Mike St Clair-Miller has advised that Bluestone Junction is playing at the Lomond Hotel in Nicholson St Brunswick on 11th Jan at 5:00pm.
How does your band get on to the programme at IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, other than by winning the title of #1 European Bluegrass Band at the European World of Bluegrass Festival?
The procedures for becoming part of IBMA’s World of Bluegrass – whether on one of the nineteen official showcases or one of the innumerable private ‘after hours’ showcases throughout World of Bluegrass week – are set out in a detailed report for the use of international bands, drawn up by Hannah Johnson, lead singer and mandolinist of the Toy Hearts (UK).
Read the full details on The Bluegrass Ireland Blog
After a break of nine years, the Country Music Association of Australia re-introduced the Australian National Bluegrass Championships in 2008 to an overwhelming response from both the participants and audience members.
The Australian National Bluegrass Championships had humble beginnings in St. Andrews Hall, Tamworth in 1979. The Championships soon became the pinnacle of all acoustic music awards – attracting the best players in Australia together with lots of young, eager to learn players competing to become the national bluegrass flat pick guitar, mandolin, banjo and fiddle champion. The Championships attracted great crowds and were synonymous with great raw talent. The majority of the previous winners are now at the forefront of our country music industry – performing in the best bands, with all our major artists, and playing on the finest of our Australian country albums.
The Championships were the single most driving factor for the emergence of such great musical talent through the eighties and early nineties. Nominations and subsequent winners will be determined in 4 categories; Banjo, Guitar, Fiddle, Mandolin. the 2009 event will be held on 25th January.
Entry forms will be online shortly at www.visittamworth.com
Up for grabs for the winners will be Fender gear. Tickets: Adults $25/Children under 14 years $15 CMAA Members can order via their Membership ticketing Forms for premium seating. General Public Tickets on sale now at Tourism Tamworth Ltd. Ph: 02 6767 4300.
Bunyip Country Music Festival announces its line up for 2009 20th Anniversary Festival.
Artists on this year’s program include:
Adam Harvey, Feral Swing Katz, Karen Lynne & Blue Mountain Rain, Camille & Stuie French, Billy Bridge, The Cartwheels, Rick Bartlett, Johanna Hemara, The Bona Fide Travellers, Phoenix.
The Bunyip Country Music Festival will be held on 22-Feb-09 at the Bunyip Recreation Reserve, Longwarry Road.
The festival will also feature vintage & classic cars, trucks & caravan display, children’s rides, stalls, affordable food & drinks.
Admission: Adults $25.00 Children 14yrs & under Free
Railway Station opposite venue. Contact: Joy Batchelor p: 03 5629 5388 or e: email@example.com
Many people have aspired to play a musical instrument but have never had the opportunity to try. This is your opportunity. The beginners’ workshops cater for people who have never played before or have a little knowledge of the basics.
The advanced workshops are an opportunity for those who can already play and want to improve their skills.
There will be a group of talented teachers to run the workshops. If you are able to assist in the running of the workshops, your help would be greatly appreciated.
Basic Guitar: For those who have never played or those who know the three cord basics and want to improve their skills. We hope to have some loan instruments available.
Advanced Guitar: For those who are down the track, but want to get further down the track.
Basic Mandolin: For those who have never played or those who know the three cord basics and want to improve their skills. We hope to have some loan instruments available.
Advanced Mandolin: If You can already play but want to improve your skills, this is the workshop for you.
Banjo: Despite all the jokes that go around about banjos they are a hard instrument to master but very rewarding, so come and give it a go.
Beginners Violin: Never played one? Come along to the starters’ workshop. We hope to have some loan instruments available.
Advanced Violin: Come and learn some new tunes. Old timey/Bluegrass.
Ukulele: Last year this was one of the most popular workshops. The leader had people playing tunes within the hour.
Double Bass: We hope this year to include this workshop.
Flute/Tin Whistle: A new workshop to be run an enthusiastic Melbourne musician.
Clogging Workshops: This was very popular last year.
The Girgarre Moozic Muster is scheduled for 9th – 11th January 2009.
Pinecastle Records is pleased to announce multiple nominations for the 35th Annual SPBGMA Bluegrass Music Awards.
SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America) was founded in 1979 with the ambition to give bluegrass fans the opportunity to vote on their favorite artists of each year. The organization has grown in notoriety and now hosts a reputable yearly award ceremony in Nashville.
This year’s convention will be held at the Sheraton City Music Hotel, February 12-15th. To view the 2009 SPBGMA performance schedule click here. To be eligible to vote you must attend the 2009 SPBGMA convention. Tickets may be ordered in advance through SPBGMA or at the convention. Below is a complete list of Pinecastle artists and their category of nomination.
Bluegrass Songwriter Of The Year: Mike Andes and Tim Stafford / Steve Gulley
Bassfiddle Performer Of The Year: Tony Shorter
Dobro Performer Of The Year: Phil Leadbetter
Guitar Performer Of The Year: Steve Gulley and Josh Williams
Mandolin Performer Of The Year: Mike Andes, Alan Bibey and Larry Stephenson
Banjo Performer Of The Year: Kristin Scott Benson, Jason Davis and Mitchell Davis
Fiddle Performer Of The Year: Jason Barie
Male Vocalist Of The Year: Mike Andes, Steve Gulley, and Larry Stephenson
Gospel Group Of The Year (Traditional): The Churchmen
Vocal Group Of The Year: Grasstowne and Nothin’ Fancy
Instrumental Group Of The Year: Grasstowne
Bluegrass Band Of The Year: Grasstowne
Song Of The Year: Larry Stephenson, “Press On O’Pilgrim”
Entertaining Group Of The Year: Nothin’ Fancy
Entertainer Of The Year: Mike Andes
A full list of nominees can be seen on the SPBGMA Website
Submitted by Pinecastle Records
Ricky Skaggs’ Honoring the Fathers of Bluegrass: Tribute to 1946 and 1947 has been nominated for a 2009 Grammy Award in the Best Bluegrass Album category. The album is an inspired tribute to Bill Monroe and the Original Bluegrass Band, featuring Skaggs and his ace band Kentucky Thunder taking on the songs that Monroe birthed the genre with. Billboard called Honoring the Fathers nothing short of brilliant, while New York Times said there is an unmistakable integrity to his effort here. Its subject, like its execution, comes across as admirably vivid.
Cherryholmes, bluegrass family band have been nominated for two Grammys at this year’s Grammy Awards: Best Country Instrumental Performance for their song Sumatra, and Best Bluegrass Album for Cherryholmes III: Don’t Believe. This makes for a career total of four nominations, including Best Bluegrass Album nominations for every single one of their Skaggs Family Records releases.
Other nominations include:
Robert Plant|Alison Krauss –
Record of the Year – “Please Read the Letter” from Raising Sand
Album of the Year – Raising Sand
Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals – “Rich Woman” from Raising Sand
Best Country Collaboration with Vocals – “Killing the Blues” from Raising Sand
Best Contemporary Folk/Americana Album – Raising Sand
Bela Fleck & The Flecktones –
Best Pop Instrumental Album – Jingle All The Way
Best Country Instrumental Performance – “Sleigh Ride” from Jingle All The Way
The SteelDrivers –
Best Country Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals – “Blue Side of the Mountain” from The SteelDrivers
Earl Scruggs With Family & Friends –
Best Bluegrass Album – The Ultimate Collection/Live at the Ryman
Dan Tyminski –
Best Bluegrass Album – Wheels
Scheduled 16 – 17 May 2009
While browsing the many exhibits at this year’s Harrietville Festival, I ran across some promotion for the 2009 Melbourne Guitar Makers Festival.
The Melbourne Guitar Makers Festival is a two day event comprising an exhibition of instruments made by some of the country’s best luthiers.
Luthiers will be exhibiting their finest and latest work during the day and the evening will see an acoustic concert from some of Melbourne’s leading players.
The guitar makers festival will be held in the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. A relaxing and spacious atmosphere in which to appreciate these acoustic instruments.
The convent is set in tranquil gardens at the end of St Helliers Road in Abbotsford, next to the Collingwood Children’s Farm and the Melbourne’s Yarra River, to be held 16th – 17th May 2009.
I’ll attempt to bring you more news closer to the event.
Bluegrass and folk lovers, hipsters and country fans, be prepared to get down in a whole new way once these five boys from Nashville take to the stage.
Old Crow Medicine Show puts a rocking spin on old-time string band music. The young quintet came together in New York and perfected its repertoire of early 20th century rags, hollers, bluegrass and folk songs while busking in Canada.
Discovered by Doc Watson’s daughter, the band played the country/folk legend’s Merlefest and relocated to Nashville. Now composing its own tunes, OCMS hooked up with the Nettwerk label and Gillian Welch’s partner David Rawlings, resulting in a pair of acclaimed albums and songs like Down Home Girl and James River Blues.
The show will be a two set affair in the old time tradition on An Evening with Old Crow Medicine Show. The band has gone far beyond the label of Americana and kicks out good old bluegrass styled music with attitude. They abandon the overdone country theme of dead dogs and lost women for heart felt get-downs about homegrown weed and trailer dwelling meth heads.
Traveling way down south to promote their recent release on Shock Tennessee Pusher, marvel at Willie, Ketch, Critter, Morgan and Gill as they bring their hillbilly bohemian style to our shores.
The band will play dates in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne as well as Golden Plains, CMC Rocks The Snowys and The Mossvale Music festivals.
Sat 7th March – CMC Rocks The Snowys – Tickets Here
Sun 8th March – Golden Plains – Tickets Here
Wed. 11th March – The Zoo, Brisbane – Tickets Here
Thu 12th March – Metro Theatre Sydney – Tickets Here , or Ticketek
Fri 13th March – The Forum, Melbourne Tickets Here
Sat 14th March – Mossvale Music Festival Tickets Here
The Australian Bluegrass Blog readers have enjoyed their whacky posts and sense of humour sometimes afforded us by the Cowtippers, a conglomerate of musicians from a variety of backgrounds that perform in Adelaide and surrounds.
Henk – Happy – Groot on fiddle/vocals/guitar/mandolin
John – The Ripper – Hyland on Dobro/vocals/guitar/banjo
Diana – Ouchies – Fusco on double bass/vocals/blistered fingers
Rick – Popeye – Hunt on banjo/guitar/mandolin/vocals
I caught up with the group this month and put a series of questions to them just like a real journalist. But, unlike most journo’s, I don’t have a political axe to grind or a hidden agenda.
The Cowtippers, – sometimes called Cowtripers, Cowpushers and Travelling Cowhides, have been playing together for some 18 months. Diana, the groups bass player comments that; “surprisingly they still like each other most of the time”.
I asked whether their music comprised of mainly bluegrass music?
That’s a contentious issue was the response. ” y’see, the folkies call us bluegrass, the bluegrassers tease us about having a bit of country stuck to the soles of our boots and the country mob, well, they think we are a bunch of folkies. But that’s okay, because it means we get invited to 3x as many parties”.
Rick and Henk fell into step some years ago at Frances Folk Gathering, a great little festival that almost straddles the SA/Vic border.
The scratch band they were playing with won the almost fanatically contested Mixed Grill competition with a raucous rendition of Living Next Door to Alice rewritten to Frances, where the hell is Frances? The song went down so well that it has virtually become the informal anthem for Frances Folk Gathering.
Pumped up with their ‘Frances’ success, Henk and Rick performed together in various arrangements including a folk trio called Murphy’s Law with singer/guitarist Dave Heslop. Murphy’s Law by this time was already moving away from its Irish roots with a fair splattering of bluegrass through its repertoire.
It was about this time that Rick’s long-suffering partner Diana got fed up with being a band widow. Deciding she’d had enough of buying the beer, holding the instruments and being the designated driver, she swapped her tin whistle for a double bass and three chords later, she was in. With the new direction heading quickly towards bluegrass and country, a new name was needed as the band were still playing to audiences who would scratch their heads and wonder what had happened to Fields of Athenry and Dirty Old Town. And so bones of The Cowtippers began to harden.
The band found a welcoming market for their style of bluegrass and picked up regular gigs around Adelaide. With the departure of Dave Heslop and the arrival of John Hyland, the new direction was cemented. John Hyland not only brought to the band his smooth vocals and mean Dobro, he also brought to the band a sometimes challenged belief that the band required practice, 8 hours sleep a night, occasional periods of sobriety and the ability to sing in tune. Go figure?
The Cowtippers list their inspirations as:
For those in the SA region you can catch The Cowtippers at theirMyspace page
I asked the Cowtippers for some gossip, an embarrassing moment, a never-to-be-forgotten incident or just a good ol’ Aussie yarn. Here’s what they said:
We were performing at Country for Cancer in Mount Gambier before a fair sized crowd. We were halfway through our set when Rick became aware of a cool breeze around his groin area. To his horror, Rick realised that his fly was undone. But even more terrifying, he remembered that he had run out of clean underwear that morning and was now totally commando – Britney Spears, eat your heart out. In true showman style, he did not miss a beat and completed Foggy Mountain Breakdown with his back to the audience before re-zipping. During a gig at our resident venue the Brecknock, we spotted a chap in the audience with a fiddle case. During the breaks we had a chat with our new friend Kevin, a visitor from Ireland. We offered to let him come up onstage for a few tunes, promising we would go easy on him and not do anything too tricky or fast. After a bit of persuasion, he agreed to play and when he did, our jaws hit the floor. This Kevin from Ireland, he was good, bloody good. And so he should be, being that he was none other than Kevin Burke, world-renowned Irish fiddler. Good thing we went easy on him, hey.
Diana: I started on the bass about 3 years ago.
John: Not long enough, but I can now play three chords with my eyes shut.
Henk: Since the Mixed Grill at Frances, so about 5 years.
ABB: What got you started – what was you first bluegrass experience? Rick: Squeal like a pig! (Ed, There’s obviously some childhood repression relating to Christmas hams there)
Diana: I don’t rightly remember what got me started, I just know that I turned around one day and there it was, biting my behind like a rabid dog.
John: watching Deliverance at the flicks – thinking I like the music but not so keen on the dental work.
Henk: Seeing Hamilton County Bluegrass Band live in New Zealand in around 1969. I have been inspired to play bluegrass ever since.
ABB: Who have been the main influences on your music/style?
Rick: There have been heaps of influences over the years, but mainly good pickers I have heard at various festivals and picks.
Diana: I like old rootsy stuff and the modern interpreters, from Woody Guthrie and Ralph Stanley on to Old Crow Medicine Show.
John: Jerry Douglas, Neil Young, Dr Ralph, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Flying Burrito Bros, and the rare album “Doris Day sings mountain tunes”
Henk: John Foggarty, Fred Eaglesmith, Bill Chambers, The Skillet Lickers and the list goes on.
All photographs courtesy of Paul Thompson Photography