Thursday, 29 October 2009

Special Consensus tour journal complete

The Special Consensus (USA) ended their latest tour of Europe last weekend, with shows at the Gemeindehaus, Bochum-Harpen (D), on 24 October, and the Hall Theater Jicine, Prague (CZ), on 25 October. Both shows are mentioned in the last episode of the tour journal kept by mandolinist and singer Ashby Frank, for whom it was his first trip to the Czech Republic:

It’s a beautiful country, with really nice and hospitable people... you can sense an appreciation for traditional and acoustic music in the people there... and what an awesome bluegrass community of pickers and singers!

... Thanks to all of the bluegrass music fans in Europe for making this tour possible! Hope to see you again soon.

Read more on the original, award-winning Bluegrass Blog.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Celtic Connections 2010 announces:

There will be plenty of musicians from the world of bluegrass and old-time at next year’s Celtic Connections in Scotland.

Acts confirmed so far include the Dan Tyminski Band, Tim and Mollie O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Bruce Molsky, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, and banjo-rap group the Deadly Gentlemen.

The festival takes place between January 14th and 31st at various venues throughout Glasgow. A full schedule and tickets are available at the Celtic Connections website.

Update: The Dan Tyminski Band gig has been cancelled and is no longer listed on the Celtic Connections website.

Nothin' Fancy in Europe, July 2010

Cor and Margaret Sanne of CMS Productions report that Nothin' Fancy (USA), Pinecastle recording artists and two-time winners of the SPBGMA award for Entertaining Group of the Year, are available for bookings in Europe, exclusively through CMS Productions, for the period 20-25 July 2010.

Book now through
CMS Productions
Mozartlaan 43
2421 VC Nieuwkoop
The Netherlands
Tel. +31 172 573118

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Opportunity for European bands in the southern US

Rienk Janssen reports that Ed Fryday of the Bay Area Bluegrass Association in Texas (Bay as in 'Bay of Mexico') is looking for bluegrass bands to perform in the Association's monthly concert/festival series (every third weekend of the month, except December).

The BABA are interested in booking bands from outside the USA. There are possibilities for one or more additional gigs on the days before and after. Contact Ed Fryday by telephone (+1 281 636 9419) or e-mail.


Thanks to Archie MacLullich for news of the new CD Outlands by innovative Scottish piper Fred Morrison, which explores the links between bluegrass and Celtic music. The ten tracks are mostly original compositions; the artists taking part include Ron Block (banjo, guitar) and Tim O'Brien (mandolin); and the album is produced by Gary Paczosa (Dolly Parton, Dixie Chicks, Nickel Creek).

More details and audio samples are available on the Fred Morrison website and MySpace site. Archie also draws attention to an interesting interview with Fred by reporter Sue Wilson for the Hi-Arts [Highlands & Islands Arts] website, which includes his affinities with Irish uillean pipers such as Paddy Keenan and Finbarr Furey, as well as with bluegrass - for which he first acquired a taste in Amsterdam.

The footage of Fred Morrison on YouTube includes one video of him playing 'Kansas City hornpipe/Jarlath's tune' with Bruce Molsky on 5-string banjo.

Harmony singing workshops in 2010

Thanks to Rienk Janssen for the news that Sue Thompson (USA) - vocalist, guitarist, vocal arranger, and teacher - will be in Europe for six months, starting in March 2010, and is available to give guitar instruction and workshops in harmony singing.

Sue created the instructional course How to sing harmony the natural way, together with Keith Little and Don Share. She can be contacted by e-mail.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Attention, festival organisers...

Thanks to Richard F Thompson of the BBMA for drawing the attention of festival organisers to the deadline (12.00 a.m., 7 Nov. 2009) for entering details of their events in the January 2010 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine.

To qualify for an entry, your event must have at least five bands/acts and not less than five hours of music per day, and must feature bluegrass, old-time, or acoustic music.

Send, e-mail, or fax the following info to Bluegrass Unlimited magazine:

**Festival dates
**City, state, and country of event
**Name of event
**Location & brief directions
**Contact name
**Contact address
**Phone number
**E-mail address
**Website URL

Fax to +1-540-341-0011
Postal address PO Box 771, Warrenton, VA 20188, USA
For info: +1-800-258-4727

New address for CMS

Cor Sanne of CMS Productions reports:

Dear colleagues/friends,

We will soon close our P.O. Box 5 in 2420 AA Nieuwkoop (Holland). Use from now on only:

CMS Productions
Mozartlaan 43
2421 VC Nieuwkoop
The Netherlands
Tel. +31 172 573118

Friday, 23 October 2009

Diary of a band's tour in Europe

A Special Consensus-G2 reunion in Stockholm

Ashby Frank (on left in above photo), mandolinist and singer with the Special Consensus (USA), who are nearing the end of a ten-day, six-country tour in Europe, has been keeping a diary of the band's experiences during the tour.

You can read episode #3, in which the band travels from the Netherlands to Switzerland, on the original Bluegrass Blog, where there are links to earlier instalments - or you can read the whole journal on Ashby's own website.

Hungarian national day: a special celebration in Sofia, Bulgaria

Zsolt Pintér (HU), Svoboda Bozduganova (BG), Géza Kremnitzky (HU), Lilly Drumeva (BG), Yasen Vasilev (BG)

Lilly Drumeva reports:

Lilly of the West teamed up with Hungarian musicians to perform in Sofia, Bulgaria, to celebrate the Hungarian national day. The concert took place on Wednesday 21 October 2009, at the beautiful renaissance building of the Hungarian embassy in Sofia. Guests were welcomed by the Hungarian ambassador Mrs Judit Lang; the evening continued with a concert by Lilly of the West, featuring Lilly Drumeva (guitar, vocals), Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass), and Yasen Vasilev (guitar). They were joined by special guests from Hungary: Zsolt Pintér (vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin) and Géza Kremnitzky (vocals, mandolin), members of Acousticure, #1 European Bluegrass Band 2008.

The concert featured a mix of bluegrass, country, and blues, together with Bulgarian and Hungarian folk music. There were also some duets with Lilly & Zsolt; the highlight of the evening was a Hungarian pop song, 'The girl with the pearl hair' ('Gyöngyhajú lány'), which Lilly, Zsolt, and Géza sang in Bulgarian and Hungarian, joined by the audience. The concert was followed by a reception and an excellent buffet of Hungarian cuisine.

The night before, Tuesday 20 October, Lilly of the West, Zsolt, and Géza performed at the Tea House, one of Sofia’s popular music venues. Rehearsals became jam sessions in Lilly’s house, followed by Hungarian meals cooked by 'master chefs' Pintér and Kremnitzky.

All in all, a wonderful time spent together, celebrating music and Hungarian culture in Sofia. Another proof, how bluegrass music brings people together and how bluegrass musicians can be excellent ambassadors for their country.

Read Lilly's full report, with many more photos, here.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Trio Vibracao in concert at the NAG, 31 Oct. 2009

The Trio Vibracao with guest Don Stiernberg

The Trio Vibracao (Oliver Waitze, acoustic guitars; Jesper Rübner-Petersen, mandolin; Max Schaaf, bass) will be playing in concert at the New Acoustic Gallery - 'Home of fine acoustic concerts' - in Solingen, Germany, on 31 October 2009, beginning at 8.00 p.m.

Admission is €18 VV, €22 AK, €14 Erm. As seats are limited to 75, reservations should be made as early as possible by telephoning Oliver Waitze at the NAG (contact details below).

Vibracao’s mastery of guitar, mandolin, violin, and acoustic bass, and their ability to swing gracefully between jazz, Dawg music, bluegrass, and Brazilian Choro is rare in the world of instrumentalists. Videos of the Trio in action (as well as other artists who have played at the NAG) can be seen on YouTube.

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

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

More banjo revolutionaries

Recent additions to Tom Nechville's Picasa web album of 'Famous Revolutionaries with Nechvilles' include these photos: above, Lluís Gómez (E), Leon Hunt (GB), and Tim Carter (USA), taken backstage at the Longford Arms Hotel, main concert venue of the 2009 Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Longford, Ireland; and right, Tom Hanway (USA, but now resident for several years in Longford). For developments on Tom's new MySpace site, see the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

'Good Morning Europe' on World Wide Bluegrass network

Ernie and Debi Evans (left), who jointly host the 'Sunday Afternoon Breakdown' on WFCF 88.5 FM in St Augustine, Florida, will present a new radio show over the internet as part of the World Wide Bluegrass network in the coming weeks. Ernie, who is also president of the North Florida Bluegrass Association and runs the Evans Bluegrass Journal blog, says:

We are a charting station based out of Florida, not to mention the largest college radio station in the US, but want to reach more people. Our recent trip to IBMA this year opened our eyes as to how many talented European artists there are and we had no interaction with them... They make a strong effort and have an unbelievable passion and appreciation for bluegrass music... This is an opportunity for us to help share some of the great music coming out of Europe and give them a chance to hear more bluegrass from the US to start their day off right. After all, they are all part of our bluegrass family.

Programming is already in progress for this international morning show that will bring Europe and the US together for music enthusiasts in both continents. It will feature music, live interviews and news of what's happening and about to happen. Debi says:

This is going to be a great venture and we would like you to come and 'Experience Bluegrass With Us' on the World Wide Bluegrass network. We have access to many domestic entertainers and events, but are collecting information on events and material from European artists, promoters, and agents to help expose them to the US market. We will be airing in a few weeks so don't wait, please respond ASAP.

You can make contact by e-mail. 'The Evans Midnight Round Up/Good Morning Europe Show' will be broadcast on Tuesdays at:
12.00 a.m.-2.00 a.m. EDT
5.00 a.m.-7.00 a.m. GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)
6.00 a.m.-8.00 a.m. CET (Central European Time)
7.00 a.m.-9.00 a.m. EET (Eastern European Time)

Ernie and Debi Evans are also members of IBMA and IBMM, and co-promoters of the Florida State Bluegrass Festival.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Successful 1st Munich BlueGrass Festival

Night Run in action!

Last weekend I spent at an amazing event, which had invited me as their patron: The Munich BlueGrass Friends e.V., a registered association formed by 10 enthusiastic people, mostly bluegrass musicians, in June 2008. The first edition of their Munich BlueGrass Festival on 16/17 October was an extremely pleasant experience of great hospitality, an amazing pool of local bands aged 9 - ??, with only three bands out of eleven coming from outside Munich, one of which from Salzburg Austria, Grey Fox, could be heard on Friday night, lined in a programme with Cool Grass, a teen/twens band, Strictly Bluegrass and a double set by Rüdiger Helbig & Huckleberry Five, who also featured clogging by Silvia Plankl - which made a pretty dynamic contrast to the rest of the programme.
The association is focusing on making Bluegrass music better known in the Munich area and in addition they raise money to support young bluegrass musicians by paying part of their music lessons. This programme is carefully set up and highly successful, as could be heard on Saturday with the Girlie Band, consisting of girls aged 9-11 and supported by their dedicated teacher Rupert Paulik: check out the little sequence I took (well, it sounds much better of course than my video recorder allowed!).

Cool Grass showed the best of their talent, when they performed again on Saturday afternoon they challenged themselves even with an Alison Krauss song but delivered extremely well.
Rolling Hills and Munich Mountain Ramblers were created through so called "Band Workshops" offered by Rupert Paulik already some years ago, and did really well on stage: Their repertoire streched from traditional into pop music and back, delivered in a highly professional manner. All aspects from stage presence to musical skill were well trained and all went down easily.

The programme continued with Strictly Bluegrass and closed with a double set by Night Run from the Karlsruhe area. They did a phantastic show featuring new and traditional material, their gospels were awesome and their music pure enjoyment - a worthy closing act. As they were the only band with a single mic-setup the sound engineer was challenged at first. This problem however was solved in the break and the closing sequence was a brilliant and most enjoyable finish to the festival.
In the end, enough tickets were sold to pay for the event, some additional money was raised for the Bluegrass Youth Foundation, audience and musicians went home happy and the organisers are already thinking of the next edition to be held 26/27 June 2010! Congratulations to this successful team!

Angelika Torrie

Monday, 19 October 2009

Petr Brandejs Band Workshop, 16-18 October 2009

Petr Brandejs, along with the local organizer Jindra Hylmar and thirteen other top Czech instrumental and vocal teachers, spent a very pleasant weekend on 16-18 October 2009 with 116 students on all bluegrass instruments. The event took place in Male Svatonovice, 160 km north-east from Prague, and among the highlights there was the Saturday concert with all the instructors for the crowd of about 300 listeners, and Sunday 120+ bluegrass musicians' effort to play all together three common songs.

Another Petr Brandejs Band workshop in the Czech Republic is scheduled for the end of February in Novy Jicin, and the next one in 2010 in Male Svatonovice.

Above right: the Saturday evening concert

News media from the bluegrass scene in Britain

British Bluegrass News #50 (autumn 2009) has been posted out to members of the British Bluegrass Music Association (BBMA).

The 40-page issue includes a major obituary of Mike Seeger, features on the Steve Martin phenomenon, the Jaywalkers band, Monroe's Revenge (part 2), 'The state of bluegrass', and an interview with Tony Furtado. Sophia Johnson of the Toy Hearts reveals her ‘Favourites’, and 'The story behind the song' looks at Hazel Dickens‘s ‘Carry me across the mountain’. All this plus the usual 'What’s on', tour details and 2009 festival reports, CD reviews, 'Light in the window', 'SmallTalk', twelve area reports, and a bluegrass recipe.

This issue is the second to appear with Richard F. Thompson as editor-in-chief. British Bluegrass News is published by the BBMA, which was founded in 1990. The third BBMA e-newsletter has also recently been issued to members. To join the BBMA, contact the Membership Team, Clare and David Rozzell, by e-mail.

For further information about the BBMA and the e-newsletter, contact Richard F. Thompson, Press Relations, 14 Lime Grove, Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, WS13 6ER; 'phone +44 (0)1543 252683; e-mail.


The Scottish Bluegrass Association has brought out its fourth issue (October/November 2009) of Bluegrass and More, the e-magazine formerly issued by Dee Hallett. Bluegrass and More can be accessed on the SBA website or received by e-mail on application to the SBA.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Crooked Still now on tour in Europe

'Alternative bluegrass' band Crooked Still (USA) are now in the middle of a tour in Europe, which began on 2 October with the first of six dates in Denmark, and brought them into Sweden for two shows - on the second, they were supported by the Downtown Ramblers, the current #1 European Bluegrass Band.

The final leg of their tour began on Wednesday 14 October, and comprises five dates in Scotland and one in northern England, culminating on 21 October with their appearance at the Blazin' in Beauly festival (19-23 October) at Beauly, near Inverness in the Scottish Highlands, hosted by the Scots group Blazin' Fiddles. More details on the Crooked Still website.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Dirk Powell on tour in Europe with Joan Baez

On tour in Europe with Joan Baez, old-time and Cajun maestro Dirk Powell (USA) is now completing eleven dates in Britain. On Saturday 17 October the duo begin a series of shows on the Continent before returning to the UK:

17 Oct. Royal City Theatre, Bruges, Belgium
19 Oct. [see below]
20 Oct. Carre, Amsterdam, the Netherlands
21 Oct. Zenith, Amiens, France
23 Oct. Amphitheater, Rodez, France
24 Oct. Festival International de la Guitare, Place Peyrou, Montpellier, France
26 Oct. Zenith, Nantes, France
27 Oct. Le Vinci, Tours, France
31 Oct. Storan Theatre, Kungsparken 1 Gothenberg, Sweden
1 Nov. Sentrum Scene, Oslo, Norway
3 Nov. Cirkus, Stockholm, Sweden
4 Nov. Falconer Theatre, Copenhagen, Denmark
7 Nov. De Oosterpoort, Groningen, the Netherlands
8 Nov. Arenberg Theatre, Antwerp, Belgium
10 Nov. The Hexagon, Reading, England, UK
11 Nov. City Hall, Salisbury, England, UK

Source: Dirk Powell tour schedule

On Mon. 19 Oct. Dirk Powell and Friends (Christine Balfa, Jock Tyldesley, Todd Phillips, and Sam Murray) will be playing at the Paradiso, Amsterdam, the Netherlands: admission €10. There will be two sets: one old-time, one cajun.

Peter Rowan in Europe, November 2009

Singer, songwriter, and former Blue Grass Boy Peter Rowan will make a short tour in Britain during mid and late November 2009 before heading the bill at the Vilnius Bluegrass Festival in Lithuania. Confirmed dates are:

12-14 Nov. Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival, Utterabrake, Hamnavoe, Burra, Shetland ZE2 9LB
17 Nov. Roots Around the World, Chichester, West Sussex; venue TBC; +44 (0)1243 789786 / 774641
18 Nov. Green Note, 106 Parkway, London NW1 7AN; +44 (0)20 7485 9899
19 Nov. Bournemouth Folk Club, Centre Stage, Queens Road, Bournemouth BH2 6BE; +44 7811 369062
20-21 Nov. Vilnius Bluegrass Festival, Vilnius, Lithuania

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Samuel John Mougin *12.10.2009

Congratulations to Jana Dolakova Mougin (from Slovak based band Fragment) and Stephen Mougin on the birth of their new son on 12th October 2009.

According to Stephen 's report on facebook at 20.40 pm on that day, all are happy and healthy.

Uncle Ned Luberecki, who has just returned from home from teaching at the Munich Banjo Camp, is already teaching him the backwards and forward roll.

Good luck to the young family from this end of the pond. I'm sure many in Europe are looking forward to seeing Jana again on a next tour, together with little Sam...

Text: Angelika Torrie, photos: Stephen Mougin

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Roberto Dalla Vecchia: news October 2009

Thanks to Roberto Dalla Vecchia ('Flatpicking Guitar with Italian Gusto') of Vicenza, Italy, who sends his latest newsletter:

Roberto's YouTube channel has undergone recent changes, and he thanks Vlado for putting up some great videos from the Acoustic Guitar Workshop. You can also join Roberto on Facebook.

Roberto thanks everyone whose vote has helped his music win recognition this year. Among over 42,000 albums and over 560,000 songs submitted from 160 countries for the Instrumental Album category of the 2009 Just Plain Folks Music Awards, Roberto's CD Grateful won second place. His tune 'Sunflowers', from his new CD Unknown legends, won the Channel Prize for Instrumental Solo in June 2009, receiving the highest rank in OurStage's Instrumental Solo Channel.

Both CDs can be bought or downloaded on line; the options are shown on Roberto's website, which also has a new digital store, where sheet music and tabs are available for purchase and download in PDF format at $3.95 for each title, and can also be bought in packages at a discount.

Each purchaser will receive an e-mail with a link to the download. You can preview each tab and hear a sound clip before buying. Roberto will be adding more transcriptions each month; e-mail him if there is a song that you'd like to see made available as sheet music.

Roberto Dalla Vecchia
Website (sign the Message Board)

Monday, 12 October 2009

Headwater in Europe, 4-29 Nov. 2009

On 4 November Canadian roots-music band Headwater will begin a European tour, which at present consists of a dozen dates in England and Scotland, six in northern Italy, and one in Austria. More details are on their website and MySpace site.

Headwater consists of Jonas Shandel (lead vocals, guitar, banjo), Matt Bryant (lead vocals, guitar, mandolin), Pat Metzger (upright bass, vocals), and Tim Tweedale (steel guitars). Their latest album, Lay you down, has received many favourable reviews.

The Ralph Stanley Story

The long awaited autobiography by Ralph Stanley "Man of Constant Sorrow: My Life and Times" officially goes on sale October 15. Ralph wrote his life story with the help of music journalist/author Eddie Dean.
At age 82, Ralph Stanley has traveled millions of miles ..and probably met just as many people. He doesn't recall every moment in his life or in his 60+ years of performing in this book, but what Dr. Ralph does recall and share with us is the truth, and not always a comfortable truth.
His story takes the reader on a long, long personal journey. To me, it seemed like more than just one lifetime. In addition to the crazy life this pioneering musician has endured, you will also learn about the man himself. Ralph admits that he has kept a lifetime of personal history to himself; most of his inner thoughts and experiences from previous interviewers and authors. Ralph's friends have known that he has wanted to tell his story, the story of his brother Carter, his music life and family history for as many years as he can remember. Well, he has told it all now and it's one amazing history.
This is a must read for young and old musicians, fans of country music, friends of the Stanley family and basically anyone who enjoys a first-hand account of cultural history. From a dark hollow in the mountains of southwestern Virginia to Nashville, to Europe and back, this book is full of surprises, pranks and heartfelt emotional revelations straight from the source of someone who has lived bluegrass music history...Mr. Ralph Stanley.
A complete review appears in the next issue of Bluegrass Europe magazine.
Available before October 15 at Ralph's concerts, or on the Internet via a simple Google search.
by Dr. Ralph Stanley with Eddie Dean
Gotham Books October 15, 2009 $27.50 ISBN: 9781592404254

Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters for UK, Sept. 2010

Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters with Roger Williams at this year's Sunny Mountain Grass Festival in Switzerland (photo: Lilly Pavlak)

Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters with Roger Williams (USA) are seeking bookings for a tour in the UK in September 2010, following their successful tour in Europe this year. The news release continues:

The powerhouse duo of Amy Gallatin and renowned resophonic guitarist Roger Williams joined forces a few years ago to explore their mutual love of country standards, served up with an acoustic treatment in the bluegrass vein. The result is a toe-tapping blend of heartfelt vocals, soaring harmonies and red-hot picking, traditional yet modern and distinct.

Americana radio host Ed McKeon says: 'Amy's vocals, with the power and tone of her voice, are tempered by Roger's baritone which has been sanded smooth by cigarettes and, shall we say, maturity. The song selections are perfect, the harmonies glorious, the sentiments wonderfully maudlin (like any good old country song).'

The two are enhanced by the recent addition of Roger's son J.D., who - in the time-honored tradition of musical consanguinity - complements his father's style perfectly, and by veteran bassist Eric Levinson, formerly with Joe Val and the New England Bluegrass Boys and later with Boston City Limits.

Promoters and event organisers should contact Amy Gallatin through her website, by 'phone (+1 860 633-2574), or by e-mail.

Photos and video from new Scottish festival

The first Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival was held on 25-27 September 2009 at Moniaive in southern Scotland (see the EBB post for 28 September). The lineup was headed by Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa (USA), with four Scots bands, two groups from Northern Ireland, and L.Bow Grease from Germany. Photos and video footage of the event can now be seen on the website of the Dangem Bluegrass Banjo company of Northern Ireland.

The Scottish Bluegrass Association has announced the dates and lineup for its 24th Annual Guildtown Bluegrass Music Festival, to be held on 30 July-1 August 2010. Details are on the Events page of the SBA website.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Bluegrass progress in Portugal

Andre Lentilhas reports:

Finally bluegrass is starting to appear in Portugal. Next Friday, 16 October, there will be a banjo workshop held by Stephen Kierniesky in Lisbon. I never heard of this banjo player, but what is good is that finally there's a banjo workshop in Portugal.

Also my band [Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti] is getting some attention - not much, but enough, as we're scheduled to play at some FNAC shops on 24, 25 and 31 October. You can check it out on MySpace. The audio is not very good but the video recordings are alright, I reckon.

Finally, my newsletter about bluegrass, which I started when Tony Trischka came to Portugal, last February, is getting more and more subscriptions.

EBB note: Stephen Kierniesky's playing can be heard on YouTube.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Bluegrass festival in Bulgaria 2010?

Lilly Drumeva reports that the cultural section of the US embassy in Sofia is interested in organising a bluegrass festival in Bulgaria. Lilly adds:

I will have a meeting with the cultural attache very soon. If you know of any US bands touring in Europe in 2010, please provide me with details. I will forward the information to the embassy.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Special Consensus in Europe, 16-25 Oct. 2009

Beginning next week, the Special Consensus (USA) make another welcome trip to Europe, during which they will be playing in Denmark, Sweden, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, all within the space of ten days. Their full schedule is:

Fri. 16 Oct. Karens Minde Kulturhus, Wagnersvej, 192450 Copenhagen, Denmark DK 2450, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 17 Oct. Voldgade 1, 4800 Nykobing F., Denmark, 8.00 p.m.
Sun. 18 Oct. Mosebacke torg 3, Stockholm, Sweden, 7.00 p.m.
Mon. 19 Oct. Storan, Kungsparken 1, Gothenburg, Sweden, 8.00 p.m.
Tues. 20 Oct. 't Veurhof, Zuiderdiep 71, Valthermond, Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.; phone + 31 (0)599 661997 for more information
Wed. 21 Oct. Partycentrum 'De Vriendschap', Wadway/Wognum, the Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.
Thurs. 22 Oct. Bluegrass in Basel, Living Room Concert, Bruhlstrasse 47, 4415 Lausen, Switzerland, 7.00 p.m.
Fri. 23 Oct. KultUhrBeiz dolder2, Tom Albatros Luley, Zurcherstrasse 26, Feuerthalen, Switzerland CH-8245, 8.00 p.m.; phone +41-52-659 29 90
Sat. 24 Oct. Gemeindehaus, Apostelplatz 1, 44805 Bochum-Harpen, Germany, 8.00 p.m.
Sun. 25 Oct. Hall Theater Jicine, Prague, Czech Republic, 6.00 p.m. [not 8.00 p.m. as originally shown here]

More details are on the band's tour schedule. This will be the first opportunity for European audiences to see the Special C. with Ryan Roberts from Canada on guitar and vocals in place of Justin Carbone (on right in above photo).

Update 12 October: Justin Carbone and Troy Engle are now co-owners of Unplugged Demos, a service providing bluegrass and acoustic demos for songwriters. Single song demos begin at $199 for a five-piece band with lead and harmony vocals. Further details are on their website.

IBMM leads from the front

The International Bluegrass Music Museum (IBMM) at Owensboro, KY, has made a major contribution to raising the profile of European bluegrass in the USA. First, by booking three winners of the #1 European Bluegrass Band award at the annual European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) festival at Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, to appear at the IBMM's annual River Of Music Party (ROMP) festival in 2010; and secondly, by urging other event organisers to follow this example and lay the foundations for regular exposure in the US for bands from outside.

Acousticure (Hungary; #1 2008; above), the G2 Bluegrass Band (Sweden; #1 2007; right), and the Mideando String Quintet (Italy; #1 2006; below) will all be performing at ROMP on 26 June 2010. IBMM executive director Gabrielle Gray has issued a 'Call to action' to event organisers, IBMA members, and other bluegrass supporters throughout the USA to

... route these great musicians from festival to festival during the summer of 2010, making it more affordable for everyone and giving the EWOB winners the exposure their winning has merited them... These three EWOB bands, and all their 1st place predecessors, won because their music is extraordinary and immensely appealing.

And the proposal is not just for a one-off special effort in 2010:

Here's the challenge: let's get our act together and give international bands a series of events in which to perform, every year, from all around the world... It's both good for business and for the planet.

The 'Call to action' has already evoked positive response, especially from the western USA. Peter Thompson of Redwood Bluegrass Associates in Northern California, whose concert schedule runs from October to May, reports:

... we're wide open to European bands who want to try a club/concert tour during these months, perhaps in conjunction with appearances at one of the winter festivals in the western US... The annual Live at EWOB releases, which always get my nomination for Recorded Event Of the Year, are packed with terrific bluegrass.

Linda Bolton of the Albuquerque Folk Festival, held annually in late June, reports:

If you can get other June festivals interested, and the routing works, we'd love to have a great European bluegrass band at AFF.

The IBMM is also selecting a band from Japan to appear at ROMP 2010.

The ROMP stage, Yellow Creek Park, at twilight

Workshop and concert at the New Acoustic Gallery

Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, reports on the forthcoming Mandolin Weekend Workshop (30 October-1 November 2009) given by Jesper Rübner-Petersen.

The course, which is open to all levels, begins on Friday 30 October (18:00-22:00) and continues through Saturday (10:00-17:00) and Sunday (10:30-15:00). Themes covered during the workshop will include bluegrass, old-time, Irish, blues, and swing tunes; the sound of David Grisman (tunes, solos, and tricks); and improvisation, including gipsy jazz. The cost of entry is €150 (concessions €120).

This includes a Saturday evening concert (20:00) by the Trio Vibracao - Oliver Waitze (acoustic guitars), Jesper Rübner-Petersen (mandolin), and Max Schaaf (bass). The concert is also open to up to 75 people: admission €18 VV; €22 AK; Erm. €14. The Trio can be seen and heard on YouTube playing David Grisman's 'Tipsy gypsy medley'.

The Workshop Weekend will be limited to fifteen participants. For reservations and further info on workshop and concert, contact:

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

Monday, 5 October 2009

Vilnius Bluegrass 2009

Algirdas Klova reports on, the website for bluegrass in Lithuania, that the public organisation Muzikonas and the Country Saloon club, together with Vilnius City Hall and European bluegrass association EWOBA, are organising the fifth Vilnius bluegrass music festival.

Two concerts will take place in Vilnius on 21 and 22 November 2009 at 19:00. for the public and open workshops for Lithuanian musicians. Jam sessions will be held after both concerts at the BoBo bar. The artists taking part include Peter Rowan (USA), the New Essex Bluegrass Band (UK), the Lonstar Trio (Poland), and Country Saloon (Russia).

Algirdas Klova is art director of the festival, and the project initiator and manager is Jūratė Klovienė (Jūnė).

Europe in the Oct. 2009 Bluegrass Unlimited

G2, the young Swedish bluegrass band, fascinates American audiences. Seeing a group of good-looking Swedes who love bluegrass so much that they want to play it for a living is stunning.

That's the beginning of 'G2 - Europe's hottest young bluegrass band', an article in the October 2009 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine by Casey Henry. The article - written before the band's appearances at this year's World of Bluegrass - covers in four pages the individual and collective background of the members of G2, including how they came to the music and where they hope to be going.

The 'Letters' page of the same issue includes one from Joe Hickerson of Wheaton, MD, USA, on his recent visit to the bluegrass jam night at the U Supa Country Saloon in Prague (CZ), run by Peter O. 'Sam' Ruby. In addition to being impressed by the quality of Czech picking and Czech instruments, Joe says: 'I was especially impressed with Sam's expert leadership of the event... I highly recommend that visitors to the Czech Republic contact Sam... Tell him Joe sent you!'

Saturday, 3 October 2009

EWOB Festival 2010: Time to apply!

The Steering Committee of the European World of Bluegrass Festival, the only European festival ever to win the IBMA's prestigious Bluegrass Event of the Year Award, announces:

Festival Dates: MAY 13-14-15, 2010
Application Dates: SEPTEMBER 20-NOVEMBER 20, 2009


Join us at the EWOB Festival 2010 in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands. It's time to apply for your band's EWOB 2010 showcase! Applications are online RIGHT NOW here. Don't miss your chance to be part of this unique event.

The European World of Bluegrass Festival is one of the world's coolest festivals!
* Featuring 42 bands in 3 fun-filled days
* Including a few special guest artists from the USA and Canada
* European Bluegrass Band Awards competition
* Winners are chosen BY THE MUSICIANS!
* #1 European Bluegrass Band goes to Nashville to play at IBMA World of Bluegrass one year later
* Be part of EWOB's famous workshop program
* Bands get to play for many festival and concert promoters
* Music press from the USA and Europe
* Bluegrass radio DJs/
Link to view more details!!!

#1 European Bluegrass Band 2009:
Downtown Ramblers (Sweden)

EWOB will send the Downtown Ramblers to Nashville to IBMA's World of Bluegrass in 2010.

Rienk Janssen, one of the EWOB Festival's founders, retired from EWOB in July. The EWOB Steering Committee thanks him for his years of service to the EWOB Festival.

The Steering Committee has been restructured to include 7 people, rather than 5, and the many tasks involved in planning and organizing the annual festival have been redelegated. The new info is on the Contact page of the EWOB Festival website, so you can find the right person to contact on various issues.

For more details and news, read the full text of the EWOB Steering Committee's release here.

Le Cri du Coyote report on La Roche Bluegrass Festival 2009

Many thanks to Jacques Brémond, editor of Le Cri du Coyote, the French magazine on American Music, for kindly passing on the detailed article by Dominique Fosse (who also wrote the booklet "18 ans de Bluegrass"), including many pictures and detailed description of Dominiques personal impression of each band, published in the latest issue of the magazine.
If you are interested, you can subscribe to Le Cri du Coyote by contacting Jacques directly:

Le Cri du Coyote
BP 48
26170 Buis-les-Baronnies

Friday, 2 October 2009

IBMA award winners 2009

Thanks to Lilly Drumeva of Bulgaria, a former member of the EBMA board, for news of the winners at this year's International Bluegrass Music Association Awards Show, which took place last night at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, TN. Lilly notes:

I was very happy to see that Jesse Brock [left] won Mandolin Player of the Year. Jesse plays on my album Time after time, available on CD Baby. He lived in Bulgaria for some time.

Read the full list of this year's winners here.