Monday, 30 May 2011

Red Wine Bluegrass Party #3, 20-21 May 2011

Martino Coppo (left, above) of Red Wine (I) reports:

The Red Wine Bluegrass Party #3 was a blast! Our special guests, Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, returning to Genova after 28 years (we organised a show for them in 1983), played two great shows last weekend for an enthusiastic crowd coming from all over Italy, France, and Switzerland.

Presenting new material from their latest CD Drive time, as well as some of their trademark a cappella gospel numbers and old hits, Doyle Lawson and the boys proved one more time to be one of the hottest bluegrass bands of all time, filling the Teatro della Gioventù with beautiful harmonies, soulful singing, solid arrangements, and tasteful breaks.

Several friends came to Genova and joined Red Wine on stage to make the Party even more special: Jens Koch [above, duetting with Silvio Ferretti], from the Swedish band G2; Jean Marie Peschiutta and Natalie Shelar, from the French band Turquoise; Paolo Bonfanti, great guitar player from Genova; Carlo Aonzo, worldwide classical mandolin virtuoso; and Lucas Bellotti, great bass player from Genova.

Saturday night show ended with a Bill Monroe tribute (2011 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth), with all the musicians together on stage for a rendition of the classic Monroe's 'The Gold Rush'.

While in Genova Doyle had also the chance to visit master luthier Corrado Giacomel's workshop, where he was so impressed as to acquire a brand new J5 Giacomel mandolin [right], which he played the same night on stage!

See you in 2012 for Red Wine Bluegrass Party #4, we've already started working for!

More photos from the Party can be seen here. All were taken by Red Wine's official photographer, Stefano Goldberg.

Pierre Bastide to tour in the Mid-West, Sept. 2011

Pierre 'Resoman' Bastide (F) will be touring in Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Arkansas this autumn (3-20 Sept. 2011) in a tour which he entitles 'Cool Dobro! Tricks and Treasures with Pierre Bastide'. Pierre adds (on the Tour 2011 page of his website):

It's a little adventure with you, my Reso and I, around some new landscapes and music trips. Bluegrass, progressive music, old-timey stuff, jazz and blues... For this new trip Bruce Harvey will be my partner with his double bass. And we'll be happy to jam with you for the second part of the gig.

Pierre, who has been honored as a permanent member of the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas, is also the coordinator of the Laroche Bluegrass Workshop which opens the annual La Roche Bluegrass International Festival in La Roche-sur-Foron, Haute Savoie, France. This year the workshop dates are 2-4 Aug. 2011.

For more information, contact Pierre by e-mail.

Strictly Country auction #95

Rienk Janssen of Strictly Country announces:

Record collectors & music lovers!
Platenverzamelaars & muziekliefhebbers!

My new auction list is ready, again with thousands of CDs, LPs, 45s, etc. with Country, Bluegrass and other genres of music.
You can have a look at the Strictly Country website, or I will be happy to send you a printed copy in the mail. (Regular customers will receive their copy by early June.)

If you know others who may be interested, please forward this message!

Mijn nieuwe auctionlijst is klaar, weer met duizenden CD's, LP's, 45's enz. met Country, Bluegrass en andere muziekgenres.
Je kunt een kijkje nemen op, of anders stuur ik je graag een gedrukt exemplaar toe. (Vaste klanten krijgen de lijst begin juni in de bus.)

Ken je anderen die belangstelling hebben, geef dit bericht dan door!

Friday, 27 May 2011

The Coal Porters in Ireland, 18 June 2011

The Coal Porters (UK/USA), who are known as 'the world's first alt.bluegrass band' and 'the Clash of bluegrass', will perform as part of the Cork Midsummer Festival (11-26 June 2011) in Cork city, Ireland.

As shown on the Festival website, they will play in concert at Murphy's Spiegeltent, beginning at 7.30 p.m. on Saturday 18 June. Doors open at 7.00 p.m.; tickets are €15 (€12 concession).

The Coal Porters, who have often played in Ireland in recent years, performed at the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, KY, in February 2011 (see the European Bluegrass Blog for 14 Feb.), and have earned critical acclaim for their recordings and live shows.

Full details for the band, together with quotes from reviews, performance videos, and more, can be seen on their homepage; at the website of Adastra, a leading UK agency for roots and acoustic music; on YouTube; on Twitter; and on Facebook.

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Downtown Ramblers: Euro Tour 2011

If the Icelandic volcano Grimsvötn permits, tomorrow (Friday 27 May) the Downtown Ramblers (S), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2009, will begin a week-long tour taking them to four countries. The tour begins and ends with two major European festivals: the Spring Bluegrass Festival, Willisau (CH), and the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival, Voorthuizen (NL).

The Downtown Ramblers will be playing songs from their new album, On the other side of the city, released less than two weeks ago on Saturday 14 May. The full tour schedule is:

Sat. 28 May Spring Bluegrass Festival, Willisau (CH)
Sun. 29 May Southern Kitchen, Malmö (S)
Mon. 30 May MusicStar, Norderstedt (D)
Tues. 31 May House concert, Stein (D)
Wed. 1 June House concert, Hamburg (D)
Thurs. 2 June Kulturforum, Kiel (D)
Sat. 4 June EWOB Festival, Voorthuizen (NL)

The Ramblers add:

Thank you for all the support and feedback you give us, it makes us happy! If you have any questions, thoughts, or ideas, about anything actually, please don't hesitate to contact us! You can just send an e-mail and we'll get back to you asap.

The new album On the other side of the city can be bought online here. You can also keep up with the Downtown Ramblers on Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Photos from the 9th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, 13-14 May 2011

The 9th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, held on 13-14 May 2011 in Bühl, Germany, was a great success and has received extensive and positive press coverage, including a major interview with Doyle Lawson by Friedrich Hog, president of the German Bluegrass Music Association, which can be seen (in German) on the festival website.

Thanks to Walter Fuchs, the festival's director and MC, for photos from the festival. More photos can be seen here. A long report by Lilly Pavlak on the Czech-language Music Open website, with more photos, can be seen here.

Doyle Lawson, headliner with his band Quicksilver; Walter Fuchs, festival director and MC; Pawel Minakowski, Polish journalist (photo from Pawel Minakowski; all other photos by Lilly Pavlak)

Horseless carriages in the streets of Bühl; Stewart Johnson of the Toy Hearts can be seen in the leading vehicle

The audience in the Bürgerhaus Neuer Markt auditorium

Saturday night finale: Doyle Lawson and Greg Cahill at the mike

29th Big Bear Festival, 13 June 2011: 13:00-19:00

Rienk Janssen, of the EBMA board and formerly of Strictly Country magazine, announces:

The small bluegrass festival with the big line-up!
Het kleine bluegrass festival met de grote namen!
Out in the park, or in the beautiful theater.
Buiten in het park, of anders in de mooie theaterzaal.
De Kimme - terrein Dennenoord - Lentis - Zuidlaren, NL
Admission / Entree
20 euros p.p. / 12-16: 5 euros / < 12: free / gratis
maximum per family with children < 17: 40 euros / maximaal per gezin met kinderen < 17: 40 euro
EBMA members / leden - 10% discount / korting
The event for music lovers & record collectors!
Het evenement voor muziekliefhebbers en platenverzamelaars!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike - 2011 European/UK/Canadian/US Tour - Post 4

Photos: Val and the evil shoes on stage in the Bath Assembly Rooms; rockin' out after the show in Ruulo, Holland.

24/05/11 Becky Buller

Hey, all! This posting contains bit and pieces about our last few shows. My IPod has been great for answering emails, but I need to get on a computer to blog. Quell domage! The one fly in the ointment.

Played the Kreuzkirche in Kassel, Germany on Sunday, a beautiful evangelical church that is a mix of old and new architecture. I especially enjoyed the circular vaulted ceiling with stars and crosses in it. Met some nice folks, heard some great stories.

We've been traipsing around Kassel for the last two days. I've walked myself to the point of exhaustion. But it feels great to be able to get out and about. The next three weeks we won't have much time for that.

Please read on about our time in Holland and England...


The band has decided that cows in Holland are bigger than any other cows we've ever seen, the ones out in the fields anyway. Maybe that's why Dutch cheese is so bodacious.

Played a house concert in Ruulo near the Dutch/German border. Dr. Tom and Marejka were so nice and have a lovely home. (It's a grand old farmhouse with a thatched AND tiled roof and gigantic guard geese in a pen out front.) Very lively audience. Annie the cacti farmer especially got into it.

I enjoyed some hedgehog hunting in the woods around the place this afternoon. Once again, I didn't find any. The locals laugh at me when I ask them if they have hedgehogs around the place. "You see them flat on the streets," someone told me. Oh no!!


The Bath Assembly Rooms are lovely, all Georgian architecture and crystal chandeliers. So good to see our good friends Dee and Eric Hallett again after about three years. Thanks also to John and Moira Wirtz for their help and the sound. And to Bryon and Glynnis Chalker for bringing us to the Bath Americana and Bluegrass Festival.

Valerie finally was able to wear the insanely high Buffalo heels she bought in Stuttgart a week or so ago. (See David Tousley's Facebook page for the video.) (She was kept from them for so long by a particularly cruel pair of blister-inducing golden tennis shoes she purchased in Sachsenheim. How could such beauty harbor such evil...)

Val was almost as tall as me on that second set. All was going well until "Dancing By The River," when she decided to dance amongst the audience. She took quite a tumble, but never stopped singing. We weren't sure what to do, so kept on playing, though the audience was gasping.

"As I lay there singing, all I could think of was how I had just fallen in one of the most prestigious concert halls in the world, how Lizt played here once, and, oh, aren't those chandeliers lovely... hope they didn't see my knickers..." she said.

Thanks to the Scoville Units for a copy of their lovely new record. Really nice stuff. We're listening to it as we head down the road toward Holland. Good traveling music; great banjo picking, says Shane.

Good to see the folks at Bath.

Bless David Tousley for being willing to get up early this morning to take my picture in The Circus while draped in the Regency dress I found in a charity shop. And bless Val for coming with me to the Jane Austen Centre yesterday morning. I love Darcy! And I love Bath! (See photos at

PS As always, there's to read at,,
and on our Facebook pages: Valerie Smith, Becky Buller, David Tousley, and Shane Blackwell.

PSS: Photos by David Tousley and moi!

Lilly of the West celebrates 15th anniversary

On Tuesday 17 May, Lilly of the West (BG) celebrated their 15th anniversary. The date also coincided with the birthday of Lilly Drumeva. A party was held in Sofia Live Club, with many guests and musicians on stage. A film-documentary and history of the band was shown on the video wall before the concert. Ex-band members attended and greetings were sent by several associations.

Lilly Drumeva and her band are presented with a birthday cake

Lilly of the West was formed in 1996 by Lilly Drumeva in Sofia. Shortly after releasing a debut album, the band toured successfully throughout Europe and the US, winning European and international bluegrass music awards. Lilly of the West has a large repertoire, including country, bluegrass, swing, jazz, pop, and Irish folk. The band has released eight albums to date; the latest (Lovin’ you) has been recorded in Prague with some of the best Czech musicians. Currently, Lilly of the West is recording a retro album, with jazz and swing standards from the 1940s.

Lilly is interviewed for television. Watch the interview here

Monday, 23 May 2011

Los Hermanos Cubero: on the air and on their home ground

Thanks to Los Hermanos Cubero (E) for news of a television show which they greatly enjoyed making. The show, in the series 'Los conciertos de Radio 3', was broadcast last week on the Spanish TV channel LA2, on two successive days: Wednesday 18 May and Thursday 19 May. It can now be watched online here.

The poster shown on the left announces a coming concert at the Teatro Moderno in Guadalajara, where Los Hermanos Cubero will play music from their CD Cordaineros de la Alcarria. This will be a special concert for them, as Guadalajara is the place where they were born. Tickets are on sale at the Pub Chinaski de Guadalajara, on the Plaza San Sebastian.

The 2011 festival season in Switzerland

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

Looking at the events scheduled for spring and summer in Switzerland, we are happy to see that all of the outdoor festivals will take place as usual. From what we hear, this year will provide even more opportunities than usual for Swiss and European bands.

Like the early summer weather, we have already had a lot of bluegrass blooming around here such as the Kruger Brothers' annual visit with several concerts. The Crooked Still band was in Lenzburg for an annual 'classical meets folk' event with workshops and concerts. Don Rigsby is scheduled for a concert in June. Some of the bluegrass bands get to play at regional western and country events and festivals, which we always hope will bring the music to a wider audience.

The Spring Festival Willisau continues to be a very successful and enjoyable event. Two stages and eight bands (from seven countries) keep all of us on our toes throughout the day. The festival either marks the end of the indoor season or the beginning of the major festival season depending on how you look at it. Many of the regional jams go on throughout the summer or take one month off during the vacation season. Rhonda Vincent & the Rage (photo) will be here in July.

We hope to see some bluegrass visitors from around the world this summer at some of the events. Check our website for times and places or contact us by e-mail if you have any questions or need information.

Swiss Bluegrass Music Association (SBMA)
Bluegrass Radio Show (19:00 Sundays, 15:00 Mondays); e-mail
Kent Miller
Lochhübel 174
5112 Thalheim AG

Donna Ulisse in Russia, July 2011

Thanks to Richard F Thompson for this news:

Nashville-based singer-songwriter Donna Ulisse (USA) will headline at the Second Kremlin Square Russian Bluegrass Festival in Vologda, Russia.

The invitation from the US-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission means that Ulisse, along with her band, the Poor Mountain Boys, will make two appearances at the Vologda festival and two appearances at private functions in Yekatarinburg, Russia.

The Poor Mountain Boys are Rick Stanley (guitar), Jon Martin (mandolin), Greg Davis (banjo), Tony King (guitar), and Bobby King (bass).

The first concert appearance is scheduled for Tuesday 12 July 2011, 7.00 p.m. This will be Ulisse's first international trip. Pete and Joan Wernick topped the bill at last year’s festival [see the EBB for 24 Aug. 2010].

Ulisse’s fourth album, An easy climb (Hadley Music Group), is to be released shortly.

Read Donna Ulisse's latest e-newsletter here.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Bluegrass Bands Helping Hands Announce Volume 3 CD to benefit "Miracle Field"

Paul Byrum of Bluegrass Bands Helping Hands (and 2011 Leadership Bluegrass alumn) sends out the following invitation to European bands:

Bluegrass Bands and Helping Hands would love to include a band or performer from Europe on our next CD project. If you would like more information, please contact Paul Byrum by e-mail or visit our website.
Bluegrass Bands, Helping Hands organizers announce plans for a September 2011 release of their next bluegrass compilation music CD. The project will feature original acoustic roots based music with all tracks donated by the artists. The CD will be the 3rd volume of the Bluegrass Bands and Helping Hands series. Proceeds from the CD and the subsequent release party are designated to benefit The Miracle League Whitfield County (Georgia). The non-profit organiztion plans to build "The Miracle Field", a barrier free handicapped and wheelchair accessible baseball/softball field with a cushioned, rubberized playing surface. The ultimate goal of the organization is to establish and division of the Miracle League for children and adults from all over North Georgia and the surrounding states to participate in.
Bluegrass and other acoustic roots musicians wishing to conribute professionally recorded compositions of original or public domain music may submit material for consideration by June 6th, 2011. Inquires may be sent by email or Bluegrass Bands Helping Hands LLC, P.O. Box 6714, Dalton, GA 30722, USA.

Kruger Brothers on Swiss National Television "10vor10"

The Kruger Brothers were followed and interviewed by Tilman Lingner, US Correspondent of the Swiss National TV at MerleFest and the clip has aired today on one of the most viewed news casts of the nation "10vor10" a format similar to 60 Minutes in the USA. Please note that Swiss TV SF airs in German and the interview parts are in Swiss German. Maybe a good chance to refresh your german skills or to simply just to get a kick out of it. Note also that the program is viewed on average at 250,000 households which represents 25% of the market in Switzerland. On most evenings the only program that is viewed more is the Weather at 8 pm.
Included was an excerpt of the performance of Appalachian Concerto at MerleFest 2011.

European Tour starts this Friday
  • Fri, 20 May 2011, 15:00 hrs Workshop Jens, 21:00 hrs, concert, Acoustic Guitar Meeting, Sarzana IT
  • Sat, 21 May 2011, 20:00 hrs, Tellspielhaus, Altdorf, CH(only few Tickets left)
    Tickets / phone +41 41 874 80 09
  • Sun, 22 May/i 2011, 19:00 hrs, Kammermusiksaal Tonhalle, Zürich, CH
  • Tue, 24 May 2011, 20:00 hrs, Kulturzentrum Altes Schlachthaus, Laufen BL, CH - Sold Out!
  • Wed, 25 May 2011, 20:00 hrs, Üdiker Huus, Uitikon bei Zürich, Tickets / Infos @ Maya Travel Inn +41 44 491 41 00
  • Sat, 28 May 2011, 15:00 hrs Workshop, 20:00 hrs concert with Supporting Act The Light Gallery, Eagle Music Event, West Yorkshire, UK, Tickets / Infos
Double Time Music,
Inc. 6137 Statesville Rd.
North Wilkesboro,
North Carolina 28659
United States

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

'The Captain': single and video from Toy Hearts

Thanks to Sophia Johnson of the Toy Hearts (UK) for the news that on Monday 16 May the band released their new single 'The Captain', from the new Toy Hearts album Femme fatale on Wood Ville Music.

The song carries a strong message, and the single is available for download from iTunes, Amazon, and other links on the band's website. The official video of 'The Captain' can be seen on the website, on YouTube, and (since yesterday) on the original Bluegrass Blog. Read the Toy Hearts' e-bulletin about the release.

Country Music People magazine has said of the band: ‘They fully deserve to be the first British act nominated for a Bluegrass Grammy’. The release came two days after the Toy Hearts had played three shows in the 9th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival in Germany.

News from France

Christopher Howard-Williams of the FBMA reports:

The line up for La Roche Bluegrass Festival (3-7 August) has been finalised and is available on the website. From the US, Kathy Kallick Band [left] is topping the bill with Hickory Project and the Field-Thompson band. The headline acts from Europe include G-Runs 'n Roses (contest winners 2010), Bluegrass 43, and Howlin' Fox. In all, 30 bands from 13 different countries are playing for one hour each, with 10 participating in the contest final.

A variety of food and drink is available on site as well as an instrument depot and play areas for kids. This is a family-friendly festival with camping possibilities nearby. As always, entrance to the entire festival is FREE.

The La Roche Bluegrass Workshop will run from 2 to 4 August. After a successful workshop in 2010, Hickory Project are back to lead the classes. They will be supported by Sue Thompson (singing) and James Field (rhythm guitar), Pierre-Yves Lechat (banjo), and Pierre Bastide (dobro).

The focus of the workshop is on improvising and getting away from tablatures. Teachers and students all stay in the school so there is almost 24/7 tuition. The students play a short set to open the festival on Thursday evening. Cost is €95 for three days + €75 for full accommodation for three nights. For further details, please contact Pierre Bastide (e-mail).

As usual, France's finest and most important Country Rendez-Vous at Craponne (29-31 July) saves time for some great bluegrass with Rhonda Vincent & the Rage, Kathy Kallick Band, and Tennessee Stud. Bluegrass Deluxe and Howlin' Fox are playing the free concerts downtown. Camping available on site.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike - 2011 European/UK/Canadian/US Tour - Post 3

17/05/11 Becky Buller

Photos, left to right: View from the castle ruin near Reutlingen; J. Gregory on Autoroute 4 in France; Becky at Rudy and Willi's guitar shop in Tubingen.

Alan O'Bryant, is it you who was showing me the tune "Napolean Crossing The Rhine?" I was trying to remember the melody on the mandolin as we drove into France today on our way to Calais to catch the Chunnel to England. I've never been under the English Channel before! We perform at the Americana festival in Bath on Thursday.

Thanks to Rudy and Willibfor saving the day once again! It wouldn't be a VSLP Euro tour without us stopping at their guitar shop for Willi to fix one of our instruments. This time, though, it wasn't my banjo but Shane's guitar Needed a tweak. They fixed him right up AND treated us to a cup of the worst coffee in Tübingen. :-)

Then we hiked up to a crumbly old castle near Reutlingen in the heart of the Schwabischer Albs with our friend Regine and her daughter Catherine. It was 300 meters almost straight up! Catherine practically ran the whole way. I lagged behind on the pretense that I was looking for gartenzwerge und igel. (Gnomes and hedgepigs). Ok, I'm out of shape. Jeff, can we go hiking when I get home? Who cares about the rattlesnakes?!

The view was incredible, as pictured here. The castle was built at least 1000 years ago. We could see several other castles on the surrounding hills.

Regine and her husband Rolf hosted us for a concert in their beautiful home last night. Thanks to both them and their lovely family for their hospitality. The maultaschen was yummy! (Monica Finke tells me that every good Schwabian frau knows how to make it...sausage raviolis.)

J. Gregory is currently filming himself chasing a Peugeot down the Autoroute 4. (Don't tell Jeanette or the rental car company...or la police, s'il vous plaît.)

Over and out, good buddy!

Becky Buller

PS: David "Stillwater Mule Mustang Sally Stinky Cheese Pizza Mad Map Man Biermiester Go-Go Gadget Knight Rider" Tousley says to tell you all that Roger Miller is on the radio in France today. We've been desperately searching the airwaves for a French torch singer to no avail, but Roger Miller is perfect for any occasion.

PSS: Photos by moi!

Bluegrass summer in the Czech Republic

Petr Brandejs reports from the Czech Republic:

CzBMA is proud to bring Don Rigsby & Midnight Call to the Czech Republic to its festival Banjo Jamboree in Čáslav on 17-18 June. This 39th year will be the first without its founder Honza Macak, who died this April. The CzBMA annual membership assembly will take place also in Čáslav on Saturday during the lunch break. 

The Banjo Jamboree contests (only two this year) have their winners: a hardcore traditional Early Grass, Abalone from Prague, and all-girl band Od Plotny Skok ('Just a jump away from the cooker'). The final winner will compete in Čáslav on Saturday morning. The Banjo Jamboree introduces a wider children's programme, featuring BG Cwrkot's show with songs for children and more activities by local Youth Activity Center. A 'Dutch auction' of Furch guitar D-33 SR (currently played by Cody Kilby) will take place at the Banjo Jamboree on Saturday afternoon.

Latest CzBMA newsletter brings a large interview with legendary Misa Hromcik (New River Train).

Rosta Capek, a fine instrument maker, keeps being active in promoting. He brings Beppe Gambetta and Dan Crary along with all-star Czech and Slovak guitarists on 26 May. There will also be many guitar makers presenting their instruments in the Koppernikus theatre in Prague, and Beppe and Dan will then continue to the Jamboree CZ festival in Strakonice. On 6 June Rosta will welcome mandolin wizard Radim Zenkl with singer-songwriter Jaroslav Samson Lenk. More at the Capek Instruments website.

Another great luthier, Zdenek Roh, brings an East Tennessee State University Old Time Pride Band to Jihlava (CZ), where they will play the White Stork festival, as well as teach workshops on bluegrass and old-time instruments and clogging on 23-25 June. More at the White Stork website, or contact Zdenek Roh by e-mail or tel. +420 605 433 194.

Downtown Ramblers: On the other side of the city

The new album On the other side of the city by the Downtown Ramblers (S), #1 European Bluegrass Band 2009, has just been released on Saturday 14 May.

Featuring the Downtown Ramblers' own brand of 'Nordic Urban Bluegrass', the album was made with the help of distinguished guest artists: multi-instrumentalist and Grammy Award winner Tim O'Brien, and fiddler Brittany Haas of Crooked Still. It can be bought for €14.99 through the Ramblers' webshop.

A one-minute video 'taste' of the new album can be seen here on the band's YouTube channel.

Bluegrass in Rome, May-June 2011

Thanks to Danilo Cartia (I) for news of two upcoming bluegrass events at the Cantine Blues, Via della Batteria Nomentana 66/68, in Rome, Italy: on 28 May 2011 the Danilo Cartia Band will be performing from 22:00, and on 1 June the Rome Bluegrass Jam will be held. Admission is free.

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

Don Rigsby & Midnight Call in Europe, June 2011

Don Rigsby (USA), one of the most respected singers in the field of traditional bluegrass, will begin a European tour with his band Midnight Call three weeks from now. The schedule begins with six dates in Ireland, followed by five in the Netherlands, Switzerland and in the Czech and Slovak Republics:

Tues. 7 June Kilworth Arts Centre, Co. Cork, IRL
Wed. 8 June TBC (still available), IRL
Thurs. 9 June Colfer's, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford, IRL
Fri. 10 June Athy Arts Centre, Co. Kildare, IRL
Sat. 11 June PV's Red Room, Longford town, Co. Longford, IRL
Sun. 12 June Mercantile Hotel, Dame St., Dublin 2, IRL
Mon. 13 June Big Bear Festival, Zuidlaren, NL
Wed. 15 June Kentucky Saloon, Pratten (near Basel), CH
Fri. 17 June TBA, Bratislava, SK
Sat. 18 June Banjo Jamboree, Čáslav, CZ
Sun. 19 June TBA, Aalsmeer, NL

Thanks to Chris Keenan (EBMA board member and organiser of the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Ireland) for the Irish dates in the tour schedule, and to Bluegrass in Basel for filling in the Swiss date. The other dates are as shown at present on Don Rigsby's website.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Sons of Navarone get airplay in Virginia, USA

Guido Bos of the Sons of Navarone reports:

Jim Snavely, WBTX Music Director, contacted us a couple of weeks ago. He came up with this idea after one of the local Belgian exchange students wanted to do something in radio... and since he hosts a weekly bluegrass show and knows of the excellent bluegrass groups in Europe, he thought: let's do a program and have these two girls co-host with me... but they are of Belgian interest. The two co-hosts [shown above with Jim] are Zoe Malmendier of Lontzen and Manon Henry of Corry-Le-Grand, Brabant, Belgium. They had no idea what bluegrass was, but after the program they became converts.

Matter of fact, they said they'd like to take in one of our shows once they get back to Belgium this summer. The radio show aired on 1470-AM, WBTX in Broadway, VA, USA 22815 on Friday, May 13 2011.

Apart from the Sons, also songs from 4 Wheel Drive (NL/D/B), Steve Louvat (B), Rawhide (B), and Red Wine (I) were used in the program. Pictures are available on WBTX-Radio Facebook.

The Sons of Navarone set their sights high (photo: Ann Janssen)

Good news for the bluegrass fans in Portugal

Thanks to Portuguese banjo-player André Lentilhas for this news:

Good news for the bluegrass fans in Portugal. The Bluegrass Sessions of Lisbon are becoming a steady event with the appearance of a number of bluegrass fans and musicicans. This is the only bluegrass jam held in Portugal. It happens every first Thursday of every month and it is hosted by the only portuguese bluegrass band, the Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti.
The Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti will also apear again at the Transblues - The Guarda (PT) - Bejar (SP) Blues Festival, this time in Spain, at the beautifull city of Bejar, on the 13th of July. More news about this event will soon be posted.
Best Regards,

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Update Spring Bluegrass Festival

Paolo Dettwiler of the Spring Festival Organising Committee has the latest news on this festival, which opens the festival season, in Switzerland:

Oh My Darling (CAN)
The 12th edition of the Spring Bluegrass Festival in Willisau, Switzerland on Saturday, May 28, 2011 is only two weeks away and tickets are selling fast. The 2011 Spring Bluegrass Festival welcomes artists from the USA (Special Consensus, Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike), Canada (Oh My Darling) and exclusive performances by major European acts such as Sunny Side (CZ), The Downtown Ramblers (S) and Ila Auto (N). Also performing will be The Oldtime Hayride (D/NL) and Switzerland's own The Country Pickers. A workshop by banjo expert Tom Nechville has been added. A wide choice of food and drinks as well as booths presenting bluegrass instruments and recordings are featured as well. In response to public demand a new extra tent will be installed. In 2010 over 500 people attended the event and the organizing committee is looking forward to even top that this year.
Welcome to a great day of bluegrass entertainment in the heart of Switzerland!
Paolo Dettwiler 

Bluegrass News from Bulgaria

Here's some news from Bulgaria, all the best!
Lilly Drumeva, Lilly of the West

Lilly of the West
“Country west fest Bankia”

Bulgaria’s first ever country music festival was held in Bankia, near Sofia on the weekend of the14/15th May, featuring Lilly of the West, Roy Stern & Stetson (country/rock band of ex-Lilly of the West bassist Tsetso Vlaykov), Kaliana (acoustic folk) and Medikus (country-pop). For the occasion a huge stage was build in the horse racing track with powerful sound system, that could be heard all over town. Apart from music the program featured line dancers, American food stands, merchandising and entertainment for kids.

Lilly of the West 15 years anniversary
On Tue. 17th of May, Lilly of the West celebrated 15 years anniversary. The date coincided with the birthday of Lilly Drumeva. A party was held in Sofia Live Club, with many guests and musicians on stage. A film-documentary and history of Lilly of the West was shown on the video wall before the concert. Ex-band members attended and greetings were sent by several associations. At the end, Lilly blew out the 15 candles of the huge cake, which was served to the guests.
“Lilly of the west” was formed in 1996 by Lilly Drumeva in Sofia. Shortly after releasing a debut album, the band toured successfully throughout Europe and the US, winning European and international bluegrass music awards. “Lilly of the west” has a large repertoire, including country, bluegrass, swing, jazz, pop and Irish folk. The band has released 8 albums to date; the latter (“Lovin’ you”) has been recorded in Prague with some of the best Czech musicians. Currently, “Lilly of the West” is recording a retro album, with jazz & swing standards from the 40s.

Lilly of the West honors Dolly Parton:
Lilly of the West played two concerts for the “Friends of Chicago Association” on 23rd and 26th of June in Sofia. The first was a tribute concert to country legend Dolly Parton, honoring her 65th birthday. Second was an open air concert in the Borisova gradina park, closing the festival.

Lilly of the West summer events:
  • The band is featured in the La Roche bluegrass festival 4-7 August (France), with a slot on Saturday, 6th at 19h.
  • A series of open air concerts are planned in the Sofia parks during the months of July and August, more info shortly on:
  • Lilly of the west will play a concert on 13th of August, closing the Bansko Jazz festival (mountain resort in Bulgaria).
  • A European tour is planned for the week 26.09-02.10, featuring concerts in Budapest, Bratislava and Vienna.


Here's a reminder by Dee Hallet:

PLEASE DON’T FORGET...... that between 18th – 22nd MAY 2011, the Bath Americana Festival is taking place at numerous venues throughout the city.

The Bath Americana Festival has exclusively obtained one of the USA’s most dynamic Bluegrass/Americana artistes, Valerie Smith – together with her outstanding band, Liberty Pike to headline their festival at the Assembly Rooms, Bennett Road, Bath BA1 2QH on Thursday 19th May at 7.30pm.

Travelling in from her extensive tour of mainland Europe to headline the Bath Americana Festival, the Tennessee based performers Valerie Smith and Liberty Pike 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 ensures that audiences are treated to a unique and memorable performance every time. With her band Liberty Pike - featuring the superb fiddle playing plus, the exceptional vocals of 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!! Please note that the Bath American Festival will be the only U.K appearance for Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike.

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike will be at the Bath Assembly Rooms, Bennett Street, Bath BA1 2QH on Thursday 19th May at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15.00 – and available from

Bath is a superb, renowned UNESCO World Heritage Site. The vibrant city, rich in history, stunning architecture, Roman Baths and Pump Room – will host a cast of outstanding musicians, vocalists and dancers that between 18th – 22nd May and provide an eclectic mix of festival entertainment, certain to please even the most fickle of folk.

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), 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/harmica/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 full details about events taking place at the Bath Americana Festival, please visit
Hope to see you there...!!!

Thanks! by Rienk Janssen

Rienk accepting the CD "Rienk's Favorites"
After the SC40 Farewell Reunion Festival, I feel the need to thank all who were involved in making this such a great event! Although it was a farewell party for Strictly Country magazine, and not for myself, 'strictly' speaking, very many people treated me extraordinarily friendly.
I found myself between astonishment and surprise, most of the weekend, as nobody had told me anything about what to expect. There was an abundance of good music, on and off stage, played and sung by the best!
Especially honored I felt by two gifts: one was the Lifetime Membership of the International Bluegrass Music Museum in Owensboro, Kentucky, and the other was the CD that has been produced by Donald Wermuth and my daughter Liz Meesters, containing fourteen of my very favorite songs, aptly called "Rienk's Favorites", including Liz' own version of the Mike Cross song "The Green of His Eyes", which she recorded withe help of the Mideando String Quintet.
My deep gratitude goes out to everybody who has contributed to the Farewell Reunion Festival: the musicians, the volunteers, and all who have supported Strictly Country magazine in those past forty years. The event was organised in a superb way by Lambert Schomaker and Silvia Fledderus, both of Stichting Boet'n Deure, of the annual series of outdoor concerts in Odoorn, NL.

Rienk Janssen

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike - 2011 European/UK/Canadian/US Tour - Post 2

Pictures left to right: Sunny Mountain Grass and Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike at the Buhler Bluegrass Festival; Greg and Bridget the D.A.I.; David and Becky looking for trolls in the Schwazwald; the Toy Hearts in Buhl - diggin' those ruby slippas!

15/05/11 Becky Buller

It was a wild and wooly night at the Buhler Bluegrass Festival. Walter and Patrick Fuchs along with the beautiful town of Buhl. Sunny Mountain Grass from Switzerland put on a great show. I loved their song about toast and eggs sunny side up. We had a lot of fun with them during the finale.

It was wonderful to see so many friends last night from all over Europe!

This morning, we had breakfast with our buddy Booger and the soon-to-be Frau Booger. We also saw Special Concensus there.

Luckily, we had a little time to burn in the Buhler marktplatz. The Toy Hearts were rocking out in their fabulous sparkly red shoes. I had to have another zwie kuglen eis as I watched them.

We are now winding our way through the Schwarzwald (What a view!) to Tübingen for a show at the D.A.I. tonight. I am the designated troll catcher. Shane is looking for bear. And we all hope to see one of the elusive girls in the hats with the giant red dealie-bobbers on them.

Until tonight!

Ok! Update from this afternoon...we had a packed house at the D.A.I. in Tübingen. Dieter and Bridget opened the show for us with some wonderful old tunes, Carter Family, Don Williams...very nice stuff! We're headed to their house in just a minute so I must close. Oh, Andreas, if you're reading this, great song to end the show last night! Thanks for being a good sport!


PS: There's more about our adventures at:,, and on our Facebook pages: Valerie Smith, Becky Buller, David Tousley, and Shane Blackwell.

PSS: Photos by David Tousley

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

News from Belgium

Thierry Schoysmann reports: The best publicity for a band is when people that have seen you perform, talk about it. If that person is a talented musician him or herself, that’s even better.
Here’s a spontaneous reaction by Elly Beurskens (talented multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from The Netherlands) on a Rawhide concert, that she‘s sent me after I requested it, but without any threatening or blackmail from my side.


Rawhide (BE) in action - à capella!
Have they been on a diet? Did they discover where the gym in town is? Did anyone threaten them with physical abuse unless they would toot-sweet change their ways? Have they all become a daddy? Did they abandon the drink (impossible!) Have they Seen the Light? Did Bill Monroe admonish them from the grave? Have they exchanged all their ‘made-in-China’ instruments for real ones?
These were thoughts that raced through my mind as I was sitting open-mouthed, watching  Rawhide’s show at the Strictly Country Farewell Reunion Concert, may 7th 2011. Being familiar with the band's jokes, bizarre musical contraptions and inventive harmony singing, I wasn’t expecting any surprises and was caught quite off-guard.
I walked into the concert room during the a-capella song Jesus Gave Me Water, noticing that their new mandolin player Jeff Cardey, whom I already knew as a sublime instrumentalist, did know how to sing a tune as well and that the band, as always, sounded fine. And then they proceeded with Cat Stevens’ Matthew and Son, and I was blown away by an 8-minute feast of convincing lead singing by guitar player Bert van Bortel and awesome breaks by each individual band member, in a rendition that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Newgrass Revival CD.
"This can’t be happening", was my reaction, ‘No band in the Benelux – or even Western Europe! – can pull this off. And since when has that bass player learned to play like that? Oh, a new one: Dimi Laveren used to live round the corner and actually didn’t play bluegrass at all when the band asked him to fill in for the old bass player when he left. Dimi turns out to be an animal on stage and plays the bass with a drive that fits Rawhide’s made-over style perfectly. About Jeff, a friendly Canadian (a tautology) who plays like a god, I could say the same – except the thing about the bass of course. Whether it’s all due to the new members I can’t tell, but the band seems to have acquired a new shine: they have started to sound like a top band that gives a new impulse to European bluegrass and shows that you can keep on growing as a band, even if you’ve been together for two decades. Their humorous self-depreciation and eccentric approach to music remain, but Rawhide seems to be rejuvenated: the band sounds tight, exciting and hot – without having given up a single pint of beer. Hats off!
Elly Beurskens

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Brent Moyer European tour

Brent Moyer (USA), who describes his music as 'Country * Rock 'n' Roll * Americana * Blues * Rockabilly * Jazz * Cajun * TexMex * Pop * Broadway' (but not bluegrass) sends to the European Bluegrass Blog his schedule for his European tour 2011, starting this week:

Wednesday, May 18, Restaurant Prattigauerhof, Schiers, GR, CH
Friday, May 20, Nidwood Saloon (sold out), Stans, CH
Saturday, May 21, Gasthaus Roessli, Versam, GR, CH
Monday, May 23, Tom’s Beer Box, Chur, GR, CH
Tuesday, May 24, Beer Garden Concert, Kleinkunstbuhne Zur Post, Obing, DE
Friday, May 27, Venkovni Country Fest, Restaurace U Floriana, Ceske Budejovice – Mokra, CZ
Saturday, May 28, Stakonice Country Jamboree, Strakonice, CZ
Saturday, May 28, Country Saloon, Benovy u Klatovy, CZ
Monday, May 30, Restaurace  Barca, Saratovska 20, Praha Strasnice, CZ
Tuesday, May 31, Hotel U Zlateho Byka, Kocinova 135, Pisek, CZ
Friday, June 3, Restaurace U Vodarny, Korunni 75, Praha Vinohrady, CZ
Saturday, June 4, Restaurace Stara Skola, Nenacovice 18, okr. Beroun, Nenacovice, CZ
Friday, June 10, Repp Clan’s Home, Habersdorf 33, 3300 Amstetten, AT (with Nick Shannon)
Saturday, June 11, Internat. Country Music Festival 2011, Stockehalle Bad Ischl (near Katrinseilbahn-Talstation), Bad Ischl, AT
Sunday, June 12, Country Brunch, Café Lafayette, 11 AM – 1 PM, Bad Ischl, AT