16 June 2021

News of past visitors (and an almost-visitor)

Congratulations to Aaron Jonah Lewis of the multi-instrumentalist trio the Corn Potato String Band, and Grace van 't Hof, banjoist with Chris Jones & the Night Drivers. They were married last Friday (11 June), as reported on Bluegrass Today. Aaron has toured Ireland several times with the Corn Potatoes; Grace had just become a Night Driver at the time of their 2019 visit to Ireland, but Gina Furtado, the band's banjo-player for the previous four years, stayed with them for the tour.
Gina Furtado and her band, the Gina Furtado Project, recently released 'Kansas City railroad blues' as a single. Among other treatments of the tune, solo banjo versions have been recorded by Butch Robins and Russ Carson. All are a good deal faster than the 1927 recording 'K.C. railroad blues' by Andrew and Jim Baxter.
John Nyhan arranged several tours in Ireland for Boston's Mile Twelve in previous years, so many will have seen their bass-player Nate Sabat. He has now produced an instruction book for beginning bassists, Dirt simple upright bass, published by Mel Bay at $14.99 for book with fifty online audio recordings; an e-book version is $5 less. More details are on the Mel Bay website and in John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today.
In his latest e-newsletter, Michael J. Miles, master of eclectic clawhammer banjo, reports that his project Mississippi River suite reached the rank of #9 on national folk charts.
Nu-Blu from Siler City, NC, who were on tour here in October 2019 in a trio configuration, are delighted to be back on the road again in the US with a busy touring schedule. Their new virtual album Where you've been can be pre-ordered from their website, and they have an 'Encounter Ireland' trip announced for this year.
Back in October the BIB reported on Lorraine Jordan of North Carolina - leader of her band Carolina Road - who visited Ireland three years ago and played at the 2017 Ardara Bluegrass Festival and other venues with the Garrett Newton Band. We mentioned then that she is known as one of the most business-focused people in bluegrass, citing John Lawless's feature on Bluegrass Today, which featured her musical coffee house in Garner, NC. She responded to Covid restrictions by expanding the coffee house into a café, which opened in April; see yesterday's feature by Sandy Hatley on Bluegrass Today.

© Richard Hawkins

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