Wayne “The Train” Hancock
Since his stunning debut, Thunderstorms and Neon Signs in 1995, Wayne “The Train” Hancock has been the undisputed king of Juke Joint Swing – that alchemist’s dream of honky-tonk, western swing, blues, Texas rockabilly and big band. Always an anomaly among his country music peers, Wayne’s uncompromising interpretation of the music he loves is in fact what defines him: steeped in traditional but never “retro;” bare bones but bone shaking; hardcore but with a swing. Like the comfortable crackle of a Wurlitzer 45 jukebox, Wayne is the embodiment of genuine, house rocking, hillbilly boogie. Wayne makes music fit for any road house anywhere. With his unmistakable voice, The Train’s reckless honky-tonk can move the dead. If you see him live (and he is ALWAYS touring), you’ll surely work up some sweat stains on that snazzy Rayon shirt you’re wearing. If you buy his records, you’ll be rolling up your carpets, spreading sawdust on the hardwood floor, and dancing until the downstairs neighbors are banging their brooms on the ceiling. Call him a throwback if you want, but all Wayne Hancock wants to do, is simply ENTERTAIN you, and what’s wrong with that?
“A rare breed of traditionalist, one who imbues his retro obsessions with such high energy and passions that his songs never feel like the museum pieces he’s trying desperately to preserve.”
“Joel Mabus is one of contemporary folk music’s most eclectic performers. A skilled guitar, fiddle, banjo, and mandolin player and melodic songwriter, Mabus has played everything from traditional folk tunes to bluegrass, blues, and original songs.” Craig Harris at AllMusic.com
Where is he from? He was born and raised in a working-class family in a modest Southern Illinois town, about 105 miles southeast of Mark Twain, 190 miles northwest of Bill Monroe, 110 miles southwest of Burl Ives and just over the river and up the hill from Scott Joplin. When Joel’s parents came of age in the 1930’s, they took their old-time farm-grown music on the road with other family members as “hillbilly” entertainers, barnstorming the Midwest in medicine shows, small-town radio programs as well as their long-standing job performing road shows for the WLS Barn Dance.
This pedigree was not lost on Joel as a child in the 1960’s. The family mandolin was his first calling, quickly adding banjo, guitar and fiddle. In the midst of Beatle-mania, Joel was drawn to the tunes of Bill Monroe and Earl Scruggs.
Joel made his first record for a small Michigan label in 1977 with mandolin legend Frank Wakefield guesting. Three years later he signed with Flying Fish Records for a two-record deal. In 1986 he was one of the first indie folksingers to start his own label (Fossil Records), even before the advent of the home studio and compact disc, which makes the practice so common today.
Mabus has toured widely and makes his living at music, though he is flying under the radar of American pop culture. Whether you label him folk, Americana , or a singer-songwriter, Mabus remains a one-off, walking that lonesome valley, making and marking his way as a working artist outside the confines of the usual music business.
Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver
Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver have nearly 40 albums to their credit, are seven-time IBMA Vocal Group of the Year winners, and have multiple Grammy, Dove, ICM, IBMA, and SPBGMA Award nominations. Lawson is reigning SPBGMA Mandolin Player of the Year, and was inducted into the International Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame in September 2012 at the Ryman Auditorium. Lawson’s band were 2012 ICM Vocal Group of the Year, and are just coming off a recent prestigious Dove nomination and two Inspirational Country Music Association nominations.
For years, “home” was a place The Ragbirds rarely visited. The band’s music — a genre-bending hybrid of indie-pop melodies, global rhythms and songwriting styles influenced from all over the world — was as broad as their audience, which stretched from the group’s hometown of Ann Arbor, Michigan, to the shores of Osaka, Japan (where they scored a Number One pop hot with the song “Book of Matches”). Show by show, in venues ranging from rock clubs and performing arts centers to festivals encompassing everything from bluegrass to electronica, The Ragbirds developed a well-deserved reputation as one of the most dynamic, high-spirited live bands in roots music.
What is Soltre?
“They are a near-religious experience. Hearing them perform in an intimate setting is like going to an Appalachian mountain church and hollering hallelujah with a Bible in one hand and a bottle of hooch in the other. They’re that sinfully good.”
~Karen Koski, syndicated music writer (Billboard), house concert host
“Over the last six months that I have been listening to Stella!’s debut album ‘Sorry,Stella’, it has gone from being a nice folk album to being the near perfect American Roots record. Great original songs (plus one Tom Waits cover), beautiful three-part harmonies, and a wide variety of interesting musical settings. ‘Sorry,Stella’ ended up as number four on my list of favorite albums of 2012, as reported to the ‘3rd Coast Music’ FAR Chart.”
~Tom Jackson, WLUW Chicago, Host of “New Orleans Music Hour” and “Somebody Else’s Troubles”
Stand-up comic and song parodist Heywood Banks is a study in contrasts. He wears a plum sports coat, safety glasses, and a crazed mop of graying hair with matching goatee. If he himself is aware of how silly he looks, he doesn’t let on. He’s as relaxed as if he were standing in his own kitchen rather than onstage in front of an all-ages, sold-out Thanksgiving weekend audience. One good way of defining this veteran comic would be by what he is not. He is not vulgar or arrogant, racist, sexist, or obnoxious. He is neither well dressed nor self conscious. And he is not an amateur musician. His songs draw on a wide range of styles, carefully sculpting covert yet brilliant relationships between the lyric and its music.
Tony Trischka with Alex Hargreaves and Dominic Leslie
(United States Artists Friends Fellow-2012) is considered to be the consummate banjo artist and perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. For more than 45 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians with the many voices he has brought to the instrument.
A native of Syracuse, New York, Trischka’s interest in banjo was sparked by the Kingston Trio’s “Charlie and the MTA” in 1963. Two years later, he joined the Down City Ramblers, where he remained through 1971. That year, Trischka made his recording debut on 15 Bluegrass Instrumentals with the band Country Cooking; at the same time, he was also a member of America’s premier sports-rock band Country Granola. In 1973, he began a three-year stint with Breakfast Special. Between 1974 and 1975, he recorded two solo albums, Bluegrass Light and Heartlands. After one more solo album in 1976, Banjoland, he went on to become musical leader for the Broadway show The Robber Bridegroom. Trischka toured with the show in 1978, the year he also played with the Monroe Doctrine.
In 1978, he toured Japan and recorded with Peter Rowan and Richard Greene. In the early 1980s, he began recording with his new group Skyline, which released its first album in 1983. Subsequent albums included Robot Plane Flies over Arkansas (solo, 1983), Stranded in the Moonlight (with Skyline, 1984) and Hill Country (solo, 1985). In 1984, he performed in his first feature film, Foxfire with Hume Cronyn, Jessica Tandy and John Denver. Three years later, he worked on the pre-recorded music for the off-Broadway production of Driving Miss Daisy that featured Jessica Tandy and Morgan Freeman. Trischka produced the Belgian group Gold Rush’s No More Angels in 1988. The following year, Skyline recorded its final album, Fire of Grace. He also recorded the theme song for Books on the Air, a popular National Public Radio Show, and continued his affiliation with the network by appearing on Garrison Keillor’s Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, From Our Front Porch, and other radio shows. Trischka continued his recording career with 1993’s World Turning, 1995’s Glory Shone Around: A Christmas Collection and 1999’s Bend. New Deal followed in 2003.
Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featuring appearances by Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Tony Rice and many other luminaries, came out four years later. For this recording he went back to Bluegrass and reinvigorated the double banjo tradition. In October 2007, Tony was given an IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) award for Banjo Player of the Year 2007. Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular received IBMA awards for Recorded Event of the Year, Instrumental Album of the Year and a Grammy Nomination.
With his fearless musical curiosity as the guiding force, Tony Trischka’s critically acclaimed release, Territory roams widely through the banjo’s creative terrain. Nine selections partner Tony with fellow banjoists Pete Seeger, Mike Seeger, Bill Evans, Bill Keith and Bruce Molsky. Twelve all-Trischka solo tracks explore a panorama of tunings, banjo sounds, and traditions; tapping the creative potential of America’s signature musical instrument.
Tony is not only considered amongst the most innovative of banjo players, he is one of its most respected and sought after instructors creating fifteen instructional books as well as a series of DVDs. In 2009, he launched the groundbreaking Tony Trischka School of Banjo, an advanced, interactive, online instructional site that is the banjo home for students from around the world.
2011 saw “Give Me the Banjo” aired on PBS stations nationwide with Tony as the Musical Director and Co-Producer of the documentary. It was subsequently released on DVD. He produced Steve Martin’s Grammy nominated Rare Bird Alert (Rounder), which features performances by Paul McCartney, the Dixie Chicks and the Steep Canyon Rangers.
In the summer of 2012, Tony continued to broaden the reach and influence of the banjo as performer and Band Leader for the Shakespeare in the Park, NYC performances of “As You Like It”, placing the banjo in even newer ground.
In December of 2012, Tony was awarded the United States Artists Friends Fellow in recognition of the excellence of his work.
On Tony’s latest album Great Big World (Rounder Records – released February, 2014) his instrumental expertise and boundless imagination are as sharp as ever. One of the most ambitious and accomplished of his career, the album is a deeply compelling showcase for his expansive instrumental talents, far-ranging musical interests and distinctive songwriting skills, as well as his sterling taste in collaborators. With contributions from his band Territory, Steve Martin, Michael Daves, Noam Pikelny, Ramblin’ Jack Eliot and many other special guests the 13-track set finds Trischka embracing all manner of possibilities, while keeping one foot firmly planted in the traditional bluegrass roots that first inspired him to make music.
Tony continues to maintain a national and international touring schedule with his band of extraordinary musicians.
Tony will be joined by artists
Alex Hargreaves http://www.alexhargreaves.net/
Dominic Leslie http://www.dominickleslie.com/
Michigan-born Navy veteran Drew Nelson 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 has toured across North America and Europe, performing solo and opening for popular rock artists like Melissa Etheridge and Edwin McCain as well as esteemed folk singers like Josh White Jr. and John Gorka.
He first met John Gorka in 2006, when Drew performed as part of Falcon Ridge Folk Festival’s prestigious songwriting contest. John found him backstage after his performance and told him how much his songs moved him. Since then, Drew has shared the stage with John several times, including at such big events as the Kerrville Folk Festival. “Drew Nelson is one of my favorite new artists,” John Gorka says. “His songs sound like the rest of us feel….dazed, angry, amazed and climbing.”
Drew garnered further attention in 2009, when he released Dusty Road to Beulah Land (Waterbug Records), and it topped the folk radio charts. It also caught the attention of the Grammy-winning indie label Red House
Records, which just signed him. “I love that Drew can rock out as well as write sensitive ballads,” Red House president Eric Peltoniemi says. “I admire his down-to-earth songwriting which portrays our world and ordinary people with such deep feeling and unflinching clarity. He has worked hard in life and hasn’t been afraid to get his hands dirty. He has 100% credibility in the subject matter he writes about, and I’m excited to get the chance to work with him.”
Drew’s Red House debut Tilt-A-Whirl comes out in early 2012. He can also be heard on the new album Dark River: Songs of the Civil War Era, along with Jon Dee Graham, Slaid Cleaves, James McMurtry and new label-mate Eliza Gilkyson.
In support of his new album, Drew Nelson will be showcasing at the 2012 International Folk Alliance Conference in Memphis and will be touring across North America and Europe.
When Drew is not on the road, he enjoys reading, rooting for the Detroit Tigers, doing hot yoga and working as an amateur luthier, building guitars and octave mandolins. He is also working on putting together a photography show.
“Equally at home in jazz, soul and folk music…” –wmuk.org, NPR Affiliate
Where Amy Winehouse meets Corinne Bailey Rae, Nashon is a soulful songstress set to release her first studio album, The Palace & the Hut, September 30th, 2016. Performance credits include features on The Oprah Winfrey Show with David Foster, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Taste of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Qatar. In addition to being a recording and performing artist, she teaches private voice to children in the states and visits alternative schools, juvenile homes, churches and hospitals in an effort to collaborate with students of all ages on music as healing, communication and artistic therapy. Nashon is a one-of-a-kind singer/songwriter with an artistic, jazzy style and relevant essence born of authenticity.
Four Wheel Drive
Four Wheel Drive Band members are Jack Dailey, Noah Smith and friends from the Allegan and Marcellus area. The band is strictly country and will be singing all your old time favorites!
Mollie O’Brien and Rich Moore
Mollie O’Brien and her husband, guitarist Rich Moore, have for nearly 30 years quietly made it their mission to find, mine and reinvent other artists’ songs. They are geniuses at the craft of interpretation in the way that great singers, since the beginning of popular American music, have made the songs of their era their own. As songwriters they add their own tunes to the canon of American roots music they inhabit and show us they’re completely at home with their musical selves. Grammy winner Mollie has long been known as a singer who doesn’t recognize a lot of musical boundaries, and audiences love her fluid ability to make herself at home in any genre while never sacrificing the essence of the song she tackles. She is a singer at the very top of her game who’s not afraid to take risks both vocally and in the material she chooses. Rich, while known to produce some of the funniest onstage running commentary, is also a powerhouse guitar player who can keep up with O’Brien’s twists and turns from blues to traditional folk to jazz to rock and roll. He creates a band with just his guitar and, as a result, theirs is an equal partnership. Their latest release is Love Runner on Remington Road Records.