Tuesday, 31 August 2010

EWOB Festival 2011 band applications!

Thanks to the organising committee of the EWOB Festival in Voorthuizen, NL, for passing on this information:
"EWOB Festival 2011 BAND APPLICATIONS open from Sept. 20 to Dec. 1. The festival will be June 2-3-4, 2011. Don't forget to apply on time! 42 great bands will get a showcase, & one will become the next #1 European Bluegrass Band!
Read application info at www.ewob.eu > Sign Up > Bands. Please read the EWOB FAQs for Musicians - www.ewob.eu > Festival Info > FAQ > FAQ for Musicians & Bands. We hope to see YOUR band at EWOB 2011!"

Find the EWOB Festival on Facebook.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

The Wortmann Brothers: 'Alien morning'

Thanks to Frank and Ulrich Wortmann, active members of the EBMA, who send a link to their Youtube video 'Alien morning', with this preface:

The Wortmann Brothers may have come to your notice as visitors to various EBMA events, notably the EWOB, not as a band. This may result from the fact that they are not a band, but rather two brothers which try their hands on genre-typical instruments.

But in a way, they could be a whole band, as they found out putting to use some timely means of recording, that have popped up lately in their households. The results may be far from excellent, but they show what goes around in the minds of mid-aged bluegrass-lovers from the German province.

This is the video's current address. Hope you like (some aspects of) it!

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Glasgow works its magic spell

Glasgow, European City of Culture in 1990, became a City of Bluegrass Romance twenty years later when Tim Stafford and Alecia Nugent (left) were both in the Scottish city for the Celtic Connections Festival at the beginning of this year. They now plan to be married in about a year's time.

The next Celtic Connections Festival will be held from 13 to 30 January 2011, and is likely to be as appealing to bluegrass enthusiasts as its predecessors. And who knows what else may happen while you're there?

Friday, 27 August 2010

Bluegrass has a long reach

The Grascals at the Albisgütli festival, Switzerland, Feb. 2010 (photo: Lilly Pavlak)

The Grascals (USA) ask: 'What is the definition of IBMA Entertainer of the Year? To expand the greater audience of bluegrass music by continually exposing new fans to the bluegrass genre.' They can claim to have played for a total of 450,000 people this year, including 10,000 at the Craponne Country Rendez-Vous Festival in France (23 July 2010) 'plus thousands more in Switzerland, Belgium, and Canada'. See the figures on their website or their latest e-newsletter.

Fiddle star Megan Lynch (USA) has recently been playing in Denmark and Sweden with country music star Pam Tillis. In addition, her online webcam lessons go out to students in Sweden, Britain, and Ireland, as well as North America. Megan writes:

This is a great way to keep up with your fiddling even when you live in the woods, or possibly in a town where public fiddling has been banned. All you need is a computer and a camera and a burning desire to get some fiddle lessons beamed right into your own living room. Check it out here.

Megan Lynch is one of the stellar group of pickers who present the latest release from Acutab Publications: the two-and-a-half-hour DVD Bluegrass jamming essentials, which can be recommended for pickers at any level. She is also joining forces with Ned Luberecki and Stephen Mougin to form the Nashville Music Workshop, which aims to make webcam lessons for fiddle, banjo, guitar, and mandolin accessible to the whole world.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

For songwriters: 'Come home to bluegrass'

The Ohio County Tourism Commission in Rosine, KY, USA, birthplace of the Father of Bluegrass, announces the first ever 'Come home to bluegrass' Songwriting Contest as part of a programme celebrating the centenary (13 Sept. 2011) of Bill Monroe's birth. The winner of the songwriting contest will debut his/her song at the celebration in 2011. Entries can be submitted from 13 Sept. 2010 to 13 Mar. 2011, and winners will be notified by 1 July. The rules of the contest include:

• Instrumentally and lyrically, songs must represent the traditional bluegrass style of Bill Monroe, should be between two-and-a-half and three minutes long, and should not have been published.

• No professional songwriters, contest judges, or their family members are eligible to enter. Amateurs may enter as many times as they wish, but no more than two songs per $10 entry fee are allowed.

The prizes are: 1st, $500; 2nd, $200; 3rd, $100. For more information about the contest and the whole centenary celebration programme, visit here or call +1-270-298-0036.


The 7th annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival and Song Writing Convention will be held from 23 to 27 February 2011 in Belfast, Northern Ireland (which is twinned with Nashville). All info, including videos from previous festivals, can be found on the Festival website.


Finally, for songwriters in all genres the International Songwriting Competition, with a galaxy of judges, offers a total of $150,000 in prizes. More details can be seen here.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Englishman who shaped American country music

Richard F Thompson of the British Bluegrass Music Association reports:

Uncle Art is the title of a forthcoming biography about Arthur Satherley [left] written by Alan John Britton, a talented musician from Bristol, England. Britton developed a deep fascination with the extremely influential, though hardly well-known, Englishman who shaped the sound of American country music in Nashville.

Satherley, remembered as 'Uncle Art' by his friends, travelled the southern states of America recording the hillbilly sounds of Appalachia that are the roots of country music. Uncle Art always said the music reminded him of his own Bristol home. Armed with primitive recording equipment, Art used school halls, log cabins, hotels, even a funeral parlour to record people such as Ma Rainey, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and many others. Later, his recordings would turn from hillbilly toward the likes of Bill Monroe, the Stanley Brothers, the Bailes Brothers, Molly O’Day, and Clyde Moody.

The publisher of Uncle Art is Authorhouse Books UK, and the book will be available through Amazon, Waterstones, and Barnes & Noble in the USA.

Lilly of the West with international guests

Photos: Sean O'Reilly

On Wednesday 25 August 2010, Lilly of the West played a special concert at the Zaimov Park, Sofia, Bulgaria, with international guests. It was part of the summer cultural events of the Sofia city municipality. The band featured Lilly on guitar, fiddle, and vocals, Bodi on bass, and Jasen on guitar.

Guests included Pepa Malina (excellent fiddler from the Czech Republic) and Mike Black (singer/ songwriter from the UK). The show was opened by Mike with his original songs. Lilly of the West followed with a ninety-minute set, featuring country, blues, swing, and jazz standards. Tasteful solos were exchanged by Pepa and Jasen. A highlight were the twin fiddle instrumentals, performed by Pepa and Lilly. Concert was well attended; around 200 people watched the show. Lilly and Pepa also appeared on Bulgarian national Television the same day.

More photos from the Park concert can be seen on Lilly's MySpace.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

What was Russia like?

The Jamboree stage in front of the Kremlin, Vologda (original photo by Robert Palomo, jr)

On 1 June 2010 the EBB published news that Pete & Joan Wernick (USA) would be performing and teaching bluegrass in Russia during July, including taking part in the first ever Russian-American Bluegrass Jamboree.

You can now read full reports of their trip in this newsletter and on the Dr Banjo website, with links to video reports from the US consulate; features from the first English-language Russian bluegrass publication, the Bluegrass Bugle; and many photos by Robert Palomo, jr, who played bass with Pete and Joan at their shows and presentations. As Pete Wernick announced to his Russian audiences:

I am honored and especially happy to be part of a bridging of the gap between our people because of my own history. My grand- parents all fled Russia about 100 years ago, and growing up in the 1950s, I was taught to fear Russians. I like it so much better when we can reach out and be friends and share what we can.

Banjoree 2011 news

Veit Döhler and Andreas Benkhofer send greetings from Hamburg, Germany, together with details of next year's Banjoree, the European 5-string banjo meeting and Germany's first banjo camp, which will be held on 13-15 May 2011.

Arrangements are already complete for most of the workshops: the list of distinguished tutors includes Jean-Marie Redon (melodic style), Jurgen Biller (Scruggs-style), Nils Tuxen (dobro), Chris Sands (classical banjo), Cera Impala (clawhammer), Andreas David (beginning 3-finger style), Bruno van Hoek (recording and stage technique), and Ulf Jagfors (African origins of the banjo).

For more details, see today's Banjoree press release (in German and English) and the Banjoree website. You can also meet the Banjoree organising team at their stand at the Tønder Festival in Denmark, a few days from now (26-29 Aug. 2010).

Lilly of the West in Poland, 21-22 August 2010

Thanks to Lilly Drumeva of Bulgaria, who reports on two concerts which she and her band played in Poland on 21 and 22 August 2010:

The band featured musicians from Hungary and Slovakia. Lilly was invited by Polish promoter Jerzy Batko to perform at the Koszecin country festival, near the town of Katovice. It was followed by a church concert on Sunday. The band featured Lilly Drumeva on guitar and fiddle, Zsolt Pinter on guitar, mandolin, and fiddle, Milan Ikhardt on banjo, and Peter Guergyadesz on upright bass. Lilly and Zsolt exchanged lead vocals and sang some duets. All in all, a wonderful experience: musicians from three different countries, united in the name of BLUEGRASS!

Photos by Anna Lewandowska; more photos of Lilly and the band in Poland can be seen in an album on Lilly's MySpace.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Dust Busters in Bulgaria and Ireland

The Dust Busters old-time string band from Brooklyn, NY, consist of Walker Shepard (guitar, banjo, bantar, vocals), Eli Smith (banjo, guitar, bantar, manjo, autoharp, harmonica, vocals), and Craig Judelman (fiddle, pump organ, vocals).

The Dust Busters, with special guest Betsy Plum of the Calamity Janes, are coming to Bulgaria at the end of August for a series of concerts at the Black Sea coast and in Sofia. At the special invitation of the US embassy in Sofia, the band will take part in the Bourgas International Folklore Festival (26-27 August) and be showcased in the Apollonia Festival of the Arts in Sozopol on 29 August. They will also perform a free public concert in Sofia at 6.00 p.m. on 31 August at the summer stage in Borissova Gradina together with Bulgaria’s own Lilly of the West.

Thanks to Richard F Thompson of the British Bluegrass Music Association for this link to a Sofia Echo feature about the tour. After playing in Bulgaria, the Dust Busters will play three shows in Ireland; full details are on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Claire Lynch Band in Europe, 25 Aug.-3 Sept. 2010

On Wednesday 25 August the Claire Lynch Band (USA) begins its ten-day tour in four European countries.

Reading from left to right in the photo, the band consists of Jason Thomas (mandolin, fiddle, vocals), Mark Schatz (bass, banjo), Claire Lynch (guitar, lead vocals), and Matthew Wingate (guitar, mandolin, vocals). Full details of the tour are:

Wed. 25 Aug. Spolkovy Dum (alternative venue for Club Mlejn, now under construction), K Vidouli 727, Praha 13, Stodulky; Prague, Czech Republic; 8.00 p.m.
Thurs. 26 Aug. Primaciálny Palác, Bratislava, Slovakia; 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 27 Aug. Lodenica 2010, Piestany, Slovakia
Sat. 28 Aug. Restaurant Lerchenberg, Zurich, Switzerland
Sun. 29 Aug. private event, Switzerland
Mon. 30 Aug. private event, Switzerland
Tues. 31 Aug. Kulturzentrum Alts Schlachthuus, Laufen, Switzerland; 8.00 p.m. Tickets SFr 40 (no standing)
Thurs. 2 Sept. Bluegrass Night, Liverpool Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England (with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band); 7.30 p.m. Tickets £16, £21
Fri. 3 Sept. Didmarton Bluegrass Festival, Kimble, near Cirencester, Gloucestershire, England

The schedule, with links for booking tickets, can also be seen here.

Claire Lynch Band: website

"New Bluegrass Europe" online survey

Help EBMA to improve: share your views about a truly European Magazine by participating in the online Survey (http://www.ebma.org/be_questionnaire.html) running until 15th September 2010. (If the survey shouldn't appear on your computer, you may alternatively use this direct link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/J9P858Z).

The magazine redesign is in the works and from April 2011, the new BE magazine will be available. Here's your chance to take part in building it! Thank you for participating.

Results will be published in a convenient format after 15th September.

Thank you very much for your appreciated support!

Angelika Torrie
Chairperson EBMA

Friday, 20 August 2010

Open House Festival 2010, Belfast, Northern Ireland

The 'hotter than Hell' Chilli Fest, held from 12:00 to 17:30 on 11-12 September in Custom House Square, Belfast, is part of this year's Coors Light Open House Festival. Hosted by the Flamme Fatale, Miss Lucifire, the Chilli Fest features live music by Hayseed Dixie, Poky Lafarge & the South City Three, the Water Tower Bucket Boys, Morgan O'Kane & Ferd 4, and Reverend Deadeye's No Man Gospel Band. Admission is £5.

Other bluegrass-related acts in the Open House Festival, which begins on 6 September, are the Old Crow Medicine Show and the Dave Rawlings Machine, featuring Gillian Welch. As two of the main concerts have already sold out (the opening night concert sold out 2,000 tickets in 36 hours), advance booking is strongly recommended.

Mumford & Sons (UK), main artists on the opening night, will be touring North America in October-November in a package with Cadillac Sky, currently one of the hottest younger bands on the US bluegrass scene.

The following free sessions are also taking place in Belfast venues during the Open House Festival:

Fri. 10 Sept. American session at McHugh's, 4.00-7.00 p.m.
Sat. 11 Sept. Old-time session at the John Hewitt, 3.00-6.00 p.m.
Sun. 12 Sept. Old-time session at McHugh's, 2.00-5.00 p.m.

The old-time sessions are hosted by the Ragged and Rough String Band (NI): Ian Carmichael (banjo), Geordie McAdam (fiddle), Bernie Stocks (fiddle), Eugene 'Spooly' Kelly (guitar), and Wilson Davies (bass). For more details, see the Festival website.

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Vacancies for October old-time workshop in Spain

Due to several unexpected and unavoidable cancellations, La Fuente de Musica has a few places available for September music workshops with Beverly Smith and Carl Jones (left).

This residential workshop in the beautiful Andalusian mountains of south-eastern Spain is held from 25 September to 2 October. Classes will be in fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, and singing. The cost is £475 inclusive of all room, board, facilities, and tuition, but excluding travel.

Contact Kate Lissauer by e-mail if you want any information or to enrol. For more details of the La Fuente de Musica workshops, see the EBB for 19 Nov. 2009.

Head of Bear Family to receive IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award

Richard Weize, the German-born founder of Bear Family Records, is to receive a Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) during the IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2010 (27 Sept.-3 Oct.).

Richard Weize, born in Bad Gandersheim in 1945, founded Bear Family Records in 1974. The label's output now includes over 100 boxed sets and many single CDs, with much bluegrass and traditional country material unavailable anywhere else, as well as a wide range of other music. A major article on Richard Weize and Bear Family Records by Richard F Thompson of the British Bluegrass Music Association has appeared in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine.

Sherry Boyd, Benjamin F. 'Tex' Logan, Lynn Morris, and Pete Wernick will also receive IBMA Distinguished Achievement Awards this year. A press release with further detail on the Distinguished Achievement Award recipients is here. A full list of nominees for this year's IBMA awards can be seen on the IBMA website.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Bluegrass at Festa do Avante. Portugal, 3-5 Sept. 2010

Thanks to Andre Lentilhas for news from the only bluegrass band in Portugal:

Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti will play at the biggest festival in Portugal, Festa do Avante.

The festival lasts three days (Friday 3-Sunday 5 September), and the Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti are scheduled to play at the second biggest stage on 4 September and two more gigs at smaller stages, one on Saturday night and the other on Sunday.

Claire Lynch, Adam Steffey host IBMA press conference

Today Claire Lynch and Adam Steffey are co-hosting a press conference to announce the nominees for the 2010 International Bluegrass Music Awards and this year’s inductees into the Bluegrass Hall of Fame. The conference takes place in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, 222 Fifth Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee, at 10.00 a.m. Central Time, and can be heard on Sirius XM from 10.00 to 11.00 a.m. CT. It also includes a special musical performance by the Boxcars with guest Michael Cleveland.

The event comes exactly a week before the Claire Lynch Band begin their tour of Europe, as reported on the EBB a week ago.

International bluegrass concert in Sofia, Bulgaria, 25 Aug. 2010

Thanks to Lilly Drumeva and Lilly of the West, who report:

On Wednesday 25 August we invite you to a special concert with international guests. Lilly of the West will play in front of Theatre Sofia, in the Zaimov Park, Sofia, at 19:30. Our guests will be:

Mike Black – singer/songwriter from the UK
Pepa Malina – excellent fiddler from Czech Republic
Manolo Gorido – renowned guitar player from Spain

Concert is free, hope to see you there!

Monday, 16 August 2010

G2 at Bluegrass Legends Concerts, 21 Aug. 2010

Chip and Mike of Bluegrass Legends Concerts at Evanston, Illinois, in the greater Chicago area, announce:

Take the heat off this Saturday with cool bluegrass & lingonberries from the land of the midnight sun! Bluegrass Legends is very proud to present G2 of Sweden... And we're providing the lingonberries! This Saturday, 21 Aug., in the air-conditioned comfort of the American Legion Hall in Evanston. Doors open at 7.00, music at 8.00 p.m.

What? Swedish bluegrass???

After WWII, magic happened when Armed Forces Radio broadcasts of American country and bluegrass music hit eardrums of Swedish fiddlers. Suddenly, spelman fiddlers of Sweden were energized with the mountain sounds of Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, and others. As Sweden already had an established folkmusik festival scene, traditional Swedish folkies found themselves succumbing to alien tempos, mountain scales, and bluesy harmonies. In the early 1960s, the jammers at folkmusik festivals splintered into new factions and the first generation of Swedish bluegrass pickers was born.

Each member of the band has a father or uncle that plays bluegrass, thus making them the second generation of Swedish bluegrass musicians. Please welcome our international guests to the stage once again for their encore visit to Chitown! Christoffer Olsson, Jens Koch, Erik Igelström, Tobias Strömberg, and Little Jimmy Sunnebrandt. They are the most exciting bluegrass band ever to come out of Europe.

More than well rooted in bluegrass and lingonberries, G2 proudly presents absolute bluegrass from the land of the Midnight Sun, lingonberries, and lutefisk. 100% real bluegrass music, med Svensk smor. There could not be a better venue than the American Legion Hall in Evanston.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Bill Monroe Movie Update

American actor Peter Sarsgaard will star in an upcoming biographical motion picture (biopic) about the “Father of Bluegrass” Bill Monroe, the man who almost single-handedly invented a musical genre, one of very few original American music art forms: 'Bluegrass Music'.

Sarsgaard is a longtime fan of Monroe and will play the lead role. He approached script writer Callie Khouri (Thelma and Louise) about helping to rewrite the first draft of the script. Khouri is wife of musician/producer T Bone Burnett (music producer for the film “O Brother, Where Art Thou”). While the bluegrass biopic is in the early stages of development, the soundtrack is already being produced.

Bill Monroe's professional career began as a square dancer in the early 1930’s on Chicago’s WLS Barn Dance radio program and spanned more than half a century, 62 years to be more precise. He recorded for MCA Records for nearly 50 years. Monroe has been inducted into the International Bluegrass Music "Hall of Honor”, Country Music Hall of Fame, Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, just three years before his death in September 1996.

Pendleton Vandiver (Monroe's "Uncle Pen") was enormously influential in Bill Monroe’s life. After the death of his parents, Bill, then age 16, lived with his Uncle Pen in a small log cabin on a hillside, across the railroad track from the Rosine General Store in Rosine, KY. Uncle Pen taught him mountain songs and fiddle tunes, which Bill transposed onto the mandolin, making him one of the first to play the mandolin in this melodic style. Uncle Pen’s fiddle was acquired by business entrepreneur Terry Woodward of Owensboro, Kentucky. Terry was one of the most instrumental people in establishing the
International Bluegrass Music Museum [IBMM] and Int'l Bluegrass Music Association [IBMA]. Woodward has gifted the ‘Uncle Pen fiddle’ to the museum for the duration of the IBMM’s upcoming Bill Monroe Centennial Celebration, which opens September 10, 2010.

This legendary fiddle, arguably every bit as deserving of the icon status as Monroe's Gibson F5 Mandolin, has been used in recent recording sessions by fiddlers Tim O’Brien, Ricky Skaggs, Stuart Duncan and Fletcher Bright to record the soundtrack for the film production of Bill Monroe’s life.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Book now for 19th Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival

Thanks to Richard Hurst of the Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland, for news of this year's 19th Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival, which will be held at the Park on 3-5 September 2010. The lineup is always impressive and this year includes Dale Ann Bradley, the Gibson Brothers, David Holt & the Lightning Bolts, Cedar Hill, Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters, the Mighty Gospel Inspirations, Phil Rosenthal, Charles Pettie & John Currie, and the Water Tower Bucket Boys (all from the USA), Blackjack (CZ), Blueflint and Southern Tenant Folk Union (Scotland), and five of the best groups from the island of Ireland.

You can see a copy of the Festival flyer, giving full details of the lineup, schedule, ticket prices, and other information, here. Bookings can be made by e-mail or telephone - the Festival Ticket Line is at ++ 44 [0] 28 8224 3292.

The future of Bluegrass Europe

The latest issue of the magazine (see the post immediately below) includes this major item of EBMA news:

BLUEGRASS EUROPE magazine to be continued:

At their recent meeting (by conference call) the EBMA board members agreed that the EBMA shall continue to publish BLUEGRASS EUROPE as a standalone magazine from BE #79 (April 2011) onwards. Opportunities and challenges as well as input by people assisting the board in various ways, namely Richard Hawkins (editor of European Bluegrass Blog), John Wirtz (chair of IBMA's International Committee) and last but not least Paolo Dettwiler himself, the current editor of BLUEGRASS EUROPE. Chris Keenan, newly elected board member, undertook to set up a draft with conceptual and practical aspects of producing the magazine. A trial period of one year was defined to make any adjustments in 2012.

A core challenge is now to set up a competent editorial team to make BLUEGRASS EUROPE a magazine attractive also across the existing scene. Any input or offer for contribution is most welcome at EBMA administration.

EBB editor's note: Bold type has been added to the last paragraph in view of its importance, and a minor change of wording has been made.

Hot Rize to play at the Tønder Festival, Denmark

L-r: Pete Wernick, Nick Forster, Tim O'Brien, Bryan Sutton (photo: Nathan Rist)

Hot Rize (USA), the stellar band that made a major contribution to the resurgence of traditional bluegrass in the 1980s with their influential recordings and live shows, will appear at the Tønder Festival in Denmark on 27 and 28 Aug. 2010, as the first dates in their 2010 reunion tour - the first such tour for over ten years.

This is their only scheduled appearance in Europe; the tour resumes two months later in the USA. Further details are on the original Bluegrass Blog.

Tony Trischka and Red Wine on tour, 8-20 Aug. 2010

Banjo wizard Tony Trischka (USA) and Red Wine (I) have just started a short tour together, playing last weekend at the Okarina Festival in beautiful Bled, Slovenia. Tony and Red Wine have been touring Italy together for years - the first time in 1989 - and they welcome on board for this tour Ruben Minuto on bass and vocal.

Here is the full schedule, which can also be seen on the Red Wine website:

Sun. 8 Aug. Okarina Festival 2010, Bled, Slovenia
Wed. 11 Aug. Andar per Musica 2010, Piazza Dante, Groma (BG), Italy; 21:00
Thurs. 12 Aug. Agriturismo Vojon, Ponti sul Mincio (MN), Italy; 21:00
Wed. 18 Aug. Lismore, Faenza (PC), Italy; 21:30
Thurs. 19 Aug. Arcipelaghi Sonori, Villa Boschetti, S. Cesario sul Panaro (MO), Italy; 21:30
Fri. 20 Aug. Andar per Musica 2010, Piazza IV Novembre, Moio de' Calvi (Bergamo), Italy; 21:00

Sunday, 8 August 2010

Tom Hanway with Sharon Cort Band - and on the air

Tom Hanway (USA, now resident in Ireland) is playing banjo in the Sharon Cort Band (USA) during their current tour of Ireland, the second this year.

Tom also sends playlist #071e from Bob Mitchell's 'Best of Bluegrass' radio show on Radio Bluegrass International - a service of the International Bluegrass Music Museum. This programme - recorded on 20 June 2009 at WFPK-FM 91.9, Louisville, KY - was first aired a year ago and is being rebroadcast in 2010 to celebrate the month of August, including historical trivia about the month and featuring music from many artists who were born in August. The thirty-four tracks played include an 'international section':

13) Early Grass Revival (Czech Republic): 'Getting slow' / #22 / Strictly Country Records / European World of Bluegrass: 2000
14) Karen Lynne (Australia): 'There is a reason' / #6 / Shoestring / Changes
15) Tom Hanway (Ireland): 'Horizon Hornpipe' / #7 / Joyous Gard / Tom Hanway and Blue Horizon
28) Waterflow (Czech & Slovak Republics): 'After last night' / #8 / Sabik / Waterflow

Friday, 6 August 2010

Bluegrass Jamboree 2010

Rainer Zellner of the Music Contact agency writes:

Hello you all,

In December we will have on tour again our annual package tour called 'Bluegrass Jamboree! Festival of Bluegrass & Americana Music'. The lineup is exclusive and very exciting. Michael Cleveland is a sensational fiddler (7x IBMA Fiddler of the Year)

We may be able to offer the last open three days to some territories:
Dec. 4 (Austria, western Czech Republic), 13 (Austria, western Czech Republic, Holland), and 14 (Austria, western Czech Republic).

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper (USA)
Traditional hardcore bluegrass
Shotgun Party (USA)
New Western Swing
Jeff & Vida (USA)
Acoustic Americana

best regards,

Rainer Zellner


03.12.2010 72762 Reutlingen franz k 20:30
05.12.2010 80333 München Amerikahaus
06.12.2010 86199 Augsburg ParkTheater im Kurhaus Göggingen 19:30
07.12.2010 63303 Dreieich Bürgerhaus Sprendlingen 20:00
08.12.2010 53121 Bonn Harmonie *WDR MItschnitt 20:00
09.12.2010 28816 Stuhr Gut Varrel 20:00
10.12.2010 31137 Hildesheim Kulturfabrik Löseke 20:00
11.12.2010 06295 Lutherstadt-Eisleben Theater 19:30
12.12.2010 22769 Hamburg Stage Club 20:00
15.12.2010 84478 Waldkraiburg Haus der Kultur 20:00
16.12.2010 89522 Heidenheim Lokschuppen 20:00
17.12.2010 CH-8200 Schaffhausen Kammgarn 21:00
18.12.2010 77654 Offenburg Reithalle 20:00

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

More photos from La Roche 2010

Dessert on stage

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for photos - including the one above - of the award-winning bands at this year's La Roche Bluegrass Festival at La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France. Many more of Lilly's photos can be seen here.

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

The Kruger Brothers: 'Forever and a day'

Thanks to our friend Erio Meili of the Sao Paulo Bluegrass Music Association in Brazil, who reports:

The Video of the Month on our Titanic Harbor Stage screen is the Kruger Brothers' brand new 'Forever and and a Day' release.

What a great banjo backup by Jens, tuned down to a low B-flat (no capo) to meet his brother Uwe's great baritone voice and guitar capoed on third fret... A touching new song!

The video can be seen on the SPBMA's website or on the Kruger Brothers' own website, where you can also buy and download this track and all the others from their latest album, which is also entitled Forever and a day.

La Roche Bluegrass Festival Contest winners

Christopher Howard-Williams reports:

The quality of the bands in and out of competition at La Roche (F) was once again of the highest order. 9 bands were pre-selected to play in the final at the festival. They were : Blackjack (Cz), Bononia Grass (I), Covered Grass (D), Dessert (Cz), G-runs n Roses (Cz), Poa Pratensis (H), Quartier Français (F), Sidlo (Sk), Wyrton (Cz).
The bands were judged according to seven criteria by 10 judges from France, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and UK.
At the end of voting, the highest and lowest scores were taken off for each criteria leaving a possible total of 560 points.

The final result was:

1) G-runs N Roses (498.5 pts)

2) Blackjack (493)

3) Dessert (442,5)

(Photos courtesy of Lilly Pavlak)

The Dillards' Mitch Jayne Passes...

Mitch Jayne [shown with his wife, Diana] was born on July 05, 1928. He passed away on Monday afternoon, August 2, 2010... just two short weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

Mitch is best known as bass player & emcee with "The Dillards". He was also a member of the "Darlin' Family" -- a fictional hillbilly family band on the Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s. As The Dillards bass player, Mitch appeared on 15 albums, for which he wrote many of their better known songs. Mitch Jayne was the host of a popular bluegrass radio show, "Hickory Hollow", in Salem, MO when he invited a local band, the Ozark Mountain Boys, featuring banjo player Doug Dillard and his brother Rodney, to be musical guests. In 1960, Mitch was invited to join Doug & Rodney as their bass player. After teaching himself to play the bass, he accepted the invitation.

Mitch Jayne was also an author, television & radio entertainment writer, teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, radio show host, historian, masterful storyteller, an Ozark Mountain Man, and one of the funniest guys on this Earth.

Mitch is the author of several books. His book "Home Grown Stories and Home Fried Lies" is a favorite. One of his novels, "Old Fish Hawk," was made into a major motion picture. Mitch's last book was "Fiddler's Ghost" (2007). It was written in his own Missourian mountain dialect. The story is full of Mitch's spirit and no doubt contains some of his own mountain life experience.

As far as I know, Mitch Jayne is the only award presenter at the International Bluegrass Awards Show to ever open the winner's envelope with a large Bowie hunting knife -- then flip it into the wooden oak podium, causing the microphone to emit a loud "THOOMP" over the theater sound system.

The Dillards may be the only folk-bluegrass band to ever tour as an opener for Elton John. It was during John's 1972 USA tour. They also traveled on tour with "The Byrds". In addition to the Andy Griffith Show, they also appeared often on other major American television programs: The Merv Griffin Show, The Judy Garland Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Tonight Show, Playboy After Dark, Shindig, Hullabaloo and The Smothers Brothers Show.

The Dillards made many successful tours of Europe and Japan as well. They performed at the 1999 Tonder Festival in Denmark. Possibly their last visit to Europe. Click on the link to view videos of Mitch and The Dillards.

The Dillards were inducted into the International Bluegrass Music "Hall of Honor" in September 2009. This photo was taken by Dan Loftin at the 2009 IBMA Awards Show in Nashville, TN.

Mitch Jayne, through his lifetime of friendships, music, books and constant laughter, left our world a much better world.

Monday, 2 August 2010

John Murphy continues to lead the way

John Murphy, owner of Colfer's Pub, Carrig-on Bannow, Co. Wexford, Ireland, is an all-Ireland champion harmonica player of Irish traditional music. He also loves American music, and has welcomed many visiting bluegrass bands to perform at Colfer's (above: John, in red shirt, with 4 Wheel Drive and Jolanda Peters during their Irish tour in March 2010).

As mentioned in Bluegrass Europe #71, John also started an important trend in 2005 when he launched his American Country, Bluegrass, & Roots Music Festival, which has been held in Colfer's every January since then. His example is being followed in a new crop of bluegrass mini-festivals throughout Ireland.

And next month - in the week directly after this year's 19th Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival at Omagh, Co. Tyrone - he will present two high-quality American bluegrass bands from the Omagh lineup on two successive days shortly after Omagh, at Colfer's Pub. Cedar Hill (above), a solid traditional band from the Ozarks, will perform at Colfer's on Wednesday 8 September, and - from among the cream of New England bluegrass - Amy Gallatin & Stillwaters (featuring Roger Williams on dobro) on Thursday 9 September.