02 September 2014

The Bluegrass Ireland Blog: still alive

Although the editor officially retired from bluegrass blogging on 15 February 2013, the Bluegrass Ireland Blog (BIB) is still alive. Its calendar is kept updated, and occasional news is posted. Send in news for the calendar by e-mail, and please add a copy to Ray O'Brien, whose 'Bluegrass in Ireland' Facebook page is now the most interactive medium on bluegrass in Ireland.

The resources already on the BIB, including archives and links, remain accessible and may be improved for the convenience of readers. The BIB's background and purpose are explained here, and tips on using it are here. To reach both, click on the 'Welcome' label below.


A historic bluegrass site - ripe for restoration?

Art Menius is an honours history graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a prolific bluegrass writer, and a major administrator in bluegrass and other arts - among many other accomplishments, he was the first executive director of the IBMA and a member of its board; was board member and president of the Old-Time Music Group, publishers of the Old-Time Herald; and is currently a board member of the Folk Alliance International.

On Sunday last, Art posted on his blog 'A visit to a lost bluegrass music temple' - the deserted, vandalised, and overgrown remains of Blue Grass Park in North Carolina, established as a festival venue in 1969 by the legendary promoter Carlton Haney (1928-2011). The photo above - by Art's wife, bluegrass photographer Becky Johnson - gives a distant view of the stage:

Where thousands saw New Grass Revival for the first time, where Tony Rice jumped ship from Bluegrass Alliance to J.D. Crowe, where Carlton told the Blue Grass Story, where Bill Vernon and Fred Bartenstein emceed, looked like a burned out mobile home.

Art's account has become the most popular post ever to appear on his blog. It includes more photos and some rewarding links to material relating to the early days of bluegrass festivals - together with the hope that Blue Grass Park may be restored and live again as a venue and a tourist attraction for the area. Read it here.

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Willie Watson in Ireland, 10-13 Sept. 2014

Thanks to Tom Stapleton for an update of his gig list, first posted on the BIB on 1 June 2014. Tom announces that Willie Watson (USA), formerly of Old Crow Medicine Show, will be playing at Leap Castle, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, on Saturday 13 September. The capacity is 60, so book by phoning or texting Tom at 087 2238040.

The Leap Castle show is the last chance to see Willie Watson on this tour, which begins tomorrow with six shows in Britain. His four dates in Ireland are:

Wed. 10th Sept.: The Button Factory, Curved St., Temple Bar, Dublin 2
Thurs. 11th: Coughlan's Live, 7 Douglas St., Cork city (Hotpress Venue of the Year)
Fri. 12th: Cleere's, 28 Parliament St., Kilkenny city; capacity seated 70.
Sat. 13th: Leap Castle, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary; capacity 60.

More details, including venue 'phone numbers and links for online booking, are on Willie Watson's website. Willie, who plays guitar, banjo, and harmonica, can be seen on YouTube playing 'Rock salt and nails' and 'Mexican cowboy' (both are also on his website). His old band, the Old Crow Medicine Show, will be in Ireland for two shows in about seven weeks' time.

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01 September 2014

Whitetop Mountain Band in Ireland and Britain, 5-28 Sept. 2014

The Whitetop Mountain Band: (l-r): Jackson Cunningham, Martha Spencer, Chris Testerman, Debbie Bramer, Emily Spencer

Thanks to Martha Spencer of the Whitetop Mountain Band for more news of the band's three-week tour of these islands, beginning this coming Friday at Naul, Co. Dublin. The full schedule is:

Fri. 5th: Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre, Naul, Fingal, Co. Dublin; +353 (0)1 8020898
Sat. 6th: The Red Room, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone; +44 7747 120659
Sun. 7th: Roadside Tavern, Kincora Road, Lisdoonvarna, Co. Clare; +353 (0)65 707 4084
Tues. 9th: St John’s Theatre, The Square, Listowel, Co. Kerry; +353 (0)68 22566
Thurs. 11th: The B Bar, Barbican Theatre, Castle St., Plymouth, Devon PL1 2NJ; +01752 242021
Fri. 12th-Sun. 14th: Cornish Bluegrass Festival, Hendra Holiday Park, Newquay, Cornwall; +44 1637 875778
Mon. 15th: The Bell Inn, 103 Walcot St., Bath BA1 5BW; +01225 460426
Tues. 16th: Burnett’s Hill Chapel, Martletwy, Pembrokeshire SA67 8AX; + 01646-651725
Thurs. 18th: St Ives September Festival, the Western Hotel, Gabriel St, St Ives, Cornwall TR26 2LU; +44 1736 795277
Fri. 19th: The Square and Compass, Worth Matravers, Swanage, Dorset; +01929 439229
Sat. 20th: Bluegrass Plus Club, Ninfield Memorial Hall, Ninfield, nr Battle, East Sussex TN33 9EE; 01424 893390
Sun. 21st: The Green Note, 106 Parkway, London NW1 7AN; +44 20 7485 9899
Tues. 23rd: Anchor Inn, 52 Abbey St, Faversham, Kent ME13 7BP; + 01795 536471
Wed. 24th: Musically Monstrous Productions, Three Horseshoes, Chinnor Road, Towersey OX39 3QY; tickets
Fri. 26th-Sun. 28th: Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival, Moniaive, Scotland; + 01848 200272 or 07740 856047

Martha also sends the following bio material:

The Whitetop Mountain Band is a family-based band from the highest mountains of Virginia. Whitetop, VA, is an area rich in the old time music tradition; this band has deep roots in mountain music. The members have done much to preserve the Whitetop region’s style of old-time fiddling and banjo picking and are legendary musicians and teachers of the style.

At the same time, Whitetop Mountain Band shows are very versatile and entertaining, containing everything from fiddle/banjo instrumentals to powerful solos and harmony vocals on blues, classic country, honkytonk, traditional bluegrass numbers, old-timey ballads, originals, and four-part mountain gospel songs. Shows also include flatfoot dancing. The band is well known for their high energy and charisma on stage.

The Whitetop Mountain Band is one of the most popular dance bands of the Appalachian Mountains. They have a great following at square dances all over Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky at venues like the Carter Family Fold. The band has also performed at all sorts of venues throughout the United States from festivals to concerts, competitions, and colleges. The Smithsonian Folklife Festival, National Folklife Festival, World Music Institute in NYC, Carter Family Festival, Dock Boggs Festival, World Fair, Virginia Arts Festival, Floydfest, Ola Belle Reed Festival, and Merlefest are a few of the many festivals the band has performed at. They were featured on the NCTA Crooked Road Music tour of California, Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho in October 2007 and the East Coast tour of MD, VA, PA, NJ, WV and D.C. in 2010. The band members have toured overseas in the UK, Ireland, and Australia. WTMB has also taught and been master musicians/dancers for workshops and classes in fiddle, banjo, guitar, vocals, and dance all over the US. Some of these include Swannanoa Gathering in Asheville, NC, Cowan Creek Music School, KY, Mountain Music School in Big Stone Gap, and Mt Rogers Combined School.

The band currently has recordings on Mountain Roads Recordings, Arhoolie Record Label, and Virginia Foundation of the Humanities. The band members have also been recorded by June Appal and Heritage and on fiddle compilations for Rounder Records.

The Whitetop Mountain Band has been featured in many books, magazines, and TV/radio shows about Appalachian music such as The guide to the Crooked Road, A Hotbed of Musicians, Strings of Life, In Good Keeping, Country Music Television, Travel Channel, PBS, Old Time Herald, and many TV news and radio programs.

Lineup for 2014 tour
Emily Spencer (banjo, vocals), Martha Spencer (guitar, fiddle, vocals), Jackson Cunningham (mandolin, vocals), Debbie Bramer (bass), Chris Testerman (fiddle)

The Whitetop Mountain Band is still carried on today by Thornton Spencer on fiddle, and Emily Spencer on banjo and vocals. Their daughter Martha Spencer plays with the band as well. She is a multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, vocals) and dancer. She has taken part in many Master flatfoot dancing workshops and performances also. Jackson Cunningham, plays mandolin, guitar, and vocals in the band. Jackson has also played music since early childhood. He grew up in a musical family as well and has performed in several bluegrass and old time groups from the West Coast to the East. He also has sung in duet and trio groups as well and has recordings out on the VFH label. Jackson also plays clawhammer banjo and harmonica. Debbie Bramer, originally from Michigan, moved to Fancy Gap, Virginia in the early 90s. Debbie plays bass and dances in the band. Debbie has been a member of several clogging teams and been active in many dance workshops and competitions. Chris Testerman grew up in Whitetop and learned fiddle from Emily Spencer while attending Mount Rogers school.

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28 August 2014

Oldtown Rounders at the Electric Picnic, 31 Aug. 2014

Thanks to Ray O'Brien for passing on the news from Seán Óg McKiernan that the Oldtown Rounders (above) from Galway will be playing at 9.30 p.m. on Sunday 31 Aug. at Jimmie Lee's Juke Joint in this year's Electric Picnic at Stradbally, Co. Laois. See Ray's 'Bluegrass in Ireland' Facebook page.

The Rounders play traditional and contemporary bluegrass inspired by the likes of Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, Bryan Sutton, etc., and have a residency at An Púcán on Forster St. in central Galway city, where they are playing every Friday during the summer from 7.00 to 9.00 p.m.

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27 August 2014

New features and news of Omagh 2014: update

Cup O' Joe from Armagh; see below for the link to their new website

Thanks to Richard Hurst at the Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, Co. Tyrone, for more news and details of this coming weekend's 23rd Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival.

Everyone interested in the history of bluegrass music will be glad to know that Omagh's national treasure, the world-class country music record collector and historian Rodney McElrea, will be giving the McAuley Lecture on Saturday 30 Aug. (1.00-2.00 p.m.) in the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies. This year’s subject is 'Women in bluegrass', and the lecture is guaranteed to be worth hearing whether you have Murphy Henry's book on the subject or not.

The Friday night ‘Party in the Park‘ experiment is aimed at introducing a new audience to the world of bluegrass and old-time music. Gaining further major exposure for the Festival and the artists, April Verch will feature on RTÉ's John Murray Show on Thursday morning next (28 August), followed by Love Canon on the Sean O’Rourke Show a little later on the same day.

The Open Mic Stage will be running this year in the Pennsylvania Barn, and only on Saturday; it is fully booked at present. Richard writes:

I am sure you know about Cup O’ Joe travelling to IBMA in October to perform on the Youth Stage? [See the BIB post immediately before this.] Happy to think we had a part in getting them there. They will perform on Open Mic on Saturday and contribute to church service in Omagh Methodist church on Sunday morning.

Update 27 Aug.: You can see some of these details and make bookings online via the Park's latest e-newsletter.

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Phill Morley, British bluegrass pioneer

Thanks to the Prescription Bluegrass Blog for making the BIB aware of this morning's news from the British Bluegrass Music Association (BBMA) of the death of Phill Morley (photo as on the PBB), founder member of the BBMA, and founder in the 1970s of the British Bluegrass & Old Time Music Newsletter, the forerunner of today’s British Bluegrass News. The full text of the BBMA announcement can be read here. Please note the words 'In BBN No 70 [...] we hope to publish an appreciation of Phill’s many contributions to the British bluegrass scene.'

The BIB hopes that the work of chronicling the pioneers of bluegrass - and not only in Britain - will be stimulated as a result. This is not just a matter of who wins an EBMA European Bluegrass Pioneer award; it's a duty that falls on the bluegrass 'community' in each country, whatever use may be made of the information. Dave Morriss's 'British Bluegrass Veterans' Facebook page is an invaluable source, especially for its photo archive, and we're glad to see that Dave has begun a written history of traditional bluegrass in the UK. The time for action is now, when the people who can put names and dates to those photos are still around.

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26 August 2014

New season opens at Naul with Whitetop Mountain Band, 5 Sept. 2014

Thanks to the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre in Naul, Co. Dublin, a good friend to bluegrass and related music in the Dublin region, for their latest e-newsletter, giving details of coming events at the Centre up to 13 September. All shows begin at 8.30 p.m. Following on from the BIB post of 13 August, the Centre announces that its new autumn/ winter brochure is now available and can be downloaded here.

The most immediate news for BIB readers is that the new concert season opens on 5 Sept. with the Whitetop Mountain Band from Virginia. See this link, together with earlier BIB posts, for more about the band; and see the post of 13 Aug. and the BIB calendar for the other dates they'll be playing in Ireland.

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Pilgrim St at the Electric Picnic, 29 Aug. 2014

Thanks to Eugene Donegan for the latest news of Pilgrim St (above) from Navan, Co. Meath, who made their debut as a band just three weeks ago (see the BIB for 5 July), and are clearly already going places. Their new website is up and running; and at 5.00 p.m. this coming Friday (29 August) the band will be playing the Salty Dog stage at the 2015 Electric Picnic at Stradbally, Co. Laois. Eugene adds:

If there is any bluegrass or old-time country fans, we would love to see them.

The band lineup is Peadar Farrelly (guitar, vocals), Richie Farrelly (guitar, vocals), Eugene Donegan (banjo, vocals), Cathal McQuaid (fiddle), Eoin McDonnell (mandolin), Mack Lynch (dobro), and Francis McGinn (bass), and their repertoire includes songs from Bill Monroe, Woody Guthrie, Leadbelly, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs & Lester Flatt, and Hank Williams.

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25 August 2014

A guide to IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2014

On another version of this image, the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) says 'You're invited'. Everyone taking up the invitation to this year's IBMA World of Bluegrass (30 Sept.-4 Oct.) can now make use of not just the online brochure mentioned in the image (and accessible here), but also a further illustrated guide to making the best use of one's time, and having the best time, at WOB.

In 2013 the IBMA held WOB, its annual business conference, trade show, and festival, in Raleigh (North Carolina) for the first time, and it seems to have been acknowledged on all sides as a great success for the IBMA and the city alike.

The BIB has recently mentioned Ted Lehmann's 'Bluegrass, books, and brainstorms' blog; and this morning Ted published a new post, 'How to negotiate IBMA World of Bluegrass 2014 - preview & guide'. This is packed with information, good advice, a street plan, and many photos taken at last year's event. As Ted says, 'IBMA has made it much easier to PLAN your experience', and his 'preview and guide' is a further helping hand. Among the attractions: Cup O’ Joe from Armagh will be performing on the Youth Stage at Raleigh.

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22 August 2014

4 Wheel Drive - bringing a new album to Omagh

4 Wheel Drive with Jolanda Peters: (l-r) Jurgen Biller, Joost van Es, Jolanda, Alfred Bonk, Ulli Sieker, Jan Michielsen (photo: Jan Lenting)

Next weekend's 23rd Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival in the Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, Co. Tyrone, has many treats in store for bluegrass fans in this island; and for many, it will be a particular treat to see again the multi-award-winning band 4 Wheel Drive, based in Utrecht (NL).

They have been making friends and fans here since the band's first Irish appearance at the 2001 Athy Bluegrass Festival, and there's a special reason to look forward to this year's visit. Thanks to Joost van Es, fiddler and vocalist of 4 Wheel Drive, for the news that their new CD, Traveling kind, will be available at Omagh on Saturday 30 August.

The CD's official release will be on Monday 1 September, when the band, featuring Jolanda Peters, will be back in the Netherlands, marking the event by launching the ‘Pearl Sessions’ (‘Parel Sessies’) - a new series of forty Monday-night live-music shows at De Parel van Zuilen, a beautiful riverside venue in Utrecht. To round off a very busy week (and substantiate the name of the new CD), they'll be in Switzerland on 6 September as headliners at the 16th Sunny Mountain Bluegrass Festival.

The ‘Pearl Sessions’ - organised by Joost, who also produced the new 4WD album - will feature many national and international artists in the bluegrass, traditional music, folk music, and singer/songwriter genres, such as the Blue Grass Boogiemen, Jussi Syren & the Groundbreakers, Pam MacBeth, Amy Speace & Cara Luft, David Munnelly, the Mystiqueros, the High & the Lonesome, Red Herring, Monroe, the Louvat Bros, and many, many more. Tickets for ‘Pearl Sessions’ shows are €15 / €12 / €10.

On 1 September at the inaugural ‘Pearl Session’, Joost will also be announcing the name of the main artist who will head the bill at the 3rd Gulpener Bluegrass Festival Utrecht on 14 May 2015. Tickets for the Festival - also to be held at De Parel van Zuilen - will be sold from 1 September onwards. Tickets may go quickly, as the main bluegrass artist will be appearing nowhere else in the Netherlands and Belgium. For bluegrass fans this means: keep an eye on the De Parel website, where online bookings can be made.

De Parel van Zuilen, Burg. Norbruislaan 17, 3555ED Utrecht, the Netherlands; phone +31-653-740054

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Irish Steel Guitar Festival in Dublin, 18-19 Oct.

Thanks to Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland for information on this year's Irish Steel Guitar Festival, which will take place on the weekend 18-19 October at the Green Isle Hotel, Newlands Cross, Dublin 22, and will feature Buck Reid (USA; photo) as the headliner, together with many other leading players from these islands and the Continent. Dobroists are included! More details, including directions and assistance for booking rooms at the Green Isle Hotel, can be found on the Irish Steel Guitar Association website.

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21 August 2014

Programme for 6th Balla Bluegrass Festival, 24-7 Oct. 2014

Thanks to Tom Lyons (second from right in this fine photo of the Rocky Top String Band at this year's Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival) for news of the 6th Balla Bluegrass Festival in Balla, Co. Mayo, coming two months from now, on the bank holiday weekend in late October. The venues are Mannions and the Olde Woods on Balla's main street.

Fri. 24th: Tall Pines String Band, Mannions, 8.00 p.m.; Down and Out Bluegrass Band, the Olde Woods, 10.30 p.m.

Sat. 25th: Hickory Wind, the Olde Woods, 8.00 p.m.; Tim Rogers & the Clew Bay Critters, Mannions, 10.30 p.m.

Sun. 26th: Band TBA in Mannion's, 3.00 p.m.; John Nyhan String Band, Mannions, 8.00 p.m.; the Bread Winners, the Olde Woods, 10.30 p.m.

Mon. 27th: Colonel Bullshot Rides Again, Mannions, 7.00 p.m.

Tom adds: 'As usual we will have a raffle over the weekend for a guitar.' More info from Chris Mannion (094 9365093) or Tom Lyons (087 2296018; 094 9365200; e-mail).

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Cabin Sessions in Dundrum, Dublin, 28 Aug. 2014

Gerry Fitzpatrick announces the next show in the Cabin Sessions series, 'Acoustic Music at its Finest', at Uncle Tom's Cabin in south Dublin (not far from Dundrum Luas station in the city direction):

The August edition of the Cabin Sessions will take place next week on Thursday 28th. In addition to the Cabin Crew - Spats (gtr), Con (bs), Gerry (dob), Cathy (fdl), Christian (hca) - our special guests will be Gary Fitzpatrick (alt.folk), Melina Malone (contemporary), and Nik Hennessy (folk/country). 9.30-11.30 p.m., adm. FREE. Hope to see you there!

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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20 August 2014

Photos from Mohill Festival

Ray O'Brien announces that eight photos taken by Des Butler at the Mohill Bluegrass Festival (8-10 Aug.), and showing participating bands on stage, in the bar, and in the 'jam marquee', can now be seen on Ray's Bluegrass in Ireland Facebook page. Plenty of positive comments about the weekend are also on the Festival's own Facebook page.

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19 August 2014

British Bluegrass News

The BIB editor reports:

The August 2014 issue of British Bluegrass News, the quarterly journal of the British Bluegrass Music Association, has just reached us, and as usual it's produced and edited to high standards and packed with good things - several of which have an Irish connection. The main features are interviews with Dolly Parton (with strong emphasis on the place of bluegrass in her life and work); British bluegrass pioneer Tom Travis (on the scene in England in the 1960s); and Bruce Molsky.

The Irish connections come in a feature on Dublin's Paddy Kiernan; a half-page letter from Christy Clements (also of Dublin) on the experience of Sore Fingers Week; and the latest article in an advisory series by master fiddler Ivor Ottley. This one is on playing in jams, with some essential tips on jam etiquette (e.g: 'above all, play less, look and listen more'). Ivor illustrates some points from his experiences in learning East Clare fiddle style some years ago.

Oh yes - and among the full-page colour ads for the Gower, Didmarton, and Moniaive festivals and the Shackleton banjo (a further Irish connection there), there's one for the Sons of Navarone, an award-winning Belgian band who've made a place for themselves on the circuit in Britain and would go down well over here too. And their banjo-player was born in Dublin...

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18 August 2014

More from Brookfield Knights

Another in the endless line of critically acclaimed new acoustic string bands that the States are producing and Brookfield Knights are bringing over: Betty and the Boy from Eugene, Oregon, are due to be in these islands for the whole of September 2015. Betty and the Boy (website and Facebook) consist of Josh Harvey (mandolin, banjo, harmonica, vocals), Bettreena Jaeger (guitar, vocals), Jon Conlon (upright bass), Michelle Whitlock (violin), and Nanci McDonald (cello).

They identify themselves as 'folk/minimalist/acoustic'; others use such words as 'folk/classical' and 'baroque pop'. There's no discernible link to bluegrass or old-time here, but many videos of them are on YouTube and two audio samples are on the Brookfield Knights web page for event organisers and venue owners who are looking for this kind of band.

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Ricky Skaggs in 'Masters of Tradition' festival, Bantry, 20 Aug. 2014

Thanks to Des Butler for the news that fourteen-time Grammy winner Ricky Skaggs is taking part in the Masters of Tradition festival held this week in Bantry, west Co. Cork. The festival extends from Wednesday 20 August to Sunday 24 August, and Ricky will be joined by fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill at the opening concert at 7.30 p.m. on Wednesday in the Maritime Hotel. Tickets were €45; we say 'were', because the concert is now shown as sold out. As Des remarks, it seems a pity that this is the only show by Ricky Skaggs in Ireland on this trip.

Also on the Bantry programme is Virginia fiddler and flatfoot dancer Cleek Schrey, who is listed as appearing on the Wednesday concert with the Brock McGuire Band, and also on Friday 22nd with Iarla O Lionaird and Ivan Goff.

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17 August 2014

Open for bookings in Ireland, 3-8 Aug. 2015

Following on from the BIB post of 8 August, Loudon Temple of the UK's Brookfield Knights agency reports that Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellies (USA) are already booked for four UK festivals in 2015.

The confirmed dates for their tour in these islands next summer include one in Belfast on Sunday 9 August 2015, and Loudon would like to be able to put together a full week of dates for them in Ireland, beginning on the previous Monday, 3 August. Promoters and event organisers should contact the agency by e-mail.

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Programme for Dunmore East

Thanks to Mick Daly for issuing (and Ray O'Brien for forwarding) the places, times, and other details of all shows at the coming weekend's 20th Guinness International Bluegrass Festival at Dunmore East, Co. Waterford - a powerful lineup headed by the Boxcar Preachers (USA) on a return visit to Dunmore East, supported by plenty of talent from this island. The brochure, in pdf format, can also be downloaded here.

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16 August 2014

Old-time music at the Glenside, 20 Aug. 2014

The 'Three Rock Mountain String Ensemble' on the open mic stage at Omagh, Sat. 1 Sept. 2012 (photo: Des Butler)

The BIB editor announces:

For anyone who's been to the weekly Old Time Music Dublin session at the Thomas House next Monday and still needs a hair of the dog 48 hours later - Cathal Cusack (guitar), Tim Hawkins (fiddle), and Richard Hawkins (banjo) will be playing upstairs at the Glenside, Landscape Road, Churchtown, Dublin 14, on Wednesday 20 August from about 8.30 to 10.30 p.m. We plan to do likewise on the third Wednesday of every month.

NB: (1) This is not a performance or gig (the photo above shows one of our rare public appearances). We've always enjoyed playing this music informally in private. Thanks to the Glenside, we can now play it (equally informally) where others who like old-time music can hear it if they wish.

(2) This is not an open jam. We'll be working through the titles on the following lists, usually by playing e.g. all the D tunes, then all the G tunes, etc.; not all will get played in any one evening! Pickers who know any of the tunes may like to try fitting in on them. From time to time tunes may be added to the lists - or dropped.

D tunes
Angeline the baker
Duck River
Ducks on the millpond
Over the waterfall
Polly put the kettle on
Soldier’s joy
Swannanoa waltz
Western country/ Old Susanannah

G tunes
Cotton-eyed Joe (Rayna Gellert version)
Flat Woods
Fly around my pretty little miss
Indian nation
Lazy John
Sail away ladies
Squirrel Hunters
Tombigbee waltz
Turkey in the straw

A tunes
Bill Cheatham
Billy Wilson
Buffalo gals
McLeod's reel
My own house (waltz)
Rabbit, where's your mammy (2 pt)
Sandy boys
Pretty little gal (Illinois tune)
Sugar in the gourd
Wolves a-howling

'A modal' tunes
Betsy Likens
Cold frosty morning
Kitchen girl
Santa Anna's retreat
Shady Grove

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15 August 2014

EBMA to receive IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award

On 13 August the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) announced the names of nominees for this year's Bluegrass Music Awards, and also the names of those who will receive Distinguished Achievement Awards. The five names in the latter list include Bill Keith, Deering Banjos - and the European Bluegrass Music Association.

The BIB congratulates the EBMA on this honour. IBMA Distinguished Achievement Awards are made for 'significant contributions to bluegrass music' and to those who have 'proven to be forerunners in their particular field of endeavor, and/or fostered bluegrass music's image with developments that will broaden the music's recognition and accessibility'.

The full list, with citations, can be seen here. The awards will be presented at a Special Awards luncheon at IBMA's World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC, on Thursday 2 October (the main IBMA awards show comes later that day). Present to receive the EBMA's award will be several of its board members - Angelika Torrie (CH), Rienk Janssen (NL), Christopher Howard-Williams (F), Chris Keenan (IRL), and Martino Coppo (I).

Two very minor points about the IBMA's press release: the EBMA was founded in 2001, not 1995 (the date of its predecessor, the European Bluegrass Network); and the citation for Bill Keith may not quite do justice to the man second only to Earl Scruggs as most influential 5-string banjo player of the late twentieth century. We also hope that it may be possible for Paolo Dettwiler (CH) - chairman of the EBMA 2001-8, and for years also the International representative on the IBMA board - to be at the award presentation, as without him there would probably be no EBMA.

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