"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.
Alejandro Escovedo's family tree includes former Santana percussionist Pete Escovedo and Pete's daughter Sheila E (also Prince's former drummer and later a pop star). He began his music career with the Nuns, a mid-'70s punk band based in San Francisco. He co-founded the pioneering cowpunk band Rank and File in 1979, which moved to Austin, Texas in 1981 after a stint in New York City. The band released Sundown on Slash Records in 1982, but shortly after, Escovedo left to form the True Believers with brother Javier. The band recorded two albums for EMI and toured the country, often as an opening act for Los Lobos. However, EMI opted not to release the second album, which eventually led to the group's breakup. (It eventually surfaced as a bonus item when Rykodisc reissued the first set on CD in 1994.) Escovedo released a solo album in 1992 on Watermelon Records, Gravity, uniting his wide variety of styles; the album was produced by Stephen Bruton of Bonnie Raitt's band. Escovedo also began gigging periodically with the band Buick MacKane, which fused old-school punk with '70s glam rock; after Rykodisc released Escovedo's With These Hands in 1996, they followed it up with Buick MacKane's long-awaited album. After Escovedo parted ways with Rykodisc, he signed in 1998 with the Chicago-based alt-country label Bloodshot, which released the live album More Miles Than Money: Live 1994-1996 and the acclaimed studio set A Man Under the Influence. In April 2003, Escovedo collapsed following a show in Phoenix, AZ, after which it was subsequently revealed that he had been diagnosed with Hepatitis C in the late '90s but had not sought treatment. An outpouring of support from musicians led to a series of successful benefit concerts to help pay Escovedo's medical expenses and keep his music before the public, followed by a tribute album, Por Vida: A Tribute to the Songs of Alejandro Escovedo, which was released in 2004. In 2006, Escovedo released Boxing Mirror and toured with the Alejandro Escovedo String Quintet to promote the album. His next album, Real Animal, was produced by Tony Visconti and released in June 2008. Escovedo re-teamed with Visconti for 2010's Street Songs of Love. Visconti also produced his follow-up, Big Station, which was released in the early summer of 2012.
In a relatively short period of time, Della Mae has become a sensation in the music world. Commanding a powerful collective chemistry with vocal, instrumental, and songwriting talent to spare, the Boston-based combo mines time-honored elements to create music that's unmistakably fresh and contemporary and has earned them the 2013 IBMA Emerging Artists of the Year
The group quickly won an enthusiastic following through their high-energy live performances at festivals around the country. The band expanded its reputation with their self-released first album, 2011's I Built This Heart, which won an impressive amount of attention for a D.I.Y. release.
This World Oft Can Be, Della Mae's second album and Rounder debut, shows that like the Avett Brothers, Lumineers, and Punch Brothers, these five multitalented young women are respectful of American musical tradition, but not restricted by it, combining centuries' worth of musical influences with an emotionally tough, undeniably modern songwriting sensibility.
In addition to playing festivals and clubs throughout the United States, Della Mae recently expanded the scale of its touring efforts after participating in the U.S. State Department's American Music Abroad program. Selected as cultural ambassadors, the band spent 43 days traveling in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, where they collaborated with local musicians, taught educational programs for children, and played concerts for local audiences.
"It's been a life-changing experience for us, individually and as a band," Ludiker says of the tour. "A cool thing about playing music in Central Asian countries is in the lack of distinction their audience places between musical genres. We found that if music is played with feeling, all people connected to it. They find themselves smiling and relating without even understanding the language."
Indeed, Della Mae demonstrates how effectively music builds bridges and transcends artificially constructed borders, whether they're national or genre-based. Ludiker concludes: "All five ladies are individually driven, and we are working towards the same goal. This band definitely feels like a calling, a labor of love."
The Steel Wheels are renowned for their raw energy and chemistry on stage, where they cluster tightly around a single microphone to adorn Trent Wagler's unmistakable tenor with bell-clear four part harmonies complimented by Eric Brubaker's fiddle, Brian Dickel's upright bass and Jay Lapp on the mandolin and guitars. The band’s own brand of acoustic Americana roots music reflects stylings of the past yet boldly embodies the strength of powerful original song writing.
The Steel Wheels are selling out venues from coast to coast and appearing at many of the top festivals in the US & Canada. These include Merlefest, Grey Fox, Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Ann Arbor Folk Festival, Stagecoach, Fayetteville Roots Festival, Moab Folk Festival, Musikfest, Walnut Valley Festival, Canmore Folk Festival, Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Kerrville Folk Festival, and many others. 2014 shows no signs of slowing down with a full schedule of prestigious festivals and venues. In July the band hosts their own annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival bringing over 40 bands to 4 stages for 3 days of music & community. In addition as the schedule allows, the band organizes and performs the SpokeSongs bicycle music tour, during which the band members tow their instruments, equipment and merchandise from one show to another via bicycle. Past tours have spanned up to 11 days, 600 miles, and 10 shows. The attention from these special SpokeSongs tours allow the band to raise extra money and awareness for charities and causes along the way.
The dynamic bluegrass quintet from Springfield, MO with their high-octane shows, tight harmonies and stunning instrumental prowess, have been winning fans and making waves at every festival they have been invited, and consequently re-invited to since their formation in 2008. Recently signed to Nashville-based roots music company the Compass Records Group, the HillBenders will release their new album Can You Hear Me? on September 25th, presenting an intensely charismatic album imbued with the spirit and energy of their live shows. "Our music appeals to anyone that can enjoy a fun performance. We share a passion for the music, a passion to perform," says guitarist Jim Rea, "It's evident we have fun on stage. People come up to us and say sarcastically, 'liven up!'"
Thus the challenge in recording Can You Hear Me?" was clear — the band had to capture their undeniable live appeal on the twelve tracks, eight of which are originals. Lead singer and mandolinist Nolan Lawrence with Jim Rea and his cousin Gary Rea on guitar and bass respectively, banjoist Mark Cassidy and Dobroist Chad "Gravy Boat" Graves channeled the rawness and intensity of bands like Newgrass Revival into the carefully executed arrangements. They worked closely with roots music engineer and producer Bil VornDick for an album that aligned their diverse tastes and styles while showcasing the collective talent of each band member, including a grassified cover of the Romantics' "Talking in Your Sleep" and Hal Ketchum's country hit, "Past the Point of Rescue," which includes a samba-grass breakdown after the second chorus.
The album-opening "Train Whistle," is a rambling train song, a staple to the bluegrass band, though the band hesitates the genre distinction. "Bluegrass is where we found our voice as performers, so we feel like we owe a lot to it. We have one foot in bluegrass all the time while the other is reaching out and exploring our interests in rock and roll, jazz, funk and Americana," says Chad. By winning the Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition in 2009 and the National Single Microphone Championship the following year, the band became favorites on the bluegrass festival scene with their own brand of acoustic fusion. "A lot of people, even at the more traditional festivals, tell us 'You guys are so fun to listen to!' This comes from the die-hard traditionalists. They are saying that it is really refreshing to see something new. At the same time we're not afraid to be looked down upon – all of that formality melts away when we just be ourselves."
The HillBenders recognize their ability to bridge the gap between the common music consumer and the bluegrass genre, selecting material for the album that defies any hillbilly stigmas. Nolan comments, "With our widely varied influences, we're all trying to bring in songs that unify. We wanted to pair bluegrass with the other American music we grew up with —rock and roll!" Their festival appearances also reflect the crossover; the band recently played the very traditional Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival and the esteemed Philadelphia Folk Festival on back to bay days on the same weekend.
Still, the heart of the new album draws from the band's live performances. Nolan adds, "If the music isn't played with intensity, you can tell. You have to play the music with that passion or it just isn't going to sound right." Can You Hear Me? is an album that showcases a young band with ambition and talent at a volume that comes across loud and clear.
"Shook Twins' performances feel like a glimpse into a long history of musical discovery—their shows can feel like late-night porch sessions, where the songs are so internalized they stream out like a conversation." – Emilee Booher, Willamette Week
Born and raised in Sandpoint Idaho, Shook Twins are an Indie folk-pop band now hailing from coniferous forested Portland, Oregon. Identical twins, Katelyn and Laurie Shook, Kyle Volkman and Niko Daoussis form the core quartet. Central elements of the Shook Twins' sound are a wide range of instrumentation, including banjo, guitar, electric and upright bass, mandolin, electric guitar, electronic drums, face drum (beatbox), glockenspiel, ukulele, banjo drumming and their signature golden EGG. Beautiful twin harmonies, layered upon acoustic and electric instrumentation coupled with Laurie's inventive use of percussive and ambient vocal loops, and Katelyn's repurposed telephone microphone, set their sound apart, creating a unique and eccentric blend of folk, roots, groove and soul.
The twins are the main songwriters but they have recently started backing up their band members, Niko Daoussis (Cyber Camel) and Anna Tivel (Anna and the Underbelly) and adding their stunning songs to the mix.
Each Shook Twins song tells a story, distinctive, sharp, genuine, and well – sometimes quirky. Drawing from their life experience, select subjects include, being potters' daughters, imagined superpowers and a chicken named 'Rose' they befriended. Shook Twins also pull out unexpected takes on classic hits, retellings of their musician friends' songs, heartfelt ballads and rhythm driven dance numbers.
Triggers and Slips music is steeped in the psychology of relationships. Like so much great country music that came before, theirs originates in personal mistakes and stepped on hearts. While the band's music is a blend that's not quite country and not quite rock n' roll, and not quite alt-country either, fans of both types of music have come to love their sound.
Triggers & Slips is based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. They have spent the last two years playing local venues and national music festivals. Lead by singer/songwriter Morgan Snow, he incorporates insightful, poignant lyrics, with a powerful, and soulful voice reminiscent of traditional country music like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Willie Nelson, while pulling from other influences such as Pink Floyd, The Who, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam, Blind Melon, and Nirvana.
Triggers & Slips started in living rooms, and campfires for close friends, and the occasional new stranger. The music and performance has developed into something that is every bit as powerful in small intimate venues as it is at larger venues such as national music festivals with Snow playing solo, or as a duo with multi-instrumentalist John Davis, who adds lap steel, lead guitar, tenor guitar, as well as sharing the singing duties, which blend well with Snow's simple vocal and instrumental style.
Triggers & Slips also plays as a full 5 piece band that brings people to their feet with their blend of rock, honky tonk country, and psychedelia. Their ability to play to any crowd, and any venue, has provided them with opportunities to share their music to an eclectic group of people from events catered towards anything from EDM, jam bands, and country fans, to small coffee shops, and everything in-between.
Bluegrass Rising are:
Richard Schmeling - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Richard Schmeling originally hales from Brooklyn, New York, but has been playing bluegrass and other genres of music for many years in the Salt Lake valley. Along with guitar and mandolin, Richard is an accomplished piano player and loves performing the ballads of old time cowboy music and he loves the romance of the old west. Richard played guitar and mandolin with well-known Salt Lake band Ridin' the Fault Line for the past 18 years. He also played with Lonesome Ridge, filled in with the Backwoods Cowboy Band, and is currently a member of the Red Desert Ramblers, and the American Irish Duo.
Tim Morrison - Bass, Guitar, Vocals
Tim Morrison, originally from Salt Lake City, has been involved in the acoustic music community in Salt Lake for over 20 years. He is a former president of the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association, and president of Utah Friends of Bluegrass. He has also served as a co-director of the Utah State Instrument Championships and is currently in charge of judging. Tim formed Lonesome Ridge in the 90's and joined the Stormy Mountain Boys in the early 2000's and has played with them since. Tim has filled in with many bands across the intermountain west including Ridin' the Fault Line, the Red Desert Ramblers, and Hammer Down. Tim also played with the Backwoods Cowboy Band and played many old time cowboy variety shows around the Salt Lake valley. He also played and toured with national recording artist Ron Spears and Within Tradition.
Jake Workman - Banjo, Guitar, Mandolin, and Vocals
Jake Workman, from Draper, Utah, hit the bluegrass scene in Salt Lake when he was about 15 years old, when he joined Hammer Down as their banjo player. Since that time he earned his place as one of the most respected players in the bluegrass community, and has gone on to take 2nd place in the National Banjo Championships in 2010 and 2011. Jake started playing guitar at about age 17 and has since placed 4th in the National Flatpicking Championships at Winfield, Kansas. Jake has also won the Utah State Instrument Championships in guitar, banjo, and mandolin, and won the Texas State Guitar Championship in 2010. He has also won Guitar Center's King of the Blues competition nearly every year he competes. Jake also plays mandolin with intermountain favorite Cold Creek, and is the featured guitarist for Driven, a well-known bluegrass band from Kansas.
Rebekah Workman - Fiddle, Vocals
Rebekah Workman joined the bluegrass scene in Salt Lake when she met Jake Workman just a few years ago. She hales from Oak City, Utah. Rebekah and Jake would show up to the local bluegrass jams and while he was lighting it up on the guitar, Rebekah would light it up on the fiddle. Rebekah and Jake married and have been playing music together as a duo as well as in bluegrass bands and other settings. Rebekah's fiddle talent is the current driving force in Bluegrass Rising. She has also added her fiddle and voice to Hammer Down, Cold Creek, and Driven.
Blaine Nelson - Banjo
Blaine Nelson joins Bluegrass Rising as one of the finest 5 string banjo players in the state of Utah. His outstanding skills earned him the title of 2003 Utah State banjo champion. His unique and flawless banjo picking drive the sound of Cold Creek. He has played at numerous venues throughout Utah, both with his former band, Gift Horse, and as a solo act, including the 2002 Winter Olympics, the Founders Title Folk and Bluegrass Festival, and the Birch Creek Bluegrass Festival.
Jeff Scroggins & Colorado is a high energy, high mountain "bluegrass explosion," that features the amazing banjo playing of Jeff Scroggins. Jeff's fiery style and lightning fast licks have earned him many fans worldwide, and have left many a first time listener in stunned disbelief! It also features the award winning mandolin playing of Jeff's son Tristan Scroggins. Tristan is also an accomplished songwriter, and his and Jeff's original instrumentals play a large role in the band's unique and energetic sound.
The band also features incredible bluegrass vocals, led by the powerful voice of frontman Greg Blake. Greg has twice been nominated for SPBGMA's "Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year" award, and his phenomenal bluegrass guitar playing has earned him 9 nominations and an amazing 5 consecutive wins as SPBGMA's Guitarist of the Year!
Annie Savage brings strong vocals and an aggressive fiddle style that is well suited to the band's high energy approach. She is a conservatory trained musician with 15 years teaching experience a great instructor as well as performer! KC Groves founded the all girl band Uncle Earl and is truly a force to be reckoned with! Having recorded with such greats as Charles Sawtelle and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and touring internationally for many years, KC is an internationally renowned musician and song-writer. She teaches through Planet Bluegrass and is a fabulous addition to the project.
The Sweetwater Crossing Band has been playing together since December of 2010. Ranging in age from 14 to 17, these kids play a wide variety of bluegrass, old-timey music, even including songs from the top ten pop charts. The band features fiddles, guitar, mandolin, frailing banjo and bass, and has played at numerous church and community functions, major art and music festivals, delighting audiences with their youthful enthusiasm and stage presence.