20 May 2022

The latest BBN

The latest issue (no. 97, spring 2022) of British Bluegrass News (BBN), journal of the British Bluegrass Music Asociation, includes a good deal of immediate interest to bluegrass fans in Ireland. There are two three-page articles by Maria Wallace of the UK's True North Music agency: one warmly recommending Bluegrass Omagh (to which True North are sending this year the Slocan Ramblers and Vivian Levy & Riley Calcagno) and one on the Stillhouse Junkies (on the bill at the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival next month). The four-page cover story by Philippa Ogden is on the Often Herd, whose two recent releases are also reviewed. (Their online tour schedule shows them as on the Omagh bill, though they're not at present on the festival's lineup page). Omagh and Westport are both listed in the BBN event calendar.

Other features include a retrospective by Richard Holland on this year's Sore Fingers Summer School, and the map of music teachers includes Hubert Murray in Tullamore. The production standards, as always, are high.
The BIB learns with deep regret of the death on 25 January this year of John Leslie Pritchard, known far and wide as John Les, who with Gill Williams founded, directed, and upheld the North Wales Bluegrass Festival, which many musicians and fans from Ireland will have known during its twenty-eight years. Tony Franks's moving obituary in BBN is based on his report of John's death on the Festival's Facebook, which includes many photos of John, Gill, the Festival setting, and the artists who played there - among whom are Paul McEvoy, Barney Bowes, and Tom Hanway. The condolences of all who knew John go out to his family and Gill.

© Richard Hawkins

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