10 February 2014

Stray Birds this week; Jim Lauderdale next month; and MerleFest news

The Stray Birds (photo: Jake Jacobson)

The Stray Birds (see photo above) from Pennsylvania are a three-piece band who present American folk music with hard-edged trio vocals, Monroesque mandolin work, and lyrical clawhammer banjo and fiddle. Their music can be sampled on YouTube, and their schedule is:

Tues. 11 Feb.: The Red Room, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone
Wed. 12 Feb.: The Black Box, Belfast, 7.00 p.m.
Thurs. 13 Feb.: Raheen House Hotel, Clonmel, Co. Tipperary (Clonmel World Music series)
Fri. 14 Feb.: The Lodge, Mallow, Co. Cork
Sat. 15 Feb.: Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Sun. 16 Feb.: Whelan's Upstairs, Wexford St., Dublin 2

The final show is presented by Musiclee.ie, who announce: 'A sold-out show at Celtic Connections is a sign that the news has crossed the Atlantic. Advance booking for their first Dublin concert is recommended.' The show at Whelan's begins at 8.30 p.m.; admission is €15 (€13 if reserved in advance).

Thanks to Ray O'Brien for forwarding news from Paul Foley of the Ubangi Stomp Club in Dublin, which will present Grammy-award-winning songwriter and performing artist Jim Lauderdale at the same venue, Upstairs at Whelan's, on 3 March. Tickets €12 euro, available in advance from WAV tickets.

As the Ubangi release points out, Jim Lauderdale is one of the most respected artists working on the bluegrass, country, and Americana music scenes; to bluegrassers he is especially well known for his close collaborations on record with Dr Ralph Stanley, and his latest album, Old time angels, received a 'Highlight' review in the Feb. 2014 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited. He will be in Ireland for the 10th Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival (28 Feb.-9 Mar.) No other gigs in Ireland are mentioned on his online schedule, so this is a rare opportunity to see him performing live. A sample of his work can be seen on YouTube.

Thanks to Niall Toner for forwarding the latest e-newsletter from MerleFest, announcing that Merle Haggard and Ricky Skaggs will be on the bill. Full details are also given of the judges (including Niall) for the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest; the panel will be headed by Jim Lauderdale, and the final round of judging will take place at MerleFest, as already mentioned on the BIB on 5 Feb. Read the full e-newsletter here.

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