUEGRASS SUMMIT 2009 are summarised as follows:

* To provide an opportunity for a wide audience of up to forty participants to meet face to face, bond, and get to know each other,

* To highlight some of the issues affecting the promotion of bluegrass music in Europe,

* To explore the issues facing different countries and different cultures in Europe,

* To motivate people to work together more closely and to communicate more effectively.

The European Bluegrass Summit will be held on the 7th and 8th of February 2009 in the town of Bühl/Baden, southern Germany. Full details of the Summit meeting location, the Summit schedule, and a list of hotels, are set out here. The application form for the European Bluegrass Summit is shown below.

The costs and arrangements for travel, subsistence, and accommodation are the entire responsibility of the participants.

We look forward to your participation and we would be pleased if you would circulate this invitation to other person you think should be invited.

Yours sincerely,

Rienk Janssen, Richard Hawkins, John Wirtz, John Sheldon
IBMA European Summit Steering Committee

Applications for a place on the European Bluegrass Summit 2009 are invited from all interested parties.

To apply
, please send in the following information by e-mail no later than 10 December 2008. Your place on the Summit will be confirmed to you by 12 December 2008.

Full name:


Postal address:

e-mail address:

Landline telephone including country code:

What is your intended mode of transport?

Do you represent a National Bluegrass Association – if so, which country?

Do you need help with translation during discussions?

What is your involvement and activity in bluegrass music?

Moonshiner begins volume 26

Congratulations to the leading Japanese bluegrass magazine Moonshiner on beginning its twenty-sixth volume. And thanks to Saburo ('Sab') Watanabe Inoue for the above copy of the cover of the current issue: #301 (November 2008). It pays tribute to the IBMA by reproducing the image used in this year's World of Bluegrass and incorporating a Discover Bluegrass sticker.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Greven Grass - the Neusüdende legacy

Olaf Gläsmer sends the following press release:

The Neusüdende-Festival is no more. This has led to a vacuum in the northern German scene that is to be filled now.

On 13 September 2008 a group of people came together in Greven (North Rhine-Westphalia), Germany, that has made it its business to shoulder the Neusüdende heritage. A non-profit organization was founded whose court-registration and enjoyment of tax privileges is awaited shortly. The non-profit organization, led by Olaf Gläsmer, Uli Sokoll, and Thomas Vössing, is planning a Festival in the spirit of Neusüdende in the town of Greven on Ems on Whitsuntide 2009 (30-31 May 2009).

Greven is located in North Rhine-Westphalia in between Münster and Osnabrück. The town has excellent acessibility due to to the nearby autoroute A1. The festival grounds are located near the local river Ems. A campsite with all necessary facilities is planned for the festival visitors. Between campsite and river the premises sport an open-air stage and an open-air restaurant. Plans are to present bluegrass and related music on the open-air stage. The stage aims to help ambitious musicians to find a forum for their music. The audience (and not only the hard-core fan) ought to be able to experience bluegrass as the wonderful music that it is. The adjacent open-air tavern secures that the throat stays wet and the stomach full even though vocal and instrumental highs may take the audience's breath. The nearby concert hall will sport a concert of several bluegrass bands of renown. The festival is integrated in the series of events called 'Greven an die Ems'. It is supported by different institutions and among those the city of Greven. A website is under construction at and

The non-profit organization hopes for the interest of bands to present their musical skills on the open-air stage. Likewise the non-profit organisation hopes for active assistance. The willingness to voluntary aid for the festival are sincerely appreciated. Word-of-mouth-propaganda for the planned festival will be a first essential contribution.

Contact the Greven Grass team through Olaf by e-mail.

The BBMA is back!

Richard F. Thompson reports:

Following the election of John Wirtz as the British Bluegrass Music Association's chairman at the AGM last April, the work has begun to raise the profile of the association and bring it back to the prominence it once had in the 1990s.

At the time the association was founded (in 1990), it was quite difficult for enthusiasts to find out what was going on. Plenty was happening but, apart from the efforts of Phill Morley, who founded British Bluegrass News, and later with assistance from Jan Jerrold and Richard F. Thompson, news tended to get around by word of mouth.

The BBMA changed all that. It experienced a honeymoon period before that little beast called the internet came along. Suddenly communication was easy and the more enlightened festival and gig promoters got websites going. The impact of the BBMA was dramatically reduced. The word on the street was: 'We don't need the BBMA now there's the Internet', and membership began to dwindle.

The internet is a great thing and the BBMA must embrace its power, but there are things the internet cannot do without an organisation behind it to ensure the information is useful, accurate, and well targeted. Good organisations are much more than suppliers of information: they can do many more things to support the activities of their members. In the past, the BBMA has provided grants and loans to allow bands to record CDs, it has sponsored young people to go to camps such as Sore Fingers Week, and it has underwritten gigs where promoters need financial support. However, the BBMA hasn't been very good at telling people about these things and, with low membership levels, has had limited funds available to improve its record. In recent years, the majority of the income from members has been used to produce the association magazine.

Six months into his tenure, Chairman Wirtz is pleased to report that the magazine has been redesigned and looks a lot more attractive. This has been achieved with a saving of 40 per cent on production costs – a real result! The magazine editorial team has also been increased from one to four people.

The next high-profile project is to redesign the website. The BBMA has never had a decent website and this is about to change. The new one will be simple, informative and designed to guide members to the right places to find information about bluegrass, be it about events and festivals or technical information about playing the music. The hope is to have the new site up and running by Christmas.

A new national area rep. coordinator has been appointed, and a greater number of regional representatives are being recruited to provide more comprehensive cover across the country.

There is a great deal of work to do behind the scenes to get the administration of the BBMA back on track. It has suffered from too few people trying to do everything, and that has meant the creative side and the ideas that would really benefit the members have suffered too.

In order to embark on creative projects, the BBMA needs to recruit enough people to run it. However, there are some great ideas floating about and just to give you a taste, here are some that have been discussed over the summer:

· A demo CD showcasing British bluegrass song writing.

· A programme for teaching music in schools using bluegrass and bluegrass instruments.

· A joint venture to set up instrumental teaching surgeries for all bluegrass instruments at the summer festivals.

· BBMA showcase concerts at festivals to promote new bands.

· A series of fact sheets downloadable from the BBMA website, with general advice for bands, promoters, and individuals.

The present committee members are really enthusiastic about these ideas and would be really happy if just one of these was to bear fruit during the next twelve months. It can be done, but not without you! More members are needed to increase the funds available to make these projects work.

In his first editorial in the current edition of British Bluegrass News, Wirtz promised change and he is pleased to say that the committee has started to deliver on that promise. He says: 'You may be one of those who didn't renew your membership because you were disillusioned. Well, it's time to come out of the depression and re-join, you will really make a difference and if you were one who never joined at all, it's time for a change of heart. If you are already a member, then why not go and recruit someone new?'

Richard F. Thompson
Feature Editor, British Bluegrass News
Tel: +44 (0) 1543 252683

Trish Hockley
Membership Secretary
Tel: +44 (0) 7889 607612

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Spencer Bohren concert at New Acoustic Gallery, 9 Nov.

The New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, hosts its next concert on Sunday 9 November at 20:00, when Spencer Bohren (USA) plays there in the second of twelve dates in his current Roots Music Tour of Germany. His repertoire is drawn from blues, folk, gospel, country, and rock 'with a shot of Voodoo', and performed on his acoustic Gibson guitar and 1930s lap steel. He has recorded five albums on Valve Records, and has been described as 'the best solo act in the business' by the Tucson Blues Society, and as 'one of us' by John Lee Hooker.

The concert is a cooperation between 'Die Provinz lebt!', Valve Records, and the New Acoustic Gallery. Tickets are €12 at the door, €10 booked in advance.

Oliver Waitze
New Acoustic Gallery
Neuenhofer Str. 122
42657 Solingen (Höhscheid)
Tel.: +49 0212/2474007

Friday, 7 November 2008

G2: living the American bluegrass dream

The original Bluegrass Blog carried a report yesterday by John Lawless on the plans of the G2 Bluegrass Band, #1 European Bluegrass Band 2007 and 'Swedish bluegrass heartthrobs':

In 2009 they will be here July through September performing at festivals and music events, based near Nashville. They want to take advantage of the momentum built from a shorter US tour this year, and the buzz they created at IBMA in October... G2 hopes to make a permanent move to this country sometime in 2010.

G2's banjo player Jens Koch is quoted: 'We need to move to the US to get to do what we all love to do, so we’ll start with a few months next year and see how it works out.' Read more here.

US bands to tour in 2009

Gold Heart Bluegrass Band

John Sheldon, secretary of the Scottish Bluegrass Association, writes:

I'm just back from the IBMA World of Bluegrass Showcase and Awards event in Nashville and have proposals for some great bluegrass bands to tour Scotland and the UK in 2009 :-

Gold Heart Bluegrass Band (MySpace site): UK tour starts on 23 April; dates available from Sunday 26 April

Gold Heart is an award-winning band with a 'fresh zest'! The band is revving up listeners and capturing hearts worldwide with their pure family harmony, solid lead vocals, and energetic instrumentation.

They absolutely knocked my socks off! They are called 'Gold Heart' and these young ladies are true to their name. Their pure talent is amazing and their harmonies are enough to break your heart. I really can’t say enough about how good they sound. It reminded me of the first time I heard Rhonda Vincent or Dry Branch Fire Squad — a unique sound all their own. Simply inspiring! They are a pure listening joy! (Les Evans)

The Midnight Ramblers Bluegrass Band: UK tour starts Friday 25 July; dates available from then up until 30 July

The Midnight Ramblers are a great example of why Southwest Virginia and the Crooked Road has become a hotbed of young bluegrass talent. Get a copy of Let it shine and you will be amazed (H. W. ‘Bill’ Smith, The Crooked Road)

... man, what a group of talented young singers! (Ralph Stanley II)

Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa Bluegrass Band: UK tour starts Thursday 24 September; dates available

Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa are a hot new bluegrass band with fantastic credentials. Between them, these guys have years of experience playing in famous line-ups including US Navy band Country Current, Emerson & Taylor, Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, Emerson/Newton Band, the Gary Ferguson Band, to name a few. Coupled with Wayne Taylor’s brilliant songwriting abilities, this is one winning combination featuring seasoned professionals: Mark Delaney (banjo), Emory Lester (mandolin), Kip Martin (bass), Wayne Taylor (guitar), Dave Giegerich (dobro).

If you know of anyone interested in putting on a bluegrass show in your locality, please pass this information on to them.

Contact John Sheldon through the SBA website, by phone (+44 (0)1968670038), or by e-mail.

Roberto dalla Vecchia: CD and concert news

Roberto Dalla Vecchia ('Flatpicking Guitar with Italian Gusto') has been working on his new CD Unknown legends, due for release on 28 November 2008. It celebrates, in Roberto's words, 'all the people around the world working hard everyday to make this world a better place. They will never make the news and they don't really care about that.'

Other musicians on the CD are Stefano Versolato (upright bass), Henrich Novak (dobro), Paolo Bressan (whistles and bombo), and Giovanni Costantini (cello). Photos from the recording studio can be seen here, and all the tracks can be heard here. Roberto will be doing workshops about the CD in the next few months, talking about the whole process of recording an acoustic guitar CD: choice of tunes, arrangements, recording studio set up, etc.

You can practice your Italian on an interview with Roberto on the popular blog 'Vicenza Popolare'. Roberto's free tab page will soon be updated, and he invites requests for tunes to be tabbed.

His concert and workshop schedule is as follows:

Sat. 20 Dec. 2008: Teatro Sociale, Cittadella (PD), Italy: concert 21:00

Fri. 9 Jan. 2009: Akustik Gitarre Forum, Hallein, Austria; concert

Fri. 23 Jan. and Sat. 24 Jan. 2009: Soldiers' Theatre, Vicenza, Italy; concert 19:30 (both nights)

Sat. 31 Jan. 2009: UnpluGGed Chitarre, Milan, Italy; workshop

Sat. 28 Mar. 2009: 5 vicenzAcustica, Vicenza, Italy

Mon. 6 Apr.-Sat. 11 Apr. 2009: 24th Acoustic Music International Workshop, Virton, Belgium

Roberto's link of the month is of special interest to guitar players in Europe as it offers a digital subscription to the magazine for about half the price of a hard-copy subscription, without postage problems, etc.; also the link includes downloadable instructional books and 'backup tracks' as audio mp3 files.

Drop Roberto a line or sign the Message Board when you call at his website.

Guitar workshop date now 22 Nov. 2008

The Flatpicking Workshop with Oliver Waitze (above), originally scheduled for 29 November 2008 at the New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, has been brought forward to 22 November 2008. Tel.: +49 0212/2474007.

The fee for taking part is €90 (maximum of ten participants). The workshop begins at 10:00 and ends at 17:00. It's designed for everyone who wants to learn, or improve their knowledge of, plectrum playing, and all levels of ability are welcome. The content includes bluegrass, fiddle tunes, cross-picking, G-runs, Lester Flatt runs, rhythm with bass, Django-style rhythm, Tony Rice style, Clarence White style...

The new flatpicking books Master technique and Flatpicker's tunebook will also be available.

New Acoustic Gallery
Neuenhofer Str. 122
42657 Solingen
Tel.: +49 0212/2474007

Apply now for EWOB Festival 2009, 21-23 May

Liz Meyer writes:

*Your band can perform for festival bookers, agents, concert promoters, radio DJs, and music press from all over Europe! (And a wonderful bluegrass audience too!)
*Your band can compete for the European Bluegrass Band Awards! 'You gotta be in it to win it!'
*You can vote for the winning bands! Remember, only the musicians playing at the EWOB Festival vote for these awards!
*The #1 European Bluegrass Band goes to Nashville to showcase at IBMA the following October!
*You can cast a vote of pride in European bluegrass!

Join us at the European World of Bluegrass Festival 2009! Band applications are on the EWOB Festival website. And we will launch a brand-new, fantastic festival website in a few days, too!

EWOB 2009 will be the 12th European World of Bluegrass Festival; will be held in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands; and is organized under the auspices of the European Bluegrass Music Association. The European World of Bluegrass Festival is the only European festival ever to be honored with the IBMA Bluegrass Event of the Year Award.


Have you heard our wonderful double CD? Did you know that European bluegrass hit #1 on the Folk Radio charts in the USA this spring? 10 years of European World of Bluegrass is a great way to tell your friends about EWOB and the wonderful music there: let them hear the best of ten years of EWOB Festival recordings! They won't want to miss the EWOB Festival!

And it's a great way to support European bluegrass! For American bands: a thriving European bluegrass scene creates a strong market for touring US bluegrass bands and companies that would like to come over and earn some Euros! We're all in this together. And you should hear what your fellow bluegrassers are up to on the other side of the puddle!

Read more:

America and Europe join hands: 48 bands ~ 15 lands
Produced by Liz Meyer for Strictly Country Records
The #1 CD on Folk Radio in the USA & Canada: April 2008
Available through CD Baby

'The festival to end all festivals, on an outstanding 2-disc set' ~ Maria Morgan Davis, Lonesome Road Review & Bluegrass Now

'This remarkable collection adds a significant new chapter to bluegrass history, and a wealth of excellent music in many styles. 10 years of European World of Bluegrass is certainly destined to become to European bluegrass what Will the circle be unbroken is to American bluegrass. This vision is clearly shared by radio and press' ~ Hilary Bean, Roots & Sprouts, Germany

'A fabulous collection showcasing incredible talent and commitment to traditional bluegrass. The most pleasant surprise is the high level of musicianship evident in the European bands. These musicians have done their homework and they clearly demonstrate a remarkable ability to understand and play the subtle fundamentals of a complex music born so many miles from their home' ~ Bob Mitchell, Louisville Music News, Kentucky, 5-star review; Best of Bluegrass, Radio Bluegrass International

'The compilation is nothing short of awesome, mixing the European and American bluegrass families to give the world this most complete taste of the bluegrass genre' ~ R.W. Shamy, TwangCast Media, Georgetown, Texas

'Maybe world peace can start with a banjo intro' ~ Liz Meyer

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

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

EBMA on Facebook

Angelika Torrie, treasurer and webmistress of the European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA), reports:

I just created a Facebook group for EBMA. Feel free to join and share. It's all new, so I have to feed it yet. At least it's a link into this new world.

Keep it pickin',


Use this link to join.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Still on the Hill CD: Ozark

Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna of the folk/old-time duo Still on the Hill (USA) have been touring Europe annually for the past five years, and are due to return in May 2009. Paul Rostetter of the Swiss record label Brambus Records is in charge of the tour arrangements.

Still on the Hill are proud of their roots in the Ozark mountains, and this is shown in the latest of their seven CDs, Ozark: a celebration in song. The accompanying booklet includes full lyrics, the stories behind all the songs, and many photos of the Ozark people who inspired them (and of many fascinating home-made string instruments). The album can be sampled and bought on CD Baby, and more about Kelly, Donna, and the album can be read here.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

John Pearse, 1939-2008

Dana Thorin of John Pearse Strings sends the sad news that John Pearse has died in Germany, where he had lived for several years. With his health declining in recent years, John had turned over the operations of the company completely to his business partner, Mary Faith Rhoads-Lewis, who since its inception in the '80s had always handled the business side.

For those who knew John personally, a guest book has been added to the John Pearse Strings website. Dana adds:

Obviously, the company will continue to honor John's memory by making sure his excellent strings and accessories continue to be available for all the players out there for many years to come. In honour of John, I would recommend you toast his memory with your favorite beverage! He would like that!

Thanks to the Bluegrass Blog for the news that the funeral will be held on 5 November in Germany.

9th Old Time Country Festival at Winkel, Switzerland, 25 Oct.

Big Stone Old Time Country Band (CH)

The 9th Annual Old Time Country Festival was held on 25 October 2008 in the beautiful decorated Breiti Hall in Winkel, Switzerland, organised by the American Folk Club 'Rocking Chair', together with the local Big Stone Old Time Country Band. That night three bands were playing for us.

The house band, Big Stone, were as usual nicely dressed in outfits from American pioneer days. They tied up to the string-band tradition, with clawhammer banjo and autoharp. The band is welcomed on many Swiss bluegrass and country events, and consists of Pete 'Two Feathers' Erb (bass), Godi Gammeter (guitar), Rene Zentner (clawhammer and bluegrass banjo, autoharp) and Beat Heri (mandolin). All of them sing.

Drive (CZ/SK)

The second band, Drive, came all the way from the Czech and Slovak Republics and won the hearts of the audience with a mixture of contemporary bluegrass, country, sometimes even a touch of pop. Their singer Veronika Nemeckova was voted Female Singer of the Year three times by the Czech Bluegrass Association; Martin Stehlik, a well known banjo-player, went on a solo career for a couple of years. On the guitar was David Nemecek, and on bass Antonin Vondruska, who also led charmingly through their program in his special German. You know probably the Slovak dobro player Milan Benkovic, as he plays also with the band Meantime. Drive got standing ovations, and several encores followed.

BlueGraze (CH)

Also the final band, BlueGraze, was very successful, centred on two great female singers - Swiss country star Doris Ackerman (who goes bluegrass now) and Arlette Keiser, who also plays with Rosewood Delight. So does their banjo player, Res Nobs. Their fiddle and mandolin player, Mathias Lincke, is well known not only in bluegrass circles. The band's lineup concludes with Arlette's bass-playing husband, Petr Keiser.

The hall, with about 400 seats, was well filled and the audience was attentively listening. For the Grande Finale all musicians present came on stage and played 'Will the circle be unbroken'. It was long past midnight, but they had to give some more encores. The sound (by Robi Brunner from the Sunny Mountain Grass) was excellent. Both the audience and the musicians were happy. Everybody is looking forward to the next (10th) Festival. Thanks to all promoters and volunteers!

Thanks again to Lilly Pavlak for the above report. Lilly is now a regular contributor to the California Bluegrass Association newspaper, the Bluegrass Breakdown.

Saturday, 1 November 2008

7th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, 1-2 May 2009

Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands

The programme for the 7th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival was announced this week. The festival, Germany's premier annual bluegrass event, will be held this year on two days (Friday 1 May-Saturday 2 May 2009) for the first time. The artists appearing include Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands (USA), Randy Waller & the Country Gentlemen (USA), Crooked Still (USA), Wayne Henderson & Helen White (USA), the Moonlighters (USA), Nugget (A), and the Looping Brothers (D).

Wayne Henderson & Helen White

Afternoon and evening concerts will be held in the Bürgerhaus, Neuer Markt, Bühl/Baden, Germany, and a Saturday open-air show at the Johannesplatz. Full details of the schedule and links to band websites are on the Festival's own website. The 2009 Festival flyer can be seen here.

The Looping Brothers

Kruger Brothers at Carolina in the Fall Festival

Fall colours: the Carolina in the Fall stage at night

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak of Switzerland and the Czech Republic for these photos (and many others) and a full report on the Carolina in the Fall Festival, held two weeks ago at Shepherds Farm, North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, USA, at which the main guests were the Kruger Brothers, together with many local and national musicians including stars of the calibre of Bobby Hicks, Terry Baucom, and Ron Block.

9-year-old Samantha Snyder plays fiddle with Bobby Hicks and Jens Kruger; her 12-year-old brother Zeb is on guitar

The 'Uwe Kruger dream band': Bobby Hicks, Ron Block, Joel Landsberg, Adam Steffey, Uwe Kruger

The full text of Lilly's report can be read here.