30 April 2016

The Bluegrass Ireland Blog: still alive

Although the editor retired from proactive bluegrass blogging on 15 February 2013, the Bluegrass Ireland Blog (BIB) is as alive as ever, keeps its calendar updated, publishes news received, and adds new facilities every now and then. Send in news by e-mail.

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


28 April 2016

Denby, Coffey, & Sheehan in the Leeson Lounge, Dublin, Sun. 1 May

Thanks to John Denby (on left in the photo), mandolinist of the New Breadwinners and the Down and Out Bluegrass Band, announcing a new bluegrass event in Dublin:

Luke Coffey, Lily Sheehan, and I will be playing a three-piece bluegrass set from 6.00 p.m. in the Leeson Lounge on Sunday.

We're trying to make this a regular thing, so any and all support is greatly appreciated.

The Leeson Lounge, a recognised music venue, is at 148 Leeson St. Upper, Dublin 4, just south of the Grand Canal.

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Gary Ferguson and Colin Henry reunite for July 2016 tour of Ireland

Colin (left) and Gary on tour a few years back

Thanks to singer/songwriter Gary Ferguson (USA) for news of his tour in Ireland during this coming July, in which he will be reunited with Belfast dobro maestro Colin Henry. Gary and Colin have toured Ireland together on four previous years. More information, including photos and ample bio details, are here. The dates confirmed for the forthcoming tour are:

Thurs. July 7th: Sunflower Folk Club, Belfast

Fri. 8th: Seamus Ennis Arts Centre, Naul, Co. Dublin, with Charlie McGettigan

Sat. 9th: St John’s Theatre, Listowel, Co. Kerry; bookings 068 22566

Sun. 10th: Tech Amergin, Waterville, Co. Kerry

Mon. 11th: Monroe’s Live, Galway city

Tues. 12th: Matt Molloy’s Acoustic Yard, Westport, Co. Mayo

Wed. 13th: Roots Room, Sligo town

Thurs. 14th: The Red Room, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, with Roy Thompson

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27 April 2016

Remo D. Belli, 1927-2016

Bluegrass Today records the passing of a man whose life work has affected banjo-players everywhere. Remo D. Belli, born of Italian descent in South Bend, Indiana, began playing drums at the age of 12, and in the 1950s set up Drum City in Los Angeles as not just a store, but a meeting place for drummers and drum makers. In 1957 he used Mylar to invent the first successful plastic drum head, and his Remo company subsequently developed a very wide range of heads to meet different requirements - including the needs of banjo-players.

According to Steve Huber, Earl Scruggs first recorded with a Remo head on his banjo in 1961. Remo also manufactured heads for other companies, and Huber Banjos is one of them. Read more on Bluegrass Today and here.

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New Corn Potato String Band album - for release on 1 May

Following the BIB post of 16 April, thanks to Aaron Jonah Lewis of the Corn Potato String Band (USA) for more details of their new album Put on your old grey bonnet, due for imminent release (1 May).

The CPSB consists of Aaron (fiddle, banjo, guitar, baritone fiddle), Ben Belcher ­(banjo, guitar), and Lindsay McCaw ­(guitar, fiddle, Hawaiian steel guitar), who also did the album artwork (above). All eleven tracks on the new album were recorded - live with no overdubs - in Scotland and mastered in London. All the numbers are in the public domain, except 'That hot lick fiddlin’ man' by Cindy Walker and Bob Wills.

The songs and tunes reflect the CPSB's effortless mastery of old-time, early bluegrass, ragtime, Mexican, and more strands of Americana from a wide range of sources: fiddle tunes from Ed Haley, Bill Stepp, Fiddlin' Arthur Smith, and Buck Ryan (not to mention Aaron's show-stopper 'Listen to the mocking bird', with the influence of the unique Scotty Stoneman coming through); a 'Washington & Lee Swing' that draws on the versions of Louis Armstrong and Kenny Baker; the title track, influenced by the great Mills Brothers vocal group; 'Georgia grind', a classic ragtime banjo piece from 1915; the Walker/Wills piece of western swing, mentioned above; the old-time song 'Sunny Tennessee'; and 'Andale y vamos', ­sung in the country dialect of north Mexico (an English translation is in the liner notes).

The CPSB will be in Britain for over a month, beginning on 1 June, on their 'Rollicking + Bucolic' tour (dates shown below), and will be back this side of the Atlantic for this year's Bluegrass Music Festival (2-4 Sept.) in the Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, Co. Tyrone.

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Howard Walker teaches banjo at Lisburn, 30 Apr. 2016

DanGem Bluegrass in Craigavon, Co. Armagh (with the largest range of banjos for sale on this island), announce in their latest e-newsletter that Howard Walker of the Down and Out Bluegrass Band will be giving banjo lessons at this month's Bluegrass Get-Together, which will be held on this coming Saturday (30 Apr.), at the usual place and time (the Lagan Valley Island Civic Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim BT27 4RL, from 9.30/10.00 a.m. to noon) and with the usual schedule:

10.00-10.30 Warm-up
10.30-11.00(ish) Break out time for beginners; rest of players, jam time
11.00(ish) to 12.00(ish) All back together

Howard is also making elegant, functional pick pouches that attach to the banjo, as shown on the Belfast Bluegrass Facebook and his own eBay page.
The DanGem Get-Together combines a jam session for those who are already active pickers, with the opportunity to learn for those who are beginners or just want to listen. DanGem add: 'Bring along your banjos, guitars, mandolins, fiddles, dobros, and bass, or just come along and enjoy. Look forward to seeing as many of you who can attend.' A location map for the Centre is on Dangem's website.

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26 April 2016

Mile Twelve in full voice

Mile Twelve with the Mayor of Cork and John (extreme right)

Thanks again to John Nyhan for this update on the tour by the fine young bluegrass band Mile Twelve from Boston:

Mile Twelve are going extremely well. The audiences are loving them. If anyone out there thinks all bluegrass sounds the same, they should go hear Mile Twelve, if at all possible.

And if anyone has a chance to go to the Mountain Roots Weekend in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, this coming weekend, not alone will they hear the wonderful Mile Twelve but also some other great bands.

Last night in the Village Arts Centre, Kilworth, Mile Twelve gave a super show. Great vocals, great picking with amazing arrangements. Playing some real classics, but what was great was their own songs were wonderful. I can say, not one thing they played I didn't like. Their stage presence, song introductions, showed how really committed they are to putting on a top-class all-around show.

Once again I can say that the future of bluegrass is safe if Mile Twelve are anything to go by.

Update: The second instalment of the band's own account of the tour, with photos and their own tribute to John, can be read on Bluegrass Today. The photo above comes from Mile Twelve's Facebook.

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22 April 2016

For the repertoire of bands in the North

Flatt Lonesome, the young six-piece band based in Murfreesboro, TN, won the IBMA Emerging Artist award in 2014, and are featured in a Peterson Tuners ad in this month's Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. They have also recently worked up an instrumental version of the main theme for the TV series 'Game of Thrones', which can be seen on YouTube or in this feature on Bluegrass Today.

Several of the locations in which 'Game of Thrones' is shot are in Northern Ireland, where public bodies including the NI Tourist Board regard it as valuable publicity; funding to the series from Northern Ireland Screen has (by official accounts) been repaid sevenfold in gains to the NI economy. So it would seem appropriate if music from the series were to enter the repertoire of local bands? Check out (and enjoy) what Flatt Lonesome have done, and form your own conclusions.

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21 April 2016

Mile Twelve (USA) in Ireland till 7 May - see them if you can! (Updated)

Mile Twelve playing in Ireland, from a photo on Bluegrass Today

Thanks to John Nyhan for this report on the first few days in Ireland of the rising young bluegrass band from Boston, Mile Twelve:

Just to let you know that Mile Twelve are sounding great. They arrived on Monday and played the Mill Bar, Sixmilebridge, that night. They got a great response from the audience. Their set included some great classics like 'Any old time', 'Jack o' diamonds', 'The last goodbye', 'Blue and lonesome', and a great surprise was a wonderful version of the George Jones classic, 'She thinks I still care'. To hear it sung by such a young group was something special.

Their original material was also great - some of them written in classic bluegrass style, also an original that could have been written by the great Hank Williams himself. When they wanted to, they could be very progressive. On one original, they played it in different unusual timings. Their arrangements were very well thought out. They had great stage presence. Instrumentally, they would hold their own with the best.

The fiddle playing of Bronwyn Keith-Hynes was incredible. Of course I only learned from herself that a couple of years ago she won the Winfield fiddle contest. I am not surprised.

BB Bowness is a fabulous banjo player; she has great taste and really knows when and when not to drive it... wonderful dynamics.

Nate Sabat is a top-of-the-range bass player... as someone in the audience said, he is all over it. Again, he plays with taste and has great dynamics.

Evan Murphy is a fine guitarist and his solos are very effective. Evan does most of the lead singing, and he sounds great. Nate is also a fine vocalist. BB sang 'Any old time' and made it her own. They all sang harmony in duos and trios - again, very well worked out.

The following morning they played at a primary school in Shannon town. They gave a great show and had a great rapore with the school children - taught them some choruses and had them singing along.

All I can say is that THE FUTURE OF BLUEGRASS IS SAFE with such a wonderful young band like Mile Twelve.

Mile Twelve are scheduled to be in Ireland till 7 May, and all their dates are on the BIB calendar as well as here.

Update 22 Apr.: A feature on the band has just appeared on Bluegrass Today, with four photos, of which one is shown above.

Update 23 Apr.: See Tom Weekes's comment on their Tramore show last night, appended to the BIB post for 23 Mar.

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Wanted: a database for sessions and jams in Ireland

Wendy Connolly of 'Bluegrass in Ireland' puts forward this welcome suggestion on Facebook:

A discussion broke out on my personal page, and a few folks thought it was a pretty good idea. That idea is for a central information/data base for the ongoing jams/sessions throughout Ireland, so that you can find it when you want it, and out of towners can too. I know more than a few Americans who would love to have a place to meet like-minded musicians, while on holiday.

For this to happen we need 3 things:
1) A person with computer skills to form and maintain the site
2) All of you jammers to provide the who-what-where-whens of your jams
3) Participants to take advantage of the info.

As you know, jamming is the heart of Bluegrass. It's where skills are developed, tunes are swapped, bands are formed and gigs are spread around. Oh, and the best part, friendship and community. PLEASE give this some thought, and comment below.

BIB editor's note: I'd be delighted if any such database could be established. The 'weekly sessions' section of the BIB calendar gets revised once in a blue moon, and there must be many instances of sessions being started - or coming to an end - without the BIB being aware. If anyone sets up such a site, I'd be glad of the opportunity to provide a link to it on the BIB.

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Niall Toner's music on 'Nashville'

Two years ago Niall Toner's song 'Lonely souls and broken hearts' was used on the ABC TV series 'Nashville'. A week ago (16 Apr.) Niall reported on Facebook that episode 415 of 'Nashville' will now include two instrumentals that were composed, recorded, and released in 2000 on his first album, There's a better way, on Avalon Records. Niall writes:

'Drunken Daisy' was written as a tribute to a friend in Bunclody, Co. Wexford, who was fond of a pint! 'You gotta have a banjo in the band' was composed after a trip to the bluegrass clubs of England, before we actually had a banjo in the band! So, tongue firmly in cheek... Bill Whelan and Richard Hawkins feature on banjo on this track.

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20 April 2016

The Cabin Sessions, Dundrum, 28 Apr. 2016

Gerry Fitzpatrick, organiser of the Cabin Sessions series, 'Acoustic Music at its Finest',* announces:

Back again on Thursday 28 April with the full Cabin Crew and guests: Mark Lysaght (trad), Clarkesville (acoustic pop), and Aoife Carton (contemporary). Hope to 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.

* BIB editor's note: 'Acoustic' should be qualified a little, as in recent months some of the best music played at Cabin Sessions has been electric guitar duets from Gerry and Spats Davenport, playing blues and early rock 'n' roll.

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Two Time Polka: forthcoming gigs

Ray Barron of Two Time Polka announces:

Hi all,

Our next few gigs are as follows:

Sat. 23rd: Blackrock Hurling Club, Church Rd, Blackrock, Cork. Start 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4357377

Fri. 29th: The Briar Rose Bar, Douglas Rd, Cork. Start 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4291686.

Sun. May 1st: Fertha Bar, Main St., Caherciveen, Co. Kerry. 4.00-6.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 066 9472023

Regards & thanks,
Ray & TTP

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The Knotty Pines in Dublin, 20 Apr. 2016

Omagh's Knotty Pine String Band will be in Dublin today (Wed. 20 Apr.) for an evening gig, the details of which remain secret - but they expect to be in Grafton St. from about 2.00 p.m. playing a few tunes, and will welcome anyone who drops by.

The KPSB, who were the first band from Ireland ever to play at the European World of Bluegrass Festival in the Netherlands, are Aidan McGale (bass, vocals), Declan O'Kane (fiddle, mandolin, vocals), Tony Hutchinson (guitar, vocals), and Seamus McGurgan (banjo, dobro).

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16 April 2016

New release from old friends

News of another new album, and this time thanks to the Australian Bluegrass Blog for the details of Long I ride, the latest Compass Records CD from the Special Consensus, Chicago's premier bluegrass band, whom their leader Greg Cahill has been bringing to Ireland since 1995.

The album was cut by the new (since Nov. 2015) Special C. lineup, with Nick Dumas (mandolin, vocals) joining Greg, Rick Faris (guitar, vocals), and Dan Eubanks (bass, vocals). Guest artists include Della Mae, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Alison Brown, Summer McMahan, and (on twin fiddles) Buddy Spicher and Matt Combs.

But to experience how good the basic four of Special C. are all by themselves, watch this video of the title track, with the band working round a single microphone; they look and sound as if they'd been together for years. This and more details are on the Australian Bluegrass Blog. If you're an IBMA member, consider this album for your vote in this year's awards.

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Programme for 3rd Mountain Roots Music Weekend, Co. Kerry

Following the news that appeared on the BIB on 20 Mar., thanks again to Céline of the Teacht Thar Sáile Folk Club (also on Facebook) in Co. Kerry for this release and programme poster on the 3rd Mountain Roots Music Weekend in Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry, on the May Bank Holiday weekend:

Ritchie and I are still at it and so our third Mountain Roots Music Weekend will kick off for the Bank Holiday here in Cahersiveen. We open on Friday 29 April, when our visiting guests, Mile Twelve [USA], will visit the school (Scoil Sáibhín) and they will share music with local children… who I am sure will love to show off their own talents.

We have a great weekend lined up. Music will include the aforementioned Mile Twelve, Omega Three from Waterford, Two Time Polka, the Dizzy Blues Band, Tradish (Vincent Hyland and Wally Desmond), Cross River Band (Ritchie and I), Mr Bluegrass himself (John Nyhan) and Mick Power. Local talented young bands include the Reel Deal and LayLow. Sessions are on Friday night, Saturdays will be hosted by Paul Evans and Cathal Cusack, and Sundays is aptly called 'Mac’s Melting Pot Session'.

We will also have a Blues Workshop on the Saturday which is hosted by none other than Pat Horgan himself. For those who need a break from it all, we have markets with local artists, and 'Easy Living Therapies' will aid all of those who will need to unwind from the excitement of it all! The Youth Concert is back on, and also our youngsters will busk at various locations around the town on Saturday after lunch.

Again, we are non-profit and just want to keep it Live… the music, that is. We are grateful as always for your support. Please share,

Slain Go Foill,

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New album coming from the Corn Potato String Band

L-r: Aaron Jonah Lewis, Lindsay McCaw, Ben Belcher

The Corn Potato String Band (USA), 'The Eyes and Ears of America', have made a lot of friends and fans on previous tours in Ireland, so thanks to Aaron Jonah Lewis for the news that the band have a new CD, scheduled for release on 1 May.

The CPSB will be in Britain for a month (3 June-4 July) on their 'Rollicking + Bucolic' tour, and will be back this side of the Atlantic - and even closer - for this year's Bluegrass Music Festival (2-4 Sept.) in the Ulster American Folk Park at Omagh, Co. Tyrone.

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DanGem proudly support Mean Mary: UPDATE 16 Apr.

The BIB posted on 25 March news of the coming tour in Ulster by Mary 'Mean Mary' James, banjo-, guitar-, and fiddle-player from Alabama, who will have her new album Sweet with her. The tour begins this coming Friday (15 April).

Thanks to DanGem Bluegrass, who are supporting the tour, for their latest e-newsletter, which gives all the dates, together with this YouTube sample of Mary's music.

Update 16 Apr.: The very latest DanGem e-newsletter adds that on the John Toal Show today at 11.03 a.m., Gino Lupari from Four Men and a Dog joins Mean Mary in telling John about fronting musical gigs night after night - and more.

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15 April 2016

Band news

A few titbits from a scan through the band links in the BIB's right-hand column:

JigJam from Tullamore, Co. Offaly, were still in Florida a week ago; in early May they'll be recording a new album, and in the second half of May they will be on another US tour.

Old Hannah from Sligo will also be in the US in May, performing at CualaNYC‬, New York City's Irish Cultural Festival.

Cup O' Joe from Co. Armagh have four festival dates lined up in the early summer, two of which take them overseas: the Coastline Bluegrass Music Event in north Wales (3-5 June), and the Low Country Bluegrass Festival in Belgium two weeks later (17-19 June).

Nearer home, Pilgrim St will be playing their annual summer gig in the Solstice Arts Centre of their hometown, Navan, Co. Meath, on Sunday 5 June (see poster image); Erdini of Co. Donegal began at Easter a series of Sunday evening sessions at the Chasing Bull, Bundoran, to which musicians are welcome; and Dublin's New Breadwinners have posted on Facebook and BandCamp their recording of 'Mama tried' as a tribute to the late great Merle Haggard.

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14 April 2016

Two more dates for Mile Twelve (USA) tour

A week ago the BIB published a tour schedule for the rising young bluegrass band Mile Twelve (above) from Boston, Mass., who will be in Ireland from 18 Apr. to 7 May. Thanks to the indefatigable John Nyhan, organiser of the tour, for two further dates to be added to that schedule - both of them are morning performances in libraries.

Thurs. 5th May: Mitchelstown Library, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, 11.00 a.m.
Fri. 6th: Charleville Library, Charleville, Co. Cork, 11.00 a.m.

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12 April 2016

No 5-string course at the ATCMS - yet

Two weeks ago the BIB reported that the Andersonstown Traditional & Contemporary Music School (ATCMS) in Belfast would be offering instruction in 5-string banjo, to be given by Tony Curran, among its many instrumental and vocal programmes.

Tony now reports with regret that the 5-string banjo class will not be on offer in the coming ATCMS term as there has been insufficient takeup, and a decision has accordingly been made to withdraw the course till September this year at the earliest.

This is all the more to be regretted, bearing in mind Tony's earlier observation: 'To the best of my knowledge, this is the only music school in Northern Ireland to offer tuition on 5-string banjo.' We hope support for the programme will be consolidated by the coming autumn.

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11 April 2016

Westport 2016: more advance news

Following the BIB post of a month ago when the complete lineup for the 10th Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival was announced, thanks to Uri Kohen for this essential update:

  • A new website for the Festival is being prepared for launching by the end of this month. Uri also draws attention to the Festival's Facebook page and Youtube Channel, to which pictures, videos, and info on past and present festivals are constantly being added.

  • A ticket provider will be used for the first time this year - so a booking fee will be added to the ticket price (e.g. €17.50 instead of €15). Admission is free to all events except those which the BIB shows below in red and blue. Tickets for the main events (red) can be bought at €30 (Friday+Saturday) or €40 (all three shows).

  • Tickets should be ready for purchase online and in many SuperValu/Centra outlets all over the country by the end of this month at the very latest; announcement will be made on the festival's Facebook.

  • Below is the full programme breakdown.

  • Friday 10 June
    12.00 noon: The Creel - Pat & Ricky Kelleher (folk ballads)
    6.00 p.m.: Blousers - Richard Hawkins & Friends (old-time/bluegrass session)
    8.00 p.m.: Holy Trinity Church, Concert: Bog Standard String Band, Old Hannah, Foghorn String Band (€17.50)
    10.00 p.m.: The Clew Bay Hotel - Cannonball String Band
    10.00 p.m.: The Jester - Kentucky Cow Tippers
    10.00 p.m.: McGing's - Hubert Murray Band
    10.00 p.m.: Cobblers Bar - The Molly Hicks
    10.00 p.m.: The Mill Times Hotel - Pat & Ricky Kelleher

    Saturday 11 June
    11.30 p.m.: Westport Town Hall - Songwriting workshop (pay in at the door)
    12.30 p.m.: The Clew Bay Hotel - Red Wine
    1.30 p.m.: Westport Town Hall - Fiddle workshop (pay in at the door)
    2.00 p.m.: McGing's - The Big Bluegrass Session (usually more than one session in the same venue)
    3.30 p.m.: The Pantry & Corkscrew - Dana Sipos (singer/songwriter)
    4.00 p.m.: Matt Molloy's Yard Bar - The Red Room presents 'The Mystery Gig' (pay in at the door)
    6.00 p.m.: Cobbler's Bar - Shane Sullivan (folk & bluegrass)
    8.00 p.m.: Westport Town Hall, Concert: The MacEvillys, Cup O' Joe, Red Wine; €17.50
    10.30 p.m.: The Jester - Erdini

    Sunday 12 June
    11.00 p.m.: Holy Trinity Church - Gospel session with the Foghorn String Band
    12.30 p.m.: The Clew Bay Hotel - Kentucky Cow Tippers
    2.30 p.m.: Blousers - Tim Rogers & Friends (old-time session)
    6.00 p.m.: McGing's - Cup O' Joe
    8.00 p.m.: Matt Molly's Yard Bar - The Clew Bay Folk Club presents Roni Stoneman, First Lady of Banjo; €12


    10 April 2016

    Roni headlines the 4th Clarinbridge Banjo Gathering, 28 May 2016

    Thanks to Tom Cussen of Clareen Banjos in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway, who sends word that in the coming week advertising will begin for this year's Clarinbridge Banjo Gathering - the fourth in the series - which will be held on the weekend 27-29 May. Tom will be posting on Facebook towards the end of the week.

    The poster above is for the highlight of the Gathering: the Saturday evening concert (28 May) in Clarinbridge Parish Hall, presenting the one and only Roni Stoneman (USA), First Lady of Banjo, with Galway's own Oldtown Rounders bluegrass band. Doors open at 8.30 p.m. and the show starts at 9.00 p.m. sharp. Tickets are €10 (€5 concession) and bar service is provided.

    The Clarinbridge Banjo Gathering is sponsored by Clareen Banjos and supported by Clarinbridge Arts Group and Jordans Bar. The full dates for Roni's tour (26 May-27 June) can be seen on the BIB calendar, and on the BIB for 18 March.

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    07 April 2016

    Mile Twelve (USA): complete Irish tour schedule 18 Apr.–7 May 2016

    On 20 March the BIB published news of the rising young bluegrass band Mile Twelve (above) from Boston, Mass., who will be playing at the 3rd Mountain Roots Music Weekend in Cahirsiveen, Co. Kerry, over the May bank holiday weekend. We also gave a preliminary list of the other dates in their three-week tour of Ireland. Three days later the indispensable John Nyhan, organiser of the tour, sent us an account of how it came about, together with a promise of full details as soon as possible.

    So thanks to John now for his tour poster with the complete schedule, from which the following information is taken. Mile Twelve - described as 'a fresh voice in bluegrass music, covering classic and contemporary'  – consist of Catherine 'BB' Bowness (banjo, vocals), Bronwyn Keith-Hynes (fiddle, vocals), Evan Murphy (guitar, vocals), and Nate Sabat (bass, vocals).

    Mon​. 18th: The Mill Bar, Sixmilebridge, Co. Clare, 9.00 p.m.; tel. 086 8464509​​ (​a Sixmilebridge Folk Club Presentation)

    Tues​. 19th: Radio Special Live, 8.30 p.m.; tune in at C103.ie

    Wed. 20th: ​St John's Theatre, Listowel, Co. Kerry, 8.00 p.m.; tel. 068 22566​​

    Thurs. 21st:​ ​Colfer's Bar, Carrig-on-Bannow, Co. Wexford, 9.00 p.m.; tel. 051 561159​​

    Fri​. 22nd: Coastguard Cultural Centre, Love Lane, Tramore, Co. Waterford, 8.00 p.m.; support act Gerry Madden and Friends (bluegrass); tel. 051 391656​​

    Sat​. 23rd: Tigh An Cheoil, Ring, Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, ​9.00 p.m.; tel. 087 9898560​

    Sun​. 24th: Griffins Garden Centre, Dripsey, Co. Cork, 2.00 p.m.; tel. 087 7921771

    Mon. 25th: ​Village Arts Centre, Kilworth, Co. Cork, 8.15 p.m.; tel. 087 7921771​

    Wed​. 27th: The Market House​​​, Milltown Malbay, Co. Clare, 9.00 p.m.; tel. 087 6881650​​

    Thurs​. 28th: Nosh and Coffee, Unit 27, Ballincollig Shopping Centre, Ballincollig, Co. Cork, 8.00 p.m.; tel. 087 2600684​​

    Fri. 29th Apr.-Sun. 1st May: Cahersiveen Mountain Roots Weekend, Cahersiveen, Co. Kerry (various times); tel. 087 1715949​

    Mon. 2nd May: ​Mannion's Bar​​​​, Main St., Balla, Co. Mayo, 7.30 p.m.; tel. 087 2296018​​

    Wed. 4th: ​​Mallow Library​​​, Mallow, Co. Cork, 3.30 p.m.; ​tel. 087 7921771​
    ​​O’Donovan’s Hotel, Clonakilty, Co. Cork, 9.00 p.m., with Gordon and Rosie (old-time/bluegrass); tel. 087 6723156​​

    Thurs. 5th: Millstreet Library, ​​​​Millstreet, Co. Cork, 3.00 p.m.; tel. 087 7921771​​

    Fri​. 6th: Kanturk Library​​​, Kanturk, Co. Cork, ​3.00 p.m.​
    ​Thomas Fitzgerald Centre​​, Bruff, Co. Limerick, 8.00 p.m.; tel. 086 3027976​​

    Sat​. 7th: Rory Gallagher Music Library, Grand Parade, Cork city​​​, 1.00 p.m.; tel. 087 7921771​

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

    BIB editor's note: IMO, all bluegrass enthusiasts should find Mile Twelve a treat; as a banjo-player, I particularly enjoy the playing of BB Bowness.

    Update 14 Apr.: Two more dates can now be added to the final week of the tour:

    Thurs. 5th May: Mitchelstown Library, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork, 11.00 a.m.
    Fri. 6th: Charleville Library, Charleville, Co. Cork, 11.00 a.m.

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    Another giant gone

    Country music legend Merle Ronald Haggard died yesterday, on his 79th birthday. Not least among his many achievements as singer, songwriter, bandleader, and instrumentalist was that he used his own fame as a country superstar to bring great older music such as that of Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills back into the spotlight.

    An appreciation from John Lawless, drawing attention to Haggard's great influence on the bluegrass world, can be found on Bluegrass Today, with contributions by Steve Gulley and James King and a video of a Haggard composition, 'Back to the barrooms', performed by J.D. Crowe & the New South. Thanks to Vernell Hackett for these words from Dale Ann Bradley:

    The bluegrass world loved Merle Haggard. He influenced a generation of people, musicians and fans. I know when my uncle and others left the south in the late 60s and early 70s and went north to find work, it was Merle Haggard who comforted them while they were away from their southern homes. Everybody had Merle Haggard 8-tracks in their cars and they had his vinyl, and his music brought them back home. When you started playing guitar, his songs were the ones you learned first. I think his music is timeless and will always be viable in society. He was just cool, and always will be.

    The IBMA's monthly journal International Bluegrass published in May 2015 a major feature by Nancy Cardwell on Ronnie Reno, whose sixty-year career includes being in Haggard's band in the 1970s and 1980s and recording on ten of his albums. Reno's memories include Haggard telling him: 'Ronnie, I've recorded over 300 songs. I expect you to know all 300. I may want to sing any one of them at any time.' 'And he would,' said Ronnie.

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