Past events

BB and Alex farewell Aotearoa concert

Saturday 24 April 2021

BB and Alex are heading back to the United States of Bluegrass, and on Saturday 24 April, the night before they jump on the plane, they are treating us to a farewell Aotearoa concert at the Auckland Bluegrass Club.

They’ve been using their Aotearoa break to work up some new material and we are going to experience exciting, top shelf American style folk and bluegrass music. You’ll recognise the classics and be enchanted with their take on pieces borrowed from other genres.

BB’s band, Mile Twelve, have earned recognition with numerous International Bluegrass Music Association awards, and her talent and hard work earned her the 2015 Freshgrass Banjo contest and the Steve Martin Banjo Prize in 2020.

BB (real name Catherine Bowness) is Kiwi, and after becoming New Zealand School of Music’s first banjo student and graduate, she to America in 2012 to make a career in music. Meanwhile, Alex Rubin grew up learning the guitar in Boston, absorbing his father’s love of traditional American folk and bluegrass music. They will be returning together to Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Alex has toured extensively both at home and internationally, including performances in 49 states and a number of countries including Canada, Sweden, Finland, Germany, Estonia, Australia and New Zealand.

It’s going to be a great show and you’ll supporting some real talent as they leave to begin the task to re-establishing musical careers put on hold by Covid.

BB and Alex farewell concert
Auckland Bluegrass Club
Cityside Church, 8 Mt Eden Road
24th April 2021 7:30pm
Reserve tickets at Under the Radar or cash at the door $20.

This is a 2-set concert with no warm up acts.

Spellbinding trio: Shindig

Wed 14 April 2021 7:30 pm

Shindig gave a spellbinding performance on the main stage at Kiwigrass 2021

Shindig present stonking new takes on old-time folk, blues and country tunes from the American tradition. Inspired by the unvarnished sound of early folk heroes they are not afraid to whoop and holler. They’ll also bury any remaining prejudices about dungarees and unsightly nose hair as they move this music into the 21st century where we can enjoy the energy and musicianship.

The locomotive claw hammer banjo and vocals of David Ward (Wheel Of Experience) provides a handy launching pad for the rocket propelled fiddle of Dave Khan (Marlon Williams, Reb Fountain). Eamon Edmundson-Wells (Ruckus) on bass underpins the whole thing with a rhythmic groove that would have been the envy of any band on an Appalachian Saturday night.

Forget what you thought you knew about claw hammer, this is top stuff from professional musicians. You are in for a unique and strangely mesmerising experience.

Shindig Trio
Wed 14 April 2021 7:30 pm
Cityside, 8 Mt Eden Road, Auckland

Door sales $15 cash

Floor performers first half. BYO venue- take your empties and debris. Best parking is Burleigh St, or pay and display at the corner of Mt Eden Road and New North Road. Disabled access available, please advise.

Auckland Bluegrass Club night @level 2

Wed 10 March 2021 7:30 pm

You can sit on your couch at home with potato chip crumbs down your front just like you did in lockdown. Or, you can brush off the evidence, get off your chuff and make your way to Cityside and again sit on a couch, but this time with live acoustic music.

This Wednesday it will be an informal level 2 affair, and you’ll need to sign in with a QR code or on paper, and keep the big hugs under control. You know the kind of thing.

It will be a friendly, pleasant musical evening among friends.

Auckland Bluegrass Club
Club night of floor performers
Wed 10 March 2021 7:30 pm Admission $10 at the door.
Cityside, 8 Mount Eden Road, Grafton, Auckland 1023

BYO venue- take your empties and debris. Best parking is Burleigh St, or pay and display at the corner of Mt Eden Road and New North Road. Disabled access available, please advise.

You, Me, Everybody (YME) Southern Sky album tour

Wed 10 February 2021 7:30 pm

Where will the Rhodes brothers supersonic picking go next? The answer will be right in front of us, as they unite with some of New Zealand’s top musical talent and You, Me, Everybody (YME) embark on their Southern Sky album tour. 

The album will be released on 29 January (Auckland Folk Festival) and is a Tui Finalist, and we are the first date on the tour schedule straight after Kiwigrass.  

Ron Barber of The Hook, calls this a virtuoso ensemble, and it is an apt label, as Nat Torkington’s banjo licks sync perfectly with the extraordinary mandolin and guitar of Sam and Laurence Frangos-Rhodes. Meanwhile, James Geluk underpins the sound with spider-like fingers and bass technique that occupies its own higher plane.

On top of all that, Kim Bonnington says she comes to the band with a heart of pure country, and her vocal flair provides a contrast, warmth and harmony that completes the unique line-up.

Don’t miss their Auckland two-set concert at the Auckland Bluegrass Club.

You, Me, Everybody (YME) Southern Sky album tour
Two-set concert: 10 February 2021 7:30 pm
Cityside, 8 Mt Eden Road, Auckland
Tickets at Under the Radar $20+BF

Venue is BYO – take your debris. Best parking is Burleigh St, or pay and display at the corner of Mt Eden Road and New North Road. Disabled access available, please advise.

Kiwigrass 2021

5-7 Feb 2021 @ Karapiro

All the early indications are that this is promising to be a great festival, with this year the focus will be Kiwi-grass. Head over to the Kiwigrass website for more information and a list of the guest artists which this year include old time and bluegrass adjacent genres.

Kiwigrass tickets are the ideal Christmas present. Tell your family now before they get you a rice cooker.

Camp Kiwigrass

Camp Kiwigrass on the Wednesday and Thursday before the main festival will be a unique opportunity to immerse yourself among pickers who will help you expand your musical horizons.

Expect impromptu sharing of knowledge, lots of jam sessions, a band scramble competition with fabulous prizes, and many opportunities to perform.

Colleen Trenwith 1946-2021

Colleen Trenwith (1946-2021) Colleen Trenwith nee Bain was a founding member of the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. Raised in Wellington, Bain moved to Hamilton in 1966. She married Paul Trenwith of Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, and became Colleen Trenwith. Following the split of Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, Trenwith recorded three albums with her husband; Fresh from the Country (1976), Brand New Day (1986) and Sunrise (1993). Three other albums were released as Paul and Colleen Trenwith and Friends, Gospel (1979), Now to the King (1987) and Let the Light Shine Down (1990). Colleen left Hamilton in 2004, and from 2007-2020 was associated with East Tennessee State University, firstly as a student and later as faculty. She returned to New Zealand in 2020 and passed away from pancreatic cancer on January 24, 2021.

From YouTube tribute by ETSU Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music

YouTube Tribute

Facebook Tribute

Back Porch Bluegrass Podcast featuring a recent interview with Colleen Trenwith

It’s a pickin’ Christmas

Wed 9 Dec 2020 7:30

Once a year songs about bells and baby Jesus are admitted to the Auckland Bluegrass club to mingle with all those other songs about broken love and such like. 

But we can’t bask in these sentiments by ourselves, so Back Porch Bluegrass club from Hamilton are pitching in, and Whangateau Folk Club are sending a pickin’ delegation. 

These visitors really mean something. Back Porch Bluegrass is forever linked with amazing Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, while Pipi Pickers are the heart of the Whangateau Folk Club.  Expect some great picking.

Each of the three outfits will take turns to do a set of floor spots, but the real point is to pick and mix the fine musicians and see what comes out.

We locals even promise to let visitors go first at the delicious supper gifted by a generous donor. (Remember last year? Wow.)

Come and get a taste of the finest acoustic music. Our Christmas present to you is free admission, (but bring a few coins for the bonanza raffle which includes Kiwigrass tee shirts and tea towels).

Back Porch Bluegrass, Whangateau Folk Club and Auckland Bluegrass Club 
Wednesday  9 December 2020 7:30pm
Cityside, 8 Mt Eden Road, Auckland.
Admission free, BYO venue. Supper provided. Disabled access available.

Downunderdogs unleashed

Wed 11 Nov 2020 7:30 @Cityside

The Downunderdogs LTR: Luthier pup Jack MacKenzie, tall pup Peter Dyer, and smiley pup Cathy Dyer.

The famous Downunderdogs have slipped their Wellington leash but we are going to catch them at the Auckland Bluegrass Club.

Of course they don’t really bark and they certainly don’t bite. They are always a great big smiley treat, so it is a concert you won’t want to miss. 

A short warm up set will get us in the mood, then we will head into the Downunderdogs cross picking harmonising yodelling strumming swinging originalising earwigging Americana concert.

Their music has a charming and genuine flavour you won’t hear anywhere else.

Downunderdogs in concert
11 November 2020 7:30 pm
Cityside, 8 Mt Eden Road opposite the Powerstation
$15 at the door or book ahead on Under the Radar

The Cityside is a comfortable BYO venue ideal for Music opposite the Power Station near the top of Mt Eden Road. Best parking is in side streets or a parking lot on the corner of Mt Eden Rd and Symonds St. Tip: the early birds are sure to get the best couches.

Workshop Jam – November 2020

We are pickers and we love jamming.  Pickers who subscribe to our email newsletter will find out where and where our next workshop jam will be.  To find out for yourself subscribe.

Club night Wed 14 October 7:30pm in town

This is the time for us and our music to reappear out of the Covid shadows and take the stage to share your music. Live the dream and pull out your best bluegrass, old timey, Western swing or Americana (anyone got a new name for that particular genre?).

Cityside is a great venue for this kind of event, and you’ll find that those in the know get there early to get the couches.

Just before we start the music we’ll need to knock out one of our a quick, informal AGMs.

Given time, we’ll fit in a jam at the end.

It will be an entertaining, friendly musical evening.

Auckland Bluegrass Club
Club night of floor performers
Wed 14 October 2020 7:30pm, Admission free.
Cityside, 8 Mount Eden Road, Grafton, Auckland 1023