Back Porch Bluegrass


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Back Porch Bluegrass host Paul Trenwith is a founder member of the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band, playing banjo and occasionally singing harmony parts. With the HCBB, he featured in the very successful 'Country Touch' TV series, and toured with the band throughout NZ in1969-70. In 1971, the band ventured to Australia, where they played in concerts and toured with the Slim Dusty Show, throughout NSW, Queensland and the Northern Territory, as well as participating in Slim's recording sessions. During 1971 they also visited the USA, appearing on the Grand Ole Opry and at a couple of major bluegrass festivals.

From the mid-70's to the mid-90's, Paul and his fiddle-playing wife Colleen played as mostly gospel music, bluegrass-style, with a group of friends, and often featuring songs that Paul had written. Since the mid-90's the HCBB have performed together at concerts, on tours (including the highly-successful 'Highway of Legends' tours of 2005 and 2006), played at an international bluegrass festival in the USA in 2008, and formed the main backing band for the Topp Twins Summer Hoedown Tour in 2011. They were featured guests at the Redland Bluegrass Festival in Brisbane, Australia in July 2012, and at the 2016 Mountaingrass Festival in Harrietville, Victoria, their performances convincing many Australian friends that they are still a fine bluegrass band.

Paul is a member of the Morrinsville Country Music Club, and frequently plays in their monthly Club nights as part of the band. He has become something of a musical 'jack-of-all-trades', featuring on banjo, dobro, pedal steel and rhythm guitar. He also plays double bass in the Hamilton-based Irish band 'Reelmen', playing at parties, celebrations and Irish dances. Each of Paul's four sons is a talented musician, and Paul enjoys playing music with them. Currently a trio with Sam (guitar, harmonica, song-writer and vocalist) and Tim (double bass and vocals) with Paul on banjo is popping up to play music at various gatherings, featuring a diverse range of music from pop-chart derivatives to Sam's songs to old-time bluegrass. Paul has retired from his construction industry management job, and now teaches students of all ages to play acoustic instruments.

Paul has always been an enthusiastic advocate for and promoter of bluegrass music, and when the opportunity for a radio show was offered, decided there was no better time than now for a programme of bluegrass music. Using his own vast archive of CD's and vinyl records, Paul produces 'Back Porch Bluegrass' , featuring a wide range of the genre's best performers. The show includes tracks from the classic bands, the traditional stylists and contemporary groups as well as some 'roots' bluegrass and new-grass. NZ and Australian bluegrass gets an airing, and most shows will include some of his favourites such as Doyle Lawson, Laurie Lewis, Rhonda Vincent, Flatt and Scruggs, Blue Highway, Ricky Skaggs and maybe even the Hamilton County Bluegrass Band.

In the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Paul was awarded a Queen’s Service Medal for ‘Services to Country Music’, for his dedication to furthering bluegrass and country music over the last fifty years. This is a great honour, and Paul humbly accepts it on behalf of all the musicians he’s worked with over the years, and in particular, his beloved Hamilton County Bluegrass Band.





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