The band’s Jim Faddis brings some great singing and has been a finalist twice in the Sisters Folk Festival Songwriting Contest. This past year saw the release of Jim’s solo album “One More Ride” featuring a variety of NW musicians including Alex Hargreaves and I had some great help from Dale Adkins, Linda Grez, Jeff Smith and Kristen Grainger. Other members of Prairie Flyer are: Andre Vachon adds his instrumental skills with his background of playing mandolin,fiddle and steel guitar on the road with Reba McEntire and Gene Watson. Jason Stewart was raised in East Tennessee where he started playing the banjo at eight years old. His bluegrass background was playing with James Monroe and the Midnight Ramblers. Dave Hackwith’s bass playing has been heard around the Pacific NW for a long time and did some backup for a young Mark O’Connor and was the bass player for Custer’s Grass Band. The lead guitar is played by Steve Blanchard who has been playing and teaching bluegrass guitar for nearly 40 years and has performed with Steve Blanchard and the Open Range and with theJake Henry and Bill Jolliff Band.
Before Earl Scruggs brought the 3 finger picking to Bill Monroe’s Bluegrass Boys the banjo was played in the old time clawhammer style. Seattle area Squirrel Butter features Charlie Beck on the old time banjo and vocals and Charmaine Slavine on guitar,vocals and old time dancing. Wintergrass 2011 will have them performing on Sat. If you are in the Seattle area you can often find them playing at the Pike Place Market either as a duet or with their other band The Tallboys.
Charmaine “Lady Li-Lei” Slaven, performs percussive dance in the Appalachian mountain tradition. Her dancing contributes exciting energy and visual elements to old time music, a traditional relationship. Charmaine possesses skillful coordination, stamina, showmanship, and sense for dynamic percussion that lends exciting energy and flavor to her performances. By painstakingly creating her own wood taps and portable dance floor, she adds a unique warm sound to her percussive dance that can’t be duplicated by commercial metal taps.
Charlie’s natural feel for song and his personal involvement with music are reminiscent of the artists of the 1920’s and 30’s. Musicians such as Jimmie Rodgers, Blind Willie McTell, and Uncle Dave Macon had only their voice and acoustic accompaniment to entrance their listeners. Charlie plays with a great sense of rhythm, and he elaborates on the melodies and themes in his songs in ways that are virtuosic yet respectful to the mood of the tune.
Often compared to modern day songwriters such as Danny Barnes, Tom Waits, and Gillian Welch, Charlie’s original compositions combine modern approaches with more traditional styles, creating a unique and personalized sound. He is also an avid enthusiast of old American blues and and string band music, and his repertoire includes a bushel of these beautiful and haunting traditional tunes.
Charlie is an accomplished musician, well versed in jazz and swing, as is evident in the adventurousness of his songs. His mastery of the banjo and guitar come from years of study, and he also plays brilliantly on fiddle. As a vocalist, Charlie is gifted with great range and depth to his voice, and delivers lyrics to his listeners with strength and emotion.