Fans of bluegrass, honky-tonk, blues, country, rhythm ‘n’ roots are in for a treat as a member of musical royalty is set to headline the Guinness International Bluegrass Festival at Dunmore East, Co. Waterford.
Now in its 19th year, the festival takes place in the picturesque seaside village from August 22nd to August 25th and organisers are delighted to announce the headline act, Mary Jean Lewis and the Low Men.
Fans of Mary Jean Lewis and the Low Men can expect Mary Jean’s trademark enthusiasm, energy and excitement, synonymous with an entertainer who is just coming into her own.
However behind that fresh vitality comes decades of experience. Her first proving ground as a teenage girl was Memphis, Tennessee. Hardly surprising considering her uncle Jerry Lee Lewis helped make the Tennessee city the cradle of rock ‘n’ roll.
Mary Jean has found her place in the sun under the bright talents of the Low Men. The band blends virtuosity with spontaneity, creating a tight sound that maintains the heart and the soul of the deepest veins of Mary Jean’s American musical past. The Low Men bring out the best in each other and show that the singer is a wholly distinctive artist with a voice and a sound all her own.
According to Mary Jean Lewis, “Roots music is very personal and intimate. Every player has a profound influence on the sound and the feel. I remember my days back in Sandy Bayou where everyone would get together and take turns singing songs on the front porch. Those times are such a part of who I am and why I love this music the way I do. It wasn’t just our entertainment. It was our way of life.”
Mick Daly, Festival Founder and Organiser, is thrilled to have a performer of Mary Jean’s calibre at the festival. “Mary Jean Lewis is without a shadow of a doubt, a musical legend. From an early age she couldn’t but be influenced by her uncle, Jerry Lee Lewis. But she has also experienced so much musically and culturally and has lived and performed in Louisiana, Nashville, England and Scotland, drawing on the influences of these places.”
“Mary Jean draws on a wide range of country, blues and rock ‘n’ roll and her powerful voice and soulful lyrics will be a huge hit with festival goers.”
The festival will also feature the return of Land’s End, who debuted at the festival in 2012.
The band, made up of members from Cork, Galway, Dublin, Munich, Liverpool and Canada, perform music strongly embedded in the bluegrass tradition, but each member brings a distinctive sound of their own musical tradition to the musical arrangements of the band.
Dublin based four piece Well Enough Alone, who appeared in 2011, is back to deliver a mix of original bluegrass songs to classics to hot instrumentals. Tin Box Company, The Pilgrims, Hard Station, The Rockets and the Pilgrims are just some of the other names on the line up for the country’s favourite bluegrass festival.
The local hostelries; the Strand Inn, The Ocean, The Haven Hotel, The Spinnaker, Powers Bar and Azzurro, will play host to dozens of free gigs throughout the weekend. All of the gigs are free over the three day festival, with the exception of Mary Jean Lewis and the Low Men.
“The line-up is top quality and the three day festival will see some wonderfully talented musicians performing throughout the village. There is also a wide reaching appeal to the acts, playing an eclectic mix of bluegrass, country, swing, blues, rhythm and rock ‘n’ roll. So you don’t have to be a bluegrass fan to enjoy the festival, you just have to like good music,” Mick added.
For more information about the 19th Guinness International Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival in Co. Waterford you can download the bluegrass brochure from www.discoverdunmore.com.
Jackie Kennedy’s granddaughter has uncannily similar looks