Longtime Wintergrass attendees may recall a show way back when that featured pint-sized virtuosos, most of whom either grew up at Wintergrass or had deep connections to the festival. One of the greatest honors of doing this kind of work is getting to follow the careers of brilliant people. Wes Corbett approached us about putting together a band to honor the contributions of some of those not-quite-so-young players and we eagerly gave him full permission to go forth and create. This band is the result.
Both Wes and Jake Jolliff are NW natives and many of us can say with pride, “I remember when you were just a pup…” Chris Eldridge is familiar as the guitarist in Punch Brothers. Sam Grisman has a long list of credentials as a bass player doing stints with the Deadly Gentlemen, The David Grisman Folk Jazz Trio and David Grisman Bluegrass Experience. He also performs with Lee Ann Womack among others. In his young life Mike Barnett has played fiddle with Jesse McReynolds, Joe Walsh, Tony Trishka and the David Grisman Sextet and was a founding member of The Deadly Gentlemen. Needless to say the and has a pedigree that is far longer than the collective age of the band members themselves.Jake Jake Jolliff is currently the newest member of the Yonder Mountain Stringband and was a member of Joy Kills Sorrow. Wes Corbett also a former member of Joy Kills Sorrow is also a member of the Bee Eaters and a an associate professor at Berklee School of Music
Wes Corbett-banjo, Jake Jolliff-mandolin, Mike Barnett-fiddle, Sam Grisman-bass, Chris Eldridge-guitar
Canadian maritimer Luke Fraser and prairie-girl Sarah Frank share a love of folk songs and fiddle tunes. Drawing from the Canadian, American, and Celtic traditions, the two pour the spirit of story-telling and kitchen parties into their own writing. Luke brings guitar, mandolin and home-grown east coast vocals in harmony with Sarah’s singing, lyrical fiddle playing and claw-hammer banjo.
Luke and Sarah grew up listening to The Beatles and Beethoven on cassette tapes (often re-wound with a chewed up pen) and both trained classically at McGill University in Montreal, QC. They released their first album, “Fill Your Boots!” (2012) and in the years to follow, went on tour throughout Canada, the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe. In 2015 they released their second album, “Grassy Roads, Wandering Feet,” and performed at folk festivals across North America, sharing stages with acts including The Duhks, David Francey, Bruce Molsky, and De Temps Antan. They’ve performed official showcases at several folk music conferences and were artists in residence at The Banff Centre in 2014, as well as Canadian participants at Ethno Sweden (2014), a folk music exchange between 90 musicians from 15 countries.
Luke and Sarah perform as The Bombadils in a variety of formations including as a duo, or in larger settings with instrumentalists such as Kaitlyn Raitz (cello) and Spencer Murray (flute).
A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and award winning songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals. She began performing on stage when she was 11, and recorded her first album, The Old Apple Tree, at age 13. Since then, she’s appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, was featured on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, won first place in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at Merlefest, and, last May, graduated from the Berklee College of Music, which she attended on a Hazel Dickens Memorial Scholarship. Her lovely voice, impeccable guitar playing, and sensitive song writing make her a star on the rise. She has already received more than two million YouTube views and has recently released two EP’s with The Goodbye Girls and as a duo with John Mailander. She now makes her home in Nashville and spends time touring, writing and recording.
Molly Tuttle, blew away the unsuspecting crowd with her rapid fire bluegrass guitar work that would put even the most talented shredders to shame. It was a marvel to see such incredible technical skill combined with a sweet voice and fun, barn-storming songwriting.
– Jonah, Write to the Beat
[Molly Tuttle] sings with the gentle authority of Gillian Welch, yet plays astoundingly fleet flat-picking guitar like Chet Atkins on superdrive.
-Paul Zollo, American Songwriter Magazine
ARIA nominated Mustered Courage breathe new life into the Australian roots music scene with a diverse sound that appeals to both traditionalists and newcomers alike. Since the release of their eponymous debut album in 2011, the Melbourne based outfit that Music Australia Guide describes as “the link between Bill Monroe and Mumford & Sons,” have become the torch bearers for string band music Down Under.
The progressive folk-rock quintet blasted onto the national music scene when their
sophomore album, Powerlines, garnered two Golden Guitar nominations and a live
performance at the 2014 CMAA Country Music Awards in Tamworth. This led to a
collaboration with Kasey Chambers on the song “Rosa” which was included on the
album’s American release.
Mustered Courage’s steady rise and insatiable work ethic caught the attention of Lost
Highway Records (Universal Music Australia) who went on to sign them to a worldwide
record deal. While the ink dried, the two celebrated their new relationship by releasing
a rootsy cover of Seal’s iconic “Kiss From a Rose” with the original instrumental B-side
“Candle Creek.” These two tracks showcase the best of a sound that has Rhythms
Magazine raving, “The four-part harmonies are right on the money. And the string
picking, whether lightning fast or mellow and relaxed, is incendiary.” While the former
received praise from Seal, himself, “Candle Creek” further cemented the band’s place in
the alt-country music scene by bringing home the Golden Guitar for Instrumental of the
Year at the 2015 awards.
After a heavy touring schedule of headlining club dates and festival appearances in
Australia, these down-home pickers set their sights on the United States where they
were invited by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) to perform at its
weeklong 2014 World of Bluegrass conference and festival. This invitation turned into a
full-blown tour that included 60 shows in 70 days across 43 U.S. states. The glowing
success of the 2014 tour created a demand for a return trip to America, and the quintet
traveled back to the U.S. in 2015 for a two-month tour of club and festival dates during
the American summer. This tour included the band’s biggest show to date – a slot on
the main stage at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival – where they performed alongside
some of roots music’s biggest names including Béla Fleck, Punch Brothers, Kacey
Musgraves, and fellow Aussies the John Butler Trio.
Back home in Australia, and with no signs of slowing down, Mustered Courage keep the
momentum at a fever pitch with the release of their third long-player White Lies &
Melodies (Lost Highway). Their most ambitious album to date, White Lies & Melodies
pushes the boundaries of what a progressive folk-rock album can be. “There was
definitely a maturing that took place in the album’s symbolism, its instrumentation and
its production,” says lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Nick Keeling. “We didn’t feel
constrained by any style or genre for this one.”
The band enlisted ARIA nominated producer Forrester Savell (Dead Letter Circus,
Karnivool) to helm the recordings. “I’ve been a big fan of Forrester ever since I first
heard Karnivool’s record Themata in 2005,” says guitarist Julian Abrahams. “We did an
initial trial session with him where we recorded two songs. We loved what Forry did and
“We didn’t want this album to sound like a regular country/bluegrass album,” adds
bassist Josh Bridges. “We generally approach our performances with a rock mentality,
so Forrester being more of a rock/nu-metal producer let us approach recording with that
The result is an eclectic 12-track album that covers everything from traditional bluegrass
and alt-country to rock and R&B. However, for all of its different influences the album
never feels forced. Each song fits with the others as though it was always meant to be
There are songs of love. “Flames of You and I” is about a love lost too quickly, with an
arrangement that features an orchestral sound with timpani and bells. Whereas the
R&B inspired “Draw Five” speaks of a love whose heart beats to a different drum than
the one to which it is promised. “That song took me over five years to write,” says
Keeling. “It’s one that I never put too far on the back burner and just had to keep trying
to piece together. I’m glad I waited. I think I just needed to get to the next level of
songwriting to be able to finish it. We’re calling it R&Bluegrass.”
There are also songs about death. Though, this may sound dark on the surface,
Abrahams explains, “Everyone is ready for love. Not many people are ready for death.
That inspires me to live.” “Burning Bridges” tells the story of a man on his deathbed,
lamenting the mistakes of his life gone by. While the frenetic “Leave this Life Behind” is
a very personal song about a friend’s suicide that features a round of blistering solos.
“It’s about recognizing a disease called depression that is all too common in the world
today,” says Abrahams. “We all need to open the lines of communication a lot more
with the people we care about before it’s too late.”
With the expanded sound featured on White Lies & Melodies comes the addition of a
drummer for the first time in Mustered Courage’s career. “We’ve been wanting to add
drums in the mix for a while now,” explains Bridges. “Acoustic music can be
overpowered by the simplest things in a live setting, even with a PA system.”
Abrahams continues, “If you play a loud room and want to get it rocking, a bluegrass
band is gonna be in strife. We’ve had gigs where the people dancing are so much
louder than the band. We thought it was time to add drums to get the house rocking
harder. Also, now that we have drums, we aren’t constrained to just your standard train
feels. Now we can play hip hop beats (“Draw Five”), swampy rocking Americana
(“Burning Bridges”) or indie sounding stuff (“A Thousand Bullets”).”
With White Lies & Melodies, Mustered Courage prove that they “have a knack for
tempering the rough and raw roots edges of their twang foundation with hooky-as-hell
melodies and rich harmonies. Bill Monroe would be proud of his Aussie brethren-in-
arms.” (Folkadelphia, USA)