07 July 2013

News digest #25

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN, issued on 27 June a press release announcing that as from 12 July 2013, Gibson RB-Granada Mastertone #9584-3, the personal instrument of Earl Scruggs, father of bluegrass banjo, will go on display for the first time.

#9584-3 will appear as part of the 'Precious jewels' display of historic instruments, which include the Martin D-28 used by Earl's longtime musical partner Lester Flatt, and the Gibson F-5 mandolin used by the onetime boss of Lester and Earl, Bill Monroe. Detailed descriptions and photos of this Granada are here and in Jim Mills' book Gibson Mastertone flathead banjos (2009).

Mills points out that this banjo has worked hard with just four successive owners, all professionals, since leaving the factory. Its first owner, Fisher Hendley, also lent it to Wade Mainer for use on radio broadcasts.


Thanks to Petra of the Czech fiddle-and-banjo duo Pe & Pe (mentioned on the BIB on 11 Jan. 2013) for the news that they return to Ireland this month for a trip beginning and ending in Dublin, visiting the Hughes Pub and the Cobblestone for seisiún, and also taking in Killybegs, Ardara (for the 6th Bluegrass Festival), and Donegal town.


The BIB mentioned on 2 July that the Canadian all-woman string band Oh My Darling will begin a seven-week tour of Europe on 18 July, including their one appearance in Ireland, on 4 Aug. in Bangor, Co. Down. The Brookfield Knights agency in the UK announces that Oh My Darling are scheduled to tour these islands for almost a month next year (5-28 Sept. 2014), and promoters are invited to indicate interest in booking them in that period. They are expected to have a new CD out before then.


Finally, Leroy Troy (known and admired in Ireland for his appearances at many Johnny Keenan Banjo Festivals) can be seen and heard on Bluegrass Today playing a medley of patriotic American tunes in honour of 4 July. This video (also on YouTube) is an impressive display of Leroy's characteristic clawhammer style.

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