18 January 2015

Goodies in this month's BU

The BIB editor reports:

The January 2015 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited magazine includes the annual Festival Guide, listing hundreds of bluegrass and bluegrass-related events around the world. Supplementary lists will appear in later issues.

The lists, compiled from data that festival organisers voluntarily send in, cannot be fully comprehensive. Outside the USA, the country with most events listed is Canada (15); in the rest of the world, Ireland comes equal with Australia, England, and Germany (3 each). The three shown for Ireland are the Shannonside Winter Music Weekend (this year's is in progress as we write), the Kilkenny Roots Festival, and the Westport Folk & Bluegrass Festival.
Plenty of other good things are in this issue, notably a bumper crop of new CD reviews (four of them Highlight reviews); features on three individual festivals, including the big Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention combining bluegrass and old-time music; and the invaluable 'Notes & Queries' section by Walt V. Saunders, which this month includes the full original (pre-Carter-Family) lyrics to 'Wildwood Flower'.

Of special interest to mandolinists: the photo by Garland Gobble of a Gibson F-12 belonging to the late John Duffey; and a two-page feature by musicologist Dick Spottswood on Ernest Ferguson, who died in October 2014 at the age of 96. Ernest Ferguson belonged to a generation of country musicians who were playing professionally before the emergence of bluegrass, and his picking influenced several major bluegrass mandolinists. His 1940s recordings can be heard on CDs from Bear Family Records: two by the Bailes Brothers, and one by Johnnie & Jack.

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