Thursday, 31 March 2011

Harley Allen: Rest in Peace

One of the most talented songcrafters to ever step foot in Nashville, Harley Allen, died of lung cancer at his home in Brentwood, Tennessee on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. He was 55. Upon his request, Allen was brought home from the hospital the day before he passed away.

Born in Dayton, Ohio (a flourishing bluegrass music region at the time), Harley was the son of legendary bluegrass singer Red Allen. He performed in the Dayton area in the 1970s as part of a family band, The Allen Brothers, before forming the Allen-Lilly Band in 1982 with mandolinist Mike Lilly.

Harley moved to Nashville in 1989. Since then he has become one of the most accomplished, awarded and successful songwriters in Music City's history. Harley Allen was, and is, a well-respected song creator among his peers. He was always a favorite at the famous country music songwriter's haven, The Bluebird Cafe.

If you are a bluegrass or country musician you have more than likely played several of Harley Allen's songs which were hits for major artists. Bluegrass fans are most likely familiar with Allen's 'High Sierras' and 'Always On A Mountain' (both of which appeared on the live Strictly Country Records 1995 release "Tony Trischka & The Big Dogs" SCR-CD-24). 'High Sierras' was originally recorded by "The Trio: Linda Ronstadt, Dolly Parton & Emmylou Harris". Another fan favorite is Alan Jackson's chart topping version of Harley's song 'Between The Devil And Me'.

With all his contributions to the songwriting industry, let's not forget what an amazing lead and tenor voice came out of that skinny kid from Ohio. He not only wrote the songs, Harley could deliver them with the kind of emotion and sincerity most people can only dream of ever achieving.

While he could be astoundingly offensive at times, there was no mistaking his humor, honesty and straightforwardness in conversations or at appearances on a stage. It is doubtful that Harley ever held back any secrets. He always seemed to say exactly what he was thinking at the moment. That being said, Harley clearly had a sense of romance, hard times...a keen sense of how to describe life in general. Usually his own life, and the honesty and emotion just poured out with no apologies or excuses.

Jamie Johnson was quoted yesterday in The Tennessean Newspaper. His band, The Grascals, recently recorded a Harley Allen song, 'Me And John And Paul'. Jamie aptly described Harley in one simple sentence: “He was an original, who walked his way or no way at all.”

Donations in Allen's name may be made to the Chet Atkins Music Education Fund, c/o The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee.

Harley Allen is survived by his wife, singer & bass player Debbie Nims (pictured above), two daughters and one son.

Lynne Butler to present European bluegrass on Bluegrass Planet Earth

Thanks to Lynne Butler (UK) for this week's playlist (see the EBB's 'Radio playlists' post) for her 'Butler's Boudoir Bluegrass' show, broadcast at 20:00 (BST) tonight on UK Country Radio and repeated tomorrow at 16:00. Lynne adds:

Don't forget to drop by to find out all about what's going on in the bluegrass world here in the UK and Europe and indeed around the world.

Also, very soon - sometime in April in fact - I will have a weekly show on Bluegrass Planet Earth, called 'Lynne Butler's Eurograss'. It is an American-based internet radio show who are really keen to have their listeners know all about our wonderful European bluegrass music; so you will also be getting airplay on that show too, and that will be purely UK and European bluegrass music. So keep eyes and ears peeled for further updates on that.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Dailey & Vincent top the bill at Omagh, 2-4 Sept. 2011

National Museums of Northern Ireland (NMNI) has just allowed the first publicity to be issued for the 20th Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival, which will be held on 2-4 September 2011 at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland.

To mark this milestone in the Festival's history, Dailey & Vincent (above) - perhaps the hottest act in bluegrass at present - will be heading the bill. Also taking part will be established favourites with Omagh audiences, such as the Malpass Brothers (USA) and Sunny Side (CZ) - and, we have reason to believe, Red Wine (I) as well. No information has yet been released on the Festival's section of the NMNI website.

Monogram in Germany, 26-7 Mar. 2011

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for a report and photos from two concerts in Germany, featuring one of her favorite Czech bands, Monogram from Prague.

The first was in the Lindenhalle, Ehingen, on 26 March at the 15th annual Bluegrass & Country night for St Patrick’s day, organised by vhs Ehingen, and supported by the Country & Western Friends Koetz.

Blind singer and guitarist Fred Heyden (left) from Hamburg opened the show, performing Australian-style country music, including songs by the legendary Slim Dusty as well as original compositions.

Monogram's own show (see photo at top), consisting largely of original material, won over the audience at once; and even after a ninety-minute set, they had to play three encores. The concert ended with Zydeco Annie & the Swamp Cats (below).

The next appearance by Monogram began at 4.00 p.m. the following day (Sunday 27 March) in Illertal-Vöhringen, at the club run by 'Big Herbert' Schildhammer (below, the band with 'Big Herbert').

The club, says Lilly, is very popular with musicians travelling in Europe, because of the unique atmosphere at its house concerts, where both musicians and audience can feel at home. Monogram played four thirty-minute sets.

Lilly reached home after the weekend and had the pleasure of discovering that Monogram has been selected to showcase at IBMA WOB 2011 (see the EBB post of 28 Mar.) - with which the band is also very happy.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Bluegrass in Germany - and in Cashbox

The current edition of Cashbox, the online magazine of the music industry, carries two major articles on bluegrass music in Germany.

'Bluegrass scene - Germany', by Walter Fuchs (left), gives a 2,600-word history of the development of bluegrass music in Germany since 1945, dealing with many topics including the influence of the American Forces Network, the popular image of country music, and the growth of bands, radio shows, and festivals in Germany, and in adjacent countries.

'3rd European Bluegrass Summit held in Buehl/Germany', by Angelika Torrie and Dagfinn Pedersen of the EBMA board and Walter Fuchs, is an illustrated report of the proceedings and achievements of the Summit - including the setting-up of the EBMA Festival Network. A photo from the finale of the accompanying concert, celebrating ten years of the EBMA, appears below.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Press conference (8 Apr.) on 9th Bühl Bluegrass Festival

Wolfgang Mark, press officer of the city of Bühl, Germany, announces that a press conference on the forthcoming 9th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival (13-14 May 2011) will be held at 11:00 on Friday 8 April 2011, at Rathaus I, Alter Trausaal, Hauptstraße 47, 77815 Bühl, in the city centre.

Festival organiser Walter Fuchs and Mayor Hans Striebel will be available to give information. A press release on the Festival programme and the artists taking part, prepared by Walter Fuchs, is being issued to media representatives. If you wish to attend the press conference or want further information, please contact

Wolfgang Mark
Stadt Bühl, Pressearbeit
Tel. (0 72 23) 9 35-2 82, Fax -2 89
City website; Heimattage website
Hausanschrift: Rathaus I, Hauptstraße 47, 77815 Bühl
Postanschrift: Postfach 1665, 77806 Bühl

Monogram selected to showcase at IBMA WOB 2011

The IBMA announces that Monogram (CZ) are among the thirteen bands that have been invited to be part of the 2011 'official showcase' lineup during the Business Conference section of the IBMA World of Bluegrass 2011.

Performing on an IBMA official showcase is widely regarded as one of the most important career opportunities in the bluegrass world. The full list of official showcase artists for World of Bluegrass 2011 can be read here.

The European Bluegrass Blog thanks the Prescription Bluegrass Blog (USA) for this news.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

EWOB Festival 2011 programme now on line

Oh My Darling (Canada)

Thanks to Liz Meyer of the organising committee of the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival for the news that the programme for the 2011 Festival & Trade Show is now on line.

This year's Festival will be held at 't Trefpunt, Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, on the three days 2-4 June 2011. Together with five acts from the USA, Canada, and Australia, thirty-six bands from ten European countries are scheduled to take part - plus a special mystery surprise on the final evening concert.

All details of the Festival are either given in the latest EWOB e-newsletter or can be reached by one click on the links in the newsletter. Next year's EWOB Festival will be held on 17-19 May 2012.

Cheerful Diligence, the Russian youth band

Saturday, 26 March 2011

A walk with you gets Highlight review in BU

The CD A walk with you by Thierry Massoubre (F) and Jefferson Louvat (B) receives a Highlight review in the March 2011 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. The reviewer, Aaron K. Harris, writes that the interplay of Massoubre and Louvat 'approaches the magical... The terrain and scenery change along the way, but the exquisite company knits it all together into an extraordinary, unforgettable experience.'

Accompanying artists on the album are Stuart Duncan (fiddle), Missy Raines (bass), and Steve Louvat (banjo). A walk with you is on the German record label Acoustic Music Records.

Friday, 25 March 2011

3rd GrevenGrass Festival, 11-12 June 2011

Ulli Sokoll and the organising team of the GrevenGrass Festival in Greven, Germany, announce that the programme for this year's festival is now complete: the lineup can be seen on the Festival website, with photos, links to band sites and YouTube videos of performances, and other material. The website also has links to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, LinkedIn, and MeinVZ.

As interest in GrevenGrass grows, more camping visitors are expected, so festival attenders are advised to reserve camping lots on the festival/tickets section of the website. The Festival poster (above) and logo can be downloaded here by anyone who wants to advertise the Festival in their own locality. Arrangements for becoming a sponsor of GrevenGrass can also be accessed here. More news will appear in the next newsletter at the end of May/beginning of June.

In response to interest for GrevenGrass among people in the Netherlands, the Festival will be advertised at some events in the Netherlands, including:

SC40 Farewell Reunion Festival, 6-7 May
This is a special bluegrass festival, held in the little town of Emmen (120 km north of Greven). Rienk Janssen's magazine Strictly Country is ceasing publication after forty years, and the festival is jointly organised by Stichting Boet'n Deure and Strictly Country. Twenty-six bands will be taking part:

From the USA: White Mountain Bluegrass, Sally Jones and the Sidewinders, Bill Clifton & the Pick of the Crop;
From Germany: The Looping Brothers, Mountain String Crackers;
From Belgium: Rocks and Ivy;
From the Netherlands: LaZy TaTeR, Southern Flavour, Babes in the Grass, and many more...

And there is a lot of opportunity for jamming! Book tickets (€20 for two days, if booked in advance) via e-mail; more info at the Festival website.

EBB editor's note: the Looping Brothers, who are the 'house band' for GrevenGrass, are on this week's playlist for Prescription Bluegrass in Colorado, USA.

Photos from Arhoolie's 50th Birthday

Following from the EBB post of 3 February 2011, we learn from the latest Laurie Lewis e-newsletter that there is an internet album of many photos taken by Mike Melnyk at the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Arhoolie Records.

Artists from many genres who have recorded for, or are otherwise associated with, Arhoolie appear in these 190 photos - many of which, of course, show the label's founder, German-born Chris Strachwitz.

Laurie Lewis's many fans and friends in Europe will also be glad to know that her website has had a complete makeover, and is fully operational and looking better than ever.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

New CD from Ulster gospel band

The Low Country Boys, a gospel bluegrass/ old-time trio from the central Ards peninsula of Co. Down, Northern Ireland, have released their fourth CD, Plain an simple. The album is available from their website, where tracks can also be downloaded and bought individually.

The Low Country Boys - who take their band name from the 'Low Country', as their home area is called - present fourteen tracks of Ulster Scots, Scots, and old-timey hillbilly gospel music, including two instrumentals ('Tumlin Jack' and 'The old cross cut saw') and a monologue. They compose original material in the Ulster Scots language.

The Low Country Boys also have their own blog, a YouTube channel, and a Flickr photo album, and are on MySpace.

Little Ass Birds (IRL) in Europe at EWOB time

The Little Ass Birds (above), based in Dublin, Ireland, will be performing at this year's EWOB Festival (2-4 June) at Voorthuizen, the Netherlands, opening the afternoon show on Friday 3 June. The full festival programme can be seen here.

The Little Ass Birds, who play old-time music together with original songs in traditional style, will be glad to know of other opportunities to play while they are on the Continent, between 2 June and 7 June. If you have, or know of, a possible opening for them, please contact Conor Doyle by e-mail.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Stefan Colind's Strings Alive project out now

Thanks to Stefan Colind (DK) for this news:

Please let me inform you that my new solo CD, The Strings Alive project, has arrived!

It contains 14 of my own instrumental tunes best described as 'Bluegrass/New Acoustic', and I've had the pleasure of having very solid contributions from great players like Thomas Haglund on fiddle, Jan Ekman on dobro, Jimmy Sunnebrandt on bass, and Jesper Rübner on guitar (with whom I played in New City Cowfreaks back in those days). The banjo and mandolin I played myself.

If you like progressive bluegrass/folk music that is still played with love and respect for the tradition, feel free to take a listen on the link below, because this you have not heard before!

As a reviewer wrote: 'If one will call an instrumental recording a personal statement, I think this is one.' You can download it from iTunes or Gateway Music or order a CD from here. Stay in tune!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Pine Box Boys in Europe, Mar.-Apr. 2011

First, traditional bluegrass from the Henhouse Prowlers; next, Crabgrass from Black Jake & the Carnies (see the EBB post for 20 Mar.); and now Bloodgrass from the Pine Box Boys - the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany are having a busy spring with visiting American bands.

The Pine Box Boys, from Arkansas, are Lester T. Raww (guitar, vocals), 'Possum' Carvidi (banjo, vocals), Col. Timothy Leather (upright bass), and Steven 'Your Uncle' Dodds (drums), assisted on their latest album by special guests Jason Kleinberg and Yoon-Ki Chai on fiddle. Their tour dates are:

Thurs 31 Mar. Café Catch 22, Breda, Netherlands
Fri. 1 Apr. Exit, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Sat. 2 Apr. De Piek, Flushing (Vlissingen), Netherlands
Sun. 3 Apr. Private event, Klaaswaal, Netherlands
Mon. 4 Apr. De Kroon, Brussels, Belgium
Thurs. 7 Apr. Antik Café, Wölfersheim, Germany
Fri. 8 Apr. Den Bromfiets, Bonheiden, Belgium

Thanks to Lia Steenhoven for news of the tour and the poster image above.

Real Rock Gemstone Guitar Picks

Michel Wegen's guitar picks from the Netherlands may have achieved legendary status among flatpickers, but the United States are fighting back hard.

Real Rock Gemstone Guitar Picks - 'Where The Vibration Starts' - hand-tuned by Darrell & Mara Kramer in Merlin, Oregon, USA, are crafted in different thicknesses, shapes, and styles from attractive stone (including petrified wood and 'Frosty Touch' slip-resistant holding surfaces), and average $30 each. And you can tune to E using a button on the Real Rock home page.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Interview with Walter Fuchs: part 2

Following on from our post of 9 March 2011, the European Bluegrass Blog can now report that the second part of a major interview with Walter Fuchs, premier German historian of American country music, can now be read (in Polish) here. The interview was conducted by Polish journalist Pawel Minakowski, and appears on the Polish-language website

The photo above, taken from the interview, shows Walter Fuchs with part of his record collection. Walter is also holding a copy of his book Das neue grosse Buch der Country Music (2005).

Spaces still available at Sore Fingers 2011

Thanks to for a reminder that there are now just four weeks before the start of Sore Fingers Week (18-22 Apr.), Europe's premier instruction workshop in bluegrass and old-time music. All classes still have some spaces available, except those of Tony Trischka and Greg Cahill (bluegrass banjo), Matt Flinner (mandolin), and Jim Hurst (guitar).

All the usual activities will be there at SFSS 2011. The most notable changes are a new scratch-band tutor team, and an upgraded format for the slow jam to give beginners more help in moving up to playing in jams and eventually in proper band activity. Booking forms and further details can be found at the Sore Fingers website.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Black Jake & the Carnies in Europe, 26 April-8 May 2011

Thanks to Joe Cooter, bass player with Black Jake & the Carnies (USA), for news of the band's first trip to Europe, beginning just over a month from now.

Black Jake & the Carnies, the 'Original Kings of Crabgrass' from Ypsilanti, Michigan, are a high-energy six-piece band using bluegrass instrumentation to deliver a mix of bluegrass, punk, ragtime, blues, Americana, and circus music, with strong emphasis on a vigorous stage show. They will be touring in Belgium, the Netherlands, and Germany from 26 April to 8 May in support of their second full-length record, Sundry mayhems, the follow-up to their critically acclaimed debut, Where the heather don't grow (2008). Sundry mayhems is scheduled for release in mid April, distributed by Sonic Rendezvous.

As with the recent tour by the Henhouse Prowlers (USA), the tour by Black Jake & the Carnies is set up by Surfing Airlines. The tour schedule is:

Thurs. 28 Apr. TBA
Fri. 29 Apr. Cafe Tielemans, Boekel (NL)
Sat. 30 Apr. Burgerweeshuis (first gig), Deventer (NL)
Sat. 30 Apr. Hoppin' Around Vorselaar (second show/pubcrawl), Vorselaar (B)
Sun. 1 May Prison, Turnhout (B) (first gig/inmates only)
Sun. 1 May Café Roskam (second show), Brussels (B)
Mon. 2 May Day off
Tues. 3 May Café Merlo, Brussels (B)
Wed. 4 May Café Honky Tonk, Brielle (NL)
Thurs. 5 May Bacchus Café, Geel (B)
Fri. 6 May Muziekcafe, Helmond (NL)
Sat. 7 May Zum Raabennest, Reichelsheim-Beienheim (D)
Sun. 8 May Ace Cafe, Rumst (B)

More information, press kit, band photo, etc., can be found on the band's tour page. Music samples can be heard on their ReverbNation site. All inquires can be made by e-mail.

Friday, 18 March 2011

USA Roots Music News, March 2011

In the latest USA Bluegrass/Folk/Roots Tour-Newsletter from the Music Contact agency, Rainer Zellner reports a programme on the history of bluegrass, which Bayerischer Rundfunk will broadcast this coming Sunday.

In December 2010 BR's cultural channel Bayern 2 interviewed Michael Cleveland at the Amerikahaus in Munich during the Bluegrass Jamboree! Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music. Material recorded during this interview will form part of 'Volksmusik am Anschlag: die Geschichte des Bluegrass' by Richard Knoll, which will be broadcast on 20 March 2011 at 14:05.

Rainer also supplies an updated schedule for the coming tour by Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (USA), with additional dates and other information which have now been added to the EBB post that appeared earlier this week. Since her last tour in Europe, Valerie and her band (including the charismatic Becky Buller) have been consolidating their place among the front rank of bluegrass acts with TV and radio projects, major festivals, an ever-increasing tour radius, and concerts with Charlie Louvin, Alison Krauss, and many other stars of the scene. An eight-minute video sampler of VS&LP's work can be seen here.

In autumn 2011 Shotgun Party (USA), the sweethearts of the audiences during the Bluegrass Jamboree 2010, will be back with a tour from 22 September to 15 October. Shows arranged so far include:

1 Oct. Country Festival, Grindelwald, Switzerland, 18:30
4 Oct. Neue Welt, 85049 Ingolstadt, 20:00

Finally - Rainer and the Music Contact team are at work putting together a very special programme for the 3rd Bluegrass Jamboree! Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music which will be touring in December 2011.

Sons of Navarone at Assenede, 19 Mar. 2011

Bluegrass in Belgium reports:

The Sons of Navarone will play in concert at De Strandpaal, Diederikplein 4, 9960 Assenede, on Saturday 19 March at 21:00.
This and more bluegrass concerts on the calendar of Bluegrass in Belgium.

The photo above, by Ann Janssen, shows the Sons in their new configuration with Jef Van Peer (guitar).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Carlton Haney, Blue Grass Pioneer: September 19, 1928 ~ March 16, 2011

Carlton L. Haney has 'gone on'. Carlton Haney passed away in the early afternoon on Wednesday, March 16 at approximately 2:00pm Eastern Standard Time at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina, USA.

If you read the previous post last week on EBB, you know that he suffered a massive heart attack on March 3rd. His daughter and grandaughter remained at his side to the end.

Carlton Haney helped educate, innovate, preserve and promote Blue Grass music and its history ever since he produced the very first multi-day outdoor festival in Fincastle, Virginia in 1965.

Carlton used two words whenever he wrote 'blue grass'. Fred Bartenstein tells us Bill Monroe named his band the Blue Grass Boys in 1939 using two words. When people began to refer to the style of music as "bluegrass" (one word) in the 1950s, Carlton Haney believed it should be two since it came from Bill Monroe.

Perhaps no other non-professional musician contributed more to the Blue Grass music genre than Carlton Haney. He was a leader in so many ways for country & Blue Grass a promoter, agent, a one-man publicity department, songwriter, educator, preservationist, magazine is a long list.

Although he announced he was "out of the entertainment business" for the past few decades, his work in helping preserve Blue Grass music history continued. Carlton could be seen (and heard) discussing various music related topics and passing along his stories at major events such as the International Bluegrass Music Association 'World of Bluegrass' annual events. Mr. Haney was never at a loss for words! He was inducted into the IBMA Bluegrass Hall of Honor in 1998 [since renamed the "Bluegrass Hall of Fame".]

For further details about the life and accomplishments of Carlton Haney, please go to the International Bg Music Museum website: Carlton L. Haney Biography

For historic video, see the following YouTube segments:
Carlton Haney, Lester Flatt and Mac Wiseman at Renfro Valley Bluegrass Festival in 1971

The very first 3-day Blue Grass Festival at Fincastle, Virginia 1965

Kruger Brothers in Europe, May 2011

The Kruger Brothers will be playing four dates in their native country, Switzerland, as part of their coming European tour in May 2011 with their new CD, Appalachian concerto. The concerto, composed by Jens Kruger for the band with string quartet, was launched in the USA on 1 Nov. 2010 and will be performed at Merlefest, NC, in April 2011.

Fri. 20. May International Guitar Festival, Sarzana (IT)
Sat. 21 May Tellspielhaus, Altdorf, 20:00
Sun. 22 May Kammermusiksaal Tonhalle, Zurich, 19:00
Tues. 24 May Altes Schlachthaus, Laufen BL, 20:00 (in association with Bluegrass in Basel)
Wed. 25 May Üdiker Huus, Uitikon bei Zürich, 20:00
Sat. 28 May Eagle Music Shop, West Yorkshire, England, UK: workshop and concert

Full details of the Swiss dates, with links for online booking, can be read (in German) here.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The Speed of Bluegrass: for release 22 Mar. 2011

'News at the speed of bluegrass' is the motto of the original Bluegrass Blog (BB), founded by John Lawless and Brance Gillihan, who as a result received the IBMA's Print Media award for 2007, when the BB was still only two years old.

'The speed of bluegrass' is now also the title of a three-part fiddle tune composed by Jim VanCleve to a special commission from the BB. A select group of ace pickers recorded it as a single, which is scheduled for digital release a week from today in two versions (one five minutes long, the other abridged) and will be available to radio presenters.

Additional press materials on the release are here. Some of the fun that went into the recording can be seen on Vimeo. And you can see all of this, and more, on the Bluegrass Blog itself.

Valerie Smith on tour in Europe, 5 May-13 June 2011

Rainer Zellner of the Music Contact agency reports:

Hello all bluegrass fans,

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike will be touring Europe from 5 May to 13 June 2011. Please check Valerie's artist profile and a wonderful promo video-medley.

Valerie Smith - along with fiddler, singer, and composer Becky Buller - leads one of the strongest and most exciting acts in bluegrass music. The quartet covers bluegrass as well as Western swing, acoustic country, and Americana.

There are a few open dates for those that make up their minds late. Feel free to contact us about possible last-minute shows in your area.

[Update 4 Apr. 2011: Further dates have been added to the schedule originally shown here, and an updated list can be seen on the EBB at 4 April 2011.]

December 2011: 3rd Bluegrass Jamboree! - Festival of Bluegrass and Americana Music

vicenzAcustica 7 in Vicenza, Italy, 19 Mar. 2011

On Saturday 19 March Italian flatpicking wizard Roberto Dalla Vecchia will host the 7th edition of vicenzAcustica at Teatro Comunale di Vicenza, with special guests:

Jim Hurst (USA), guitar, vocals
Balen Lopez de Munain (Basque Country), guitar
Martino Coppo (Italy), mandolin, bouzouki, vocals

Roberto will also present his latest CD, Hand in hand, to be released the same day.

Roberto Dalla Vecchia: website; Facebook

Monday, 14 March 2011

4 Wheel Drive in England, 29 Mar.-2 Apr. 2011

The multi-award-winning 4 Wheel Drive (D/NL/B) will be making a mini-tour of northern and southern England, beginning in just over two weeks' time. The schedule is:

Tues. 29 Mar. The Cumberland Arms, 12 Shaftesbury Grove, Newcastle NE65JB; 8.00 p.m.
Wed. 30 Mar. Junction Hotel, News Lane, Rainford Junction WA11 7JU (near Liverpool); 8.30 p.m.
Thurs. 31 Mar. Leeds Bluegrass Club, the Grove Inn, Back Row, off David Street, off Water Lane, Leeds LS11 5PL; 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 1 Apr. Wellington Arts Centre, 8 Acre Lane, Wellington, Somerset TA21 8PS; 7.30 p.m. (tickets also bookable by PayPal here)
Sat. 2 Apr. Durley Memorial Hall, Durley Brook Road, Southampton, Hampshire SO32 2AR; 8.30 p.m.

Location maps for venues can be accessed on 4WD's MySpace site. The high-profile Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys (UK) are hosting the Wellington concert on 1 Apr., have put a 4WD video on their website, and have told their fans:

Now, we know its tough out there at the mo, but - and its a BIG but - YOU CANNOT MISS THIS ONE! Yup, we know we say it every time, but you really, really can't miss this one. We are delighted to be hosting Four Wheel Drive... We first saw them play at a festival in 2007 and were totally blown away by their playing and singing ability.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Cherryholmes and G-Runs at Zurich, 11 Mar. 2011

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for this report and the accompanying photos:

Probably the last European concert of Cherryholmes took place at the Albisgütli Country Music Festival in Zurich. As always there were two special bluegrass nights: Thursday 10 March with the supporting German band Rudiger Helbig & Huckleberry Five, and Friday 11 March with the #1 European Band of the Year 2010, G-Runs 'n Roses [above, on stage]. Both concerts were sold out, but the audience there is pretty loud...

G-Runs 'n Roses with Jere Cherryholmes

I visited the festival Friday night. The performance of G-Runs was great as always and Cherryholmes [below] put on a super show.

The band will break up this May, after ten successful years. Cia [on banjo] celebrated there her birthday and she received a birthday cake.

Unfortunately I had to leave before the end, to catch my last train. So my last picture is of the family clogging:

Saturday, 12 March 2011

EBMA chairperson graduates from LBG 2011

Above: the graduating class of IBMA's Leadership Bluegrass 2011 (8-10 Mar. 2011), the twelfth annual event in a series of intensive, three-day programmes of advanced-level, interactive learning experiences that invite participants to examine the challenges and opportunities facing bluegrass music, along with related leadership issues. Full details will appear on the IBMA website.

The EBMA congratulates all the graduates - and in particular Angelika Torrie, its chairperson, webmaster, former treasurer, and editor of the new Bluegrass Europe magazine. In the above photo by Jess Norburg, Angelika (in imperial purple) is first from the left in the third row. She is the only member of this year's class to come from outside North America.

Friday, 11 March 2011

NTB at #1 on AirPlay Direct chart

The EBB reported two days ago that the Niall Toner Band (IRL) now have a digital press kit which can be accessed at AirPlay Direct. The band have now informed us, with understandable pride, that they are at the top of AirPlay Direct's Bluegrass/Folk chart for this month (as of 3.14 p.m. on Friday 11 March 2011), with 268 downloads. At present they are the only group on the chart whose location is shown as 'Europe'.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

AirPlay Direct

Thanks to bandleader, recording artist, and broadcaster Niall Toner (IRL) and to Angelika Torrie (chairperson of the EBMA and new alumna of the IBMA's Leadership Bluegrass 2011) for more information on the AirPlay Direct service, mentioned yesterday on the EBB. Niall reports:

APD is a service which is open to bands, promoters, and managers, who use the service to have their products/artists/CDs distributed to radio stations around the world. To avail of the service on the receiving end, radio stations have to become 'members'. They can then download broadcast-quality digital tracks and whole albums for use to the general public through their broadcasts.

Angelika points out that this enables bands and their agents to send out their music for airplay without the expense of postage for CDs. For US$50.00 a year, a band can have up to fifteen songs made available for airplay to an approved list of radio presenters (; and, as yesterday's post on the Niall Toner Band shows, the service also enables a band to have an online press kit.

Bluegrass Music Innovator & Preservationist Carlton Haney Hospitalized

Carlton L. Haney suffered a major stroke two weeks ago. He remains in critical condition at an intensive care unit at Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Carlton Haney, one of the most colorful characters you may ever meet, is one of the most influential and innovative pioneers in bluegrass music history.

Although he was not a musician per se, Haney arguably did as much to build and secure a future for the bluegrass genre as any one of his peers.

Carlton's past history is full of 'firsts'. He produced the very first weekend-long bluegrass music festival at a horse farm in Fincastle, Virginia, USA. This historic event set the wheels in motion for what would eventually become the bluegrass festival experience we know today. A festival experience which has grown internationally since that Labor Day weekend in September 1965.

Carlton also introduced the very first instrument workshops at his festivals, from Virginia to the northeastern United States.

Haney began his relationship with the music business in the 1950s - '60s as an agent for many legendary country and bluegrass music stars, including Bill Monroe and Don Reno & Red Smiley. He was an accomplished songwriter, he produced & promoted major country music concert tours from 1969 to 1975, and published the first issue of the innovative bluegrass magazine "Muleskinner News" in 1969.

There is much more to this man's life than we will publish at this time. But for the moment, I would hope that this post brings an awareness of Carlton Haney to the music fans around the world who may have never even heard of the man. His lifetime of dedication and contributions to the music industry - and his many related accomplishments - is what true music legends are made of.

Carlton Haney's wife and daughter remain at his side. They are requesting your prayers in his time of need.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Interview with Walter Fuchs

The European Bluegrass Blog mentioned on 27 February a report by Polish journalist Paweł Minakowski on the concert that formed part of the 3rd European Bluegrass Summit in Bühl, Germany. The report was published online on the website

A further piece by Minakowski is now on the same website - an interview, on the place of country music in Europe, with Walter Fuchs (photo above), musical director and moving force behind the Bühl International Bluegrass Festival. The interview, in Polish, can be read here.

Niall Toner Band: a digital press kit

The Niall Toner Band (IRL) now have a digital press kit which can be accessed at AirPlay Direct. Among many other facilities, it enables the reader to play eighteen tracks from the NTB's three existing CDs - another album is currently in preparation. Radio stations that are registered with AirPlay Direct can log in and download the music.

The band have issued the new press kit in connection with their availability for bookings in the USA in summer 2011 and beyond, through the Mountain Music Entertainment agency.

One of the few facilities on their regular website that is not also available through the press kit is Niall's personal blog, which is frequently updated and well illustrated. The photo below shows Niall with the Special Consensus (USA), taken in the RTE studios when he interviewed them for his radio show 'Roots Freeway' during their tour of Ireland and Britain earlier this year.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Before and after Bühl...

Doyle Lawson

The 9th Bühl International Bluegrass Festival (13-14 May 2011) will bring a powerful lineup of North American bands to the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt in Bühl, Germany. Fortunately for European bluegrass enthusiasts, they will make other appearances in Europe around the time of the Festival. Redgrass (Canada) will be playing in Switzerland and France from 8 May to 17 May. The schedules for the US bands, as given on their websites, are as follows:

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (13-21 May)
13 May Haus der Kultur, 84478 Waldkraiburg, Germany
14 May International Bluegrass Festival, Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt, 77815 Bühl, Germany
16 and 17 May Novodvorska Cultural Center, Prague, Czech Republic
[The single concert originally scheduled for Prague was booked out by early February, so a second concert by DL&Q was arranged for the following night]
20 and 21 May 3rd Red Wine Bluegrass Party, Teatro della Gioventù, Genoa (Genova), Italy

The Special Consensus (14-28 May)
14 May International Bluegrass Festival, Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt, 77815 Bühl, Germany
[Greg Cahill was the first US bandleader to perform at the Bühl festival when he brought the ChowDogs in 2003, and he looks forward to bringing the Special C. this time]
15 May Pfarrjugendheim, Am Apostelplatz 1, 44805 Bochum, Germany, 7.00 p.m.
19 May Trekanten Biblotek and Kulturhus, Sebbersundevj 2, Aalborg, Jylland, Denmark, 8.00 p.m.
20 May Karens Minde Kulturhus, Wagnersvej 19, 2450 Copenhagen (Kobenhavn), Denmark, 8.00 p.m.
21 May Kulturforsyningen, Voldgrade 1, 4800 Nykobing, Denmark, 8.00 p.m.
26 May Fritz-Henssler-Haus, Geschwister-Scholl-Str. 33-37, 44137 Dortmund, Germany, 8.00 p.m.
28 May Willisau Bluegrass Festival, Schweizerisches Agrarmuseum Burgrain, Burgrain 20, CH-6248 Alberswil, Switzerland

Please check the websites of these bands for any further updates between now and May. A full, updated schedule for the five-week tour by Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (5 May-10 June) can be seen on the Music Contact agency website and in the monthly Music Contact newsletters, which are reprinted on the European Bluegrass Blog.

Spring and summer in France

Christopher Howard-Williams of the France Bluegrass Musique Association (FBMA) reports:

Bluegrass en Gascogne, our very active southwest association, is putting another weekend jam at home in Narbonne on 21-22 May. The idea is to meet in someone's house (some stay there, others in a local B&B) and play. And play. If you are down that way get in touch with Dany Souillart by e-mail.

They are also hosting a Bluegrass Nature Workshop in the south-west of France with Gilles Rezard, Jean Marc Delon, and Dominique Putinier from 18 to 24 April. Full board and lodging on site. Information here.

Also coming up, the second weekend in June, one of France's big bluegrass weekends at the Grange Rouge, a wonderful old converted 18th-century barn in the Burgundy area. Camping on site, plenty of great musicians, an open stage for bands to play... food is free for registered musicians. The weekend is organised for the Grange Rouge by local FBMA members with Jean Lacote, and most of France's hard-core bluegrass jam musicians will be there (11-13 June). More information here.

Christopher's report goes on to cover upcoming major concerts in April, May, and June; the Country Rendez Vous festival at Craponne (29-31 July) with Rhonda Vincent, Kathy Kallick, Tennessee Stud, Howlin Fox, and Bluegrass Deluxe; and the La Roche Bluegrass Festival (3-8 August) with Kathy Kallick, Hickory Project, and Sue Thompson, James Field, and Petr Brandejs, for which the final lineup and full details will be announced by the end of March. For information on the La Roche Bluegrass international workshop (2-4 August), which is now open for enrolment, contact Pierre Bastide by e-mail.

Read the full report in the first issue of the new Bluegrass Europe magazine.