The Colleen Raney Band ~ May 31st

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an extraordinary voice in the Irish tradition

We are excited to announce that celebrated traditional singer, Colleen Raney returns to SLO House Concerts for a special evening of songs and stories on May 31, at 7pm.

Raney, who recently finished up a tour with Irish-American supergroup Solas, is playing an exclusive run of shows in California, showcasing her open-hearted singing and story-telling that has led her to be regarded as “among the best in her genre” (Irish Music Magazine) and “one of America’s best Traditional singers” (Tradconnect). Her albums Linnet (2008), Lark (2011), Cuan (2011), and Here This is Home (2013) are an unparalleled collection of traditional songs and contemporary pieces that treat new and old songs alike with enchanting reverence, innovation, and love.

Born into a family where Irish music and dance were part of the fabric of everyday life, learning songs from her older siblings was a major part of Raney’s formative years. Colleen began her musical career with her oldest brother Mark, who studied with legendary singer and song collector Joe Heaney. Colleen brings that sense of familiarity, fun, and closeness to her performances, wrapping the audience in moments of warmth and meaning. She breathes new life into the old songs, finding facets in the music that haven’t been heard before and performing in the company of gifted friends who illustrate both the most delicate and upbeat aspects of her winning style. It’s earned her a following both among longtime adherents of Celtic music and younger fans who are new to the genre.

Raney is joined for this tour by Stuart Mason and Ryan Davidson.

Veteran artist Stuart Mason is known for his authentic vocals and nimble skills on guitar, mandola, and banjo. He 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 is a member of the Celtic band Molly’s Revenge, and has performed at festivals in China, Scotland, Ireland, and many of the United States. He also tours with old time bluegrass band Little Black Train, and in a duo with fiddler John Weed.  When not gigging, he teaches, writes, and builds websites. His music blog Fiddlefreak is nine years old. stuartmasonmusic.com

Ryan Davidson is known for his powerful vocals and soulful style of folk storytelling.  Raised in Northern California, Ryan began touring the US whilst still in high school.  After a decade on the road playing rock-n-roll, he studied voice and jazz at the Bob Cole Conservatory in Long Beach, California. Shortly after he was accepted into the Irish World Academy of Music & Dance in Limerick, Ireland where he studied the Irish Bouzouki and received an MA in Ethnomusicology.  Since returning home after two years of living and playing traditional music in the West of Ireland, Ryan has been utilizing his extensive background to tirelessly write, play, tour and collaborate with numerous songwriters and traditional artists. ryandavidson.bandcamp.com

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:  colleenraney.com

Colleen with Ryan Davidson on bouzouki:  www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo69LzniFKc

Colleen with Stuart Mason on guitar: www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXPkAP41iE4

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The Greg Blake Trio ~ April 20th

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You’ll hear it in his voice immediately … the original strain of Appalachian mountain music that lies at the heart of all great modern bluegrass and country. Greg Blake grew up in the mountains of southwest West Virginia, and when he sings, you can hear a voice that connects to the great old generations of mountain singers, invested with a rich twang and rumbling drawl. The kind of eerily powerful high tenor cry that first inspired the “high, lonesome sound.”

Growing up in West Virginia, Greg Blake was immersed in the sounds of old country, mountain bluegrass, and gospel harmonies from a young age. Moving to Kansas City, he started playing in more and more bands, eventually recording on 12 albums for bands like the Bluegrass Missourians, Mountain Holler, The Harvest Quartet and more. He’s twice been nominated for the SPBGMA’s Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year and five times won the SPBGMA’s Guitarist of the Year, not to mention the Kansas State Flatpicking championship. After moving to Conifer, Colorado, Greg joined all-star progressive bluegrass band Jeff Scroggins and Colorado as the lead vocalist. With both Jeff and his son Tristan breaking new ground instrumentally on the banjo and mandolin, Greg stepped up to the plate as a guitarist, and crafted the band’s sound around his signature high tenor vocals.

IsaacGreg is joined by multi-instrumentalist Isaac Callender who began his musical career as a contest fiddler winning titles all over North America. As a teen he studied and traveled with Western Swing Hall of famers Dick and Lisa Barrett and played bluegrass and country music with various local bands. Isaac joined the US Army National guard at eighteen and served for eight years during which time he performed with the 133rd Army band, formed the Lewis and Clark Period Music Ensemble, and served on a USO tour with Nashville Songwriter Jerome McComb.

After leaving the military, he joined renowned Canadian fiddle and step dancer April Verch on the guitar and mandolin. With April, Isaac toured the world, performed with some of folk music’s greatest talents, and began to develop his own songwriting and singing skills. Since leaving the AVB, Isaac has performed with many bluegrass, country, folk, Irish, and old-time groups on multiple instruments. He has produced three albums, multiple tune books for both guitar and fiddle, and continues to write, teach, and perform with some of the greatest musicians in the world. Isaac is the bass player for Jeff Scroggins and Colorado.

EllieThe trio is rounded out by Portland, Oregon native Ellie Hakansan whose background is a unique blend of classical training with years of traditional bluegrass fiddling. Her family band was a festival favorite throughout the Pacific Northwest for many years. Ellie is currently the fiddler and vocalist for Jeff Scroggins and Colorado and she also performs with various other groups as time allows. She recently won the 2016 Rockygrass Fiddle contest and has received many other accolades for her playing and singing. 

Together the three make up the Greg Blake Trio. Their music ranges from traditional bluegrass favorites to vintage country and old-time music along with a sampling of original material. Three-part harmonies, spectacular instrumental abilities, and great songs make their shows a must see for any lover of quality acoustic 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

gregblakemusic.com

isaaccallender.com

www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsNhACjbKJ8

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

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