22 June 2021

The scene begins to reopen in Britain

The latest issue (no. 94, summer 2021) of British Bluegrass News (BBN), journal of the British Bluegrass Music Asociation, maintains its high standard of presentation and solid content. The cover story, 'A bluegrass girl in a folky world' is Abbey Thomas's account of playing bluegrass for a degree in folk music at Leeds Conservatoire.

The many other features include Chris Courogen on the US group Gangstagrass; French maestro Francois Vola on Tony Rice, his 1935 D-28, and his playing; an obituary of banjoist Roger Blackbourn (72) of the band Monroe's Revenge; a review of the EP Put all your troubles away from The Foreign Landers; and the Gospel Corner, featuring Gillian Welch's 'Orphan girl'. Jack Baker's 'Tab Corner' feature gives tabs of Bill Monroe's 'Old Daingerfield' for banjo, fiddle, and mandolin, together with details of how Monroe's original compositions evolved over time.

There are also indications of the revival of live music in Britain. Maria Wallace of the True North Music agency is presenting a 'Streaming across the Sea' online festival next month (4 and 10 July) on the agency's YouTube channel, but later in July the Battlefield Bluegrass Festival is to be held in Northamptonshire, and a month later the Banjo in the Holler gathering in Surrey. The big news is that the 25th Sore Fingers Summer School, Europe's leading organisation for bluegrass and old-time music camps, has now been rescheduled for the week Sunday 24 to Thursday 28 October 2021. Full details of tutors and courses are given here.

Guitarist Hubert Murray of Tullamore appears again in BBN's list of music teachers, and his Hot Rock Pilgrims band is on the page of band and media members, together with Navan's Pilgrim St.

© Richard Hawkins

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