2023 Pickin’ in the Pines Lineup
Lineup is subject to change
Sam Bush • Railroad Earth • Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
Ronnie Bowman Band • Sister Sadie • Darin & Brooke Aldridge
California Bluegrass Reunion • Sam Grisman Project • Jacob Jolliff Band
Full Cord • East Nash Grass • Damn Tall Buildings • Blue Canyon Boys
Tray Wellington Band • Lonesome Ace Stringband
The Cross-Eyed Possum • Mark Miracle & Friends
2023 Pickin’ in the Pines Lineup
Lineup is subject to change
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
Ronnie Bowman Band
Darin & Brooke Aldridge
California Bluegrass Reunion
Sam Grisman Project
Jacob Jolliff Band
East Nash Grass
Damn Tall Buildings
Blue Canyon Boys
Tray Wellington BandLonesome Ace Stringband
The Cross-Eyed Possum
Mark Miracle & Friends
Featuring Songs from Sam’s New John Hartford Tribute Album
On a Bowling Green, Kentucky cattle farm in the post-war 1950’s Bush grew up an only son with four sisters. His love of music came immediately, encouraged by his parents’ record collection and, particularly by his father Charlie, a fiddler who organized local jams. Charlie envisioned his son someday a staff fiddler at the Grand Ole Opry, but a clear day’s signal from Nashville brought to Bush’s television screen a tow-headed boy named Ricky Skaggs playing mandolin with Flatt and Scruggs, and an epiphany for Bush. At 11 he purchased his first mandolin.
Bush recalls working at a Holiday Inn as a busboy when, “Ebo Walker and Lonnie Peerce came in one night asking if I wanted to come to Louisville and play five nights a week with the Bluegrass Alliance. That was a big, ol’ ‘Hell yes, let’s go.’”
Bush played guitar in the group, then began playing mandolin after recruiting guitarist Tony Rice to the fold. Following a fallout with Peerce in 1971, Bush and his Alliance mates- Walker, Courtney Johnson, and Curtis Burch- formed the New Grass Revival, issuing the band’s debut, New Grass Revival. Walker left soon after, replaced temporarily by Butch Robins, with the quartet solidifying around the arrival of bassist John Cowan.
“There were already people that had deviated from Bill Monroe’s style of bluegrass,” Bush explains. “If anything, we were reviving a newgrass style that had already been started. Our kind of music tended to come from the idea of long jams and rock-&-roll songs.”
Bush has released eight albums and a live DVD over the past two decades. In 2009, the Americana Music Association awarded Bush the Lifetime Achievement Award for Instrumentalist. He took home three-straight IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year awards, 1990-92, (and a fourth in 2007).
Pickin in the Pines is excited to welcome Sam Bush back to our stage. Sam’s newest album entitled “Radio John: Song of John Harford” debuted on November 11, 2022. Sam is paying tribute to longtime friend and collaborator John Hartford on his first album since 2016. The album consists of Sam’s personal favorites from John’s vast catalog, and songs he played with John Hartford on stage and in the studio in the 1970’s! We are honored to have Sam perform a tribute to John Hartford at this year’s Pickin in the Pines.
For over two decades, Railroad Earth has captivated audiences with gleefully unpredictable live shows and eloquent and elevated studio output. The group introduced its signature sound on 2001’s The Black Bear Sessions. Between selling out hallowed venues such as Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Morrison, CO, they’ve launched the longstanding annual Hangtown Music Festival in Placerville, CA and Hillberry: The Harvest Moon Festival in Ozark, AR—both running for a decade-plus. Sought after by legends, the John Denver Estate tapped them to put lyrics penned by the late John Denver to music on the 2019 vinyl EP, Railroad Earth: The John Denver Letters. Beyond tallying tens of millions of streams, the collective has earned widespread critical acclaim from David Fricke of Rolling Stone, American Songwriter, Glide Magazine, and NPR who assured, “Well-versed in rambling around, as you might expect from a band named after a Jack Kerouac poem, the New Jersey-built jam-grass engine Railroad Earth has let no moss grow under its rustic wheels.”
A brother leaves this world too soon. A trip down U.S. Highway 61 ends in a deluge of biblical proportions. A retreat to the Big Easy results in its own flood of inspiration. A new chapter begins. These moments and many more fade in and out of focus on Railroad Earth’s seventh full-length album, All For The Song.
The celebrated New Jersey quintet—Todd Sheaffer [lead vocals, acoustic guitar], Tim Carbone [violins, electric guitar, vocals], John Skehan [mandolin, bouzouki, piano, vocals], Carey Harmon [drums, percussion, vocals], and Dave Speranza [upright & electric bass]—chronicle the twists and turns of this journey through eloquent songcraft, bluegrass soul, and rock ‘n’ roll spirit.
The album culminates on the wistful “All For The Song” as the final refrain, “All of the heartache, all that’s gone wrong, all for the moment, all for the song,” rings out before a harmonica passage.
In the end, Railroad Earth brings listeners closer than ever on All For The Song.
“We want audiences to connect to the album,” Carey leaves off. “We hope they’re as moved by the music as we were making it.”
“What threads the record together?” ponders Todd. “Nostalgia, sadness, and a lot of great moments to sing along to.”
Having Railroad Earth grace the Pickin in the Pines stage has been a long time coming and we hope you all find moments to sing along as well!
Molly Tuttle & Golden Highway
One of the most compelling new voices in the roots music world, Molly Tuttle is a virtuosic multi-instrumentalist and singer/songwriter with a lifelong love of bluegrass, a genre the Northern California-bred artist first discovered thanks to her father (a music teacher and multi-instrumentalist) and grandfather (a banjo player whose Illinois farm she visited often throughout her childhood). On her new album Crooked Tree, Tuttle joyfully explores that rich history with bluegrass, bringing her imagination to tales of free spirits and outlaws, weed farmers and cowgirls resulting in a record that is both forward-thinking and steeped in bluegrass heritage.
“I always knew I wanted to make a bluegrass record someday,” says the Nashville-based Tuttle, who began attending bluegrass jams at age eleven. “Once I started writing, everything flowed so easily: sometimes I’ve felt an internal pressure to come up with a sound no one’s heard before, but this time my intention was just to make an album that reflected the music that’s been passed down through generations in my family. I found a way to do that while writing songs that feel true to who I am, and it really helped me to grow as a songwriter.”
Her debut release for Nonesuch Records, Crooked Tree is co-produced by Tuttle and bluegrass legend Jerry Douglas (who also plays Dobro throughout the album); her studio band also includes esteemed musicians like Ron Block (banjo, guitar, harmony vocals), Mike Bub (upright bass), Jason Carter (fiddle), Tina Adair (harmony vocals), and Dominick Leslie, a mandolinist who also performs in Tuttle’s live band, Golden Highway, along with banjo player Kyle Tuttle, fiddle player Bronwyn Keith-Hynes, and bassist Shelby Means. The album features such illustrious guests as Gillian Welch, Margo Price, Billy Strings, Old Crow Medicine Show, Dan Tyminski, and Sierra Hull. Crooked Tree marks a departure from the eclecticism of Tuttle’s critically lauded 2019 full-length debut When You’re Ready and 2020’s …but i’d rather be with you (a covers album that masterfully reinterprets everyone from FKA Twigs to Karen Dalton). Each track showcases Tuttle’s guitar technique, for which she was the first women ever named Guitar Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association, as well as her voice—an instrument that shifts from warmly understated to fiercely soulful with equal parts precision and abandon, occasionally treating the listener to some high-spirited yodeling.
Please help us welcome Molly Tuttle, fresh off her 2023 Grammy Award win for Bluegrass Album of the Year, to the Pickin in the Pines stage for the very first time!
Ronnie Bowman Band
From the tender age of three, Ronnie Bowman has been performing music. Starting in a family band playing churches in North Carolina and Virginia, he eventually joined the acclaimed Bluegrass band The Lost & Found. Shortly after Ronnie joined The Lonesome River Band and became a participant in the band’s recording of “Carrying the Tradition” an album that was named the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Album of the Year in 1991.
It wasn’t long before Ronnie Bowman became a household name in the Bluegrass community. With the release of an additional four albums as a member of the Lonesome River Band, Ronnie also recorded four solo projects. He has been awarded IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year three times, has twice earned the IBMA song of the Year award (“Three Rusty Nails”, and “Cold Virginia Night”), and was awarded the Gospel Performance of the Year award for “Three Rusty Nails”. As a songwriter Ronnie has earned a great deal of respect not only among Bluegrass professionals, but also in Country Music. Both Brooks & Dunn, and Kenny Chesney have brought Ronnie Bowman originals to #1, and Lee Ann Womack also included a song by Ronnie on the multiplatinum selling album “I Hope You Dance”.
He has seen continued songwriting success with three songs on Chris Stapleton’s multiplatinum selling album “Traveller”. The single “Nobody To Blame” won Ronnie the ACM “Song of the Year”. The album received the ACM and CMA “Album of the Year” award as well as a Grammy for “Country Album of the Year”. In 2022 Ronnie was awarded IBMA Songwriter of the Year.
Ronnie Bowman has achieved remarkable heights in his musical career as an award-winning Bluegrass songwriter and vocalist, as well as an award-winning songwriter in Country music. Continuing to play the festivals that endear him to the music he loves, (and has contributed so much to over the years) remains an important focal point for him.
Pickin in the Pines is indeed honored to welcome Ronnie Bowman to our stage!
Sister Sadie is a wildfire: raging hot bluegrass combined with breathtaking instrumental drive and awe-inspiring vocals. Comprised of original members Deanie Richardson (fiddle), and Gena Britt (banjo, harmony vocals) and newcomers Hasee Ciaccio (bass), Jaelee Roberts (guitar, lead vocals), and Mary Meyer (mandolin, harmony vocals), Sister Sadie has combined the varied talents of each of the individual women in the lineup to create something that is far more than the sum of its parts. It is a sound uniquely their own. Yes, it’s undeniably classic, hard-driving bluegrass, but it’s much more than just that. Rooted in forceful and tight vocal harmonies, this isn’t your granddaddy’s Appalachian high lonesome sound. This is something far more powerful than that—it’s the sound of the mountains themselves.
When Sister Sadie first formed, they didn’t plan to stick around for more than a decade. They didn’t even plan to stick around for more than one show. But fate had other plans. In December of 2012, the original lineup of the band took the stage at the Station Inn with the goal of having a good time and playing good music together. “We thought it would be a little fun thing,” says Gena Britt. But it was immediate from the first moment that this band was more than just a flash in the pan. “I’ll never forget it. At five o’clock that evening, when we hit the first note, we all looked at each other like, ‘Oh yeah, this is pretty special.’
Since 2012 band has been completely reborn, with an energy and excitement that they’ve never had before. Vocals have always been the foundation of Sister Sadie’s sound, and the new vocal blend—combining Gena Britt’s hard-driving North Carolina bluegrass, Mary Meyer’s honeyed folk, and Jaylee’s world-shaking power and range—has spurred the band into exploring new aural territory. The addition of three new wildly talented instrumentalists has broadened the genre palette of their compositions as well, shifting the landscape of the music they make. This band didn’t climb down from their peak during these changes—they moved the entire mountain instead.
In 2019, following the release of their second studio album “Sister Sadie II” on Pinecastle Records, they had their debut on the Opry, won their first IBMA award for Vocal Group of the Year, and received a GRAMMY nomination for Bluegrass Album of the Year. In 2020, Deanie was named the IBMA Fiddle Player of the Year (the second woman to win that prize in the 30 year history of the awards), and the band took home the top prize as the Entertainer of the Year.
Sister Sadie also was named Vocal Group of the Year for the second year running. This new energy continues to drive the band forward. In 2021, Sister Sadie was featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s American Currents exhibit. The same year, the band took home a third consecutive IBMA Vocal Group of the Year award, and new member Jaelee Roberts was awarded the IBMA Momentum Vocalist of the Year award. In 2022, Gena Britt was recognized as the SPBGM Banjo Player of the Year and Sister Sadie signed with Mountain Home Records to begin work on their third studio album. Now, entering their second decade as a band, the energy that they felt all those years ago burns brighter than ever before.
Another first for Pickin in the Pines, we are beyond excited to bring this all-women, super-group to our stage!
Darin & Brooke Aldridge
Darin and Brooke Aldridge are excited. And why not? With two new band members, a new record label, and five original songs on their latest album, the bluegrass and Americana duo are back with This Life We’re Livin,’ their ninth recorded project together, and first release on Billy Blue Records. This Life We’re Livin’ celebrates the space the husband-and-wife team now occupies – the top of bluegrass music.
Armed with the talents of the proverbial triple-threat of uniquely distinctive singing, commanding instrumental skills, and accomplished songwriting, Darin and Brooke continue to ascend to new heights in the industry while maintaining their easy-going, down-to-earth connection with audiences everywhere. Brooke is a four-time consecutive winner for Female Vocalist of the Year for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). She was nominated for a fifth time in 2021. Once a six-year member of The Country Gentlemen with the late Charlie Waller, Darin is a former IBMA Mentor of the Year and a truly gifted singer and multi-instrumentalist. Together with their band – Billy Gee on bass, Samantha Snyder on fiddle, and Jacob Metz on banjo and resonator guitar – Darin and Brooke were recognized with the IBMA’s nomination for 2021 Vocal Group of the Year. They have had multiple nominations over the years from the IBMA, the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA), and the Inspirational Country Music Association. They have enjoyed top spots on the Billboard, SiriusXM, Bluegrass Today, Bluegrass Unlimited, Americana/Roots, and Gospel charts. Their music videos have been featured on Country Music Television (CMT), CMT Edge, Great American Country (GAC), Bluegrass Ridge TV, and The Bluegrass Situation. Their television appearances include PBS’ Mountain Stage, Songs of the Mountain and Music City Roots; RFD-TV’s Larry’s Country Diner, Country’s Family Reunion, and The Woodsongs Old Time Radio Hour; Great American Gospel, The Bluegrass Road, and Blue Highways TV. Their long-held dream to one day play the Grand Ole Opry came true on July 4, 2017, and since then, they have graced the Opry stage more than 35 times.
Perhaps the key to their success lies in their mutual respect and admiration. The couple’s willingness to work hard, embrace opportunities and meet challenges head-on is paying off. Darin and Brooke are inspiring in their music, artistry, and commitment to continued evolution and growth. In following the path of their dreams, Brooke once noted, “We want our music to lift people up.” “It was an early goal of ours to put a positive message out there,” adds Darin, “and we decided a long, long time ago that we were going to be us, no matter what.”
California Bluegrass Reunion
The California Bluegrass Reunion brings together six internationally-known instrumentalists who all have deep connections to the Golden State. The collective is highlighted by the outrageous double fiddling of California-based fiddlers Chad Manning and Brandon Godman and features an abundance of original instrumentals from mandolinist John Reischman and banjo player Bill Evans. Anchoring the rhythm section is Jim Nunally on guitar and vocals and Sharon Gilchrist on bass. These musicians have made music together in various combinations for decades but this combination is truly special.
2022 Steve Martin Banjo Prize recipient Bill Evans has been involved with bluegrass music and the world of the banjo as a player, teacher, composer, writer and historian for over forty years. He occupies a unique niche in the banjo world: celebrated worldwide for his traditional as well as progressive bluegrass banjo styles as well as his innovative original compositions, he also enjoys a reputation as an outstanding instructor as well as being an expert player of 19th century minstrel and classic banjo styles. In over twenty-seven years as a California-based performer, he has performed with David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Jody Stecher, Eric & Suzy Thompson, David Bromberg, Kathy Kallick, Tony Trischka & Alan Munde, among many others. Bill is a 2022 recipient of the Steve Martin Banjo prize for his lifelong contributions to bluegrass music and to the banjo. For more, visit billevansbanjo.com.
Grammy Award-winning musician John Reischman has been a foundational mandolinist, composer, bandleader, and musical educator in bluegrass and North American roots and folk music since emerging from the vibrant “new acoustic” music scene of the Bay Area in the 1980s. A founding member of the groundbreaking Tony Rice Unit, Reischman’s mastery of bluegrass, old-time, swing, and multiple Latin American musical styles, coupled with an Old Masters sense of tone, taste and musicality, has brought him a global reputation as one of the finest mandolinists of his era. John was a founding member of the California band The Good Ol’ Persons and he has led John Reischman & The Jaybirds for over twenty years. For more, visit johnreischman.com.
San Francisco Bay Area native Jim Nunally is a musician, composer, record producer and teacher – all in addition to being one of the finest guitar players in the world. His third-generation traditional music roots began in Arkansas with this guitar-playing grandfather who taught Jim’s father who in turn taught Jim. This pedigree contributes to his unmistakably traditional sound. For the last several years, Jim has co-led the Nell & Jim Band with Nell Robinson, performing a unique mix of original Americana sounds based around their outstanding duet singing and Jim’s arranging. Jim has performed with the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience, and John Reischman & The Jaybirds. For more info, visit jimnunally.com.
Chad Manning is a Bay Area bluegrass, old-time, and swing fiddler who has performed with the David Grisman Sextet and the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. For many years, he was also a member of Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands. He has performed and toured with many bluegrass greats such as J.D. Crowe, Curly Seckler, Alan Munde, and Tony Trischka, to name a few. Chad also finds great joy in teaching and working with all levels of fiddle students. He and his wife, Catherine, run Manning Music, a bluegrass/old-time/traditional music school in Berkeley, California where currently 250 students take lessons. Chad is also an instructor at Peghead Nation where he currently offers three courses and he currently plays guitar in the band Birches Bend, which features his son Jasper on mandolin. Learn more at chadmanning.com.
Brandon Godman is a professional fiddler and luthier who currently resides in San Francisco, CA. He is the proprietor of two violin shops- The Fiddle Mercantile in San Francisco, CA and The Violin Shop in Nashville, TN. Since starting his professional music career at age 17, he has played stages across the world from the Grand Ole’ Opry to Carnegie Hall. He currently performs on the road with Grammy Award-winning bluegrass artist Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands and locally with other Bay Area bands. Brandon is a co-host of the luthier podcast OMO and has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Violin Society of America since 2020. His rock-solid traditionally-based bluegrass fiddling style is the perfect complement to Chad’s virtuosic improvisational-based playing.
Sharon Gilchrist has long made her home in the American acoustic music scene. You may have seen her playing mandolin or upright bass, singing a traditional ballad, or performing an original piece on a concert or festival stage anywhere in North America.. She has performed with the Peter Rowan and Tony Rice Quartet, Scott Nygaard and John Reischman, Darol Anger, Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, Scott Law and the Bluegrass Dimension and others. She earned a degree in Mandolin Performance from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, and has taught mandolin for 15 years both privately and online at Peghead Nation and at some of the nation’s finest music camps. Sharon currently resides in Nashville, TN after living for almost a decade in California. Learn more at sharongilchristmusic.com.
Sam Grisman Project
“The music that my father David Grisman and his close friend, Jerry Garcia, made in the early 90s (in the house that I grew up in) is not only some of the most timeless acoustic music ever recorded, it also triggers my oldest and fondest musical memories. What I find most inspiring about this material is the way their camaraderie and their love and joy for the music, simply oozes out of each recording. It is also impressive how deeply they get beneath their favorite songs—whether they are originals, covers or traditional/old time tunes—and how expertly that material was curated.
My goal in starting Sam Grisman Project is to build a platform for my friends and me to showcase our genuine passion and appreciation for the legacy of Dawg and Jerry’s music. By playing some of their beloved repertoire and sharing the original music that our own collective has to offer, we will also show the impact that this music has had on our own individual musical voices. Ultimately, there is nothing that makes me happier than playing great songs with my best friends and my hope is to share that happiness with audiences all over!”
Jacob Jolliff Band
Jacob Jolliff was born into a musical family in Newberg, OR. His dad started him on the mandolin at age seven and required him to practice ten minutes a day. But after six months of practicing this minimal amount, something clicked, and almost overnight he started putting in several hours of intense practice daily. And this hasn’t really changed in the last 20 years.
Throughout middle school and high school, Jacob picked in a bluegrass gospel band with his father. They played festivals and churches throughout the northwestern United States, and became a staple at the Sunday morning gospel shows. During this time he had the opportunity to meet and play with many of his heroes, including Ronnie McCoury, David Grisman, and Chris Thile. Though Jacob was mostly self-taught to this point, lessons with great players such as these kept him inspired and moving forward.
When he was 18, Jacob was awarded a full scholarship to The Berklee College of Music in Boston. He moved to Massachusetts to start school in 2007, along with a lot of the other young musicians he had grown up with. There he studied under the late mandolin great John McGann, who was a huge influence. Under John’s supervision, he spent many six-hour practice days working on a variety of styles from bluegrass to jazz to Celtic music. In 2008, during his sophomore year of college, he joined the New England based roots music band, Joy Kills Sorrow. Over the next few years the group toured extensively throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe, playing hundreds of clubs, theaters, and festivals. Because of the group’s rigorous schedule, it was a challenge for him to stay in school, but he still managed to graduate in 2011. Shortly after, in 2012, he won the National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, Kansas.
In 2014, the young mandolinist got a call from the progressive bluegrass jam group, Yonder Mountain String Band. Jacob went on his first tour with YMSB in June of that year. He immediately connected musically and personally with the band, and shortly after he became a full-time member. Jacob played with Yonder until the end of 2019, releasing three albums with the group.
Now in 2023, the mandolinist’s main focus is The Jacob Jolliff Band. This ensemble is a group of virtuosic pickers that play Jacob’s original instrumentals, as well as showcase his singing. They tour nationally in the US and have also travelled to Scotland and Australia to perform. The group has released two albums, “Instrumentals Vol. 1” in 2018 and “The Jacob Jolliff Band” in 2022.
In 2022, Jacob was called on by world famous banjo player, Béla Fleck, to tour as part of My Bluegrass Heart. He performed around the country alongside Béla and some of the very best musicians in the genre: Bryan Sutton, Cody Kilby, Justin Moses, Mark Schatz, Michael Cleveland, Stuart Duncan and Billy Contreras.
When it comes to movers and shakers in the bluegrass world, Full Cord is a super- group on the rise. After winning the prestigious 2022 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition in Colorado, the Michigan-based group followed that with another much-coveted honor when the International Bluegrass Music Association named Full Cord its “Momentum Award Band of the Year.” While mandolinist Brian Oberlin notes the band’s music “is new and fresh to the ears of seasoned bluegrass fans,” the bluegrass traditions in Full Cord have deep roots.
The group’s members – Oberlin, guitarist Eric Langejans, bassist Todd Kirchner and fiddler Grant Flick – boast decades of musical artistry, with experience in popular performing bands from Michigan to Oregon. And with the recent addition of award-winning, Colorado-based banjoist Ricky Mier, Full Cord is poised to take the next step in its journey as a bluegrass powerhouse: The band’s debut album on Nashville’s Dark Shadow Recordings is set to drop in 2023.
Full Cord’s songwriting has reached a new “tipping point,” Katie Kirchner suggests, enhanced by the group’s vast repertoire and robust experience in numerous band projects over the years. And Oberlin insists the band is “just hitting its stride” – ready to follow in the footsteps of fellow Michigan bluegrass icons Billy Strings and Greensky Bluegrass as yet another star in the making.
East Nash Grass
“Nashville’s newest bluegrass ambassadors,” East Nash Grass comes as a refreshing break — a balance of undeniably hard-driving bluegrass alongside surprisingly introspective songwriting and earnest narration. Featuring a who’s-who of Nashville’s hottest young pickers, the joy and passion these musicians feel towards the genre is infused in every note they play and every word they sing.
East Nash Grass is Grand Master Fiddle champion Maddie Denton, Gaven Largent (dobro), James Kee (guitar & vocals), Grammy Award-winning bassist Geoff Saunders and TWO! IBMA Momentum Award-winners for Best Instrumentalist, Cory Walker (banjo) & Harry Clark (mandolin).
Damn Tall Buildings
“If you like your bluegrass served with a little punch, attitude, grit and gravy, with that busking spirit that was so present and palpable in the early incarnations of Old Crow Medicine Show and made your realize that string band music could be so much more than fuddy-duddy reenactments by crusty ol’ relics, then the Damn Tall Buildings will slide in nice as a welcome edition to your listening rotation. Bluegrass at heart, but pulling from a wide range of influences including swing, ragtime, jazz, and even a hint of contemporary perspective in the songwriting, they offer virtually unmatched energy and enthusiasm, underpinned by intelligent songs that don’t skimp on the infectiousness…” – Savingcountrymusic.com
In their early days, Damn Tall Buildings didn’t rehearse – they busked. Now, whether live or on record, the band still radiates the energy of a ragtag crew of music students playing bluegrass on the street. But anchoring that energy is their instrumental chops, their strong songwriting, and their varied influences that stretch beyond bluegrass, even beyond American roots music altogether. Whether sharing lead vocals and instrumental solos or blending their voices into loose, joyous harmony, the three members of Damn Tall Buildings (guitarist/lead vocalist Max Capistran, bassist/lead vocalist Sasha Dubyk, and fiddler/vocalist Avery Ballotta) blend elements of bluegrass, blues, roots-rock and vintage swing to create a captivating, high-energy sound. Since their busking days, they’ve made three albums: 2014’s Cure-All, 2015’s self-titled, and their forthcoming third album, Don’t Look Down. The band has also relocated to Brooklyn, NY and toured widely, sharing stages with Sierra Hull and the California Honeydrops and appearing at festivals like Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, and Freshgrass Festival, where they took second place in the 2016 band competition. Their lyrics find beauty and glory in the mundane, workaday struggle of everyday life: time keeps passing, you don’t like your job, you drink too much, you laugh with your friends, you search for a home, and you dream about what else might be out there. You carry on. This is what Damn Tall Buildings sings about, what they seek to share with their audience.
Blue Canyon Boys
The Blue Canyon Boys are equal parts purists and innovators when it comes to Bluegrass: they stay true to the form’s roots while constantly reimagining their relationship to tradition. The result is a toe-tapping mix of haunting standards, genre-bending arrangements, and catchy original numbers—all built on the bedrock of their collective bluegrass mastery.
Ever since founding members Jason Hicks and Gary Dark launched the Blue Canyon Boys in 2006, the Blue Canyon Boys have raised the bar for bluegrass bands. They bring it all: seamless brother-duet style, crisp instrumentation, unvarnished lyrics and subversive humor. After winning first place 2008 Telluride Bluegrass festival band contest, the Blue Canyon Boys went off at full tilt, taking the bluegrass circuit by storm, performing in illustrious venues across the country as well as internationally.
Their distinctive sound, honed from over a decade of performing together, moves easily from instrumental wizardry to playful ribbing. Ultimately and repeatedly, they hit a high note—the rare confluence of harmony that leaves the soul ajar.
The seasoned quartet features Gary Dark on mandolin, Jason Hicks on guitar, Drew Garrett on bass, and Chris Roszell on banjo. Their acclaimed album, eponymously called The Blue Canyon Boys, was their most polished and poignant yet. Classic bluegrass, clean and raw, blends effortlessly with the band’s homegrown compositions, then peppered with a judicious cover or two, such as the band’s riveting take on Pink Floyd’s “Time.”
Now at long last you can listen to and download the latest from BCB at CDbaby’s Hear Now. 7 is the next level of High Octane Bluegrass from the Blue Canyon Boys.
Whether calling on their old timey musical roots or reconnoitering the future, the band’s musical prowess never wavers. This is high lonesome sound at its best: a driving pulse that weaves through harmonies and fierce rhythms, always with the reminder that as long as the music plays, we are never quite alone.
Tray Wellington Band
Growing up on Flint Hill Rd., musician Trajan “Tray” Wellington was destined to be attracted to the 5-string banjo. Tray’s love for music bloomed at an early age while he listened to his grandpa play diverse styles of music.
He didn’t start playing stringed instruments until he received his first electric guitar at age 13. Soon, he became interested in learning how to flat pick guitar, which led him to hear the banjo for the first time. His interest piqued, he began practicing, and his playing and musicianship have since flourished.
From learning traditional bluegrass to studying diverse genres such as jazz, progressive bluegrass, blues, rock, and more, Tray has gone on to play with some of the most accomplished musicians in the world. Before reaching the age of 21, he has received a number of awards and accolades, including two awards from IBMA — 2019 IBMA Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year and 2019 Momentum Band of the Year (with Cane Mill Road).
In 2019 he ventured out to start his own project which started with recording his first EP “Uncaged Thoughts” which was recorded, and co-produced by banjo legend Scott Vestal. From there he decided he wanted to start his current band Tray Wellington Band which currently features Josiah Nelson, Nick Weitzenfeld, and Katelynn Lowe. The band has performed at many premier festivals, and venues across the country including a set at the Red Hat Amphitheater during the IBMA World of Bluegrass Street Fest in 2021. In 2020, Tray signed to Mountain Home Music Company where he plans to release his first full length solo album in 2022. Tray has been featured on several TV shows including an episode of David Holt’s State of Music, as well as a 2022 feature on Kamau Bell’s CNN show United Shades of America.
Tray is an experienced teacher of the banjo as well. Tray teaches many private lessons, as well as has taught at many premier camps including MidWest Banjo Camp, Augusta Heritage Week, and assistant teaching at the 2019 Bela Fleck Blue Ridge Banjo Camp.
Tray’s playing has drawn the attention of many greats in the business who have helped to bring out the best of Tray’s musicianship, and who have encouraged him to continue growing to become one of the best players in the industry.
Lonesome Ace Stringband
Three Canadians lost in the weird and wonderful traditional country music of the American South The Lonesome Ace Stringband is an old-time band that plays folk and country music with serious bluegrass chops. Interpreting the traditional with a depth of groove and sense of space not often heard today these charismatic showmen impress with instrumental interplay and a vocal blend that’s rare to find in old-time. The band members Chris Coole (banjo) John Showman (fiddle) and Max Heineman (bass) are journeyman musicians and veterans of some of Canada’s top roots music acts (New Country Rehab, The David Francey Band, The Foggy Hogtown Boys, Fiver). With celebrated appearances at Winnipeg and Vancouver Folk Festivals Lonesome Ace is one of Canada’s most respected modern-day roots groups. And having performed at MerleFest, Rockygrass, Wintergrass, and John Hartford Memorial Festival this veteran ensemble has a US touring resume with serious credibility.
The Cross-Eyed Possum
An Americana identical twin brother led duo/trio, meet The Cross-Eyed Possum! Jason Howard (upright bass & lead vocals), Jonah Howard (guitar & backing vocals), and Keenan Hammack (mandolin & backing vocals) banded together and recently won 1st place in the 2022 Pickin in the Pines Bluegrass Festival Band Contest. The group performs mostly original music written by the brothers Howard that was inspired by a mix of the wide genres of music they grew up with (Americana, Rock n Roll, Bluegrass, Folk), their Jazz and Classical university experiences, and their stories of life on the road. Cross-Eyed Possum has performed at the Pure Imagination Festival in Prescott, Arizona and the OFOAM Festival in Ogden, Utah. They were pleased to share the bills with Fantastic Negrito, Katie Pruitt, Rising Appalachia, Sierra Hull, and Dawes. The group toured the Pacific Northwest, Tennessee, New Orleans, Texas, and Colorado in their van and have on their YouTube channel, VanLifeBandLife.
Mark Miracle & Friends
Award winning mandolinist Mark Miracle has been playing Bluegrass/Americana music for over 40 years. Traveling the globe, his stylings and expertise has made him a sought after bandmate, guest artist and teacher. Having roots deep in traditional Bluegrass, this only bears as the foundation for what Mark brings as a contemporary musician and vocalist. As such, Mark explores all music – not limiting himself to simply his genres forefathers, but instead embraces the ways of his heroes who have breached the boundaries of Jazz, Classical and have been responsible for creating their own sub-genres, such as Newgrass. Mark continues to pursue his place in the music world, but without agenda, as his musical adventures have exceeded far beyond his expectations.