28 May 2012

News of US friends

The e-mail and web have recently brought a number of reminders from the USA of American bands and musicians whose visits and performances in Ireland will be long remembered. Bluegrass Today carried last week an appreciation of Al Batten & the Bluegrass Reunion (above) from North Carolina, who have now been playing for forty years with only four personnel changes. Their two appearances at the Appalachian & Bluegrass Music Festival in Omagh, Co. Tyrone, are mentioned. About time for another one, perhaps? Read the whole feature here, and make sure to view at full size the fine recent photo of the band by Laura Tate Photography (not shown on the BIB).

Also last week, Bluegrass Today published some good news from 'Uncle' Phil Leadbetter, who was here in 1999 playing resonator guitar with J.D. Crowe & the New South. For the last two years he has had very serious problems with lymphoma, which earlier this year seemed irreversible. New treatment has produced dramatic improvements, and he can now plan on spending the rest of 2012 recuperating, and going back to playing out in 2013.

Finally, we received a few days ago from Bluegrass on the Tube a link to a video of the Bluegrass Patriots from Colorado, stars of the very first Dunmore East bluegrass festival in 1995. The video shows them in 2005, with the great Kenny Seaman on banjo, playing 'Put my little shoes away', with Glenn Zankey not only singing his usual great lead but earning applause for a swift string change on his guitar at the same time.

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