06 December 2016

A work in progress

The Bluegrass Ireland Blog (BIB) is as alive as ever, keeps its calendar updated, publishes news received, and adds new features: in 2016 the right-hand sidebar 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' and regular jams. Send in news by e-mail.

Thinking of touring in Ireland? Look at the BIB's THINKING OF TOURING IN IRELAND? page (now updated). Click on the 'Welcome' label below for more about the BIB's background, purpose, and uses.


Rex McGee

The BIB editor writes:

Since the beginning of last year Bluegrass Today has been keeping track of an invaluable video series made by Bud Bennett at Eadford University, VA. These are interviews of two hours or more with eminent people in the banjo world - pickers Butch Robins, Sammy Shelor, and Jens Kruger, classical player John Bullard, and maker/designer Tom Nechville. The videos appeared on Bud Bennett's Appalachian Music and Culture blog and are now grouped as the Banjo Masters series.

The latest in the series are two hour-long videos on Rex McGee of North Carolina, a highly eclectic player: his grandfathers played banjo and fiddle, and he himself plays a strong old-time fiddle style and compiles a fiddle-tune video archive; but on the banjo he also plays jazz and Irish music and uses a tuning (gFGCD) that facilitates playing in those genres as well as giving a 'mixolydian' sound to bluegrass. He met the late Bill Keith in Ireland at one of the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festivals, and plays with Ryan Cavanaugh, who has toured several times in Ireland. And his band 'Kripplekrunk' includes Nate Leath, who was over here in 2015 playing fiddle with Tom Mindte's Patuxent Partners.

John Lawless on Bluegrass Today writes: 'Banjo players should absolutely be required to schedule the time to watch all of Bennett’s videos, and they are worth the attention of anyone with a fascination for the instrument.' The McGee videos should be specially interesting for anyone playing Irish music on the 5-string, but there's much more. Watch the introductory video and explore the other links on the Bluegrass Today feature.

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05 December 2016

Woodbine at Bob's Bar, Durrow, Co. Laois, 18 Dec. 2016

Thanks to Tony O'Brien for this news:

After another successful year for the band, Woodbine will play their last gig of 2016 in Bob's Bar, Durrow, on Sunday 18 December at 8.30 p.m. Hope to see some of our old friends there to wind up the year.

Evan Lyons will be playing banjo for Woodbine at Bob's; the photo above shows Woodbine with Evan at this year's Omagh festival at the start of September.

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03 December 2016

Shane Sullivan at Red Wine Bluegrass Party #8

Shane Sullivan of Athy, Co. Kildare, was an honoured and featured guest at the Eighth Red Wine Bluegrass Party, held last Saturday (26 Nov.) at the Teatro della Tosse in Genoa, Italy. The hosts were our friends Red Wine, who have visited Ireland twice this year; the photo above shows (l-r) Silvio Ferretti, Martino Coppo, Shane, Lucas Belotti, and Marco Ferretti, with Fabio Biale (fiddle) on far right.

The Party's theme, 'Bluegrass & Songwriters', is described by Martino in a feature on Bluegrass Today:

... a blend of songs written by some of the greatest songwriters we love and admire, many of whom with very limited or no connection with bluegrass music. These included Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Norman Blake, Steve Young, Jim Lauderdale, Brad Davis and Liz Meyer, as well as originals from our special guest Irish songwriter Shane Sullivan and our banjo man Silvio Ferretti.

More details from Martino and more photos (all by Stefano Goldberg) are on Bluegrass Today. Work on next year's Bluegrass Party has already begun!

Finale at the Teatro della Tosse

02 December 2016

New session in Tubbercurry, Co. Sligo, this Sunday: UPDATE

Wendy Connolly posts this news on 'Bluegrass in Ireland' Facebook:

Claire Bradshaw is hosting a country/ bluegrass session/jam in Cawley's Hotel, Tubbercurry, Sligo this Sunday, 4 Dec. ALL MUSICIANS WELCOME! Try to turn out, as they hope to make it a monthly event, and they need YOU to make it a success! It'll be a great time, I'm sure.

The session will run from 3.30 to 5.30 p.m.; thanks to Sharon Loughrin for the info.

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'Roots Freeway' returns to RTE Radio One, 3 Dec. 2016

Niall Toner reports today on his blog:

I'm delighted to say that 'Roots Freeway' returns to RTE Radio One on this coming Saturday, December the 3rd, for another thirteen-week run. If you're not already a listener, tune in at 11.00 p.m. on Saturday night to hear a great selection of roots music, including many new releases that you will not hear anywhere else. Artists like No Crows from Sligo; Shane Hennessy, a great young acoustic guitarist from Carlow; the Stargazers from Cork; Pete Cummins from Dublin; as well as tracks from Seth Lakeman, Hot Club Of Cowtown, Brendan Quinn, and more. Also, if there's stuff that you'd like to hear on the 'Roots Freeway', or if you have a new release, you can get in touch with us at rootsfreeway@rte.ie/.

The general philosophy behind the show is to bring you as much of the kinds of music and song that you will not hear elsewhere, with a strong emphasis on home-grown Irish singers and songwriters, as well as a wide variety of blues, bluegrass and old-time music, and a list of up-coming live gigs around the country. Roots Freeway: 11.00 p.m. on Saturday nights, on RTE Radio One with Niall Toner.


Deadline for EWOB applications extended to 11 Dec. 2016

The European World of Bluegrass (EWOB) organising team announced on Facebook on Wednesday:

TOMORROW IS DECEMBER 1, the initial EWOB deadline... However, there always appears to be a need to extend this to some extent, due to some 'almost finished recordings'. Use this flexibility and finalise your application this weekend!

The very last, ultimate, final, and definite deadline will be Sunday, December 11!

Bands can apply by visiting www.ewob.nl, downloading the submission forms, and following the instructions. Those bands selected to perform at the 2017 EWOB Festival (25-7 May 2017) will be informed in January.

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01 December 2016

Remembering Carter Stanley [UPDATE]

The BIB editor writes:

Fifty years ago today, Carter Stanley died at the age of 41 from the effects of alcohol; his younger brother Ralph died on 23 June this year. The sheer vitality of the Stanley Brothers' music is just one reason why it forms a major part of the foundations of bluegrass, and it can be heard right from their earliest recordings (1947-8).

A 96-minute interview with Carter, recorded earlier in 1966, is on YouTube, together with this footage (also from 1966) of Carter, backed by Ralph and George Shuffler, singing one of their classics, 'Rank stranger'. Hundreds more of their recordings are on YouTube, and many have been reissued on single CDs or box sets.

The unrivalled guide to the recorded output of Carter and Ralph is Gary B. Reid's The music of the Stanley Brothers (University of Illinois Press, 2015), which also conveys masses of information about the musicians associated with them, the sources of their material (some surprises here), and much more. Gary Reid is not just the person who knows more about the Stanleys than anyone else in the world: he has created a one-man show, 'A life of sorrow: the life and times of Carter Stanley'. A preview can be seen here.

Update 2 Dec.: A major feature by Richard Thompson can now be read on Bluegrass Today.

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30 November 2016

Two Time Polka: December and beyond

Ray Barron of Two Time Polka sends news of the band's gigs for December:

Sat. 3rd: Mastersons Steakhouse, Main St., Swords, Co. Dublin. Start 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 01 8903855

Fri. 30th: DC Music Club, 20 Camden Row, Dublin. Start 9.00 p.m. Adm. €15 (Musiclee.ie production)

New Years Eve, Sat. 31st: The White Horse, Ballincollig, Co. Cork. Start 10.15 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4871388

In January we'll be playing in Sixmilebridge at the Winter Music Festival; Clashmore, Co. Waterford; and in the White Horse, Ballincollig. Full details in the next mail.

Enjoy Christmas!

Ray & TTP

Two Time Polka's new CD, New road, is available at their gigs and from Music Zone, Douglas, Cork, and Custys Music, Ennis, Co. Clare; or on line from both outlets, www.musiczone.ie and www.custysmusic.com. You can also contact Ray directly.

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Band and concert news

Last Sunday (27 Nov.) the Knotty Pine Striug Band were part of the lineup in 'This world is not my home', an 'inspirational bluegrass gospel experience' in St Mary's church, Killyclogher, Co. Tyrone, presented by the Killyclogher & District Development Association. A three-minute video by John Hutchinson about the show can be seen on their Facebook.
I Draw Slow were in the RTE studios this morning, taking part in the Sean O'Rourke Show from 10.00 to noon. The band also announce that they are coming out of their brief hibernation with a couple of shows in December, beginning on Monday 5 Dec. in Mick Murphy's of Ballymore Eustace, Co. Wicklow, for the Ballymore Acoustic Gigs sessions. I Draw Slow write: 'It's a really great, intimate show and we're honoured to be asked to play. We'll be playing all of the tunes from our upcoming release "Turn your face to the sun"; it'll be a great night.'
Ballymore Acoustic Gigs announce that their last show of 2016 will be on 9 Dec. at 8.00 p.m. It will be the 6th Annual 'Vibe for Larry', commemorating the late, great Larry Roddy (photo by Mike Lindauer), a true pioneer of roots music promotion in Ireland, who founded the series of acoustic music gigs at Ballymore Eustace twenty-five years ago. US bluegrass acts who have played there more than once include the Special Consensus and Jim Hurst & Missy Raines.
Erdini will be on the bill at the Bundoran Church of Ireland Christmas Charity Concert, featuring also the Eurovision-winning Charlie McGettigan and the 'incandescent' Bel Canto Choir, with actress Maura Logue of 'Ros na Rún' as MC. The concert will take place at Bundoran Church of Ireland, Co. Donegal (on the seafront, R267, just before the climb into central Bundoran), on Friday 2 Dec. at 8.00 p.m.
The Whileaways will release their Christmas single 'Everyone' tomorrow (1 Dec.), following that with their Christmas special concert at Campbell's Tavern, Headford, Co. Galway, on 3 Dec. Tickets can be booked online.
Greenshine will be on the bill at a benefit concert for the Cork Simon Community on Sat. 10 Dec. at the Mills Inn, Cork, starting at 9.30 p.m. More details are on the poster image (right).
Pete Lamb, leader of Gone to Grass and former organiser of the Galway Americana Festival, is playing this coming month on Friday 2 Dec. at the Ardilaun Hotel, Galway, 8.00 p.m.; on Sat. 3 Dec. in Sexton's, Kinvara, Co. Galway, 10.00 p.m.; on Sat. 10 Dec. in Tully's, Kinvara, 9.00 p.m.; and on Sat. 17 Dec. back in Sexton's, 10.00 p.m. In most months of 2017 Pete will be playing in Power's of Oughterard, Co. Galway.
The Henry Girls announce their last gig of 2016: their debut at the Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, on Fri. 16 Dec. at 8.00 p.m.. 'We'll be previewing songs from our new album (due for release early 2017), revisiting a couple of songs from bespoke performances we gave in 2016, there'll be songs from our Sketches EP, and of course some festive numbers! Do join us!' Tickets (€20) are available online.
Rackhouse Pilfer have a very busy December, especially in the holiday period. They're playing the following shows (including the Rockies Christmas party):

Fri. 2nd: The Weigh Inn, Omagh, Co. Tyrone (sold out)
Sat. 3rd: Blackrock GAA Club, Church Rd, Cork city
Sun. 4th: Nancy Blake's, Limerick city
Fri. 9th: Southern Hotel, Sligo town (sold out)
Sat. 10th: Southern Hotel, Sligo town
Mon. 12th: McGarrigles, Sligo town
Fri. 16th: The Empire, Belfast
Sat. 17th: Nesbitt Arms Hotel, Ardara, Co. Donegal
Sun. 18th: Voodoo, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Mon. 19th: McGarrigles, Sligo town
Fri. 23rd: Gilroys, Inniscrone, Co. Sligo
Mon. 26th: 5th on Teeling, Sligo town
Wed. 28th: McGings, Westport, Co. Mayo
Thurs. 29th: Abbey Hotel, Donegal
Fri. 30th: Percy Whelans, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
Sat. 31st: Strand Bar, Sligo town (ticketed)
Sun. 1st Jan: Drury's, Monasteraden, Co. Sligo

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29 November 2016

Factor One at the Unitarian Church, Dublin, 3 Dec. 2016

Gerry Fitzpatrick, organiser of the Cabin Sessions series at Uncle Tom's Cabin in Dundrum, Dublin 14, writes:

Just wanted to let you know about a once-off gig this Saturday (3 Dec.). Factor One, with Andrew Basquille (a regular guest at the Cabin), will be performing at the Unitarian Church, Stephen's Green, at 8.00 p.m. The set will feature songs from their new EP, which was recently recorded in Studio 515 in Nashville. Proceeds from the evening will go towards a charity for the homeless. Very special venue and well worth going along!

BIB editor's note: Among Andrew's many talents and activities, he's a devotee of the work of Hank Williams and was also the first person ever to ask me whether anyone was singing Sacred Harp music in Dublin (and at that time I didn't know). His songwriting can be sampled on the Irish Times website, which has the full text and an audio recording of his 'Arthur's song'.

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New and expanded edition of the New Kentucky Colonels’ Live in Sweden 1973 now available on CD

Thanks to the legendary Roland White and Diane Bouska for this very special news:

It’s been forty-three years in the making, but finally a complete recording of the New Kentucky Colonels’ Live in Sweden 1973 is available. Captured in two successive nights at the Mosebacke club in Stockholm, the 26-song CD showcases brothers Roland, Clarence, and Eric White and banjo master Alan Munde at their artistic peak.

The 14-song edition of Live in Sweden 1973 that was released on vinyl by Rounder Records in 1976 has been an out-of-print collector’s item for many years.

The tour that took the Colonels to Sweden reunited the White brothers, who had played in a family band throughout their formative years. Originally calling themselves the Country Boys, the Whites evolved into the Kentucky Colonels in the early '60s and toured the country electrifying audiences with their instrumental virtuosity, compelling rhythms, and traditional brother harmonies. They produced a highly acclaimed instrumental album, Appalachian swing, in 1964, and were recorded in many live performances which became part of the critical bluegrass literature for aspiring players.

'We had some great years touring in the sixties,' Roland recalls, 'but gigs got scarcer with the end of the folk boom, and by 1967 we all sought other work. I went to Nashville to play guitar with Bill Monroe and his Blue Grass Boys. Clarence stayed in California, creating his own "country rock" style of electric guitar-playing and recording sessions with many artists. He joined, then toured and recorded with the Byrds. Eric also stayed in California and played sessions and bluegrass and country gigs. By the end of 1972, I had spent twenty-two months with Bill and then played mandolin in Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass for four years. When Clarence called to say he had quit the Byrds and maybe we should join forces again, I was ready!' The European tour included the Netherlands, Sweden, Belgium, and England, and the band was planning more touring and recording. Tragically, less than two months after the Stockholm shows, Clarence was struck by a car and killed outside the Palmdale, California club where he and his brothers had just finished playing.

These recordings reveal the White Brothers and Alan Munde at the top of their game, in an all-in effort, playing together with great verve and drive, a seemingly telepathic ensemble. The selections are a cornucopia of bluegrass, country, and folk songs and tunes, featuring Roland on mandolin, lead and tenor vocals; Clarence on guitar, lead and baritone vocals; Eric on bass and baritone vocals; and Alan Munde on banjo. The CD is on the Roland White Music label and is available at RolandWhite.com, Amazon.com, and all digital outlets. For more information or DJ copies, e-mail Diane Bouska.

The songs: Fire on the mountain, Never ending song of love, Banjo boy chimes, Good woman’s love, Sally Goodin, Mocking banjo (Duelin’ banjos), Old Joe Clark, You won’t be satisfied that way, Shenandoah Valley breakdown, I’m blue, I’m lonesome, I know what it means to be lonesome, Blackberry blossom, Why you been gone so long, Alabama jubilee, Dark hollow, Take a whiff on me, Last thing on my mind, Soldier’s joy/Black Mountain rag, If you’re ever gonna love me, John Henry, The prisoner’s song, I am a pilgrim, Salty dog blues, New River train, Rawhide, and Roll in my sweet baby’s arms.

L-r: Alan Munde, Roland White, Eric White, Clarence White

BIB editor's note: Anyone looking for Christmas presents for guitar or mandolin players should make a priority of visiting the Roland White store page.

PS: Two nice photos of Roland and the band on this tour can be seen on the Prescription Bluegrass Blog.

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28 November 2016

UK festivals for 2017 listed on BBMA Facebook

Last Friday the British Bluegrass Music Association published on its Facebook a list of twenty-three bluegrass festivals and other events of one or more days in length, that will be held in the UK between March and September 2017. The 'other events' include the Sore Fingers Summer School in April (summer comes early in that part of the world). Please note:
  • In over half of the list, the exact dates for 2017 have not yet been received, and last year's dates are shown [in brackets]. Updates are coming in - the North Wales Bluegrass Festival will be a week later (6-9 July) than it was last year.
  • This is a list of UK events, so the Cairncastle Bluegrass Evening in July and the Bluegrass Music Festival at Omagh are both included - thanks to Sharon Loughrin, the BBMA's representative for Northern Ireland.
The BBMA's events page at present shows the 2016 list, which also included the Westport Folk and Bluegrass festival.

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26 November 2016

Brochure and tickets for Celtic Connections 2017 [UPDATE]

Following on from the BIB post of 28 Oct., the Celtic Connections organising team in Glasgow, Scotland, announce that the brochure for next year's festival (19 Jan.-5 Feb. 2017) is now available and can be downloaded here. Tickets for all the events are now on sale.

Performers likely to be of interest to BIB readers include Sarah Jarosz, Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer, Southern Tenant Folk Union, the Mark O'Connor Band, Dirk Powell, and the Special Consensus, together with the usual Transatlantic Sessions.

Update 1 Dec.: As shown here, the National Whisky Festival will be held in Glasgow on 28 Jan., in the middle of Celtic Connections; the festival is publicising this as an added attraction.

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25 November 2016

April Verch Band (CAN) due back in May 2017

Singer, songwriter, fiddler, and stepdancer April Verch and her band send their latest e-newsletter, with greetings for the holiday season and thanks to all who have supported them in any way.

On 17 Feb. Slab Town Records will release The April Verch anthology, an 18-track collection celebrating April's life’s work to date with a mix of regional Canadian, American old-time, bluegrass, country, and Americana tracks, including - as well as tracks from her 1998-2015 recordings - two original songs, never before released. Guest artists include Mac Wiseman, Bobby Hicks, Sam Bush, Dirk Powell, and Travis Book of the Infamous Stringdusters. The Anthology can be pre-ordered up to 22 December 2016.

Specially good news for all who have seen and heard April and the band on previous tours in Ireland: their online schedule shows that in May 2017 they'll be on this side of the Atlantic, beginning with two shows in Switzerland and Germany, and from 10 to 14 May they will be touring Ireland for Moving on Music; details are still TBC, but a performance on 17 May 2017 at The Dock, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim, is also listed. After that, they will be playing in Bilbao, Spain, and finishing their time in Europe at the Spring Bluegrass Festival in Willisau, Switzerland, where Balsam Range (USA) will also be playing (see the BIB for 22 Nov.).

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24 November 2016

Fox & Branch (USA) tour in June 2017?

Thanks to the FOAOTMAD news blog for the news that Fox & Branch (Dave Fox and Will Branch), based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, are planning a tour in Britain and Ireland from 9 June to 24 June 2017. FOAOTMAD reports:

They have gigs at the beginning and end of the tour, as well as one right in the middle, but have many dates yet to fill. Can anyone help out?

Fox & Branch's repertoire includes old-time country and Cajun songs and tunes; New Orleans, jug band, and swing numbers; ballads and tunes from these islands; bluegrass songs; 'and, last but not least, banjo/washboard breakdowns'. Each of them has been performing for over thirty years, and in addition to their 'music for grownups' concerts, they specialise in shows for children - their seven albums include five for children. They also offer workshops in American roots rhythms (including 'hambone' body percussion), 'How songs work' (use of chords), and arranging for two guitars.

Fox & Branch provide a video introduction on their website; it's also on YouTube, where they have their own channel. A player with seven audio numbers is on their 'grownups' page. Anyone who can offer or suggest a gig to them can contact them by e-mail.

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22 November 2016

Al Batten

The BIB editor writes:

Many in this country will be sad to hear of the death of Alton Tharse 'Al' Batten of Selma, NC, last Sunday (20 Nov.). He had led his band, the Bluegrass Reunion, from 1972 and was still playing on stage with them till this summer, when his health deteriorated.

The feature by John Lawless on Bluegrass Today mentions the two trips the band made to Ireland; they played both times at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival in Omagh, Co. Tyrone. In his McAuley Lecture at Omagh this year, Rodney McElrea, looking over the artists who had played at Omagh since 1992, held Al and his band in high regard.

The Bluegrass Today feature includes a five-minute video of the Bluegrass Reunion cutting up on stage, which can also be seen (together with many more videos of the band) on YouTube.

Update 23 Nov.: More details, and a note of the Celebration of Life service held today for Al Batten, are on the Prescription Bluegrass Blog. The BIB thanks also the sender of the comment on this post, received today.

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Balsam Range to head Bühl festival lineup, 19-20 May 2017

Tickets will go on sale on 1 December 2016 for the 15th International Bühl Bluegrass Festival, to be held on Friday 19 and Saturday 20 May 2017 in Bühl/Baden, a pleasant town between the Black Forest and the Rhine in south-west Germany. From the beginning (2003) the festival, financed by the Bühl city council, has put on top-ranking acts from the USA and Europe in a first-class auditorium; the 'Rückblick' section of the website shows the lineup for each year.

The 2017 programme begins with the Friday night concert featuring The Dead South (CAN) and Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers from Finland, who earned respect in the US with their tough '50s-style bluegrass. On Saturday between 11.30 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. there will be two open-air free-to-all sets in the Johannesplatz from the Dapper Dan Men (D) and Curly Strings (EST). Beginning at 5.00 p.m. the main concert features these two bands, the Country Pickers (CH), Chris Jones & the Night Drivers (USA), and the headline act, Balsam Range (USA) - see the appendix to the BIB post of 12 Nov.

Our good friend Walter Fuchs, radio presenter, country music historian, and longtime director of the Bühl festival, adds that Balsam Range will also be playing at the Spring Bluegrass Festival in Willisau, Switzerland, a week later. 'Why all the news about events on the Continent?' BIB readers may be saying. Well, (a) we're eager to publish news of bluegrass festivals in Ireland whenever that reaches us; and (b) if you gave Bühl (and any other Continental festival we've been to) a try, you would enjoy it.

One piece of sad news about bluegrass in Ireland next year: Peter Thompson reports that there will not be a tour by the Kathy Kallick Band in these islands (see the BIB for 8 Nov.).

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21 November 2016

Shape-note singing comes to Galway, 2 Dec. 2016

A three-hour session of shape-note singing under expert guidance will be held at the Rowing Club, Woodquay, Galway, on Friday 2 December from 6.00 to 9.00 p.m. All are welcome, and no experience is necessary. The organisers, Eimear and Isabel, write:

All that is required is a desire to sing and an appreciation of the joy of singing.

This is one of the oldest and traditional forms of music in America. This is four-part
a cappella singing that dates back to the sixteenth century. The style is characterised by haunting harmonies, traditional modes, raucous songs, serene hymns, fast fugues, and high-energy anthems.

We are honoured to have experienced shape-note singer, teacher, and composer Aldo Ceresa in Galway on the night, all the way from New York City to lead our workshop.

More details are on the event Facebook, including these links for further information:

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20 November 2016

The Cabin Sessions, Dundrum, 24 Nov. 2016

Gerry Fitzpatrick, organiser of the Cabin Sessions series, 'Acoustic Music at its Finest', announces the Session for this month:

We're back on Thursday 24 November. Our guests will be Jak Jones (contemporary), Martha Keenan (folk), and Ian Brennan (contemporary). And of course the all-star Cabin Crew!! Hopefully see you then!

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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Bluegrass on the air from Killybegs TONIGHT and every Sunday and Monday night

Local community radio can be a powerful tool for making bluegrass heard, so thanks to Seán Ó Beirne in Co. Donegal for this news:

South West Donegal Community Radio is at last back online and can be accessed from anywhere via TuneIn or via our website. We are broadcasting from our new studio in Killybegs; I will be presenting a two-hour mix ​of bluegrass and country music on Sunday nights from 7.00 to 9.00 p.m. Pat McGill [organiser of the annual Ardara Bluegrass Festival] will present his Bluegrass Show on Monday night from 7.00 to 10.00 p.m.

SWDCR is a local community radio station, run entirely by volunteers to help give a voice to all sections of the community, and offering a wide range of programming - music, news, events, documentaries, and interviews - where local people can hear local news, stories, and information. SWDCR began online broadcasting yesterday (Sat. 19 Nov.) at 10.00 a.m., and will present a full lineup of shows every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from now on, with more shows and days added as things progress.

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17 November 2016

Front Country (USA) available for Ireland, 17-23 Oct. 2017

Nearly two years ago the BIB published news from Loudon Temple of the UK's Brookfield Knights agency about the highly regarded and innovative young San Francisco-based band Front Country (left). Loudon reports that their tour in Britain earlier this year went so well that it is hoped to bring them over for two tours in 2017. Comments on the tour have been ecstatic.

In 2014 Front Country had only been together three years and just launched their debut album when they made their mark on the western US scene by winning the band competitions at the Telluride and Rockygrass festivals, and were being acclaimed by Bluegrass Today and members of leading bands. You can read reviews and watch them in action in eleven videos on their website and elsewhere on YouTube. In this year's IBMA Momentum awards, Front Country's lead singer Melody Walker won the Vocalist award - the other finalists included Molly Tuttle and Lindsay Lou Rilko.

Loudon can now confirm that Brookfield Knights will have Front Country over in these islands for a three-week run of dates from 3 to 22 October 2017, as well as for summer festivals. The Ireland tour period will be the last week: 17-23 October. Loudon writes:

Please let us know if you would like to grab them for a slot on your programme and it would be useful if you could provide a steer on what date or dates might be available/preferred in that timeframe.

Contact Brookfield Knights for information and bookings.

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A new look for bluegrass in Europe

The European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA) has completely restyled its website, with new features including links to the EBMA's Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The front page now carries a good deal of news, including the listing of the weekly Dublin Bluegrass Collective jam under 'Upcoming events'.

A link to the EBMA's list of bluegrass festivals in Europe has been added to the 'Europe' section of the links in our right-hand sidebar, and we urge festival organisers over here to contact the EBMA and add their details to the list. We note with regret, in passing, that the Coastline Bluegrass Music Event in north Wales has come to an end after ten enjoyable years.

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16 November 2016

Rackhouse Pilfer for Rockies Christmas Party on Sat. 3 Dec. 2016

Thanks to Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland for this news:

'Christmas time's a-coming' and so our thoughts turn to Christmas parties. Those of you who attended the Rockies Christmas Party last year won't need reminding of what a great night it turned out to be. This year's event promises to be even better, with lots of Ceoil, Craic agus Bia on offer, and one of the top bands in Ireland, Rackhouse Pilfer [above], to entertain us for the night. All friends, fans, and supporters of the Rockies are hereby Invited to attend, and we look forward to a mighty night's entertainment. Be There or Be Square.

Blackrock GAA Club, 'The Rockies', is located in Church Rd, Blackrock, Cork city. The phrase 'Christmas time's a-coming' may not have been invented by the late Tex Logan, but the song very definitely was.

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