Friday, 30 November 2012

La Fuente de Musica old-time workshops in Andalusia, May 2013

Thanks to the UK association for old-time music, FOAOTMAD, for the news that the next La Fuente de Musica old-time music workshops in Andalusia (Andalucia), south-eastern Spain, will be held on 11-18 May 2013. The press release reads:

Teachers are Dave Bing, Kate Lissauer, John Whelan, Rose Ardron, and others TBC. Classes are in fiddle, banjo, guitar, part singing, and beginners instrumental (all instruments).

A week of intensive fun and wall-to-wall learning in a beautiful environment, accompanied by Olympic-sized food, delicious swimming pool, friendly teachers, and accomplished friends.

£550 includes all amenities, food and room, tuition, and facilitation of all transfers. For information and enrolment, contact Kate Lissauer by e-mail or 'phone (+44 (0)1373 474 110). More details are on the 'Events' page of Kate Lissauer's website. The 'Media gallery' section includes many photos taken during previous workshops.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Banjo player wanted in Brussels

Matt, a double-bass player originally from Texas and now living in Brussels, Belgium, sends word by e-mail that he is looking for a banjo player to join his band, and would be glad of advice on how to find someone.

As the system through which the European Bluegrass Blog (EBB) receives e-mails has been cunningly devised so that the sender's address is not shown, we can't send Matt a direct e-mail reply. We can, however, give him through the EBB the assurance that there are banjo-players somewhere near him; and his best bet for finding them is through the Bluegrass in Belgium website - either through its mailing list page or by e-mail.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Bluegrass from Dijon: Tony D. & The Old Jim's

Thanks to Tony D. & The Old Jim's, who write:

Hello dear Bluegrass Lovers!
We'd like to let you know about our French Bluegrass group!

Inspired by bluegrass, folk, and rock, the Dijon-based Tony D. & The Old Jim's feature Anthony 'Tony D.' Doiret (guitar, dobro, harmonica, vocals), Laurent 'Wolver Jim' Decornoy (banjo, bass drum, vocals), Marven 'Hairy Jim' Osta (bass, vocals) and Jérôme 'Jerry Jim' Séquin (guitar, mandolin, vocals).

Using usual bluegrass instruments, which are quite atypical instruments in France, the members of Tony D. & The Old Jim's sing lead and backup vocals, play bluegrass, Americana and old-time standards, but also original songs composed by Anthony Doiret.

The foursome started playing together in 2010, having their first show on June 2011, leading to their first self-titled debut album in October 2012. It can be ordered on their website. You can also find them on Facebook.

Feel free to ask us more about us, and if you'd like to get a CD, please let us know where to send it! Thanks and see you!

Music Contact - Bluegrass/Americana international tour news, Nov. 2012: update

Rainer Zellner and his Music Contact team send the latest news on tours by bands in bluegrass and related music in the updated November Music Contact newsletter.

4th Bluegrass Jamboree!
Audie Blaylock & Redline
Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms

Further info on artists, and video previews, are on the Jamboree! website.
Sponsored by Deutschlandradio Kultur, No Fences, Bear Family Records, Dynamite Magazin, ByteFM, Folker, Hufgeflüster, EBMA, German Bluegrass Music Association, WDR, Rookie, Hillbilly Guesthouse
(Acoustic guest bands playing in the venue foyers are marked with a *)
28 Nov. Salmen, 77652 Offenburg, 20:00 (*Dapper Dan Men)
29 Nov. Bürgerhaus, 63303 Dreieich, 20:00 (*Random Strangs)
30 Nov Haus International, 87435 Kempten, 20:00
1 Dec. Schloss Großlaupheim, 88471 Laupheim, 20:00 (*Greenfields*)
2 Dec. Amerikahaus, 80333 Munich (München), 20:00 (*GeorgiaRina & the Loose Screws)
3 Dec. Haus der Kultur, 84478 Waldkraiburg, 20:00
4 Dec. Koppernik Theater, Hotel Pyramida, Prague, Czech Republic, 20:00
5 Dec. Bürgersaal, 95233 Helmbrechts, 20:00
6 Dec. Kulturfabrik, 91154 Roth, 20:00 (*Graef & Limbeck)
7 Dec. NeuStadtHalle am Schloss, 91413 Neustadt a.d. Aisch, 20:00
8 Dec. franz k, 72762 Reutlingen, 20:00 (*Horse Mountain)
9 Dec. Beavers Museum, 63897 Miltenberg, 20:00
10 Dec. Dreikönigskirche, 01097 Dresden, 20:00
11 Dec. Harmonie, 53121 Bonn, 19:30
12 Dec. Gutsscheune Varrel, 28816 Stuhr, 20:00 (*Ol´Potatoes)
13 Dec. Landesbühne, 06295 Lutherstadt-Eisleben (Aufz. Deutschlandradio), 19:30 (*Olaf Gläser & Friends)
14 Dec. Kulturfabrik Löseke, 31137 Hildesheim, 20:00 (*Two U)
15 Dec. Domicil, 44137 Dortmund, 20:00 (*Wortmann Brothers TBC)
16 Dec. Schlachthof, 34127 Kassel, 20:00

Toy Hearts (Bluegrass & Western Swing, UK) (Feb. 2013)
19 Feb. Bottich, 75175 Pforzheim, 20:15
21 Feb. Haus International, 87435 Kempten, 20:00
22 Feb. Wodan Halle, 79098 Freiburg, 20:30
23 Feb. Sudhaus, Tübingen, 20:00
27 Feb. Kesselhaus, Kolbermoor, 20:00

The Deadly Gentlemen (Bluegrass Rocks!) (May 2013)
2 May Jegelscheune, 90530 Wendelstein, 20:00
4 May Bürgerhaus, 77815 Bühl, 14:55
6 May Neue Welt, Ingolstadt, 20:00
7 May franz k, 72762 Reutlingen, 20:00
10 May Wodan Halle, Freiburg, 20:00
11-12 May Karl May Festival, Radebeul
13 May el Lokal, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland, 20:20
16 May Haus der Kultur, Waldkraiburg, 20:00
18 May Theater Laboratorium, Oldenburg
21 May Schlachthof, 34127 Kassel, 20:00
22 May Der Club, 42579 Heiligenhaus, 20:00
23 May Ratssaal, Stuhr, 20:00
25 May Zeltfestival, Ulm

The Henry Girls (IRL) (Sept.-Oct. 2013)
'Three Irish Ladies travel to Tennessee'

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike Girls (new all-women lineup; Bluegrass-Americana) (Oct. 2013)

New Country Rehab (CAN) (Nov. 2013)
'New Energy in Old Country'

5th Bluegrass Jamboree! (Nov.-Dec. 2013)

'Hillbilly Boogie' - Country and Roots; Free Radio Tübingen, accessible worldwide on the internet here; every Friday 21:00-23:00

Rainer Zellner
Roots Music Booking and Production
Saarstrasse 8, D-72070 Tübingen, Germany
+49 (0) 7073 2250; mobile: +49 170 2134 999
Music Contact
Irish Spring
Bluegrass Jamboree!
facebook; media download; e-mail; YouTube

Monday, 26 November 2012

Red Wine Bluegrass Party #4 with Peter Rowan, 16 Nov. 2012

Thanks to Martino Coppo of Red Wine (I) for this report, with photos by Red Wine official photographer Stefano Goldberg:

The Red Wine Bluegrass Party #4 with special guest legendary singer/songwriter Peter Rowan on 16 November in Genoa (Genova) was a great success!

The new beautiful venue, Teatro Modena, one of the nicest opera venues in town, for one night has been filled with bluegrass enthusiasts coming from Genova and all over Italy, and a few fans from Ireland and France!

The first part of the show saw Red Wine presenting its latest CD RED, with help from Daniele Bovo (cello), Ilaria Olcese (vocal), and Davide 'Zazza' Zalaffi (drums), who all appear on the recording.

After a short intermission, the band came back with Peter for a high-energy version of 'High lonesome sound', before leaving him for an intimate solo set, including a slow but intense 'Down the road' played with longtime good friend Lowell Levinger, alias 'Grandpa Banana', another 'unofficial' guest at the Party.

The band came back in the end and walked with Peter in front of the microphones to sing the gospel 'Going up on the mountain', completely acoustic. Then they went through a ten-minute-long new and intriguing version of 'Land of the Navajo' as well as the classic 'Midnite Moonlite', with help from Grandpa Banana again.

On the encore ('Long journey home') world-famous classical mandolin master Carlo Aonzo made a surprise visit on stage, holding his bowl-back mandolin, for some twin mandolin solos.

Peter Rowan and Red Wine also played a few other well received gigs on this tour, in Turin (Torino), La Roche-sur-Foron in France, and Trezzo D'Adda, Milan (Milano).

The finale (l-r): Grandpa Banana, Silvio Ferretti, Carlo Aonzo, Martino Coppo, Peter Rowan, Lucas Bellotti, Marco Ferretti

New Leon Hunt CD, Farewell blues announces:

Farewell blues is the new CD from the Leon Hunt n-Tet. The album is a celebration of the life and music of Earl Scruggs and other first-generation bluegrass musicians.

To support the release, we are giving away copies to two lucky readers. To stand a chance of winning one of the copies, all you have to do is register with your e-mail address.

You can enter UKBluegrass's giveaway here. The winners will be chosen on 1 December 2012. The draw is open only to UK residents, so for online purchase of the album go to the Leon Hunt n-Tet website.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Criffel Creek for St Andrew's Week

C. Paul Lyttle, organiser of the Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival in Scotland and presenter of the 'Criffel Creek' radio show (see the EBB's 'Radio playlists' post) sends his playlist for the next programme on 2 Dec. 2012, and adds:

This is a St Andrew's Week special which contains material by Scottish artists or artists with Scottish ancestry; as well as one which sticks out 500 miles and was written by the Proclaimers. Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa performed it in Moniaive and that makes it a must for the show! Have a great St Andrew's Day on 30 November.

Earlier this week Paul posted a large number of photos, taken at this year's festival, on the Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival website.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Barcelona Bluegrass Jam: the latest

Thanks yet again to Lluís Gómez for the latest news of the bluegrass scene in Barcelona. For four years a bluegrass jam has been held in the city every two weeks, on Sundays starting at 20:00. From time to time the venue has changed, but you can find info here and on Facebook. Lluís adds:

And if you're in Barcelona and you need anything, go to Guitarland shop, the bluegrass centre. There you can find Richard da Silva, one of the owners and a bluegrass player.

Swing 42: new CD Déboucher!

Thanks to Lluís Gómez in Barcelona for news of his new acoustic quartet Swing 42, playing manouche, bluegrass music, and beyond - or 'gypsygrass and blueswing' - and their new CD, Déboucher!, released by Red Pig Recordings.

Swing 42 consists of Lluís (5-string banjo), Valentín Moya (Manouche guitar), Oriol Gonzàlez (mandolin), and Maribel Rivero (upright bass). The eleven tracks on Déboucher! include original compositions by Gómez, Moya, and Gonzàlez, Mozart's 'Turkish march', David Grisman's 'Dawg's bull', Bill Monroe's 'Jerusalem Ridge', 'Farewell blues' (brought to bluegrass by Flatt & Scruggs), and more.

It can be heard and bought at Cd Baby, and is also available at two Barcelona stores: L'anima del vi and Guitarland. The Swing 42 website includes a video of the band in performance at the 22è Festival Reus Blues, and an introduction by French banjo maestro Jean-Marie Redon.

Friday, 23 November 2012

Al Ras 2012 - a great success

Lluís Gómez reports from Spain that the 11th Al Ras Bluegrass & Old Time Music Festival, held at the Mercat Vell de Mollet del Vallés, Pça Prat de la Riba 6, Mollet del Vallés, Barcelona, on 10 November 2012, was a great success, attracting plenty of people including new people interested in bluegrass and old-time music.

Lluís also sends this link to an album with scores of photos taken at the Festival, both on and off stage. The photo below is one of many showing the Festival finale with all performers on stage together. 'Foggy Mountain breakdown' was played, in tribute to Earl Scruggs. Although the bio page on Lluís's website identifies him as 'one of the few musicians dedicated completely to this magnificent instrument [the banjo]', he can also be seen playing fiddle in some photos.

Next year's Al Ras Festival will be held on the second or third Saturday of November 2013. Details will be announced as soon as possible.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Rosťa Čapek presents Audie Blaylock & Redline - and more

Rosťa Čapek and Iva Louková of Capek Instruments announce:

Dear friends,
After the unforgettable double show of Blue Highway we prepared the next extraordinary concert - three excellent American bluegrass bands in one evening - Audie Blaylock & Redline, Bearfoot, and Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms.

The concert takes place in the congress hall of the Pyramida Hotel in Prague, on Tuesday 4 December, 8.00 p.m. More information is here.

Tickets (from €12 to €22) available at Accommodation for a special price in 4* hotel Pyramida (€25 in double room with breakfast) on request. We are looking forward to you.

The Prague concert is part of the tour schedule of the 4th Bluegrass Jamboree!, arranged by Rainer Zellner and his Music Contact agency. Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willms are playing several dates in Denmark before joining the Jamboree.

Ruben & Matt: Vintage Acoustic Duo

Thanks to Matteo Ringressi and Ruben Minuto for news of their brother duet / old-time music duet and new CD (photo on left: courtesy of Silvio Ferretti):

Ruben Minuto and Matteo Ringressi have been working together since the summer of 2010, when they kicked off an intense musical partnership as members of the bluegrass band Once in a While. Today, other than recording and playing as a duo, they are regular sidemen for many Italian and American musicians, with whom they share the stage with all over Europe. In addition, they also play guitar and banjo (and both sing) for Bluegrass Stuff, one of the oldest and most respected Italian bluegrass bands, active since 1977.

Their artistic collaboration saw the growth and constant consolidation of their common passion for the typical atmospheres from the early days of the American musical tradition. This passion could only result in the production of a work that wants to be a philological tribute to the sounds and voices that built the foundation for the majority of contemporary music.

The brother duets of the Monroes, Louvins, Delmores, and Baileys, the everlasting sound of the Carter Family, a fiddle, a banjo, a mandolin, and a guitar, create the plots on which the duo lay their vocal harmonies, often 'call-response' style, and give the two musicians a chance to give their own interpretation and tribute to a time almost forgotten.

13 tunes in a sepia tone is a collection of emotions and memories; it’s a CD that smells of burning wood, that has the flavour of simplicity, and that would like to 'turn sepia' a small part of the day of the listener. The CD was released on 18 November with an exciting evening of music that saw Ruben and Matt opening for bluegrass legend Peter Rowan.

The CD can be ordered via their Facebook page! Also keep an eye on the duo’s website, to be constantly updated on their gigs and news!

Flatpicking guitar Christmas - new from Roberto Dalla Vecchia

Italian guitar maestro Roberto Dalla Vecchia sends greetings (and 'Happy Thanksgiving' to his friends in the USA) and announces that his book Flatpicking guitar Christmas: 10 carols arranged for solo flatpicking guitar, published by Flatpicking Guitar Magazine with an audio CD, is now available in both hardcopy and digital formats. Roberto explains:

I have always loved Christmas music. In fact, my CD collection of holiday music is growing year after year. There is nothing better than listening to a good Christmas CD to put me in the right mood for the holiday season. That being said, I love the challenge of playing flatpicking guitar without a backing band, and that is what motivated me to write this book.

Click here to learn more and to see sample pages. Roberto's complete e-newsletter can be seen here, and upcoming shows from 23 Nov. can be seen on his online calendar.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Danilo Cartia: shows in Rome, 23-4 Nov. 2012

Banjoist, guitarist, singer and bandleader Danilo Cartia (I) announces two performances in Rome in the coming weekend: with the Danilo Cartia Band at the Cantine Blues, Via della Batteria Nomentana 66, on Friday 23 Nov.; and with Letizia Sampaolo (guitar, autoharp, ukulele, and vocals) at the Charity Cafe, Cia Panisperna 66, on Saturday 24 Nov. Both shows begin at 22:00, and admission to both is free.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Deadline for EWOB 2013 extended to 15 Dec. 2012

Thanks to the Prescription Bluegrass Blog in the USA for the news that the committee of the European World of Bluegrass Festival (EWOB) in the Netherlands has extended the deadline for band applications by two weeks.

If your band wishes to play at EWOB 2013, your application should be delivered not later than 15 December 2012. All other details are as given in the EBB post of 1 Nov. 2012, where there are links to the appropriate pages on the EWOB website for downloading applications.

Lilly of the West: new video!

Dear friends,

Be the first to watch our new video to the song 'Walkin’ after midnight', from the album Swings & heartaches; more on my website.

Greetings from Bulgaria!

Lilly Drumeva
Lilly of the West

Sunday, 18 November 2012

ResoSummit 2012 - the international dimension

ResoSummit, the annual US gathering and workshop for resophonic guitar players, was held a week ago in Nashville, TN, with an all-star teaching faculty headed by ResoSummit's founder, Rob Ickes, who was touring recently in Europe as a member of Blue Highway.

The 100 players who took part in ResoSummit 2012 included musicians from Denmark, Australia, Ireland, Switzerland, and Canada. Comments from any of the European pickers at ResoSummit are welcome. Registration for this year's event was opened on 31 Jan. 2012 and was sold out within an hour and a quarter, so would-be attenders are advised to get their names on a waiting list. Read more here.

Flats & Sharps - rising fast

John Wirtz, organiser of the Sore Fingers Summer Schools and the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival in England, and former chairman of the BBMA, writes:

Flats and Sharps, the young favourites of the British bluegrass scene, performed at the Royal Albert Hall [above] last weekend as part of the Schools Prom promoted by Music for Youth. Radio station Classic FM were involved and posted several video clips on their website. Might be that the band charmed the pants off the presenters…. You can see the clips by following this link, worth a look!

The band have had quite a year, releasing their first CD, Proper job, and playing numerous festivals, the highlight of which was the Didmarton Bluegrass Festival, where they were invited to join legend Peter Rowan on stage! Just prior to their Royal Albert Hall appearance, they had travelled to the centre of France to play the France Bluegrass Musique Association festival in Vichy.

Despite their youth, the band play bluegrass in the traditional style and perform mostly self-penned material. Their ability is something to be seen and the band have that essential vocal element, full three- and four-part harmony singing.

If you are lucky enough to live down in far West Country, you can see them regularly playing at different venues around the county of Cornwall, but it shouldn’t be long before these lads are gracing the stage of folk and acoustic music festivals all around the country.

As they move into 2013, they are planning their next album and are already filling their gig calendar with some prestigious gigs! Follow them in all the usual places - but a good start is their website.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Jens Koch plays banjo on 'Glee'

John Lawless reports on Bluegrass Today that in the popular US TV series 'Glee' the episode broadcast last night (15 Nov.) featured the sound of the banjo, played by Jens Koch (left) from Sweden's award-winning G2 Bluegrass Band.

However, the picks shown in the photo did not take part in the show. As Jens himself explains on Bluegrass Today, the show's producers wanted a plectrum-banjo sound - and, with the real bluegrass spirit, he did what had to be done. Note the picture on the wall behind him, and read the full story here.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Los Hermanos Cubero in La muerte en la Alcarria

Thanks to Roberto of Los Hermanos Cubero in Spain, who sends news of the Travelogue Studio production La muerte en la Alcarria, a film produced, written, and directed by Fernando Pomares.

Los Hermanos Cubero appear in the film, a trailer for which can be seen on Vimeo here. Roberto also sends the poster image (left), which creates a sombre atmosphere to match the film's title.

Update 15 Nov.: More details of the film appeared yesterday on Bluegrass Today.

'What you can expect from Nechville'

Tom Nechville of Nechville Musical Products (USA) is a frequent visitor to Europe and participant in European bluegrass events, as well as being a uniquely innovatory banjo maker. Understandably, Tom can't resist passing on a testimonial he has received from a new Nechville owner, Steve Martin:

I played the banjo last night for the entire show, something rare for me as I usually go very slow when trying something new. The banjo is amazing. It’s replacing my 1936 top tension. It has amazing clarity up the neck and great specificity. It’s my number one bluegrass banjo now. Plus, it’s very trustworthy and it stays in tune.

Steve Martin's banjo is a 2012 curly maple Orion Heli-mount, with gold-plated Corona frame, antique rosewood fingerboard, and 5th string built-in capo. The personalised peg-head inlay is shown above left, and the pot below right.

Tom also notifies us of his coming new Heli-Mount banjo, the Excelsior, and the Crescendo Acoustic Harness (tm), a sound enhancement system which should fit most banjos, can be installed under the head very quickly, and will be on the market early next year - orders are being taken. More info is available from Tom through the Nechville website or e-mail.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Niall Toner back at #1 on AirPlay Direct with new album

Onwards & upwards, the new Pinecastle Records album by Irish singer, songwriter, bandleader, and broadcaster Niall Toner, is at the #1 position on the AirPlay Direct (APD) all-genres Top Fifty radio download chart today (12 Nov. 2012). It is also at #23 in the all-genres APD all-time Top Fifty Albums chart, and at #22 in today's APD Bluegrass/Folk Album Radio Downloads chart.

The album, of which details have already appeared on the EBB and the Bluegrass Ireland Blog, is now available in all formats. Signed copies can be ordered through the Niall Toner Band (NTB) website; tracks and/or the full recording are available from iTunes; and CDs are available from Pinecastle Records and from Barnes & Noble bookstores throughout the USA and Canada. Niall Toner and the NTB are exclusively represented worldwide through the Make Welcome music agency.

Ireland's oldest bluegrass festival comes to the end of the line

The Athy Bluegrass Festival in Athy, Co. Kildare, was founded in 1991, making it Ireland's oldest annual bluegrass event. Tony O'Brien (shown left; photo by Carl Mark O'Neill), who has been its organiser since 1997, has now decided not to continue the festival after this year. His announcement can be seen on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

As well as maintaining the Athy festival's role as a 'home town' and showcase for Irish bluegrass bands, Tony has presented many excellent acts from the USA and Europe, including the Bluegrass Patriots, High Country, High Plains Tradition, Ross Nickerson, Special Consensus, Pete & Joan Wernick, the Blue Grass Boogiemen, 4 Wheel Drive, Andy Glandt, Monogram, and Red Wine.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Sweden brings Nora Jane Struthers out of the closet

... but only so that she can go back in and show an H&M camera crew around.

The former Bearfoot lead singer (seen on the right with her new band, the Bootleggers) has a passion for vintage clothing and runs her own blog on the subject. On Bluegrass Today, John Lawless reveals how this attracted the attention of the Sweden-based fashion chain, which has featured her on its video channel. Full details, including the H&M video, can be seen here.

Compass Records signs BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet

Francophone lovers of fiddle-driven, blues-infused music from the rural American south will be glad to hear that the Grammy-award-winning Cajun band BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, 'the best Cajun band in the world', has joined the artist roster of the Nashville-based independent roots-music label Compass Records.

Michael Doucet has already taken part in a Compass project - the album Fiddlers 4 with Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, and cellist Rushad Eggleston (2002). The band have begun work on their debut Compass album, From Bamako to Carencro, scheduled for release early in 2013. This move continues the long tradition of Cajun contribution to recorded country music. Read the whole Compass press release here.

Doc Watson 1968 Gallagher Guitar at Auction

In an earlier post on EBB this week, we learned of the Dopyera Brothers' historic instrument and workshop collection being sold at Christie's Auction House in New York City.

Also of worthy note (at the same auction) is the sale of music legend Doc Watson's 1968 Gallagher G-50 Guitar, which he called "Ol' Hoss". His familiar guitar strap (with his name engraved on it) is included with the infamous guitar, along with other personal items. This is the guitar Doc used on the 1972 "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" 3-LP set by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Doc's old companion was previously on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee. In 2008, the guitar was returned to its original home at J.W. Gallagher's Guitar Shop in Wartrace, Tennessee.

The auction will be November 27, 2012 beginning at 10:00am Eastern Standard Time.

Friday, 9 November 2012

New Foundation for Bluegrass Music EPK

Thanks to Yvonne Tatar of the Foundation for Bluegrass Music for this news:

A great new EPK (electronic press kit) is up and running on the Foundation for Bluegrass Music's website. Basically it is a short six-minute video highlighting the Foundation's purpose and goals. I am proud to have helped with this project and also proud to have Molly Tuttle included in it, along with the Tuttles, and A.J. Lee, and a host of other notable musicians. Please take moment to view and learn more about the Foundation's important work. Consider a donation and enjoy the video!

The video highlights the work of the Foundation in helping younger musicians. Among those shown performing are a European band, the Toy Hearts (GB). Details are also given of the Foundation's 'Bluegrass Innovator' grants programme for 2013.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Book soon for Sore Fingers 2013

John & Moira Wirtz, organisers of the Sore Fingers Summer School, send news of the teaching faculty at next year's edition of the premier European instructional camp for bluegrass/old-time skills, to be held 1-5 April 2013 at Kingham Hill School, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England:

We have a pretty high-profile lineup of tutors, from the legendary Fletcher Bright, who put the Sore Fingers Fiddle course on the map back in 2001, to the incredible singing talent of Mollie O’Brien and her partner Rich Moore. Add a few amazing characters like Noam Pikelny, Chris Eldridge, and Dirk Powell to the mix and we’ve probably got one of the best lineups of musicians to teach you next Easter.

But, don’t take our word for it, just take a look on our website and get reading the tutor biogs and prepare yourself to be impressed! Sore Fingers Week is surely the best camp this side of the Atlantic. But you knew that anyway! Here’s the full list:

Autoharp Karen Mueller
Autoharp Beginners Heather Farrell-Roberts
Bass Eric Thorin
Banjo Bill Evans
Banjo Noam Pikelny
Dobro [tutor not yet confirmed but will definitely run]
Fiddle Fletcher Bright
Guitar Tyler Grant
Guitar Chris Eldridge
Mandolin Jesse Cobb
Old Time Fiddle Dirk Powell
Old Time Banjo Chris Coole
Singing Mollie O’Brien/Rich Moore
Banjo Beginner John Breese
Fiddle Beginner Laura Carrivick
Guitar Beginner Gary Payne
Mandolin Beginners Charlotte Carrivick

There’s no need to contact us to check for availability. Please download the form and send it in with deposit. Forms available from this link. More information here.

'Someday you will' - from Red Wine

Thanks to Martino Coppo for this news from Italy:

While getting ready to host Peter Rowan for its 4th annual Bluegrass Party on 16 November in Genoa (Genova), and for a few more gigs together in Turin (Torino) 14/11, La Roche-sur-Foron (FR) 17/11 and Milan (Milano) 18/11, Red Wine has just released a new video clip on a beautiful song from the late Liz Meyer, 'Someday you will', which appears on the band's latest CD, RED, released earlier in 2012.

The band photo above (l-r: Lucas Bellotti, Martino, Silvio Ferretti, Marco Ferretti) is from the back cover of RED.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Another European bluegrasser on Bluegrass Today

'Does it seem odd that Nashville’s most celebrated mandolin builder is a banjo playing Brit?' asks John Lawless in Bluegrass Today. He is, of course, referring to Sim Daley (seen, right, with Sam Bush) of the Daley instrument company, who plays banjo with the Tina Adair Band.

Sim is about to add guitars to the range of Daley instruments, and is enlisting the help of luthier Adam Chowning. Read the full story here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Angelika Torrie featured on Bluegrass Today

Today (6 Nov.) is the birthday of Angelika Torrie, treasurer and webmaster of the EBMA, editor-in-chief of the EBMA's official magazine, Bluegrass Europe, and formerly (2009-12) EBMA chairperson - not to mention her work over a longer period for the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association and, more recently, the German Bluegrass Music Association.

To mark the occasion, Bluegrass Today carries today a major feature by Richard Thompson, incorporating a long interview with Angelika - an adaptation and update of a profile written for Bluegrass Europe # 75 (Aug./Sept. 2010) - which can be read here.

Historic Dopyera instrument collection for auction, 27 Nov. 2012

Resophonic instruments may be more popular at present than at any time since they were invented and developed in the 1920s by John Dopyera (1893-1988) and his brothers, originally from Slovakia.

Since John Dopyera's death, his son Dr John E. Dopyera has sought for a museum that would be interested in purchasing and displaying the collection of instruments from the last shops of John and Rudy Dopyera. These instruments, along with other 'last shop' furniture and artifacts, were exhibited in Syracuse in 1988 and at the Erie Art Museum in 2000.

For some time the collection was featured and offered for sale by Elderly Instruments. As it appears that the collection cannot be kept intact, all the instruments (except for a resonator violin) are to be sold separately by auction at Christie's in New York City on 27 November 2012. They are, as follows:

Dobro - a 12-string resonator guitar, CA, c.1974
Dobro - a resonator guitar, Los Angeles, c.1932-4
National - a resonator tenor guitar, Los Angeles, c.1929
Dobro - a resonator mandolin, Huntington Beach, CA, c.1970
Safari - a resonator mandolin, Huntington Beach, CA, c.1970
National - a tricone ukulele, style 2 variant, Los Angeles, c.1928-9
Rudy Dopyera - an electric-acoustic bass, CA, c.1975
Dobro - an electric lap steel guitar, Los Angeles, c.1936
Dobro - an electric-acoustic Hawaiian lap steel guitar [see photo], c.1970
Rudy Dopyera - two balalaikas, CA, c.1973

Revenues from the sale will be distributed to the grandchildren of John Dopyera (as per his wish). The auction can be watched live on Christie's website by viewers who register to do so. Arrangements for online bidding need to be made before the sale.

Thanks to members of the bluegrass community for passing on this news, which comes from Mrs Margaret Lay-Dopyera, wife of Dr John E. Dopyera. The EBB adds that her memoir My life as a Dopyera is available from Elderly Instruments and Amazon.

Monday, 5 November 2012

New Acoustic Gallery newsletter, Nov. 2012

Thanks to Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Germany, for the NAG's November 2012 newsletter, which can be downloaded as a pdf format document, or viewed on the news pages of the NAG website.

The seven-page newsletter includes details of new products in stock, including the new Eastman MD 315 F-style mandolin. On the weekend 17-18 Nov. the NAG is hosting a mandolin weekend workshop by Jesper Rübner-Petersen (see photo), who will also be taking part in a concert with the Trio Vibracao. Full details are on the NAG website.

These will be the last events at the NAG premises in Solingen, where it has been for nine years. After 24 Dec. 2012 the NAG will be based from January 2013 in a prestigious new location, the Schloss Lüntenbeck in Wuppertal. Read the whole newsletter here.

Some Dark Holler release Hollow chest

Chris Porter, formerly leader of Back Row Baptists, is now performing with singer and fiddler-extraordinaire Helen Gassenheimer and bassist Eric Ominus in Some Dark Holler (USA), based in Birmingham, Alabama.

Chris sends word that Some Dark Holler released a track from their new album, Hollow chest, on This is American Music earlier this year. The twelve tracks can be heard on Soundcloud, and a full album download is available here.

A tour of the UK and elsewhere in Europe is being prepared. More details are on the Some Dark Holler and This is American Music websites. Contact the band here.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

The Greek Bluegrass Music Association

Welcome news from Stergios Loustas, representing a group of enthusiasts in Greece who have decided to create the Greek Bluegrass Music Association.The Association's website is already under construction, and its members are keen to become part of the European bluegrass family.

Anyone in Greece who would be interested in joining - and anyone outside Greece who wishes to assist the new Association - can contact Stergios by e-mail.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers: ready to tour with latest album

Thanks to bandleader Jussi Syren of Finland for the news that The old home place ain't the same anymore, the eighth and latest album by Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers (first mentioned on the EBB on 5 October), has now been released on Snowflake Records and is getting plenty of rotation in the USA by leading bluegrass DJs such as Dennis Jones, Charlie Hall, Bob Mitchell, and Gracie Muldoon.

Bluegrass Today featured the album a month ago, and a video made in the recording studio can be seen on YouTube. The press release from Snowflake Records points out:

The project is exceptional in many ways. It was recorded in a two-day session, 100% live with no overdubs, it will be released in 180 gr vinyl LP + CD format, and it is all analog. This method brings forth the true bluegrass drive the group deliver in their live shows. It is a fresh breath of air in the world of slick and over-produced bluegrass music.

The uncompromising bluegrass sound of the Groundbreakers was born years ago in loud honky-tonks and smoky bar rooms. This kind of environment needs a 'close to the bridge – close to the mike' attitude. This sound doesn´t develop in college campuses or concert halls. Half of the material is written by Syren, such as hard-driving 'East Kentucky coal mining man' and a bouncy instrumental, 'Syren Stomp'. The Groundbreakers make good renditions of Stonewall Jackson´s 'Blue field' and Ted Lundy´s 'My childhood home'.

On this project fiddler Nelli Ikola joined the group permanently. She guested on the
Shave and haircut album in 2011. The core of the group – mandolin-playing lead singer Jussi Syren, guitarist J.P. Putkonen, banjo player Tauri Oksala, and bassist Kari Hella – has stayed together for thirteen years, and it can be heard on this album.

Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers are looking for venues to perform in Europe in spring 2013. They can be contacted through the band's website, Facebook, or e-mail.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Apply to play at EWOB 2013: deadline 1 Dec. 2012

The organising committee of the European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) Festival, held annually in the Netherlands since 1998, announce that the time has arrived for bands to send in applications to play at EWOB 2013, which will be held on 9-11 May 2013 at Voorthuizen. The deadline for sending in applications is 1 December 2012.

Full information on applying to play is here, where you can also notify the committee that an application package will be sent, and download a printable application form.