21 October 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.


Bunratty Bluegrass Festival, 21-3 Oct. 2016

A reminder (as if it were needed) that the Bunratty Bluegrass Festival begins today in Bunratty, Co. Clare, with the main concerts headed by the Demolition String Band (USA) at 8.30 p.m. tonight, Monogram (CZ) tomorrow night at 8.00 p.m., and Barry and Holly Tashian & the E-5 Band (USA) at 5.00 p.m. on Sunday.

Also working hard in the concerts and venue sessions over the weekend will be Cup O’ Joe, Woodbine, Greenshine, John Nyhan & Friends, Leo Hayes & Bill Forster, and Blue Country. Full details of the lineup and timetable are on the Festival web page. See also the BIB post from last week.

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18 October 2016

Underhill Rose (USA) in Ireland, 2-6 Nov. 2016

Thanks to Geraint and Deb Jones of G Promo PR (UK) for the news that the acclaimed North Carolina 'folk-Americana' trio Underhill Rose, 'Asheville’s pre-eminent female trinity', will be touring in these islands early next month, opening with five dates in Ireland before proceeding to Britain for their second tour there this year.

Underhill Rose consists of Molly Rose (guitar, vocals), Eleanor Underhill (banjo, vocals), and Salley Williamson (bass, vocals). They'll be touring with their latest album, The great tomorrow; this has had very positive reviews from Country Music People, the Irish Post, Maverick, and R2, which gave it four stars and called it

simply top-class country music, seasoned beautifully and seamlessly with earworm hooks and bluesy edges, all delivered with instrumental panache and supremely confident singing.

A new single, 'One time a year', will also be released. A portion of the proceeds from its sales will go to Women for Women International. The tour schedule on the band's Facebook shows the following dates over here:

Wed. 2nd Nov.: The Ivy, 33 Main St., Naas, Co. Kildare
Thurs. 3rd: Strule Arts Centre, Townhall Square, Omagh, Co. Tyrone
Fri. 4th: Island Arts Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim
Sat. 5th: Bronte Music Club, 1 Church Hill, Rathfriland, Co. Down
Sun. 6th: Colfer's, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford

The location map on the Bandsintown.com website erroneously shows Colfer's as in the centre of Wexford town. The BIB also (at first publication of this post) believed the same website when it located the Strule Arts Centre in Drumquin; but we've now corrected that.

Plenty of Underhill Rose's music can be found on YouTube. A video of a live performance of ‘One time a year’ is here, and another live performance, of ‘Not gonna worry’, is here. Audio recordings on SoundCloud include ‘Our time is done’ and ‘Love looks good on you’ from the current album.

Underhill Rose are also on Facebook and Twitter. For further information, interview, session or guest list requests, please contact Geraint or Deb Jones at G Promo PR by 'phone (+44 (0) 1584 873211; mobile + 44 (0) 7855 724798) or e-mail.

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17 October 2016

New Breadwinners at the Cabin, 27 Oct. 2016

Gerry Fitzpatrick, organiser of the Cabin Sessions series, 'Acoustic Music at its Finest', announces the Session for this month (Thursday 27 October):

We're back again on 27 October with guests Angel Hannigan (contemporary), Sacre Blues Band (French), New Breadwinners (bluegrass). Also a special appearance by the Gram International Dublin All-Stars. See you there!

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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Band news

The Cat's Meow, from Mohill, Co. Leitrim, recently lost their longtime bass player, who had to withdraw owing to pressure of other commitments. Call the band at (071) 963 1790 if you are, or know of, a prospective new bass player.
Ten days ago Cup O' Joe posted on their Facebook a video of them playing 'Just the way it is' and 'Stuck in the middle with you' with Niall Murphy on fiddle.
The Henry Girls announce that this coming Sunday (23 Oct.) at 1.00 p.m. they have been invited to perform at the Seamus Heaney Home Place (45 Main St., Bellaghy, Co. Londonderry), where they will be singing songs linked to the area and the poetry alongside the talented chef Emmett McCourt, who will be making a selection of dishes inspired by Heaney's 'Death of a naturalist' collection.
Dublin's Prairie Dawgs announce their third and latest album, Time is, their most personal collection of songs yet. It will be launched on Friday 25 November in the Grand Social, Dublin, with special guests (TBA). Doors open at 8.00 p.m.
The Whileaways have also been recording, and fans look forward to hearing some of the new material live at the end of this month, when they will be playing (Sat. 29 Oct.) in the Foxford Woollen Mills, Foxford, Co. Mayo, from 8.30 p.m. Their forthcoming shows include:

Sat. 12th Nov.: The Gig Room, Kinvara Community Centre, Co. Galway, 8.00 p.m. (presented by KAM Concerts)
Fri. 18th: The Glens Centre, Manorhamilton, Co. Leitrim, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 25th: Support for the Saw Doctors (SOLD OUT), Olympia Theatre, Dublin 2, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 21st Jan. 2017: Duncairn Cultural Centre, Duncairn Avenue, Co. Antrim BT14 6BP
Wookalily add these upcoming shows:

Sat. 5th Nov.: The Alley Theatre, Strabane, Co. Tyrone, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 20th Jan. 2017: Clubeo, Leo's Tavern, Crolly, Co. Donegal, 10.00 p.m.
Fri. 26 May: Ardhowen Theatre, Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, 8.00 p.m.

14 October 2016

Guitar improvisation workshop in Kerry, 17-21 Oct. 2016

After the banjo treat yesterday, thanks to Cathal Cusack for drawing attention to this event in the very near future at Valentia Island, Co. Kerry, organised by the Gitarrenzentrum of Remscheid (in the Ruhr district of Germany).

The Gitarrenzentrum specialises in acoustic guitars, with an emphasis on classical, flamenco, and gipsy swing - bluegrass is not mentioned. However, their big-body Calliope-brand guitars, on display at the brand new Dingle Folk Fest in Kerry tomorrow (Sat. 15 Oct.), will be of interest to luthiers and instrument freaks generally. The workshop on swing guitar, improvisation, and composition will be given by Kai Heumann at the Lighthouse, Valentia, from Monday to Friday next week, for five hours each day. Full details, including participation fee, are here. A quote:

Kai’s workshops have a clear message: music must be fun because then learning is much easier.

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13 October 2016

Bob Carlin's Banjo: an illustrated history

The BIB mentioned in March one book on banjo history that has already appeared this year, and in July Bob Carlin, well known as musician and writer, brought out Banjo: an illustrated history, a 256-page hardback.

Published by Backbeat Books (ISBN 9781495011245), it is distributed by Hal Leonard and should therefore be widely available through music stores. Banjo NewsLetter's review calls it 'a major achievement and should be accorded a prominent place on every banjo player's bookshelf or coffee table.' The BIB learned of this from the Banjo Gathering website.

Bob Carlin's publications include The birth of the banjo: Joel Walker Sweeney and early minstrelsy, String bands in the North Carolina Piedmont, and (with Dan Levenson) tab books of the music of Kyle Creed, Wade Ward, and Tommy Jarrell and Fred Cockerham. His name is on several models of open-back banjos from Gold Tone.

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12 October 2016

Bunratty Bluegrass Festival: full timetable and band details now online

A full timetable of events for this year's Bunratty Bluegrass Festival is now online (as shown in the image on the right) and gives the times of the main concerts (8.30 p.m. on Friday 21 Oct., 8.00 p.m. on Saturday 22 Oct., and 5.00 p.m. on Sunday 23 Oct.) and of all sessions and gigs.

A notable feature: the seven sessions to be held before Saturday's evening concert will be on a 'mix and match' basis, 'with musicians from the different groups teaming up with each other to form trios who will anchor sessions at the various venues'.

Eight of the sessions on Sunday afternoon will be held in the Bunratty Folk Park, where normal seasonal entry rates will apply. Booking is essential for the Saturday night concert, and advised for the Sunday evening concert; entry to all three concerts can be bought for the price of two. Details of all nine groups taking part are also on the Festival web page.

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Red Hat Acoustic Music Club - 4th birthday at Naas THIS FRIDAY

Thanks to Paul and Anne McEvoy, organisers of the Red Hat Acoustic Music Club, for the news that the Club's next meeting will be held this coming Friday (14 October). It will be a special occasion, as this marks four years of the Club's existence.

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

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11 October 2016

DanGem cease sessions and lessons

DanGem Bluegrass in Craigavon, Co. Armagh,  announce with regret that they are no longer holding monthly Bluegrass Get-Togethers, with jam session and banjo lessons. The last of a long series of Get-Togethers was held on 28 May in the usual place (the Lagan Valley Island Civic Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim BT27 4RL) and the usual time, from 9.30/10.00 a.m. to noon.

DanGem still offer the largest range of banjos for sale on this island, both 5-string and tenor, together with spare parts and strings, and ship them all over the world. They also stock guitars, fiddles, resonator guitars, and mandolins. Derek Lockhart of DanGem (also bass player with the Harpers Hollow Bluegrass Band) writes:

We may not always be able to take your call, but if you leave your details we will get back to you. Best time to catch us is 7.00 p.m. (GMT) most nights. You are welcome to come and see us but please check or even better make an appointment first: (0044) 07521464125 or (0044) 02838329091.

Derek can also be contacted by e-mail.

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Get off to a good start with the dobro!

Bluegrass Camp Ireland, as they announce on their Facebook, are not usually in the business of advertising. The BIB has no such scruples; and anyhow, Bluegrass Camp Ireland admit that this is a special case.

David Hawkins,* who plays dobro at the weekly Dublin bluegrass jam, has built himself a better instrument and so wishes to sell his previous one, a Cort square-neck. This has itself been substantially upgraded: a new cone, spider, soundhole covers, new strings, bone nut, and ebony capped saddles, making it more playable. In addition, it comes with a Dunlop 'lap dawg' tone bar and pick set, a leather pouch to keep these safe, a Beard USA capo, and a dobro tuition book with CD.

At €360 all in, this seems a good way to begin a dobro career. More details and a photo of the instrument David has for sale are here (click on the image to see the whole package). As Bluegrass Camp Ireland says: 'Contact him please, not us!'

* No relation of your editor, as far as either of us know.

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10 October 2016

The Blue Light Smugglers - every Monday on the mountain

The Blue Light Smugglers trio (above) play in the Blue Light pub at Barnacullia, high in the Dublin mountains, every Monday night from 9.30 p.m. When it comes to mountain music, this is probably the highest bluegrass venue above sea level in this island, as far as we know - see the view from the pub, below.

The Smugglers also operate at lower altitudes, having taken part in the Bruff Bluegrass Music Festival in Co. Limerick at the beginning of this month. More news from them will appear on the BIB in the near future.

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Product improvement

Readers who have previously found that the section 'Links' in the right-hand sidebar was little more than a jumble, with no indication of where to look for anything in particular, may find using it easier now: links that relate to the same general subject have been grouped together, and cross headings have been introduced. In the process of doing this, some further links have been added and more additions may follow. Suggestions for further improvements will be welcome.


08 October 2016

The Unseen Strangers (CAN) - more talent from Toronto

Thanks to Adam Shier, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and driving force behind an up-and-coming Toronto-based band, the Unseen Strangers, for this news. The band - who come from the same vibrant bluegrass scene as the Slocan Ramblers and Foggy Hogtown Boys - were recently playing showcases during IBMA's World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC. In addition, Adam writes,

The band won the Bluegrass Band Competition at Delfest in 2014 and the band's new album Stranger places has been charting really strong Relix/Jambands.com, reaching #3 in the summer. The flatpick guitar instrumental 'Buster' (track 5) has received over 220,000 streams.

Adam supplies links to the Unseen Strangers' bio, photos, and videos; many more videos of them and their punchy newgrass style can be seen and heard on YouTube. Adam ends:

We have never toured Ireland but I think the Unseen Strangers would be a good fit for one of your future events!

The Unseen Strangers (also on Facebook) can be seen below, relaxing:

and ready to go to work:

The Unseen Strangers: (l-r): Matt Elwood, Adam Shier, 
Mike Mezzatesta, James McEleney

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07 October 2016

Your festival - in BU

It's that time of year again, and the October issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine includes (p. 65) an entry form for BU's 2017 festival list. Festival organisers are requested to submit completed entry forms by 3 November for publication in the January 2017 issue.

If you already get BU, you've probably completed your form and sent it in by post (P.O. Box 771, Warrenton, VA 20188), e-mail, or fax (1-800-258-4727). If you don't subscribe (and why not?), the website unfortunately doesn't have a facility for completing and submitting a form online. However, here's what should be entered about your event:

  • CITY of Event
  • STATE of Event
  • DATES in 2017
  • Name of Event
  • Location (name of park, brief directions)
  • CITY.................STATE.................ZIP....
  • Phone (1 only)
  • E-mail (1 only)
  • Web (1 only)

These categories are devised for the USA, of course, but giving equivalent information for here shouldn't be hard. If you run more than one event, a separate entry should be made out for each of them.

PS: Please also let the BIB know your 2017 dates!

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8th Balla Bluegrass Festival, 28-31 Oct. 2016: full programme

Following the BIB post of 2 Oct. giving the full lineup (with links to band websites), the organising team of the 8th Balla Bluegrass Festival are delighted to present the full programme and these poster images (click to enlarge):

Fri. 28th
Mannion's, 8.00 pm: Demolition String Band
The Olde Woods, 10.00 pm: The Raines

Sat. 29th
The Olde Woods, 8.00 pm: Demolition String Band
Mannion's, 10.00 pm: Barry & Holly Tashian & the E-5 Band

Sun. 30th
The Olde Woods, 8.00 pm: The Rocky Top String Band
Mannion's, 10.00 pm: Woodbine

Mon. 31st
Mannion's, 8.00 pm: Colonel Bullshot Rides Again

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06 October 2016

'Cowboy Jack Clement' in Cork, 14 Oct. 2016

Following on from and adding to the BIB post of yesterday: Peter Harrington will be presenting 'Life and music of Cowboy Jack Clement - singer, songwriter, producer, Nashville legend' at the Rory Gallagher Music Library, Grand Parade, Cork city, on Friday 14 October 2016 at 11.00 a.m. All are welcome and admission is free.

The word 'bluegrass' appears nowhere in the Wikipedia entry of 'Cowboy' Jack Henderson Clement (1931-2013). However, in Bluegrass Unlimited, xxxix, no. 11 (May 2005) Thomas Goldsmith's five-page article 'Something a little different can have a chance: catching up with Jack Clement' appeared. Here's a little of what can be seen there.

Stationed in the Washington DC area as a young Marine in the early 1950s, Clement teamed up with Scotty Stoneman (fiddle), Jimmy Stoneman (bass), and the even younger Buzz Busby (mandolin). He and Buzz recorded together and moved to Boston to play on the WCOP 'Hayloft Jamboree', where among those they influenced was a student called Jim Rooney. In the 1960s Clement managed the Stoneman Family and produced their records; others with whom he was closely associated include Mac Wiseman, John Hartford, and Doc Watson. One of his many sayings: 'It don't matter who steals the show as long as someone does.'

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An old friend and a new IBMA board member...

... who both happen to be Silvio Ferretti (left), banjo-player for Red Wine (I) and now the new International representative on the IBMA board, having been elected on 26 September. Silvio takes over from Angelika Torrie (CH), whose work for bluegrass, especially in Europe, has been incalculable.

Silvio is also a maker of fine instruments, and his internationally respected Scorpion banjo bridges can be bought from Kieran Moloney in Galway. Red Wine (as if you needed reminding) played in Ireland this year at both the Westport and Omagh festivals.

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Carter Stanley's last show

The BIB mentioned earlier this year that 1 December will be the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Carter Stanley (on the right in the photo). John Lawless announced yesterday on Bluegrass Today that the Kentucky School of Bluegrass and Traditional Music (KSBTM) will be re-enacting the last show played by Carter on its fiftieth anniversary - Friday 21 October, just over two weeks from now.

The band on that show consisted of Carter and Ralph Stanley, George Shuffler (lead guitar), and Melvin 'Big Wilbur' Goins (bass). Carter's illness forced him to leave the stage after a few songs. The KSBTM team will be recreating the sound of the band from a recording of their last complete show, five days earlier (16 Oct. 1966) at the Brown County Jamboree in Bean Blossom, Indiana, where the foursome was augmented by the bass singing of Bill Monroe's elder brother Birch (1901-82).

George Shuffler died in April 2014, Ralph Stanley in June this year, and Melvin Goins a month later in July, so all that band have now passed on. All except Carter were inducted into the International Bluegrass Hall of Fame before their deaths. The anniversary of Carter's last show will coincide with the opening of this year's Bunratty Bluegrass Festival.

Update 7 Oct.: For a much more detailed (and moving) account of Carter's last two performances, see this major article by Gary Reid on Bluegrass Today.

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05 October 2016

The Dawg in Dublin?

Our contemporary on Facebook, 'Bluegrass in Ireland', reported on 2 Oct.:

Greetings, 'Grassers! I received a query from David Grisman's tour promoter, asking if we would be interested in having the legendary Mr Grisman and his band appear here, in a 600 seat theatre, to the tune of 50 Euro a ticket. PLEASE provide feedback and opinions! It's a terrific thing about bluegrass, the direct line between fans and musicians!

David 'Dawg' Grisman (above), originally a devotee of the music of Bill Monroe, now the Godfather of modern all-options-open mandolin playing, and still passionate about hard-core bluegrass, is indeed a legendary figure. His 'band' may be the David Grisman Quintet, which has included such instrumental wizards as Tony Rice, Mark O'Connor, Mike Marshall, Darol Anger, and Jon Sholle.

As some sort of context for the proposed ticket price, it may be noted that Chris Thile is scheduled to play at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on 21 March 2017, in the Main Auditorium (est. 1,200 capacity). Prices are shown as €28.50, €25, and €22.50 (choir balcony), with a 10% discount for Friends of the NCH.

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Demolition String Band in Ireland, 19-30 Oct. 2016

Thanks again to Uri Kohen in Westport for this news:

Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival has been booking tours for international acts for the last number of years. At the forefront of this side project of the festival is American duo Demolition String Band, who will return to Ireland this October for the fourth time.

During these tours, the band played many venues and made some appearances in some of the country's main bluegrass festivals. This tour will be no different, when the band will return to some of their favourite venues, such as Matt Molloy's (Westport), Charlies (Cork), and Levis (Ballydehob), as well as new ones such as the Crowe's Nest (Cong) and headline shows in the Bunratty Bluegrass Festival and Balla Bluegrass Festival.

For the best part of the tour, Boo & Elena will play as a duo, and at the festival shows they will be joined by Westport-based double-bass player John Scahill.


The BIB shows below full details for the tour dates on the poster image at top; times are as shown on the DSB website.

Wed. 19th-Thurs. 20th: Matt Molloy’s, Bridge St., Westport, Co. Mayo, 7.00 p.m.
Fri. 21st-Sun. 23rd: Bunratty Bluegrass Festival, Bunratty, Co. Clare (concert on Fri. night, various other times)
Sun. 23rd: Levis' Corner House, Main St., Ballydehob, Co. Cork, 8.00 p.m.
Mon. 24th: Charlies, 2 Union Quay, Cork city, with Hank Wedel
Wed. 26th: The Crowe's Nest, Cong, Co. Mayo
Thurs. 27th: Blarney Castle Hotel, Co. Cork, with Hank Wedel
Fri. 28th-Sat. 29th: Balla Bluegrass Festival, Balla, Co. Mayo, 8.00 p.m.
Sun. 30th: Campbell's Tavern, Cloughanover, Headford, Co. Galway

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Roger Ryan's Country Cuts, Oct. 2016

Thanks to Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland (CMAI) for the October 2016 issue of his e-mail newsletter 'Country Cuts', the official CMAI publication, which can be seen here or through the other links on the BIB - in the headnote to the BIB calendar, and near the end of the 'Links' section in our right-hand sidebar.

This issue includes news of the imminent Irish Steel Guitar Festival (15-16 Oct.) in the Green Isle Hotel, Dublin; of a new CD by Hank Wedel; details of the tour by Barry & Holly Tashian and the E-5 Band (USA) (all dates for which are on the BIB calendar); and a talk at Cork City Library on 14 Oct. on 'Cowboy' Jack Clement, whose early career was involved with bluegrass figures such as Buzz Busby and the Stoneman Family.


04 October 2016

St. Beaufort (D/CAN/USA) in Ballydehob and Westport THIS WEEKEND

St. Beaufort: (l-r) Joe Jakubczyk (USA), Henric Hungerhoff (D), 
Derek Ullenboom (CAN)

Thanks to Uri Kohen in Westport for this news:

St. Beaufort are a German-based band who play traditional American music. On their website they wrote the following:

Inspired by stories of the attempts to find trade routes along the coast of North America to connect the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, immortalised in the song by Canadian legend Stan Rogers. The fact that men risked their lives for the sake of exploration, sacrificing everything yet never reaching the Beaufort Sea, spoke to us. In honour of this adventurous spirit, which we hope our music may emulate, St. Beaufort was born.

The band will play two official gigs in Ireland this weekend, and some surprise appearances are expected as well. This Friday (7 October) they will play at 8.00 p.m. at Levis' pub in Ballydehob, Co. Cork, and will spend all of Saturday in the area with more sessions planned for the day. On Sunday they will cross the entire west coast and will appear at McGing's pub, Westport, Co. Mayo.

It is a rare opportunity to hear a German band take on the music we love so much.

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Rackhouse Pilfer on the move in October

Sligo's Rackhouse Pilfer (above), as usual, are showing the rest of us what the phrase 'a working band' really means. In October they'll be touring in Britain, playing every night from the 14th to the 24th inclusive. Before and after the tour, their dates in Ireland will be:

Fri. 7th: McGings, Westport, Co. Mayo
Sat. 8th: 5th on Teeling, Sligo town
Sun. 9th: Voodoo, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Fri. 28th: Gilroys, Enniscrone, Co. Sligo
Sat. 29th: Percy Whelans, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
Sun. 30th: Kilglass GAA Club, Kilglass, Co. Sligo
Mon. 31st: Tricky's McGarrigles, 11 O'Connell St., Sligo town
Fri. 4th Nov.: Coach House Hotel, Ballymoate, Co. Sligo

'Like', 'Share', and some online booking facilities for the October shows are on their Facebook tour schedule.

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Hello world - new album from JigJam out this month

JigJam announce that their brand new album Hello world will be available online on Saturday 22 October. It can also be pre-ordered on iTunes from this coming Friday, 7 October; and if you pre-order next week you'll receive the title track straight away and the rest of the album on 22 October. Lucky fans who saw and heard the band on their recent US tour have already been able to buy it in advance of general release. A tantalisingly brief snatch of the title track can be heard on Facebook.

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02 October 2016

8th Balla Bluegrass Festival, 28-31 Oct. 2016 - full lineup!

Thanks to the organising team of the Balla Bluegrass Festival for this announcement:

It has become a tradition that the Balla Bluegrass Festival is the last big event of the year for our 'community' to celebrate our love to bluegrass music. The 8th Balla Bluegrass Festival will take place on 28-31 October (bank holiday weekend) in Balla, Co. Mayo.

As every year, there will be two gigs each night: one in Mannion's pub and one in The Olde Woods pub. They will be staggered in time so that music fans will be able to enjoy both of the acts. There will be a total of six different acts over the weekend and, as always, some spontaneous sessions. This year's acts are:

Barry & Holly Tashian & the E-5 Band (USA; photo above)
Demolition String Band (USA)
The Raines (Ruth Dillon & Juliana Erkkonen of the Molly Hicks)
The Rockytop String Band
Colonel Bullshot Rides Again

The details of the breakdown of the gigs to come soon, and all news and updates will be available on the festival's Facebook page.

Photos of all acts in the lineup can be seen in the Timeline photos section of the Facebook.

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01 October 2016

Special C.'s 'Fireball' wins IBMA award

Four months ago (28 May) the BIB posted news of Long I ride, the latest Compass Records CD from the Special Consensus, which was subsequently released on 10 June. A Bluegrass Today feature included two videos from the Compass YouTube channel: the title track, and a high-powered rendition of Josh Graves's 'Fireball', with twin banjos (Greg Cahill and Alison Brown), twin mandolins (Rick Faris and Nick Dumas), and dobro and guitar played by Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley (who were the concert stars at the Dunmore East Guinness International Bluegrass Festival in August).

The 'Fireball' video can be seen on YouTube; and there's a link to it on the latest Compass Records e-newsletter, to celebrate the fact that it has just won the IBMA's Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year award. An official list of award winners has yet to appear,* but a lot can be gathered from this feature on Bluegrass Today of fine photos taken at the awards show by Frank Baker, including the one reproduced below.

As recently mentioned on the BIB, the Special C. will be back in Ireland early in the new year; all dates are on the BIB calendar.

The Special C. with their wives at the IBMA awards show
(photo: Frank Baker)

* Update 1 Oct.: Lists of winners have already appeared on Bluegrass Today and the Prescription Bluegrass Blog.

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Quote of the month

Anything you can think of is on that instrument. You just have to find it.

Herb Lambert of Morganton, NC, master mandolinist and teacher, quoted on the Blue Ridge Heritage website. See also this obituary on Bluegrass Today.

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30 September 2016

'Walking in sunlight' - Uncle Dave in musical drama, coming to Ireland

Thanks to Dr Virginia Donnell, professor emeritus of Theatre at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), and one of the production designers for the musical stage play 'Walking in sunlight: the life and legacy of Uncle Dave Macon'. The play is just finishing a run at MTSU's Tucker Theatre (see image below, and here). Dr Donnell writes:

We are touring the production in Ireland in May 2017. We are hoping to book school performances in the Dublin and Belfast areas. These are 'free/no costs' performances in keeping with our mission to reach children and youth. Any help or promotion would be greatly appreciated.

The MTSU Arts description of the play reads:

Walking in sunlight: the life and legacy of Uncle Dave Macon. A musical stage play: Eight youth find the answer to life decisions through the life and music of Dave Harrison Macon.

The legacy of Uncle Dave Macon, the first superstar of the Grand Ole Opry and member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, includes more than his heartfelt and foot-stomping music. His life is a legacy of hope, the pursuit of joy for himself and others, and an indomitable spirit. In the play eight youth learn that we all suffer adversity, and we all receive inspiration. How we respond to each of these determines the trajectory of our lives. Uncle Dave was resilient, overcoming life’s unexpected and often painful hurdles, to live his dream and bring dreams to others. 'Walking in sunlight' connects the youth of today with a classic example of a good man's journey, enriched by the classic, old-time tunes of a past era which have again become popular in the present.

Any offers of engagements for school performances, or other suggestions of assistance, can be sent to Dr Donnell by e-mail.

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Hot Club of Cowtown (USA) back in Ireland, 25 Oct.-6 Nov. 2016

Hot Club of Cowtown in Austin, TX, 2016 (photo: Valerie Fremin)

For lovers of western swing in a powerful trio package, the Hot Club of Cowtown - Elana James (fiddle, vocals), Whit Smith (guitar, vocals), and Jake Erwin (bass, vocals) - will be back in Ireland for a two-week tour beginning on 25 October.

They toured in Britain earlier this year, shortly after the release of their latest album, Midnight on the trail. This coming weekend they'll be at the 20th Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival, and early next week in Algeria on behalf of the US State Department. Their dates in this island are as follows:

Tues. 25th Oct.: Sugar Club, Leeson St., Dublin 2, 8.00 p.m.
Wed. 26th: Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 28th: Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, Co. Kildare, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 29th: Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Co. Louth, 8.30 p.m.
Sun. 30th: Triskel Christchurch, Cork city, 2.30 p.m.

Tues. 1st Nov.: Station House Theatre, Clifden, Co. Galway, 8.00 p.m.
Wed. 2nd: Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, 8.00 p.m.
Thurs. 3rd: Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 4th: Old Courthouse Theatre, Antrim town, 7.30 p.m.
Sat. 5th: Bangor Castle, Bangor, Co. Down, 8.00 p.m.
Sun. 6th: The Black Box, Belfast, 8.00 p.m.

Online booking facilities are on the band's tour page. The tour is being jointly presented by Music Network and Moving On Music.

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