RICK TOWNEND - MUSICAN [click here to go to Contact details]

Learned to play and sing jazz, classical, folk, bluegrass and old-time American music while at Sevenoaks School, Kent, and formed the UK's first school bluegrass band the Echo Mountain Boys in 1963. Currently plays with Grassroots, and also works solo.[click here for a more detailed history].


* In 2004 the European World of Bluegrass Association gave Rick their 'Pioneer of European Bluegrass' Award.
* In 2003 Rick Townend was voted by the members of the British Bluegrass Music Association to be in the British Bluegrass Hall of Honour

Recent Work:

April 2009 and 2011 - Teaching fiddle (American styles) at 'Fiddles on Fire' at Kings Place, London

August 2008 - Teaching and Performing Bluegrass fiddle at Fiddle Festival Wales, Stackpole, nr Pembroke

February 2007 - playing fiddle with the New Deal String Band at the Gainsborough Old-Time Music Festival; the NDSB are the creation of Tom Paley (one of the original New Lost City Ramblers, who saved so many songs and tunes in the 1950s/60s) and Joe Locker.

August 2006 - playing fiddle and singing with Grassroots at the EWOBA [European World Of Bluegrass Ass'n] pan-European festival at La Roche sur Foron (near Geneva) playing a top spot in the Saturday night concert and a set in the Sunday Gospel concert; also fiddle atelier (workshop).

March/April 2004 - took part in the 'Soul of the Fiddle' event in London, giving a talk about bluegrass fiddle at the University of London, teaching for three days at the Royal Academy of Music, and performing in a concert at the Queen Elizabeth Hall.


Concert performer on 5-string banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, double bass, autoharp and dobro.

Performances (with various bands, and solo) in many venues in the UK and Europe, including:
· Cambridge Folk Festival (the school band won both instrumental and vocal band competitions at the first Cambridge festival)
· Royal Albert Hall, London
· Odeon Hammersmith, London
· Autumn Leaf and Big Bear festivals in the Netherlands
· London Barbican 1992 American Music Festival
· Skjåk International Country Music Festival, Norway
· British Bluegrass Music Association 2001 AGM concert
· European World of Bluegrass concert 2002 in the Netherlands
· 'The Sunny Side of Life' Carter Family Celebration 2002 in London
·Queen Elizabeth Hall - 'Soul of the Fiddle' concert 2004

Worked with touring US artistes - Rose Maddox, Jim Eanes, Bill Clifton, Art Stamper, Red Rector
Played with British Bands - the Echo Mountain Band, the Armadillos, the Rocky Island Boys, the Rocky Mountain Boys, the Townends Special Bluegrass Service, Bluegrass Experience and the Doctor, Doctor String Band; also in duos/trios with Rosie Davis, Dave Arthur, Andy Townend, and in the trio Lilly & Rosie (with Lilly Drumeva and Rosie Davis). Currently with Grassroots and the Kent Carters

· 'The Echo Mountain Band'
· 'Bluegrass Reel' (with the Bluegrass Ramblers)
· 'Play Love's Tune' (with Rosie Davis)
· 'Make the Old Times New' (with Rosie Davis)
· 'Clogging Karaoke' (with Rosie Davis, and Andrea & Mike Preston)
· 'Duelling Banjos' (with Richard Durrant & Nick Pynn)
· 'Fracas on the Frets' (with Townends Special Bluegrass Service)
· 'The Lily and the Rose' (with Lilly Drumeva and Rosie Davis)
· ‘Old Familiar Favourites’ (with Rosie Davis)
· ‘Just the Tune’ – series of CDs for listening to and learning traditional tunes
· 'All Traditional' (with Grassroots)
· Guest appearance (on dobro) on 'Turn The Water On, Boy!' (with The Coal Porters)
· 'A Tribute to Bill Clifton' (with the Kent Carters)
· Tracks from some of the above included on national and international CD compilations
· Also sessions work for artistes including David Carradine, and music for the Lily Savage Show on BBC television.

Many of these recordings are available - contact Rick on 07951 571198

Experienced Workshop leader:
· Wadhurst Bluegrass Days (Sussex)
· Folk-works (Tyneside)
· Wigmore Hall and Cecil Sharp House (London)
· 'Genius of the Violin' Festival (Royal Academy of Music – London)
· 'Kentucky to Kent UK' (Kent - details) - regularly
· 'Fiddles on Fire' (London)
· Fiddle Festival Wales
· Many others at folk/bluegrass festivals

· Regular performer in 1970s with the Echo Mountain Band on BBC Radio 2 Country Club/Country Meets Folk
· Southern TV - performance with the Echo Mountain Band
· German TV Musik-laden - performance with Bill Clifton
· BBC TV George Hamilton IV Show - performance with Bill Clifton
· Belgian Radio - performance with Bill Clifton
· BBC Radio 4 Kaleidoscope - live performance
· TVS - performance/interview as part of Music Makers series
· BBC Radio 5 Johnny Walker Show - live interview/performance
· BBC Radio Kent Simon Evans Show - live & recorded performances/interviews
· BBC local radio N.Wales - live interview
· BBC Radio South/Solent Minstrels Gallery - recorded performance/interview
· Channel 4 TV Big Breakfast Show
· BBC Radio 2 New Country - interview (re CD launch)
· BBC Radio 2 performance with 'WFTW Bluegrass Jamboree' on Jim Lloyd's Folk Music programme

Articles published in:
· British Bluegrass News (regular contributor and reviewer)
· Traditional Music Maker magazine
· Fiddle On magazine
· Bluegrass Europe magazine
· Banjo Gazette
· North West Bluegrass News
· Sofia Inside-Out

Other commissioned work:
· Introduction to UK bluegrass scene for Direct Roots Index/Website
· For Bear Family Records CD set celebrating Bill Clifton [US bluegrass star] - section relating to Bill's work and music in the UK 1964-1975

Event Organiser:
· 'Kentucky to Kent UK' - annual one-day festival in August - details
· 'Wadhurst Bluegrass Days' (co-organiser) - series of 15 workshop/concert days in the 1990s
· Other similar day events in Formby (Lancs), London, Tunbridge Wells
· Concerts and monthly music clubs (various)
· Consultant - 'the Sunny Side of Life' celebration of the Carter Family in 2002 (University of London)

Other Details:
Member of Musicians Union; listed in Who's Who (Music); Area Representative (south east) and past committee member of the British Bluegrass Music Association.

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