Wednesday, 30 June 2010

New postal address for the Coal Porters

Sid Griffin, leader of the Coal Porters (UK), 'the world's first alt-bluegrass band', writes:

Dear Friends,

We have moved and the new address for the Coal Porters bluegrass band is:
The Coal Porters
44 Marquis Road
London NW1 9UB, England
United Kingdom

The rest is the same. Same e-mail, same website. The next gigs we are doing will be:

4 Sept 2010 Wombwell Mad-Fest, St Michael’s Catholic Church Hall, Park Street, Wombwell, Barnsley S73 0HQ, England; doors 7.00 p.m. Box office: +44 (0)1226-752901. Tickets £12 for this event (weekend tickets £40)

27 Oct 2010 Accies Club, Helensburgh Drive, Jordanhill, Glasgow G13 1RR, Scotland; 8.00 p.m. Tickets £10 available from Tickets Scotland, or +44 (0)7804-447511, or by e-mail

30 Oct 2010 The Lemon Tree Lounge, 5 West North Street, Aberdeen AB24 5AT, Scotland; 8.00 p.m. Box office: +44 (0)1224 641120. Tickets £12/£10

Bluegrass and chili go together

Thanks to Paolo Dettwiler, who forwards this news to illustrate the ways in which bluegrass music can be brought to wider audiences.

Mountain Heart, an A-list US bluegrass band, will be the next Vietti Vinyl Artist, as part of a marketing initiative developed several years ago by the Nashville-based company Choice Food of America. In a special branding relationship similar to that which Flatt & Scruggs and other bluegrass bands have had with Martha White Flour, the company joins with outstanding Nashville-based music acts to promote both their all-natural Vietti Chili and the artists.

Thus, Mountain Heart will receive publicity on grocery store shelves over a vast retail network, as well as in music shops. Tens of thousands of cans of chili will display a full color photo and bio of the band and a link to their website. The band and their music will also be on this Vietti Vinyl website link.

Leadership Artists, Mountain Heart’s management company, is now working with Choice Foods on a schedule of live appearances for the band, who have already shown their ability to reach out to wider audiences. Vietti Chili has been made in Nashville, TN, since 1898 and distributed through major grocery chains and independent grocery stores throughout the South-East US. For more information contact

Brian Smith
Leadership Artists, LLC
4507 Windsor Oaks Drive
Marietta, GA 30066

Mountain Heart will be the leading bluegrass act at this year's Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Longford, Ireland. Jake Stargel from Georgia, USA, has just become the band's guitarist, replacing Clay Jones, who is leaving Mountain Heart for personal reasons.

21st Summer Bluegrass Music Workshop at Hustopeče u Brna, 8-14 Aug. 2010

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak, who forwards the following information on the 21st Summer Bluegrass Music Workshop at Hustopeče u Brna (Moravia, CZ), 8-14 Aug. 2010:

Dear friends,

As you know, we prepare summer bluegrass music workshop – as usual during the second week of August, in Hustopeče, a small town of south Moravia, about 30 km from Brno (you can use public transport or, travelling by car, highway direction 'Bratislava-Wien', exit 'Hustopeče').

The stage will take five days full of an intensive work (about 5-6 hours in the class daily). We'll try not only to teach and promote the flatpicking styles, but also to enjoy the experience of playing in the band. Total beginners are not excluded! Our teachers you can remember from the best Czech, Slovak, and Moravian bluegrass music groups – SK band, Druha Trava, and Poutnici, most of them can speak English (the basic language of the lessons is of course Czech, but don´t be afraid, not only teachers, most of the students can speak English, too).

Some other activities are planned (jam sessions, little explication of basic repairing the music instruments, audio- and video showcase of American bluegrass music news etc.). The workshop will be concluded by a big music party (our own little music festival) for ourselves, our parents, and our guests on Friday night.

The price (260 euro) includes the cost of the stage, accommodation (rooms with 2 or 4 beds in a nice hostel in opposite of 'our' school) and food (three times daily).

Subscriptions (cancelling up) by application (or by e-mail) before the 31st July. Payment after arrive.

We´ll start on Sunday 8th August from 3 p.m. (nobody will be in the hostel before 3 – coming soon, you can visit a fantastic swimming pool about 300m from our school) in Hustopeče, hostel 'Stávek' on Komenského Street (in opposite of the basic school – if you would need, I will help you by phone). The first lessons will start from Monday morning at school.

We are looking forward to you and members of your band!

Helena B.

Festival news welcome for the next Bluegrass Europe

Dagfinn Pedersen (N), coordinator of EBMA national representatives, sends a reminder that news, reports, and other material for the next issue of Bluegrass Europe (August/September 2010) should be delivered by 10 July at the latest, as the editorial and production team members will be on holiday shortly after that date. Dagfinn adds:

In addition to the usual news summaries there will be a focus on festivals this time. Make everybody aware of your festivals, concerts, touring bands, workshops, house concerts, jamming nights, any new CDs out, etc., etc.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Best of Bluegrass honours Liz Meyer and European bluegrass

Thanks to Pieter Groenveld of Strictly Country Records for this news from Bob Mitchell:

Bob Mitchell hosts 'Best of Bluegrass' every Friday 8.00-10.00 a.m. CST (14:00 GMT) and every Sunday 3.00-5.00 p.m. CST (21:00 GMT) on Radio Bluegrass International. The program is also broadcast every Saturday morning on WKWC-FM Owensboro, Kentucky (7.00-9.00 a.m. CST).

Bob supplies your minimum daily required dose of vitamin B (that's bluegrass!) This week's program is a tribute to Liz Meyer. The German magazine Akustik Gitarre says 'The American singer-songwriter Liz Meyer is probably the most important link between the United States and European bluegrass scenes.'

Liz (who lives in the Netherlands) introduced me to European bluegrass and she has been a major organiser and promoter for the European World of Bluegrass Festival and Trade Show. Since 2001 she's been battling cancer. For most of 2009 she was in a treatment centre. In June 2010 she was discharged and returned to her home. Therefore, this program is dedicated to her not only as a token of appreciation for her promotion of bluegrass but also as a musical get well card. Additionally, Liz has been selected as the second recipient of the 'Best of Bluegrass' Excellence Award. Every band on today's show is based in Europe or Canada.

Play List #112
Radio Bluegrass International and WKWC-FM (Owensboro, Kentucky)
Best of Bluegrass
Bob Mitchell
Recorded on 26 June 2010 at WFPK-FM 91.9, Louisville, KY.

1 Liz Meyer: How mountain girls can love / 11 / Strictly Country Records / Live at EWOB (with Nugget - Austria) {Liz: The Netherlands)
2 Bluegrass Stuff: Heavy traffic ahead / 10 / Arcipelago / Volarie (Italy)
3 Red Wine: Blue in the Blue Ridge / 1 / Independent Release / Italian cats (Italy)
4 Wheel Drive: Blue Ridge Mountain girl / 2 / Stoney Man / Another town (Netherlands)
5 Janet McGarry: Robin built a nest on Daddy's grave / 8 / Independent / Just passing thru (Canada)
6 Tom Hanway: Nashville Blues: / 9 / Joyous Gard / Bucket of bees (Ireland)
7 Monogram: Big spike hammer / 1 / Strictly Country Records / European World of Bluegrass: 2003 (Czech Republic)
8 29 Strings: H 13 / Velvet Music / New lineup (Slovakia)
9 Liz Meyer: Someday you will / Strictly Country Records / THE STORM (The Netherlands)
10 The Abrams Brothers: Another night / 2 / MasterShield / Iron sharpens iron (Canada)
11 Blackjack: No one as sweet as you / 8 / Tria / No one like you (Czech Republic)
12G2 Bluegrass Band: Crossroad turnaround / 12 / Cosmos Records / Where the tall grass grows (Sweden)
13 Rawhide: I will / 4 / Strictly Country Records / Not too strictly (Belgium)
14 Bononia Grass: Going back to the Blue Ridge Mountains / 11 / Tortellino Records / Thinking it blue (Italy)
15 Downtown Ramblers: Silver and gold / 2 / Independent Release / Self titled (Sweden)
16 PPM: Ain't gonna work tomorrow / 5 / Independent Release / Fall (Sweden)
17 Sunny Side: Kentucky Waltz / 18 / Strictly Country Records / European World of Bluegrass: 2004 (Czech Republic)
18 Bluegrass Parkway: Louisville Breakdown / 5 / Independent Release / A girl from the south (Australia)
19 Karen Lynne: Blue Mountain rain / 10 / Shoestring / Changes (Australia)
20 Stroatklinkers: Ik hol nog meer van Die / 18 / Strictly Country Records/ European World of Bluegrass: 2003 (Netherlands)
21 Springfield: Spring fills / 8 / Independent Release / Cross over (France)
22 Hoboes: Miss the Mississippi and you / Disc 2 Track 4 / Independent Release / France bluegrass: vol. 2 (France)
23 Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers: Highways and gravel roads / 11 / Goofin Records / Most requested (Finland)
24 Longway: Cherokee shuffle / 12 / Lomond Records / Further on (United Kingdom)
25 Mideando String Quintet: Talk about suffering / DISC #1 track 17 / Strictly Country Records / European World of Bluegrass: 10 years (Italy)
26 Kreni: I know what it means to be lonely / 5 / Sabik / For sale (Czech Republic)
27 Jiri Kralik & the Rowdy Rascals: Cricket on the hearth / 4 / Independent / Moving on (Czech Republic)
28 Kukuruza: Roses in the snow / 13 / Sugar Hill / Crossing borders (Russia)
29 Hamilton County Bluegrass Band: Town and country / 10 / Kiwi Pacific / Way down south (New Zealand)
30 Cold Mountain Band: Echoes of a signal / 3 / Independent Release / Almost live (Sweden)
31 Widow Maker: Get up there mule / 8 / Sadiebird / The awful truth (Canada)
32 Relief: I'll never let you go / 12 / Good Day Records / (Czech Republic)
33 April Verch: Dixie hoedown / 10 / Rounder / From where I stand (Canada)
34 Coal Porters: The sound of life / 3 / Prima / Turn the water on boy (United Kingdom)
35 Groundspeed: Take this hammer / 8 / Strictly Country Records / European World of Bluegrass: 2003 (Germany)
36 Shin Akimoto Band: Don't bother to cry / 14 / Independent Release / IBMA presents Long Journey Home (Japan)

New EBMA banner

As part of the EBMA's policy of making its presence felt, a new banner for the organisation - measuring 1 metre by 2 metres - is likely to be clearly visible at several major European bluegrass festivals this year as well as at the IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2010.

The new banner can be clearly seen behind G-Runs 'n' Roses (CZ), the current #1 European Bluegrass Band, in this YouTube footage shot at the recent Banjo Jamboree (18-19 June) in Čáslav.

A banjo frolic released

Thanks to Gérard De Smaele (B) for the news that Frémeaux & Associés Télévisions released on Monday 21 June the original version of the documentary film A banjo frolic, scripted by Gérard De Smaele, filmed by Patrick Ferryn, and produced with the help of the US embassy in Brussels, in connection with the banjo exhibition which De Smaele presented in 2003. The DVD, which is entirely in English without subtitles, will be distributed in the USA by Harmonia Mundi. De Smaele and Ferryn state:

We drove from Atlanta GA to Washington DC (home of the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution, two huge folk-music repositories), and throughout western North Carolina and Virginia, the Blue Ridge and the Smoky Mountains. The Appalachian areas we visited are in the nest of old-time music (also bluegrass), which is distinct from the usual commercial trends of the country music.

A banjo frolic raises several issues like conservation, transmission, and transformation of the Southern musical heritage. It surely could be used as a basis for reflecting on the meaning of our own European traditional music, its use and value within the present-day world. The context presented is an America distant from the usual clichés.

The music includes the title piece by the great English 'classical banjo' composer Joe Morley, Smithsonian Folkways recordings, and performances by Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, David 'Honeyboy' Edwards, Bascom Lamar Lunsford, Laura Boosinger, Frank Hamilton, Reed Martin, Kyle Creed, and many others. Banjo makers taking part include Kevin Enoch, Lo Gordon, Peter Ross, Geoff Stelling, and George Wunderlich. More details are here.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Giant Mountain's Band win Banjo Jamboree title

Petr Brandejs reports from the Czech Republic:

New winner of the Banjo Jamboree contest was voted on Saturday morning of this oldest (38th this year) European bluegrass festival Banjo Jamboree in Caslav, Czech Republic. It's a fine traditional bluegrass band called the Giant Mountain's Band [above; photo: Lilly Pavlak]. They won a Senheiser microphone and a free membership of the EBMA for one year and are invited to play the Banjo Jamboree 2011.

There were four bands competing and twenty-five more bands playing, and among the highlights there was the banjo legend and IBMA Award winner Marko Cermak, Lonesome Mountaineers from Sweden, and Sue Thompson from Seattle with the Brandejs Band.

Flatpicking Guitar and Mandolin Workshop in Tuscany/Italy - 31st July - 7th August

Thanks to Oliver Waitze for this reminder:

The Mediterranean Music School will be held from 31 July to 7 August in Tuscany, Italy, for players of all levels. Oliver Waitze - who was profiled in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine at the end of 2009 - will be teaching the 'Flatpicking to Gypsy Swing' course on guitar, and Jesper Rübner-Petersen will be giving a parallel course on mandolin – DAWG Music, Gypsy Swing, Bluegrass Improvisation etc. 4 hours a day of teaching all week long! Bring your guitar and mandolin playing to the next level! There will also be wine, sunshine, concerts, jam sessions...
The school is located in the historic Albergo Poderino San Cristoforo, near Volterra. Don’t miss this great event!!!!! Sign in NOW!!
Here are some impressions of the location -
Info and registration: Mediterranean Music School Mainzer Str. 143, 71672 Marbach, Germany, Phone: 0049 (0) 7144-5987, Web:, Email:
Workshop Info: Oliver Waitze New Acoustic Gallery Oliver Waitze, Neuenhofer Str. 122, D-42657 Solingen, Germany, Tel.: +49 (0) 212/2474007, Web:, Email:

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Concerts in Belgium and France, 25-26 June 2010

Bluegrass in Belgium reports:

Friday 25 June the Sons of Navarone play in Lier (B). Admission is free!!!

And Saturday 26 June Rawhide will open for Hayseed Dixie in Lille (F). Admission is not so free.

Not close enough? Well, why don't YOU organise a gig?

Details of these concerts are on our calendar. See you there!

Thursday, 17 June 2010

IBMA Special Awards nominations: deadline 30 June 2010

The International Bluegrass Music Association announces that nominations are currently being accepted from IBMA members for the following awards, to be presented during World of Bluegrass Week (27 Sept.-3 Oct. 2010), in Nashville, Tennessee: Bluegrass Broadcaster of the Year, Print Media Person of the Year, Best Graphic Design, Best Liner Notes, and Bluegrass Event of the Year. The full criteria and procedures for nominations are given here. Nominations must be received by the IBMA not later than 30 June 2010.

The EBMA would like to remind all IBMA members in Europe that European people, events, and achievements are equally eligible for nomination for an IBMA award - don't forget that the European World of Bluegrass Festival won the award for Bluegrass Event of the Year in 2003. It's about time Europe won another award... but that won't happen if the IBMA doesn't receive your nominations.

Willem Ruiter's bluegrass website - updated

On 29 January 2009 the European Bluegrass Blog carried news of a website built and maintained by Willem Ruiter from Voorthuizen, the Netherlands - world-famous as the location for the annual European World of Bluegrass Festival.

Already a valuable and comprehensive source of bluegrass information eighteen months ago, the website has been updated and expanded. It gives links to the websites of bluegrass bands in Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia, and of bluegrass magazines and media, associations, record suppliers, instrument makers, and other sites of bluegrass interest. It is also now interactive, with a guestbook and a poll, where the visitor can show his or her role in bluegrass music - whether as member of a bluegrass association, member of a bluegrass band, bluegrass music fan, or other.

Willem's website, with its wealth of information, is well worth visiting and bookmarking. Thanks to Helmut Schumacher for drawing our attention to its expansion and updating.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Elvis Costello & the Sugarcanes in Europe, 27 June-28 July 2010

Thanks to Thierry Schoysman of Rawhide (B), the Sons of Navarone (B), and Bluegrass in Belgium, who reports:

I just found out that Elvis Costello will tour Europe in June/July 2010. The exciting news is his band The Sugarcanes, that includes Jim Lauderdale, Jerry Douglas, Mike Compton, Stuart Duncan, Dennis Crouch, and Jeff Taylor.

They'll be in Belgium, Holland, UK, Ireland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, France, and Italy.

Here is the schedule as it stands at present. More details (including ticket purchase) are here.

27 June 2010 Hyde Park Hard Rock Calling, London, England
28 June 2010 Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England
30 June 2010 The Sage, Gateshead, England
1 July 2010 Vicar Street, Dublin, Ireland
2 July 2010 Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland
5 July 2010 Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen, Denmark
8 July 2010 Jazz a Vienne, Vienne, France
10 July 2010 Cactus Festival, Bruges (Brugge), Belgium
11 July 2010 North Sea Jazz, Rotterdam, Holland
13 July 2010 Montreux Jazz Festival, Montreux, Switzerland
15 July 2010 Palazzo Te, Mantua (Mantova), Italy
18 July 2010 Villa Adriana, Rome (Tivoli), Italy
20 July 2010 Les Nuits de la Guitare, Corsica, France
22 July 2010 Escenario Puerta del Angel, Madrid, Spain
23 July 2010 Foro Iberoamericano de Huelva, Huelva, Spain
24 July 2010 Festival Luna Lunera, Sos Del Rey Catolico, Spain
25 July 2010 Jazz Festival, San Sebastian, Spain
27 July 2010 Xacobeo Festival, Santiago d. Compostela, Spain
28 July 2010 Cool Jazz Festival, Cascais, Portugal

NAG June 2010 newsletter

Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery in Solingen, Germany, sends the NAG's June 2010 newsletter.

The main item is the Mediterranean Music School, which will be held from 31 July to 7 August in Tuscany, Italy, for players of all levels. Oliver - who was profiled in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine at the end of 2009 - will be teaching the 'Flatpicking to Gypsy Swing' course on guitar, and Jesper Rübner-Petersen will be giving a parallel course on mandolin. There will also be wine, sunshine, concerts, jam sessions... The school is located in the historic Albergo Poderino San Cristoforo, near Volterra.

Mike Marshall and Caterina Lichtenberg will be giving a concert of duets for mandolin and mandocello at the NAG, starting at 8.00 p.m. on 11 September 2010; VV €25/AK €30. Tickets can be booked at +49 0212/2474007 or by e-mail. The new CD by the duo is now in stock at the NAG for €19.90.

Other good things in stock include Jesper Rübner-Petersen's The mandolin picker's guide to bluegrass improvisation (€28.95) and the following classical guitars: Ramirez 1a (1982), Bernabe M 40, Paco Santiago Marin (1986), Migliorini & Pozzi (IT) (2006, 2007), Wichmann (2004), and Kohno Professional J (1994).

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

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Matching Ties & Paul Stowe on tour, summer 2010

Paul Stowe sends the current Matching Ties tour schedule, and reports:

This summer is a bit quieter than previous summers, with most concerts and festival dates in Germany, but staying closer to home for a while is OK too. In addition to lots of duo shows with Trevor Morris, we’ll do a lot of trio to sextet shows with an ever-increasing selection of MT members: Georg Bähr on the fiddle, Thomas Kärner on the bass, Colm O’Tuama on Irish flute, tin whistles, and - new in the band - our doctor friend and really nice guy Konrad Stock on bodhrán (Irish drum), Scottish Highland and Irish Uilleann bagpipes.

All our concerts are important, but here are some of the upcoming highlights:

This coming weekend!: Fri. 18-Sun. 20 June 2010 Greenfarm Festival, one of the biggest Irish/Celtic folk festivals in Europe. Matching Ties appear as a duo and with Friends.

Fri. 16 July
85410 Haag an der Amper (Kreis Freising), Irish Bayrisch Open-Air, Badeweiher Haag (in the Theatersaal of the Grundschule if the weather is bad) 19:00- 23:00? Matching Ties Quartet and Geigenwerck

Fri. 23 July 86609 Donauwörth, Irish Folk Night-Open Air (bei der Schwäbischwerder Kindertage), Heilig-Kreuz-Garten, Matching Ties Sextet

Sat. 24 July Munich, Alter Hof, Weinfest, 15:00-21:30. Matching Ties Quintet

Thurs. 5 Aug. 85567 Taglaching (Gmde Bruck, Kr. Ebersberg), Wirtshaus, Matching Ties Duo, Biergarten, 20:00. Tel. 08092-336138 ‎

Sat. 14 Aug. 83352 Altenmarkt, Kloster Baumburg, Matching Ties Duo + John Barden & Band (IRL)

Fri. 3-Sat. 4 Sept. 89423 Gundelfingen-Birkenried, Kulturgewächshaus, Bluegrass Meeting, Fri. Matching Ties Duo, Sat. Matching Ties Quartet + Kim Carson Band, Night Run, Greyfox

For more details and dates in autumn 2010 and beyond, see the Matching Ties website.

The Gibson Brothers at Oldenburg... on TV

Thanks to Helmuth Schumacher for this link to YouTube for a ten-minute video from ONBC Television, shot in Oldenburg, Germany, while the Gibson Brothers (USA) were there for their appearance at the Staatstheater on 11 April 2010.

Joachim Mirkes conducts a six-minute interview with Eric and Leigh Gibson and their mandolin player Joe Walsh al fresco in Oldenburg. The brothers mention their latest CD, Ring the bell (#1 in the Bluegrass Unlimited album charts for three months), and give an example of duet singing. The remaining four minutes are shot in the Staatstheater, where the band are warming up by running through 'Turkey in the straw'.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Southern Tenant Folk Union's 3rd album, The new farming scene, now out on Johnny Rock Records

Thanks to Pat McGarvey of Southern Tenant Folk Union (now based in Edinburgh, Scotland) for the news that the band's third album, The new farming scene, was released on 7 June 2010 on the Scottish label Johnny Rock Records as JOROCK 011. Distributed by Forte Music and available at iTunes/, it comprises ten tracks of original material and one traditional Scots ballad, 'South Ythsie', which can be heard on the band's website.

Southern Tenant Folk Union have used this album to bring out the talent of their new members, most of whom come from the Scottish folk-music tradition, and to blend that tradition with the sound of bluegrass and old-time music. The original songs, with their 'post-apocalyptic lyrical tone', give a stark, soulful, and spirited vision of a post-technological agrarian future:

'Surrounded by barbed wire, machine gun nests, our forty acres of scratch is the best...'

Quotes from reviews: 'A bold concept piece' (Andy Gill, The Independent ****)
'Refreshing as warm spring rain' (Maurice Hope, Americana-UK)
'These songs are timeless, but fresh and new. Long may the Union continue' (James Walsh, Morning Star)
'A smart conflation of Celtic tradition and bluegrass, played with rare intuition' (Rob Hughes, Uncut Magazine)

For more information, see the Southern Tenant Folk Union website.

Smoketown Strut from the 1970s to the 1990s

Those with memories of the bluegrass scene in Europe - and especially in Belgium and the Netherlands - in the 1970s and 1980s will find many evocative pictures in two internet albums set up by Jan Michielsen on Facebook. The above, taken in Peter Van Eyck's basement in Heverlee, Belgium, in the early 'seventies, shows (l-r) Jef Van Gool, Jan Michielsen, Peter Van Eyck, Magda and William. Jan adds:

As you will see, the '70s were definitely the 'moustache' era. Abdominal fat was still a thing to come, but the hair department was already in full swing! The concept 'dress code' hadn't been invented yet.

Jan was a founder member of Smoketown Strut; the band accompanied such touring bluegrass artists as Charlie Moore, Jim Eanes, and Bill Clifton & Red Rector (see the EBB for 1 Dec. 2007). The album of photos from the 1970s can be viewed here, and the corresponding album for the 1980s and 1990s here.

Jan, who is now guitarist and singer for 4 Wheel Drive (D/NL/B), intends to start work soon on a 4WD album.

Jan Michielsen, Paul van Vlodrop, Jim Eanes, and Lody van Vlodrop in a concert at 'The Home of Strictly Country', Rienk Janssen's house in Harpel, the Netherlands, 1981

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Danilo Cartia Band in northern Italy, 15, 18 June 2010

The Danilo Cartia Band, hosts of the regular Rome Bluegrass Jam, will play two shows in northern Italy next week - at 21:00 on Tuesday 15 June 2010 at the Teatro Manzoni, Viale Manzoni 42, Milan; and at 18:00 on Friday 18 June 2010 at the 50’s Lake Festival, Verbania (VB), on Lake Maggiore.

Danilo Cartia website
Facebook : Danilo Cartia
ph./fax +39 06 8273332
mob. +39 339 6908450

Chatham County Line in Europe, Sept. 2010

Chatham County Line (photo: Michael Graham)

Chatham County Line (USA) begin a European tour on 17 September, with appearances in Belgium, the Netherlands, Britain, and Ireland. The dates at present available are on the band's website.

Chatham County Line were in Norway three months ago, where as well as performing they were nominated for the Spellemann Prize for their collaboration with Norwegian singer Jonas Fjeld (see the EBB for 4 March 2010).

Friday, 11 June 2010

Bluegrass on the July 2010 Word magazine!

Thanks to Sid Griffin (centre rear in the photo above), leader of the Coal Porters (USA/UK), for the news that the band has a track on the CD accompanying the July issue of the UK music magazine The Word.

The song 'No more chains', from their recent album Durango, can be previewed on The Word's website, where it is the #9 track (though the band is at #10 on the CD). This performance was filmed at the Square Wheels House Concert in Strathpeffer, Scotland, on 29 October 2009, and can also be seen on YouTube.

The Coal Porters, who will be headlining the 4th Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival in Co. Mayo, Ireland, on 25-27 June 2010, can be seen and heard in many other videos on YouTube, including this driving performance of 'Sail away ladies', in front of a very large crowd in a London street.

Addendum: Tomorrow (Sunday 13 June) Uri Kohen, organiser of the Westport festival, will co-host a radio programme, 'Time after time', to promote the Festival; it will be broadcast on a local radio station at 18:00 Irish time, but can be heard on line here.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Nothin' Fancy in Norway, 15-17 July 2010

The EBB reported yesterday that the exclusive appearance in western Europe by Nothin' Fancy (USA) on 14 July is now completely booked out. However, the band can still be heard in northern Europe: they will be playing in Norway as part of the Norsk Country Treff at Breim, where the headline act is Patty Loveless.

Nothin' Fancy's Norwegian schedule is:

15 July The Folk House, Sandane
16 July Salon Area, Norsk Country Treff, Breim
17 July Church performance (afternoon); Salon Area (20:00-20:50), Norsk Country Treff, Breim

Full details of the festival programme and a bio of Nothin' Fancy in Norwegian can be found on the Norsk Country Treff website.

Birthday Special Night in Rome, 10 June 2010

Thanks to Danilo Cartia (left) for the news that the Danilo Cartia Band & friends will hold a Birthday Special Night on Thursday 10 June 2010 at the Cantine Blues, Via della Batteria Nomentana 66, Rome, Italy - the regular location for the Rome Bluegrass Jam.

Danilo Cartia website
Facebook: Danilo Cartia
ph./fax +39 06 8273332
mob. +39 339 6908450

Monday, 7 June 2010

Nothin' Fancy at Turfschip, 14 July 2010: SOLD OUT

On 3 June the EBB reported that Nothin' Fancy (USA), one of today's finest, award-winning bluegrass bands, would perform exclusively in west Europe on Wednesday 14 July 2010 in Turfschip, Zuideinde 15, Nieuwkoop (NL), with the show opened by country singer Jerry Kilgore from Nashville, TN.

Cor & Margaret Sanne of CMS Productions report that the show is now completely sold out, and no further tickets are available.

Nothin' Fancy won the SPBGMA award for Most Entertaining Band in 2008, 2009, and 2010.

Friday, 4 June 2010

Banjo prizes on Irish national radio show

In a musical career stretching over five decades, Ireland's Niall Toner has done almost every kind of bluegrass activity: singer, songwriter, instrumentalist, composer, bandleader, event organiser, recording artist - and broadcaster. As from tomorrow (Saturday 5 June) his radio show 'Roots Freeway' is back on air on Saturday nights on the national broadcasting service, RTE Radio 1, from 11.00 p.m. till midnight, presenting roots, country, bluegrass, country rock, western swing, cajun, and hardcore mountain music.

In the last series of his show, Niall gave away two Gibson guitars to the winners of contests. In this series he will be offering two handmade Clareen banjos, valued at €1,500.00 each, as prizes: one tenor banjo and one 5-string, custom-made and donated by Tom Cussen in Co. Galway. For further details of the competition - which will begin in about two weeks' time - see the Bluegrass Ireland Blog. The photo (left) shows a Clareen Special 5-string.

More photos from EWOB 2010

The above photo of Simona Schmidtová of Candy Floss (Slovak Republic) is one of many photos taken by Jan de Mooy at this year's European World of Bluegrass Festival (13-15 May), which can be seen on the original Bluegrass Blog.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

New Kruger Brothers Online Store

Thanks to Christine Bell, who sends the welcome news:

Check out the NEW Kruger Brothers Online Store where you can purchase all of our CDs and DVDs at fantastic prices. And that's not all... FREE domestic shipping [i.e. within the USA]. Simply visit our website and click on the Online Store tab. COMING SOON... Kruger Brothers T-Shirts and hats!!

Double Time Music, Inc. / Kruger Brothers
6137 Statesville Rd.
North Wilkesboro, NC 28659

James Talley's last show in Europe

Walter Fuchs reports:

Just the night before James Talley flew back to Nashville he gave a concert in Frankfurt am Main at the 'Dreikönigskeller' on 1 June. He was joined by Dutch fiddler and mandolin-player Joost van Es, and some of Talley's closest friends from Italy and Germany showed up to say 'So long' to the legendary singer/songwriter who played the Bühl Bluegrass Festival on 15 May together with 4 Wheel Drive. Manfred Peter from Germany did some snapshots [two appear here].

Bluegrass Workshop at La Roche sur Foron, 27-9 July 2010

Thanks to Christopher Howard-Williams of the FBMA for the news that there will be a Bluegrass Workshop at La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France, with the Hickory Project (USA). The workshop, comprising tuition in banjo, guitar, mandolin, fiddle, and vocals (with Sue Thompson) will be held on 27-29 July, three days before the La Roche Bluegrass Festival.

The workshop will be held in the school Ste Famille. Full accommodation and food will be available on site.

Cost: €90 for the workshop - plus €75 full board for the three days.
More information is available here.

G2 to help celebrate 25 years of IBMA

The G2 Bluegrass Band from Sweden, who leave for the USA in five days' time (see the EBB for 28 May), will be among the Music City Roots Performers at a special reception, dinner, and show in Nashville to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the International Bluegrass Music Association, and to honour the IBMA's founding members.

They will be joining such legendary performers and rising stars as Rodney Dillard, Jesse McReynolds, the Whites, Dale Ann Bradley, Sierra Hull, the Farewell Drifters, and Rockin’ Acoustic Circus. The celebration will be held on Wednesday 23 June 2010 at the Loveless Barn, 8400 Highway 100, Nashville, TN. Attendance is by invitation only.

Extra: Jens Koch of G2 is also quoted in the latest IBMA circular announcing World of Bluegrass 2010, which can be seen here.

2010 IBMA 'After hours' showcases

Darwin Davidson, radio presenter and bluegrass photographer who was present at this year's EWOB Festival, writes on the IBMA-L list:

At the upcoming 2010 IBMA World of Bluegrass, I will again be hosting three 'After hours' showcase functions. As I have done in previous years, I want to concentrate on showcasing performers, at the Bronzewound Showcase, who are interested in expanding their horizons; such as those who don't currently have a label affiliation or strong publicity outlets. Also those who are interested in getting exposure to more festival promoters, primarily in the North-east USA.

I will be doing the after-hours showcase on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday nights.

If you are in one of these categories, or know of a band or performer who is, and are planning on being at the 2010 IBMA WOB, please contact me off-list.

Darwin Davidson
'Bronzewound' Bluegrass
WERU-FM, 89.9
Blue Hill, Maine

Darwin's work as a bluegrass photographer can be sampled here. His article for the IBMA newsletter International Bluegrass about EWOB 2010 can be read here. He concludes: 'Everybody at the festival is so welcoming, it’s definitely worth the long airplane ride just to get to the Netherlands... So… don’t put off a trip to the EWOB for six years like I did. Make your reservations right now for 2011: June 2-4. All the folks there will make you very welcome. They sure did for me.'

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Delay of Bluegrass Europe / Strictly Country / Bluegrass Bühne announced

We are sorry to inform you that a considerable delay in receiving your magazine is to be expected. This is partly due to the editor's wish to report on the most recent events at EWOB Voorthuizen and Bühl, Germany.

In addition, there were technical problems at the printers (their server was moved to a different location, which led to uploading difficulties). Therefore, our magazines are only going to be printed today, 2nd June 2010. Please accept our apologies.

Meanwhile, all EBMA active members will receive their personal copy of the brand new updated European Bluegrass Directory 2010/11, which is also available (for postage) to anyone else interested. Please E-mail to

Angelika Torrie
Chairperson EBMA,
Co-editor of Bluegrass Europe
Editor of Bluegrass Bühne

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Lilly Drumeva with Monogram, live in Prague

A reminder (see the EBB for 21 May) that on Tuesday 22 June Lilly Drumeva of Bulgaria will give a concert in Prague (CZ), with Monogram (see photo above). The concert, starting at 18:30, will mark the release of Lilly's latest CD, Lovin’ you.

After the show you are invited to taste a glass of Bulgarian wine. Entrance is free. The address is:

Bulharský Kulturní Institut
Klimentská 6
110 00 Praha 1
Česka Republika
Tel: +4202 333 268 62
Tel/fax: +4202 333 345 02

Czech Bluegrass Spring VI: Prague, 19 Apr. 2010

The final instalment of Lilly Pavlak's diary of major bluegrass events in the Czech Republic this spring:

Next Monday (19 April) I did some sightseeing. There is so much to see in Prague. I also went to an exhibition by the Charles Bridge, about the life work of Marko Cermak. Called as his last book, Marko Cermak: posledni romantik (The Last Romantic).

The first Czech bluegrass album, Pisne Americkeho zapadu ('Songs of the American West'); the Greenhorns and White Stars

I could see there all his recordings, awards, books, paintings, comics, and illustrations of the famous books for boys by the Boy Scout writer Jaroslav Foglar and others.

Because of the censors, the Greenhorns had to change their name to Zelenaci; it was forbidden to use English names

In the evening the very last event was waiting for me. In the sold-out Gong Theatre started a release party for Monogram's last CD – Hit the road. The CD exceed thirteen songs, eleven of them are originals written by the band members. Monogram are Jakub Racek (guitar), Jarda Jahoda (banjo), Zdenek Jahoda (mandolin), and Pavel Lzicar (bass). They started immediately with the firework of their wonderful music.

I loved where the boys thanked the most important women in their lives: their mothers enabling them to learn to play musical instruments, and wives, that they did not ban it. The awaited moment came and the 'Godfather' Misa Leicht of the band Cop from Pilsen showed up on stage with a bottle of champagne and poured it over the new CD. So the CD was baptised! Misa stayed on stage and performed two songs with the band.

Everybody was laughing, when they told us, as they were invited to play a bluegrass festival in Rumania and they put on some costume wigs and shirts and play very fast 'Rumanian' bluegrass. People calmed down by Jakub's beautiful love song 'Cure for you' and stand by the instrumental by Jarda Jahoda, 'Kyril', about the terrible storm which felled thousands of trees some years ago. I also loved the 'California dream'.

Many songs and instrumentals from the new CD followed. You can order the CD on their home page and I can kindly recommend it to you. I am sure some of you can remember their performance at the IBMA Fan Fest 2005.

What a great conclusion of my Czech holiday. The next day I already was on my way back to Switzerland, already looking forward for the next trip, to the European World of Bluegrass Festival in Holland (13-15 May).

Lilly's photos of the award winners at EWOB 2010 can be seen here.

Pete & Joan Wernick to perform and teach bluegrass music in Russia, July 2010

Internationally renowned banjo player and teacher Pete 'Dr Banjo' Wernick and his wife and musical partner, Joan Wernick, will travel to Russia in July 2010 to perform and teach at Russia's first Russia-America Bluegrass Jamboree in Vologda, and in St Petersburg. The Jamboree will offer free outdoor concerts by both American and Russian bluegrass artists, informational presentations about the genre, and bluegrass jam sessions. The Wernicks will perform at Vologda, the main event site, and will also offer a bluegrass presentation to Russian teens in Semenko as part of the Jamboree. For complete festival information, see the Jamboree website.

The Wernicks will also perform in several other capacities during their stay. Here is their complete tour itinerary:

July 19 St Petersburg: Radio Show
July 20 Vologda: Russia-America Bluegrass Jamboree
July 21 Semenkovo: Russia-America Bluegrass Jamboree presentation to teenagers
July 22 St Petersburg: 3.00 p.m., Museum Presentation; 9.00 p.m., accompaniment for 1925 silent movie Tumbleweeds
July 23 St Petersburg: private party at home of US consul general.

More information is available here.

Pete says: 'My grandparents all came from Russia in the early 1900s, actually from the Ukraine region. Joan and I grew up in the era when Russia was America’s number one scary rival, and so it’s gratifying to be enlisted for this event intended to bring our cultures a bit closer together.'

Pete Wernick is renowned worldwide for his accomplishments and contributions to bluegrass music: the hot-picking force in several trend-setting bands including Hot Rize, respected author and teacher, songwriter, and long-term president of the International Bluegrass Music Association.