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Grass Cuttings and News In Brief
Updated 28 Jan 2001

Late News since 1st December:

  • George Clooney recently won the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy/musical for "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" Apparently, as he approached the podium to accept the award it was awesome to hear Dan Tyminski's voice booming through the speakers singing Man of Constant Sorrow
  • As well as touring with the LRB, Rickie Simpkins has been busy at Doobie Shea studios working on his new project Don't Fret It, (DS-2006) which will feature Tony and Wyatt Rice, Ronnie Simpkins, and others.
  • Taking bluegrass to a new high: Allison Brown's "Girl's Breakdown" will be the wake-up music for astronauts on the January 18 space shuttle mission. Former Bay Area resident/SCBS member Brown is featured on the cover of the current issue of "Sing Out" magazine.
  • Billboard magazine has a feature story on Ralph Stanley and the new compilation of his music "Man Of Constant Sorrow" in its' 23rd Dec issue.
  • Jim Moss has authorised me to release the following, which we've had under wraps for ages:
    "I have received a lot of write to requesting that I post the link to Frank Wakefield's online streaming video movie. Live Wakefield Film From The Freight & Salvage & McCabes In February of the year 2000, The Frank Wakefield Band made it's annual tour across California. This tour is scheduled to take place again this coming February of 2001. The film linked below was made of the performances at both the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, CA (first 10 mins), and at McCabes in Santa Monica, CA (last 32 mins). I like the film texture of the McCabes footage as it is much more dramatic, but Frank Wakefield was in terrific form at both shows as you will see. Click for video
    "If you have a high speed line then use the 256kb/sec version, but if thattakes too long to buffer, use the 152kb/sec version. There is a 56k version for telephone modems, its' quality clearly suffers over the high speed links, but it does work."
    More details from
  • Alison Krauss & Union Station performed at the Premiere Party for "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" on Dec 19th at the Supper Club, New York City. Also performing were Gillian Welch & David Rawlings and Mike Compton & Chris Sharp. Dan Tyminski is the singing voice of George Clooney in the movie.
    Several songs, live party footage and movie clips are available on Yahoo! / Yahoo Broadcast / "Events" / "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" until about  6th January 2001.
  • A report delayed in the post 445 years indicates that Nostradamus knew the outcome of the US Presidential election:
       "Come the millennium, month 12,
       In the home of greatest power,
      The village idiot will come forth
      To be acclaimed the leader." -- Nostradamus, 1555
  • Bluegrass banjo picker John Dowling, 19, from Redruth, Cornwall, ex- Jane On Thunder, joined with jazz pianist Jeremy Wing, 18, of Carbis Bay, while at sixth-form college in Truro earlier this year to form The Black Cat Theory (jazz?). BCT entered one of the music industry's most prestigious awards, the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award (2000) and beat five contenders in the finals in London 8th December.
  • Jim Mosswrites "Frank Wakefield has been nominated for a Grammy award and I just put it up on his web site. I never saw one before. I remember Frank was real happy to hear that he had been nominated. It is great to get recognition after as many years as hehas been playing."

Items below here were published 1st December

British News

  • The brand new North Wales Bluegrass Club had a very successful first night in November. Many more pickers turned up than expected, most of them bluegrass novices. After a fraught 'beginners session' the group split into two rooms, the larger one for the tyros and a smaller, cosier one for the 'hot-shots', so that everyone had a satisfactory session. Organised by Tony Keysell and John Prytherch (Idle Frets), the venue is the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, just south of the A55 half way between Holywell and Northop.
  • Editor of the British Bluegrass Music association's mag BBN, American Robert Clinton, will be retiring in the New Year and going back to live in the USA, with partner Brenda Hopkin who is BBMA advertising manager. Congratulations to Bob - what will he fill his time with? (joke!)
    One-time BBMA Chairman John Sheldon, being now retired, has offered to be (and been approved as, 2nd Dec) the new BBN Editor. His wife Jackie will be the new Advertising Manager.
  • Lonnie Donegan, one of the first British musicians to achieve major stardom in the USA, received his MBE on October 27 for "Services to British Popular Music". Most memorable of Lonnie's hits was 'Rock Island Line' (3M copies sold).
  • Edwin DeShazo writes "We met while I was with the David Nelson Band in San Francisco recently. I am interested in helping UK bluegrass bands tour in America." So UK outfits with a yen for a taste of Northern California should Write to Edwin at
  • David Brightmore is organising the 4th Snowdonia Bluegrass Weekend Workshops, to be held once more at the Ranger Youth Hostel in Bettws-Garmon in February. Contact David at 01244-678065 for details.
  • Pete Stanley writes to say that The Earlier Years, a 22 track CD 22 by Pete Stanley and Brian Golbey has recently been issued by the British Archive of Country Music (BACM CD1001). the CD is available from Pete Stanley (15 Torriano Ave, London NW5-2SN, Tel: 0207-916-4178) at £11, inc. P&P.
  • Pete Stanley and Brian Golbey, with Laurie Harper toured this year as the main support on Bryan Ferry's As Time Goes By show. Venues included Petworth House (audience of 9500) and Castle Howard. Pete said "We were the smartest hill-billy band you've ever seen and we were spreading the Gospel."
  • The Rocky Island Boys have been re-formed by longstanding TradGrass singer/songwriter/ guitarist Del Robinson. One of Britain's oldest established bluegrass bands, the new line-up includes John Boston (mando/fiddle), Richard Eyres (bass) and Howard Burton (banjo). Details: Del on 01372-374731.
  • Alison Krauss' Maybe video will be released as a single in the UK on November 27. The B-side of the retail single is 'That Kind of Love.'

European News

  • Lily Drumeva, singer in the Bulgarian band Lilly of the West, has moved to London, where the rest of her band will be visiting her occasionally. The band will be available for bookings and Lily might sing independently with local UK bands. Phone 0207-243-3444.
  • Dutch band Spruce Pine's new CD, Spaceineti, released in October, was recorded in the Czech Republic and features four special guests from there. write to
  • The EWOB Festival and Trade Show will be May 24-26, 2001 in the Netherlands, but any interested bands should phone 00-31-71-34-6700 or write to
  • Steve Kaufman is running a new flatpicking camp, 8-14 July, on the island of Lesvos in Greece.
  • Anyone interested in D-tuning for banjo (including workshops) should contact Andy Glandt of German band Fox Tower. Andy has produceda book on D tuning covering several styles including slide banjo and finger picking style. Write to

(some of the) Rest-Of-The World News

  • Hay Holler Records have signed up Shepherdsville, Kentucky-based mountain-style bluegrass band Tommy Brown & The County Line Grass. They start work on their first Hay Holler project in December.
  • I thought this comment I saw this on the internet recently might amuse: "Oscar Schmidt banjos are assembled in E. Bogota, Columbia by a bunch of chimpanzees. They pump crack smoke through the ventilation system throughout the day to keep them on their toes. The more smoke, the more banjos produced. Keep that in mind if you are looking for a quality instrument." One man's view...
  • George Goehl writes "We are producing a feature length documentary about bluegrass legend Jimmy Martin. We have shot over 80 hours for the film and are in the process of doing some final interviews and preparing to film a hunting trip with Jimmy. We hope to have the film completed in the fall of 2001. We are also planning on releasing a soundtrack that will include a wide assortment of JM recordings that will be included in the final film." George will keep us informed.
  • Roman Jason Scott, 29, son of Tony and Pamela Rice of Reidsville, NC., died August 10, 2000. Tony extends his apologies for missed tour dates and wishes to thank everyone for their understanding and support.
  • Mel Bay have the tab to Jim Mills Bound to Ride CD available now at $9.95 for the book.
  • Doobie Shea Records announces the release of its first CD from Idaho's award-winning Grasshoppers (DS-4004). The Idaho quartet's label debut is slated for an in-store date of September 12, 2000. A tightly-knit group formed in 1994, its' members include a married couple and a father-son pair. They first drew the attention of Doobie Shea presidentTim Austin at 1998's World of Bluegrass; agreement to record the band's second album at Austin's Doobie Shea Studios soon followed. By the time the album was completed, both parties were impressed enough with each other and the recording that the Grasshoppers were signed to the label, turning the CD from a self-released project to one with the prestigious Doobie Shea imprint.
  • The U.S. Congress has approved the creation of a new National Recording Registry (NRC) at the Library of Congress (LOC) to preserve culturally significant sound recordings, while at the same time protecting the rights of copyright holders. It will have its own seal, will work in a similar manner as the Library of Congress' National Film Preservation Board. RecordingIndustry Association of America (RIAA) chief Hilary Rosen said, "This legislation guarantees the preservation of American music for generations to come." The LOC will appoint a board to supervise the establishment of the NRC, which will include recordings important in a particular genre that are 25 years or older and no longer available commercially. The recordings will be digitised.
  • Sammy Shelor of the Lonesome River band who wed the 'love of his life' in September. Sammy and his dazzling wife Sue held a beutiful ceremony and reception in the breathtaking mountainous area of Meadows of Dan, where they live. Also congrats to Don and Tina Rigsby for the arrival of their first child.
  • Congratulations to Jody Rainwater on hisinduction to the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame. Jody career began as a Foggy Mountain Boy, playing bass with Flatt and Scruggs in the 1950's.
  • The soundtrack for the movie 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' featuring many bluegrass and country artists will be released on Mercury Records on December 5th. The movie will be released in late December.

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3rd Dec 2000