Manjimup Song Writing Competition Winner for 2014

ManjimupThis year’s Making Music in Manjimup Festival was a huge success leaving a legacy of happy hearts and lighter living across the community post festival.

One of the initiatives for this year’s festival was a song writing competition where entrants had to compose words to a well know bluegrass song or tune while including the words Live Lighter” and “Manjimup”.  The Live Lighter campaign was the message delivered through the Western Australian Healthways, Health Promotion Foundation that was one of the major sponsors for the festival weekend.

The Queensland based group were the feature band for the weekend and the songwriting completion judges. Their selection was a song written by Kathy Hill, using the melody to the well-known traditional song “Will The Circle Be Unbroken”. The Company performed the winning song at the main concert on Saturday night of the festival after the announcement of the winner and award presentation.

Here is a video clip of the evening featuring The Company.

I’ll Live Lighter and Live Long

I was roamin’ round West Aussie, a little lost,  and fancy free
When I heard about some bluegrass, way down south among the trees

So to Man-jim-up  I’ll  wander, find an active, healthy path
There’ll be music through the village, happiness will warm our hearts

I had passed my mid-life crises, and was on that down hill roll
Could this bluegrass lift my spirits, that’s the question in my soul

Zeniths Music had some banjos, And as well, a cool guitar
I plucked those strings, and knocked a tune out, hey, now this could take me far

So to Man-jim-up  I wandered, found that active,  healthy path
Music echoed through the village, happiness sure warmed our hearts

I headed down the Harvest Highway, to those fertile fields so green
Found the Southern Forest Food  Bowl, where the arctic wind blows clean
So to Man-jim-up  I wandered, found that active,  healthy path

Music echoed through the village, happiness sure warmed our hearts
So come on you Manji people, join The Company, join the throne
You’ll see me smiling, hear me singing, I’ll live lighter and live long

Kruger Brothers in Good Company

Kruger BrothersBrisbane based band The Company has announced that they will teaming up with The Kruger Brothers (USA) on their debut Australian tour this November/December. Direct from North Carolina, the critically acclaimed Kruger Brothers, featuring ‘Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo’ winner – Jens Kruger together with The Company will perform in Brisbane and South East Queensland – a show you must not miss.

Virtuoso Banjo player Jens Kruger is hailed as one of the foremost exponents of 5-string banjo in the world today and The Krugers have featured on The David Letterman Show. Here’s what they have been saying about them:

I used to think the banjo was somewhat limited to certain styles, until I heard Jens Kruger. Jens has played some of the most beautiful and expressive banjo I’ve ever heard – Ron Block of Alison Krauss and Union Station.

Jens Kruger has established himself as one of the world’s most musically sophisticated and technically accomplished five-string banjo players - Happy Traum.

The Krugers are nothing short of magnificent - Bluegrass Journal

Don’t miss your chance to see these incredible musicians live in Brisbane. See below for performance dates and ticketing information.

  • Friday 28th November & Saturday 29th November – 7:30pm – The Princess Theatre, Brisbane – Book Tickets
  • Sunday 30th November – 7:30pm – Samford Hall, Samford QLD – Book Tickets
  • Friday 5th December – 7:30pm – Maleny Community Hall, QLD – Book Tickets
  • Sunday 7th December – “Unwind in the Vines” Including James Blundell – 4pm – Ocean View Winery, Mt Mee, QLD – Book Tickets

Mustered Courage Signs with Lost Highway

Mustered CourageFresh back from their USA tour – 60 shows in 78 days across 43 states Mustered Courage have announced that they have signed a recording contract with Lost Highway Australia, part of the Universal family.

Lost Highway has signed, and been instrumental in the careers of, some of the biggest roots and country artists in the world, including Ryan Adams, Lucinda Williams, the Jayhawks, Whiskeytown, Lyle Lovett, Shelby Lynne, Willie Nelson, Ryan Bingham, the late Johnny Cash and many others. They have also been involved with the hugely successful soundtrack of Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? movie.

Mustered COurage will be heading into the studio very soon to start work on their new record, believing that Lost Highway & Mustered Courage were made for each other.

To celebrate this milestone, the band has released a double single: “Kiss From a Rose” (studio version) and their new instrumental “Candle Creek.”

Available only here in Australia currently on iTunes.

New Album for The Mid North

Mid North AlbumScott Collins has announced the pending release of a second album from The Mid North called “Tales From a Mountian“. Incidentally, their first album “You Were Right About The Stars” is one of the highest selling albums on the’s online shop.

The album is due to be released in late November 2014.

The Mid North are playing at Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival this weekend, the We Care Festival in Coffs Harbour Sat 1 Nov and the Mullum Music Festival on Sat 25 Nov.

The video clip below was filmed at a 10th wedding anniversary where guests were asked to come dressed as a bride or groom. Scott took advantage to the costume spectacle to film the event for the Delta Mae sound track. Delta Mae was only written two weeks before the gig. This meant that they had to wait until the song was recorded before they could properly edit the video clip.

Here is a glimpse of Delta Mae one of the new songs from The Mid North’s new album “Tales from a Mountain”:

Tales From a Mountain’ was recorded during 2014 at Noiselab Studios Bellingen. The album was engineered by Scott Collins and produced by Scott Collins and Jay Black. All music and lyrics on the album are original and written by Scott Collins except ‘Lucy Lou’ and ‘I Got You’ written by Scott Collins and Ilo Black, ‘Sparkling Eyes’ written by Cath Cooper, ‘Undertaker’ written by Scott Collins and Vic Manuel.

The Mid North are:

  • Scott Collins – Vocals / Guitar / Mandolin
  • John Woolhouse – Mandolin / Fiddle
  • Cath Cooper – Vocals
  • Bill Faulkner – Banjo
  • Will Pregnell – Upright Bass

Additional Musicians:

  • Kat Mear – Fiddle on Storm Cloud, Corn Liquor and Minnesota
  • Jenny Shimmin – Banjo on I Got You, Can’t Go Fishing, One Fine Day, Brierfield, Lucy Lou, Undertaker, Storm Cloud and Minnesota
  • Jamie Sampson – Upright Bass on Corn Liquor, I Got You, Sunshine in My Pocket, Brierfield, Lucy Lou, Undertaker, Storm Cloud, One Fine Day,  and Sparkling Eyes
  • Hamish Davidson – Banjo on Corn Liquor
  • Paddy Montgomery – Mandolin on Corn Liquor
  • Caleb Klauder – Mandolin on Storm Cloud and No Return
Track Listing:
1. Corn Liquor
2. I Got You
3. Sunshine in My Pocket
4. Undertaker
5. Storm Cloud
6. The Letter
7. Delta Mae
8. Can’t Go Fishing
9. No Return
10. Brierfield
11. One Fine Day
12. Sparkling Eyes
13. Lucy Lou
14. Minnesota
15. Old Crow

Chris Henry & Hardcore Grass Tour

Chris Henry BandPeter Rowan’s mandolin-player, Chris Henry, returns to Australia with his own bluegrass band, The Hardcore Grass. This is a must-see band for all lovers of bluegrass music.

The International Bluegrass Music Association has labelled Chris Henry as “the premier Monroe-style mandolinist of his generation”, while US Bluegrass legend Peter Rowan describes him as “a bright young star in Bluegrass Music”, and has made him a full-time member of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band.

Chris Henry grew up in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, USA, the son of veteran bluegrass musicians, Red and Murphy Henry. He moved to Nashville about ten years ago, and has been making quite a name for himself as one of the most highly regarded and sought-after young musicians on the American bluegrass scene. He received an International Bluegrass Music Association nomination for Song of the Year in 2011 for writing “Walking West to Memphis.” He was in Shawn Camp’s band, and in the last few years he has been playing with his own band, The Hardcore Grass, and with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band.

He impressed Australian audiences when he toured here earlier this year as a member of the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Trio. As a result of that tour, he has been invited back to Australia to headline the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival this October.

Chris is touring with his own four-piece band, The Hardcore Grass, consisting of himself on mandolin and vocals, Mike Garris (guitar and vocals), Corrina Logston (fiddle and vocals) and Beth Lawrence (bass and vocals).

As well as being a talented guitarist, Mike Garris is also a highly respected bass-player, and has recorded and toured extensively as a long-time member of the Del McCoury Band and David Grisman’s Bluegrass Experience. Fiddler, singer-songwriter, Corrina Logston, is an exciting new talent in bluegrass today, widely known for her lively and versatile fiddling, and tenor singing rooted in traditional bluegrass music. She has performed with the likes of Del McCoury, Jesse McReynolds, Bobby Osborne, Alison Krauss, and Charlie Louvin, and many others. Beth Lawrence has been living in the South for 10 years, and playing bass and singing with national bluegrass bands, including the Mark Newton Band, Ron Block Band, Jerry Salley Band, and The Daughters of Bluegrass.

Chris Henry website:
Hardcore Grass facebook:

Chris Henry & The Hardcore Grass – 2014 Australian Tour Dates:

  • Fri 24, Sat 25, Sun 26 Oct: Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival, Dorrigo, NSW
  • Tue 28 Oct: Bonny Hills Community Hall, Bonny Hills, NSW
  • Thur 30 Oct: Carrington Bowling Club, Newcastle, NSW (with Annie Lou Band)
  • Fri 31 Oct: Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
  • Sat 1 Nov: Sydney Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Get-Together, Annandale, NSW
  • Sun 2 Nov: Petersham Bowling Club, Petersham, NSW
  • Thur 6 Nov: The Quarterdeck, Narooma, NSW
  • Fri 7 Nov: Canberra Musicians Club, Turner Bowling Club, Turner, ACT
  • Sat 8, Sun 9 Nov: Blackwood Festival of Music & Culture, Blackwood, Vic
  • Tue 11 Nov: Mountain Pickers Association, Burrinja Café, Upwey, Vic
  • Thur 13 Nov: Courthouse Café, Camperdown, Vic
  • Fri 14 Nov: Healesville Music Festival, Healesville, Vic
  • Sat 15, Sun 16 Nov: Mountaingrass Festival, Harrietville, Vic
  • Thur 20 Nov: The Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, Vic
  • Fri 21 Nov: Candelo Town Hall, Candelo, NSW
  • Sat 22 Nov: Katoomba RSL, Katoomba, NSW

Colin O’Brien Tour Dates

Colin O'BrienColin O’Brien has announced dates for his tour in New South Wales and Victoria.

Colin O’Brien’s music is informed by the past and speaks to the present. A playful performer, Colin delights his audiences with fiery melodies, groovy rhythms, soulful lyrics, fancy footwork and old time hat tricks. His banjo, fiddle and guitar playing, percussive dancing, and lyrics all express an earnest regard for the traditional, natural and true.

O’Brien is a nationally touring independent performer based in Nashville. He has shared bills with artists such as The Infamous String Dusters, Great American Taxi, Trampled By Turtles, Tim O’Brien, Del McCoury, Steve Martin, Sam Bush, Darol Anger and Peter Rowan. Colin has performed at many venues and festivals throughout the United States including Rocky Grass, The John Hartford Memorial Festival Boats and Bluegrass, Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour, The Station Inn, The Sioux River Folk Festival, The Ark and dozens more.

Colin loves to engage his audience, young and old alike, and may at any time leave the stage to dance and sing among them; his voice, fiddle and feet all still resounding loud and clear through the stage speakers.

In 2011, the great Nashville musician, Larry Perkins, heard Colin play at the John Hartford Memorial Festival and was side-struck. “Colin’s music is genuine, whimsical, full of fun and carefully crafted. For me, it’s a very pleasant surprise”. He invited Colin down to Nashville to record. The resulting After A Song features Colin’s original songs performed with several of John Hartford’s band mates, including Perkins himself.

You are a very talented artist – John D. Loudermilk, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee
Colin O’Brien is a great entertainer – Tim O’Brien

In addition to his solo song and dance, Mr. O’Brien performs with The Nashville Stringy-Band, an acoustic super-group featuring Matt Combs on fiddle, Mike Compton on mandolin and Todd Phillips on bass.

When not entertaining on the road, O’Brien may be found dancing in his front yard on the banks of the Cumberland River with his fiddle and banjo as the General Jackson steamboat rounds Hartford’s bend.

Colin’s tour dates:

23 Oct 14 – Mofo, Surrey Hills, NSW: 10:00am
24 Oct 14 – Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival
30 Oct 14 – Billyroy’s Blues Bar, Bendigo, VIC: 8:00pm
31 Oct 14 – Maldon Folk Festival, Maldon, VIC: 10:00am
9 Nov 14 – Barney Allen’s, St. Kilda, VIC: 7:00pm

One Up Two Down on Tour

Onen Up Two DownOne Up, Two Down have just announced some tour dates for the next couple of months.

One Up Two Down hail from three countries joined by the Pacific Ocean, George Jackson (NZ), Andrew Small (USA) and Daniel Watkins (AUS) bring together raw old-time aesthetics, bluegrass dexterity and folk story telling. This trio draws on a strong grounding in old-time and bluegrass music, extending their music to new compositions with far wider influences. These three lean lads are armed with some exciting music, which they recently recorded in Nashville Tennessee and have just released on their debut EP. Andrew, is a North Carolina native Double Bassist, Yale School of Music masters graduate who is immersed in the American Old-time and Bluegrass music scene. George is the 7th generation in a line of New Zealand fiddlers dating back to the first settlers. Daniel Watkins is a strong vocalist and an encyclopedia of songs which he masterfully flat-picks on his Guitar hailing from Newcastle, Australia. George and Daniel are the back to back winners of the Australian Youth Bluegrass Scholarship (2012, 2013)

“Parsons’ voice has poignant warmth reminiscent of James Taylor, with a familiarity that enables you to feel like two friends.” – Timber and Steel Dan Parsons’ self titled second album, on which Parsons plays the vast majority of instruments, was mixed by The Boat People’s Robin Waters. It was during his time touring America 2012, that Parsons had the opportunity to play more solo shows and steep himself in the ghosts of the West Coast’s golden age. He found himself in bars and landscapes that had shaped the artists which in turn, had shaped him. Parsons emerged triumphant in 2013 with his second album, which could not possibly bare anything less than the mark of an artist who knows who he is and what he wants to say, without irony and at peace with self-doubt. When he’s not touring as a solo artist Parsons has taken on stints in South East Asia and the US as a hired gun for Kate Miller-Heidke, as both a drummer and guitarist.

One Up Two Down Tour Dates:

21 Oct – House Concert – Glebe
22 Oct – The Armidale Club – Armidale
23 Oct – The Tree House – Byron Bay
24 Oct – The Junk Bar – Brisbane
25 & 26 Oct – Dorrigo Folk And Bluegrass Fest
28 Oct – Mother’s Milk – Coffs Harbour
29 Oct – Newcastle Uni
30 Oct – Clarendon Guest House
31 Oct – Tanswells Hotel – Beechworth
1 & 2 Nov – JamGrass Music Fest*
6 Nov – Billyroy’s Blues Bar – Bendigo
7 Nov – House Show – Mildura
8 Nov – Wheatsheaf Hotel – Adelaide
9 Nov – Barb Agar’s House – Melbourne
12 Nov – Melbourne Folk Club – Melbourne*
13 Nov – Quiet Place – Castlemaine*
14, 15 & 16 Nov – MountainGrass Fest*
19 Nov – Jasmine’s House – Newstead, VIC
20 Nov – The Front Gallery – Canberra
22 Nov – The Roxbury – Sydney*

*One Up, Two Down only.

2014 MountainGrass Festival

MGrass2014Mountaingrass Bluegrass and Old-Time music festival, runs Thursday 13 through to Sunday 16 November 2013 at Feathertop Chalet at Harrietville in the beautiful Ovens valley.

MountainGrass is unique in that it combines concerts of bluegrass and old-time music with many opportunities for both emerging musicians and old-hands to come and play together and practice their craft and hone their skills. It also offers the opportunity to buy a hand-crafted instrument with some of Australia’s best luthiers and instrument makers in attendance.

MountainGrass starts informally on Thursday evening with everyone invited to come and participate in “pick” (jam), or just sit back and listen. The event then starts officially on Friday night with the first of many concerts. This is followed by a weekend of workshops, concerts, picks and jams, and finishes with a blackboard concert on Sunday night. There will also be bands on in the local hotels on Friday and Saturday night – free admission and all welcome. The festival program can be seen on the MountainGrass Website.

The organisers have secured two special guest bands from the United States: Special Consensus and Chris Henry & The Hardcore Grass. They will be joined by favourite Old-Time bands from Australia, The Flying Engine String Band and Appalachian Heaven. Add to this the highly popular Australian band the Flying Emus, Bluegrass Parkway, and many other Australian and NZ acts including The Davidson Brothers, The Company, Old South, Pipi Pickers, Little Rabbit, Coolgrass, String Theory and local favourites Peter Denahy and Kissin’ Cousins. A full list of artists can be see on the MountainGrass Website.

Season tickets, Day tickets, and reasonable priced single concert and single workshop tickets will also be available at Feathertop Chalet. Season tickets are now available online. Day passes will be available at the festival.

Accommodation is available onsite at Feathertop Chalet for $65 per person per night for bed and breakfast. There is also a wide range of accommodation in Harrietville ranging from camping and cabins to Bed and Breakfasts, guest houses and entire houses. See the Accommodation Page on the MountainGrass website for a comprehensive list or contact Alpine Valley Getaways, 03 5759 2653 for help with your booking.

The event will be based at Feathertop Chalet, where a marquee is being used for the main concerts. Other concerts will be held at the Harrietville Community Hall and the Mountain View Retreat Hall less than 5 minutes walk from Feathertop Chalet.

Evening meals and lunches and will be available at Feathertop Chalet, the two hotel motels, and local guest houses. Both of the local cafes will be serving breakfasts, lunches and other food all day.

Other attractions in the local area include a trout farm, lavender farm, blueberry farm, local made produce, Harrietville Museum, several cafes, an ice-creamery, two hotels, and the famous Bright Markets on Saturday November 15. Harrietville and its surrounds offers great terrain for road cyclists and mountain biking. For bushwalkers there is the famous Bon Accord and Bungalow spur walking tracks to Mt Feathertop which begin or end in Harrietville.

Mountaingrass is an initiative of the Australasian Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association Inc.,  and is supported by the Alpine Shire Council, Feathertop Chalet, Mountain View Retreat; The Snowline Hotel, The Harrietville Hotel Motel, and Casbak Alpine Units.

Comments from some of last year’s attendees:

Well done on pulling together a great event over the weekend. I went along to Feathertop Chalet on Saturday evening and watched the O’Donnell’s, Karen Lynne and Don Rigsby. As usual I was in awe at the musical skill of the performers and appreciated their positive energy which was undoubtedly spurred on by the enthusiastic crowd.

Thank you so much one & all for the wonderful job putting together the festival this year, I had ball and played non stop until I got too sore to continue, rested then played some more – Serial jamming addict.

Thanks to all involved for a great Mountaingrass 2013. We have been going to the festivals at Harrietville for the past 14 years and that was certainly one of the best. Congratulations and well done to all involved, just fantastic.

MountainGrass is scheduled for Thu. 13th to Sun. 16 November 2013 at Feathertop Chalet at Harrietville Victoria.

Jamgrass’s Adelaide Debut

Jamgrass2013This weekend marks Jamgrass’s Adelaide debut and they’ve got an incredible line up of music. Fiddle Virtuoso Casey Driessen has landed in Australia and will be making his only SA appearance at The Gov. Marlon Williams returns to Adelaide after selling out his last show in town. Astro Cobalt and The Cherry Pickers will provide a bluegrass fix, James Kenyon will wow with his intricate songs while Skyscraper Stan and The Bakers Digest will provide a late night party.

So you’ve had the JamGrass experience in Melbourne or Sydney? Now don’t let your Adelaide friends miss out. Help grow the JamGrass movement by letting them know it’s coming their way this weekend. You know they’ll thank you.

More info can be found at the Facebook event page here.

Follow JamGrass on Twitter here.

Blackwood Festival of Music and Culture

Blackwood FestivalNews of another festival has arrived this week with the Blackwood Festival of Music and Culture.

This event will be held over the weekend of November 7th, 8th and 9th, 2014. Their website states that this is a pilot festival with the aims of celebrating great aspects of music culture in a beautiful mountain-forest setting at Blackwood, Victoria an hour’s drive from Melbourne.

The festival will feature a diverse music lineup including old-time, Irish, bluegrass, country, Blues and rockabilly genres as well as workshops and demonstrations in Cajun and old-time dance styles and traditional harmony singing.

Acts include old-time masters Eddie Bond and Kirk Sutphin (USA) and Chris Henry and the Hardcore Grass (USA) as well as musicians from Melbourne and regional Victoria including Chere Cajun, Johnny Can’t Dance, Little Rabbit, Flying Engine Stringband, Woodward and Rough, Fingerbone, Swamplands,Cat and Clint, Archer, Freedom, Clintonium Bomb, The Ramshackle Band, Honeyfields, Hardrive Bluegrass Band, Slim Dime, Jonno and the Daredevils, Tully Sumner, Colin Matthews, Fruit Jar and Lowdown & Lonesome.

The festival is aimed at music lovers, musicians and anyone interested in old-time and traditional culture and entertainment. The event will be inclusive and family friendly. Onsite camping is available for a limited number of attendees. Those in RV’s or wanting a quieter environment, are encouraged to book into the Blackwood Mineral Springs Caravan Park.  Note – RV’s are not permitted on the Rec Reserve. A range of other accommodation is also available in Blackwood, including B&Bs and rental cottages.