Steam Machine ~ September 25, 2018

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Great music and great musicianship. Agile fiddling, hard-driving three finger banjo, a rock-solid rhythm section…  –Minnesota Bluegrass Magazine

Steam Machine sits somewhere between the full, round, driving sounds of American old-time stringband music and the emergent virtuosity of early bluegrass. With clean, powerful fiddling and rolling three finger banjo they highlight unique and beautiful Midwestern repertoire alongside tunes and songs from Appalachia. A rock-solid rhythm section and honest, unprocessed singing round out their sound. All four band members are actively involved in perpetuating roots music and dance traditions as players, teachers, and community scholars in their home communities and wherever they go. Having performed across the country and world individually, as a band they are having a lot of fun forming a style that has been called “wonderfully tasteful!” “so fine!” “a treat!” and “powerful!” by fans of the genre. And in 2017, at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, WVA, after a 5-way tie for first place, they took 2nd place in the string band competition!

AJ Srubas – fiddle 

AJ grew up playing Irish music in a family band and studied fiddle in Ireland after high school. Upon returning home he was introduced to old-time music and before long he was completely hooked. He is a tireless collector of old recordings and a versatile player and teacher.  AJ has played concerts/dances and taught fiddle workshops at Augusta Heritage Center (WV), Berkeley Old-Time Music Gathering (CA), Rocky Mountain Old-Time Music Festival (CO), many Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association festivals, the Minnesota State Fiddlers Association and many other events. AJ also plays in several other groups, including Blake Miller and the Old Fashioned Aces (Cajun), New Riverside Ramblers (Cajun) and Hello Heartache (country).

Rina Rossi – guitar, vocals

Rina danced with the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers for 8 years and calls dances regularly at the Monday Night Square Dance in Minneapolis. She has played dances/concerts, taught flatfooting, fiddle, bass, and guitar workshops, and called square dances from West Virginia to California to Germany. She has fiddled and danced on stages across Europe with the Wild Goose Chase Cloggers. But rhythm is in her family on both sides, and playing guitar is something she loves to do.

Aaron Tacke – banjo, vocals

Aaron first learned to play clawhammer style banjo, but he was inspired to learn three-finger style after hearing Kyle Creed and the Blue Ridge Square Dance. He has quickly become a much desired player for his driving three-finger sound. Aaron has played concerts/dances and taught banjo workshops at the Berkeley Old-Time Music Gathering, Rocky Mountain Old-Time Music Festival, Minnesota Bluegrass and Old-Time Music Association festivals, and more. When not playing old-time, he likes to play and sing country songs in the Minneapolis-based Hello Heartache, and build guitars and banjos at the Red River Banjo Company.

Nokosee Fields – bass

Born and raised in Stillwater, Oklahoma, Nokosee began studying classical violin at a young age. After years of learning and performing Classical and Early music, Nokosee has recently turned his attention to various forms of traditional American music, performing, teaching, and touring professionally. As a bassist, he tours with the country band Western Centuries. As a teacher, he has taught at the Augusta Heritage Center and has been involved with Dancing with the Spirit—an Alaska-based youth and community music program that aims to re-inspire fiddle and dance traditions in indigenous communities throughout the region.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other information.

7:00pm Show: Doors open at 6:30; show starts at 7:00.

Suggested Donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

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Cajun Country Revival ~ June 28, 2018

ccr 4 pieceTwo Cajuns and an old time stringband walk into a bar…

We are thrilled to welcome back the wonderfully spirited and talented Cajun Country Revival. This March they toured throughout Norway and Sweden, and earlier in May they toured in the UK. In June, they will perform at The Great Big Fais Do-Do in Portland, OR and then have only four shows in California, with SLO House Concerts being one of them!

Spanning generations from across the nation the Cajun Country Revival is a veritable supergroup of American roots musicians. Comprised of Cajun musicians Jesse Lége and Joel Savoy along with Stephen “Sammy” Lind and Nadine Landry of the Foghorn Stringband, this group presents a music that seems to embody all of the things that make life wonderful. They have delighted audiences around the world celebrating rather than “performing” the music that brought them together: Cajun music and early Country music.

Joel Savoy, son of Cajun music royalty Marc and Ann Savoy and founder of the Louisiana based label Valcour Records, is a GRAMMY winner for his production work with The Band Courtbouillon and a nine-time GRAMMY nominee. Joel is also a two-time winner of the Cajun French Music Association’s Fiddler of the Year Award. Having grown up literally at the feet of the Cajun greats, he represents his culture with an authority that few people his age can and his playing leaves no doubt that Cajun music is still very much alive. He has worked and played with the best of the best in South Louisiana as well as folks like John Fogerty, Linda Ronstadt, Steve Earle, and T-Bone Burnett.

Sharing the stage with Joel for the last 15 years is the legendary Cajun powerhouse, Jesse Lége. Growing up in a rural pre-electricity home in Gueydan, LA, Jesse spoke Cajun French and learned music from relatives, neighbors, and the family’s much-loved battery-powered radio. Today he is one of the most admired Cajun accordionists and vocalists in the world, known especially for his high, clear, “crying” vocals. Jesse has been playing traditional Cajun music and singing Cajun French songs for over 35 years performing with a variety of well-known musicians in various Louisiana and southeast Texas dancehalls. He is a winner of numerous CFMA awards including Traditional Band of the Year, Accordion Player of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, and Song of the Year. In 1998, he was inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame.

Completing the revival are Foghorn Stringband members Stephen “Sammy” Lind (MN) on fiddle and guitar, and Nadine Landry (Québec) on vocals and bass. Credited for igniting the Old-Time Renaissance in the Pacific Northwest, the Foghorn Stringband continues to stand out as the shining gold standard for American Stringband music. With their 8th album, Devil in the Seat, getting rave reviews, thousands of shows, and over a decade of touring under their belts, it’s no surprise that Foghorn “has blossomed into a full-blown force of nature that threatens world domination,” as proclaimed by Stuart Mason, in his trad music blog  FiddlefreakThrough all of this, they’ve never let the music grow cold. Instead, Foghorn has been steadily proving that American Roots music is a never-ending well of inspiration.

jesseandjoel.com/the-cajun-country-revival
nadineandsammy.com

youtube.com/watch?v=J0qvnMMv27c  

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other information.

7:00pm Show: Doors open at 6:30; show starts at 7:00.

Suggested Donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

 

John Doyle ~ June 4, 2018

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Doyle on guitar has risen to a level occupied by him alone. No one in Irish traditional music is a better guitarist than he is right now. —Earle Hitchener, Wall Street Journal

John Doyle is impossibly in demand in the studio and on the road; is immensely talented; and blessed with an acute ear, a wicked sense of rhythm, and a seemingly endless stream of magic in his playing, singing, composing, and producing.  He has solidly established himself as one of the most versatile, creative, and prolific voices in folk and traditional Irish music today, and we are thrilled to be able to present him for a SLO House Concert.

From a musical family in Dublin, John was sixteen when he went on the road with Chanting House, a group which he formed with Susan McKeown and which eventually included such great players as Seamus Egan, Eileen Ivers, Donogh Hennessy, and Brian Doyle. The highly influential Solas followed, its success due in no small part to John’s powerful rhythmic guitar. As a member of Solas, John performed internationally to sold out audiences and appeared on many television and radio programs, including NBC’s The Today Show, and A Prairie Home Companion. As part of that critically acclaimed group, he also received three NAIRD awards and a Grammy nomination.

Since going out on his own, John has recorded two solo albums and become a highly sought-after accompanist and performer for the likes of Joan Baez, Eileen Ivers, Tim O’Brien, Seamus Eagan, and the prestigious Transatlantic Sessions. He has been in duos with Liz Carroll and Karan Casey, and is an integral member of such luminous groups as The Alt (with Nuala Kennedy and Eamon O’Leary), The Immigrant Band (with John Herrmann, Eamon O’Leary, and Rafe and Clelia Stefanini), and The Teetotalers (with Kevin Crawford and Martin Hayes).

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other information.

7:00pm Show: Doors open at 6:30; show starts at 7:00.

Suggested Donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

johndoylemusic.com

youtube.com/watch?v=pGloHNrp9ok

Little Black Train ~ April 27th

photo by Mike MelnykPhoto Credit: Mike Melnyk

What do you get when you mash up a virtuosic bluegrass mandolinist, a traditional Irish fiddler, and an old-timey songster? Kenny Blackwell (mandolin and guitar), John Weed (fiddle), and Stuart Mason (guitar, banjo, and mandola) are the bluegrass-roots trio Little Black Train. From Depression-era gospel and blues to Appalachian and Celtic dance tunes, they dig up the roots of bluegrass that traveled to America from Ireland and Scotland in the 19th century. Avid practitioners of the time-honored folk process, they combine new words and melodies with traditional songs from sources such as the Carter Family, Dock Boggs, and Charlie Poole. On the instrumental side, they mine fiddle tunes from archival sources in West Virginia, Ireland, and Scotland.

Each of these three is amazingly accomplished, but something magical happens when they play together, their instruments swirling around one another like curls of smoke from a smoldering fire. This is old-time music at its most riveting! –Glen Starkey, New Times SLO

Mandolinist Kenny Blackwell, who studied with the legendary Jethro Burns, has been a fixture in the West Coast bluegrass scene since the late ’80s. He is known for his extensive studio work on various projects, as well as his collaborations with progressive fiddler Richard Greene and his membership in the Laurel Canyon Ramblers, a legendary California bluegrass outfit. Nowdays, when he’s not riding the Train, he performs with Dorian Michael, The Mystery Trees, The Demos, and Plan A.

An accomplished fiddler across genres, John Weed has lived in Ireland and immersed himself in the traditional styles of Clare and Donegal. The result is an old-time Irish fiddling style that compliments his forays into bluegrass, swing, and other American music. A classically trained violinist, John leverages his understanding of the instrument to coax emotion from every tune. Film credits include fiddle tracks for the NBC adaptation of Anita Shreve’s novel The Pilot’s Wife.

Guitarist Stuart Mason is known for his authentic vocals, melodic mandola, and inability to hold his whiskey. When he picks up the banjo, he plays in the older clawhammer and two-finger styles. A native of West Virginia, Stuart has won awards for traditional singing (Goleta Old-Time Fiddler’s Convention), mandola (Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest), and songwriting (West Coast Songwriter’s Association).

With Molly’s Revenge, Stuart Mason and John Weed have appeared on festival stages from Glasgow, Scotland to Shanghai, China. They also present workshops and classes, including The Roots of Bluegrass, and Regional Fiddle Styles from Ireland to Appalachia.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other information.

7:00pm Show: Doors open at 6:30; show starts at 7:00.

Suggested Donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

Websites: littleblacktrain.com   kennyblackwell.com   stuartmasonmusic.com

Videos: Wayfaring Stranger

Little Black Train at the Red Barn

Molly’s Revenge ~ March 2nd ~ 2 shows

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We are delighted to have the lads back with us again for two shows, at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., to help us get a jumpstart on St. Patrick’s celebrations.

To the three members of Celtic band Molly’s Revenge, “March Madness” means something other than basketball playoffs. Indeed, for all players of traditional Irish music, the month of March means making hay while the sun shines, for March 17 is the date when Irish people all around the world love to celebrate the venerable Saint Patrick. And since they can’t be everywhere on that one day, the lads of Molly’s Revenge will once again be crisscrossing the West Coast for much of the month. Hence the nickname of their annual tour: March Madness. We are excited that they will kick-off the tour with two SLO House Concerts on March 2nd.

The California-based combo will also celebrate their own longevity in March, as their first gig happened on a fateful St. Patrick’s Day some 18 years ago. Piper David Brewer is the only original band member, but fiddler John Weed and guitarist Stuart Mason joined up after the first couple of years. Front man David Brewer, also known as the “hyper piper,” leads the charge with an authentic and unique style of playing the bagpipes that has earned him the reputation of being one of the most accomplished pipers on the West Coast.

Molly’s Revenge is a dynamic, acoustic, Celtic band known for its unique and infectious enthusiasm. The classic combination of bagpipes, whistle, and fiddle with a backdrop of guitar, mandola, and bodhran guarantees a most enjoyable experience for all fans of Scottish and Irish music. Molly’s Revenge has performed at many of the top folk festivals and performing arts events in the USA and prestigious events in Scotland, Australia, and China. Their arrangements of traditional Celtic jigs and reels bring these dance tunes up to date with a driving, hard-edged accent that always leaves our friends shouting for more. Don’t miss this one!

They bring to the music a vital and joyous creativity that excites even the hardest of hearts.       –John Doyle, founding member of Solas.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to contact us to request an invitation. Please indicate which show and how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other helpful information.

2:00pm show: Doors open at 1:30pm. Concert starts at 2:00pm.  

7:00pm show: Doors open at 6:30pm. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

Suggested donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

mollysrevenge.com

facebook.com/MollysRevenge

youtu.be/Wy7rKW6PVbY    ~    a video we took at the KVMR Celtic Festival in Grass Valley

McKasson & McDonald ~ February 11th

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Ryan McKasson and Eric McDonald are masters of the Celtic music tradition who purposefully explore the dark corners floating on its edges between Ryan’s fiddle and Eric’s guitar and vocals.  The result is an alluring complexity, full of spontaneous musicality. Pulling from parallel strands of influence, they create a swirling level of intensity that traverses darkness, light, and everywhere in between. The music this duo creates is to share, and live performance is their forte. Their mutual attitude stretches beyond the music. The two have been good friends ever since they met, and that friendship is evident in their live performances, which are full of organic banter and good humor to go along with the music.  They create an environment of their own design, drawing in listeners without pretense. Despite both living active musical lives thousands of miles apart these two musicians have committed to working together to forge a new musical path.

Please make your reservations today to see these outstanding musicians!

Ryan McKasson has gained a strong reputation as a performer, composer, collaborator and teacher. In 1994, he began attending Alasdair Fraser’s Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School, which led him deep into the world of traditional music. In 1996 he became the youngest ever to win the US National Scottish Fiddle Championship and in 1997 he was awarded a Merit Scholarship for Viola Performance from the University of Southern California. Ryan’s professional career took a step forward in 2004 when he spearheaded the formation and development of “The McKassons” who released two critically acclaimed albums, Tall Tales (2004) and Tripping Maggie (2006). Over the years Ryan has recorded with a number of influential artists, namely his playing appears on fellow Scottish fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel’s three albums Silver, For Reasons Unseen, and Dot the Dragon’s Eyes, as well as Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas’s recording Highlander’s Farewell. In addition to McKasson & McDonald, other current projects include MACEnsemble Galilei, and The Syncopaths.

Eric McDonald found his way to traditional music through the rich local music scene in his hometown, Boston. Nearly a decade after studying at Berklee College of Music under world renowned musicians, he is now established as one of the USA’s premier accompanists in many styles. Eric cut his teeth playing for contra dances in New England, and can still often be seen from the dance floor. Nowadays he is an active session player, regularly recording and traveling with musicians of many stripes. Touring credits include The Outside Track, Andrea Beaton, Wendy MacIsaac and Katie McNally. In addition to McKasson & McDonald, he can currently be seen touring with the lively trio Daymark, Scottish powerhouse Cantrip, and award winning singer/songwriter Connor Garvey. In addition to guitar accompaniment, Eric’s debut solo album Rove features his unique style and approach to tunes on the mandolin, as well as carefully crafted deliveries of traditional ballads on voice and guitar.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here  to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other helpful information.

7:00pm show: Doors open at 6:30pm. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

Suggested donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

Website:  www.mckassonandmcdonald.com

Video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8k9lOvB9yg

www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRDHdE225GA

The Press Gang ~ January 16, 2018

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bold new sound has emerged in New England’s traditional music scene and they’re bringing it to SLO House Concerts in the new year: The Press Gang fuses the talents of squeezebox player Christian “Junior” Stevens, fiddler Alden Robinson, flute-player and vocalist Hanz Araki, and guitarist Owen Marshall into a high-octane musical partnership. The quartet blends their skill and fluency in traditional Irish music with their curiosity and aptitude for other styles. The joy that these musicians pour into playing music together is unmistakable and infectious. The result is a unique sound; at once energetic and sensitive, innovative and reverent.

THE PRESS GANG perform the songs and dance music of Ireland. Based in Portland, Maine, these four musicians have become popular over the past nine years for their skillful playing and deep understanding of the music and for their humorous stage presence. They have just released their first album as a quartetFortune It May Smile—which they’ll be featuring at our house concert. We’ve been listening to this CD ever since we got a copy from Owen Marshall when he was here in October. We love the CD and look forward to presenting this stellar group and their music to you.

“An Irish music phenomenon in America”  — Irish Music Magazine

“One of those rare bands that is ingenious, driving, thoughtful, and yet has great respect for the tradition.”  — John Doyle

Christian “Junior” Stevens has become an influential member of the Irish Traditional Music community in America; particularly in New England where his proficiency at such a young age on both concertina and accordion was nothing short of phenomenal. Gracing stages across the country with some of the most talented artists in the world, he is an in-demand performer and teacher with an intensely dedicated following.

Alden Robinson learned the fiddle as a child in coastal Maine, and furthered his education in traditional music at University College, Co. Cork in Ireland. Over the past few years, he has become a staple of the traditional music scene in New England. Alden continues to travel throughout the U.S. and Ireland to expand his repertoire.

Multi-instrumentalist Owen Marshall is one of the most highly sought-after accompanist in the United States. With his unique sense of harmony and rhythm, he has traveled and performed all over the world with many of the top acts in traditional music. A demanding schedule doesn’t interfere with his pursuit of new and innovative sounds as a bedrock accompanist with a style that never grows stale.

Once called “a quintessential world-music musician,” award-winning singer and flute player Hanz Araki has been a prominent figure in the Irish music community in North America and beyond for more than 2 decades. In that time he has released 11 albums, played countless festival stages, toured nationally and internationally, and collaborated with a number of well respected musicians within and outside of the Celtic music genre.

 

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here  to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve. We will then send you an email with directions and other helpful information.

7:00pm show: Doors open at 6:30pm. Concert starts at 7:00pm.

Suggested donation: $20. ALL of the money goes directly to the performers.

 

Additional Sights and Sounds

Website:  pressgangmusic.com

Video:  youtube.com/watch?v=RwHNw6D-rBQ

Facebook:  facebook.com/thepressgang