Molly’s Revenge ~ March 3rd ~ 2 shows

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Molly’s Revenge is~

Stuart Mason: guitar, mandola
John Weed: fiddle
David Brewer: bagpipes, whistles, bodhran

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. 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 an 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 audiences shouting for more.

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

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

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Spencer & Rains ~ February 10th

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For all of you old-time fiddle fans–here’s one to put on your calendar, and reserve your seats today! Tricia Spencer and Howard Rains are the real deal, having grown up surrounded by the music traditions of their families and communities. They are wonderfully talented multi-instrumentalists with authentic vocals and an endearing stage presence.

Tricia Spencer is a Kansas fiddler who grew up learning the tradition of old-time music from her grandparents. At an early age, she was perched up on some stage tapping her foot to the beat of fiddles, banjos, mandolins, and guitars. While growing up, her free time was spent traveling to festivals and fiddling contests throughout the Midwest where she learned from the likes of Pete McMahan, Cyril Stinnet, Lymon Enloe, Dwight Lamb, Amos Chase, and Lucy Pierce. Tricia is a multi-instrumentalist who has studied with some of the great masters and is highly sought after as a performer, dance fiddler, and instructor.

Howard Rains is a native Texas artist and a fourth generation fiddler (or “VY-lin,” as his grandfather would say), from a musical and artistic family, whose two obsessions are painting and playing the archaic style of fiddling of his home state. Howard plays rare, old tunes learned from friends, family, mentors, and old recordings. As much known for his painting as his fiddling, Howard has painted many of the great old time musicians, both living and gone.

Together, Spencer & Rains have performed and taught nationally and internationally, preserving and building upon the traditions of their regions. The husband and wife duo are known for their twin fiddle harmony, which is a product of the influence of midwestern Scandinavian fiddlers Tricia heard as a child. At the same time, Howard’s distinct repertoire reintroduces listeners to the pre-contest styles of Texas fiddling. That same sense of harmony is in their vocals as well, which they pull from all manner of American folk music. Spencer & Rains are steeped in tradition and dedicated to the preservation, performance, and teaching of old-time music.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to contact us 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

www.youtube.com/watch?v=rE-Kwy43T0c

www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGkvQRGLW1c

The Fire ~ January 20, 2017 ~ Sold Out!

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The Fire is a high energy pure-drop Scottish music band with world class fiddling in combination with bagpipes, guitar, bodhran, whistle, and bouzouki. The group includes International Scottish Fiddle Champion Rebecca Lomnicky, multi-instrumentalist David Brewer of the popular Celtic band Molly’s Revenge, and Adam Hendey on guitar and bouzouki.  Members of the trio have each spent copious amounts of time delving into the traditions of their respective instruments, with Rebecca and David having additionally lived and studied in both Edinburgh and the highlands of Scotland. Together, The Fire performs captivating Scottish music which bridges the gap between the fiddle and bagpipe music of Scotland—two worlds united, into a heartfelt and rousing musical experience. Between their entertaining and informative stage banter, vast array of instrument combinations, and extensive repertoire, including everything from soaring slow airs to intricately arranged dance tunes to original compositions, these charismatic performers will leave you on your feet with your hands together. The Fire has headlined at Celtic festivals including The Pleasanton Scottish Highland Games, The Utah Scottish Association Highland Games, The Portland Highland Games, The Sedona Celtic Harvest Festival, The Northwest Folklife Festival, The Oregon Scottish Festival, The Yachats Celtic Music Festival, The Monterey Scottish Games and Celtic Festival, and has performed at a variety of venues throughout the United States, United Kingdom, and Ireland.

The Fire is currently based out of Santa Cruz, California and has recorded two albums together.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to contact us 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: firescottishband.com

Dave MacDonald Setwww.youtube.com/watch?v=buON97PCbm0

The Miller’s Rant Setwww.youtube.com/watch?v=HSdCQeaLKFU

Beverly Smith & John Grimm ~ December 8th

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One of the most respected guitar players in old-time music today, Beverly Smith is also in demand as a singer, fiddler, and dance caller. Besides her three highly praised recordings of early country duets with mandolinist Carl Jones, her guitar playing has been featured on recordings of fiddlers Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini, Tara Nevins, and Brad Leftwich, and her singing with Mick Moloney, John Doyle, Laurie Lewis, and others.  Along with June Drucker, Rose Sinclair, and Tara Nevins, she was a founding member of The Heartbeats Rhythm Quartet. She has taught guitar, fiddle, and dance at music camps including Ashokan Southern Week, Augusta Heritage, Swannanoa Gathering, Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, and Summer Acoustic Music Week as well as Sore Fingers UK; Haapavesi, Finland; and La Fuente del Musica in Spain.  She has been a featured guest on A Prairie Home Companion, ETown, Mountain Stage, and Voice of America, has toured extensively in both the US and the UK, and has played concert halls and festivals all over Europe, Canada, and the US. Her guitar playing was featured in the October 2000 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Besides her duo with John Grimm, Beverly currently plays and tours with Alice Gerrard, the indisputable Queen of Old-Time Music.

John Grimm is an award winning fiddler and multi-instrumentalist who has played with many old-time bands such as The Georgia Mudcats, The Georgia Potlickers, and Rural Radio Company. He was a recent recipient of the Dr. Gene Wiggins Award in recognition of long and significant contributions to traditional music in N. Georgia. Dr. Wiggins was the author of the book Fiddling Georgia Crazy the definitive book on fiddler John Carson. John played the role of John Carson in the PBS film The People vs. Leo Frank and has appeared in the Atlanta production of The Cotton Patch Gospel. In addition to his old-time performances, he teaches fiddle with the highly successful Pick & Bow after school program and has played with The Indigo Girls, Jonathan Byrd, Shawn Mullins, Rising AppalachiaThe Little Country Giants, Pauline Scanlon, and others.  

Together, Beverly Smith and John Grimm create a dynamic authentic old-time music experience you’ll long remember.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to contact us 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: smithgrimm.com

Twin guitars: I Heard the Bluebirds Sing: www.youtube.com/watch?v=1G0PaZ1WqT8

Twin fiddles: www.youtube.com/watch?v=xyreVgiPlFI

Fiddle and banjo: The Brushy Fork of John’s Creek: www.youtube.com/watch?v=2DoubmY4chU

The Slocan Ramblers ~ November 16, 2016

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The Slocan Ramblers, from Toronto, are Canada’s young bluegrass band to watch. Rooted in the tradition, fearlessly creative, and possessing a bold, dynamic sound, The Slocans (2015 Edmonton Folk Fest Emerging Artist Award recipients), have quickly become a leading light of Canada’s roots music scene, built on their reputation for energetic live shows, impeccable musicianship and their uncanny ability to convert anyone within earshot into a lifelong fan. And we are delighted to bring them to San Luis Obispo! The Slocan Ramblers are: Frank Evans, bluegrass and clawhammer banjo; Adrian Gross, mandolin; Darryl Poulsen, guitar; and Alastair Whitehead, bass.

On their newest album, Coffee Creek (2015) The Slocan Ramblers blend lightning fast and devilishly intricate instrumentals with the sawdust-thick vocals of singer Frank Evans, who takes lead on songs ranging from rowdy old-time numbers like Groundhog, to a Dustbowl classic like Woody Guthrie’s Pastures of Plenty. The Slocan Ramblers have moved from a young ensemble of bluegrass pickers to one of the best known Canadian roots bands. They’ve done this by staying true to the roots of the music, not seeking to revive anything but rather to tap the rough and rowdy heart of the music.

The Slocan Ramblers bring the live, collaborative aspects of the music to the fore, and they understand that if you polish up the music too much, you lose the raw excitement that makes it so vibrant. This is roots music without pretension, music intended to make you feel something, music to get you moving. The Slocan Ramblers recorded Coffee Creek the same way they perform on stage: standing up, leaning into the music, and pushing harder and harder for that edge just beyond.  They played at MerleFest this year and tour frequently throughout the United States with performances ranging from large music festivals to house concerts and everything in between.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to contact us 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 to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

Website: slocanramblers.com

Coffee Creek/Wild Bill Jones:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=aH30FGIK9l0

Groundhog:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=6iYhreDGElQ

Jeni & Billy with Craig Eastman ~ October 21, 2016

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As producer David Way puts it, Jeni & Billy are “the most down-to-earth people making music just like that. Their roots run deep.” When you add Craig Eastman‘s deep roots to that soil, you’ve got a trio so in tune with each other that they are ready to dig deep and take their audience from the earth to the moon on a single shared note. This is our second time to have this trio with us and we are thrilled to be able to share their unique combination of authentic Appalachian-style story telling, song writing, flat-footing, and sheer talent and musicianship with you. 
 
Jeni Hankins is often compared to “Hazel Dickens and aptly so,” Rob Weir of SingOut! magazine writes. “Though Hankins has a smoother, less nasal voice than Dickens, it has the same born-in-the-bone twang – the kind you don’t get by dressing up country and scouring songbooks. Hankins also grew up in the same contiguous coal mine region that spawned Dickens, and with the same sensibilities: an appreciation for the grace of ordinary people, mountain gospel music, support for miners’ unions, and a gift for finding beauty where less attuned people fail to see it.”
 
Billy Kemp‘s schooling in the traditions of mountain music took place in Ellicott City, Maryland among Appalachian migrants who had come to escape the mines and work in the mills, bringing their fiddles and banjos with them. Billy listened and learned and became a versatile instrumentalist who can soar in any style from Rockabilly to Indian ragas and whose chops as a side man took him right onto the stage of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Billy has opened shows for dozens of folk and roots legends including Johnny Cash, Joe Ely, Merle Haggard, The Band, and he’s played with them, too, all the way to Tom Paxton.
 
After winning the New England Fiddle Contest at the age of 13 against career fiddlers in front of an audience of 60,000, Craig Eastman went on to work with a who’s who of artists on stage and in the studio, including Steve Martin, Jackson Browne, Elton John, Ray Charles, T Bone Burnett, and Lucinda Williams. Craig is a multi-instrumentalist and composer and his writing and playing have been featured on many blockbuster films including The Pirates of the CaribbeanBrokeback Mountain, Black Hawk Down, and Pearl Harbor. As John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band said, “If you are lucky enough to catch him, you will not forget you have seen one of the best…a special musician, Craig Eastman.”  As part of Jeni & Billy’s Big Picnic Band, Craig brings humor and heart to their recordings and their show.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to contact us 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 to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

Websites: jeniandbilly.com     ~     craigeastman.com

Reckoning Day with Jeni on lead vocal, Billy on guitar, and Craig on fiddle:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=MghUGKZO1WE

Tazewell Beauty Queen:
www.youtube.com/watch?v=5r1NU5XzJ0g

Mason & Weed: Ireland to Appalachia in Music ~ September 16, 2016

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John Weed and Stuart Mason have been working up a batch of new tunes and songs for a new album project, their first recording as a duo, that they will showcase at this house concert. So far, material for the project ranges from early American ballads and songs newly composed by their peers to beautiful melodies with Celtic and Nordic roots. They will remain true to their love of American old timey music and Irish trad while expanding the repertoire with tunes and songs that reflect their life long love of traditional music from all eras and all regions. The audience can expect a few surprises along with some familiar favorites, and maybe even a singalong or a humorous party piece dating back to the minstrel era. Along with brand new pieces, this concert will showcase material from the new Molly’s Revenge album “Lift” as well as songs from the lively repertoire of Little Black Train and from Stuart’s two solo albums.

John and Stuart perform compelling tunes and traditional ballads that explore the connections between Ireland and America and beyond, both ancient and modern. On fiddle, guitar, mandola, and banjo they bridge the Atlantic to summon toe-tapping, dancing-in-your-seat musical magic that resonates with every audience.

An accomplished traditional-style fiddler, John Weed has lived in Ireland and immersed himself in the regional styles of Clare and Donegal. The result is an old-time Irish fiddling style that compliments his forays into bluegrass, Appalachian, swing, and Scandinavian music. A classically trained violinist, John leverages his understanding of the instrument to coax emotion from every tune. He has returned to Ireland many times to hone his skills and collect tunes at their source.

Stuart Mason was born in the hills of West Virginia, grew up in Cincinnati, and later returned to West Virginia where he traveled around the state learning firsthand the oldest forms of Appalachian music.  He is known for his authentic vocals, driving backing on guitar and mandola in alternate tunings, and inability to hold his whiskey. On banjo he plays in the older clawhammer and two-finger styles. 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). He has been playing traditional music on stage for over 40 years.

Stuart Mason and John Weed are members of the well-known Celtic powerhouse  Molly’s Revenge and have appeared on festival stages throughout the western United States as well as Glasgow, Scotland and Shanghai, China.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please click here to contact us 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 to the performers.

Additional Sights and Sounds

Website: stuartmasonmusic.com/mason-weed/

Little Black Trainwww.youtube.com/watch?v=cUIt_HxMHMk

Handsome Molly and Miss McLeod’s Reel with special guests Ryan Davidson and Gilles Apap: www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3dv4V0H69s