31 October 2014

KingBlue take the stage, 1 Nov. 2014

The poster image shows KingBlue members (l-r) Mel Corry, Caolan 'Chief' Derby, Clem O'Brien, Sean McKerr

A reminder that the eagerly awaited debut appearance of KingBlue will be at the Pikers Lodge Hotel, Lough Gowna, Co. Cavan, tomorrow (Sat. 1 Nov.), starting at 9.30 p.m.

This is a milestone in the history of bluegrass in Ireland - the inaugural show by a group with three members who have played in US/US-led bands: Clem O'Brien in Special Consensus, led by Greg Cahill; Mel Corry in Back Roads, led by Buddy Merriam; and Sean McKerr in the International Bluegrass Band, led by Butch Robins.

If you'd like to be part of a historic event, note that the Pikers Lodge is a 21-bedroom hotel - the Lough Gowna area draws many visiting anglers.

Update 2 Nov.: A whiff of the evening comes through on two videos, now on KingBlue's Facebook page: 'You won't be satisfied that way' and 'Panhandle rag'.

2nd update: An album of fine photos from the evening, shot by Michael Barbour, can be viewed here.

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30 October 2014

Old-time instruction, and more

This week's FOAOTMAD news blog carries this poster advertising the January workshops in old-time fiddle and banjo to be held in Slimbridge, Gloucestershire, in the west of England. Click on the image for a larger view, or go to the FOAOTMAD blog, and/or e-mail for more information. There's a regrettable clash of dates with the Shannonside Winter Music Weekend in Co. Clare.

FOAOTMAD also sends news of a seminar on banjo origins at the University of London and Institute of Historical Research on 1 December. Full details are on the blog.
Rayna Gellert (also on Facebook, and other social media) sends her latest e-newsletter with news of instructional old-time fiddle videos online, how to get direct tuition from her, and her imminent first online concert (9 Nov.).
Thanks to Archie Warnock of the IBMA for drawing attention to this online article, 'new rules for the music business', by US singer/songwriter Carsie Blanton. Worth consideration by anyone who's trying to make music and money at the same time.

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Furnace Mountain (USA) at Dún Laoghaire, 4 Nov. 2014: update

Following yesterday's post about the Furnace Mountain show at Drogheda this coming Friday (31 Oct.), the BIB thanks Katelyn Eklund of the Pavilion Theatre, Marine Rd, Dún Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, for more about the show the band will be playing at the Pavilion next Tuesday (4 Nov.) at 8.00 p.m.

A YouTube video of the band can be seen here. Tickets, at €16/14, can be booked online, by 'phone (+353 01 231 2929), or by e-mail. The Pavilion has announced its autumn 2014 programme, which can be viewed here as a pdf document.

After Tuesday, the band will be playing five dates in Northern Ireland under the NI Arts Council's 'Moving on Music' programme. The BIB republished the full tour schedule yesterday, and it is also on the BIB calendar.

Update 30 Oct.: The Pavilion has now issued an e-release about the concert (under the title 'Staggeringly good roots music direct from the Appalachian mountains!'), with a link for booking, news on coming shows, and a video of the band performing last Tuesday at the Sugar Club in Dublin. This video comes from the Music Network YouTube channel.

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A glance at Dublin shops

The BIB editor writes:

Passing by the Some Neck Guitars shop (also on Facebook) in Aungier Street yesterday, we saw in the window display a steel-body National guitar, a round-sound-hole Gibson A mandolin, and a round-sound-hole Gibson archtop guitar. Some of these are not yet on the acoustic pages of the shop's website, so we recommend dropping in to look at the stock.

Not far away in William Street South, McCullough Pigott (Joe Lynch Musical Instruments) has a Korala bass ukulele for sale. This is an amplified instrument, comparable to the Gold Tone Micro-Bass already mentioned on the BIB. Well, that's just two shops in one town, and we weren't even seriously looking for instruments. No doubt other people have seen things at least as interesting around?

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29 October 2014

Janet Holmes and Colin Henry at the Cabin Sessions, 30 Oct. 2014

Thanks to Colin Henry for a reminder that he and Janet Holmes (both shown in this photo by Richie Tindall) will be appearing at the Cabin Sessions in Uncle Tom's Cabin, Dundrum, south Dublin, tomorrow night (Thursday 30 Oct.). Colin adds, to whet the appetite,

First time there and looking forward to it. May have a special guest with us.

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New openings on 'Bluegrass in Ireland'

Ray O'Brien sends word that the 'Bluegrass in Ireland' Facebook page can use more hands:

Due to work commitments on my side I'm currently looking for a new team member to help with publishing news on this page.

You must...

- Have a love for bluegrass & old time music,

- Must have a good understanding of the Bluegrass community within Ireland,

- Be willing and able to reply to emails on a daily basis.

* If interested please email me on bluegrasseire@gmail.com.


Milan Miller in Cork, 31 Oct. 2014

Thanks to Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland for the news that the Nashville-based singer/songwriter Milan Miller (see photo) will perform at the Bishopstown Library, Sarsfield Rd, Cork, this coming Friday (31 Oct.) at 2.30 p.m. No other appearances in Ireland are shown on his tour schedule.

Milan Miller has earned a reputation as a writer of hard-core and contemporary bluegrass songs (as well as one that can be heard on his website, 'The saddest man in County Clare'). Roger adds:

Milan's song 'I'd rather be lonesome', which he co-wrote with Davis Raines, is currently sitting at no. 1 in the Bluegrass Today chart for Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice. This is a free event and everybody is welcome to come along.

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Rob Heron & the Teapad Orchestra (UK) back in Ireland, 22-5 Nov. 2014

As the BIB mentioned earlier this year, Rob Heron & the Tea Pad Orchestra, 'the UK's finest purveyors of Western Swing, Ragtime & Hokum Blues', were in Ireland for a week's tour in March. Thanks to G Promo PR for news of their imminent tour in these islands from 1 November to 7 December - mostly in Britain, but with four dates in Ireland:

Sat. 22nd Nov. The Grand Social, Dublin 1
Sun. 23rd: The Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co. Louth
Mon. 24th: Crane Lane Theatre, Cork city
Tues. 25th: The Sky and the Ground, Wexford town

They're highly regarded, notably by US artist Pokey LaFarge, whom they have supported on tours. Apart from anything else, they're an example of the revival of the archtop guitar. You can hear them on SoundCloud, their website, and on YouTube - for instance, here and here. They are also on Facebook.

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28 October 2014

Bluegrass-and-Irish (and much more) from the Crowe Brothers

The Crowe Brothers, (l-r) Josh and Wayne

BIB readers with long memories will certainly recall Josh Crowe at an Athy festival in the mid 1990s, where he and David McLaughlin played guitar and mandolin respectively in a band led by Lynn Morris and Marshall Wilborn. Josh and his brother Wayne, raised in Georgia and now based for many years in North Carolina, have been making traditional bluegrass music for over four decades, notably with the legendary banjo player Raymond Fairchild (see their bio details here).

Their latest album, Forty years old, is now out on Mountain Fever Records, with the brothers' duet singing and some very nice picking by Steve Sutton (banjo), Brian Blaylock (mandolin), and David Johnson (fiddle). One track, 'I’ve got the moon on my side', written by Dixie and Tom T. Hall with Troy Engle, was released as a single in June and can be heard via a link on the Crowe website, and a second, 'Forty years old', is being released today.

The twelve tracks include classic country numbers ('Lost highway', 'Excuse me, I think I've got a heartache', 'Send me the pillow'), and there's one song - 'Green fields of Erin' - that has nearly every allusion to Ireland one could think of, and would be very suitable for any band that's happy to play 'Forty shades of green'.

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Cup O' Joe on video

Cup O' Joe: Benjamin, Tabitha, and Reuben Agnew

Thanks again to the EBMA Facebook page for this link to a video of Cup O' Joe from Co. Armagh jamming on 'Cold sheets of rain' - perhaps as a little relaxation after their showcasing at this year's IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC. The video is also on Cup O' Joe's own Facebook page, where it's building up an impressive number of Likes.

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Furnace Mountain (USA) in Drogheda, 31 Oct. 2014

Thanks to Glenda Bollard of the Droichead Arts Centre, Stockwell St., Drogheda, for the news that the Centre, in cooperation with Music Network, will present Furnace Mountain from Virginia this Friday (31 October) - the third show in the band's tour, which begins tonight in Dublin. The Centre announces:

Droichead are excited to welcome Furnace Mountain. Fast-rising stars of the American roots scene, Furnace Mountain have won critical acclaim for their fresh, authentic sound, which combines the heart-worn and effortlessly sweet vocal harmonies of Aimee Curl and Morgan Morrison with fiddle playing that evokes everything from keening bagpipes to lonesome train whistles – with some dazzling mandolin chops thrown in for good measure.

At times lively and raucous, at times poignant and poetic, Furnace Mountain have true Appalachian soil caked onto their boots. With a repertoire largely drawn from the old-time, bluegrass and folk ballad tradition, the quartet’s members all grew up on or near the mountain in Virginia bearing the same name as the group.

The band have performed at folk and bluegrass festivals across the globe, gracing stages from the Yangtze River in China to the banks of the Shenandoah River, where they are the host band of the world famous Watermelon Park Festival each year.

They have received rave reviews including 'Blisteringly good roots music', 'Like the mountains and rivers, their sounds reflect the soul of the region', and 'A thrilling bluegrass romp that musicians of any musical extraction would be envious of'.

One night only at Droichead Arts Centre on Friday 31 October at 8.30 p.m. Tickets (€16 / €14 concession) available from Droichead Arts Centre’s Box Office on Stockwell Street, 041 9833946 or free online booking.

The band's full schedule in Ireland is:

Tues. 28th Oct.: Music Network, Sugar Club, Dublin 2
Thurs. 30th: Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Fri. 31st: Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Sat. 1st Nov.: Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Sun. 2nd: Clifden Arts Society, Station House Theatre, Clifden, Co. Galway
Mon. 3rd: Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Tues. 4th: Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Wed. 5th: Town Hall, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim
Thurs. 6th: Council Chambers, Bangor, Co. Down
Fri. 7th: Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, Co. Down
Sat. 8th: Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh city
Sun. 9th: Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

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The Allen Family on BBC TV

The Allen Family: Pete, Toby, Ruby, Geary, Josh

Thanks to the EBMA Facebook page for news of a YouTube Video showing the Allen Family Band (USA/GB) playing the Osmond Brothers hit 'Crazy horses' in bluegrass style on BBC TV's One Show three weeks ago.

For more details on the Allen Family - who are based in Britain and open for bookings in these islands - see their website and the BIB for 23 Jan. 2014. The video, in which Pete (shown in the photo with mandolin) was playing fiddle, can also be watched on the EBMA Facebook page. 'Crazy horses' was a good choice for the occasion, as Donny Osmond was present and was clearly impressed.

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26 October 2014

The clock is ticking...

A reminder of the BIB post of a week ago, when Willie Campbell announced that he hopes to present the Special Consensus (USA) at Campbell's Tavern, Cloughanover, Headford, Co. Galway, on 11 Jan. 2015, and has adopted the 'crowd-funding' method to ensure that the show can be put on and will at least break even.

Breaking even, in this case, amounts to 78 tickets (€15 each) being booked in advance by next Friday (31 Oct.). As Willie points out:

It's an all-or-nothing concept, so if we sell 77 by the cut-off date then the gig does not go ahead and your card does not get debited. This is our first attempt at this, and it could really open things up for music fans countrywide to broaden the gigs available.

Bookings and pledges can be made through the Tavern/Special C. page on the icrowdfund.ie website, where you can learn more about both the venue and the band. At the time of writing, the show is 54% funded with 6 days left to the deadline. So 42 people, so far, are definitely intending to come; but for the show to happen, at least another 36 need to commit to enjoying this superb band.

The Special C. won two awards at the 2014 IBMA World of Bluegrass earlier this month, where they also met and performed with the fine Davidson Brothers band from Australia - following which, they will be touring in Australia in the middle of next month.

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24 October 2014

6th Balla Bluegrass Festival - now in progress!

To be exact - about an hour and a half from the publication of this post, the 6th Balla Bluegrass Festival will be in full swing in Balla, Co. Mayo, thanks to Tom Lyons, Chris Mannion, and the rest of the organising team. (Tom is second from right in this fine photo of the Rocky Top String Band at this year's Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival). The venues are Mannions and the Olde Woods on Balla's main street. The schedule, as set out on the Festival's completely refurbished website, is:

Fri. 24th: Tall Pines String Band, Mannions, 8.00 p.m.; Down and Out Bluegrass Band, the Olde Woods, 10.30 p.m.

Sat. 25th: Demolition String Band (USA), Mannions, 3.00 p.m.; Hickory Wind, the Olde Woods, 8.00 p.m.; Tim Rogers & the Clew Bay Critters, Mannions, 10.30 p.m.

Sun. 26th: John Nyhan String Band, Mannions, 8.00 p.m.; the Bread Winners, the Olde Woods, 10.30 p.m.

Mon. 27th: Colonel Bullshot Rides Again, Mannions, 7.00 p.m.

Tom adds: 'As usual we will have a raffle over the weekend for a guitar.' More info from Chris Mannion (094 9365093) or Tom Lyons (087 2296018; 094 9365200; e-mail). A link to a list of accommodation in the Balla area is here.

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23 October 2014

Keeping it country at the Rockies Club, Cork, 24-6 Oct.

Thanks to Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland for a reminder of news that the BIB first published on 1 October - during the annual Cork Guinness Jazz Festival over the coming October bank holiday weekend (24-27 Oct.), the Rockies Club (Blackrock National Hurling Club) on Church Road, Blackrock, Cork, will present a strong programme of country music.

On Friday 24 Oct. Hank Wedel and his band, who are among the leading attractions on the local scene, will be playing there. Hank has released a new two-track CD ('So close'/'That was the one'), with both tracks getting extensive airplay on national and local radio. On Saturday 25 Oct. the well known local musician Paul Murphy will be joined by many guest performers; and on Sunday night (26 Oct.) the Demolition String Band (USA) from the USA will be the stars (see the separate BIB posts on the DSB). 'Kountry Karaoke' will also be featured on Sunday night, and it is hoped that many people will take part.

Roger (who is also in charge of the Rockies' PR) adds that the Club's music programme for later in the year includes Rackhouse Pilfer on Saturday 29 November and Two Time Polka on Saturday 20 December. He adds: 'As usual, admission is free and the craic is mighty.'

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21 October 2014

Tim Eriksen in Ireland, 22-25 Oct. 2014

Thanks to the Sacred Harp Singers of Dublin for the news that the 'hardcore Americana' singer and musician Tim Eriksen (USA) will be giving a workshop in Sacred Harp singing tomorrow evening (Wed. 22 Oct.) from 7.00 to 9.00 p.m. in the Franciscan Friary on Merchant's Quay, Dublin 8.

Tim Eriksen, who performed and taught in Ireland in spring 2012 and August 2013, is back here in the course of a tour of these islands. The three other dates on his schedule are:

Thurs. 23rd: The Cobblestone, Smithfield, Dublin
Fri. 24th: Imagine Arts Festival, Waterford city
Sat. 25th: Mountmellick Folk Concert, Mountmellick, Co. Laois

The Sacred Harp Singers of Dublin notice includes the following quote:

Tim Eriksen's work as an ethnomusicologist and teacher has included extensive research on shape-note music in New England and the venerable Sacred Harp four-part harmony tradition. He is a founder of what is currently the world's largest Sacred Harp singing convention, in Northampton, MA. In the words of Paste magazine editor Josh Jackson, 'no one has done more to help revive Sacred Harp singing among a younger generation.'

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Chris Thile in Dublin, 9 Nov. 2014

Thanks to the EBMA Facebook page for the news that the outstanding mandolinist Chris Thile (left) of the Punch Brothers will be touring in Europe from early next week in a duo with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau.

Thile's solo tour in 2013 began in Dublin; this year - after playing in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Austria, France, and Spain - the duo will end their tour on Sunday 9 Nov. at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Tickets can be booked online (at the time of writing this post, the NCH website is undergoing maintenance).

NB: the EBMA Facebook page is now the European Bluegrass Music Association's most active and up-to-date online news medium.

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Dangem Get-Togethers: back after the long summer break

Thanks to Derek Lockhart of Dangem Bluegrass for the latest e-newsletter, announcing that Dangem Bluegrass Get-Togethers at the Lagan Valley Island, Island Civic Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim BT27 4RL, will resume this coming Saturday (25 Oct. 2014) from 10.00 a.m. to noon.

Derek adds: 'Let everyone know. Bring along your banjos, guitars, mandolins, fiddles, dobros, and bass, or just come along and enjoy us make music. Look forward to seeing as many of you who can attend.'

The schedule will be as usual, except that the provision of banjo lessons is currently awaiting funding (promised by the Centre); so things will go as follows:

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

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20 October 2014

Furnace Mountain in Ireland, 28 Oct.-9 Nov. 2014

Following on from the BIB post of 25 Sept., thanks to Kate O’Leary of Music Network (also on Facebook) for a reminder of the non-Northern Ireland part of the forthcoming tour by the Virginia string band Furnace Mountain, beginning next week.

Furnace Mountain - comprising Aimee Curl (bass, vocals), Danny Knicely (mandolin, vocals, fiddle), Dave Van Deventer (fiddle, vocals), and Morgan Morrison (bouzouki, vocals) - label themselves as 'ethno-Appalachian roots music'. The Music Network release says:

Straight from the Appalachian mountains, Virginian act Furnace Mountain unleash their own distinctive take on rootsy Americana, breathing new life into old-time, bluegrass, and folk tunes. At times lively and raucous, at times poignant and poetic, Furnace Mountain has won critical acclaim for its fresh, authentic sound. Heart-worn and effortlessly sweet vocal harmonies interweave with spirited fiddle playing to interpret some of the oldest songs ever written alongside original compositions.

Full touring information is available on the Music Network and Arts Council of Northern Ireland Moving on Music websites. The band's full schedule in Ireland is:

Tues. 28th Oct.: Music Network, Sugar Club, Dublin 2
Thurs. 30th: Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Fri. 31st: Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Sat. 1st Nov.: Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Sun. 2nd: Clifden Arts Society, Station House Theatre, Clifden, Co. Galway
Mon. 3rd: Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Tues. 4th: Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Wed. 5th: Town Hall, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim
Thurs. 6th: Council Chambers, Bangor, Co. Down
Fri. 7th: Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, Co. Down
Sat. 8th: Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh city
Sun. 9th: Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

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18 October 2014

Your chance to ensure the Special C. play at Headford!

Here's a message from Willie Campbell of Campbell's Tavern, Cloughanover, Headford, Co. Galway. which has hosted many music events. Willie hopes to present the Special Consensus (above) on 11 January 2015; and while times and economic circumstances are changing, he has come up with a new way of making this possible:

I have a small country venue in Co. Galway since 2001. Holds about 110 and we have done lots of gigs over the years with Nigel Martyn [of the Old Flattop agency, organising the Special C. tour].

I've found that people's habits have changed and they don't buy tickets in advance. This has made it pretty impossible for us to offer guarantees to artists, and this means we can't put on gigs, which is what we love doing.

I've come across a possible solution which puts the decision into the hands of the fans. It's the crowd-funding concept. People have two weeks to buy a ticket. I need to sell 78 tickets to break even. It's an all-or-nothing concept, so if we sell 77 by the cut-off date then the gig does not go ahead and your card does not get debited.

This is our first attempt at this, and it could really open things up for music fans countrywide to broaden the gigs available. Here's the link.

The link is to the icrowdfund website, where you can learn more about the Tavern and the Special C. (including a video of them on Music City Roots playing 'Monroe', from their Grammy-nominated album Scratch Gravel Road), and pledge support at a rate of €15 for each person who will be coming. The crucial two-week window of opportunity is now open.

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16 October 2014

Advance news of 16th Shannonside Winter Music Weekend, 15-19 Jan. 2015

Thanks to Des Butler, who forwards information from Brendan Walsh of the Sixmilebridge Folk Club in Co. Clare on the forthcoming 16th Shannonside Winter Music Weekend (15-19 Jan. 2015). Des writes:

Almost all music genres are being catered for, from classical to jazz with seventy events in fifteen venues in Bunratty village and Sixmilebridge. The list of bands booked for the bluegrass section is impressive:

Special Consensus (USA) [see photo above]
Niall Toner Band
Cool Hand Dukes (country/ blues)
Boat Band (UK; cajun)
Pat & Ricky Kelleher
Down and Out Bluegrass Band
Chris Dolimore (acoustic blues)
John Nyhan & Friends

A full brochure is due out in early November. All kudos to Brendan Walsh, John Nyhan, and Sixmilebridge Folk Club.

A flyer issued earlier this year lists further acts including orchestral music, a cappella singing, Morris dance, jazz, flamenco, and of course Irish traditional music.

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Songwriting camp / Dobro lessons in July 2015?

Thanks to Ray O'Brien and 'Bluegrass in Ireland' for passing on this news from Gary Ferguson (USA):

Wondering if anybody in Ireland would be interested in a songwriting camp or private Dobro lessons from a well known Dobro player from the States in July. If so, send me a private message.

Gary, who made his tenth consecutive annual tour in Ireland in July this year, can be contacted via his Facebook page.

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15 October 2014

Old Crow Medicine Show coming next week

Old Crow Medicine Show (photo: Andrea Behrends)

Following on from BIB reports in July and September, the Open House Festival team in Belfast send a further reminder that the Old Crow Medicine Show (USA) will be playing on Tuesday 21 Oct. at Mandela Hall, Queen's University Students' Union, University Rd, Belfast BT7 1NF. Online advance price £22.50; on the door £25. Tickets are still available online. Doors open (to over-18s) at 8.00 p.m.

Videos of the band in action can be seen on their website, and the show is presented in association with Ulster Bank Belfast Festival At Queen's.

On the previous night (Monday 20 Oct.) the band will be performing at Vicar Street, Dublin, adm. €29.00. The two shows in Ireland are part of a European tour that includes shows in Manchester, Glasgow, London, and Amsterdam.

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Folk award-winner in Ireland, 1-6 Nov. 2014

For BIB readers with a folk leaning: thanks to Tom Stapleton for the news that Vermont artist Anaïs Mitchell, whose album Child ballads won 'Best Traditional Song' at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, is touring Ireland at the beginning of November. Two of the dates are already sold out. Rachel Ries is also playing on all these shows.

Tom includes this link to a fifteen-minute spot on YouTube. Anaïs Mitchell's full schedule in Ireland is:

Sat. Nov. 1st: Leap Castle, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, 8.00 p.m. (SOLD OUT) 087 2238040
Sun. 2nd: The Set Theatre, 69 John St., Kilkenny, 8.00 p.m.
Mon. 3rd: Coughlan's Live, 7 Douglas St, Cork city, 9.00 p.m. (SOLD OUT)
Wed. 5th: The Black Box, 18-22 Hill St., Belfast BT1 2LA, 8.00 p.m.
Thurs. 6th: Whelan's, 25 Wexford St, Dublin 2, 8.00 p.m.

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Deadline for next Bluegrass Europe 17 Oct. 2014

14 October 2014

The Official EBMA Magazine
with Europe's leading Bluegrass Concert & Festival Calendar
and the European Bluegrass Guide
Dear bluegrass bands in Europe
Deadline to send in your dates for BE#93 is this Friday, 17th October!
Delay planned due to special IBMA reports
(and unplanned due to computer breakdown...).
Please send in your public gigs and concert dates between 1st November and 28th February 2015! use our Excel-spreadsheet (or download from http://www.ebma.org/uploads/media/BEXX_calendar_dates.xls), fill in your details and email back the completed form to editor@ebma.org as soon as possible, no later than this Friday, 17th October 2014. 
There's a little space for advertising, too! Check out our rates and contact us for your package: http://www.ebma.org/be/advertising/
If you don't get Bluegrass Europe in your mail, but you would like to, please consider a subscription at only 25EUR/yr, get it online here: http://www.bluegrass-europe.org/subscribe-to-bluegrass-europe/ (only 6.25EUR per issue!). Your supscription also supports EBMA's endeavours to promote Bluegrass Music in Europe - so hey, why not subscribe today!?

Thank you for taking time to contribute!

Angelika Torrie
European Bluegrass Music Association
www.ebma.org ¦ www.bluegrass-europe.org
European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA)

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14 October 2014

Pickers on the new Niall Toner album

Thanks to Richie Foley for this photo of the musicians taking part in the recording, in Nashville, of the forthcoming Niall Toner album (see yesterday's BIB post for further details).

Shown above, from left to right, are Samson Grisman (upright bass), Scott Vestal (5-string banjo), Niall (vocals, mandolin, guitar), Keith Sewell (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocals, production), Justin Weaver (mandolin, guitar, slide guitar), and John Mock (harmonium, percussion, whistle).

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Siobhan Kennedy

Thanks to Woodbine's Facebook page for the news that Siobhan (left), the new daughter of Tom and Nicola Kennedy, was born at 1.00 p.m. on Saturday 11 October.

To the proud parents, congratulations; to Siobhan, welcome to the Irish bluegrass community!


Greg Trooper in Ireland, 20-24 Oct. 2014

The highly regarded Americana singer/ songwriter Greg Trooper will be playing four dates in Ireland next week in the course of a European tour taking in Spain, the Netherlands, and Britain. They are:

Mon. 20th: Mick Murphy’s Stage Inn Bar, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare
Wed. 22nd: DC Music Club, 20 Camden Row, Dublin 2, 8.30 p.m.
Thurs. 23rd: Real Music Club, Errigle Inn, Belfast, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 24th: Seamus Ennis Arts Centre, Naul, Fingal, Co. Dublin, 8.30 p.m.

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13 October 2014

No old-time at the Glenside in October

Cathal Cusack (guitar), Tim Hawkins (fiddle), and Richard Hawkins (banjo) announce with regret that their plan to play old-time music on the third Wednesday of every month, upstairs at the Glenside, Landscape Road, Churchtown, Dublin 14, will be frustrated for October 2014 by the pressure of other commitments.

They will therefore not be playing there on Wednesday 15 Oct. or during the rest of the month. Resumption of the monthly series will be announced on the BIB.

Guitarists should note that the Glenside Guitar Circle also holds meetings downstairs at the pub for music in different genres. Anyone interested should contact Noel at 087 6838817 or by e-mail.

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Niall Toner recording his fifth album in Nashville

The 'listen-back': (l-r) Niall, Justin Weaver, Samson Grisman, Asa Sewell (photographer)

Thanks to Niall Toner for this news:

I've been recording my new album at 16 Ton Studios on Music Row over the past ten days. Tracks include a re-cut of 'Bill Monroe's mandolin' and a hammer-and-tongs version of 'When tomorrow comes', in tribute to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

Musicians include Scott Vestal on 5-string banjo; Justin Weaver (Dixie Chicks) on mandolin, guitar, and slide guitar; Samson Grisman (Dave's son; playing with the Deadly Gentlemen and Sarah Jaroz) on upright bass; Keith Sewell on fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocals, and production; and John Mock (Dixie Chicks) on harmonium, percussion, and whistle, with me on all vocals and some mandolin and guitar. Sessions were engineered by Michael Esser.

Once again, it's an all-original project, and probably my most ambitious to date. I'm also not sure yet about a record label. Pinecastle are keen, but this time 'round they have a little competition from Rounder, Sugar Hill, and Compass, so we'll see who makes the best bid!

Release date still to be decided, but probably early 2015. Track listing:

1 Working on love
2 Josie's reel
3 I know what lonely's about
4 Old tyme love
5 When tomorrow comes
6 The mountain and the sky
7 Walk on water
8 Bill Monroe's mandolin
9 Planxty Coolasnaughta/The flower Of Liffey Hall (inst.)
10 The people wondered

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Muriel Anderson in Cork, 17 Oct. 2014

Following on from the BIB post of 20 Sept., thanks to Tina Darb O'Sullivan of the Triskel Christchurch Arts Centre in Cork for more about the performance by the outstanding guitarist Muriel Anderson (USA) in the Centre on this coming Friday, 17 October. The show starts at 8.00 p.m.; tickets are €14/€12 (early bird) and can be booked from the Centre online or by 'phone (021 4272022).

More details, including bio and press release, can be found here on the Centre's website. Also to be noted are the following quotes about her:

Just one hell of a great player... a great personality and what I like is the touch that Muriel has on the guitar, the way she plays it like we all wish to play. (Les Paul)

I cannot think of another guitarist who seems to have taken over the role of Segovia in popularising the finger-style guitar as Muriel Anderson has. (Lawrence Long, Knoxville-Oak Ridge Guitar Society)

With playing that grabs you by the ear and never lets go, this is a fine portrait of an artist that just keeps getting better and better, fully deserving of a toe-to-toe spot with the masters that have taught her so well. (Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap)

The Triskel Christchurch show is the third in this tour, which begins at Brendan O'Regan's Arklow Roots Music tomorrow night (14 Oct.). The full schedule is on the BIB calendar and the post of 20 Sept.

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12 October 2014

Michael J. Miles: autumn news and events

Thanks to clawhammer maestro Michael J. Miles (USA) for his latest e-newsletter, with details of his schedule for the coming months. All his CDs, with some of the most impressive music ever played on clawhammer banjo, are now available for $10 each.

Michael's classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago start on Monday 27 October. He is giving two courses, both on Monday evenings: 'Trains songs and rivers songs for clawhammer banjo' (6.30 p.m.) and 'Beatles for finger style guitar' (8.00 p.m.). Coming in 2015: among other things, concert collaborations with the Chicago Arts Orchestra and two new books - Bob Dylan for clawhammer banjo and Pete Seeger banjo play-along. Read the full newsletter here.

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11 October 2014

Cabin Sessions in Dundrum, Dublin, 30 Oct. 2014

Gerry Fitzpatrick announces the next show in the Cabin Sessions series, 'Acoustic Music at its Finest', at Uncle Tom's Cabin in south Dublin (not far from Dundrum Luas station in the city direction):

We have a great lineup for you this month on 30 October. In addition to the usual Cabin Crew - Spats Davenport (gtr), Con Butler (bs), Gerry Fitzpatrick (dob), Cathy McEvoy (fdl), Christian Volkmann (hca), Dave Hardy (clt/sax) - our special guests are Tom Horan (folk), Sue Callaghan (contemporary), and all the way from Belfast Janet Holmes & Colin Henry (folk/ Americana), and there is the possibility of the odd surprise guest putting in an appearance. 9.30-11.30 p.m. as usual, and admission 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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10 October 2014

Brendan Power and Frankie Lane at Fermoy, 26 Oct. 2014

Thanks to Patrick Higgins, marketing coordinator of the Palace Theatre at Fermoy, for this news:

The Palace Theatre is honored to welcome two superlative musicians who are coming together for their first-ever performance as a duo as part of the first outing for the Palace Theatre Folk Club on Sunday 26 October at 8.00 p.m. in the Palace Theatre Fermoy, Ashe Quay, Fermoy, Co. Cork.

UK-based Brendan Power is one of the most creative, skilled, and versatile harmonica players around today. Brendan is an All Ireland Harmonica Champion, winner of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award, and has been named SPAH’s International ‘Harmonica Player of the Year’.

He’ll meld his earthy blues harp with Irishman Frankie Lane’s dobro and steel guitar for a unique and unforgettable one-off night. Frankie was nominated for both a prestigious Meteor Music Award in the Country/Roots category and an I.R.M.A. music award.

Tickets: €12 available from box office 025 32042 (bookings currently being taken – tickets on sale from 7 October).

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09 October 2014

More on Sligo Live (22-27 Oct. 2014)

Following up on the news from the Corner Boys,* the BIB notes that Sligo Live, 'Ireland's Folk, Root & Indie Festival', is presenting 'Intimate Music on the Wild Atlantic Way' in sixty-four separate music events during its six days (22-27 Oct. 2014).

From a look over the website's lineup pages, it appears that bluegrass, old-time, or related music will be heard at the following shows (in chronological order):

Thurs. 23rd: Demolition String Band, Furey's, Bridge St., 9.30 p.m.
Ruby Ridge (led by Gerry Grennan of the Corner Boys), Hargadons, 10.00 p.m.

Sat. 25th: Corner Boys, Lyons Cafe, 3.00 p.m.
Rackhouse Pilfer, Garavogue, 3.00 p.m.

Sun. 26th: We Banjo 3, Hawk's Well Theatre, 8.00 p.m. Reserved seating €18.00
Sheryl Crow, supported by Old Hannah, Knocknarea Arena, 8.30 p.m., €45.00 general admission (standing)
Rackhouse Pilfer, Stage 2, 5th On Teeling (Festival Club), 11.30 p.m., €10 in advance; €12 on door

*Not to be confused with the Wexford band Corner Boy, in a different musical genre.

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The Corner Boys in Sligo Live, 25 Oct. 2014

Thanks to Ray O'Brien and Bluegrass in Ireland for passing on news from the Sligo-based Corner Boys band, who are happy to announce that they will be playing a gig in partnership with Sligo Live 2014. The gig is in Lyons Café on Quay St., Sligo town, on Saturday 25 October at 3.00 p.m. The Corner Boys add:

We'd love to see ye there for some coffee and tunes. Here's a wee tune of ours to get ye moving.

The tune 'D and G', a brisk instrumental composed by mandolinist Brendan Emmett, can be seen in video on Ray's Facebook and also on YouTube.

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Demolition String Band tour - thanks to Westport Festival team

Demolition String Band: Boo Reiners, Elena Skye

The BIB post of 1 Oct. on the tour by the Demolition String Band (USA), beginning next week, needs updating: several dates can now be added to the schedule, AND further good news is that the complete tour is organised by the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival team, as the first in an ongoing series of tours by visiting artists which the Festival will present throughout the year. The team announces:

We’ve come across so many great bands that can’t make it to the festival we’re starting a new series of gigs and tours called 'Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival presents…' to showcase these acts.

A full press release about the Demolition String Band tour can be read on the Westport Festival website and on the Festival's latest e-newsletter, which also provides links for downloading press release, pictures, posters, and more information - both on this tour and on next year's Festival (12-14 June 2015). As a special point of interest, the BIB notes that Elena studied mandolin with the maestro Jethro Burns. We quote two sentences from the press release:

The pair... have been thrilling audiences and critics for more than a decade now with their original material mixed with the traditional and the not-so-traditional... Elena and Boo live to connect with fans old and new, everywhere they go.

Read the full release here. The complete tour schedule (all dates are now on the BIB calendar) is:

Thurs. 16th: Crowley’s Bar, Henry St., Kenmare, Co. Kerry, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 17th: McCarthy’s, Buttevant, Co. Cork, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 18th: Pat Shortt’s, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, 8.00 p.m.
Sun. 19th: Blarney Castle Hotel, Blarney, Co. Cork, 9.00 p.m.
Mon. 20th: Charlie’s, 2 Union Quay, Cork city, 9.00 p.m.
Tues. 21st: Matt Molloy’s, Bridge St., Westport, Co. Mayo, 7.00 p.m.
Thurs. 23rd, Furey’s, Bridge St., Sligo town, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 24th: Spells Bar, Pound St., Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 25th: Mannion’s Bar, Balla, Co. Mayo, 2.00 p.m. (Balla Bluegrass Festival)
Sun. 26th: Blackrock ('Rockies') GAA Club, Church Rd, Blackrock, Cork city, 8.00 p.m.

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08 October 2014

Getting around

Prominent US bluegrass blogger Ted Lehmann spotted this place card at the Gig Fair in last week's IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC. Ted explains: 'The Gig Fair is the bluegrass equivalent of speed dating.' The BIB hopes the Folk Park pulled on a grand scale.

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More detached notes

Bluegrass fans in Ireland can take a quick look at John Goad's latest Bluegrass Weather Report video feature on Bluegrass Today. Although it's expressly concerned with the Turkey Track Bluegrass Festival in Arkansas, the first minute or so of the video is made up of reminders of last week's IBMA World of Bluegrass - and just coming up to the minute mark, there's a brief clip showing Cup O' Joe in a jam session.
Coming a little closer to home: thanks to Gerry Fitzpatrick, organiser of the monthly Cabin Sessions in Dundrum, Dublin, for drawing attention to the online petition to rename Cork airport after Rory Gallagher. The blues are an important component of bluegrass music, and - if renaming it 'Chris Twomey Airport' is out of the question for the present - this petition is one that bluegrass fans can support.

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07 October 2014

An early winter bluegrass break in Barcelona? - and more

Thanks to Lluís Gómez (whose Barcelona Bluegrass Band was a favourite with audiences at successive Johnny Keenan Banjo Festivals) for news of the 13th Al Ras Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival, which will be held at the Mercat Vell, Plaça Prat de la Riba 6, Mollet del Vallés, Barcelona, on 15 Nov. 2014.

The programme, which begins at 5.30 p.m., includes the legendary US guitarist Russ Barenberg of the 'Transatlantic Sessions'; Dublin-born Eugene O'Brien, banjo-player with the Sons of Navarone (B); and Jean-Marie Redon & Sharon Lombardi, who played more than once in Ireland with Blue Railroad Train (F).
For anyone who may be going to Phoenix, AZ: Morris Public Relations sends news of the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, which is dedicated to 'collecting, preserving and making accessible a wide variety of musical instruments and performance videos from every country in the world'. The MIM collection includes several notable instruments associated with Johnny Cash and the Carter Family, such as A.P. Carter’s 1929 Martin 00-28 guitar and June Carter Cash’s custom Orthey autoharp (photo). The Museum also hosts musical events which would interest BIB readers: this coming Friday there will be a show by Jerry Douglas & the Earls of Leicester,* and on Saturday lunchtime curator Cullen Strawn will give a half-hour lecture on banjo history.
Especially for regular attenders at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival at Omagh, Co. Tyrone: the Malpass Brothers from North Carolina have signed up with the Asheville-based Organic record label, and the album planned for release in 2015 is being produced by Doyle Lawson (see photo above). More details are here.
Finally, another artist on the Organic roster is Adam Steffey, who last week won the IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year award for the eleventh time. The first time was in 2002 - a mere eight years after he had played in Dublin with Alison Krauss & Union Station. We're not saying there was any connection...

*Update 8 Oct.: If you don't yet know about the Earls of Leicester, read Larry Nager's fine major article on them in the Oct. 2014 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited.

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06 October 2014

The Red Hat and the Old Time Herald

Thanks to Paul and Ann McEvoy for the news that the Red Hat Acoustic Music Club will be holding its monthly meeting for October this coming Friday (10 Oct.), as usual at the Harbour Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare, starting about 8.30-9.00 p.m. A donation of €3 covers sandwiches and coffee/tea. Musicians and listeners are welcome.

The Old-Time Herald magazine sends a fund-raising circular - a gentle reminder that although 'old-time music still inhabits the rural economy of a hundred years ago', the magazine today is faced with a wide range of increasing costs, and needs help to keep going as the organ that the old-time music community wants and deserves.

There are several ways of making a donation; and thanks to the Deering banjo company, every donor will be entered in a draw for a chance of winning a Goodtime Americana open-back banjo with 12" pot, ideal for old-time music. Full details are in the circular.

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Squirrel to join IBMA board?

In last week's highly successful IBMA World of Bluegrass, held for the second year in Raleigh, NC, the artwork of Raleigh artist Tim Lee was a prominent feature: he created the poster images for the component parts of the event, and also gave it as a logo Ramble, the Lonesome Squirrel (left), whose image (we gather) was all over the city. More of Tim Lee's artwork can be seen on Facebook.

You can now see on Bluegrass Today a special video feature on Ramble. This was compiled by John Goad and Daniel Mullins from interviews with WOB participants including Jim Lauderdale and the Gibson Brothers, who supply a musical coda in Ramble's honour. What the late Jimmy Martin might have said is best left to the imagination.

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04 October 2014

Vincent Cross: October Global Newsletter

Thanks to Vincent Cross in New York for his October Global Newsletter, with glimpses of NYC roots music events that took place in September.

Prominent among these is the 10th Washington Square Reunion; Vincent attends the reunion each year to meet the legendary folk, bluegrass, and old-time musicians who were a part of the '60s folk revival. The newsletter includes a fine photo by Jeannie Myers of several deservedly well known pickers from thirty or more years ago.

Vincent also includes a brief film-clip collage from the 15th Annual Parkslope Jamboree in Brooklyn: the soundtrack is a galvanising harmony delivery of the song 'Guess I'm doing fine' from Vincent's Home away from home album, and the lyrics are available on his website. Read the full newsletter here.

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03 October 2014

Irene Andrews

Tony O'Brien sends word of the loss of another longtime devoted supporter of bluegrass in Ireland:

I have just got news with deep regret of the passing of Irene Andrews from Belfast, who along with her husband Bill was at every Athy festival up to 2012. They both became personal friends of myself and Joan over the years, and it was always a pleasure to greet them year on year to Athy.

Irene passed away in hospital on Monday and her funeral took place today (Friday). RIP Irene, and condolences to Bill from us all in Athy Bluegrass and the wider bluegrass community.


Tír na nÓg - a home for bluegrass

Finally (for today), to tie some Irish connections with bluegrass into a more-or-less neat knot: the Tír na nÓg bar at 218 S. Blount St., Raleigh, NC, which regularly hosts Irish traditional music and dance throughout the year, is also one of the main performance venues during IBMA's World of Bluegrass (IBMA WOB). In the five days, Tír na nÓg is presenting over forty hours of live bluegrass from six different countries.

Today, bands playing at Tír na nÓg include Cup O' Joe from Co. Armagh, who are the first (and so far the only) band from outside the US to perform on the IBMA WOB Youth Stage, according to the EBMA Facebook page. The Tír na nÓg schedule also includes Dublin's I Draw Slow and - as it happens - the Special Consensus (see this morning's post on their two IBMA awards).

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