Wintergrass 2018 Parking Information

There are 5 levels of parking below Bellevue Place, which is the complex where the Hyatt is located. There are over 1000 parking spots there. Those lots are connected directly to additional lots below Lincoln Place, right across the street.  If you are attending Wintergrass and you  park at any time during the day on Thursday and Friday  and leave after 8pm, parking is also FREE. The gate goes up at 8pm. If you leave BEFORE 8PM, there are parking charges, but there are a bunch of ways to get parking  validation – at any number of restaurants or shops. In addition to all that parking, there is a huge amount of space available across the street at Bellevue Square.  All of that parking is free but alittle bit of a walk but not that far.Parking is FREE on both Saturday and Sunday. You can see where all of the parking lots are by taking a look at the complex map.

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Wintergrass 2018 Performers-Brothers Keeper

Founded in 1990’s by Mike Faast, Brother’s Keeper has toured extensively throughout the North West performing at churches and festivals. . The core members, Mike Faast, Terry Enyeart, Rick Meade, have been prominent performers in the NW for over 30 years in various groups. They recently performed the Gospel show in the biggest acoustic festival in the NW, the Wintergrass Music Festival where they we’re joined by Steve Taft, (banjo) and Nolan Elwell, (Bass.) 12418918_666490940121231_7810450584737052361_o

Wintergrass 2018 Performers – Foxfire

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Foxfire formed in 1984 when Larry Bulaich Wilder, Bob Evoniuk, Jeff Jones and Glenn Freese met each other at a jam session. The musical synergy was immediate. The addition of Leonard Sutton resulted in the formation of the popular touring and recording band. Foxfire enjoyed nearly 14 years of success including national and international touring, performances at hundreds of events and some of the country’s premier music festivals. The band recorded six albums, including the new “Retrospective”, a re-release of 22 tracks including some live performances.
The current lineup includes all the original members; Larry Bulaich Wilder on banjo, Bob Evoniuk on Dobro, Jeff Jones on mandolin, Glenn Freese on guitar and the addition of Peter Koerella on bass and vocals. 25507711_165324780741873_4159174694749972127_n

 

 

Wintergrass 2018 Raffle

Wintergrass 2018 Raffle

Oh boy, oh boy. Our sponsors and friends have been busy crafting an assortment of stunning items available in the festival raffle this year. Here’s how it works. Pick the thing or things you are most interested in winning and purchase a raffle ticket for that item. The Wintergrass Raffle booth is located near the top of the escalators on the Grand level. Raffle tickets are $5 each. The drawing for all prizes will occur on the Grand Ballroom stage on Sunday at 2:30pm. Winners do not need to be present to win, but it’s a whole lot more fun if you are. Read on for the details.

Ever-loyal Rayco Resphonics returns with a Rayco squareneck resophonic guitar. This guitar is a hybrid of traditional materials and modern design. Built with solid birch for its inherent warm mids, the parallel body, thick back plate and medium body depth provide compression within the modern open architecture. The resulting tone is consistently full and present over the entire fretboard. The instrument comes with a hardshell case.
Value: $3500 plus one year of ArtistWorks lessons with Andy Hall

We’re very excited to welcome Northfield Mandolin to the fold. You just can’t get these fine instruments locally, so this is a rare opportunity to get your hands on one of these coveted instruments. They are offering their most popular S Series F5 with a few special features just for Wintergrass. Specs include upgraded premium figured Sugar Maple and an Italian Spruce top as well as a custom engraving and inlay. Hand shaded sunburst and semi-gloss finish. Included is our brand new Airloom “Recurve” case.
Value: $3750 plus 1 year of ArtistWorks lessons with Mike Marshall

 

Taylor Guitars has donated a Taylor 814CE guitar to the Wintergrass raffle this year. It features a Sitka Spruce top, Indian Rosewood backs and sides, and a Mahogany neck. The binding and back strip are maple and the Element marbled fretboard features a mother of pearl inlay. The guitar comes equipped with Expression System 2 acoustic electronics and a hardshell case.
Value: $3499 plus one year of ArtistWorks lessons with Bryan Sutton.

Eastman is donating the first-ever fiddle to the 2018 Raffle. The Andreas Eastman VL200 is entirely hand-crafted of well-seasoned tonewoods, with an attractive and durable hand-applied translucent amber varnish. The fingerboard is African ebony, has boxwood pegs, tailpiece and chinrest. The violin is fashioned on a Stradivari pattern.
Value: $1278 plus one year of ArtistWorks lessons with Darol Anger

What is bluegrass without the banjo? Deering Banjo once again brings their Deering Goodtime Americana Banjo to the mix. The Americana™ is the first 5-string banjo from Deering to be fitted with their Grand 12” rim, which gives the banjo a stronger bass response and a much warmer tone than a typical open-back banjo and is a great setup for playing old time music. This banjo also features guitar style tuners, a rock maple neck, nickel plated hardware, and hardwood inlays.
Value: $569 + 1 year of ArtistWorks lessons with Tony Trischka

In addition to these fine instruments, Hospitality mainstay and Wintergrass patron Barbara Ross has created a spectacular handmade quilt which will be on display at the Raffle booth all weekend. Barbara is an extraordinary artist. Her works have graced the Hospitality room for years. This is your chance to see, touch, and maybe take home, one of her gorgeous works.
Value: $1500

Wintergrass 2018 Intensives Update

There is some room available in some of the Intensives. Here is the info for all the Intensives.

 

2018 Wintergrass Intensives
Serious musical study for serious students

The Intensive Program at Wintergrass is a unique opportunity for the developing musician to gain musical insight from some of the industry’s most noted performers and experts in a half day or all day in-depth learning session.

The Wintergrass Intensive Program is geared for musicians who consider their skill level intermediate to advanced, unless it is noted that the session is specifically for beginners. It is assumed that most participants will be adults, though a youthful individual with the right mindset might also find benefit and enjoyment in the program.

Morning half-day sessions start at 9:00 am and end at 12:00pm, afternoon half-day sessions start at 1pm and end at 4pm, and all day sessions start at 9:00 am and end at 4:00pm. All days sessions have a lunch break from 12:00 to 1:00 pm. Lunch is not provided.

To register online please click go to the Wintergrass ticket site.

2018 Wintergrass Intensives Classes & Instructors
Duo Intensive
Mike Marshall & Darol Anger
Afternoon – Thursday, February 22, 2018    SOLD OUT

 

A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

 

The Music of the Duo will cover (but not be limited to):

The Compositional Process:
Inspiration vs. Perspiration
Presenting tunes to each other
Harmony/Chords
Answering the questions
“What does this tune say?” “What does this tune really need?’
What is needed for the show, set or CD?
Individual Challenges:
Developing techniques that enable a variety of texture changes
Harmonic variety
Speed
Creativity
Working with the skill set of each player
Rhythm:
Backup rhythm techniques for both instruments
Our inspirations/education/background
Adapting other instrument ideas to our instruments
The need to solve a particular musical puzzle
Working without a tradition/template
Improvisation:
What to do with a fiddle tune?
Prepared or improvised solos
Playing and quoting lead melodies
“Quoting” other solos
Simultaneous improvising
Counter-point
Super-imposing harmonic information
Complex simplicity and vice versa
Arranging:
Control of dynamics and “story”
‫Harmonizing
Improvising an arrangement on the fly
Generating counter-lines, harmonies and double-stop textures
Expanding backup roles/pretending to be a different instrument
Also to be included in the Intensive:

Discussion of peoples’ specific questions about ensemble issues
Details about various musical style issues
Other issues that might be diminishing our ability to enjoy the music
Possibly some cooking tips.
Folded into the session, we’ll examine tonal concepts, reharmonization, and possibly analyze a standard tune to freshen, polish and “Duo-ize” it.

Participants can expect to come away with new or improved techniques and insights that will lead to increased understanding, ease, and fun when playing in small ensembles, in either an accompanying or a solo role–or both at once. Knowledge of these ideas and techniques should, over time, greatly increase a string musician’s fun level, musical confidence, and spontaneity in any size ensemble.
Vocal Harmony Intensive
Laurie Lewis & Tom Rozum
Afternoon – Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $65
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

‘Going to the West’: An exploration of harmony options

Grammy Award-winning musician Laurie Lewis is internationally renowned as a singer, songwriter, fiddler, guitarist, bandleader, producer and educator. She was a founding member of the Good Ol’ Persons and the Grant Street String Band and has performed and recorded since 1986 with her musical partner, mandolinist Tom Rozum. Laurie has twice been voted “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association and has won the respect and admiration of her peers. Her 2016 album with her crack band, The Right Hands, was nominated for a Grammy in 2017. Laurie and Tom have been singing their whole lives (so far), and love nothing better than the sound of voices raised in harmony.

The course:

Going to the West will utilize the beautiful song of that title as a jumping-off point to explore harmony singing. We will cover melody-singing, the tenor and mysterious baritone harmonies, breathing, phrasing, and achieving that perfect blend in duets and trios.

Starting off in a larger group, we will break down into trios and duets and work on finding the “right” key for a singer, and how to stack harmonies most effectively for any given group of singers. We will touch on traditional bluegrass ornamentation and styles, and work on awareness of our instruments (our bodies).

Participants will come away with their ears tuned to pick out the harmonies and make themselves more valuable members in any singing situation. Participants should be able to sing “Happy Birthday” in tune.
Rearranging The Roots
Joe Craven
Morning – Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Morning.

Rearranging The Roots: Exploring possibility in Songs and Tunes

For 30 years, Joe Craven has been known as a multi-instrumentalist who ‘plays forward’ folk tradition and process by mashing ideas and sound tools from a variety of unexpected places, thus creating new music altogether. Joe was with David Grisman for 17 years and Joe has added to his creativity pool working with Jerry Garcia, David Lindley, Alison Brown, Howard Levy, Vassar Clements, Rob Ickes and many other innovative artists. Even better known is Joe’s work as an award-winning educator having taught with vocalist Inga Swearengen, bassist Victor Wooten, children’s music innovator Paul Reisler and jazz percussionist Jason Marsalis. Joe’s love of music is broad and he continually seeks the happiness of pursuit in his pursuit of happiness.

Packaging Songs and Tunes

There are many ways you can present a song or tune with different grooves, tempos, instrument choices, harmonic maps, arrangements, etc,. “Producing” can make a great song/tune fall flat or make a mediocre song a mega hit! Take a traditional idea and make it indie pop; take a brand new idea and make it sound 100 years old. Looking at things differently is part of a long, grand tradition in Folk Music. Joe will remind you that traditions begin as innovations and innovations are built upon traditions. Bring songs or tunes of yours or by other folks and let’s have a great time playing dress up with those awesome ideas of yours! Rearranging The Roots will address, but not limited to:
Intention – What do you want your tune or song to say & to what audience?
The wardrobe of groove / style
Major or minor key (?) and the powers of both.
The intuitive connection of tempo
Instrumental density – how many layers do you need to play to say what you wish to say?
The Arrangement; the forms, the lengths, the beginning / middle and end…oh my!
And more…of course!

All instruments and vocals – advanced beginner to advanced intermediate.
Guitar Intensive
Kenny Smith
Afternoon – Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

Originally from Nine Mile, Indiana, Kenny is widely considered one of the most important and influential flatpicking style guitarists of his generation. A two-time IBMA Guitarist of the Year award winner, his professional credits include six years with the popular Lonesome River Band and an exceptional solo CD, Studebaker, released on Sugar Hill Records in 1997. A much-anticipated Guitar Solo CD, Return, released on Gat3 Records in 2012.

Winners of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s prestigious Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2003, the Kenny and Amanda Smith Band combines gutsy, heartfelt vocals, brilliant instrumental talents and a powerful, contemporary sense of song choice and arrangement into one of the most compelling new sounds in bluegrass today.

Kenny is in great demand at guitar workshops and master classes. He has released a two-DVD instruction set on AcuTab Publications. Kenny has recently launched a new online Guitar lesson website at kennysmithguitar.com.

The class will address, but not limited to:
Rhythm-Techniques on how to be a solid rhythm player. We will learn just how a basic Rhythm pattern can be so technical.
Are you in a rut?- have no fear, we will discuss some new ideas that will help you pull yourself out of the ditch and on the road to new solos.
Lines – how to create your own lines and licks. We will study the process I use to come up with some new lines that will take your playing in a new direction.
Improvising- What are you thinking? I will play tunes and improvise and stop and explain what am I thinking !
Arpeggios- learn them and how to turn them into music.
Other but important stuff – Tuning, Tone , Right hand, left hand position and pressure. Learning the fretboard.
This class will be aimed at intermediate and advanced players.
Dobro Intensive
Fred Travers
Afternoon – Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

Fred Travers began playing Dobro in 1982, influenced by the music of the Seldom Scene and the playing style of Mike Auldridge. During 1986 through 1995, Fred performed and recorded with the Gary Ferguson Band, and Paul Adkins and the Borderline Band. In September of 1995, John Duffey and Ben Eldridge, founding members of the Seldom Scene, invited Fred to join the group as Dobro player for the band. Now, over twenty years later, Fred remains as the Dobro player/singer for the Seldom Scene. He has performed countless times with the band, around the United States, and in Canada. He also has appeared on the last four Seldom Scene recordings.

The Dobro Intensive will discuss these topics (and whatever might turn up from questions that develop during the Workshop!):
Techniques and approach to Mike Auldrige’s style of playing the guitar with an emphasis on making the Dobro a defining voice in the music of the Band.
Improvising and preparing Solo’s for a song
Using the defined Melody
Using a combination of defined melody and other licks
Using the unique qualities of the Dobro/Slide guitar to create a singer’s approach to a solo
Utilizing slightly alternate tunings of the standard G tuning to enhance the Dobro approach and sound to a particular song.
Backup and fills
Single note and harmony scales as fills and back-up
Approach to Back-up fills – complimenting the song or singer
Playing Rhythm on the Dobro
Developing an arsenal of “back pocket”, signature licks for you to use.
Techniques for playing good tone on the instrument
During our review of these topics, there are a number other things that will be discussed I’m sure! Practice techniques, harmonics, Right and Left-hand techniques, scales, developing a visual roadmap on the neck of the guitar, Hammer-on and pull-off techniques, etc. etc….

Participants can expect to expand or improve their playing techniques, which may hopefully open a new door in your playing and enjoyment of the instrument. It will be a chance for all of us to share questions and ideas, steal a few licks from each other, have a bunch of fun, and jump-start another great weekend of music, jamming, and fellowship at Wintergrass!
Fiddle Intensive
Alex Hargreaves
Morning – Thursday, February 22, 2018    SOLD OUT
A half day session on Thursday Morning.

Newest member of the world renowned, Grammy award-winning, Turtle Island Quartet, Alex Hargreaves is an innovative, cross-genre violinist described as “one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today” by virtuoso mandolinist/composer Mike Marshall. He has received numerous honors including the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin from Mark O’Connor’s Strings Conference, as well as being the youngest ever (age 15) to win the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho.

Alex is an active performer and has played on stages around the world including Austin City Limits, A Prairie Home Companion, Panama Jazz Festival, Bonnaroo, Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals, and the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, as well as venues in Europe and South Korea. He has toured with Mike Marshall’s Big Trio, Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Bryan Sutton, Darol Anger and singer/multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz, appearing on three of her critically-acclaimed albums. Alex’s debut album, Prelude features master acoustic musicians Mike Marshall, Grant Gordy and Paul Kowert, and special guests Bela Fleck and Noam Pikelny.

In this class, we will address some key components of Bluegrass fiddling including:
Repertoire
Stylistic traits of the Bluegrass fiddle giants
Playing with vocalists
Melody-based improvisation
Rhythm/groove
Harmony and chords
A portion of the workshop will be in a master class format, giving students the opportunity to try out new techniques in real time and receive feedback.

This is an intermediate – advanced level class, meaning that students should have a basic comfort level with the instrument regardless of genre, as well as some experience learning by ear and playing with others. There will be no sheet music so please bring a recorder and notebook.

Students can expect to come away with new techniques to use in a Bluegrass ensemble and/or jam setting, a deeper knowledge of harmony and how it relates to the fiddle, and some new tunes as well.
Basic Mandolin Intensive
Christopher Henry
Morning – Thursday, February 22, 2018    SOLD OUT
A half day session on Thursday Morning.

Learning Bluegrass Mandolin By-Ear with Christopher Henry

Christopher Henry has been called by IBMA, the premiere Monroe-style mandolinist of his generation. His parents, Red and Murphy Henry are well respectd veterans of bluegrass and creators of The Murphy Method, one of the most popular educational programs for learning the music. Christopher has been a member of the Peter Rowan Band for the last 4 years. Christopher also leads his own nationally touring band. He is a vocal proponent of learning bluegrass by-ear.

Learning Bluegrass Mandolin By-Ear will include but not be limited to:
Learning how to learn by-ear
learning from recordings
Learning to hear and understand intervals
Developing an understanding of the most common forms in vocal and instrumental bluegrass
Developing speed
practice techniques
Pushing your limits
Understanding drive
Studying Bill
focusing on classic instrumentals
Understanding the subtleties of Monroe style
Exploring the intricaciesof broad-brushed melodies
The dynamics of bluegrass
how to play with power
How to backup tastefully and dynamically
Learning how to become more comfortable with double-stops and how to use them effectively and dramatically
Also will study:
Bluegrass Blues
The Ancient Tones
Composition
Question and answer segments

Participants will learn to understand the amount of work that it takes to become really proficient in traditional bluegrass mandolin. We will talk about prominent disciples of Monroe and their differences and similarities. Expect to be challenged in this program.
Banjo Intensive
Patrick Sauber
Afternoon – Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

The son of master old-time musician Tom Sauber, Patrick Sauber grew up surrounded by traditional southern music. Equally adept at banjo, mandolin, and guitar he is an in-demand instrumentalist and singer. Patrick has played or recorded with many musical greats including Doc Watson, Curly Seckler, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Roland White, John Fogerty, Herb Pedersen, Tim O’Brien and many more. Patrick was also a cast member of the Christopher Guest movie “A Mighty Wind”. He can be seen on the road with Laurie Lewis and the Right Hands, Peter Rowan, the John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band and John Reischman and the Jaybirds.

This class will focus on playing Scruggs style banjo in a band or jam situation. Topics covered will include, but are not limited to:
Playing with good tone, and how it relates to right-hand technique and setup.
Developing good timing through critical listening and practice methods.
Backup ideas behind vocals and other instruments.
Soloing and backing up slow songs.
Playing in the keys D, E and F without a capo
Alternate tunings
This class is for intermediate and advancing players looking to refine their skills and expand their musical vocabulary.

The class will be taught by ear, so feel free to bring a recording device.
A World of Music – Listening, Awareness, Rhythmic Integrity
Tristan & Tashina Clarridge with Simon Chrisman (The Bee Eaters)
Morning – Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Morning.

All ages and instruments are welcome and encouraged.

All skill levels welcome.

Bands are encouraged to attend together.

Six time Grand National Fiddle Champions and renowned acoustic educators Tristan & Tashina Clarridge and have spent the past three decades immersed in a rich musical life, since picking up the fiddle at age two. They grew up at music camps, where they studied with acoustic luminaries such as Darol Anger, Mark O’Connor, Alasdair Fraser, Bruce Molsky, Natalie MacMaster and dozens of others. In 2006 they joined with hammer dulcimer wizard Simon Chrisman to form The Bee Eaters.

An influential cellist at the forefront of a folk-cello revolution, Tristan Clarridge toured the world as a member of Crooked Still, and Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings. Tashina toured with Tony Trischka, Mark O’Connor, and performed with Edgar Meyer’s Young Artists’ program at Carnegie Hall. Simon Chrisman’s inventive virtuosic touch and sophisticated rhythmic sensibilities are redefining his instrument and earning the attention of musicians and fans all over the world. He will be featured at the festival with the Jeremy Kittel Band.

Together and individually, they have been longtime featured instructors at Mark O’Connor’s Fiddle Conferences, Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Fiddling School, Berklee College of Music, and led hundreds of lessons and workshops at many notable schools, universities, and festivals.

Tristan and Tashina co-founded the Shasta Music Summit, now in its 14th year, uniting acoustic masters from around the globe with the next generation of acoustic innovators for a series of workshops and all-star concerts, driven by a bold vision of strengthening the interwoven connectedness of music, community, and culture.

The Intensive will include (but not be limited to):
A focus on rhythmic integrity, strength, and flexibility: how to effectively practice groove
Tools for grooving with bows (fiddle and cello in particular).
Singing with your instrument
Exercises to improve listening and awareness skills in any jam session or ensemble
The application of those listening and rhythmic skills to several tunes/songs; playing all together and in small ensembles
Making the most effective use of your practice time
Exploring
An understanding of music at it’s fundamental level of resonance and harmony
Listening to recorded examples new and old: the roots and branches of bluegrass, old-time, Irish, etc, and how to find musical focus in today’s world
How to relate music to everyday life
The power of music to connect people in all ways
Participants can expect a thorough workout in the realms of listening, rhythmic strength, and ensemble playing… as well as tools to practice and improve those aspects of their musicality on their own.
Live Performance Intensive For Solo Artists And Bands
Vicki Ambinder
Afternoon – Thursday, February 22, 2018    Cost: $60
A half day session on Thursday Afternoon.

How can you take your act to the next artistic level? How can you become more dynamic and confident onstage? How can you make a deeper connection with your material, and with your audience?

This intensive, conducted in a master class format, will focus on key elements of effective and compelling live music performance. Participants will be given the opportunity to perform a song and receive in-depth, supportive, practical, individualized, on-the-spot performance coaching.

This class is geared towards performers with intermediate to advanced skills. Participating acts must perform their own musical accompaniment. Dressing as you would for a show is recommended, but not required.

Bring your instruments and a song to present, or come to observe the process and participate in class discussions. Either way, you will leave with many tools you can apply to your own artistic endeavors.

Topics to be addressed during coaching demonstrations and discussions include, among others:
Honing your stage presence and owning the stage
Connecting with the mission of the song through deep exploration and interpretation
Maximizing the use of intentional arrangements and dynamics
Fully embracing the role of front person
Cultivating band cohesion
Defining your own sound
Designing stage patter that will assist you as well as the audience
Using preparation to channel nerves productively
Freshening your staging and stage plotting
Finding and maintaining focus, and being in the moment
Note: This intensive will be the only opportunity to experience Vicki’s master class at Wintergrass 2018, as it will not be offered during the regular festival workshop schedule.

More information on Vicki’s approach can be found on her web site.

 

Wintergrass 2018 Performers-North Country Bluegrass

Based out of Seattle, Washington, the North Country Bluegrass Band is one of the premier traditional bluegrass bands from the Northwest. North Country was founded in 2012 when the guys were jamming together at a local bluegrass event in Seattle. They quickly found a unique chemistry and demonstrated the same love for music, songwriting, and instrumental dynamics. Within the first year of formation, the band played at prominent music venues, including Wintergrass and the historical Paramount Theatre. Since then, they have continued to build their repertoire and toured throughout the United States and Canada.
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In July 2014, the band released their first album titled “Won’t Be Over You,” which was named one of the top ten bluegrass albums of 2014 by KCBS radio. The album demonstrated both the band’s instrumental talent and songwriting ability. Furthermore, it showed the band’s ability to bring classic country and folk music into a traditional bluegrass style.

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In late 2014, original band member and fiddle player Stephen Burwell was hired by Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver. North Country knew they couldn’t hold on to such a great talent for so long. Doyle Lawson is one of the premier bluegrass bands touring the country right now and has had an enormous influence on shaping the history of bluegrass music.
In January 2015, the band placed 6th overall in the prestigious SPBGMA Bluegrass band competition consisting of band throughout North America. Being from Seattle, a place not well recognized for traditional bluegrass music, the band showed that bluegrass music is alive and well in the Northwest. In October of 2015, the band was selected to showcase at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) in Raleigh, North Carolina.

In December 2015, another North Country member was stolen by a national act. Nick Dumas was hired by the band Special Consensus, who has been around for around 40 years. Like Doyle Lawson, Special Consensus has been a staple in the bluegrass industry and has molded some of the best bluegrass musicians in the music today.
North Country has replaced Nick with Zach Top, who is known around the Northwest as being one of the premier, young guitar players and singers. Zach will be playing mandolin with North Country.

Norm Olsen – Guitar, Lead Vocals
South Bend, Washington
Norm is a killer guitar player who gets great tone out of his lead breaks and plays mean, dynamic rhythm. His passionate and solid voice brings a great vocal dynamic that sounds especially good on old country and folk songs. Born and raised in South Bend, Norm works with his father managing their family oyster farm, Olsen and Son Oyster co. inc., and enjoys hunting, fishing and playing music as his hobbies. Norm lays down outrageous lead solos that emulate some of flatpicking guitar’s finest influences, such as Doc Watson, Bryan Sutton, and Tony Rice, while incorporating fast, jaw dropping licks that will make you shake your head.

Kent Powell – Bass, Vocals
Tacoma, Washington
Kent is a true veteran to the Northwest Bluegrass scene and brings his experience to North Country. He has been an established member in some of the most popular Northwest bands, including Crossfire and Runaway Train. Kent’s rock solid bass playing is the backbone of the band’s sound, and can sing any part needed, which adds an incredible dynamic to the band, Kent makes his home in Tacoma, Washington.

Will McSeveney – Banjo
Columbia, South Carolina
It’s hard to be considered bluegrass without the presence of Scruggs Style 5-string banjo, and fortunately for us, Will delivers just that to North Country… And then some! Will is currently attending Law School at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. Will is fast becoming one of the most prominent banjo players, young or old, in the Northwest bluegrass scene today. Will’s powerful command of the instrument, and awareness of timing and taste have made him a valuable asset in our future endeavors. Drawing influence from such key figures as Terry Baucom, Jason Davis, Ron Stewart, Jim Mills, and last but not least, the great Earl Scruggs. It is plain to see that Will plays banjo in pursuit of one purpose…. DRIVE!

 

Wintergrass 2018 Performers-Laurie Lewis and Her Right Hands

Grammy Award-winning musician Laurie Lewis is internationally renowned as a singer, songwriter, fiddler, bandleader, producer and educator. She was a founding member of the Good Ol’ Persons and the Grant Street String Band and has performed and recorded since 1986 with her musical partner, mandolinist Tom Rozum. Laurie has twice been voted “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association and has won the respect and admiration of her peers.

Linda Ronstadt speaks for many when she says of Laurie: “Her voice is a rare combination of grit and grace, strength and delicacy. Her stories are always true.” A pioneering woman in bluegrass, Laurie has paved the way for many young women today, always guided by her own love of traditional music and the styles of her heroes that came before. At the same time, she has steadfastly followed her personal muse and remained open to new influences.

Despite “a botched run-in with the piano” at age seven, and several years of classical violin lessons starting at 12, Laurie’s musical passion was aroused not by a printed score, but by an earthier sound she found just down the street from her family’s home in Berkeley, California—at the annual Berkeley Folk Festival.

Inspired by the music she heard at the festival, Laurie started learning guitar and then bluegrass banjo. A friend took her to Paul’s Saloon in San Francisco, a bar that featured bluegrass music every night, and Laurie experienced a life-changing epiphany. “I saw fiddlers live,” she remembers, “and it knocked me out. I realized I could be a fiddler.”

Laurie was soon on stage at Paul’s playing bass for the Phantoms of the Opry. In 1974, she helped found an all-female bluegrass band called the Good Ol’ Persons. Next was a group called Old Friends, and in 1979, the Grant Street String Band.

In 1980, Laurie opened a shop called Marin Violin and ran it full time for eight years before the pull to make a solo record became too strong to ignore. Plus, she had begun writing songs, inspired by songwriters ranging from Jean Ritchie and John Prine to Hoagy Carmichael and Chuck Berry.

“If I just do this one recording,” she thought, “I’ll get my songs out the way I hear them in my head, and then I can go back to my violin shop. What happened instead was I just felt so much more alive and so much happier in the recording studio and working on my music than I did in my violin shop, that I finished my album, sold the shop, and never looked back.” It was an artistic reawakening, and from that point forward, Laurie would make her living solely from making music.

That solo debut, Restless Rambling Heart, co-produced with Tim O’Brien and released on Flying Fish Records in 1986, featured seven of Laurie’s original songs. The release of that album sparked interest in Laurie as a performing songwriter and bluegrass bandleader, paving the way for a career as a touring musician.

Laurie has since recorded nearly 20 albums in a number of musical formats for such labels as Flying Fish, Rounder, Hightone, Sugar Hill, Kaleidoscope and her own label, Spruce & Maple Music. Her latest album with her band the Right Hands (Tom Rozum, Chad Manning, Patrick Sauber and Andrew Conklin), The Hazel and Alice Sessions, was nominated for the “Best Bluegrass Recording” Grammy in 2017.

Also in 1986, Laurie started performing and recording with the gifted mandolinist and singer, Tom Rozum. Their musical collaboration has now spanned more than three decades. “A huge part of my music,” Laurie says, “is knowing that I have a partner and a voice like that to sing the harmonies. And he’s really important in terms of arranging.”

Producing has become an increasingly important part of Laurie’s work in music. In addition to her own recordings, she has produced 14 records and counting, starting with Scott Nygaard’s acclaimed guitar instrumental album No Hurry. In 1999, she began working with Hot Rize guitarist Charles Sawtelle and upon his death, she completed the album he had started, Music from Rancho de Ville. In 2012, Laurie jumped at the chance to produce an album for one of her musical heroes, Alice Gerrard, for Alice’s first CD of all-original material. In recent years, Laurie has produced albums by several young Bay Area musicians, including Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman, American Nomad and The T Sisters.

Laurie is a committed music educator, teaching at prestigious camps, festivals and workshops in the U.S. and Canada. She has organized and run camps—Bluegrass Week at Augusta Heritage Center for 10 years and Bluegrass at the Beach in Oregon for 14—and taught at the Telluride Bluegrass Academy (CO), Puget Sound Guitar Workshop (WA), Swannanoa Gathering (NC), California Bluegrass Association Music Camp (CA) and RockyGrass Academy (CO).

The International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) in Nashville has bestowed several awards upon Laurie, including Female Vocalist of the Year (twice); Song of the Year for her recording of “Who Will Watch the Home Place”; and shared awards for Album of the Year for True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe and Recorded Event of the Year for True Life Blues and Follow Me Back to the Fold: A Tribute to Women in Bluegrass.

Though her music transcends the formal limitations of style and genre, Laurie Lewis still sees herself as a bluegrass musician. “I’ve always thought that bluegrass was basically a singer-songwriter with string band,” she explains. “Think Bill Monroe, Carter Stanley, Lester Flatt, etc. I like to think that I fit that description and trajectory of the music rather well. I’m able to express myself in a way that sounds like me, and people either like it or not. I like to do what I do, and it fits comfortably in the bluegrass camp in my head. I don’t care what other people call it.”2017RightHands