The Hillbenders are an established force on the US bluegrass circuit after winning the best band title at the 2009 Telluride Bluegrass Festival which in turn led to an invite to MerleFest, the band are now looking to spread their blend of newgrass/bluegrass across the pond and their second album Can You Hear Me? has recently being released in the UK and Europe, the band have signed up with UK roots specialists Brookfield Knights and BloodyGreatPR and plans are afoot for the band to tour over here next year.
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By day Bradford Lee Folk spends his time earning a living on a big vegetable growing organic farm outside the city of Nashville, in the evenings he spends his time alongside the The Bluegrass Playboys (Robert Trapp on banjo, Christian Sedelmyer on fiddle, David Goldenberg on mandolin and John Fabke on bass) in the bright lights playing and singing their own organic brand of bluegrass, on their debut release (a short album / or long EP if your prefer, 8 tracks and 30 minutes), Bradford’s vocal is clear and true with a high-lonesome edge that fits perfectly with the contemporary bluegrass Americana stylings of the album, classy roots music.
You can find out a lot more over at The Fader where Bradford recently gave an depth interview on his background and music.
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Prompted by no mention of a Warren G. Harding in the band line-up I resorted to Google for more info and now my knowledge of American presidents is a little better as it appears the man in question was the 29th President (1921 – 1923).
Get A Life is the confident debut full length release from the Seattle five-piece band who’ve borrowed the former presidents moniker, the album is a very confident debut mixing traditional bluegrass stylings with contemporary lyrics the players serve up a fine collection of original material – aptly described as ‘Cascadian newgrass’, the playing is slick and sharp with the album mostly played out at breakneck pace with all members of the band shining on their chosen instruments, Dave Zelonka (Guitar), Gabriel Marowitz (Mandolin), Andrew Knapp (Bass), Steve Werner (Banjo) and Lee Callender (Fiddle), if you’re a fan a contemporary bluegrass you’ll love this.
Singer-songwriter, fiddle and guitar player Laurie Lewis has recorded a new ‘live’ CD with long-time collaborators Tom Rozum (mandolin) and Nina Gerber (guitar) with special guests Tristan Clarridge (cello) and the The T Sisters (vocals), One Evening in May last year 2013 at the Freight and Salvage venue in Lewis’ hometown of Berkeley, CA. and captures the essence of the artists thirty year career in American roots music as a respected crafter of songs and live performer, the album features eleven Lewis originals most of which were written and a few months earlier, the playing is seamless and the translucent vocal fits wonderfully well with the narrative songs, including my favourite Barstow.
Laurie Lewis – Barstow
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On their second album Our Lady of the Tall Trees the Seattle based bluegrass pairing of Cahalen Morrison (guitar, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, lap slide, vocals) and Eli West (guitar, banjo, mandolin, bouzouki, vocals) were more than impressive creating an album of contemporary bluegrass music that was much revered by their peers and the press, their latest album more than lives up to their growing reputation and finds the pair on top form creating another top quality album.
Produced by Grammy-winning artist Tim O’Brien the album was in the Colorado Rockies at the Swingfingers Recording Studio and features supporting players including Ryan Drickey and Brittany Haas on fiddle and Erin Youngberg on bass with Tim O’Brien adding his not inconsiderable talents on mandolin and bouzouki too, together they’ve created an album that’s subtlety more uplifting than it’s predecessor; American roots music that manages to deftly combine acoustic bluegrass and Appalachian folk with both authenticity and originality.
Down In The Lonesome Draw
Livin’ In America
With an upcoming tour planned for Ireland and the UK there’s a great chance to go and see these guys in their element kicking of in Essex at the end of April there’s a local date at The Walker Theatre (Theatre Severn) in Shrewsbury on May 3rd.
Wed Apr 30: The Garret Sessions at Queens Head, Fyfield, Essex
Thur May 1: The Green Note, London
Fri May 2: The Workhouse, Presteigne, Powys, Mid Wales
Sat May 3: The Walker Theatre (Theatre Severn), Shrewsbury
Sun May 4: The Cross Inn, Haverfordwest, Pembs
Tues May 6: Red Rooms, Cookstown
Wed May 7: Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co Donegal
Thur May 8: Whelan’s, Dublin
Fri May 9: Baltimore Fiddle Fair, Co Cork, Ireland
Sun May 11: Jumpin Hot Club, The Cluny, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Mon May 12: FREE
Tues May 13: House concert, Edinburgh
Wed May 14: House concert, Edinburgh
Thur May 15: Acoustic Music Club, Kirkcaldy
Fri May 16: Glenbuchat Village Hall, Aberdeenshire
Sat May 17: The CatStrand, New Galloway
Sun May 18: The Barrels Alehouse, Berwick-upon-Tweed
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