Wintegrass 2013 Performers-The David Grisman Sextet

The David (Dawg) Grisman Sextet will be appearing for only 1 set at Wintergrass 2013.  For over 45 years, mandolinist/composer David Grisman has been busy creating “dawg” music, a blend of many stylistic influences (including folk, swing, bluegrass, Latin, jazz and gypsy) so unique he gave it its own name. In doing so, David has inspired a whole new genre of acoustic string instrumental music —with  style and virtuosity, while creating a unique niche for himself in the world of contemporary music.

Praised for his mastery of the instrument as well as his talents as a composer, bandleader, teacher and record producer by the New York Times, David’s role as an acoustic innovator continues to grow.  After recording for several major and independent labels, Grisman founded his own company, Acoustic Disc, which he runs from his studio in northern California. After launching the label in 1990, David entered the most prolific period of his distinguished career, producing over 60 critically acclaimed, sonically superior recordings of acoustic music (five of which have been nominated for Grammy Awards).

David discovered the mandolin as a teenager growing up in New Jersey, where he met and became a disciple of mandolinist/folklorist Ralph Rinzler. Despite a warning from his piano teacher that it wasn’t a “real” instrument, Grisman learned to play the mandolin in the style of Bill Monroe, the father of

David Grisman
David Grisman

blueegrass music.  He took it with him to Greenwich Village where he studied English at New York University and became immersed in the proliferating folk music scene of the early 1960s.

In 1963 Grisman made his first recordings as an artist (the Even Dozen Jug Band – Elektra) and producer (Red Allen, Frank Wakefield and the Kentuckians – Folkways). In 1966, Red Allen offered David his first job with an authentic bluegrass band, the Kentuckians.

While studying the music of his bluegrass mandolin heroes like Bill Monroe, Jesse McReynolds and Frank Wakefield, Grisman began composing original tunes  and playing with other urban bluegrass contemporaries like Peter Rowan and Jerry Garcia, with whom he would later from Old & in the Way in 1973.

David’s interests spread to jazz in 1967, while playing in the folk-rock ensemble, Earth Opera. A failed attempt at learning to play the alto saxophon

e turned him into a student of jazz musicianship and theory. In the meantime, his burgeoning career as a session musician gave him experience playing other types of music and opportunities to stretch the boundaries of the mandolin. His discography is filled with notable Artists including Sam Bush, Jerry Garcia, the Grateful Dead, Stephane Grappelli, Emmylou Harris, Chris Isaak, Del McCoury, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Linda Ronstadt, Earl Scruggs, Martin Taylor, James Taylor and Doc Watson.

David’s unique instrumental style found a home in 1974 when he formed the Great American Music Band with fiddler Richard Greene. “Nothing against singers,” said David, “but it became apparent to me that I could play 90 minutes without one. Besides, Elvis never called.” Within a year, Greene moved on to join a pop act, and David met guitar wizard Tony Rice, who moved to California where they started rehearsing a new group, the David Grisman Quintet, which also included bassist/mandolinist Todd Phillips andviolinist Darol Anger. The rest is string band history.

For more than 30 years, the DGQ has

won numerous polls and awards and has headlined at major jazz, folk and bluegrass festivals around the world. DGQ alumni (including Tony Rice, Mark O’Connor, Mike Marshall and Darol Anger) have gone on to establish successful careers as leaders of acoustic music. Current DGQ members include bassist Jim Kerwin, flutist Matt Eakle, percussionist George Marsh, and the newest member, guitarist Grant Gordy.

In 1990, David founded the Acoustic Disc label with his friend and manager, Craig Miller, and two other long-standing friends from New York, Artie and Harriet Rose. To date, the label has released over 70 CDs, including seven with Jerry Garcia, all produced or co-produced by Grisman.

David Grisman has always been a
pioneer. He has deeply influenced several
generations of musicians through his own musical explorations, and with the continuing success of Acoustic Disc has helped make artist-owned independent labels a viable force in the modern music business.


Wintergrass 2012 Performers-The Joe Craven Trio

  Joe Craven is a nationally renowned creativity educator, former museum curator, visual artist, actor/storyteller, festival emcee, and recipient of the 2009 Far-West Folk Alliance Performer of the Year. He has made music with many folks ranging from jazz artists such as violinist Stephane Grappelli and Jason Marsalis, classical artists from cellist Yo-Yo Ma to percussionist Hans-Kristian Sorensen, and from Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia to the Persuasions.

“Everything Joe touches turns to music,” says mandolinist David Grisman with whom Joe played for almost seventeen years. An advocate of the folk arts, Joe’s educational mission is to empower individuals to take possession of what they already have, and demystify art as a daily ritual using self-expression.

Joe has presented at numerous schools, universities, teacher in-services, music camps, corporations such as Wells Fargo and the American String Teachers Association. He is the Director of RiverTunes Music Camp and is Co-Director of the Wintergrass Youth Academy. And no matter where he is connecting–a community workshop in Costa Rica, a university lecture and demonstration in Washington, on stage in front of thousands of school kids in Scotland, or at house concerts and major festivals–Joe’s at home and loving every minute of it.

Joe will be at Wintergrass 2012 not only with his leadership in the Youth Academy but will be performing on Saturday a couple of performances with his Trio.  Check out Joe’s Youtube Channel and you will see the kind of music that makes a Joe Craven performance!! . You never know what Joe will use for music as in the pictures he can play anything including a canjo!

Wintergrass 2016 Performers-Vasen

Sweden’s Vasen will be returning to Wintergrass 2016 where they will be playing sets on Saturday and Sunday plus they will be one of the bands playing with the Youth Symphony on Sunday.

Olov Johansson and Mikael Marin started playing together as teenagers around 1980. During the early 1980’s they would regularly visit Curt and Ivar Tallroth and Eric Sahlström, older musicians who lived nearby in the Uppland region, where they would play and learn traditional music from them. In this way they became a link in the living tradition that Swedish folk music has enjoyed through the centuries.  In 1989, at a music gathering in Røros, Norway, Olov met Roger Tallroth and asked if he would like to try to jam on nyckelharpa and guitar for a bit. Roger declined, intent at that moment on taking a shower. Fortunately, the shower was occupied, so Roger returned with his guitar, and they played for the rest of the day and far into the night. Among the witnesses to this fateful jam session was Olle Paulsson, who thought it was the best music he had ever heard, and made a promise to start a record label if they were willing to be recorded for a CD (and thus Drone Music was born).  The following summer Olov became World Champion of both the modern chromatic and older historical nyckelharpas at the first-ever Nyckelharpa World Championships at Österbybruk, Sweden. The added momentum for the first CD recording, which was entitled “Olov Johansson: Väsen.” Väsen is a Swedish word with many meanings: spirit, noise, a living being, essence among the most prominent. It was originally meant to just be an album title, but soon people were calling to book the band “Väsen” and the name stuck.  Initially some traditionalists (or something else, it wasn’t many at all) in the Swedish folkmusic community showed some resistance to Väsen. While Olov and Mikael were playing fairly straightforward folkmusic duets, Roger’s guitar definitely provided a different twist on Swedish traditional music. Yet it’s exactly the guitar chordings and rhythms that also attracted an entirely new audience, and the band’s popularity gradually grew, along with their international reputation.

In 1994, with two more studio albums under their belt (“Vilda Väsen” on Drone and “Essence” on the French Auvidis/Ethnic label), Väsen were asked to participate on a project of Swedish rock musician Mats Wester called “Nordman,” which featured rock music and lyrics but with arrangements and playing by Väsen. The first Nordman CD was a huge hit in Sweden, and the band embarks on two tours and records a second Nordman CD, playing in front of audiences of up to 25,000 people. On the first Nordman tour they meet drummer André Ferrari and eventually experiment with a drums-and-bass version of Väsen. Ultimately, they settle on André playing hand percussion, and the band officially becomes a quartet in 1996.

Vasen will be performing at Wintergrass as the original trio.

Wintergrass 2012 Performers-Druha Trava

Formed 21 years ago   in the Czech Republic Druha Trava will be making their only 2012 performance in the US at Wintergrass 2012.  A discography of 23 projects by the band certainly will give this band a great repetoire of originals,bluegrass standards sung in English and Czech. The bands most recent release “Shuttle to Bethlehem” was  recorded in Nashville and Prague, Shuttle to Bethlehem is Druha Trava´s first ever recording whose main focus is definitive English versions of singer-songwriter Robert Krestan´s iconic songs. Ranging from the intensely intimate to the anthemic, they evoke love and longing, death and desire as they tell strange tales and recount # haunting new legends. The translations are fruit of a collaboration between Krestan and the award-winning American writer Ruth Ellen Gruber. Shuttle to Bethlehem includes seven of Druha Trava´s best-known tracks. Added to them are new Czech versions of two of the Bob Dylan songs on DT´s 2007 Dylanovky CD, as well as a bluegrassy take on the Rolling Stones´ “Jumpin´ Jack Flash” and a Celtic-inspired instrumental, “May Morning Dew/Tribute to Peadar O´Donnell,” featuring Lubos Malina on low whistle.

Singer and writer Robert Krestan (1991-present) has been recognized with numerous honors in his home country in both bluegrass and country music. He has been “Male Vocalist of the Year” at the Banjo Jamboree Festival numerous times and has been awarded “Country Artist of the Year” by the Czech Music Academy on several occasions.

In 1992, Lubos Malina (1991-present) was named overall “Best Banjo Player” at the 20 plus year old Banjo Jamboree Festival. This was after being voted “Banjo Player of the Year” annually since 1986. Along with Robert Krestan, he recorded six albums with the band Poutnici. Both in 1989 and 1990, Poutnici received the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music award for Best Non-American Recording of the Year.

With a long history in the folk band Duo Cis as well as with the legendary Czech newgrass group Prudusky, Lubos Novotny (1991-present) plays dobro. (The Dobro was actually invented by a Slovak family, the Dopyeras.) He has been named “Dobro Player of the Year” from 1992 until 1997 by the Banjo Jamboree Festival as well by the Slovak Association of Country Music in 1992 and 1993.

Emil Formanek (2004-present) lives in Bratislava, Slovak Republic and the band has known him for 15 years. He played guitar on Lubos Novotny’s first solo album and also on Lubos Malina’s first solo album. He is a past member of the bluegrass band Fragment and has been playing acoustic and electric guitar for the biggest country star in Slovakia, Alan Mikusek, since he left Fragment.

Tomas Liska (April 2010-present) is the newest member of Druha Trava and performs on bass. He began his career on bass-guitar in 1998, but continued studying over the next several years, studying at the Conservatorium of Jaroslav Jezek in Prague beginning in 2000. He soon became a presence on the local jazz scene, appearing with an array of musicians at the city’s most important jazz clubs and festivals.


Wintergrass 2012 Performers-Jr. Sisk & Ramblers Choice

From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia comes one of bluegrass music’s most honest voices in the genre’s history, Junior Sisk. Over the years, his haunting, almost lonesome vocals has earned him the devotion of countless traditional bluegrass fans from all over the world. His songwriting talents helped the Lonesome River Band make their ascent into bluegrass stardom in the early 1990’s and then he became a member of Wyatt Rice & Santa Cruz and ultimately Blueridge, again reaching new audiences that would eventually follow him on his own musical path. In 1998, Sisk formed Ramblers Choice and together they recorded and released their first solo project titled Sounds Of The Mountains and also contributed to the award winning The Stanley Gospel Tradition.Nominated numerous times for Male Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA), Junior Sisk is at the top of his game and has surrounded himself with a top notch band of musicians including Jason Tomlin on bass and vocals; Chris Davis on mandolin and vocals; Billy Hawks on fiddle and vocals; and Jason Davis on banjo and vocals. The band recently released their third CD on Rebel Records titled The Heart Of A Song to much critical acclaim. The CD is enjoying great success and is #3 on Bluegrass Music Profiles (BMP) Top 10 National CDs (December 2011), #8 on Bluegrass Unlimited’s National Survey Top 10 (December 2011) and the single, “A Far Cry From Lester And Earl” is #1 on BMP’s Top 30 Hot Singles and the Bluegrass Today chart (December 2011).

Wintergrass 2012 Performers-Greensky Bluegrass


Greensky Bluegrass is a Michigan based band that will be playing on Saturday only with a Grand Ballroom day performance and a dance in the Regency Ballroom that night. Greensky Bluegrass has been touring an average of 175 shows a year since 2000 and have just released their 4th cd “Handgun” This band is not a traditional band and certainly not a rock band, original tunes and top notch pickin’ brings Greensky a “Greensky Sound” for sure. The band features plenty of Dobro,banjo,mandolin and guitar. Take a listen to some of their music on their site.

Dave  began playing drums at an early age. His father’s interest in bluegrass and country music influenced Dave to pick up a guitar in his late teens and he took to the instrument rapidly and efficiently. Dave’s drumming history helped him to become a very strong rhythm guitar player and over years of dedicated practice, he has also become an innovative lead guitar player.  In 2008, Anders officially joined Greensky Bluegrass as a result of many late night jam sessions and a clear musical chemistry that could not be denied. He views the band as a sort of culmination of his previous projects in that it involves killer bluegrass pickin’ and stellar songwriting.  Mike’s background was  classical cello,  Upon meeting Micheal,Dave and Paul his affections for bluegrass became evident. Joining Greensky in 2004 the young cellist decided to make the switch to bass and joined the band. Michael, being one of the founding members of the band he helped shape the sound that has become GSBG. When he picked up the banjo for the first time in 1998 after playing jazz guitar for years, it was clear that he had found an outlet for his musicianship. Paul was a  guitarist turned mandolin player in 2000, Paul draws influences from personal experiences and his musical contemporaries    

Anders Beck -dobro, Michael Arlen Bont -banjo, Dave Bruzza -guitar, Mike Devol – upright bass,Paul Hoffman- mandolin

Wintergrass 2012 Performers-The Bluegrass 45

The Bluegrass 45 comes to Witnergrass 2012 from Japan. Formed in 1968 recorded their first album “Run Mountain” in 1970 and was the first Japanese band to tour the US and Canada in 1971 including an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry. They then signed a Rebel record contract two albums by the group produced by John Duffy,” Bluegrass 45″ and “Caravan” Even though the band sang songs both in English and Japanese they did not speak much English. Bluegrass 45 mandolinist Akira Otsuka eventually moved to the US and has appeared at Wintergrass with the Acoustic Outlet.  The band has made a few appearances in the US but it is a pretty rare occurrence. For a great background to the band and Akira’s connection with John Duffy and John’s mandolins check out these videos of interviews