22 April 2020

Detached notes [UPDATE]

THE organising team of the big Rotterdam Bluegrass Festival (above) in the Netherlands (see the BIB for 18 Feb.) announce that they have cancelled this year's event, scheduled for 26-28 June, but are already planning to hold the tenth festival on 25-27 June 2021. Guido de Groot, the chief organiser, says: 'We now know that events are not allowed until September, but also that it's better and safer not to have any events anytime soon.' The 48th Banjo Jamboree at Čáslav in the Czech Republic - the oldest bluegrass festival in Europe - is still advertised as scheduled for 19-20 June 2020.
SONGWRITERS should have a look at (at least) two online articles on the craft:
ALSO from No Depression online: 'The long haul: a world without live music' is a brief essay by Rachel Baiman (who was to have toured here next month as half of the duo 10 String Symphony) on the life of musicians now.
NICK DUMAS, mandolin player for the Special Consensus (USA) up to last December, has not been idle since then: his thirteen-track album Story of a beautiful life is now out, with a legion of fine guest pickers including his former bandmates of the Special C. (with whom he toured Ireland in 2017 and 2019). Judging by the clips that can be heard on Bluegrass Today, it's a fine album.
THE BIB learns with regret of the death at 83 of John Kaparakis - not a professional musician, not a candidate for the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame, but someone who made a difference to the people he met. Find out why and how from mandolin maestro Jack Tottle's memoir on Bluegrass Today.
FINALLY, a historic new release from someone who is already in the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame: living legend Rodney Dillard, sole surviving member of the original Dillards band whose achievements included regular TV appearances on the immensely popular Andy Griffith Show; adding songs and tunes to the classic bluegrass canon; recording with Byron Berline the first fiddle album to have full bluegrass band backing; and making vocal and instrumental innovations that laid the foundations for country rock.

Rodney and his band are now proud to release a new single, 'Earthman', produced and engineered by the legendary Bil VornDick (who produced two albums for Longford's Carmel Sheeran & the Ravens, #1 European Bluegrass Band of 2005, earlier this century). The song is part of a new group of songs Rodney will be releasing in the next few months. He writes:

I’m very proud of this single because of the united message that ‘Earthman’ conveys – we are all on this Earth facing the same challenges, and so far 2020 has reminded all of us that what really matters is mankind’s search for love, truth, and peace. [...] We’re all Earthmen, we’re all passing through, trying to get by, trying to make our way, to keep our family safe, to look out for our neighbors, and ultimately to understand that all of us are in this life and on this planet together, especially as we consider Earth Day this year.

UPDATE 30 Apr.: A substantial interview with Rodney by John Lawless about his life in music, the new release, and his plans for the future, is now on Bluegrass Today.

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