Wintergrass 2019 Performers- Blue Highway

Highly esteemed bluegrass band Blue Highway has earned a collective 27 IBMA Awards, 6 SPBGMA Awards, one Dove Award, plus three Grammy nominations as a band, in addition to two prestigious Grammy Awards among its current members.

Blue Highway’s newly released album “Original Traditional”  is nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album.

Blue Highway was voted the Favorite Bluegrass Artist of All Time by the readers of Bluegrass Today in April 2016.

Wayne Taylor was the 2016 Inductee into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, alongside legends like Patsy Cline, the Statler Brothers,  Jimmy Dean, Mother Maybelle Carter, and Roy Clark.

Tim Stafford received honors as 2015 SPBGMA Guitar Player of the Year and 2014 IBMA Songwriter of the Year.  Shawn Lane was nominated as 2015 IBMA Songwriter of the Year, while new young Dobro phenom Gaven Largent was nominated as 2016 SPBGMA Dobro Player of the Year.

Blue Highway charted the Most Radio Airplay of any Bluegrass Artist in 2014, per the  2014 Bluegrass Radio Airplay Chart, storming national airplay charts with their heralded album The Game.

The Game  topped multiple charts at #1 including reigning at #1 for 7 consecutive months on the Bluegrass Unlimited Album Chart, and was named the # 1 Bluegrass Album of the Year by critic Daniel Mullins in his end of the year Top 20 Albums of 2014 list in Bluegrass Today. blue-highway-by-sherri-george-wide-crop-5437

The 2012 IBMA Vocal Group of the Year also sent the title track of The Game  to #1 on multiple charts including Bluegrass Today and Roots Music Report, as well as holding at #1 for three consecutive months on the national Bluegrass Unlimited Song Chart (Aug-Oct 2014).

Blue Highway has been praised by peers, fans, and media alike, with one of the most powerful descriptions of the Bluegrass super group being shared by Country Standard Time:

“Wayne Taylor sings with the emotion of a man who escaped the coal mines and ain’t planning on going back. Tim Stafford continues to craft songs with depth .. The instrumentation is perfect. From the get go, Jason Burleson opens with the unique style that defines Blue Highway banjo..  Shawn Lane exemplifies modern mandolin, yet nods to the Monroe legacy. Three lead singers.. rich harmony .. songs of forgotten homeless veterans, fallen heroes, and heartbroken families. Blue Highway personifies modern acoustic music with respect for tradition. Highly recommended, highly respected.”

As momentum continues to build for the 23 year strong powerhouse band, Blue Highway is rolling on with a rich legacy, carried on by three powerhouse songwriters and vocalists in Tim Stafford, Wayne Taylor, and Shawn Lane, whose harmonies soar over the dynamic banjo of Jason Burleson and the explosive dobro of Gaven Largent.



IBMA AWARDS (International Bluegrass Music Association)
* Vocal Group of the Year– 2012
* Song of the Year – 2008, Through the Window of a Train
* Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year – 2004, Wondrous Love; 1997 – God Moves in a Windstorm
* Emerging Artist of the Year – 1996
* Album of the Year – 1996 – It’s a Long, Long Road;  2006 – Celebration of Life: Musicians Against Childhood Cancer (collaboration)
* Dobro Player of the Year – Rob Ickes – 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2004, 2003, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1997, 1996
* Songwriter of the Year – Tim Stafford – 2017, 2014
Graphic Design for a Recorded Project – Blue Highway – Midnight Storm – Rebel Records – Craig Hansen – 1998
* ( Recorded Event of the Year – Special Consensus with Rob Ickes & Claire Lynch – Wild Montana Skies – 2014 )
* ( Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year – Rob Ickes, Jerry Douglas & Mike Auldridge – Three Bells – 2015 )

* Best Bluegrass Album – 2004, Wondrous Love

* Best Bluegrass Album – 2017 – Original Traditional
* Best Bluegrass Album – 2005 – Marbletown
* Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album – 2004 – Wondrous Love

* Gospel Group of the Year (Overall) – 2005
* Instrumental Group of the Year – 2003
* Dobro Performer of the Year – Rob Ickes, 2003
* Bass Performer of the Year – Wayne Taylor, 2001
* Guitar Performer of the Year – Tim Stafford, 2015, 2001

* Tim Stafford – Best Bluegrass Album – 1992 – Every Time You Say Goodbye – with Alison Krauss & Union Station
* Rob Ickes – Best Bluegrass Album – 1994 – The Great Dobro Sessions – Collaborative album with Jerry Douglas, Tut Taylor, etc.
* Rob Ickes – Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album – 1994 – I Know Who Holds Tomorrow – with Alison Krauss & The Cox Family

Rob Ickes – Named 2010 United States Artists Cummings Fellow in ceremony at New York’s Lincoln Center. Ickes is the first Bluegrass artist to be named a USA Fellow.

Blue Highway voted the Favorite Bluegrass Artist of All Time by the readers of Bluegrass Today.  April 2016.


Wayne Taylor was the 2016 Inductee into the Virginia Country Music Hall of Fame, alongside legends like Patsy Cline, the Statler Brothers, Jimmy Dean, Mother Maybelle Carter, and Roy Clark.


Wintergrass 2019 Tickets and Room Reservations

2019 Wintergrass Tickets

Pricing good February 27, 2018 to March 31, 2018
Ticket prices include all processing fees and handling charges.


Buy tickets online for Wintergrass 2019 using our Secure Web Ticket Site.

Due to the overwhelming demand for rooms at the Hyatt Regency, Wintergrass and the hotel have teamed up to create the first ever ticket/room package. Rooms at the Hyatt for the 2018 festival sold out less than a week after the 2017 festival causing a fair amount of anxiety for those who purchased tickets in hopes of snagging one of those rooms.

This year, there are TWO Early Bird options:
We will be selling a limited number of Ticket and Room Packages. These packages will include one festival pass and one room. Please see details below.
Our standard, deeply discounted 2019 Weekend Passes which will be available through March 31st. These passes do not come with or guarantee a room at the Hyatt.
Please ensure that you choose the option that you want at check-out!
Super Early Bird Ticket and Room Package:

This Package will guarantee a reservation at the Hyatt Regency for all (3) nights of the Festival – Thu 2/21/19, Fri 2/22/19, and Sat 2/23/19.

A few things to note prior to purchasing a Wintergrass 2019 Ticket and Room Package:
A three-night minimum stay is required, to include Thu, Fri, Sat nights
Room type must be selected at the time of purchase. Available room types are: Standard King Room, Standard Double Room, Deluxe King Room, Deluxe Double Room. (Deluxe rooms are all located on higher floors.)
Preference of Quiet or Jamming floor must also be noted.
Packages are non-refundable. Exceptions will only be made in cases of medical or family emergencies.
A one-night deposit for the selected room type will be collected at the time of purchase. The remaining portion of your hotel bill will be due at the time of check in.

The Ticket and Room Package includes one weekend pass. Additional weekend passes may be purchased without the package. For example, a couple may choose a standard king room package, which includes one ticket, and then purchase a weekend pass – no need to buy two packages to get two tickets.

Prices for the one night deposit PLUS the Super Early Bird Weekend Pass are as follows and are available through March 31, 2018 (while rooms last!):

Standard King or Double room package – $279
Deluxe King or Double room package – $309

Volunteers who wish to secure a room may purchase an Intent to Volunteer package:

Volunteer Standard King or Deluxe room package – $154
Volunteer Deluxe King or Double room package – $184

The room rate for volunteers who secure a room but do not fulfill their 12-hour obligation will revert to the standard room rate (but, we know, you wouldn’t do that!).

The Super Early Bird Ticket/Room Packages and Weekend Passes will be available beginning Tuesday, February 27, 2018 online at

Remember, if you buy the package – you have a room. The Hyatt will contact all Wintergrass 2019 Package buyers on April 10, 2018 with room confirmation numbers.

Super Early Bird Ticket Only:

A Super Early Bird Weekend Pass (without a room) costs $125. There are no further discounts at this price level. Super Early Bird Weekend Pass rate is available through March 31, 2018.

Super Early Bird Weekend Passes will be available beginning Tuesday, February 27, 2018 online at

Please Note: Wintergrass does not issue paper tickets. All orders are entered into a secure database. All tickets purchased through will be marked as ‘Processing’ until you check in at the festival. At that time, they are marked at ‘Completed’.

You should receive an emailed ticket confirmation at the time of your purchase. A little over a week before the festival begins we will start sending out final ticket confirmations. These confirmations contain a barcode, which you will use to check in at Festival Registration located on the mezzanine level of the Wintergarden lobby at the Hyatt Regency in Bellevue. Check in takes seconds.

Wintergrass Refund Policy

Wintergrass does not issue refunds. Exceptions, of course, are made for medical or family emergencies.

No refund requests of any kind will be processed, responded to or otherwise acknowledged from the third week in February through the second week in March. We simply do not have the bandwidth during this time period to work on refunds. Please respect this.


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

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
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
Working with the skill set of each player
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
What to do with a fiddle tune?
Prepared or improvised solos
Playing and quoting lead melodies
“Quoting” other solos
Simultaneous improvising
Super-imposing harmonic information
Complex simplicity and vice versa
Control of dynamics and “story”
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

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:
Stylistic traits of the Bluegrass fiddle giants
Playing with vocalists
Melody-based improvisation
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
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
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.
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.

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!