Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band on NPR Today!

November 24, 2010

Peter Rowan Bluegrass BandPeter Rowan Bluegrass Band visited NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross today to discuss Bill Monroe, Old and In The Way and his newest album with his Bluegrass Band, Legacy.

Click here for your local air time or listen online here.

Press Round-Up: In the news and blogs at CRG (11/24/10)

November 24, 2010

Alison Brown joins the Indigo Girls on their new holiday album Holly Happy Days and will be joining the band on tour dates in Chicago, New York and Atlanta the week of December 6th.

Alison Brown Quartet’s DVD Live at Blair, "...offers up a delightful mix of jazz and Irish-based folk music...If you like easy listening, intricate music, you can’t make a better choice." (Country Standard Time)

Old Blind Dogs’ "Dynamic percussion, polished vocals, soaring fiddle and stirring pipes fuel the delicately-phrased melodies and traditional songs." (Paddy Punx) OBD’s Wherever Yet May Be’s, "’Where Are You Now’, with its lazy slide guitar, is probably the winning song, while elsewhere the album full of rich acoustic/electric instrumental texture, from the measured opening air of a St Kilda love song to the closing contemporary joust with some ’Desperate Fishwives’." (Scotland on Sunday)

Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band (live at Johnny D’s), "...may have a bunch of decades under his belt - he’s 68 - but the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band showed they have a lot left in the tank." (Country Standard Time) "It was one of those concerts where at several points my mouth just dropped open from astonishment at what I was hearing." (Notes From All Under)

Music Road includes Altan’s 25th Anniversary Celebration, Karan Casey & John Doyle’s Exiles Return, Heidi Talbot’s The Last Star, Michael McGoldrick’s Aurora and Old Blind Dogs’ Wherever Yet May Be in its Best of 2010 list.

Peter Rowan on NPR's Fresh Air

November 23, 2010

Peter Rowan Bluegrass BandPlanning on a long drive to the family’s for Thanksgiving tomorrow? We have the perfect thing to listen to during your holiday travel.

Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band will be visiting NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross tomorrow, Wednesday, November 24th.

Click here for your local air time or listen online here.

Heidi Talbot nominated for 2 BBC Folk Awards

November 23, 2010

Heidi Talbot

Congratulations to Heidi Talbot for her two BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations. Heidi has been nominated for Folk Singer of the Year and Best Traditional Track for The Last Star’s "Willie Taylor".

Press Round-Up: In the news and blogs at CRG (11/18/10)

November 17, 2010

Colin Hay discusses Scrubs, American Sunshine and Men at Work with Pop Bitez. Colin’s live performances "highlight his apparently ageless voice, underrated acoustic finger picking style, and his true penchant for comedy." (

Luka Bloom can’t live without James Taylor’s "Fire and Rain"; "wows" with, "Two and a half hours of electrifying, seductive, hypnotic singing and guitar playing. Non-stop energy," at The Sellersville Theater in Philadelphia and discusses Dreams in America ("The period of 1987 to 1991 was an unbelievably exciting one. Things took off for me in America, particularly in New York. It’s a very nice exercise to reflect back on that time and be grateful.") with and with Irish Central.

Donnacha Rynne has released "Being Donnacha" a book about living with cerebral paulsey and multiple sclerosis. His uncle, Luka Bloom, encouraged Donnacha to write the book included the song lyrics for "Don’t Be So Hard on Yourself" in the book. Luka wrote the song for Donnacha.

Heidi Talbot
with Kris Drever and John McCusker give a "lifting" performance at Union Chapel. Heidi is included in this "Trail Mix" from Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine.

Peter Rowan
plays the Durango Arts Center on Halloween night. Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band’s Legacy, "is the best bluegrass album of the year, but it’s better than that. This album should not be missed by any music fan of any genre. In fact, "Legacy" is the perfect title for an album that should be lovingly handed down to future generations." (

Eileen Ivers
perfromance An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas "promises to be a great night of entertainment (Ivers is a sensational performer), wherever you may see it, and one that will genuinely please the whole family." ( is streaming the album as part of their Christmas CD listening party.

"Neither Snow Nor Hail Will Stop Missy Raines." (Chattanooga Pulse)

The Celtic Tenors
will perform a "Celtic Christmas" in Cerritos, CA.

Dala on Compass Records

November 17, 2010

Compass Records announces the signing of Canadian folk-pop sensation Dala; Everyone Is Someone in stores January 25th



“The definitively Canadian duo… has an ear for pop hooks, but writes songs that sound warm and comfortable played on an an acoustic guitar with little ornamentation.” – NPR Music

“Ontario’s Dala – Sheila Carabine and Amanda Walther – are so charming in every other way it hurts. They are, I believe, the most lovable performing pair I’ve seen at the folk fest…” – Edmonton Sun

“Darlings of the Canadian music scene, Dala are poised to bring their harmonies and fresh brand of acoustic pop to the world.” – The Post (Ontario)


Canadian folk-pop duo Dala has signed with Compass Records for their first national US release Everyone Is Someone, in stores January 25th. Drawing upon influences like The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young and Bob Dylan, Dala write songs that are both catchy and insightful. Amanda’s ethereal soprano voice blends seamlessly with Sheila’s velvety alto, creating the lush harmonies that have become their trademark. The sheer joy with which they perform is infectious, turning first-time listeners into instant fans. No strangers to the festival scene, they have made recent appearances at The New Orleans Jazz Festival, The Newport Folk Festival , The Edmonton Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, and California’s Strawberry Festival.

Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine of Dala (the duo’s name was formed by combining the two last letters of each artist’s name) have come a long way in a short time. The two best friends, who met in their high school music class and wrote their first song together in 2002, have since performed at Toronto’s legendary Massey Hall a total of seven times. With rave reviews from the media and the award for Best Folk Group from the Toronto Music Awards, these Canadian darlings are poised to expand the audience for their fresh brand of acoustic pop music.

Dala’s new album Everyone Is Someone was released in Canada in 2009. It earned them their fifth Canadian Folk Music Award nomination, a Toronto Independent Music Award for Best Folk Group, and it was touted by The Irish Post as the Album of the Year. The song “Horses” was named one of the Top Ten Folk Songs of 2009 by National Public Radio’s Folk Alley. On the heels of these successes, they have spent the past year touring extensively. They were thrilled to be invited to play Pete Seeger’s Clearwater Festival in New York State, on Mountain Stage and World Café Live, as well as The Newport Folk Festival (where they were the only Canadian act). The duo also toured the UK for the first time, debuting at Beford’s Rhythm Festival where they performed alongside Donovan, the Wailers, and Billy Bragg.

In the summer of 2010, Dala’s PBS special “Girls From The North Country” was broadcast across North America and is soon to be released on DVD. Also upcoming is a new Dala comic book written by Amanda "The New Adventures of Dala: Episode 1: From Scarborough to Newport."

Catie Curtis on Capital America

November 17, 2010

Catie Curtis recently vitisted WAMU’s Capital America. You can listen to the interview, including performances from Catie, here.

Joe Derrane in the Irish Examiner

November 15, 2010

Honoring A Musician For The Ages: Tribute Concert For Joe Derrane
By Gwen Orel

Would you rather play, or talk? That was the question the Wolf Trap Festival in Vienna, Virginia, organizers put to Joe Derrane when he made his comeback there in 1994.

He was out of practice. For thirty-five years, he’d been playing other kinds of music-the Irish ballrooms had closed and so he switched to piano accordion, then to keyboard, playing jazz, pop, Jewish music, Italian music - while working his day job at the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority.

Then in 1993 his early 78 recordings were reissued on Rego on CD, and discovered by Earle Hitchner of the Irish Echo. Earle was bowled over. He called Joe up, wrote about him, and got Joe invited to Wolf Trap. The organizers said if he didn’t feel up to playing, he could just have a tent, talk about his life in music. People were eager to hear from him.

"I’d rather play!" Joe said.

There were 1200 people in the tent, and hardly a dry eye in the house by the end, he recalls, talking to me from his home in Randall, Massachusetts, "They wouldn’t let me
leave the stage. I had to pledge not to quit again."

Since then, he has played with the Chieftains and been awarded a Heritage Fellowship by the National Endowment for the Arts. And made seven albums. The latest, Grove
Lane (available on Compass) will be celebrated this Saturday at the Shamrock Traditional Irish Society in Fairfield, Connecticut at a "Concert for the Ages" honoring Joe. The concert also celebrates Joe’s 80th year.

Onstage will be Dr. Mick Moloney (who will also give remarks), Joanie Madden, Seamus Egan, Billy McComiskey, Seamus Connolly, John Doyle, Brian Conway, Jerry O’Sullivan, John Whelan, Felix Dolan, Brendan Dolan, Tommy O’Sullivan, John McGann, Rose Flanagan, Patty Furlong, Margie Mulvihill, and Irish stepdancers Joe Dwyer and Melanie Deegan. And surprise guests, too.

If you don’t already have your tickets, try to get on the wait list. And don’t wait to get the album - a simple and rather spare album, Grove Lane also has a lot of emotion and
beauty. "Waltzing with Anne," which Joe wrote for his wife, who passed away in 2008, is a knockout, one Joe wrote "in the classic ballroom style." And the traditional tunes
shine - I particularly love "The Mooncoin Jig."

"He’s a genius of a musician," says Mick Moloney. One of the pleasures of the new album are the notes, from Earle, Mick, Seamus Connolly, Joe Burke and Billy McComiskey.

For Gregg Burnett, who runs the Shamrock Traditional Irish Music Society, the most important thing is "to make sure it’s a terrific night for Joe. The second thing is to
make sure it’s a terrific night for Joe."

Proceeds from the night benefit this little folk org that could - the organization puts on about 15 concerts a year, some in theatres, some house concerts around the state, and is also the driving force behind the publication of fiddler Liz Carroll’s book of original tunes which came out this summer. All the musicians are donating their time for the

The Joe Derrane evening will be at the Fairfield Theatre, an intimate venue of 225 seats. Gerry Wenner is filming it, for the archives and for Joe’s family, and if we’re
lucky it may end up on PBS. It’s the largest line-up Shamrock Traditional Irish Music Society has ever had.

At the event, Joe will talk a bit, about his life in music.

But will he resist being able to play?

"I know I will want to!" he says with a laugh. He speaks with bright energy and a charming Roxbury accent. "I’ll speak and welcome people, then near the end again. My
whole family is coming, my children and grandchildren." They told him to sit back and relax, don’t worry about playing.

He doesn’t worry about playing - he loves it.

When he was a little boy in Boston, his parents used to listen to a radio show featuring "Terry O’Toole the boy from Ireland." Joe mostly ignored the show, but whenever the
button accordion came on he would start running from wherever he was in his little apartment "and stand in front of the radio and jump up and down. When they stopped I
went back to whatever mischief I was into. By the time I was 10, I was driving them crazy!"

His parents tracked down a button accordion - no mean feat during the war years. Many of these instruments were made in Germany and Italy, who weren’t exporting to
America. After finding the instrument, Joe’s parents contacted the button accordion player from the radio, Jerry O’Brien. He came to the house and gave him lessons.

By the time Joe was a teenager, he was playing at houseparties, called "kitchen rackets" because the linoleum floors were great for dancing. "One night I had to give up
my chair; they set me on the kitchen counter. Twice I almost got knocked over. I took off my shoes and socks and stood in the sink!"

By 17, he was making those 78s that still startle musicians with their drive, clarity, precision. Fiddler Seamus Connolly writes on the Grove Lane liner notes that when he
first heard the 78 of the teenage Joe Derrane that "I felt as if I had been hit by a lighting bolt. ... Never in my life had I heard such precision, creativity, lighting-speed
descending triplets, phrasing, and tempo."

You hear that on the new CD, which features Joe playing with guitarist John McGann. You also hear what makes Joe an inimitable player, especially on his five original
compositions - his unusual understanding and working with chordal progressions. "Back in the 40s, when I did the 78s, that was straight ahead playing. Jerry had the
patience of a stone, but it was either right or it was wrong. There was no gray in between. Every note had to be very separate and very distinct. Today a lot of box
players have a very legato feel. He would say, these are all eigth notes, and triplets have to be crisp! Bing bing bing, right on the money."

But after 35 years playing showtunes, blues, some Polish tunes, along with jazz, Latin and Italian, his style changed. He played piano accordion and studied with piano teachers on keyboards. He planned to go into arranging, and took lessons with Berklee School of Music’s Dick Bobbit on chord study. And he brought that into his "comeback" at Wolf Trap on the button accordion. To prepare for that festival, Joe practiced six hours a day, soaking his arms in ice every few hours.

Billy McComiskey, perhaps the best known contemporary button accordion player today, listened to Joe Derrane growing up. In fact, "he’s kind of responsible for my existence. The first night my mother and father went out, was to meet Joe Derrane." Billy’s family always had his records in the house, along with Michael Coleman and Joe Kimmel.

"When I was born, they had Joe Derrane on in the dining room, on the Victrola." For Billy, what Joe does is particularly Irish-American - emphasis American. "He was playing
Irish traditional music with a different kind of courage. If you sat in on a session in Ireland, it would be lovely and steady and great. Joe was almost like a marching band just
a nonstop forward kind of motion. As an Irish-American you had to take that approach, kind of blast it out, with confidence. It inspired me," says Billy, who calls himself a "hybrid," an American with a strong East Galway influence.

The harmony Joe uses is there even on the older recordings, Billy says. When he knew he was going to play in this tribute concert, he decided to look at Joe’s music. That’s
when he realized "there were pretty few I could actually learn intact. That was a humbling experience for me. I am not up to playing Joe Derrane’s music! That tango - forget about it! I took it between the ears. He’s a genius. He isn’t playing better, or at the top of the heap. He is looking down at the heap from somewhere else."

Some of it is technical, Joe’s use of chordal progression on what is essentially a diatonic instrument - using the button accordion as if it’s a chromatic piano accordion. But even when Billy slowed it down, he couldn’t play this "ridiculously complex music." The musicians at the concert will play some of the tunes Joe popularized, and one of his
compositions, "The Wolf Trap Promise."

The tune refers to that promise not to stop playing again.

Billy says, "young players are going to be delving into these recordings and researching them, the way people research Michael Coleman recordings now. There is no way I can begin to criticize the new album one way or the other. I just have no idea what the man is doing, but I know it’s right. And an awful lot of fun."

Copyright ©2006-2010 The Irish Examiner USA

Press Round-Up: In the news and blogs at CRG (11/12/10)

November 08, 2010

Listen to Joe Derrane on Celtic Sojourn. Joe’s Grove Lane is "as poignant as it is brilliant" (Irish Central)

Heidi Talbot discusses psychology, Joanie Madden and Cherish the Ladies with Wandering Educators. Heidi’s "The Last Star complements Talbot’s exquisitely expressive, honeyed yet ardent voice..." (Community Music Center)

Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band plays the Opera House. PRBB’s Legacy is "a welcome demonstration that Rowan still knows and loves bluegrass." (Country Standard Time) "The picking is inspired, the harmonies transcendent, and all the tunes—mostly Rowan originals—solid, easily slipping into a classic bluegrass repertoire."(City Pages)

John Hartford Stringband’s Memories of John "shows how much the spirit of Hartford’s music continues to resonate." (Driftwood Magazine)

Bob Boilen (NPR’s All Songs Considered) includes Liz Carrol & John Doyle’s "The Island of Woods" in his "Ultimate" Dinner-Party Playlist. You can hear "The Island of Woods" on Liz and John’s In Play.

Listen to Martin Simpson perform at the Holywell Music Room on Celtic Sojourn.

Eileen Ivers appeared in the Bay Area and at Caltech and will present An Nollaig: An Irish Christmas at the Ridgefield Playhouse in Ridgefield CT on Dec. 9.

Liz Carroll performed for NMU.

Missy Raines is "Calling All Hipsters!"

Colin Hay performs benefit to end homelessness.


News like this and exclusive articles are available on the Compass Records Group’s newsletter Upclose. Upclose readers can receive 20% off titles featured in that month’s newsletter. To receive Upclose click here.

Noam Pikelny and Steve Martin on David Letterman

November 08, 2010

Noam Pikelny appeared with Steve Martin on David Letterman’s Late Show this past Friday night. Noam recently received the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

Here’s a clip of the two dueling it out.


And check out Noam’s In the Maze on Compass Records.


Watch the Newest Grooveable Feast Episode

November 08, 2010

Hoots & HellmouthCheck out the latest episide of Richard Julian’s Grooveable Feast. The newest features the rockin’ locavores, Hoots & Hellmoth. Watch it here.


Joe Derrane Review in Boston Irish Reporter

November 04, 2010

Joe Derrane’s Grove LaneRead Boston Irish Reporter’s review of Joe Derrane’s Grove Lane, "The Music Master of Grove Lane Joe Derrane Delivers from Heart and Hearth", here.

Press Round-Up: In the news and blogs at CRG (11/03/10)

November 03, 2010

Richard Julian’s Grooveable Feast "Serves up a new kind of reality."

Irish Echo calls Joe Derrane’s Grove Lane "heaven". "[Joe says] ’I still feel so at home when I play. It is still a challenge. Still fun. I love this album, and the whole thing!’ So do we." (Margeson on the Music)

Gibson Guitars names Martin Simpson as one of the best guitar players of all time!

Special Consensus brings Traditional American Music (TAM) Program to Congress Elementary School’s "Great Desert Bluegrass Festival".

Peter Rowan discusses the family story behind the song "Father Mother" with the Star Tribune, plays a Halloween show with H4TH, has worked his way into Ear Tyme Music’s heart, and eases your mind about missing church to see his show. Here are a couple nice reviews of Legacy on the Girl Music Blog

Heidi Talbot’s album "The Last Star is a fine recording that leaves you feeling like you’ve just had an interesting, funny, thoughtful conversation with a friend," (Daily Local News) and gives The Line of Best Fit an evening of "...the kind of music that it’s good to be reminded of once in a while."

Catie Curtis teaches others how to inform and encourage social change through song-writing.

Here’s a look back at this year’s IBMA and just a few artists (Alison Brown, John Hartford StringbandPeter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Dale Ann Bradley) that made the week-long event shine.

Alison Brown continues to keep everyone laughing. Listen to Alison discuss the banjo on WOSU’s The Bluegrass Ramble Show.

News like this and exclusive articles are available on the Compass Records Group’s newsletter Upclose. Upclose readers can receive 20% off titles featured in that month’s newsletter. To receive Upclose click here.

Noam Pikelny on Letterman Friday Night!

November 03, 2010

Don’t miss Late Show with David Letterman Friday night! Noam Pikelny will perform with the Punch Brothers and Steve Martin upon receiving the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

A banjo: Will it float?

Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band in USA Today

November 02, 2010

Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band - LegacyPeter Rowan Bluegrass Band’s "Across the Rolling Hills" is on USA Today’s Playlist. You can hear the track on PRBB’s newest release, Legacy.

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