01 October 2019

Nu-Blu (USA) in Ireland, 8-13 Oct. 2019

Nu-Blu: (l-r) Justin Harrison, Carolyn Routh,
Daniel Routh, Austin Hefflefinger

This month six bluegrass and bluegrass-related combinations from North America - five from the USA and one from Canada - will be on tour in Ireland, spaced out throughout the month. Session Americana and Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa are already here and playing. (A video of Wayne and the band playing to pupils at Moniaive primary school at the weekend is on Bluegrass Today.)

Arriving in Ireland at the beginning of next week are the dynamic Nu-Blu (USA) from Siler City, NC. Their website bio says:

... Nu-Blu’s heart and soul is husband-and-wife duo Daniel and Carolyn Routh. Carolyn’s caramel-coated soprano is one of the band’s defining traits, at times a tender lullaby, at times a freight train headed straight for you, but always unwinding a surprising tale. Daniel is the group’s backbone, a multi-instrumentalist and vocalist who also handles band management. Austin Hefflefinger on banjo and Justin Harrison on fiddle/mandolin round out the quartet’s warm, layered, American roots sound that builds to a full country sound. Together they deliver upbeat, blazing-fingers pickwork just as well as gentle, heartwarming ballads, and they do it all with a natural togetherness that can’t be faked, forged over hundreds of shows on the road.

Daniel and Carolyn were on the cover of the February 2018 Bluegrass Unlimited magazine, in which Michael K. Brantley wrote:

Nu-Blu is on the road over 200 days a year, playing all types of venues and to all types of audiences and music listeners. Those listeners often have outdates or simply untrue perceptions about what consitutes bluegrass

... and the article makes it clear that the band is dedicated to reaching more people and expanding the bluegrass audience.

In July this year the band took on 14-year-old banjo whiz Austin Hefflefinger from Pennsylvania - see Bluegrass Today, with a nine-minute video (also on YouTube) of Austin playing with Rhonda Vincent & the Rage a year ago. That year he also won the bluegrass banjo contest (first prize $1,000 and a free recording session) at the Scott Street Five String Finals in Virginia.

Extra good news: Nu-Blu will be dropping in on the weekly Dublin bluegrass jam session at Sin É on Ormond Quay next Tuesday (8 Oct.), so it should be a lively night.* Their complete official tour schedule is:
  • Wed. 9th: Cryans, Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim
  • Thurs. 10th: Richmond Inn, Cloondara (Clondra), Co. Longford
  • Fri. 11th: Spells Bar, Pound St., Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon
  • Sat. 12th: PJ's Bar, Castlecoote, Co. Roscommon
  • Sun. 13th: DC Music Club, 20 Camden Row, Dublin 2
In the middle of October, mygrassisblue.com will present the guitar-and-mandolin duo of Brandon Lee Adams and Johnny Staats, and tours by Level Best and the Slocan Ramblers will end the month.

*Update: Nu-Blu's visit to the Dublin jam, unfortunately, didn't happen. See the BIB for 8 Oct..

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