21 October 2018

Welcome to the BIB

The Bluegrass Ireland Blog (BIB) keeps its calendar updated, publishes news received, and adds new features whenever they come to mind. Send in news or queries by e-mail, please; we can't send a direct reply to a comment on a post. The BIB does not do reviews or accept posts with 'marketing messages'.

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


A classic from the Bluegrass Babies

It's been nearly six years, but thanks to Caroline Roberts for this latest press release from the Bluegrass Babies:

Coming to you direct from the beautiful misty mountains of North Carolina, is the Bluegrass Babies’ stonking new video of the all-time classic...

Blue Ridge Mountain Blues!

Directed by renowned filmmaker Ursine Welles [left] and shot in situ amongst the glorious flora and fauna of Blue Ridge Parkway, the Babies pull out all the stops with their dynamic, foot-stomping arrangement. Flo’s fiddle playing lifts the roof, Mo’s mando picking is finger-licking fine, and Bo’s guitar just rings with that hum-dinging rhythm that gets feet a-tap-tap-tapping.

The band flew into Little Asheville Airport last week at the end of an extensive European tour. Sadly the local AFM refused their usual troupe, the Toy Box Singers, a performing licence, insisting that support be drawn exclusively from hometown talent. Happily, though, a veritable host of artistes came forward and a star-studded cast of singers, dancers, and backup musicians was put together.

Said band spokesbaby Bo: 'We were thrilled to sign up multi-platinum-selling Big Bru Brewster for lead vocals, together with some cutting-edge troupes such as the Skunky Bottom Boys and the Possumettes, not to mention the Misty Mountain Minstrels who boast a BIBMA-winning banjo player.

'All in all, it’s been a long wait... but... put on your dancing shoes, hold onto your hats, and get ready to rock-a-bye baby to those big blue mountain blues!'

Yes, the Bluegrass Babies are back and on fire. Next stop – Kentucky!

BIB editor's note: Bru Brewster, like every other distinguished artist who has recorded this classic, introduces his own variations in the text. No disrespect to the Minstrels' banjo-player (though his instrument should have been much higher in the mix), but we can only regret the absence of Wild Woolly Bunton and the characteristic spark and punch he brought to previous Babies' releases. We hope AFM performing rights requirements in Kentucky are less restrictive. Meanwhile enjoy this video - Bo's guitar work is right in the pocket - and look forward to more from the gang in the Blue Grass State. The fully illustrated text of the press release, together with high-quality stills, can be found on Dropbox.


18 October 2018

OTH: the way ahead

The latest issue of the Old Time Herald (OTH) - which is either with or on its way to subscribers - reflects the response to last year's readers' survey, with more features, more previously unpublished photos, more reviewers, and a return of how-to articles with music and tabs. The OTH also sends its annual fall fundraiser. Sarah Bryan (OTH editor and director of the Old Time Music Group) writes:

Over the next few weeks we’re going to be rolling out some new and awesome digital resources, as well as revamping our advertising package, so we’re also making improvements with organizational sustainability very much in mind. But community support remains an absolutely vital part of our organizational sustenance, and we very much hope that you will consider making a donation to the Old-Time Herald (at www.oldtimeherald.org). (Because the OTH is published by the nonprofit Old-Time Music Group, donations are tax-deductible in the United States.)

This year we have a giveaway of some wonderful music and writing from North Carolina, where the Old-Time Herald is based. We’re giving away two items. The first is the beautiful PineCone two-CD set Going down to Raleigh, packed with field recordings of some of the greatest old-time musicians active in North Carolina in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. We’re also giving away copies of Blue Ridge music trails of North Carolina from UNC Press, a guidebook by Fred Fussell and Steve Kruger, that will help you plan a music-filled trip to North Carolina. (Y’all come!) Even if you’re not going to be traveling this way soon, you’ll love the music history and photography, and the CD that accompanies the guidebook. At the end of this fall fundraiser we’ll randomly draw the names of 15 donors, who will receive either Going down to Raleigh or Blue Ridge music trails of North Carolina! (If you would like to enter the drawing but don’t wish to make a contribution at this time, just send us your name and we’ll be sure that you’re included.)

Everyone, as always: we thank you so much. We at the Old-Time Herald are grateful for your support of this magazine, which is, and always has been, a community effort.

No bluegrass fan should forget that OTH was founded by Alice Gerrard (friend of Bill Monroe and Tommy Jarrell, and pioneer woman bluegrasser in partnership with Hazel Dickens), with great support from the late Pete Kuykendall, editor of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine.

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Rhiannon Giddens (USA) in Sligo, Sun. 28 Oct. 2018

Thanks to Alec Somerville for the news that Rhiannon Giddens (of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, winner of the 2016 Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, and deliverer of the Keynote Address at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2017) will be in concert at Sligo on Sunday 28 October.

The venue is the Hawk's Well Theatre (not 'Hank Well's Theatre', as shown here), and tickets (€28 +s.c.) can be booked here. Doors open at 7.00 p.m., and the show starts at 8.00 p.m.
Alec also confirms that the Burren Hostel at Lisdoonvarna can now be booked for the weekend 22-24 Feb. 2019, when the Second Annual Irish Old Time Appalachian Music Gathering will be held. More news about the Gathering will appear on the BIB as soon as possible.

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17 October 2018

Stompin' Dave Allen in Ireland, 15-18 Nov. 2018: booklng needed for 18 Nov.

Thanks to John Roberts of Barking Spider Promotions, Clounlaheen East, Mullagh, Co. Clare, for the news that Stompin' Dave Allen (left; photo by Roy Cano), one of the leading entertainers on the old-time music scene in Britain, will be playing in Ireland a month from now.

Stompin' Dave plays and sings bluegrass, old-time, and rural blues on banjo, fiddle, guitar, and piano, plus flatfoot dancing. He has been over to Ireland on many occasions (see for example the BIB for 3 Sept. 2013, giving more detail on him), and the live reviews he gets would be envied by practically any performer. A lot of his music is on YouTube, including his own channel. The dates confirmed for this year's tour are:

Thurs. 15th Nov.: Colfer's, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford
Fri. 16th: The Market House (Tom Malone’s), Miltown Malbay, Co. Clare
Sat. 17th: Sexton's, Kinvara, Co. Galway

NB: An engagement originally planned for Sunday 18 Nov. has not materialised, and John urgently needs a gig for him on Sunday 18 November. John can supply a P.A. system and accommodation is not needed, as immediately after the gig on Sunday Dave will be travelling straight back to catch the early ferry at Rosslare on Monday morning. If you can offer a booking, please contact as soon as possible:

John Roberts
An Cat Dubh,
Clounlaheen East,
Co. Clare,
V95 N660
Tel. 00353 (0)65 7087564
Mobile: 00353 (0)871330954

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Judelman's Interstate Express (USA) at Athy, 25 Oct. 2018

Thanks to Andrew Ludick for the news that Craig Judelman's Interstate Express (USA) will be playing at the Athy Community Arts Centre, Woodstock St., Athy, Co. Kildare, on Thursday 25 October at 8.00 p.m. Craig will be playing a mix of old-time and bluegrass fiddle music accompanied by Jack Latimer (AUS) on guitar. The duo will be taking part during the following weekend (26-9 Oct.) in the 10th Balla Bluegrass Festival at Balla, Co. Mayo.

Andrew also draws attention to the six-track album Run Mountain by the full trio configuration of Judelman's Interstate Express: Craig Judelman (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Jack Latimer (guitar, harmonica, vocals), and Joe Buirski (banjo, vocals). The album can be heard on BandCamp. The trio have been touring in Britain and the Continent.
Much more of Craig's music can be heard and seen on YouTube. The BIB draws attention to 'Jim along Josie', with Craig's fiddle accompanying Jerron 'Blind Boy' Paxton's singing and old-time two-finger banjo-picking style, both of which sound as if drawn from the same well that Uncle Dave Macon used.

Michael D. Doubler's book Dixie Dewdrop: the Uncle Dave Macon story was published by the University of Illinois Press in September (see the BIB for 22 May). The author, who is Uncle Dave's great-grandson, will be giving a presentation and signing copies of the book at the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol, TN/VA, on Sunday 4 Nov. More details are here. This event is part of the final day of the 2018 Banjo Gathering.

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16 October 2018

Ken Perlman interviewed and reviewed in summer 2018 B.M.G.

The latest newsletter from clawhammer banjo maestro Ken Perlman (USA) announces that his latest record release, Frails & frolics: fiddle tunes from Prince Edward Island, Cape Breton, & elsewhere on clawhammer banjo, has been reviewed in the summer 2018 issue of B.M.G. magazine.

B.M.G., published by Clifford Essex in London, is the oldest fretted instrument magazine in the world. The review, by David Cotton, can be read in full here. To the same issue David Cotton contributes a four-page in-depth interview with Ken, which includes many useful links to videos and other sources. More news of Ken's many and varied activities are on his website.

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15 October 2018

Jaywalkers (GB): new album and tour

The Jaywalkers (GB)*, who took part in the 2013 Omagh festival and opened the Saturday night concert at the 2017 Westport festival, are releasing their album Time to save the world in November, after a successful crowdfunding pre-order campaign. It features ten original songs and a Johnny Cash cover; a video of the first song, 'This time', can be seen in John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today, and on YouTube.

From 1 November to 23 February the trio will be touring Britain in support of the new album, playing fifteen shows before Christmas and ten afterwards.

*Not to be confused with Cork's Prairie Jaywalkers.

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Brookfield Knights: acts touring in summer and autumn 2019

Loudon Temple of the UK's Brookfield Knights agency (BK) asks event organisers, promoters, and venue operators to check over a list of artists on the BK roster who will be touring in 2019. Loudon writes:

There are one or two tours almost completely filled with the odd date still available and others which are just being announced. Please let us know if you can possibly fill any of the slots on tours with availability and/or let us know what might be of interest and provide a steer on what would be your preferred dates.

The following list includes only those acts whose proposed tours include Ireland. If you want information on tours that take in Britain without Ireland, contact Loudon via the BK website or e-mail.

*Woody Pines (trio)      Available for England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, 12 July-4 Aug.

*3Hattrio      Available for Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales, 16 Aug.-8 Sept.

*Double-header show: The Pine Hearts and the Lowest Pair       Available for England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, 2-26 Oct.

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The DBC, milestones, and US guests

The BIB editor writes:

Belated but sincere thanks to the members of the Dublin Bluegrass Collective (to those shown above, and more) for marking a recent significant birthday of mine with a picking party - and especially to Simon Humphries (co-organiser of Bluegrass Camp Ireland) for organising and hosting the event. Carol and I greatly appreciate it. (Historical note: when Bill Monroe passed the same milestone, he was jamming on stage shortly after having a triple heart bypass. As in most things, he set a high standard.)

The DBC's regular jam in Sin E on Ormond Quay last week was especially high-powered, with Midnight Run pitching in on their last night before returning to the USA. Photos and videos from their tour of these islands can be seen on their Facebook; the one on the right, showing Seth Mulder in front of Lissan House, Co. Tyrone, the venue for their last show in Ireland, is one of several taken there.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday 16 Oct.) another US guest from the bluegrass heartland will be at Sin E for the jam: multi-instrumentalist Randy Pasley (left) from North Carolina. Randy is looking forward to meeting everyone taking part.

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13 October 2018

Dan Eubanks releases a single

It seems to be solo project time for the members of the Special Consensus. After last month's news of the project Rick Faris has in hand (see the BIB for 18 Sept.) comes the news that bassist Dan Eubanks (left) has released a first single, 'October in the South', from his upcoming solo album, Look what the city’s done.

More details and a video are on Bluegrass Today. We can expect the band to have product with them, including their award-winning album Rivers and roads, when they're over here in the first two months of 2019.

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12 October 2018

'Rain' from Australia

Thanks once again to Donal McKernan in Australia, who sent us 'Smoky wind' last September as an example of the 'browngrass' music being made by his family, and sent us this spring a link to an article by his father Joe on the life of Turlough O'Carolan (see the BIB for St Patrick's day). Donal has just announced the release of another single by his family band, 'Rain', which can be heard on SoundCloud and appears as Song of the Month for October 2018 on the 'Voices' blog of the Bruderhof religious community. On the post for 10 October you can also find a SoundCloud link and the full lyrics, together with an article by Joe McKernan on the context and meaning of the song.

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11 October 2018

You gave me a song: progress report

The BIB last reported on progress with production of the film You gave me a song: the life and music of Alice Gerrard over six months ago, on 13 March 2018. (Our post of that date includes links to all info previously received.)

The production team now send their latest e-newsletter, including a report on the release on 22 Sept. of the album Hazel Dickens & Alice Gerrard - Sing me back home: the DC tapes, 1965-1969 on Free Dirt Records. The team also appeal:

Thanks to the many of you who have donated to the film over the past year! We need to raise $75,000 in the coming months to cover post production, licensing costs and complete the film by early 2019. Help us tell this story!

Donations to the Southern Documentary Fund can be made through this link.

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New poster for Balla 2018 and dates for Westport 2019

The 10th Balla Bluegrass Festival will begin in just over two weeks' time in Balla, Co. Mayo, to wind up (as far as we know at present) the 2018 bluegrass festival season in this island. The festival now has a new poster image (left), showing all the acts taking part. More details of the lineup are on the BIB post for 14 September.

The image can be seen on the Balla Festival Facebook. The wording at the bottom announces that the festival is in association with the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival; and the Westport festival's own Facebook announces that the dates for next year's event are 7-9 June 2019. Some festival-going regulars are already booking Westport accommodation...


10 October 2018

The Sons of Navarone

The Sons of Navarone: (l-r) Yves Aerts, Thierry Schoysman, 
Guido Bos, Paul van Vlodrop

Thanks to our friends of Bluegrass in Belgium for a reminder of an outstanding European bluegrass band that hasn't yet performed in Ireland - though two of its members have, and the band as a whole tours in Britain and advertises in British Bluegrass News.

The Sons of Navarone won the European Band contest at the La Roche bluegrass festival in 2012 (no easy feat) and the Audience Popularity Award at the EWOB festival in 2016. Their album Nobody's business came out at the end of 2017, with enthusiastic notes by mandolin maestro Mike Marshall (USA) which can be read on their website. They'll be playing at the Kaleidoscoop, Molenweg 50, 2640 Mortsel, Belgium, on Friday 2 Nov.; not many BIB readers may be able to get there, but perhaps we'll see them in Ireland some time.

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09 October 2018

Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones in Britain, 10-23 Nov. 2018

The FOAOTMAD news blog announces an Old Time Extravaganza (left) in Richmond, Surrey, England, starring Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones. Anyone who has seen them on tours in Ireland - as recently as February this year, when they taught and performed at the First Irish Old Time Appalachian Music Gathering and later gave a workshop in Dublin - may be interested to know that their online tour schedule shows other events in Britain up to 23 November, though unfortunately none in Ireland.

NB: the Irish Old Time website announces the dates 22-24 Feb. 2019 for the second Gathering. The Gathering web page is not yet completely updated, pending Bob Denton's return to full health.

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A dream come true - and a bright future

Thanks to Uri Kohen of the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival (above, in yellow cap, among fellow delegates) for this very positive news from his recent experiences in the States:

Last April, I was lucky enough to be invited to take part in the 'South Arts - American Sounds' program in the USA. The program included eight delegates from Ireland, England, Australia, Serbia, Belgium, Switzerland, and France who were invited to see and hear the current bluegrass talents and to give our views of how to better promote American acts outside the USA.

The program started in Raleigh, NC, where we had workshops, exhibitions, and many showcases of the best bluegrass around at the moment. We were also lucky enough to see some of the greatest bluegrass acts on the planet - this was a dream come true for me. Our last two days in Raleigh were during the IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass Festival, probably the biggest bluegrass event on the planet, with over 100 acts and more than 250,000 people over two days.

We then flew to Orlando, Florida, where we took part in another program - Performing Arts Exchange - and were introduced to many art forms based in the South as well as bluegrass.

The whole experience was a big eye-opener, but also a stamp of approval that we are doing the right thing. I forwarded the message, on behalf of all of us, that Ireland is open for business and we will welcome with open arms every bluegrass act that wants to make the trip to our shores.

Last but not least - I booked some existing acts for the 2019 Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, and I truly believe that the future of the Irish bluegrass scene is very bright.

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The Cabin Session, Dundrum, 25 Oct. 2018

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

We're back on Thursday 25 October. Special guests are Joyce Murphy (contemporary), Tom Horan (country/ folk), and Lucas Hennessy (Americana). Hope you can make it along.
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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08 October 2018

Dave 'Sammy' Rohan

Uri Kohen of the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival sends this sad news:

Last Saturday, the Irish music scene suffered a massive blow with the terrible news of the untimely passing of Dave 'Sammy' Rohan. Sammy was a very well known bass player across the entire music scene, but his main love was for bluegrass, country, and honky-tonk music.

He played many festivals and gigs with his band Hickory Wind, and recently bluegrass fans had the chance to hear and see him with Demolition String Band (USA) who played both the Dunmore East and Omagh bluegrass festivals.

We wish to send our condolences to Sammy's family. Bluegrass music in Ireland has lost a great musician and a great friend. May he rest in peace.


Midnight Run (USA) join Dublin weekly jam, 9 Oct. 2018

For those of us, particularly in the Dublin area, who missed Midnight Run when they were here last month, some very welcome news from John Nyhan, who organised their Irish tour:

The classic bluegrass band Midnight Run from Tennessee, who made such a huge impact on their recent tour of Ireland, Scotland, and England, will be back in Dublin on Tuesday next (9th October) before they fly home to the US on Wednesday 10th.

I am delighted to announce that they will join the Dublin Bluegrass Collective for their usual Tuesday night jam in the Sin É pub in Ormond Quay Upper.

I also wish to say that it was a great pleasure to be associated with this band. They delivered some of the finest classic bluegrass ever played on these shores, which sounded fresh every night. Add to the above a great work ethic (while still having fun), great personalities, and communication skills, and you get a band that tick all the boxes.

So bluegrass musicians and audiences alike should make their way to the Sin É on Tuesday night next and give Midnight Run a great send-off back home to Tennessee.

And next week at the Dublin Bluegrass Collective jam in Sin É, multi-instrumentalist Randy Pasley from North Carolina is expected (see the BIB for 28 Sept.).

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07 October 2018

The future of Appalachia's past

The BIB editor writes:

Many of us, in the 1970s or since, will have seen and/or bought at least one volume in the Foxfire series - most likely the one with a chapter on making a mountain banjo. The books were an invaluable guide to life in Appalachia as it had been (and in some cases was still) lived.

A new book, Travels with Foxfire: stories of people, passions, and practices from Southern Appalachia, by Phil Hudgins and Jessica Phillips, is available from the Bitter Southerner website, where you can also find a review by Beth Ward that looks at Appalachia's present, the images of its past that have been formed, and what holding on to those images may mean.

Old-time and bluegrass are not identical with Appalachia, but some of this review will resonate with anyone concerned with issues of tradition and change in these musics.

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05 October 2018

Navá tour begins TONIGHT

Navá, the unique quartet exploring relationships between the musical cultures of Ireland and Persia, launch tonight (Fri. 5 Oct.) a seven-show tour of Ireland, of which tomorrow's show in Belfast is presented by Moving on Music. Navá consists of Iranian brothers Shahab and Shayan Coohe with Niall Hughes and Paddy Kiernan, who - among other activities - are two of the most talented young bluegrass musicians in Ireland. The tour dates are:

Fri. 5th: Bello Bar, Portobello, Dublin 2, 8.30 p.m.
Sat. 6th: Duncairn Centre for Culture & Arts, Antrim Road, Belfast, 8.30 p.m. (doors 7.30, £15 conc.)
Wed. 10th: Sixmilebridge Folk Club, O Gliasain's, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, 8.30 p.m.
Thurs. 11th: De Barra's, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, 8.30 p.m.
Fri. 12th: Mannion's, Balla, Co. Mayo, 8.30 p.m.
Sat. 13th: The Model, The Mall, Sligo town, 8.30 p.m.
Sun. 14th: The Black Gate, Francis St., Galway city, 8.30 p.m.

Navá (also on Facebook) will be playing in Dublin in two months' time for Kaleidoscope Night (Wed. 5 Dec.) in Portobello.

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04 October 2018

Bluegrass Unlimited, Oct. 2018

Among the many good things in the October 2018 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine (BU), the review section includes a review by Steve Goldfield of the album I can hear you calling from Anna Falkenau and Lena Ullman. It's a little misleading about where they come from, but concludes: 'Both musicians play impeccably and with a lot of feeling... These are two skilled musicians from across the pond who filter everything through their own musical experiences.'

Steve Goldfield also gives a Highlight Review to When the sun comes up, the latest album from the Lonesome Ace Stringband (CAN), who will be touring in Ireland early next year; see the BIB for 25 Aug. Around the same time, the Special Consensus will also be touring here; their latest album Rivers and roads (Compass 4709) is top of the BU charts for October.

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03 October 2018

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado headline Bluegrass Jamboree 2018 (updates)

Jeff Scroggins & Colorado will be at the top of the bill in this year's edition of Rainer Zellner's 'touring bluegrass festival', the Bluegrass Jamboree. Also on the bill: the Brother Brothers (Adam Moss, fiddle; David Moss, guitar, cello) and Bill & the Belles (Kris Truelsen, guitar; Kalia Yeagle, fiddle; Grace Van ’t Hof, banjo), the house band at the Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol, TN.

Rainer (who is currently presenting a German tour by Donegal's The Henry Girls) will be taking the three Jamboree acts on tour through central Europe from 22 November to 15 December; the Jamboree page on the website of his Music Contact agency lists at present twenty-two venues in Germany and one in Austria. If you're thinking of visiting a Christmas market over there, why not pick a town that's hosting the Jamboree?

Update 11 Oct.: The news, with more detail, is now on Bluegrass Today.

Update 16 Oct.: Aer Lingus's offers for flights to Christmas markets can be seen here.

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02 October 2018

'Senegal to Seeger' helps feed the hungry

Round about the time when Woodbine are playing at Bob's Bar in Durrow, the American banjo will be celebrated in Chicago. In his latest e-newsletter, Michael J. Miles (USA) - the man who showed that Bach could be beautifully played on the clawhammer banjo - announces:

Friends... Old Town School graciously donated the space next Sunday, 7 Oct. at 1.30 p.m. for me to run a preview performance of 'From Senegal to Seeger' before my western tour. This event will be a fundraiser for Care For Real food pantry who feed Chicago’s hungry and homeless. Please come if you can, or check out Care For Real if you can't. Thanks!


PS: After that, I'll be hopping on a plane with six instruments! Wish me luck.

Michael will be giving other performances of 'Senegal to Seeger' in Arizona and Colorado during October.

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01 October 2018

Woodbine at Bob's Bar, Durrow, Co. Laois, 7 Oct. 2018

Thanks to Tony O'Brien for the news that Woodbine will be playing at Bob's Bar (below) in Durrow, Co. Laois, this coming Sunday (7 Oct.) at 8.30 p.m. Tony adds: 'Always a great night and a fantastic little venue.'

Bob's Bar, beside the River Erkina at the north end of Durrow, is also the focal point for rallies of the traditional 'High Nelly' upright bicycles, and anyone interested in local history should visit its unique museum.

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29 September 2018

Stolen Golden Era banjo alert

After the mention in the last BIB post of the Mules & Men gig in Dublin tomorrow (Sunday), some less pleasant news from a member of the band. On Wednesday Luke Coffey reported on Facebook that his Deering Golden Era banjo has been stolen from a car park in Kingswood/ Baldonnell, Dublin 22. The banjo can be seen (left) being played by Lily Sheehan (guitar and lead vocals in Mules & Men).

Luke describes it as 'a very scruffy, scuffed Deering banjo with a goldish brass tension hoop'. The Golden Era is nonetheless a top-of-the-line professional-level banjo, with all the marks of a quality instrument. Note also the straight-line tailpiece, hearts-and-flowers inlay, and of course the 'Golden Era' block in the fingerboard.

Luke's selfless advice is 'grab it if it's a bargain'; but if you encounter this banjo or hear of it, contact Luke via his website or e-mail; and please spread this news.

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28 September 2018

Randy Pasley (USA) in Dublin for Sin É jam, 16 Oct. 2018

Many thanks to multi-instrumentalist Randy Pasley for the following news. Randy comes from Ashe County, the most north-westerly part of North Carolina, and is now based in Eagle River, Alaska, where he is a friend of Scott Norris. His background as an award-winning performer and as a recording artist, music teacher, and music store owner is outlined on the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area website. Randy writes:

I will be in Dublin Oct. 4-6 and again on Oct. 16. My wife and I are planning to come to the jam at Sin É on the 16th. I play Dobro, banjo, and guitar. I am not planning to bring an instrument over but would gladly participate if anyone has an extra instrument. Mainly I just want to meet new bluegrass friends.

Thanks also to John Denby, mandolinist of Mules & Men, for suggesting to Randy that he contact the BIB. Mules & Men will be playing in the Taphouse, Ranelagh, Dublin, from 4.00 to 6.00 p.m. on Sunday 30 Sept. as part of the Ranelagh Arts Festival.

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Music at Naul in the next month

In its latest e-newsletter, the Séamus Ennis Arts Centre at Naul, Co. Dublin, draws attention to three acts coming in the next month, beginning tomorrow: folk/ trad guitar- and melodeon-player Tim Edey (Sat. 29 Sept.), US country singer/ songwriter Kimmie Rhodes (Sat. 13 Oct.), and folk/ Americana singer/ songwriter trio The Whileaways, consisting of Noriana Kennedy, Noelie McDonnell, and Nicola Joyce (Sat. 20 Oct.). Details, performance videos, ticket prices, and online booking facilities are available through the links shown above.

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TWO IBMA awards for the Special C.

The Special Consensus: (l-r) Nick Dumas, Dan Eubanks,
Rick Faris, Greg Cahill
The BIB is delighted to announce that the Special Consensus (its favourite US visitors, who will be returning to Ireland early in the New Year) have received two of the 2018 IBMA Awards, both arising from their latest album Rivers and roads on the Compass Records label. Rivers and roads was Album of the Year, and the Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year award went to the track 'Squirrel hunters', a traditional fiddle tune arranged by the Special C. with Alison Brown, owner of Compass Records, who also played on the track and produced the album.

Full details of the 2018 IBMA Awards are on Bluegrass Today (Brooke Aldridge, headliner at Omagh four weeks ago, took the Female Vocalist of the Year award). The Special C.'s online schedule at present shows a tour in these islands lasting from Thursday 17 January to Monday 11 February 2019, with no further details as yet. Next month - from 17 Oct. to 28 Oct. - they will be touring in the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, and Switzerland.

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27 September 2018

Midnight Skyracer at IBMA WOB

IBMA's World of Bluegrass is in full swing this week in Raleigh, NC, and is naturally receiving ample coverage in Bluegrass Today; the Awards Show takes place tonight.

Yesterday's BT post on the Wednesday lunchtime showcases consists of fine photos by Frank Baker of three young bands - including nine images of Midnight Skyracer (UK), with Tabitha Agnew of Cup O' Joe (Co. Armagh) on banjo. Midnight Skyracer performed at the recent Omagh bluegrass festival - see the report by Eilis Boland and photos by Ronnie Norton on Lonesome Highway.

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26 September 2018

6th Italian Bluegrass Meeting, Sat. 29 Sept. 2018

The 6th Italian Bluegrass Meeting, organised by Danilo Cartia, will take place in Cremona, Italy, on this coming Saturday (29 Sept.), under the auspices of the Acoustic Guitar Village organisation. The programme includes a concert, workshop, and jam session.

Danilo (also on Facebook) has been the moving spirit of bluegrass music in the Rome area for years; organises the long-running Rome Bluegrass Jam; leads his own band; and plays in other combinations with the aim of bringing bluegrass before a wider public.

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Red Hat Acoustic Music Club: sixth birthday coming up

Apologies to Paul and Anne McEvoy, organisers of the Red Hat Acoustic Music Club, for omitting the news of the Club's September meeting. 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.

Paul and Anne send a reminder that the Club's November meeting (9 Nov.) will mark its sixth birthday.

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Two Time Polka: October gigs

Ray Barron of Two Time Polka announces:

Here are our October gigs.

Cork Folk Festival
Sat. 6th: Upstairs in the Oliver Plunkett Bar, Cork city, 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4222779.

Sat. 20th: The Blue Haven, Pearse St., Kinsale, Co. Cork, 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4772209.

Cork Jazz Festival
Fri. 26th: Hamlets Bar, the Blue Haven, Pearse St., Kinsale, Co. Cork, 6.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4772209.
Sat. 27th: The Blue Haven, Pearse St., Kinsale, Co. Cork, 4.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4772209.
Sat. 27th: The South County Bar, West Village, Douglas, Cork, 10.30 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4891574.
Sun. 28th: The Blue Haven, Pearse St., Kinsale, Co. Cork, 4.30 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4772209.
Sun. 28th: The Briar Rose Bar, Douglas Rd., Cork, 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4291686.
Mon. 29th: The Briar Rose Bar, Douglas Rd., Cork, 6.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4291686.

Ray & TTP

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