18 October 2014

The Bluegrass Ireland Blog: still alive

Although the editor officially retired from bluegrass blogging on 15 February 2013, the Bluegrass Ireland Blog (BIB) is still alive. Its calendar is kept updated, and news received is posted. Send in news for the calendar by e-mail, and please add a copy to Ray O'Brien, whose 'Bluegrass in Ireland' Facebook page is now the most interactive medium on bluegrass in Ireland.

The resources already on the BIB, including archives and links, remain accessible and may be improved for the convenience of readers. The BIB's background and purpose are explained here, and tips on using it are here. To reach both, click on the 'Welcome' label below.


Your chance to ensure the Special C. play at Headford!

Here's a message from Willie Campbell of Campbell's Tavern, Cloughanover, Headford, Co. Galway. which has hosted many music events. Willie hopes to present the Special Consensus (above) on 11 January 2015; and while times and economic circumstances are changing, he has come up with a new way of making this possible:

I have a small country venue in Co. Galway since 2001. Holds about 110 and we have done lots of gigs over the years with Nigel Martyn [of the Old Flattop agency, organising the Special C. tour].

I've found that people's habits have changed and they don't buy tickets in advance. This has made it pretty impossible for us to offer guarantees to artists, and this means we can't put on gigs, which is what we love doing.

I've come across a possible solution which puts the decision into the hands of the fans. It's the crowd-funding concept. People have two weeks to buy a ticket. I need to sell 78 tickets to break even. It's an all-or-nothing concept, so if we sell 77 by the cut-off date then the gig does not go ahead and your card does not get debited.

This is our first attempt at this, and it could really open things up for music fans countrywide to broaden the gigs available. Here's the link.

The link is to the icrowdfund website, where you can learn more about the Tavern and the Special C. (including a video of them on Music City Roots playing 'Monroe', from their Grammy-nominated album Scratch Gravel Road), and pledge support at a rate of €15 for each person who will be coming. The crucial two-week window of opportunity is now open.

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16 October 2014

Advance news of 16th Shannonside Winter Music Weekend, 15-19 Jan. 2015

Thanks to Des Butler, who forwards information from Brendan Walsh of the Sixmilebridge Folk Club in Co. Clare on the forthcoming 16th Shannonside Winter Music Weekend (15-19 Jan. 2015). Des writes:

Almost all music genres are being catered for, from classical to jazz with seventy events in fifteen venues in Bunratty village and Sixmilebridge. The list of bands booked for the bluegrass section is impressive:

Special Consensus (USA) [see photo above]
Niall Toner Band
Cool Hand Dukes (country/ blues)
Boat Band (UK; cajun)
Pat & Ricky Kelleher
Down and Out Bluegrass Band
Chris Dolimore (acoustic blues)
John Nyhan & Friends

A full brochure is due out in early November. All kudos to Brendan Walsh, John Nyhan, and Sixmilebridge Folk Club.

A flyer issued earlier this year lists further acts including orchestral music, a cappella singing, Morris dance, jazz, flamenco, and of course Irish traditional music.

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Songwriting camp / Dobro lessons in July 2015?

Thanks to Ray O'Brien and 'Bluegrass in Ireland' for passing on this news from Gary Ferguson (USA):

Wondering if anybody in Ireland would be interested in a songwriting camp or private Dobro lessons from a well known Dobro player from the States in July. If so, send me a private message.

Gary, who made his tenth consecutive annual tour in Ireland in July this year, can be contacted via his Facebook page.

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15 October 2014

Old Crow Medicine Show coming next week

Old Crow Medicine Show (photo: Andrea Behrends)

Following on from BIB reports in July and September, the Open House Festival team in Belfast send a further reminder that the Old Crow Medicine Show (USA) will be playing on Tuesday 21 Oct. at Mandela Hall, Queen's University Students' Union, University Rd, Belfast BT7 1NF. Online advance price £22.50; on the door £25. Tickets are still available online. Doors open (to over-18s) at 8.00 p.m.

Videos of the band in action can be seen on their website, and the show is presented in association with Ulster Bank Belfast Festival At Queen's.

On the previous night (Monday 20 Oct.) the band will be performing at Vicar Street, Dublin, adm. €29.00. The two shows in Ireland are part of a European tour that includes shows in Manchester, Glasgow, London, and Amsterdam.

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Folk award-winner in Ireland, 1-6 Nov. 2014

For BIB readers with a folk leaning: thanks to Tom Stapleton for the news that Vermont artist Anaïs Mitchell, whose album Child ballads won 'Best Traditional Song' at the 2014 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, is touring Ireland at the beginning of November. Two of the dates are already sold out. Rachel Ries is also playing on all these shows.

Tom includes this link to a fifteen-minute spot on YouTube. Anaïs Mitchell's full schedule in Ireland is:

Sat. Nov. 1st: Leap Castle, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary, 8.00 p.m. (SOLD OUT) 087 2238040
Sun. 2nd: The Set Theatre, 69 John St., Kilkenny, 8.00 p.m.
Mon. 3rd: Coughlan's Live, 7 Douglas St, Cork city, 9.00 p.m. (SOLD OUT)
Wed. 5th: The Black Box, 18-22 Hill St., Belfast BT1 2LA, 8.00 p.m.
Thurs. 6th: Whelan's, 25 Wexford St, Dublin 2, 8.00 p.m.

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Deadline for next Bluegrass Europe 17 Oct. 2014

14 October 2014

The Official EBMA Magazine
with Europe's leading Bluegrass Concert & Festival Calendar
and the European Bluegrass Guide
Dear bluegrass bands in Europe
Deadline to send in your dates for BE#93 is this Friday, 17th October!
Delay planned due to special IBMA reports
(and unplanned due to computer breakdown...).
Please send in your public gigs and concert dates between 1st November and 28th February 2015! use our Excel-spreadsheet (or download from http://www.ebma.org/uploads/media/BEXX_calendar_dates.xls), fill in your details and email back the completed form to editor@ebma.org as soon as possible, no later than this Friday, 17th October 2014. 
There's a little space for advertising, too! Check out our rates and contact us for your package: http://www.ebma.org/be/advertising/
If you don't get Bluegrass Europe in your mail, but you would like to, please consider a subscription at only 25EUR/yr, get it online here: http://www.bluegrass-europe.org/subscribe-to-bluegrass-europe/ (only 6.25EUR per issue!). Your supscription also supports EBMA's endeavours to promote Bluegrass Music in Europe - so hey, why not subscribe today!?

Thank you for taking time to contribute!

Angelika Torrie
European Bluegrass Music Association
www.ebma.org ¦ www.bluegrass-europe.org
European Bluegrass Music Association (EBMA)

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14 October 2014

Pickers on the new Niall Toner album

Thanks to Richie Foley for this photo of the musicians taking part in the recording, in Nashville, of the forthcoming Niall Toner album (see yesterday's BIB post for further details).

Shown above, from left to right, are Samson Grisman (upright bass), Scott Vestal (5-string banjo), Niall (vocals, mandolin, guitar), Keith Sewell (fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocals, production), Justin Weaver (mandolin, guitar, slide guitar), and John Mock (harmonium, percussion, whistle).

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Siobhan Kennedy

Thanks to Woodbine's Facebook page for the news that Siobhan (left), the new daughter of Tom and Nicola Kennedy, was born at 1.00 p.m. on Saturday 11 October.

To the proud parents, congratulations; to Siobhan, welcome to the Irish bluegrass community!


Greg Trooper in Ireland, 20-24 Oct. 2014

The highly regarded Americana singer/ songwriter Greg Trooper will be playing four dates in Ireland next week in the course of a European tour taking in Spain, the Netherlands, and Britain. They are:

Mon. 20th: Mick Murphy’s Stage Inn Bar, Ballymore Eustace, Co. Kildare
Wed. 22nd: DC Music Club, 20 Camden Row, Dublin 2, 8.30 p.m.
Thurs. 23rd: Real Music Club, Errigle Inn, Belfast, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 24th: Seamus Ennis Arts Centre, Naul, Fingal, Co. Dublin, 8.30 p.m.

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13 October 2014

No old-time at the Glenside in October

Cathal Cusack (guitar), Tim Hawkins (fiddle), and Richard Hawkins (banjo) announce with regret that their plan to play old-time music on the third Wednesday of every month, upstairs at the Glenside, Landscape Road, Churchtown, Dublin 14, will be frustrated for October 2014 by the pressure of other commitments.

They will therefore not be playing there on Wednesday 15 Oct. or during the rest of the month. Resumption of the monthly series will be announced on the BIB.

Guitarists should note that the Glenside Guitar Circle also holds meetings downstairs at the pub for music in different genres. Anyone interested should contact Noel at 087 6838817 or by e-mail.

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Niall Toner recording his fifth album in Nashville

The 'listen-back': (l-r) Niall, Justin Weaver, Samson Grisman, Asa Sewell (photographer)

Thanks to Niall Toner for this news:

I've been recording my new album at 16 Ton Studios on Music Row over the past ten days. Tracks include a re-cut of 'Bill Monroe's mandolin' and a hammer-and-tongs version of 'When tomorrow comes', in tribute to Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs.

Musicians include Scott Vestal on 5-string banjo; Justin Weaver (Dixie Chicks) on mandolin, guitar, and slide guitar; Samson Grisman (Dave's son; playing with the Deadly Gentlemen and Sarah Jaroz) on upright bass; Keith Sewell on fiddle, guitar, mandolin, vocals, and production; and John Mock (Dixie Chicks) on harmonium, percussion, and whistle, with me on all vocals and some mandolin and guitar. Sessions were engineered by Michael Esser.

Once again, it's an all-original project, and probably my most ambitious to date. I'm also not sure yet about a record label. Pinecastle are keen, but this time 'round they have a little competition from Rounder, Sugar Hill, and Compass, so we'll see who makes the best bid!

Release date still to be decided, but probably early 2015. Track listing:

1 Working on love
2 Josie's reel
3 I know what lonely's about
4 Old tyme love
5 When tomorrow comes
6 The mountain and the sky
7 Walk on water
8 Bill Monroe's mandolin
9 Planxty Coolasnaughta/The flower Of Liffey Hall (inst.)
10 The people wondered

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Muriel Anderson in Cork, 17 Oct. 2014

Following on from the BIB post of 20 Sept., thanks to Tina Darb O'Sullivan of the Triskel Christchurch Arts Centre in Cork for more about the performance by the outstanding guitarist Muriel Anderson (USA) in the Centre on this coming Friday, 17 October. The show starts at 8.00 p.m.; tickets are €14/€12 (early bird) and can be booked from the Centre online or by 'phone (021 4272022).

More details, including bio and press release, can be found here on the Centre's website. Also to be noted are the following quotes about her:

Just one hell of a great player... a great personality and what I like is the touch that Muriel has on the guitar, the way she plays it like we all wish to play. (Les Paul)

I cannot think of another guitarist who seems to have taken over the role of Segovia in popularising the finger-style guitar as Muriel Anderson has. (Lawrence Long, Knoxville-Oak Ridge Guitar Society)

With playing that grabs you by the ear and never lets go, this is a fine portrait of an artist that just keeps getting better and better, fully deserving of a toe-to-toe spot with the masters that have taught her so well. (Chris Spector, Midwest Record Recap)

The Triskel Christchurch show is the third in this tour, which begins at Brendan O'Regan's Arklow Roots Music tomorrow night (14 Oct.). The full schedule is on the BIB calendar and the post of 20 Sept.

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12 October 2014

Michael J. Miles: autumn news and events

Thanks to clawhammer maestro Michael J. Miles (USA) for his latest e-newsletter, with details of his schedule for the coming months. All his CDs, with some of the most impressive music ever played on clawhammer banjo, are now available for $10 each.

Michael's classes at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago start on Monday 27 October. He is giving two courses, both on Monday evenings: 'Trains songs and rivers songs for clawhammer banjo' (6.30 p.m.) and 'Beatles for finger style guitar' (8.00 p.m.). Coming in 2015: among other things, concert collaborations with the Chicago Arts Orchestra and two new books - Bob Dylan for clawhammer banjo and Pete Seeger banjo play-along. Read the full newsletter here.

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11 October 2014

Cabin Sessions in Dundrum, Dublin, 30 Oct. 2014

Gerry Fitzpatrick announces the next show in the Cabin Sessions series, 'Acoustic Music at its Finest', at Uncle Tom's Cabin in south Dublin (not far from Dundrum Luas station in the city direction):

We have a great lineup for you this month on 30 October. In addition to the usual Cabin Crew - Spats Davenport (gtr), Con Butler (bs), Gerry Fitzpatrick (dob), Cathy McEvoy (fdl), Christian Volkmann (hca), Dave Hardy (clt/sax) - our special guests are Tom Horan (folk), Sue Callaghan (contemporary), and all the way from Belfast Janet Holmes & Colin Henry (folk/ Americana), and there is the possibility of the odd surprise guest putting in an appearance. 9.30-11.30 p.m. as usual, and admission FREE.

If you or someone you know would like to perform at the Cabin Sessions, let Gerry know by e-mail. The Sessions are particularly interested in featuring local musicians and singers.

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10 October 2014

Brendan Power and Frankie Lane at Fermoy, 26 Oct. 2014

Thanks to Patrick Higgins, marketing coordinator of the Palace Theatre at Fermoy, for this news:

The Palace Theatre is honored to welcome two superlative musicians who are coming together for their first-ever performance as a duo as part of the first outing for the Palace Theatre Folk Club on Sunday 26 October at 8.00 p.m. in the Palace Theatre Fermoy, Ashe Quay, Fermoy, Co. Cork.

UK-based Brendan Power is one of the most creative, skilled, and versatile harmonica players around today. Brendan is an All Ireland Harmonica Champion, winner of the BBC Radio 2 Folk Award, and has been named SPAH’s International ‘Harmonica Player of the Year’.

He’ll meld his earthy blues harp with Irishman Frankie Lane’s dobro and steel guitar for a unique and unforgettable one-off night. Frankie was nominated for both a prestigious Meteor Music Award in the Country/Roots category and an I.R.M.A. music award.

Tickets: €12 available from box office 025 32042 (bookings currently being taken – tickets on sale from 7 October).

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09 October 2014

More on Sligo Live (22-27 Oct. 2014)

Following up on the news from the Corner Boys,* the BIB notes that Sligo Live, 'Ireland's Folk, Root & Indie Festival', is presenting 'Intimate Music on the Wild Atlantic Way' in sixty-four separate music events during its six days (22-27 Oct. 2014).

From a look over the website's lineup pages, it appears that bluegrass, old-time, or related music will be heard at the following shows (in chronological order):

Thurs. 23rd: Demolition String Band, Furey's, Bridge St., 9.30 p.m.
Ruby Ridge (led by Gerry Grennan of the Corner Boys), Hargadons, 10.00 p.m.

Sat. 25th: Corner Boys, Lyons Cafe, 3.00 p.m.
Rackhouse Pilfer, Garavogue, 3.00 p.m.

Sun. 26th: We Banjo 3, Hawk's Well Theatre, 8.00 p.m. Reserved seating €18.00
Sheryl Crow, supported by Old Hannah, Knocknarea Arena, 8.30 p.m., €45.00 general admission (standing)
Rackhouse Pilfer, Stage 2, 5th On Teeling (Festival Club), 11.30 p.m., €10 in advance; €12 on door

*Not to be confused with the Wexford band Corner Boy, in a different musical genre.

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The Corner Boys in Sligo Live, 25 Oct. 2014

Thanks to Ray O'Brien and Bluegrass in Ireland for passing on news from the Sligo-based Corner Boys band, who are happy to announce that they will be playing a gig in partnership with Sligo Live 2014. The gig is in Lyons Café on Quay St., Sligo town, on Saturday 25 October at 3.00 p.m. The Corner Boys add:

We'd love to see ye there for some coffee and tunes. Here's a wee tune of ours to get ye moving.

The tune 'D and G', a brisk instrumental composed by mandolinist Brendan Emmett, can be seen in video on Ray's Facebook and also on YouTube.

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Demolition String Band tour - thanks to Westport Festival team

Demolition String Band: Boo Reiners, Elena Skye

The BIB post of 1 Oct. on the tour by the Demolition String Band (USA), beginning next week, needs updating: several dates can now be added to the schedule, AND further good news is that the complete tour is organised by the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival team, as the first in an ongoing series of tours by visiting artists which the Festival will present throughout the year. The team announces:

We’ve come across so many great bands that can’t make it to the festival we’re starting a new series of gigs and tours called 'Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival presents…' to showcase these acts.

A full press release about the Demolition String Band tour can be read on the Westport Festival website and on the Festival's latest e-newsletter, which also provides links for downloading press release, pictures, posters, and more information - both on this tour and on next year's Festival (12-14 June 2015). As a special point of interest, the BIB notes that Elena studied mandolin with the maestro Jethro Burns. We quote two sentences from the press release:

The pair... have been thrilling audiences and critics for more than a decade now with their original material mixed with the traditional and the not-so-traditional... Elena and Boo live to connect with fans old and new, everywhere they go.

Read the full release here. The complete tour schedule (all dates are now on the BIB calendar) is:

Thurs. 16th: Crowley’s Bar, Henry St., Kenmare, Co. Kerry, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 17th: McCarthy’s, Buttevant, Co. Cork, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 18th: Pat Shortt’s, Castlemartyr, Co. Cork, 8.00 p.m.
Sun. 19th: Blarney Castle Hotel, Blarney, Co. Cork, 9.00 p.m.
Mon. 20th: Charlie’s, 2 Union Quay, Cork city, 9.00 p.m.
Tues. 21st: Matt Molloy’s, Bridge St., Westport, Co. Mayo, 7.00 p.m.
Thurs. 23rd, Furey’s, Bridge St., Sligo town, 8.00 p.m.
Fri. 24th: Spells Bar, Pound St., Ballaghaderreen, Co. Roscommon, 8.00 p.m.
Sat. 25th: Mannion’s Bar, Balla, Co. Mayo, 2.00 p.m. (Balla Bluegrass Festival)
Sun. 26th: Blackrock ('Rockies') GAA Club, Church Rd, Blackrock, Cork city, 8.00 p.m.

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08 October 2014

Getting around

Prominent US bluegrass blogger Ted Lehmann spotted this place card at the Gig Fair in last week's IBMA World of Bluegrass in Raleigh, NC. Ted explains: 'The Gig Fair is the bluegrass equivalent of speed dating.' The BIB hopes the Folk Park pulled on a grand scale.

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More detached notes

Bluegrass fans in Ireland can take a quick look at John Goad's latest Bluegrass Weather Report video feature on Bluegrass Today. Although it's expressly concerned with the Turkey Track Bluegrass Festival in Arkansas, the first minute or so of the video is made up of reminders of last week's IBMA World of Bluegrass - and just coming up to the minute mark, there's a brief clip showing Cup O' Joe in a jam session.
Coming a little closer to home: thanks to Gerry Fitzpatrick, organiser of the monthly Cabin Sessions in Dundrum, Dublin, for drawing attention to the online petition to rename Cork airport after Rory Gallagher. The blues are an important component of bluegrass music, and - if renaming it 'Chris Twomey Airport' is out of the question for the present - this petition is one that bluegrass fans can support.

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07 October 2014

An early winter bluegrass break in Barcelona? - and more

Thanks to Lluís Gómez (whose Barcelona Bluegrass Band was a favourite with audiences at successive Johnny Keenan Banjo Festivals) for news of the 13th Al Ras Bluegrass and Old Time Music Festival, which will be held at the Mercat Vell, Plaça Prat de la Riba 6, Mollet del Vallés, Barcelona, on 15 Nov. 2014.

The programme, which begins at 5.30 p.m., includes the legendary US guitarist Russ Barenberg of the 'Transatlantic Sessions'; Dublin-born Eugene O'Brien, banjo-player with the Sons of Navarone (B); and Jean-Marie Redon & Sharon Lombardi, who played more than once in Ireland with Blue Railroad Train (F).
For anyone who may be going to Phoenix, AZ: Morris Public Relations sends news of the Phoenix Musical Instrument Museum, which is dedicated to 'collecting, preserving and making accessible a wide variety of musical instruments and performance videos from every country in the world'. The MIM collection includes several notable instruments associated with Johnny Cash and the Carter Family, such as A.P. Carter’s 1929 Martin 00-28 guitar and June Carter Cash’s custom Orthey autoharp (photo). The Museum also hosts musical events which would interest BIB readers: this coming Friday there will be a show by Jerry Douglas & the Earls of Leicester,* and on Saturday lunchtime curator Cullen Strawn will give a half-hour lecture on banjo history.
Especially for regular attenders at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival at Omagh, Co. Tyrone: the Malpass Brothers from North Carolina have signed up with the Asheville-based Organic record label, and the album planned for release in 2015 is being produced by Doyle Lawson (see photo above). More details are here.
Finally, another artist on the Organic roster is Adam Steffey, who last week won the IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year award for the eleventh time. The first time was in 2002 - a mere eight years after he had played in Dublin with Alison Krauss & Union Station. We're not saying there was any connection...

*Update 8 Oct.: If you don't yet know about the Earls of Leicester, read Larry Nager's fine major article on them in the Oct. 2014 issue of Bluegrass Unlimited.

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06 October 2014

The Red Hat and the Old Time Herald

Thanks to Paul and Ann McEvoy for the news that the Red Hat Acoustic Music Club will be holding its monthly meeting for October this coming Friday (10 Oct.), as usual at the Harbour Hotel, Naas, Co. Kildare, starting about 8.30-9.00 p.m. A donation of €3 covers sandwiches and coffee/tea. Musicians and listeners are welcome.

The Old-Time Herald magazine sends a fund-raising circular - a gentle reminder that although 'old-time music still inhabits the rural economy of a hundred years ago', the magazine today is faced with a wide range of increasing costs, and needs help to keep going as the organ that the old-time music community wants and deserves.

There are several ways of making a donation; and thanks to the Deering banjo company, every donor will be entered in a draw for a chance of winning a Goodtime Americana open-back banjo with 12" pot, ideal for old-time music. Full details are in the circular.

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Squirrel to join IBMA board?

In last week's highly successful IBMA World of Bluegrass, held for the second year in Raleigh, NC, the artwork of Raleigh artist Tim Lee was a prominent feature: he created the poster images for the component parts of the event, and also gave it as a logo Ramble, the Lonesome Squirrel (left), whose image (we gather) was all over the city. More of Tim Lee's artwork can be seen on Facebook.

You can now see on Bluegrass Today a special video feature on Ramble. This was compiled by John Goad and Daniel Mullins from interviews with WOB participants including Jim Lauderdale and the Gibson Brothers, who supply a musical coda in Ramble's honour. What the late Jimmy Martin might have said is best left to the imagination.

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04 October 2014

Vincent Cross: October Global Newsletter

Thanks to Vincent Cross in New York for his October Global Newsletter, with glimpses of NYC roots music events that took place in September.

Prominent among these is the 10th Washington Square Reunion; Vincent attends the reunion each year to meet the legendary folk, bluegrass, and old-time musicians who were a part of the '60s folk revival. The newsletter includes a fine photo by Jeannie Myers of several deservedly well known pickers from thirty or more years ago.

Vincent also includes a brief film-clip collage from the 15th Annual Parkslope Jamboree in Brooklyn: the soundtrack is a galvanising harmony delivery of the song 'Guess I'm doing fine' from Vincent's Home away from home album, and the lyrics are available on his website. Read the full newsletter here.

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03 October 2014

Irene Andrews

Tony O'Brien sends word of the loss of another longtime devoted supporter of bluegrass in Ireland:

I have just got news with deep regret of the passing of Irene Andrews from Belfast, who along with her husband Bill was at every Athy festival up to 2012. They both became personal friends of myself and Joan over the years, and it was always a pleasure to greet them year on year to Athy.

Irene passed away in hospital on Monday and her funeral took place today (Friday). RIP Irene, and condolences to Bill from us all in Athy Bluegrass and the wider bluegrass community.


Tír na nÓg - a home for bluegrass

Finally (for today), to tie some Irish connections with bluegrass into a more-or-less neat knot: the Tír na nÓg bar at 218 S. Blount St., Raleigh, NC, which regularly hosts Irish traditional music and dance throughout the year, is also one of the main performance venues during IBMA's World of Bluegrass (IBMA WOB). In the five days, Tír na nÓg is presenting over forty hours of live bluegrass from six different countries.

Today, bands playing at Tír na nÓg include Cup O' Joe from Co. Armagh, who are the first (and so far the only) band from outside the US to perform on the IBMA WOB Youth Stage, according to the EBMA Facebook page. The Tír na nÓg schedule also includes Dublin's I Draw Slow and - as it happens - the Special Consensus (see this morning's post on their two IBMA awards).

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Roni Stoneman is R.O.P.E. Musician of the Year

Thanks to Tom Connor, husband and manager of Roni Stoneman, for the news that last night (2 Oct.) the First Lady of Banjo received the prestigious Musician of the Year award from the Reunion Of Professional Entertainers (R.O.P.E.) at their 27th Annual Banquet and Awards Show in Nashville, TN.

Tom points out that this, awarded by her peers within the industry, stands out as one of the most important and welcome of the many awards Roni has received in her career, and adds to the growing recognition of the Stoneman Family's contribution to country music. It also follows closely upon Roni's recent release of 'The day the banjo dies', a song written for her and produced by Ronnie Buff and now available to radio and TV (see the BIB for 13 September).

Contact Tom at Cumbria Entertainments or Ronnie Buff at Buff S Publishing for further info.

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Your chance to win...

Two chances, in fact:

(1) visit Ray O'Brien's 'Bluegrass in Ireland' to find out how to be in with a chance of winning a copy of The red album, the latest CD from Red Molly (USA), who begin a tour in Ireland next week (see the BIB for 20 September); and

(2) if you attended last month's Moniaive Michaelmas Bluegrass Festival (MMBF) in Scotland and would like to enter their competition to win two weekend tickets for MMBF 2015 - then please click on the survey link on the MMBF home page and complete the survey. Thanks to C. Paul 'Dobroman' Lyttle of the MMBF for this news.

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... to the Special Consensus (above), Ireland's favourite and most regular bluegrass visitors from the States, who won two awards at last night's IBMA Awards Show in Raleigh, N.C.

The Special C. received the Instrumental Recorded Performance award for 'Thank God I’m a country boy' (written by John Martin Sommers), from their Compass Records album Country boy: a bluegrass tribute to John Denver, with Buddy Spicher, Michael Cleveland and Alison Brown. They also won the Recorded Event of the Year award for 'Wild Montana skies', with Claire Lynch and Rob Ickes, also on Compass. A full IBMA press release on all the 2014 awards is online, and the alert reader will notice several other recipients who have played in Ireland.

The Special Consensus, led by Greg Cahill (banjo) with Rick Faris (mandolin), Dustin Benson (guitar), and Dan Eubanks (bass), will be in these islands for most of January 2015. Details of the schedule are not out yet, but the tour is being arranged as usual by Nigel Martyn and his Old Flattop agency in Belfast, and the band will be headlining the 16th Shannonside Winter Music Weekend (15-19 Jan. 2015).

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