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

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

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

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, 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

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.


Special Concensus to Play MountainGrass 2014

Special ConsensusThe newly established MountainGrass festival is in full preparation for their 2nd event to be staged in Harrietville, Victoria 14-16 November 2014.

This years’ headline is Grammy-Nominated act ‘Special Consensus’ from the United States. A four-person acoustic bluegrass band with a repertoire that features traditional bluegrass standards, original compositions by band members and professional songwriters, and songs from other musical genres performed in the bluegrass format.

Formed in 1975, the band is fronted by Chicago based banjo player Greg Cahill who is a former president of the International Bluegrass Music Association and along with his band they’ve released 16 recordings, played the Grand Ole Opry and developed a successful Traditional American Music program in schools across America.

Having toured the national circuit for over three decades, Special C has since performed internationally in Europe, Canada, South America and the UK but this will be their first visit to Australia.

The 2012 band release Scratch Gravel Road (Compass Records) was GRAMMY nominated for Best Bluegrass Album. Other band members include mandolin player Rick Faris, guitarist Dustin Benson and bass player Dan Eubanks.

Old South – World Tour

Old SouthBluegrass, Americana & Folk – Old and new tunes about broken hearts and lonesome nights; trains, mothers, coal mining, murder, whiskey and going home… All the misery and tears you could wish for wrapped in the joy of singing and playing acoustic only. Hot bluegrass, smooth harmonies, fast instrumentals. Now recognised as one of Australia’s leading bluegrass bands, they have been playing together and with others in Australia and overseas since the 1960’s.OldSouthTour

Since 2011, Old South has been frequently invited both to play and present workshops at the Fleurieu Folk Festival, The Wirrina Bluegrass Festival, The Great Alpine Pick, the Harrietville Bluegrass Convention, the MountainGrass Festival, the Kelly Country Pick, The Kapunda Celtic Festival and the Semaphore Music Festival.

Old South will release their second CD later this year.

About Old South:

Phil Parker - Lead singer, guitar. Phil has a clear and powerful vocal style, perfect for the music. Having played in four bluegrass bands, he has developed a commanding knowledge of harmony theory and technique, and ensures everyone knows their parts and remembers them.

Geoff Bridgland - Baritone, banjo, fiddle. Geoff has been playing bluegrass with a range of bands since he was in the “Black Mountain Bluegrass Boys” in 1968. Geoff plays 5 string banjo as straight as he can and is sometimes allowed to irritate the old-time fiddle for a short while.

Andrew Hook - Bass, mandolin, guitar. Andrew has been playing in various Victorian and SA bluegrass bands since 1980, and has worked extensively with Paul Wookey and The Rank Strangers with whom he released 3 albums and who were finalists in the Best Foreign Bluegrass band category in
international competition in Nashville, Tennessee in 1989.OldSouthPoster

Dave Taylor - Tenor, double bass. The thinking man’s bassist, tenor harmony singer and Timelord. His high harmony rounds out the Old South sound and his jokes have made the men realise that reality is optional after all, which puts him way ahead in this game.

Leonard Cohen - High baritone, Resonator guitar. One of the founders of the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band in NZ, he joined the Skillet Lickers on moving to Adelaide. He has toured widely, played with Pete and Mike Seeger, Slim Dusty and Reg Lindsay, recorded six albums and performed on TV and radio. Leonard has played before the Prince of Wales and another pub in Dubbo.

Richard (Dick) Best 1925 – 2014

Dick Best with Hamish DavidsonRichard (Dick) Best, one of Australia’s regular and very popular identities on the bluegrass banjo scene passed away last Wednesday. Dick was aged 89.

Dick was a well know dealer in banjos, and for those who have had the pleasure of meeting him he was a most interesting and character and a true gentleman. His love of the banjo was shared by his great love of horses.

The photo above is one of Dick with a very young Hamish Davidson at the 1998 Yarra Junction Fiddlers convention.

The relatives and friends of the late Dick Best are respectfully invited to attend his Funeral. The Service is appointed to begin at 10.00 am on Thursday 17th April, 2014 in St. John’s Anglican Church, Carthage Street, Tamworth.

Further details can be found on the SMH Website.

By request, no floral tributes, a donation to Australian Diabetes Council in lieu thereof would be appreciated. A donation box will be available at the church

Stolen Stelling Mandolin

There could be nothing worse for a musician than to learn of the loss of their instrument. Well perhaps there could be but it is right up there with having your house burgled and possessions taken. When one of those possessions happens to be a unique custom-made mandolin, then the heartache must increase exponentially.

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Anna Xeni a regular face at bluegrass and old-time music events in Australian and particularly Victoria, has told us today that her left-handed Stelling S-5Q Mandolin #138, among other things, has been stolen from her house in Brunswick today.

Left handed mandolins are extremely rare. This is likely the only left-handed Stelling in the country. Anna’s prized instrument was sourced by well known local luthier Laurie Grundy from the famous Stelling Banjo Works in the USA.

The mandolin is an F style Stelling model S-5Q with the serial number 138. It has the most beautiful quilted maple back and sides and tobacco brown stain slightly sunburst and valued at about US$8,500.

The theft is currently under police investigation.

New Album for The Company

The CompanyBrisbane bluegrass band, The Company, head into the studio this April to record their new album.

Having been almost two years since their last release, The Company are champing-at-the-bit to get back into the studio and record what will be a whole album of new material.  Their debut self titled release in 2012 was received with critical acclaim and was a culmination of a very creative and productive first few months in the life of this band in its current line-up.   So again, the bag of new songs and tunes is bursting at the seams and a recording date has been set for early April, 2014.

It’s been a quiet summer and after finishing on such a high performing with American bluegrass legends Allan Munde and Jens Kruger (USA) late last year, we’ve enjoyed the down-time to work on a lot of new material - Mick Patrick.

While a final track list is yet to be decided, this new record will feature a much heavier portion of songs than the last album.  The band has had a number of requests from fans about wanting more songs and they aim to please. As a result both Mick (lead singer and mandolin) and Jamie (guitar) have been adding new songs to the set-list as well as tunes.  Bass player, Markus has delivered new compositions to the arranging table and George (banjo/fiddle) is making his contribution also – at least from afar.   George is the one member of the band that is no longer based in Brisbane and in between touring and recording with other projects he still finds time and energy to remain one of the ‘Company Men’.

Outside the studio, The Company is not slowing down on their list of live shows.  With a busy March and April already booked, the band are looking forward to performing for their local fans in and around Brisbane and northern NSW.  Upcoming shows in April include:

  •  Thursday April 3rd – Lefty’s Old Time Music Hall
  • Friday April 4th – Forest Hill School of Arts Hall
  • Saturday April 5th – Kyogle Old Time Bluegrass Jamboree
  • Sunday April 6th – House Concert, Lismore

Go online for more information on live shows and updates on the progress of the record.  The band intends to launch a crowd-funding campaign in order to get this album released.  You will have the opportunity to pre-order, contribute and be part of this exciting new album.