03 March 2022

North American news - chiefly about past visitors (updated)

Our old friends the Special Consensus recently appeared live on the Blue Plate Special programme of Knoxville radio station WDVX, a well known and respected media showcase. More details are in Lee Zimmerman's feature on Bluegrass Today. The photo above shows the band's current lineup (l-r), Dan Eubanks, Greg Cahill, Greg Blake, and Michael Prewitt, though on this occasion the guitar part was taken by Special C. alumnus Rick Faris, as Greg Blake was unavoidably absent owing to the recent death of his wife Tracey. Greg will have the sympathy and condolences of all his fans and friends in Ireland.
Claire Lynch has released her first single for six years: 'Who but man', a song for Lent, on the hard subject of the Crucifixion. It can be heard in John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today and also on YouTube.
The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) has announced that applications are open throughout the month of March for all sections of the 2022 IBMA World Of Bluegrass: the 'Bluegrass Ramble' official showcases, 'Bluegrass Live!' street stages, songwriter showcases, Business Conference proposals, and nominations for awards. Full details are on the IBMA press release and on Bluegrass Today.
Five weeks from now (Fri. 8 Apr.), when Darin and Brooke Aldridge next appear on the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN, two lucky fans will be there with their tickets, hotel accommodation, and dinner paid for, and other gifts from the Aldridges, their record label, and the Opry. A contest page is open on the Aldridges' website; more details are on Bluegrass Today. The giveaway is associated with their latest single, 'Grand Ole Circle', about the Opry - see the BIB for 27 Jan.
Master banjoist Ron Block (who was with Alison Krauss & Union Station on their first visit to Dublin in 1994, and more recently was back in Dublin in a banjo duo with Damien O'Kane in 2019 and 2020) has collaborated with singer/ guitarist Bob Minner in recording the Norman Blake song 'Ginseng Sullivan', the lead single in a forthcoming Minner album recorded as a tribute to Norman Blake. The single was released on 1 Mar., and the album is scheduled for release next week. More details are on the Engelhardt Music Group press release.
'Greensboro: the crossroads of Carolina' is the latest instalment in the Bluegrass Situation's 'Carolina calling' series of podcasts, and the featured artist is Rhiannon Giddens, born and raised in Greensboro. In the half-hour podcast, sixteen musical items are played.
Thanks to Louise Barker in Cork for news of Canadian neo-old-time duo Mama's Broke (photo below). Lisa Maria (vocals, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, feet) and Amy Lou Keeler (vocals, banjo, guitar, mandolin) played in Dublin in July 2019 as part of a tour in these islands. On that visit they met Dublin-based film-maker Myles O’Reilly, who filmed them singing ‘Dirty mattresses’ in Stoneybatter. Louise reports that they now have a new single, 'Just pick one', on Free Dirt Records, from which their sophomore album Narrow line can be pre-ordered. Mama's Broke are planning a return to Ireland this coming summer; dates will be shown on the BIB as soon as we receive them.
Update 4 Mar.: Mountain Fever Records release today New chapter, the new album from Cedar Hill from the Ozarks, who have made fans and friends at more than one Omagh festival and other events here. Four singles from the album have so far been released, of which three have gone into the Bluegrass Today Top 20 charts. The band mark the release by playing tonight at Nashville's Station Inn, and tomorrow at Song of the Mountains for TV. More details are on the Mountain Fever press release.

© Richard Hawkins

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