24 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.


6th Balla Bluegrass Festival - now in progress!

To be exact - about an hour and a half from the publication of this post, the 6th Balla Bluegrass Festival will be in full swing in Balla, Co. Mayo, thanks to Tom Lyons, Chris Mannion, and the rest of the organising team. (Tom is second from right in this fine photo of the Rocky Top String Band at this year's Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival). The venues are Mannions and the Olde Woods on Balla's main street. The schedule, as set out on the Festival's completely refurbished website, is:

Fri. 24th: Tall Pines String Band, Mannions, 8.00 p.m.; Down and Out Bluegrass Band, the Olde Woods, 10.30 p.m.

Sat. 25th: Demolition String Band (USA), Mannions, 3.00 p.m.; Hickory Wind, the Olde Woods, 8.00 p.m.; Tim Rogers & the Clew Bay Critters, Mannions, 10.30 p.m.

Sun. 26th: John Nyhan String Band, Mannions, 8.00 p.m.; the Bread Winners, the Olde Woods, 10.30 p.m.

Mon. 27th: Colonel Bullshot Rides Again, Mannions, 7.00 p.m.

Tom adds: 'As usual we will have a raffle over the weekend for a guitar.' More info from Chris Mannion (094 9365093) or Tom Lyons (087 2296018; 094 9365200; e-mail). A link to a list of accommodation in the Balla area is here.

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23 October 2014

Keeping it country at the Rockies Club, Cork, 24-6 Oct.

Thanks to Roger Ryan of the Country Music Association of Ireland for a reminder of news that the BIB first published on 1 October - during the annual Cork Guinness Jazz Festival over the coming October bank holiday weekend (24-27 Oct.), the Rockies Club (Blackrock National Hurling Club) on Church Road, Blackrock, Cork, will present a strong programme of country music.

On Friday 24 Oct. Hank Wedel and his band, who are among the leading attractions on the local scene, will be playing there. Hank has released a new two-track CD ('So close'/'That was the one'), with both tracks getting extensive airplay on national and local radio. On Saturday 25 Oct. the well known local musician Paul Murphy will be joined by many guest performers; and on Sunday night (26 Oct.) the Demolition String Band (USA) from the USA will be the stars (see the separate BIB posts on the DSB). 'Kountry Karaoke' will also be featured on Sunday night, and it is hoped that many people will take part.

Roger (who is also in charge of the Rockies' PR) adds that the Club's music programme for later in the year includes Rackhouse Pilfer on Saturday 29 November and Two Time Polka on Saturday 20 December. He adds: 'As usual, admission is free and the craic is mighty.'

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21 October 2014

Tim Eriksen in Ireland, 22-25 Oct. 2014

Thanks to the Sacred Harp Singers of Dublin for the news that the 'hardcore Americana' singer and musician Tim Eriksen (USA) will be giving a workshop in Sacred Harp singing tomorrow evening (Wed. 22 Oct.) from 7.00 to 9.00 p.m. in the Franciscan Friary on Merchant's Quay, Dublin 8.

Tim Eriksen, who performed and taught in Ireland in spring 2012 and August 2013, is back here in the course of a tour of these islands. The three other dates on his schedule are:

Thurs. 23rd: The Cobblestone, Smithfield, Dublin
Fri. 24th: Imagine Arts Festival, Waterford city
Sat. 25th: Mountmellick Folk Concert, Mountmellick, Co. Laois

The Sacred Harp Singers of Dublin notice includes the following quote:

Tim Eriksen's work as an ethnomusicologist and teacher has included extensive research on shape-note music in New England and the venerable Sacred Harp four-part harmony tradition. He is a founder of what is currently the world's largest Sacred Harp singing convention, in Northampton, MA. In the words of Paste magazine editor Josh Jackson, 'no one has done more to help revive Sacred Harp singing among a younger generation.'

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Chris Thile in Dublin, 9 Nov. 2014

Thanks to the EBMA Facebook page for the news that the outstanding mandolinist Chris Thile (left) of the Punch Brothers will be touring in Europe from early next week in a duo with jazz pianist Brad Mehldau.

Thile's solo tour in 2013 began in Dublin; this year - after playing in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Austria, France, and Spain - the duo will end their tour on Sunday 9 Nov. at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Tickets can be booked online (at the time of writing this post, the NCH website is undergoing maintenance).

NB: the EBMA Facebook page is now the European Bluegrass Music Association's most active and up-to-date online news medium.

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Dangem Get-Togethers: back after the long summer break

Thanks to Derek Lockhart of Dangem Bluegrass for the latest e-newsletter, announcing that Dangem Bluegrass Get-Togethers at the Lagan Valley Island, Island Civic Centre, Lisburn, Co. Antrim BT27 4RL, will resume this coming Saturday (25 Oct. 2014) from 10.00 a.m. to noon.

Derek adds: 'Let everyone know. Bring along your banjos, guitars, mandolins, fiddles, dobros, and bass, or just come along and enjoy us make music. Look forward to seeing as many of you who can attend.'

The schedule will be as usual, except that the provision of banjo lessons is currently awaiting funding (promised by the Centre); so things will go as follows:

10.00-10.30 Warm-up
10.30-11.00(ish) Breakout time for beginners; rest of players, jam time
11.00(ish) to 12.00(ish) All back together

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Two Time Polka: late autumn gigs

Ray Barron of Two Time Polka reports:

Here are the details of our gigs for the next few weeks:

Cork Jazz Festival
Fri. Oct. 24th: South County Bar, West Village, Douglas, Cork. Start 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4891574
Sat. 25th: The Blue Haven, Pearse St., Kinsale, Co. Cork. Start 4.30 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4772209
Sun. 26th: The Blue Haven, Pearse St., Kinsale, Co. Cork. Start 4.30 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4772209.
Sun. 26th: Briar Rose Bar, Douglas Rd, Cork. Start 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4291686.
Mon. 27th: Briar Rose Bar, Douglas Rd, Cork. Start 6.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4291686.

Sat. Nov. 8th: Henchy's Bar, St. Luke's, Cork. Start 10.00 p.m. Adm. free. Tel. 021 4507833.
This is the closing night of an art exhibition in aid of Anitas Orphanage, Cambodia. In addition, a raffle for a painting and the annual stew competition will take place on the night.

Ray and TTP

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20 October 2014

Furnace Mountain in Ireland, 28 Oct.-9 Nov. 2014

Following on from the BIB post of 25 Sept., thanks to Kate O’Leary of Music Network (also on Facebook) for a reminder of the non-Northern Ireland part of the forthcoming tour by the Virginia string band Furnace Mountain, beginning next week.

Furnace Mountain - comprising Aimee Curl (bass, vocals), Danny Knicely (mandolin, vocals, fiddle), Dave Van Deventer (fiddle, vocals), and Morgan Morrison (bouzouki, vocals) - label themselves as 'ethno-Appalachian roots music'. The Music Network release says:

Straight from the Appalachian mountains, Virginian act Furnace Mountain unleash their own distinctive take on rootsy Americana, breathing new life into old-time, bluegrass, and folk tunes. At times lively and raucous, at times poignant and poetic, Furnace Mountain has won critical acclaim for its fresh, authentic sound. Heart-worn and effortlessly sweet vocal harmonies interweave with spirited fiddle playing to interpret some of the oldest songs ever written alongside original compositions.

Full touring information is available on the Music Network and Arts Council of Northern Ireland Moving on Music websites. The band's full schedule in Ireland is:

Tues. 28th Oct.: Music Network, Sugar Club, Dublin 2
Thurs. 30th: Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Fri. 31st: Droichead Arts Centre, Drogheda, Co. Louth
Sat. 1st Nov.: Regional Cultural Centre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal
Sun. 2nd: Clifden Arts Society, Station House Theatre, Clifden, Co. Galway
Mon. 3rd: Linenhall Arts Centre, Castlebar, Co. Mayo
Tues. 4th: Pavilion Theatre, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
Wed. 5th: Town Hall, Ballymoney, Co. Antrim
Thurs. 6th: Council Chambers, Bangor, Co. Down
Fri. 7th: Down Arts Centre, Downpatrick, Co. Down
Sat. 8th: Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre, Armagh city
Sun. 9th: Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast

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18 October 2014

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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