Monday, 30 September 2013

Ireland at MerleFest 2014

The lineup for next year's MerleFest (24-27 April 2014) includes two acts from Ireland: singer, songwriter, bandleader, and broadcaster Niall Toner (left), and 'neo-old-time' string band I Draw Slow (below).

Niall, who received the EBMA award for European Bluegrass Personality of the Year 2012 earlier this year, has been performing on showcases during IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2013 in Raleigh, NC, and will remain on tour in the USA till 26 October. I Draw Slow were on tour in the USA during the past summer.

MerleFest, held annually on the campus of Wilkes Community College, NC, since it was founded by the late, great Doc Watson in 1988 in memory of his son Merle, is the primary fundraising event for the college and has raised millions of dollars for it. One of the largest US music festivals and one of the world's leading roots-music festivals, it presents top-ranking artists in a wide range of genres - the blend that Doc himself called 'traditional plus'. Europe will also be represented at next year's event by the Kruger Brothers.

Al Ras Bluegrass & Old Time Festival, 16 Nov. 2013

Thanks to banjoist and bandleader Lluís Gómez of the Barcelona Bluegrass Band for news that the lineup and performance schedule for the Al Ras Bluegrass & Old Time Festival is now available in Catalan and Castilian.

The festival will be held at Mercat Vell de Mollet del Vallés, Pça Prat de la Riba 6, Mollet del Vallés (Barcelona), Spain, on 16 November 2013, beginning at 17:30. Taking part (in order of appearance) are the Sarah Lewis Band & Joan Pau Cumellas, Toni Gimenez, the Sunday Sofa Pickers, the Damned Hellbillies, Los Hermanos Cubero, Hanneke Cassel & Mike Block, with a jam to finish at 22:00. For more information, consult the Al Ras website or contact Lluís by e-mail.

Special Consensus in Europe, Nov. 2013

Bluegrass in Belgium is happy to announce that the first-class American bluegrass band The Special Consensus from Chicago have been booked to play at Toogenblik, Rue Kortenbachstraat 11, 1130 Haren (Brussels) on Friday 1 November, starting at 8.30 p.m.

As the number of seats is limited, this concert will be on reservation only. Tickets can be reserved by e-mail, at €10 if reserved before 20 October, and €12 if reserved after.

The concert in Brussels will open the Special C.'s November tour in Europe. Together with the dates shown on the band's online tour schedule, the list at present is:

Fri. 1st Toogenblik, Brussels, Belgium, 8.30 p.m.
Sat. 2nd Partycentrum ‘De Vriendschap’, Wadway/Wognum, the Netherlands, 8.00 p.m.
Sun. 3rd Jufa, Basel, Switzerland, 5.00 p.m.
Thurs. 7th Murten, Switzerland, 7.00 p.m.
Fri. 8th Vichy, France, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 9th FolkClub, Turin (Torino), Italy, 9.00 p.m.
Sun. 10th Amigdala Theatre, Milan (Milano), Italy, 7.00 p.m.

The Special C. online schedule includes addresses of venues, location maps, and links to event websites.

Sunday, 29 September 2013


 Thank you, Klaus-Christoff Hoffmann, who is one of the organizers of Wintergrass, for sharing this announcement with us.

Wintergrass in Groningen

On December 30 until the first of January next year the New Year's Eve festival Wintergrass will take place for the 3rd time.
Wintergrass is a bluegrass festival in the city of Groningen (the Netherlands), but not your average festival. It takes place on 4 ships in the centre of the town.
Not only will you be enjoying the programm and the jams, you will also sleep in one the many cabins on board (2 persons in each cabin).
All ships have sufficient hot water showers and toilets, a well equipped kitchen and a nice lounge to celebrate and make music. The cabins all have a sink and two bunk beds. Please bring your own pillow, sheets and blankets or a sleeping bag. Two of the ships are really luxurious, with a toilet and shower in each cabin and bedding is also available.
It won't be cold on board and you won't get seasick. The ships are situated in the heart of the beautiful city of Groningen (NL ) in a scenic canal.

 On the first day (December 30) you will be welcomed on board with coffee, tea, or any other beverage of your choice.
Our kitchen staff will have prepared a delicious meal for you to enjoy in the evening.
From 21.00 hrs. you can listen to the first two shows on board. Singer-songwriter Jan Henk de Groot and bluegrassband Stringtime will have great shows prepared.After a night of jamming the next day will start of with breakfast on board. In the morning and afternoon you will have time to explore the beautiful city of Groningen, to enjoy the ship or to continue jamming.
At lunchtime we provide a couple of sandwiches and whatever else occurs to us. In the evening there will be delicious food and drinks and of course the New Year's Eve concert with Heartstrings and one of the best bluegrassbands in Europe, Lazy Tater.
At midnight we can all enjoy our glass of champagne and the incredible city fireworks!
After all night jamming we invite you to the new year at a late breakfast on the first of january.
In the early afternoon we will all travel home again.
Since you cannot park directly at the ship with your car, you can ask us for a parking opportunity. Loading and unloading is of course allowed .
Price pp. € 90 (standard cabin), € 150,- (luxury cabin) Prices all inclusive! The prices include all the meals on board and all the drinks on board!
More information

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Castle Picking Party in the Netherlands

Thanks to Hans Kelderhuis who sends this news and photos:

Last Sunday the 3rd Castle Picking Party was held in Groningen, the Netherlands. The Picking Party seems to be getting bigger every year. It takes place in a big building, which used to be a real castle, so even with about 180 to 200 visitors there was plenty of room to take part in one of the many jams.

One hall was transformed into a stage area which hosted nine bands. Among those bands were the Suncourt Ramblers from Belgium and the very talented young band Velvet Joe & the Bluegrass Diamonds (below).

Organisers Hans Kelderhuis and Ben Wiltjer would like to thank all the volunteers, the many musicians, the bands, and the managing director and employees of the Castle for making this bluegrass event worthwhile.

The 4th Annual Castle Picking Party takes place on 28 September 2014. You can find more information on

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Darol Anger and Mike Marshall in Prague, 26 Oct. 2013

Thanks to Rosta Čapek and Iva Louková, who write from Prague (CZ):

Dear friends,

We would like to invite you to our next outstanding concert: Mike Marshall and Darol Anger (USA) will introduce the best contemporary acoustic music.

Mandolinist Mike Marshall and fiddler Darol Anger were the 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 humour in a wide-ranging selection of breathtaking duets.

The concert will take place on Saturday 26 Oct. at 7.30 p.m. in Hotel Prague Boscolo, Senovazne nam. 13, Prague 1. Tickets from €20 to €28, available at; more info on the Čapek Instruments website. Looking forward to see you at the concert.

Ing. Ivana Louková, Čapek Bluegrass & Jazz Instruments
tel. +420 603907416

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The Broken Circle Breakdown on screen in the USA

Thanks again to John Lawless in Bluegrass Today, this time for featuring the Belgian bluegrass film drama The Broken Circle Breakdown and its forthcoming screenings in the USA.

The film will be shown next week in art cinemas in thirteen cities in the Deep South, New England, the Mid-West, and the Pacific North-West, and will subsequently go on limited US release in November and December, primarily in larger cities. More details are on Bluegrass Today.

Monday, 23 September 2013

Banjo Romantika: first public showing in Tennessee

The EBB has already carried (26 Jan., 14 Sept. 2013) news of the documentary film Banjo Romantika: American music & the Czech imagination by Lee Bidgood and Shara Lange. On Friday 20 Sept. John Lawless reported on Bluegrass Today that the film is scheduled for a pre-release public showing tonight (23 Sept.) at the Down Home in Johnson City, Tennessee, which will be accompanied by a concert by Druha Trava (CZ).

The Bluegrass Today article includes a brief clip from the documentary, featuring the seminal banjo player Marko Cermák. There will also be a showing later this week (26 Sept.) at IBMA's World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, and later at nearby Cary, North Carolina.

Banjo Romantika will be entered for showing at film festivals, and further news will be posted on Facebook.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Niall Toner - from Carlow to North Carolina

Above: the Niall Toner Band (l-r, Dick Gladney, Niall, and Clem O'Brien) cutting up on stage at a recent show in Ireland - see below. Niall, who is now attending IBMA's World of Bluegrass in the USA, sends:

Greetings from Raleigh, NC, where the banjos are ringing in the air! I'm delighted to be here, and doing so many showcases, and representing Ireland. A couple of things worth mentioning:

My Pinecastle album, Onwards and upwards, is doing extremely well in this very tough market in the US. It is still at number one in the APD Download Chart, Folk/Bluegrass category of All Time, above the albums of many of my bluegrass heroes, and the song 'Judge and jury' was on the radio here in Raleigh twice yesterday!

My song 'Lonely souls and broken hearts' (from our Mood swing CD), which is featured in the ABC-TV drama series 'Nashville', has just been selected to feature in the US TV sci-fi drama 'Haven', based on the Stephen King novel The Colorado Kid. It's great also that they are using our original recording, with Clem [O'Brien] on guitar and harmony vocals, and Dick [Gladney] on bass. Thanks to T-Bone Burnette, who first picked up on this song for 'Nashville'.

Speaking of the above trio, we had another great success recently with our third sell-out gig at the very remote Killoughternane schoolhouse near Borris in County Carlow. Thanks to Jim Quirke and his team. As you can see from the photo, there were more than a few laughs on the night, and I'd have to say there are not too many original string bands getting full houses these days...

That's about it for now. I will report from IBMA next week.

Niall's showcase appearances during WOB week are listed on this Make Welcome Entertainment release.

Jam at Mazy 27 Sept. 2013 - with the Louvat Bros Trio

Thanks to Steve Louvat, Laurent Eeckhout, and Pascal Similon in Belgium for this news:

Dear friends, musicians and music lovers,

Next Friday 27th September 2013.

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

More details on our website!

Organising team: Steve Louvat, Laurent Eeckhout (Picnic Festival), and Pascal Similon from 'l’Atelier Guy Ness'. Thanks to all volunteers for their help.

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

Musically yours,

Steve, Laurent, & Pascal

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Report from Slovakia

Thanks to Martin Laca and Deni Bartusekova for bluegrass news from Slovakia:

There is a new band on the bluegrass scene whose members are definitely no newcomers. The music formation called Bill Faster is formed by the top Slovak musicians: Richard Cifersky (banjo), Dusan Hronec (guitar,vocal), Anton Naroda (bass), Michal Barok  (mandolin, vocal), and Milan Benkovic (dobro) as a guest. The band has released its first video-clip.

[Bill Faster and the new video were featured yesterday (16 September) on Bluegrass Today by John Lawless.]

The bluegrass band Fragment is about to launch a tour celebrating its 30th anniversary. The band was founded in 1983 as a formation playing progressive bluegrass. Many musicians, as well as many bluegrass, newgrass styles and new acoustic music have been exchanged during its activity. The founding member is popular dobro player Henrich Novak.

The bluegrass band Candy Floss represented Slovakia in August at the international bluegrass festival in La Roche, France.

Vodopad from Brezno is commemorating its 30th anniversary on the Slovak, as well as on the European country scene. During its activity it has recorded seven albums and played throughout France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia, of course.

The music band Sidlo, playing traditional bluegrass, earned the award for the most popular band at the Chrudimský Zvonek festival in the Czech Republic.

The Willie Jones Band (US/SK) - whose frontman is the Texas vocalist Willie Jones - is about to record its début album in October at the SABIK recording studio. There will be mainly author music by Willie Jones on the CD, as well as the vocals by a young singer, Tana Matkovicova, who performs with the band. In January the band is about to perform at the 9th Music Camp in Kosodrevina. They are officially going to release their new CD there.

At the end of September the 6th RESOLAND dobro workshop, led by the excellent Slovak dobro player Henrich Novak, will take place at the cottage in Kosariska at Borinka.

The bluegrass event Palencarenfest Gelnica took place on 14 September 2013.

News from Italy

Here's Martino Coppo with grassy news from Italy:

The RED WINE BLUEGRASS PARTY no. 5 will take place at Teatro Modena in Genova (Genoa) on 9 November 2013. Special guests for this edition is one of the most amazing, powerful, and inventive acts on the scene: THE KRUGER BROTHERS.

SPECIAL CONSENSUS from Chicago, IL, will play at Teatro AMIGDALA in Trezzo d'Adda, near Milano (Milan) on 10 November. This is their only Italian date for this tour.

And finally, RED WINE is getting ready to take off for the IBMA WOB in Raleigh, NC (24-28 September). Here is our complete schedule for the week:

Tues. 24th IBMA Official Showcase, Architect Bar - 12.00 a.m.
Wed. 25th WAMU's radio live show - 12.30 p.m.
Wed. 25th Class Act Entertainment, The Pour House - 9.00 p.m.
Thurs. 26th King's Barcade - Foreign Affairs, International Bluegrass Ramble - 1.00 a.m.
Fri. 27th Wide Open Bluegrass Street Festival - 5.00 p.m.

For more on IBMA's WOB, go to See you there!

Martino Coppo

Bluegrass show launches on Lithuanian radio TONIGHT

Algirdas Klova reports from Lithuania:

There is finally a Lithuanian radio show called 'Migles pieva' ('Bluegrass field') dedicated for the bluegrass. The show airs on 17 September for the first time on the radio station Laisvoji Banga ('Free Wave') and will be broadcast live every Tuesday from 8.00 p.m. across all Lithuania.

This is a programme put together by Algirdas Klova himself. Congrats from EBMA! More information can be found (in Lithuanian) on the website. The photo above shows the project Vydraga and leader Algirdas Klova on fiddle.

Monday, 16 September 2013

'Sunny Dogs' in the US: part two

Sights of Nashville: the dignity of the Ryman Auditorium (above) a few yards from the hubbub of Broadway (below)

The second instalment from Andy Glandt on his tour with Rudi Mund in the US as the Sunny Dogs:

Nashville was supposed to be two days of sightseeing. But thanks to a friend we met some musicians who invited us to play with them. So instead of visiting the Station Inn as we had planned, we played music in two nice venues.

Last night we played in Omaha, Nebraska, and now we are on our way to Manning, Iowa. There we play two concerts for a German community, one will be for children.

After two weeks of sunshine with temperatures of mostly 35 degrees, last night a thunderstorm cooled the weather down. It's still stormy and we are supposed to be outside. So, let's cross the fingers that the stage will be in the windless place. Tomorrow we are gonna leave Iowa for five days to go to Minnesota. More news I will send from there.

Bluegrass in Country France's online store

The September 2013 newsletter from Country France announces that their online boutique includes an aStore, developed in association with Amazon, to make up-to-date CDs and DVDs available.

Country recordings are divided under the headings of Alternative Country & Americana, Bluegrass, Honky Tonk, Nashville, Neo-Country and Contemporary, Outlaw, Tex Mex, Traditional Country, and Western Swing. The beginning of the bluegrass section can be found here.

Andy Glandt - 'Sunny Dogs' in the US

Thanks to Andy Glandt (D) for news of his current month-long tour in the US as one half of the 'Sunny Dogs' duo, together with Rudi Mund, the guitar player in Andy's Fox Tower Bluegrass Band. A week ago, while on the drive from the Midwest to Nashville, Andy began writing the first instalment of his experiences:

We arrived last week on Monday and stayed two days in Iowa with our friends Sherry and Bill. Then we drove to Topeka, Kansas, to our friend Judy Coder, a superb singer and western yodeller. With her we played a TV show and four concerts. All of them had a good crowd and we had a lot of fun together.

The photo above shows (l-r) Rudi, Judy, and Andy on stage.

Before we left this morning we played three gospel songs to the worship in the church where we had a nice concert on Thursday... Tomorrow we will have lunch with a business person and then we have two days for sightseeing. Our tour goes till the end of this month and will bring us to Nebraska, Minnesota, and back to Iowa.

Congratulations and all good wishes to Andy, who is successfully recovering from serious illness and is clearly keeping very active. More news on the tour will appear on the EBB.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

News from the Czech Republic

Petr Brandejs forwards Czech bluegrass news, collected by himself and Jana Hanusova:
  • The summer was full of festivals, some of them small, some of them bigger. Thanks to all organisers for their effort!
  • 41st Banjo Jamboree is gone and the CzBMA is happy that the cooperation with the US Embassy continues and seems promising.
  • One of the great news for us is undoubtedly the documentary film Banjo Romantika by Lee Bidgood PhD. It is based on Lee’s research in the Czech Republic, and tells the story of how bluegrass developed there. The document was introduced at the Banjo Jamboree and White Stork festivals as well as at a university in Brno. Lee has collected many useful and interesting information. More info:
  • On 26 October the Czech Republic will be visited by a great mandolin player, Mike Marshall, and unbelievable fiddle player Darol Anger. Thanks to Rosta Capek and Iva Loukova who are the promoters of their concert in Hotel Prague Boscolo. More at
  • A fantastic fiddle player, Pepa Malina, released his CD Časosběr. This project took five years of hard work and the result is wonderful. Guests on the CD include Katka Garcia, Robert Křesťan, Peter Rowan, Míša Leicht, and many others. A video (in Czech) introducing the CD can be seen on YouTube.
  • The young talented band Twisted Timber won the award 'Talent of the Country Radio', the only Czech radio that plays country, folk, and bluegrass music.
  • The top European bluegrass band G Runs 'n Roses have their second CD out. It's called Gravity and it only proves the band's high profile. A video can be seen here.

Exciting news from Wookalily

Wookalily, the 'female-led Americana folk band' from Northern Ireland (who were the subject of a full-page feature in Bluegrass Europe #88, with its 'Women in bluegrass' theme) announce that their debut full-length CD will be released soon. A free download of their four-track EP Black magic doll (2011)  is available - only to those who are signed up to receive the band's newsletter, and only till Tuesday 22 September 2013.

Songs wanted for G2's next album

Thanks to John Lawless at Bluegrass Today for the news that Swedish bluegrass band G2 (shown above in concert) are planning to record their next album in the spring of 2014 at J Studio in Nashville, with the aim of releasing it on an independent American label. G2's banjo-player Jens Koch is quoted as saying that half the material for the album is already compiled; but he adds:

We would really like to get some good originals written outside of the band... So, people are still welcome to send songs. We are waiting for material from some writers out there and can’t wait to listen to it.

Songwriters are advised to contact the band through their website or Facebook page.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Earlybird Stringband

Thanks to Mikael Jonassen from Norway for passing on the latest news about this wonderfully creative band:

Hey, I just thought I'd tip you off about this Norwegian Bluegrass band currently touring the US with a new album, if that's something you'dbe interested in. For details, check their facebook on Thanks!
We are looking forward to seeing the Earlybird Stringband during their stop at this year's IBMA WOB, at the "Foreign Affairs" International Bluegrass Ramble, Thursday, 26 September at Kings Barcade, 10:00pm. Check them out if you're there!

Bluegrass Camp Munich - open slots for flatpicking guitar with Oliver Waitze

In a special edition of his NAG (New Acoustic Gallery) newsletter Oliver Waitze announces a wonderful opportunity of learning and making music together in a beautiful scenery. He's indicating he would be delighted to have some 2 or 3 more participants in the guitar flatpicking class. Jump on that Bluegrass Express - and meet Oliver in Aschauin / Chiemgau from 4 - 7 October 2013.

Bill Evans (USA) - Bluegrass-Banjo
Jürgen Biller (D) - Bluegrass-Banjo
John Dowling (UK) - Bluegrass-Banjo
Leon Hunt (UK) - Bluegrass-Banjo
Adiaha Bürkmiller + Ludwig Mühlegger (D) - Banjo for beginners
Band-Workshop - Strange Hill Folk
Dobro - Jimmy Heffernan
Mandoline - Rupert Paulik
Flatpicking Gitarre - Oliver Waitze
Fiddle - Angelika Torrie, Anna Dowling
Pete Wernick-Method Jam Class - Angelika Torrie

The camp is characterized by a rich range of workshops that can be attended in addition to or in parallel with the classes. Everyone is free to decide where and how intense he/she wants to be there and participate.
Whether it's banjo, guitar, dobro or mandolin players - bluegrass enthusiastic amateur pickers from all over Europe are invited, to spend a weekend near the Bavarian Alps in beautiful surroundings with like-minded people, learn all about your instrument in in-depth workshops (groups of 8 - 12 participants) and apply your knowledge directly in a slow-jam-class and jam sesisons on the same afternoon/evening, and sit together at ease at the campfire making music.

Contact for further Information: Organisation / Registration: Adiaha Bürkmiller - 0176-23640702, e-mail:

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

New Festival: BlueGrassBeeg (NL) on 26 October 2013

Thanks to Rob Guffens  for news on this new festival:

This acoustic and autism-friendly bluegrass festival in Grevenbicht in Limburg, one of the Dutch provinces, is a new and unique initiative of the Auti Vriendelijk Limburg foundation.

Where and when?
Limburg is in the far southeast of NL, very close to parts of Germany and Belgium. The festival will be held in Oos Hoes, Schoolstraat 2 in 6127 BG Grevenbicht, from noon until approximately midnight. There is no admission fee, so everybody can come in freely to enjoy bluegrass music, for the first time in this area.

What will be going on?
Besides the main attraction, the musical programme (see below) with ten bands, there will be workshops, presented by Jeff Cardey, Ben Wiltjer and others. There are also possibilities for jam sessions, in the hall during the breaks, and in the cafe-part of the building. So, don’t be shy, bring your instrument and see what will happen.
Moustache Guitars, Strictly Country Records and Wim van de Weg will each have a booth at the festival, and the bands will have the opportunity to sell their merchandise.

Another unique aspect
The festival will be organised in a way that it will be easy for people with various degrees of autism to attend, or to function as volunteer. For this there will be some assistance from healthcare professionals.

We can still use some volunteers. You can either click here: Aanmelden als vrijwillig medewerker, or write to Rob Guffens.

13:00 - 13:30 LL & BB (NL) "Liquor' Lebens and the Booze Boys"
13:45 - 14:15 StringTyme (D)
14:30 - 15:00 Close to home (NL)
15:15 - 15:45 Blue Maxx (B)
16:00 - 16:45 open podium / workshop ....
17:00 - 17:30 Beauty en de Vagebond (NL)
17:45 - 18:15 Red Herring (NL)
18:15 - 19:15 Pauze
19:30 - 20:15 The Campfire Collaboration (NL)
20:30 - 21:15 Rawhide (B)
21:30 - 22:15 Rocks and Ivy (B/NL)
22:30 - 22:45 AWARD uitreiking
22:45 - 23:30 The Tennessee Studs (NL)

'Foreign Affairs': that 'I' in IBMA is ours!

To all non-US IBMA members:
The 2013 World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, USA, is getting closer!
At the international booth in the Convention Center, under the 'Foreign Affairs' heading, we hope to present as much information about what is going on in other countries than the US as possible.
For that we need your materials (they do not have to be current – posters of last year's festival for instance are fine).
So, bands, festival promoters, others who work in bluegrass...
Bring your stuff with you, if you will be in Raleigh, and take it ASAP on Thursday to booth # 518.
If you can not be there, please send a packet of stuff, and we will make sure that those who are interested, can look at it and/or take it with them.
Until September 20, shipments will be accepted at:
IBMA International Committee, booth # 518 for 2013 IBMA
c/o Hollins Exposition Services
121 North Chimney Rock Road
Greensboro, NC 27401
If your shipment will not be there by September 20, use this address:
IBMA International Committee, booth # 518
for 2013 IBMA
c/o Raleigh Convention Center Hall C
500 South Salisbury Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Please send things only if you do not need them back! I will not have the opportunity to send them back after the event.
Hope to see you or hear from you!
Rienk Janssen
IBMA International Committee
608 W Iris Drive | Nashville , TN 37204 US

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Folk Artist Sean Kagalis Video Premier

Trenton Carson Productions LLC
Sean Kagalis's  "At Any Rate"        

 Music Video Premiere 

September 3, 2013 - Marietta, GA.- Independent folk pop/ bluegrass artist Sean Kagalis has released his first major music video "At Any Rate", of his latest album "Working Parts". 

Sean Kagalis is a veteran of the Atlanta music scene who has steadily built a following with honest lyrics, intense vocal delivery and a demanding stage presence.  A poster child for live online performances, Sean has won over fans spanning the globe with his avatar Strum Diesel in the 3D virtual world Second Life.

In December 2011, Sean Kagalis developed a severe case of tendinitis. Half of the songs on Working Parts were written before this occurrence and the other half after. This release represents a seemingly defeated, over-worked artist literally fighting through the pain to show that the injury has not won.

"At Any Rate" is Sean's love song to music making.  The song speaks to the experience of faithfully following a dream.  Originally written as a piano ballad, the song neared Pop/Gospel territory when produced in the studio. It is Sean's favorite song on his 2013 release "Working Parts".

"At Any Rate" was directed by emerging filmmaker Trenton "TC" Carson, who is also the founder of video production company Trenton Carson Productions LLC.  Sean and Trenton spent months preparing for this music video with many different concepts in mind before settling on what you see here. Trenton's interpretation of the "At Any Rate" track prompted him to use a considerable amount of close up's and slow motion in the beginning, then switch to medium long shots and faster edits after the break. "I wanted to expose the sheer nakedness of the beginning of the track with the vastness of the open landscape and pathways." Sean felt it was key to include one of his infamous guitar straps in some of the scenes in appreciation for his die hard fans who has followed him on his journey.

Where you can find Sean Kagalis and "Working Parts"

Where you can find director Trenton "TC" Carson

About TC Productions
TC Productions was founded in 2007 with the goal of showcasing real life through a filming industry by playing a pivotal role in by capturing memorable moments with the utmost of professionalism. A unique aspect of TC Productions is that we are equipped with an educational background and technical experience that enables us to create professional videos at an affordable rate. 

Lonesome Highway proposes featuring European bluegrass worldwide

Ireland's Ronnie Norton sends us the request for CDs of European Bands, please help him promote European bluegrass Music worldwide! Here's what he proposes:

Lonesome Highway broadcasts 5hrs of Bluegrass radio each week, with 4hrs of repeats. Friday and Saturday on with 2hrs recorded and 2 repeats and 3hrs live each Monday from in Lexington KY.
My thoughts were if I have enough material to do 1 show a month on CMR and 1hr a week on WWB of European Bluegrass. That would be 30 tracks a month on CMR and 15 tracks a week on WWB of Euro bands and artists. In order to do this I would need hard copies of CDs both current and previous for my archive.
Digital downloads are only acceptable as a last resort as IT'S IMPOSSIBLE to review an mp3 without knowledge of all the CDs liner notes. So, please send your CDs to the address shown below.
Most European bands I've heard are amazing and we need to encourage new talent. I look forward to your comments.

Ronnie Norton, AIPPA, QEP, NORTON.IE,
Imaging Excellence, 93 Bettyglen,
Raheny, Dublin.5. IRELAND
Home ph. +353 1 8058178
mobile ph. +353 87 253 6720

Steep Canyon Rangers Tease new album and release free download

In anticipation of the Sept 10 release we have have some video teasers and a free download of the title track "Tell The Ones I Love" that I wanted to share. Please feel free to post!

Free Download of "Tell The Ones I Love"
Link -
Embed code - <iframe src='' frameborder='0' scrolling='no' width='300' height='545'></iframe>

"Tell The Ones I Love" Teaser
Link -
Embed Code <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

"Lay Myself Down" Teaser
Link -
Embed Code <iframe width="560" height="315" src="//" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>



On September 10, 2013, Rounder will release the Steep Canyon Rangers' Tell The Ones I Love, the follow-up to 2012's Grammy-winning Nobody Knows You.

This album was somewhat of a departure for the band: when the time came to record, they headed north to Levon Helm's famed studio in Woodstock, NY, with Grammy-winning producer Larry Campbell.

Their association with Campbell came about after the band played Levon's Midnight Ramble last year. They impressed Helm enough that he invited them to come back and record at the barn. Unfortunately, that didn't happen before his untimely passing, but they still felt his joyful, creative spark and subtle influence while working in his studio.

The band wanted Tell The Ones I Love to reflect the spirit of their concerts—an original, freewheeling, high-energy approach to bluegrass that rests mainly on the songwriting of Graham Sharp and Charles Humphrey. They recorded the album almost entirely live, using few overdubs.

While the Steep Canyon Rangers were certainly open to recording songs by other composers, or to dip into traditional material, Campbell ultimately had them record all original tunes, based both on the strength of the songs and the band's arrangements.

Campbell, a highly sought after musician and producer (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm), was often down on the floor with the band so he could feel what was being performed. His strategy, to have the music sound organic – "where you can hear the environment of the barn" – fit well with the band's performances. He also admired that they "held on to the essence of what makes bluegrass viable, and subtly reinvented it to make their thing unique."

One way that the band stretched bluegrass boundaries was with their use of drums and percussion on Tell The Ones I Love. "We didn't want something that was just a bluegrass track with drums laid on it like an afterthought," said Sharp. "We wanted something that was really integrated." They enlisted Jeff Sipe ( Leftover Salmon, Susan Tedeschi, Aquarium Rescue Unit), whom Sharp described as "one of the best drummers around."

Tell The Ones I Love showcases the Steep Canyon Rangers' myriad talents— nimble instrumental agility, tight harmony vocals, and inventive songwriting. The 12-song set ranges from full-band workouts like the title track to the haunting, vocally tight "Hunger." On "Las Vegas," the band displays jazzy touches while Mike Guggino's instrumental "Graveyard Fields" is a bluegrass tour de force.

Tell The Ones I Love, in fact, affords each Ranger opportunities to shine, whether it's Graham Sharp's expressive banjo intro on Charles Humphrey/Jonathan Byrd's plaintive "Bluer Words Were Never Spoken," Nicky Sanders' soaring fiddle on "Boomtown" or Humphrey's walking bass that anchors his "Mendocino County Blue."

These days, it's hard to talk about the Steep Canyon Rangers without mentioning Steve Martin. After meeting at a party and clicking immediately, Martin invited the band to tour and record with him. 2011's collaboration Rare Bird Alert was nominated for a Grammy, and later that year, they won IBMA's Entertainer of the Year Award. They average about 50 dates a year together, touring as Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, and most recently with the addition of special guest Edie Brickell.

The release of Tell the Ones I Love finds the Steep Canyon Rangers in a unique situation, and one they don't take lightly: "It took a lot of work for us to nose our way into the bluegrass world and become a de facto representative," Sharp acknowledges, "and we think it's a real responsibility." With this new record, "we can be a bridge between the bluegrass crowd and a wider audience that may not be die-hard bluegrass fans." Yet.

Kruger Brothers in Europe, 26 Oct.-9 Nov. 2013

The Kruger Brothers with Josh Day on Mountain Song Miami Cruise Ship 2013
The Kruger Brothers with Josh Day on Mountain Song Miami Cruise Ship 2013

Following recent posts (31 July, 7 September 2013) on the Kruger Brothers (CH/USA), here is a list of dates for their tour in Europe later this year, as shown at present on the band's online schedule, where links to venue websites, online booking facilities, and other details are given.

26 Oct. Deering Banjo Event, Eagle Music Shop, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England; doors open 7.00 p.m.
29 Oct. Folk Club Villingen, Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany
30 Oct. Alts Schlachthuus, Laufen BL, Switzerland
31 Oct. Alte Kaserne, Zurich, Switzerland
1 Nov. Möösli Culture Centre, Inwil, Switzerland
2 Nov. Tellspielhaus, Altdorf, Switzerland theater
3 Nov. Switzerland (private event)
5 Nov. Switzerland (private event)
9 Nov. 5th Red Wine Bluegrass Party, Sala Modena, Teatro dell’ Archivolto, Genoa, Italy

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Articles, photos, and more from Ukbluegrass

The Ukbluegrass website has always been a most valuable source of information on the British bluegrass scene, and the following message shows that its value is much more than that:

Articles, photos and more…

With festival season drawing to a close, there is not much news for ukbluegrass to report. But the website has plenty of archived content you may not have looked through before.

Our articles include interviews with the likes of Mike Marshall, Steep Canyon Rangers, and the Infamous Stringdusters, reviews of albums and tours, plus reports from festivals and camps.

Our Flickr gallery features hundreds of photos from bluegrass events over the past few years, both in Britain and North America. Videos from these events can be found on our YouTube channel.

Finally, the forum is a useful tool for organising and discovering jams, finding a teacher or students, or just to have a chat with fellow bluegrass fans.

Banjo Rolls Trainer: now a Mac OSX version from Jiří Markalous

Back in June the EBB drew attention to a feature in Bluegrass Today on the Banjo Rolls Trainer, developed by Czech banjo player Jiří Markalous as an aid to learning all the important five-string banjo rolls and improving speed and accuracy, and available as an iOS app through the Apple App Store.

John Lawless has now featured on Bluegrass Today Jiří's further development of the concept, launched on 5 September: a Mac OSX version, combining all the features of the original with further options, including the ability to create and save your own rolls, and a speed-up feature, where the metronome setting will increase after a preset number of repetitions, at a user-determined rate. A video tutorial can be seen here. The new app is available through the Mac App Store for $14.99. John Lawless concludes: 'All in all, this is a very effective roll trainer'.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Jens Kruger to receive 2013 Steve Martin prize

Thanks to Bluegrass Today for the news that Jens Kruger (left) of the Kruger Brothers (CH/USA) will receive the 2013 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. The award includes a $50,000 honorarium and opportunities to perform both on stage and on television with Steve.

Jens Kruger is the fourth recipient of the award, and the first to have been born outside the USA. He is reported as saying:

Not being an American, and coming to this country as an immigrant, to be accepted so warmly is amazing, and quite humbling. It is really touching.

Read the full Bluegrass Today report, which includes two videos of Kruger's outstanding playing. As noted on the EBB on 31 July 2013, the Kruger Brothers, together with a wealth of British bluegrass talent, will be performing at the Eagle Music Shop in Huddersfield, northern England, on 26 October.

Friday, 6 September 2013

New Acoustic Gallery newsletter, Sept. 2013

Thanks to Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Wuppertal, Germany, for the September 2013 issue of its newsletter. The NAG stocks the finest acoustic instruments - guitars, banjos, mandolins, and violins - from such makers as AJL, Bourgeois, Beneteau, Collings, Santa Cruz, Striebel, Furch, Sigma, Graf, Dupont, Nechville, Weber, and Deering.

The New Acoustic Gallery now has a new, more user-friendly website, which has kept the familiar videos of old concerts at the NAG and and audio clips of diverse instruments. Instruments now in stock include the Weber Gallatin F octave mandolin with custom finish (€3190), Dupont Django guitar MD 50 E (€3900), and Nechville Classic DLX 5-string banjo in gold and engraved (€5990), all shown below.

The first autumn workshop at the NAG's new location will be given by Jacques Stotzem on 15 September 2013, 10:00-17:00, and will illustrate the application of fingerstyle guitar technique to blues, ragtime, jazz, swing, and his own compositions. Stotzem's 'After the Gold Rush' can be seen on YouTube. The admission fee (€85) includes free admission to the evening concert on 14 September at the Bürgerbanhhof, Wuppertal Vohwinkel.

Full details of the NAG's 10-year jubilee concert at Schloss Lüntenbeck are on the news page of the NAG website. The concert, by 'The Duo' of Darol Anger and Mike Marshall, will be on 27 October 2013 at 19:30. Admission is €30.

New Acoustic Gallery
Schloss Lüntenbeck
Lüntenbeck 1
D - 42327 Wuppertal
Tel. +49 (0)202/94672730