Category: Bluegrass Gigs/Festival

Seth Mulder & Midnight Run | Ireland 2020

Seth Mulder & Midnight Run is high-energy, traditional bluegrass with a ‘fresh approach to the ‘High Lonesome sound’. One of the most entertaining bluegrass acts on the scene today, we are huge fans of these guys, and if you had but a single bluegrass-lovin’ bone in your whole body then you’d understand why. We hadn’t planned on seeing three shows of their exhaustive early 2020 Ireland & UK tour, but we did. We kept going back for more.”

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Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen | Bluegrass Island 2018

“At the risk of offending, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen… is a Marmite band, an informal British-based term meaning in this case that you either like their line-muddying, boundary-pushing, refuses-to-be-pigeonholed brand of bluegrass or you don’t … however you class their take on the genre, the quartet, collectively the IBMA’s Instrumental Group of the Year in 2016 (they sing as well, by the way), let their instruments speak for themselves, and speak they do. I guess that’s why I hit record on my camera. Three times, for three choice morsels, you could say.”

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Ricky Skaggs | Europe 1985

“Only a 9-year-old me would have the gumption to solicit Ricky’s attention mid-set during the Dublin leg of his 1985 European tour, his first tour as a bandleader at the height of his 1980’s country success and a tour that would spawn an album, ‘Live In London’, that would leave an indelible impression on me.”

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Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa | Ireland 2019

Appaloosa, who, according to their website, are a ‘a group of seasoned musicians who play predominately original, contemporary and traditional Bluegrass music’, were formed in 2008 by Wayne Taylor after retiring from 21 years of service with Country Current, the US Navy’s renowned country-bluegrass ensemble. Wayne has shared a stage, and a song (‘Uncle Pen’ no less), with Bill Monroe (in 1995) and his two-decade-plus stretch with the Navy band, the last 9 of which were as band leader, saw him play for many a bigwig – heads of state, royalty and even 4 US presidents. But on this night, World Bluegrass Day 2019, he played for us, us and about 70 others in the Village Arts Centre in sleepy Kilworth, County Cork.”

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Shannonside Winter Music Festival 2019

“This 2019 iteration of the celebration of music that is the Shannonside Winter Music Festival had 80 events spread over 5 days covering 10 different musical genres… bluegrass was well catered for on the lineup, the Special Consensus, no strangers to the festival, the headline act. But until they rode into town for the established Sunday afternoon bluegrass concert, The Petersens and the Munich String Band ably held the keep…”

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Special Consensus | Dublin, Ireland 2019

“Pulling from their extensive catalogue of material, the 2-hour-long intermission-interrupted set contained many a highlight: the harmonies; the a cappella Gospel numbers; and the instrumentals, especially the bass solos (who doesn’t love a good bass solo or two?) & instrumental-heavy encore, were all outstanding, or just as one might expect from this polished quartet.”

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Omagh Bluegrass Music Festival 2018

Bluegrass Omagh. It’s probably the largest bluegrass festival on the island of Ireland and it has been running now for over a quarter of a century. The lineup for this year’s festival was just as impressive as the festival’s setting of the Ulster American Folk Park, the headline act of husband & wife combo Darin & Brooke Aldridge flown in just for the occasion. It was good to see and hear them again.”

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Chris Jones & The Night Drivers | Dublin, Ireland 2018

“… the Beast from the East… did its upmost to disrupt the 2018 Ireland tour by Chris Jones And The Night Drivers. It forced the band, formed by Chris Jones in 1995, to ride out the worst of the unusually severe weather in Northern Ireland while wiping our some of the early shows of the 11 gigs originally scheduled.”

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Bluegrass Island Festival 2017

“The heavy-hitting pioneering and ground-breaking history; the beaches; the lighthouses; and the swashbuckling maritime vibe of North Carolina’s Outer Bank were enthralling and educational. But even they, and if you’ll pardon the oh-so pathetic pun, played a very distant second fiddle to the 4 days of foot tappin’ and artist mingling that was the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival in Roanoke Island Festival Park, known for a period every year as Bluegrass Island.”

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Billy Strings | Bluegrass Island 2017

“Although it’s less than three years ago now that we met and saw guitar sensation Billy Strings live for the first time, we’re pretty sure he’s a bit of a bigger deal now than he was back then; playing now to sold-out venues and headlining major festivals, his rise since has seemingly been as rapid as his pickin’ as he continues to push boundaries, straddle genres, shred strings, and dazzle all who witness his sets.”

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5 days ago

My Grass Is Blue

✝️ DON RENO | OCTOBER 16, 1984 ✝️

Remembering Don Reno… prodigious multi-instrumentalist (the first time he picked up a banjo 🪕, at the age of five, he found that he could play ‘Brown’s Ferry Blues’ and he could play banjo or guitar in any key without a capo)… innovator (pre-empted by Earl Scruggs as the first prominent three-finger banjo player during Reno’s World War II service, he went on to create a distinctively different banjo style featuring single-string and jazzy chordal phrases adapted from the guitar)… pioneer (first prominent flat-picking lead guitarist in bluegrass)… showman (could hold an audience’s attention for every moment of his live performances)... vocalist… songwriter and composer (with approximately 500 songs and instrumentals, the most prolific composer in bluegrass music history who was known to write 10 or 15 songs at a stretch)… and, of course, one-half of the IBMA Hall of Fame partnership Reno & Smiley, who tragically died 58 years young on this day, October 16, in 1984.

"[Snuffy] Jenkins was the man that told me and showed me how to use the third finger on a banjo. He took time out with me when I was very young." – “The Don Reno Story, Part 1: The Early Years,” interview with Bill Vernon, Muleskinner News, June, 1973.

#bluegrass #bluegrassmusic #mygrassisblue #bluegrasshistory #musichistory #donreno #legend #icon #bluegrasslegend #donrenobanjo #banjo #banjoman #bluegrassbanjo #banjoplayer #bluegrassmusician #onthisdayinbluegrass #renoandsmiley
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