Sunday, 30 August 2009

New website for Omagh festival


The Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, now has a new website as part of the National Museums Northern Ireland organisation.

The new site gives full programme, ticketing, location, and other information, together with photos and details of all the seventeen acts taking part in this year's festival (4-6 Sept. 2009). Extra features include Appalachian dance, represented by Eileen Carson of the Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble (profiled in Bluegrass Unlimited earlier this year); and the Bluegrass Camp for Kids, run by Charles Pettee and John Currie from Asheville, North Carolina.

Thanks to the Dangem company for this news. Dangem also announce their next Bluegrass Get-Together at the Island Civic Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim, on the morning of Saturday 19 September. Full details are on the Dangem website, together with the dates (26-8 February 2010) for the second annual Dangem Banjo Camp.

Friday, 28 August 2009

Sore Fingers Weekend teacher - and his banjo


Bill Whelan of the Rough Deal String Band (IRL) will be teaching the old-time banjo course at the Sore Fingers October Weekend (see the EBB post of 26 August). Bill is Ireland's premier clawhammer-banjo player.

In the above photo he is playing a custom-made banjo by Johannes Bonefaas, born in the Netherlands and now living in Sweden after many years in Denmark. Johannes' banjos, based on the design of Dobson banjos from the 1880s, have been described by Richie Stearns (US) as 'Best modern made banjos in da world'. Full details of them can be seen here.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Win a Goodtime banjo at the Omagh festival!

Once again the Dangem company will be supplying a Deering Goodtime 2 in a free draw at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival (4-6 Sept. 2009) at Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland - a chance to win an American-built banjo by one of the leading banjo companies. Derek Lockhart, owner of Dangem, says:

This is our opportunity to support the largest bluegrass festival outside North America. Richard Hurst and his team at the Omagh Folk Park put a lot of work into this Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival every year and we like to support their efforts.

The all-maple Deering Goodtime is the only American-made beginner’s banjo. The Goodtime 2 is a resonator banjo with 3-ply rim, new peghead style and walnut inlays, and six-year warranty, and comes in a custom box. Full specifications and photos of the Goodtime range can be seen here.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Sore Fingers October Weekend, 23-25 Oct. 2009: update

Plans are being finalised for the Sore Fingers 2009 October Weekend, which takes place at Kingham Hill School, near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire, England, from Friday 23 October to Sunday 25 October.

The weekend course offers the same classes as the main Easter event (depending on demand), allowing people to try out the experience over a shorter period. Currently, places are available on all courses, shown below with their tutors:

Old-time banjo Bill Whelan
Old-time fiddle Jock Tildesley
Autoharp June Maugery
Banjo Howard Burton
Guitar Jason Titley
Mandolin Percy Copley
Fiddle Greg Smith
Singing Gary and Sherryl Payne
Dobro Bill Dalton with Pete Wraith
Bass Richard Partridge [through an oversight, this was omitted from the post when first published]

More information about the courses can be found here.

Sore Fingers Summer Schools is Europe's leading organisation for bluegrass and old-time music camps, offering world-class tuition for all the instruments played in bluegrass as well as old-time fiddle and banjo, autoharp, and singing. Next year’s Summer Schools take place Monday 5 April-Friday 9 April 2010. The full text of this press release can be read here.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Chatham County Line in Europe

Dagfinn Pedersen from Norway (board member of EBMA and coordinator of EBMA National Rep programme) reports:
Just in case there hasn't been anything on the blog about Chatham County Line from North Carolina being in Europe again. CCL - Dave Wilson (guitar, vocal, harmonica), John Teer (mandolin, fiddle, vocal), Chandler Holt (banjo, vocal), and Greg Readling (3/4 bass, pedal steel, piano, vocal) - have made a big impression at "Herr Nilsen" in Oslo on Saturday, 22 August, and they went on to Holland from there. Shows of the current tour are on their website.

CCL has been in Norway 11 times, including 4 extensive 4-week tours with the Norwegian artist Jonas Fjeld. Together with him they won the Norwegian equivalent to a Grammy and they are just winding up their Brother Of Song tour with him. Brother Of Song is a highly successful CD and tour project they did together this year. They are working on a new CCL CD at the moment and plan to come back to Norway next summer to follow up the CD release there.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

Bluegrass publishing in Europe: the way ahead


Left to right: Eberhard Finke, editor of Bluegrass Buehne; Angelika Torrie, treasurer and webmaster of the EBMA; Rienk Janssen, editor of Strictly Country; Paolo Dettwiler, editor of Bluegrass Europe

Thanks to Paolo Dettwiler for the above photo from a meeting of the three editors of Strictly Country, Bluegrass Buehne, and Bluegrass Europe on 4 August 2009 in Lausen, near Basel, Switzerland. Paolo reports:

The meeting was productive and took place in very good spirits as there will be a future for a bluegrass magazine in Europe. Angelika Torrie will be in charge of leading a task force to outline the possibilities for this magazine, possibly in connection with the European Bluegrass Summit 2010. More details will be announced in the next issue of the magazines.

Foreign Affairs at World of Bluegrass 2009

Acousticure (Hungary), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2008

International bluegrass has its own dedicated showcase during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass 2009 - 'Foreign Affairs', held in Room #109 at the Nashville Convention Center, Nashville, TN, during the After Hours Showcases programme on Tuesday 29 September and Wednesday 30 September.

European bands playing on the Foreign Affairs schedule or elsewhere during World of Bluegrass 2009 include 29 Strings, Slovakia; Acousticure (#1 European Bluegrass Band 2008), Hungary; the Toy Hearts, United Kingdom; Red Wine, Italy; G2 Bluegrass Band (#1 European Bluegrass Band 2007), Sweden; Blue Railroad Train, France; and Mala, Switzerland.

Other appearances in the USA by these bands are listed on their websites and MySpace pages. Also appearing on the Foreign Affairs showcase will be Janet McGarry & band, Canada; the Davidson Brothers, Australia; and Eric Uglum & Sons, USA. For further details of Foreign Affairs, contact Rienk Janssen, EBMA board member and IBMA board member (International), by e-mail.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Crowds expected at 15th Guinness International Bluegrass Festival, 27-30 Aug. 2009

Over 20,000 visitors are expected in the fishing village and seaside resort of Dunmore East, Co. Waterford, Ireland, during the 15th Guinness International Bluegrass Festival (27-30 August 2009). No admission charges are made in any of the six venues throughout the town.

American performers include the Jack Grace Band from New York, the Jeff and Vida Band from New Orleans, and Sarah Grey, a melodic and soulful old-time music singer and banjo-player. Irish bands taking part include the Knotty Pine String Band, Cotton Pickin’ Rodeo Clowns, Molly Hicks, Little Ass Birds, Swingin’ Bluecats, Fairweather, Bowmack, Hollorin’ Pine, Mean Eyed Cats, and Mad Uncle Harry. Many of the bands will be performing in a bluegrass showcase at Blackfriars in nearby Waterford city on Saturday 29 August and Sunday 30 August.

The full text of a press release by B2B Communications on behalf of the Festival is here. A schedule for all appearances by bands throughout the Festival appears here as an Excel file.

New postal address for Bluegrass Europe


Paolo Dettwiler, editor of the EBMA magazine Bluegrass Europe, reports that as of 1 September 2009 his new postal address will be

Paolo Dettwiler
Lehenmattstrasse 177
CH-4052 Basel
Switzerland

This address has also been added to the EBMA website. Paolo, as editor, can also be contacted by e-mail.

Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir in England and Ireland, Sept.-Oct. 2009

Following the release in 2008 of their third album, Ten thousand, the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir (Canada) have just announced a return trip to the UK and Ireland for their first European dates this year, which will include their third appearance at the Open House Festival in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The AMGC - Peter Balkwill (drums), Bob Keelaghan (guitars, vocals), Judd Palmer (banjo, low slide guitar, harmonica, vocals), Vladimir Sobolewski (upright bass) - list Ralph Stanley among their influences. The magazine Artrocker commented on Ten thousand: 'If Robert Johnson was a hillbilly and listened to Tom Waits he may have sounded like this.'

Their forthcoming tour begins at the Acoustic Festival in Exeter, England, on Saturday 19 September, followed by four shows in Ireland (Cork, Dublin, Galway, and Belfast) before they return to England for eight more appearances. A full tour schedule is on their MySpace site.

For further information, interview requests, guest lists etc. please contact Geraint Jones @ G Promo PR: phone +44 (0) 1584 873211; mobile +44 (0) 7855 724798; e-mail.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Milan Leppelt: obituary and commemoration

Thanks to Peter O. Ruby, who sends a translation of the BlueGrass CZ website obituary of Milan 'Stranger' Leppelt, who died on Tuesday. The author writes:

He has done heaps for Czech bluegrass... as a musician, banjo player and singer, songwriter, publicist, and translator, an expert and tireless promoter of bluegrass, and last but not least, as an incredibly kind and helpful man...

... Please join us in offering Milan a silent memory. You can bid your last farewell to Milan on Tuesday 25th August 2009 at 14:40 in the town church in Police nad Metují.


Read the full text of the obituary here. Police nad Metují is about 150 km east-north-east of Prague, near the Polish border.

BBMA Tuition Tent at Didmarton festival

This year at the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival, which takes place from 4 to 6 September at Kemble Airfield, near Cirencester, the British Bluegrass Music Association (BBMA) is introducing a brand new learning scheme.

The idea behind this innovative concept is that anyone of any age or ability will have access to one-on-one lessons on their chosen bluegrass instrument. Spare instruments will be available, with the aim of enabling festival-goers to try out a new instrument.

The instruments offered include banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and Dobro ®. Lessons on these five instruments will be covered by three experienced British teachers. The half-hour lessons, costing only £10 (£8 for BBMA members), will take place in a purpose-built marquee.

Lessons will commence at 12:00 noon on each day (Friday and Saturday, 4 and 5 September) with the last session from 15:00 to 15:30. Sign-up sheets will be available at the on-site merchandising stall.

Alternatively, slots can be booked in advance by e-mail. Put 'BBMA Tuition' in the subject line and provide your name, address, and telephone number, together with your choice of lesson. The lessons available are:

Banjo - John Breese
Mandolin and guitar - Charlotte Carrivick
Fiddle and Dobro ® - Laura Carrivick

REGISTRATION AND PAYMENT FOR ANY LESSON(S) MUST BE COMPLETED ON ARRIVAL AT THE FESTIVAL SITE BY GOING TO THE MERCHANDISING STALL.

The BBMA was founded in November 1990. Its aim is to promote and support bluegrass music in Great Britain. For further information about the BBMA and this Press Release contact Richard F Thompson, BBMA Press Relations, 14 Lime Grove, Lichfield, Staffordshire, England, WS13 6ER. ‘Phone +44 (0)1543 252683; e-mail.

Those interested in joining the BBMA can do so by contacting the Membership Team, Clare and David Rozzell, 26 Martin Road, Portsmouth, Hampshire, PO3 6JZ; e-mail. Alternatively, you may join on-line at the BBMA website.

For more information about the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival, visit their website.

The full BBMA press release can be read here.

Mandolin festival workshops at the New Acoustic Gallery


Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery announces that the NAG's First Mandolin Festival (29-30 August 2009) will include mandolin workshops given by the leading artists taking part:

29 Aug. 11:00-15:00: Don Stiernberg (USA) (jazz and swing mandolin)

30 Aug. 12:00-16:00 Mike Marshall (USA) & Caterina Lichtenberg (D) (classical and New Acoustic)

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Bill Evans & Megan Lynch in Ireland and Britain, Sept. 2009


Bill Evans & Megan Lynch (USA) will appear at the Galway Americana Music Festival, Galway city, Ireland, at the beginning of an eleven-day tour in Ireland, England, and Wales.

Sept. 11 Bill Evans and Megan Lynch at the Galway Americana Music Festival, Galway city, Ireland (details TBA)
Sept. 12 Fiddle workshop at Galway Technical Institute (afternoon); concert at Crane Bar, Galway city, Ireland, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 13 Open: Ireland (TBA)
Sept. 14 Open: travel to England
Sept. 15 Ram Jam Club, 8.00 p.m., 46 Richmond Road, Kingston-upon Thames, Surrey KT2 5EE, England; +44 20 8541 4328.
Sept. 16 Magpie's Nest concert series, The Old Queen's Head, London, England; 7.30 p.m.
Sept. 17 The Green Note, 106 Parkway, Camden Town, London NW1 7AN, England; 020 7485 9899, e-mail.
Sept. 18 Ryan's Bar, 181 Church Street, Stoke Newington, London N16 0UL, England; 08721 077 077 (ref 4424)
Sept. 19 Jamming workshop (afternoon) and concert (evening) at Helsby Ex-Servicemen's Club, Cheshire, England (sponsored by Bluegrass Seeds)
Sept. 20 Blue Sky Cafe, Bangor, north Wales
Sept. 21 Open: Dublin? (TBA)

Milan Leppelt RIP

Milan Leppelt, a major figure in Czech bluegrass, died yesterday of a heart attack as a result of the sting of a wasp. Those who knew him, throughout Europe and the wider world, will realise the great loss to his family. He would have been fifty years old in November 2009.

His death is also a great loss to Bluegrass Cwrkot (he was their banjo-player since 1991, and wrote most of the band's original material); to the Bluegrass Association of the Czech Republic (for whom he was membership secretary and chief contact with the EBMA); to the Czech bluegrass scene in general; and to its links with bluegrass in the rest of Europe.


The above photo by Angelika Torrie shows Milan (far right) with the Country Gentlemen - Adam Poindexter, Dave Kirk, Randy Waller, Steve Block - at Czech Paradise, at the time of their performance at Jičín (CZ) in May 2009. Milan was a driving force in making the show possible, and bridged the language gap between guests and hosts there.


Bluegrass Cwrkot at Voorthuizen in May 2009, their eighth appearance at the EWOB Festival (photo: Lilly Pavlak)

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

France Bluegrass Vol. 2


The France Bluegrass Musique Association has released volume 2 of France Bluegrass. The double CD features the work of thirty bands, for whom photos, information, and contact details are given in the accompanying full-colour booklet. The full list of bands and songs appears on the back of the album (shown below).

France Bluegrass Vol. 2 can be obtained from Christopher Howard-Williams, FBMA president, for €20 (including shipping within Europe). Send money order or cheque payable to France Bluegrass Musique Association (or to cash), 145 rue de la Croix, F - 74800 La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France. Contact Christopher Howard-Williams by e-mail.

Reports on La Roche Bluegrass Festival 2009

The fourth La Roche Bluegrass Festival is being studied by Ruth Ellen Gruber on her Sauerkraut Cowboys blog. Two instalments have so far appeared (10 August and 15 August), and the series is to be continued.

A personal report on the festival has also appeared on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

On Sunday 2 August M. Thabuis, mayor of La Roche-sur-Foron (right, in suit), welcomed festival guests to a reception at the town hall, at which the New Essex Bluegrass Band (UK) played; they had just come from singing gospel songs in the church of St-Jean-Baptiste (photo: Carol Hawkins)

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Didmarton: just under three weeks to go!


Following yesterday's post on the generous sponsorship for the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival (4-6 Sept. 2009) in England, the organisers report:

It's that time of the year again and things are all falling into place as Moira, John and the rest of the dedicated team put the final touches to the festival organisation.

Apart from the fantastic line up of music we have programmed, we have other good news: there will be showers at Didmarton this year! Our friends at OGRI have successfully negotiated with the land owners and come to an arrangement to allow us to drain into the airfield’s system without causing an environmental disaster! So, we can all keep clean this time around!


As a result of the Audio-Technica company donating an AT4033 microphone, the New Essex Bluegrass Band will be doing a 'single-mic' workshop explaining how to get the best out of this practice.

That and with bands like Mountain Heart, Chris Newman and Maire Ni Chathasaigh, Rabbi John, Carl Jones and Beverly Smith, A Band Like Alice, the Scoville Units, the Carrivick Sisters, etc., it’s going to be a fun weekend!

There are so many in attendance on the Friday that we have extended the programme to begin on main stage at 1.00 p.m. on Friday so you will be getting even more for your money this year.

If you’ve been before, you know why Didmarton is Britain’s premier bluegrass festival and quickly turning into one of the South West’s favourite acoustic music festivals. If you haven’t been, you need to come and find out more! There’s more info on the website and there are plenty of tickets available!


Read the full text of the release here.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Santa Cruz, AT sponsor Didmarton festival


The Didmarton Bluegrass Festival at Kemble Airfield, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England (4-6 Sept. 2009), has received two very generous offers of sponsorship.

The UK agents for the Santa Cruz Guitar Company, who will have their product range on display at Didmarton, are offering a Model D Dreadnought guitar as first prize in a draw promoted by the festival. Audio manufacturers Audio-Technica are also donating one of their famous AT4033 condenser microphones, a favourite among bluegrass and old-time bands that use the single-mic technique. This will also be a prize in the Didmarton Festival draw.

Tickets will be available shortly, priced at just £2.00 each. Additional prizes will include a free place (tuition fees only) for Sore Fingers Week 2010. Several runner-up prizes include free tickets for Didmarton 2010, CDs, musical goodies, etc. Winners will be announced following the draw in December 2009.

Full details of the draw and the line-up (headed by Mountain Heart) at Didmarton are on the festival website. The full text of a press release on the sponsorships is here.

Sons of Navarone at the Highland Games, 16 Aug.

Bluegrass in Belgium announces that the Sons of Navarone will play at the Highland Games in Londerzeel, Belgium (between Antwerp and Brussels), on Sunday 16 August from 14:00 to 15:00. More details are on the Sons' website.

Bluegrass in Belgium also draws attention to Belgium's only bluegrass festival - the 5th Picnic Festival at Namur on 4-6 September. The bluegrass section (4-5 September) is headed by the G2 Bluegrass Band from Sweden (#1 European Bluegrass Band 2007).

11th Coors Light Open House Festival, Belfast, 23-27 Sept. 2009

The 11th Coors Light Open House Festival will be held in Belfast, Northern Ireland, on 23-27 September, with concerts and sessions at several venues in the Donegall Street and Queen's Square areas of the city centre.

With Steve Earle and Beth Orton among the headliners, this year's festival presents mainly Americana and Celtic music. Old-time and related music can be heard from the Agnostic Mountain Gospel Choir (USA), William Elliott Whitmore (USA), the Ragged and Rough String Band (NI), and others.

Full listings for the main shows can be seen here. More details are in a 72-page booklet issued earlier this summer, and on the Festival website.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Music Industry Icon Les Paul Dies at 94

Guitar Legend & Master Inventor Les Paul passed away early Thursday, August 13, 2009. Most people know that Les Paul invented and perfected the electric guitar (he made his first electric guitar model at age 13, in 1929). Today, millions of Gibson guitars bear his name. But he also invented the multi-track recording & overdubbing technologies, developed reverb & echo systems and much more. Les Paul's technological innovations have been used in all corners of the globe, by recording studios at every level and by musicians in every musical genre -- including bluegrass -- literally every day for more than half a century.

Les Paul's long list of inventions, innovations, guitar playing techniques and more is mind-boggling. He may very well have made more of an impact on the entire music industry than any other single person in its history. Les Paul is the only person to ever share membership in the Grammy Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the National Inventors Hall of Fame and the National Broadcasters Hall of Fame.

Les Paul loved all styles of music, "when it was played well." Banjo player Tony Trischka has appeared at his club, The Iridium, in NYC. They had a great jam together on one of Les Paul's weekly Monday night sessions in 2007.

If you have ever recorded your own music or just enjoy listening to music, it is largely because Les Paul made it possible to do so...and that makes Les Paul worthy of an appearance in this blog space on the day the music world lost a truly international music industry icon.

Click here for more about Les Paul, plus interview.

First Mandolin Festival at the NAG, 29-30 Aug. 2009

The New Acoustic Gallery's First Mandolin Festival, covering a range of music from Bach to Charlie Parker, will be held on 29 and 30 August 2009:

Saturday 29 August 2009
19:00 Mando Nuevo (NL/D)
19:45 Mike Marshall (USA) & Caterina Lichtenberg (D)
21:30 Don Stiernberg Trio (USA)

Sunday 30 August 2009
19:00 Trio Vibracao (DK/D)
20:00 Mike Marshall (USA) & Caterina Lichtenberg (D)
21:45 Don Stiernberg Trio (USA)

Oliver Waitze of the NAG advises booking as soon as possible to avoid disappointment. VV: €40 for each three-concert evening (€30 to schoolchildren, students, and old-age pensioners). To book tickets, or for further info, telephone +49 (0)212/2474007.

New Acoustic Gallery
Neuenhofer Str. 122
42657 Solingen (Höhscheid)
Germany

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

The Foggy Hogtown Boys in Ireland and UK, September 2009


Normal people get converted into bluegrass fans by getting tight with the Foggy Hogtown Boys. The classic repertoire thrives in their able hands and strong hearts. You can count on these guys to play it solid, and to drive it hard. Accept no substitutes, this is the real thing.
(Tim O’Brien)

This hugely popular bluegrass band takes to the road this September for their first ever tour in Europe. With four critically acclaimed albums and an increasingly demanding tour schedule, the Toronto-based Foggy Hogtown Boys have established themselves as one of the most exciting bluegrass bands in Canada.

Although the group draws a great deal of inspiration and material from the 'golden age' of bluegrass and country music, solid original songs written by members in the band blend well among the old chestnuts. The band always delivers a highly entertaining and diverse show: ballads, breakdowns, gospel quartets, and lots of laughs!

SEPTEMBER TOUR DATES ANNOUNCED:

Sept. 4-7 Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Sept. 9 Tom Malone’s Marketplace Pub, Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare
Sept. 10 St John’s Theatre, Listowel, Co. Kerry
Sept. 11 Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre, The Naul, Co. Dublin
Sept. 13 Colfer’s Pub, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford
Sept. 15 Kilworth Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork
Sept. 17 The Source Arts Centre, Thurles, Co. Tipperary
Sept. 18-20 Cornish Bluegrass Festival, Newquay, England

Other dates yet to be confirmed. Media contact: e-mail

Mike Seeger at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2008


Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for the above photo of Mike Seeger (who died on 7 August 2009) with Nancy Nitchie.

Lilly took the photo at the Special Awards Luncheon during IBMA's World of Bluegrass in October 2008, where Nancy Nitchie received a Distinguished Achievement Award on behalf of Banjo News Letter, founded by her late husband, Hub Nitchie.

Toy Hearts' August 2009 newsletter

Thanks to Sophia Johnson of the Toy Hearts (UK) for the band's latest newsletter - the second to appear in the new, improved magazine-like format, and already bigger than the July issue.

Three pages of text, photos, and graphics include the Toy Hearts' appearance at the Maverick magazine festival (see more in the forthcoming issue of Maverick) in July; a genuine Texas-style railroad diner in Derbyshire, England, where the band will be playing in October 2009; past and future shows in their home city, Birmingham; their recent appearances at the Craponne and La Roche festivals in France and the Ely Folk Festival in England; and Sophia's recent feature in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine. A Gig Guide on page 4 gives the band's schedule for August, September, and October 2009.

Read the Toy Hearts' August newsletter here.

Swiss Independence celebrated in Brazil


Every year the São Paulo Bluegrass Music Association in São Paulo, Brazil, holds a jam session at the Olivo Bar to celebrate US Independence Day (4 July). This year the SPBMA also celebrated the independence of Switzerland since 1291 with a jam at the Olivo on Saturday 1 August, the Swiss national day. The Association's president, Erio Meili, originally comes from Switzerland.

Many more photos and audio samples from the session can be found on the SPBMA website. Newgrass was strongly represented by material from Bela Fleck's album Drive (1988). Also on offer at the session was Erio's homemade Kentucky Pecan Pie, for which the recipe can be found here.

Charlie Moore’s Stetson Donated To Bluegrass Museum

Pieter Groenveld of Strictly Country Records (SCR) sends news that he has shipped Charlie Moore’s trademark black J. B. Stetson hat to the International Bluegrass Music Museum (IBMM) in Owensboro, Kentucky.

For those not familiar with Charlie Moore, he wrote the Charlie Waller & The Country Gentlemen hit “Legend Of The Rebel Soldier” as well as many other well known country and bluegrass songs in his short career.

Moore toured Europe in 1976 and 1979. The Dutch band “The Bluegrass Clodhoppers” backed Charlie during his first tour in ’76. The Dutch/Belgian band “Smoketown Strut,” with members Jan Michielsen of “Four Wheel Drive” (guitar), Pieter Groenveld of SCR (mandolin), Peter Van Eijk (banjo) and Jef van Gool (bass) toured with Charlie in 1979.

It was on that 1979 tour that Pieter Groenveld acquired Charlie’s legendary Stetson hat.

Pieter writes, “Charlie Moore was in Holland in 1979 shortly before he passed away and stayed at my place. When he left, at the airport he gave me his J.B. Stetson hat. I told that years ago to Gabrielle Gray [IBMM Executive Director] and they asked if I would send the hat to the museum. Today [July 29] I mailed them the Stetson, and this is their one and only item of Charlie’s.
In a phone conversation I had with Pieter this week, I asked if he recalled the exact date that Charlie had given him the hat. He did not know, but continued to describe the scenario.
Before they parted ways at the airport Charlie (whose hat size was slightly larger than Pieter’s) had ripped a page out of the day’s newspaper, folded it, put it into the hat, and placed his big ol’ black Stetson on Pieter’s head. A very personal parting gift from Charlie Moore.
Pieter confirmed that the hat was indeed shipped to the IBMM in Kentucky…but the newspaper page had not been sent along with it. So, being the scholars that we are (insert laughter), Pieter and I suddenly realized the date would be on that paper! A few minutes of shuffling noises followed and then Pieter returned to the phone, still unfolding that paper, and announced: “Thursday, February 22, 1979.
That was the date of Charlie’s return to the USA, leaving his treasured Stetson behind as a memento to his Dutch friend. That 1979 tour would be his final trip to Europe. Charlie Moore died on December 24, 1979.
Make your own journey to Owensboro, Kentucky …and you might recall that little story as you stand looking at Charlie Moore’s Stetson hat in its display case at the International Bluegrass Music Museum.
Photo: Pieter Groenveld [Holland 1979]

Monday, 10 August 2009

The winners at La Roche 2009

Lilly Pavlak sends these photos and congratulations to the winning bands from the contest at the La Roche International Bluegrass Festival (29 July-2 August 2009), La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France:

#1 Kreni (Czech Republic)
#2 New Essex Bluegrass Band (Great Britain)
#3 (equal): Blueland (Slovakia), Sunny Side (Czech Republic)


Kreni on stage


The smiles


Vit Hanulik and Ondra Kozak with Kreni's award


New Essex Bluegrass Band: the set


The presentation by M. Michel Thabuis, maire of La Roche-sur-Foron


The smiles

Blueland on stage...

... and off

Sunnyside: the set

The presentation

The award

Lilly of the West preparing a new album

Thanks to Lilly Drumeva for the news that she is currently recording her eighth album in Sofia and Prague, featuring musicians from Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Seven songs have already been recorded at Key Studios in Sofia on 12-13 July 2009, with sound engineer Asen Dragnev. Lilly has produced the songs together with long-time friend and sound master Stamen Yanev.

The repertoire is a mix of country, blues and swing standards, together with two Bulgarian folk songs, in unusual rhythms like 7/8 and 11/16. Musicians include Yasen Vasilev (guitar), Ivan Penchev (fiddle), Svoboda Bozduganova (upright bass), Borislav Bojadjiev (drums, percussion, special effects), Michail Shishkov (Dobro, pedal steel), and Lilly herself (vocals, guitar).

Another studio session is scheduled for late September in Prague. Czech bluegrass band Monogram will be featured on five bluegrass standards, together with an original song written by Lilly. A duet with Monogram’s lead singer Jakub Racek is also planned. Mixing and mastering will be done in Bulgaria by Stamen Yanev and Lilly Drumeva; the production should be ready for release early in 2010. More info is on Lilly's website, and photos of the recording sessions so far can be seen here.

Have a banjo holiday in Co. Clare, Ireland


Bill Forster, a banjo player with over thirty years' experience of teaching and playing bluegrass music in Britain, the US, and elsewhere, moved to Co. Clare, Ireland, a year ago. Bill now offers banjo-players the chance to improve their playing among the beautiful scenery and many amenities of East Clare, which is also one of the most noted centres for Irish traditional music.

The area is easily accessible either via Shannon airport (half an hour's drive away) or via the ferry routes to Dublin (approx. three hours' drive). Local accommodation is plentiful, and a list can be provided if required.

Bill can cater for group and individual lessons and any ability level. Lessons can be tailored to specific requirements as required, and the cost to the individual student will be reduced in larger groups. More details and some typical Clare scenery can be seen here.

Contact Bill Forster
Uggoon
Tulla
County Clare, Ireland
Tel: 0656831604 (from Ireland); +353 656831604 (from outside Ireland)
e-mail

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Mike Seeger Passes

We are sorry to report that Mike Seeger passed away on Friday evening, August 7.

A true and dedicated musician, historian and teacher if ever there was one. Mike is responsible (along with his good friend Alice Gerrard) for many of the live concert recordings of the most influential pioneers in folk & bluegrass music history. He has been a major force in the preservation of traditional American music all of his life, from blues to bluegrass. His most recent gig was as a band member with the Alison Krauss & Robert Plant tour last year. He has surely seen and done it all in his music career.

In truth, his accomplishments are far too many to include in this blog. Please read about Mike Seeger and his legacy via the links in the previous article. To see Mike in action you may click on this link: Mike Seeger Video.

Better yet, review this short promotional video of a one-hour documentary, released on DVD July 21, 2009 by Arhoolie Records. ALWAYS BEEN A RAMBLER is an hour-long documentary that celebrates 50 years of the New Lost City Ramblers (Mike Seeger, John Cohen, Tracy Schwarz and Tom Paley.)

Emails, cards & letters may be sent to Mike's wife Alexia using the contact information in the yesterday's post.

A Personal Note from Alexia: "Dear family, dear friends… Mike has completed his passage. He died this evening, August 7, some time before 9 pm. Family, home, peace. It’s what he wanted, and he did it so gracefully. It went too fast for me to comprehend–but he always said 'I don’t want to linger!' Clear in what he’s about, as always.

The love coming from you and from friends all over is just amazingly helpful, sustaining.
Thank you. Love——–A"

Friday, 7 August 2009

Mike Seeger in Hospice Care

Mike Seeger has lived a life filled with a gifted and loving family, friends, music, musicians, admiring fans and fellow music scholars. Mike is, without a doubt, one of the most important and acknowledged music historians, scholars, recording archivists and documenters of American music history. For over 50 years, he has been a true International ambassador and preservationist of the early folk music traditions of America.

Some EBMA members and Blog readers may know that Mike Seeger (perhaps best known as a member of the New Lost City Ramblers) has been battling an illness for years, non-Hodgkins lymphoma. We are sad to report that he was recently diagnosed with a new and very aggressive form of cancer called Multiple (plasma cell) Myeloma. Although some therapy treatments do exist, this type of blood cancer is considered incurable.

In the same forthright way that he has lived his life, he has now made the decision to discontinue treatment and enter hospice care.

Mike’s wife, Alexia, says that he would enjoy hearing from friends via cards and emails which can be sent care of his booking agency:

Mary Katherine
Folklore Productions
1671 Appian Way
Santa Monica, CA 90401

mkaldin@folkloreproductions.com

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

L.Bow Grease Tourdates

07.08.09 10. Resonator Festival, Sulingen
09.08.09 Deutsch-Amerikanisches Volksfest, Berlin
14.08.09 Witten Folk Festival, Witten
15.08.09 Grimmaer Liederflut, Grimma,
21.08.09 Lagerhalle, Osnabrück
22.08.09 Hundertmeister, Duisburg
23.08.09 Dorffest Harpen, Bochum
28.08.09 Schnürschuh Theater, Bremen
29.08.09 Ostseefestival, Kiel,
30.08.09 Schlemmermeile, Langenfeld
04.09.09 Folk im Feuerschlösschen, Bad Honnef
05.09.09 Sonne, Herne
06.09.09 Quirl Open Air, Berg. Gladbach
07.09.09 Kulturrampe, Krefeld
08.09.09 Warehouse No. 1, Dortmund
10.09.09 Künstlerhaus, Spiekeroog
11.09.09 Kornbrennerei Glander, Verden
12.09.09 Burscheider Badehaus, Burscheid
18.09.09 Cornish Bluegrass Festival, Newquay Cornwall (UK)
19.09.09 Cornish Bluegrass Festival, Newquay, Cornwall (UK)
23.09.09 Folk Club @ the Blue Lamp, Gallowgate, Aberdeen, Scotland (UK)
24.09.09 Kirkcaldy Acoustic Music Club, Kirkcaldy, Scotland (UK)
25.09.09 Dunbar Traditional Music Festival, Dunbar, Scotland (UK)
26.09.09 Moniaive Bluegrass Festival, Moniaive, Scotland (UK)
06.11.09 Clou, Grünberg
07.11.09 Weißes Lamm, Hirschberg-Großsachsen
08.11.09 Phoenix, Lauffen am Neckar
09.11.09 Illertal Cowboys, Illerberg
10.11.09 Varieté Chat Noir, Trier
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signatur feuerstein
Guntmar Feuerstein
www.guntmarfeuerstein.de
www.sonicbids.com/lbowgrease

L.Bow Grease (Germany): “Let’s call it Home“

Thanks to Guntmar Feuerstein for the news about L.Bow Grease's activities and their latest CD.

Guntmar reports: "...Their third CD, “Let’s call it Home“ (ruhrfolk 4005), has just been released on which, alongside the trusted regular line-up, numerous guest musicians can be heard such as Nils Tuxen (Texas Lightning), Andrew Cadie (Broom Bezzums), Chris Hall und Hartmut Hegewald (Cajun Roosters), as well Matthias Malcher and Ulli Sieker (Looping Brothers). L.BOW GREASE will be presenting their new album on their 30-day “Let’s call it Home“ – Tour 2009. As well as concerts all across Germany, there are also six appearances in England and Scotland on the tour plan, including the Cornish Bluegrass Festival in Newquay, the Dunbar Traditional Music Festival and the Moniaive Bluegrass Festival. L.BOW GREASE are “back to the roots“, and they give each of their songs convincing authenticity with their seemingly effortless virtuosity and their fantastic voices..."

Contact:
signatur feuerstein
Guntmar Feuerstein
Harpener Feld 11
D-44805 Bochum
www.guntmarfeuerstein.de
www.myspace.com/lbowgrease
www.sonicbids.com/lbowgrease
www.acoustic-live.de
www.ruhrfolk.de
 
LBOWGREASEinfoE.pdf
LBOWGREASEcdMedia.pdf

Monday, 3 August 2009

New Barbara Lamb Release and Video!

Thanks to Brigid from Totem Pole PR (Denver CO), who is spreading the word about something that European Bluegrass Blog readers might be interested in.

Go ahead and download two mp3s from Barbara Lamb's newest album "Twisty Girl" here:

"Frying Pan" - www.mediafire.com/download.php?ut4nzvjlxkn
"What Are You Doing Today" - www.mediafire.com/download.php?cmmmenzttgg

...and check out the video for "What Are You Doing Today" - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6NMA92fO9E

Barbara Lamb's newest album "Twisty Girl" incorporates elements of Americana, bluegrass, traditional folk, live looping and electronic beats. A fiddler by trade, Barbara gathered inspiration from her transition to electronic looping and from tales about her friends, relationships and her dog. Produced by Barbara herself, "Twisty Girl" is a hodgepodge of genres and stories and a landmark in her career.

Barbara started the expertly run NashCamp in Nashville in 1996 and is a producer, composer and a teacher. She's been featured on albums with Peter Rowan, John Cowan, Asleep At The Wheel, Laura Love, Peter Rowan, Tony Trischka, Riders in the Sky and many more.

For any questions, contact Brigid Moore directly. Thank you for supporting independent music!

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Brigid Moore
Totem Pole PR
Denver, CO