30 June 2016

The Bluegrass Ireland Blog: alive as ever

Although the editor 'retired' from bluegrass blogging over three years ago, the Bluegrass Ireland Blog (BIB) is as alive as ever, keeps its calendar updated, publishes news received, and is adding new features: since the beginning of 2016 the right-hand column has been enhanced by a slice of the calendar, a list of known bands, links to readers' comments, visual images, and (most recently) 'New releases'. Send in news by e-mail.

Thinking of touring in Ireland? Have a look at the BIB's THINKING OF TOURING IN IRELAND? page. Click on the 'Welcome' label below for more about the BIB's background and purpose and how to use it.


Fireball Mail wins 2016 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Contest

Thanks to Brad Bulla of the Fireball Mail bluegrass band, based in Nashville, TN, for the news that the band won the prestigious and nationally recognised band contest at the 43rd Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Telluride, CO, last week. They win cash, prizes, and a spot on the 2017 lineup to perform on the festival main stage next year, sharing the spotlight with the likes of Béla Fleck, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, Tim O'Brien, and Sam Bush.

The band - Brad Bulla (guitar, vocals), Phil Easterbrook (banjo, dobro, vocals), Caleb Edwards (mandolin, vocals), Joe Brown (upright bass) - recently released their debut CD, Bending the rails, which can be bought through iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, the band’s website, and other major music outlets. An online review of their winning performance at the festival can be read here. Videos from their live shows can be seen on their website. Fireball Mail are also on Facebook and Twitter.

For more information and content, contact Brad Bulla or Tracy Simmons Bulla by e-mail or 'phone (001 615-924-9538 / 001 615-483-4903).

Fireball Mail in front of Telluride's 'Planet Bluegrass' version of the taijitu

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Remembering Ralph Stanley

It is now a week since the death of Ralph Stanley (see the BIB for 24 June). Among the tributes and commemorations that have since appeared, this feature on Bluegrass Today announces that WYMT TV in Kentucky have made the funeral service available online in a 108-minute video, of which the religious service takes up the first twelve minutes. It can be viewed on Bluegrass Today as well as on YouTube. The service, in the words of John Lawless,

included heartfelt statements by close friends and family members, and beautifully emotional performances by Larry Sparks and the Marshall Family, John Rigsby, Ricky Skaggs, and Vince Gill and Patty Loveless. Not many dry eyes in the park.

Also on Bluegrass Today: Chris Jones's testimony to the decisive impact of Ralph Stanley's music on his own life and musical career.

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Banjo heads from Brown Dog

Thanks to the FOAOTMAD news blog, which (apart from its regular coverage of the old-time music scene in the UK) forwards the summer 2016 newsletter from Brown Dog Banjos, based in Kent, England. Brown Dog stock a wide range of instruments and (especially) parts and accessories.

What got our attention was Brown Dog's claim to hold the widest range of banjo heads in Europe, specifying that 'Remo Weatherking are available in seven finishes, including the full range of Top Coated, Fiberskyn and Renaissance and selected popular sizes in Bottom Coated, Clear, Cloudy and Ebony and plus calf and goat vellum.' If you're looking for a banjo head, check out the Brown Dog website.

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29 June 2016

Ferguson, Henry, and McGettigan at Naul, 8 July 2016

Thanks to the Seamus Ennis Arts Centre at Naul, Co. Dublin, for their schedule of events up to 27 Aug., which includes the show by Gary Ferguson, Colin Henry, and Charlie McGettigan on Friday next week (8 July). The Centre says: 'Always a sell-out show at the SEAC, please book your tickets well in advance to avoid disappointment.'

The Naul show is the second in the coming tour by Ferguson & Henry, full details of which appeared on the BIB for 28 Apr., supplemented by the post of 7 June on two 'Songwriters in the round' concerts. The tour opens on Thursday 7 July at the Sunflower Folk Club, Belfast; all dates are on the BIB calendar.

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The latest OTH

In the current issue (vol. xiv, no. 4) of The Old Time Herald magazine, the cover story is a brief but startling revision of history by Tony Russell, whose encyclopedic knowledge of old-time music can be matched by very few other people. How old was Tennessee fiddler James Davis 'Uncle Jimmy' Thompson, first performer on the Grand Ole Opry? Answer: not as old as he made out; when he died in 1931, he was the age your editor was a year ago.

Other festures in this issue include instalment 13 of Walt Koken's reminiscences of the Highwoods String Band, immensely influential in the 1970s; the fourteen-page 2016 festival and camp guide (in which the only entry for Ireland is the Willie Clancy Summer School, beginning this Saturday); a feature on Don Pedi, mountain dulcimer player and taiji practictioner; and many pages of meaty, serious reviews of records and books, all of which seem indispensable.

The BIB draws attention to The shuffle of the pick, an e-book for playing old-time fiddle tunes on the mandolin, by Adam Tanner. Finally, there's a feature on the New England 6/8 fiddle tune 'Portland fancy', composed by Francis Radoux, a French immigrant dancing master, sometime before his death in 1867.

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28 June 2016

The Cabin Sessions, Dundrum, 30 June 2016

Gerry Fitzpatrick, organiser of the Cabin Sessions series, 'Acoustic Music at its Finest', announces the Session for this coming Thursday (30 June):

Hey Y'all,

We're back with you this Thursday. All details on the attached poster. Hope to see you there!

In addition to the Cabin Crew house band, the special guests will be Keith Burke (contemporary), Dos Hombres (Americana), and Emma Butler (contemporary).

The Sessions are held on the last Thursday of every month at Uncle Tom's Cabin in Dundrum, south Dublin (not far from Dundrum Luas station, in the city direction). Shows run from 9.30 to 11.30 p.m. and admission is FREE. If you or someone you know would like to perform at the Cabin Sessions, let Gerry know by e-mail. The Sessions are particularly interested in featuring local musicians and singers.

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26 June 2016

8th Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival, 23-5 Sept. 2016

Thanks to C. Paul Lyttle, chief organiser of the Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival (MMBF) for the news that the 8th MMBF will be held at the festival-rich village of Moniaive in Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, just three months from now - Fri. 23rd-Sun. 25th September. Full details are on the festival website.

Tickets are now on sale, and there's a very impressive lineup of 4 Wheel Drive (NL/D/B), the New Essex Bluegrass Band (England),  Kentucky Cow Tippers (England), Sweet River Band (France), Stonebones & Bad Spaghetti (Portugal), and Seven Sons (Scotland). Performance videos for these bands can be seen on the festival website, and Paul has drawn up special playlists of recordings by them for broadcast on his Criffel Creek radio show, today and on Tuesday 28 June.

The image above is the current header of the MMBF website, and shows the Corn Potato String Band (USA), already well known in Ireland, who on this coming Saturday (2 July) will be giving old-time music workshops and an evening concert at Moniaive; they will also be taking part in this year's Bluegrass Music Festival (2-4 Sept.) at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone. More news of music events at Moniaive - including the Scottish Autoharp Weekend (22-4 July) - are on the MMBF website.

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25 June 2016

NTB news: update

On the Niall Toner Band Facebook, Niall reports that the NTB (above) had a great time last Wednesday (22 June) playing at the IMRO headquarters in Dublin for the staff barbecue, with Keith Donald as special guest. 'Everyone had a ball, the food was just supreme, and the football afterwards wasn't bad either...'

And on Friday night, Niall had a further ball in the Alba Restaurant, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, playing solo at the launch of the Strawberry Music & Food Fest from 6.00 p.m. He writes:

Thanks to Richie and his helpers and committee, they are doing a fine job, and not forgetting Brian Cantwell and the Carlsberg gang for their sponsorship! Great audience, great food, and wonderful hospitality. I was also joined by Luke Coffey, the 5-string banjo player with the New Breadwinners bluegrass band, who played on my songs with great musicality and subtlety. We also managed to play 'Clinch Mountain backstep' and 'Little Maggie', in honour of the late great Ralph Stanley. Sincere thanks to Angelo for the amazing food, and I will be back!

Tonight, join me for 'Roots Freeway' on RTÉ Radio 1 at 11.00 p.m., and see you soon at Kilkieran Cottage for my next outing with the Niall Toner Band.

Update: The BIB has just received these further details from Niall:

The Niall Toner Band are playing at Kilkieran Cottage Restaurant [on the Kilkenny-Tipperary border, a few miles north of Carrick-on-Suir] on Friday 22 July, but tickets must be booked in advance. Folks can do just that by calling Ade or Frank Walsh at 087-1556121 and/or checking the restaurant website. This is a most unique venue, in a converted barn out behind the main house. There's comfortable seating for about 120, and a great stage with superb sound. Highly recommended for music fans, and there's also the opportunity to sample Ade's wonderful menu!

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24 June 2016

Ralph Edmund Stanley, 1927-2016

The International Bluegrass Music Association sends the sad news that Dr Ralph Stanley died yesterday at the age of 89. John Curtis Goad has contributed a major review of Ralph Stanley's career on Bluegrass Today, and many tributes have already appeared on his Facebook.

Ralph Stanley's career in music spanned seventy years - twenty with his brother Carter and nearly fifty continuing to lead the Clinch Mountain Boys. The Stanley Brothers' band was the first to adopt the style of Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys, to which they also brought their 'old-time mountain music' sound, Carter's outstanding songwriting, and such developments as high baritone harmony and the cross-picking guitar style of the late George Shuffler.

After Carter's death, Ralph took the band's sound further in an 'old-time' direction - distinguished by his unique tenor voice - and was chiefly responsible for bringing a cappella quartet singing into the bluegrass repertoire. His citation for induction into the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame can be read here.

Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys played in the Olympia Theatre, Dublin, in November 2003 - about the same time as a tour of Ireland by the stunning band led by James King, who died a month ago.

Update 25 June: Dr Stanley's funeral will be next Tuesday (28 June) and will be open to the public; details are on Bluegrass Today.

See Pat Kelleher's comment, below.

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22 June 2016

Band news

The Cat's Meow, from Mohill, Co. Leitrim, have just returned from a trip to the Blue Ridge Mountains, winding up in Raleigh, NC, and will be back in action at the Oarsman in Carrick-on-Shannon this coming Friday night (24 June).
The Cool Hand String Band from Omagh, Co. Tyrone, played at the Abbey Centre last weekend, augmented by Bronagh Broderick on fiddle; a video of them playing 'Little Liza Jane' is on their Facebook.
Cup O' Joe, from Co. Armagh, are following their appearance at Belgium's only bluegrass festival last weekend at Oelegem, by playing this coming weekend at the Muddy Roots Europe Festival in Oostkamp, south of Bruges.
Gorsefire, from Belfast, played a sold-out-in-advance show last Sunday (3.00-6.00 p.m., 19 June) at the Meadowbank Social Club, 38 Parade, Donaghadee, Co. Down. Here is a sample of their music, composed by Ian McAllister.
HueGrass, from Greystones, Co. Wicklow, played over last weekend (19-20 June) at Phil Healy's Pub, Fitzwilliam Square, Wicklow town - not the first time they've played there.
I Draw Slow, from Dublin, will be starting their biggest North American tour on 15 July in Vancouver, Canada, and working down and round through Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and Wyoming back to Oregon (5-7 Aug.) The full schedule is shown on their Facebook.
Old Hannah, from Sligo, have been keeping busy since their appearances in Westport, and will be playing on Sat. 25 June at Thomas Connolly, Markievicz Rd, Sligo town.
Pine Marten, from Dublin, released on 17 June the official video for the original composition 'Doggone' from their new EP Gone beyond, now available from their website and BandCamp. The EP launch party will be held tomorrow (Thurs. 23 June) in the Cobblestone, Dublin.
Dublin's Well Enough Alone have been playing the last few Sunday nights in the Thomas House, Thomas St., Dublin. We hope this will be a calendar fixture.
The Whileaways will be playing two successive nights this weekend: at Canavan's, Tuam, Co. Galway, on 24 June, and the Creel, Westport, Co. Mayo, on 25 June.
And Woodbine have posted on their Facebook a reminder of the coming 1st Woodbine Bluegrass Jamboree at Athy, Co. Kildare (8-9 July), with the splendid Hamilton County Ramblers from Chattanooga, TN, as guests of honour.

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20 June 2016

Westport 2016 - now on YouTube!

Those who were at the 10th Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival (10-12 June) and those who weren't so fortunate will alike be glad of Uri Kohen's news that videos from this year's festival are now being uploaded, almost on a daily basis, to the Festival's YouTube Channel. Credit for the filming goes to Ger Kenny of Pervege Free Films, who has documented all the events in the festival in the last ten years.

As of this date and time, nineteen videos from this year's event have been uploaded, including footage from evening concerts, the Sunday gospel hour, afternoon shows, jams and sessions, and one from Pine Marten's set at the official launch party.*

The channel also holds a seven-minute video, shot in 2009 at the third Westport festival and serving as an introduction to the event and its organisers; together with footage shot at all the festivals from 2007.

*In the video showing Sean McKerr, Tim Hawkins, Cathal Cusack, and your editor, the tune being played is 'Citigo'.

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Good wishes from Mac Wiseman

On 3 Dec. 2015 the BIB drew attention to books about members of the first generation of bluegrass musicians, including Mac Wiseman's All my memories fit for print, as told to Walt Trott, published last autumn, and reviewed by Dick Bowden on Bluegrass Today. Also on Bluegrass Today, a brief account by John Lawless of Mac's long, varied, and illustrious career appeared earlier this year, since when he has had his 91st birthday (23 May).

Roni Stoneman (due to make several appearances in Cork and Kerry in the coming week) visited Mac recently and mentioned that she would be coming to Ireland, whereupon he asked Roni to convey his good wishes to all his friends over here. The BIB is happy to pass Mac's greetings on. This video shows him singing 'I'd rather live by the side of the road' with Polly Lewis of the Lewis Family.
Another bluegrass pioneer, Bill Clifton, celebrated his 85th birthday on 5 April this year. An appreciation by Kevin Lynch appeared on the European Bluegrass Blog shortly beforehand. Bill's part in spreading bluegrass in Europe can hardly be overstated, and some enthusiasts over here may remember him performing with Ethan Signer of the Charles River Valley Boys in the Grafton Cinema, Dublin, in the early 1960s. This video shows him singing 'Give me the roses while I live'.
In December the BIB also mentioned Curly Seckler, who will be 97 on Christmas Day this year. Penny Parsons' biography, Foggy Mountain troubadour: the life and music of Curly Seckler, has now been published (272 pages, forty-nine monochrome photos) by the University of Illinois Press in their invaluable Music in American Life series. An article by Alice Gerrard about how the book was created appears in this month's Bluegrass Unlimited magazine.

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18 June 2016

The Martin dreadnought, aged 100

Thanks to Richard Thompson for a splendid feature in Bluegrass Today on the centenary of the Martin dreadnought guitar, the instrument that (among many other things) set the standard for guitars in bluegrass music. The article includes an interview with George Gruhn, who gives a detailed account of the physical and musical evolution of the dreadnought over the years. A 37-minute documentary film, 'The ballad of the Dreadnought' (which includes footage of Del McCoury talking about Bill Monroe's guitar), can be seen here.

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Omagh 2016: Early Bird discounts - and JAMMING

Our post of Monday last about this year's Bluegrass Music Festival (2-4 Sept.) at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, omitted two quite important points made in the festival flyer:
  • If you book tickets online before 31 July, you can receive a 20% Early Bird discount; and
  • there will be provision for jamming outside the General Store!
We're delighted that the two headline acts of this year's Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival will be returning to Ireland for major events later this year - the Foghorn Stringband (USA) at Dunmore East, and Red Wine (I) at Omagh.

Red Wine's fine banjo-player, Silvio Ferretti (left) sings harmony on most of the band's vocal numbers. Hearing his part in their 'Mama Mia medley' has led to comments that more lead singing from Silvio would enrich the band's texture. The BIB - while fully appreciating the magnificent lead vocals of Martino Coppo - cordially agrees.

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16 June 2016

Ickes & Hensley headline 22nd Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival

Thanks to Karen Cheevers of B2B Communications for this release on the 22nd Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival just two months from now:

Now in its 22nd year, the Guinness International Bluegrass Festival at Dunmore East is still attracting top international music acts to the Co. Waterford coastal resort. Fans of bluegrass, honky-tonk, blues, country, rhythm ‘n’ roots are in for a real musical treat as the 22nd Guinness International Bluegrass Festival, which takes place from Thursday 25 August to Sunday 28 August, will feature Grammy nominees Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley [above].

Trey Hensley is well known and well regarded on the bluegrass music scene. Raised in Tennessee, Trey began playing guitar and singing when he was 10 years old. Invited by Marty Stuart and joined from the wings by Earl Scruggs, he landed on the Grand Old Opry when he was only 11. To date, Trey has played with Johnny and June Carter Cash, Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Steve Wariner, the Oak Ridge Boys, and Janie Fricke. He’s appeared on bills with Sara Evans, Charlie Daniels, Peter Frampton, Randy Owen, Steve Wariner, and Marty Stuart, and has even appeared before former President George W. Bush, former First Lady Laura Bush, and Vice-President Cheney.

Rob Ickes has been playing bluegrass with his much-decorated band Blue Highway for over twenty years, during which time he has been adjudged Bluegrass Dobro Player of the Year fifteen times. Rob has played on countless sessions, recording with artists such as Merle Haggard, Dierks Bentley, Patty Loveless, and Alison Krauss.

Last year the duo was nominated for a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, Before the sun goes down.

Along with the cream of the US country and bluegrass music crop, the festival lineup includes a host of Irish, European, and American big name bluegrass acts including US bands Foghorn String Band and Betse and Clarke; from the UK, Doctor Bluegrass, Northern Ireland’s Mons Wheeler Band and Cup O’ Joe, and Irish acts One Horse Pony, Rackhouse Pilfer, Barefoot, and New Breadwinners.

Mick Daly, festival organiser, is looking forward to this year’s broad range of high calibre international acts and said: 'Twenty-two years on, the festival lineup is as exciting and eclectic as ever. We’re looking forward to seeing the return of some of the festival’s perennial favourites such as the Mons Wheeler Band and Barefoot, and are particularly excited about Ickes and Hensley.

'Rob and Trey are Grammy nominees and regulars to some of the biggest bluegrass festivals in the world, so we can’t wait to see them in August, particularly in light of their new album release The country blues in July. The duo is coming to Dunmore East on the back of their European tour, where they will be playing at Tønder, Denmark’s biggest folk music festival.'

Ickes and Hensley will play two ticketed gigs (€20) at the Marquee at the Lighthouse Bistro, Dunmore East on 27 and 28 August. All of the other events are free to attend and will take place at the Strand Inn, the Three Sisters, the Spinnaker, Powers Bar, and Azzurro.

The 22nd Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival kicks off on Thursday 25 August and heralds the start of three days of dozens of bands, playing almost fifty gigs in the villages’ pubs, restaurants, and hotels.

For more information about the 22nd Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival in Co. Waterford, visit the website. Tickets for Ickes & Hensley are available on www.ticketmaster.ie. Mick Daly is available for interview on 051 878 832 / 087 256 2899 or by e-mail.

BIB editor's note: Compass Records has announced that The country blues will be released on 8 July. Long I ride, by the Special Consensus, who will be here in six months' time, was released by Compass on 10 June.

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BU: half a century on the clock

The June 2016 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited contains several features of direct interest to bluegrass enthusiasts in Ireland. First is a review of the self-titled CD by the Hamilton County Ramblers, who will be touring and teaching here next month (see the BIB's post last Monday). The reviewer, Richard D. Smith (biographer of Bill Monroe), writes: 'It’s a joy to discover a regional band that has the potential to break out nationally. [...] Everyone plays at pretty much the same level — superb. The tone, note selection, feeling, it’s all here', and the rest of the review is no less positive.

Also very positively reviewed are an album and a book of traditional bluegrass fiddle solos, both by fiddler Annie Stanninec, who played here in 2015 at Dunmore East and elsewhere. Coming this year to Dunmore East are Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, who are featured in an article by Derek Halsey. And there's much, much more.

This year Bluegrass Unlimited celebrates fifty years since its first publication; the whole bluegrass world owes a great deal to its founder, editor, and general manager, Pete Kuykendall.

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15 June 2016

Furnace Mountain (USA) to tour Ireland, Oct. 2016

The UK's Brookfield Knights agency reports that Furnace Mountain (above) from Virginia will be touring these islands in October 2016, playing the following four dates in Ireland before going on to a further eight shows in Britain:

Wed. 19th Oct.: Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary
Thurs. 20th: Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Fri. 21st: Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Sat. 22nd: Duncairn Centre for Culture & Arts, Belfast

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Cup O' Joe in Belgium this coming weekend

Thanks to our friends of Bluegrass in Belgium for news of what is (at present) Belgium's only bluegrass festival. The Low Country Bluegrass Festival will be held this coming weekend (17-19 June 2016) at Venusstraat 10, 2520 Oelegem, about ten miles east of Antwerp.

The lineup of bluegrass and old-time bands from the Low Countries includes Rawhide (the premier Belgian band, who played at Omagh a few years ago) and Blue Maxx (with Jan Michielsen, known in Ireland as a member of 4 Wheel Drive), while the current vitality of Scandinavian bluegrass is shown by the presence of two bands from Sweden.

AND - on stage from 4.15 to 5.00 p.m. on Saturday will be the dynamic Cup O' Joe from Co. Armagh, who made a powerful impact at Westport last weekend. The LCBF website is in Flemish, but the schedule is easy to understand.

Cup O' Joe at Westport 2016 (photo: Des Butler)

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14 June 2016

More Westport memories

Three photos taken by Carol Hawkins on successive days:

Blouser's, Friday evening: clockwise from left, Martino Coppo, Tim Hawkins, BIB editor, Cathal Cusack, Sean McKerr, Silvio Ferretti

The inexhaustible Foghorns outside Cobbler's, Saturday evening

Kentucky Cow Tippers at the Clew Bay Hotel, Sunday lunchtime

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Photos from Westport 2016

Thanks to Des Butler for these photos taken at the 10th Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival on the weekend just past. Des writes:

It must be said, and I'm sure you will agree, a great weekend of bluegrass music was had by all attendees at the Westport festival. All praise to Uri and his team for providing us with a fantastic lineup of artists at a festival that has grown from strength to strength since its inception.

I've attached a few snapshots of some of the performers; note the First Lady of 5-string banjo playing guitar. Roni borrowed a guitar from one of the folk singers who preceded her on the show and played and sang two songs with the same aplomb as her 5-string playing performance.

Red Wine at the Clew Bay Hotel, Saturday lunchtime

Cup O' Joe at the Red Room Mystery Gig, Saturday afternoon,
Matt Molloy's Yard Bar

Kentucky Cow Tippers at the Mystery Gig

Foghorn Stringband at the Mystery Gig

Roni Stoneman at the Sunday evening show

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13 June 2016

Roni at the Red Room on 18 (not 19) June 2016 - and Omagh news

Thanks to Sharon Loughrin of the Red Room, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, for the news that the unique Roni Stoneman will be playing at the Red Room's Barn (above) not on Sunday 19 June, as originally announced, but a day earlier on Saturday 18 June.

The date was changed so that Roni could be supported by the Watery Hill Boys both at the Cairncastle Ulster Scots special bluegrass evening on Friday 17 June, and subsequently at the Red Room, without their having to return to Drogheda between the two shows. The Cairncastle Ulster Scots show, at the Halfway House Hotel, Ballygally, Co. Antrim, begins at 8.00 p.m. Admission is £10 and everyone is welcome - east Ulster bluegrass enthusiasts, take notice.

The Red Room announced earlier this evening on Facebook:

We're delighted to have Roni Stoneman, 'the First Lady of Banjo', playing in the barn this Saturday night (18th). Seats are filling fast so get back to us quickly, and check her out on Wikipedia / YouTube to see what a legend this lady is, not only as a musician but famous also as a comedienne on the Hee Haw show. It's an honour to have her play and tell stories of her life as one of the legendary Stoneman family.
Thanks to Sharon also for the news that programme flyers have been issued for the 25th Bluegrass Music Festival (2-4 Sept. 2016) at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone. Full programme details and online booking options are on the Folk Park website. A welcome piece of news is that Omagh's own distinguished country music historian and record collector, Rodney McElrea, will deliver a special McAuley Lecture at lunchtime on Sat. 3 Sept., giving a retrospective view of the artists who have played at the Festival in its quarter-century.

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Hamilton County Ramblers tour (8-23 July): final schedule

Following the BIB post of 30 May, thanks to Pat Kelleher for forwarding from the indefatigable John Nyhan the complete schedule for the tour next month by the Hamilton County Ramblers (above) from Chattanooga, TN. Dates and venues remain as previously announced, but details of band members, show times, and contact information are now given on a neatly produced flyer.

The highlights of the band's tour will include their appearances on three succesive weekends at the Woodbine Bluegrass Jamboree, at the Ardara Bluegrass Festival, and as instructors at the first Bluegrass Camp Ireland.

Fri. 8th: Parish Hall, Ashbourne, Co. Meath, 8.30 p.m.; 087 9762337
Sat. 9th: Woodbine Bluegrass Jamboree, GAA Centre, Dublin Rd, Athy, Co. Kildare, 8.00 p.m.; 085 1656685
Sun. 10th: Tigh an Cheoil, Ring, Co. Waterford, 8.30 p.m.; 087 921771/ 087 9898560
Mon. 11th: Village Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork, 8.15 p.m.; 087 7921771
Tues. 12th: An Spailpin Fanach, 27-9 South Main St., Cork city, 9.00 p.m.; 087 7921771/ 021 4277949
Wed. 13th: Schoolyard Theatre, Charleville, Co. Cork, 8.15 p.m.; 087 7921771/ 087 1804870
Thurs. 14th: Durty Nelly's, Bunratty, Co. Clare, 8.30 p.m.; 087 7921771/ 061 361861
Fri. 15th-Sun. 17th: Ardara Bluegrass Festival, Ardara, Co. Donegal; various times; 087 6900714
Tues. 19th: Clonmel Folk Club, Main Guard, Sarsfield St., Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, 8.00 p.m.; 085 8502289
Wed. 20th: Sunflower Bar, 65 Union St., Belfast BT1 2JG, 8.30 p.m.; 0044 7779721643
Thurs. 21st: The Red Room, 100A Claggan Lane, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, 8.00 p.m.; 0044 77797120659
Fri. 22nd-Sat. 23rd: Bluegrass Camp Ireland, Headfort School, Kells, Co. Meath; 087 4110931
Sat. 23rd: Phil Murphy Weekend, Colfer's, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford, 11.00 p.m. (concert starts at 9.00 p.m.); 0877928613/ 051 561159

For further inquiries on any of the above, contact John Nyhan by 'phone (087 7921771) or e-mail.

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08 June 2016

Luthiers' showcase at Westport, Sat. 11 June 2016

In addition to the events shown in the Westport festival programme flyer, reproduced on the BIB on 21 May, the schedule for Saturday 11 June includes a luthiers' showcase from 11.30 a.m.

2016 will be the third time the Festival has included this feature, and for the second year in succession it will be held in the Westport Town Hall Theatre on the Octagon. The Festival website says:

We will be including award-winning mandolin and guitar maker Brian Lofthouse, award-winning bow maker Gary Leahy, prolific and long established violin maker Graham Wright.

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Red Hat Acoustic Music Club at Naas, 10 June 2016

Thanks to Paul and Anne McEvoy, organisers of the Red Hat Acoustic Music Club, for the news that the Club's next meeting will be held this coming Friday (10 June).

The Red Hat meets on the second Friday of every month at the Harbour Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare. Music starts around 8.30 p.m.; a donation of €3.00 covers coffee/ tea and sandwiches at the interval.

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