04 May 2016

Omagh delivers the goods with Band of Ruhks

On 19 February the BIB shared advance news of this year's Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival (2-4 Sept.) in the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Co. Tyrone. The Belfast News Letter quoted Richard Hurst, the festival director, as saying: 'We are hoping to bring several of the biggest names in American bluegrass as headliners for this year's festival which marks our 25th anniversary.'

Thanks again to Sharon Loughrin for forwarding a News Letter report with the stunning news that the Band of Ruhks (also on Facebook) will be at the top of the Omagh bill. The band formed in 2012 with three giants of today's bluegrass at its core: Ronnie Bowman (bass, vocals), Kenny Smith (guitar, vocals), and Don Rigsby (mandolin, vocals), all of them veterans of the Lonesome River Band. More bio details are here. County Sales in Virginia, one of the most consistent arbiters of bluegrass taste for fifty years, wrote of their first album:

It’s always exciting to see and hear a new bluegrass band that you almost know will be one of the forces in the music in the immediate future. [...] We could go on, but let’s just say that this is an outstanding and landmark disc that we HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

In addition to the Band of Ruhks and the other artists mentioned on 19 Feb., the lineup will include Betse & Clarke (USA; see the BIB for 16 Mar.), Dr Bluegrass & the Illbilly 8 (UK), Two Time Polka, Erdini, the Broken String Band, the Knotty Pine String Band, and Northern Exposure, together with the iconic Geordie McAdam (who has played at all Omagh festivals to date). Watch this space for further additions.

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