2014 Manjimup Songwriting Competition

ManjimupMay Nixon from Making Music In Manjimup has been in touch to let us know  about the Manjimup Bluegrass & Old Time Music Weekend scheduled for October 3,4,5th this year.

The festival is also hosting a song writing competition. If you love to write songs, or have dallied with the idea of writing a song or two, why not try writing a bluegrass song?  There is prize money of $400 and the song will be performed at the free saturday night concert and posted to YouTube.

Click the link below and find your way to the Song Competition page for details.

Please move the site round amongst your friends and music lovers.  And do like us on Facebook – it’s a great form of advertising.

Visit the Manjimup website or their Facebook page for more information.

Songwriting Conditions:

  • Your song lyrics must be written to the pattern of one of the following traditional Bluegrass songs:
    • Roll in my Sweet Baby’s Arms
    • Will the Circle be Unbroken
    • A Good Woman’s Love
  • Your lyrics must use the word Manjimup at least once.
  • Your lyrics must make reference at least one of the recommendations for a healthier lifestyle as mentioned on the LIVELIGHTER web site
  • Your lyrics must use the word LIVELIGHTER at least once.
  • Your entry must have its own song title.
  • By entering this competition you agree that you have read the rules and agree to abide by them.
  • Entrants must be 15 years or older.
  • Entries that have any thing on them which may identify the composer will be disqualified.

All entries must be submitted via email only, on or before midnight September 5th 2014, Perth time. Use Song Competition in the subject line.

Send your entry to: bluegrassmanjimup@gmail.com.

  • Entries must be in pdf format.
  • The title of your pdf must be your entry receipt number. eg. 1234.pdf
  • Your entry must be identified only by the number given as a receipt of your registration via the Manjimup Bluegrass & Old Time Music Weekend website.
  • Please put your entry receipt number, eg. 1234 at the top of the page.
  • Alongside or just below your identifying number, state which song you have chosen as the pattern for your song.
  • Lyrics to be typed in a size 16 font, preferably on one page only.
  • The winning entry will be performed by The Company in their concert on Saturday, October 4th 2014, in Manjimup, Western Australia. The winner will be announced at this concert. The judges’ decision is final.
  • No correspondence entered into, nor will adjudications be offered
  • The winning entry will receive AUS$300.

If the composer of the winning lyrics is in the audience at the time of the announcement, the winner will receive a $100 bonus prize.

If the prize winner is not in the audience, a cheque for $300 will be sent to the winner and the $100 bonus prize will be retained by the Warren Arts Council.

The cash prize is available only to Australian residents, with the exception of the winner being present at the concert in Manjimup on October 4th 2014. In this case, the winner will receive a cheque for AUS$400.

If the winner is not an Australian resident, and is not present at the concert in Manjimup, Western Australia on October 4th 2014, the total prize money will be retained by the Warren Arts Council to promote future arts related events in Manjimup, Western Australia.

Copyright and use of material – The author retains copyright of the material they enter.

The Warren Arts Council has the right to use the winning entry for promotional purposes for future music related events held in Manjimup.

20 Years of Bluegrass

Redlands Celebrates 20 Years of Bluegrass this year.

Bob Jones

Bob Jones – USA

As an emphatic endorsement for the increasing popularity of this infectious music, from Friday 8th to Sunday 10th August the Redlands Bluegrass Festival in South East Queensland celebrates 20 years of ongoing success.

Back in 1995 a small group of musicians in the Redlands Modern Country Music Club hosted their first bluegrass festival at a local Girl Guides camp hall in Queensland’s Redland Bay. The response to the festival highlighted the need for such music and brought out bluegrass music fans far and wide. Many were introduced to bluegrass music at that event.

With its unique mix of performance and participation, the Festival offers outstanding entertainment throughout the weekend, but also incorporates a series of workshops for both beginners and advanced musicians, and seemingly non-stop jams where fun is the keyword.

The concert program runs the entire weekend, commencing Friday night through to a Sunday finale afternoon concert. In 2014, the Redlands’ tradition of attracting the best of Australian bluegrass musicians together with featured international performers sees an impressive line-up, with the added bonus of two special daytime concerts by Aussie crowd-pleasers The Pigs (Saturday) and Round Mountain Girls (Sunday) to help celebrate the 20th anniversary.

In this guaranteed super-special weekend of bluegrass music, other featured artists include multi-award winning Davidson Brothers and Bluegrass Parkway, The Company, Karen Lynne and The Mid North.

Adding to the impressive list of artists from the USA performing at past Redlands Festivals is this year’s special guest, Bob Jones, founder of The Blue Ridge Mountain Boys. Highly regarded as a singer and multi-instrumentalist, his extensive career includes guitarist/singer in Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys.

Also appearing on this year’s program are local bluegrass favourites, The Redlands Bluegrass Boys, The O’Donnells, Innes Campbell and Owl Valley Bluegrass.

For those wishing to learn and participate, the workshop series will cater for all skill levels and cover banjo, guitar, mandolin, double bass, harmony singing, band jamming and ukulele. And of course, being a bluegrass festival, there will be ongoing informal jam sessions throughout the weekend.

The festival venue, The Kindilan Convention Centre at Redland Bay, is located just south of Brisbane, and in the vicinity of North Stradbroke Island and the Bay Islands as well as the Gold Coast theme parks. Bring the family, stay a few extra days and escape the southern winter.

Festival Dates: 8 – 10 August.
Tickets: Now on sale.

Reserve your accommodation or camping spot now.

For full program details and bookings visit Redlands Bluegrass or phone Neil Wills on 07 3206 9226.

Wirrina The 2014 line Up

The CompanyThe folks at the Wirrina Bluegrass Festival have let us know of their line up for this years festival.

What a great array of bands and performers they have scheduled for this year.

2014 will feature some of Australia’s best musical talent is booked with names like Jamie Clark, George Jackson and Andrew Clermont. These folks have a swag of Golden guitars, Golden Fiddles, Bluegrass Champions under their collective belts. Wirrina Bluegrass & Acoustic Roots Festival 2014 is overflowing with talent and peppered with variety: International Acts:

  • Carol Bean, with her resonator guitar player Tony Burt, will be bringing us the finest “southern inspired original Kiwi Roots” that the land across the water has to offer.


  • The Company from Queensland, Coolgrass from Victoria and the Lou Bradley Trio from New South Wales.

SA Bluegrass:

  • Passionate Fools migrated over from Victoria a year or two back as a duo but will present with a 5 piece lineup. Taylor Pfeiffer & Trev Warner, Astro Cobalt and the Cherry Pickers

SA Acoustic Roots:

  • The line up of Acoustic Roots performers have been a bit of a secret, but no more.

The performer line up thus far includes:

Chris Finnen
Dr Ebeneezer Catbone
Kev Smiff’s Trio
Ryebuck Sheilas
Tongue & Groove
Voices of the Wilderness
The Mergge
John Francis
Leigh Marshall
Shared Affair
Will Kalinderis
Andrew Clermont
Jodie & Emlyn
Robert Bean
The Heggarties
Adelaide Old Time String Band

To find out more about the style and genre of this great array of talent head to the Wirrina Website. The festival is planned for the Wirrina Resort this September (5th-7th). Great discounts on offer for the festival:

  • 15% discount on festival tickets when purchased online – www.wirrinabluegrass.com.
  • 15% discount on all Wirrina Resort accommodation for festival ticket holders.- 1800 WIRRINA (1800 947 746)

Free non-powered camping at the Wirrina Cove Holiday Park for festival ticket holders, no booking required. (For powered sites ring (08) 8598 3125).

Grant For John Flanagan to Record in Nashville

John Flanagan2013 Gympie Muster Talent Search winner John Flanagan has received a grant through Arts Australia Council to record his next album in Nashville.

John will be working with producer Viktor Krauss, the brother of Alison Krauss, who is a world-renowned musician and composer in his own right. Through a combination of self-funding, crowd funding and the grant, John plans to create an album that is on par with the quality of a record company release. John will travel to Nashville in Sept to record with Viktor and top session musicians who have played with the likes of Bob Dylan and Robert Plant.

Classic-yet-refreshing songwriting and captivating lyricism –Inpress Magazine.

In the past few years John has brought his banjo driven alt-bluegrass to major folk festivals around Australia and he has toured to the US. Audiences are drawn to the timeless melodies and honest lyricism of the songs. John has been a two-time finalist in the Toyota Starmaker Competition in Tamworth and in 2013 he took out the Gympie Muster Talent Search, an accolade he shares with past winners such as the McClymonts, Drew McAlister and Mark O’Shea. John plays regularly with fiddle player Jane Patterson whose strong, soaring vocals harmonise perfectly with John’s low, warm vocal timbre. Together they combine traditional old-time instrumentation with contemporary sensibilities to create an alt-bluegrass/folk sound that is both familiar and new.

John Flanagan has a gentle gravity in his voice and words, the kind that makes you stop and listen - Wally De Backer (gotye).

John will be using crowd funding to cover one-third of the album budget. People will have a chance to be a part of this album by pledging financial support through pozible.com and receiving rewards in return. Rewards could include: a signed copy of the album, a thank you in the liner notes, a personalised song written for you, or a concert by the band in your very own home.

The crowd-funding campaign will run from June 14th-Aug 13th, for more information visit: pozible.com/johnflanagan

John will be promoting the crowd-funding campaign with gigs in Melbourne and Sydney.

Melbourne: 4th July - 8:00pm Songwriters in the Round @ The Wesley Anne – 250 High St Northcote
Sydney: 26th July – 7:00pm Little Features @ Hibernian House, 342 Elizabeth St.
Sydney” 27th July –  4:00pm Menagerie @ The Welcome Hotel, 91 Evans St Rozelle.

Hot Diggity Debut

Hot DiggityHere’s news of a new bluegrass ensemble from the across the ditch. New Zealand group Hot Diggity have recently formed and have wasted little time in putting together a schedule of appearances. This may well be the only  all-female bluegrass band in Australasia currently.

Who are they?

Deborah Mackenzie: Deborah has always loved to sing.  Growing up in the Salvation Army gave her a great introduction to music and harmony.  Previously Deborah sang in a three-part harmony trio in Auckland called the Wendy Lus. In 2010 she released an album of originals, “The Ride”, with Peter Neumegen. Deborah plays in an acoustic group called Rainberry Pie which explores many acoustic styles from alt-country, western swing, bluegrass, and pop. She is a singer-songwriter who enjoys her guitar, but loves to sing.

Jenine Abarbanel: Jenine came to music late, learning to play the upright bass in 2006 as a way of combatting her relocation blues after moving to NZ from the US in 2005.  A singer since childhood, her vocals are most often compared to Natalie Merchant and Gillian Welch. Jenine is the lead vocalist and bass player for popular NZ Bluegrass band The Pipi Pickers. Jenine often says that what she lacks in talent and skill she makes up for with energy and enthusiasm. (For those who have seen Jenine in action with the Pipi Pickers will know there is no lack of talent there – Editor).Hot Diggity

Heather Carrigan: Heather has been involved in music from an early age, enjoying the mandatory education that comes with having performing musicians as parents performing throughout her childhood. She explored many genres before finally finding a musical home in Bluegrass. Having played in bluegrass bands in Australia and the United States, Heather is enjoying a new Bluegrass adventure, playing with Hot Diggity. She’s thrilled to have her original material performed by such a great group of talented women.

Sue Drake: Sue started playing guitar when she was a kid and bought her first banjo on impulse about four years ago, she’s been hooked ever since. While Sue enjoys playing all types of music, including a regular gig with covers band Triple S she’s started a serious love affair with Bluegrass music. Sue says the biggest draw card to playing banjo in Hot Diggity is “access to a whole group of women as mad about their music as me.”

Slávka Franclíková: Originating from the Czech Republic, Slávka is a classically trained violinist (she started playing the violin in 1992). In 2004 she met the Czech bluegrass band Namodro and joined them for the next 8 years. In 2012 she came to NZ and played for a short time with the girls band “Manuka Hunnies” in Christchurch and with guitar & violin duo  Slingshot & Seashell. She has since moved to Auckland and is enjoying adding some solid fiddle licks to Hot Diggity.

They’ve got two appearances scheduled to-date:

  • First will be on July 9th at the Auckland Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music Club at the historic Devonport Bunker.
  • And we’ll be at the Thirsty Dog Folk Club on Karangahape Rd in Auckland later  in October.

Jenine tells us that they are quite a diverse bunch of women with their ages ranging from 26 to 60. Each live in towns hundreds of kilometres apart they meet in Leigh New Zealand for their rehearsal gigs. Jenine lives in Leigh, while  Slåvka and Deb in Auckland, and Heather and Sue in Dargaville and Whangarei, respectively. The one thing they all have in common is a love of Bluegrass and a great joy in playing and creating together.

We are primarily playing original compositions by Heather and Deb, with a few traditional Bluegrass songs thrown in.

Look out for the group in 2015 as they begin the process of applying for festival in New Zealand and Australia. Perhaps an all-female line up for MountainGrass 2015?

IBMA Showcase to Feature Australian Bands

Mustered CourageMustered Courage and Davidson Brothers have been selected to showcase at this years Bluegrass Ramble as part of the 2014 The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) conference. The Bluegrass Ramble is an innovative series of showcases that will take place at select venues throughout downtown Raleigh, North Carolina during IBMA’s World of Bluegrass 2014 event, September 30 – Oct 4.

The IBMA’s Showcase Selection Committee looks at a variety of elements when determining who should fill the 30 showcase slots available, including emerging talent capable and willing to broaden the bluegrass market, established bands that are introducing substantial changes to their act and artists that have released significant new recorded material. From among 166 artists/bands who applied, the following were selected as Bluegrass Ramble Showcase artists:

Barbwire, Becky Buller, Compton & Newberry, Constant Change, Darin & Brooke Aldridge, Davidson Brothers, Donna Ulisse, Driven, Flatt Lonesome, Helen Highwater Stringband, Irene Kelly, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, Jim Lauderdale, Monroe Crossing, Moore Brothers Band, Mr Sun, Mustered Courage, New Country Rehab, Newtown, Rebecca Frazier and Hit & Run, Red June, Sister Sadie, Special Consensus, The Barefoot Movement, The Danberrys, The Earl Brothers, The Grass Cats, The Lonely Heartstring Band, The Railsplitters and The Rigneys.

Bluegrass Ramble artist profiles and links can be seen at https://ibma.org/world-of-bluegrass/bluegrass-ramble/showcase-lineup

This year, we had more applications for Bluegrass Ramble showcase opportunities than ever before, and our selection committee has done an outstanding job. The quality – and breadth – of the artists chosen to appear are at an all-time high.  I believe that every one of them merits the attention of the industry, and I know that audiences attending their performances around Raleigh are going to find a lot to enjoy - Jon Weisberger, IBMA board chair.

In addition to these “official” showcase performers, artists will also be added to the Bluegrass DavidsonBrosRamble via sponsored shows at the venues.  The IBMA is also providing privately hosted “After Hours Showcases” (Tuesday – Saturday) as well as the new Friday and Saturday “Wide Open After Hours” showcase format, affording numerous opportunities for bands to perform at sanctioned IMBA events during World of Bluegrass 2014. The full Bluegrass Ramble schedule will be available in the coming months.

In response to IBMA member feedback, an additional showcase stage will be set in the Raleigh Convention Centre, which will provide the opportunity for attendees to see all official showcase bands under one roof during the course of three days.

A welcome addition to the Bluegrass Ramble this year is a dedicated transportation system with extended hours, running non-stop between hotels and showcase venues. Provided by the city of Raleigh, the Ramble-dedicated transportation will be available Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday during World of Bluegrass 2014, from 7 pm – 2 am.

The Bluegrass Ramble showcases will be held in the following venues:

Admission to the Bluegrass Ramble is available to both IBMA Business Conference attendees (with ID) and to the general public via Bluegrass Ramble showcase wristbands. For additional details on the Bluegrass Ramble  – and for tickets and registration for all events connected with World of Bluegrass 2014  – go to www.ibma.org/world-of-bluegrass.

Those interested in co-sponsoring a Bluegrass Ramble showcases may contact Nancy Cardwell at IBMA:  (615) 256-3222 or 888-GET-IBMA or by email at nancyc@ibma.org.

IBMA’s World of Bluegrass event, an annual bluegrass music homecoming, consists of four parts: the IBMA Business Conference, September 30 – October 2, the 25thAnnual International Bluegrass Music Awards, scheduled for Thursday evening, October 2, the Wide Open Bluegrass Music Festival, October 3-4 (which includes both free stages and ticketed performances) and the Bluegrass Ramble, an innovative series of showcases, taking place September 30 – October 2 in downtown Raleigh and at the Raleigh Convention Centre.

The Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that last year’s World of Bluegrass event generated $10 million in direct visitor spending for that region, with total attendance for the week’s activities estimated to be over 154,000, exceeding expectations for the event’s first year in Raleigh. Over 300 performances by more than 160 different artists took place during World of Bluegrass 2013.

IBMA – the International Bluegrass Music Association – is the professional trade organisation for the global bluegrass music community. The organisation’s three-year stay in Raleigh is the result of a partnership with The Greater Raleigh Convention & Visitors Bureau, PineCone—The Piedmont Council of Traditional Music, the City of Raleigh and a local organising committee.

National Folk Festival Performer Applications Open

Expressions of interest for performers wanting to be part of the 2015 National Folk Festival open Sunday June 1 until midnight Tuesday July 1 2014. The Festival is looking for a broad mix of all things ‘folk’ from the traditional to contemporary and “quirkier” interpretations of the genre.

National Folk Festival

The festival is looking for acts that can offer concerts, themed presentations, workshops, spoken & written word, children’s and youth performances, circus and theatre including puppetry, structured/programmed sessions, dance displays, dances (bands and callers), dance workshops, street entertainment – musicians, roving acts, circus and choirs.

If there’s something not mentioned in the above list they’d like to hear about it.

There are a few changes to the application process so please ensure you read all the relevant information for your Act Type before starting your application.

For more information and to access the online applications please visit Application Form.

Wirrina Bluegrass – 2014 Update

Wirrina Bluegrass LogoFor those seeking information about this year’s Wirrina Bluegrass and Acoustic Roots Festival, we have some news on the line up released to-date.

The festival organisers have announced Brisbane band “The Company”, as their official guest bluegrass band from Queensland. The Company is on their ‘Southern Tour’ and will no doubt be a sensational attraction for the Festival. This is one of Australia’s best emerging and progressive Bluegrass bands.

The Festival will also feature hot new duo of Taylor Pfeiffer and Trev Warner, as well as Melbourne’s Cool Grass, complete with their funny hats. Others in the line up include home-grown Bluegrass from the Cherry Pickers and the Passionate Fools.

On the Acoustic Roots side, you’ll hear and soar with the lofty voices of Jodie & Emlyn to the earthy award-winning Lou Bradley Trio (Northern NSW), bringing acoustic country music, and just for festival goers, Lou said she will be bringing a swag of Bluegrass in her kit.  Carol Bean will be bringing her acoustic guitar all the way from New Zealand to share some sweet Kiwi Blues.

The festival dates are 5th to 7th September 3014.

More news to follow…

Kruger Brothers Signed for 2014 Bluegrass Conference

Kruger BrothersThe Kruger Brothers have just been signed for the 2014 Bluegrass Conference. Days after organisers announced the lineup, the event sold out. This event has become the most prestigious bluegrass event in Australia. International names such as Ross Nickerson, Alan Munde, Jens Kruger, along with Australian artists of note, Ian Simpson, Martin Louis and Peter Sommerville have also been a part of the teaching faculty.

Conference convenor and event organiser Peter Nahuysen has advised that they are currently negotiating with surrounding accommodation houses in Maleny in an attempt to provide additional capacity for the conference.

We will have more details soon.

About the Kruger Brothers:

Since a formal introduction to American audiences in 1997, the Kruger Brothers’ remarkable facility with their instruments and unique take on the American Songbook have made them a fixture within the world of acoustic music. Although initially staying fairly close to a traditional repertoire, the group later turned to song writing and composition in order to draw more closely from their personal experiences. The result is a catalog of songs distinguished by rich detail and an insight into the delicacy and complexity of everyday life. The honesty of their writing has since become a hallmark of the trio’s work.

Here’s a clip of the Kruger Brothers playing “Forever and a Day”.


Davidson Brothers – Wanderlust

Davidson BrothersThe Davidson Brothers release their latest album Wanderlust on Friday 20 June and have announced a special launch show at Melbourne’s Corner Hotel on Thursday 19 June.

The Davidson Brothers have been performing together for over 20 years. They are regulars at many major festivals programs and tour Australia extensively. They have also played multiple times in Europe and the USA.

To coincide with the album launch announcement, TheMusic.com.au have exclusively shared a short film on the making of Wanderlust.

Known for their high-powered acoustic performances and extraordinary musicianship, the brothers release their seventh studio album Wanderlust in June 2014. Recorded at Sing Sing South Studios in Melbourne by engineer Adam Rhodes (Paul Kelly, Angus & Julia Stone, The Waifs) the new album features all new original material and is an outstanding insight into the Davidson Brothers exploring new areas. Featured on the eleven track album are Jacob McGuffie on acoustic guitar and Louis Gill on upright bass. These exceptional seasoned young musicians joined the Davidson Brothers’ live band in 2012 and are both graduates of the Victorian College of the Arts.

Hamish and Lachlan show how they can nail the contemporary bluegrass sound with Everytime I Leave and Take Me to the Mountains. The album follows a theme of the desire to travel and draws on new sounds with the roots influenced track It’s Time To Go.

Travelling Bluebird was inspired by attending festivals across the country in the family wagon, whereas Lost in Amsterdam was written about the recent experience of touring Europe.

Always demanding attention for their instrumental ability, the Davidson Brothers show why they’ve taken out so many prizes including three Golden Guitar awards, with tracks like Grass Hound and Bottle Cappin’ Back Crackin’ Blues.

Mark Thornton (Jerry Reed), who has produced the last four albums, joined Larry Marrs (George Jones, Randy Travis, Marty Stuart) in mixing the album tracks at Side Kick Studios in Nashville TN. Larry also contributed harmony vocals, whilst the album has been mastered in Sydney by Ted Howard (Lee Kernaghan, Kasey Chambers).

Wanderlust is the seventh studio album from the Davidson Brothers, released June 20 this year. They launch the album at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne on June 19 with Fanny Lumsden, Sweet Jean and DB’s. Tickets on sale now from www.cornerhotel.com

Thu. 19 June – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne
w/ special guests Fanny Lumsden, Sweet Jean and DB’s. Tickets $15 available here.
Corner Box Office 1300 724 867.