Thursday, 30 April 2009

International bands at Kilkenny festival

Jack Grace (left) and his Band from New York city, with Tom Hanway (USA), now resident in Ireland, on 5-string banjo, are among the many bands taking part in the Guinness Rhythm & Roots Festival in Kilkenny city, Ireland, from tomorrow till Monday 4 May. Other dates played by the Jack Grace Band in Ireland are shown on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

The Pilgrim Sisters (right) from Sweden, who play the songs of the Stanley Brothers, Louvin Brothers, Delmore Brothers, Patsy Cline, the Carter Family, Bill Monroe, Johnny Cash and original material, are the closest to a bluegrass band among the other groups on the Kilkenny lineup.

Also taking part are several of the new crop of Irish 'fusion' bands, combining elements of, old-time, Cajun, folk, and bluegrass - examples include the Prairie Dawgs, Cotton Pickin' Rodeo Clowns, and Tupelo.

Wednesday, 29 April 2009

To appear in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine...

Sophia Johnson on stage, 13 April 2009 (photo: Nicholas Blake)

Sophia Johnson, guitarist and singer with the Toy Hearts of Birmingham, England, UK, and producer of the band's monthly newsletter, is scheduled to feature in the USA's Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. The European Bluegrass Blog sends warm congratulations to Sophia and the band, and looks forward to publishing further details.

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

GrevenGrass: on the home stretch

The GrevenGrass Festival organising team reports (with German text here):

The GrevenGrass Festival is on the home stretch.

We hope for active participation on Whitsuntide 2009 in the Greven meadows. A first glimpse at the premises can be gained here. So, come on Friday, leave on Monday!

Because there is the camp. It is located behind the Ems levee near the indoor swimming pool. Visitors have the opportunity to stay over with camper, trailer, tent, etc. Sanitary facilities (toilets, hot showers) are available at the local indoor swimming pool next door without further cost for camp-attendees; a water tapping point will be set up at the camp. The camp will have further toilet cabins. At the camp we hope for multiple jam sessions, interesting contacts among the attendees, musical networking, and a sunny weekend.

If a roofed sleep-over is the way to go, here’s the link to the Greven accommodation directory. What about food and drinks? In the Ems meadows there is the Strandbar, that will provide catering for the festival on its own accord. At the camp a baker will set up a stand for the morning coffee and some cake in between. Barbecue is in planning.

Record sales folks have announced their coming.

Where’s the music? Outside the camp music will be presented on two stages:

The Ems-stage has access free of cost. On Saturday and Sunday between 3:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. Bluegrass Cwrkot (CZ; #1 audience popularity award EWOB Festival Voorthuizen 2008), Dessert (CZ; #2 EWOB Festival Vöhringen 2004), Lazy Tater (NL), Strictly Bluegrass (München), L-Bow Grease (Bochum) will show their musical power.

Ambitious musicians have the opportunity to present their abilities on the open stage. A time slot of one hour each day is provided for. We are looking for brisk interest.

The - nongratuitous – concert in the high school hall (seats 360, c.200 m from camp) will take place on Sunday. Between 7:00 p.m. and 0:00 p.m. White Mountain Bluegrass (USA), J.B.’s Band (USA, CAN, CH, NL), Looping Brothers (Lengerich), and the Grassroot Philosopher (Magdeburg) will entertain the audience. A break provides the chance for refreshment.

And what’s the cost? We are of the opinion that prices ranging from €12,50 (single ticket camp or concert for children from 7) up to €45,00 (Camp and Konzert Combo) is a more than fair price. Those who get their tickets in advanced booking (via email) will enjoy the advance booking discount. See the details here.

GrevenGrass Bluegrass Festival 2009
Pfingsten 30-31.05.2009
48268 Greven

Monday, 27 April 2009

Vacancy for old-time camps in Spain

On the subject of the old-time music camps in Andalusia, Spain, described here, the UK old-time music association FOAOTMAD announces:

Due to unforeseen circumstances there is now one place available on each of these workshops:

May 2-9 Old-Time Music Week with Dave and Tim Bing.
May 10-17 Old-Time Music Week with Dave and Tim Bing.

Focus on banjo, fiddle, and guitar technique, repertoire, and ensemble playing. Other instruments welcome. If you are interested in filling one of the gaps please contact Kate Lissauer before Thursday 30 April. Phone +44 (0)1373 474110 or e-mail.

Important EWOB Festival news!

The organising committee of the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival 2009 at Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, is proud to present two very special new workshops by American experts, especially geared to the needs of European bluegrass musicians.

At 14:00 (2.00 p.m.) on Saturday 23 May, Julie Black will give the Appalachian clog dancing workshop. Julie is a long-time Appalachian clogging performer and instructor who has taught teams and workshops for nineteen years and has won more than 100 trophies as a solo dancer. No musical talent or instrumental ability is required to enjoy this workshop.

At 16:00 (4.00 p.m.) the 'Make your vocals sound more bluegrass' workshop will be given by Mac & Hazel McGee of White Mountain Bluegrass (for the old-style country / traditional bluegrass sound) and Fayssoux McLean, who worked closely with the Seldom Scene and Emmylou Harris (for a more contemporary bluegrass sound):

You sing a verse or a chorus of a very well-known bluegrass standard - and then Mac, Hazel, and Fayssoux will sing the same thing in their own styles. Because it's a song you know so well yourself, you will really notice the subtle nuances of their vocal 'attack' and phrasing. Bring a recorder if you can, so that you can take these lessons home with you and study them closely.

Other EWOB Festival features include the instrument raffle (Blueridge BR-70AS guitar, donated by Boetzkes Snaarinstrumenten) and the instrument auction (Vega Bluegrass Wonder banjo, donated by Deering, and Čapek President bluegrass banjo, donated by Čapek Instruments).

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Joe Val's Lloyd Loar for sale

The Gibson F-5 Lloyd Loar mandolin #72207 (26 Feb. 1923), with which Joe Val performed and recorded exclusively from c.1970 till his death in 1985, is for sale. Restoration and repair work has been done by New England luthier/repairman Kenneth Miller (1972), and by David Harvey (2006) at the Gibson Showcase in Nashville, TN. It comes with the original rectangular case (which has the original Gibson sales tag and key), pre-restoration original parts, and documentation. Photos can be seen here.

Since 1986 #72207 has been in the care of, and exclusively played by, Kevin Lynch. For price and further details of this historic instrument, serious buyers should contact Kevin, who will deliver it by hand if at all possible.

Contact Kevin Lynch [in the Netherlands]
tel: (0)172 411676

Friday, 24 April 2009

Berklee in Dublin

Matt Glaser (photo by John Fitzgerald)

Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass., USA, was founded in 1945 for education in jazz and other contemporary genres of music - including, increasingly, bluegrass in recent years. The college, which includes students from more than seventy countries, opened a recruiting campaign in Ireland in mid April 2009.

The first phase (13-17 April) consisted of a series of improvisation workshops in the music department of the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), to allow students to study with Berklee's world-renowned faculty. Next (18-19 April), auditions and interviews were conducted by Berklee admissions officers and professors, to assess students for scholarships for summer and full-time study in Boston. A free, public improvisation symposium was held on Wednesday 15 April, open to people involved in all forms of music.

Berklee faculty members who took part included Matt Glaser, Berklee's chair of strings and author of Teach yourself bluegrass fiddle (Oak Publications) and many other books and recordings, and John McGann (right), both of whom were original members of the Wayfaring Strangers band, Rounder recording artists.

Thanks to Kevin Lynch of Connecticut, now resident in the Netherlands, for drawing the attention of the European Bluegrass Blog to this event.

Monday, 20 April 2009

New Acoustic Gallery news

The New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, has published the flyers (left: the front of the flyer) for its 1st International Mandolin Festival (29-30 August 2009): the artists taking part are Mike Marshall (USA), the Don Stiernberg Trio (USA), Caterina Lichtenberg (D), the Trio Vibracao (D/DK), and Mando Nuevo (NL/D).

The Gallery's recently acquired instruments include a 1921 Gibson H 2 mandola with original case; a Stealth 5-String banjo in mahogany from Scott Vestal (right); a Nechville Meteor Custom electric banjo; and two 1982 Liberty 5-string banjos - a 'Quadrille' and a 'Buckdancer' - built by Bob Flesher. Further details are on the NAG website.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Hot corn, cold corn

Matthias and 4WD at Banjoree 2007

Matthias Malcher of the Looping Brothers (D) reports:

Hallo und viele Grüße an alle Bluegrass-Freunde, die Sorefingers-Woche in England war wieder ein Schauplatz der Superlative. Anl. 2 interessante Links!

Greetings from ole Germany! It has been said - but not by everybody yet: Wasn't that a great time at Sorefingers 2009? I just wanted to say Hello and thank everybody for this BG-Mega-Happening (close to Woodstock, ain't it? - or was it Churchill...?).

Some of you might wanna take a look at the site of the new Grevengrass Festival we're launching in north-western Germany.

I also just heard I was posted at YouTube, jamming with my friends of 4 Wheel Drive at the Banjoree 07. Here's a link in case you're interested.

See also several other videos on the YouTube channel set up by Jan Michielsen of 4 Wheel Drive.

New 2-CD banjo compilation by Gérard de Smaele

Thanks to Gérard de Smaele (Belgium) for news of his latest project, issued by Frémaux & Associés: the compilation Banjo 1901-1956: an American five-string history (FA5179).

The set consists of forty tracks on two CDs, beginning with 'classical' banjo recordings by eight of the leading players of the early twentieth century, including Farland, Van Eps, Ossman, and Oakley (an Englishman). The next twenty-four tracks are from old-time Southern musicians - Dock Boggs, Charlie Poole, Dave Macon, and many others. Then there are four tracks by pioneers of the bluegrass style (Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley, Rudy Lyle) and three by Pete Seeger. The last track is Wade Ward's fine 1939 version of 'Old Joe Clark'.

Banjo 1901-1956: an American five-string history will be in the shops from Monday 20 April and is also available from La Librairie Sonore and Audio Archives.

Al Ras Festival, Spain: 2005 and 2009

Thanks to Lluís Gómez for sending a link to a six-minute video on the 2005 edition of the Al Ras Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival, with commentary in Catalan. The artists shown include US mandolin wizard Tom Corbett.

The 8th Al Ras Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Festival will be held on 7 November 2009 at Mollet del Valles, Mercat Vell. The lineup includes Joan Pau Cumellas & Miguel Talavera, Manuel Mendez & Friends, Hibernia, Montnegres, Homenatge a Xesco Boix (with Oriol Bargallo, Lluís Mª Pallenya and more), Barcelona Bluegrass Band, Pilimiki & the Old Ruin Boys, more TBA.

Friday, 17 April 2009

Col. Tom Taylor on the Bluegrass Mix

Colonel Tom Taylor, a full member of the EBMA and a friend of European bluegrass on a major US bluegrass radio station, reports:

My work in bluegrass music is as a host on the Bluegrass Mix, an internet radio station streaming 24/7 with bluegrass, country and gospel. A schedule of all DJs is on the page titled 'Schedule' and individual info on DJs on the 'Hosts' page. I play music from any country that has bluegrass bands, and I also play some country music from other countries.

I am always looking for music from other countries; that is why I wanted to join EBMA. My programs are from 9.00 a.m. to 12 noon (EST USA); on Monday and Thursday it's Bluegrass, Tuesday and Fridays it's 'Country legends' (1989 and before), with primary music taken from the Billboard magazine surveys during that period. On Sundays I play Gospel from 2.00 to 5.00 pm. (EST USA). Listeners can keyboard with other persons in a 'Chat room' on the website and request songs... which I can usually pull up and play during my programs.

We have listeners from every continent except Antarctica. Recently I checked IPs for listeners and found over a dozen countries in Europe listening. I hope to see some Europeans at IBMA in Nashville, TN, in October or SPBGMA in February 2010. I do include songs from EWOB CDs which I purchased at IBMA. And I have met a number of bands and their members at IBMA, including one of my favorites, the Mideando String Quintet out of Italy. EWOB music is played on the Monday and Thursday show for bluegrass. Everyone is welcome at the MIX and we strive to provide the music you want to hear.

Pavel Bobek & Malinaband in Brno, 27 Mar. 2009

Lilly Pavlak writes from Bülach, Switzerland:

This was my first concert during my last visit to the Czech Republic. I arrived the same day, in the afternoon.

Pavel Bobek is an old Czech country star, who is celebrating his fifty years on stage this year. Not bluegrass, but a great singer. Back in the 1970s my friends sent me his first LP: Ved mne dal, cesto ma… ('Country roads'). On the album there were songs of Kris Kristofferson, John Denver, and many others with Czech lyrics. I listened to that recording maybe a hundred times in a row. I just loved it.

Pavel Bobek in the dressing room

In 2005 Lubos Malina (right) of Druha Trava produced his last album, Pavel Bobek-Muz: ktery nikdy nebyl in ('The man who was never in'). Of course, he also took part in the project. Pavel asked Lubos to put up a band for him. So the Malinaband was born. The members are also musicians of Druha Trava: Emil Formanek (guitar), David Lanstof (drums), Petr Sury (bass), Lubos Novotny (dobro, lap steel), and Lubos Malina (banjo, guitar, mandolin, whistles, saxophone, and so on). Lubos can really play everything. At this concert he played on five instruments.

Robert Krestan and Ivo Viktorin backstage

On keyboard was Ivo Viktorin from the band AG Flek. Pavel Bobek started with some of his old hits; in the middle of the concert Robert Krestan came as a guest and sang some of his beautiful songs, and then together with Pavel one from his last Czech album, Dylanovky ('The songs of Bob Dylan'), 'Not dark yet'. The end of the evening belonged to Pavel Bobek again.

For me, it was the first Pavel Bobek concert in my life. I have seen him a couple of times just as a guest of Druha Trava. So I was very happy. It was not allowed to take pictures on the stage, so I just took some backstage. Here they are!

Carter Brothers Band in Ireland, Britain, and Spain, June-July 2009

The Carter Brothers, Danny and Tim, from Virginia, USA, will bring their band to Europe in the summer of 2009 for a tour beginning on 18 June in Dublin, Ireland. They are scheduled to play fifteen dates in Ireland, then cross the water to headline the 21st North Wales International Bluegrass Music and Dance Festival, and end the tour on 9 July in Barcelona, Spain.

Full details are on their website. In late September they will return to Ireland for the 8th Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Longford, Ireland, where they have become established favourites. Also appearing at the Longford festival this year are Blue Highway.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Kruger Brothers in Prague, 7 Apr. 2009


Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for a report and photos of the final show in the recent European tour by the Kruger Brothers, which was presented by banjo-maker Jarda Prucha in the Novodvorska cultural centre in Prague on 7 April. The show was opened by Monogram.

Lilly points out that the Krugers have had friends and fans in the Czech Republic for a long time. Jens Kruger (left) was the first member of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys from outside North America. When the brothers began touring in the USA, they found that the audiences there loved the Krugers' own music. They moved to the US seven years ago and are now based in North Carolina.

Jens Kruger helped to design the top range of Deering banjos, made by Greg and Janet Deering (right), and played a Deering for most of the concert. However, at the end he switched to a Prucha banjo to play the final encore, 'Orange Blossom Special'. Read Lilly's full report here.

Jarda Prucha supplies one of his banjos for the final encore

G2 to showcase at World of Bluegrass 2009

G2 at IBMA's Fan Fest, Sat. 4 October 2008 (photo: Thierry Schoysman)

On 13 April the European Bluegrass Blog reported the recording of a new album by the G2 Bluegrass Band of Sweden (#1 European Bluegrass Band 2007).

Yesterday the International Bluegrass Music Association announced that G2 are among the thirteen acts chosen to present official showcases at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2009 from among 121 applications. Further details are on the Bluegrass Blog.

The European Bluegrass Blog gives its warmest congratulations to G2, and looks forward to their keeping this solid roll going!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

More banjo action at Eagle Music

On 13 April the European Bluegrass Blog mentioned the concert given in March by the Kruger Brothers at Steve Noon's Eagle Music shop in Yorkshire, England - which is the world's #1 seller of Deering banjos.

Another distinguished and innovative US banjo company will be represented there this summer when Tom Nechville of Nechville Musical Products arrives on 2 July. It is hoped to arrange a workshop and demonstration of Nechville instruments for all banjo players who may be present.

Audie Blaylock & Redline in Europe, July 2009

Audie Blaylock & Redline, who have just been chosen as official showcase artists for IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2009 in Nashville, will make a brief tour in Europe in early July. The first show is on 8 July at Cor Sanne's Turfschip venue, in Nieuwkoop, the Netherlands, starting at 20.00 hrs. Tickets can be obtained via CMS Productions, P.O. Box 5, 2420 AA Nieuwkoop (NL); telephone +31-172-573118 or e-mail.

The band then travels to Norway for the following dates:

Thurs. 9 July Folkmuseum Concert, Sandane, Norway
Fri. 10 July Performance for Festival sponsors, Breim, Norway
Sat. 11 July Norsk Country Treff, Saloon Area, Breim, Norway
Sat. 11 July Local church, Breim, Norway

Audie Blaylock's CV includes long periods as guitar or mandolin player with Jimmy Martin, Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, and Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, as well as a Grammy® nomination for Best Bluegrass Album and an IBMA nomination for Recorded Event of the Year for A tribute to Jimmy Martin: the King of Bluegrass.

Dr Ralph Stanley in England, 27-30 May: update

Photo: Lilly Pavlak

Thanks to Dennis Schut for the news that Dr Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys will be playing in concert at the Barbican Centre, London, on 27 May 2009. See the Barbican calendar for a booking link; the event is part of the Barbican's spring sale programme.

Dr Stanley and the band are also scheduled to appear at 8.00 p.m. at the Pavilion, North Parade Road, Bath, on Friday 29 May, as part of the Bath International Music Festival. Other bluegrass-related performances and showings of the Coens' O brother, where art thou?, John Cohen's That high lonesome sound, and The Appalachians will take place in late May; see Richard F. Thompson's post on the Bluegrass Blog (17 March 2009).

And thanks to Dee Hallett for the news that there will also be a show at Manchester Academy 2 (in Manchester University Student's Union building) on Saturday 30 May. Tickets (£22) are available from Ticketline (+44 (0)161 832 8111 or online) and from the Academy box office (+44 (0)161 275 2930). Ample, secure, and cheap parking is adjacent to the main academy venue. Details of the gig and venue information can be found here. No other shows by Dr Stanley and the band are scheduled in Europe on this trip.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Goldheart tour in UK, Apr.-May 2009

Jocelyn, Analise, and Shelby Gold

The Scottish Bluegrass Association announces the dates for an imminent tour by the exciting young Virginia-based band Goldheart. The core of the band sound is the three Gold sisters - Analise Victoria (mandolin), Jocelyn Amanda (guitar), and Shelby Hope Gold (fiddle) - with their father Trent Gold on bass and Owen Piatt from North Carolina on banjo. Jocelyn writes most of their original material, and their album Never let go, released last October, has received high praise. The full tour schedule is:

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

More details are on the websites of Goldheart and the Scottish Bluegrass Association.

Monday, 13 April 2009

G2's new album in progress

The original Bluegrass Blog reports that the G2 Bluegrass Band (Sweden) are halfway through the making of their next album, which is being recorded at Cosmos Studios, Stockholm. All songs on the album are original compositions by band members, including 'Conwy', written by guitarist and lead singer Christoffer Olsson about the location of the annual North Wales Bluegrass Festival.

More details can be found on the band's website and on the Bluegrass Blog, where there is a video made by G2 about working on their album. Coming shows by G2 in 2009 include the Jamboree at Strakonice (CZ) on 29-30 May.

Honour for UK banjo dealer

The recent tour by the Kruger Brothers included on 28 March a day of workshops and an evening concert at Eagle Music in Yorkshire, England, which presented the event as its annual Deering Day, featuring Deering banjos. The event was sold out. reminds us that:

At last year’s event, Eagle’s owner, Steve Noon, was presented with an award celebrating the company’s achievement as the world’s number one seller of Deering banjos. We think this clearly demonstrates the oft-underestimated popularity of the banjo - and bluegrass music in general - in this country.

The Kruger Brothers will also be taking part in this year's Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (USA), held on the Walsh Farm, Oak Hill, NY, on 16-19 July. The Grey Fox Festival's handouts for attenders to the IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2008 said 'Welcome' in sixteen languages, eleven of which were European (not counting English).

EWOB website updates

Liz Meyer reports on updates to the EWOB Festival website:

Check out the new piece on the home page (bottom center): Bluegrass in the Family, today's update. Hope you like it. Please take the time to sign our Guestbook while you're at it! Thanks!

Bluegrass in the family: Bluegrass Stuff (Italy), with Icaro Gatti (son of mandolinist Massimo Gatti) on bass

Other recent updates include Festival Info: Program, Workshops, Trade Show, Lodging; EWOB Month 2009, and, of course, News, which you can also access from the headlines on the home page (Announcements). More soon.

Warm regards,

PS: Thanks to the wonderful Thirsty Lizards for website work and lightning-quick assistance. What a great team to work with!

Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition tour in Ireland, Sept. 2009

Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition: Bob Tice, Sue Tice, Dan Kimball, Roger Green, Jim Duvall

The Annapolis Bluegrass Coalition (USA) will be returning to Ireland this September for a ten-day tour. Roger Green, leader of the ABC, has arranged several tours for the band in Ireland, doing all the booking himself, and getting them into many venues where bluegrass has not previously been heard. Dates confirmed at present are:

17 Sept. Crane Bar, Galway, Co. Galway
18-20 Sept. Clifden Community Arts Week, Clifden, Co. Galway
24 Sept. Sirius Arts Centre, Cobh, Co. Cork
25 Sept. Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow
26 Sept. Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise, Co. Laois

Roger Green, who was a major contributor to the EBMA's 'Thinking of touring in Europe?' brochure of advice for US bands, also runs a weekly radio show, 'Bluegrassorama' at 4.00-5.30 p.m. on Tuesdays (repeated on Saturdays at 10.00-11.30 p.m. by popular demand) on WRYR-LP 97.5 FM, a community radio station in Sherwood, Maryland. The show is available on the internet at the WRYR website.

To subscribe to the ABC newsletter, contact the band by e-mail.

Friday, 10 April 2009

European bluegrass in the mainstream US media

Druha Trava

Bluegrass in Europe is the subject matter of 'Bluegrass thrives, far from home', a major article published yesterday (9 April) in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. The author is Ruth Ellen Gruber, whose Sauerkraut Cowboys blog also makes available today the full text.

The article leads off with the concert in Prague in early March by Lilly Drumeva of Bulgaria, and goes on to outline main features of the European bluegrass scene: notably the vigorous Czech scene, epitomised by the performance by Druha Trava in Prague for President Obama on 5 April; the recent European Bluegrass Summit meeting in Bühl, Germany; and the programme of events in the forthcoming European World of Bluegrass (EWOB), with its flagship event, the EWOB Festival in the Netherlands. Other major European bluegrass festivals during the year are also noted.

The article's publication is also welcomed in the Bluegrass Blog, from which the above photo of Druha Trava is reproduced.

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Old-time music camps in Spain: latest

Thanks to the UK Friends Of American Old Time Music And Dance (FOAOTMAD) for the latest report from Kate Lissauer on old-time music camps with US tutors in Andalusia, Spain. All three of the workshop weeks for 2009, described on the European Bluegrass Blog on 6 March, are now fully booked:

May 2-9 Old-Time Music Week with Dave and Tim Bing
May 10-17 Old-Time Music Week with Dave and Tim Bing
Oct. 3-10 Old-Time Music Week with Beverly Smith and Carl Jones

As long as there is sufficient interest, Kate Lissauer will hold these workshops, or similar ones, in 2010.

She is also discussing scheduling a workshop week on musical improvisation with Stergios Loustas (of the Greek band Swingtime) and a week with Leon Hunt (UK) on banjo musicianship. Expressions of interest in these residential weeks, or requests for others, would be welcome in helping her to plan. Contact her by e-mail.

Bluegrass Europe, PDFs of pages 4/8, issue 67

For mysterious reasons some pages of the latest issue of Bluegrass Europe were not printed as they were seen on the editors computer.
The correct PDFs of the pages affected are now downloadable from EBMA's Website at --> --> Bluegrass Europe. You may print these pages and stick them into your copy of Bluegrass Europe for completness.
We apologize for this mistake, will investigate in why this happened and do our best it won't happen again.
Thank you for your understanding.
For the editorial team
Angelika Torrie

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Big reductions on Bourgeois guitars at New Acoustic Gallery

The New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, is offering the following top-class American Bourgeois guitars at reduced prices till the end of April:

1. King Country Boy Deluxe (photo left) with extra quilted mahogany, €3990 (was €5990)
2. OM Cutaway Soloist, €3590 (was €4790)
3. OM Custom, €2790 (was €4290)

Full details and more pictures are on the NAG website. For more info, contact

Oliver Waitze
New Acoustic Gallery
Neuenhofer Str. 122
42657 Solingen, Germany
Tel.: +49 (0)212/2474007

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Bluegrass Music all over Europe in May 2009!

All Concerts & Festivals during the EWOB month 2009 are now online!
EBMA.ORG guides you to all that is happening during the EWOB month, as far as it is known by the coordinating body. So far, 145 concerts, festivals and other events are listed. The list will grow and will be updated if you send in information on your bluegrass events in the month of May. Rienk Janssen and EBMA.ORG webmistress Angelika Torrie will keep adding more events, and also it is thinkable that there will be some changes. More details can be found at the websites of the artists and promoters quoted in the list.
Remember, all these events are organised independently, and not by the EBMA (except, of course, the Voorthuizen EWOB festival). To make sure, an event is acutally happening, please refer directly to the organisers.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

The Country Gentlemen - 1972

Thanks to living legend of the mandolin Jimmy Gaudreau (USA) for this link to a slide show of photographs taken by Fred Robbins at the Second Annual Country Gentlemen festival, held at Indian Ranch, Webster, Massachusetts, in 1972. The Gents at that time were Charlie Waller, Bill Emerson, Doyle Lawson, and Bill Yates. Jimmy Gaudreau (a former Gentleman himself) was there as a member of II Generation.

Also to be seen are Ralph Stanley & the Clinch Mountain Boys (with Keith Whitley), Mac Wiseman, James Monroe & the Midnight Ramblers, Peter Rowan, J.D. Crowe & the New South (Tony Rice on guitar), New Grass Revival, the McLain Family, Joe Val, Don Stover, the Bluegrass 45 (we think) from Japan, and a large dog.

Fred Robbins's website holds a great deal of other material of bluegrass archival interest.

Old-time and Cajun music at Baltimore Fiddle Fair

Betse Ellis

The Baltimore Fiddle Fair in Baltimore, Co. Cork, Ireland, will include a strong presence of American old-time and Cajun musicians on its second day this year. On Friday 8 May the Foghorn Duo (Sammy Lind and Caleb Klauder) from Oregon will be joined by Betse Ellis from the Wilders (Missouri), and Dirk Powell will play Cajun music with Joel Savoy (Louisiana). Declan McCarthy, the Fair organiser, says: 'Make sure to bring your dancing shoes.'

Lind, Klauder, and Ellis (with Nadine Landry of the Canadian bluegrass band Hungry Hill on bass) will also be playing on Thursday 7 May at the 10th Cathedral Quarter Festival in Belfast, while Powell and Savoy will be playing the same night in Dublin with the Dublin band Prison Love.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Druha Trava to play for Obama: update

Druha Trava backed by Old Glory (photo by Don Shorock)

Thanks to Ruth Ellen Gruber's Sauerkraut Cowboys blog for the news that the multitalented, omnicompetent Druha Trava (CZ) will be playing for the visit of US president Barack Obama to Prague on Sunday 5 April. A Czech report on the occasion reads:

DT vystoupí v neděli 5. dubna před projevem amerického prezidenta Baracka Obamy na Hradčanském náměstí v Praze, předběžný čas vystoupení v 8:50.

Update 8 April: Druha Trava's performance can now be seen on YouTube here.

Fingerstyle guitar workshop weekend in Ireland, 18-19 Apr.

Duck Baker

The 2nd Annual Fingerstyle Guitar Workshop Weekend will be held on 18 and 19 April 2009 in Raughley, north Co. Sligo, Ireland, from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. both days. This is a two-day intensive workshop, geared towards improving the existing skills of fingerstyle guitarists. The tutor for this event will be Mr Duck Baker (USA), a legend in the world of fingerstyle guitar. The cost of the workshop weekend is €90 per person.

The workshop weekend is this year grant-aided by Sligo County Council, under the 2008 Arts Grant Scheme. For more information contact Ron on +353 (071) 9163669 or by e-mail.

In conjunction with this workshop Duck Baker will be playing a concert in the Factory Performance Space, Lower Quay Street, Sligo, on Sunday 19 April, starting at 8.00 p.m. Tickets cost €15, or €12 for concessions. Duck Baker plays fingerstyle guitar: blues, jazz, ragtime, swing and Celtic music. Booking and information +353 (071) 9170431.

Duck Baker has released twenty solo albums since 1976, has appeared on many others, and has had ten books of guitar music published. Full details can be seen on his website and his music can be sampled on his MySpace site. Sing Out! magazine described him in 2005 as 'quite simply... the premier American fingerstyle guitarist'.

Friday, 3 April 2009

A bluegrass band meets a philharmonic orchestra

Gilles Apap with BRT members Lombardi, Redon, and Lecoq, and the Pasdeloup Orchestra at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris

Jean-Marie Redon of Blue Railroad Train (F) reports:

French violinist Gilles Apap enjoys a distinguished reputation in the world of classical music. But he is also passionate about bluegrass music. Lately he has taken to ending some of his European concerts by inviting to the stage members of the band Blue Railroad Train: Thierry Lecocq on mandolin, Jean-Marie Redon on banjo, and Sharon Lombardi on bass. Gilles and his guests perform bluegrass classics arranged for bluegrass band and orchestra.

Just recently, Apap appeared with the members of Blue Railroad Train at the Neueskonzert of the Freiburg Philharmonic Orchestra in Germany. The group then reconvened at Paris’s famous Théâtre du Châtelet to perform with the Pasdeloup Orchestra, the oldest symphony orchestra in France. This was a return engagement, following the warm reception garnered by Gilles Apap and his bluegrass friends at their original symphonic performance in October of 2006.

A series of concerts to be held in Amiens, France, with the Regional Orchestra of Picardie has already been slated for December of this year.

Jean-Marie's report can be read in French and English here. For the October 2006 performance, see the European Bluegrass Blog of 26 December 2006.

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Greg Cahill on touring in Europe

Greg Cahill, leader of the Special Consensus and current president of IBMA and chairman of the IBMA board, has contributed to the spring 2009 issue of British Bluegrass News a major article on touring in Europe, based chiefly on his experience in bringing the Special Consensus to Britain and Ireland many times since the 1990s.

By kind permission of British Bluegrass News, the article has been reproduced on the original Bluegrass Blog. Though its main value is as advice to other US bands on touring in Europe, it will interest European readers as showing the views of a sympathetic and welcome visitor.

Bühl Festival: Press conference, 6 Apr. 2009

Wolfgang Mark of the Bühl city press office announces a press conference, to be held at 11:30 on Monday 6 April in Rathaus I, Alter Trausaal, Hauptstraße 47, 77815 Bühl/Baden, Germany.

This is the first year that the Bühl International Bluegrass Festival has extended to two days. Hans Striebel, mayor of Bühl, will greet those attending the conference, and Walter Fuchs and Rüdiger Schmitt will provide first-hand information about the bands taking part.

Free parking has been arranged in designated areas for a specified time. Please contact:

Wolfgang Mark
Stadt Bühl, Pressearbeit
Telefon +49 (0 72 23) 9 35-2 82, Fax -2 89
Hausanschrift: Rathaus I, Hauptstraße 47, 77815 Bühl
Postanschrift: Postfach 1665, 77806 Bühl

Mideando String Quintet news and schedule

Stefano Santangelo of the Mideando String Quintet (Italy) reports on the band's shows and plans for 2009:

Our next gigs are:

17 Apr. Conamara Irish Pub, Torre Padova, Italy
1 May 1 of May Festival, Rovigo, Italy
17 May Concert in Padova, Italy
24 May Piazza Cuoco, Guizza Padova, Italy
3 July Stardust, Albignasego, Italy
26 Sept. Concert to L.Battisti, S. Giorgio delle Pertiche, Italy

At the moment the band is working at the new CD; in fact they are writing some new songs with Italian and English lyrics, plus some re-arrangement of international covers and American bluegrass ones. In the meantime their CD Tutte le direzioni continues to receive many good reviews from magazines all over the world. The last one - from the Italian Kataweb, the most important musical web site - writes: 'One of the best, original and innovative acoustic band in Italy'.

The Mideando String Quintet, which already has a website and MySpace site, is now also on Facebook.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Bononia Grass win again on OurStage

Bononia Grass (Luca Naldi, banjo; Giovanni Stefanini, mandolin; Luca Bartolini, guitar; Paolo Ercoli, resonator guitar; Pedro Judkowski, bass) have again won the #1 spot in the live performance category on OurStage.

In March 2009 their performance of 'Six feet under the ground' during the Street Art Festival in their home town of Bologna, Italy, came first among 482 competing videos in many styles of music. More details and their winning video can be seen on the original Bluegrass Blog.

Major appearances by Bononia Grass during 2009 include the 21st International Bluegrass Music & Dance Festival at Conwy, North Wales, UK (July), and the European Bluegrass Festival at La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France (August).