Monday, October 29, 2012


Thomas Fraser Festival

Thomas Fraser died in 1978; a crofter, a fisherman - a hard worker. Not at all unusual in his native Burra Isle. But Thomas had a talent, an extraordinary talent and a passion for music which drove him to painstakingly record thousands of his unique takes of favourite blues, country, jazz and traditional tunes of the era. Each year, his memory is celebrated with a festival, which attracts attention from as faraway as Nashville.

This year's Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival  takes place on the 8th November and goes on through to the 11th November in his native Shetland.
The line up for the 2012 Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival is top Nashville based and Opry Stars The Whites, Faroese country star Hallur Joensen, the 2010 Young Shetland fiddler of the year Liza Fullerton, Alison Kay Ramsay, Laeverick, Alan Tulloch, Robbie Cumming, Arthur Pottinger, Eddie Williamson and of course May, Mackie & Rhonda.
Karl Simpson will present a special Festival preview radio prgramme on BBC Radio Shetland on Wednesday 31st October. The 50 minute show will feature an interview with Faroe star Hallur Joensen and Sharon Skaggs of The Whites. The programme starts at 18:10 GMT. Meanwhile Festival Commitee members Adalene Fullerton and Sylvia Jamieson will present a special Thomas Fraser Give us a Tune on Friday 2nd November.
Meanwhile a new Thomas Fraser CD 'For the Sake of Days Gone By' will be launched in Shetland at the Thomas Fraser Memorial Festival on 8th November. A UK release will be on 21st January 2013. The album is a double disc affair with no less than 50 tracks. More details on the album soon.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Rankins lose Raylene

Raylene Rankin of the internationally acclaimed Nova Scotia musical group The Rankin Family died at the end of September, after losing her fight with cancer. .Raylene first battled and beat breast cancer more than a decade ago, but it returned in 2009. Last year, she was diagnosed with liver cancer.
She was 52.
Rankin and her four siblings — John Morris, Jimmy, Cookie and Heather — formed the group more than 20 years ago and are credited with taking Cape Breton Celtic music to the mainstream.
In a statement Raylene's younger sister, Heather said her sister fought "a very long and courageous battle with grace and dignity and was an inspiration."
In 2000, John Morris Rankin died when his truck plunged into the icy Gulf of St. Lawrence near Margaree Harbour, N.S. He was 40.
The Rankin Family sold more than two million albums, won 15 East Coast Music Awards, six Juno Awards, four SOCAN Awards and three Canadian Country Music Awards.


Jetset Country coming to your TV

A brand new Country Music show Jetset Country will debut on Sky Showcase TV on Wednesday 14th November at 7pm, and every week thereafter, taking Country Music Television in the UK and Ireland to the next level.
Presented by top Belfast-based journalist and promoter Malcolm McDowell, Jetset Country will feature intimate interviews with artists in their homes, in the recording studio and on location at concerts and shows. In association with Jack Daniels, it will be the first Country Music TV show to be co-produced by teams in Nashville and Ireland.
The show will be a springboard to create new, exciting opportunities for artists from both sides of the Atlantic. From March 2013, Jetset Country will present ‘The Grand Ole Opry of Ireland’ shows from the brand new, state-of-the-art Titanic Theatre in Belfast, where legends of American Country Music will share the stage with local Irish talent. There are also plans to stage the largest Country Music Festival in Europe on the slipways where Titanic was built.
As well as bridging the gap between Ireland and the USA, Jetset Country will offer greater potential to reach new audiences than other Country Music outlets that currently exist. As well as airing via Sky Showcase TV (Sky channel 191/Freesat 403), the show will be available through digital streaming platform My-TV-Now. As a result, the show will be viewable on iPod’s, iPad’s and other compatible devices around the world.
Malcolm McDowell has a diverse array of experience in entertainment journalism, advertising, marketing, media promotion, events management, and publishing. Most recently, Malcolm signed three of the biggest Irish Country superstars – internationally renound Mary Duff, Scottish singer Ann Williamson, and Eurovision Showband legend Muriel Day. The trio  will tour together with the ‘Follow The Girls’ tour, taking in smaller, intimate cabaret venues around the world.


Celtic Connections 20th Anniversary line up

Celtic Connections will celebrate 20 years as a cornerstone of Scotland's cultural calendar with a stellar programme announced today by Artistic Director Donald Shaw which will celebrate the ethos and artists that have seen the festival become a global phenomenon. Some of the biggest names in folk, roots, world, traditional, indie, blues and jazz will perform in Glasgow between 17th January and 3rd February next year.
Among the artists appearing at Celtic Connections 2013 are The Mavericks, Transatlantic Sessions with Mary Chapin Carpenter, Old Crow Medicine Show, Amy Helm, Dougie MacLean, Roddy Hart and the Lonesome Fire.
After their reunion earlier this year The Mavericks will be showing off their famous no-borders fusion of country, garage, Latin, soul and torch-song sounds with fresh passion and deep-dyed maturity.
Amy Helm will be leading a tribute to her late father Levon Helm who passed away earlier this year. Levon achieved fame as the drummer and frequent lead and backing vocalist for The Band.
Little Feat rank among rock'n'roll's great survivors. Their Southern-fried gumbo of blues, funk R&B, country and multi-guitar fireworks will be sure to delight both their loyal army of fans and new admirers.
Some of the world's most exciting Americana, country and bluegrass talent will visit Glasgow this January. Oklahoma native JD McPherson's deceptively sophisticated songwriting will add a smart contemporary spin to the raw, booty-shaking rockabilly of his music.
US singer-songwriter Anaïs Mitchell will be performing tracks from her 2012's Young Man in America which is a stunningly eloquent exploration and interrogation of her nation's past and present.
American singer-songwriter and fiddler Sara Watkins, of Nickel Creek fame, will be showcasing her second solo album Sun Midnight Sun. Audiences will be treated to Sara's assertive stylistic range which takes in souped-up classic pop, grungy rockouts and gritty electronic textures as well as her home neo-bluegrass territory.
Texas born Sarah Jarosz will be wowing audiences with a style of singing that transcends the boundaries between folk and pop. Nominated for a Grammy Award for her song 'Mansinneedof' this young American talent is sure to impress.
Canadian trio The Be Good Tanyas will be performing highlights from the comeback album A Collection (2000-2012) These three females will be sure to impress with their slow-burn vocal chemistry and handcrafted blend of old-time influences which will magically infuse in a seamless repertoire of traditional, contemporary and original material.
With 2013 marking 25 years since the Cowboy Junkies' Trinity Session album, a seminal early harbinger of the entire alt country movement, the band's enduringly restive, exploratory spirit has most recently borne fruit in the Nomad Series, four themed albums ranging from darkly acerbic to inventively experimental, from country-folk ethereality to squally grunge-rock.

Saturday, October 20, 2012


Meeting Place October

The monthly acoustic nights at The Meeting Place, in Stonelaw Churchin Rutherglen, this month  presents... Sean McGhee and Son Sean. Friday 26th October 7.30pm
Looking forward to hearing Sean and son playing a fine selection of traditional bluegrass and country...


Rucker to the Opry

The Tuesday night Grand Ole Opry was all about Darius Rucker this week , as he was inducted into the coveted country family by friend Vince Gill.
The longest running radio show in the world welcomed Darius with style, playing videos throughout the evening featuring fellow Opry members talking about their own experiences joining the show and welcoming the "True Believers" singer to the Opry.
See the induction here.


Vince wins big at ICM's

The 18th Annual ICM Faith, Family & Country Awards rolled out the red carpet at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Symphony for Inspirational Country artists this week.. Vince Gill was the big winner of the night, taking home two awards—Mainstream Inspirational Country Song and Mainstream Country Artist. Other winners included Chuck Day for Entertainer of the Year and The Roys for Inspirational Bluegrass Artist.

Meanwhile Vince joined fellow Country stars Charlie Daniels and Randy Owen as they were all  honoured at a prizegiving in Nashville, Tennessee on Wednesday  in recognition of their humanitarian work.
The trio was guests of honour at the Leadership Music Dale Franklin Awards and they were applauded for their charitable efforts.
Musicians including Rodney Crowell and Al Anderson took to the stage to play for the award winners at the event, held at Nashville's War Memorial Auditorium, while Gill's wife Amy Grant and his daughter Jenny, from his first marriage, also paid tribute to the country star.
Gill's family presented him with a glass bowl engraved with the name of the award, and Gill joked, "I can put a lot of peanut M&M's in here."
Meanwhile, Vince will be featured on the 25th Anniversary "Very Special Christmas" CD, alongside Michael Buble, Christina Aguliera, Cheap Trick & Jorin Sparks. Vince also has a duet on Kelly Clarkson's new Greatest Hits album.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Irish youngsters Scots tour

Nathan Carter and The Benn Sisters have a short tour next week. Dates below. Nathan has just released the old Dobie Gray song "Drift Away" as his latest single, whilst The Benn sisters have just released their third album, "Girls Night Out".
Leanne Benn will be talking to Stewart Fenwick on Celtic Music Radio on Sunday @ Noon.

Thurs Oct 18th    The Magnum Centre, Irvine    T:  01294 313 010
Fri  Oct 19th       The DG One Centre, Dumfries  T:  01387 243 550
Sat Oct 20th       The Thainstone Centre, Inverurie T:  01467 623 700:
Sun Oct 21st       The Strathclyde Suite, Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow

Saturday, October 06, 2012


Caithness 2013

The Northern Nashville Caithness Country music festival is currently been shown on BBC ALBA TV on Tuesday & Sunday evenings, but the organisers are already well aheadwith plans for their 10th Anniversary event next Easter.
In the club's latest online  newsletter, they have a run down of who we have, but will get full details out very soon.
From America : Connie Smith, Will Banister, Bobby Flores, Kimberley Murray & Bob Manning, also Rance Norton.
From Holland : Music Road Pilots
From Faroe Isles : Evi Tausen
From Ireland : John McNicholl plus waiting for confirmation of other Irish act
Not forgetting our local bands of course.
Roll on Easter !


Irish legend dies

LARRY CUNNINGHAM  was one of the best-known performers of the Irish showband era and had his first Irish number one single Lovely Leitrim in the mid-1960s.   He was also the first Irish-based artist to reach the British pop charts with his Tribute to Jim Reeves in 1964.
He grew up in Ireland but moved to England when he was 16 to find work as a carpenter, and whilst there he played and promoted Irish traditional music.
He returned to Ireland in the early 60's and, along with the Mighty Avons, gained recognition when he supported Jim Reeves on his tour of Ireland in '63.
During his career Larry performed as part of the Wembley Festival, and drew the biggest ever crowd when he played at the Galtymore Ballroom in London.
His major hit was Lovely Leitrim, and along with his band Country Blue Boys he continued to record and tour until two years ago.

He died in Dublin last Friday night (Sept 28th) at the age of 74.
Family & friends mixed with personalities of the music and media worlds at the funeral on Tuesday of the well-known Longford country and western singer.
Among the hundreds of mourners at his funeral in St Columba’s Church in his native Mullinalaghta were showband and country music veterans Big Tom, Philomena Begley, Daniel O’Donnell and Mike Denver.

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