Friday, 29 March 2013

First European Bluegrass Jam Class – a great success!

EBMA chairman Petr Brandejs reports:

The legendary banjo player Pete Wernick a.k.a. Dr Banjo, along with his wife Joan, gave the first Jam Class in Europe. It took place in Prague at the modest but cosy Svornost hotel on 22-24 March 2013. Twenty-four participants gathered from six European countries (Czech Republic, UK, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Italy) and had a great time learning, jamming, and even performing. The topics covered included small-group jamming, harmony singing, kick-off solos, finding melodies by ear, etc.

Group picture of First European Bluegrass Jam Class

There were four Wernick Method teachers certified – Susie Bowe (IT), Joff Lowson (UK), Peter O. Ruby (CZ), and Petr Brandejs (CZ), who all worked under Pete’s supervision. More teachers can get certified later via Skype. The three wonderful days of the significant event will hopefully lead to more Jam Camps organised around Europe.

More pictures can be found here.

Pete Wernick in Prague

Pete Wernick (left) is posting on his website the instalments of a blog on the experiences of himself and his wife Joan in Prague (CZ) this month. The first instalment comprises many photos of events at the 5th European Bluegrass Summit, hosted by Ivana Loukova and Rosta Capek.

The photos include views of jams after dinner in the hotel, discussions at the Summit, and performances during the Summit's associated concert. Further instalments, dealing with the First All-Europe Bluegrass Jam Camp, which took place on the following weekend (22-4 Mar.), are expected.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

A second Sacred Harp all-day sing in Prague, 29 June 2013

During the weekend 26-7 November 2011 the first Sacred Harp all-day singing meeting to be held in the Czech Republic took place in the St Giles Church (Svaty Jilji), Prague (Husova 234/8, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město). Thanks to Naomi Kaye for the news that there will be a second Sacred Harp sing taking place in Prague on 29 June 2013, from 9.30 a.m. to 3.30 p.m., again at the Church of St Giles.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Bluegrass from the Netherlands in Budapest

Hi Friends, Bluegrass lovers and neighbors,

We are a bluegrass and old-time country band from the Netherlands: Jesus Evil Highway.

From the 23rd of April until the 30th of April we are 'busking' in and around Budapest (Hungary, EU). It's the first time for us to go to Budapest and we're looking for places to play, good spots, events in that period, and other suggestions where we can enjoy the public and ourselves with some good 'Bluegrass and Country Music'! We'll even give a concert in your living room or front porch :-)

Check us out and contact us!

We hope to hear from you all!

Jesus Evil Highway consists of Wanko B.C. (bass, backin' vocals), Stoney 'The Lonely' (lap steel, dobro, backin' vocals), Pee Wee Flatfoot (banjo, guitar, fiddle, backin' vocals), and Danny Humper (guitar, uke, lead vocals).
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News from Barcelona

Banjo master Lluís Gómez, of the Barcelona Bluegrass Band and Swing 42, reports from the active musical scene in Barcelona:

Next Thursday (28 March) Jake Schepps, American banjo player (photo), will run a festival, with more or less fifteen banjo students! Then he'll play with manouche/grass band Swing 42 and some friends from the Barcelona bluegrass scene.

Fiddler Holly Odell (USA) has spent a month in Barcelona, playing gigs with Swing 42, the Barcelona Bluegrass Band, and the Damned Hellbillies. She intends to return to Barcelona, and is working with Swing 42 on a new CD of original material. Meanwhile, here are YouTube videos of her playing with Swing 42: 'Max'; 'Squirrel hunters'; and 'Dakota/Funicular/Mimo'.

Nuria Balcells, a popular Barcelona violinist, is organising a series of workshops for string instruments, including violin players such as Casey Driessen, Gilles Apap, Alex Hargreaves, and more. The next to visit Barcelona and teach there will be Brittany Haas in May - not to be missed!
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Danilo and Letizia in concert for book launch in Rome

Danilo Cartia and Letizia Sampaolo (above) performed in concert at the launch of Roberto Vignoli's book Fotoromanzi di amore sfrenato on Sunday 24 March at 19:00 in the Eno Libreria, Via Quattro Fontane 130, Rome, Italy. Admission was free. The EBB regrets not having been able to publish this news in advance, but the photo deserves publication anyway.

Danilo Cartia
Phone/fax: +39 068273332; mobile: +39 3396908450; e-mail
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Friday, 22 March 2013

Danilo Cartia in Rome TONIGHT

Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia (I) announces that the Danilo Cartia Trio will be playing bluegrass, blues, and ballads tonight (Friday 22 Mar. 2013) at the 'Frane Letterarie', Via San Martino ai Monti 7/a, Rome. The show starts at 22:00, and admission is free.

Danilo Cartia
Phone/fax +39 068273332; mobile +39 3396908450; e-mail

Casey Driessen, Bruce Molsky at Baltimore Fiddle Fair, 9-12 May 2013

Declan McCarthy, organiser of the major annual fiddle music event in Ireland, announces that this year's Baltimore Fiddle Fair will take place on 9-12 May. The Fair's reputation is built on consistently presenting world-class acts in intimate settings in the beautiful seaside village of Baltimore in West Cork, 'one of the most stunning festival settings on the planet'. The 2013 programme includes American fiddlers Casey Driessen and Bruce Molsky and other international acts, together with workshops, art exhibitions, and sessions in and around the village.

Tickets for the 21st anniversary Baltimore Fiddle Fair are on sale now. For full lineup, schedule, and ticket information, visit the Fiddle Fair website.

Press conference for 11th Bühl Bluegrass Festival, 8 Apr. 2013

Wolfgang Mark, head of the City of Bühl press office, announces that a press conference will be held at 11.30 a.m. on Monday 8 April 2013 in the Rathaus, Alter Trausaal, EG, Hauptstraße 47, 77815 Bühl, to issue information on the forthcoming 11th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival (4 May 2013), featuring four prominent US bands.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend, and Walter Fuchs (festival organiser and bluegrass music expert), Oberbürgermeister Hubert Schnurr, and Bürgermeister Wolfgang Jokerst will be glad to welcome them. For an acceptance form in pdf format which can be faxed in reply, please contact:

Wolfgang Mark
Stadt Bühl, Leiter Presse- und Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Tel. +49 (0 72 23) 9 35-2 80, fax -2 89
Street address: Rathaus I, Hauptstraße 47, 77815 Bühl
Postal address: Postfach 1665, 77806 Bühl
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Thanks from 0039: 'Bluegrass made in Italy'

Thanks to 0039 (formerly Bononia Grass) in Bologna, Italy, who report:

Last year we have realised a new CD named Dial that we love a lot. In this project we had some awesome musicians join us, such as Andy Hall, Rafe Stefanini, Mike Guggino, and Nicky Sanders. These last two are both from the Grammy Award-winning band Steep Canyon Rangers, and for this we are so happy and proud to have the gift to have them playing in our CD.

The Steep Canyon Rangers' CD Nobody knows you was Best Bluegrass Album in this year's Grammy Awards.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

April Verch in Europe in 2013

The April Verch Band from Canada, who have recently played eight shows in Belgium (28 Feb.-8 Mar. 2013), are planning their return to Europe in the late summer and autumn of this year.

Their tour schedule includes shows in Sweden in the period 25 July-8 August, and on 3 October they will begin a tour in the British Isles lasting for the whole of the rest of that month. On both trips they are open to bookings elsewhere in Europe around those dates. They are also booked for the Shetland Folk Festival in Scotland (1-8 May).

The band, spearheaded by April's award-winning fiddling and her equally dynamic dancing, consists of Cody Walters (bass, clawhammer banjo) and Hayes Griffin (guitar). All members contribute original compositions to April's ninth and latest album, Bright like gold, which includes such guests as Mac Wiseman, Bruce Molsky, and Sammy Shelor.

Thanks to Frank Hoorn of Near North Music, April's agent, for this link to the band's brand new music video, and for a bio giving full details of the new album, which can be read here. Contact Frank for bookings by
• fax/phone: (250) 847 5228
• postal: 9854 Adams Rd, Smithers, BC V0J 2N7, Canada

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Wednesday, 20 March 2013

16th Acoustic Guitar Meeting at Sarzana, 22-6 May

In addition to the information sent yesterday about the Bluegrass Meeting at Sarzana, Italy, on Friday 24 May 2013, Danilo Cartia sends this poster image with the programme details of the 16th Acoustic Guitar Meeting at Sarzana (22-6 May), of which the Bluegrass Meeting will form a part. Danilo and the Italian Bluegrass All Stars will perform in the Friday evening concert. Click on the image for an enlarged view.
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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Bluegrass Meeting at Sarzana, Italy, 24 May 2013: more details

Danilo Cartia (I) announces:

The Bluegrass Meeting due on 24 May 2013 is coming! We're just nearly two months away from the event in Sarzana. I’m looking forward to getting together with you and listening to some good pure bluegrass music, and doing some jamming!

So here [see image above] is a list of some facilities around Sarzana offering discounts and special conditions for the accommodation. When booking, remember to state that you are a Bluegrass Meeting participant!

I also remind bands and/or musicians willing to perform on stage to contact me by e-mail or tel. +39 339 6908450. At your disposal for any further information. Cheers!

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Coffee and tiffin with Niall Toner

Ireland's Niall Toner is questioned by leading bluegrass journalist and writer Richard Thompson in the first of a new series of interviews on Bluegrass Today.

We learn about Niall's favourite food, drink, song, record album, film, bluegrass memory, and much else, including the development of his career in music. It is clear that in taking this path, he has deprived the world of a great marine biologist. Read the full interview here.

Friday, 15 March 2013

Bluegrass archaeology in Raleigh - thanks to Jan Johansson

Richard F Thompson reports in Bluegrass Today a message he received from Swedish fiddler and teacher Jan Johansson (left), who is now resident in Cary, North Carolina, on the outskirts of Raleigh, where this year's IBMA World of Bluegrass is to be held. Jan Johansson writes:

I am helping the Raleigh City Museum to put together an exhibit about the history of bluegrass music on the radio – primarily WPTF. Charlie and Bill Monroe were here 1936-1938, Flatt & Scruggs lived in a boarding house, which is now a restaurant, across the street from the North Carolina State University campus. Clyde Moody owned a car-dealership in Raleigh, and a fair number of good artists were on WPTF including the Bailey Brothers, Jim Eanes...

What I would like to do is to get a few of us together and go in a van around town to places where these people lived, and the old studios and stuff. Would you be interested in such Blue Grass archaeological excursion? I know there will be a few diehards who would probably get a kick out of it...

Read more here.

Roberto Dalla Vecchia in Belgium

Bluegrass in Belgium announces:

Last minute news! Roberto Dalla Vecchia (above), Italian guitar flatpicker, will be presenting his new CD in ‘t Ey in Belsele this Sunday (17 Mar.) at 16:00. More details on our calendar.

And don’t forget to book your trip to the 16th European World of Bluegrass in Voorthuizen (NL). Two Belgian bands, Rawhide and Blue Maxx, will be there, along with 40 bands from all over Europe.

Also check out the interesting concerts in the coming months.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

Danilo Cartia Trio in Rome, 15 Mar. 2013

Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia (I) announces that the Danilo Cartia Trio will be playing bluegrass, blues, and ballads tomorrow night (Friday 15 Mar. 2013) at the 'Locanda Don Chisciotte', Via dei Sabelli 58, Rome. The show starts at 22:00, and admission is free.

Danilo Cartia
Phone/fax +39 068273332; mobile +39 3396908450; e-mail

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Larkin Poe Returns to Europe in April 2013

Thanks to Glen Blackman for sharing this:
When you attend a Larkin Poe concert, it is impossible not to see and hear that these sisters have soul and musical prowess well beyond their years. At 21 and 23 respectively, Rebecca & Megan Lovell are charismatic performers, experienced songwriters, and accomplished musicians. Featuring tight vocal harmonies and dizzying instrumental riffs, the music of Larkin Poe ranges from Folk-Rock to Acoustic R&B, from grooving Jam Band to delicate singer-songwriter - Larkin Poe is versatile, entertaining, and totally authentic in all that they do.
With a seemingly inexhaustible fount of creativity and passion, Larkin Poe hit the road running in January 2010 and in less than two years has already released 5 studio projects of all- original music, become a regular fixture on radio charts across Europe, and acted as the backing band for Elvis Costello on his international tours - with a Live Performance DVD due out Summer 2012 and a new studio project in the works for Winter 2012.
With extensive tours booked across the United States and Europe, Larkin Poe continues its high-energy invasion of the folk music scene, captivating audiences around the world with their insightful lyrics, magnetic presence, and dazzling instrumental virtuosity.
In the words of Elvis Costello "they are already gifted as instrumentalists and, having a head start on the rest of us with the unique power and beauty of sibling harmony in their vocal blend, their songwriting has leapt forward and now surprises and delights in equal measure."
Larkin Poe                              Official Music Video: Long Hard Fall
Larkin Poe Official Music Video: Long Hard Fall
Tour Schedule
Apr 2     8:00pm     All Saints Centre Lewes, East Sussex   
Apr 3     8:00pm     Kent Live! @ Tonbridge Campus Theatre Tonbridge, Kent, UK     
Apr 4     8:00pm     David Hall Somerset, UK   
Apr 5     8:00pm     Kings Place Music Foundation London, UK     
Apr 6     8:00pm     Cornerstone Arts Centre Oxfordshire, UK     
Apr 7     8:00pm     Horizon Theatre Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK
Apr 12     8:00pm     Jazz à Toute Heure Festival Bullion, France
Apr 13     9:00pm     Blue Shell Köln, Germany     
Apr 14     8:00pm     Blues Garage Isernhagen, Germany     
Apr 15     8:30pm     Ampere     München Germany   
Apr 16     8:00pm     Colos-Saal Aschaffenburg, Germany   
Apr 18     8:00pm     Godset     Kolding, Denmark   
Apr 19     9:00pm     Global CPH Copenhagen, Denmark   
Apr 20     8:00pm     Palladium Malmö, Sweden     Map
Apr 21     9:00pm     Akkurat Stockholm, Sweden   
Apr 24     8:00pm     John Dee (w/ Thom Hell) Oslo, Norway
Apr 25     8:00pm     Kick Scene (w/ Thom Hell) Kristiansand, Norway   
Apr 26     8:00pm     Madam Felle (w/ Thom Hell) Bergen, Norway   
Apr 27     8:00pm     Hønsehagen - Sunnfjord Geo Center Stongfjorden, Norway
Available for interviews upon request

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Sore Fingers Week 2013: disruption to rail travel

John Wirtz, organiser of the Sore Fingers Summer School to be held 1-5 April 2013 at Kingham Hill School, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, England, sends this announcement:

Sore Fingers Week 2013: disruption to rail travel
We have prepared this travel brief for students who normally travel to Kingham by rail.

Network Rail are rebuilding Reading Station and as a result, no trains will be running through there on Sunday 31 March, the day many S.F.Week students will be travelling to Kingham. A special timetable will be in operation.

If you have booked a ticket, you are advised to visit the First Great Western website for the latest information. The special timetables can be downloaded from this website.You can also call their Customer services: 08457 000 125 (7.00 a.m. – 10.00 p.m. every day)

Please note we will not be updating this information, and please do not call Sore Fingers Summer Schools for travel information.

On Sunday 31 March, we will be meeting trains at Kingham station with a shuttle bus as normal between 14:30 and 18:30.

A summary of the changes is as follows:

1 From London:
Train Services from London to Oxford will be re-routed through Banbury. This will result in extended journey times - on average an hour longer than normal. To get to Kingham, a change of train will be required at Oxford.

2 From Heathrow Airport:
It is recommended to go to London Paddington by Heathrow Express and get a train to Oxford via Banbury. Change at Oxford for Kingham.

The Rail-Air bus service will run from Heathrow to Reading. At Reading, it will necessary to catch another bus to Didcot Parkway station, where trains will run to Oxford and Kingham. You might need to change at Oxford for Kingham.

3 From the North (Worcester, Birmingham and beyond)
Services from the North will be less affected but there will be a revised timetable in operation.

4 From the West of England (Bristol, Bath, Gloucester, Devon and Cornwall)
Trains will either terminate at Didcot Parkway or run through to Oxford. Change at Didcot or Oxford to get a connection to Kingham.

This information will also be downloadable from the Sore Fingers website.

Norwegian immigrant celebrated in new Spinney Brothers release

The Spinney Brothers of Nova Scotia, 'Canada’s International Bluegrass Band', will have their latest CD No borders released on 7 May by Mountain Fever Records of Virginia. The first single, 'Grandpa's way of life', was released for radio yesterday (11 Mar.) and can be heard on AirPlay Direct.

The song was written by Brink Brinkman, who says that it 'is 80% about my grandfather... It is focused on the hard work and values of a great generation... He came from Norway.' Read more details in the press release from GoodStuff PR.
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Covered Grass (DE) - come fly with us to Toogaroo!

On Friday, 22th March 2013, Cologne based Covered Grass band present their new CD "Toogaroo" at the council hall in D-51766 Engelskirchen. The CD contains 13 original tracks written by singer Corina Aurin and banjo player Volker Fisher. It also features the new guitar player Felix Eichert. The tracks will also be available on iTunes, Amazon etc. For more information and to order the CD visit

Volker Fisher
Holzer Weg 6
51766 Engelskirchen
Telefon: 01522/8717678

Monday, 11 March 2013

Mike Marshall and Darol Anger at the NAG, 27 Oct. 2013

Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Wuppertal, Germany, announces that on 27 October 2013 two masters of New Acoustic Music, Mike Marshall and Darol Anger (USA), will be performing in concert at the NAG's new premises in Schloss Lüntenbeck, Lüntenbeck 1, 42327 Wuppertal.

As founding members of the David Grisman Quintet and Tony Rice Unit in the 1970s, the Turtle Island String Quintet in the 1980s, the Modern Mandolin Quartet, Fiddlers 4, and Psychograss in the 1990s, mandolinist Mike Marshall and fiddler Darol Anger have been at the forefront of American stringband music since they met nearly forty years ago.

They were pioneers of the New Acoustic Music movement, which brought folk, jazz, bluegrass and world music influences together in an instrumental acoustic setting. Their joint album
The Duo demonstrates their virtuosity, creativity and humor in a wide-ranging selection of breathtaking duets.

This will be the duo's only appearance in Germany. The concert will begin at 19:30; tickets are €30. Only 75 seats are available, so early booking is advised.

More info: New Acoustic Gallery, Schloss Lüntenbeck, Lüntenbeck 1, 42327 Wuppertal. - Tel.: +49 0202/94672730

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Sunday, 10 March 2013

EBMA Bluegrass Pioneers and Personalities Project: the first awards

During 2012 the EBMA Board set up the European Bluegrass Pioneers and Personalities Project (EBPP) to recognise and acknowledge the past and present most influential European musicians, promoters, journalists, DJs, luthiers, experts, and others who contributed, and still contribute, in a relevant and significant way to establish or popularise the bluegrass music genre in Europe, and to create a European bluegrass scene and community.

The EBMA Board formed a special Selecting Committee comprising Paolo Dettwiler, Eberhard Finke, Richard Hawkins, Lilly Pavlak, Christian Seguret, and Bruno Steffen, with Martino Coppo as non-voting chairman. The criteria for selecting European Bluegrass Pioneers & Personalities are:
· To be born in Europe or to have lived in European countries long enough to be considered European ‘naturalised citizens’;
· To be representative of the European bluegrass culture;
· To have inspired others to join the European bluegrass community;
· To have acted in harmony with the principles of the EBMA's mission statement;
· Pioneers: To have been among the first who had a significant impact on the popularisation of the bluegrass music genre in their own country or area in Europe, with special reference to their popularity and longevity in the bluegrass music community;
· Personalities: To have promoted or contributed to promote special projects or have reached special achievements during the last year.

Members of the selection committee and serving members of the EBMA board are ineligible for nomination.

The full list of Award recipients for 2013 is:
European Bluegrass Pioneers:
Mick Larie (FR)
The Greenhorns (CZ)
Pieter Groenveld (NL)
Pete Stanley (UK)
Arne Sørensen (DK)
Silvio Ferretti (IT)

European Bluegrass Personality 2012
Niall Toner (IE)

The Award ceremony will take place during the concert on Saturday 16 March as part of the 5th European Bluegrass Summit, which will be held at the Hotel Pyramida Auditorium in Prague.

Gower Bluegrass Festival 2012 on YouTube

Thanks to Roland Emmanuel, organiser of the annual Gower Bluegrass Festival in Wales, UK, for this news:

This five-minute presentation was sent to me by an anonymous fan. It's a great review of last year's festival. Regards to all, hoping to see you again this year.

Bob Grainger invites everyone with an up-to-date version of Flash Player to watch slideshows of photos he took as official photographer at the Gower Bluegrass Festivals of 2010, 2011, and 2012, as well as the 2012 Didmarton Bluegrass Festival.

First European Bluegrass Jam Camp: latest news

Thanks to Danilo Cartia (I) for drawing our attention to the latest news from Pete Wernick (left) on the forthcoming First All-Europe Bluegrass Jam Camp, due to be held at the Hotel Svornost in Prague (CZ) on 22-24 March 2013. Two important new developments should be noted.

Pete announces: 'DISCOUNTS! The camp is short on guitars and basses especially. The next 3 bass players will be given a discount of €80 off the regular tuition cost. The next 3 guitars to register and the next 3 fiddle players will receive €30 off regular cost.'

As already announced, students from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, or Hungary can be offered reduced rates, due to currency differences. E-mail Pete for more information.

Secondly, although the Hotel Svornost website says 'no rooms available', space is being held for people attending the camp (password: 'banjo'), with spaces still available as of 5 March. Contact the hotel by e-mail or phone, and say you're coming to the camp. That will get a bed and breakfast at the camp rate of €24 a night. The rate assumes sharing of rooms. If there is any problem with the hotel, e-mail Pete.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Bluegrass vocal workshop in Germany by Sue Thompson, 26 May 2013

Thanks to Jesper Rübner-Petersen for this news:

Vocal Workshop and Band Master Class by Sue Thompson (USA)

Where: D-88453 Erolzheim – Germany (by Ulm/Memmingen)
When: May 26 (Sunday)
Registration/info: Jesper Rübner-Petersen (e-mail; phone +49 (0)176-24354850

Vocal Workshop (10:00-16:30)
Participation fee: €50 without boarding (lunch break from c.12:30 to 13:30)

Do you sing bluegrass, acoustic country, or American folk music? Do you enjoy singing with others? Then come learn Sue Thompson’s unique Natural Way to sing harmony by ear. In this fast-paced and fun workshop you’ll learn:

* How to sing harmony intuitively, without reading notes or needing someone else to teach you your part.

* A system to easily figure out high or low harmony parts to almost any song.

* Techniques for singing without strain, staying on your part, and blending your voice with others.

If you’re new to harmony singing, you’ll learn the basics in just one day. If you’re an experienced harmony singer, you’ll get some great licks, tricks, and techniques for finding parts faster and harmonising on-the-fly, even the first time you hear a song. You’ll be able to practice in small groups and get coaching from Sue. Come alone or bring your singing buddies or your band!

To get the most out of this workshop, you should already be able to sing a melody fairly well in tune. If you’re comfortable playing guitar or banjo, please bring your instrument with you, as it will be helpful in our small group practice sessions.

Bluegrass Band - Vocals Master Class (17:00-18:30)
Participation fee: €75 per band

Here is a rare opportunity to polish your vocal performance with bluegrass singing and harmony coach Sue Thompson. Sue has taught for over thirty years in North America, Europe, and Japan, and is known for her high-energy teaching style, sense of humour, and her ability to focus in on just what each singer needs to boost skills and solve vocal problems.

In this Master Class, your group will receive individualised coaching from Sue, and listen to the coaching of the other groups as well. Whether you want to sing with more power and relaxation, hit high notes without straining, develop a super blend or killer harmony, or just draw your listeners into the essence of your song, Sue will help you and your band bring out the best in your singing.

Please come prepared with one or two songs you’d like to work on. There will be space for only three bands, so please register early to be sure you get a place!

Sue Thompson (USA)

Sue Thompson is a noted vocalist, guitarist, and teacher with a lifelong passion for traditional music. An ace harmony singer and vocal arranger, she is also a powerful and soulful lead singer. Her recordings include Mike Seeger’s GRAMMY-nominated Third Annual Farewell Reunion, The Washington Traditional Fiddler's Project, Volume 2 — Generations, and the recent Western music extravaganza, Tall Boots, where her fellow musicians nicknamed her 'Harmony Part Wizard'. Sue is one of a small number of accomplished women flatpickers, and is also appreciated for her rock-solid, yet innovative rhythm guitar work. Sue has taught at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, California Coast Music Camp, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, Wintergrass Festival, and Port Townsend's renowned Fiddle Tunes festival and is becoming known as the premier teacher in Europe of how to sing harmony intuitively by ear. She has taught and performed at the Risør (Norway) Bluegrass Workshop and Festival, the La Roche Bluegrass Workshop and Festival in France, and the European World of Bluegrass Festival in the Netherlands, and has done workshops for the France Bluegrass Music Association, the Swiss Bluegrass Music Association, and Roots Experience in Germany. Sue currently performs with the Brandejs Band (Czech Republic) and the Field-Thompson Band.


'I’ve wanted to learn to sing harmony for years and now I can. Thank you!' (Jane, USA)

'Thank you for making this workshop a great experience. I had great fun and I finally found a key to singing harmony that will really work!' (Fride, Norway)

'I attended one of your workshops at Wintergrass, and it is one of the best I have attended over the years. You are a great teacher! Thanks!' (David M., USA)

'Your method captivated me very much — it’s simple and effective. So easy. Thank you.' (Pavel, Czech Republic)

'C'était très sympa et le public a adoré.' (Pierre, France)

'As a result of your course I am now very comfortably able to easily find a good harmony. I now can just hear it and hit it.' (David T., USA)

'I recognized a huge improvement in my singing after just one lesson with you! I amazed myself! And it was so simple.' (Mary, USA)

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Guildtown 2013: news and T-shirts

Thanks to Mark McClymont of Zine Records in Scotland for information on this year's Guildtown Festival on 19-21 July (see the EBB for 28 February). A weekend wristband for the Festival costs £40, and camping passes cost £15 per person. Individual tickets are available from the website. A range of official Festival T-shirts is also available for purchase. Full details are on the website and the Guildtown 2013 e-newsletter.
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First Bluegrass Meeting at Sarzana, Italy, 24 May 2013

Thanks to Danilo Cartia (I), who announces:

Since I have been devoted to bluegrass music for over thirty years and worked hard to spread it as much as possible, I have always thought that creating a special international event here in Italy, that could give musicians the opportunity to share and enjoy this music, could help to the purpose.

The first Acoustic Guitar Meeting (AGM) was held in May 1998 in Sarzana (La Spezia), Italy. Since then, the Meeting has become one of the most important international events dedicated to the acoustic guitar. Training courses, contests for emerging guitarists and their music, conferences, concerts, lutherie, vintage, and accessories exhibitions are the main contents of this important annual event. This is the frame I have considered for the special occasion.

So I have organised a whole day (24 May) named 'Bluegrass Meeting' that for the first time will be included in the AGM 2013 edition. Musicians will have a dedicated stage and will be involved in workshops, performances, and jam sessions. Then the ITALIAN BLUEGRASS ALL STARS (Danilo Cartia (banjo), Massimo Gatti (mandolin), Anchise Bolchi (fiddle), Leo Di Giacomo (guitar), Icaro Gatti (double bass), and special guests) will perform on the main stage for the evening gig.

For musicians willing to be part of the event, special accommodation conditions will be provided.

Danilo Cartia
Phone/fax +39 068273332; mobile +39 3396908450; e-mail
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Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Music Contact tour news, Mar. 2013

Rainer Zellner and his Music Contact team send the latest news on tours by bands in bluegrass and related music in the March 2013 Music Contact newsletter.

Monroe Crossing (photo above; USA)
8 Apr. D.A.I., 72072 Tübingen, 20:00

The Deadly Gentlemen (Bluegrass Rocks!, USA)
2 May Leo's Goldener Stern, 90530 Wendelstein, 20:00
3 May Wodan Halle, 79098 Freiburg
4 May Bürgerhaus, 77815 Bühl, 14:55
5 May Beavers Museum, 63897 Miltenberg, 20:00
6 May Neue Welt, 85049 Ingolstadt, 20:00
7 May franz k, 72762 Reutlingen, 20:00
8 May Berkenroth Bluegrass Festival, Dorfgemeinschaftshaus, 51588 Nümbrecht, 20:00
11 May Karl May Festival, Radebeul, 16:00
12 May Karl May Festival, Radebeul, 16:00
13 May el Lokal, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland, 20:20
14 May Haus der Kultur, 84478 Waldkraiburg, 20:00
17 May Feuerschlösschen, 53604 Bad Honnef, 20:00
19 May Hildesheim Jazztime Festival, tba
20 May Theater Laboratorium, 26121 Oldenburg, 20:00
21 May Schlachthof, 34127 Kassel, 20:00
22 May Der Club, 42579 Heiligenhaus, 20:00
23 May Ratssaal, 28816 Stuhr, 20:00
25 May Zeltfestival, 89032 Ulm, 20:00

The Henry Girls (IRL) (Sept.-Oct.)
'Three Irish Folk Ladies travel to America'
20 July Burggraben in Mosbach-Neckarelz, 74821 Mosbach, 21:10
25 Sept. Der Club, 42579 Heiligenhaus, 20:00
27 Sept. Neue Schmiede, 33617 Bielefeld, 20:00
29 Sept. Kulturzentrum St Barbara, 08115 Lichtentanne (bei Zwickau), 20:00
2 Oct. 88471 Laupheim Schloss Großlaupheim 20:00

Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike Girls (new all-women lineup; Bluegrass-Americana) (Oct.)
5 Oct. Country Festival, Curlinghalle im Sportzentrum, CH-Grindelwald, Switzerland, 18:30
6 Oct. Frankfurt, TBA
10 Oct. Salmen, 77652 Offenburg, 20:00
12 Oct. Zehntscheuer, 88212 Ravensburg, 20:00
23 Oct. Der Club, 42579 Heiligenhaus, 20:00

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

5th Bluegrass Jamboree! (25 Nov.-17 Dec.)
27 Nov. Salmen, 77652 Offenburg, 20:00
28 Nov. franz k, 72762 Reutlingen, 20:00
29 Nov. Bürgerhaus, 63303 Dreieich, 20:00
1 Dec. Amerikahaus, Munich (München), tbc
2 Dec. ParkTheater im Kurhaus Göggingen, 86199 Augsburg, 19:30
4 Dec. Schloss Großlaupheim, Laupheim, 20:00
13 Dec. Landesbühne, Lutherstadt Eisleben, 20:00

The Toy Hearts (UK), who completed a tour in Germany last month (16-27 Feb.), will be back again in January 2014.

'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

Keith-Redon banjo method now in English!

Thanks to Jean-Marie Redon for the latest news of the instruction book/CD set for bluegrass banjo, written by himself and Bill Keith, which has already gone through four French-language editions. It has now been translated into English and published by the major US company Mel Bay as Bluegrass banjo in tablature: progressive method.

The Keith-Redon method is in three parts: (1) introduction to the banjo, right- and left-hand technique, exercises, music theory, and more; (2) tablatures for 27 tunes, ranging from bluegrass standards and fiddle tunes to more adventurous genres; and (3) other scales, licks, endings, 'Last But Not Least', and an appendix on banjo players. The CD provides audio tracks for all tablature material. More details are on the Mel Bay website.
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Monday, 4 March 2013

Long Overdue: A Stanley Brothers Biography


This first-ever Stanley Brothers biography Lonesome Melodies: The Lives And Music Of The Stanley Brothers [released February 1, 2013] documents the careers and personal lives of two true bluegrass legends, Carter and Ralph Stanley.

Author David W. Johnson has written a compelling story while remaining historically accurate, respectful and honest. It is a sensitive portrayal of two rather diverse personalities as they struggled to make a living together with their mountain music -- a music that told stories of their family, neighbors, and all descendants who came before them. Those of us who take this 304 page journey (including anyone who may have had a personal relationship with Carter and Ralph Stanley) perhaps will have a better understanding of these men and their music.

Brothers Carter and Ralph managed to take their music to the major cities of the USA from their home place deep in the Clinch Mountains of Virginia. They performed in local school houses, in radio stations, college campuses, the infamous Newport Folk Festival, national television and toured in Europe in 1966. The Stanley Brothers and The Clinch Mountain Boys were one of the most accomplished bands in country, bluegrass and mountain music. The Stanleys played a major role in the development of the early history of American music.
David Johnson’s extensive research while living near the Stanley's home territory in Virginia included personal visits with Ralph Stanley. He also spent countless hours with the two brothers' family members, childhood schoolmates, neighbors, life-long friends and band members. Some of the many people who shared their personal memories of Carter and Ralph were Bill Clifton, George Shuffler, Larry Sparks, and the late Wade Mainer.

George Shuffler, Carter & Ralph Stanley 1964
The journey throughout this book is not only a personal view of the Stanley Brothers’ world, but an occasional study of local histories and personalities.

The author also inserts a fair bit of regional history to help us better understand the strength in character of Carter and Ralph Stanley. A character that perhaps prepared them for the path they would take in their musical quest.

Additional subjects covered include song collecting in the mountain country, the earliest music festivals, the prominent folk and bluegrass artists of the period and more. We are also treated to an insider’s view of the country music business during the late 1940s through 1960s.

There is detailed background of well known mountain ballads. We are treated to several ‘behind the scene’ looks at day-to-day life on road for a first generation bluegrass musician. We learn about the politics of competing with the relatively few bands in those formative years of bluegrass music. We learn of the importance of radio appearances, the politics of radio and recording companies, the impossible task of finding sponsors, the complications involved in being cast members of major venues such as the Louisiana Hayride.

Another welcomed subject covered in the book is a brief history of the earliest radio and recording business in Bristol, VirginiaTennessee (the town is divided down the center of Main Street by the Virginia and Tennessee state lines). Particularly interesting is the list of old-time mountain musicians who recorded 78 rpm records prior to the well documented “Bristol Sessions” with The Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers in 1927.

Telling the personal story of Carter and Ralph Stanley could not have been an easy task. Carter, the eldest of the two brothers, died early in his life at age 41 (just 9 months after their tour of Europe in 1966). Until now friends and family were very protective of Carter Stanley and would not talk about his final months of life. His was a sorrowful and painful end due to complications from acute alcoholism. However Johnson relates this integral part of the Stanley Brothers’ saga with great respect and sympathy for the people involved.
The Ash Grove in Hollywood, California 1962
This inaugural study of The Stanley Brothers is highly recommended to anyone who enjoys American music: The general reader, knowledgeable country-bluegrass-mountain music fan, music student or scholar. With photographs, interviews, encyclopedic notes, Stanley Brothers discography + index.

About the author:  David W. Johnson is an independent scholar who has performed and written about traditional music for 50 years. His article on The Carter Family was awarded Da Capo ‘Best Music Writing 2004’. He lives in Stratham, New Hampshire, USA.

University Press of Mississippi
304 pages / 6 x 9 inches / 31 black & white photos
Suggested retail price: $50 USD *

* In Europe:  40,13 (free shipping)
E-book format is also available  978-1-61703-647-7

Sunday, 3 March 2013

Kristy Cox to sing in Surbourg, Alsace, 14 May 2013

Kristy Cox (photo: Nick McGrath)

Thanks to Serge Rieger (F) for the news that the award-winning Australian singer/songwriter and bandleader Kristy Cox (see the European Bluegrass Blog for 12 Feb. 2013) will be on the road in Europe two months from now.

On 14 May she and her band will perform in Surbourg, Alsace, France. Further details will be announced in due course.

Her appearances will also include playing at the European World of Bluegrass Festival (9-11 May) at Voorthuizen, the Netherlands.

Friday, 1 March 2013

Wagon Tales launch debut album, 24 Apr. 2013

The Wagon Tales, who have in the past year become one of the most talked about acoustic groups in London and the UK, will launch their debut album Introducing on Wednesday 24 April at the Slaughtered Lamb, Great Sutton St, Clerkenwell, London EC1V 0DX; tel. +44 (0)20 7253 1516; doors 7.30 p.m.; tickets online. The album, on the Fire Eater Music label, is available now on iTunes.

The Wagon Tales (also on Facebook) are a group of young, talented musicians from backgrounds including jazz and classical music, using traditional bluegrass instruments and inspired by the past masters of the music, but with original material based on personal experiences. Founded in 2007, the band consists of Ben Somers (double bass, vocals), Joe Auckland (banjo, vocals), Kate Robinson (fiddle, vocals), Lewis Cohen (guitar, vocals), and Joe Hymas (mandolin). They have also recently done their own version of the 'Harlem Shake', the current internet sensation, on YouTube.

For more info, e-mail or telephone Ben Somers at +44 (0) 7811 447486.
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