Sam Bush

Grammy Award winning multi-instrumentalist Sam Bush doesn’t seem old enough to be a musical legend. And he’s not. But he is. Alternately known as the King of Telluride and the King of Newgrass, Bush has been honored by the Americana Music Association and the International Bluegrass Music Association. “It’s overwhelming and humbling,” Bush says of his lifetime achievement award from the AMA. “It goes along with the title cut of my new album, Circles Around Me, which basically says, how in the hell did we get this far? In my brain I’m still 17, but I look in the mirror and I’m 57.”

But honors are not what drive him. “I didn’t get into music to win awards,” he says. “I’m just now starting to get somewhere. I love to play and the older I get the more I love it. And I love new things.” Among those new things are the growing group of mandolin players that identify Bush as their musical role model in much the same way he idolized Bill Monroe and Jethro Burns. “If I’ve been cited as an influence, then I’m really flattered because I still have my influences that I look up to,” Bush says. “I’m glad that I’m in there somewhere.” He’s being humble, of course. Bush has helped to expand the horizons of bluegrass music, fusing it with jazz, rock, blues, funk and other styles. He’s the co-founder of the genre-bending New Grass Revival and an in-demand musician who has played with everyone from Emmylou Harris and Bela Fleck to Charlie Haden, Lyle Lovett and Garth Brooks.

And though Bush is best known for jaw-dropping skills on the mandolin, he is also a three time national junior fiddle champion and Grammy award winning vocalist. “In the acoustic world, I’ve been pretty lucky to play with almost every one of my heroes. I’ve gotten to play with Bill Monroe, Doc Watson, Earl Scruggs, I’ve been to the mountain,” says Bush with a smile.

“I get to play every show with my favorite musicians and I feel real fortunate,” Bush says of his band. “I love playing with them. I feel like this group is limitless and they proved it again on this record.”

“As long as I’m alive I hope I have the ability to play,” says Bush, a two time cancer treatment survivor. When the ability to play is taken away, it’s humbling. It teaches you a lesson: don’t take it for granted.” Here’s to the next 30 years.

Jerry Douglas presents The Earls of Leicester

The Earls of Leicester are an all-star “who’s who” of bluegrass and roots music, featuring Jerry Douglas, Shawn Camp, Johnny Warren, Charlie Cushman, and Barry Bales. These like-minded musicians band together to recreate the iconic music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys.

They play selections from the era of 1954 to 1965. During these years, the band was comprised of Lester, Earl, dobro player Josh Graves, Fiddler Paul Warren, tenor singer and mandolinist Curly Seckler, and bass player Jake Tullock.The band’s mission is to remind people of what an amazing impact Flatt and Scruggs had on the music that each of the Earls put forth in their separate endeavors in these highly-charged musical times.

VISIT THE JERRY DOUGLAS WEBSITE

The SteelDrivers

Specializing in a unique mix of what might be called bluegrass soul, the SteelDrivers have featured a group of veteran Nashville session players including Richard Bailey on banjo, Mike Fleming on bass, Mike Henderson on mandolin, Tammy Rogers on fiddle, and Chris Stapleton on guitar and lead vocals.

Stapleton’s bluesy, hoarse, and Tom Waits-like singing really set the SteelDrivers apart in the often generic contemporary bluegrass genre, where a high and lonesome tenor lead vocal is typically heard. Stapleton’s passionate croaking gave the SteelDrivers an authentic, aged, and rootsy feel. The band quickly became a favorite on the bluegrass festival circuit and released a debut album, simply called The SteelDrivers and consisting of all original compositions, on Rounder Records early in 2008.

A second Rounder release, Reckless, appeared in 2010. Before recording their next album, the SteelDrivers went through some major lineup shifts, with Stapleton and Henderson both leaving. They were replaced by Gary Nichols and Brent Truitt, respectively, and their next album, 2013’s Hammer Down, couldn’t help but sound different. Nichols proved to be a fine replacement, though, and the band kept rolling along. The SteelDrivers dug deeper into their soulful side on 2015’s The Muscle Shoals Recordings, recorded in the Alabama town where some of the biggest and best R&B hits of the ’60s and ’70s were cut. The album also featured singer and songwriter Jason Isbell on two songs.

VISIT THE STEELDRIVERS WEBSITE

O’Connor Band featuring Mark O’Connor

The O’Connor Band isn’t your typical family band. Three of the four members — including American music legend Mark O’Connor — play fiddle, and the fourth plays mandolin. That’s a lot of high notes. But with the help of guitar and bass, The O’Connor Family Band delivers beautiful and thoughtful original vocal songs, classic covers, and sophisticated instrumentals with a fresh, powerful, unprecedented sound that has begun winning over fans of every style from bluegrass to indie folk to Americana.

The Band features one of the most iconic fiddlers in American history, Mark O’Connor. His collaborations with James Taylor, Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, Tony Rice, Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Alison Krauss, Yo-Yo Ma, Wynton Marsalis, and many others have led to performances on the most visible concert stages worldwide. In addition to having headlined numerous times at the major summer bluegrass festivals, including Telluride and Merlefest, Mark has performed his own violin concertos hundreds of times over the last 20 years, including with the Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and London Symphony Orchestras.

In the O’Connor Family Band, Mark is joined by his wife Maggie (fiddle, vocals), son Forrest (mandolin, vocals), and Forrest’s partner Kate Lee (fiddle, vocals). Their repertoire is centered around some of Mark’s greatest instrumentals as well as songs written by Forrest and Kate, the band’s lead singers, whose tight harmonies and lyrical honesty have earned praise from the likes of Krauss, Rosanne Cash, and Mary Gauthier. Forrest, a graduate of Harvard University and the former Tennessee State Mandolin Champion, met Kate, a versatile vocalist and frequent backup performer on the Country Music Awards shows, in late 2013, and the two have been writing songs together ever since. Maggie, a Master’s graduate of the Peabody Institute, is herself an accomplished violinist and fiddler and has performed duos with Mark around the world, including with the Mendelssohn Orchestra (Hungary), the Singapore Chinese Orchestra, and the Santa Rosa Symphony.

Along with national flatpick guitar champion Joe Smart and Eastman School of Music graduate and current University of Miami PhD candidate Geoff Saunders, the O’Connor Family Band plans to record their debut album in early 2016. After headlining at the Walnut Valley Festival and at IBMA in late 2015, Mark is eager to introduce his family to fans around the world.

Jeff Peterson

Recognized as one of Hawaii’s most versatile musicians, Jeff Peterson is at the heart of the Hawaiian music scene today. His passion for the guitar has allowed him to shine as a solo artist and has given him the opportunity to collaborate with a wide variety of artists from Hawaii, across the US, and abroad. His focus on Slack Key guitar, classical, and jazz music has allowed him to develop a unique and transcendent voice on the guitar while being deeply rooted in the traditions of his Hawaiian heritage.

He has contributed to two Grammy Award-winning recordings and has been honored with four Na Hōkū Hanohano Awards in Hawaii. 
His solo CD Maui on My Mind was recognized as the Slack Key Album of the Year in 2010. His next release featured his songwriting, performing, and producing on Amy Hanaiali`i and Slack Key Masters of Hawaii. The groundbreaking recording features a collaboration between Jeff, Amy Hanaiali`i, Cyril Pahinui, Dennis Kamakahi, Sonny Lim, and Chino Montero.  His latest release titled Slack Key Travels includes twelve new compositions and new arrangements of classic Hawaiian songs and won the 2014 Hoku Award for Best Slack Key Album.

Hot Club of Cowtown

Since its beginnings in the late 1990s, Hot Club of Cowtown’s star has continued to rise as its reputation for jaw-dropping virtuosity and unforgettable live shows has become the band’s global brand. Lauded for its “down-home melodies and exuberant improvisation” (The Times, London), the Hot Club has always woven a combination of seemingly disparate styles together to its own magical effect, setting up camp “at that crossroads where country meets jazz and chases the blues away” (The Independent), and “conscious always that above all else, the music is for dancing and an old-fashioned good time” (New York Times). The band’s musical alchemy has been described as “another breathless journey in the Texas tardis” (The Times, London), while American Songwriter observed that “The excellent three players of this band could be doing anything but have chosen to honor the greats of jazz and swing with their sound.” The Belfast Telegraph calls them “a pretty much perfect country trio at the very top of their game,” while the New York Times, reviewing a live performance in New York City in 2011, describes the trio as armed with “an arsenal full of technique and joy.”

Along with the Hot Club’s dedicated cult following worldwide — they have toured for the U.S. State Department as musical ambassadors to Azerbaijan, Armenia, the Republic of Georgia and the Sultanate of Oman — certain titans of the industry have also taken notice. Bob Dylan, with whom the band toured and with whom James has toured and recorded, is a continuing inspiration. The Hot Club has opened several shows for Willie Nelson, toured with Nelson and Dylan during a summer-long stadium tour, and recently opened seven nights of Roxy Music’s sold-out “For Your Pleasure” U.K. stadium tour in early 2011. In the U.K. the Hot Club of Cowtown continues to tour extensively and has been featured at the Glastonbury Festival and has also been a returning guest on Later With Jools Holland, the Cambridge Folk Festival, and BBC Radio 2’s Radcliffe and Maconie and Bob Harris Country shows.

Special Consensus

Formed in the Chicago area in 1975, The Special Consensus is a four-person acoustic bluegrass band with a repertoire that features traditional bluegrass standards, original compositions by band members and professional songwriters, and songs from other musical genres performed in the bluegrass format. The band has released 17 recordings and has appeared on numerous National Public Radio programs and cable television shows, including The Nashville Network and the Grand Ole Opry at the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. International tours have brought the band to Australia, Canada, Europe, South America, Ireland and the United Kingdom. The Special C has appeared in concert with many symphony orchestras nationwide and has brought an informative in-school presentation to schools nationally and internationally since 1984. Band leader/banjo player Greg Cahill is the former President/Board Chair of the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA), the former Board Chair of the Nashville-based Foundation for Bluegrass Music and a recipient of the prestigious IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award (in 2011). Other band members include guitar player Rick Faris, bass player Dan Eubanks and mandolin player Nick Dumas. The 2012 band release Scratch Gravel Road (Compass Records) was GRAMMY nominated for Best Bluegrass Album and two songs from the 2014 band release Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver  (Compass Records) won IBMA awards for Recorded Event of the Year and Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year.

Finnders and Youngberg

The band’s recently released 2015 album titled Eat The Moon proves that they consistently bring us “a self-assured vision of American music, rooted in tradition, but pointing to new creative directions that make it vital and relevant in today’s modern world…” Eat The Moon is currently a Top 10 Album on the Folk DJ Charts, with album titled track “She Wants to Eat the Moon” climbing within the Top 20. You can also catch Del McCoury spinning the hand picked album on his SiriusXM show Bluegrass Junction.

Colorado’s Finnders & Youngberg proudly swim in the deep currents of American music-classic bluegrass, tried-and-true honky tonk, country swing and skillfully spun folk tales. While their sound evokes timelessness, it is decidedly contemporary, well-traveled 21st century sensibility that informs their songwriting. Their tunes draw on the bumps, bruises and laugh lines earned when we find ourselves in the “bogs” of back roads, dive bars and long, lonesome nights.

Finnders & Youngberg is Mike Finders (vocals/guitar), Aaron Youngberg (pedal steel/banjo), Erin Youngberg (bass/vocals), Rich Zimmerman (mandolin), and Ryan Drickey (fiddle), a truly rootsy musical soup, seasoned and thickened for your enjoyment. They have each had success in their own right, but when they joined forces, an American West front-range melting pot of music was born and they continue to forge a path straight through the mountains.

“This type of music would be comfortable at the Grand Ole Opry, Austin City Limits and they wouldn’t get kicked off that old fogey classic Lawrence Welk Show either. It’s diversified, satisfying and most importantly, good. ”
-John Apice, No Depression

Run Boy Run

Existing comfortably in the tension between tradition and the musical frontier, Tucson five piece Run Boy Run blends bluegrass, folk and the old timey American vernacular with touches of classical and turn of the century details. Their new album Something to Someone, released October 28th on Sky Island Records, has been praised by Performer Magazine, All Music Guide, PopMatters, The Guardian, and others. The album was recorded at historic Bear Creek Studios in Woodinville, Washington with producers Ryan Hadlock and Jerry Streeter (The Lumineers, Brandi Carlile, Elephant Revival), whose attention to detail shines in Run Boy Run’s multi-voiced and multi-stringed arrangements. It’s no surprise that the band counts Garrison Keillor of NPR’s ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ and renowned Irish fiddler Kevin Burke among their growing legion of fans.

The band is brother and sister Matt Rolland (fiddle, guitar) and Grace Rolland (cello, vocals), sisters Bekah Sandoval Rolland (fiddle, vocals) and Jen Sandoval (mandolin, vocals) and bass player Jesse Allen. With three strong female voices, singing separately or in harmony, and deeply rooted familial connection to traditional American music, Run Boy Run didn’t come lately to their sound; it’s in their collective blood.

The unique sound of the band is rooted in the traditional music of the Appalachian South, continuing a sense of innovation in traditional American music put forth by bands such as Nickel Creek, Crooked Still, and The Wailin’ Jennys. Run Boy Run continues this journey into music that is dynamic, orchestral, and brimming with beauty. Three strong female voices weave a tapestry of sound, and the award-winning fiddlers cut a path for a tightly formed rhythmic front. Every arrangement is – at its core – captivating.

From winning the band contest at Pickin’ In The Pines (mere weeks after forming in 2009) and a special appearance at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in 2012, to two appearances on NPR’s ‘A Prairie Home Companion’ (host Garrison Keillor was also impressed enough that he penned the liner notes to the band’s debut album), they were tagged by Paste Magazine as “One of the top 10 Arizona bands to hear now.” They’ve been making fans across the U.S. with their open-ended musical approach and dynamic stage presence, and will take that live show back across the country coast to coast this summer and fall.

Hogslop Stringband

The Hog Slop String Band is a Nashville based old time string band comprised of six energetic young musicians hailing from Georgia, Tennessee, California and North Carolina.  Featuring Casy Meikle and Kevin Martin on fiddles, Graham Sherrill on banjo, Gabe Kelley on guitar, Daniel Allen Frazier Jr. on washboard and Casey McBride on the washtub bass, these boys surely raise a ruckus.

Upon forming as a pickup square dance band in the summer of 2009, The Hog Slop String Band has since become one of the most sought after old time string bands of the Tennessee Valley area.  Known for their outrageous facial hair and a rollicking repertoire heavily based on Georgia and Middle Tennessee fiddle tunes, these boys have provided entertainment for fashion shows, political conventions and whiskey distilleries as well as countless weddings, festivals and soirees.

Following in the footsteps of such country music luminaries as Uncle Dave Macon and Gid Tanner, they put on a high energy show easily appreciated by both young and old alike.  Despite an unkempt appearance, their undeniable charm is as certain to steal your heart as it will your daughters!

The Sonoran Dogs

Since their first performance in 2011, The Sonoran Dogs have become a mainstay in the southwest bluegrass scene, headlining the Tucson Folk Festival in 2014, the Prescott Bluegrass Festival in both 2014 and 2015, the Frontier Folk Festival in Cedar City, Utah in 2016, and the Laguna Beach Bluegrass Festival in 2016.  They have also performed at many other California bluegrass festivals including Summergrass, Susanville, Parkfield, and Blythe, as well as Northern Nevada’s Bower’s Mansion Festival, Colorado’s Fruita Fall Festival, and Bluegrass on the Beach at Lake Havasu.

The group is made up of seasoned music veterans who share an interest in bluegrass and Americana music.  Their first CD was released on Dog Boy Records in September, 2014 and includes a collection of original compositions, traditional bluegrass standards, new-grass, and Americana.  Their second CD is slated for release in fall of 2016 just in time for their upcoming Australia tour this November and December.  The band features Mark Miracle on mandolin and vocals, Brian Davies on bass and vocals, Tyler James on banjo, Nick Coventry on fiddle, and National Flatpicking Guitar Champion Peter McLaughlin on guitar and vocals.

The Badly Bent

The Badly Bent has been entrenched in the bluegrass music scene since 1998. Based in Durango, Colorado, The Badly Bent has proven its musicianship through the winning of prestigious music competitions and receiving accolades from many of its peers in the bluegrass industry. These band members are not newcomers to either the bluegrass scene or performing in front of large audiences.

The Badly Bent does not present itself as one of the new bluegrass jam bands. Although their musical prowess allows them to explore the edges of traditional music, the listener will find that the music never strays far from the roots established by the fathers of the genre. Their love for the genuine bluegrass sound is so evident every time they take the stage. And, that emotion is totally contagious with the audience. Everyone has a good time. But, don’t be surprised when they pull a song out of the hat that everyone says, “Now, where have I heard that before?” Their repertoire will please even the most discriminating listener

Winners of the coveted 2005 Telluride Bluegrass Band Competition, The Badly Bent has performed at over 40 festivals across the US and has been acknowledged as one of the most entertaining ensembles at those festivals.

In a nutshell, The Badly Bent gives you your money’s worth, musically and emotionally. This band has an infectious way about them. You get hauled into their musical world and you leave wanting more and more.

James Reams & The Barnstormers

James Reams & the Barnstormers tread the terrain where bluegrass, old-time, classic country and folk meet in the night to swap stories. They feature driving rhythm and 3-part harmonies that take you back to a time before bluegrass was smoothed out for the uninitiated, the ill- prepared or the faint of heart. The band includes James on guitar and lead vocals; Billy Parker on mandolin and harmony; Dick Brown on banjo and harmony; and Dan Meyer on upright bass.

Billy Parker brings passion and style to every set. A 30+ year veteran, Billy has been heavily influenced by bluegrass legends and mandolin masters Bill Monroe, David Grisman and Clarence White. A former member of the Southern CA band, Lost Highway, Billy has developed a confident and spirited approach to seamlessly move between the rapid-fire bluegrass tunes and more soulful melodies. Parker’s diversity, creativity and dedication – as well as a sense of band dynamics – helps propel the music to a higher sound to the delight of audiences everywhere he plays.

Dick Brown’s precise and rock solid banjo playing and silky baritone vocals reflect the influence of those he admires most: Bill Emerson and Alan Munde. He joined Lost Highway in 1995 and recorded and toured with that band until 2006. Dick has performed with such notables as Lynn Morris, David Parmley and Laurie Lewis.

Dan Meyer has been playing the ultimate “out of the spotlight” instrument, aka the upright bass, since the 1970s. He has performed at the IBMA Bluegrass Showdown in Louisville and at bluegrass festivals across the Midwest. Holding down the bottom for the Barnstormers with his rock steady and intuitive bass stylings, Dan really lights up the place with his ready smile while laying down a smoooooooth rhythm.

The Haymarket Squares

The Haymarket Squares are Arizona’s finest purveyors of punkgrass. Righteous anger meets 4-part harmonies and bluegrass instruments for a moshpit hoedown! The band got their start as a trio in 2009 and have since played more than 500 shows in the U.S., Canada and Europe. They have developed a loyal following among folks who appreciate rabble-rousing lyrics wrapped in a catchy melody.

Known for their long sets and short songs, a typical Haymarket Squares show features ecstatic dancing, blindingly fast mandolin, and broad smiles. Who knew changing the world (or at least singing about it) could be so much fun? Armed with tight vocal harmonies, bluegrass instruments and a heaping dose of righteous anger, The Haymarket Squares are Arizona’s premier purveyors of punkgrass.

Blue Moon

Blue Moon performs authentic, down-to-earth bluegrass, folk and mountain country music inspired by the traditional masters and the second generation of bluegrass musicians. Tight yet soulful vocal harmonies coupled with strong instrumental  musicianship are the trademark of this seasoned act.

Reno McCormick is a flatpicking master on his classic Martin guitar, and well versed in fiddle, dobro, mandolin and banjo. Julie Sullivan sings lead and harmony, and drives the rhythm on back-up guitar, while Sheila McCormick also supports the harmonies while holding down the big beat on the upright bass. Reno and Sheila McCormick have been playing bluegrass, folk, country, and Western music together since the 1980s. Julie Sullivan has performed in several bands also since the early 80s and found her musical match in Heaven on Earth when she started picking at festivals with Reno and Sheila, discovering a shared joy of similar material and harmonious three-part bliss. The combined synergy all of these fine musicians creates a recipe for some tasty and uniquely flavored acoustic music.

Blue Moon is proud to welcome special Guest Billy Parker (James Reams & the Barnstormers) on mandolin for a part of their set.

and more!