Wintergrass 2017 Performers-Jeremy Kittel

Jeremy Kittel is an American fiddler, violinist, and composer. Fluent in multiple musical genres, his original music draws from traditional roots, jazz, Celtic, Classical, electronic, and more.  Kittel performs with his own band or trio, as a duo, and as a soloist with orchestras.  In addition to his own projects, he has composed and arranged for such artists as Abigail Washburn, Aoife O’Donovan, My Morning Jacket, Camera Obscura, Jars of Clay, Yo Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble, Laura Veirs, and the Grammy-winning Turtle Island Quartet (of which he was a member for five years). He has also recorded with artists such as Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Mark O’Connor and Mike Marshall.

His most recent solo recording, Chasing Sparks (Compass), features original compositions with a stellar cast of musicians, including special guests Meyer, Thile, and Marshall.  He is currently working on his fifth solo album. Kittel previewed some of his new compositions on the Oct 10, 2015 broadcast of “A Prairie Home Companion,” (guest-hosted by I’m With Her).

In 2015, Kittel co-composed “Bull Frogs Croon,” a new orchestral work featuring himself and Aoife O’Donovan as soloists. This adds to a growing body of original compositions and arrangements for orchestra, which can be heard in concerts presented around North America.  He has performed as soloist with the Detroit Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Rochester Philharmonic, Britt Orchestra, Vanjkcouver Symphony, and more.

Committed to the belief that music and the arts are central to the human experience, he is a passionate clinician and educator. He has taught at such programs as Berklee College of Music, Belmont University, The New School, International Music Academy of Pilsen, Zurich University of the Arts, Mark O’Connor Strings Camps, the Swannanoa Gathering, and Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School.

Kittel has a master’s degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and received the 2010 Emerging Artist Award from his alma mater, the University of Michigan.  He has received numerous other awards over the years, including the US National Scottish Fiddle Championship, six Detroit Music Awards and two ASTA Alternative Style awards.  He was also the first recipient of the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin.

Wintergrass 2017 Performers-The Talbott Brothers

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The Talbott Brothers are an Alternative Folk/Rock band based in Portland, Oregon. Nick and Tyler form an alternative sound that balances sibling-blood-harmonies with their instrumental ensemble of guitars, mandolin, harmonicas and percussion. Their entertaining effect on stage is embraced by multiple generations, as they are known for charming and energetic performances that blend singer-songwriter styles with folk, rock and pop.

In a cold, snow-covered winter back in 2012, The Talbott Brothers found themselves half a country away from home with nothing but a couple guitars, an old beat-up kick drum and an electric piano with some broken keys. Playing to rooms of 5 people and living out of a 4-door Chevy Impala hadn’t been their idea of a successful first tour. But hearing the inspiring stories of those they met each night and watching the sunrise over the vehicle dashboard each morning was just what the small town Nebraska boys needed to press on and be reminded of a bigger purpose. Amidst the Leaving Home tour, a 27 show run from Omaha to New York City, The Talbott Brothers found inspiration for what would become their debut album the following year; The Road.

After a successful crowd-funded Kickstarter campaign funded their studio time to create The Road, Nick and Tyler took their new music across America both as the duo and with their band, spending over 150 days per year traveling city to city. Only this time, they’d graduated from an Impala to a van they found on Craigslist in St. Louis named Goldie. With over 400 shows under their belts and enough songs for a new record, The Talbott Brothers headed to Omaha, NE in 2015 to record their sophomore album, Places.

2017 marks the release of The Talbott Brothers’ third full-length studio album – Gray (February 10, 2017). Honest, organic and vulnerable, the album is driven by warm, melodic vocals, diverse instrumentation and authentic storytelling. With the album’s release, the brothers experienced more deeply what it means to submerse themselves in their songwriting, spending four months off the road in their new home base of Portland, Oregon.

“We weren’t just road dogs anymore,” Tyler said. “For the last 3 years we’ve been out playing music for new friends and listeners across the country. But, while we were writing Gray, we were learning how to take it slow again. Maybe we just needed a lesson in being human.”

“I think most times we wish our circumstances were more black and white, or that the answers seemed easy and clear. It’s often in the gray area where we face the greatest trials, and come out refined on the other side. There’s so much you can miss out on when you get caught up in the grind and routine of things.” Nick stated.

 

Wintergrass 2017 Performers-Whiskey Deaf

whiskey-deafWhiskey Deaf is a band made of members that we are sure you have seen in a variety of bands that have performed at many of the West Coast festivals including Wintergrass through the years.

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Annie Staninec has been playing fiddle since the age of four, and can rattle your teeth with a bluegrass breakdown, tug at your soul on a lonesome ballad, or kick you out of your seat with a cajun two-step. She’s toured the world and recorded with renowned artists such as Kathy Kallick, Laurie Lewis, Peter Rowan, John Reischman, David Grisman, Darol Anger, Mary Gauthier, and Town Mountain, and she’s taught at some of the most prestigious music camps in the country. Most recently, she is a full time member of the Rod Stewart Band.

John Kael has been teaching and performing bluegrass guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass for over 20 years, and is also an established songwriter – his award-winning song Handmade Cross can be heard on the Grammy-nominated album “Hard Game of Love” by Doyle Lawson.

Ethan Lawton is a gifted singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, and has performed on countless stages throughout the US and internationally with Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers, Cahalen Morrison and Country Hammer and others, and he is also a founding member of the acclaimed band Western Centuries.

Jamie Blair is a lightning-fingered and innovative banjo player, who began performing as just a youngun in Ohio with the Bluegrass Freightliners, and has performed and recorded with numerous bands since including the Ohop Valley Boys, Cascade Mountain Boys, Grapevine, Faast and Blair, and Blue Hill.

Dee Johnson is a staple in the northwest bluegrass scene, and is the rhythmic rock at the center of several bands including Mountain Honey, the Loafers, Grapevine, and Whiskey Deaf (of course!).

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Wintergrass 2017 Performers-The Paperboys

 

 

paperboysWrapping up their 20th anniversary year, Vancouver Canadian musician Tom Landa, is looking back on the legacy of his much-loved folk rock band The Paperboys. For two decades, The Paperboys have been touring the world and lighting up stages with their free-wheeling blend of influences from Celtic and bluegrass, to Mexican son jarocho, brass bands, and Canadian roots. They’ve been called everything from Cajun slamgrass to worldbeat, they’ve received a Juno award (Canadian Grammy), plus two Juno nominations, released nine albums, and regularly play two-night bills in the Pacific Northwest. But that’s not what matters to Landa now. “What means more to me than anything else is to receive letters, emails, or hear stories from people who tell me that our songs helped them through a tough time, or that they used one of our songs for their wedding, or that an album of ours was the soundtrack of their summer. At the end of the day, accolades are nice, but they are nothing compared to connecting with people.” It’s a remarkably grounded perspective from a bandleader who’s been through it all, but Landa’s an open-book kind of songwriter, a Canadian grassroots poet who loves to infuse his songs with dance hooks. Even the title of their new album, At Peace With One’s Ghosts – the first new Paperboys album in six years – speaks to Landa’s approach. It’s full of The Paperboys’ signature sounds: Spanish-language songs that reflect Landa’s Mexican heritage, explosive brass lines from their extended 8-piece ensemble, Celtic fiddle and pennywhistle blazing through an old reel, English rock songs with strong pop influences, and a kind of melting pot sound that reflects not only the diversity of the band’s home city, Vancouver, BC, but also a larger vision of what modern Canadian roots music should sound like.

 

The Paperboys were formed in 1995 when Landa first moved to Vancouver. “As a teen living in Ontario,” he explains, “I was really influenced by the music coming out of Vancouver in the late eighties/early nineties. Seminal Celtic rock band Spirit of the West was by far my biggest influence. I packed my bags and came to Vancouver solely based on the music scene.” Over time, The Paperboys were a key part of multiple waves of popular Canadian folk rock bands that included The Duhks, Ashley MacIsaac, The Bills, and Great Big Sea.  “One big difference between Canadian Celtic artists and Celtic bands in other parts of the world,” says Landa, ‘is that records made here are being produced by producers who come from a rock and pop world, and bring something very unique to the table.” For At Peace With One’s Ghosts, Landa tapped Canadian pop music producer Bill Buckingham, who brought a cohesiveness to the project by helping the band seamlessly blend their many influences.

 

At Peace With One’s Ghosts features the current lineup of The Paperboys: Tom Landa on vocals, guitar and multiple instruments, original member Geoffrey Kelly on flute/whistles, Tom’s wife Kalissa Landa on fiddle/vocals, Brad Gillard on bass/banjo, drummer Sam Esecson, and saxophonist Kareem Kandi. The songs on the album draw from Landa’s journeys over the past six years, like “Back To You,” a love song for Landa’s son written while on tour, or “Mismo Latido,” that speaks to the truth that as you travel, you find out there are more things that unite us than divide us. “City of Chains” speaks to Landa’s disillusionment with his home city of Vancouver, where artists struggled for years under Harper’s government. With a new prime minister, the arts in Canada have a new lease on life, and there’s great change over the horizon. Once again, The Paperboys are poised to bring their adventurous vision of Canadian roots music to dancehalls everywhere, spreading good cheer and great music.

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Mexican Son Jarocho mixed in with Irish Jigs and Reels and a good dose of Country and Bluegrass. It has healthy servings of Ska, Soca and African Highlife and we’ve been known to throw in a little White Boy Reggae. Of course it also has strains of Soul, Pop and Funk although we are by no means a funk band. It is mostly Acoustic although we also like Electric guitars. It is Singer-Songwriter based but not the coffee house variety. It is definitely FOLK music, but not in the Kumbaya style. It has a deep respect and appreciation for tradition (Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Son) but it’s by no means Traditional. It Rocks incredibly hard and is extremely danceable, but that is not to say it can’t be mellow and slow and beautiful. It can be heart breaking, but also joyous. It is never dark or angst ridden, and always full of hope – but not in the ‘Up With People’ kind of way. It’s not Jazz, although we like Jazz a lot. It’s not heavy metal or punk or grunge, although we love Rush and AC/DC. It is World Roots Music. It’s POP music. It is GOOD music. It has a tendency to connect people and means a lot to many folks the world over, and for that we are very grateful. It is the only multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-generational, multi-lingual, multi-instrumental, genre bending, co-ed band you will hear today!!

Wintergrass 2017 Performer-Orville Johnson

Orville Johnson was born and raised in the southern Illinois heartland. He acquired his love of singing as a youth in the fundamentalist Pentecostal church he attended and, when he later began playing guitar and dobro, responded to the roots music that surrounded him by learning to play the blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, and country oj_reso1_col_72dpi_4_6x4music that are all part of the mosaic that characterizes his own mongrel music.

He is a singer, instrumentalist, record producer, songwriter, session player, teacher, the top dobro player on the West Coast of America and, above all, an instinctive and sensitive musician. As his entry in the Encyclopedia of Northwest Music (Sasquatch Press 1999) states, he has become a vital figure on the NW music scene in the thirty-some years he’s lived there, appearing on over 400 CDs, movie and video soundtracks, commercials, producing 22 CDs for other artists, hosting a roots music radio show, and appearing in the 1997 film Georgia with Jennifer Jason-Leigh and Mare Winningham, on the Prairie Home Companion radio show and on Jay Leno’s Tonight Show.orville-1

Orville is also known as a patient and insightful teacher of music and has taught often at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop as well as the International Guitar Seminar, Pt. Townsend Blues Workshop, Euro-Blues Workshop, B.C. Bluegrass Workshop and others. He has several teaching videos and DVDs and CDs of his own music available.

Wintergrass 2017 Performers-Foghorn Stringband

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“Many are called, but few are chosen. On their new recording Devil in the Seat, Foghorn Stringband proves once again that they are still the Chosen Ones when it comes to down-home, footstomping, ass-kickin’ old time music.” — Stuart Mason, FiddleFreak
The Foghorn Stringband is the present day shining gold standard for American string band music, with eight albums, thousands of shows, over a decade of touring under their belts, and an entirely new generation of old-time musicians following their lead. Through all this, they’ve never let the music grow cold; instead they’ve been steadily proving that American roots music is a never-ending well of inspiration.

The music of The Foghorn Stringband today, as heard on their new album Devil In The Seat, revolves around four master musicians: Portland, Oregon-based Caleb Klauder (vocals, mandolin, fiddle) and Reeb Willms (vocals, guitar), and Yukon-based Nadine Landry (vocals, upright bass) and Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind (vocals, fiddle, banjo). Each member of The Foghorn Stringband comes not only from a different part of the American roots music spectrum, but leads the pack in their field as well. Caleb Klauder’s wistful, keening vocals and rapid-fire mandolin picking are as influenced by Southern roots music as much as by his upbringing in Washington State. Also from Washington, Reeb Willms grew up in the state’s Eastern farmlands singing hard-bitten honky-tonk with her family. Nadine Landry’s roots lie in the rural backroads of Acadian Québec, but she cut her teeth as one of the best bluegrass bassists in Western Canada. Minnesotan Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind, simply put, is one of the best old-time fiddlers of his generation and has a voice that sounds like it’s coming from an old 78.

Onstage, The Foghorn Stringband gather around one microphone, balancing their music on the fly, and playing with an intense, fiery abandon. To make their new album, Devil in the Seat, the band retreated to the island paradise of Kauai, where, surrounded by coconut palms, beachside views and margaritas, they blazed through a set of old favorites and new discoveries. The music on Devil in the Seat reaches from roots in Appalachia, like Clyde Davenport’s fiddle tune “Lost Gal,” the old square dance song “Stillhouse,” or “Mining Camp Blues” which comes from their friend Alice Gerrard, all the way to the early neon lights of Nashville (“90 Miles an Hour” from Hank Snow). It touches on old gospel (“Longing for A Home” from The Cooke Duet), newly composed fiddle tunes (“Jailbreak”, “Leland’s Waltz”), even British folk (“What Will We Do”). Throughout, the honest intensity of the music remains the trademark of The Foghorn Stringband. They see no reason to polish this music, or to deviate from the roots which first inspired them.

To Foghorn, this music is as relevant today as it was a century ago. They see themselves not as revivalists, but as curators and ardent fans, and their music is a celebration of these roots. From their origins in Portland Oregon’s underground roots music scene in the late 90s and early 00s, when members of today’s hot bands like The Decemberists and Blind Pilot were gathering to explore the roots of American folk music, The Foghorn Stringband have spread the old-time string band gospel all over the world. Along the way, they’ve brought in influences and inspirations from their many travels and late-night jam sessions. Old-time square dance tunes now rub shoulders with Cajun waltzes, vintage honky-tonk songs, and pre-bluegrass picking. This is the kind of bubbling musical brew which first intoxicated the American mainstream in the day.

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All they have to do is play, and the power surges straight through your own chest. They let their own musicality and the tunes speak for themselves. —Old Time Herald
There’s an honesty to this music….It’s pure and simple, ingredients that often go missing in this day and age. It just makes you want to get up and dance. —The Old Time Herald
If the band has one goal, it’s to get gritty, but in Foghorn’s case, “gritty” does not mean rough or scratchy or untogether. It means with a huge wave of old-time noise bearing down. —Old Time Herald
Foghorn Stringband makes the music their own with instrumental virtuosity and intense dedication to the sources. Old Time Herald

Portland’s Foghorn String Band stands at the top of today’s vibrant old-time music revival and a fine example of what an unending revival it is. Each album finds them deeper into the tradition, more familiar with the rich resources of roots music, and more focused, but still propelled by that undercurrent of punk energy. —Art Menius, WMMT

 

Wintergrass 2017 Performer-Molly Tuttle

A virtuoso multi-instrumentalist and award winning songwriter with a distinctive voice, Molly has turned the heads of even the most seasoned industry professionals. She began performing on stage when she was 11, and recorded her first album, The Old Apple Tree, at age 13. Since then, she’s appeared on A Prairie Home Companion and at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, was featured on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar Magazine, won first place in the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at Merlefest, and, last May, graduated from the Berklee College of Music, which she attended on a Hazel Dickens Memorial Scholarship. Her lovely voice, impeccable guitar playing, and sensitive song writing make her a star on the rise. She has already received more than two million YouTube views and has recently released two EP’s with The Goodbye Girls and as a duo with John Mailander. She now makes her home in Nashville and spends time touring, writing and recording. molly-tuttle-wintergrass-2016-watermarked-1