02 October 2020

News from the Mother Country

The International Bluegrass Music Association announces the winners of the 31st Annual IBMA Bluegrass Music Awards, and as usual many of the award recipients have played in Ireland - almost all of them at the Omagh festival. Brooke Aldridge, for instance, has won the Female Vocalist award for the fourth consecutive year. The BIB's specially glad that the Song of the Year award goes to 'Chicago Barn Dance', written by Becky Buller, Missy Raines, and Alison Brown, and recorded by our biennial visitors since 1995, the Special Consensus. The Collaborative Recording of the Year award goes to 'The barber's fiddle', with a throng of distinguished fiddlers taking part, led by Becky Buller.

We recommend the videos of both these songs as a pretty well guaranteed way of lifting the spirits; click on the links shown above. The full list of awards is given here, and more details of the awards night entertainment are on the Bluegrass Today feature by John LawlessDavid Morris's very favourable impressions of the first ever virtual World of Bluegrass can be read here.
Russ Carson (see the BIB for 21 Aug.) really missed the jamming at IBMA due to this year's World of Bluegrass being a virtual event, so he rounded up a bunch of similarly qualified friends to have a virtual jam on the Bill Monroe classic 'On my way back to the old home'. Another tonic for the spirits.
Mark Stoffel, Munich-born mandolinist for Chris Jones & the Night Drivers, released today his new album Coffee & cake. An audio track from it, 'Daley's reel/ Make a little boat', can be heard, together with more details, on Bluegrass Today, and the album can be bought on Mark's website.
Chandler Holt has visited Ireland a number of times as banjo-player for North Carolina's Chatham County Line. Last year he left the band, which has now moved further away from bluegrass. Chandler himself is still unapologetically there, as is shown by his original instrumental 'Thundering herd', a fine video of which can be watched on Bluegrass Today or YouTube.
The Fretboard Journal, paradise for instrument nerds, marks its fifteenth anniversary with issue #46, which as always has something substantial for the bluegrass enthusiast. Sample the contents here. A digital subscription is just $30 a year for four 126-page issues.
Finally, Tim White announces that Song of the Mountains, part of the Appalachian Music Heritage Foundation, will hold a fund-raising concert at Riverbend Park, Marion, VA, on Saturday next week (10 Oct.). The BIB sees that the Lincoln Theatre in Marion (the normal venue for Song of the Mountains events and TV shows) is still using the image of a Clareen tenor banjo, made by Tom Cussen in Clarinbridge, Co. Galway, in its 'Bluegrass, Americana, and old-time music' promo material. We hope Tom is benefiting from this...

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