2016 Winter Wheat Performers

Billy Strings & Don JulinThe AccidentalsDelilah DeWyldeBenzie PlayboysPeat in the CreelMegan DooleyRoosevelt DiggsJive at FiveThe Palooka BrothersGasoline GypsiesBlue Water RamblersDan Seabolt & StudentsLaurie Pietravalle

Billy Strings & Don Julin

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Incendiary American roots duo Billy Strings & Don Julin tap into the vein of the earliest bluegrass music on their new album Fiddle Tune X,  back when bluegrass was a rough-and-tumble art form pouring out of the Appalachian mountains, made with great virtuosity and huge attitude. With just two instruments (guitar and mandolin) and one voice, this duo has been tearing up stages across America and generating huge buzz based on their intense live shows. Drenched in sweat, grimacing like a banshee, howling like a bluegrass berserker, and picking with such ferocity that he’s been known to break three strings in one song, 22 year old guitarist and singer Billy Strings could have tumbled out of coal country in the old mountains, tattoos and all, but actually hails from Michigan, where he met mandolinist Don Julin. Older in years and experience, Strings’ musical partner Julin has carved out a lengthy career at the forefront of acoustic mandolin music, known for his wide versatility, powerful picking technique, and remarkable creativity on this humble instrument. On stage, the two egg each other on to more and more intense riffs and improvised breaks, pushing harder and harder on their own abilities to try to break through to new levels of musicianship. There’s a reason that they were called “the unholy child of Pantera and Tony Rice” by The Bluegrass Situation, and they show this intensity on their new album, Fiddle Tune X.

The Accidentals

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Front Lounge 



 Multi-instrumentalists, Katie Larson and Savannah Buist are creating quite a name for themselves among music lovers of all genre’s.  Described as, “A duo giving an edge to folk with unique instrumentation”, Z93 FM DJ, Matt Mansfield writes: “Combine musicality, originality and melodic beauty with a welcome and unexpected bite to clever lyrics and youv’e got Accidentals music. Songwriters, look no farther to find a new pairing to be jealous of, especially with such a bright future ahead of them.”

    They met in 2011 at their public high school.  Katie (15) was a freshman cello player, “playing up” in the Philharmonic Orchestra and Savannah (16) was Concert Master, violinist. They volunteered for a class assignment that threw them together for their first rehearsal and The Accidentals were born.

Growing up in musical families with professional pianists for fathers and vocalist for mothers, their influences bounced between classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, alt-rock, and the obscure.  Their collective playlist you won’t find on mainstream radio.  They are “explorers and admirers” of indie music greats like Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, Sufjean Stephens, Arcade Fire, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s, Black Keys, Sara Jaffe (and the Beatles).  Their original tunes reflect their exposure to a wide variety of instruments while staying true to their orchestral roots. In addition to playing guitar, bass, glockenspiel, mandolin, banjo, piano, organ, accordian, and kazoo…you can’t miss the edgy violin and cello that defines this duo.

In 2012 these two ladies auditioned for and snaged a covetted spot in the first ever singer-songwriter major at the renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts High School -around the time they released their first self-produced album, Tangled Red and Blue.  In early reviews of Tangled Red and Blue,  Kristi Kates, The Express, was the first to say what everyone was thinking,  “It’s difficult to believe that music this accomplished is being crafted by two talents who are still in high school – but that’s The Accidentals’ story.”

    In two short years (2011-2013) they would write and record two albums, play as guest artists on several others, score three films, and land song placements in several commercials, documentaries, independent films, and music compilations while playing over five hundred live shows and maintaining a 3.9 + GPA.

In 2013 The Accidentals opened for some of their favorite artists, Andrew Bird, Sixto Rodriguez (Sugar Man), Brandi Carlile, Rusted Root, The Whalers, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Aunt Martha, and SHEL.

They hopped an RV to tour their home state of Michigan for a consecutive seven weeks while finishing and releasing their second album Bittersweet.

    The GR Press called their stage show “stunning, an unforgettable experience watching these two girls play a sea of instruments (twelve to be exact), moving effortlessly from one to the other, while entertaining the masses with their wit, haunting harmonies, and catchy melodies, they are truly unforgettable.”

Fifteen track, Bittersweet,  was recorded with award winning producers in Nashville and Indiana in March 2013.  According to UK Magazine, Leicester Bangs: “The lyrical flow is intriguing and absorbing – and so complex as to draw comparison to Joanna Newsom in full poetic flight.” DW Magazine, UK adds; “heady folk and sweet melodies embellish an accomplished set of songs – Larson and Buist have found their trademark sound but they’re not going to let it get in the way of a little diversity.”

  In 2013 they composed an original score for an independent film called “One Simple Question” that released in November 2014 at Blue Ocean Film Festival,  and their songs “The Silence”, “City of Cardboard”, and “Miso Soup” have been selected for use in a second indie film, called “Please Wait To Be Seated”, to be released in Mar. 2014.  “The Silence” was licensed to Shanty Creek Resorts for commercial.

    Reviews of their song “The Silence” landed them a featured artist spot on  Reverbnation’s home page and put their new album in rotation on CBS Radio.  It also garnered the attention of songwriting legend, Marshall Crenshaw and Grammy award winning engineer, producer Stewart Lerman.  

   In 2014, The Accidentals added multi-instrumentalist, Michael Dause, on drums and percussion and toured the west, mid-west, and east coast extensively. 

     They are currently working on the first of a four album contract with ILO, (Marshall and Stewarts production company) and are on the Fleming Artists roster for booking.

    The Accidentals recently won Traverse Magazine’s “Red Hot Best” of Northern Michigan Music for their third year in a row, and Bittersweet won “Album of the Year” and “Best New Artist” 2015 WYCE Jammie awards.  They were named one of the top seven breakout artists at SXSW 2015 by Billboard Magazine.

    They are looking forward to both touring nationally in 2015 and releasing a brand new album.

    The Accidentals journey is just beginning and they can’t wait for  you to join them.  You can follow them on twitter at moreaccidentals, facebook at theaccidentals, and their website www.moreaccidentals.com.  You can contact them at moreaccidentals@gmail.com.

Delilah DeWylde & The Lost Boys

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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.

K. Jones & The Benzie Playboys


Cajun Dancing in the Showroom:



K.Jones and the Benzie Playboys play straight up zydeco and cajun tunes with button accordion and fiddle leads.  Allons danser!!

Peat in the Creel
with the Arden Academy of Irish Dancers

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“Peat in the Creel draws from Irish traditional music roots, at times nourished by the heritage of Scotland and broader world influences, to bring forth a range of energetic dance tunes, spirited folk songs, and peaceful melodies. The group’s namesake, a phrase inspired by a popular Scottish song lyric which literally wishes a basket laden with peat for fuel, metaphorically toasts to a bountiful future. Founded in 2011, the band is cut from the turf of West Michigan and enjoys performing throughout the region. Peat in the Creel features Alison Myers on flute, whistle, and vocals; Laura Christiansen on fiddle; Toby Bresnahan on bouzouki, guitar, and vocals; and Mike Mulder on bodhrán.”

Megan Dooley

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Born and raised in Kalamazoo, Megan Dooley has been performing in Michigan and surrounding areas for over 14 years. Steeped in rich American roots music that bursts with a modern attitude and soulful inflection, Dooley captures audiences whether performing solo or leading a full band. Her rich, gritty, and powerful vocals weave between punchy rhythm guitar, eloquent banjolele, and a “whistle as pure as birdsong, expressed with great musical aplomb.” to create a musical experience all her own. Dubbed “The First Lady” of the Kalamazoo music scene by Revue Magazine in October 2013, Megan Dooley is a Michigan performer that is not to be missed.

Roosevelt Diggs

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Front Lounge



Music is felt, not heard. Live music is an exchange of emotions from musician to audience and back again. It is something that cannot be harnessed with a silver disk or mp3. Roosevelt Diggs brings the wide influences of 4 individuals into one painted landscape. They focus their obsession for music into this live music setting……. for true Roosevelt Diggs, experience it live.

Jive at Five

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From swingin’ harmony vocals to smokin’ hot jump blues to silky smooth ballads, Jive At Five has an ear in the past and an eye on today’s swing and jazz scene. Inspired by the small combo traditions of Nat King Cole, the Mills Brothers, Louis Jordan, Count Basie, and other legends of swing and jazz, this Michigan based group will have you swingin’ from the first note. Add a healthy sense of humor to a diverse repertoire of swing dance tunes, jazz and blues and you have a recipe for a good time! Jive At Five came together as group in 1992.  While staying true to their swing and jazz musical mission, Jive at Five is known to be versatile and adaptable. Often credited with “bringing the event alive,” Jive at Five has performed at hundreds of concerts, dances, receptions, clubs, parties and festivals over the years. In addition Jive at Five offers several programs for schools featuring assembly performance, instrumental workshops and exciting swing dance workshops for students and staff. Programs can be designed for all age groups and for audiences small or large.

The Palooka Brothers

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Front Room
Open Jam w/The Palooka Brothers 2:30-3:30pm

Squares & Contras


The Gasoline Gypsies

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Front Lounge



The current lineup came together in early 2013 after original members Caleb Malooley and Steve Briere had released a “southern twinged, acoustic rock” EP, with percussionist Jason Peart. After Peart moved to Nashville, local friends and jam mates Rob Schweihofer and Joe Makowski came on board and brought their musical influences into the mix. The vibrant new sound is pure Rock n’ Roll, with a slight country edge, but their collective tastes for many different musical genres is a notable influence. With three part harmonies that sound like a single voice, driving guitar and bass riffs, their songs are powerful and intense, yet easy to grasp. You’ll find intelligent lyrics with compelling story lines, catchy vocal hooks, and a few clever turns-of-phrase along the way. Although much of their writing follows old-school music philosophy reminiscent of the Beatles, Doors, Zeppelin, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, they’re not opposed to breaking into a bluegrass jam session from time to time, imagine Charlie Daniels. A recently recorded new song, Abilene, brings rock-a-billy to life, meeting head on with contemporary music.

Live performances have been honed with hundreds of shows and countless hours of rehearsal and performance training. True to their Gypsy spirit, the guys follow an itinerant or otherwise unconventional way of life, with their over the top energy, passion, and relentless drive. All this, much to the delight of fans who can’t get enough of their music and live concerts. The Gasoline Gypsies craft songs that you find yourself singing at your desk or in public all day long. Truly the kind of music that flat out makes you feel good, and not afraid to show it.

Blue Water Ramblers

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Front Room



The Blue Water Ramblers are lead singers who take turns harmonizing with each other to create the Blue Water Rambler tapestry of sound. Banjo-Jim Foerch sings of the sailors, farmers, lumberjacks, politicians and workers. Bear Berends croons the love songs and delivers protest songs old and new.

Danny Seabolt & His Scholarship Students

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Front Lounge

Laurie Pietravalle

Showroom 5:10-6:30pm
Calling Squares and Contras
Music by the Palooka Brothers

Laurie has known the love of dance all her life. She started early with tap, and moved through ballroom, country, swing, and Irish Set, and on to Contras and Squares. She started calling a bit by accident when she organized the first callers workshop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. At “graduation”, her mentor, Michael Clark, asked the group who was planning to call a dance during that evening’s event. When Laurie said, “Don’t look at me, I’m not a caller.” he responded, “Yes, you are!”

As a caller, Laurie is known for fun and effective new dancer introductions, efficient and directive walk-throughs, enjoyable dance selections, and good intuition in adjusting dances to fit the crowd. Laurie is an avid dancer and dance organizer. She holds committee and board positions with several West Michigan dance communities and festivals, and maintains an active role in supporting new dance communities throughout Michigan and Southern Indiana.

2016 Winter Wheat Main Page