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

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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

July 28, 2016 ~ Bill Evans: “The Banjo in America”

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Bill Evans is an internationally known five-string banjo life force. As a performer, teacher, writer, scholar, and composer, he brings a deep knowledge, intense virtuosity, and contagious passion to all things banjo, with thousands of music fans and banjo students from all over the world in a career that spans over thirty-five years.

With The Banjo in America, Bill performs the music from his chart topping CDs and also much more: he takes the listener on a musical adventure, following the banjo from its West African roots to the New World, performing musical examples from the 1700’s to the present day on vintage instruments. From an 18th century African dance tune to the music of the Civil War, and from early 20th century ragtime to folk and bluegrass banjo styles to Bill’s own incredible original music, The Banjo in America illuminates as well as entertains, exposing audiences to over 250 years of musical traditions.

Bill is the author of Banjo for Dummies and Bluegrass Banjo for Dummies, two of the most popular banjo books in the world. He has appeared on A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and has performed with the San Francisco Symphony. Bill’s CD In Good Company features over 26 musicians, including the Infamous Stringdusters, Tim O’Brien, and Joy Kills Sorrow performing Bill’s innovative compositions that blend jazz, classical, folk and world music influences.

 

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 performer.

 

Additional Sights and Sounds

Website:  www.billevansbanjo.com.

Performance of an 1871 arrangement of Home Sweet Home in the classic banjo style:
Ensemble performance of Bill’s original tune The Distance Between Two Points:

One Lane Bridge ~ May 27th

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with special guest Ashley Broder on mandolin

One Lane Bridge is a trio of seasoned musicians based in Santa Cruz, California. Grammy Award winning guitarist William Coulter, cellist Aria DiSalvio, and fiddler John Weed mesmerize and delight their audiences with performances of unique, artful arrangements of traditional, classical, and contemporary music. Fusing traditional music styles from Ireland, Scotland, Sweden, Spain, and beyond with modern influences and classical refinement results in a sound that is simultaneously ancient and cutting edge — a rhythmically vibrant, melodically engaging chamber-folk music at home in the concert hall or on the dance floor. One Lane Bridge released their first CD in September 2014 and have entertained enthusiastic audiences at a variety of concerts and venues including KVMR Grass Valley Celtic Festival and the Red Barn Community Music Series. Joining One Lane Bridge in a special appearance will be mandolin virtuoso Ashley Broder, a member of the national touring contradance band The Synchopaths. Ashley is known for her elegant, understated playing style.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please send an email to slohouseconcerts(at)gmail(.)com to request an invitation and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve and how you heard about this concert. 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

One Lane Bridge website: williamcoulterguitar.com/onelanebridge

Click here to view a One Lane Bridge video.

Amber Cross ~ April 21st ~ 7pm

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Amber Cross is a singer and songwriter who delivers her stories with unforgettable power and emotion with a strong clear voice. She has been compared to Nanci Griffith, Iris DeMent and Hazel Dickens, all of whom have influenced her music. She has opened for such artists as Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dave Stamey, and Mary Gauthier, as well as frequent guest performances with The Wronglers, Warren Hellman’s band, founder of San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

Amber will be accompanied by long-time friend and Cajun/old-time fiddler Gary Arcemont, and James Moore on guitar. The two men play a variety of instruments to support Amber’s songs: fiddle, banjo, harmonica, mandolin, and upright bass, as well as offering vocal support and harmonies.

House Concert Details

SLO House Concerts are by invitation and reservation only. Please send an email requesting an invitation to slohouseconcerts(at)gmail(.)com and indicate how many seats you would like to reserve and how you heard about this concert. 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.

The New Album

In December 2015, Amber made her final trip to Austin, Texas and completed the recording of her third album, Savage on the Downhill, under the production of Juno Award winning songwriter and producer Ray Bonneville. The songs are original and supported by artists such as Gurf Morlix, Ray Bonneville, and Tim O’Brien. This concert will help to fund the production and release of the album.

The Flannels

Amber buys second hand flannel and wool shirts at thrift stores and garage sales and has each one embroidered with a phrase from one of her original songs. She has over 400 shirts in stock, in all shapes and sizes from infants to 3X, and will have them available at the house concert.

Additional Sights and Sounds

Visit Amber’s website at AmberCrossMusic.com
Click here to view a video.