Thursday, 30 December 2010

Bluegrass Europe #77

Bluegrass Europe is a bi-monthly magazine provided free to members of the EBMA in Europe and abroad. It is the first and only magazine dedicated to bluegrass music in Europe. Written in English, Bluegrass Europe is printed and bound with the German Bluegrass Bühne and the Dutch Strictly Country. The three journals appear together under one cover and are all included in EBMA membership. For a free sample, contact Paolo Dettwiler or visit the EBMA website.

Features in the December 2010-January 2011 issue*

Bluegrass Europe #77: EBMA Jubiläums Konzert; EBMA news (new mission statement, future of Bluegrass Europe, and much more); European bluegrass news; Petr Brandejs, 'G-Runs 'n Roses: flying high' (cover feature); Smoketown Strut (contd); 6th Picnic Festival; EBMA's European bluegrass guide

Strictly Country #239: 40 jaar SC Festival; Veranderingen; Mother's Best!; Bluegrassduinen; News, views, and reviews; New releases; The Ted Clark story; Labeldiscografie - REM Records, Aragon Records; RG & Kate; Gonna shake this shack tonight...; Bluegrass Unlimited national bluegrass survey; Bluegrass bevalt; SCR

Bluegrass Bühne #180: Editorial; GBMA news; Vorschau; Veranstaltungs-Echo; Tønder Festival (cover feature); Reisebericht Eberhard Finke; Weihnachtsecke; MeckerEcke; Summertown Road; Meetings; Termine; news and reviews

The EBMA's concert and festival calendar is in the centre section.

*Already posted to subscribers

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Success of Bluegrass Jamboree! 2010

Artists and promoter celebrate a successful tour

Thanks to Rainer Zellner, organiser of the Bluegrass Jamboree!, who reports on this year's tour (3-18 Dec. 2010):

The festival tour was a success: we had many large reviews in important magazines, very enthusiastic crowds everywhere. Radio WDR will cover the event in a 1:40 broadcast on 30 January, starting 16:05.

Flamekeeper trio: Jesse Brock, Jessie Baker, Tom Adams

The ticket sales in some places could have been much better, but we ran into snow and ice hazards almost everywhere we went. Everybody on the bus enjoyed the tour very much; it was great fun for all, and maybe some of the photos on Flickr or our own blog on the Jamboree website [some of which illustrate this post] show a bit of that.

I hope we can stretch out to some other European countries along the border to Germany in 2011. The show in CZ-Praha was a huge success, and we work on Austria already.

Fans at the CD stand at Prague

Monday, 27 December 2010

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike in new UK festival

Thanks to Dee Hallett (UK; former editor of the e-newsletter 'Bluegrass & MORE') for her good wishes for 'a truly wonderful Christmas and a very happy and healthy new year'. Dee adds:

Do look out for the brand new bluegrass festival being organised by Bath City Council - under the guidance of music historian/ radio presenter/ recording artist and city councillor Bryan Chalker - who says he is pleased to confirm that revered veteran British performer Brian Golbey has been added to the cast of 'Bath's Bluegrass Festival & Appalachian Celebrations' set for 19, 20, and 21 May 2011 and starring one of the USA's top bluegrass & Americana artistes - Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike [photo], featuring Becky Buller.

The main concert venue in Bath will be the prestigious Forum, a former Art-Deco cinema with a 1,500 capacity. Other performers, including British groups, will be announced in due course. The Festival will include workshops for banjo (three-finger style and clawhammer), mandolin, fiddle, guitar, autoharp, close-harmony singing, and buck-dancing (clogging) at smaller venues throughout the city, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The new Bath bluegrass festival will be coordinated with the Bath International Guitar Festival. Bryan Chalker announces:

... I am also hoping to bring over Bill Clifton and Jimmy Gaudreau for 2012 and also venture into Cajun territory. It must be stated that I do intend to support the British acoustic music movement, as well as featuring American performers. A gospel element will also be included - and Bath's magnificent Abbey has shown interest in the bluegrass project! I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Dee Hallett and John Wirtz [BBMA chairman] for their support and help in this exciting project.

Update 28 Dec. 2010: Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike are the second bluegrass band to become available as an 'app' on smart phones - the first was the young North Carolina band Nu-Blu. For more details, including news of the International Bluegrass Music Museum, read here.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Greetings from the European Bluegrass Blog

On behalf of the European Bluegrass Music Association, the European Bluegrass Blog wishes a happy and peaceful Christmas and a joyful and prosperous New Year to all its readers, to all lovers of bluegrass and kindred musics, and to all people of goodwill everywhere.

Christmas greetings from Danilo Cartia

Banjo-player and bandleader Danilo Cartia (I) sends these greetings from Rome:

Buon Natale
Merry Christmas
Felis Navidad
Веселе Різдво

... and this link to a Banjo Christmas on YouTube.

Danilo Cartia website; MySpace; Facebook: Danilo Cartia; e-mail
ph. / fax +39 06 8273332

Christmas news from GrevenGrass

The organising team of the GrevenGrass Festival, in north Germany, report:

We wish all friends and supporters of the GrevenGrass Festival, as well as those who are – privately or professionally – related to our Festival, and all others who are in the mailing list of GrevenGrass e.V., the best Season's greetings!

Many of you have already marked the days of the Pentecost weekend [11-12 June 2011] as the GrevenGrass Festival weekend in your new calendars for 2011. For many it is already a tradition, others have heard a lot about it and want to be a part of it next year. All friends of bluegrass music are welcome!

We started the preliminary planning a while ago, and will get into the definite organisation before the end of 2010. But we can already put the first highlights of the GrevenGrass Festival 2011 under your Christmas tree. Matthias Malcher is happy to announce that the line-up is almost complete.

The next GrevenGrass Festival Stage will have a professional presentation. Ronnie Snippe, frontman of Lazy Tater, will act as link man on the stage. Ronnie, with his congeniality and knowledge of bluegrass, adds virtuosity and entertainment spirit to the lineup. At the 3rd GrevenGrass Festival the following acts will hit the stage on the Ems Beach:

Lilly Of the West (BG)
Sacred Sounds Of Grass (DE)
Rocks & Ivy (BE)
Downhill Bluegrass Band (featuring Ivor Ottley) (SE/UK)
Looping Brothers (DE)

Matthias and our scout Rienk Janssen are still in negotioation with some top-class US bands. We will announce our headliner in January 2011. Around the same time we will feature all 2011 GrevenGrass artists on our website and provide you with extensive information.

The Pentecost weekend will be rather late next year, so quite a long time will pass till we meet again, or finally have the chance to meet in person. We wish all of you peaceful Christmas days, a happy new year, and that the time until June will pass quickly.

You find included, as before, a beautiful version of 'Silent night' by Pam Gleba. For feedback, e-mail Pam. We are looking forward to seeing you all at the 3rd GrevenGrass Festival 2011! With best wishes,

Your GrevenGrass Team

The GrevenGrass Festival is a nonprofit business and organizing a free concert. Thus we can’t finance by entrance fees, so we need support by sponsors. If you like to promote our festival by donation, you are welcome as partners. Sponsors can get a donation receipt.
GrevenGrass Bluegrass Festival 2011 • Pfingsten 11. + 12.06.2011 • 48268 Greven • Emstrand

Thursday, 23 December 2010

40th anniversary concert of Poutníci, 4 Dec. 2010

Our indefatigable correspondent Lilly Pavlak reports on the third major event she attended recently in the Czech Republic. Having covered the 20th anniversary of Monogram and the 20th anniversary of Folk magazine, she attended the concert in Brno marking the 40th anniversary of the highly influential, award-winning band Poutníci.

Robert Křesťan and Lubos Malina of Druha Trava are former members of Poutníci, so Druha Trava opened the concert, followed by Poutníci in its present lineup (above). The finale (below) combined all past and present members.

During their forty years, Poutníci have recorded twelve albums, played more than 2000 gigs, and appeared many times on TV and radio. They have sold over 100,000 copies of their music on the Czech market, have often played abroad (Austria, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, etc.), and performed at the EWOB Festival in 1999, the first year in which it was held at Voorthuizen.

Above, Poutníci c.1990: Mirek Hulan, Pepa Prudil, Lubos Malina, Jirka Karas Pola, Franta Linharek, Robert Křesťan, Zdenek Kalina, Jirka Plocek. This lineup - the last before the formation of Druha Trava - won the SPBGMA award for the best non-American recording in 1989 and 1990, with 'Wayfaring stranger' and 'Chromi kone'.

Christmas greetings from Barcelona

Thanks to bandleader and banjo-player Lluís Antonio Gómez Martinez for pan-European seasonal greetings:

Espero que tots passeu unes Bones Festes i que el proper any es compleixin els vostres somnis.
Bon Nadal i feliç any nou 2011!!!!

Espero que todos paséis unas Buenas Fiestas y que el próximo año se cumplan vuestros sueños.
Feliz Navidad y próspero año nuevo 2011!!!!


I hope all your dreams come true.
Merry Christmas and a happy new year 2011!!!!

Joyeux Noël et bonne année 2011!!!!
Buon Natale e felice anno nuovo 2011!!!!
Boas Festas!!!!
Srecan Bozie!!!!
Frohe Weihnachten und ein gutes neues Jahr 2011!!!!

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

20th anniversary concert of Folk magazine, 24 Nov. 2010

Lilly Pavlak reports on the second big event she recently attended in the Czech Republic: a concert in the picturesque old Lucerna Hall (above) in Prague, on 24 November. The concert marked the twentieth anniversary of the oldest Czech music magazine, originally named Folk & Country; from this year the name has been shortened to Folk.

Bands taking part included Druha Trava (above), who were touring in the US in autumn 2010. The programme included eight other bands, folk, 'tramp music', traditional music, and more.

Sound check during the interval at the Lucerna

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Monogram's 20th anniversary concert, 23 Nov. 2010

Thanks again to Lilly Pavlak for a report and photos from the packed-out concert celebrating the 20th anniversary of the great Czech band Monogram, at the Gong Theatre in Prague on 23 November. The band - Pavel Lžičař (bass, spokesman), Zdeněk Jahoda (mandolin, vocals), Jakub Racek (guitar, lead vocals), and Jarda Jahoda (banjo) - marked their long service by opening the show in costume as old men (above).

All the band are founder members except Pavel Lžičař (joined 2000), so they invited all their friends and also all the bass players from their first ten years. The first guest on stage was Zbynek Bures (above, centre), one of their former bass players and now the front man of Relief and also a banjo- and dobro-player and songwriter, whose songs were on the first Monogram CD, Monogram: Bluegrass music (1997).

The next guests (above), Tomas Cerny (saxophone) and Lada Sosna (percussion), performed the song 'Malibu' as on the second CD, Siesta (2000).

Everyone had fun with the 'Fast fingers' contest (above) for the former bass players, won by Pavel Peroutka (bassist from Relief), who also wrote a bass instrumental, 'Velbloudi: the tribute to Monogram bass players' which was played by four of them, who had their instruments with them (below).

The band's only CD sung in the Czech language, Cestou Odyssea (2004), included a song by the famous songwriter Petr Kus, who sang it with them on stage (above).

Pepa Malina (above, on fiddle) played the swing piece 'Lady be good', with Tomas Cerny on saxophone.

The second part of the concert included the showing of archive pictures and videos, an appearance by blues guitar player Jimmy Bozeman, and guest musicians from Rumania, who had been delayed in Hungary and brought a cymbalom on stage to perform a fast Rumanian folk-song, which was very well received. Monogram's lyrical song 'Nelly and John', from their last CD, Hit the road (2010), was intended to end the concert, but the encores eventually concluded with a Jimi Hendrix instrumental, 'Killing floor'. Finally Monogram invited everyone to the Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver concert in Prague on 16 May 2011, when they will be opening for DL&Q.

Lilly went backstage after the show to try the band's birthday cake (above left) and be photographed with her 'adopted sons' (below). She hopes to be still alive for their 40th anniversary.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas greetings from Lilly Pavlak

Many thanks to Lilly Pavlak for her message 'Merry Christmas & happy new year to all of you!', and for these three photos: above, this stunning Bethlehem diorama; below, Lilly herself with a Bluegrass Bird, giving a welcome reminder of parts of the world that aren't (yet) covered in snow;

and finally - specially for resonator guitar players -

Christmas greetings from Andy Glandt

Andy Glandt (D) sends the season's greetings, below. The EBB wishes it could reproduce the animation that accompanied Andy's e-mail:

Me and my family wish you all a Merry Christmas, and may your life in 2011 and the years to come go uphill.

I want to thank everybody who helped me to make 2010 a successful year. I hope to see you all again, healthy and lucky.

Andy Glandt
Musician and Songwriter



Sunday, 19 December 2010

Rhonda Vincent in Europe, July 2011: update

Thanks to Upper Management Music for the latest news of the tour being prepared for the coming summer:

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage are true ambassadors for bluegrass music. Their introduction of bluegrass with their music is reaching the world with their #1 Billboard CD Taken on Upper Management Music. The international attention has resulted in a demand for the band overseas, resulting in a European tour for July 2011. France and Switzerland being confirmed stops, with additional performances in negotiation for Greece, Spain, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, along with as many additional countries as their schedule will allow.

Rhonda Vincent & the Rage have received eight nominations for awards in the coming SPBGMA awards show and convention. They have already received the most awards (over 75 to date) of any band in bluegrass history.

Christmas greetings from Lilly of the West

Lilly of the West (BG): (l-r) Yassen Vassilev (guitar, vocal), Lilly Drumeva (guitar, fiddle, lead vocal), Svoboda ('Bodi') Bozduganova (upright bass, vocal), Michail ('Misho') Shishkov (Dobro guitar, harmonica, piano)

Lilly of the West wishes you Merry Christmas and a great New Year. Many concerts and new album coming up in 2011!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Bluegrass in Bühl - and in the rest of Germany

Thanks to Walter Fuchs (pictured above), musical director and MC of the International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, for this extract from the spring/summer 2011 programme of events in the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt at Bühl, the main venue for the festival.

Walter has also prepared an authoritative 2600-word article on the development of a bluegrass scene in Germany from 1945 up to the present, which it is hoped will appear in Bluegrass Europe. From the concluding paragraph:

Building on the support of loyal friends and fans from the old glory days, a new audience for bluegrass music (and unplugged county music, too) is being tapped in Europe. This can only be effected by presenting the music in a dignified setting, in concert halls and theaters, just like jazz promoters have been doing it for many years.

Focus on France in International Country Music Conference in Nashville, May 2011

Thanks to SFR Country Roots and to Walter Fuchs of the International Bühl Bluegrass Festival for forwarding news of the next International Country Music Conference, to be held in Nashville, TN, on 26-28 May 2011. The programme includes a presentation by Zachary Fulbright of the Graduate Center of the City University of New York on 'Country music in France'. Mr Fulbright's synopsis focuses on the unprecedented national increase in country music’s popularity in the last two decades:

Today, the average summer yields over forty festivals nationwide with the largest, the Country Rendez-Vous in Craponne sur Arzon in Haute Loire, drawing over 30,000 people. The sudden growth of country music in French radio, television, periodicals, festivals and concerts may lead us to ask what the music is saying that appeals to the French.

The Craponne festival always features a high-class bluegrass act (including the winning band from the band contest held at the La Roche festival). In 2011 the headline bluegrass act at Craponne will be Rhonda Vincent & the Rage.

Full details of registration and accommodation for the International Country Music Conference in May 2011 can be seen here.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Robert 'Bob' Lauer: 24 July 1945–29 November 2010

Lilly Pavlak sends sad news from Switzerland:

The Swiss bluegrass scene has lost one of its important personalities. Robert 'Bob' Lauer [left] was the first, and for many years probably the only, five-string banjo maker in Switzerland. His first five-string he finished in 1973. Since then he had built about fifty of them and repaired many other instruments in his free time. Each instrument was a masterpiece. One of his first customers was Jens Kruger.

I met Bob by surprise in the Alusuisee Company in Zurich in 1973, where we both worked. I could not believe he was from my hometown (Brno) and we probably met as children, because we went frequently to the same violin shop close to my house. He just started to play banjo, after seeing the Deliverance movie and also went kayaking on whitewaters with his friends. So he soon was taking me with them over the weekends. I used to play the Czech 'tramp' songs on my guitar, and soon we started to play together. The first song I learned from him was the 'Foggy Mountain breakdown'. It was the beginning of a wonderful years-long friendship. We used to talk for hours about our biggest love – the bluegrass music and listening to its performers.

He went frequently to the Folk Club Zurich with his friend Vasek, so they took me with them. I met there the Country Ramblers with a Czech guitar player, Tom Matejovsky, and slowly the entire Swiss bluegrass scene and some American musicians, such as Bill Keith and Jim Rooney. In 1974 we started to take some music lessons from Finn Bodenmann and met the Swiss Bluegrass Family. Visited festivals like Lenzburg, Gurten, concerts in the Mahogany Hall Bern, Folk Club Baden, and so on… Of course, we played music every weekend at the Saturday campfires.

Bob brought me to the airport when I went on my first US trip in 1975. Through him I met my ex-husband, who was also starting to play banjo and was in the whitewater and cross-country skiing group. Bobby got married and moved to Fahrweid Weiningen, and my boyfriend and me followed them soon; we lived just about 500 meters apart.

Bob started his band the Bluegrass Friends and later joined the Country Ramblers, when Urs von Arx went to the US. I got married as well and of course Bob became the witness of the marriage ceremony, later also the godfather of my first-born son. His two children Hanna and Roman were just a year ahead of ours. Our family moved to Bülach, when I was expecting my second son in 1985; and since then we met mostly at the weekends, cross-country skiing in winter or whitewater in summer, and of course bluegrass concerts and festivals. With the time, our contact was no more as intensive as in the past.

Bob retired in 2007 and was happy to have time to concentrate on his beloved banjos [right: one of his special projects - a bass banjo in construction]. When I met him for the last time I promised to visit him, make some pictures of his banjo workshop, and write something about him. Before I left to the Czech Republic for the last time I learned that he was at the hospital, and hoped to visit him as soon as I’d be back here. Unfortunately I was too late. I returned home Sunday, just two days after his funeral.

Bob left behind his loving wife Helena, daughter Hanna, son Roman, and his mother. The Swiss Bluegrass Family played the last farewell songs for him last Friday. And I am sure now he is jamming with all his friends in the Heaven Bluegrass Band. Rest in peace, my dear friend! You’ll never be forgotten…

Bluegrass Europe #77

The editorial team members of the EBMA magazine Bluegrass Europe wish to express their regret that the dispatch of issue #77 to EBMA members has been delayed, both by technical difficulties in the production of the magazine and by disruption in postal services.

The good news: this issue is now on its way to everyone on the mailing list.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

CMS Productions news, December 2010

Cor and Margaret Sanne of CMS Productions (NL) (seen left with Johnny Cash in 1994) report:

We herewith have the pleasure to inform you that we have updated our website. We are proud of the result and invite you to take a look at the various pages. Go to and enjoy yourself. Our gallery is far from complete so we'll add new pictures in the months to come. The English (google translation) in this gallery will be corrected into perfect English in the next few days!

We'll be doing many European gigs with Billy Yates in 2011 along with his band Savannah. New are the Parking Lot Pickers. A truly fine band playing pure and honest country music with a happy touch. Great guys and great music. Very affordable too!

Billy Yates is currently recording a new CD to be out in 2011. Even more country than he's ever been before. He is also using upright bass now. And lots of steel guitar as well.

Don't forget to click on the homepage 'star'. It contains a special Christmas card for you all. It's gorgeous and made with unlimited love for our hometown, being Nieuwkoop in the Netherlands.

Needless to say we hope to continue our relationship with you. For now we wish you a Merry Christmas and a fantastic 2011 in private and in business.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

NAG December 2010 newsletter

Oliver Waitze sends the December newsletter of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Solingen, Germany. The many interesting possibilities for Christmas presents in the NAG's online shop include the brand-new Krüger Brothers CD, Christmas magic (€18.90), as well as instruments (new and used), books, CDs, and DVDs.

The many new products include a Michael Betcher A 5 mandolin (€2,990.00), a Deep Ocean Guitars F4 three-point mandolin (€999.00), a Scott Cao 'Kreisler' model fiddle (€1,790.00), a Cigano GJ-5 student 'gypsy jazz' guitar with wide D-shaped soundhole (€449.00), and much more.

Read and/or download the complete NAG December 2010 newsletter in PDF format.

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

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

News for the European Bluegrass Blog...

... can be posted to any member of the team of contributors listed on the right of the EBB during the period 9-15 December 2010, except Richard Hawkins, who will be unavailable during that period.

Any news that you would normally send to Richard can be sent to the blog e-mail address shown at the top of the EBB. Please make sure that everything you wish to send is included in the text of the e-mail, together with your e-mail address, as attachments and addresses do not come through this link.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Bluegrass on the air - or very nearly

Photo by Fiaz Farrelly

Niall Toner, who has put a lot of bluegrass on the air in Ireland as a presenter on the national radio station, reports that he and his band (above) will soon be bringing bluegrass to the most westerly airport in Europe:

Next Friday (10 December) sees the opening show of a new series of live music gigs at Shannon Airport. Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of a new live music era at the airport. Most of the US-based musicians and bands that we admire, and that have visited these shores over the years, have come through this very facility; and next Friday the NTB will perform in the Arrivals/ Departures area, just after the last flight departs at 9.30 p.m. Admission is free, but it's recommended that attendees should apply for tickets in advance. These are available at the airport front desk, but no-one will be turned away on the night!

Bluegrass - was ist das?

That's the title of a page on Rainer Zellner's Bluegrass Jamboree! website - headed by the illustration on the left, and giving an overview, in German, of the origins and character of the music.

The Jamboree itself, which opened the current tour on 3 December, is scheduled for performance tonight at Dreieich, followed by eleven more dates in Germany, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic. It is also featured here on the original Bluegrass Blog.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Foundation for Bluegrass Music: grant application deadline approaches

The directors of the Foundation for Bluegrass Music send a reminder that the deadline for applications for general grants from the Foundation is Wednesday 15 December.

The Foundation for Bluegrass Music is a non-profit organisation under the auspices of the IBMA. Its directors have established a one-time general grant request application deadline of 15 December 2010 for projects planned for the calendar year of 2011 or 2012. Grant awards will be announced by 15 March 2011. The Foundation’s general grant budget for 2011 is $10,000, with the goal of funding four projects at an average of $2,500 each.

In addition, a one-time exceptional grant request application deadline of 15 December 2010 has been announced for projects that will celebrate the Bill Monroe Centennial and focus on educational efforts that involve young people, during the 2011 calendar year. Grant awards will be announced by 15 March 2011. The Foundation board has set aside an exceptional grant award budget for 2011 of up to $10,000, with the goal of funding one project.

The Foundation's full statement can be seen here. More information and downloadable grant application materials are here.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Christmas specials from the Toy Hearts

Thanks to Sophia Johnson of the Toy Hearts (UK) for this link to the band's first ever music video to accompany their download single release.

The single is a radio edit of 'Femme fatale', the title track of the latest Toy Hearts album. It was released on 22 November and is available on iTunes. The full album is also available to buy through the band website - including limited edition box sets!

The Toy Hearts also have a Christmas special gig coming up, featuring Georgette Jones (daughter of Tammy Wynette and George Jones). Full details are on the above image - click for an enlarged view.

Martin guitar giveaway on Niall Toner radio show

Singer, songwriter, bandleader, broadcaster, and Irish bluegrass pioneer Niall Toner reports that the new series of his 'Roots Freeway' radio show, broadcast on the Irish national radio station, will run till the end of February 2011 - and a Martin acoustic guitar [left] will be given away as a prize in a competition, thanks to sponsorship by Perfect Pitch Music, Exchequer St., Dublin, and the Martin Guitar Company.

Previous competition prizes on the show have included Gibson guitars and Clareen banjos. Details will be announced on the RTE Radio One website. Niall adds:

'Roots Freeway' always includes some bluegrass, as well as information about live gigs by touring and domestic acts... I should also add that the Irish content of the show is being actively increased, hopefully to around 45% of the total playlist, and this of course includes singer-songwriters, string bands, blues players, etc, etc.

Niall also announces further additions and improvements to the Niall Toner Band website, including a blog and a facility for buying single tracks from NTB records on iTunes. The band will release a new album in 2011 to coincide with the centenary of Bill Monroe.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Liza Karpacheva wins Brian Friesen Award banjo

Dueling banjos, move aside. Your time is over. You’ve been replaced by – diplomatic banjos!
Deering Banjos recently chose Liza Karpacheva, a 15-year-old Russian orphan from Obninsk, Russia (sister city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee), to receive the Brian Friesen Award banjo. US ambassador to Russia John Beyrle presented Deering’s new Eagle II banjo to Liza at a special November 16, 2010 bluegrass event at Spaso House, the ambassador’s historic residence in Moscow
[see above photo].
'I am honored to present you with an engraved Eagle II Deering banjo', Ambassador Beyrle told the winner. 'You are the very first person to receive one of these awards outside of America. You have impressed us all.'

These are the opening paragraphs of 'Building bridges with… banjos?' an article by Mr Dan Sreebny, a senior media advisor in the US State Department, which will appear in the Feb.-Mar. 2011 issue of Bluegrass Europe. The presentation was one of the results of the visit of Pete and Joan Wernick to Russia this summer for the first ever Russian-American Bluegrass Jamboree (featured on the EBB on 24 August). Lisa Karpacheva is banjo-player for the young Russian band Cheerful Diligence. More can be seen on the websites of Dr Banjo and the US consulate in St Petersburg, where you can watch performance videos including Cheerful Diligence playing 'That don’t bother me' ('Блэкбери блоссом').

Mr Sreebny's article ends:

To keep the spirit of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s first Russian Bluegrass Festival alive and well, the staff of the U.S. Consulate General Leningrad have decided to adopt Cheerful Diligence, Russia’s newest country-bluegrass band. The 'adoption' starts with special classes for the young Obninsk sextet in 'American English for Russian Bluegrass Musicians'. Can similar classes in Russian for American bluegrass pickers be far behind?

Read the whole text in Bluegrass Europe #78 - which will be the last issue edited by Paolo Dettwiler.

Bluegrass Jamboree 2010 live on the air TODAY!

Rainer Zellner, who puts the 2nd Bluegrass Jamboree! - Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music 2010 on the road today, writes:

Dear Friends of Bluegrass Music,

ATTENTION: For the first time ever (in Germany, maybe even in Europe) there will be a worldwide live radio broadcast of the full first show of the tour. So all of you who can't be at this show can catch the music on radio Wueste Welle in Tübingen via Internet radio.

Station website
DATE: 3 December, 20-24:00 (Central European Time)
(click on 'on air' down left)
TOUR WEBSITE with video trailer

kind regards,

Rainer Zellner

*Bluegrass Jamboree! - Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music 2010 (also on Facebook)*

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (USA) - Traditional Hardcore Bluegrass
Jeff and Vida (USA) - Acoustic Americana
Shotgun Party (USA) - New Western Swing

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Prescription Bluegrass - and other news media

Thanks to Brian McNeal of Prescription Bluegrass Radio in Kingman, AZ, for the news that the show also runs the Prescription Bluegrass blog, and has added a link to the European Bluegrass Blog, among other bluegrass blogs of note.

For other broadcasters: Brian's e-mail includes the end note: 'Get Prescription Bluegrass delivered to your Radio Station - Contact Audio Tracks Broadcasting Services today!' And Brian adds:

I recently started a new group on just for bluegrass disc jockeys because there wasn't any other association specifically for us that I could find. The group is: The Association of Bluegrass Disc Jockeys. If you have any friends or readers of your blog who may be bluegrass disc jockeys - either full- or part-time - we'd welcome them into the group...

Another source of bluegrass news on the internet is Bluegrass Matters, which presents headlines and short tasters of news items already published in other internet sources (including the European Bluegrass Blog) with links to the full original texts, without adding editorial content.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

3rd European Bluegrass Summit, 18-20 February 2011

Angelika Torrie, chairperson of the European Bluegrass Music Association, sends this invitation:

Dear European Bluegrass Friends,

Once again, after the success and positive feedback from the two previous years' European Bluegrass Summit in Bühl, Germany, the European Bluegrass Music Association is happy to confirm that arrangements to hold the 3rd European Bluegrass Summit on the weekend of 18-20 February 2011 have been finalised.

This event is fully supported by IBMA as a major and effective tool to bring the scene together more closely and to find ways to fulfil the goals set at the previous meetings. The convention will be attended by an official representative of IBMA, Dwight Worden, who has been elected by his peers for a second term as the Associations representative on the IBMA Board of Directors last summer.

The 3rd European Bluegrass Summit will be generously hosted again by the city of Bühl offering the entire meeting facilities and infrastructure for free. This year, the Saturday night concert will be bigger, with three bands playing to celebrate EBMA's 10th anniversary. As in previous years, attendees are invited from all quarters in Europe; the costs and arrangements for travel, subsistence and accommodation are the entire responsibility of the participants. The summit will be limited to 50 delegates and early booking is advised.

Please help us spread the word to people you think should attend this summit by:

- Circulating this proposal to others who you know to be interested and involved in European Bluegrass.
- Completing the online registration form on the EBMA website or replying to this e-mail, indicating your name, your willingness to attend, and who you represent (i.e. association, band, business, or individual etc.). Please send your responses before 14 December 2010 to

If you or your company/organisation are able to sponsor part of this convention, we would be very grateful if you'd contact us. Any financial support is welcome. There are many opportunities for you to advertise before, during, and after the event in return!

More details of the Summit can be seen on the EBMA website here.

Christmas presents from Copper Creek

Gary Reid, of Bluegrass Productions of Virginia and Copper Creek Records, sends...

Just a quick note to let you know that the 20th anniversary edition of the Bluegrass Calendar is now available. Additional information can be found here.

Lastly... for fans of traditional bluegrass music, we're happy to announce the release of a 4-CD set of material that completes the reissue series of classic recordings by Don Reno & Red Smiley. Recorded for King Records in 1963 and 1964, the set includes their fine Christmas album (complete with several previously unissued tracks), their tribute to country music star Cowboy Copas, and their salute to truck drivers. The set is fleshed out by two CDs worth of material that Don Reno & Bill Harrell recorded for King (in the late 1960s) and Starday (in 1972). The set comes with a complete set of notes and many never-before-seen photos. Bargain priced at $25.00. Go to the calendar page [see above] and click the 'music' link.)

Many thanks,

Gary Reid (IBMA member)
Bluegrass Productions of Virginia, LLC
PO Box 5764
Roanoke VA 24012

Latest goodies from Nechville

Nechville Musical Products (USA) announce that their new Deluxe Magnetic Pick/ accessory case (shown left) is now available in a variety of exotic woods, at an introductory price of $34.95.

You can see this and other pictures of the cases on Tom Nechville's Picasa web album. Phone the company at +1-952-888-9710.

Send a band to play at ROMP 2011!

The International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY, is inviting all Associations that take part in its Museum Ambassadors Program to send one showcase band to perform at next year's River Of Music Party (ROMP) festival (23-24 June 2011).

Associations may choose their winner based on a live band contest or a press kit submission process. The winning band must be chosen from a field of at least five (5) bands.

This should be a new band search/title/contest, separate from others the Associations may already hold. It should carry the name 'IBMM/ [association name] Ambassadors Showcase'.

Showcase bands will not be compensated. Each member of the band will be provided with 2 weekend passes to ROMP. Bands are eligible for discounted lodging at artist rates ($54 + tax) or free camping. They will be included in all publicity materials, on the IBMM website and on ROMP festival posters, brochures, and programs.

The deadline for naming your showcase band is 15 January 2011.

Monday, 29 November 2010

Mideando String Quintet now available for bookings

Dear Friend of Bluegrass and Acoustic Music,

We are happy to introduce to you our acoustic music band, the Mideando String Quintet from Italy (also on MySpace).

Our acoustic music is performed by mandolin, octave mandolin, mandocello, violin, acoustic or nylon-string guitar, and electric bass. Our songs are usually arranged with five voices harmony. Our repertoire includes both our original songs as well as covers re-arranged by the band to our personal style. We like to describe it as a fusion of various styles: pop, rock, blues, with a bit of jazz and ethno-music, and with some country and bluegrass influences.

In May 2006 we won the First Prize as 1# European Bluegrass Band at the 9th EWOB Festival in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands. In this role, we were invited to represent the European World of Bluegrass at the IBMA 2007 Bluegrass Festival in Nashville, Tennessee, USA. During our gigs at the IBMA we introduced the latest CD titled Tutte le direzioni ('All the directions'). At the moment the CD is broadcasted by many American and European radios.

Besides that the band won the 3# European Bluegrass Band of the year at the 6th EWOB Festival 2003. MSQ was the only Italian representative among 45 bands from Europe, Canada and the USA. From their performance, the song 'Talk about suffering', arranged by MSQ, has been chosen for the official CD EWOB 2003 and later for the 10 years of EWOB CD. In the past years MSQ has won many other festival awards; the two CDs Viaggio ('Journey') and Tutte le direzioni have had very good reviews in many magazines; and the important Kataweb magazine has nominated MSQ 'Artist of the Day' in December 2008.

During the past years Mideando played at various important music festivals such as: 40° Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Ulster Acoustic Music Festival (Omagh, Northern Ireland), EWOB Festival (Holland), EWOB Festival (Germany and France), Over Easy Bluegrass Festival (Switzerland), Big Bear (the Netherlands). In August 2008 the band was the special guest at the Festival Europeen de Bluegrass Music in La Roche-sur-Foron in France and as headliner at the same festival in 2010.

The band is working at the new CD, it will be ready on the spring 2011.

If our story has made you curious... we will be honoured to play at your festivals!

Thank you very much in advance, kind regards,

Stefano Santangelo
Associazione Musicale MIDEANDO
Via P. Vergerio 6, 35126 PADOVA, Italy
tel. (+39) 049 8021556; cell. 338 8227001

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Good news from the EWOB Festival

Liz Meyer and the Stichting EBMA Voorthuizen report:

We can promise you a grass field for camping - not the same one, but nice, soft grass. Yay! Please tell your friends. The EWOB Team is working very hard to ensure your comfort at the European World of Bluegrass Festival 2011. Visit the EWOB website for all festival info!

Band application extension to 11 December 2010

We said that no extension past 1 Dec. would be possible this year, but personal circumstances make it necessary. Liz spent ten days in Germany for a cancer checkup, too busy in the hospital to deal with all the e-mails, and then got food poisoning at the airport on the way home. 'Things are looking up' now, but we are running ten days late and would like to share that extra time with bands that have not had a chance to apply for EWOB 2011.

Final deadline to apply for a showcase at EWOB 2011 will be Saturday 11 December 2010. Your demos must be posted by this time. The festival dates will be 2-3-4 June 2011. The EWOB website home page, center column, has all the links you'll need for application info and Musician/Band FAQ. Please read instructions carefully and get your applications in as soon as possible!

Thank you to all the terrific bands who've been busy sending in their application materials. We wish you much success, and hope to see you at EWOB 2011!

#1 European Bluegrass Band 2010: G-Runs 'n Roses (Czech Republic)!

Visit the official European World of Bluegrass page on Facebook and sign up to 'like' the EWOB Festival!

JOIN US for the 14th European World of Bluegrass Festival, held as always in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands.

Liz Meyer e-mail