Playing at Wintergrass for the second time, The Modern Grass found its way back to Washington all the way from eastern Canada. This bluegrass, roots, and Americana sounding quintet is comprised of five diversely talented musicians. Tom Terrell, founder of The Modern Grass, had a solo career before forming the band. He released four full length albums in addition to one EP, and released them through his own label. On his own, Terrell incorporated more jazzy and soulful styles through the use of his guitar and harmonica. Now, in The Modern Grass, Terrell provides lead vocals as well as guitar, and brings his bluesy sounds into the mix. Adam Pye plays the contra bass, and has previously played with The Moonshine Ramblers and The Bluejam Grass Band. Andrew Sneddon, also having played in The Moonshine Ramblers and The Bluejam Grass Band, complements Pye on the resonator guitar and vocals. Donald Maclennan, of Mishras Dream and Ben Capland and the Casual Smokers, chimes in on vocals and is also a renowned violinist. And the fifth member of the band, Dan MacCormack, plays the mandolin and has also been addressed as “the fastest banjo picker this side of the Mississippi.”Since joining forces in 2011, The Modern Grass has been nominated for three Music Nova Scotia Awards including Country/ Bluegrass Recording of the Year, Roots/ Traditional Recording of the Year, and Group Recording of the Year. And the fifth member of the band, Dan MacCormack, plays the mandolin and has also been addressed as “the fastest banjo picker this side of the Mississippi.”Since joining forces in 2011, The Modern Grass has been nominated for three Music Nova Scotia Awards including Country/ Bluegrass Recording of the Year, Roots/ Traditional Recording of the Year, and Group Recording of the Year. Based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, these boys have released five albums that have made their rounds all throughout Canada as well as the States. Their album entitled High on the Mountain won Music Nova Scotia’s Country/ Bluegrass Album of the Year and also the Roots/ Traditional Album of the Year. High on the Mountain is unique as it explores different combinations of folk, roots, and bluegrass, while still bending the genre incorporating Terrell’s versatility in sounds. With complex arrangements and a fair bit of improvisation, The Modern Grass put a refreshing spin on t raditional bluegrass.
Commissioned by Wintergrass, Beats Working is a collaboration of four talented musicians, performing together as a group for the first and possibly only time. All four members of the band share a love for understatement topped off with dusty dry wit. They also share rarified musical taste. It seemed to us that we should push fate a bit and put them in the same room at the same time and see what happened. Peter Ostroushko is a musician and composer who pours his energy into mandolin and fiddle. Early in his career, he composed for the Rochester Symphony Orchestra and Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He played the mandolin on Bob Dylan’s album, Blood on the Tracks, and toured regularly with Robin and Linda Williams. He was the musical director for NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion” for 25 years. With several albums released, Ostroushko won an Emmy for the soundtrack he composed for the 2005 PBS series, “Minnesota: A History of the Land”. Dowling is an American roots guitarist, inspired by Mississippi John Hurt. He has a background in jazz, blues, swing, and ragtime as well, exemplified on his first solo album called Swamp Dog Blues. He’s also appeared on “A Prairie Home Companion” as a featured guitarist. He and his wife Jan run the unique Wind River Guitar school in the upper Rockies, where one or two students at Beats Workin’Cary Black – bass David Lange – accordionMike Dowling – guitarPeter Ostroushko – mandolinThursday, Evergreen, 7:40pmFriday, Cedar, 9pmSaturday, Regency, 2:10pma time spend a week learning and living with the Dowlings. Blues in Britain has described Dowling as “one of the most relaxed and highly skilled acoustic guitar players of his generation.” David Lange is a well-respected and in-demand recording engineer who for the last 30 years has worked with and recorded top musicians at his studio in Edgewood, Washington. He is master accordion player and regularly performs with the northwest gypsy jazz band, Pearl Django. His early experiences in music competitions led him to study with Chicago-based jazz accordionist Kenny Olendorf, where he gained many of the sensibilities that guide his musical choices to this day. It’s doesn’t hurt that he’s got great ears making him a particularly sensitive and responsive player. He’s the only member of the band who has not played on Prairie Home Companion. Someone call Garrison. Cary Black, the final member of this impromptu band, is an accomplished bassist, vocalist, and producer who has played with The Kingston Trio, Mollie O’Brien, and Laurie Lewis when she won the IBMA award for Song of the Year. Also featured in “A Prairie Home Companion,” Black appeared on the Grand Ole Opry and on a variety of television networks, such as ABC, FOX, and PBS. He’s a well-respected instructor, having taught at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, as well numerous music camps.
Nashville’s The Cleverly’s are alittle different than most of the bands that have appeared at Wintergrass. Best way to get an intro to them is just take alook at their website. Take alook at a few of their videos and you will see a variety of songs and a couple of introduction videos. This is the short bio on Cleverlys:
Our family comes from the remote part of the Ozark Mountains, near Cane Spur, Arkansas. We spent our days working on the family farm mostly raising our own food and growing dad’s famous pipe tobacco. I guess he grew the best pipe tobacco around. People came from as far as Big Flat to get it. We worked hard but we had fun. In the evening we played and sang. On weekends we had pickens’. There was always a big crowd around. The Cleverly Trio is our family band. It was founded by dad and his three brothers, Turk, Tink and Bunyon. The whole family at one time or another has played in the band. Since 2005 my brother Digger has taken over the band. The current members of the trio are Digger, our brothers Miles and Vernon Dean, my boy Harvey D and our cousin Otto.
Now based in Seattle, Washington, Ricky Gene Powell was born in the Ozarks and raised in the Blue Mountain of Idaho. He is the lighthearted leader of the band, Acoustic Laboratory performing Infectious, happy, uplifting music with joy and exuberance. Classically trained in composition, he is a multi-instrumentalist and plays the mandolin, banjo, guitar, dobro, accordion, and vocals. Acoustic Lab mixes up musical concoctions from Bluegrass to traditional Brazilian music. Tim Wetmiller on fiddle is an avid student of many styles of music and plays with Hot Club Sandwich, Las Flacos and Dysfunction Junction. Yusuf Kilgore -6 & 7 String Guitar & Tres is a string player of unlimited ability and musical curiosity. Tom Rooney on guitar and vocals is a multi instrumentalist bringing Irish, Reggae and Soul influences to the mix. Banjo player Colin Klien-brings a wealth of experience in all banjo styles and regularly performs with The Eclectic Cloggers & The Seattle Folk Review. Bassist Jorge Vazquez hails from Veracruz, Mexico and brings with him a family tradition of music and dance that includes Latin Jazz & Rock, Salsa, Norteno, Tejano, and Cumbia. Fiddle player, educator and community activist, Ben Hunter, rounds out the band with passion and unfettered energy.
The Milk Carton Kids, Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan, both from Los Angeles, California, came together in early 2011, pairing their separate talents together to create what National Public Radio deems “gorgeous contemporary folk”. Ryan typically sings the lead vocals and strums chords on the guitar, while Pattengale harmonizes and adds depth with his guitar picking. The result is a hauntingly beautiful Simon & Garfunkel-like vocal display, mixed with a more country, lullaby type instrumental. The New York Times described their sound as “A sweetly dazzling variation on close-harmony vocals.” In 2012, The Milk Carton Kids were invited to play NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert, just before their release of The Ash & Clay in 2013, which Performer Magazine says is, “… a further example of the duo’s ability to create songs that are both intimate and powerful, bittersweet and inspiring.” Before teaming up with Ryan, Pattengale released six solo albums, and also wrote the score for a German animated film called “Die Drei Rauber”. Ryan also released solo albums from 2005 until 2010, (the last two releases available for free), and toured throughout the United Kingdom with Beth Rowley.The two “Kids” originally met when Ryan went to go see Pattengale perform alone in Eagle Rock, California, and realized that their styles would mesh perfectly. Both tired of being solo acts, they combined forces and recorded an album using their own individual names. Once they started writing music together, however, they decided to name themselves after a character in one of their songs, a “milk carton kid”. Pluralizing the term, The Milk Carton Kids released two more albums as an indie folk duo, both of which are free to download on their website. They’ve most recently been a part of the soundtrack for the Coen Brothers film, “Inside Llweyn Davis”.
Scott Law, originally from Southern California, brings the Appalachian bluegrass sound to Portland, Oregon, where he is now based. A versatile and sought-after guitar player, Law is adept at a range of styles rhythm & blues, vintage country, rock n’ roll, and bluegrass, and is equally as talented on the electric guitar as he is on the acoustic. This killer singer-songwriter released a solo album in 2009, and another electric album in 2012, quietly showcasing his flexible and imaginative playing. With articulate phrasing and impressive arrangements, Scott Law released his latest album, Black Mountain, in October 2013. He collaborated on the project with a variety of folks including Crooked Still’s Aoife O’Donovan, who has sung on National Public Radio’s “A Prairie Home Companion.” Also collaborating on the project are The Deadly Gentlemen, a progressive bluegrass quintet that provides the majority of the instrumentals on the album. It’s a fiddle-driven, Appalachian sound, with more energy than you can imagine. Scott Law is a live performance junkie; he exudes love for the stage that allows him to perform totally unique and organic improvisations, a style much like that of
the Grateful Dead. Before the release of Black Mountain, Law played in the bands Hanuman, Brokedown in Bakersfield, and Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings. In addition, he has collaborated with Chris Funk of The Decemberists, The String Cheese Incident, Peter Rowan, and Tony Trischka. Huffington Post referred to Law as “a musician who is intently focused on his art and the pursuit of musical freedom… a versatile, talented guitarist who has been compared to Jerry Garcia, Doc Watson, Jerry Reed, Mike Bloomfield, and Clarence White.” Like Scott, the other members of his band are fully-fledged performance junkies. Bassist Sam Grisman, was a longtime member of The Deadly Gentlemen and regularly tours with various incarnations of David Grisman bands. Jack Dwyer, on mandolin, likes to call himself a shredder/songwriter and strummer for hire. He teaches at Lewis & Clark College in Portland and has toured with The Blackberry Bushes Stringband, Tim Connell, and has recently released a duet project with Ellie Hakanson. Finally Luke Price, also a teacher at Lewis & Clark, adds his passion for infusing old fiddling traditions into new music. Luke has toured with Tony Furtado, Tristan & Tashina Clarridge and many others.
Rushad Eggleston is a fearless improvisational cellist, captivating performer, and hilarious entertainer. If you haven’t seen him in action before, do not miss this opportunity! Eggleston often wears bizarre and eclectic costumes on stage, ranging from elf hats paired with shiny leggings, to full-length, pink, fuzzy jackets. He recites poetry in his own made-up language called “Sneth,” and has been known to hop around the stage with his cello strapped onto himself. Despite his odd appearance and fearless demeanor, Eggleston is a supremely gifted musician. It is absolutely fascinating what he can do with the cello, making each bit of improvisation or Bach suite look entirely effortless. Eggleston grew up in Carmel, California, and was a member of the Youth Music Monterey Orchestra in Monterey Bay. He attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where he received a full scholarship he won in a cello competition. There, he studied classical music, jazz, and bluegrass, among others, allowing him the creativity in his performances to play exactly the unique style he intends. Eggleston recorded his first full-length record with Fiddlers 4, and was nominated in 2002 for a Grammy. He also toured with Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings, as well as the alternative, folky bluegrass band he helped found, called Crooked Still. While playing with Crooked Still, Eggleston released two albums, the latest in 2006, before leaving the band in 2007 to pursue other projects. In addition to performing, Eggleston also enjoys teaching. He was an instructor at Mark O’Connor’s fiddle camps for six years, Mike Block’s String Camp the last two years, and at Maine Fiddle Camp at camp NEOFA. Most recently, this musical wizard released a solo album entitled The Rushad Eggleston Show in September 2013, and plays electric cello with his band, Tornado Rider. He has toured in 45 states and 13 countries. You should know Rushad has been granted full permission to inspire, instigate and otherwise incite mischief and musical mayhem this weekend. He might ask you to dance. You should probably take him up on the offer. We’re grateful to Rushad for inspiring a new generation of cellists. He’s written a tune for the Wintergrass Youth Orchestra, with whom he’ll be performing on Sunday morning. Let us just say, the music is soaring.