Tuesday, 30 October 2012

New Niall Toner album from Pinecastle

Pinecastle Records, one of the leading US bluegrass record companies, today released Onwards & upwards, the new album by Irish singer, songwriter, bandleader, and broadcaster Niall Toner - his first on the Pinecastle label. The ample album notes include the author's own accounts of writing each song, as well as photographs from the studio sessions. The Pinecastle press release includes a reminder:

... For months Toner's AirPlay Direct profile occupied the #1 spot on the service's all-time bluegrass album chart, and is currently #3.

The full press release can be read here. Niall Toner also has an artist profile on the Pinecastle website.

Media developments

John Hart of NewFolkRadio.com, based in Portland, Oregon, USA, sends word of his new website, Acoustic Music Pinboard (from which the image on the left is taken). This is intended as a service, facility, and resource for anyone involved in acoustic music - including folk, old-timey, bluegrass, Americana, etc. - and especially for anyone who wants to maximise the number of search-engine results for their own website. John says:

The mission of this new site is to publicise your band, label, news, event, concert, achievement, profiles, etc. using images and text... From bands to managers to labels to radio stations, to news sites, all are welcome. This is your site, have fun with it.


Thanks also to Ed Commons, the producer/director of Red Barn Radio, based in 'the heart of the Bluegrass', Lexington, Kentucky, USA, for this news. Red Barn Radio is a syndicated radio programme, now in its eleventh season, which offers an authentic look into the bluegrass and old-time music and musicians of the Kentucky region. Recorded in front of a live audience, it includes interview material woven into the show, giving insight into the history and interests of the music and musicians, and their roots in Kentucky. Ed writes:

I am interested in getting our programme to listeners around the world where an interest and love for bluegrass and its roots are appreciated. I am wondering if you might have any suggestions of stations in your country or region that might be interested in such a programme. Any contact information would be appreciated.

The show is offered free of charge, and is available from a secure download site in the NPR format. It is offered in two parts, both 59 minutes each, with a separate promo.

You can find more information on Red Barn Radio from the website. Contact Ed Commons by e-mail.

Bluegrass Europe #85 out now!

Bluegrass Europe #85 (October - December 2012) has been posted out to everyone on the mailing list. This issue's contents include:

Editorial ¦ EBMA NEWS [by current chairperson, Petr Brandejs] ¦ Cover feature: Covered Grass ¦ Hats off Europe ¦ BluegrassDuinen - News Europe ¦ La Roche Bluegrass Festival (report) ¦ Abaliget BG Festival (report) ¦ Int. Bluegrass Music Awards (report) ¦ Concert & Festival Calendar ¦ News US ¦ 1st European Bluegrass Jam Camp ¦ Risor BG Festival ¦ Gary Reid Interview ¦ Art Satherly (part 2/2) ¦ CD Reviews ¦ EBMA’s European Bluegrass Guide ¦ So long Doc, Earl & Doug 

We would like to draw your attention to the possibility of placing advertisements in this very carefully edited and layouted magazine. More ads are needed to finance the production and mailing of the printed magazine. Currently, EBMA's expenses on BLUEGRASS EUROPE are higher than what subscriptions and advertisements are generating. Advertising could be especially interesting to companies outside of Europe, touring artists, record labels with new CDs... Please contact be.advertising@ebma.org or check out www.bluegrass-europe.org for more information. 

We trust you will enjoy this current issue and look forward to you feedback!

Angelika R. Torrie

Friday, 26 October 2012

Stringcaster - open for bookings

Thanks to Stringcaster, from Rotterdam in the Netherlands, for this message. The European Bluegrass Blog regrets that owing to technical difficulties the images and design work on their message cannot be reproduced here. Visit the band's website for the full experience:

It's time to book Stringcaster. Yes, we're busy right now to book dates for the up-and-coming festivals.Our CD is to be released later this October and we're open for bookings. Our bio:

Five men with stringed instruments and a harmonica [John Burki, resonator guitar, mandolin, vocals; Martin Voogo, rhythm guitar, vocals; Jimmy Ellis, fiddle, mandolin; Robert van Driesten, harmonica, banjo, vocals; Marcel Verbaas, upright bass, vocals]

Seasoned musicians with their roots in blues, rockabilly, Irish folk, and country.Years of experience on national and international stages alongside renown artists such as James Burton, Rocky Burnette, Paul Burlison, Albert Lee, D.J. Fontana, Jim Weider, and Helen Watson.

The music is a mix of bluegrass, rockabilly, country and hillbilly. With driving harmonica, high-speed fiddle, hot-pickin' resonator guitar, twanging 5-string banjo, high-octane mandolins, pulsating rhythm guitar, and thumping double bass producing their own unique sound.

Covers and traditional music from the '40s & '50s. And some videos: 'Ole Slew Foot'; 'Rockin' chair money'; 'Stock car boogie'

Please let us know if you are interested to book Stringcaster for your festival or venue.

For bookings and more info:
Marcel Verbaas (bass player)
Phone: +31 (0)6 25167488
Rotterdam, Holland, Europe
Listen to our music

The return of G2 - on Bluegrass Today

Yesterday, John Lawless featured Sweden's award-winning G2 Bluegrass Band on Bluegrass Today. Two years after their five-month tour of the USA in 2010 and after a period of redirected energies, says John, 'the guys are back together and raring to go. Work will begin soon on a new recording, and active touring is being planned for Europe and the US.'

You can also watch on Bluegrass Today a pleasant, informal video made by G2 about what they're doing and where they're going. Banjo player Jens Koch says: 'All you songwriters out there - please e-mail us, because we want to hear your songs.'

17th Bluegrass Workshop at Malé Svatoňovice, 12-14 Aug. 2012

Thanks to Petr Brandejs for this news from the Czech Republic:

The 17th Bluegrass Workshop of Jindra Hylmar and Petr Brandejs took place on 12-14 August 2012 in Malé Svatoňovice. Everything went smoothly: 120 students, eleven teachers [above], Saturday night sold-out concert of Bluegrass Cwrkot and teachers (the two-and-a-half-hour-long video can be seen here), learning, jamming, having fun... Present were world-class banjo maker Jaroslav Průcha and Honza Fišer who makes guitars.

The usual Sunday afternoon farewell 'brutal jam' of all involved, playing three songs together, also took place [above]. For a very nice photo gallery, visit here.

The picture on the right shows three banjo players at the Saturday night concert: (l-r) Petr Brandejs, Pavel Zícha, Luboš Malina.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

2nd Bluegrass Jam at Mazy, Belgium, 26 Oct. 2012

Thanks to Steve Louvat and Laurent Eeckhout for this news:

Dear friends, musicians and music lovers,

Second Mazy Bluegrass, Irish & Old-Time Jam next Friday (26 October 2012)

A reminder:

Goal: to offer a friendly meeting place for fans of Bluegrass, Irish, Old time music and more globally, for fans of acoustic music who wish to share musical moments between players or listeners.

When: these musical meetings are scheduled to the last Friday of each month. So the next jam will happen on Friday 26 October 2012.

Where: at the wonderful Zy’coop place, 9a rue de l’usine, 5032 Mazy.

Opening hours: Doors open at 19:30
Jam from 20:00 to 21:30
Open stage from 21:30 to 21:50
Concert from 22:00 to 23:00: The Sons of Navarone
Last jam for the road…

Who: fans of bluegrass, Irish, and old-time acoustic music, with their instrument or not, beginners or advanced… cheerfulness required !

What: The purpose of the jam is to let the musicians propose tunes to each other, spontaneously, following the feeling of the moment. However, to allow to everybody to be comfortable, we will suggest every month five 'standard' pieces of the style which will be certainly played!
This 26/10/2012 :
Old Joe Clark
The Star of the County Down
Blackberry Blossom
Red-haired Boy
Wabash Cannonball

More details on our website!

Rate:Take part to the jam for a symbolic coin of € 2!!!
Thank the musicians performing the concert of the evening according to your appreciation by participating in the hat...

Organising team: Steve Louvat, Laurent Eeckhout - Blue Wings asbl (organiser of the Picnic Festival)
With the help of Pascal Similon from 'l’Atelier Guy Ness'
Thanks to all well-wishers for your help.

Become friends on Facebook now.
Looking forward to meet you there numerous,

Musically yours,

Steve & Laurent

Mideando String Quintet available for bookings

Stefano Santangelo (extreme right in above photo), mandolin player of the Mideando String Quintet (MSQ), reports:

I’m happy to introduce the Mideando String Quintet from Italy. Our acoustic music is performed by mandolin, octave mandolin, mandocello, violin, acoustic guitar, and electric bass. Our songs are usually arranged with five voices harmony. Our repertoire includes both our original songs as well as covers rearranged by the band to our personal style. We like to describe it as 'auteur Pop' with a bit of jazz and ethno music and with some bluegrass influences.

In May 2006 we won the first prize as 1# European Bluegrass Band at the 9th European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival in Voorthuizen, the Netherlands. In this role, we were invited to represent European bluegrass at the IBMA 2007 World of Bluegrass in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.

The song 'Talk about suffering', arranged by MSQ, was chosen for the official CD titled 10 years of EWOB. In the past years MSQ has won many other festival awards.

Their previous CD, Viaggio... ('Journey') was thought 'one of the best Italian CDs of 2005' by the La Difesa Del Popolo journal. Their latest CD, Tutte le Direzioni has had some very fine and good reviews by the following magazines: Chitarre, L’Isola Che Non C’Era, Jam, Strictly Country, FolkWord, SNMA News, Movimenti.prog, WolrdMusicSounds, La Brigata Lolli – Bielle.org: all the comments spoke of 'an excellent CD... very good music'. As well, the important Kataweb magazine nominated MSQ 'Artist of the Day' in December 2008.

During the past years Mideando played at various important music festivals such as the 40th Montreux Jazz Festival (Switzerland), Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival (Northern Ireland), EWOB Festival (Holland), EWOB Festival (Germany and France), Over Easy Bluegrass Festival (Switzerland), and Big Bear (Netherlands). In August 2008 the band were special guests at the Festival Europeen de Bluegrass Music in La Roche-sur-Foron, France, where they played in 2009 too.

At the moment the band is working on a new CD to celebrate their 18 years of musical activity. It will be ready in spring 2013. If you are interested in our band, you can look us up at our website. You can contact us by e-mail.

Stefano Santangelo
Via P. Vergerio n.6
35126 Padova, Italy
tel. +39 049 8021556
mobile +39 338 8227001
skype: mideando

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Weekend band workshop in Garching/Munich, 26-27 Apr. 2013

Thanks to Adiaha Bürkmiller of the Banjo Camp Munich for this news:

Weekend band workshop in Garching/Munich, 26-27 Apr. 2013
Hosted by the top US bluegrass band Chris Jones & the Night Drivers: Chris Jones (guitar), Mark Stoffel (mandolin), Ned Luberecki (banjo), Jon Weisberger (bass)

The Night Drivers are seasoned instructors at many prestigious bluegrass workshops, such as: Camp Bluegrass, Levelland, TX - Red, White & Bluegrass Festival, Morgangton, NC - MBOTMA Jam Camp, Richmond, MN - Augusta Heritage Center, Elkins, WV - Steve Kaufmann’s Acoustic Kamp, Alcoa, TN... and many more!

When: 26-27 April 2013
Instruments: Banjo, guitar, mandolin, upright bass
Location: TBA, in the Munich vicinity
  • Instrumental workshops: Advanced rhythm and lead techniques, and how your instrument best serves your band sound
  • Vocal workshops: Lead and harmony vocals in bluegrass music: Expression – dynamics – choice of songs
  • What it takes to be a performer and entertainer: Pace, emcee work, body language, working the microphone
  • Style analysis of classic bluegrass performances on video
  • Lots of jam sessions!
  • Evening concerts
Fee: 2-day workshop €250 Lodging: TBA For more information please contact Adiaha Bürkmiller Tel: Germany -0176-23 64 07 02 E-mail

Monday, 22 October 2012

Ivor Ottley - playing and teaching in Ireland, 12-19 Dec. 2012

Champion fiddler Ivor Ottley, originally from England, long resident in the west of Ireland and subsequently in Sweden, is shown (left) in Holladay, TN, where he won the West Tennessee Fiddle Championship earlier this year.

Ivor will be in Ireland between 12 December and 19 December, performing in the Galway area. He will also be available for teaching and workshops between those dates. As the 'Learning' page of his website shows, he is an accomplished teacher - a point that is underlined by his article 'Fundamentally good playing' in the current issue of British Bluegrass News (no. 62, autumn 2012). He can be contacted by e-mail, and is also on Facebook.

Danilo Cartia and Letizia Sampaolo in Rome, 25 Oct. 2012

Danilo Cartia (banjo, guitar, vocals) and Letizia Sampaolo (guitar, autoharp, ukulele, vocals) will present bluegrass, blues, and ballads this week on Thursday 25 October, beginning at 21:30 in the Pirati Pub, Via Mario Menghini 97, Rome, Italy. Admission is free.

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

Lands End - bluegrass and beyond

Lands End are a diverse group of young musicians who first came together at one of Europe's premier bluegrass workshops, the Sore Fingers Summer School, held annually in Oxfordshire, England. Originally formed for a one-off show, the band, who have been tutored by some of the most prolific names in bluegrass, made such an impact in their first performance they couldn’t possibly stop there! Their name, 'Lands End', pays tribute to the fact that each member comes from a different geographical location - Cork, Galway, Dublin, Munich, Liverpool, and Canada.

Lands End consists of Richie Foley (mandolin), Sam Rose (bass), Paddy Kiernan (banjo), Bruno Pichler (Dobro), Hubert Murray (guitar, vocals), and Sam Draper (fiddle). Although their music is strongly embedded in the bluegrass tradition, each member brings the distinctive sound of his own tradition to the musical arrangements of the band. Playing a mix of original material with bluegrass standards and the odd hint of Celtic and Baltic tastes, Lands End have been gathering huge momentum since they formed in April this year. They played several dates in Ireland this summer before performing at Ireland's largest free bluegrass festival in Dunmore East, Co. Waterford (IRL), and at Didmarton Bluegrass Festival (GB).

Lands End are starting work on their first studio album in December this year. They can be seen on a twelve-and-a-half minute YouTube video, recorded in St Mary's Collegiate Church, Youghal, Co. Cork, Ireland, on 11 August 2012. Several more videos of Lands End, recorded during their set at Didmarton (where the photo above was taken), are also on YouTube.

Lands End Facebook; website

Your festival in BU's 2013 list: deadline 2 Nov.

The October 2012 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine reminds festival organisers that the details of their events for next year should be sent in by 2 November 2012 in order to appear in the January 2013 issue of BU. The BU list is for bluegrass/ old-time/ acoustic music festivals, contests, or conventions. Events should have at least five bands or performers taking part, and no less than five hours of music a day.

A questionnaire form for giving the details of your event is published on page 60. This can be cut out, filled in, and posted to the magazine, or sent by fax (001-540-341-0011). You can also send in the information by e-mail. The details required are:

City of event
State of event [or country, for those outside the USA]
Dates in 2013
Name of event
Name of contact person (one name only)
Zip code
Phone (one only)
Fax (one only)
E-mail (one only)
Website (one only)

New EP and video clip from Los Hermanos Cubero; launch in Barcelona, 8 Nov. 2012

Thanks to Los Hermanos Cubero of Spain for the news that their second record, a 7" vinyl EP released by Carajillo Records, will be launched in Barcelona on 8 November 2012, beginning at 10.00 p.m. in the Club Heligàbal, Calle Ramón y Cajal 80. Admission is €6 (€10 with a copy of the record).

The A side of the EP, 'La calle abajo', is featured in a videoclip produced for Primitive Films, which will be premiered at the launch. A video poster for the event can be seen on YouTube.

Kruger Brothers European tour dates in November 2012

Thanks to Philip Zanon, president of Double Time Music, for a complete schedule of the forthcoming European tour by the Kruger Brothers (CH/USA), mentioned on the EBB on 23 Sept. 2012.

The tour begins on Sat. 3 Nov. with the Banjo Event 2012 at the Eagle Music Shop in Huddersfield, northern England. Eagle Music is the official worldwide #1 master dealer for Deering Banjos, and Greg and Janet Deering will be present at this one-day festival, which includes concerts, workshops, picking sessions, bar, food, raffle, and trade stand, together with performances by the Kruger Brothers and leading English bands - the Down County Boys, Chris Cooper, the Kentucky Cow Tippers, Joe Mac & the Old Grey Dogs, and more. Full details, with online booking facilities, are on the Banjo Event 2012 web page.

The remaining shows, in Switzerland, are:
Thurs. 8 Nov. Alte Kaserne Zurich, presented by K-Tel International (Switzerland)
Sat. 10 Nov. theater(uri) Tellspielhaus Altdorf UR, presented by theater(uri)
Sun. 11 Nov. Alts Schlachthuus Laufen BL, presented by Swisstexmusic

For all Swiss dates, the Brothers are joined by special guest Josh Day (drums and percussion), who has performed with the Kruger Brothers many times and has been their #1 choice for their classical collaboration works. He has also recorded with them, most recently on 'People get ready', the bonus track of their latest release, Best of the Kruger Brothers.

Links to all shows, and online booking facilities, can be found at the Kruger Brothers online tour schedule, which announces that the final concert, at Laufen on 11 Nov., is now sold out.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Coming concerts in Belgium

Bluegrass in Belgium announces two concerts by Belgian bands in the coming week:

Thurs. 25 Oct. Blue Maxx, CC De Garage, Sint-Antoniusstraat 27a, 2520 Ranst / Millegem (aan kerkje), 20:00; admission free. For further info, 'phone 0497/56.05.00.

Fri. 26 Oct. The Sons of Navarone, Zy’coop, 9a rue de l’usine, 5032 Mazy; bluegrass jam 20:00; concert (Sons) 22:00

Friday, 19 October 2012

Punch Brothers in Europe, Oct.-Nov. 2012

The Punch Brothers (USA) begin on Monday 22 October a tour of Europe. Their online schedule shows three dates in Germany (22-4 Oct.), one in France (3 Nov.), one in Northern Ireland (5 Nov.), and seven in Britain (6-14 Nov.), ending with two in the Netherlands and one in Belgium (16-18 Nov.). On the three German dates, the Carolina Chocolate Drops (USA) will also be playing.

Their new five-track EP Ahoy! is scheduled for release on 13 Nov. It can be pre-ordered online; all EP purchases come with an instant download of one of the tracks, 'Another new world'. The first 250 people to pre-order will receive an EP signed by the whole band. Further information is on Bluegrass Today.

Danilo Cartia news, 20-21 Oct. 2012

Danilo Cartia (banjo, guitar, vocals) will present bluegrass, blues, country, and ballads this weekend in two shows in towns on the coast west of Rome, Italy.

The first, with Letizia Sampaolo (guitar, autoharp, ukulele, vocals) begins at 21:30 on Saturday 20 October at Fort Apache, Via Redipuglia 25 (Isola Sacra), Fiumicino, near Rome's international airport (info 06 65029150; 3312220329). Admission is free.
In the second, Danilo will be joined by Leno Landini (harmonica). The show starts at 18:00 on Sunday 21 October in the Sala Consiliare Comune, Tarquinia.

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

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Peter Rowan: recording news and tour in Europe, 14-25 Nov. 2012

Peter Rowan (photo: Tim Benko)

Following the EBB posts in May and July 2012, thanks to Al Evers of A Train Entertainment for further news on Peter Rowan (USA), and especially the tour that he will be playing in Italy, France, and the Czech Republic in November 2012.

Peter is in the Compass Records studio recording his second album for Compass with his current band (Keith Little, Paul Knight, Mike Witcher) plus the Travelin' McCourys including fiddler Jason Carter; other sessions included Chris Henry on mandolin and Michael Cleveland on fiddle. A highlight so far has been Bobby Osborne and Jesse McReynolds singing two Rowan originals, 'My Saviour is calling me' and 'Mountain man's dream'. It is hoped that Del McCoury will be able to take part in the recording, with plans for a spring 2013 release.

Peter is looking forward to his coming dates in Europe:

With Red Wine (I):
Wed. 14 Nov. La Maison Musique, Turin (Torino), Italy [note change of date from previous announcements]
Fri. 16 Nov. Bluegrass Party, Teatro Modena, Genoa (Genova), Italy
Sat. 17 Nov. Auditorium, La Roche-sur-Foron [main Aug. festival website], Haute Savoie, France
Sun. 18 Nov. Teatro Amigdala, Trezzo d'Adda, near Milan (Milano), Italy

With Druha Trava (CZ)
Wed. 21 Nov. Nachod, Divadlo dr. Josefa Cizka
Thurs. 22 Nov. Brno, Delnicky dum Lisen
Fri. 23 Nov. Hranice na Morave, Divadlo Stara Strelnice
Sat. 24 Nov. Nove Mesto na Morave, kulturni dum
Sun. 25 Nov. Prague, KC Novodvorská

Update 21 Oct.: More details of the forthcoming Compass album are available in Friday's post by Richard Thompson on Bluegrass Today.

Latest news from Beppe Gambetta

The latest e-mail newsletter from Italian guitar maestro Beppe Gambetta opens with a list of the dates in his coming tour of Germany and Switzerland, beginning on 21 Oct.. The tour includes concerts and workshops in Weingarten, Nuremberg (Nürnberg), and Berlin. Full details, including links to venue websites, are on Beppe's online calendar.

Next year the 21st Beppe Gambetta International Acoustic Guitar Workshop at Ambroz, Slovenia, will feature three teachers - as well as Beppe, Mike Dowling (USA) will teach flatpicking, blues slide guitar, and vintage jazz, and Chris Newman (UK) will teach flatpicking, Celtic, and improvisation.

Beppe's German-language DVD The art of flatpicking guitar (trailer on YouTube), on Peter Finger's Acoustic Disc Company label, has been well received, together with his compilation CD Collection.

The newsletter also includes Beppe's recommendation of a documentary film on country music, his choice of ten YouTube videos of great guitarists, and his memories of Doc Watson - culminating at Doc's funeral. To receive full newsletters, contact Beppe Gambetta through his website.

Covered Grass back home

Covered Grass (D) published yesterday on their website an illustrated account (in German) of the final part of their pilgrimage to the USA, including their journey to Hollywood, where they had been invited to take part in the 40-year reunion of the original cast of 'The Waltons' TV show.

Their performance of their original song, 'Goodnight John Boy', composed as a tribute to the show, was an important part of the reunion. Covered Grass's video of the song can be seen on YouTube.

Monday, 15 October 2012

UKBluegrass.com back in action

UKBluegrass.com - since 2006 the most valuable source of day-to-day information on what's happening on the British bluegrass scene - has been at a very low level of activity during this year's festival season. Its founders and operators, Katherine Selby and Jer Boon, have been moving house, and have accordingly taken a not-quite-complete sabbatical from bluegrass activity. It is good to be able to report that UKBluegrass.com is now resuming its position as a vital part of the bluegrass media in Europe.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Danilo Cartia and Letizia Sampaolo in Rome, 13 Oct.

Danilo Cartia (banjo, guitar, vocals) and Letizia Sampaolo (guitar, autoharp, vocals) will present bluegrass, blues, and ballads this week in Rome on Saturday 13 October 2012 at Mullighan's Risto Pub, Via di Ponte Valle Trave 8, Anguillara. The show begins at 22:00.

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

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Lynne Butler off the air - for the present

Radio presenter and performing and recording artist Lynne Butler (left) sends this message to all bands in Europe:

I hope you are all well and I apologise for the lack of newsletters. The last one was 5 August and I cannot quite believe where the time has gone. Up until last week your music was being played on my radio shows even though I didn't have time to send out newsletters and playlists. I just haven't had the time.

I am writing this week to say that unfortunately I will not be running my regular radio shows for a while - at least until the new year, when I will then review what time I have to devote to the shows. Due to my increased workload and the projects that I want to work on over the winter, I initially thought I could manage these voluntary programmes on a fortnightly basis, but the hours that have to go into producing just four programmes a month is a lot more than I can give at the moment.

I will have all the specials ready for Christmas at least. That includes the Hungarian, Swiss, and Orwell bluegrass festivals. Feel free in the meantime to send your music directly to the stations as they will still pop them in play. The stations are UK Country Radio and Bluegrass Planet Earth.

I've done my very best over the last three years to promote you all as much as I can, and more importantly to promote European bluegrass music. I might well be back in the new year, so watch this space. All the specials will be repeated at Christmas too, including the older ones I've done, so that listeners are still aware of the festivals around Europe, when they take place, and of course the fabulous bands/music that is present at them.

Carolina Chocolate Drops in Europe

The Carolina Chocolate Drops (USA), spearhead of the revival of black string-band music, are now on tour in Europe. On 12 October they will complete a series of shows in Ireland and Britain, and will go on to play four shows in France, one in Belgium, two in the Netherlands, and three in Germany. More details, including venues and online booking facilities, are on the band's tour schedule.

Monday, 8 October 2012

"Castle Picking Party 2" Another Success

Excellent news arrives from the 2nd Annual Castle Picking Party held at 'Het Kasteel' in Groningen, Netherlands on September 23, 2012. Hans Kelderhuis and Ben Wiltjer, with assistance from master photographer Henk Eggens and a worthy volunteer staff, provide this fantastic venue for jamming, visiting, eating and drinking. Old friends and new friends from several countries gathered that afternoon as the crowd grew to well over 120 players and listeners in the old castle -- and enough food at the buffet (donated by the attendees) to keep everyone healthy and happy for the day and evening.

All-day jamming was non-stop on all 3 floors from 13:00 to 20:30 in the many available rooms and various spaces. One could participate in small, intimate sessions or join some of the larger groups. Several styles of acoustic music could be heard, with the emphasis on Blue Grass music. One hall is designated as a performance stage area which hosted eight (8) bands.

One of many Castle Picking jam rooms.

The Dutch band "Close To Home" in the performance hall.

After the all-day jamming, the party moved down to the castle's cellar. It was an intimate finish to the festivities with a concert in the "Melkweg 1" hosted by Henk Eggens. Three (3) bands performed in the cozy café late into the evening. Constructed by Eggens, it is reminiscent of the old 'speakeasy' cafés. Speakeasys were small hard to find venues that existed in major cities during the alcohol prohibition era of 1920s - '30s America. The sound system of musician Jan Pals was a perfect touch. Melkweg 1 is the type of performance space artists cherish, and audience members truly enjoy.

In the castle cellar café, 'Melkweg 1'
Whiskey Rose

A First-Class production from the 3rd level all the way down to the cellar. The 3rd Annual Castle Picking Party takes place on September 22, 2013. All acoustic instruments are welcomed. The public is invited -- all you have to do is register in advance. More photos and a registration page ("Aanmelden") is available on their web site: castlepicking.weebly.com.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Heart of England Bluegrass Venue website to close, 31 Oct. 2012

Ron Stevens of the Heart of England Bluegrass Venue (HOEBV) at Bulkington, Bedworth, near Coventry in the English midlands, reports that the venue's website will close on 31 October 2012, as British Telecom will no longer allow the operation of a free-of-charge website. Further news is awaited on the future of the HOEBV, which has hosted many major bluegrass acts from Britain and abroad over the years.

New album from Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers

Bluegrass Today features The old home place ain't the same anymore, a new album by Finland's Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers. Scheduled for release on 15 October in both CD and LP format, this is the band's eighth album, and features Nelli Ikola on fiddle, who has been a regular member since their last record.

A video made in the recording studio can be seen on Bluegrass Today, where you can also hear audio clips of three tracks from the album. All the material consists of original compositions by Jussi Syren, and the album can be ordered online.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Bluegrass Daily now updated twice a day

Thanks to SwissGrass Productions - 'Public Relations and more... bluegrass style!' - for this news:

Bluegrass Daily - an online newspaper dedicated to everything bluegrass - is now being updated twice daily.

Bluegrass Daily uses over twenty online sources to update its worldwide bluegrass contents. It also includes videos and topics such as education or stories.

You can also subscribe to it and get the main headlines in your e-mail box as soon as the newspaper is updated and published. Feel free to e-mail additional online content not included to SwissGrass Productions.

RED reviewed in Bluegrass Unlimited

Thanks to Martino Coppo of Red Wine (I) for the news that the band's latest CD, RED, has been given a very favourable review in the October 2012 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. The review - which mentions that Red Wine come from the home town of Christopher Columbus, 'very fitting for adventurous pioneers' - can be read in full here.

Mike Auldridge tribute: a message from Rob Ickes

Latest news on the tribute being organised for dobro master Mike Auldridge: Rob Ickes, fourteen-time winner of the IBMA Dobro Performer of the Year Award, has sent out a special message, asking for tributes to be posted as soon as possible, as Mike is to see them very soon.

The online message includes links to the tribute website, the guest book for personal tributes, and the text of the presentation for Mike's IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award (2007).

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The Banjo Infographic

Thanks to András Dancsák, a Hungarian graphic designer and  banjo player, who sends news of his latest work: the Banjo Infographic.

This is a high-resolution graphic design (see above) which gives - under the title 'The secrets of the banjo' - a sectional view of a 5-string resonator banjo; the banjo-player's 'essential tools' (picks, sling, capo, tuner, etc.); an outline of the development of banjo construction; the other instruments of the banjo family; the lineup of a classic bluegrass band (all six instruments); a selection of famous players (Earl Scruggs, Tony Trischka, Bela Fleck, Steve Martin, Ron Block); and much more information.

For a closer look at the design, use this link. We foresee a place for this on the walls of banjo-players all over the world...

Send your tribute now to Mike Auldridge

Thanks to Dwight Worden of the IBMA for news that a tribute is being organised for dobro master Mike Auldridge by Rob Ickes and Betty Wheeler, the joint organisers of ResoSummit.

Mike Auldridge is one of nine 2012 recipients of the National Endowment for the Arts' National Heritage Fellowships – the USA's highest honour in the folk and traditional arts. The citation for his award, with an account of his career, can be read here. A celebration and concert for this year's new fellows is to be held in Washington, D.C., on Thursday this week.

Rob Ickes and Betty Wheeler have set up a tribute website for Mike, which is to be shown to him before the Thursday celebration; so anyone who wishes to post a tribute to this truly innovative musician, who redefined his instrument, should post it on the Guest Book page today or tomorrow.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Old Kerry McKee: LP release and tour, Sept.-Oct. 2012

Marcus Lundquist, founder of Swedish label The Greatest Records, announces that on 25 September the 12" vinyl edition was released of the debut full-length record Wooden songs by folk-blues singer and guitarist Old Kerry McKee (left). Radio presenters and others wanting a copy of the record in vinyl or CD format should contact The Greatest Records by e-mail. Other useful links: video; audio; Facebook

Old Kerry McKee begins tomorrow (2 Oct.) a two-week tour in Germany, Belgium, England and Wales and - according to the schedule on his Facebook - Australia, though the 'Newcastle, Australia' shown under 7 Oct. may be Newcastle upon Tyne, in northern England.

Marcus Lundquist
The Greatest Records
Stockholm / Berlin
+49 (0)160 95 21 89 79; e-mail; Facebook