Saturday, July 12th, 2014
Seating is open. The lawn can be accessed starting at 8:00am on the day of the festival. Bring lawn chairs and blankets. A wide array of vendors will sell food ranging from french fries to Thai food, plus non-alcoholic drinks. Restrooms will be available. Festival is held rain or shine. Bring umbrellas and get ready for great music!
12:00 p.m. Big Country Bluegrass
12:45 p.m. Vickie Vaughn Band
1:30 p.m. Jake Krack & Bing Brothers
2:15 p.m. Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line
3:00 p.m. The Dismembered Tennesseans
3:45 p.m. Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
4:30 p.m. Big Country Bluegrass
5:15 p.m. Vickie Vaughn Band
6:00 p.m. Jake Krack & Bing Brothers
6:45 p.m. Nora Jane Struthers and The Party Line
7:30 p.m. The Dismembered Tennesseans
8:15 p.m. Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
“Big Country Bluegrass delivers their own hard driving and heartfelt style of bluegrass music, and it makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform. It is straight ahead, hard edged bluegrass with no frills. The rhythm and timing are solid, the instrumental work is clean and tasteful, and the vocals are from the heart.” – Cybergrass
“In today’s world of bluegrass, many musicians find it difficult to keep a band together for even a short period of time. However, there are a few who seem to have endured changes in personnel and within the genre, and only continued to increase in talent. With the title of a Jimmy Martin song as their band name, Big Country Bluegrass, based out of Mouth of Wilson, Virginia, has been showcasing their abilities in traditional bluegrass since January 7, 1987.” – John Goad, Bluegrass Today
Big Country Bluegrass delivers their own hard driving and heartfelt style of bluegrass music, and it makes them crowd favorites wherever they perform. Whether it’s at a festival in Missouri, on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, or at a small intimate concert in their hometown of Independence, Virginia, the band brings back memories reminiscent of the early days of bluegrass music.
Tommy and Teresa Sells formed Big Country Bluegrass in the late 1980s, and the group’s name comes from the instrumental “Big Country” that the late Jimmy Martin recorded many years ago. All band members live in and around the Virginia-Carolina Blue Ridge, and their music reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region which is at the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail.
Tommy plays mandolin and does most of the emcee work while Teresa plays rhythm guitar, sings lead and the high harmony vocals. Eddie Gill handles most of the distinctive lead vocals and plays the guitar. Lynwood Lunsford, a former member of both Lost and Found and Jimmy Martin’s Sunny Mountain Boys, plays banjo and also sings harmony for the group. Tony King of Galax, Virginia, plays the acoustic upright bass, and bluegrass veteran Tim Laughlin, of Bristol, Tennessee, plays fiddle and sings harmony with the band.
The recent success of Big Country Bluegrass on the bluegrass charts has helped spread the word about their traditional sound. Their current Rebel recording and it’s title cut, “The Boys in Hats and Ties” has garnered the prestigious # 1 spot on both the Bluegrass Unlimited and the Bluegrass Music Profiles’ radio air-play charts.
Centered on powerful vocals and poignant songwriting, the Vickie Vaughn Band blends tradition with youthful funk and energy.
Vickie Vaughn started singing when she was knee-high to a grasshopper. At the age of 9, she was hired as a background vocalist at the Kentucky Opry in Draffenville, KY, where she grew to love Classic Country and Bluegrass. At sixteen she challenged herself to learn stand-up bass and after graduating high school she moved to Nashville, TN to study Commercial Voice at Belmont University. In 2010 she released her 4-song EP, which features acclaimed pickers and longtime friends Josh Williams and Clayton Campbell performing three Vickie Vaughn originals and Bob Dylan’s “Blowing in the Wind.” Touring fulltime, Vickie plays bass and sings with Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike and HanaLena, but she still finds time to pursue her solo career with her best friends:
Maggie Estes (fiddle) performed at the IBMA Awards Show in Louisville, KY as one of the “Young American Bluegrass Idols” when she was only thirteen. She has also appeared on the Grand Ole Opry with banjoist Mike Snider and the Nashville Irish Step Dancers. She currently tours with the Peter Mayer Group and Keith and Kristyn Getty
Zach White (guitar) was trained classically in cello, piano, and voice before picking up the guitar in high school. Inspired by Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins, Nickel Creek, and others he founded a bluegrass-inspired folk group and quickly gained a large fan base in his hometown of St. Louis, MO. He released his first solo album, “Songs About You” in January 2012.
Casey Campbell (mandolin) was born and raised in the sounds of Bluegrass; his first steps were taken backstage at the Grand Ole Opry in Bill Monroe’s dressing room. Recently he has shared the stage with the Del McCoury Band, the Nashville Bluegrass Band, the Infamous Stringdusters, and Dale Ann Bradley along with many others.
Justin Hiltner (banjo) grew up playing bluegrass with his family band, The Hiltner Brothers; their self released album was recorded when he was only twelve years old. In 2011 he made the move to Nashville and within a year’s time he has performed with Roland White, Mike Compton, the Dixie Bee-Liners, David Grier, and many more.
The Bing Brothers Band Featuring Jake Krack
Traditional Old Time String Band from West Virginia with over 30 years experience.
The Bing Brothers have played their hard-driving brand of string band music from Canada to Florida – from Spain to England, and from Australia, to Ireland and Scotland. Their sound has been formed in the West Virginia mountains, and they remain true to their roots. Yet The Bing Brothers are highly versatile, playing selections in old time and bluegrass, as well as traditional Irish songs and ragtime.
Banjo player Tim Bing is a 13-time West Virginia State Champion and Appalachian String Band winner.
Fiddler Jake Krack has been a championship fiddler since he was a kid and has won many contests over the years throughout Appalachia. Krack has won the Galax Fiddler’s Convention Contest five times and is known as one of today’s top old time fiddlers. By the time he was a young man, Krack had been featured in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune and on CNN, appeared on PBS, Mountain Stage and the Prairie Home Companion, and was given scholarships as well as a National Endowment for the Arts grant. (credit: Herald Dispatch)
Mandolin player and band leader Mike Bing has been the glue that has kept the band together for over 30 years, and created The Allegheny Echoes Summer Workshops, which celebrate Pocahontas County and West Virginia music.
Because of their contributions to West Virginia music, Mike and Tim Bing were the 2012 recipients of the West Virginia Culture and History’s Vandalia Award. Danny Arthur joined the band in 1981, and has added his great guitar and fiddle playing for over 3 decades. The Bing Brothers Band have kept the powerful rhythm of the band cranking with the additions of guitarist Bob Lieving and bassist Tim Corbett in 2002. In 2012 the band won First Place in the Old Time Band Contest at the Galax Fiddler’s Convention for the third consecutive year, at which Jake Krack was also awarded First Place Fiddler for the 5th time and Best All Around Performer for the 5th time. In March 2011 the group began recording live performances for the release of a LIVE recording which was released in 2012 and received great reviews.
In 2013, Tim Bing took 1st Place Old Time Banjo again at both The Vandalia Gathering and The Appalachian Stringband Festival, and Jake Krack took 1st Place Old Time Fiddle again at The Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Convention.
Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line
“Nora Jane Struthers is one of the most mesmerizing, haunting and hard-hitting projects I’ve ever heard. Her lyrics are simply spectacular and have achingly beautiful melodies to boot. This is one of my favorite all-time albums and certainly the most arresting music I’ve heard in a long time.” – Dave Higgs, Bluegrass Breakdown
“When you go to a Carnival, you go into a sideshow tent, and on every stage you find a different person with a different story,” says Nora Jane Struthers. “That’s why I’m trying to do with this album – craft vignettes, and in some cases more developed narratives, about imaginary people’s lives.”
Struthers’ album Carnival, issued on the singer-songwriter’s own label on April 16, 2013, is an ambitious and literate follow-up to the Nashville performer’s much-praised 2010 debut.
Produced by Brent Truitt (Dolly Parton, Alison Krauss, Dixie Chicks), who also helmed Struthers’ self-titled bow,Carnival comprises 14 fresh original compositions in her “Classic Americana” vein that richly show off her skills as a sensitive and intelligent tune-weaver and a warm and persuasive vocalist.
Recorded at Truitt’s East Nashville studio, the album marks the recording debut of Struthers’ touring band, the Party Line (which takes its handle from one of the record’s songs, about the early days of rural telephone calls.) Carnival caps three years of intense work by the 29 year old that included recognition of her group as best band at Colorado’s prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival, a stint as featured vocalist and songwriter in the Alaska-bred, Nashville-based band Bearfoot, and touring in the U.S., France and Germany.
The Party Line includes gifted instrumentalists Joe Overton (clawhammer banjo and harmony vocals), Drew Lawhorn (drums), Nick DiSebastian (upright bass and guitar), and Jack Devereux (fiddle). The album includes guests such as producer Truitt on mandolin as well as singers Rachael Hester and Nick Woods. Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line support the album with heavy touring in theaters, clubs and festivals, including the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival and Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion.
Struthers now re-emerges as a band-leader with a smart, affecting cycle of songs sporting a timeline that stretches from the antebellum 19th-century South to the middle of the last century. Reflecting her background in literature – she taught English before undertaking a full-time career in music in 2008 – the tunes are deftly-told stories that survey the American terrain from a uniquely focused point of view.
“I realized that I was writing a collection of story-songs from a female perspective,” Struthers says. “I was able to arrange them chronologically, as teenagers, then women, then old women. The album has a narrative, from girlhood to death.”
The instrumentation and form of Struthers’ music draws on her traditionalist roots – her father Alan is himself a bluegrass musician – but with the addition of drums, this record takes a bend toward more progressive roots-rock bands like Mumford & Sons and The Avett Brothers.
“I’m really passionate about the stories in the old ballads and story-songs,” says Struthers. “I’m trying to bring that element of traditional music forward into a contemporary sonic space. I want story-songs to live on in a way that will be accessible to more people. That’s my artistic mission. When we hear another person’s story, we gain perspective and are changed; we’re able to see our own lives through new eyes.”
Virginia-born Struthers was educated at NYU’s Steinhart School of Education and taught at a charter school in Brooklyn, while cutting her musical teeth as a folk-rock performer in New York clubs like CBGBs and the Cutting Room. She decided to move into music full-time after attending such convocations as Virginia’s Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention and North Carolina’s Mount Airy Fiddlers Convention with her father.
She made her recording debut in Dirt Road Sweetheart, a duo with her father, which released the album I Heard the Bluebirds Sing in 2008. Not long thereafter, she piled her belongings into her 1998 Honda Odyssey and relocated from New York to Music City.
She recorded her 2010 solo debut Nora Jane Struthers with such Nashville masters as multi-instrumentalist Tim O’Brien and fiddler Stuart Duncan. The album was received with ecstatic reviews: Bluegrass Unlimited praised it as “a marvel that combines brilliant songcraft, a sultry yet honey-hued voice, and an inspired sense of personal musical style,” while Dave Higgs ofBluegrass Breakdown called it “one of the most mesmerizing, haunting and hard-hitting projects I’ve ever heard.”
Shortly after taking first place at Telluride in June 2010, Nora Jane teamed up with Bearfoot and released an album, American Story, on Nashville’s Compass Records. The album featured six songs either written or co-written (with Tim O’Brien and Claire Lynch) by Struthers; one of them, “Tell Me a Story,” became a top-rated video on CMT. While Struthers calls her time with the group “definitely a step up for me, and a very positive experience,” she recommitted in late 2012 to touring with her own band.
Her heightened profile as a touring performer with a popular video helped Struthers mount a successful Kickstarter campaign to fund the making of Carnival. She says, “My goal was to raise $20,000 in 30 days, and I raised $22,000. It was all from touring and making new fans and meeting people.”
Nora Jane Struthers stepped forward with a distinctive sound and on-stage style – her personal collection of vintage dresses makes her one of the most visually striking of modern country artists. But the moving, perceptive, and witty songs on Carnival represent a new quantum leap, born of hard work and deep creative reflection.
“Over the past three years, as I’ve been touring and performing, I realized that primarily I’m a storyteller,” she says. “I’ve been working to hone my skills so I can do that better.” After listening to Carnival, no one will deny the keen edge of Struthers’ masterful new work.
It was back in 1945 that a group of McCallie students got together and began singing and playing a brand of Bluegrass music that has gone on now for more than 60 years. The name “Dismembered Tennesseans” seemed good enough a name for a bunch of teenagers who had no long range plans, and they sang their way through school.
But somehow the music never stopped, and the band stayed together for the next 60 years, singing and laughing their way across the country – from Florida to Washington to Ohio and Colorado and points between. They played for every local civic group in existence, every charity, and most of the conventions in town looking for cheap entertainment. They have also played at the Annual Chattanooga Riverbend Festival and at Kennedy Center.
The group has appeared on stage with many of the top bluegrass music stars and has performed in concert with the Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra and the Chattanooga Boys Choir, and more recently the Chattanooga Ballet. They have appeared on a segment of ABC-TV’s Peter Jennings Nightly News and were featured on the NBC Sunday Today Show. Their audiences have been composed of such celebrities as Chuck Yeager, Sam Nunn, Gerald Ford, Jack Kemp, and three Tennessee governors. Easily one of the most popular bands in their hometown of Chattanooga, they have made their mark singing bluegrass music for people who don’t particularly like country music.
Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen
“Solivan, an immense talent as both a lead singer and as a mandolinist and fiddler, and founding member Mike Munford, who spins out some of the finest and stylistically-distinct banjo solos going, are known quantities…Newcomers Chris Luquette on guitar and vocals and Danny Booth on bass and vocals are more than equal to the task.” - Bluegrass Unlimited (August, 2013)
“This newgrass/bluegrass foursome spirals through skin-tight banjo picking, razor-sharp mandolin and jazz-tinged concentric circles – all with a degree of control that balances technical precision and improvisational virtuosity. The joyous musicianship is shot through with a lyrical warmth long associated with bluegrass. Solivan’s mandolin and fiddle are a force to be reckoned with as they go string to string with Danny Booth’s bass, Chris Luquette’s guitar and Mike Munford’s banjo.” -Siobhan Long, Irish Times
Since Frank Solivan left the cold climes of Alaska for the bluegrass hotbed of Washington, D.C., he’s built a reputation as a monster mandolinist — and become a major festival attraction with his band, Dirty Kitchen. Solivan and banjoist Mike Munford (2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year), guitarist Chris Luquette (IBMA Instrumentalist of the Year Momentum Award winner) and doghouse bassist Dan Booth simmer a bluegrass/newgrass stew from instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills so hot, they also earned 2012 and 2013 Best Bluegrass Band honors from the Washington Area Music Association. It flavors every note of their new album, On the Edge, which Engine 145 dubbed, “a fine sophomore release from one of the most exciting bands in bluegrass today.”
At the highest levels of acoustic musicianship exists a mystery — the mystery of tone, taste and timing… It can best be illustrated by giving a good musician a good instrument and asking him to briefly strum, pick, bow, — whatever is required to produce the best sound. Then, by way of comparison, hand that very same instrument to a GREAT musician and ask for the same.
It is a phenomenon that manifests itself every time that Frank Solivan picks up a mandolin, guitar or violin. What you see may be the same pick or bow, on the same strings, on the same fretboard that the good player demonstrated, but the sound… Ah… there’s the difference!
In Frank’s hands, these instruments take on a life of their own. You hear power. You hear volume. You hear crispness, clarity, timing and taste. All combined with passion and drive. A physicist might slow it down to analyze the strum against string — but he wouldn’t find the answer. For that, you have to know Frank Solivan, a man who has a powerful life force that’s as raw, natural and pure as the place he spend much of his youth, Alaska. Frank is a hunter, a fisherman, a gourmet chef, a beautiful singer, a poet and songwriter of tasteful ballads and of blazing instrumentals. A man of sturdy build who is known to holler out out a powerful, “Son!” whether it be in response to a hot solo, or some hot sauce he concocted in kitchen. It’s as if all these things for him are an affirmation of life. An awareness that all five senses are humming along on overdrive. That life is short and all these gifts are not to be wasted.
Those who are privileged enough to be around it, are richer for it. Musicians, especially, in his presence step up their game, but I suppose you could say the same about gourmands, or fishermen. People sense that life force around Frank and they want a piece of it.
The physicist curious about the mysteries of tone, timing and taste would do well to spend some time around Frank. He would find no definition, no explanation of how it happens but he would see it right there. And you should, too.
Mike is one of the hidden treasures of the five string banjo world. Mike grew up in the sixties and seventies in the bluegrass hotbed of Baltimore and D.C. and assimilated just about everything that all the great players in that area could offer. Then he took off on his own.
Now well past forty years old — the age at which, they say, life begins, Mike Munford retains a child-like enthusiasm and curiosity for all things banjo. He has no qualms about driving hours through rush hour traffic to go see J.D. Crowe play at some obscure club… then rave about the performance even though he might have seen it or heard it dozens, maybe hundreds or times. He has imbibed everything that J.D., or Earl, or Bela, has thrown his way — and can mimic those players with uncanny accuracy, but has found his own style, too.
It can best be described as hard-driving melodic… but such a description diminishes what’s actually going on. When Mike Munford plays you hear all things that great banjo player strive to achieve. Power, drive, impeccable timing, exquisite tone and jaw-dropping technique.
Mike is also, indeed, about the finest set-up or fret job guy around, and is a walking encyclopedia of banjo trivia. He is an inspiration to countless players in the mid – Atlantic region.
Most of the country hasn’t really seen all that much of Mike’s playing. He, throughout most of his career, has preferred the comforts of home to the road. It is testament to Frank Solivan’s powers of persuasion ( i.e. talent) that Mike is hitting the road as a part of this fine ensemble.
Hailing from the Chugach mountains near Anchorage, Alaska, Danny Booth grew up in a thriving bluegrass and country music family and community. His first “gig” was at age 12 with Doug Dillard and Ginger Boatwright at a bluegrass camp concert. Heavily influenced by his father Greg, a master of pedal steel, dobro and banjo, Danny soon graduated to join his dad in the seminal Alaskan bluegrass band, Rank Strangers. There he met an 18 year old fiddler/mandolinist named Frank Solivan. To most people, growing up in Alaska doesn’t suggest a strong musical background, but they haven’t heard Dan or Frank!
Danny’s own style and sound has been influenced by some of the greatest bassists of acoustic music: Todd Phillips, Mike Bub, Mark Shatz, Barry Bales, Byron House and Edgar Meyer. His supportive bass lines are laden with excellent timing, feel, powerful tone and fluid technique. Danny recalls, “My dad was never shy about telling me when something didn’t work… that gave me the perfectionist attitude I have today.”
In addition to Danny’s impeccable bass playing, he is a remarkable singer. He’s known for his powerful lead and seamlessly blended harmony vocals. “Working with Kathy Kallick taught me a lot about blending harmonies. Combining voices is like rubbing two sticks together – when done correctly it can catch on fire!”
Danny has toured with the Kathy Kallick Band, Spring Creek, Bearfoot, and even performed with one and only Dr. Ralph Stanley. He is the newest member of Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen and brings his own musical voice and vision to this rising band. Stand by to be blown away when Danny Booth gets up to the mic.
Chris is one of the hardest working musicians from the Seattle music scene. You’d be hard pressed to find another 22 year old seamlessly switching from International Music to Jazz and from Rock to Bluegrass so comfortably. He has even studied Brazilian Jazz with Seattle based Brazil music legend, Jovino Santos Neto. Chris’ musicianship reflects the multitude of musical influences he turns to for inspiration. His acoustic guitar playing really stands out, but this virtuosic, multi-instrumentalist is equally at home playing mandolin, drums, bass, electric guitar, banjo, and Greek bouzouki! In addition, Chris was a founding member of Seattle based, Northern Departure, and has found himself sitting in with Jerry Douglas, Emmylou Harris, Rob Ickes and many others. Don’t miss an opportunity to hear him shred his Martin guitar in half!