Heard ‘Round The World, September 2012

The international bluegrass scene, as reported from all over the planet

I Draw Slow

Y'all Come!

Irish artists I Draw Slow and Niall Toner will arrive on American shores soon, in support of their upcoming Pinecastle Records releases, and have added dates for October. Both acts will play a two-night stand (October 2-3) with the Lonesome River Band. Niall Toner will perform at the Historic Jonesborough Bluegrass Series on Oct. 20, and I Draw Slow will play the fabulously named Albino Skunk Festival in Greer, SC on Oct. 4-5.

More than two dozen Australian roots music artists are coming to Music City to participate in the 13th Annual Americana Music Festival and Conference, Sept. 12-15 in downtown Nashville, TN! Celebrated Aussie artists Kasey Chambers & Shane Nicholson, Felicity Urquhart, Caitlin Harnett and Jordie Lane are booked for showcases at this year’s festival, with additional performances scheduled throughout the week. Visit http://tinyurl.com/9oprudp for article and schedule. We hope some of our friends from Oz will drop by the World of Bluegrass! (We know Karene Lynne and Martin Louis from Sydney-based bluegrass band Karen Lynne & Acoustic Shock and songwriter Nadine Budge from Melbourne will be at WOB this year!)

Upcoming Tours & Events

The 11th Annual Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival in Tullamore, Ireland, happens this 20-23 September, and new additions to the lineup include Michael J. Miles, Rachael Hester, and Rick Shea, joining Suzy Bogguss, Blue Highway, Blackjack, George Harper, Barcelona Bluegrass Band, Niall Toner, Bending the Strings, Gerry O'Connor, Paul Brady, Mundy, and more. This four-day fest includes concerts, workshops, sessions, jams, a busking competition, craft exhibits, late-night festival club and more. Visit www.johnnykeenan.com for info.

Other News

Thanks to the Prescription Bluegrass Blog and Ruth Ellen Gruber for news of the Czech Bluegrass Project, an evening of Czech and Slovak bluegrass music presented in August at the  Down Home in Johnson City, TN. Lee Bidgood, Richard Cifersky, Ed Snodderly, Daniel Boner, and Jeff Elkins performed the music of legendary Czech bluegrass band Druhá Tráva, as well as The Greenhorns and others. Proceeds will help fund a new documentary on Czech bluegrass; visit http://czechbluegrassdocumentary.weebly.com/ for details.

Visit http://tinyurl.com/8e7ku46 for a delightful recent report on Druhá Tráva by Don Gonyea from National Public Radio in the U.S.

And thanks to Brian McNeal at Prescription Bluegrass, we learn that Covered Grass from Germany, who will play an official showcase at World of Bluegrass, have launched a Startnext campaign to fund a trip to Los Angeles for a reunion party of the 40th anniversary of The Waltons. The band has been invited to perform their song, “Good Night, John-Boy,” at the party. Visit http://www.startnext.de/en/good-night-john-boy to see details of their fundraising campaign and their charming video.

Congratulations to the winners of the 7th Annual La Roche-sur-Foron Bluegrass Festival in France! The No. 1 European Bluegrass Band of the Year 2012 is the Sons of Navarone from Belgium. Congrats also to…

  • No. 2: Lazy Tater from the Netherlands
  • No. 3: Candy Floss from Slovak Republic
  • No. 4: 0039 from Italy
  • No. 5: Handl from Czech Republic

AirPlay Direct, an American digital music service, will now offer its services to music professionals worldwide. The digital delivery system, developed for artists, radio programmers and music industry professionals, enables artists to send secure broadcast-quality music and digital press kits to radio stations, booking agents, promoters and music supervisors worldwide. It also provides an environment for radio programmers and film & TV music supervisors to connect to new music, browse the most downloaded artists, and immediately download music and related artist information. Visit www.AirPlayDirect.com to get started.

The 4th Bluegrass Meeting in Kutzenhausen, Alsace, was a fantastic success, and “showed that bluegrass music in Alsace is very much alive and progressing,” according to Walter Fuchs who submitted the report. “The farmhouse in the neighborhood of the rural museum was packed as never before. Folks from France and Germany sat together like a big family. Food, wine and beer was excellent, and everybody had a good time. And of course the music: Joe Altheoser Bluegrass Project, Dieter Stoll & George Baehr, and the Dapper Dan Men. In the afternoon the famous Alsatian singer/songwriter René Egles showed up… Later in the evening I was suddenly surrounded by seven or eight musicians playing a breakdown, and I was forced to do a flatfoot dance. René Egles jumped in, grabbed me by the arm, and we did a kind of an improvised folk dance together. We made history!” Visit http://youtu.be/ReOr0PEQIV4 to watch the delightful last thirty seconds of their little jig on YouTube!

Congratulations to Tiller’s Folly, the Canadian bluegrass ensemble, awarded with the coveted Top Song in the Social Cause category award in the 11th annual Independent Music Awards (IMAs) Vox Pop Poll. The awards are voted for online by more than 60,000 music fans from around the globe. Tiller’s Folly won for their song “Death & Taxes,” cut with guests Josh Shilling (Mountain Heart) and John Cowan (New Grass Revival, Doobie Brothers), and others. See http://bluegrasstoday.com/46539/death-taxes-takes-vox-pop-poll-award/ for the big story.

American Bluegrassers Abroad

Blue Highway will be in Europe in October for a rare, brief visit, including an Oct. 27 show at the prestigious Staatstheater in Oldenburg, Germany. Visit www.bluehighwayband.com for info.

Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa, with guest Mike Scott on banjo, toured Norway, the Netherlands, and Scotland this summer, ending with the Scottish Bluegrass Association's Guildtown Bluegrass Festival. Visit http://bluegrasstoday.com/45713/wayne-taylor-appaloosa-in-europe/ to read the report by Wayne Taylor in Bluegrass Today, with many splendid photos.

The Kruger Brothers premiered Jens Kruger’s The Spirit of The Rockies, a symphonic piece for chamber orchestra, guitar, bass, and banjo, on 25 August at the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada. The Banff Centre commissioned the work after hearing the Krugers’ 2010 album Appalachian Concerto.

Banjo-innovatory wizard Tom Nechville will make appearances in England and Norway through mid-September, including a banjo workshop in Norwich, UK on Sept. 3, before joining us at World of Bluegrass. Visit www.nechville.com/calendar.php for his schedule.

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice will travel to Europe to play three exclusive concerts in May 2013! This will be the first time this band configuration has traveled to Europe.

  • May 18            14th Spring Bluegrass Willisau, Switzerland
  • May 19            Bluegrass Deluxe in Basel, Switzerland
  • May 20            32nd Big Bear Festival, The Netherlands

Please send your international bluegrass news to Caroline Wright at caroline@ibma.org. We welcome bluegrass news from all over the globe, and will include it in our newsletter as time and space permit!