In nine years, the Ogden Music Festival has grown into just the kind of thing you're looking for to start your summer off on a high note, whether its high, lonesome bluegrass or some hot licks on the fiddle. Set in an oasis just minutes from downtown Ogden, Weber County's Fort Buenaventura is Utah's oldest settlement and provides camping, walking and bike trails, the Weber River, and the perfect spot for our growing community of friends of acoustic music. 

Published in Upcoming Events

Bryan Sutton is the most accomplished and awarded acoustic guitarist of his generation, an innovator who bridges the bluegrass flatpicking traditions of the 20th century with the dynamic roots music scene of the 21st. His rise from buzzed-about young sideman to first-call Nashville session musician to membership in one of history’s greatest bluegrass bands has been grounded in quiet professionalism and ever-expanding musicianship.

Sutton is a Grammy Award winner and a nine-time International Bluegrass Music Association Guitar Player of the Year. But these are only the most visible signs of Sutton’s accomplishments. He inherited and internalized a technically demanding instrumental style and become for young musicians of today the same kind of model and hero that Tony Rice and Clarence White were for him. And supplementing his instrumental work, he’s now a band leader, record producer, mentor, educator and leader in online music instruction.

It didn’t take long after Tim O’Brien, Pete Wernick, Nick Forster, and Charles Sawtelle first appeared onstage together in 1978 for the bluegrass music world to realize that the Colorado band, Hot Rize, was something special. And by the time they bowed off the stage as a full-time act in 1990, they’d not only climbed to the top of that world as the International Bluegrass Music Association’s very first Entertainers of the Year, but their stature was recognized across the board, with a nomination for a then-new bluegrass Grammy, a four-star album review in Rolling Stone, tours across four continents, and a legion of up-and-coming, broad-minded young musicians ranging from String Cheese Incident to mando monster Chris Thile learning their songs and singing their praises.

The reasons for the acclaim were, and remain, obvious. Steeped in bluegrass tradition through long hours on the road spent listening to the genre’s giants—their very name was a knowing nod to Flatt & Scruggs’ long-time flour mill sponsor—Hot Rize’s music was and is equally informed by a taste for the music of Leadbelly and Freddie King, swing, old-time Appalachia and more in ways that mirror the broad sweep of Bill Monroe’s influences. And while their respect for tradition was easy to hear (and, thanks to their suits and vintage neckties, easy to see), the fresh elements they brought, whether in Sawtelle’s guitar eccentricities or Wernick’s deployment of an effects pedal on his banjo, were enough to earn them the suspicion of some audience members—and the devotion of many more.

So when Hot Rize retired, it was natural for members to go on to distinguished careers of their own. For bassist and multi-instrumentalist Forster, that meant building a blend of environmental concern and musical curation into the popular and influential show, eTown; for lead singer, mandolinist and fiddler O’Brien, recognition as an award-winning Americana and bluegrass master of singing and songwriting; for Sawtelle, a thriving career as guitarist, engineer and producer for a host of artists; and for Wernick, acclaim as a presenter of bluegrass and banjo camps, genre-bending bandleader, and 15-year president of the IBMA.

Even so, Hot Rize turned out to be the band that refused to disappear. Rare reunion shows, like the 1996 one captured for the acclaimed So Long Of A Journey CD (2002), kept the flame burning, and when Sawtelle passed away in 1999, the surviving members brought brilliant guitarist Bryan Sutton on board—himself an already-acknowledged master—and carried on with occasional appearances, bringing their classic songs and captivating stage show to new generations.

It’s no surprise, then, that 24 years after their last studio album, the foursome brings an even deeper strength to bear on their new record, When I’m Free (Ten In Hand/Thirty Tigers), out September 30. And neither is it a surprise that, as it was in the beginning, the quartet felt compelled to bring something new to the table.

“We’re too close as friends and longtime collaborators to let Hot Rize just lay fallow. We’ve watched bluegrass evolve in the past 25 years, and while we’ve all been a part of that evolution as individuals, now it’s time to bring a new Hot Rize statement to the world,” explains O’Brien. “Reunion shows are fun, but we got to where we wanted to dig into new material.”

Pete Wernick agrees: “In the years since we brought Bryan in, we would all talk about wanting to be a living, breathing, 21st century Hot Rize, which would mean developing a satchel of new material, then going around and playing it.”

Though half the group lives in Colorado and half in Nashville, they made collaboration a priority, working on new songs, helping one another flesh out lyrics and shape the material into songs that are representative of Hot Rize’s identity. Once they began co-writing, everything else fell into place. “That work was, in many ways, the glue we needed to cement us back together,” says O’Brien.

“Western Skies,” a song written by Forster and O’Brien, epitomizes the band’s Boulder origins and Colorado’s rich history of progressive bluegrass; fittingly, it’s the song that gives the album its title. “There’s something about a wide-open Western landscape – the light, the quiet, the majesty of distant mountains – allows us to leave our troubles behind and be our truest selves, unencumbered by the pressures of life,” says Forster.

Pete Wernick’s barn-burner “Sky Rider” proves why bluegrass music’s preeminent instructor is called “Dr. Banjo,” as he trades lightning-quick solos with O’Brien and Sutton.

The track listing is punctuated by a sharp pair of covers: “I Never Met a One Like You,” a Mark Knopfler original that he suggested Hot Rize record, and Los Lobos’ “Burn It Down,” a stripped-down rock song featuring Forster’s lead vocal. Two cuts reflecting the group’s love for traditional American music round out the album, the haunting “A Cowboy’s Life” and “Glory in the Meeting House,” an old-time tune with switched instruments – O’Brien on fiddle, Sutton on clawhammer banjo, and Forster on mandolin.

With writing and rehearsals placing Hot Rize firmly back in their groove, recording When I’m Free took just five days at the solar-powered Studio at eTown Hall in Boulder. The musicians eschewed booths and headphones in favor of sitting in a circle and recording live off the floor – “the first time I’ve recorded like that since 1971,” muses Wernick. This organic approach resulted in an album that crackles with the energy of a Hot Rize live show, even if the band’s Western Swing alter-ego sidekicks, Red Knuckles & The Trailblazers, aren’t present.

Following the release of When I’m Free, Hot Rize will tour nationwide this fall and into 2015, sure to please not only longtime fans of the band, but countless new fans who’ve discovered bluegrass and Americana music in more recent times. Says Sutton, “Nobody’s been a bigger Hot Rize fan than me, and that’s a perspective I’ve tried to maintain as a member of the band. I’m excited about this new record, and I can’t wait to introduce new fans to the Hot Rize experience.”

At only 23 years of age, Oklahoma native Parker Millsap is quickly making a name for himself with his captivating live performances, soulful sound, and character-driven narratives. Regardless of his age, Parker's enthralling lyrics engrossing storytelling have garnered him attention from the likes of CONAN, and invitation to play with Elton John at the Apple Music Festival. During 2016 alone, a banner year for Parker, he was featured on Austin City Limits and recieved an Americana Music Association nomination for Album of the Year. 

Parker's most recent release, The Very Last Day, has received praise from The New York Times, The Boston Globe, LA Times, Austin Chronicle and Rolling Stone to name a few.

“I like to set goals for myself that are impossible to reach,” he explains. “That way, I always have something to aim for, a better song, different characters, new stories. I just want to pay the bills and feed my dog, and maybe buy a new guitar every now and then. That’s all I need. I don’t want to be Elvis Presley, but I wouldn’t complain if a million girls screamed for me, either. Just don’t tell my girlfriend that.”  Parker Millsap is ready to share his Oklahoma roots with the rest of the country, and, hopefully, the world.

“To me, music is food and you need a variety to stay healthy and strong,” - Luther Dickinson on his prolific musical output, which, at last count, includes three new, somewhat divergent roots albums planned for 2015.

When Luther Dickinson was growing up in rural Mississippi — just 40 miles south of Memphis, but deep in the hill country — his favorite band was Black Flag, the caustic L.A. punk band that defined the hardcore movement in the 1980s. That may surprise listeners who have been following his career as a folk-blues-rock innovator. With his brother Cody, Luther is a charter member of the North Mississippi Allstars and has recorded with an amazing array of musicians over the years: Beck, Patty Griffin, Mavis
Staples, John Hiatt, Buddy Miller, RL Burnside, Lucero, Jon Spencer, and Robert Plant. He’s also produced albums by Jim Lauderdale, Amy LaVere, and Otha Turner, whose Everybody’s Hollerin’ Goat was named one of the top 10 blues records of the ‘90s by Rolling Stone. 

"The best bluegrass-rock-country-soul-gospel-anything goes hybrid band" -The Bluegrass Situation

Mountain Heart is thrilled to announce their new partnership and an upcoming studio album, their first since 2010!

Mountain Heart Entertainment is the new official partnership created after purchasing the band from former member Barry Abernathy. Abernathy has resigned to focus on family. The group is now officially a team on and off stage. For the first time in the band's 17 year history, Mountain Heart represents a group made up of all equal partners to create and share their music with fans everywhere!

"The best bluegrass-rock-country-soul-gospel-anything goes hybrid band" -The Bluegrass Situation

Mountain Heart is thrilled to announce their new partnership and an upcoming studio album, their first since 2010!

In nine years, the Ogden Music Festival has grown into just the kind of thing you're looking for to start your summer off on a high note, whether its high, lonesome bluegrass or some hot licks on the fiddle. Set in an oasis just minutes from downtown Ogden, Weber County's Fort Buenaventura is Utah's oldest settlement and provides camping, walking and bike trails, the Weber River, and the perfect spot for our growing community of friends of acoustic music. 

Published in Upcoming Events

"Canada's premier neo-tradsters romp from world-beat to blues, urban-pop to old-timey, with wild-eyed invention, haunting traditionalism, and spine-rattling groove." (Scott Alarik, The Boston Globe) GRAMMY nominees and JUNO award winners, seeing The Duhks live is nothing short of a spiritual experience. A syncopated bluesy banjo number seamlessly follows a Brazilian samba; an old-time jaunt nestles comfortably next to a gospel performance. One of the most musically adventurous bands to come from the roots scene in the past decade, The Duhks return to the stage is definitely a cause for celebration.

Wayward Molly is Jani Gamble, Allison Ottley, Nicki Singleton and Mona Stevens. The three vocalists were thrown together for a one time performance in 2009, and although they come from varied musical backgrounds, they blended so well and had such a blast that they decided to give it another go.

Drawing on an eclectic mix of folk, Celtic, and whatever else they feel like, they are currently performing in local venues. Wayward Molly recently had their "coming out" concert in March 2012 to a packed house and two standing ovations while raising funds for the American Cancer Society.

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