Saturday, 30 November 2013

Highlights from

Thanks to for posting an anthology of interviews and other features that have appeared on the website over the past few years. The list comprises:

The logo (above) was designed by Charlotte Carrivick of the Carrivick Sisters.

Premier English band scheduled for senior Irish festival

The NEBB (l-r): Grahame Turner, Terry Hymers, Greg Smith (hidden), Paul Brewer, Marc Noel-Johnson

Next year Ireland's oldest bluegrass festival will welcome Britain's leading classic hard-core traditional bluegrass band to the top of the bill. The 24th Athy Bluegrass Festival will be held at Athy, Co. Kildare, on 11-13 July, with the New Essex Bluegrass Band (GB) as the headliners.

In 2014 the NEBB will have existed as a band for twenty years. In that time their performances at major festivals have included several in the Netherlands, France, and Lithuania. They are the acknowledged experts in Britain on using the single microphone, and a major section of their website is devoted to this.

The latest issue of British Bluegrass News, the official magazine of the BBMA, includes a review of their latest album, On our way back, and 'Some bluegrass memories', a major feature by Paul Brewer, founder-member and guitarist of the NEBB.

An earlier NEBB lineup with Mike Stanhope on bass

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving from Niall Toner

Thanksgiving greetings are flooding out from the bluegrass world in the Mother Country. Of special significance for Europe: the greetings card (above) from the Niall Toner Band (IRL), by courtesy of Niall's US agents, Make Welcome Entertainment in Nashville.

Earlier this year Niall Toner received the first EBMA European Bluegrass Personality of the Year award for his achievements in 2012.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

ArtistWorks Online Bluegrass Schools: Holiday Gift Certificates

The ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass offers direct online instrumental tuition from some of the biggest names in bluegrass music: Tony Trischka (banjo), Bryan Sutton (guitar), Darol Anger (fiddle), Missy Raines (bass), Andy Hall (dobro), and Mike Marshall (mandolin). Thanks to Ian Alexander for a release issued yesterday on the gift certificates now available for the six online interactive Video Exchange™ bluegrass schools at the Academy of Bluegrass:

How the Creative Gift programme works:

Give the certificate to the lucky person in your life.
They can redeem the code on their digital certificate and receive three months of online lessons at the ArtistWorks instructor school of their choice.
Once enrolled, they begin with access to a comprehensive library of pre-recorded video lessons from beginner to advanced. They can view these lessons at their own pace, whenever they have time.
When they want guidance, they can submit practice videos to their world-renowned teacher through the ArtistWorks Video Exchange™ Feedback Platform using their webcam, phone, iPad or video camera.
Their all-star instructor will review the video submission and respond with video feedback designed to help the student get better – fast.

ArtistWorks Academy of Bluegrass Gift Certificates cost $90 for three months unlimited access and can be purchased directly at the ArtistWorks website.

Beppe Gambetta in concert: Rome, 10 Dec. 2013

Thanks to Danilo Cartia (I) for the news that Italian guitar maestro Beppe Gambetta will be playing in concert in Rome on Tuesday 10 December, as part of a tour with his latest CD, The American album, released in the USA two months ago. Other dates in the tour appeared on the EBB on 2 Nov. 2013.

The concert will take place in the Teatro Vascello, Via Giacinto Carini 78. Bookings or further information: +39 06 5881021.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Rawhide and Blue Maxx in concert, Sat. 30 Nov. 2013

Bluegrass in Belgium reports that (partly thanks to the 'Broken Circle Breakdown effect') two of the leading bluegrass bands in Belgium can be seen and heard together on this coming Saturday, 30 Nov. 2013:

Saturday: Blue Maxx (below) and Rawhide in concert in Heffen (Mechelen). Veeery nice location for a listening audience!

Details and reservation: .

Danilo Cartia Band in Rome, 28 and 30 Nov. 2013

Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia (I) announces that the Danilo Cartia Band will be playing bluegrass, blues, and ballads at two shows in Rome this week: at the 'Help Pub', Via Giovanni Animuccia 24, from 10.00 p.m. on Thursday 28 November, and at the 'Enoteca 11 Massacciuccoli', Via Massacciuccoli 11, from 10.00 p.m. on Saturday 30 November.

Danilo Cartia
Phone/fax: +39 068273332
Mobile: +39 3396908450

Music Contact tour news, Nov. 2013: further update

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

In response to a suggestion received, the European Bluegrass Blog is putting this information before its readers in a new way. Instead of reproducing the lists of dates, we are giving links to the schedules as they appear on the Music Contact website. These contain more information, including links to venue websites and contact data. We also give links both to bands' own websites in English, and to Music Contact information ('MC bio') about them in German.

Please let us know whether you like this new format!

5th Bluegrass Jamboree!
Red Tail Ring (USA): MC bio
Carper Family (USA): MC bio
Foggy Hogtown Boys (CAN): MC bio
Supported by Bear Family Records, Dynamite Magazin, Rookie Magazin, WDR, No Fences, GBMA, Hufgef lüster, Folker, Hillbilly Guesthouse Mailorder. A nine-minute preview video can be seen here.
Tour schedule 27 Nov.-15 Dec.
NB: the 28 Nov. show at Reutlingen will be broadcast live on Radio Wüste Welle, 20:00-23:00

The Toy Hearts (UK): MC bio
Tour schedule 16 Jan.-2 Feb. 2014

Foghorn String Band (USA): MC bio
Tour schedule 2-24 May 2014 (their first tour in Germany)

The Henry Girls (IRL): MC bio
Irish Americana Folk (available for festival bookings and for touring in autumn 2014)

New Country Rehab (CAN): MC bio
'Canada's answer to the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons' (available for festival bookings and for touring in autumn 2014)

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (USA) (May 2015)

Achtung! The Country & Western Friends Koetz present Fragment in concert on 26 Nov. at Langenau Pfleghof Saal, 20:00

'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

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Farewell to White Mountain Bluegrass, Hazel and Mac McGee

Mac and Hazel at their favorite festival,
Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick, Maine  USA
We often hear the words 'All good things must come to an end'. In this particular case, it is not only true but is a bit sad as well. It is time to say goodbye to these old friends and their band of the past 43 years.

Hazel and Herman "Mac" McGee and their bluegrass band White Mountain Bluegrass [WMB] are two such old friends to countless fans and friends on the European continent. New England bluegrass pioneer Joe Val recommended the band to Rienk Janssen, EBMA / IBMA board member and owner of 'Strictly Country' (a source of music recordings and more based in the Netherlands). Rienk first brought WMB to Europe in the late 1970s. For a total of 8 tours in Europe, White Mountain Bluegrass consistently filled the venues where they performed: house concerts, cafes/pubs, halls, theaters and festivals. They have proven to be one of the most requested and popular American bluegrass artists to perform in Europe.

Hazel and Mac first met each other in the mid-1950s (neither of them are exactly sure, but both agree it was "probably in 1955"). They began playing music and singing together at that time. They married in 1957. A loving relationship ensued and has held true for the past 60+ years. Imagine having the same singing partner for 60 years, through good times and bad; raising a family, keeping a full-time job and maintaining a working band for all those years. That has been the hard yet rewarding path followed by Hazel and Mac McGee. 

The McGee's started the White Mountain Bluegrass band in 1970. Their son Herman, Jr joined Hazel and Mac as the banjo/guitar player and baritone singer in 1973. Another long-time band member is resophonic guitarist Roger Williams. Roger, a familiar face to bluegrass fans in Europe, first joined WMB onstage in 1978 and has performed with WMB for much of their 40 year history.  Of course, there have been several other band members but Hazel, Mac, Herman and Roger were the core unit of White Mountain Bluegrass for decades.

Hazel and Mac McGee have had their names added to the International Bluegrass Music Museum's "Pioneers of Bluegrass" plaque in Owensboro, Kentucky, USA. They are most deserved of such an honor, as are those who join them on that elite list of less than 80 names.

White Mountain Bluegrass made their final European appearance in May 2011 at the "Strictly Country Reunion Farewell Festival" in Emmen, NL. The event celebrated Rienk Janssen's retirement of his Strictly Country Magazine after 40 years of bi-monthly publications.

Hazel and Mac McGee have now officially retired the band after 43 years. They have both had their aches and pains, and entertained the thought of retiring from music for many years. Finally the time has come for them to let the band go and enjoy a welcomed rest. I am certain all their friends and colleagues throughout Europe would like to shake their hands one last time, and wish them all the best in their most deserved retirement.

Since that is not possilble, perhaps all that is left for us to do now is thank them for their decades of love, dedication, support and perseverence in bluegrass music. Offer thanks for being such fine ambassadors and friends to all in bluegrass music. 

So from all your friends in Europe and beyond let us simply say:
Thank You, Hazel and Mac McGee.

You may contact the McGee's at: 
51 Bunker Lane
Madbury, NH   03823


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Della Mae in Europe, 30 Apr.-13 May 2014

Thanks to Walter Fuchs, director of the International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, for the news that Della Mae (USA), who won this year's IBMA Emerging Artist award, will be playing eight shows in western and northern Europe next spring in addition to their appearance at the 12th Bühl Bluegrass Festival (2-3 May 2014).

As shown on the band's online tour schedule, the dates are:

Apr. 30 De Roma, Antwerp, Belgium
May 2 Muehle Hunziken, Rubigen, Switzerland
May 3 International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, Bühl, Germany
May 4 Jufa, Basel, Switzerland
May 6 Musikhuset Posten, Odense, Denmark
May 7 Baltoppen, Ballerup, Denmark
May 8 Riksscenen, Ilsaas, Norway
May 9 Palladium, Malmö, Sweden
May 13 Savoy Theatre, Helsinki, Finland

Friday, 22 November 2013

New 'Keep on the Bluegrass' T-shirts from Maui Waui

Thanks to professional graphic designer and illustrator Anne Steel of © Maui Waui Design in Norfolk, England, whose 'Keep on the Bluegrass' range of designer bluegrass T-shirts in black and white, featuring all the bluegrass instruments and printed on heavyweight premium-quality 'Fruits of the Loom' T-shirts, was featured on the European Bluegrass Blog on 7 June 2012.

Anne now announces a new 'Keep on the Bluegrass' style, in navy blue, and including a V-neck 'Ladyfit' model (see image).

Full details and online purchase and ordering facilities, giving postage for all countries, are on the Keep on the Bluegrass website. Anne - who also plays guitar and ukulele in the Darling Coreys (GB) - can be contacted by e-mail or telephone (+44 (0)1508 530934).

Cool Stuff for Bluegrass Players

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Snaarmaarwaar at Mazy jam, 29 Nov. 2013

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

Dear friends, musicians and music lovers,

Next Friday 29th November 2013

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

The purpose of the jam is to let the musicians to propose tunes to each other, spontaneously, following the feeling of the moment. However, to allow to everybody to be comfortable, we will suggest every month 1 'standard' piece of the style which will be certainly played! On Nov. 29, we will play 'Arkansas Traveller'.

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

The folk trio Snaarmaarwaar, whose repertoire combines traditional and original material, will be the featured group.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Nedski and Mojo in Britain - follow them on Bluegrass Today

The news from the Toy Hearts (GB), published on the EBB on 13 Nov., mentioned that the US duo Nedski and Mojo (Ned Luberecki and Stephen Mougin) are touring this month in Britain.

Stephen Mougin is keeping an online journal of their travels, and three instalments have so far appeared on Bluegrass Today. The latest, published today (20 Nov. 2013) can be seen here: in which our heroes tackle the problems of visiting - and performing in - London musical instrument shops without buying anything, and of transporting their indispensable gear around town afterwards.

Tumbling Bones in Europe, April-May 2014: update

Following from the EBB post of 22 October, the US trio Tumbling Bones from Portland, Maine, send news of their plans for next spring on this side of the Atlantic, including their third tour in Ireland. Dates are still flexible, but the outline of the schedule is as follows:

April 10 through 30: Tour of Ireland (both Republic and Northern);
May 1 through 5: Germany, appearing at the Bühl Bluegrass Festival;
May 6 through 20: Tour of Britain, arranged by the Owlsworld agency.

... We've got a new album on the way, and as a preview we just released a single off it, titled 'Broken things'. You can listen to it and download it for free here. We have a Kickstarter campaign going for the record, which you can visit here, where people can contribute and pre-order the album.

Tumbling Bones // Gritty Traditional American Music
Phone (434) 872-3864
Website; Facebook

Swiss bluegrass band The Country Pickers about to embark on a whirlwind tour...

The Swiss bluegrass band The Country Pickers, whose roots go back to the 1960s, are about to embark on a whirlwind tour to promote their latest recording project "CP Special", an instrumental composed by banjo picker Hermann Merath.

The Country Pickers consist of Robert Brunner (dbr, voc), Paolo "Colonel Pablo" Dettwiler (mand, voc), Hanspeter "Casey" Gasser (bass), Tom Lochbrunner (git, autoharp, voc) and Hermann Merath (bjo, voc). They re-formed the well-known Swiss group in 2010 after a hiatus of 15 years.

"CP Special" is made up of nine newly recorded tunes showcasing the band's current sound and ten additional songs portraying the musical roots of the five band members. The CD is available by writing an email to

The "CP Special Tour" includes the follwing performances for the upcoming weekend:
  • Friday, 22 November 2013, Dorfstübli, D-79689 Maulburg, Germany, 8 p.m.
  • Saturday, 23 November 2013, 4th SwissGrass Night (also featuring Blue Sky and Wäfler Brothers), Jufa, CH-4052 Basel, 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, 24 November 2013, dolder2 KultUhrBeiz, CH-8245 Feuerthalen, 7.30 p.m.

More show dates have been confirmed for 2014. Check out The Country Pickers on the web, Facebook or on YouTube.

1st Bluegrass Jamming Camp using Wernick Method in Switzerland

Angelika Torrie will be teaching bluegrass jamming using the Wernick Method on a two day workshop on Sat-Sun, Feb 8-9, 2014, 9:30AM - 4:3PM (with one hour lunch break), in Basel, Switzerland. It's the first bluegrass jamming workshop using the Wernick method in Switzerland. Angelika became a certified Wernick method teacher back in April 2013 and her first teaching at Adiaha's Bluegrass Camp in Aschau, Germany, was very successful and well received.

Do you qualify to participate? It's easier than you may think! If you play guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, bass, or dobro... you can be part of a bluegrass jam.  

Only requirements: You must be able to tune your instrument (electronic tuning devices welcome) and change smoothly between G, C, D, and A (Fiddles and basses need to know which notes work with which chords).

To find out more, please visit to find out more or go directly to Angelika's registration page (information available in both German and English) to hold your spot. Bass players are eligible to a 50CHF discount!

Contact: - e-mail

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Danilo Cartia Band shows, 20-21 Nov. 2013

Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia (I) announces that the Danilo Cartia Band will be playing bluegrass, blues, and ballads in Rome at the 'Help Pub', Via Giovanni Animuccia 24, from 10.00 p.m. on Wednesday 20 November, and in Arezzo at the Teatro di Anghiari, from 10.00 p.m. on Thursday 21 November.

Phone/fax: +39 068273332
Mobile: +39 3396908450

Sunday, 17 November 2013

"Inventing The American Guitar" - A Complete Martin Guitar History

Inventing The American Guitar is the first and only book to describe the early history of American guitar design in detail. It tells the story of how a European instrument was transformed into one with all of the design and construction features that define the iconic American "flat-top" guitar. This transformation happened within a mere 20 years, a remarkably brief period.

The person who dominates this history is Christian Frederick Martin, Sr., America's first major guitar maker and the founder of the Martin Guitar Company, which continues to produce outstanding flat-top steel string guitars. 

Born in 1792, C.F. Martin, Sr. emigrated from his native Saxony (Germany) to New York in 1833. He quickly established a guitar making business producing instruments modeled after those of his mentor Johann Stauffer of Vienna, Austria. By the time he moved his family and business to Pennsylvania, USA in 1839, Martin had absorbed and integrated the influence of Spanish guitars he had seen and heard in New York. In Pennsylvania he evolved further inventing a uniquely American guitar that was fully developed shortly before 1863.

C.F. Martin
ca. 1837
'Inventing The American Guitar' traces C. F. Martin's evolution as a craftsman and entrepreneur. It explores the influences and experiments that led to his creation of the American guitar that is recognized and played around the world today. The book also introduces various stringed instruments which played important roles in C.F. Martin's guitar history.

Christian "Chris" Martin IV contributed personal family history as well as Martin Guitar Company history to this publication. Various scholars, guitar collectors and noted historians were invited to contribute essays for this book's historic content. In all, there are 5 authors and 2 editors -- all at the 
top of their individual fields in music and guitars.

J.G. Stauffer
The book is rather large. It is approximately the size of an LP record jacket (a size often referred to as a 'coffee table' style). It includes amazing high resolution photos of prominent instruments in guitar history, including rare guitars never photographed until now. There is an easy-to-read timeline of the early history of guitar making. Accompanying each instrument photo is a valuable reference for the reader, complete with a column of specifications for the prominently historic guitars. 

This unprecedented history book is simply a fascinating read -- both for the scholar and the average music fan. if you own a Martin guitar, or if you play an instrument, or if you are a lover of vintage instruments in general... this book will serve you well for years to come. There are few, if any, music publications as detailed and as well researched as 'Inventing the American Guitar'

A real bonus for the general public is the low purchasing price (see prices below). I have no idea how the publisher Hal Leonard Books manufactured such a beautiful piece of work for such a low price. I have seen countless similar art and wilderness 'coffee table' books sell for $150 - $200 USD.

I would argue that an "encyclopedia" such as this may come along but once-in-a-lifetime. Until now, nothing has come close to the meticulous work done in this finest of music history publications. A pure masterpiece by any standard.

A full review/article will appear in a future issue of Bluegrass Europe Magazine.

                           ♫ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♫  ♪  ♫ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♫ ♪
Prices online:  €35, - €45, / $40.00 - 50.00 USD
Publisher: Hal Leonard Books
Publishing Date: October 2013
Inventory #HL 00333271
ISBN: 9781458405760
UPC: 884088578350
Width: 10.75"
Length: 11.25"
Hardcover, 310 pages

Press conference (27 Nov.) for 12th Bühl Bluegrass Festival

Thanks to Wolfgang Mark of the press office of the City of Bühl, south-west Germany, for the news that a press conference will be held in Rathaus I, Alter Trausaal, Hauptstraße 47, 77815 Bühl, at 11.30 a.m. on Wednesday 27 November 2013, to announce the 12th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, which will once again be a two-day event (Friday 2 May and Saturday 3 May 2014).

The City of Bühl, together with Festival director/MC, country music historian, and radio presenter Walter Fuchs, will present another top-quality programme for an event that has become known throughout Europe. US bands in the Festival lineup for 2014 include Della Mae, the Foghorn Stringband, Tumbling Bones, the John Lowell Band, and Field & Thompson, together with Tabea & TRAM (CH/I).

The press pack for the conference on 27 Nov. includes the Festival flyer and a reply form to confirm attendance, which should be returned as soon as possible. If you have not already received an invitation and wish to attend the press conference or to receive further information, please contact:

Wolfgang Mark
Stadt Bühl, Pressearbeit
Phone +49 (0 72 23) 9 35-2 82; Fax -2 89
Postal address: Postfach 1665, 77806 Bühl

Parking is available in the P6 Volksbank underground carpark.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Nechville gears up for the future

The EBB is glad to hear from banjo-innovation wizard Tom Nechville of Nechville Musical Products (NMP), Minnesota, USA. A frequent visitor to European festivals and banjo events, with notable European pickers among his 'Banjo Revolutionaries' circle, Tom writes:

Nechville has many strong international friendships, and with my passion for building inspirational banjos, I'm working toward seeing the banjo flourish around the world. It is an interesting time we live in. The world is getting smaller, and we are finding more ways to relate musically even across oceans. I see a huge and growing world market for banjos [...]

As a lifetime player and builder, I've never been happier with the sound, appearance, comfort, playability, and wide range of selection that we can now offer. In short, our thirty-year quest for better banjos might be called a tireless passion for achieving the sound that players want.

NMP recently acquired Woodhaven Industries, the USA's top tone-ring producer, giving the expanded company state-of-the-art turning and machining facilities and expertise for producing the world's best precision tone rings. Distributor and builder inquiries are invited. With this expansion, Tom can offer virtually any custom combination, both in banjos with his Heli-Mount system, and in those with traditional-style pots.

Recent Nechville breakthroughs include a Cyclotronic version of a 40-hole archtop tone ring, interchangeable with the standard NMP flat-top ring; the new Crescendo Acoustic Harness amplification system for banjo; and the Flux Capacitor system for trad banjo bodies, to add to his many earlier innovations including the Enterprise Bridge and redesigned armrests. More specifics, including more about the history and concepts behind Nechville Music Products, can be seen on the NMP website, NMP blog, and Banjo Hangout blog.

Tom also has this invitation for banjo-pickers who are forward-thinking and open to ideas: 'Nechville is eager to build the instrument you've been dreaming about.'

9700 Humboldt Ave. South, Bloomington, MN 55431
Office +1 952-888-9710
Cell +1 612-275-6602

Friday, 15 November 2013

Danilo Cartia Band in Rome, 16 Nov. 2013

Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia (I) announces that the Danilo Cartia Band will be playing bluegrass, blues, and ballads in Rome at the Bar Celestino, Via degli Ausoni 65, from 10.00 p.m. on Saturday 16 November.

Phone/fax: +39 068273332
Mobile: +39 3396908450

Music Contact tour news, Nov. 2013: update

Rainer Zellner and his Music Contact team send the latest news on tours by bands in bluegrass and related music in the November 2013 Music Contact newsletter. More details of bands are on the Music Contact website.

New Country Rehab (CAN) 'Canada's answer to the Avett Brothers and Mumford & Sons'
15 Nov. Transvocale Festival, 15230 Frankfurt/O., 22:30
20 Nov. La Habana, 29640 Schneverdingen, 20:00

5th Bluegrass Jamboree! (25 Nov.-17 Dec.)
Red Tail Ring (USA), Carper Family (USA), Foggy Hogtown Boys (CAN)
Supported by Bear Family Records, Dynamite Magazin, Rookie Magazin, WDR, No Fences, GBMA, Hufgef lüster, Folker, Hillbilly Guesthouse Mailorder. A nine-minute preview video can be seen here.

27 Nov. Salmen, 77652 Offenburg, 20:00
28 Nov. franz k, 72762 Reutlingen, 20:00 (*LIVE Radio Wüste Welle, 20:00-23:00)
29 Nov. Bürgerhaus Sprendlingen, 63303 Dreieich, 20:00
30 Nov. Zehntscheuer, 88212 Ravensburg, 20:00
1 Dec. Amerikahaus, 81675 Munich (München), 20:00
2 Dec. ParkTheater im Kurhaus Göggingen, 86199 Augsburg, 19:30
3 Dec. Haus der Kultur, 84478 Waldkraiburg, 20:00
4 Dec. Schloss Großlaupheim, 88471 Laupheim, 20:00
5 Dec. Domicil, 44137 Dortmund, 20:00
6 Dec. Gutsscheune Varrel, 28816 Stuhr, 20:00
7 Dec. Bischofsmühle, 31134 Hildesheim, 20:00
8 Dec. Dreikönigskirche, 01097 Dresden, 20:00
9 Dec. Koppernik Theater, Hotel Pyramida, Prague (Praha), Czech Republic, 19:30
10 Dec. Schlachthof, 34127 Kassel, 20:00
11 Dec. Harmonie, 53121 Bonn, 19:30
12 Dec. Passionskirche Kreuzberg, 10961 Berlin, 20:00
13 Dec. Landesbühne, 06295 Lutherstadt-Eisleben, 19:30
14 Dec. Bürgersaal, 95233 Helmbrechts, 20:00
15 Dec. Kulturfabrik, 91154 Roth, 20:00

The Toy Hearts (UK)
16 Jan. 2014 Wodan Halle, 79098 Freiburg, 20:30
17 Jan. Zehntscheuer, 88212 Ravensburg, 20:00
19 Jan. Rattlesnake Saloon, 80995 Munich (München), 20:00
21 Jan. Neue Welt, 85049 Ingolstadt, 20:30
24 Jan. Schlosskeller, 71672 Marbach, 20:00
25 Jan. Loni Übler Haus, 90482 Nuremberg (Nürnberg), 20:00
27 Jan. Private concert, 51491 Overath
28 Jan. 10243 Berlin, TBA, 21:00
30 Jan. Bischofsmühle, 31134 Hildesheim, 20:00
31 Jan. Ratssaal, 28816 Stuhr, 20:00
1 Feb. Wespennest, 67433 Neustadt
2 Feb. Kreuzkirche, 34119 Kassel, 18:00

Foghorn String Band (USA) - their first tour in Germany (May 2014)
2 May Bürgerhaus, 77815 Bühl
16 May Wodan Halle, 79098 Freiburg

The Henry Girls (IRL) Irish Americana Folk (available for festival bookings and for touring in autumn 2014)

Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver (USA) (May 2015)

Achtung! The Country & Western Friends Koetz present Fragment in concert on 26 Nov. at Langenau Pfleghof Saal, 20:00

'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

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Winter news from the Toy Hearts

Thanks to the Toy Hearts (GB) for this news:

Hello Friends,

We are happy to report that we had a fantastic summer in Austin, Texas, and have slowly been readjusting to life back in dear old Blighty. We have some shows coming up before the end of the year, as well as the news that our EP will hopefully be available at our Christmas Party.

Before then, however, we will be back on the road in the UK in November and December. For a full list of our gigs, including shows in Stroud, London, Middlesborough, Bishop's Castle, Birmingham, Leicester, and Lewes, please see here.


Firstly, this month our good friends Ned Luberecki and Stephen Mougin are coming to the UK. They are two top-notch Nashville pickers: Ned runs a bluegrass show on SiriusXm and plays banjo in Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, and Stephen is the guitarist and singer in Sam Bush's band. As the duo Nedski & Mojo they are more stripped-back than a full bluegrass band, giving a really intimate show, with great songs, great picking, and some very funny banter. They are playing all across the UK, so get yourself down to a gig folks! For full details of their UK tour dates see

We would like to give a special shout out for anyone in the Birmingham area, as Nedski & Mojo are playing at the Kitchen Garden Cafe in Kings Heath on Monday 18 November. The Toy Hearts will be out in force to support the evening and might even sit in for a number or two, so please do help us show them a warm Brummie welcome. Direct link to tickets is here.


Next up, we have some new friends we made during our Austin adventure - hot swing band The Jitterbug Vipers. The Vipers are over for almost a week of dates including two co-bills with the Toy Hearts; you can get information on all their shows here. The co-bill shows with us are:

Sun. 1 Dec. at the Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath, Birmingham - Please do come down and support our efforts to bring you a taste of Austin, Texas.

Then the following day we'll be doing it all over again in Leicester:
Mon. 2 Dec. The Musician, Leicester


Finally, we are looking forward to our Christmas Special this year at the Hare and Hounds in Kings Heath on Sunday 22 December. This year we will be hoping to have some special limited-edition copies of our brand new EP, Flyin' too high. We recorded it over a couple of sessions in a lovely studio in Austin. It's a four-song selection of some of the swing and honky-tonk music we were playing over there; it also features Jake Erwin from Hot Club of Cowtown on double bass. You can get tickets for the Christmas show here.

That's all for now folks! We really hope to see you at a show soon, and don't forget to support our international band-exchange programme by going to see Nedski & Mojo and The Jitterbug Vipers!

Lots of Love,

Sophia, Hannah, & Stewart

Photos from the Toy Hearts' summer in Austin can be seen on their website.

Trio Vibracao in concert at the NAG, 23 Nov. 2013

Following the November 2013 newsletter from the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Germany (reported on the EBB on 4 Nov.), Oliver Waitze sends a reminder that the next NAG concert will be given on 23 Nov. by the Trio Vibracao (above) - Oliver Waitze (acoustic guitars, mandolin, mandocello, banjo), Jesper Rübner-Petersen (DK) (mandolin), and Max Schaaf (acoustic bass).

The Trio play hot swing, jazz, and traditional bluegrass with verve, virtuosity, and great enjoyment. Tickets (€15) can be booked from Oliver Waitze at +49 (0)202-94672730. The concert will be held at the Bürgerbahnhof, Bahnstraße 16, 42327 Wuppertal - Vohwinkel, Germany.

On the same weekend (23-4 Nov.) a mandolin workshop with Jesper Rübner-Petersen will be held - his tenth workshop, held for the first time in the NAG's new location, Schloss Lüntenbeck. Bluegrass, old-time blues, and swing jazz are the main themes, with attention also being given to technique, improvisation, and small-group playing. The workshop registration fee is €150.

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

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Live in the studio

Thanks to Friedrich Hog (left), president of the German Bluegrass Music Association, for the latest playlists from his weekly 'Americana' radio show on Radio Free FM Ulm. The lists can be seen through the link on the European Bluegrass Blog's separate 'Radio playlists' post.

Coincidentally, after the EBB mentioned yesterday that Fragment (SK/USA) will be touring in central Europe later this month, Friedrich adds:

On Monday 25 November, 8.00-10.00 p.m. our time [Central European Time], Fragment will be in the studio for an interview and a live performance.

Recent guests performing live in the studio on Friedrich's show include Ash Gray (4 Nov.) and Muriel Anderson (11 Nov.). Everyone can listen to all radio shows in the 'Americana' series by using the 'Livestream' button on the website.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Danilo Cartia at the Blue Pub, Rome, 14 Nov. 2013

Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia (I) announces that he will be playing bluegrass, blues, and ballads in Rome at the Blue Pub's Unplugged Night, from 9.30 p.m. on Thursday 14 November. The Blue Pub is at Via Cicerone 64, Fonte Nuova. For information and bookings, ring 347.120.32.76.

Danilo Cartia
Phone/fax: +39 068273332
Mobile: +39 3396908450

Richard Ciferský: Coming back for more

Award-winning, acclaimed, and highly prolific banjo player, composer, and instructor Richard Ciferský (SK) brought out this year his third solo CD, Coming back for more, which also features vocal and instrumental work by the Chapmans, Rob Ickes, Becky Buller, Adam Janos, Jonathan Maness, and Loes van Schaijk.

The album receives high praise in a review by David Morris on Bluegrass Today. Read more here. Richard, who has been touring in the USA during August-October this year, will also be on tour with Fragment in Germany and the Czech and Slovak Republics from 23 Nov. to 1 Dec. Full details are on his online tour schedule.

Ferguson & Ferguson (USA) to tour in Ireland, July 2014

Thanks to Gary Ferguson (seated, in the photo above) for news of his tenth tour in Ireland, to be made next year in company with Gary Ferguson (standing).

Singer/songwriter Gary Gene Ferguson (author of the Larry Sparks hit 'Last day at Gettysburg') has toured in Ireland every summer since 2005, working with such Irish musicians as Mick Hanly, Charlie McGettigan, Frankie Lane, Janet Holmes, and Colin Henry. Next year his musical partner will be multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Gary Alan Ferguson, and they will tour together as Ferguson & Ferguson. Dates for half of their tour period (14-26 July 2014) are already confirmed. More details are on the Bluegrass Ireland Blog.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

'Burren backstep' - on video, and to be used as theme music for film

Thanks to Brian McNeal of the Prescription Bluegrass Blog (USA) for the news that Irish singer, songwriter, bandleader, and broadcaster Niall Toner (right) has released a new music video, based on his original instrumental 'Burren backstep'. The tune can be heard on his Pinecastle album Onwards and upwards (PRC 1182); and it can now also be 'seen', either on the Prescription Bluegrass Blog or on YouTube, where it is the first video on Niall's new YouTube channel.

The video is very nicely shot, with closeups of Niall and three other pickers giving the tune a thorough work-over. It closes with the dates of Niall's appearance schedule at MerleFest 2014.

Thanks also to ace bluegrass journalist Richard Thompson for the information that 'Burren backstep' has been chosen as the theme for a new Irish movie called Keep it country, to be shot next summer. The director, Ciaran O'Connor, has worked in TV and film for over twenty years, and Keep it country will be his second feature film.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Bluegrass Europe #89 (Oct.- Dec. 2013)

The latest issue of the EBMA's own magazine Bluegrass Europe has been posted out to subscribers. The theme of this issue is 'Bluegrass in the Netherlands', with features on Dutch bands, picking parties, festivals, personalities, and even Dutch attitudes to bluegrass; but bluegrass in the rest of Europe and the USA is by no means neglected...

Contents of BE#89:

Editorial by Angelika Torrie ¦ EBMA News ¦ Liz Meesters-Janssen ¦ Lambert Schomaker & Boet’n Deure ¦ BluegrassDuinen - News Europe ¦ 2013 IBMA Award Winners ¦ European Workshops part 3 ¦ We’re only in it for the music ¦ Concert & Festival Calendar (with dates!) ¦ News US ¦ Bluegrass in the Netherlands ¦ EBMA’s European Bluegrass Guide ¦ Radio Formats with bluegrass

All EBMA members receive Bluegrass Europe free of charge, but anyone can subscribe to the magazine here.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Country music history in Ireland Immersion Weekend in Tennessee, 15-17 Nov. 2013

A complete schedule of events is now available for the Ireland Immersion Weekend (15-17 Nov.) in Brentwood, TN. The Weekend is presented by the Irish Gift organisation and features 'a full spectrum of Irish culture for those interested in immersing themselves in what Ireland has to offer'. It will also include a performance of 'The mockingbird sings', a musical drama centred on the historic 1927 recording sessions in Bristol, TN, often called 'the Big Bang of country music'.

In the main programme for the Weekend, attenders will be able to eat and drink characteristic Irish fare, go to concerts, sessions, and workshops in Irish traditional music, dance, and song, hear Gaelic spoken, watch hurling matches, ride on donkey carts and Conamara ponies, and much more. The weekend offers every opportunity of being surrounded by Ireland, while still in Tennessee. The editor of the Bluegrass Ireland Blog wonders:

... is anyone offering a mirror-image experience, for the benefit of those in Ireland who'd like to feel they're in the catchment area of the Bristol Sessions?

Monday, 4 November 2013

NAG newsletter, November 2013

Thanks to Oliver Waitze of the New Acoustic Gallery (NAG) in Wuppertal, Germany, for the November 2013 issue of its newsletter. The NAG stocks the finest acoustic instruments and accessories for bluegrass, gypsy music, and other genres, offers a repair service, and organises workshops and concerts.

Oliver reports that the fantastic jubilee concert at Schloss Lüntenbeck by Darol Anger and Mike Marshall on 27 October 2013 was an absolute highlight in the ten years of concerts at the NAG. Video clips from the concert can be seen on the NAG website. The next NAG concert will be on 23 November, given by the Trio Vibracao: Oliver Waitze, acoustic guitars, mandolin, mandocello, banjo; Jesper Rübner-Petersen (DK), mandolin; Max Schaaf, acoustic bass). Tickets (€15) can be booked by 'phone at the NAG. More information is on the Trio's website.

Instruments now in stock include a historic 1918 Gibson F2 mandolin (S/N 40633) for €3490; guitars by Bourgeois, Martin, and Furch; Eastman MD 315, MD 514, and MD 305 mandolins; and a Marc Beneteau baritone guitar. A video clip of this instrument, played by Oliver, can be seen here.

Forthcoming workshops at the NAG include a Fingerstyle Workshop with Franco Morone on 10 Nov. 2013 from 10:00 to 17:00 (€85) and a Mandolin Workshop with Jesper Rübner-Petersen on 23-4 Nov. 2013. Places for the workshops can be booked by 'phone (+49 (0)202/94672730).

Schloss Lüntenbeck, Lüntenbeck 1
D - 42327 Wuppertal
Tel. +49 (0)202 94672730

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Beppe Gambetta on tour, 9 Nov.-22 Dec. 2013; and 2014 workshop

Thanks to Federica for this information on the forthcoming tour in northern Europe by Italian guitar maestro Beppe Gambetta, marking the release of his latest CD, The American Album, on Gadfly Records (USA). Full details of the album, with an introduction by John Weingart, are on CD Baby, and a video of music from the album can be seen on YouTube or on the 'What's New' section of Beppe's website. The tour dates are:

9 Nov. Théâtre de la Tournelle, Orbe, Switzerland
10 Nov. AMS, Walzenhausen, Switzerland
13 Nov. Gitarissimo - Gdanska, Oberhausen, Germany
15 Nov. Bacchuskeller, Veitshöchheim, Germany
16 Nov. Jazzkeller, Biberach an der Riss, Germany
17 Nov. Phoenix Irish Pub, Lauffen, Germany
19 Nov. Café im Speicherhof, Gifhorn, Germany
22 Nov. Kreuzkirche Rothenuffeln, Hille (bei Minden), Germany
23 Nov. Gitaar Salon, Enkhuizen, the Netherlands
24 Nov. Erika Nannings Muziek en Theater, Middenbeemster, the Netherlands
27 Nov. Haus der Kultur, Waldkraiburg, Germany
28 Nov. Die Brücke, Graz, Austria
29 Nov. Ortenburgerkeller Schloss Porcia, Spittal, Austria
30 Nov. Magazin4 Kulturhaus, Bad Reichenhall, Germany
22 Dec. Riff - Bermuda Halle, Bochum, Germany

All information on Beppe's online calendarIn addition:

The 22nd Beppe Gambetta International Acoustic Guitar Workshop will take place from Sunday 10 Aug. to Sunday 17 Aug. 2014 in Ambroz pod Krvavcem, Slovenia.

Beppe will work together with two guest teachers: Jack Lawrence from the US, partner for decades of legendary flatpicking master Doc Watson; and Doug Cox, a versatile musician, composer, and producer from Canada, one of the best teachers in his country, who will focus on many special topics from music theory to singer-songwriting and composing.

Subscriptions are already open. For information you can write directly to Beppe and Federica (e-mail) or to Stane Svigelj (e-mail, tel. +386 4188 6460).

Friday, 1 November 2013

Chris Thile ~ Solo Performance in Amsterdam, NL

Mandolin player of many styles, singer, writer, and all-around good guy Chris Thile will tour Ireland, UK, and Spain starting November 5, 2013.

Of special note is a FREE show in Amsterdam, Netherlands for one-night on November 9. No reservations. Seating on a first-come, first-served basis only. Chris is just stopping by on his way to Spain, and there is sure to be an early line forming outside the venue's door!

Piet Heinkade 3
1019 BR

Amsterdam, NL

Saturday, November 9, 2013
Free Admission - No Reservations

For Chris' entire European tour schedule: