16 October 2013

Detached notes

Another of the true pioneers of bluegrass music has gone, with the death a week ago (10 Oct.) of Jim Shumate of North Carolina, who was almost 92 but kept fire and grace in his playing into his nineties. An announcement appeared on Bluegrass Today, which subsequently published a major feature on him by Richard Thompson. The Prescription Bluegrass Blog reports his funeral on Sunday 13 Oct.

Jim Shumate was one of a generation of young fiddlers influenced by the long-bow style of Fiddlin' Arthur Smith. His place in bluegrass history is assured, and not just by his personal character and the quality of his playing: he was responsible for introducing Earl Scruggs to Bill Monroe & the Blue Grass Boys in 1945, played later with the Stanley Brothers, and was the first fiddler to record with Flatt & Scruggs in 1948.

Back from the USA, Niall Toner plays solo at Treacy's Hotel, Enniscorthy, Co. Wexford, on Friday 18 Oct. His performances at IBMA's World of Bluegrass 2013 form part of the latest e-newsletter from Make Welcome Entertainment.

The updated schedule of events up to 27 Oct. at the Seamus Ennis Cultural Centre, Naul, Co. Dublin, can be seen here.

On 11 Oct. Bluegrass in Ireland published a message from John Lowell (USA), whose band will be playing in Germany next April and May, and would welcome the opportunity of touring in Ireland in the week 12-19 May 2014. The band consists of Tom Murphy (mandolin), Julie Elkins (banjo), Ben Somers (bass) and John (guitar). They can be seen and heard in action on YouTube here and here.

John, whose lead guitar work is both powerful and lyrical, also plays in the (sometimes augmented) duo Growling Old Men with Ben Winship (mandolin). He can be contacted by e-mail.

A forthcoming tour in these islands next summer by the Hot Seats (USA) was mentioned on the BIB on 24 Aug. 2013. Thanks to the Brookfield Knights agency (UK) for the news that the terminal dates for the tour are now 16 July-3 August instead of those earlier announced.

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