Monday, 31 January 2011

Davidson Brothers Band in Europe during EWOB month

The Davidson Brothers Band from Australia, led by the multi-instrumentalist brothers Hamish and Lachlan, will be at this year's European World Of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival in the Netherlands, appearing on 4 June.

The Davidson Brothers Band have performed three times at IBMA's Fan Fest in Nashville, TN, and their latest CD, Born to play, features many guests from among the leading ranks of US bluegrass musicians. Their visit to EWOB is the band's first trip to Europe, so they will welcome any useful contacts and any chances of playing other shows while they are here. You can contact the Davidson Brothers by e-mail.

The Country Pickers - now in the blogosphere

The Country Pickers (CH), back in action after a fifteen-year stand-down, now have an internet presence with their own Country Pickers blog, edited by Paolo Dettwiler - former chairperson of the European Bluegrass Network and EBMA, and now retiring from the editorship of Bluegrass Europe after thirteen years. The latest post on the Country Pickers' blog, published today, commemorates Bill Bohn (1930-2008) and Peter Gisin (1934-2010).

The band's present lineup consists of Tom Lochbrunner (guitar), Paolo 'Colonel Pablo' Dettwiler (mandolin), Casey Gasser (bass), Röbi Brunner (dobro), and Ruedi Gloor (banjo). Dates scheduled for the Country Pickers in 2011 will include the 12th Spring Bluegrass Festival Willisau at Alberswil (28 May) and the 13th Sunny Mountain Bluegrass Festival, Stettfurt (3 Sept.).

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Tom Nechville in Europe, May-June 2011

Midwinter greetings from innovative luthier Tom Nechville of Nechville Musical Products (USA), who writes:

I want to see as many of my friends as I can when I am in Europe this spring. I'll be at Veit Doehler's Banjoree in Hagen, Germany, on 13-15 May. I'm also planning to be at EWOB in early June.

Perhaps we can meet up at one of those events. I'm considering the Jamboree in the Czech Republic. Do you know anyone going that would have room to take me along?

Your replies will help me in my planning of my free time between the two main events. I love meeting and jamming with pickers at people's houses, and doing banjo setup workshops and presenting demonstrations of my instruments. If you have any ideas about hosting a jam, or workshop, please let me know. I'll be in contact with you personally soon,

Take care,

Tom Nechville
e-mail; website
Feel free to call if I don't reply promptly: office +1 952-888-9710; cell +1 612-275-6602

Sunny Side in radio tribute to the Louvin Brothers

Following the sad news of the death of Charlie Louvin on 26 January, the Prescription Bluegrass Blog announces that Prescription Bluegrass Radio (USA) will present a special record programme in tribute to the Louvin Brothers.

The fifteen tracks chosen for the programme begin and end with recordings by the Louvin Brothers themselves, together with covers of their songs by many bluegrass artists, including 'Dark as the night' by the Czech band Sunny Side. Further details can be found here.

Friday, 28 January 2011

DIY Bluegrass Biz

Thanks to the original Bluegrass Blog for news of a valuable new resource for all bluegrass bands who are trying to make music that deserves to have people pay to hear it:, a website run by Bob Faris of the Faris Family (USA).

The Bluegrass Blog says: 'We strongly recommend that all independent bluegrass bands take advantage of this amazing resource.' Read more on the BB, or go direct to

Tennessee Mafia Jug Band in Europe, July 2011

The Tennessee Mafia Jug Band on the Grand Ole Opry stage, with WSM announcer Eddie Stubbs and Marty Stuart

A reminder that the Tennessee Mafia Jug Band (USA) will be performing at the G! Festival in the Faroe Islands in July 2011, and would be glad to know of any other opportunities to play in Europe around that time.

The band, which performed with great success a few years ago at the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Longford, Ireland, consists of 'Lonesome' Lester Armistead (jug), Leroy Troy (banjo), David Ferguson (bass), Dan Kelly (fiddle), and Mike Armistead (guitar). Contact Mike himself by e-mail, or the band through their website.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

EBMA Jubilee Concert in Bühl, 19 Feb. 2011

The EBMA's 10th anniversary jubilee concert (co-presented by the German Bluegrass Music Association) (GBMA) will be held in the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt, 77815 Bühl, Germany, on Saturday 19 Feb. 2011, starting at 19:00 and featuring Monroe Crossing (USA) (ending an eight-day tour in Europe), 4 Wheel Drive (D/NL/B), and G-Runs 'n Roses (CZ).

The concert also marks the third European Bluegrass Summit (18-20 Feb.) and the GBMA's first year in existence. More details are shown on the poster (left) and the EBMA homepage. Plenty of tickets are still available: you can book online through the EBMA website.

The EBMA also welcomes any sponsorship of the Summit. Angelika Torrie, EBMA chairperson, writes:

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!

Banjo Camp Munich - teachers announced

Masterclass of 2010

Adiaha Bürkmiller, organiser of the Banjo Camp Munich 'Pick your Passion Camp' announces the 2011 camp teachers' list (new with mandolin class!):
  • Alan Munde (USA) - Bluegrass banjo
  • Ned Luberecki (USA) - Bluegrass banjo
  • Rüdiger Helbig (D) - Bluegrass banjo
  • John Dowling (UK) - Bluegrass banjo
  • Jürgen Biller (D) - Bluegrass banjo
  • Jimmy Heffernan (USA)  dobro
  • Massimo Gatti (I) - mandolin
  • Rico Waldmann (D) - guitar
Band-Workshop: Strange Hill Folk (UK)
Harmony-Singing: Heidi Helbig + Rico Waldmann (D)
Setup-Workshop: Rüdiger Helbig (D)

Special workshops with Ned Luberecki (USA):
  • Introduction in Improvising
  • Singing while Playing the Banjo
  • Jam Session Survival
The “Festival evening” features
  • Whiskey for Breakfast (Blues + Bluegrass)
  • 54 IDAHO (Country + Rock)
  • Strange Hill Folk (Progressive Folk)
Details may be found on website. To book or get more information, contact Adiaha:

Adiaha Bürkmiller
Trenkermühlstr. 1
84508 Burgkirchen an der Alz
Tel: 0176-23 64 07 02

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

New CD from the Barcelona Bluegrass Band

Thanks to Lluís Gómez for the news that the Barcelona Bluegrass Band's new CD, Old time blues, will be released in April 2011. It shows the band's mastery of musical genres including bluegrass, blues, Irish, and manouche, with original tunes and two twin banjo tunes with banjo master Tony Trischka! More info and some mp3 samples can be found at the website.

Track listing:
1-Old time blues (Gómez)
2-Manga el Banjo (Gómez)
3-Malvado Rocker (Gómez)
4-Remington ride (Herb Remington)
5-Music for a found harmonium (Simon Jeffes)
6-Wabash Cannonball (Trad. Arr. Gomez/Moya)
7-Picatoste (Gómez)
8-Magic foot (Russ Barenberg)
9-Mercy, mercy, mercy (Joe Zawinul)
10-Trio! (Gómez)
11-Tree O House (Gómez)

The BBB: Lluís Gómez (5-string banjo), Joan Pau Cumellas (harmonica), Miguel Talavera (guitar/ mandolin 8; dobro 1), Maribel Rivero (upright bass)

Guests: Albert Bello (guitar 6), Josep Traver (guitar 4, 6, 8, 11), Valentín Moya (guitar 6), Oriol Saña (violin), Tony Trischka (5-string banjo 2, 10)

Teachers' workshops in Washington, USA, 25 Feb. 2011

Trisha Tubbs of the IBMA reports that a unique and exciting one-day workshop for middle- and high-school music teachers will be held on Friday 25 February 2011 during the 4-day Wintergrass Music Festival at the Bellevue Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bellevue, Washington.

The workshop is designed to show teachers how to use alternative styles of music to motivate music students, produce large-scale performances in these styles, and instruction on banjo, guitar, or mandolin. It includes contact with the Wintergrass Youth Academy, the Wintergrass Youth String Orchestra, and other acclaimed youth bands, and features leading music educators.

The workshop is only $75 USD if paid by 18 February. Workshop attenders can also attend free of charge the 3-hour Wintergrass Reader's session on Thursday 24 Feb. (2/24) night for string musicians of all ages who read music. They can also buy a Wintergrass weekend ticket at a special price ($100), which also gives admission to the Wintergrass Youth String Orchestra Invitational instruction on Saturday 26 February by Bob Phillips, Renata Bratt, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger and Michael Doucet, and to the associated performances on one of the Wintergrass main stages on Sunday 27 Feb. with Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger and Michael Doucet.

There is also a separate one-day teacher workshop on 25 February, 'Using Americana/ bluegrass music to connect with learners', designed for educators who are not music teachers but are interested in cross-discipline approaches to motivating students, connecting with non-traditional learners, and increasing learning.

Trisha says: 'We'd love to have attendees from around the world!' Contact Trisha by e-mail for a workshop prospectus and/or flyer. For more information and to register, visit here.

New Acoustic Gallery newsletter, Jan. 2011

Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Solingen, Germany, sends the NAG's first newsletter of 2011, with details and pictures of the following items:

• AJL Model XO Custom Gypsy Guitar (from the Finnish luthier Ari Jukka Luomaranta; due in February)
Allen tailpieces and Tone-Gards for mandolins
Stimer ST48 pickup for Django-style guitars (€265)
Miller guitar machine heads from Switzerland
• fine leather straps from Richter for that special guitar
Lakewood D32 Custom guitar (€1399) [see photo on left]
Cantiga classical guitar strings from Savarez
Bernabe strings

The NAG newsletter, in pdf format, can be viewed here or downloaded.

New Acoustic Gallery
Oliver Waitze
Neuenhofer Str. 122
D–42657 Solingen
Tel.: 0212/2474007

Monday, 24 January 2011

Switzerland, the 5-String and TinkaBelle

TinkaBelle is a promising new singer in the Swiss music scene. She was at the right place at the right time and was discovered by major label Warner Music, who incidentally just then reopened their offices in Switzerland and were looking for something suitable to start with…. A contract was immediately signed for four countries (CH, D, A, PL) and in addition the 29 year old was invited to record a duet with smooche singer Seal. She describes her music as country music influenced pop, and people seem to like it, „The Man I Need“ is heard on the radio every now and then each day lately.
With a first CD featuring some banjo sounds and surprised by the success, TinkaBelle searched for a banjo player to join the backup band for the promotion tour starting in November 2010 – and they found Andreas Kaeppeli, the talented Sunny Mountain Grass banjo player. One of the first „big“ performances was at a very popular Thursday late night show, where Tanja was interviewed and they played a short version of her first release song „The Man I Need“ (check out the link: the musical part begins at 8:57).
Currently on promo tour – with 30 short gigs in Switzerland in January – Andreas is doing great PR for bluegrass banjo and our music and we’re really proud of him! Check out TinkaBelle on Facebook for some great pictures with a 5-string! And here’s some more music: „The Man I Need“ and „Hold On“.
Good luck to TinkaBelle and banjo picker Andreas Kaeppeli – you can see him with Sunny Mountain Grass on 13 May as opening act of the 9th Int. Bluegrass Festival in Buehl and prospectively at some of the long running Swiss Bluegrass Festivals (check out band schedule for more).

3rd European Bluegrass Summit, 18-20 February 2011

A record attendance is expected at the 3rd European Bluegrass Summit, which will be held in Bühl, south-west Germany, on 18-20 February 2011.

Forty people from eleven European countries (ranging from Ireland to Russia and from Norway to Italy) and from all fields of bluegrass activity, are now registered to attend. Germany and the Czech Republic are particularly strongly represented. Dwight Worden, the IBMA board member for associations, will be attending from the USA.

The Summit is also highlighted by the EBMA 10th anniversary concert (co-presented by the GBMA). Details are shown on the poster (left) and the EBMA homepage. Plenty of tickets are still available: you can book online through the EBMA website.

The 3rd European Bluegrass Summit will be generously hosted again by the city of Bühl offering the entire meeting facilities and infrastructure for free. Full details of the Summit are on the Summit section of the EBMA website.

Old-time music in UK national press

Thanks to Art Menius of the IBMA for sending this news to the IBMA's LBG list: yesterday the Observer newspaper (UK) published 'Across the Appalachians with a banjo', an article by Rose Skelton on finding and learning old-time music in Appalachia. Radio host and banjo teacher Brett Ratliff is quoted as saying:

Kentucky is so diverse. Even from one side of the county to the other, people play music in different ways...

The full article can be read here.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Bonne Année, y'all - from BRT

Thanks to Blue Railroad Train (F) for their good wishes:

Old-time music camp in Andalusia, 30 Apr.-7 May 2011

From 30 April to 7 May 2011 Dave Bing and Kate Lissauer teach and host a week-long gathering dedicated to old-time music workshops and intensive fun at La Fuente de Musica, in Andalusia, Spain.

This will be a wonderful opportunity for an intimate gathering with the purpose of sharing and learning with two delightful and generous teachers, superb food, unmitigated natural beauty, and a great swimming pool. Make new friends, meet up with old ones, and explore the wonders of music through your own development and through playing with others.

The residential week is held in a beautiful and remote part of mountainous south-eastern Spain, an hour's drive north of Almeria. The site is self-contained, all meals are provided, and graceful, comfortable rooms are shared among two to four people. Double rooms for couples are available. Non-playing spouses, friends, and family members are welcome, but we must charge the same fee to everyone: £500 per person, £250 per child 14 or under, and £450 for participants who are camping on site. (Tents, bed, and bedding provided.)

There is plenty to do in the area and nearby, including sightseeing in the national park, visits to beaches, rock climbing, hill walking, and visits to Granada or other places of cultural interest (although we have found in the past that no one particularly wants to go anywhere else once they have arrived!). Room, full board, tuition, and use of all facilities, including a 20-meter swimming pool, are included in the price. Participants must provide their own transportation, and we can help and advise with that, and can arrange transport from Almeria airport, which can normally be shared with other participants. A deposit of £100 will secure a place on the course.

Please contact Kate by e-mail for more information. Here you will find some information and a gallery of photographs from La Fuente.

Brambus Records on Facebook

Thanks to Paul Rostetter of Brambus Records & Verlag AG in Chur, Switzerland, for the news that as from now, the company will have its initial page on Facebook. He adds:

... We would welcome you all to join and to communicate with you or pick up informations about our artists and their concerts! For all artists, please let us know your news via e-mail or post it on our pinwall in Facebook. We would be happy to meet you there!

Brambus's large artist roster includes Italian guitar wizard Beppe Gambetta and US old-time duo Still on the Hill.

Brambus Records & Verlag AG
CH-8874 Mühlehorn
phone/fax + 55 614 10 77

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Charlie Parr European tour, 12-24 Feb. 2011

Thanks to Robin at the UK Tin Angel Records label for the news that US old-time country blues musician Charlie Parr (National steel guitar, 12-string guitar, banjo) will undertake a short tour of Europe in the latter half of February 2011, with dates in Ireland, England, Belgium, and France. You can find all the relevant information here.

The Tin Angel
Taylor John's House blog
Tin Angel Records

The Earlybird catches the worms!

The Earlybird Stringband from Norway reported on their website's news page on 18 Jan.:

This weekend turned out to be pretty eventful. In the middle of intense rehearsals for our upcoming studio sessions:

We got nominated for a Spellemann which is the Norwegian Grammy Awards. We're nominated for our album [right] in the category of Best Country Music Record. Here's one happy bunch at the press conference. Our first bona fide 'cheese' photo [above].

We were also invited to play at the main European bluegrass festival event of the year, EWOB 2011, which will be held in the start of June in the Netherlands. Our showcase will be on 4 June.

As if this wasn't enough - we've also been booked to play at the renowned Finnish Roots Festival Rootsinpyhtaa 2011 in early June. Rootsinpyhtaa is the largest Finnish festival for bluegrass and roots music, and has existed since 1988. They've housed well known artists through the years like Don Rigsby, Tony Trischka, Hot Rize, and the list goes on. A perfect summer kickoff!

European Bluegrass Blog update

The blog now has some additional fancy features, as you can share articles through all those neat social networks. You can also be a 'follower' of the blog if you have a Google account, or you can follow EBMA on Twitter @ebma_tweet and get notified about new posts and other news.

For news you want to see on the blog, feel free to send an e-mail to us. Please format in plain text and send pictures as an attachment.

Thank you!
Angelika Torrie
EBMA Chairperson

IBMA's Leadership Bluegrass 2011 class announced

The IBMA has just announced the names of the twenty-five members of its Leadership Bluegrass class for 2011. This year the only member from outside the USA will be Angelika Torrie (left), chairperson of the EBMA. The course will be held in Nashville, TN, on 8-10 March 2011.

Other members who are well known to bluegrass enthusiasts in Europe are Greg Cahill, whose band Special Consensus is now on tour in Ireland and Britain and will be playing in Continental Europe in May; and Tom Nechville of Nechville Musical Products. The full list of class members of LBG 2011, together with other details of the course, can be seen here.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Dailey & Vincent to play at Omagh and Gstaad, Sept. 2011

The multi-award-winning Dailey & Vincent (USA) will be the headline act for this year's Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival (2-4 September 2011) at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. They are also booked to appear at the Country-Night Gstaad, Switzerland, (9-11 September 2011), according to their tour schedule.

At the 2010 IBMA Awards Show, Dailey & Vincent received the awards for Entertainer of the Year, Vocal Group of the Year, and Album of the Year, and shared in the awards for Recorded Event of the Year and Best Graphic Design for a Recorded Project. They have been nominated for nine awards in next month's SPBGMA convention.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Sons of Navarone: changes for 2011

Bluegrass in Belgium reports:

After about 10 years on guitar and vocals with the Sons of Navarone, Benjamin Steegen [left: photo by Ann Janssen] has decided to leave the band. On a Benjamin 'look-alike' contest, Jef Van Peer has been chosen as an excellent replacement. So the Sons' future is assured. Jef has years of experience playing bass and guitar and singing in bluegrass and other styles. His former band Blue Cartel was voted 2nd at the 2005 EWOB band contest.

To give the many fans a chance to see Benjamin with the Sons of Navarone a last time, a farewell concert will be held in Toogenblik (Brussels) on 26 February 2011 at 20:30.

Cortenbachstraat 11
1130 Haren-Brussels
Admission: €8

The number of seats is limited. Reservations based on 'first mailed first served'. Send your name + number of people to us by e-mail.

For more concerts with the Sons of Navarone and Rawhide, see the Bluegrass in Belgium calendar.

Playlist for the Bluegrass Show in Swiss Radio

The Bluegrass Show on Country Radio Switzerland is presented by the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association (SBMA) and Acoustics Bluegrass Records.

Playlist for Sunday 16 Jan. at 19:00 (and the same show on Monday 17 Jan. at 15:00)
Bluegrass themes presented with new and older songs: Outlaws, Killers and Trains

The Del McCoury Band, 'Black Jack County chains'; Celebrating 50 years of Del McCoury
The Del McCoury Band, '1952 Vincent Black Lightning'; Celebrating 50 years of Del McCoury
Woody Guthrie, 'Hangknot, slipknot'; My dusty road
Ernie Thacker, 'The hangman'; The hangman
Tim Stafford, Rob Ickes, 'Pretty Boy Floyd'; Knee deep in bluegrass: the AcuTab sessions
The Carter Family, 'John Hardy was a desperate little man'; American roots: a history of American folk music
Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Mother Maybelle Carter, the Foggy Mountain Boys, 'John Hardy was a desperate little man'; The essential Earl Scruggs
Steeldrivers, 'Guitars, whiskey, guns and knives'; Reckless
Janet Beazley, 'Run away, Sally Ann'; 5 South
Rich In Tradition, 'Poor Ellen Smith'; Black Mountain Special
Jimmy Martin, 'Knoxville girl'; Jimmy Martin's 20 greatest hits
Ralph Stanley & Friends, 'Pretty Polly'; Clinch Mountain country
Tony Rice, 'Old train'; Hand-picked: 25 years of bluegrass on Rounder Records
Jim & Jesse, 'Diesel train'; The Old Dominion masters
Joe Maphis, 'Night train to Memphis'; 100 greatest bluegrass hits
IIIrd Tyme Out, 'Dixie train'; Erase the miles
David Davis & the Warrior River Boys, 'The train that carried my girl from town'; Two dimes & a nickel
Larry Cordle, 'The first train robbery'; Took down and put up

Have fun with the SBMA and streaming radio from Switzerland!

Please send requests and info, etc. to

Songs (MP3s) and CDs for airplay to the same e-mail address or

Kent Miller
Lochhuebel 174
CH 5112 Thalheim AG

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Press coverage for 3rd European Bluegrass Summit

Thanks to Walter Fuchs, musical director, MC, and moving spirit of the Bühl International Bluegrass Festival in Bühl, south-west Germany, for this and other examples of the coverage given by local media to the 3rd European Bluegrass Summit. The Summit will be held in Bühl a month from now (18-20 February 2011), under the auspices of the EBMA. Dwight Worden of the IBMA will be among those taking part.

The picture shows Monroe Crossing (USA), who are headlining the concert on 19 February in the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt, on the Europaplatz in Bühl, as the culmination of their European tour next month (see the EBB for 7 January 2011). On the concert (which is presented jointly by the EBMA and the German Bluegrass Music Association to mark ten years of the EBMA, three years of the Summit, and the GBMA's first year), European bluegrass is very strongly represented by 4 Wheel Drive with Jolanda Peters and G-Runs 'n Roses, #1 European Bluegrass Band 2010.

The 9th Bühl International Bluegrass Festival will be held on 13-14 May 2011 with one of the strongest programmes presented by any annual bluegrass event in Europe. Full details are on the Festival website.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Sore Fingers Week in January BU

'Sore Fingers is one of the best-run bluegrass and old-time music camps in the world'. That's the beginning of the last paragraph of 'A long expected party: Sore Fingers Summer School' by award-winning writer, singer/songwriter, and bandleader Chris Stuart in the January 2011 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. Chris goes on:

John, Moira and the staff have their priorities straight. It really is about the students and the unforgettable moments that only a week like this in one of the most beautiful spots on earth can create. If you're looking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience, save a week in the future for a trip to England...

The photo shows Kingham Hill School, the location for Sore Fingers, in the Cotswold Hills of England. Details of courses and tutors for the coming Sore Fingers Week (18-22 April 2011) can be found on the SF website.

Joy Kills Sorrow in Europe, Jan.-Feb. 2011

The Boston-based 'modern string band' Joy Kills Sorrow (USA) has just ended a series of shows in Denmark and will play five shows in the Netherlands before taking part in the Celtic Connections festival in Glasgow, Scotland. On 26 January they return to the Continent for two more shows in the Netherlands and eight in Germany and Austria. Their European tour concludes with six shows in Ireland (7-12 February). Full details are on their tour schedule.

Joy Kills Sorrow, which has both stylistic and personal links with such bands as Crooked Still and the Biscuit Burners, consists of Matthew Arcara (guitar), Jacob Jolliff (mandolin), Wesley Corbett (banjo), Emma Beaton (vocals), and Bridget Kearney (bass and songwriting). The band is also on MySpace and Twitter.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Apply to play at La Roche!

Christopher Howard-Williams and Didier Philippe, organisers of the annual La Roche Bluegrass Festival at La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France, are now inviting bands to play at this year's festival (3-7 August 2011).

La Roche 2011 features over thirty bands, including six headline acts from Europe and the USA. Ten bands will take part in the band contest, which will be run this year under the auspices of the EBMA. A further fifteen bands will perform without being part of the contest. All bands will have one hour on stage, including set-up time, sound check, and encore. The application form to play at the festival is the same for everyone.

Applications should be sent in by e-mail not later than 31 January 2011. Bands taking part in the contest will be decided during February 2011. The final programme lineup will be complete by mid March 2011.

Full information, together with the downloadable application form in two Word formats and PDF, is on the 2011 Festival web page.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

New bluegrass festival for Co. Leitrim, Ireland: 12-14 Aug. 2011

The trend of holding small-scale bluegrass festivals in Ireland continues, with the announcement of a new festival to be held on 12-14 August 2011 in Mohill, Co. Leitrim.

A celebration to launch the new festival was held on Saturday 8 January, when the band Bending the Strings (above) performed for a full house in Clarke's Hotel at Mohill. The band played from 9.00 p.m. to 11.50 p.m., with an interval of about half an hour for a display of gunfighting skills by local Wild West enthusiasts. A well supported raffle in aid of the festival was followed by a jam session to end the evening.

The Mohill Bluegrass Festival is being organised by Tommy Kelleher and Joyce Merne. Full details will appear on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog in due course. For more info, contact Tommy by e-mail.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The new bluegrass year in southern Germany

Michael Zumstein reports the following bluegrass events in southern Germany during the early part of 2011:

Feb. 4 Blue Side of Town, Rathauscafe, D-79588 Efringen
Mar. 20 Blue Side of Town, Kunstpalais, D-79410 Badenweiler
Mar. 26 Blue Side of Town, Rufetto, D-79098 Freiburg
May 6 Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (USA), Wodan-Halle, D-79098 Freiburg
May 13-14 Bühl Bluegrass Festival, D-77815 Bühl; with Doyle Lawson, Valerie Smith, Redgrass, Special Consensus...

Full tour details for Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike are on the Music Contact website. Other US artists touring in this period include songwriter Kim Carson (with band), Suzette Lawrence from Nashville, and Robbin Thompson. Thompson and his band will be playing on 13 May in the Wodan Halle, Freiburg.

Free listing for your festival in fRoots magazine

The London-based folk, roots and world music monthly magazine fRoots, established in 1979, has for decades carried an annual festival supplement in its April issue - its biggest seller each year, and a widely used source of information on Europe's folk, roots and world music events. The supplement, which appears in both print and digital subscription editions, always includes a free diary listing with basic details of as many folk, roots, and world music festivals and traditional events in Europe as possible. The April issue appears in mid March, and the deadline for delivering data is 8 February.

From 2011 fRoots will be collaborating with Spiral Earth (who have also published a folk festival directory in conjunction with the Association Of Festival Organisers) to produce the definitive listing site for UK and European folk, roots, and world music festivals, accessible from the existing URLs on all three sites, and widely promoted.

To have a free diary listing for your festival, send an e-mail to fRoots not later than 8 Feb. 2011, with the subject heading 'fRoots FREE Festival Listings: 2011 update needed', with information arranged as shown below.

Date of 2011 event:

Name of festival:

Location of event (town or city/ county / country):

Website URL:

Name of contact:

Postal address for public to enquire for information:



Box office number if different from above:

fRoots would also be glad to know - not for publication, but for their files only - 'Who deals with advertising and publicity if different from the above contact?'

Artist lineups and programme details cannot be included in the free diary listing, but can appear in the news section of the fRoots issue for the month of your event, if a separate press release is sent in by around the 15th of the month that is two months before your event (i.e. 15 April for June events, 15 June for August events, etc.). Press releases and other news can be sent to the fRoots news editor Sarah Coxson by e-mail. Hi-res colour photos of participating artists can be sent to fRoots here.

To advertise in the fRoots festival supplement, see the magazine's website or e-mail.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Robirohi in Northern Ireland, 20-21 Jan. 2011

Robirohi (above), from Estonia, will travel to Northern Ireland later this month for two consecutive performances at the Old Courthouse, Main St., Markethill, Co. Armagh: on 20 and 21 January, starting at 7.45 p.m.

It is not their first time in Northern Ireland. Robirohi, who have played four times at successive European World of Bluegrass Festivals in the Netherlands, made a sensation at the Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival at Omagh, Co. Tyrone, in 2007 with their moving and powerful harmony singing. As a result, they were at once booked to return for other dates in Ulster - which they played despite the tragic death of their fiddler, Tarmo Vardja, in a road accident shortly before they were due to make the trip (see the Bluegrass Ireland Blog for 11 Dec. 2007). Tarmo's name still appears on the band's website as a member.

Tommy Vance of Anchor Promotions, who is organising their Markethill shows, hopes to bring Robirohi back to Ireland later in 2011 - perhaps as early as March - with the possibility of shows in southern Ireland as well.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Bluegrass and orchestra in Paris, 29 Jan. 2011

Thanks to Thierry Lecocq of Blue Railroad Train (F), who sends a big BONNE ANNEE 2011!!! and the news that he and two bandmates, Jean-Marie Redon and Sharon Lombardi, have been invited to join violinist Gilles Apap and the Pasdeloup Orchestra at 20:30 on 29 January at the Théatre du Châtelet in Paris, in a concert to celebrate the orchestra's 150 years in existence. It is the oldest symphony orchestra in France.

This is the latest in a series of collaborations between M. Apap and the members of BRT, several of which have been previously reported on the European Bluegrass Blog.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Bluegrass Outlaw Party in Rotterdam, 2 Feb. 2011

Thanks to Guido de Groot, organiser of the Pijnackerplein Country and Bluegrass Festival in Rotterdam in 2009 (see the EBB for May 2009), who reports:

I've started again with organising smaller events about bluegrass, namely a Bluegrass Outlaw Party on 2 February in Club Heidegger, Grote Kerkplein 70, Rotterdam. I would like to invite you and EBMA members to come and enjoy Bob Wayne and the Outlaw Carnies (USA), Jesus Evil Highway (NL), and the Fournicators (NL), three bands that mix bluegrass, country, hillbilly, and rock 'n' roll but have a strong bluegrass basis.

The doors are open at 20:00; entree is €10. There's more info online, but most of it is in Dutch. If you are interested, I can send you more English information.

Contact Guido by e-mail.

New CD from British bluegrass pioneer

Tom Degney, former member of the Rainy City Bluegrass Band (UK) and now a pillar of the bluegrass scene in North Wales, reports:

I’ve been playing banjo and acoustic instruments for over 55 years, writing songs and instrumentals along the way. And in answer to many requests for a CD album of my work, it’s with a great deal of pleasure and personal pride that I offer you this collection of 21 tracks of original songs and instrumentals and cover arrangements.

The album will be available for downloads from iTunes in the second week of February 2011, or can be purchased from me (e-mail) for £11.00 or through PayPal with payment to my e-mail address.

Samples of Tom's music can be heard here.

Monroe Crossing in Europe, 12-19 Feb. 2011: updated schedule

The band Monroe Crossing from Minnesota, USA, have been together for over ten years, have recorded ten albums, and have been featured in Bluegrass Unlimited magazine and in showcases at IBMA's World of Bluegrass in Nashville, TN. They are scheduled to play eight shows in Switzerland, the Netherlands, and Germany in February 2011, as shown on their tour schedule:

Sat. 12 Feb. 2011 Restaurant Lerchenberg, Lerchenhalde 2, Zurich, Switzerland, 8.00 p.m.
Sun. 13 Feb. Jufa, Peter Merian-Strasse 30, Basel, Switzerland, 5.00 p.m.
Mon. 14 Feb. Clubheim, Sandbergweg 17, Vohringen, Germany, 8.00 p.m.
Tues. 15 Feb. 't Veurhof, Zuiderdiep 71, Valthe, the Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.
Wed. 16 Feb. Cafe Vriendschap, Wadway, Wognum, the Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.
Thurs. 17 Feb. Haus Opherdicke, Dorfstrasse 29, Holzwickede, Germany, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 18 Feb. Stone Valley Music, Hotel Zalencentrum 't Zwaantje, Zieuwentseweg 1, Lichtenvoorde, the Netherlands, 8.30 p.m.
Sat. 19 Feb. Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt, Europaplatz, Bühl, Germany, 7.00 p.m.

Further details, including links to maps and posters, are on the band's website.

Outlook for the new year from Switzerland

Kent Miller of the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association (SBMA) reports:

Switzerland is a consistent stable country in many ways, and the bluegrass community seems to reflect that. As far as we can tell, all of the festivals will be carried out this year. The outdoor festivals are in various parts of the country, which gives a regional feel to the events and guarantees success. The one festival that most knowledgeable bluegrass people make a point of attending is the Spring Festival in Willisau, this year on 28 May. The lineup will include:

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (USA)
Special Consensus (USA)
Ila Auto (N)
Downtown Ramblers (S)
Sunny Side (CZ)
The Country Pickers (CH)
... and other bands to be named later.

In other words, we will be looking forward to seeing many old friends and making a few new ones. There are interesting events with Swiss bands in January. Monroe Crossing is to be here in February.

Our review of bluegrass activities over the past year revealed that most bands and smaller groups play more private (so-called closed) events than public ones. This is, of course, nothing new, but does explain why the list of concerts played does not really reflect the quality of many Swiss bands. The fact that the bands are getting better and the opportunities to play in public are shrinking, is not a good thing. That is why we are happy to still have the few venues that feature acoustic music, and all of the one-day festivals.

One of the newest places is the Prima Vista Music Bar in Baden, Switzerland. It is run by a family of great musicians and they feature live music from Thursday to Saturday every week. Their concept is to let the bands bring their own audience or hope local people will show up to enjoy their music while having supper. Nobody is going to get rich here, but they have opened their stage to several bluegrass and Americana groups over the past couple of years. It is also a good place to keep in mind if you are in Switzerland and starved for live music of any kind.

Don't forget to send your promotional MP3s for our radio show in Swiss German. We are happy to feature European bands when we get their music.

We hope you continue to enjoy the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association. Hope everyone has a great start to the year,

Swiss Bluegrass Music Association (SBMA)
Bluegrass Radio Show (19:00 Sundays, 15:00 Mondays); e-mail

Kent Miller
Lochhübel 174
5112 Thalheim AG

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Uncle Art now available

Richard F Thompson of the BBMA reports that Uncle Art, Alan John Britton’s biography of the influential English A&R man and record producer Art Satherley (see this earlier post on the EBB) is now available. Satherley's story is told in full for the first time in Uncle Art by a fellow Bristolian and musician.

Published by Authorhouse UK, the 232-page book includes an introduction by Forrest White, who had first planned to write a biography of Satherley. Britton, who had access to White’s papers and recorded interviews, includes his own background and the discovery of this fascinating story, beginning with Satherley's childhood and schooling, and some history of Bristol and the important role that the city's port played in the movement of settlers and trade to the New World.

The book also includes many photographs and the lyrics to the song 'Uncle Art', written by Britton and Pete Willington. Anyone who orders a hardback copy from the author will receive a complimentary audio CD of the song. The book is also available from the publisher,,, and Barnes & Noble.

International Standard Book Number: ISBN-10: 1452083894, ISBN-13: 978-1452083896

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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Band changes (and distinguished visitors) in the Czech and Slovak Republics

Petr Brandejs sends news from the Czech Republic and Slovakia: 

The end of the year was marked by several changes in the lineup of Czech and Slovak bands. Ondra Kozák (guitar, fiddle; right in above photo) left the Petr Brandejs Band as well as the Kreni and is now only member of Fragment, which is working on a US tour in 2011. Vilma Orlitova (bass; centre in above photo) also left the PBB to concentrate on raising of her four children. Henrich Novák (dobro) and his band Grass Country (later renamed Natalia Mikuskova & the Keepers) announced in the fall that the frontman and singer Natalia is leaving the band.

Hopefully all these changes will lead to more new and interesting bands. One new and promising, named Who's your Daddy?, consists of Zdenek Roh (banjo, vocals), Henrich Novák (dobro, vocal), Martin Vitasek (guitar, vocals), Vladimir Krizan (guitar), and Erik Banic (bass).

Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper played in December for a full house of the theatre Kopernik in Prague as a part of the Bluegrass Jamboree tour. Invited by the luthier Rosta Capek, they even played his mandolins and banjo in one song.

Rosta is preparing a show of two phenomenal mandolinists (above), Mike Marshall (USA) and Catarina Lichtenberg (D), accompanied in a part of the program by Petr Brandejs (banjo), Ondra Kozak (guitar), Stano Paluch (fiddle), and David Koucky (bass). The show is announced for 22 February at the same venue. For more information visit the Capek instruments website.

Petr Brandejs's 6th winter workshop, which takes place in Novy Jicin on 4-6 March, sells fast. For more info e-mail.

Thanks to the band Monogram, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver are coming to Prague on 16 May 2011.

Bluegrass Music Denmark: the turn of the year

Spencer Sorenson, EBMA national representative for Denmark, reports:

Bluegrass Music Denmark closed out our 2010 concert series with the annual Bluegrass Night on 26 November. We had a very good turnout, in spite of a terrific snowstorm. The concert featured three groups: the No Hard Times Bluegrass Band from Sweden, Rocks & Ivy from Belgium/Holland, and the Strings Alive band. Rocks & Ivy put on a fine show after a gruelling drive on snowy and icy roads here in Denmark. The Strings Alive band played several numbers from BMD board member Stefan Colind's new CD, The Strings Alive Project. Stefan's project consists of 14 original instrumental numbers, with a lot of interesting 'twists'. More information is available on the Strings Alive website.

For the occasion, Jesper Rübner-Petersen came 'home' from Germany to play guitar, and Thomas Haglund came down from Stockholm to play fiddle, as they do on the CD. Jesper Rübner-Petersen's book The mandolin picker's guide to bluegrass improvisation, from Mel Bay Publications, has received a lot of good reviews. It was good to see him back in Denmark at the Bluegrass Night.

Our spring concert series is set, and includes Downtown Ramblers from Sweden, and Special Consensus from USA, as well as several Danish groups, and we look forward to a fresh new year - 2011.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Headliners for La Roche-sur-Foron 2011

Christopher Howard-Williams of the France Bluegrass Musique Association reports that the headline acts for this year's La Roche Bluegrass Festival (3-7 August 2011), at La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France, are booked.

They are the Kathy Kallick Band (USA; left); Hickory Project (USA); Sue Thompson with James Field and Petr Brandejs; G-Runs 'n Roses (CZ); Bluegrass 43 (F); and Howlin' Fox (F).

Invitations to apply to play the festival will go out during January, and the organisers hope to finalise the full lineup by mid March 2011.

Bluegrass news from Bulgaria

Lilly Drumeva reports from Bulgaria:

Lilly of the West is currently in the studio, recording a new album with country and jazz standards from the 1940s/50s. The band features Lilly Drumeva (lead vocals, guitar, fiddle, mandolin), Yasen Vasilev (guitar), Misho Shishkov (Dobro, harmonica), Bodi Bozduganova (upright bass).

Lilly of the West will play the following gigs in 2011:
21 Jan. Da Da Cultural Bar, Sofia
4 Feb. JJ Murphy's Irish Pub, Sofia
19-22 Mar. Tour in the Czech Republic, featuring fiddler Pepa Malina
10-12 June Greven Grass festival, Germany
20-26 June Chicago festival, Sofia

And more to come: please check the website.

Lilly Drumeva started a new radio show on 1 January 2011, called 'In the mood with Lilly'. It airs every Saturday between 16:00 and 18:00 on Radio Sofia, 94.5 FM. Music genres include rock'n roll, rockabilly, rhythm & blues, soul, country, bluegrass, and swing. Lilly hosts also her weekly country & bluegrass show, called 'Country with Lilly' every Monday between 19:00 and 21:00, also on Radio Sofia. Every Saturday at 14.30 she presents her country music show on Balkan Bulgarian Television.

For two years now Lilly has been playing the fiddle, taking lessons from Czech masters Pepa Malina and Jiri Kralik. Lilly has also started picking the mandolin, playing an A8 Godin electro/acoustic mandolin.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Mandolin giveaway to mark the launch of Mando Hangout

Thanks to Eric Schlange, Mando Hangout webmaster, for this press release:

The Mando Hangout is a new online community for mandolin players, powered by the same tools used by the popular Banjo, Fiddle, Reso, and Flatpicker Hangouts. Officially launching on 3 January 2011, the site is already active with several hundred members participating.

'With Hangouts set up for banjo, fiddle, dobro, and guitar players, it just made sense to build one for mandolin players as well', says owner Eric Schlange. 'After having many mandolin players request a Hangout of their own I realised there's a sizeable group of mandolin players who want to be part of an online community with features and tools like the Hangouts offer.'

The Mando Hangout includes a discussion forum, live chatroom, video and MP3 archive, member blogs and photo albums, classified ads, reviews, and more.

Schlange continues: 'The Hangout sites are powered by the members - I just try to give them the tools to interact. We're now averaging over 40,000 visits per day and eight million page views per month on the Hangouts, and I think that's a wonderful testament to how much the acoustic music community loves to interact, learn, and help further the music we all love.'

To commemorate the launch, First Quality Musical Supplies has donated a Michael Kelly Legacy FS mandolin to be given away in a month-long drawing. Visitors can enter the drawing once a day for the duration of the drawing by following the links from the Mando Hangout homepage.

Saturday, 1 January 2011

International Bluegrass

The January 2011 issue of the IBMA's newsletter International Bluegrass has an augmented section of European news, including many items selected from the European Bluegrass Blog and special announcements from the EBMA board of directors on the future of Bluegrass Europe, the new EBMA affiliate membership structure, and the development of a European Festival Network.

Major features in this issue include the lead article on Bluegrass Nation, IBMA’s first-ever initiative to harness the power of digital media and social networking. Fully integrated into a comprehensive redesign of IBMA’s web site, Bluegrass Nation will be a community and a platform for news, information sharing, promotion, education, and all kinds of media.

Among many other items, Nick Barr & Nancy Cardwell explore the question 'How will you celebrate the Bill Monroe centennial?'. View the whole issue here, where the newsletter can also be downloaded in PDF format.

Happy New Year from Lochhuebel, Switzerland

From Kent and Rosmarie Miller of the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association (SBMA):

Wishing you a successful 2011. May the new year bring many riches to your lives!

Alles Gute für 2011. Möge das neue Jahr euch eine Fülle von guten Dingen bringen.

Rosi and Kent

Kent also runs the Bluegrass Radio Show (19:00 Sundays, 15:00 Mondays). E-mail the station; please send songs for airplay to

Kent Miller
Lochhübel 174
5112 Thalheim AG