Saturday April 1st
The Weleterweights are Kelly Ravin and Lowell Thompson.
Kelly Ravin plays gritty rock and roll. Equally at home in backcountry bars & big city clubs, his skills as an instrumentalist are outshadowed only by his gifts as a songwriter. Raised in rural Maine and residing in Vermont, Ravin rose to prominence as a driving force behind Waylon Speed, an “underground outlaw dirt rock” band the Washington Post called “a cross between Metallica and the Lumineers, with an unnecessary dash of Prince showmanship.” Glide Magazine and Seven Days provided probably-better touchstones, comparing the band to My Morning Jacket, Waylon Jennings, and Motörhead. As members of Waylon Speed shifted focus to other endeavors, Ravin focused on his solo work often collaborating with Lowell Thompson. His music finds itself squarely in the rock and roll tradition, with early influence from acts like The Drive By Truckers and Steve Earle; and modern resonance with the alt-country resurgence led by Sturgill Simpson, Jason Isbell and others.
Lowell Thompson is a musician who splits his time between Burlington, VT and Austin, TX. Dan Bolles of Seven Days calls him a “A young tunesmith transformed into a true artistic force.” Big Heavy World says Thompson is "The most genuine sort of musician out there.” Rolling Stone magazine calls his music “Inspired Alt-Country.” Any way you cut it, Thompson’s work speaks for itself and has been vetted by his fellow musicians—hand picked to share stages with the likes of Graham Parker, Justin Townes Earle, and Dawes. His latest effort entitled Stranger’s Advice was released in January 2015 and was met with critical acclaim.
Saturday May 6th
Red Tail Ring is the musical brainchild of two old-time-minded Michiganders – Michael Beauchamp and Laurel Premo. The collaboration blends the loving attention of revivalist fervor with the playful creativity of starting from scratch. Whether rendering a traditional tune or one of their many original compositions, the duo infuses each song with musical imagination, haunting harmonies and instrumental artistry on fiddle, banjo, mandolin, jawharp, and plain-old foot stomping. “We love pushing the boundaries of what a traditional song can be,” says Beauchamp. “It informs how we write our original songs. There’s a real energy exchange between the old and the new.”
Red Tail Ring is fresh off their fourth full-length studio release, Fall Away Blues, which features new songwriting fused with old-time and country blues sounds and themes. The album tackles topical subjects such as gun violence and environmentalism as well as age-old questions of place and love. With guitar, banjo, fiddle and mandolin, along with close harmony singing, Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp “don’t just pay homage to vintage folk and roots music: The Kalamazoo duo breathes new life into it, channeling the power and charm of seminal material into their own original songs.” – John Sinkevics, LocalSpins.com. Over seven years of touring, Red Tail Ring has performed their brand of acoustic roots at many notable venues and festivals around the United States (including the Wheatland Music Festival, Club Passim, The Ark, World Cafe Live), and have been well received by audiences over seas in Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
“The very best of the 21st century’s minimalist and highly original folk music . . . a peerless duo.”
– American Roots UK
“Red Tail Ring brings to the stage a lively and commanding fusion of string and vocal harmonies. The pair deliver both established ballads and original compositions with a clear, authentic ease that manages to transcend traditional form while honoring its legacy.”
– Rob Cole, Grand Rapids Press
“Laurel Premo and Michael Beauchamp share a reverance for vivid, authentic American art forms. They are both rustic and elegant, and they lift us into their sound.”
– Seth Bernard, Earthwork Music
Saturday June 3rd
The string and vocal trio Low Lily (formerly Annalivia) explores the roots and branches of American folk music with traditional influences and modern inspiration that weaves together a unique brand of acoustic music. Liz Simmons (vocals and guitar), Flynn Cohen (vocals, guitar, and mandolin), and Lissa Schneckenburger (vocals and fiddle) are masterful players with deep relationships to traditional music styles ranging from bluegrass to Irish, Scottish, New England, and Old Time Appalachian sounds. When you combine this with stellar composition skills and inventive arrangements you get music that is rooted yet contemporary.
Saturday July 1st
Dana and Susan Robinson are two guitar-playing, banjo-frailing, fiddle-sawing, and harmony-singing interpreters of the American experience. Their unique blend of contemporary songwriting and traditional Appalachian music bring to their performances a deep understanding of Americas musical heritage.
The genius of a Dana and Susan Robinson performance lies in their ability to capture the imagination of their audience, evoking a transformative experience that touches on the deepest humanity. They can make the audience howl with laughter or hush with poignant reflection as they take them on a journey across America and convey the mystery and wonder of the places they visit.
"Many songwriters have been heralded as modern day Woody Guthries or keepers of the American rural spirit, but that mantle might be better entrusted to musicians like Dana Robinson who embody both the heart and the soul of folk music."
- Dirty Linen
Dana and Susan Robinson at BeeHive Productions Studios
Saturday September 2nd
A bold new sound has emerged in New England’s traditional music scene: The Press Gang fuses the talents of squeezebox player Christian “Junior” Stevens, fiddler Alden Robinson, flute-player and vocalist Hanz Araki, and guitarist Owen Marshall into a high-octane musical partnership. The quartet blends their skill and fluency in traditional Irish music with their curiosity and aptitude for other styles. The joy that these musicians pour into playing music together is unmistakable and infectious. The result is a unique sound; at once energetic and sensitive, innovative and reverent.
“An Irish music phenomenon in America”— Irish Music Magazine
“One of those rare bands that are ingenious, driving, thoughtful and yet have great respect for the tradition.”— John Doyle
“Not unlike new-grass pioneer Nickel Creek’s self-titled debut in that it takes refuge in a tradition, but uses that context to shine.”— The Portland Press Herald
Saturday October 7th
Hailed by fiddler Darol Anger “one of my favorite musicians on earth”, the CBC-Newfoundlad as “one of the best mandolinists of his generation” and by Nashville’s Music Row Magazine for his “lickety-split mandolin work”, Portland, Maine-based Joe K. Walsh is known for his beautiful writing and his exceptional tone and taste.
His collaborations with acoustic music luminaries including fiddler Darol Anger, flatpick guitar hero Scott Nygaard, folk star Jonathan Edwards, and pop/grass darlings Joy Kills Sorrow have taken him all over the global and musical map. He’s played with everyone from John Scofield to Bela Fleck to Emmylou Harris, and performed everywhere from festivals to laundromats to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. After a number of award-winning years as mandolinist with bluegrass stars the Gibson Brothers,
Joe currently splits his time between an inventive string band called Mr Sun (featuring Darol Anger, Grant Gordy and Ethan Jodziewicz) a duo with Grant Gordy, and his own Joe K. Walsh Band. An avid edcator, Joe is a mandolin instructor at the Berklee College of Music.
Saturday November 4th
Hollar General plays there own brand of acoustic music. The song based quartentet infuses improvisation and subtle but complex rhythms into Chorney’s book of sometimes ethereal, sometimes driving songs. Guitarist and vocalist Michael Chorney, bassist Robinson Morse and drummer Geza Carr have worked together for years. They are the foundation of the Hadestown Orchestra, the touring group that performs Chorney’s and Anais Mitchell collaboration "Hadestown”.
The addition of pedal steel player Brett Lanier and Dan Davine on vibes provides the perfect compliment both in sound and in musical personality to the road-seasoned trio. In addition to Chorney’s songs Hollar General plays unique renditions of works by Tennessee Williams, Sun Ra and other unlikely sources. “Magic” - Matt Bushlow, Seven Days
The orchestrations are simultaneously rich and spare, deftly echoing the sounds of traditional folk music while also having an indie-pop flair. -New York Times
A shifting landscape of styles and sounds, from orchestral indie folk to mountain music to avant-garde jazz, melding together brilliantly and beautifully. -Seven Days, Vermont
Saturday December 2
DaddyLongLegs is the confluence of three well known Vermont musicians – Rick Ceballos, David Gusakov and Matt Witten –
whose talents merge to form a dynamic and highly original trad folk trio. Along with interesting settings of Celtic and old-time tunes, the band also explores genres not common to the fiddle-banjo repertoire including 1930’s jazz standards, Galician airs, 16th-century dance tunes and 19th-century Americana. Playing fiddle, viola, banjo, gourd banjo, piano, guitar, percussion and vocals, DaddyLongLegs creates vibrant, sensitive and surprising 21st century folk music.