11 January 2022

US news - mainly about past visitors (update)

The Steep Canyon Rangers, who were the very last US bluegrass band to visit these shores before the disruption of transatlantic tours, announce that their Winter Camp will be held on 22-24 Feb. 2022 at the Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard, NC (the town where Béla Fleck's Blue Ridge Banjo Camp will be held six months later; see the BIB for 6 Jan.) for three nights of limited-capacity, intimate outdoor shows. Tickets can be bought here. More details are on the band's latest e-newsletter and a press release from Mountain Song Productions.

Update 12 Jan.: Following a rapid take-up of tickets, the Steeps have added Monday 21 Feb. to their Camp; see this e-newsletter.
Lindsay Lou and her band the Flatbellys from Michigan toured in Northern Ireland with great success in 2015 and 2016. The band no longer exists, but their former mandolinist, singer, and songwriter Joshua Rilko, now based in Nashville, has just released a double EP, combining Lost soul, with five bluegrass songs, and Rock and roll, with six. The lively 'Homeward bound', the last track on Lost soul, can be heard on Bluegrass Today and on YouTube.
Ken Perlman, godfather of 'melodic clawhammer banjo', announces that he will be the featured artist interviewed this week on Deering Live. As with all such interviews, this is the opportunity of the internet audience to send in questions for Ken about clawhammer banjo technique, the banjo scene, running banjo camps, touring with fiddling great Alan Jabbour, collecting tunes and oral histories from traditional fiddlers on Prince Edward Island, life on the road, or anything else.
For the discriminating user of flatpicks, Nik Monnin's Apollo Picks are made in many different shapes and sizes and in three different materials: the organic-based casein and two plastics, polyetherimide (PEI) and polyetherether ketone (PEEK), all with their own characteristics. Reviews (including videos) and FAQs are on the Apollo website, where Monnin writes about his PEI picks: 'if you have been feeling guilty about using tortoiseshell, then here is a guilt-free alternative.' See also John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today for endorsements by bluegrass masters.

© Richard Hawkins

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