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BLUE HIGHWAY: In 2021, the highly esteemed bluegrass band Blue Highway celebrated 27 years of touring, with four of the original members still intact. The band has earned a collective 28 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Awards, plus three Grammy nominations.
Blue Highway rolls on with a rich legacy and three powerhouse songwriters, instrumentalists and vocalists in Tim Stafford (guitar), Wayne Taylor (bass), and Shawn Lane (mandolin), whose harmonies soar over Jason Burleson’s dynamic banjo and the tasteful Dobro of Gary Hultman. Momentum continues to build for this quarter-century strong band!
SAT – Workshop Lane – 3:30-4:30 – Mandolin with Shawn Lane
SAT – Workshop Lane – 4:00-5:00 – Guitar with Tim Stafford
SAT – Main Stage – 10:00-10:50
SUN – Main Stage – 12:30-1:20
Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner Joe Louis Walker celebrates a career that exceeds half a century. Walker was born in 1949, in San Francisco, and took up the guitar at the age of 14. Within two years, he was a known quantity on the Bay Area music scene.
A true powerhouse guitar virtuoso, unique singer and prolific songwriter, Walker has toured extensively throughout his career, performed at the world’s most renowned music festivals, and earned a legion of dedicated fans. Walker’s 1986 debut album announced his arrival in stunning fashion, and his subsequent output has only served to further establish Walker as a leading bluesman.
Walker (guitar, vocals) will be accompanied at Wheatland by Lenny Bradford (bass, vocals), Scott Milici (keyboards, vocals), and John Mederios Jr. (drums and vocals).
Looking back on his rich history, Walker shares, “I’d like to be known for the credibility of a lifetime of being true to my music and the blues…. I’d like to think that when someone puts on one of my records, they would know from the first notes: ‘That’s Joe Louis Walker.’”
FRI – Main Stage – 9:30-10:20
SAT – Main Stage – 1:10-2:00
SAT – Centennial Stage – 8:20-9:20
Fiddler Eileen Ivers, who has established herself as the pre-eminent exponent of the Irish fiddle in the world today, will change the way you think about the violin. Only a rare and select grade of spectacular artists present work so boldly imaginative and clearly virtuosic that it alters the medium. Eileen has been called “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin” by the New York Times.
The daughter of Irish immigrants, Eileen grew up in the culturally diverse neighborhood of the Bronx, New York. She was rooted in Irish traditional music from the age of eight, and Eileen won nine All-Ireland Fiddle Championships (and a tenth All-Ireland Championship on tenor banjo).
Eileen Ivers will be joined at Wheatland by Buddy Connolly (accordion, whistles, keyboards), Matt Mancuso (guitar, trumpet, fiddle, vocals), Lindsey Horner (bass, baritone sax), and Dave Barckow (percussion, guitar, vocals). The L.A. Times described a performance by Eileen Ivers and this energetic band as “music with the kind of life and spirit that come together when talented artists from different backgrounds find the linkages that connect all forms of music…. No wonder the audience loved every minute.”
SAT – Centennial Stage – 3:20-4:10 = Shore to Shore w/Dirk Powell
SAT – Main Stage – 11:10-12:00
SUN – Main Stage – 1:40-2:30
Over the last three decades, Big Sandy and his Fly Rite Boys have kept up a constant cycle of traveling back and forth across the lower 48, then hopping across the pond to Europe and beyond. They bring with them a brand of American music that has earned them an induction into the Rockabilly Hall of Fame, several national television appearances, guest spots on The Grand Ole Opry, and a slew of adoring fans.
In addition to bandleader Robert “Big Sandy” Williams (vocals, acoustic rhythm guitar), members of the Fly-Rite Boys are Kevin Stewart (bass, harmony vocals), Frankie Hernandez (drums), and Ashley Kingman (electric lead guitar).
“I truly love being out on the road, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to sing my songs all over the world,” says Sandy. “But when I’m away from the U.S. for too long, it’s like I need a recharge… like I need a solid dose of everything Americana. Give me a Chuck Berry song while rolling down the interstate, or a truck stop conversation with a waitress who once danced with Lefty Frizzell, and I’m good for another three thousand miles.”
FRI – Main Stage – 10:40-11:30
SAT – Main Stage – 2:20-3:10
SAT – Dance Stage – 8:30-10:00 – Honkytonk Dance
The late Dewey Balfa once said, “A culture is like a tree, you have to water the roots, but you can’t go cutting off the branches every time the tree tries to grow”. Well, Racines (which means “roots” in French) both waters the roots and stretches outward. A collaborative project of five gentlemen who are all well-known Cajun musicians in their own right, Racines explores the varying musical traditions that call Southwest Louisiana home: Cajun music, Zydeco, blues and more.
Racines are Steve Riley (accordion, fiddle, guitar, vocals), Kevin Wimmer (fiddle, vocals), Mitchell Reed (bass, fiddle), Chris Stafford (guitars, lap steel), and Glenn Fields (drums).
SAT – Main Stage – 6:30-7:20
SAT – Dance Stage – 10:30-12:00 – Cajun Dance
SUN – Main Stage – 6:20-7:10
Bandleader Joe Troop is a multi-instrumentalist, singer-songwriter hailing originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Joe considers himself an activist. Committed to learning direct action from stalwart progressive organizers, his music is deeply embedded with and inspired by his activism.
In December of last year, after many months searching for a place to call home, Joe put down roots in Durham, North Carolina. He was invited to do a month-long residency at a local arts space called the Fruit, and out of that was born a new quartet with three friends.
Omar Ruiz-Lopez is a classically trained violinist/violist born in Panama and raised in Puerto Rico. A longtime resident of Durham, Omar has melded his Caribbean musical heritage and noteworthy virtuosity with the Appalachian string band tradition.
With a list of bonafides that includes performing alongside jazz and R&B luminaries including Branford Marsalis and Aretha Franklin, composer and percussionist Brevan Hampden has built a reputation as a technical master and a sought-after collaborator.
Rounding out the quartet is Mexican American jazz bassist Ramon Garcia, hailing from Wilmington, NC. Ramon just finished up his musical studies at UNC Greensboro’s legendary music school and has musical prowess beyond his years.
Wrenching old-time music into the world of contemporary global politics, the Joe Troop Quartet creates spaces for sympathy, solidarity, and a little humor.
FRI – Main Stage – 8:20-9:10
SAT – Main Stage – 12:00-12:50
SAT – Workshop Lane – 2:30-3:30 – Banjo with Joe Troop
The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood Singers are among the very few remaining quartet-style groups that still perform in the old-school acapella fashion. The group includes singers Eric Riley, Ric Jennings, Stace Darden, Sam Norris Jr., Mike Wright and Luther Scruggs. The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood specializes in the intricate and emotional four-part harmony “jubilee” style pioneered by groups like the Dixie Hummingbirds and the Soul Stirrers.
The Northern Kentucky Brotherhood was last with us in 2017, and we’re thrilled to welcome them back to the Wheatland Festival!
SAT – Centennial Stage – 4:30-5:20
SAT – Main Stage – 8:50-9:40
SUN – Main Stage – 11:20-12:10
The Foghorn Stringband is the present-day gold standard for real-deal, hard-hitting, genuine old-time American string band music. The band has nine albums, thousands of shows, over 15 years of touring under their belts, and an entirely new generation of roots musicians following their lead. American roots music is a diverse and never-ending well of inspiration, and Foghorn Stringband continually and obsessively draws from old-time, bluegrass, classic country, and Cajun music traditions in an ongoing quest to present a broad span of American historical music with an unparalleled youthful energy, joy, and virtuosity.
The Foghorn Stringband is comprised of four master performers and historians: Caleb Klauder (vocals, mandolin, fiddle), Reeb Willms (vocals, guitar), Nadine Landry (vocals, upright bass), and Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind (vocals, fiddle, banjo). Together, these four have forged a sound like no other. In performance, Foghorn Stringband gather around one microphone, balancing their music on the fly, and playing with an intense, fiery abandon. Their performances and recordings are a joyful celebration of music from a bygone era that still holds the power to delight audiences worldwide. Old time dance tunes rub shoulders with Cajun waltzes, vintage honky tonk country, and classic bluegrass….and it’s all rendered into a cohesive whole. You’ll see. There’s Foghorn…and there’s everybody else.
FRI – Main Stage – 6:00-6:50
SAT – Main Stage – 3:30-4:20
SAT – Dance Stage – 6:30-8:00 – Squares & Contras – Rodney Sutton Calling
Dirk Powell is a musician with deep roots in several rural American traditions. He learned banjo and fiddle from his Kentucky grandfather and has been a part of the thriving Cajun/Creole music community in Louisiana since his early 20s. He has toured and recorded with musicians such as Eric Clapton, Joan Baez, Buddy Miller, Jack White, Loretta Lynn, and Levon Helm, while his contribution to film has found him collaborating with directors like Anthony Minghella (“Cold Mountain”), Ang Lee (“Ride with the Devil”), and Spike Lee (“Bamboozled”). Dirk’s solo records, which often combine a traditional foundation with a wide-ranging commitment to emotion and original expression, have had impact around the globe. He is also in demand as a producer and owns his own studio on the banks of Bayou Teche near Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. His latest recording “When I Wait For You” was released in 2020.
FRI – Dance Stage – 10:20-12:00 – Cajun Dance
SAT – Centennial Stage – 3:20-4:10 – Shore to Shore – Dirk Powell & Eileen Ivers
SAT – Centennial Stage – 7:00-8:00
SUN – Main Stage – 4:00-4:50
The Sweet Water Warblers are a great example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Comprised of Michigan songbirds Rachael Davis, Lindsay Lou, and May Erlewine, the folk trio’s organic vocal harmonies and seamlessly interwoven instrumentation leaves listeners breathless.
From the moment this band formed, there was a unique connection between the three artists, a bond forged by a mutual passion for social change and expansion of the soul through music. Each of the ladies brought with them an established solo career within the Americana and roots worlds, and individual perspectives on traditional music. Whether it was the gospel and soul-laced melodies uncovered in Davis’ music, the Appalachian folk and country-leaning ballads belted out by Erlewine, or the versatile country soul and bluegrass roots of Lou’s band, it was clear from the beginning that the culmination of their talents would be unparalleled.
In Erlewine’s words, “We are here, very much, on purpose.”
SAT – Workshop Lane – 1:00-2:00
SAT – Main Stage – 2:10-3:00
SAT – Centennial Stage – 9:40-10:40
SUN – Main Stage – 5:10-6:00
Tenacious, innovative string musicians/percussive dancers, Evie Ladin & Keith Terry combine their Oakland, CA-based groups for a special Wheatland 2021 collaboration.
This weekend is a homecoming for Evie, who gained her performance chops on Wheatland stages with Rhythm in Shoes. The polyrhythmic heat of her clawhammer banjo, real stories and rhythm dance have since been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Celtic Connections, Lincoln Center to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Evie grew up steeped in traditional Appalachian roots music/dance, always working to reconnect Appalachian music/dance with other African-Diaspora traditions. She found a natural fit with Keith Terry & Crosspulse: part international drill team, part polycultural rhythm section, bringing together synchronized movement, lush vocals and innovative Body Music.
Keith Terry is a renowned percussionist/rhythm dancer, and the founder/Artistic Director of the International Body Music Festival, and non-profit arts organization Crosspulse. For twenty years Evie & Keith have produced concerts and recordings on both sides of their creative worlds and are excited to bridge their groups – with Erik Pearson (guitar), Bryan Dyer (bass vocals, beat boxing) and Amber Hines (vocals, percussion, body music).
FRI – Dance Stage – 6:30-8:00 – Evie Ladin calling a Square Dance
SAT – Dance Stage – 12:30-1:30 – Dancing with Others, Partner Dancing with Evie Laden
SAT – Dance Stage – 1:45-2:45 – Body Music with Keith Terry
SAT – Main Stage – 7:40-8:30
SUN – Main Stage – 2:50-3:40
Kieran Kane’s seminal work in the O’Kanes and Kane Welch Kaplin, as well as co-founding the independent label Dead Reckoning Records, laid the foundation for the contemporary world of Americana music. A successful solo artist, collaborator and songwriter, Kieran is a musician’s musician: his playing is always understated, always groove-oriented, and always serving the song.
If Rayna Gellert seems a preternaturally gifted songwriter, it’s because she’s seen farther into the old songs than most. Growing up in a musical family, she turned to Appalachian old-time music at a young age and became a prodigious fiddler and led a new revival of American stringband music through her work with the acclaimed roots band Uncle Earl. Rayna is also an in-demand collaborator.
Kieran and Rayna first met, fittingly, at San Francisco’s celebrated Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, which led to the two of them co-writing songs for solo records each of them released. Fans of either artist will recognize the musical kindred-spiritedness in Kane and Gellert’s restrained and roots-oriented approach to both songs and arrangements.
FRI – Main Stage – 7:10-8:00
SAT – Centennial Stage – 2:10-3:00
SAT – Workshop Lane – 4:00-5:00 – Fiddle w/Rayna & Fred Campau
SAT – Schafer Song Stage – 7:00-7:45 – Kieran
As a singer/songwriter and an award-winning musician, Bruce Ling is a student and keeper of the history of the timeless musical genre of time-savored traditional folk music, and paints musical portraits celebrating the colorful history of the music through an extraordinary repertoire of tunes, songs, and stories. He performs with equal flair and skill on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, cello, and slide guitar. He is backed by his wife, world class old-time rhythm guitarist Becca Ling. Be prepared to take an enjoyable ride through a river of music and stories as presented by this band of skilled musicians.
FRI – Centennial Stage – 6:00-6:50
Songs about broken things and poignant little ponderings are delivered with a rootsy vibe, a touch of twang and a soulful groove. Annie and Rod are on a musical journey that began in 1982, culminating into a symbiotic sound that reflects their deep and intuitive understanding of each other. Annie’s disarming, earthy voice and solid command of her guitar are punctuated by Rod’s effortless, accompaniment and beautiful solo work. Together they weave unforgettable melodies that are at once intricate and sparse – musically completing each others’ sentences.
Over the years, Annie and Rod have done it all; from rock to musical theater and while they continue to draw from a wide range of genres and influences, what comes out is a hybrid sound all their own. Genuine and playful; effortless and endearing; this duo has been enchanting audiences in quality music venues, house concerts, coffeehouses and festivals throughout their home state of Michigan and beyond.
Tim Piazza (Concerts at the Cabin, Evansville, IN) wrote, “When I look around the room at an Annie and Rod Capps performance, I see a lot of smiling faces with eyes riveted to the stage…there is a magic that energizes an audience. I can’t wait to bring them back to our concert series!”
Annie and Rod will be joined on Centennial Stage by Jason Dennie (mandolin) and Dan “Ozzie” Andrews (bass).
FRI – Centennial Stage – 7:00-8:00
SAT – Schafer Song Stage – 2:45-3:30 – Annie & Rod
SAT – Workshop Lane – 3:30-4:30 – Jason Dennie Mandolin Workshop
DJANGOPHONIQUE: Djangophonique is a musical project born out of reverence for the Parisian Jazz Manouche style that was made popular by the legendary Sinti guitarist Django Reinhardt and his Quintette du Hot Club de France. While remaining steeped in the rich and virtuosic tradition, the group brings this music into the present with stunning improv, spontaneity and musical interaction. Hot swing, lush ballads, musette waltzes, jazz standards, boleros, and moody minor pieces are all fused together with theatrical flair and musical humor. Members of Djangophonique are Andrew Brown (guitar), Tyler Rindo (clarinet), Zach Croft (guitar), and Jorian Olk-Szost (bass).
FRI – Centennial Stage – 8:20-9:20
SAT – Workshop Lane – 4:00-5:00 – Andrew Brown Jazz Manouche Guitar workshop
SAT – Centennial Stage – 11:00-12:00 – with Kelly Kimball
Drew Nelson, a Michigan born Navy veteran, is a storytelling songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. A fly fisherman and world traveler, he writes as a witness to the lives and journeys of those he has met along the way, mixing Americana and roots-rock with traditional folk styles.
Drew will be accompanied at Wheatland by his top-notch band, HWY-2. Members of HWY-2 are harmonica legend Peter “Madcat” Ruth, multi-instrumentalist Mark Schrock, bass player Andrew Schrock, guitarist Michael Robertson and drummer Donny Brown.
FRI – Centennial Stage – 9:40-10:40
From the fog on the shipping docks, freshly disembarked from the last steam liner out of Bordeaux, the dust of the Paris streets still upon a black woolen overcoat. Songs that owe a debt to ye-ye pop and prewar ballads, but are still utterly its own thing. Secrets of dark deeds and desperate times among desperate men reveal themselves. Via Mardot is both weary of this world and hungry to make it better.
Via Mardot is made up of Olivia Mainville (guitar, vocals), Brandon James (bass), and Adam Schreiber (percussion).
FRI – Centennial Stage – 11:00-12:00
The Family Business
(Rick, Sharon, Ben, Abby, Sam)
The Family Business delivers. After more than thirty years of playing, singing and dancing together there is an ease in that delivery that brings a smile, gets you moving and spreads joy all around. Rick Good and Sam Bartlett lead the charge with banjos ringing while Ben Cooper wields a ready wit and a red-hot fiddle. Abby Ladin and Sharon Leahy hold that blazing woodpile down with a steady bottom of rhythm guitar and standup bass. All this plus tasty three-part harmonies and crispy dance licks. No stranger to the Wheatland community, “the Biz” once represented the power center at the heart of Rhythm in Shoes and brought you WMO’s 40th Anniversary project,
Carry it on… Clearly, they do mean business.
FRI – Dance Stage – 6:30-8:00 – Square Dance
SAT – Centennial Stage – 1:00-1:50
SAT – Dance Stage – 3:00-4:00 – The Madison, Line Dance
SAT – Dance Stage – 4:15-5:15 – The Shim Sham
SUN – Workshop Lane – 12:30-1:30 -Banjo w/Rick Good & Sam Bartlett
Raise your voice – songs we can all sing!
Seth Bernard & Frank Youngman
Frank Youngman and Seth Bernard have known each other since 1983, when Seth was 3 years old and Frank and the Lost World String Band were putting out vinyl on Wheatland Records and playing dances in the barn at Earthwork Farm, Seth’s birthplace and home. Mentor and mentee, these two have been longtime pillars of the Michigan Music community, stewarding a culture of collaboration and cooperation among artists, and using the power of song to raise awareness. Having been marinated in the rich cultural offerings of Wheatland Music Organization for 4 decades, with peak experiences and magical memories embedded in their souls, Frank and Seth will bring a pile of instruments to the stage to serve up a mighty feast of music from the heart.
FRI – 7:00-7:45 – Seth & Frank
SUN – 1:50-2:35 – Seth
Darcy Wilkin is a founding member of Michigan Americana favorites, The Corn Fed Girls. Her debut album, Bristol, was released in January of 2020. Produced by award-winning songwriter and traditional music veteran Joe Newberry, Bristol is a collection of songs new and found that underscore the struggles and triumphs of ordinary folks in extraordinary circumstances. Along with her father, Mark Sahlgren, Darcy also co-hosts long-running radio program, Grassroots. Centered on Americana, bluegrass and traditional songs, the show also explores the work of contemporary singer/songwriters and instrumentalists.
Darcy is thrilled to be performing at Wheatland, a festival she has been attending her entire life. (She was nine months old at the first one, has never skipped a year, and doesn’t ever plan to!)
FRI – 8:00-8:45
Robin Lee Berry
Robin is the voice of northern Michigan, seasoned, energetic, dynamic, a folksinging songwriter whose motivation comes from somewhere deep in the earth flowing like spring water on a direct path to the marrow of your bones. No tutus, no dog or ponies… just her smokin’ guitar and pure, passionate perspective from “Deep In There”.
SAT – 11:00-11:45 AM
Lauren Crane grew up meandering along the Lake Erie shore—her ears filled with the sounds of crashing waves, crickets, mosquitos, Baptist hymns, African American Spirituals, The Beatles, Roy Orbison, Billie Holiday, Simon and Garfunkel, Saturday afternoon’s Texaco Opera, her mom’s Glenn Miller and her dad’s “Hillbilly Music.” These are the sonic influences that run like a streaker through the stadium of her mind.
Lauren’s music, which can be fat with bumblebees, soft as a peach about to go bad, or as preposterous as a “flesh” colored Crayolas, may also be described as saucy, sexy, sardonic or any number of alliterative adjective that one with too much time on his/her/they hands could care to string together. Her oft-bluesy delivery and lyrics that stick in your head like wet sand tell stories that can unwind like a lazy summer day or sneak up on you like a Barcelona pickpocket. All created with one ulterior motive: To entertain.
SAT – 12:00-12:45
MIKE WARD: Mike spent the better part of 40 years as a designer and creative director in the advertising world but now creates lyric-driven, simple folk songs full time and is immersed in the Michigan acoustic music scene. Currently living in Detroit, Mike grew up listening to the Irish music of the Clancy Brothers and singing in church choirs. His influences are the likes of Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen, Jason Isbell and John Prine.
SAT – 12:55-1:40
SAT – 3:45-5:15 – Michigan Songwriters in the Round
JAN KRIST: Jan Kris is a singer-songwriter with a rich catalog of recorded music, and a fine, resonant voice. Born in Detroit, Krist was raised on rock, and schooled in the folk and acoustic music of the 60s and 70s. Today, Krist’s work reflects the power and poetry of having matured as an artist in that place and time. Jan has twice been a finalist in the Kerrville Folk Festival’s New Folk Competition, and she has also won four Detroit Metro Music Awards. Bob Darden of Billboard Magazine wrote that Jan’s music “…has an uncanny way of cutting to the heart of a topic and providing the listener with food for thought.”
SAT – 1:50-2:35
Kyle Rasche is a Michigan songwriter who has released music as Chain of Lakes since 2010. Building upon a string of albums, a critically acclaimed EP, and numerous collaborations – Chain of Lakes continues to garner attention for delivering delicate, thoughtful, heart-wrenching songs. Kyle was a 2021 Kerrville Folk Festival Grassy Hill New Folk Finalist, and won that competition in 2022..
SAT – 3:45-5:15 – Michigan Songwriters in the Round
SAT – 7:55-8:40
Samantha Cooper’s voice is a gentle force. Her songs speak for their sound; from contemplative respites to danceable Public Service Announcements. A veteran session musician, her voice and violin appear on over sixty albums. Sam has played in ensembles ranging from indie folk bands to old time string bands like her Great Grandpa Orlie once did. Previous releases include Lullaby Bangers by Hearth & Hymn, Voyager by Maraj, The Sound Of Lasso by The Lasso, Right Hands Round by The Bowhunter Stringband and three solo video singles. Sam works as a freelance musician, an organizer and a trauma-informed facilitator for Lost Voices, Earthwork Music and The Adventure Centre.
SAT – 3:45-5:15 – Michigan Songwriters in the Round
SUN – 12:00-12:45
Kaitlin Rose has been writing songs and performing them for twenty years. With a catalog of 5 solo albums and 3 with The Band of Thorns, Kaitlin Rose continues to evolve as a songwriter, instructor and raise her three children. She resides in Kalamazoo, MI.
SAT – 3:45-5:15 – Michigan Songwriters in the Round
SUN – 12:55-1:40
Brighton country-folk singer-songwriter Linden Thoburn deeply mines the head and the heart through a majestic journey of self-discovery on her latest album, Scarecrow. Thoburn’s Americana odyssey weaves through sunbaked rows, bitter winds, mountain tops, shadow-hearted plains and the Goodnight-Loving Trail alongside 10 heartfelt tracks of courage, growth and gratitude.
“It’s an album about personal journeys – reflective and physical. For me, all the album’s songs came from deep internal explorations, and they represent the struggles to find meaning and to resolve my confusion and find ground in the rapidly-changing U.S.,” she said. “I hope to move people to feel or think. I would love it if people saw their own questions reflected in mine. The music I love the most makes me feel mirrored and less alone in the world.”
SAT – 5:25-6:10