The BIB editor writes:
Many in this country will be sad to hear of the death of Alton Tharse 'Al' Batten of Selma, NC, last Sunday (20 Nov.). He had led his band, the Bluegrass Reunion, from 1972 and was still playing on stage with them till this summer, when his health deteriorated.
The feature by John Lawless on Bluegrass Today mentions the two trips the band made to Ireland; they played both times at the Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival in Omagh, Co. Tyrone. In his McAuley Lecture at Omagh this year, Rodney McElrea, looking over the artists who had played at Omagh since 1992, held Al and his band in high regard.
The Bluegrass Today feature includes a five-minute video of the Bluegrass Reunion cutting up on stage, which can also be seen (together with many more videos of the band) on YouTube.
Update 23 Nov.: More details, and a note of the Celebration of Life service held today for Al Batten, are on the Prescription Bluegrass Blog. The BIB thanks also the sender of the comment on this post, received today.