43rd Annual Wheatland Music Festival
September 9-11, 2016
Asleep at the Wheel
Ameripolitan / Texas Country / Western Swing
Ray Benson founded Asleep at the Wheel in Paw Paw, West Virginia over 40 years ago. Now based in Austin, the band holds nine Grammy awards, 20 studio albums and 20 singles on the Billboard country charts with over 1.5 million records sold. Still The King: Celebrating the Music of Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys marks the band’s third full-length Bob Wills tribute album following 1999’s Ride with Bob and 1993’s A Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills, with four Grammy awards and over 500,000 copies sold collectively.
The Wheel Gets Rolling
“there’s some relatively unknown group around that I really dig. Asleep at the Wheel plays great country music.”
Van Morrison Rolling Stone Interview (1973)
It all started when Ray Benson, Floyd Domino, and Lucky Oceans, along with a Vermont farm boy named Leroy Preston; Virginian Chris O’Connell; and Gene Dobkin, a bass player and fellow classmate of Benson’s from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, joined forces. They began with a simple goal: to play and help revive American roots music.
Asleep at the Wheel landed a gig opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in Washington, DC in 1970. At the height of Vietnam, many Americans were using their choice of music to express their stance on the conflict in southeast Asia. “We wanted to break that mold,” said Benson. “We were concerned more with this amazing roots music, which we felt was being lost amid the politics. We were too country for the rock folks and we were too long-haired for the country folks. But everybody got over it once the music started playing.”
A year later, they were coaxed into moving to California by Commander Cody, leader of Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. But, the band’s big break came when Van Morrison mentioned them in an interview with Rolling Stone. The record offers started coming in and The Wheel got rolling.
80+ But Who’s Counting?
“We’re a dance band. That’s what we’re about. And that’s plenty.”
The musicianship of Asleep at the Wheel has become the stuff of legends. Reuter’s pegged The Wheel as “one of the best live acts in the business.” Taking a page from Bob Wills’ book, the band has constantly toured at a national level throughout its history; with anywhere from 7-15 of the finest players Ray Benson could talk into jumping in the bus to play a string of dates. The alumni roster is well over 80+ members, and includes an impressive list of musicians who have gone on to perform with artists such as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, and many more. A quick scan of awards, such as “Touring Band of the Year” (CMAs, 1976) and “Lifetime Achievement in Performance” (Americana Music Awards 2009), not to mention near dominance of the GRAMMY “Country Instrumental” category over the years, reflects the reputation of the band’s musicianship. Ray Benson fell in love with western swing because of its unique combination of elements of American blues, swing and traditional fiddling but also for its demanding musical chops. Western swing is what Benson calls “jazz with a cowboy hat,” is a thrill to hear live, and thanks in large part to the Wheel’s 40 years of promotion, is a living and creative genre of music today.
On the Records
“Everything this act has ever released is simply spectacular.”
Billboard Magazine (2010)
Over their history, Asleep at The Wheel has garnered nine GRAMMY Awards and released more than 25 studio and live albums, and there is no sign of slowing down any time soon. Just last year they earned a Grammy nomination in the newly minted Best Americana Album category for their critically acclaimed Willie & The Wheel, on Bismeaux Records. Most recently, another collaborative project paired the band with the legendary lead from Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys, Leon Rausch. The distinguished velvety vocals that voiced the King of western swing partnered with “post-modern kings of Texas Swing” on It’s A Good Day, which USA Today called, “swing from the heavens.” It was Leon who first suggested to Ray in the 1970’s that The Wheel record Get Your Kicks (on Route 66). The Wheel has now recorded the hit 4 times in 4 different decades, with this latest version featuring Leon.
The Play is The Thing
“The most entertaining night in Texas.”
The Broadway-scale musical that started as a commemoration of Bob Will’s 100th birthday in 2005 now marks its own milestone in 2010; 5 years. Ray Benson and Ann Rapp co-wrote the first-ever musical drama about Benson’s idol, entitled “A Ride with Bob: The Bob Wills Musical.” At the core of the story is the conversation Ray intended to have when he was invited to meet with Wills in 1974, fresh off the Wheel’s release of “Take Me Back to Tulsa.” Unfortunately, that meeting never happened as Mr. Wills took ill and never recovered. For the last five years, the play has presented an inspired look into the life, loves and music of the colorful Bob Wills in performances across Texas and from San Francisco to Washington DC. Immediately embraced by western swing fans, this unique presentation has achieved cult-status amongst fans who can’t get enough. This year “A Ride with Bob” continued its tour with performances in Abilene, Richardson and in Austin, September 17 and 18 at the Long Center.
True to Asleep at the Wheel’s original vision, the play isn’t just appealing to core fans. A 2007 interview with The New York Times noted, “the play had another advantage. ‘We were reaching a completely new audience,’ Mr. Benson said — theatergoers who might never set foot in a beer joint, or even in a cowboy boot.”
From Dance Halls to Concert Halls
“A Swinging Symphony”
-Fort Worth Star Telegram
Any band that spends upwards of 250 days on the road each year is more than likely to have seen its fair share of dives, gin joints, biker bars, clubs, auditoriums, dance halls and the like. The Wheel is no exception. Another place Wheel fans have more recently discovered the music has been in symphony halls. Originally debuted in collaboration with the Austin Symphony, the Wheel has since gone on to present their pops program in select performances across the country, and even released a CD in 2006 of their performance with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.
Throughout their four decades the Wheel has driven the genre to the edge, explored new territories, picked up new passengers along the way and crisscrossed the country to the delight of fans and critics alike. And, even though they’re doing “forty,” there’s no chance of slowing down now.
Asleep at the Wheel History
1951 Bandleader Ray Benson born in Philadelphia, PA. (March 16)
1970 Band forms in Paw Paw, WV. Play first “big show” opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna.
1971 Band moves to California at the invitation of Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.
Van Morrison helps the band to get first record deal by mentioning them in an interview in Rolling Stone Magazine – ‘there’s some relatively unknown group around that I really dig. Asleep at the Wheel plays great country music. They’re really good musicians.’
1973 Debut album Comin’ Right At Ya released by United Artists (includes single “Take Me Back to Tulsa”)
At invitation of Willie Nelson and Doug Sahm, band moves to Austin, Texas
1974 “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” from their second album Asleep at the Wheel is their first chart single
1975 The release of Texas Gold on Capitol Records elevates the band to one of the most popular country acts of the decade, with “The Letter That Johnny Walker Read” becoming a top-ten country hit.
Band stars on the premier episode of “Austin City Limits” television show (and has performed 11 times since then).
1977 Voted Best Country & Western Band by Rolling Stone
The Wheel awarded “Touring Band of the Year” by Academy of Country Music.
Tours Europe with Emmylou Harris
1978 Their sixth nomination turns out to be their first GRAMMY™ win for the country instrumental “One O’Clock Jump.” The Wheel will go on to eight more to date.
Band appears in the film Roadie with Meatloaf, Blondie and Art Carney.
1979 Their first live album Served Live is recorded at the Austin Opera House
1987 The album 10 scores big with the GRAMMY™-winning single “String of Pars”
1989 Against the advice of most music insiders, Ray establishes Bismeaux Studio and Bismeaux Records where he’ll go on to produce projects for Willie Nelson, Pam Tillis, Carolyn Wonderland, Aaron Watson, James Hand, Suzy Bogguss, Don Walser, Dale Watson and many others.
1991 Ray directs the music and co-stars in the film Wild Texas Wind with Dolly Parton and Gary Busey
1992 Band featured on Route 66 Tour (66th Anniversary of Route 66)
1993 Tribute to the Music of Bob Wills for Liberty Records, including guest artists Garth Brooks, George Strait and Vince Gill amongst many others, is an instant hit, earning two GRAMMYS™ and a live performance on the Country Music Awards telecast with Lyle Lovett.
1997 Old Silver Eagle tour bus retired with over 3 million miles.
1999 Ride With Bob CD is released by Dreamworks and includes guest performances by the Dixie Chicks, Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Manhattan Transfer and others. The ensuing long form documentary The Making of Ride with Bob earns a regional Emmy Award. The album wins two GRAMMY™ Awards.
2000 Tour with Bob Dylan & George Strait Stadium Tours begin (2000-2001)
2002 Ray hosts the CMT special Stars Over Texas in Austin, going toe-to- toe with Dolly Parton and Vince Gill.
2003 Ray releases his first solo record Beyond Time while at the same time managing to make two records with the band (Live at Billy Bob’s Texas and Asleep at the Wheel Remembers the Alamo)
2004 Ray is named the official 2004 Texas State Musician
Asleep at the Wheel launches its Pops program in performances with Austin and Dallas Symphonies
2005 “A Ride with Bob: The Bob Wills Musical,” co-written by Ray Benson and starring Ray and members of Asleep at the Wheel, debuts in Austin to coincide with Wills’ 100th birthday. Through the year, further performances in 4 cities sell out and garner critical acclaim.
Band chosen for opening performance at inaugural Austin City Limits Festival and carry on the tradition annually.
2006 “A Ride with Bob” sells out the Kennedy Center, with President and Mrs. George W. Bush in attendance. (The play is still performed around the country today and has introduced many to Bob Wills.)
2007 Band releases Reinventing the Wheel, their first feature CD in several years.
Band hits the road for “Last of the Breed” Tour, featuring Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard & Ray Price. Performance filmed for broadcast on PBS.
Ray serves as a judge on the ABC’s “Six Degrees of Martina McBride.”
2008 Ray Benson awarded the TEC – Les Paul Award honoring individuals or institutions that have set the highest standards of excellence in the creative application of recording technology.
Ray joins Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts for a musical tribute to Bob Wills on the 50th Annual GRAMMY™ Awards telecast on CBS.
Then Presidential candidate Barrack Obama joins Ray Benson on stage for a performance of “Boogie Back to Texas” at an Austin Fundraiser.
2009 Willie Nelson and Asleep at the Wheel release “Willie & The Wheel” and earn a GRAMMY™ nomination for Best Americana Album – the first time this category has ever appeared.
Americana Music Association honors Asleep at the Wheel with Lifetime Achievement Award.
2010 The band releases “It’s a Good Day” with Texas Playboy Leon Rausch.
2011 Ray Benson receives the Texas Medal of the Arts.
Ray Benson named Texan of the Year.
American Electric Blues Harmonica
4:40-5:30pm Main Stage
7:45-8:45pm Centennial Stage
4:00-4:50pm Main Stage
1:30-2:30pm Workshop Lane
Harmonica with Charlie Musselwhite
Fifty years of nonstop touring, performing and recording have reaped huge rewards. Charlie Musselwhite is living proof that great music only gets better with age. This man cut his (musical) teeth alongside Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and everyone on the south side of Chicago in the early 1960’s – thank your lucky stars he is still with us telling the truth with a voice and harp tone like no other.
Charlie Musselwhite may be the only musician to get a huge ovation just for opening his briefcase. Fans know that’s where he keeps his harmonicas and they’re about to hear one of the true masters work his magic on the humble instrument.
Musselwhite is, and always will be, a bluesman of the highest order. But he’s taken blues harp from the clubs on the Southside of Chicago (where “Memphis Charlie” and Mike Bloomfield backed Big Joe Williams) to places it’s never been before, both musically and physically. He’s soloed to “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” with Cyndi Lauper on Good Morning America; wailed on “Echo Bells” with Japan’s Kodo drummers (produced by the Grateful Dead’s Mickey Hart); and mixed blues with Cuban son legend Eliades Ochoa, each playing on the other’s album. He’s jammed on stage with Mick Jagger and recorded with such diverse artists as INXS, Tom Waits, bluegrass fiddler Vassar Clements, gospel Blind Boys of Alabama, and even Cat Stevens. And shortly before winning the Grammy for Best Blues Album for their collaboration Get Up!, he and Ben Harper played at the White House for President Obama and the First Lady, in a salute to Memphis soul.
Charlie explains, “It’s fun and interesting and challenging to me to get to play in a new setting and do tunes that are different than the usual I-IV-V and 12 bars.”
“Meeting Charlie was huge to me,” said Ben Harper in reference to the GET UP project. “Knowing his music but also his commitment to the blues and everything he brought to that. When you get the call to sit at the table with kings, you better have a well-pressed suit. I knew that time would come, so I kept setting material aside. But Charlie Musselwhite is the north star of this record. We were following him. The songs really came to life around Charlie and his sensibilities. We revolved around him and his harp; you can hear that.”
2016 will mark the 50th anniversary of Charlie’s debut album, the classic Stand Back! Here Comes Charlie Musselwhite’s South Side Band, which he recorded at age 22. That band featured legendary blues drummer Fred Below (of the Aces and countless sessions with Chicago’s blues giants), along with keyboardist Barry Goldberg and guitarist Harvey Mandel. In addition to guest turns by Marty Stuart, Charlie Sexton, Dave Gonzales, Stefan Grossman, and G.E. Smith, and stints by Chicago greats Luther Tucker, Freddie Roulette, Louis Myers, and Fenton Robinson, his groups have been a virtual finishing school for guitar slingers, such as Robben Ford, Junior Watson, Tim Kaihatsu and Kid Andersen.
But Charlie’s current band ranks with the best he’s ever had. It features drummer June Core, bassist Steve Froberg, and guitarist Matt Stubbs. As for their bandleader, at 71 – Charlie is truly at the top of his game, as evidenced by I Ain’t Lyin’, Henrietta Records’ follow-up to the Grammy-nominated Juke Joint Chapel. This year he won the Blues Music Awards’ Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica for a staggering 25th time, of his 29 wins overall and 2010 induction into the Blues Hall of Fame.
After Charlie was a member of Hot Tuna’s 2011 “blues tour,” leader/guitarist Jorma Kaukonen hit the nail on the head. “We just had a great time,” he smiled. “I mean, talk about the real shit – then there’s Charlie Musselwhite. When Charlie tells stories about the blues guys it’s because he knew them and played with them. And we know that harp players can be dangerous in the musical sensibility department, but not Charlie. He’s just the best. And he’s such a cool guy. It was one of those things that just felt so perfect.”
As Charlie often says, “The blues is your buddy in good times and your comforter in bad times. It empowers you to keep going. It is secular spiritual music, the gospel blues. It’s music from the heart instead of the head.” – Dan Forte, ASCAP/Deems Taylor Award winner for excellence in music journalism
The Gibson Brothers
4:15-5:00pm, Centennial Stage
(“Brothers Duets” with The Cactus Blossoms)
7:40-8:30pm, Main Stage
12:00-1:00pm Workshop Lane
Fiddle w/Clayton Campbell & Brittany Haas
3:30-4:30pm Workshop Lane
Mandolin w/Jesse Brock and Mark Schrock
11:20am-12:10pm Main Stage
The Gibson Brothers were voted 2013 Entertainers of the Year at the IBMA World of Bluegrass 24th Annual Awards Show in Raleigh, N.C. for the second year in a row. We also won the Vocal Group of the Year, Song of the Year (“They Called It Music”) and Eric was named the Songwriter of the Year.
The Gibson Brothers were named the 2012 Entertainer of the Year Award at the 23rd Annual IBMA Awards at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, the first time a brother duet has won this award. The same night we won the “Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year” award for “Singing As We Rise.”
Help My Brother, our tenth album, won the prestigious 2011 IBMA Album of the Year Award. We were named the 2011 IBMA Vocal Group of the Year, the first time a brother duet has won this award. Help My Brother held the #1 position on the Bluegrass Unlimited Album chart for 8 months. It definitely had staying power, with songs charting on the BU Top 30 more than a year after its release.
These awards followed on the success of Ring the Bell. The title cut of that album won the 2010 IBMA Song and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year. Our 11th release, They Called It Music, was #1 on the Bluegrass Unlimited Album Chart for six months in 2013. The title cut spent three months as #1 on the BU Song Chart.
In July 2014 we signed with Rounder Records, a label we always equated with quality. Our first release on the label, Brotherhood, is an homage to the brother duos that have inspired us since childhood. We chose fifteen songs from country, bluegrass and early rock ‘n’ roll brother acts including some who will be familiar to most listeners, such as Phil & Don Everly, Charlie & Ira Louvin, Jim & Jesse McReynolds and Carter& Ralph Stanley. Brotherhood also features covers of songs recorded by some lesser-known acts, including the Blue Sky Boys, the Church Brothers and the York Brothers.
Leigh reflects, “These are the acts that pointed us in our direction musically. After we got going, we went our own way for a while.” He adds, “But the process of making this record brought us back to the music we were listening to when we were just getting started. When we sing those songs, I feel like I did when I was 15 years old, sitting in our living room in the farmhouse and learning to play. This music is part of our soul.”
We also look forward to contributing to the music we love for years to come. Music’s brought us a lot of interesting experiences and many friends. We truly appreciate every one of them. We’ve been very fortunate to be honored by our peers several times. And each time our thoughts are back home with the people who helped us get there.
Irish / Celtic
3:00-4:00pm Centennial Stage
10:00-10:50pm Main Stage
1:00-2:00pm Workshop Lane
Celtic Fiddle with Winfred Horan
6:20-7:10pm Main Stage
2016 marks the 20th Anniversary of the quintessential Irish-American band, Solas. Formed in 1996, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for “light”), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon – an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions.
11 albums later, with numerous awards to their credit, and more miles traveled touring the world to count, Solas will mark this milestone with a exciting new recording project and tour, ALL THESE YEARS. It is a celebration of a band that, from its inception, captured the musical world’s attention and went on to become one of the most influential groups in the history of Irish music. ALL THESE YEARS sees Solas reuniting with all the members of the band, past and present, to record new material and embark on a year long world tour.
Anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), who form the backbone of the uniquely definable Solas sound, long time members Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and Mick McAuley (button accordion, vocals) and newest member, the dynamic Moira Smiley (vocals, banjo), Solas is musically at the top of their game and continues to be the standard bearer not only for great Irish music, but great music in any genre.
Indeed, it can be convincingly argued that no band has done more than Solas to prove that Celtic music today is a truly universal musical language, like jazz, classical, rock, or bluegrass. The band’s sound is explosive yet seductively personal; timelessly melodic yet rippling with modern muscle. It can bring edgy urban hipness to ancient reels, and make songs by Tom Waits and Bob Dylan feel like they’ve been aging for centuries in the sweet old casks of Celtic tradition. Through fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, compelling and topical originals and covers, and unparalleled musicianship, Solas continues to define the path for the Celtic music world and drive the genre forward.
From their early days with singer Karan Casey, to the present lineup featuring Moira Smiley on vocals, Solas’ ALL THESE YEARS demonstrates the evolution of a band the New York Times hailed for their “…..unbridled vitality”, and the Boston Globe declared to be “the finest celtic ensemble this country has ever produced”. Solas’ 20th Anniversary Project celebrates their remarkable past while demonstrating why they continue to be one of the most popular, influential, and exciting bands ever to emerge over the past two decades.
Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band
Photo by Chris Granger
6:00-6:50pm Main Stage
10:45pm-12:45am Cajun Dance at Dance Stage
2:20-3:10pm Main Stage
11:00pm-1:00am Cajun Dance at Dance Stage
Bruce was born in New Orleans on July 11, 1958. His parents were part of a post-World War II migration of Cajuns to New Orleans from the rural farming communities of Avoyelles Parish. Located in the uppermost corner of Louisiana’s “Cajun triangle,” Avoyelles Parish is the forgotten part of Cajun country. Nevertheless, the language and customs of the Cajun people are as deeply rooted here as anywhere in the state. And whenever you walk through the door of Bruce’s family home, you return to Avoyelles Parish. His parents have never abandoned their beautiful Cajun French, and they’ve kept their gumbo and fricassee simmering on the stove.
In 1986 Bruce moved the fais do do dance to the original Tipitina’s, corner of Napoleon and Tchoupitoulas streets, where it continues to this day, every Sunday evening from five till nine. Bruce is one of New Orleans’ and Louisiana’s great musical institutions; and he has emerged as one of Cajun music’s finest cultural ambassadors. In North America he has performed at such prestigious venues as New York’s Lincoln Center, Wolf Trap Center for the Performing Arts, the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the National Folk Festival. Over the past ten years he has taken his music to France, Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. At the request of the American Embassies, Bruce and his band have performed even in the third-world countries of El Salvador and Venezuela. Most rewarding, though, are his annual “homecoming” pilgrimages to the French-speaking Canadian maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where the history of the Louisiana Cajuns had its harsh beginnings. It is here that the deeper meanings of Bruce’s original song creations can be appreciated and celebrated to the fullest extent. Imagine 2,000 Acadians packed into a hockey rink in the little town of Buctouche, New Brunswick, raising their voices in unison to the chorus of Bruce’s “Marksville Two-Step:” “On est tous cousins, cher, one est tous cousines” – “We’re all cousins; we’re all cousins!” It is the spirit of cultural reunion personified.
Haas Kowert Tice
Instrumental American Roots
Squares & Contras
6:30-8:20pm Dance Pavilion
Fiddle w/Brittany Haas & Clayton Campbell
12:00-1:00pm Workshop Lane
There’s a lightness and joy to the music of American roots trio Haas Kowert Tice, a sense of weightlessness that belies the complexity of the musical arrangements. This is music that uplifts, that soars, but that is also grounded by a respect and love for tradition. With just three acoustic instruments–fiddle, guitar, upright bass–Haas Kowert Tice are building a new kind of roots music.
Made up of three of the most exciting instrumentalists on the scene today, this trio of fiddler Brittany Haas (Crooked Still), bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers), and guitarist Jordan Tice (Tony Trischka) have come together on their debut album, you got this, to use their string band roots to engage in close dialogue. Entirely instrumental, this is wordless communication heard from three distinct voices working for unity. “There is so much we don’t have to say to each other,” explains Paul Kowert. “We got together because we wanted a project in which we could explore our ideas–we wanted to see what we could find. We each contributed writing, and were each able to tinker with each other’s ideas. I think in this album you hear discovery.” That joy of discovery is key to this collaboration of master instrumentalists. It’s also the fuel that’s powered their careers so far: Brittany Haas exploring fiddle traditions with Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger, and Alasdair Fraser; Paul Kowert’s ground-breaking work with The Punch Brothers and now Dave Rawlings Machine, and his studies with Edgar Meyer; Jordan Tice’s ensembles and recordings with like-minded artists like Noam Pikelny and Casey Driessen. The thread that ties this all together is a driving passion to share great music with friends.
Trying to track the many overlapping influences on you got this is a labyrinthine process. For example, “Grandpa’s Cheesebarn,” a tune composed by Jordan Tice, brings together alternate banjo tunings, Norwegian dance tunes, hard-rocking folk rhythms, and Debussy-like string arrangements. “We’re all living lives that are bursting at the seams with all sorts of music,” Haas explains. “I think we’ve been inspired by similar things over the years and have inspired and influenced each others’ musical paths.” Haas Kowert Tice also love to experiment with delicate balances. Opening tune “Leadfoot” slips back and forth between a buoyant dance tune and the deep growling of Kowert’s bass lines. “Tell Me Whatcha Gonna Do Now” trades off a gorgeous, pastoral guitar line from Tice with Haas’ devilishly syncopated fiddling, incorporating sudden moments of softness and tranquility. There’s an element of surprise to the music of Haas Kowert Tice; tunes take unexpected turns, and melodies duck and weave in abrupt and exciting directions.
All three artists in Haas Kowert Tice have built their careers on their ability to move on the razor’s edge of tradition and innovation. They have a nearly unlimited arsenal of tools gathered from years in top-flight ensembles, but they’re not interested in flashy displays. This young trio would rather move their audiences with unique melodies, powerful arrangements, searingly beautiful playing on the fiddle and guitar, and stomach-rumbling chords and eloquent passages on the upright bass. They see each tune as a journey that they take with their listeners, but also as a path that they can travel together, discovering new ideas and new passions around every corner.
Mike + Ruthy Band
10:40-11:30pm Main Stage
12:00-12:50pm Main Stage
10:25-11:25pm Centennial Stage
1:00-2:00pm Workshop Lane
Banjo w/Mike Merenda & Nathan Bowles (Black Twig Pickers)
3:00-4:00pm Workshop Lane
Guitar w/Ruthy Ungar Merenda & Nate Myers
Americana stand-outs Mike + Ruthy have assembled a new band and, as was the case with their last one, The Mammals, fans and critics alike are showing a lot of love. Their debut album, Bright as You Can, was released in June 2015 and top critics had this to say: “One of the year’s standout Americana albums” (Boston Globe), “In the vanguard of today’s vibrant folk revival” (PopMatters), “honoring the great musical traditions of the past while at the same time welcoming, with open arms, the future of what music can be” (Folk Alley), and much, much more.
He’s a songwriting guitar-slinger with a knack for clawhammer banjo. She’s a fiddler and uke-chanteuse who grew up in the American roots underground, the daughter of GRAMMY-winning fiddler, Jay Ungar. These two believe in the transformative power of a great live show. They write top-tier songs (“Some of the best songwriting of their generation” (LA Weekly), tour with their kids and peerless five-piece band (a sound they’ve taken to calling rural rock), and perform for audiences worldwide with a charm and on-stage ease that might make you think they’re your new best friends. Of their own roots music festival the two founded in 2013, their late friend and mentor Pete Seeger wrote, “Dear Mike + Ruthy, Your Hoot was one of the best song-gatherings I’ve seen in all my 94 years. I hope next year I can be there for more than one day.”
Woody Guthrie’s guitar killed fascists. This family carries the torch.
Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble
9:30-10:20pm Main Stage
12:30-1:30pm Sean-nos and Set Dance Combo at Dance Stage
8:50-9:40pm Main Stage
Nic Gareiss & Friends
Dance the Tune w/Cleek Schrey
1:45-2:45 Dance Pavilion
2:50-3:40pm Main Stage
Michigan-born dancer Nic Gareiss has been described by the Irish Times as “the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being,” and “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. His choreographic work re-imagines movement as a musical practice, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional step dance vocabulary, and musical collaboration. Nic has gained an enviable reputation as a concertizing dance artist, having toured in over twelve countries with many of the luminaries of traditional music from Ireland and America.
In 2015, Nic was recognized by Michigan State Museum’s Michigan Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Program, receiving support to work with fellow percussive dancer Emily Doebler from 2015-2016. This weekend Emily and Nic will share their work together in collaboration with three of the most dynamic musicians working in contemporary traditional music: fiddler Cleek Schrey, banjo-player Allison de Groot, and guitarist Jordan Tice.
Three Women and the Truth:
Mary Gauthier, Eliza Gilkyson, and Gretchen Peters
6:30-7:20pm Main Stage
Song Tent 2:40-3:20
Song Tent 4:20-5:00
12:30-1:20pm Main Stage
Song Tent 1:40-2:20
Three women, three guitars and the words, music, and hard-won wisdom from three lifetimes spent in pursuit of the song. Three Women and The Truth is a trio of accomplished, richly talented, multiple award winning female songwriters whose songs cut through the murky layers of life’s complexities. Writing from their own experience, these songwriters are skilled in balancing personal tales with classic underpinnings, which hint at the evocative idea that all our lives are full of events and incidents that touch on the mythic and the timeless.
Mary Gauthier is a singer songwriter whom the Associated Press named one of the best songwriters of her generation. Voted 2005’s New Artist of the Year by The Americana Music Association, she has been praised by both Dylan and Waits, and her songs have been recorded by dozens of artists, including Jimmy Buffett, Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw and Candi Staton. Her songs have been used in film and television, most recently on the ABC hit show Nashville, HBO’s Banshee, and Masterpiece Theater’s Case Histories. She has released six studio albums. Her third album, Filth and Fire, was named #1 Best Independent CD of the year by Jon Pareles of the New York Times. Her following three releases have been named in the LA Times and New York Times top three releases of the year. Her record Mercy Now was named in the top 5 records of the decade by No Depression magazine.
“With songwriting as powerful as hers, there’s no need to go looking for qualifiers…[Mary Gauthier is] a unique, intrinsically valuable musical voice. And there’s never a surplus of those.” – Randy Lewis, Los Angeles Times
Eliza Gilkyson is a two-time Grammy nominated singer, songwriter and activist who is one of the most respected musicians in Folk, Roots and Americana circles. Her songs have been covered by Joan Baez, Bob Geldof, Tom Rush and Rosanne Cash and have appeared in films, PBS specials and on prime-time TV. A member of the Austin Music Hall of Fame, she has won countless Folk Alliance and Austin Music awards, including 2014’s Songwriter of the Year. In 2014 she received a Grammy nomination for her Red House Records release, The Nocturne Diaries. On stage, Eliza presents a vibrant mix of laugh-til-you-cry storytelling, political diatribe, and love songs ranging from the global to the most intimate.
“Whether she looks into darkness or light, Eliza Gilkyson’s vision is impressive, and she’s given us another remarkable glimpse at her gifts as a vocalist and songwriter on The Nocturne Diaries.” – All Music Guide
Gretchen Peters – For two decades, Gretchen Peters has been one of Nashville’s most beloved and respected artists, known never to shy away from darkness and struggle in her writing. “If Peters never delivers another tune as achingly beautiful as ‘On A Bus To St. Cloud,'” People Magazine wrote, “she has already earned herself a spot among country’s upper echelon of contemporary composers.”
Peters was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October 2014 by singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell, who called her “both a songwriter and a poet (who) sings as beautifully as she writes,” and said her song “The Matador”, “moved me so greatly, I cried from the soles of my feet.”
Peters has risen to the top of her craft by writing and recording songs that explore the deep corners of life with empathy and integrity. She has accumulated accolades as a songwriter for artists as diverse as Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Patty
Loveless, George Strait, Bryan Adams and Faith Hill.
Her 2015 album, ‘Blackbirds’, debuted at #1 on the UK Country chart and in the top 40 UK pop chart. It has been nominated for three UK Americana awards, including a nod for the title song, which Rolling Stone called “one of the most affecting murder ballads since Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” left a trail of corpses strewn across the American landscape.” In 2015, The Telegraph named her one of the best 60 female singer-songwriters of all time.
Her new collection, ’The Essential Gretchen Peters’, a double album, is a handpicked retrospective of Peters’ best work chosen from a 20 year recording career. Included are brand new recordings of two of Peters’ best loved songs: “On A Bus To St. Cloud”, and “When You Love Someone”, here performed as a duet with cowriter Bryan Adams. With liner notes written by esteemed rock critic and Bruce Springsteen biographer Dave Marsh, The Essential Gretchen Peters is just that – an essential piece of work from a fearless and creative singer-songwriter.
Twice Grammy-nominated and CMA Song Of The Year winner for the groundbreaking “Independence Day” (Martina McBride), Gretchen Peters has cut her own artistic path, touring continually in both North America and the UK and Europe, and releasing nine critically acclaimed albums along the way. Born in New York and raised in Colorado, the 25 year Nashville resident has accumulated accolades as a songwriter for artists as diverse as Etta James, Trisha Yearwood, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Bryan Adams and Faith Hill. Her 2012 album, Hello Cruel World, landed in the top 5 on the US Americana chart, and maintained the #1 position for a record-breaking 2 months on the EuroAmericana chart. Described by NPR’s All Things Considered as “the album of her career,” Hello Cruel World appeared in numerous Best of 2012 lists including No Depression, AllMusic.com and Performing Songwriter. Peters was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall Of Fame in 2014. Her new CD,Blackbirds, was released in early 2015.
“[Peters’ Hello Cruel World is] lean and poetic, unafraid to tackle the deep, poignant stuff, yet strongly melodic too… an affecting, beautifully measured, very grown-up affair.” – Q Magazine
& the Voice of Cuba Orchestra
3:30-4:20 Main Stage
6:00-7:00 Rhythm Stage Special Performance by members of Adonis Puentes & the Voice of Cuba Orchestra
9:15-10:30 Cuban Dance at Dance Stage
1:40-2:30pm Main Stage
Adonis Puentes was destined to be a music star. Sabor a Café, nominated as World Music Album Of The Year at 2014 Canadian Juno Awards, his latest CD and first collection of all self-composed original songs, fulfills the Cuban-Canadian singer’s destiny.
Adonis and his fraternal twin Alexis, now better known as Alex Cuba, were born in 1974 in Artemisa, Cuba. Their father, Valentin Puentes is a well-respected musician and teacher, and at six the twins were playing in a children’s guitar ensemble. At 14, Adonis was singing and writing original songs, music that has ripened and matured into the poetic, sensuous song-cycle, Sabor a Café (Tumba King Records/Pacific Music).
Adonis Puentes has been nominated for a Juno Award and garnered a Grammy Award nomination for his lead vocalist work with the nine-piece, L.A.-based Mongorama, directed by well-known radio host Jose Rizo. He has toured with Irakere veteran Maraca Orland Valle and sang at L.A.’s Greek Theater, Hollywood & Highland, and Lincoln Center, where he shared the stage with Latin music luminaries Larry Harlow and Ruben Blades before 24,000 New York fans. He has performed at festivals around the world from South by Southwest in Austin, Texas to Java Jazz in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“I have traveled the world singing. My mission in life is to share my music, giving people joy,” Adonis explains. “My new recording captures my poetic journey, my revelations and my maturing as an artist.”
The Puentes Brothers’ award-winning 2001 CD, Morumba Cubana and Adonis’ 2005 solo debut, Vida were critically acclaimed, the latter earning Artist of the Year and Male Vocalist of the Year in the Island Music Awards. Sabor a Café builds upon these triumphs with a wide-ranging collection of astonishingly wise and witty songs.
From the playful, sexy lyrics and horn-driven rhythms of the opening title track to the set-capping, elegant soulfulness of Ura, the dozen originals on Sabor a Café offer a rich and varied narrative in praise of the power of love. Adonis Puentes has produced a warm, revelatory self-portrait. Even if you can’t speak a word of Spanish, you can hear his joy, his love of life, his passion!
There is a hypnotic, magical flow to the recording’s song sequence, a dream-like musical journey with echoes of myriad traditional Cuban forms conjured up by the studio musicians’ brilliance and Adonis Puentes’ visionary songwriting and evocative vocals.
Puentes has lived in Victoria, B.C. Canada since 1998, but his latest release is steeped in Cuban music history and culture. One song, Anjojos del Firmamento features Septeto Nacional de Cuba Ignacio Piñero, a Havana-based band founded 80 years ago.
“I grew up listening to their music,” Adonis enthused. “I shared my song with them when they were in Victoria. They liked it, and we recorded it in Cuba. Another Salsa great, Oscar Hernandez arranged three songs and played piano on Sabor a Café. Guys used to play Oscar Hernandez’s piano solos when we were in music school in Cuba. Now he’s playing piano on my new recording!”
The songs on Sabor a Café ripple with percussive cross rhythms and lightening-like horn lines that drive the music forward. A crisp studio sound captures a series of brilliant Salsa and Latin Jazz arrangements so skin-tight and dance-inducing that listeners might overlook the musician’s profoundly positive lyrics. It’s a masterful collection of original love songs from a Chekhov-inspired tribute to love’s power to overcome despair to the joyous hedonism of Tumbando Mangos and Sabor a Café- the first, comparing seeking love to knocking mangos from trees, the second describing the taste of coffee on his lover’s morning kiss.
The song-cycle includes a range of studio performances celebrating many phases and shapes of love from the magic of a long-awaited one night stand to Tarot prophesy of love’s eventual return, from the healing power of flowers and forgiveness to an appreciation of a love that grows and endures over the years. The songs on Sabor a Café delve into every corner of the heart while singing the praises of love and life lived fully.
It’s a sensuous, profound recording with dramatic arrangements and a crystal clear studio sound. Adonis Puentes is a great singer and an elegant composer and lyricist grounded and nourished by his Cuban roots and worldly experience. Sabor a Café is a modern, Cuban music masterpiece.
The Cactus Blossoms
Country / Western Swing
7:10-8:00pm Main Stage
1:10-2:00pm Main Stage
4:15-5:00pm Centennial Stage
“Brothers Duets” with The Gibson Brothers
When my brother and I started making music as The Cactus Blossoms there wasn’t a big plan. We cut our teeth performing some well known and obscure country songs that were popular or unpopular pre-1960, partly out of curiosity and deep appreciation, but mostly because it was fun. Early on we were given a residency at the Turf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota. We got a band together and it became our weekly practice-in-public where we would pull out every song we could think of, no matter how well we knew it. It was our first chance to play all night and do whatever we wanted. Over the course of our year and a half at the Turf Club our repertoire had snowballed into an amalgam of original songs and a bunch of gut wrenching, tongue-in-cheek heartbreakers, that were 30 years older than us. Not everyone could tell what was new and what was old, and it didn’t really matter. People just seemed to enjoy it. That’s when the wheel got going and gave the illusion of spinning backwards. We weren’t born in the wrong era. We just got into some music from a different era and found a way to make it our own.
Good fortune has followed us every step of the way, offering opportunities that seemed just beyond what we’re ready for. It always stretches us out and makes us feel lucky as hell. When JD McPherson called and said he was interested in producing our record, it was the latest in a series of serendipitous events that brought us to where we are today. We opened for him at a gig in our hometown Minneapolis a few months earlier and had met him briefly, but never could have imagined that within a year we would be collaborating on a new album and criss-crossing America on tour with his band. JD is a music connoisseur with the singing voice of an angel, the boundless creative energy of a child, a scholar’s mind and the auditory perception of a wolf. This guy was the guy. He wanted to do something sparse and rhythmic with simple melodic arrangements and it lined up perfectly with the direction our new songs were leading us.
We wanted to record live with the best rhythm section we could find, in one room, playing together while we sang. It’s not the easiest process, but it’s the way we wanted to capture the music. JD pointed us to Chicago and enlisted the talents of engineer/drummer Alex Hall, guitarist Joel Paterson, and bassist Beau Sample. It felt like a musical dream team, but we had no idea what would happen. We barely knew these guys and they barely knew our music. On the morning of our first session Alex was setting up microphones and running cables through his vents from the living room down to the control room in the basement. The rest of us were drinking coffee in the kitchen and making small talk. JD was running back and forth cracking jokes, trying to decide what song was best to do first. Within a couple of hours “Queen Of Them All” was finished, and everyone knew we were in the right place at the right time.
The result, You’re Dreaming, is the culmination of several years of songwriting and the kindness of thousands of miles and friends. With a cast of characters, experiences, and personal perspectives, set in simple rhymes and sung in harmony, we try to paint a picture in your mind.
-Jack & Page
Black Twig Pickers
8:20-9:10pm Main Stage
5:45-7:00pm Squares & Contras at Dance Stage
9:05-10:05pm Centennial Stage
1:00-2:00pm Workshop Lane
Banjo w/Nathan Bowles & Mike Merenda
3:00-4:00pm Workshop Lane
Deep Southwest Virginia Fiddle w/Mike Gangloff & Sally Anne Morgan
Banjos and fiddles, boards and bones in hand, the Black Twig Pickers dove into a living tradition of old-time music that surrounds their homes along the Virginia-West Virginia line and never looked back. Both scholars of the regional sounds and advocates of an ecstatic and highly personal approach to the music, the Twigs hold down local dance and bar gigs, play all manner of celebrations and every so often, hit the road.
Along the way, Isak Howell, Nathan Bowles, Mike Gangloff and Sally Anne Morgan kept company with some of underground America’s heavyweights and haunted the doorsteps of Appalachian fiddle and banjo masters. They’ve played for the National Council for the Traditional Arts and for audiences overseas. And they’ve put out a string of acclaimed albums on VHF, Klang, and Thrill Jockey.
“The Black Twigs come from the tradition more akin to the previous generation of masters than from many of those plying the trade today … wild and wooly playing, full out. What a refreshing sound, nothing fancy here! … The Black Twigs recapture the golden age of old-time music with all the spirit intact.” — Sing Out! Magazine
“Denk een beetje aan de ‘Beggar’s Banquet’-periode van The Rolling Stones.” — Konkurrent
“A peculiar and joyously dark sound … It’s a hoedown that never strays far from the most primitive roots, familial and earthbound. Calling all campfires, yr bare feet are stained with the dirt of a hundred years.” — Bigrockcandymountain
“A shitkicking Virginian group” — John Mulvey, Uncut
“The Appalachian Crazy Horse” — cowsarejustfood
“The Black Twigs (a.k.a. Black Twig Pickers) are one of southwest Virginia’s best old-time acts, yet they might as well be playing balls-out boogie rock. This trio can do more with fiddle/banjo, guitar and washboard than most bands can with towering stacks and squealing feedback. The Twigs understand that rhythm isn’t a question of volume or force — or feedback and reverb for that matter. It’s about timing. … You could call these guys alternative, which some in the old-time community do, but the Twigs aren’t indie foreigners tinkering with Appalachian traditions.” — Justin Farrar, Strawberry Flats
“Exciting old-time music at its finest.” — Bluegrass Unlimited
9:55-10:55pm Centennial Stage
12:45-1:35pm Centennial Stage
2:00-3:00pm Workshop Lane
Blue Slide Guitar w/Luke Winslow-King & Matthew Stubbs (Charlie Musselwhite)
Michigan native Luke Winslow-King is a New Orleans-based slide guitarist, singer, producer, and songwriter. His work is an eclectic mix that combines Mississippi delta blues, folk music, traditional jazz, and roots rock & roll. His original songs blend contemporary ideas with styles from a bygone eras, producing a sound that is both rustic and elegant. This along with his burgundy voice and versatile guitar have earned him a reputation as a musician who can deliver soulfully energetic and dynamic performances.
Since being named New Orleans’ Best Blues Artist by Gambit Magazine in 2015 Luke Winslow King has toured The United States, Australia, Canada, and Europe. He and the band are now planning a more extensive 2016-17 album release world tour.
Originally from Cadillac, Michigan, Winslow-King began studying and performing music at a young age , he first came to Louisiana at age 19 with Earthwork Music founders Seth Bernard and Daniel Kahn presenting “From California to the New York Island: The songs and stories of Woody Guthrie.” In 2002, a year after receiving his diploma from Interlochen Arts Academy, he made a pilgrimage back to New Orleans and ending up staying there almost by chance; after only a few days in town, Winslow-King’s car – filled to the brim with a band’s worth of instruments – was stolen while parked overnight on Ursulines Street in the Tremé. During the weeks spent trying to recover his vehicle and instruments LWK fell in love with the city that he now calls home. He enrolled in the music theory and composition program at the University of New Orleans in the spring of 2003 and was awarded an ambassador scholarship to study Czech classical music at St. Charles University in Prague that summer.
During the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Winslow-King lived in New York City and was employed as a music therapist by the Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics in the Bronx. He also held a music teacher’s position at the La Velle School for the Blind. While in New York, Luke studied composition privately and recorded with Grammy nominated avant-garde composer “Blue” Gene Tyranny, and attended Jack Hardy’s legendary songwriter’s circle.
In 2007 he headed back home to New Orleans after recording his first self-titled debut album and continued paying his dues, busking on Royal Street during the day and working in the clubs on Frenchman Street at night. In 2008 recorded ‘Old New Baby’ mostly live at Preservation Hall in New Orleans. He learned gospel and jazz standards accompanying John Boutté, studied bottleneck guitar with blues maestro Roberto Luti (formerly of The Washboard Chaz Blues Trio), and immersed himself in the trad jazz songbook while playing with the Loose Marbles Jazz Band. During this time he was also a member Meschiya Lake’s Little Big Horns and is featured on her album ‘Lucky Devil.’
This non-stop woodshedding helped Winslow-King hone his sound, earn respect as a leader among the young traditionalists in New Orleans, and become known as one of the hardest working, authentic, and original acts in Americana music. After performing years of weekly gigs on Frenchmen Street, he now consistently tours the United States, Europe, and Australia. With his 3rd album ‘The Coming Tide’ LWK and his band landed a support slot opening for Jack White on his Blunderbus tour and were signed to Bloodshot Records in 2013.
In 2014 LWK toured Serbia, Croatia, and Bosnia with ‘Blues for the Balkans’ raising money for flood relief in the area. An unreleased documentary was made about the experience.
LWK landed in front of larger audiences over the last few years while sharing the stage with the likes of Roseanne Cash, Jack White, Taj Mahal, Buckwheat Zydeco, Robert Earl Keen, Pokey Lafarge, Chris Thile, and the Rebirth Brass Band.
Luke Winslow King is set to release his 5th solo album on Bloodshot Records in 2016.
The album was recorded in Livorno, Italy during the bands 2015 summer tour, and was completed in New Orleans at Parlor Room Studios.
Featuring slide guitarist Roberto Luti, Benji Bohannon (drums), Brennan Andes (bass), and keyboardist Mike Lynch the album is a chaptered tale of woes and an instructional on how to survive true heartbreak. LWK’s signature soulful blues and songwriting style remain prevelant while the band explores a more electrified and energetic live sound that has become trademark of their live performances.
Red Tail Ring
Old-Time Roots, New-Time Sound
7:20-8:20pm Centennial Stage
RED TAIL RING is the musical brainchild of two old-time-minded Michiganders – Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo. The collaboration blends the loving attention of revivalist fervor with the playful creativity of starting from scratch. Whether rendering a traditional tune or one of their many original compositions, the duo infuses each song with musical imagination, haunting harmonies and instrumental artistry on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, jawharp, and plain-old foot stomping. “We love pushing the boundaries of what a traditional song can be,” says Beauchamp. “It informs how we write our original songs. There’s a real energy exchange between the old and the new.”
This two-way connection takes center stage with Red Tail Ring’s first pair of recordings released in April 2011 on Earthwork Music, Middlewest Chant and Mountain Shout. The set forms a complete picture of Red Tail Ring’s blending of old with new. Middlewest Chant is comprised of all original songs, while Mountain Shout features Red Tail Ring’s interpretations of Appalachian ballads and melodies. “We tried to weave the music on these two albums together not only with similar musical treatment, but with running lyric lines and shared songforms,” Premo says.
In May 2013, Red Tail Ring released their third full-length album. The Heart’s Swift Footpresents 10 original songs with two acoustic standards that stretch the confines of what two people can create sonically. The duo’s signature style, of layered, intricate instrumental lines over close vocal harmonies, shines on this new collection. “We crafted the recording to be as close to our live performance as possible,” Beauchamp says. “We feel we’re at our best when we’re playing together, listening and reacting as we go along.” As a whole, the lyrics of The Heart’s Swift Foot explore changes that come without warning, and the malleability of relationships and friendships.
In 2014, Premo and Beauchamp collaborated in a wider circle and produced two joint releases.The New Roots Exchange is a vinyl project created with the marvelous bluegrass band Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys. The Right Hands Round is a recording of energetic square dance music with the stringband Bowhunter.
Since the release of their 2011 double-album, Red Tail Ring has remained busy, playing as many as 130 shows a year, with tours to both U.S. coasts as well as Denmark and Germany – “exporting some Midwest sounds,” as Premo puts it.
For Premo and Beauchamp, Red Tail Ring encircles their present and future – a place where expansion and creativity meet tradition, and thrive.
8:35-9:35pm Centennial Stage
Stella! is a three-piece, all-women, American roots band from southeast Michigan and has been referred to as a singer-songwriter super group with three-part vocal harmonies and three songwriter voices. Stella! was first conceived of by singer-songwriter Jo Serrapere after a conversation with American music critic, Bruce Springsteen biographer, and Creem Magazine co-founder Dave Marsh. Jo was inspired to put together a new group to showcase country-roots songwriting. With the release of their debut album, “Sorry, Stella,” the girls were invited to join Michigan-based music collective Earthwork Music.
Eclectic writer Jo Serrapere credits songwriter Tom Waits, early blues, jazz, and old-time country as her strongest influences. She was the founding member of the old-time string band, Uncle Earl. Jo has had two appearances on National Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion” and three albums with her band, Jo Serrapere and the Willie Dunns, including her recent release, “Love Going South.” “Love Going South” held the #1 position for two months on the Freeform American Roots Chart in fall of 2009 and was listed in their top 10 albums of 2009. Jo’s new album, “Dollar Store Nation” will be released in early 2015.
Jo asked songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jen Sygit to join Stella! as another songwriting voice in the group. Jen’s voice adds deep blues tones to Stella! She plays acoustic and electric guitar, banjo, Dobro and Ukelele. Jen has three solo albums to her credit, including her new release, “So Long Pollyanna.” Her previous album, “Leaving Marshall Street” was nominated for a 2007 Detroit Music Award and charted at #9 on the Free Form American Roots Chart. Jen also performs solo and with the Americana band Lincoln County Process.
In the Fall of 2010 Stella! accquired singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Laura Ann Bates. University trained in vocal performance, piano and flute, Laura has now taken up the upright bass. By pursuing opera in the classroom by day, bluegrass and folk in the bars at night, hymns and choral pieces on Sunday morning, she has developed a very diverse musical pallet. In 2007 Laura released a CD with songwriter Brandon Foote called “Jubilee.” She and Jo also perform with the Lansing Vaudeville troupe “The Lil’ Darlins.”
The Go Rounds
Kalamazoo’s favorite suns. High energy twang-rock and jelly-roll.
11:45pm-12:45am Centennial Stage
The Go Rounds are a furious live act and progressive recording unit, fueled by the history of its diverse lineup and a collaborative spirit injected into everything from songwriting to arranging. Equally inspired by their record collections as the beauty of the Great Lakes State, the band explores soul music, baroque folk, art rock, country and classic rock n’ roll.
Delilah DeWylde & The Lost Boys
8:40-10:20pm Rockabilly Dance at Dance Stage
A long time ago, at the dawn of the Atomic Age, a succession of no-good punks and ill-mannered teenagers took the best of American roots music — hard-partying honky tonk country, searing gutbucket blues and lonesome hillbilly twang — and distilled it into a potent moonshine known as rockabilly. This combustible formula, passed down through the generations, forms the heart of the revved-up stylings of Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys.
Mixing their own self-penned songs with vintage country/honky tonk hits, rockabilly favorites, and surf gems by such artists as Hank Williams Sr., Johnny Cash, Wanda Jackson, Buck Owens, Gene Vincent, and Dick Dale, Delilah and the Lost Boys come out on stage looking and sounding like a step back in time. Dressed to the nines in the tradition of pre-color television, the band thrilled audiences across the Midwest with its spirited performances.
Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys got its start in 2005. Just like rockabilly originators Johnny Cash, Bill Haley and Carl Perkins, this Michigan trio cut its teeth on steel-guitar driven country in the style popularized by Hank Williams, Ernest Tubb and Webb Pierce. But the draw of the big beat was irresistible, and over time the band’s approach has become sharper and tighter. Not self-consciously retro, Delilah and the Lost Boys remain committed to hand-crafted American music that stands at the crossroads of creativity and craftsmanship, liberally drawing from hony tonk country, rockabilly and surf music
Bandleader Delilah DeWylde (upright bass/lead vocals) is veteran of the West Michigan music scene and an alumna of rockabilly institution DangerVille. Her outsized stage presence is the centerpiece of the show — one minute singing sweetly, the next standing on her bass and slapping it into submission.
Next to the sound and fury of Miss Delilah stands cool character Lee Harvey on the big ol’ orange Gretsch guitar. His serious demeanor onstage reveals his reverence for the precision and technique of the “original” guitar gods—the likes of Paul Burlison, Billy Byrd, Cliff Gallup, Grady Martin, Dick Dale, Luther Perkins, Scotty Moore and Don Rich.
Drummer D.J. McCoy may not be affiliated with the famous feud between Hatfield and McCoy families, but he pounds his drums like they stole his prized hog nonetheless. Another veteran of the Michigan music scene, D.J. is a “drummer’s drummer” who makes his competition drool with both his skills and the vintage kits he plays.
Taking their task seriously, this trio plies its trade the old-fashioned way – live and in person, logging more than 75 gigs a year throughout the Midwest and beyond. The band also has recorded three LPs (as they used to call ’em): 2008’s Honky Tonk Heart, 2010’s The Price You Pay and Win My Love – recorded in 2012.
Mark Lavengood Bluegrass Bonanza!
11:15pm-12:15am Centennial Stage
Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1984, Mark Lavengood’s first musical impressions were formed by a family that valued the importance of music; a family that looked to music for strength and for the purest sense of joy and community. At a young age, Lavengood was informed by the raw movement of music, by percussion, the beat. Joining the middle school band as a percussionist in 6th grade, he quickly became an important source of talent and inspiration within his community. After teaching himself to play the drums, he began to venture into unfamiliar territory ranging from guitar to ukulele, congas to steel pans, and eventually to the resonator guitar & straight steel console (amongst other instruments).Mark studied with Dave Zerbe in the Alma College Percussion Ensemble on top of dabbling in the jazz band, choir, and marching band while studying Spanish and International Business at Alma College. Post-graduation, Lavengood honed his skills on the dobro playing with the self-proclaimed rebels of Michigan folkgrass, winter/sessions while simultaneously working part-time at the world acclaimed Founder’s Brewery in Grand Rapids, MI. It was this 1-2 combo that singlehandedly set “Huggy Bear” into existence.
Mark first saw Michigan dobro player extraordinaire Joe Wilson (of Steppin’ In It) and Drew Howard (multi-instrumentalist, MI natural treasure) perform at the Frederick Meijer Gardens, August, 2005 and was instinctively drawn toward the resonator guitar. Since then, Mark has carved his technique and attack on the instrument through observing the playing and instructions of aforementioned Joe Wilson & Drew Howard, Rob Ickes, Jerry Douglas, Andy Hall, Todd Livingston, Sally Van Meter, and Mike Witcher – all contemporary (with some legends in the list, yet still contemporaries) dobro players in the national bluegrass and beyond community. One could call Lavengood a renaissance man where that his impact is not felt so heavily and heartily than by those at the places and professions he has spent time.
Mark keeps busy with a rich and diverse mix of activities. He currently plays full-time with Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys and contributes his craft with his own band, the Mark Lavengood Bluegrass Bonanza! and other regional and national acts when time provides.
6:00-7:00pm Centennial Stage
Linguists have debated the true meaning of Soltre for years. Some say it refers to a philosophy of peace and love. Others say it is a word rooted from a Gaeilge word for laundry soap. To us, Soltre means 5 guys with a wide variety of musical background and talent that have come together to make music they love. We hope you love it too.
Sean Ellsworth-Hoffman’s music reflects his love of far flung empty places and doing work that matters. He grew up on a small farm in northern Indiana and has worked as a merchant mariner, construction worker, teacher, and musician. He began playing fiddle at an early age and has been performing ever since. He currently plays fiddle, guitar, and ukulele and sings with Goldmine Pickers, Soltre, the Midnight Cattle Callers, and Clusterfolk
Rick Willey was born into the middle of a large family of artists and musicians in Saint Joseph, Michigan. Rick started playing mandolin and fiddle as a teenager in a family band. Over the years he explored many styles of fiddle and mandolin music while performing with The Willeys, Paddy’s Racket, Fonn Mor and Soltre. When not listening to the songs of birds, the naturalist and wildlife artist listens to and plays a lot of Irish and old-time fiddle tunes.
Eric grew up surrounded by music. He started singing at the church he grew up in with hymns then later in choirs and musical theater. He developed a love for Celtic music at an early age and it became his prime focus in music through the years. When he’s not giving technical advice on industrial machinery, Eric plays the bodhran, fiddle, mandolin, and sings sean-nos.
Adam Carter is a versatile multi-instrumentalist whose sensitivity and talent allow him to blend seamlessly into a variety of musical styles ranging from old-time and Irish to Latin rock and pop. He currently plays and sings with several bands, including Lalo Cura, soft psychic, Goldmine Pickers, and Soltre.
1:50-2:40 Centennial Stage
Chris Buhalis was born and raised on Detroit’s east side, but his songs come from places you can only find if you stick out your thumb and follow fate’s lead. Covering territory from Alaska’s whiskey-soaked bars to the spark- and steel-filled auto plants of Detroit, Chris writes songs that speak of real people in real situations. Chris has appeared on radio’s “Acoustic Cafe” and shared stages with the likes of David Bromberg, Catie Curtis, and Dave Van Ronk.
Cajun Dance Instruction w/Back Bayou
5:30-6:15pm Dance Stage
Let’s Talk Dance
12:45-1:30 Dance Stage
Ira Bernstein is a dancer and teacher in the United States who specializes in traditional American dance forms such as Appalachian-style clogging, flatfoot dancing, tap dance, and step dancing. He is considered an authority on clogging, and the leading figure in this dance style. He calls himself a “percussive step dancer who specializes in Appalachian flatfooting,” and also dances Green Grass style Appalachian clogging, English clogging, French-Canadian step dancing, Irish step dancing, and South African gumboot dancing.
The Song Tent
5:15-6:45pm Michigan Singer-Songwriters
Singer/guitarist/songwriter Frank Allison hails from Ann Arbor, MI, where he is considered one of pop’s best kept secrets by many. Equally influenced by the Beatles as he is by Irving Berlin, Allison has been issuing albums since the early ’90s, either as a solo artist or with his band, the Odd Sox, known for their raucous and happy shows. With a talent for storytelling within his songs, if you can’t sample Allison’s talents in its natural setting (coffee shops or intimate venues), you can check out such albums as Hokey Smoke, the live Pig Out, Monkey Business, or Workman’s Meal. Frank continues to churn out smart lyrics and well crafted melodies, now with a touch of world rhythm. Frank continues to play shows with his wife, Karie Dorsten, and daughter, Olive Rose Ciancolo. The band is thinking about going under the name “Some Odd Girls.”
The Song Tent
5:15-6:45pm Michigan Singer-Songwriters
May Erlewine comes from a family of artists and musicians. Early on she was exposed to music (and people) of all kinds. May was home-educated, came up singing and while still just a teenager hitchhiked all across North America playing in small and large towns, riding freight trains with her little dog, and busking on the streets. In her travels May Erlewine came to know the land and the pulse of the people. Her songs show a very real connection and concern with everyday folk.
May plays guitar, fiddle, viola, piano and a few other instruments, but mostly she sings. Her songs are treasured by people of all faiths and politics. May has played music not only all across America but also for people all over the world. What is perhaps most remarkable is May’s songwriting ability. Although she is a wonderful singer and her voice is instantly recognizable, it is the songs that she writes that are really turning heads. May’s songs are sung (and recorded) by other artists, both great and small.
The sounds and influences you’ll hear in her music range from good old fashioned folk and country swing to soul singers, rock and music from all over the wide world. It’s all bundled together with stories and melodies to take you on a journey of the heart.
The Song Tent
5:15-6:45pm Michigan Singer-Songwriters
Natalie Mae is a northern-born singer/songwriter who has honed her many musical talents into a new and unique blend of folk/roots music. Her parents, music teachers and folk musicians themselves, instilled in her the passion and love for music at a young age, encouraging her to learn multiple instruments and to take the songwriting craft seriously. She started playing piano at the age of five and by high school was playing the guitar, banjo and bass. Since moving to Louisiana, where she recently received a BM in Music Industry Studies from Loyola University New Orleans, Natalie has taken her songwriting to another level, using her talents with all her instruments, including the ukulele, to express her stories of desired love, dying love, and forgotten love. Her experience from listening to and observing her parents’ traditional folk band (The Raisin Pickers) can be heard in her use of traditional story lines and simple melodies. Her voice carries each melody with power and ease, while her lyrics prove to be crafted with great care. Detroit Music Hall of Fame member and prominent figure in the Midwest folk scene for over 25 years, Dick Siegel has described Natalie Mae’s songwriting as “inventive, detailed, emotionally straightforward, poetic and plainspoken,” and her singing as “achingly melodic and interesting… like watching a wild beautiful thing, wondering where it’s going to land next.”
Natalie Mae released “Waiting on You” in 2009, a self-titled EP in 2010, and another full-length in 2012 titled “More Than You Know” which was nominated for Best Country/Folk/Americana Album of the Year from the Offbeat Awards. She has performed at many notable venues around the South and Midwest, including The Ark in Ann Arbor, MI and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.
5:15-6:45pm Michigan Singer-Songwriters
The Song Tent
55 year old Joe Shields (AKA Joe Cartoon, AKA Cousin Joe Twoshacks) bought a guitar just 8 years ago, and quickly began writing songs. In 2016 he became a winner of the prestigious Kerrville New Folk competition. He writes peculiar, irreverent, strangely beautiful songs about trout, heartache, rocks, toads, growing up Downriver, and mythic freshwater whales.
3:30-4:10pm The Song Tent
Considered the Ambassador of Acoustic Music in West Michigan, Ralston signed on with Judy Collins’ record label, Wildflower Records in 2007. This placed his 2004 debut release, “Carwreck Conversations and his sophomore 2008 recording project, “Rally at the Texas Hotel,” into distribution internationally through Warner/Elektra/Atlantic Corp.
Ralston’s albums stand as thoughtful gifts to receptive concert goers who desire to hold something that can bring them back to those sentinel moments when they felt maybe certain parts of their minds and hearts somehow shared the stage with this growing legend.
Ralston’s writing has garnered prizes from American Songwriter Magazine, Nashville Songwriters Association International, Country Music Television, Unisong, International Song Competition and Kerrville New Folk.
In his travels, Ralston has been asked to open and sometimes play with musical luminaries of the grandest sort, including The Hothouse Flowers, Gurf Morlix, T-Bone Burnett, Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins, Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson.
Michelle Chenard & Pete Kehoe
12:50-1:30pm Song Tent
Michelle Chenard is a veteran singer/songwriter who has been continually voted a favorite in Northern Michigan as Best Solo Performer, Best of the Best and more in Northern Express, Northern Michigan’s largest newsweekly. She released her first music video, Blade with critical acclaim and to a packed house at City Park Grill, a well known music venue in Petoskey, Michigan in the spring of 2012. 2012 was a good year for Michelle as she scored a Michigan Emmy® Award for musical score on the TV documentary Sacrifice and Honor: A Tribute to our Northern Michigan Veterans. She continually performs hundreds of shows across the state each year. In addition to her tireless schedule, Michelle founded Mackinac Island Songwriters Workshop with her brother from another mother Pete Kehoe, has been writing and recording with country artist Julianne Ankley and performing with her band, Blood Sisters.
Singing and playing guitar since she was seven years old, it’s no surprise that Chenard has garnered such respect and accolades. Her acoustic performances have built her a strong following throughout the Upper Midwest. From Michigan’s unspoiled Upper Peninsula down the coast of Lake Michigan and back, it is her powerful vocals, accomplished guitar work and award winning songwriting that continues to captivate.
Uncle John’s old Gibson is what got things started. Over 30 years and a few dozen guitars, keyboards, computers and assorted real and virtual instruments later, the itch is still there. His widely varied resumé includes church organist, guitar and piano teacher, an Emmy winning composer for jingles, films, corporate productions and websites, lead vocalist, and performer on acoustic and electric guitar and keys. Pete’s also in demand as a session player, arranger and producer for recordings and clients of all kinds, a lot of which are done via FTP/broadband these days. He’s also got decent chops on bass (upright and electric), harmonica, mandolin (OK…he’s no Bill Monroe), and french horn (no kidding). Pete regularly performs a solo acoustic act at some of the biggest resorts in the midwest, playing a mix of clever, off-the-beaten-path covers and originals. He’s played with and/or opened for such diverse artists as CeCe Peniston, Humble Pie, The Romantics, Rick Derringer, Edwin McCain, Aaron Lewis (Staind), Hootie & The Blowfish and more. Pete’s put out 2 live records, “Live At Latitude” and “Flaws & All: Live At The Pink Pony”, and is working on his first solo studio record, hoping to have it done in summer 2013. In his spare time, he golfs, skis, mountain bikes and swims in Lake Michigan whenever it’s over 50 degrees.
Jan Krist & Jim Bizer
2:30-3:10 The Song Tent
Jan Krist and Jim Bizer hail from Detroit, justly famous as Motown, but home to myriad musical influences. They met and made music together while still in their teens. On their own they have each garnered acclaim as songwriters and performers. Now, Jim and Jan have joined forces in a fun and formidable duo where the sum is greater than the already substantial parts.
With “Influence”, their first CD as a duo, Jan and Jim pay homage to their roots, reflecting the music of their hometown and Midwest U.S.A. Their songs range from heartfelt to hilarious – sometimes both at once. Lush harmonies, intelligent and insightful lyrics, plenty of groove – and at the heart is the profound respect and playful interaction Jim and Jan share with their listeners. It’s not surprising that, between the two of them, their accomplishments have been recognized by The Great American Song Contest, Detroit Music Awards, New Folk (Kerrville Folk Festival, TX) and NewSong Festival (WV).