Thursday, 26 February 2015

Woody Pines - UK & Ireland Dates

There are some very interesting tours scheduled for the UK and Ireland in 2015 - some are definitely playing music from the Bluegrass tradition and others might be of interest Bluegrass lovers who are also partial to Americana, roots, traditional & country-swing music. So, in the interest of supporting artists visiting our side of the Atlantic and supporting the European promoters who are bringing bands to our shores, there will be occasional posts here on the EBMA Blog to announce these tours.

The first of these concerns Woody Pines from Nashville, Tennessee. Woody Pines describe their sound as Roots Music, Ragtime, Country Blues & Viper Jazz. The Shetland Folk Festival, where Woody Pines have played previously, said "Woody’s recordings and live performances are full of stomp and swing, and jump and jive. It’s old-time feel-good music done by a young master who clearly understands that this kind of music was always about having a great time" and that [when they had visited the UK previously "reviewers unanimously declared Woody Pines to be one of the most entertaining acts on the Americana circuit."

Before you check the dates (or as you browse the dates), listen to Woody Pines in action:

Wed March 4: The Atkinson, Southport    
Thurs March 5: South Holland Centre, Spalding    
Fri March 6: Trinity Hall, Betshorpe, Newark    
Sat March 7: Private function (Surrey)    
Sun March 8: The Green Note, Camden, London 
Mon March 9: The Gulbenkian, Canterbury    
Tues March 10: The Bicycle Shop, Norwich    
Wed March 11: The Barn at Three Horse Shoes, Towersey    
Thurs March 12: The Chattery, Swansea    
Fri March 13: The Forge, Anvil Arts, Basingstoke    
Sat March 14: Square & Compass, Worth Matravers    
Sun March 15: Square & Compass, Worth Matravers (lunchtime)    
Mon March 16: Travel day    
Tues March 17: Crane Lane Theatre, Cork (afternoon)    
Wed March 18: Crane Lane Theatre, Cork (evening)    
Thurs March 19: Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel, Co Tipperary    
Fri March 20: Courthouse Arts Centre Tinahely, Co. Wicklow    
Sat March 21: The Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim    
Sun March 22: Ubangi Stomp Club event (upstairs at Whelan's), Dublin    
Mon March 23: Murphy's, Ballymore Eustace, Co Kildare    
Tues March 24: The Performing Arts Centre Kilbarchan    
Wed March 25: House concert, Edinburgh   
Thurs March 26: Acoustic Music Club, Kirkcaldy    
Fri March 27: Glenbuchat hall, Aberdeenshire    
Sat March 28: The Grapes Hotel, Stranraer    
Sun March 29: Dundee Acoustic Music Club (afternoon)    
Sun March 29: Birnam Arts Centre (evening)



The deadline for submitting your application to be part of the 2015 IBMA Bluegrass Ramble in Raleigh, North Carolina is THIS SATURDAY - 28th FEBRUARY. Last year, approximately 180,000 people visited the IBMA World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh and expectations for the 2015 are just as high. Who would not want to be part of Bluegrass' premier event?

European bands and artists have previously appeared at IBMA World of Bluegrass and it would be good for the Bluegrass world to see and hear more of the fine music being played and produced by European artists...But, if you have not done so already, you will need to apply very soon - in fact, today would be a good day! Being part of the Bluegrass Ramble is not just about appearing onstage; it also includes booth space during the business conference, organizational membership for the group, priority access to Gig Fair appointments and a great deal more - see the full information below. All of us in Europe know that there is great Bluegrass being played on this side of the Atlantic - put your applications in now to have the chance to take your music to the IBMA World of Bluegrass and show Raleigh some great European Bluegrass.

The 2015 Bluegrass Ramble will take place September 29 - October 1, once again in beautiful downtown Raleigh, NC, and all emerging bluegrass bands, as well as established bands with new music or new personnel, are encouraged to apply.

Each showcase band will perform at least twice during World of Bluegrass Week - once on a convention center stage and once on a local Bluegrass Ramble venue.

In addition to the two showcase opportunities, the IBMA showcase package includes:
  • Complimentary booth space during business conference (value $600+)
  • Full conference registration package for performing members of group (value $1000+)
  • One organizational membership for group (value $205)
  • Featured profile in conference program and on the WOB smart phone app
  • Distribution of one mp3 per band on our AirPlay Direct account, providing radio DJ access to showcase band music
  • Inclusion of one mp3 on the 2015 Noisetrade/IBMA Bluegrass Ramble compilation. Download the 2014 compilation free.
  • Inclusion in the Bluegrass Ramble Spotify playlist, promoted on social media by IBMA
  • Priority access to "Gig Fair" appointments
  • Scheduled consultation in advance of events on maximizing showcase opportunities
Application Process
Showcase applications can be made online *. Applicants do not have to be members of the IBMA. In addition to general application information, the following materials will be needed to complete the application:
  • Name, email, and role (i.e. banjo, fiddle) of each member of the applying act
  • One studio recording (mp3 format only)
  • One Hi-Res artist photo
  • An artist bio with artist location, names/roles of band members (if known at time of application), description of the artist's sound, and note of any recently released recordings.
Up to 30 showcase artists will be invited in 2015, depending on the number of applicants and the qualifications of groups that apply. IBMA showcase artists are chosen in a juried selection process that takes into consideration every applicant's entertainment value, level of professionalism, potential appeal and quality of work. There are generally more than 100 acts who apply every year. Official IBMA showcase acts from the 2014 Bluegrass Ramble are not eligible for 2015.
Application ENDS at midnight on Saturday, February 28! 

*If online application creates a hardship for the applicant, or if any assistance is needed with online application, contact Eddie Huffman, 888-438-4262

Application Deadlines & Fees
Online application for IBMA showcases must be submitted by February 28, 2015. All applicants are required to submita $25 fee to help defray selection process costs. If invited to participate as an official showcase artist, there is an additional fee of $500 to offset costs of services and showcase production.

Now...Watch a video from 2014's Official Showcase Band Mr. Sun perform during the Ramble!
In September, THIS COULD BE YOU!

International Bluegrass Music Association
608 W. Iris Drive
Nashville, TN 37204

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Helen Highwater visiting Europe

"Four friends based in Nashville - revered acoustic musicians - coming together to explore and break the boundaries of what string bands normally do. Their music is high-energy roots Americana, flavored in tradition, with a mix of old-time, blues and bluegrass. They at once pay tribute to the early sounds that influenced them, while simultaneously creating their own unique brand of modern Stringband music." When these four friends are multi-IBMA Award winning Missy Raines, Mike Compton, David Grier and Shad Cobb then it's clear that Helen Highwater are a string band that you will not want to miss.

Helen Highwater will be doing a small number of concerts, one in Denmark and the others in the UK, before Missy Raines, Mike Compton and David Grier make their way to the 20th Sore Fingers Week (6th to 10th April) where they will be amongst the tutors. At the time of writing, Mike's mandolin class is fully booked but there are still places in Missy and David's classes.

Personal note: if you have never been to Sore Fingers, you should give it a try. A week in the Oxfordshire countryside playing music and with masterclasses from the likes of Missy, Mike and David as well as very inclusive classes for musicians of more modest abilities (such as my own). Oh... and it lives up to it's name - you will go home with sore (but very happy) fingers. Pay a visit to the Sore Fingers website. But let's get back to Helen Highwater..

They were recording their first album as Helen Highwater in January but there is no need to wait for that CD to become available. On the 29th March they will be in Denmark and holding individual workshops during the afternoon with a concert in the evening (details below). They then travel across to the UK for some more shows before Sore Fingers.

29 March 2015 Copenhagen, Denmark
Karens Minde Kulturhus, Wagnersvey 19, Copenhagen
11:00 - 2:00 pm Individual Workshops: Shad Cobb (fiddle),
Mike Compton (mandolin), David Grier (guitar), Missy Raines
(bass). DKr 500 per person.
8:00 Concert
Contact Signe Borch for tickets and details

30 March 2015 To be confirmed

31 March 2015 Cheshire, United Kingdom
74 Main Street, Frodsham, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Show Time: 8:30 pm; Ticket Prices: £13.50 adv

1 April 2015 Oxford, United Kingdom
162 Cowley Road, Oxford, United Kingdom
Show Time: 9:00 pm (with support opener @ 8:30pm)
Ticket Prices: £13.00 adv/ £15.00 Day of Show

2 April 2015 Kings Cross, London, United Kingdom
28 Harrison Street, Kings Cross, London, United Kingdom
Show Time: 9:00 pm, Doors: 8:00 pm
Ticket Prices: £12.50 Adv/ £15.00 Day of Show

3 April 2015 Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex
59 Thames Street, Sunbury-on-Thames, Middlesex
Show Time: TBD; Ticket Prices: £15.00 Adv.

As was said before, do not miss the opportunity to see Helen Highwater - keep an eye on their Facebook page for any updates.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Downhill Bluegrass Band - Winner at International Acoustic Music Awards

In August 2014, we wrote about the Downhill Bluegrass Band's release 'Wonderland' and it is exciting to report that the title track, 'Wonderland', was awarded first prize at the International Acoustic Music Awards.

The IAMA whose aim is "promoting excellence in Acoustic Music Performance and Artistry" gave the first prize in the category "Best Country/ Bluegrass Song" to Downhill Bluegrass Band for 'Wonderland' which was written by mandolin player and singer Jonas Kjellgren.

Congratulations to the Downhill Bluegrass Band - here is a video preview of their Wonderland album, more information can be found on their website.

European Bluegrass Gathering.. Counting the days

The European Bluegrass Gathering, including the Munich Bluegrass Festival is just three weeks away! The Gathering will be held at Das Schloss which is in the heart of Munich and within walking distance of (some very reasonably priced) hotels.

The Gathering will be held from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th March. Friday begins with the various registrations for discussions and workshops from 17:00; the performances for the opening night of the Munich Bluegrass Festival do not start until 20:00 which gives plenty of time for renewing old acquaintances, making new ones and - in good Bluegrass fashion - join in with a jam session.

Saturday begins with the EBMA Board Meeting which is open to all interested members and this will be followed by the 14th EBMA AGM which is open to all EBMA members and interested friends. Saturday continues with workshops and (no doubt) more jamming with performances running from 17:00 which will include the presentation of the 3rd European Bluegrass Music Awards.

Some of the scheduled 'round table' and panel discussions will include a Q&A between touring bands and event promoters and the challenges faced by event promoters.

The full programme for the European Bluegrass Gathering can be found on the EBMA website.

So... something for everyone including Bavarian Weisswurst on Sunday morning. I never knew that there was an art to eating Weisswurst. See you in Munich!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

WORKING ON LOVE - Niall Toner's new album

Press Release from Niall Toner

WORKING ON LOVE is Niall Toner's fifth all-original album and was recorded in Nashville with producer, Keith Sewell and a stellar line-up of musicians including Samson Grisman (The Deadly Gentlemen/ David Grisman Band) on bass , Justin Weaver (Wynonna Judd Band) on mandolin and guitar , John Mock (Dixie Chicks) on harmonium and whistles, Keith Sewell (Lyle Lovett Band/Dixie Chicks) on guitar, fiddle and mandolin, and Scott Vestal (Sam Bush Band) on 5-string banjo. Niall played mandolin and banjo, and sang all the lead vocals, with harmonies by Wendy Buckner and Keith Sewell. The sessions were cut at 16 Tons Studio on Music Row, and mixed and mastered at the Toolshed Studios in Mount Juliet, TN. Engineer was Michael Esser.

This is basically an Album of Love Songs, and it seems appropriate that it should be released to coincide with St.Valentine's Day, the annual celebration of LOVE.

Working On Love is, as the title suggests, an up-tempo song about a couple working continuously to improve their relationship. Josie's Reel is a glimpse of innocence, and paints a picture of a somewhat clumsy man trying to make an impression on a dancing girl. I Know What Lonely's About is a love song about the loneliness of separation (though with a happy ending). Old Tyme Love is another old-style love song which tells the story of a touring performer on the road wanting to get back home as soon as possible. When Tomorrow Comes is one of those up-tempo style Bluegrass songs which has, at its heart, a story of break-up and separation but none-the-less expresses its emotion over a hard driving rhythm. The Mountain and the Sky uses that metaphor to describe a relationship on the very edge of crumbling. Walk On Water is a full-on Gospel song co-written by Niall and Terri Lynn-Weaver which draws its inspiration directly from the Bible parable about Jesus walking on water. Bill Monroe's Mandolin (Niall explains) is "(as far as I know) the only love song ever written about a mandolin, and a fairly special one at that! I first recorded this song in 2001, but I always harboured an ambition to re-cut it in a more 'story-telling' version, so here it is!" The only instrumentals on this album are takes on two traditional Irish themes/styles; Planxty Coolasnaughta is so named because it is in the style of the great Irish harpist, Turlough O'Carolan and The Flower Of Liffey Hall is Niall's version of a traditional hornpipe. The People Wondered is an acapella song performed in Shape Note Hymnal style, based on the concept of the 'Doubting Thomas'.

Niall says: I hope that there's something here for everyone, and Working On Love will be made available in as many formats as one could desire. Hard copy CDs in the shops and at our live shows, iTunes, and from

Friday, 6 February 2015

Danilo Cartia Trio - Concerts in Rome


Why not look for some good bluegrass music if you are staying in Rome the next few days? Banjoist, guitarist, singer, and bandleader Danilo Cartia announces that Danilo Cartia Trio will be playing bluegrass, blues, and Americana at three shows in Rome this weekend, starting Friday: 

Fri. 6 Feb 'Big Star', Via Goffredo Mameli 25 - Rome 9:00 pm
Sat. 7 Feb 'Slaìnte Irish Pub', Via Nomentana 940 - 10:00 pm
Fri. 13 Feb 'Locanda Don Chisciotte', Via dei Sabelli 58/60 - 10:00 pm

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Happy Birthday to the EBMA

 Joyeux Anniversaire - Happy Birthday - Alles Gute Zum Geburtstag - Lycklig Födelsedag - Gelukkige Verjaardag - Všetko Najlepšie k Narodeninám - Feliz Cumpleaños

Today is the 14th birthday of the
European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA)

In 1995, EBMA's predecessor - the European Bluegrass Network - came into being with Dennis Schut, Patrick Brunet, Andy Glandt, Rienk Janssen and Paolo Dettwiler forming the original Board of Directors with their mission statement being to: 1. Unite Bluegrass forces in Europe; 2. Promote the quality of European Bluegrass; 3. Further Bluegrass Music in Europe. Over the next few years the first European Bluegrass Directory being drawn up and the first European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) event being held in Lichtenvoorde in the Netherlands. EWOB has subsequently become an independantly run and eagerly-anticipated Bluegrass event.

In 2001 the European Bluegrass Music Association was born with Paolo Dettwiler taking the Chair and Andy Glandt, Richard Hawkins, Rienk Janssen and Angelika Torrie forming the original EBMA Board; and from that inital board, Rienk and Angelika have served on the Board throughout these past 14 years.

The current mission statement of the EBMA was drawn up in 2010:
  • EBMA works towards an integrated European bluegrass scene that enjoys strong, mutually supporting relations with international and national organisations.
  • EBMA promotes and facilitates the sharing of Bluegrass enjoyment across borders (regional or national)
  • EBMA supports bands, fans, musicians, organisations, professionals and everything connected with Bluegrass
  • EBMA is a non-profit, professionally-run, dynamic and inclusive organisation
  • EBMA adopts the core values of IBMA
Rienk Janssen, Chris Keenan, Christopher Howard-Williams
& Angelika Torrie receiving the Distinguished Achievement Award at IBMA 2014

In 2014, the EBMA was awarded the Distinguished Achievement Award at the IBMA World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, North Carolina. From the IBMA's press announcement "Since its inception in 1995, the European Bluegrass Music Association has worked to support bluegrass music across borders, both regional and national. The non-profit organization produces a magazine (Bluegrass Europe) for its members, promotes bluegrass festivals held throughout Europe, and holds regular gatherings, known as Bluegrass Summits, aimed at supporting and encouraging the burgeoning bluegrass scene across Europe."

The EBMA will be holding the 14th General Membership Assembly on Saturday 14th March during the 2015 European Bluegrass Gathering in Munich. All members of the EBMA have the right to attend the assembly, vote on matters concerning the work of the EBMA as well as nominate and vote for members going forward for election to the Board. Subscribers to BLUEGRASS EUROPE, and members of any national bluegrass music association, are welcome to attend the Assembly as guests.

2014 was a wonderful year for the European Bluegrass Music Association thanks to the recognition from the IBMA which was achieved through the hard work of the Board (past and present) over the past 14 years since the EBMA was formed and through the support of the EBMA membership.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY EBMA...... is there any cake?

If you are interested in becoming a member of the European Bluegrass Music Association then please visit the Membership page.

Monday, 2 February 2015

6th Alie Rohling Festival "Pickers Against Cancer" (Netherlands)

After five successful years, the Alie Rohling Festival in Coevorden, Netherlands returns  on March 21, 2015. It will be a virtual 'community' of bluegrass and country music fans and artists. All will be coming together to remember Ms. Rohling, and with hopes of raising money for the national cancer organization in The Netherlands.
Alie Rohling

An avid bluegrass and country music fan, Alie Rohling was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2009. At that time she decided to begin hosting house concerts at her home. Bass player and Rohling Festival co-producer Bert Hilberts organized the first Sunday afternoon house concert. The response from musicians wishing to perform was so great that the house concert idea would soon lead to a need for a larger venue.

Hilberts adds,
  “I made the decision to take it to the next level. We had three bands volunteering to perform a benefit concert. It took us [Bert and colleagues Douwe Mik and Monique Rohling] one afternoon to get it all done. The first ‘Alie Rohling Festival’ took place in 2010.”

Ms. Rohling sadly passed away in September 2012. In 2013, the event was then renamed in honor of its namesake: ‘Alie Rohling Festival’. The entire event is a benefit production to raise funds for the KWF Kankerbestrijding (Dutch Cancer Society).

“Alie was very pleased when she heard that we had plans to turn it into a benefit to raise money for the ‘KWF’. When we told her the festival would carry her name, she replied ‘I am pleased to know that even when I'm gone my name will always be connected with the battle against cancer’“,  explained Bert.

In its first five years the festival has raised €7000 for the ever present fight against cancer -- a very respectable cash donation for something starting out simply as an afternoon of music to entertain a friend in need. The organizers of the festival call the performers on Alie Rohling’s stage, "Pickers Against Cancer".

2015 Alie Rohling Festival
Pickers Against Cancer

Whiskey Rose
Leiden, NL - original songs; country/bluegrass/Americana

Groningen, NL - bluegrass
Change Of Key
Gouda, NL - original and covers, country

 Bert offers his personal perspective of this event,

 “It was Alie's wish that the festival would continue after she had passed away. The knowledge that her name would always be connected with the battle against cancer strengthened her in her final period. We will organize the Alie Rohling Festival until we can say, ‘we don't need to do this anymore, but we will continue because it's fun to do." 


Alie Rohling Festival
“Pickers Against Cancer”
Saturday, March 21, 2015

A benefit for the KWF Kankerbestrijding
(Dutch Cancer Society)
~ All Performers Donate Their Time and Talents ~

 Zaal de Loo
 Looweg 38
 Coevorden, Netherlands

Show time:  20:00

Tickets: €12.50  at the door /  €10.00  advance (via website)

For information: e-mail Bert:

Festival website:

Ms. Rohling’s friends and music fans wishing to help, but are not able to attend the festival, donations may be sent directly to the fund using this IBAN number:

IBAN:  NL07RABO0335032400
in the name of  M. Rohling

NOTE: A complete article on the festival will appear in the next issue of the
European Bluegrass Music Association's “Bluegrass Europe” magazine.