02 April 2021

California looks at bluegrass around the world (including Ireland)

Thanks to the California Bluegrass Association (CBA) for a copy of the April 2021 issue (vol. 51, no. 20) of their magazine Bluegrass Breakdown. The main feature in this issue, 'Bluegrass bloodlines', reviews six countries from around the world - Argentina, the Netherlands, Catalonia, the Czech Republic, Sweden, and Ireland - choosing a band from each to show how bluegrass has spread and developed.

Among those who contributed to the feature are Christopher Howard-Williams (IBMA board member for the International constituency, and chief organiser of the big La Roche Bluegrass Festival in France); Loes van Schaijk (bassist of Red Herring, who played the 2019 Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival, and text author of the splendid book High lonesome below sea level); and Chris Keenan (co-founder and organiser of the much-missed Johnny Keenan Banjo Festivals in Longford and Tullamore). Chris of course deals with Ireland, devoting three-quarters of her space to Galway's We Banjo 3 whose 'Celtgrass' explores 'the unsinkable spirit and energy of the banjo' and embodies a musical and spiritual connection between Ireland and Appalachia.

The issue, which can be downloaded from the CBA website, also has a front-page feature on Butch Waller (left), leader of High Country, the premier hardcore California bluegrass band that took part in the first Athy bluegrass festival in 1991, returned by popular demand in 1993, and then again fifteen years later; in the photo, Butch is shown on stage at Athy in 2008. He has been an Honorary Lifetime Member of the CBA since 1990.

© Richard Hawkins

Labels: , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home