Co-founders of The Festy Experience and your host-band for the weekend, The Infamous Stringdusters consist of Andy Falco (guitar), Travis Book (bass), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle), Andy Hall (dobro), and Chris Pandolfi (banjo). They sound like no one else, combining virtuosic chops on five traditional bluegrass instruments, with an ethos of pushing the genre forward. The Stringdusters' live shows take improvised string band music to new places, combining musicianship and songwriting with experimental performance and a contagious energy flowing between the band and crowd. Their groundbreaking musical proficiency is earning them critical acclaim, awards, and nominations aplenty; and has even attracted the attention of musical legends Phil Lesh and John Scofield, who have joined The ‘Dusters on stage to offer up unforgettable, raucously crowd-pleasing sit-ins.
“The Infamous Stringdusters don’t leave bluegrass behind; they’re stretching it from within.”
~ Jon Pareles, The New York Times
A singer, composer and actor, Lyle Lovett has broadened the definition of American music in a career that spans 14 albums. Coupled with his gift for storytelling, the Texas-based musician fuses elements of Americana, swing, jazz, folk, gospel and blues in a convention-defying manner that breaks down barriers. Whether touring as a ‘Duo’ or with his ‘Acoustic Group’ or ‘The Large Band’, Lovett’s live performances show not only the breadth of this Texas legend’s deep talents, but also the diversity of his influences, making him one of the most infectious and fascinating musicians in popular music. Since his self-titled debut in 1986, Lyle Lovett has evolved into one of music’s most vibrant and iconic performers. His oeuvre, rich and eclectic, is one of the most beloved of any living artist working today.
Forty years into his recording career, John Hiatt has chosen to title his 22nd studio album, Terms of My Surrender. Surrender? Is that as in Cheap Trick? Or Appomattox? Hiatt laughs, tentatively, at the choice.
“It’s my Appomattox,” he says, wryly. “Really I don’t know where it came from, that idea of trying to arrange the terms of my surrender. I don’t get to do that. It’s a labor in vain in that respect, if you think you can negotiate that with anyone, or anything. In reference to the title song, it’s in terms of love. You’ve got to give it up. The song says, ‘I can’t negotiate the terms.’”
That’s an essence, perhaps the essence, of the 11 songs here, the 11 stories they tell and, together perhaps, one story. Always a keen observer of life’s flings and foibles alike, usually mixed well together, Hiatt’s insights and skills at sharing them have only sharpened over the year.
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.
"It was time to get back to basics." Brett Dennen says of his fifth record, Smoke & Mirrors, out October 22th, 2013. "I wanted to return to the folk and acoustic music I loved when I began writing. I decided to tap into my memories and explore new emotional territory as honestly as I could."
Brett Dennen's music career began humbly around the camps of the Sierra Nevada mountain range–a retreat to which he would eventually return for inspiration on Smoke and Mirrors. "Being in the mountains, aside from the inspiration, was so crucial to me, because as a kid I used to spend so much time in the mountains. And just being there helped me regain that self-confidence. I remembered who I was."
Brett's 2006 release, So Much More, officially launched him as a discovery artist and drew frequent comparisons to troubadours like Paul Simon and Tom Petty. In 2008 his Hope for the Hopeless didn't stray too far from the songwriter's comfort zone, though a partnership with producer John Alagia (Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer) led to a high level of production not yet heard on any of his albums. In 2011, Dennen's Loverboy was his biggest departure to date: a danceable collection of songs influenced by the road and recorded by a studio filled with friends and imperfect takes.
"After several years of consistent recording and touring, some real time off was necessary. I bought a house in the mountains and reconnected with my roots as a songwriter. I walked through the hills, enjoying the solitude, and only wrote when I was inspired."
Returning from his retreat into the mountains, Dennen looked for a collaborator to elevate the songs he'd brought back and landed on renowned producer Charlie Peacock. "Charlie had recently made a beautiful record for The Civil Wars, so he seemed like an ideal producer. We spoke on the phone for just a few minutes and instantly connected. He wanted the recordings to focus on my vocals and acoustic elements. Our goal was to simply enhance the demo and bring them to life."
Larry Keel is described by some reviewers as the most powerful, innovative and all-out exhilarating acoustic flatpicking guitarist performing today. Keel has absorbed the best lessons from his Bluegrass family upbringing, both sides deeply steeped in the rich mountain music culture and heritage of Southwest Virginia. From there, he has always integrated that solid musical grounding and natural-born talent with his own incomparable approach to flatpicking the guitar and composing original music. He’s also got a knack for choosing interesting and appealing material from all realms of music with guts, whether it’s a tune written by a fellow song-writer/musician friend, or a tasty cover from any number of genres all over the map. The combination is pretty irresistible, and has earned Keel the highest respect and billing among the top acoustic musicians alive, and some now gone: Tony Rice, Chris Thile,Vassar Clements, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, John Hartford, Bill Monroe, Peter Rowan, and Darol Anger to name a few. And his fierce, high-spirited energy also appeals to young rockers, jammers and alt country pickers and fans who are equally drawn to Keel’s deep rumbling voice, his earthy and imaginative song-writing, and his down-home-gritty-good-time charm. Keel regularly collaborates with JamBand and Rock giants Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Jorma Kaukonen, David Nelson, Little Feat, Rebirth Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass, Railroad Earth, members of String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon, amongst others.
Cabinet is a band with roots firmly planted in the Appalachian tradition. They wear their influences like badges, honoring the canon of roots, bluegrass, country, and folk, weaving these sounds into a patchwork Americana quilt. But this music isn’t romanticizing or rehashing the past. Cabinet makes it mark on today. The steady aim of their harmonies soar straight onto target each time, the soaring vocals giving voice to the story of each song. Their music takes the long way home, treating its listeners like passengers on a ride through scenic back roads. Their live shows are inclusive, celebratory, and community-building. Members Pappy Biondo (banjo, vocals), J.P. Biondo (mandolin, vocals), Mickey Coviello (acoustic guitar, vocals), Dylan Skursky (electric bass, double bass), Todd Kopec (fiddle, vocals), and Jami Novak (drums, percussion), all live and love music, and aren’t afraid to show it.
Cabinet formed in 2006, bringing together players from various musical and personal backgrounds. Some of the members were barely old enough to drink legally, but their thirst for older music was unquenchable. Whether its rustic "American Beauty"-era Grateful Dead or old-timey bluegrass, Cabinet has digested it all. But that is not to say that Cabinet recreates older styles. No, this is music that might have its roots in the past, but it is current and vibrant, with a sense of celebrating the now.
Sharing a common love of music and life on the road, Fruition were originally brought together by the lure of adventure. For the last six years, the Portland, Ore. string infused quintet has racked up the miles playing sold out shows in their adopted hometown and garnering new fans across the country. Fruition released Just One of Them Nights in 2013 and it’s an album that finds the band tackling the many struggles and successes that come along with living a vagabond lifestyle and the search for artistic clarity.
Over the years, Fruition have toured with or collaborated with members of Railroad Earth, ALO, Infamous Stringdusters, Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass, Elephant Revival and The Head and The Heart. They've thrilled audiences at festivals including Jamcruise, High Sierra Music Festival, Northwest String Summit and All Good Music Festival, and played for packed rooms at Portland, OR’s Crystal Ballroom, Boulder, CO’s Fox Theater, San Francisco’s Fillmore as well as the Great American Music Hall, Boston, MA’s Brighton Music Hall and more. With no signs of slowing down, the band takes each day as it comes. From broken down vans and whiskey shots, to the lovers and loved-ones who check-in through the miles, at the end of the day it's Just One of Them Nights for this talented bunch who are experiencing a radiant present and looking towards an even brighter future. The band released an EP recorded with their friends in Colorado’s Grant Farm in August and are wrapping up a new full length for 2015.
Sprouting from the musical foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Charlottesville, Virginia’s LOVE CANON currently resides in full bloom. The musicians, led by guitarist Jesse Harper, are six seasoned virtuoso string players fused together by wood and wire to become LOVE CANON.
“Love Canon doesn’t cover the music of the ’80s as much as kidnap it and take it on a bluegrass-tinged joyride.”
With a passenger van and a trucker’s atlas, LOVE CANON has been touring the mid-Atlantic since 2010 bringing their own raucous blend of bluegrass to the masses. The band’s diehard fans are music lovers first and foremost, drawn to the beautiful high-lonesome stylings of Harper’s guitar and vox paired with banjo master Adam Larrabee, mandolin pickin’ by Andy Thacker with Darrell Muller holding down the low-end on standup bass. The band is augmented with the sweet sounds of resonator guitar king Jay Starling on the Beard MA-6.
LOVE CANON has previously shared the stage and studio with David Grisman, Ricky Skaggs, and Bruce Hornsby and as a band have toured with Josh Ritter and The Infamous Stringdusters. They have played big festivals around the country; including LOCK'N and GOTV, have played live on the BBC and RTE radio recently and are poised for continued success.
LOVE CANON’S third album LOVE CANON GREATEST HITS III has just been released in the US; and, includes the hits DANGER ZONE, DOWN UNDER, and TOUCH OF GREY.
Born and raised in Sandpoint Idaho, Shook Twins are an Indie folk-pop band now hailing from coniferous forested Portland, Oregon. Identical twins, Katelyn and Laurie Shook, Kyle Volkman and Niko Daoussis form the core quartet. Central elements of the Shook Twins’ sound are a wide range of instrumentation, including banjo, guitar, electric and upright bass, mandolin, electric guitar, electronic drums, face drum (beatbox), glockenspiel, ukulele, banjo drumming and their signature golden EGG. Beautiful twin harmonies, layered upon acoustic and electric instrumentation coupled with Laurie’s inventive use of percussive and ambient vocal loops, and Katelyn’s repurposed telephone microphone, set their sound apart, creating a unique and eccentric blend of folk, roots, groove and soul.
The twins are the main songwriters but they have recently started backing up their band members, Niko Daoussis (Cyber Camel) and Anna Tivel (Anna and the Underbelly) and adding their stunning songs to the mix. Each Shook Twins song tells a story, distinctive, sharp, genuine, and well – sometimes quirky. Drawing from their life experience, select subjects include, being potters’ daughters, imagined superpowers and a chicken named ‘Rose’ they befriended. Shook Twins also pull out unexpected takes on classic hits, retellings of their musician friends’ songs, heartfelt ballads and rhythm driven dance numbers.
After releasing their first album “You Can Have the Rest,” the twin sisters moved to Portland in December of 2009, conceptualizing their 2011 release “Window” (featuring Bonnie Paine and Bridget Law of Elephant Revival).Both albums were recorded and produced in Santa Cruz, California, at InDigital Studios. Favorable reviews, extensive radio airplay and a busy tour schedule have created an ever growing fanbase & kudos from many major musicians.
Shook Twins and their full band, including Niko (mandolin, electric guitar, vocals), Kyle (bass), Anna Tivel (violin, vocals), and Russ Kleiner (drum kit, percussion), recently finished recording their third album with Grammy nominated producer Ryan Hadlock at Bear Creek Studios as well as partnering and recording an album, with fellow Portland musician Ben Darwish on his epic concept piece, “The Clear Blue Pearl.” Shook Twins have shared the stage with artists including: Ryan Adams, David Grisman, Mason Jennings, Blizten Trapper, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Sarah Jarosz, Laura Veirs, The FruitBats, Jonatha Brooke, JJ Grey and MoFro, The Indigo Girls, Crooked Still, Jason Webley, The BoDeans, Elephant Revival, The Head and The Heart, The Lumineers and many more. Eclectic, amusing and whimsical, Shook Twins’ laid-back and fun stage presence draws the listener in, allowing them to take the audience away on the adventure that is their live show.
Hello, we’re The Rigs.
Pleased to meet you, or perhaps we’ve met before?
We’re a new band, born from some old ones, working on our first record.
Welcome to the ever-unraveling, quickly evolving world of The Rigs. Longtime musical collaborators Eric Robertson, Duncan Wickel, Nicholas Falk (The Boston Boys), and Aaron Lipp (Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, Robert Randolph and the Family Band) have recently joined forces to form this new band, currently based in New York. The seeds of this project, however, were planted years ago; whether it was in a van on tour or on a Brooklyn rooftop at the break of day, the only thing we know for sure is that music was being played.
The Rigs play ecstatically diverse music. Whether it’s country songs, fiddle tunes, Rock and Roll or greasy southern blues and funk, it’s all about that infectious energy that keeps listeners intrigued and on their toes. It isn’t uncommon for 'picking' to commence before and after live shows, and you are invited to come along as the music morphs from song to song, instrument to instrument, and street to stage. With four singers and multi-instrumentalists, The Rigs’ unique brand of Supercharged Roots Music boasts original songwriting woven with sharp-witted lyrics and danceable melodies that will keep you singing and shaking all night.
In May 2015 The Rigs will spend a week recording their full-length debut album, produced by Oliver Wood (The Wood Brothers) at Southern Ground Studios in Nashville, TN. As you follow them through this exciting process, The Rigs can’t wait to share their new music with you later this year. In the meantime, you can always Dig The Rigs at www.digtherigs.com, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates, media, tour dates, etc.
Wake. The evocative one-word title speaks volumes about what's happening on Nora Jane Struthers' latest album. For the thirty-year old singer-songwriter, it's “wake” in several senses of the word. There's the trail of a life and career behind her, the slipstream of lessons learned. There's the quiet observance and letting go of who she has been up until now as both an artist and a person. And most of all, there's the stirring of something new, an opening of a door and wide-eyed rush forward into a place of discovery and dizzying possibilities. And it's all set to a soundtrack that resonates with the warm uplift of the first day of spring.
Struthers' ascent to this new plateau has been a steady one. Born in Virginia and raised in New Jersey, she began playing as a pre-teen. attending festivals and fiddlers' conventions around the south with her banjo-playing father. “These were pretty much just a group of musicians camping in a muddy field for a week, playing tunes and singing songs,” she recalls. “But these traditional music communities greatly influenced me and informed my decision later to move to Nashville and try to become a professional musician.” After graduating from NYU with an education degree, she taught high school English in Brooklyn and put her music career on the back burner. But a visit to the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the early 2000s changed that. Watching one of her heroes, Tim O'Brien, she stood in front of the stage, glanced back at the crowd and the mountains and thought, “This is what I want to do.” There followed that move to Nashville, much woodshedding as a writer and touring, with Bearfoot, and her first solo-fronted group, the Bootleggers (who won the 2008 Telluride band competition). Along the way, she worked with bluegrass stars like O'Brien, Stuart Duncan and Bryan Sutton, and released two critically-acclaimed albums. But it was in 2012, when Struthers formed the Party Line, that everything started to come into sharper focus.
Having the right band also led Struthers to realize that she wanted to change her approach to record-making. “My last album Carnival took a step away from certain aspects of the digital, highly-produced approach. There's no auto-tuning. I made it with the band, not session players. But the songs weren't road-tested, so we put the arrangements together in the studio. After touring that record and seeing how the songs evolved as a result of playing them for audiences, I just knew that I wanted to make the next record after road-testing the material and allowing it to grow.”
Inspired by what she calls the “grit and vibe” of recent favorite albums by Hayes Carll and Jason Isbell, she and the band hunkered down in the Bomb Shelter studio in Nashville, with Struthers taking on the daunting first-time challenge of self-producing.
The end result was worth it. And the Party Line comes across as a classic example of the model supporting band, a la the Heartbreakers or the Cardinals. Nobody overplays. The pieces always fit. Overton, Vana and bassist Brian Duncan Miller and drummer Drew Lawhorn all get their moments to shine, but their tasteful parts are first and foremost in service of the song.
Despite its Montana namesake, Gallatin Canyon is a Charlottesville, Virginia-based bluegrass band. True to its Virginia roots, the band specializes in traditional bluegrass music with a refreshing, modern sensibility. Nodding to the bluegrass past with a traditional spin, the band is also known for rebooting many favorites from the country and classic rock genres. Though anchored by four core members, it's not uncommon to see guest appearances from what they like to call "a truly remarkable assembly of our many talented friends and musical heroes." The band has played throughout the region on many stages, including an opening act at the Charlottesville Pavilion for the President of the United States in 2012.
"His adept folksy songwriting and never-fail sense of humor took him from a local festival staple to a full-time Tennessee troubadour. His earnest lyrics, sincere, rich baritone vocals and simple acoustic guitar stylings find him trailing a long wake of critical praise."
~ C-ville Weekly
Chamomile and Whiskey formed in the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia in the late winter of 2011. Marie Borgman and Koda Kerl had been traveling the country playing as a duo and returned home to Nelson County with the idea of forming a full band. After a few shows of expirementing with different musicians they quickly settled in with Tim Deibler, Brenning Greenfield, and Ryan Lavin. From the beginning the group played dozens of shows in the local bar scene, with an emphasis on high energy and passionate performance. With each of the members coming from different musical backgrounds the songs melded into a new sound... with shades of rock, americana, irish, gypsy, and old-time sounds... all played with a punk rock ferocity.
After a year of playing the local bar scene, the band signed with County Wide Records... a Charlottesville based label that worked with many of the bands influences, including Bobby St. Ours, Pantherburn, and Mister Baby. The band recorded an EP produced by Jamal Milner, in a barn in Nelson County... aptly titled The Barn Sessions it was released at the Southern in downtown Charlottesville in April 2012. The band's second year proved fruitful and saw them open for Rusted Root, Railroad Earth, J Roddy Walston and the Business, and The Hackensaw Boys. They also played their first headlining show at the Jefferson Theater.
2013 was a big year for the band. On May 24th they released their debut LP Wandering Boots at the Jefferson Theater. The album was produced by Rob Evans and has gained significant radio play in the local market. The band has toured for much of the year with performances up and down the east coast, from Vermont and New York down to South Carolina. With infectious and ever-changing live performance, the band has devoleped a reputation for engaging shows full of rowdy dancing and incredible collaborations.
2014 continued on with Chamomile and Whiskey touring more extensively than ever... making debuts in Chicago, Nashville, and New Orleans. They recorded a Daytrotter session in the summer and joined the Infamous Stringdusters at the Festy in Nelson Coutny. The band logged well over 100 shows in 2014, constatnly improving their sound. The Chamomile and Whiskey family is growing with more and more talented people collaborating with the band both on and off the stage. The future looks bright for these vagabonds, with rumors of a new recording starting soon...
A bearer of the coveted Telluride Troubadour Award (2009), Nathan Moore is a pioneer of modern day troubadouring and a wellspring of songs like you wouldn’t believe. His love of poetry, songs and mischief has shaped his colorful, prolific career. He’s a founding member of both ThaMuseMeant and Surprise Me Mr. Davis, two bands that have toured the country extensively. There are a lot of folks out there that will tell you that one of these two bands is one of their favorite bands of all time. Between his solo career and his bands, Nathan has released 21 albums. From storytelling songwriter to rock band frontman (with a dash of magic here and there), Nathan has done it all with a disarming honesty and lyrical revelry that few could pull off. Lately he has taken to hosting a live online radio show from his home in Virginia.
In 2012 Moore found “The End” of his epic Hippy Fiasco Rides Again adventure. For those that don’t know, he and his crew (road manager Chad Galactic and merch girl Liz Bunny) spontaneously headed out on tour without any gigs booked, but webcasting themselves 24 hours a day. They played only where they were invited by those watching the webcast who stepped up to host“Fiascoes” all over America. Nathan would perform in their homes, parks or other meeting places. Nathan encouraged everyone to bring instruments to the Fiascoes and play along, forming what became known as the Moorechestra. “Hippy Fiasco Rides Again: The Record”, was made with 100% fan participation through mobile recording and a special website. Over 100 people play on this record. There has been a movie made about the experience called, you guessed it, “Hippy Fiasco Rides Again: The Movie”. Just to recap, get this: the viewers of the webcast were watching a show about a traveling modern day troubadour and they decided where the tour went (heck they decided whether to get Salt and Vinegar or BBQ chips!). Not only that, they helped promote the tour, helped write the songs and in the end were invited to play on the record. All that happened! And it was way crazier than I’m making it sound.
The versatility of Moore’s catalogue and performing experiences is hard to fathom and he’s shared the stage with an impressive list of talented artists (My Morning Jacket, Rickie Lee Jones, Greg Brown, Chuck Berry, Rambling Jack Elliot, Cheryl Crowe…) at venues and festivals all over the country. After touring relentlessly in the 90s and co-founding a small independent record label in Santa Fe, NM in 2001, Nathan returned to his roots in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in 2006 to launch a solo endeavor. Moore’s 2007 solo album, “In His Own Worlds“, spent 21 weeks on the Roots Music Radio Charts, and his evocative one-man show that is an innovative combination of music, banter and magic has wowed audiences and garnered critical praise from coast-to-coast ever since. His two records “Folksinger” and “Dear Puppeteer” are on The Royal Potato Family Label, and comprise some his best work. One music writer calls Moore’s performance on Folk Singer “…as proficient as Ryan Adams, as lyrical as Jeff Tweedy and as charming as a deadbeat cartoon character that wakes up, rubs his belly and leans into the day” (Relix Magazine)
Tin Angel Records is sending its troops out into the wild. The Coventry, England-based indie label is home to arguably the most eclectic roster on either side of the Atlantic, and its earliest (and perhaps most popular) troop, Virginia’s Devon Sproule, is headed home to the motherland. I Love You, Go Easy, the newest studio record from the 28-year-old, sent Sproule back to her place of birth, Ontario, Canada.
I Love You, Go Easy, while sonically sparser than any of her recent records, is a thematically logical next chapter to Sproule’s story. It’s a story that has always revolved around her relationships with people — most notably, her husband, Paul Curreri, a fellow Tin Angel Records recording artist.
“I don’t know anything about the zodiac, but I know that when Paul and I go out for Chinese, we have to turn our placemats over — the horoscopes… Confucius and all that… they swear Paul and I should be mortal enemies! Forget married, we shouldn’t even be co-workers! Paul lives in his intellect, always having big wonderful thoughts, or doing things to slow his mind down when he’s trying to relax. The only time he pays attention to his body is to get annoyed with it not being able to keep up with his lifestyle. My approach is pretty much the opposite — more inspired by the sensual, emotional, and physical world. I think the best plan for marriage, and the one I’m trying to describe in these songs, is to pursue such a closeness with someone that their alienness rubs off on you, helps you unskew yourself.”
Even at its most somber and reflective moments, I Love You, Go Easy never loses the sparkling tenderness & humor that characterizes all of Sproule’s work. Perhaps her true talent lies in her ability to net the universally shared and make it unique, to fix her spyglass on the everyday and show it anew, to prove it undeniably worthy of a fresh look.
Simply put, ‘The Falco Brothers’ is the exploration of three Long Island brothers who love to make music together. Although Tom (guitars, vocals), Andy (guitars, mandolin, vocals), and Patrick (upright and electric bass) have been performing together for over fifteen years in various configurations bringing their take of American roots music to audiences around the Northeast, they finally have taken a break from other side projects to focus on developing this distinct, Long Island bred family band. Longtime friend and drummer Fred Golik rounds out the quartet.
Brother Andy, as a member of the critically acclaimed jam-grass outfit The Infamous Stringdusters, has received multiple IBMA awards and nominations, as well as a Grammy nomination for best country instrumental. Andy has also toured and/or recorded with artists like Joss Stone, Levon Helm and The Travelin’ McCourys (featuring all members of the great Del McCoury band).
Brother Patrick is a busy bass player on the New York scene, performing everything from Jazz to Rock to Bluegrass, and has played with artists like Tony Trishka, songwriter Robert Poe and many more
Brother Tom performs regularly with his band Easy Chief, a Long Island favorite and is a member of the Northport bagpipe band. He also was a member of Long Island bluegrass guru Buddy Merriam’s band
Fred Golik has been playing with the brothers way back since the early Water Street Blues Band days, and has almost always been the drummer in any configuration since. Fred has played with many others around Long Island, including singer/songwriter Jack Licitra. He also enjoys taking the dogs he trains out on long walks along the North Shore coastline.
It is when they perform as The Falco Brothers however that they tie all of their musical experiences and influences together in to their own Bluesy Folk-Rock sound. The Falco Brothers strive to focus on good, memorable songs while not being afraid to stretch out and explore improvisational journeys. As Long Island natives they often participate in events that benefit the Long Island lifestyle to help ensure future generations can enjoy the wonderful waterways and trails that the brothers themselves take advantage of. While Patrick can be found surfing the coast year round (yes, the water is freezing in the winter!), Tom will usually be out on his boat in the Great South Bay fishing for Striped Bass, and Andy will be mountain biking one of the many trails Long Island has to offer. Their individual busy schedules don’t allow them to play together on a full time basis, but when they do you can be sure they’ll be smiling big, playing their hearts out and you’ll feel like you are part of the family. Come on in and have a seat at the table, they have been expecting you!
Down North masterfully mixes underground rock and party-fueling soul, regularly lifting up audiences that have been craving new soul sounds from the city that gave the world Wheedle’s Groove and Jimi Hendrix.
Down North’s upcoming new line-up debut will still feature the bold and sensual talents of lead vocalist/dancer Anthony “RenaGade” Briscoe, whose North Carolina-bred approach to making fans swoon has no equal in the Pacific NW. Raised on Michael Jackson and Sam Cooke, Anthony is as stylish and emotional as Prince in his vocal expressions. Co-leader Brandon Storms is an extremely versatile bassist-guitarist who writes much of the music and taps into his love for everything from Hendrix to James Jamerson in making tunes both infectious and substantial.
The recent additions of Drum Off! award-winning and crowd-amping player Conrad Real (drummer for Ayron Jones and The Way and Society’s Child as well) and the psychedelic-jazz trills of guitarist Nick Quiller make the band an unusual and extremely welcome addition to the regional music scene. Depending on whim (and the size of the stage!), Down North expands to a seven piece, integrating horns and other players to help deliver their dazzling grooves.
They’ll probably also transcend to higher level of acclaim very soon; early single “Danger” was played on MTV’s The Real World even before this killer line-up was settled on. Newer meatier cuts like “So What,” “Your World,” “Running,” and “Heartbreaker/Revolution” (which features the Black Rock psyche-outs of guest legendary axeman Jabrille) reveal the band moving in even edgier, sweatier musical realms.
“We want to be an opening beacon for this scene that’s happening now and not getting enough notice,” Anthony says. He loves to hang out all over Seattle, but the other night was blown away when he met two gals on Cap Hill “who had lived all their lives here and never heard of Marmalade.” He wants to open up the party to rock fans “who want to dance again!” and to those who have been craving fresh, warm, loving soul in the midst of a chilly indie scene. “The people that play in this band are excellent at what they do and we’re all here to play music for people who want to move and connect.”
Down North is part of the zeitgeist not only of bands mining a deeper, better played history, but also one that taps into the 90s music scene when anything was possible. “I grew up pretty sheltered,” Brandon admits, growing up in a small Washington town near the Canadian border, “and had my life turned around by feasting on albums like ‘Check Your Head’ — the fusion of all those beautiful sounds going on at that time.” Serious about his playing (like Anthony, they were raised in the church and really learned how to practice and perform music), he moved to Seattle, and enrolled in the Shoreline recording program. He joined some musicians which became the formative version Down North, and their first gig was opening for Alien Crime Syndicate before a crowd of 500 people. “I was playing in a soul band before I even listened to soul!” he says (and has truly grown into the role).
Rock, blues, folk, and soul had a baby and they named it Erin. She collected three of her most talented friends in 2012 and dubbed them The Wildfire, in reference to the fiery quality of their groove. Erin & The Wildfire is comprised of Erin Lunsford (vocals, acoustic guitar), Ryan Lipps (guitar), Matt Wood (bass), and Nick Quillen (drums). Erin is an award winning vocalist (1st place Winner of Charlottesville’s Paramount Idol 2013) and an award winning songwriter (1st place Winner in the 11th Annual Rapunzel’s Songwriting Contest) with the song “Best I’ve Ever Been.” This past summer, the band won the Rockn' to Lockn' competition and had the honor of playing on the final day of the 2014 Lockn' festival alongside Soja, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, Willie Nelson, Wilco, Widespread Panic, and The Allman Brothers. Erin & The Wildfire was also featured in this year's CMJ Conference, The Festy Experience, and The Circus Life Festival.
Erin & The Wildfire has been described as a “local treasure” and their presence continues to grow throughout Central Virginia and up and down the east coast. In 2013, Erin & the Wildfire released their debut self-titled EP, which features poignant lyrics, dynamic energy, and sultry melodies. The EP track, “Best I’ve Ever Been” was also chosen as one of the best new songs of 2013 by WNRN Radio’s LocalMotive broadcast. This November, the band will be releasing three new tracks on the Blame the Rain Single, and will subsequently tour the northeast. The combination of Lunsford’s soulful and striking vocals with the Wildfire’s feverish intensity will start a flame in the heart of any listener.
Before there was Festy, there was...