Friday, 29 April 2011

Full press kit on 9th Bühl Bluegrass Festival

Wolfgang Mark, director of publicity for the city of Bühl, Germany, has issued an 18-page brochure (in German) for press use, giving full up-to-date details of the coming 9th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival (13-14 May 2011).

The complete press kit includes photos and ample biographical details of all the bands taking part, and of the festival's director, broadcaster and country music historian Walter Fuchs. The lineup for this year's festival includes Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (above; USA), Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike (below; USA), Special Consensus (USA), Redgrass (CAN), the Toy Hearts (bottom; GB), and Sunny Mountain Grass (CH).

Full details of the schedule can also be found on the Festival website. The press kit can be obtained from
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

Sore Fingers Week to be featured on BBC Radio 4!

John Wirtz of Sore Fingers Summer Schools (UK), Europe's premier instruction camps for bluegrass instruments, reports:

Many of those attending Sore Fingers Week 2011 will be aware that Lindsay Leonard, producer of long-running show 'Woman’s Hour', was at Kingham Hill [Sore Fingers venue; shown left] gathering material for a radio show to be broadcast on Thursday 2 June at 11.30 a.m. on BBC Radio 4.

It will not be a music show and is more a collection of views, stories, sounds gathered over the four days that Lindsay was moving around the site and in the classrooms, illustrated with music from the students and the tutors.

Moira and I are really looking forward to hearing this show, and hope that it takes the spirit of Sore Fingers Week to many of the listeners. It’s about much more than the music alone, a life-changing experience in many instances.

In anticipation, I’ll just relate a small experience whilst being interviewed by Lindsay. She asked me what it was like to leave at the end of the week. I described closing and locking the door to top school. It’s little like storing your summer clothes away for the winter, locking Sore Fingers away for a year. Well, it brought a tear or two… If the programme purveys that kind of emotion, we’re in for a treat.

Good thing it’s not too long to wait until we unlock that magic that is Sore Fingers next October for the weekend. Enjoy the show.

BBC Radio 4
- DAB Listed as "BBC Radio 4", "BBC R4", or "Radio 4"
- FM 92-95 FM, 103-105 FM
- LW 198 Long Wave

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

4WD catching the sun at Glastonbury

Thanks to Jan Michielsen of 4 Wheel Drive (D/NL/B) for these photos from the band's tour in England a month ago. Shortly before it was due to start, the regular 4WD banjo-player Jürgen Biller was obliged to remain at home for family health reasons, and Matthias Malcher (on the left above) stepped in to fill the gap.

Matthias takes a break at Leeds Bluegrass Club on 31 Mar.

The band enjoyed the whole tour, with special mention for the joint concert with the Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys (UK) in the Arts Centre at Wellington, Somerset, on 1 April. The show was sold out; Jan reports: 'The Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys are local heroes, and rightfully so.' He also thanks Eugene O'Brien of the Sons of Navarone (B) for help in arranging the tour.

Jan also includes this link to the latest work from Cheap Aldi Camera Productions, with footage and stills from the tour.

The band recalibrate their vibrations at Woodhenge

Thursday, 28 April 2011

A last farewell to Honza Macak

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for these photos from the funeral of Jan 'Honza' Macák, European bluegrass pioneer, who died on 12 April. His family, friends, and the European bluegrass community bade him the last farewell on Monday 18 April in Jičín, Czech Republic.

The funeral drew a very large attendance from those who wished to pay their respects to his memory. The band Blackjack (above) performed during the ceremony.

Those present included Dennis Schut (centre above, with guitar) of the Netherlands, who presented the first European Bluegrass Pioneer Award to Honza Macák at the European World of Bluegrass Festival at Voorthuizen, NL, in 2001. Dennis's article on Honza Macák and his award, prepared with the help of the late Milan Leppelt, appeared in the June-July 2001 issue of Bluegrass Europe magazine.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Erio Meili passes

The EBB reports with great regret the death of Erio Meili on 20 April 2011 as the result of an infarction. Erio, born 27 October 1947 in Switzerland, had made his home for many years in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A successful businessman, he was the founder of the vigorous São Paulo Bluegrass Music Association and the South American Bluegrass Network, and was known throughout the world as an indefatigable worker for bluegrass music. He is on the right in the above photo by Lilly Pavlak, jamming with Bill Keith at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2000; Erio's own comment on the photo was: 'Must have been when we were picking the Pike County Breakdown!'

WAMU's Bluegrass Country reported on Friday 22 April:

The bluegrass community lost two dear friends today with the passing of Hazel Dickens and Erio Meili.

Listen to this week’s featured news honoring the memory of Hazel Dickens. Dickens was a bluegrass pioneer whose recording career spanned over 50 years. She was recently profiled on WAMU’s Metro Connection. You can listen to that piece here. To the best of our knowledge, this was Hazel’s last interview.

Erio Meili was a trailblazer for bluegrass music in South America. President of the São Paolo Bluegrass Association (Brazil), Erio passed along his love of bluegrass through tireless grassroots efforts and was a constant presence on WAMU’s Bluegrass Country via a weekly segment which aired on Mike Kear‘s 'Music from Foggy Hollow'. Listen to a sample of Erio’s work here, recorded during the 2010 World Cup.

Bob Cherry's Cybergrass sums up:

Erio was bigger than life and bluegrass music was his life. His contributions to international bluegrass were just as big. He will be missed by those that knew him all around the world.

Erio will be missed most by his wife Maria, his sons Leandro and Bruno, and his sister Erika.

Black Jake & the Carnies (USA): tour begins 28 Apr. 2011

Black Jake & the Carnies (USA) (see the EBB for 20 Mar. 2011) report:

It has been a few years in the making, but our second record, Sundry mayhems, is nearing completion, and is scheduled for European release on 1 May! We are excited to announce that the first single, 'Farmer had him rats', is now available for free download here at our bandcamp page! Also featured on the page and included with the download is a first taste of the full spread original artwork that will ship with the completed album. In addition to the usual lyrics and album credits, the liner notes will include an unique painting for each track done up by Black Jake himself.

Please check it out, and let us know what you think. Then, spread the word however you can, be it Facebook, Twitter, carrier pigeon, or semaphore. Both Sundry mayhems and Where the heather don't grow will be available in Europe from Sonic Rendezvous!

Tour dates:
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)
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.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Hazel Dickens in Germany, 1973

Photo: Walter Fuchs

The death on Friday 22 April of Hazel Dickens (1935-2011) of West Virginia has been marked on the original Bluegrass Blog by appreciations by David Morris and Tim Stafford. A major appreciation by Ron Thomason can be seen on the Prescription Bluegrass Blog. Further tributes to the pioneering woman bluegrass songwriter and singer are expected.

Thanks to Walter Fuchs, broadcaster, country music historian, and organiser of the Bühl International Bluegrass Festival in south-west Germany, for this rare photo from the fall of 1973 when Hazel Dickens was on tour with the Strange Creek Singers making a stop in Bühl. Walter writes:

All the gang stayed over night for one or two days, when we lived in a rented apartment in those years. From left to right: Tracy Schwarz, Lamar Grier, Hazel Dickens, Mike Seeger, Marianne Fuchs [Walter's wife], Alice Gerrard (Mike Seeger's wife) and our two boys Patrick and Boris. In June of 1973 Mike Seeger and Alice Gerrard were already in Bühl for a couple of days when I had them for a live concert on SWF 3 radio in my show.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Danilo Cartia solo show in Rome, 26 April 2011

Danilo Cartia (I), leader of the Danilo Cartia Band and organiser of the Rome Bluegrass Jam, will be giving a one-man show of bluegrass, blues, and ballads in Rome, Italy, at 22:00 on Tuesday 26 April 2011 at the Help Pub, Via Giovanni Animuccia 16. Admission is free.

Danilo Cartia website; MySpace; Facebook: Danilo Cartia; e-mail
ph. / fax +39 06 8273332
mob. +39 339 6908450

The new Bluegrass Europe is out!

The editorial team of Bluegrass Europe, the EBMA's official magazine, report:

Issue #79 of the newly redesigned Bluegrass Europe is now in the hands of EBMA members and subscribers worldwide. The amazing band from France, Bluegrass 43, is this month’s featured group. We are happy to know this first new issue has reached all of our subscribers and EBMA members.

You will notice that there are many more pages in colour than before, and in particular many more advertisements. If you are interested in advertising, please check out our rates and let us know. Also, please check us out on FaceBook (EBMA and Bluegrass Europe) and leave your comments.

These are all the contents in BE#79:
Editorial ¦ EBMA NEWS ¦ EBMA Festival Network ¦ The Observer ¦ BluegrassDuinen - News Europe ¦ Bluegrass 43 ¦ Greg Cahill - Bluegrass Ambassador ¦ Concert & Festival Calendar ¦ Bill Monroe - The Centennial Year ¦ Charlie Louvin ¦ Lynn Butler - Bluegrass DJ ¦ BluegrassDuinen - News International ¦ My Top 10 CDs ¦ Building Bridges with... Banjos? ¦ EBMA's European Bluegrass Guide ¦ Book Reviews

This is the first issue of Bluegrass Europe's rebirth as an independent quarterly magazine. You can subscribe to it online or by writing to the editorial office: see the BE page on the EBMA website.

And check out the new look of the EBMA website itself, which has been thoroughly refurbished by the EBMA's webmaster, chairperson, and chief editor Angelika Torrie, with graphic design by Liz Meesters.

Nothin' Fancy (USA) in the Netherlands and Norway, 13-16 July 2011: UPDATE

Cor & Margaret Sanne of CMS Productions announce to all bluegrass music fans that Nothin' Fancy (above) will be performing in concert on Wednesday 13 July 2011 at the Turfschip, Zuideinde 15, Nieuwkoop (NL). They will be supported by the Blue Grass Boogiemen (NL). Doors open at 18:45 and showtime is at 19:30.

Tickets are for sale as from now at €22.50 per person, and available only via the CMS e-mail address. Advance payment is required, and bank info will be sent upon request. Booking early is advised, as there is limited seating (90 people) for Nothin' Fancy's one and only concert in central Europe.

Update 21 Apr.: Only 10 to 12 seats are still available. Hurry up if you want to see this great show!

Nothin' Fancy will also be making three appearances in Norway directly after their show in the Netherlands: on Thurs. 14 July at the Folk Museum, Sandane, and on Fri. 15 July and Sat. 16 July at the Norsk Country Treff festival at Breim. More details are on the band's tour schedule.

The new Blue Grass Boogiemen T-shirt design

Lynne Butler radio news

Lynne Butler (UK) sends the current playlists for her 'Butler's Boudoir Bluegrass' show tonight at 8.00 p.m. on UK Country Radio and for 'Lynne Butler's Eurograss' on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays on Bluegrass Planet Earth at 9.00 p.m. British time (5.00 p.m. EST). Links to the lists are on the EBB 'Radio playlists' post. Lynne also sends bluegrass news from south-east England, forwarded from Rick Townend, including details of the 1st London Old-Time & Bluegrass Week (see logo above). Lynne adds:

The new show on the US station where I play solely UK and European artists has been received extremely well with the American listeners, I've been informed. It's lovely to know our music is getting heard to a wider audience. I will keep playing your music for you.

Don't forget to drop by to see all the British festivals going on as well as other European festivals, and it also has links to the IBMA. Have a lovely Easter and catch up with you next week.

Happy Easter! from Andy Glandt

Musician, songwriter, author, and former EBMA board member Andy Glandt (D) writes:

Hi everybody,
we wish you all Happy Easter.

Andy Glandt and family

Andy Glandt
Musician and Songwriter



Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Bath Americana Festival, 18-22 May 2011

Thanks to Dee Hallett (UK), who writes:

DON’T FORGET... that between 18 and 22 May 2011 the First Bath Americana Festival is taking place at numerous venues throughout the city.

A renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site, the history-rich, vibrant city with stunning architecture, Roman Baths and Pump Room, will host a cast of superb musicians, vocalists, and dancers to provide an eclectic mix of festival entertainment certain to please even the most fickle of folk.

Flying in from her extensive tour of mainland Europe to headline the festival, is the USA’s dynamic bluegrass/Americana artiste, Valerie Smith (photo above), together with her outstanding band, Liberty Pike.

Tennessee-based performers Valerie Smith and her band are undoubtedly the finest exponents of Americana/bluegrass music to hit the United Kingdom, Ireland, and mainland America in recent years. The effervescence and aptitude of Smith and her great band of musicians takes them across the musical genres as they flawlessly encompass Americana, bluegrass, country, blues and swing – effortlessly drawing in audiences of all musical persuasions. Smith’s delicious vocals, combined with her vivacious personality, boundless energy and explosive delivery, ensure that audiences are treated to a unique and memorable performance every time. With her band Liberty Pike - also featuring the superb fiddle-playing, award-winning singer/songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Becky Buller - Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike are definitely top quality, a cut above the rest – and highly recommended!!

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike will be at the Bath Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath BA1 2QH on Thursday 19 May at 7.30 p.m. Tickets are £15.00 and available online here.

Other acts booked at various locations throughout the city during the festival include; Olde Boston Tea Party (a 5-piece band featuring Charlie Boston (guitarist/composer) and Ced Thorose (dobro)), and Ian Calford & the Railmen (masters of the early country music sound), together with Bob Fish (autoharp), Leon Hunt & the Scoville Units, the Thunderbridge Bluegrass Boys (string band/single microphone aficionados) with support from TJaye Martin (vocals/guitar) and Bryan Chalker (vocals/harmonica/jawsharp), Brian Colby (old-time fiddle & guitar), Kate Lissauer (fiddle) & Sibylle Riessen (clogging), the Bath Bluegrass Orchestra, Applejacks (a West-of-England-based Appalachian dance team, performing with old-time bluegrass musicians), plus a showing of O brother where art thou?, a comedy film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. Set in 1937 rural Mississippi during the Great Depression, the film's story is a modern satire loosely based on Homer’s 'Odyssey' and stars George Clooney, John Turturro, Tim Blake Nelson, John Goodman, Holly Hunter, and Charles Durning.

For more information about the Bath Americana Festival and the events taking place, please visit the Festival website.

Strictly Country Farewell Reunion Festival -- May 6 & 7

On Friday & Saturday, May 6 & 7, 2011 there will be an International gathering of bluegrass music fans, friends, musicians and professional performers in The Netherlands to honor Rienk Janssen and his "Strictly Country" magazine. Rienk retired the magazine (the oldest and only major Dutch bluegrass publication) in February after 40 years and 240 issues.

Strictly Country and founder/owner Rienk Janssen have been a major force in Europe's bluegrass history since the earliest days of booking Euro tours for American artists, sponsoring and producing various concerts & festivals, founding the Strictly Country Records label and so much more.

Rienk states he will continue his work and hold his positions with the EBMA and IBMA. He will also continue his retail music CD, LP and book business, as well as his mail order auction. Rienk has unveiled a new website as he continues along his bluegrass journey:

The SC Farewell Reunion Festival will be held at the Theater Muzeval in Emmen, NL. There are currently 26 performers on the schedule, performing on two stages. Among the artists are Bill Clifton & Pick Of The Crop (USA/Europe) with Jean-Blaise Rochat, Jerry Gout & Kevin Lynch; White Mountain Bluegrass (USA); Sally Jones & The Sidewinders (USA); Rawhide (B) and perhaps some surprises along the way.

There will be jam sessions, workshops, activities for kids and more.

Surely stories and memories will be flowing at this special event as people get reacquainted with Rienk Janssen -- and with each other. It is safe to say some people will connect for the first time after many years. A genuine music reunion will take place in Emmen!

Festival tickets for both days is €20 in advance, €25 at the venue. Various single day tickets are also available.

See the website for all the information you may need.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Downtown Ramblers: On the other side of the city

News from the Downtown Ramblers (S), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2009:

Friends and fellas! From today you can reserve your copy of Downtown Ramblers' upcoming album On the other side of the city. Just go to our website and fill in the form! Thank you all for inspiring and supporting us to make more music! Stay tuned for more preview material and more. Take care // dtr

A one-minute video 'taste' of the new album can be seen here on the band's YouTube channel, or on the Prescription Bluegrass Blog (USA).

Friday, 15 April 2011

News from BANJOREE (13-15 May 2011)

Veit Doehler and Andreas Benkhofer report:

Neuigkeiten vom BANJOREE!

Wir haben zwei tolle Neuigkeiten zum BANJOREE 2011.

Zunächst mal konnten wir Elly Beurskens aus Holland gewinnen, einen Clawhammer-Workshop zu leiten. Der Schwerpunkt in diesem Workshop liegt in der Begleitung von Gesang und anderen Instrumenten. Der Schwierigkeitsgrad wird auch von Anfängern zu bewältigen sein. Elly wird ihren Workshop multimedial gestalten, das heißt nicht nur, dass sie neben dem Banjo ein Whiteboard und einen Filzstift benutzt, sondern obendrein auch noch eine Videopräsentation. Bruno van Hoek wird auch mitmachen und sich demonstrativ von Elly begleiten lassen.

Der Wermutstropfen: Leider entfällt der Workshop von Cera Impala. Für fortgeschrittene Anfänger und Profis gibt es natürlich nach wie vor den beeindruckenden Workshop von Udo Weihrauch.

Und dann hat sich Lluis Gomez [left] aus Barcelona angemeldet. Er wird Tom Nechville bei seinem Setup-Workshop unterstützen. Tom zeigt Setup-Varianten und Möglichkeiten, Klang und Bespielbarkeit zu verbessern - Lluis demonstriert den Effekt.

Mehr infos: und dort unter 'Workshops'.

Und das Beste von allem: es sind noch einige Plätze beim BANJOREE 2011 (13.-15.05.2011) frei.


News from BANJOREE:

There are good news from BANJOREE 2011.

First we are proud to present Elly Beurskens from Holland who will conduct a clawhammer workshop. The focus of this workshop will be the backup of songs and other instruments. The level of the workshop will also be feasible for beginners. Elly will make use of multimedia techniques which means that she not only uses a marker and a whiteboard but also a video presentation. There also will be plenty of room for the participants to try out what they learned. Bruno van Hoek will also be there to demonstrate how he can be backed up.

Unfortunately the workshop of Cera Impala is cancelled. For the intermediate to advanced there still will be the workshop of amazing Udo Weihrauch.

Lluis Gomez from Barcelona also has announced his appearance. He will support Tom Nechville with his setup workshop. Tom will show us various types of setup and ways to improve sound and playability of the instrument and Lluis will demonstrate the results.

More information:, then go to 'Workshops'.

And best of all: there is still a chance to register! Be quick…

Thursday, 14 April 2011

A clear track ahead for 9th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival

Walter Fuchs, organiser of the International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, reports that on Friday 8 April a press conference was held at the town hall of Bühl in south-west Germany - the second to be held in connection with the 9th Bühl Bluegrass Festival, and the last before the festival itself takes place (13-14 May 2011).

The city's mayor, Hans Striebel, was pleased to greet a substantial number of newspaper- and radio-journalists from France and Germany. All present recognised that this year's festival programme will make it an outstanding event. Preparations are complete, and advance ticket sales are running at an unprecedented level.

Newspaper features from the Badisches Tagblatt and Acher und Bühler Bote of 13 April 2011 will soon be reproduced on the festival website. Both papers praise the festival as one of the cultural highlights of the year.

A few of those at the press conference: (l-r) Marion Lacroix, Radio Arc en Ciel, France; Erwin Doll, Radio Liberte, France; Walter Fuchs; Frank Rickal, Radio Lechtal, Germany; Mayor Hans Striebel; Friedrich Hog, Radio Free FM, Germany; Old Jack Neufeld, Radio Frequence Verte, France

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Honza Macák among his 'children'

Thanks to Lilly Pavlak for a further photo of Czech bluegrass pioneer Honza Macák, who died yesterday. The picture above, taken at a recent Banjo Jamboree (the festival that he founded) shows a traditional feature of the Jamboree: a group performance by all the assembled banjo-players present at the festival. Honza Macák, in his straw hat, can be seen right of centre in the second row from the front, behind the picker in the 'USA' T-shirt. Click on the picture for a larger image.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Honza Macák, European bluegrass pioneer, passes

The European Bluegrass Blog publishes with deep regret the news that Jan 'Honza' Macák (CZ) died today (12 April 2011). One of the true pioneers of bluegrass music in Europe, he was the founder of Europe's oldest bluegrass festival, the Banjo Jamboree at Čáslav. Petr Brandejs, chairman of the Bluegrass Association of the Czech Republic, reports:

Sad news from the Czech Republic. The founder of the Banjo Jamboree festival, Honza Macák died today at the age of 67. Father of Bluegrass Cwrkot's mandolin player Marek Macák, he suffered from stomach cancer for a few months. He will be missed by the whole Czech bluegrass community, which he influenced heavily, allowing the pickers (and bluegrass friends) to meet and play his beloved music annually for decades. The funeral takes place on Monday 18 April in Jicin, Czech Republic.

I'll miss him.

Lilly Pavlak sends the following photos of Honza Macák from her collection:

With Czech banjo pioneer and IBMA award winner Marko Cermak and Martin Kubec (of Blackjack)

With bandleader Petr Hrubý

Photo: Jan Lžičař

Los Hermanos Cubero: On TV!!!

Thanks to Roberto of Los Hermanos Cubero (E), who reports:

On 29 April Los Hermanos Cubero will be recording a show at 'Los Conciertos de Radio', a TV and radio show (kind of like 'Austin City Limits') for the Spanish public TV station RTVE Televisión Española. It will be broadcast some days later, and will be available at the RTVE podcast, here.

Our particular vision of bluegrass and Castilian music, nation wide!!!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike coming to The European Bluegrass Blog!

Hej! Bonjour! Guten tag! Dobrý deň! Hello!

Becky Buller here from Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike. I'm so pleased to announce that throughout the month of May and the first half of June, Val, myself and all of the band will be blogging about our European/UK tour right here!

So stay tuned and thanks for reading!


Sunday, 10 April 2011

Eric Stefanelli, banjo maker in Burgundy, France

Thanks to Belgian old-time banjo maestro Gérard De Smaele, who sends news of the French luthier Eric Stefanelli:

Just coming back home from Burgundy, France. I've discovered a very competent French banjo maker. His name is Eric Stefanelli. It should be nice to mention his  website in a future Bluegrass Europe magazine. Eric also collects old cylinders and discs of classic banjo. 

Eric Stefanelli (right) makes several models of banjos, adapted to the requirements of 'classic' banjo music as well as old-time playing. The photo above left shows a detail of his 'Fairbanks Electric No. 5' reproduction. He also builds stringed instruments of the renaissance period (lutes, theorbos, vihuelas, etc.) and plays banjo in the Black Mule Old-Time String Band.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Niall Toner in the USA, Apr.-May 2011

As reported on the EBB a month ago, the Niall Toner Band (IRL) reached the #1 download spot on the bluegrass and folk charts for Air Play Direct during March 2011, an exceptional achievement for artists based outside the USA.

Mountain Music Entertainment, who represent the Niall Toner Band in the USA, announce that as a result the band have been getting ever-increasing air play on US radio. Niall's songs about the Father of Bluegrass Music are naturally going down well in 2011, the centenary of Bill Monroe's birth.

Following up this success, in late April/early May Niall will be visiting Nashville, TN, and North Carolina. He will perform a few solo shows in Asheville, NC, before heading to MerleFest, where he will conduct interviews with as many stars of roots and bluegrass music as possible, for broadcasting on his Roots Freeway radio show on the Irish national station RTE Radio One during June and July this year.

Vote for bluegrass in the Digital Country Music Awards

The Cammel International companies Cameron Tilbury Publicity and Kickin Media, both based in England, announce that the world's first all-digital, international, fan-based country music awards have attracted nominations from around the world. So far, the strongest response has come from the English-speaking countries outside the USA, but interest is growing in Continental Europe.

Fans are able to nominate and vote for artists in all categories, whether in their own territory or in other territories around the world (the USA, Canada, Britain and Ireland, Continental Europe, and Australia), on the Country Music Awards Facebook page.

The voting system features twenty-three categories, one of which is bluegrass - and, of course, bluegrass artists can be nominated in other categories, such as instrumental or vocal. For more information, visit the DCMA website.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Steve Martin: new Rounder album and UK tour, 8-10 July 2011

Tickets went on sale at 9.00 a.m. today for a three-show tour in Britain by multi-talented award-winning actor/comedian/musician and bestselling author Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. They will be touring the UK in July, in support of their new Rounder album Rare bird alert, which is scheduled for release on 13 June.

Rare bird alert - a follow-up to Martin's Grammy-winning 2009 Rounder release, The crow - features thirteen new compositions by him, two of which were co-written with the SCR. It was produced by Tony Trischka. It also features special guest vocal appearances by Sir Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks.

UK tour dates:

8 July HMV Hammersmith Apollo, London, England
9 July O2 Apollo, Manchester, England
10 July Clyde Cultural Hall, Glasgow, Scotland

Tickets are priced between £28.50 and £40.00 (subject to a booking fee) and are available online.

For further information, music, photos, e-mail.
For tour inquiries, please contact Steve Guest, head of PR, Live Nation UK: e-mail, 'phone +44 (0)207 009 3371.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Sons of Navarone at Wechelderzande, 8 Apr. 2011

Bluegrass in Belgium announces:

Tomorrow the Sons of Navarone will play in De Zevende Hemel, Moereind 67, Wechelderzande (between Antwerp and Turnhout).

There are a few places left, so make sure to reserve your seat NOW for only €6.50 by calling Ludo: 03-311 67 29. The gig starts at 21:00 (sharp!) See you there!

Toy Hearts' complete PA equipment stolen

Bad news from Sophia, Hannah, and Stewart Johnson of the Toy Hearts (UK), who report:

We are sorry to contact with rather depressing news, but last night our van (outside our house in Kings Heath in Birmingham, West Midlands) got broken into and our entire PA equipment and microphones were stolen.

Below is an exact list of what was taken. If anyone gets any information or sees this stuff for sale anywhere, please contact us immediately.


2 X Mach ‘M.Flex 15’ powered speakers
1 X Mackie 12-channel mixing desk in flight case

Flight case rack containing:
2 X Behringer compressors
1 X Yamaha graphic equaliser
1 X Berhinger graphic equaliser with feedback destroyer
1 X Multi-core 12 + 4 (not on reel)

1 X Neuman KM14
1 X Shure Beta 87
2 X AKG C1000 1 original, made in Austria; grey colour. 1 newer model; silver colour.
2 X Audio Technica MB4000C
2 X Shure SM 58

Large tool box containing leads, speaker cables, PA power cables, mike clips, tools, etc.

Contact Sophia Johnson by e-mail or 'phone (0044) 07977998061.

Lynne Butler: 'Boudoir bluegrass' is joined by 'Eurograss'

Thanks to Lynne Butler (UK), who announces:

I am now airing two radio shows: 'Butler’s Boudoir Bluegrass', on UK Country Radio every Thursday at 20:00 (British time), repeated every Friday at 16:00 (British time) which includes UK and European bluegrass music, plus a 15-mins-or-so spot in the middle for bluegrass music outside of Europe.

My other show, called 'Lynne Butler’s Eurograss', every Monday on Bluegrass Planet Earth, which consists of two shows a month - repeated. For example: show 1 will be played week 1 and repeated week 2. Show 2 will be played week 3, repeated week 4. The shows will increase to being different shows each week as and when I have got ‘into the flow’, so to speak.

So, please tell all your friends and fellow musicians about both stations and don’t forget to keep sending in your CDs. Let’s show the world what we have here in Europe.

The playlists are shown below for each show i.e. BBB [see this via the link on the EBB's 'Radio playlists' post] and the first LBE. Once again, with LBE you all need to be patient with me as you will all get fair airplay. I have a spreadsheet set up in a similar way to BBB. There will be some crossover initially but I will also play 'catch up' for everyone. I am doing my best for all of you. Please remember this is a completely voluntary service from me, but one which I am passionate about in the promotion of European bluegrass music. So, don’t be too hard on me if I haven’t got the rotation just right at the moment lol!

Before the playlists, some very important links that you ought to stop by when you can.

I cannot stress how wonderful and family-oriented our British and European bluegrass festivals are, and it would be lovely if you could get to some of them to see for yourself. I will be attending for definite the La Roche, Didmarton, and Cornish festivals in my capacity as DJ, and would love to see you there and your family and friends. Do stop by to say hello, and if you are a bluegrass artist please do stop by for an interview.

My coverage of the festivals for those weekends will be going out on air the following weeks as a ‘highlights’ programme for the festivals like last year, so that everyone who hasn’t been able to make them will hear for themselves what they are like. Over the weekends during my attendance at the festivals I will have linkups three times a day to live presenter-led programmes to keep everyone up to date on what is going on at the time. - where you can find out everything you need to know about UK bluegrass scene and Europe and elsewhere. - British-based country radio station airing 'Butler’s Boudoir' Bluegrass - US-based bluegrass radio station airing 'Lynne Butler’s Eurograss' - Didmarton Festival (UK) - La Roche Bluegrass Festival (France) - Cornish Bluegrass Festival (UK) - European World of Bluegrass Festival (Netherlands)

'Lynne Butler’s Eurograss': first show playlist (date TBA)

One is Way too Many - Coal Porters - UK
Bledlow Ridge - Papa Truck - UK
Take Me for Longing - Union Central - UK
Lovin’ You - Acoustic Astronauts - UK
Red Clay Halo - Lilly Drumeva - Bulgaria
Farmers’ Son - Jussi Syren and the Ground Breakers - Finland
All I Need - G2- Sweden
My Home is Across the Blueridge Mountains - Down Trodden Stringband - UK
I’m Going Home - Wood Wire and Words - UK
Another Night - Radio Cowboys - UK
I’ll Fly Away - Sandy Hill - UK
Bitter Green - Sons of Navarone - Belgium
Hoss Fly - Cwrkot - Czech
Big Mamou - Blue Railroad Train - France
Every Breath You Take - Poa Pratensis - Hungary
Chinese Whispers - Tom Travis - UK
Creepin’ In - Acoustic Processing Unit - Hungary
Love No Body but You - Four Wheel Drive - The Netherlands
Heartbreak Hurricane - G-Runs and Roses - Czech

Bononia Grass becomes 0039

Thanks to Paolo Ercoli of 0039 Bluegrass (formerly known as Bononia Grass) for this news:

Hi everybody,
From 26 March 2011 Bononia Grass is history. The band now has adopted a new name, due to a lot of band members changes, and other 'musical' reasons.

We are starting anew, we are now '0039 Bluegrass Made in Italy'. We were looking for something we (the members of the band) have in common; and as we are for sure all Italian, we chose 0039 (the international country code to call Italy), to represent Italy, in some way, very clearly.
Please check out our new FaceBook page for more information.

Thanks everybody for the wonderful years of Bononia Grass. That was GREAT, and now we are going to do even better! See you soon.

Gianni Stefanini, Mandolin
Paolo Ercoli, Resonator guitar
Luca Bartolini, Guitar
Marco Ferretti, Banjo
Maria Grazia Branca, Double Bass
Bologna - Genova - Milano

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Backporch Pickers open concert series

Thanks to Joel Espesset (with bass, above), who reports:

Pick locally, think globally! The residents’ community of Hildboltsweier, near Offenburg, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, started its own concert row. Artists from this south-western part of Germany are to be hosted on a regular basis at the local Jergerheim over the year, featuring various musical genres.

The first of these concerts was given by the Backporch Pickers, a regional bluegrass band from nearby Kehl-am-Rhein, on Saturday 2 April 2011. The Backporch Pickers, who started in the 1980s as a country-bluegrass school band including teachers and students, are Martina Siegler (vocals, mandolin), Katrin Schlimmer (fiddle, backup vocals), Josef Lüber (vocals, guitar), Heiner Raulff (banjo, Dobro, guitar, vocals), and Joël Espesset (double bass, mandolin, vocals).

An attendance of around 70 enthusiastic listeners, many of them hearing bluegrass music for the first time, rewarded the Backporch Pickers’ performance - a mix of ballads, blues, country and bluegrass - with applause and two encores. One more little step in the direction of EBMA’s goals!

Monday, 4 April 2011

Beppe Gambetta news

Italian guitar wizard Beppe Gambetta sends news of two special annual events that attract enthusiasts from all over Europe:

ACOUSTIC NIGHT 11, 'American Radios', 5-6-7 May 2011
Teatro Della Corte, Piazza Borgo Pila 42, 16129 Genoa (Genova), Italy

with Beppe Gambetta (Italy), Nick Forster (USA), Bryan Sutton (USA), Peter Ostroushko (USA)
One of the biggest indoor European acoustic music events, with audiences of more than 3000 people, the Acoustic Night is not only a concert: it is a show with a new theme every year, a carefully directed interaction between artists, an artistic stage setting designed for the event, lights direction, and sound carefully mixed to enhance the acoustic feeling in Teatro della Corte.
Youtube videos of great moments of the previous editions: 1, 2, 3

Acoustic Night 11 will celebrate the music and the story of the greatest American radio shows. The three American guest musicians have strong artistic connections with legendary radio shows - 'Prairie Home Companion', 'E-Town' and the Grand Ole Opry - and all of them are virtuoso multi-instrumentalists and composers.

Tickets will be on sale on the internet on 5 April at Happyticket and Vivaticket. E-mail for more information and suggestions about travel and accommodation.

Beppe Gambetta 19th International Acoustic Guitar Workshop, 31 July-7 August 2011
Ambroz Pod Krvavcem, Slovenia

Instructors: Beppe Gambetta (Italy), Tony McManus (Scotland)
This workshop, organised and directed by Beppe for nineteen years, is one of the oldest dedicated to flatpicking guitar, and is held in a breathtaking location on the top of the Slovenian Alps. There are multiple lessons every day with a structured programme, group activity, panels, evening events, shows and open mikes, a workshop contest, and many jam sessions. This 'picking paradise' generates a magic vibe among the participants, who come from many different countries.

More information is on the AMBROZ page on Beppe's website. The workshop trailer is on YouTube. Registrations and inquiries should be addressed to Stane Svigelj: +386 4188 6460, e-mail.

DCB 'Live at the Lady Jane', 6 Apr. 2011

Ron Stevens of the Heart of England Bluegrass Venue reports that on Wednesday 6 April the Down County Boys, one of Britain's longest established and most respected bands, will have a special night this month at their monthly bluegrass club at the Lady Jane, Hall Lane, Whitwick LE67 5PH, near Coalville in the north midlands of England.

The band will be recording parts of the show for a radio feature and some tracks for various websites that wish to feature the Down County Boys 'Live at the Lady Jane'. Admission is free. Ron says:

Come and be part of a special night of excitement this Wednesday!... This month there will be non-stop music from 8.30 through till 11.00 p.m. And it would be great to see you there.

A location map and other details are on the band's website. The DCB are also on MySpace.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Rawhide in Toogenblik, Brussels, 30 Apr. 2011

Bluegrass in Belgium reports:

Rawhide [above] doesn't play too often in the Brussels area. Find out for yourself why they were voted 3rd (out of 40 preselected European bands) at last year's European World of Bluegrass.

Here's your chance to enjoy Rawhide in Toogenblik, probably the greatest place on earth to enjoy an acoustic concert.

Cortenbachstraat 11
1130 Haren-Brussels
Saturday 30 April at 20:30
Admission: €8

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