Category: bluegrass


Akira Otsuka Solo Mandolin Recital – Bluegrass 45 –…

I have just found the following video in the youtube channel of WAMU, a complete Open Mic show of two hours, with performances by Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass, Gold Heart and Akira Otsuka.

Inspired by this video I had to search around for more information about Akira Otsuka, his band Bluegrass 45, John Duffey and Bluegrass in Japan.

The program of the Open Mic Show starts with a highlight for mandolin players – Akiro Otsuka plays a set of solo pieces on his mandolin. Most of the pieces can be found on his new CD First Tear.

Akira Otsuka is a Japanese mandolin player who played in a Japanese Bluegrass band named Bluegrass 45. This band was invited to the USA in the 1970s and played several concerts. Rebel Records produced several records with Bluegrass 45. Akira Otsuka decided to come back to the USA in the 1970s and has stayed there until today. He has played with many musicians – you can find more information on his website (see below).

Akiro played a beautiful set of mandolin solos on his old Gibson mandolin that had previously been owned by John Duffey.

Open Mic: LIVE from WAMU, 6/20/2014

On June 20, WAMU’s Bluegrass Country presented a special live edition of Open Mic featuring performances from Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass, Gold Heart, and Akira Otsuka.

Some Screenshots form the Video showing Akiro Otsuka and his mandolin:

I have compiled some information about Akiro Otsuka, his band Bluegrass 45 and his mandolin below. I did not have time to listen to the rest of this Open Mic Show, but I am sure that the other two bands are great too!

Additional Information

Akira Otsuka and Bluegrass 45

Website Akira Otsuka

AKIRA OTSUKA first toured the U.S. with legendary “Bluegrass 45,” the first and most influential Japanese Bluegrass band to hit these soils. Since that time, Akira has been acknowledged and honored in both the U.S. and Japan for his outstanding abilities on the mandolin. Highly sought as an accompanist and session player on guitar, banjo and bass as well as mandolin, Akira has shared the stage and recorded with many of the genre’s greatest artists, including Emmy Lou Harris, Nils Lofgren, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Ricky Skaggs, Bela Fleck, Jethro Burns, Danny Gatton, Hazel Dickens, Bill Kirchen and Peter Rowan.

Website Bluegrass 45

You can find several videos with Bluegrass 45, including a video from Bill Monroe’s Bean Blossom Festival in 1971 that shows the first appearance of Bluegrass 45 in the USA

A concert with Bluegrass 45 from 1971

You can download or listen to 3 complete records by Bluegrass 45!


Bluegrass in Japan–Anya’s Article “Bluegrass Accident” to be published in Japan’s Moonshiner Magazine

Bluegrass 45 reunion tour in Japan (Bluegrass Today article)

Mandolincafe Thread: John Duffey’s Mandolin

Mando Hangout: John Duffey’s Mandolins by Akira Otsuka

Listen to the Seldom Scene with John Duffey at Airplay Direct: Seldom Scene – Live At The Cellar Door

Akira Otsuka talks John Duffey’s mandolins

Danny Paisley & The Southern Grass

Website Danny Paisley

Gold Heart

Website Gold Heart


youtube channel of WAMU


Joy Kills Sorrow – Deadly Gentlemen – Sarah Jarosz…

Some of my favorite bands have played on the Mountain Stage recently – here are the links to the concerts that are available on the NPR website. You can also listen to the concerts and download the mp3 on the Mountain Stage site.

Joy Kills Sorrow On Mountain Stage

The bluegrass band draws influence from the worlds of jazz, pop and rock in its innovative arrangements. Here, the group covers The Postal Service’s electro-pop classic “Such Great Heights” with a mastery that makes it sound as if the song belonged to Joy Kills Sorrow all along.

Joy Kills Sorrow – Such Great Heights – OFFICIAL VIDEO

Sarah Jarosz On Mountain Stage

Widely regarded as one of the most exciting performers in roots music, Jarosz continues to embrace her bluegrass background while incorporating influences from pop, folk and indie rock. Hear the 22-year-old multi-instrumentalist perform songs from her latest record, Build Me Up From Bones.

Sarah Jarosz: “Build Me Up From Bones,” Live On Soundcheck

The Deadly Gentlemen On Mountain Stage

The five virtuoso musicians came together to form an unconventional string band with influences from the worlds of pop, rock and spoken word. Hear the group perform songs from its latest album, Roll Me, Tumble Me, recorded live in Tennessee.

The Deadly Gentlemen “Roll Me, Tumble Me”

Check also the following two bluegrass bands on Mountain Stage: Steep Canyon Rangers and The Greencards

Steep Canyon Rangers On Mountain Stage

Based in North Carolina, the band has a solid foundation in traditional bluegrass and old-time music, while constantly folding in influences from country, pop and folk. Hear the boundary-pushing group perform songs from its new album, Tell the Ones I Love.

The Greencards On Mountain Stage

The Australian bluegrass band kicks off a high-energy set with “Make It Out West,” which the group says was inspired by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Hear The Greencards perform new songs, as well as material from 2011’s fan-funded release, The Brick Album.

Additional Information


Covered Grass – Toogaroo – Great Bluegrass CD “Made…

Germany’s most successful bluegrass band Covered Grass has just release the new CD Toogaroo. Last year Covered Grass could present their program at the IBMA in Nashville. After the IBMA event Covered Grass went on to Los Angeles where they played their song “Goodbye Johnboy” during the special event “40 Years The Waltons”. The journey to Nashville and Los Angeles was filmed and is also available as a DVD.

Covered Grass have previously released several CDs, but Toogaroo is the first CD that does only contain songs composed by singer Corinna Aurin and banjo player Volker Fisher.

This is the official video of the titel song Toogaroo – Volker Fisher has made a great animation video:


Now available on iTunes, Amazon and many others: The new CD by German bluegrass band Covered Grass, called “Toogaroo”. It contains 13 original songs written by singer Corina Aurin and banjoist Volker Fisher. More information on

Covered Grass – Good Night John-Boy – The Waltons

Bluegrass tribute to the famous tv-series from the early 70s – written and performed by Covered Grass. “The Waltons” ran weekly on German television and the goodnight ritual at the end of each episode was the inspiration to this song.

Last weekend Covered Grass has played a show at a fest in Waldkraiburg, five videos from this show are available at youtube, here as an example the great song abaut a Rainy Sunday:

Covered Grass ~ Rainy Sunday

Covered Grass beim Stadtfest in Waldkraiburg, 15. Juni 2013

Playlist Covered Grass – Toogaroo

Additional Information

Bluegrass Today about Toogaroo:

Covered Grass – Hillbilly Boogie – Rainer Zellner – Toogaroo; Interview with the bad (German) including 3 songs:


Della Mae – New CD “The World Oft Can…

The new CD  This World Oft Can Be by Della Mae will be released on May 28th by Rounder Records. The official video for this CD has been made available some days ago. Della Mae play their song Empire, one of my favorite songs from the new album.

The video has also been featured on the CMT website.

Della Mae – “Empire” (Official Video)

Della Mae has toured in Germany in December 2011 as part of the annual Bluegrass Jamboree, I have seen the band in the concert given in Offenburg.

You can listen to the complete CD This World Oft Can Be already at Airplay Direct:

Last year Della Mae were part of a program to bring American music to South- and Central-Asia (see article below). During this tour there were some very special encounters between American Bluegrass and Asian traditional music, like in the following video:

Aged Pine – Анда сен

Della Mae and Устатшакирт

I have made a playlist with some new videos by Della Mae. The playlist includes a complete show (Winter Village Bluegrass Festival, Hangar Theatre, 1/26/13) and some versions of the song Empire from different concerts.

Enjoy Della Mae!

Playlist Della Mae

Additional information

About Della Mae (German):

American Music Abroad Cultivates Next Generation of Voices

I recently toured with the dynamic five-girl bluegrass group Della Mae for a “Bluegrass on the Silk Road” tour of South and Central Asia. American Music Abroad activities focus on younger and underserved audiences in countries with little or no access to live American performances. As such, Della Mae kicked off their tour in Islamabad, Pakistan, at the all-female Fatima Jinnah University.

Della Mae’s presence on campus was akin to that of the Beatles or the Rolling Stones — students at the country’s first female university were so excited to hear the female bluegrass band that they literally tore the doors off the hinges of the theater to get in on the sound check warm-up. “We’ve never played for crowds so excited and enthused to hear live music,” said Della Mae fiddler Kimber Ludiker.

Della Mae at CMT:

Music City Roots about Della Mae:

Music City Roots Show April 2013:

Della Mae at twitter:

Buy CD at amazon (partner link)

This World Oft Can Be – Della Mae