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.

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AWARDS:

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 )

DOVE AWARD
* Best Bluegrass Album – 2004, Wondrous Love

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

SPBGMA AWARDS
* 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

GRAMMY AWARDS
* 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

UNITED STATES ARTIST FELLOWSHIP
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.

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

VIRGINIA COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME

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.

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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

Wintergrass 2018 Performers – The Dustbowl Revival

Over the past few years, The Dustbowl Revival has been making a name for itself with a vibrant mix of vintage Americana sounds. Critics have proclaimed that this eclectic eight-piece “would have sounded utterly at home within the hallowed confines of Preservation Hall in New Orleans’ French Quarter” (Los Angeles Times) and their “upbeat, old-school, All-American sonic safaris exemplify everything shows should be: hot, spontaneous, engaging and, best of all, a pleasure to hear” (L.A. Weekly). Rob Sheffield, in Rolling Stone, hailed them as a great band “whose Americana swing was so fun I went back to see them again the next day.”

 

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Their new eponymous album, however, finds the Los Angeles-based ensemble evolving and refining its music. Their always-joyous sound now reveals a more soulful, funky side that exudes deeper emotions and taps a more modern vibe.
This exhilarating new sound jumps out on the album’s opening tracks, “Call My Name” and “If You Could See Me Now.” Drummer Joshlyn Heffernan and bassist James Klopfleisch lay down a righteous groove that trumpeter Matt Rubin and trombonist Ulf Bjorlin supercharge with their big blasts of horns. This Stax-style soul builds to a pair of showstoppers: “Good Egg” and “The Story.” The former is a dynamic number that showcases Liz Beebe’s sexy, full-throttled vocals as well as Bjorlin’s dirty trombone solo. On “The Story,” Beebe teams with band founder Zach Lupetin for an emotionally charged love song that features some infectious interplay between the horn players and the string-men (mandolinist Daniel Mark and fiddler Connor Vance).
The album’s first single, “Busted,” also exemplifies the sonic leap taken by the band. Spotlighted by Beebe’s slinky jazz vocals, the song mixes traditional American music styles, like the blast of R&B horns and the in-the-pocket drums, with some inventive touches, such as a mandolin plucked like a hip-hop inspired piano, and the upright bass and fiddle played through wah-pedals. The group has said that recording “Busted” was like a door opening for them to create something familiar yet stylistically fresh.

Even the album’s more acoustic number, like “Debtors’ Prison” and “Got Over,” aren’t as old-timey as they might first appear. “Debtors’ Prison” initially suggests a throwback busker tune, but a closer listen reveals an all-too-contemporary ode with Lupetin singing about the struggles of trying to survive in today’s troubled economic times. Similarly, on “Got Over,” Lupetin delivers another modern-day portrait about a scuffed-up soul battling a whirl of problems who winds up “sitting on the kitchen floor … eating all the ice cream, 2 a.m. on a Tuesday.” Things get a little more optimistic on the sunnier, Bill Withers-inspired “Honey I Love You.” Featuring a guest spot by multi-Grammy-winner and fellow genre-bender Keb’ Mo’, this track serves up a timeless slice of sweet, silky soul music.
The evolution in the band’s sound has been very much an organic one. Since Signature Sounds released their last album, With a Lampshade On, the Dustbowl Revival has been out on the road, winning over audiences with their free-flowing, joyous live performances. After playing more than 200 shows a year during the last four years, the Dustbowl Revival came to realize that they had outgrown the confining label of a retro-minded band playing music from a bygone era and needed to move in new directions.
To help them achieve their adventurous musical vision, the band turned to the Grammy Award-winning producer Ted Hutt, who brought with him a background of working with a musically diverse set of acts. A founding member of Irish-American Celtic punk band Flogging Molly, Hutt has not only produced punk groups like Dropkick Murphys and The Bouncing Souls, but also the progressive acoustic outfit Old Crow Medicine Show (whose 2014 release Remedy earned Hutt the Grammy), Memphis Americana rockers Lucero and New York City roots troubadour Jesse Malin. With Hutt’s assistance, The Dustbowl Revival created what they have called “the tightest, funkiest thing we’ve ever attempted.”
2017 marks the tenth anniversary of The Dustbowl Revival’s formation. It was back in 2007 when Lupetin, a Midwestern transplant to Los Angeles, posted an ad in Craigslist in hopes of creating a group inspired by brass band and string band traditions. Over the years, the group has been an inclusive outfit that frequently shifted in size before solidifying in its current eight-piece lineup.
In 2008, Zach Lupetin and The Dustbowl Revival released their debut album, The Atomic Mushroom Cloud of Love. They followed up in 2010 with You Can’t Go Back to the Garden of Eden, which included “Dan’s Jam,” a song that won the Independent Music Awards’ “Americana Song of the Year.” The next year, the band, now known just as The Dustbowl Revival, put out Holy Ghost EP and their 2013 Carry Me Home CD featured more than 25 Dustbowl Revival-ists. That was also the year the L.A. Weekly crowned them the city’s “Best Live Band.”
The Dustbowl Revival found a bigger audience when Signature Sounds released With a Lampshade On in 2015. The video for “Never Had To Go,” starring band fan Dick Van Dyke, became an Internet sensation. The group went on to open for bands ranging from Lake Street Dive to the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, while also appearing at such festivals as Delfest, Floydfest, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, and, more recently, Norway’s Bergenfest and Tonderfest in Denmark.
This new album reveals the band moving in an exciting new direction. Instead of Dixieland jazz and Depression-era folk songs serving as musical mile markers, this CD mines an energizing vein of soul, funk and roots-infused rock that evokes the work of Fleetwood Mac, Paul Simon, Aretha Franklin and classic Stax recordings, and fits the band alongside such contemporaries as Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats and St. Paul & the Broken Bones.

 

Wintergrass 2018 Performers-Jeff Scroggins & Colorado

scroggins winter Jeff Scroggins & Colorado is a high-energy five-piece bluegrass band located in the Western Frontier state of Colorado. Their distinctive sound showcases an eclectic range of influences that marry second and third generation bluegrass, delivering a unique experience that captivates audiences and keeps them guessing: It’s a powerful, high mountain “bluegrass explosion” that featuresworld-class banjo and mandolin playing, incredible vocals, a solid and energetic rhythm and an easy stage banter that has delighted listeners all over the world.

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Fronted by internationally acclaimed two-time National Banjo Champion ​Jeff Scroggins, their distinct style is immediately recognizable due to Jeff’s unique and diverse range of influences, which include Alan Munde, Don Reno, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton. His fiery style and lightning-fast licks have earned him worldwide recognition and have left many a first-time listener in stunned disbelief!

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The band also features the award-winning mandolin playing of Jeff’s son Tristan Scroggins. At only 21 years old, Tristan is an award-winning instrumentalist and accomplished songwriter in his own right while the instrumentals he shares with Jeff play a large role in the band’s unique and energetic style. In 2016, Tristan was nominated for the Instrumental Momentum Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association .

West Virginia native Greg Blake provides powerful bluegrass vocals steeped in country heritage, bringing a truly authentic sound developed from a lifetime of singing bluegrass, gospel, and country. Twice nominated for the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America’s (SPBGMA) “Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year” award, Greg’s phenomenal guitar playing has earned him nine nominations and five consecutive wins as SPBGMA’s Guitarist of the Year. They are joined by Oregon native, 2016 Rockygrass Fiddle Champion, 2016 Arizona State Fiddle Champion, and 2017 IBMA Momentum Award Nominee Ellie Hakanson on fiddle and vocals. In addition to their individual accomplishments, the band was featured as the California Bluegrass Association’s Emerging Artist of the year, an honor given into the past to bands such as Della Mae, and Chris Henry & the Hardcore Grass.

Wintergrass 2018 Performers-Kenny & Amanda Smith

Kenny and Amanda Smith will be at Wintergrass 2018 performing as a duo this time.

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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.

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Kenny is in great demand at guitar workshops and master classes, teaching at the renowned Roanoke Bluegrass Weekend series and at guitar workshops at major events such as IBMA. He has just released a two-DVD instruction set on AcuTab Publications.

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Amanda was born in the small town of Davisville, West Virginia, Amanda grew up singing in church choirs and participating in talent contests at local fairs. “I always sang, my mom and dad said, even before I can remember,” she says. She started playing guitar in high school to accompany herself, and soon discovered bluegrass music through female artists such as Rhonda Vincent and Alison Krauss.
Amanda met Kenny at a Lonesome River Band concert, and the couple began dating and playing music together almost immediately. “I wouldn’t say it was love at first sight, but there was definitely something there,” she says. Their shared Christian faith, love for bluegrass and desire to perform together led them to record a debut CD, Slowly But Surely, in 2001. Recruiting several of their favorite players for the session, the album surged up the bluegrass charts on the strength of their hit song, “Amy Brown.”

2011 Kenny released his second instrumental guitar project “Return” on Gat3 Records.
2012 Kenny & Amanda released “Catch Me If I Try” which climbed up the charts to #1. The album also gave Amanda a spot in the Female Vocalist of the Year category for the IBMA in 2013.
2013 Kenny & Amanda released their first Christmas song. It’s available for download on itunes etc.

 

 

Copyright 2013 Kenny and Amanda Smith Band

Wintergrass 2018 Performers-Great Northern Planes

Great Northern Planes was formed out of the ashes of former Portland band Pumpkin Ridge. The band was forced to split after too many people called at 6:00 a.m. on weekends to ask for a tee-time. However, the “Punk” attitude was kept, and a new sound was born of the ashes. The result has been a successful combination that has taken the band to new places. Whether you want traditional Bluegrass for your formal gatherings or a Bluegrass free-for-all that’s guaranteed to get you arrested, The Great Northern Planes do it all. When the late Bill Monroe was asked to comment on these boys, he responded, “What?”

Band Members
Jim Hancock, Doug Hancock, Rob Hakanson, Jered Widman