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2022 events are listed below 

(either page down or click on specific event for more detail)
Events cancelled due to Covid-19 Alert Level venue restrictions are indicated below

Second Sunday ‘odd’ months – Old Time Jam Session and clawhammer banjo workshop
Second Sunday ‘even’ months – Bluegrass Jam Session and bluegrass banjo workshop
(January 2022  jam session and banjo workshop cancelled – Covid-19)

30th July – The Downunderdogs
15th July – a Blackboard Concert
15th July – Don Milne – to be rescheduled
2nd July – Barry Saunders – to be rescheduled
17th June – The Melling Station Boys
11th June – Jenny Mitchell
28th May – Jo Sheffield
20th May – Vic Manuel and Ruby Solly
14th May – We Mavericks
23rd April – Jackie Bristow
8th April – Vic Manuel and Ruby Solly (C Covid-19)
18th March – the Port Hillbillies (C Covid-19)
12th March – Album Launch and Concert – Jo Sheffield (C Covid-19)
18th February – Society Night (C Covid-19)
21st January – Society Night (C Covid-19)



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Second Sunday each ‘odd’ month –  Old Time Music Jam Session and clawhammer banjo workshop



This is a new venture for the WBS, having come together after years in the making.

It will be held on the second Sunday afternoon of each ‘odd’ month (Jan, Mar, May, Jul, Sept,Nov) between 2pm and 4pm at the Petone Community Centre.

Over many years the WBS has organised Old-time banjo camps, then Old-time music camps and many Old-time instrument and Bluegrass workshops. There has been a calling for jam sessions to also be held.

Embrace this opportunity and the jam session will flourish accordingly.  For this year, Bluegrass jam sessions are on “even” months, and Old-time Music jam sessions are on “odd” months.

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Second Sunday each ‘even’ month –  Bluegrass Music Jam Session and bluegrass banjo workshop



This is a new venture for the WBS, having come together after years in the making.

It will be held on the second Sunday afternoon of each ‘even’ (Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec) month between 2pm and 4pm at the Petone Community Centre.

Over many years the WBS has organised Old-time banjo camps, then Old-time music camps and many Old-time instrument and Bluegrass workshops. There has been a calling for jam sessions to also be held.

Embrace this opportunity and the jam session will flourish accordingly.  For this year, Bluegrass jam sessions are on “even” months, and Old-time Music jam sessions are on “odd” months.

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Saturday 30th July – album launch and concert – The Downunderdogs


The Downunderdogs are delighted to announce the launch of their first CD!

Live at the Bottom of the Planet features eight originals and five covers of time-honoured Americana classics, with first-class flatpicking, stellar songwriting and heavenly harmonies.

Like their music, Jack MacKenzie and Peter and Cathy Dyer are American born and bred. They’ve been to a range of music festivals and venues in the USA and seen many of their heroes performing live. This is something that many of us can only dream of doing.

Jack’s flat-picking is inspired by Doc Watson and is featured throughout the CD, including his instrumentals “Waterfall” and “Mac’s Reel/Rangitikei Polka”. He has picked with Doc and a host of other stars at McCabe’s Music—the legendary venue Jack managed and performed at in Los Angeles from 1971 to 1980. Otherwise he keeps busy building his own line of Simian Ridge guitars.

Peter plays rhythm guitar and loves singing and yodelling Hank Williams and Jimmie Rodgers. The CD includes two of his best known compositions, “Go Ahead and Cry” and “The Immigrants Song.”

After years of listening to Peter and Jack play, Cathy finally added the big double bass and chimed in for three-part harmonies.

The Downunderdogs have featured at Wellington Folk Festival, Kiwigrass Festival, and the Auckland Bluegrass Club, as well as the Wellington Bluegrass Society.

“You’ve heard us live, now you can listen to us at home, in the car, whenever and wherever you like!”

For this concert, the Dowunderdogs will be joined by special guest Cara Brasted on fiddle.

photo courtesy of Gerard Hudson

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Friday 15th July – society night – a Blackboard Concert


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The previously scheduled Society Night featuring Don Milne will be rescheduled for a later date. For this Friday, there will be a Blackboard Concert.

A blackboard concert is an evening of floorspots, i.e. where anyone can come along and perform two numbers – bluegrass, old time, country or Americana.

Each act must come up with a special name for the night – one they haven’t used before, and not your own personal name. If anyone is unable to come up with a name, the audience will be consulted for suggestions.

Note:
1. Two numbers per act
2. bluegrass, old time, country or Americana
3. every act must come up with a name, one they haven’t used before

now free for anyone performing a floor spot! Followed by a jam session. Bring your instruments and join in!
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Saturday 15th July – society night – Don Milne – to be rescheduled

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Banjo maker extraordinaire and clawhammer player too, come along to appreciate all of this with Don!

This society night is to be rescheduled at a later date.

 

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Saturday 2nd July – concert – Barry Saunders – to be rescheduled

This concert is to be rescheduled at a later date.

Barry Saunders started his music career in Christchurch. His first public performance was singing “Green–back Dollar” at the Lincoln Coronation Hall, aged eleven. During his teenage years he played around Christchurch, in mostly blues-based bands. In 1974 he sailed on the good ship Australis to the UK, where he played the Irish Trad and Country circuit in London for three years. He returned to New Zealand and joined Wellington band Rockinghorse for a brief time. This was followed by a stint in the Tigers, travelling to Australia with them and touring relentlessly, including an Australia-wide tour with Eric Burdon. Upon his return to Wellington in 1987, he formed the Warratahs. The band became known for Saunders’ compositions, such as “Maureen”, “Hands of my Heart”, “St. Peter’s Rendezvous” and many others. After nine albums, they are still very much alive.

He recorded solo albums Weatherman, Red Morning, and Zodiac, touring them extensively. Barry has appeared on the bill with Tony J. White, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith and Joe Cocker, and has also performed at SXSW in Austin, Texas. The last three years have included the Church Tour (alongside Marlon Williams, Tami Nielson and Delaney Davidson) and the Last Waltz Tour, celebrating and performing the songs of The Band. In 2019 he released the highly acclaimed album Word Gets Around, an album written and recorded with Delaney Davidson. In 2019 Barry was commissioned by Kokomai – Wairarapa Creative Festival to develop a touring performance designed for presentation in small rural halls. He created As Far As The Eye Can See with Ebony Lamb and Caroline Easther.

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Friday 17th June – society night – The Melling Station Boys


The Melling Station Boys started life in the days without television, so had a pure and simple existence. Life was sweet. Entertainment meant going to the pictures and seeing greats including Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines and This Is New Zealand. However during the mid 60s, with the introduction of television, life changed abruptly. There were many programmes during the afternoon and early evenings. It didn’t matter they were in black and white, nor there was only one channel, as let’s face it, when you don’t have any channels and are then presented with a channel, life is great!

There were a spread of programmes being broadcast, some local, some from good old Mother England, and some from America. The local and American programmes were of most interest, whereas Hilda Odgen and the briny of the Onedin Line were completely depressing. The Boys were really taken by Bonanza and The Beverly Hillbillies, then along came I Dream Of Jeannie, who the Boys fell in love with. There were The Flintstones, Petticoat Junction and Green Acres with Arnold the Pig. The American TV programmes were rife with great music. However the Boys were heartbroken when Larry Hagman married Jeannie. How could she fall for such a slouch? Perhaps they were resigned to solitude and reading Arthur Hailey, Gerard Durrell and Wilbur Smith.

Some years following, they wanted to set up a rhythm and blues tribute band to the Rolling Stones. They were going to call themselves House Your Father. However before their first gig, someone politely suggested to them that tribute bands are only formed once the actual band have ceased, or retired, not when they are in their heyday.

This got The Boys wondering what other avenues they could pursue. They remembered all the wonderful music from the 60s sitcoms. Also the local shows, including one they distantly remembered called The Country Touch. They realised their childhood heroes were in fact the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band. Perhaps this realisation resulted from a subliminal influence, as in the early years of TV being introduced in to NZ, it was so unique that no-one worried about having the TV running during the dinner hour, the time when The Country Touch was being broadcast. So The Boys decided to follow that lead and became a bluegrass band.

Now that was about six years ago. Bringing the story ahead to last year, where The Boys decided to adopt a Western look and demeanour. They had built up to a performance at the WBS in 2021, only to be stood up by covid, upon which their gig was cancelled. During the associated lockdown, they had nothing to do. Considering they were wearing masks flat out, They though about doing some publicity photos where they staged a few bank holdups in their outfits, only to find the banks were closed through the covid lockdown, so that wouldn’t work. Frustrated, they put their minds and spare time to other causes. They set about creating a cure for covid. This took some time. However the resulting concoction failed to cure covid, utterly and completely. But as a side effect, they found it cured cancer! Also it cured diphtheria, hooping cough, scarlet fever, racing heart, hooked jaw, unruly hair, claw foot and many other ailments. They started selling it at country markets, fairs and shows. It became so popular that it took off like bush fire. They named their prized concoction “Snake Jam”.

For this special night, The Boys will come fully dressed in their Wild West Gentry outfits, and just like the Model T Ford, The Boys come dressed in any colour, providing it is black.

Zsa Zsa Garbor:
“I like bluegrass, it is very glamorous”

Ena Sharples(very strong frown):
“I don’t like bluegrass”
Hilda Odgen:
“Oh I, chuck”
Stan Odgen:
“I quite like bluegrass”
Ena Sharples fumes, upsetting her hair net

Jeannie:
“Larry, can I play your banjo?”

Arnold The Pig:
“Snort!”

Fred Flintstone:
“Yabba Dabba Do!”

E&OE

There will be three prizes:

1. Best dressed Wild West man
(Melling Station Boys are not eligible)

2. Best dressed Wild West woman
(Melling Station Boys are definitely not eligible)

3. Best bling
get your flashiest bling and come accessorised!

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Saturday 11th June – concert – Jenny Mitchell

Multi award winning artist Jenny Mitchell is returning to the Wellington Bluegrass Society for her debut with local bassist Aaron Stewart and Auckland’s prolific violist Jess Hindin. Jenny’s music defies easy categorisation but if you admire music by genre-defying artists from Emmylou Harris to Kasey Chambers and Jason Isbell, you are going to love her.

As seen on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp, Jenny recently joined forces with the esteemed Tami Neilson to release the stirring ‘Trouble Finds a Girl’, a powerful and direct response to sexual misconduct within the music industry. More recently, Jenny released the song ‘Lucy,’ a viola infused track that explores the battle of comparison and gratitude – inspired by the iconic Lucille Ball.

Mitchell made her stage debut at four with her country-music loving father Ron at the local country music club in Gore near Invercargill in New Zealand’s south. At fourteen she placed third in national TV show New Zealand’s Got Talent, a formative experience which taught her how to stand up for herself and to believe in the songs she was writing.

The richness of Jenny’s life experiences is reflected in the variety of topics she addresses in her songs. Mitchell is a writer with important things to say, and brave enough to say them.

The richness of Jenny’s life experiences is reflected in the variety of topics she addresses in her songs. Mitchell is a writer with important things to say, and brave enough to say them.

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Saturday 28th May – Album Launch and Concert – Jo Sheffield


(originally scheduled for 12th March 2022)

Jo Sheffield came to New Zealand from the UK in 2005. A visit to the Levin Folk Club in 2012 encouraged Jo to perform in front of an audience for the first time in over 30 years. Since then her passion for acoustic music has been re-ignited and she takes every opportunity to play and listen whenever and wherever she can. From her very tentative start nine years ago, Jo says she is finally overcoming her performance nerves and starting to enjoy playing live.

She loves hearing how an audience reacts when she sings a song for the first time and is so excited to be launching her first CD Gypsy Mind and performing at Wellington Bluegrass Society.

It has been such a privilege recording at Tony Burt’s Kettlewink Studio and hearing these songs evolve from a germ of an idea to a real song. The songs have come to life with Tony and the other incredible musicians who play on different tracks.”

The album is a collection of eleven originals written during 2019 and 2020, which chart the twists and turns of Jo’s life and adventures over the years. The title track was inspired by the idea of letting the inner child out to play and following intuition to lead us to where we are meant to be. Other songs are inspired by some of the amazing people and places that have influenced her, and there is even a love song for her guitar. Jo describes her style as contemporary folk, sometimes with a twist of blues.

She loves collaborating with other musicians and plays guitar, mandolin and a little bit of banjo. Combining a passion for travel, Jo travelled to Ireland in 2018 with former singing partner Helen McLeane and well-known Taranaki friend and fiddle player Krissy Jackson, taking the opportunity to play at sessions and festivals. Since 2019, Jo has been part of The Ea-Gals, who are a six piece all girl Eagles Tribute Band.

Those attending the night will hear plenty of variety, from contemporary acoustic originals and covers ranging from Americana to more traditional folk styles.

The lineup of musicians will include:

Cindy Muggeridge – accordion
Jenny Kilpatrick – bass and vocals
Jude Madill – fiddle and vocals
Marian Price-Carter – sax and clarinet
Nicky Hooker – vocals and guitar
Tony Burt – resonator guitar

In addition, I expect to have Phil Hope playing on a couple of my newer songs, written after those included on the album“.

(photo courtesy of Gerard Hudson)

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Friday 20th May – society night – Vic Manuel and Ruby Solly

(originally scheduled for the 8th of April)

Ruby Solly (Kai Tahu, Kati Mamoe, Waitaha) is a musician, writer, and music therapist living in Poneke. Her first book Toku Papa is currently longlisted for the Ockham Book Awards and she has recently released Feather Spines, an album of harp, cello, vocal and taonga puoro music, with her band Tamira Puoro with Michelle Velvin. Ruby has played with artists inclufing Yo-Yo Ma, Whirimako Black and Trinity Roots. She is currently completing a PhD in public health looking at the use of taonga puoro in hauora Maori.

Vic Manuel has been writing and performing songs for over 40 years in many different lineups. He has recorded five albums and many demos and in the 80s won best song writer at the Dolfin awards, far north New South Wales, Australia. He has been living in Wellington for the last five years.

Ruby and Vic play a selection of Vic’s songs with cello ,guitar, ukulele and vocals.

(photo courtesy of Liz Whyte)

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Saturday 14th May – concert – We Mavericks


They’re folk that resemble everything else: bringing captivating originals, entertaining stories and incredible energy, they pack punches but have songs to heal your scars.

Featuring a foot-stomping Kiwi girl and an Australian country boy, We Mavericks make music that is more than the sum of its parts. Lindsay Martin’s masterful strings and vocals meets Victoria Vigenser’s mesmerising voice, with driving rhythms and a connection you have to hear to believe.

Their songs are born from Vigenser and Martin’s shared and somewhat unusual exploration of the harder subjects in life, especially the relationships with self, with others, with memories and with hope. They’re rich in vocal harmony, hooked melodies and beautifully dexterous string work.

A certain trademark tightness and their strangely gritty, evocative performances have seen them on a steep and fast rise to festivals and shows in both home countries. Nominated Best Folk Artist in the 2022 Aotearoa NZ Music Awards, nominated 2021 Australian Folk Music Awards Artists of the Year, Best Duo/Group/Ensemble and recipients of the 2020 Troubadour Foundation Award, We Mavericks’ organic blend of lyrical pop and acoustic folk vibes has echoes of soulful Americana and Celtic roots amongst the harmonies.

Finally returning to NZ with their keenly-awaited duo debut album Grief’s a Gardener, they bring connected and grounding original songs that can melt even the hardest of hearts.

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Saturday 23rd April – concert – Jackie Bristow


The lure of the road has always been a defining motivation for singer-songwriter Jackie Bristow.
She took her first musical steps in Gore, in the South Island, honed her craft in the pubs and clubs of Sydney, Australia, and found her voice in the United States, where she has continued to enhance her reputation as a soulful, seductive independent recording artist and dynamic live performer.

Like Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin and Bonnie Raitt, Jackie has created a body of work that will endure, finely shaded songs that are at once personal and universal, recording with her long-time musical partner, Australian-born guitarist and producer Mark Punch.

American Songwriter hailed Jackie as “crafting some of the most beautiful, compelling Americana today”.

Her wanderlust informed her writing on four previous albums – Thirsty (2002), Crazy Love (2007), Freedom (2010) and Shot of Gold (2015) – and again on her latest, Outsider, which was released on March 4, 2022.

Whilst building on the strengths of her previous albums, Outsider finds Bristow drawing inspiration from the music of the American South — particularly the myriad sounds of her adopted home, Nashville.

“Nashville feels like a melting pot in a hub of creativity,” says Jackie. “Being exposed to such great American music has really inspired me.”

Jackie put the finishing touches to Outsider whilst staying in New Zealand after its first Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. While in her homeland she has been “making the best of the crazy world” by focusing her creative energy in new directions.

A planned New Zealand Back to the Roots tour in 2021 fell by the wayside because of Covid restrictions, so Jackie used the time to develop a new youth songwriting programme called SongCatcher. The first programme yielded a single in November 2021, It’s Christmas, written and recorded by Jackie B and the Mini Band, a group of youngsters from the Queenstown area.

“Life changes,” Jackie says. “When one door closes another opens. You can’t sit and dwell on the setbacks. You’ve got to believe in yourself and keep moving forward.”

This unwavering positivity and global outlook have served her well in an industry where there are more hard knocks than greatest hits, enabling her to form lasting relationships with a wide range of influential personalities.

Her exquisite songcraft and compelling live performances have seen her share the bill and a personal connection with many of the world’s musical elite, including Bonnie Raitt, Boz Skaggs, Chris Isaak, Tommy Emmanuel, Steve Miller Band, Foreigner, Art Garfunkel, Phoebe Snow and John Waite.

And, always, the road calls.

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Friday 8th April – society night – Vic Manuel and Ruby Solly – Cancelled

This scheduled April Society Night was cancelled and moved to 20th May 2022.

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Friday 18th March – society night – the Port Hillbillies – Cancelled


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Saturday 12th March – album launch and concert – Jo Sheffield – Cancelled


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(photo courtesy of Gerard Hudson)
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This album release and concert was cancelled and moved to 28th May 2022.
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Friday 18th February – society night – Cancelled Covid-19

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Friday 21st January – society night – Cancelled Covid-19

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