17 June 2022

For mandolinists - and others

David 'Dawg' Grisman (right), one of the founding fathers of modern mandolin playing, can be seen on the Fretboard Journal YouTube channel, talking recently about his 1922 Lloyd Loar F-5 mandolin 'Crusher'. Nine years ago John Reischman, then already one of the most respected contemporary mandolinists, talked on the FJ channel about his 1924 Lloyd Loar.

Reischman, who was nominated for the Canadian Juno award earlier this year, has now been interviewed at length in Dave Berry's 'California Report' series on Bluegrass Today about his music career and his current projects, including his latest album New time & old acoustic. The interview also has five videos.

Also on YouTube, Darren Nicholson talks about his 1923 F-5 (named 'Ferdinand' after its original owner) and how it came to him.

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For fans (which most of us are) it's easy to forget that bluegrass at a professional level is a business. On Bluegrass Today, Chris Jones (who toured Ireland with his Night Drivers band in 2018 and 2019) deals with a major aspect of the business: recording contracts, which, as he says, 'can be problematic for all parties involved, especially now when people have stopped, you know, actually paying for music'.
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Award-winning Australian singer Kristy Cox toured Ireland with her band in 2019, thanks to mygrassisblue.com, and would have been back in 2020 on a European tour but for the pandemic. She has since relocated to the USA and signed with Billy Blue Records, who have released her album Shades of blue. An official video of 'Good morning moon', a single from the album, has now been released and can be seen on Bluegrass Today and YouTube.
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Blue Highway, who headlined the bluegrass section of the Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in 2009, have (as John Lawless remarks on Bluegrass Today) 'a well-earned reputation for consistently choosing and recording the very finest new material introduced in the bluegrass genre'. Rounder Records have now released 'On the roof of the world', written by the band's guitarist Tim Stafford - a song about death on a mountain, but not the location you might expect from a bluegrass song (and with none of the history-distortion of 'Matterhorn'). It can be heard on Bluegrass Today and YouTube.
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The Mountain Home Music Company announce the release of Heyday, the new album from the Lonesome River Band, headliners at rhe Omagh festival in 2013. 'Mary Ann is a pistol', a single from the album, was released earlier this year; a video can be seen on Bluegrass Today or YouTube. Full details on the album are on the Mountain Home press release.
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The Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum's Rompfest, to be held on four days next week (22-25 June) in Owensboro, KY, includes many acts and artists familiar to Irish audiences: the Del McCoury Band, Rhiannon Giddens, Brennen Leigh, Rob Ickes & Trey Hensley, Lindsay Lou, the Steep Canyon Rangers, the Gibson Brothers, Punch Brothers, Hackensaw Boys - and Galway's We Banjo 3, whose single 'Gift of life', released today (17 June), can be heard here.

© Richard Hawkins

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