2024 Festival Lineup
More bands to be announced!
Acoustic instrumental music has never been so beautifully represented as by Alison Brown. As one of the most multi-faceted minds on today’s roots music scene, every one of Alison’s endeavors is marked by innovation, intelligence, and grace. As a banjo player, she throws out the textbook when it comes playing the banjo and the result is a sound that blends the rugged drive of bluegrass with the harmonic sensibilities of jazz, earning vast acclaim and a GRAMMY award in the process.
Alison took an unusual path to becoming an internationally recognized banjoist. After completing her undergraduate studies at Harvard University and receiving an MBA from UCLA, she pursued a career in investment banking. But she missed the bluegrass music she’d grown up playing in Southern California so much that when Alison Krauss called looking for a banjo player, she made the decision to give up her Wall Street career to pursue music. She toured with Alison Krauss and Union Station, and Michelle Shocked before forming her own group, The Alison Brown Quartet, in 1993.
Since that time, Alison and her band have been winning over traditionalists and mainstream music fans alike with her unique style. They have toured extensively throughout the US and abroad with stops at some of music’s most prestigious venues including The Kennedy Center, Newport Folk Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, MerleFest, New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival, FreshGrass, The Cambridge Folk Festival (England), Celtic Connections (Scotland), Dublin National Concert Hall (Ireland), Galway Arts Festival (Ireland) and Verbier Music Festival (Switzerland). The band has also traveled to Central and South America at the invitation of the US Information Agency and to Japan as Friendship Ambassadors on behalf of the Nashville Mayor’s office to celebrate a new sister city relationship between Kamakura, Japan and Music City.
Alison has recorded 12 critically-acclaimed solo albums, received a GRAMMY and multiple GRAMMY- nominations. She has also received the USA Artists Fellowship in Music and a Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Alison has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in the pages of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times among many other publications.
Alison is also the co-founder of the internationally recognized roots music label Compass Records Group which Billboard Magazine has called “one of the greatest independent labels of the last decade.” Compass Records Group oversees a catalog of nearly 1,000 releases across multiple label imprints, including Red House Records, Green Linnet and Mulligan Records. Alison currently serves on the Board of the Nashville Chapter of the Recording Academy, on the adjunct faculty of Vanderbilt’s Blair School of Music and as co-chair of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize.
Danny Paisley and The Southern Grass
Danny Paisley and The Southern Grass continue to be deeply rooted in tradition but look to the future with enthusiasm and anticipation. The group’s latest release, Bluegrass Troubadour, was nominated for IBMA’s Album of the Year and earned significant chart action, with the song Blink of an Eye spending several months at the #1 spot on the Bluegrass music charts and was also nominated for IBMA Song of the Year.
Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass play powerful, unadorned, and intense traditional bluegrass. There is no hybrid or genre-bending music here. Their combination of instrumentation and vocals convey the energy and emotion of classic bluegrass and country music. Danny’s lead vocals will captivate your senses, so much so that many prominent musicians, including Alison Krauss, have considered Danny as one of their favorite singers. His voice combines powerful range and soulful blues with a sound like no one else in bluegrass today.
Since Danny’s father, Bob Paisley (founder of Southern Grass), passed away in 2004, Danny Paisley and The Southern Grass have made their niche in the bluegrass world, producing consecutive chart-topping albums. The group has been given over 20 Bluegrass Music Award Nominations and won the 2009 IBMA Song of the Year for Don’t Throw Mama’s Flowers Away. In 2021, Danny Paisley joined an elite group of vocalists to be awarded the IBMA Male Vocalist of the Year for the third time – an achievement bestowed only to five others in Bluegrass music history.
With Danny Paisley on guitar, Southern Grass continues the family tradition by adding Danny’s son Ryan on mandolin, the next generation of up-and-coming pickers. Southern Grass continues the rich musical heritage started by Bob Paisley and Ted Lundy with Lundy’s sons T.J. (Fiddle) and Bobby (Bass and Vocals). T.J. Lundy is a highly respected fiddler bridging the gap between old-time fiddling and bluegrass music. Bobby Lundy is also a renowned multi-instrumentalist who has gained attention for his unique bass style. Southern Grass also includes Dean Phillips on banjo.
Danny Paisley, born in Landenberg, PA, in 1959, grew up listening to the music his father Bob played and enjoyed hearing the sounds of classic bluegrass like Red Allen, Mac Martin, Bill Monroe, the Stanleys, Reno and Smiley, and the Osbornes. In addition to old-time mountain music and traditional country music. Once you hear Danny sing, it is no surprise that he lists George Jones and Vern Gosdin as major influences in his singing.
Danny Paisley and The Southern Grass continue to carry on a legacy set forth over six decades ago, gathering fans at each event; Danny Paisley and The Southern Grass look forward with renewed energy as they bring their unique sound to audiences near and far.
Sister Sadie is a wildfire: raging hot bluegrass combined with breathtaking instrumental drive and awe-inspiring vocals. Comprised of original members Deanie Richardson (fiddle), Gena Britt (banjo & vocals) and newcomers Jaelee Roberts (guitar & vocals), Dani Flowers (guitar & vocals), and Maddie Dalton (acoustic bass & 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 fun little 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.’”
The original Station Inn lineup formed the core of the band for the majority of the first eight years, featuring Dale Ann Bradley, Beth Lawrence, Tina Adair, and of course, Deanie Richardson and Gena Britt. Together, this lineup reached heights that none of them thought imaginable leading into what they had assumed would be a one-time Christmas season pickup gig. In 2019, following the release of their second studio album “Sister Sadie II” on Pinecastle Records, they had their debut on the Grand Ole 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.
But without change, there is no growth—and Sister Sadie continues to grow.
The first gravitational shift came in finding a new lead vocalist in 2020—someone whose voice had the power and confidence to hold court and capture an audience. Fortunately, Jaelee Roberts had all of the above and more. Roberts had been in close proximity to the members of Sister Sadie for her whole life: Richardson played with her dad in New Tradition and Britt had played with her mom in Petticoat Junction. So when it came time to find a new voice for the band, her name immediately came to the fore. Despite her young age, there is nothing immature to be heard when she sings. Her voice is commanding, demanding the world stop and pay attention. It has the charisma and singularity to lead, while also melting like butter into spine-tingling harmonies. She is undeniable.
In 2021, Sister Sadie was featured in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s American Currents exhibit. That 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, there was a need for a third vocalist that would blend well with Jaelee & Gena. The first person to come to mind was one of Deanie & Gena’s favorite singer/songwriters, Dani Flowers. When the time came, they made the call & asked if she’d be interested and there was an immediate yes on the other end of the phone. Dani brings a sweet, tender tone in her lead vocals and her harmonies meld seamlessly. Her songwriting is second to none, which you’ll continue hearing on upcoming Sister Sadie recordings. While not intended, it was ironic how it worked out that Dani’s first show with Sister Sadie was at the Station Inn, where the band was originally formed. It seemed like the perfect fit, and it was. The addition of Dani maintained the inescapable magnetic draw that the Sister Sadie trio is known for.
In 2022, Gena Britt was recognized as the SPBGMA Banjo Player of the Year and Sister Sadie signed with Mountain Home Records to begin work on their third studio album.
The final puzzle piece fell into place with the addition of Maddie Dalton to the band in 2023. When Sister Sadie began their search for a new bass player to join the lineup, they also needed to find someone to fit the energy & drive that the band has maintained since the beginning. Maddie is widely known in the Missouri bluegrass scene & she is a musical force to be reckoned with. Maddie’s second show with the band was again at The Station Inn, the band’s home away from home. Playing together that night sealed the deal: that same spark from 2012 was alive and burning. This was the new Sister Sadie.
In 2023, Jaelee Roberts took home the honor of SPBGMA Female Vocalist of the Year. The band continues to work on the third album which is set to release soon.
Sister Sadie 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, Dani Flower’s honeyed folk, and Jaelee’s world-shaking power and range—has spurred the band into exploring new aural territory.
The addition of three new wildly talented musicians & vocalists 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.
This new energy continues to drive the band forward. Now, entering their second decade as a band, the energy that they felt all those years ago burns brighter than ever before.
Lonesome River Band
Few bluegrass groups have been around for forty years, and even fewer have been more popular, more widely admired, or more influential for as long as Mountain Home Music Company recording artists Lonesome River Band. By the early 1990s, they were winning key awards and topping the charts, and while members have come and gone, the quintet’s reputation for crafting essential, archetypal bluegrass has only grown with each passing year.
Now, the bluegrass powerhouse releases a new album, Heyday, surrounding four hit singles with a set of songs that serves both to introduce new members and to extend the group’s influential legacy still further.
Leading off the project is the group’s first single — and first No. 1 — of 2022, “Mary Ann Is A Pistol.” Sung by new member Adam Miller (mandolin), the song, written by long-time Nashville Songwriters Hall of Famer Dennis Linde, is a sly subversion of stereotypes first recorded over a quarter of a century ago and reclaimed from the record collection of bandleader and award-winning banjo player Sammy Shelor.
Miller shares lead vocal duties with veteran mandolinist-turned-guitar player Jesse Smathers, who led on last year’s “Cumberland River Shore” (a song suffused with the spirit and sound of the late and legendary John Hartford). The lineup is rounded out by Shelor, iconic fiddle player Mike Hartgrove and new bassist Kameron Keller, and blends to perfection the group’s signature “bluegrass with a rock ’n’ roll attitude” sound with fresh energy and new influences.
“Heyday,” the title track and next radio single, is a wistful reminiscence cast in the voice of a small town that’s “still sleepy but…still alive”; featuring another lead from Miller and subtle, sympathetic solos from Hartgrove and Smathers, it underlines the collection’s strong emphasis on new songs.
Banjo legend Jimmy Arnold’s retelling of “Jesse James” and Jim & Jesse’s homespun “Tell Her Lies and Feed Her Candy” are the only covers here, while the rest offer vivid sketches encompassing wry looks at love (“Love Songs”), old-timey romps (“Come On Down From The Mountain Top”), stern apocalyptic warnings (“Gabriel’s Already Standing”) and, of course, plenty of heartbreak and ramblin’ (“Waitin’ on a Train,” “Bye Bye Love,” “Headed North”). Lonesome River Band may be reaching middle age, but Heyday is here to say that, in some ways, they’re just getting started.
“Heyday is a representation of the Lonesome River Band in transition from many years with Brandon Rickman and Barry Reed in the band to the introduction of Adam Miller and Kameron Keller as the newest members,” says Shelor. “After 40 years in the business, LRB is looking forward to many more years on the road bringing new music to our wonderful friends across the country. We hope you enjoy this collection!”
South Korean bluegrass group Country GongBang was recently selected to receive the International Bluegrass Music Association’s 2023 International Band Performance Grant. This annual award is given to an especially promising act from outside the United States to help assist with travel expenses and Visa difficulties. The band name, rendered in Korean as 컨트리공방, roughly translates to Country Studio Performance, or Country Study Show. It comes from a popular Korean phenomenon where students are filmed studying or doing homework, and has spread into music students practicing.
Formed in 2018, Country GongBang plays a very tasty form of contemporary bluegrass, writing and singing in both English and Korean, which has been well received internationally via YouTube and other online venues. The band played at the La Roche Bluegrass Festival in France, and the Takarazuka Bluegrass Festival in Japan.
Hyunho, Banjo player for the band, explains “Bluegrass is a sound that is close to nature. We like it because it’s not over-embellished. It appeals to people who are tired of music that sounds too mechanical and manufactured. Bluegrass music is earthy and authentic. There are many cheerful songs, but it also seems to be a sound that brings out both sadness and joy. All the instruments that are used in the bluegrass genre are engaging as well as interesting.”
According to IBMA Executive Director emeritus Paul Schiminger, “Country GongBang created quite a buzz with their performance during IBMA’s Virtual World of Bluegrass in 2020, so it is exciting that, as this year’s IBMA International Band Grant recipient, they will perform in Raleigh this fall and on a US tour in 2024. Their Korean-influenced repertoire epitomizes the talent, passion, and creativity growing in bluegrass music around the world!”
CBA is proud to host Country GongBang’s first ever visit to the West coast of the US.
Salty Sally is Lucy Khadder, MK Martinez-Griffith, Naima Nascimento, and Sophia Sparks. Formed in 2022, the band has already been recognized for its powerful vocals, accomplished instrumental skills, and inventive arrangements. They play distinctive originals and covers from bluegrass, folk, jazz, country, and other styles. Members of Salty Sally have been featured in several other bands, on studio albums, and at major festival performances. Ages 14-17, the group met through music camps and classes over the years, and all attended a performing arts school in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find them on Instagram and YouTube at @saltysallyband or at www.saltysallyband.com.
Lucy Khadder is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and songwriter. She is a YoungArts Award winner who has played both bluegrass and jazz at festivals and major music venues, including IBMA’s World of Bluegrass and the Monterey Jazz Festival. She currently attends Oakland School for the Arts, where she studies jazz violin.
MK Martinez Griffith is a cellist and violinist who studies at Oakland School for the Arts. She has played with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, and will tour with the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra during 2023. Her musical mentors include Mads Tolling, Megan Lynch Chowning, and Tashina and Tristan Clarridge.
Naima Nascimento is a vocalist, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist. She has been the lead vocalist for the Oaktown Jazz performance group and has also been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine and on Access Hollywood for her original song supporting BLM. She currently attends Carmel High School.
Sophia Sparks was drawn to the mandolin at the age of eight. Within the year, she was tapped by Sierra Hull to join her on stage. At age 11, Birches Bend formed with friends Jasper Manning and Lucy Khadder, and she’s been performing professionally ever since. She currently attends Oakland School for the Arts and studies jazz mandolin.
Rick Faris Band
Rick Faris was born to play music.
Most kids learn to fish or hunt from their dad. Rick learned G-runs, fiddle tunes and musical insights from his.
Rick’s dad was a touring musician that rendered Bluegrass in the Ozarks, swung wide in western swing bands in dance halls and even played with legends like Reba McIntyre on Hee Haw, Nashville Now and the Grand Ole Opry. Rick’s love for music is one that can only be carefully cultivated when conditions are right and the stars just align. Rick says, “I didn’t know anyone who didn’t play or at least have an instrument in their house until I was 5.” The family of a humble musician’s means didn’t have a radio in the car so the 4 Faris boys spent the 9-hour trips up to grandma’s house singing and entertaining each other.
The four brother plus mom and dad made up the award winning Faris Family Bluegrass Band. They played festivals, taught Bluegrass in the Schools programs and shared real connections for the 12 years they toured professionally. After the family decided to stop touring, Rick was looking for a new full-time gig. He got his first break when the Bluegrass stalwart, Greg Cahill, called and asked him to audition for Special Consensus. The job was to be transformative for Faris because Greg hired him to play mandolin rather than the guitar he had been honing since he was a child. With 5 weeks to learn the mandolin and win the audition, Rick Faris stepped into the next stage of his career. After 6 years, 1 Grammy-Nomination and 2 IBMA Awards he switched back home to guitar and the band picked up another 3 IBMA Awards and a 2nd Grammy-Nomination. Rick spent a total of 11 years with the globetrotting Special Consensus. Under Greg Cahill he learned the meaning of professionalism and giving back to the Bluegrass community .
Rick’s strong desire to shine out with a genuine connection to the fans and players on stage caught Stephen Mougin’s attention. His label, Dark Shadow Recording, signed Rick Faris on as a solo artist in September of 2018. Rick started writing songs and selecting the right personnel that could handle anything. With watertight harmony singers and mind-blowing pickers, Rick set out to show the world what his brand of Bluegrass sounds like.
The first single, the blazing-fast title track written by Rick, “Breaking In Lonesome”, was released in March of 2019. It debuted at #2 on the Bluegrass Today Charts only to climb to #1 the next week. The album and its tracks are still appearing on the charts. Rick’s album, “Breaking In Lonesome”, was ranked #6 in the Top 12 Albums of 2019 by Bluegrass Today only a month after the albums official release in November.
“Rick Faris has constantly wowed me with his powerful vocals and virtuoso mandolin and guitar playing…I immediately noticed he is a great singer live…In short, I thought of the guy as the vanguard of younger musicians who are carrying Bluegrass forward…Bluegrass music might be entering its 9th decade, but Breaking in Lonesome proves it’s more vital than ever, and this project is a perfect showcase for one of its truly bright lights. ” – Tim Stafford of Blue Highway
in early 2021 Rick stepped away from his musical comrades the Special Consensus to start his own Rick Faris Band. Rick’s 2nd release on Dark Shadow Recording “The Next Mountain” released mid 2021 hitting the charts with the silver bullet of a song “Deep River” hitting #1 in it’s Second week! The album “The Next Mountain” spent 17 months in the top 5 slots on the album charts and hit #1 on the Contemporary Bluegrass Album Chart for the last time during the 18th month. It seemed a heralding of the IBMA Nominations and Awards to come…Rick was awarded the “New Artist of the Year” award at the 2022 International Bluegrass Music Association’s Awards and was Nominated for “Album of the Year” and “Song of the Year” for the song “Deep River”!
Rick’s newest album “Uncommon Sky” opened with the first single being a cover of the Huey Lewis and the News hit “Power of Love” turning heads and garnering two more nominations at the 2023 IBMA Awards for “Song of the Year” and Rick for the first time was Nominated for the “Songwriter of the Year” IBMA Industry Awards
Rick is about to move to Kentucky, to base his music career and Faris Guitar Co. shop in the “Bluegrass Music Capitol of the World” Owensboro, KY! This puts Rick in the heart of the bluegrass music that has shaped his life and career choice.
The Horsenecks play hard-hitting and heartfelt, traditional and original roots music. Their sound is centered around the pairing of the signature rhythmic Appalachian fiddle style of Oregonian Gabrielle Macrae and the inspired guitar and driving yet subtle banjo playing of Liverpudlian Barry Southern.
Gabrielle’s playing style is the result of being raised in the Old Time music hotbed of Portland, OR and being exposed to the fiddle traditions of the Southeast US through years of traveling to festivals and learning from some of the greatest players in the genre. Her love of traditional music brought her to North Carolina as a teenager where she fully immersed herself in the music of the region and gained notoriety in the Old Time Music world as a clawhammer banjo player after releasing an album with the Macrae Sisters in 2008 that received glowing reviews and became one of the iconic Old Time albums of it’s generation. Barry’s banjo playing ranges from thrilling and high-octane to moody and captivating, and his versatility shines whether playing clawhammer or driving three-finger banjo. Also an accomplished guitarist, Barry has been consistently active in Liverpools music scene for over 20 years, playing lead guitar with cult heroes Tramp Attack ( Must Destroy Records) and on into the UK Old Time and Bluegrass scene, playing with multiple groups.
Harmony singing and thoughtful song writing bring The Horsenecks to the stage with a compelling take on the music that moves them; foot-stomping dance tunes, innovative fiddle-banjo compositions and heartfelt and inspired lyrics and harmony singing. Whether they are singing centuries-old ballads, their own songs, or getting you up and dancing with a barn-burning fiddle tune, they remain firmly rooted in tradition, paying homage to the depth and richness of the music they have immersed themselves in for the last two decades. Whether performing as a duo or as a four piece The Horsenecks continue to set a new standard in today’s traditional music scene with years of touring under their belts, appearances at major festivals in the USA and the UK and three critically acclaimed studio albums.
Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen
Multi-Grammy nominated Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen is a torrent of mind-blowing bluegrass. Known for their meaty pile-driving rhythms and Frank’s dynamic and bold vocals, the band’s last two albums have both received a Grammy nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. They have twice been named IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year and earned numerous other IBMA noms including Male Vocalist of the Year, Mandolin Player of the Year, and in 2013, received Banjo Player of the Year. Their massive sound and show stealing performances command the most prestigious stages in the country and abroad; from The Grand Ole Opry to the biggest international festivals across Europe, South America and Australia. The band has performed at the biggest bluegrass festivals including Telluride, MerleFest, Grey Fox, RockyGrass, Delfest, Strawberry Music Festival, Pickin’ in the Pines, ROMP, and countless more. Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen is among the most respected and sought-after bands in the business. FS&DK’s respect and deep understanding of the bluegrass tradition collides, live on stage, with rock-tinged fiery virtuosity that pushes the boundaries of the genre. Other influences include country, jazz, blues, southern rock, and soul.
More than a performer, Solivan is an award winning songwriter, master cook, outdoorsman, leather craftsman, and entrepreneur, a bonafide Renaissance Man. Frank manufactures his own line of spice mix and hot sauce, handcrafts high end plectrums (picks), leather straps and belts used by the likes of Billy Strings and Trey Hensley, and is an influencer and endorser of national brands such as Traeger Grills, Bonafide Kayaks, D’Addario, Bluechip Picks, and Grace Designs.
In 2022, Frank started a high end boutique plectrum company with his partner David Welch called, ToneSlabs. They have spent decades performing, searching, tinkering, and experimenting to find a pick that will produce the perfect tone. ToneSlabs is THE premier pick across the plectrum landscape.
The band’s highly anticipated new album, Hold On was released September 2, 2022 with high expectations as the band’s previous two releases have both been Grammy nominated for Best Bluegrass Album.
Paul Brown & Terri McMurray
You’ll love the this husband-and-wife team. Paul Brown & Terri McMurray bring you a fun, engaging show packed with traditional songs, instrumentals, and good-humored, mostly-true stories.
Paul Brown can’t get enough of down home old time and bluegrass music. And he loves to share it. He started singing the songs his mom knew from central Virginia when he was a little kid. He picked up the banjo at age ten and the fiddle and guitar as a young man. He steeped himself in the music of his elders the best way possible: by playing with them at home and on the road for decades. You’ll love his authentic, solid sound as a singer, guitarist and prize-winning banjo picker and fiddler.
Paul is a retired NPR radio journalist, long a familiar voice on NPR’s world newscasts, who started his radio career at the renowned old-time and bluegrass station WPAQ in Mount Airy, NC. He’s a veteran of the Toast String Stretchers, the Surry County Boys with Robert Sykes, and the Smokey Valley Boys with Benton Flippen. He studied banjo intensively with Round Peak legend Tommy Jarrell, and he’s recorded and produced numerous iconic old-time music albums of artists including Art Stamper, Rayna Gellert, Ralph Blizard, and Benton Flippen.
Terri McMurray has great chops on 5-string banjo, banjo uke, and guitar. She looked and listened hard during her years around some of the great master traditional musicians in North Carolina and southern Virginia, and it shows in her playing. Terri played for more than 20 years with the Toast String Stretchers, the most active band in the well-known metropolis of Toast, NC, between Round Peak and Mount Airy. She was a founding member of the Old Hollow String Band with Kirk Sutphin and Riley Baugus.
If you’re looking for great music, lots of fun and stories that connect you and the roots music you hear to history, be sure to catch Paul Brown & Terri McMurray. You’ll be glad you did.
Tray Wellington Band
Growing up in western North Carolina’s Ashe County, Trajan “Tray” Wellington heard a lot of music — and from the first time he heard the banjo as a young teen, he was, he says, “hooked.” Even before he graduated from East Tennessee State University’s renowned Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country program, Wellington had earned acclaim as the banjo player with Cane Mill Road, performing across the country and winning a 2019 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year award while the group took Momentum Band of the Year honors. A well-received, independently released 2020 EP under his own name, the creation of his Tray Wellington Band and signing with Mountain Home Music Company that same year marked Wellington’s decision to make his own path going forward.
As he began releasing singles in advance of his full-length debut, Black Banjo, Wellington continued to garner attention, leading banjo workshops at the prestigious Merlefest and Gray Fox festivals; performing on the IBMA’s 2020 World of Bluegrass Main Stage and acting as host for the Momentum Awards ceremony; gaining coverage in publications like No Depression, The Bluegrass Situation and Folk Alley; and appearing on David Holt’s PBS NC series, being interviewed by Rhiannon Giddens for a BBC documentary series and by W. Kamau Bell for his CNN series, United Shades of America. Upon its release in May, 2022, Black Banjo earned a glowing review in the Wall Street Journal that concluded:
“This is a record that breaks right through subgenre boundaries. If bluegrass is about spotlighting virtuosos, here’s a new one people will be checking in on for some time to come.”
The pride of the Gold Country, Caltucky blends bluegrass, country and soul music with modern jam improvisation. Initially just an underground local phenomenon, the secret is out as this band has been gaining well-deserved momentum over the last year. This is hard-grooving jamgrass that knows how to set a dancefloor aflame. Their signature style has become synonymous with a diverse collection of melodic currents flowing through their wealth of compositions. Along with their catchy originals, they take an innovative approach to covers, reinventing songs to the audience’s delight.
Solid Gold Stranger
Solid Gold Stranger is a string band from Marin County, California. Formed in 2019, the group plays a unique blend of bluegrass, old time, and original progressive acoustic music. Listeners can expect tight, soaring harmonies, instrumental virtuosity, and dynamic song craft in every set.
Amy Kassir is a fiddler and singer from Durham, North Carolina, whose keen melodic sense and dazzling facility on her instrument lands her at the front of the stage goin’ nuts more often than not.
From The City of Action – Riverbank, California – Korey Kassir is a composer, singer, mandolinist, and fiddler with a proclivity for traditional rhythm and avant-garde melody.
Ashley Readel hails from Bakersfield, CA, and brings to the band a versatile dobro style that’s equal parts effervescent and driving.
Guitarist and singer Joe Readel writes songs for the band about (among other things): dogs, loneliness, and the strange happenings in his hometown of Sonora, CA.
Originally from Canandaigua, NY, and now living in San Francisco, Tyler Stegall supplies the band with a bombastic three finger banjo style that’s both rooted in traditional bluegrass and forward-looking. Solid Gold Stranger is currently playing shows all over California and making the final touches on their debut full length album Closer to the Flame.
San Francisco pickers, Trouble Town boil a hot pot of folk, bluegrass, swing, jazz and rock into a rebel blend of music with a big acoustic sound. The band’s musical chemistry and diverse influences have allowed them to pull from a deep musical well and make it a special stew all their own.
Trouble Town is led by Western Swing Hall of Famer, Pam Brandon (AKA Belle of Belle Monroe and Her Brewglass Boys) on bass and vocals, with Forrest Allen (Dusty Green Bones Band, Deep Thicket Dwellers) on mandolin and vocals, Mark Ignatius (Burl Haggard, Boots and The Katz, Das Tapes) on guitar and vocals, and Tyler Stegall (The High Water Line) on banjo and vocals.
Formed in 2019, they worked through the next two years of the pandemic by performing outdoors in parks and driveways to the delight of music-starved onlookers and ever since has been honing their sound and building a loyal fan base in the San Francisco Bay Area and beyond, playing shows in local clubs and California festivals.
Their high energy shows are characterized by hot solos, deep pocket rhythms and Pam’s vocals, which have been described as anywhere from sultry to field holler. Originals bump shoulders with reimagined traditional songs and choice alt-genre covers, a blend that keeps everyone guessing where the set will go next. Welcome to Trouble own!