Chris Luquette and Eli West On Bainbridge Island


An Acoustic Duo – Chris Luquette & Eli West

When two musicians who have known each other and jammed informally decide to take the stage for the first time Magic can happen. Both musicians have enjoyed increasing success over that last few years touring with acclaimed groups in North American and Europe.
Chris Luquette is the guitarist with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, the current instrumental band of the year for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA). Chris also was the IBMA Momentum Award winner in 2013.
Eli West is one half of the duo Cahalen Morrison and Eli West and a member of Jayme Stone’s Lomax Project. Both groups will be playing at Wintergrass 2015 in February. Eli recently joined John Reischman in a new band, John Reischman and the Pine Siskins.
Chris and Eli will be playing at the new Bainbridge Island Museum of Art(BIMA)on December 5th starting at 8 p.m.

Wintergrass 2015 Performers-I Draw Slow

Dublin roots band I Draw Slow have been drumming up enthusiastic reviews in Ireland since the rIdrawslowelease of their top 10 selling second album, Redhills. Irish national broadcaster RTE made Redhills album of the week and Redhills has been welcomed to the playlists of stations across the country. However, their impact abroad is redrawing the map for these Irish/Americana songwriters.

I DRAW SLOW’s soon to be released 3rd album, WHITE WAVE CHAPEL is a creative progression for I DRAW SLOW. The sound is rooted in the style of the Appalachian Mountains and draws on the traditions of Irish music while incorporating all that’s great about modern Americana.  I DRAW SLOW have created a whole new songbook of stories and melodies with this album. It features tales of dark and light, of debauchery and love, of trouble and joy that are sure to become firm favourites with their growing fan base at home and abroad.

They have been described in the UK press as “American top league equivalents” destined “to blow the opposition away”, drawing favorable comparisons with Gillian Welsh and Alison Krauss. The band has played to audiences in the UK, Germany, Denmark and Belgium and started 2012 with a performance with the Legendary Béla Fleck and the Flecktones and an appearance at the Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow Scotland.

I Draw Slow is a five-piece outfit comprising vocals, guitar, fiddle, banjo and double bass. Holden siblings Dave (guitar) and Louise (vocals) have been writing together for two decades. In 2008 the pair teamed up with Violinist Adrian Hart, Claw hammer banjo player Colin Derham, Double bassist Konrad Liddy to form I Draw Slow

The Sound: Alt-country, folk, roots, old-time, Americana The five have created a new sound, rooted in the old time style of the Appalachian Mountains, drawing on Irish traditional music and modern Americana. However, this is a whole new songbook of stories and melodies. These are dark tales of debauchery and trouble swinging from the kind of well-crafted melodies that survive.

Wintergrass 2015 Sponsor- Nechville Banjo: The Banjo Revolution: Not Just a Slogan


For most of my career as a banjo designer and manufacturer I have used the slogan “Banjo Revolution” without often explaining its fullness of meaning. First, it obviously refers to the mechanical revolution of the flange component of my unique Nechville Heli-Mount banjo. When I entered the professional luthier field, no one was really asking for a better banjo. However, having studied the instrument from an in-depth mechanical design perspective for many years, I instinctively understood the difficulties that tended to keep this traditional American instrument on the sidelines of widespread popular music, and made it my personal mission to correct this limited perception. Now having reached the point in my efforts where many world-renowned professional performers are appearing with my instruments in hand, the merits of Nechville’s common sense designs are beginning to manifest themselves not only for top performers, but with grassroots players and music lovers across the globe.

But in addition to hailing my “Revolutionary” banjo design improvements, the pun intimates a reverence for what our forefathers fought for, i.e., freedom of expression. Having the freedom to create a future for oneself is the central benefit of being a free-thinking human. In my example as a free-born North American, I have been fortunate to be able to follow my passions in this way. As impractical as it may seem to some, and with the full support of h_athenamy loving wife and family, I decided to invent, build and play banjos for a lifetime career. The joyful phenomenon of making music that Nechville instruments were designed for can cause a revolution of thought that reinforces our freedom to act toward betterment.
The Nechville world view summed up by the “Banjo revolution” slogan invites all of humanity to discover the creative spirit such as that which guides our hands in creating music. Musical collaboration, especially that involving Bluegrass music opens new social channels and connects people of diverse origins in fun family friendly festivities. I dream of a social revolution when a major segment of our population embraces Bluegrass inspired music.
Personal bonds won through music can influence the world significantly for all of us.

Mankind has lived for thousands of years without cars, planes and computers, but with the explosion of technology and mechanization, we should have discovered how to redeem benefit from the fruits of our ingenuity to arrive at a better balance between work and play. Perhaps our currently overdrawn government obligates us to work off our national debt to sustain the credence of our dollar as a functional form of currency. The ultimate victory for the Revolution however, will be when our lawmakers, and powerful money makers develop a commitment to allowing employment to all that want to work thereby freeing up more priority time for relationship building among family and friends. As idealistic as it sounds, why not promote the proliferation of homegrown music worldwide? Our existence becomes a little happier when we experience the true meaning of making beautiful music together.

I feel fortunate to have found a form of work that satisfies much of my creative desire, but even I struggle to find the ideal balance between work and play. Unfortunately, artistic pursuits like learning the banjo are considered unattainable by those over-stressed by full time jobs and basic lifestyle responsibilities. The reality is however that people of all walks of life and the world at large can benefit from creative pursuits as simple as friendships through music.

The Banjo Revolution can remain forever a fantasy, OR it can actually happen if you decide to sell the fruits of your labors and be paid back with a Revolutionary banjo. Nechville banjos are made by inspired craftsmen who truly believe in our mission to build better banjos for your musical success along your life journey.
Your friend in music, Tom Nechville
Viva La Banjo Revolution!  612-275-6602

Wintergrass 2015 Performers-The Caleb Klauder Country Band

 The Caleb Klauder Country Band represents the best of the Northwest music scene. Caleb has been touring nationally and internationally for over 15 years, first with acclaimed folk – rock band
Calobo, a luminary in the Northwest’s burgeoning music scene, and then with the widely celebrated Foghor2013.04.17-band_instrumentsn Stringband.Today, leading with vocals, guitar, and a mandolin, Caleb hosts some
of the Northwest’s best singers and players creating a honky – tonk band that stands out as a totem in the country music scene. The band performs Calebʼs praised original songs right alongside classics from George Jones, The Louvin Brothers and Dolly Parton, all at once sounding timeless, fresh, and alive. There is a drive to his music that makes it unique and captivating. This is country music made for people who want to have fun and who want to dance, harkening back to the old dance hall days when people of all walks of life came together to simply dance, socialize, and enjoy
live music. Band members include Jesse Emerson on upright bass, Ned Folkerth on drums, Reeb Willms on vocals and guitar, Russ Blake on pedal steel and electric guitar, and Sam Weiss on fiddle, all of whom contribute to the vibrant Northwest music scene in various other bands. Raised on Orcas Island, Washington and now living in Portland, Oregon, Caleb is a true Northwesterner, yet his maternal family roots lay in East Tennessee. His mother, originally from Knoxville, moved her family out west when Caleb was only a year old. These deep family roots contribute to Calebʼs music, tapping into old memories to bring you the strong singing and spirited attitude that give his music an edge that is both cutting and sweet.

Wintergrass 2015 Performers-Mark O’Connor

Photo by Jim McGuire

Mark O’Connor (b. August 5, 1961, Seattle, Washington) will be playing Wintergrass 2015 with two performances on Sunday March 1st with the Youth Symphony and then his own performance on the Grand Ballroom stage.

Mark’s career has included at age 13, becoming the  youngest person ever to win the Grand Master Fiddler Championships competing against all ages, amateur and professional. the only person to ever win national titles (open to all ages) on fiddle, bluegrass guitar and mandolin (Weiser, ID; Winfield, Kansas; Kerrville, TX). Six Country Music Association Musician Of The Year Awards in a row.  At age 17 Mr. O’Connor played guitar as a member of one of the greatest acoustic string bands of the 1970s, the David Grisman Quintet. At age 19 he payed violin and guitar alongside Steve Morse as a member of one of the greatest rock-fusion instrumental bands of the 1980s, The Dregs. In his twenties he was a member of one of the greatest acoustic bands of all time with four of the greatest players on their respective instruments, Strength in Numbers (with Bela Fleck, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas and Edgar Meyer). During his twenties, Mr. O’Connor became the most in demand session musician of any instrument and in any genre for a 3-year period, appearing on more top ten hits in the country, recording over 500 albums, and recording with everyone – Dolly Parton, James Taylor, Paul Simon, Randy Travis, The Judds, and more.

His first recording for the Sony Classical record label, ‘Appalachia Waltz’, was a collaboration with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer. The works Mr. O’Connor composed for the disc, including its title track, gained worldwide recognition for him as a leading proponent of a new American musical idiom. The tremendously successful follow-up release, ‘Appalachian Journey’, received a Grammy Award in February 2001.

The Mark O’Connor Method is another project of Mark’s: About The O’Connor Method

The O’Connor Method for string teachers and students is a 10-Book series designed to guide students gradually through the development of pedagogical and musical techniques necessary to become a proficient, well-rounded musician through a carefully planned succession of pieces.


Mark’s website is a great site with lots of info on his music and collaborations with others.

Mark has a great Youtube Channel with music from his long and varied career.

  • 2 Grammy awards; 1992 & 2001.
  • 8 Grammy nominations; 1982–2004.
  • 7 CMA awards; 1991–1996.
  • 7 National & Grand Master fiddling championships; 1975–1984.
  • 2 National Guitar championships; 1975 & 1977.
  • World mandolin championship; 1982.
  • Frets Magazine Readers Poll Musician of the year; 1983–1987.
  • Irish-American Top 100; 2005.
  • Hundreds of regional, state and local awards; 1972–present.

Wintergrass 2015 Performers-The Steel Wheels November 2015 West Coast Tour

The Steel Wheels have captured audiences across the country with their heady brew of original soulful mountain music and their deep commitment to roots and community. Based in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, this dynamic four-piece string band marries old-time musical traditions with their own innovative sound and lifestyle, generating a truly magnetic revival.

The Steel Wheels is an amalgamation of hard work and easy rapport. The band is renowned for their raw energy and chemistry on stage, where they often cluster tightly around a single microphone to adorn Trent Wagler’s unmistakable tenor with bell-clear four-part harmonies inspired by their shared Mennonite heritage. Add to this Eric Brubaker’s evocative fiddle, Brian Dickel’s grounded upright bass, and Jay Lapp’s signature mandolin style, and it’s no surprise that The Steel Wheels have enthralled the contemporary Americana scene.

Their breakout album, Red Wing (2010), gSteel Wheels photo by Aaron Johnston Photographyarnered critical praise and enjoyed tremendous success on the radio. It spent 13 weeks on the Americana Music Association’s Top 40 Chart, where it reached the number 15 slot, and cracked the Euro Americana Chart top 10.  The Steel Wheels were nominated for five Independent Music Awards in 2010, with “Nothing You Can’t Lose” taking top honors as Best Country Song.  Following 2011’s release, Live at Goose Creek, The Steel Wheels continued to take the Americana scene by storm with their album, Lay Down, Lay Low (2012), which lingered for 10 weeks on the AMA’s Top 40 Chart and was the 2012 Americana Album of the Year from the Independent Music Awards.   Additionally NPR Music named “Rain in the Valley” their Song of the Day, marveling that the “heavy hymn […] is sparse and dense all at once.”  2013 brought yet another Americana charting release entitled, No More Rain.

The Steel Wheels are selling out venues from coast to coast and appearing at many of the top festivals in the US & Canada.  These include Merlefest, Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Ann Arbor Folk Festival, Stagecoach, Fayetteville Roots Festival, Moab Folk Festival, Musikfest, Walnut Valley Festival, Canmore Folk Festival, Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Riverhawk, Kerrville Folk Festival, and many others.  2014 shows no signs of slowing down with a full schedule of prestigious festivals and venues.  In 2013 the band hosted their own annual Red Wing Roots Music Festival ( that brought over 40 bands to 4 stages for 3 days of music & community.  In addition as the schedule allows, the band organizes and perform the SpokeSongs bicycle music tour, during which the band members tow their instruments, equipment, and merchandise from one show to another via bicycle.  Past tours have spanned up to 11 days, 600 miles, and 10 shows.  The attention from these special SpokeSongs tours allow the band to raise extra money and awareness for charities and causes along the way.

As the band thrives, so do their partnerships with local businesses, artisans, and charitable organizations. The values portrayed in their music—devotion to roots, community, and family—are a way of life for The Steel Wheels, and this is reflected in everything from production process and booking agency to merchandise and touring.  The band’s merchandise represents a host of grassroots connections to people and businesses. Lucas Roasting Company, located just outside of Harrisonburg, created “Halfway to Heaven” dark roast coffee in honor of their friends The Steel Wheels. Blue Mountain Brewery, located on Afton Mountain in Virginia, hosted the band when they were just getting started and now cans and bottles a multi-state distributed “Steel Wheels ESB.”  T-shirts and printing needs are locally sourced and their one of a kind ceramic mugs are made by a potter friend, Justin Rothshank.  Each product is intimately woven into the bands’ narrative. The Steel Wheels are proof that music remains a viable and sustaining force for connection in our world.


“What sets The Steel Wheels from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia apart from many bands is the combination of their stellar instrumentals, accentuated by the one of a kind lead vocal of Wagler, and keenly supported by strong harmonies. Eric Brubaker on fiddle, Jay Lapp on mandolin, and Brian Dickel on bass weave in and out intricately throughout this record, painting vivid imagery which flows effortlessly, just teasing the lyrics enough to allow them to resonate within you.”

Country Standard Time

Friday, November 14 

Columbia City Theater, 4916 Rainier Ave South, Seattle, Washington

Wintergrass 2015 Youth Academy


Youth Educational Offerings

Youth Education Registration Form

Most Wintergrass Youth education programs take place at the Hyatt Regency (900 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue WA 98004) in the Evergreen Ballroom. Students and parents should plan to check-in thirty minutes before the start time each day. Parents are always welcome, but not required, to stay and observe the fun. Students should plan to pack a lunch. A substantial snack and drink will be provided to Youth Academy students on Friday at 4pm before their 5pm performance.

Wintergrass Pintgrass

For young students ages 4-6

Thursday/Friday, February 26-27, 2015
9am to noon Hyatt Evergreen Ballroom

Cost: $45

Pintgrass is for our youngest musicians. Your 4-6 year olds will learn easy tunes, begin developing a sense of rhythm, and have the opportunity to learn more Bluegrass and folk music in an encouraging environment. Your young students will love working with Ayrian Moore and her staff of caring instructors.

A weekend pass to Wintergrass is always free to kids under the age of twelve, so that pass is included with your registration to Pintgrass. Parents of registered students are eligible for a discounted Parent Weekend Pass to Wintergrass.

PintGrass is a half-day program. Registration begins 8:30 a.m. Thursday morning. Classes run from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Thursday and Friday. All PintGrass students and parents are encouraged to come and watch the Wintergrass Academy’s final performance Friday evening at 5:00 p.m.

You can Register Online or fill out the Youth Education Form and mail it in to:

POB 2024
Milton, WA 98354

D’Addario Wintergrass Youth Academy

For students ages 7-13

Thursday/Friday, February 26-27, 2015
9am to 4pm Hyatt Evergreen Ballroom
8:30am registration on Thursday
Friday performance on the Evergreen Stage from 5-6:30pm

Cost: $117 (includes full weekend pass to Wintergrass)

The Wintergrass Youth Academy has long been the lynchpin the the Wintergrass youth education program. Beth Fortune and the irrepressible Joe Craven lead a stellar team of both adult and junior teachers who work to instill the seeds of a lifelong love of music in their young charges. Even if your child doesn’t yet play an instrument, the Youth Academy is a fantastically fun, affirming entry point into a musical life.

Registration includes a weekend pass to Wintergrass. Parents of registered students are encouraged to attend the closing performance on Friday night on the Evergreen stage from 5 to 6:30pm at no cost. A festival pass is required to attend other shows. Parents of registered students are eligible for a discounted Parent Weekend Pass.

Performers will learn about and practice:

  • Fine-tuning one’s stage presence
  • Reading the audience
  • Ensemble skills
  • Playing music with others
  • Building an interesting performance
  • Integrating the new skills acquired during the Kids Academy
  • “And everything else (except the kitchen sink)”

Small group and Individual attention!

All Youth Academy students participate in small group instruction on their own bluegrass instruments. (If you child needs an instrument, let us know!) Students also get a chance to try out other instruments and receive basic instruction on either guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo, dobro, bass, or voice.

You can Register Online or fill out the Youth Education Form and mail it in to:

POB 2024
Milton, WA 98354

Wintergrass Youth Orchestra

For middle and high school aged students

EMP rehearsals in January/February – Dates to Be Announced
Rehearsal with Bob Phillips (ASTA president)
February 28th 9am to 1:30pm – Hyatt Evergreen Ballroom
Sunday March 1, 2015 Hyatt Grand Ballroom – Performance!

Cost: $100

Designed to bridge the gap between classical and oral tradition music, The Youth Orchestra provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to learn improvisation, ear training, and the study of traditional songs and styles; it offers exposure to both classical and traditional bluegrass instruments and the transfer of skills from classical orchestra to folk ensembles, and vice versa. This year students will be working with Aoife O’Donovan & Sarah Jarosz; Matuto; Darol Anger’s Mr. Sun, and Mark O’Connor.

The bulk of the orchestra is made up of select students from 3 participating schools each year. However, ‘singleton students’, i.e., those students who are not members of the participating orchestras, are also invited to participate. A limited number of singleton students are accepted each year. Those students must have an ability to learn and work on their own and must learn all of the material to be performed. They are invited and encouraged, but not required, to attend one of the two pre-festival rehearsals at Seattle’s Experience Music Project (EMP) which occur in January and February. All students will be provided with written music. Singleton students will also be provided with mp3s of the music, when available.

Registration includes a Saturday/Sunday pass to Wintergrass. Parents of all orchestra students are eligible for a discounted Parent Sunday pass, which is good for all shows, all day Sunday.

Perhaps the most important discovery for these students is the difference between a fiddle and a violin, which, of course, is… attitude. The Wintergrass Youth Orchestra does not compete with traditional symphony training – rather it seeks to validate multiple approaches to string music. Something magical happens during these sessions and is reflected in the culminating performance, when all 200 students share the Grand Ballroom Stage with Wintergrass headliner bands on Sunday morning.

325 5th Avenue N
Seattle, WA 98109

You can Register Online or fill out the Youth Education Form and mail it in to:

POB 2024
Milton, WA 98354

Wintergrass Youth Academy/Orchestra Package

For students wishing to participate in both the Youth Academy and Orchestra programs.

Registration Cost: $190

Registration includes a weekend pass for the student. Parents of Youth Academy/Orchestra package students are eligible for a discounted Parent Weekend Pass.

You can Register Online or fill out the Youth Education Form and mail it in to:

POB 2024
Milton, WA 98354

Wintergrass Youth Academy Teacher Training (YATT)

For students ages 14 to 21

Youth Academy Teacher Training is designed for young skilled musicians ages 14 to 21 to encourage growth in the areas of showmanship and band ensemble and prepare students for teaching possibilities.

More info coming soon.

Additional Information

A Parent Weekend Pass is $117. Parents or guardians of registered Pintgrass, Youth Academy or Youth Academy/Orchestra package students are eligible to purchase up to 2 such passes. The pre-festival price for a weekend pass is $137.

A Parent Sunday Pass is $17 – Parents or guardians of registered participants in the Youth Orchestra are eligible to purchase up to 6 such passes. The pre-festival price for a Sunday pass is $42.

For any other questions about any Wintergrass Youth Education program, please contact Beth Fortune directly.