As a native French speaker from Canada, it’s only natural that Ray Bonneville would love New Orleans. The Juno winning singer-songwriter will bring his blues-influenced New Orleans-style groove to Fiddlers Crossing Saturday, August 26, at 7 p.m.
“Colorful” is an adjective that doesn’t even come close to describing Ray Bonneville’s eventful life story. His bio is packed with world travels that have provided him with enough observations about the human condition to fill many albums with perceptive songs about living in a rough-and-tumble world. As a touring musician, Bonneville plays more than one hundred and fifty shows a year across the United States, Canada and Europe.
Bonneville was born in Hull, Quebec, the second-oldest of nine siblings in a family that spoke solely French. When his father, a mechanical engineer, found work in Boston, Massachusetts, the family relocated to the States. Bonneville was placed in a public school without knowing a bit of English. He fell behind in school, but took to music in a big way after a friend showed him how to play guitar.
A contentious relationship with his father pushed Bonneville to try and run away from home. To keep his son home, his father bought him a guitar. When the family moved back to Canada, Bonneville was old enough to sign up for the United States Marine Corps — just in time for the Vietnam War.
Returning from the war, Bonneville worked in Boston as a taxicab driver, teaching himself to play harmonica between fares. He began freelancing with R&B and blues bands. In the 1970s, he traveled the country exploring and absorbing musical styles, playing at festivals and small clubs across the United States, and opening for headliners such as B.B. King, Muddy Waters, and Dr. John. Along the way he learned how to fly a plane, and supplemented his income by working as a flight instructor in New Orleans and Boston as well as doing aerial-advertising banner-pulling over Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In 1988 he returned to Quebec to work as a bush pilot.
Bonneville’s music was heavily influenced by his time spent in New Orleans during the 1980s and later. It is often said that the sound of New Orleans is that of rhythm — the rhythms of a brassy jazz band, the mighty Mississippi River, the Delta bluesmen, and of slowness. Bonneville soaked up the prevalent take-your-time attitude that ran through the music being played in New Orleans.
“There’s something about the heat and humidity that makes people slow down,” he says. “New Orleans is where I learned to take my time, to allow space between the notes so the songs could truly groove.”
That groove is the core of Bonneville’s sound. He backs his weathered voice with a highly percussive guitar style, dramatic harmonica lines, and a foot that keeps a steady beat.
To learn more about Ray Bonneville and hear samples of his songs, go to fiddlerscrossing.com and raybonneville.com.
Come Dance with Me in Ireland: Encounters with W.B. Yeats
Come spend an evening with the life, works and quirks of Ireland’s greatest poet.
Whether in the stronghold of a Galway chieftain in the years before history began or yesterday in the snug corner of a pub in Dublin, the Irish have always delighted in storytelling. Their passion for eloquence and wordplay, their deep devotion to their mythical past, their ability to find joy and humor in a dark world, and their belief that the supernatural world could appear between one breath and the next made their stories and the telling of them unrivaled in the world of the oral tradition.And always, amidst the storytelling, there was music. Jigs, reels and haunting airs graced the spaces between the tales. And first among Irish instruments, and the most honored, was the legendary Celtic harp. With its crystalline, bell-like voice and lavish resonance, it would soothe its listeners and lead them deeper into the realms of the imagination. In Celtic Harp and Story Patrick Ball rekindles the fire and wonder of an evening of Irish storytelling. For in telling the marvelous old tales of wit and enchantment, and in playing the ancient, brass-strung harp of Ireland, he not only carries on two of the richest traditions of Celtic culture, but blends them in concert to create “a warm and magical performance.”
Flagship Romance consists of newlywed singers and songwriters Shawn Fisher and Jordyn Jackson. To describe their sound, they have coined the term “Harmonic Alternative Folk.” Anchored by Fisher’s unique & intense guitar playing, Flagship Romance compositions are centered around and feature the couple’s unclassifiable vocal blend.
“Their songs & vocals have a simmering intensity… I also suspect Fisher used to play in rock bands, as he tended to attack his guitar with an unbridled ferociousness.” – Mayer Danzig // Twangville
Since the release of their debut EP, The Fudge Sessions, in January of 2013, Flagship Romance has developed a reputation of being one of the hardest working new acts to hit the scene. Touring upwards of 8 months a year, Flagship Romance performs at lengenday listening rooms, such as the Bitter End in New York City, & have become a staple on the burgeoning international house concert circuits. Shawn & Jordyn have also made appearances at the Mumford & Son’s ‘Gentleman of the Road’ Stopover, the Florida Folk Festival, Strangecreek, & the Gamble Rogers Folk Festival. The variety of acts that this duo has shared the stage with is a tribute to the universal accessibility of their compositions and live show. These names include Iris Dement, Claire Lynch, Lisa Loeb, the Goo Goo Dolls, Half Moon Run, and Mason Jennings.
“Their energy is infectious. We had people from 25 to 85 in our audience & they all said they felt energized & exuberant after the performance.” – Barbara Richmond // Live at Philip & Barbara’s
On the heels of a successful crowd-funding campaign, raising in excess of $25,000, Flagship Romance ventured into the sandhills of rural Florida in January 2014 to record their first full-length album, entitled Fee Fie Foh Fum. The stripped tracks on this collection consist of full-takes, with no splicing or tuning. Given the intimate & energetic quality of their live performances, Fee Fie Foh Fum is a raw, real, perfectly imperfect experience. In addition to the album, Fisher and Jackson invited a team of professional cinematographers to travel with them and document the entire recording process at Gatorbone Studios. This behind the scenes documentary features the studio performances, the duo’s love-laced back-story, and the beautiful nature surrounding the home-studio. Fee Fie Foh Fum debuted in the top 10 on the Roots Alternative Airplay charts in 2015.
“We’ve seen loads of ‘duets’ over the years without ever understanding what real harmony could sound like.” – Cynthia Dewick // The Barn in Arden
Flagship Romance has aligned their musical career with the clean water cause via the organization charity: water. In August 2012, Fisher and Jackson founded and organized the Clean Water Music Fest in Florida, to raise funding and awareness for the 800 million people on this planet without access to safe, clean drinking water. Since then, they have raised over $125,000; 100% of that money is currently being used for well building and tap-stand projects in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and the Sahel region of Africa.
The ROAMies are a refreshing listening experience and an adventure for your soul. This fun duo/band’s music is a playful marriage of Alexa James’ hooky melodies, upbeat lyrics and unique vocals with Rory Partin’s soulful voice and heartfelt lyrics fused into a one of a kind sound. After touring together, fans continually asked them to combine their sound into one. Honoring that request, The ROAMies was formed. Deeply rooted by their passion for travel, adventure and people, they’re a duo that you will definitely want to “follow,” “like,” and “subscribe” to as they ROAM around the world.
Alexa James has recorded several professional studio albums, has had a #1 song and five other Top 10 songs. She was named Hot Adult Contemporary Artist of the Year with the L.A. Music Awards. Rory Partin has also garnered a #1 radio single and has performed in over 30 countries. His soulful vocals and piano-based grooves leave you wanting more! They recently won the award for Best Theme Song in a Comedy at the LA WEBFEST and Best Soundtrack at the Maverick Movie Awards. They are currently in the studio working on their first album together and are looking forward to what this chapter will bring. Once you see this duo live, you will know this is just the beginning of an enjoyable adventure.
The Mountain & The Moon was formed during the spring of 2015 when bassist Noah Laniakea and banjoist Casey Holmberg met at UCLA. Both musicians shared a love for bluegrass and old-time music, and as they rehearsed and performed together they began to explore a larger musical space around that idiom. ” What has emerged is a form of classically informed roots music – a blend of the string arrangements on Nico’s Chelsea Girl and the banjo playing of Béla Fleck, perhaps…” Freshgrass- 2016
In August 2016, the banjo/bass duo released their self-titled EP of original music which synthesizes folk, bluegrass, and classical music in a bold and innovative way. After which, they were invited to the Freshgrass Festival in North Adams, MA as finalists in an international competition after just a year of working together. With a solid start underfoot these musicians are cutting new ground and expanding beyond the limitations of traditions with a style completely their own.
Bassist and composer Noah Laniakea grew up in Buffalo, New York. After graduating from SUNY University at Buffalo with a bachelor’s in music performance, they furthered their studies at University of California, Los Angeles where they studied with Chris Hanulik and received their master’s degree, also in music performance. A self-taught composer, Noah seeks to write music that is both immediately accessible to the listener while synthesizing diverse sounds and styles in an organic way. They currently reside in Cupertino, CA, with their husband, where they continue to write and perform original works for solo bass as well as bass and small ensemble, further exploring the artistic potential of their chosen instrument.
Banjoist, singer and performer Casey James Holmberg was born and raised in Petaluma, CA where gold rolling hills and chickens were dear neighbors. Studying with Banjo virtuoso Tim Weed in Point Reyes, Casey saw the banjo used as a complete instrument, not restricted by genre or style. He furthered his studies in music at UCLA becoming an excellent bluegrass banjoist while branching into classical and jazz music. Holmberg writes music influenced by his past and present with an emphasis on creating strong distinct feeling and narrative. He currently resides in Los Angeles, CA where he teaches, performs original works, sings in a brother duo and writes scores for film.
Keith brings a wealth of experience to the stage as well as a variety of styles and genres. From love songs to train songs, Keith’s lyrics conjure stories of people, places, and situations that feel both familiar and yet somehow fresh. His instrumental styling’s cover the landscape from finger picked ballads to raucous twelve bar blues.
Keith is a singer-songwriter based in Longview, Texas. He travels throughout the United States and just finished recording his second project for national release “Life’s an Open Road”. Keith is a veteran of over 40 years in the music business.
It’s impossible to put one label on Wendy Waldman. She is a critically acclaimed recording artist, a writer of multi-platinum songs in genres ranging from country and cowboy music to pop, film, jazz, Latin and R&B. She is also a teacher of guitar and songwriting, a classically trained pianist, and one of the first distinguished women record producers.
Waldman is also a spell binding performer. as the audiences in 2011 and 2012 in a packed Fiddlers Crossing will attest. She keeps the audience enthralled with her humor, her beautiful voice, and her instrumental virtuosity.
Wendy Waldman will perform at Fiddlers Crossing for the third time on Saturday, November 11, at 7 p.m.
More than 70 artists have recorded Waldman’s songs. Probably her best known hits are “Save The Best For Last” and “The Sweetest Days” sung by Vanessa Williams; “Fishin’ In The Dark” and “Home Again In My Heart” by The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band; “Baby What About You” by Crystal Gayle; “I Owe You One” by Aaron Neville; “Heartbeat” by Don Johnson, and “I’m Gone” by Alison Krauss. “Fishin in the Dark” was recently released by Garth Brooks.
Her songs have also been recorded by Michael Martin Murphey, Maria Muldaur, Linda Ronstadt, Kim Carnes, CeCe Winans, NewGrass Revival, Randy Travis, Randy Meisner, Edgar Winter, Jesse Colin Young, Percy Sledge, Kenny Rogers, Judy Collins, Melissa Manchester, Rita Coolidge and Bette Midler to name just a few.
Wendy Waldman grew up in a musical family in Los Angeles. Her father, Fred Steiner, was a composer who wrote, among other things, the famous “Perry Mason” theme, and her grandfather, George Steiner, composed music for Laurel and Hardy and animated features such as “Betty Boop.”
In the early seventies, Waldman formed the band Bryndle with Karla Bonoff, Andrew Gold, and Kenny Edwards. She ultimately became a solo recording artist, songwriter, and producer, garmering a Grammy nomination for “Save the Best for Last,” and the coveted Wrangler Award from the Cowboy Hall of Fame for her song “Corn, Water and Wood,” which was co-written with Carol Elliot and recorded by Michael Martin Murphey.
As a producer, some of Waldman’s projects include albums for Suzy Bogguss New Grass Revival, The Forester Sisters, Jonathan Edwards, Sweden’s Elisabeth Andreasson, and The Sweethearts of the Rodeo.
Waldman’s studio/house in Los Angeles, The Longhouse, is now the home of the venerated public radio music show “FolkScene,” which has run continuously for more than 40 years in Los Angeles and now around the world on the Web. In this way Waldman gives back to the community that has supported her.
Wendy Waldman’s amazing musical career continues to pick up steam with new projects and dreams. New songs are in the works along with a new solo studio album. Wendy continues to play concerts regularly. Clearly for Wendy Waldman, the best is yet to come!
Tickets may be purchased next door at Mountain Music, at Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, and Lucky’s Barbershop, or online through Fiddlerscrossing.com. Tickets to the concert are $20, and as always, coffee and goodies are included. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. sharp.
A Tehachapi Christmas tradition is returning to Fiddlers Crossing. Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” read by Tehachapi’s own Alex Zonn, will be presented twice at the venue this month, on Saturday, December 16, at 7:00 pm and Sunday, December 17, at 2:00 pm.
First published in 1843, “A Christmas Carol” is the story of a bitter old miser named Ebeneezer Scrooge and his transformation resulting from a supernatural visit from the ghost of his former buisiness partner, Jacob Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmases Past, Present, and Future. It has delighted audiences in theatrical and film adaptations for well over a century.
Alex Zonn is well known to Tehachapi audiences, having appeared in a number of Tehachapi Community Theater productions including “The Lion in Winter,” “It’s a Wonderful Life,” and the fully staged production of “A Christmas Carol.” He has also directed some of TCT’s productions. He is an accomplished actor and voiceover artist with many credits to his name.
Fiddlers Crossing is at 206 East F Street at Robinson Street, in Downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased online at fiddlerscrossing.org, or at Mountain Music, Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, or Lucky’s Barbershop. To reserve tickets or pay by phone, call 661-823-9994. Tickets to the readings are $12, and as always, coffee and goodies are included. There are two shows being presented,Friday, December 11, at 7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30pm sharp), and Sunday, December 13, at 3:00 pm (doors open at 2:30pm sharp).
“Winterdance,” a Celtic Christmas celebration, will return to Tehachapi for two performances in the BeeKay Theatre on Saturday, December 23. The concert, put on by Fiddlers Crossing, has been a sell-out the last three years. As in the past years, two performances will be presented, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students.
The core of the concert is the traditional Celtic trio, Molly’s Revenge. They will again be joined by vocalist Christa Burch, along with the Rosemary Turco Irish dancers from San Jose, in an evening of music, song and dance associated with the festive season. The performance will include Christmas songs both old and new, all played with a Celtic twist, as well as selections from the band’s holiday album.
Molly’s Revenge is a dynamic, acoustic Celtic band complete with bagpipes, whistle, fiddle, guitar, mandola, and bodhran, to guarantee a rousing afternoon for all fans of Scottish and Irish music. They have performed at many of the top folk festivals and performing arts events in the USA, as well as at prestigious events in Scotland, Australia and China.
The band is comprised of a trio of Californians in love with Celtic music. David Brewer plays whistle and four types of bagpipes. He studied in Scotland under the tutelage of some of the best pipers in the world. His unique style of playing has earned him a reputation as one of the most accomplished pipers on the West Coast.
John Weed is a classically trained violinist who switched to playing Irish fiddle about 15 years ago. He has lived in Ireland, teaching workshops in Irish fiddle — to the Irish! He studied with master fiddlers in County Donegal and hones his skills there annually.
Stuart Mason has been collecting and performing traditional music for over 30 years. He has appeared on stage from Ireland to China performing Celtic, old-time, bluegrass, and his own compositions, which have won awards from the West Coast Songwriters Association. He also leads workshops and classes in traditional music techniques at music festivals and camps. Mason and Weed previous played Fiddlers Crossing with Kenny Blackwell as old-time trio Little Black Train.
Christa Burch is no stranger to Tehachapi, having been the vocal and bodhran instructor for Camp Kiya in 2012. She has performed with Alasdair Fraser and Natalie Haas, as well as with the Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles, who often perform at the Bakersfield Scottish Games. Her band, The Syncopaths, is a favorite for California contra dances. In her travels through Scotland and Ireland, Christa has collected a wide repertoire of songs and developed her own style.
If you have seen Winterdance, you will certainly want to revisit this fantastic Celtic Christmas Celebration. If you haven’t, you won’t want to miss it this year, so be sure to get your tickets early. Because nothing says “Christmas” like bagpipes – plus fiddles, guitars, bodhrans, whistles, singers and dancers in a brilliant Celtic spirit!
The BeeKay Theatre is at 110 S. Green Street, in Downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased online at fiddlerscrossing.com, at Mountain Music during Wednesday Open Mic Nights, as well as at Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, and Lucky’s Barbershop. To reserve tickets or pay by phone, call 661-823-9994 and leave your name and the number of tickets requested. Tickets to the concert are $25 for adults and $15 for students. The concert times are 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Doors open one-half hour ahead.
Jim Kweskin is probably best known as a singer and bandleader. He also created one of the bedrock guitar styles of the folk revival, adapting the ragtime-blues fingerpicking of artists like Blind Boy Fuller to the more complex chords of pop and jazz. He has maintained a remarkably consistent musical vision since his jug band days, continuing to explore traditional folk and blues with the sophisticated sensibility of a jazz musician and jazz with the communal simplicity of a folk artist. He has recorded solo ventures, as a member of the U and I band, and with U and I bandmate Samoa Wilson, and continues to perform widely in various formats. In recent years he and Geoff Muldaur have often appeared as a duo, revisiting and expanding on their Jug Band repertoire.
“At the peak of the American folk revival, Jim Kweskin & the Jug Band reintroduced an essential component into folk music: fun.” – Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr., AllMusic.com
“The rock historian Ed Ward went so far as to place the Kweskin Band alongside the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and the Byrds as that period’s most influential groups.” – Alex Ward, The New York Times
“When it came to jug band music, razzmatazz jazz, and swinging spins on Piedmont blues back in the ’60s, Jim Kweskin was top dog. Jim Kweskin’s famed Jug Band hot-wired an entire movement that still has a certain impact on the folk scene today.” – Jim Macnie, The Providence Phoenix
Among the blueblood bands of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, of course, will always be the King. But the four-piece band, The Special Consensus, is certainly one of the crown princes. Tehachapi will be treated to a second royal visit by this Nashville-based band on Saturday, January 27, at 7 pm at The BeeKay Theatre in downtown Tehachapi.
The award-winning, GRAMMY-nominated group was formed in the Chicago area in 1975, and features a repertoire of traditional bluegrass standards, as well as original compositions and songs from other musical genres performed in the bluegrass format. The band has released 17 recordings and appeared on numerous National Public Radio programs, as well as TV shows such as The Nashville Network and the Grand Ole Opry.
International tours have taken Special Consensus to Australia, Canada, Europe, South America, Ireland and the United Kingdom. They have even appeared in concert with many symphony orchestras nationwide. Through their Traditional American Music Program (TAM), they bring an awareness of our musical heritage to schools, both nationally and internationally.
The 2012 recording, “Scratch Gravel Road,” was Grammy-nominated, and the 2014 recording, “Country Boy: A Bluegrass Tribute To John Denver,” received two International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards.
Although the personnel line-up of The Special Consensus has changed over the years, the present four members are all bluegrass stars in their own right. Chicago born and bred Greg Cahill is a co-founder of the band and has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. He has appeared on all 17 of The Special Consensus recordings, on numerous recordings by other artists and on many national television and radio commercials. Cahill teaches banjo at festival workshops and at music camps and colleges nationally and internationally and has released instructional DVDs and books. He served on the Nashville-based International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Board of Directors from 1998-2010 and was awarded the prestigious IBMA Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011.
Rick Faris is known in the world of bluegrass music as an award-winning guitar player. Born and raised in the Midwest, Rick started playing with his family’s bluegrass Band in 1998. The Faris Family band toured extensively throughout the USA and Canada and was awarded numerous honors by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA). Rick was awarded the SPBGMA Midwest Guitar Performer of the Year in 2005 and 2008. An accomplished luthier, Rick plays a guitar he built himself.
Bassist Dan Eubanks grew up in Missouri and attended bluegrass festivals with his grandparents from a very young age. As a young boy, he started playing music on drums, then added banjo and guitar, and eventually bass. Dan played in country and rock bands throughout high school and attended college on a music scholarship. He holds a Master’s degree in Jazz Studies from Webster University in St. Louis. In 2003, after many years of teaching at several St. Louis-area colleges and universities, Dan moved to Nashville to get back to his bluegrass roots. He joined Special Consensus in 2013.
The newest member of the band is Mandolin player Nick Dumas, who joined last year. He grew up in Brier, Washington, and was introduced to bluegrass music at a very young age by his dobro-playing grandfather who had a country gospel band. Nick learned the violin in his school orchestra and soon was playing fiddle in his family band. He has added mandolin, guitar and banjo to his skills, and was a highly respected member of several popular bluegrass bands in the Seattle region.
The consensus among bluegrass aficionados is that The Special Consensus is a royal visit not to be missed.
The BeeKay Theatre is located at 110 S. Green St. in Downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased at Mountain Music, Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, Lucky’s Barbershop, or online at fiddlerscrossing.com. Tickets to the concert are $25. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30p.m.
It may be named “Fiddlers Crossing,” but the small venue in downtown Tehachapi also features some of the world’s finest acoustic guitarists in its concert schedules. On February 9, the audience will be treated to a touch of Italy when Beppe Gambetta returns to the stage for his second appearance. Gambetta is considered one of the finest flatpicking guitarists on any continent, playing, according to Acoustic Guitar magazine, a “virtual United Nations of influences: Italian, Ukrainian, Appalachian, Sardinian, Celtic.”
Born in Genoa, Italy, Gambetta fell in love with American Roots music when he first heard Doc Watson play. He began his career playing in a classical orchestra for plectrum instruments, but crossed over to American music when he founded the Italian Bluegrass band, Red Wine. In 1988 he launched his solo career. After eleven CDs, several instructional DVDs on the Homespun label, as well as teaching books, he has become known as one of the true master innovators of the acoustic guitar.
Gambetta still lives in his native Genoa, but spends part of the year in North America. He has played numerous festivals, and in prestigious halls such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. He has appeared on All Things considered and other radio shows, and has collaborated with many other top-flight musicians such as Tony Trishka, Dan Crary and Tony McManus.
In his guitar technique, there are echoes of Doc Watson as well as Moravian and other folk music. Gambetta incorporates intricate cross-picking patterns, open tunings, and fluid slides up and down the neck of the guitar.
In his concerts, Gambetta alternates his flashy guitar pieces with songs in Italian or English. He brings to his playing and singing an intimate sense of emotions, along with his Italian charm and humour. He doesn’t rely solely on his high level of technical excellence, but is not afraid to show his innermost feelings in a playful way, always exploring and innovating while staying firmly rooted in musical tradition.
Oh, and he cooks, too.
Fiddlers Crossing is at 206 East F Street at Robinson Street, in Downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased next door at Mountain Music, at Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, and Lucky’s Barbershop, or online through Fiddlerscrossing.com. Tickets to the concert are $20, and as always, coffee and goodies are included. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
In the 1970s, some folksingers, including Bob Dylan, began to “plug-in” and amp up like the rockers. Now, pop music is coming full circle as many rock ‘n’ rollers un-plug. For instance, the two former rockers of Ryanhood, Ryan Green and Cameron Hood, were named ‘Best Group/duo in the 2014 International Acoustic Music Awards (IAMA’s). They will demonstrate this blending of musical genres when they return to the stage at Fiddlers Crossing on February 23.
Green and Hood met in high school where they had a respectful rivalry between their two rock bands. They faced off annually in a Battle of the Bands. While Hood’s band won more of the competitions, Green’s guitar chops were impressive, and earned him a scholarship to Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music.
Cameron studied art at the University of Arizona, and the two musicians started what they would call “a long-distance musical relationship,” mailing each other song ideas and getting together during college breaks to rehearse and perform. After graduation, Hood moved to Boston to join Ryan. The duo became full-time street performers, developing a rapport with audiences that has become a hallmark of their shows.
They were soon discovered by a college concert recruiter and brought their high-energy, interactive street-performer approach to that market. They quickly became one of the most popular bands on the circuit, playing upwards of 130 college dates a year. Hood’s rich and folky lead vocals, Green’s explosive guitar and mandolin riffs, and their airtight vocal harmonies prompted the Idaho State Jounal to call them, “this generation’s new mix of Simon & Garfunkel, America and U2.”
They have toured with Jason Mraz, recorded an album with grammy-winning producer Ross Hogarth, shared stages with Matt Nathanson, Train, American Authors, and Lifehouse, and even got tweeted about by Ellen DeGeneres. Ryanhood has collectively performed more than 800 shows in 42 U.S. states, where their cross-generational sound has been equally at home in colleges, coffee-houses, concert halls, churches, and living rooms.
And now, ten years after their street start, Ryanhood’s star is still on the rise. Their fifth and newest album, Start Somewhere, finds the band returning to the intimate storytelling and acoustic guitar interplay that was a hallmark of their early work as buskers.
They currently reside in their hometown of Tucson, AZ, where they have won more than a dozen Tucson Music Awards including “Best Folk Band” and, yes, “Best Rock Band.”
To see videos and hear samples go to ryanhood.com or fiddlerscrossing.com.
Fiddlers Crossing is at 206 East F Street at Robinson Street, in Downtown Tehachapi. Tickets may be purchased next door at Mountain Music, at Tehachapi Treasure Trove, Tehachapi Furniture in Old Town, and Lucky’s Barbershop, or online through Fiddlerscrossing.com. Tickets to the concert are $20, and as always, coffee and goodies are included. The concert begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
Rooted in the traditional music of the seven Celtic nations (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, The Isle of Man, French Brittany and Spanish Galicia), Golden Bough has become a popular and in-demand group on both sides of the Atlantic. Since their formation in 1980, this trio of
modern day minstrels has traveled great distances to numerous countries, to bring their music to enthusiastic folk fans the world over.
Backing themselves on an array of acoustic instruments; Celtic harp, guitar, octave-mandolin, mandolin, accordion, violin, penny-whistle
and bodhran, they blend their voices in the pristine harmonies that have become a Golden Bough trademark. To date they have released
over 30 recordings. In the recording studio, as well as on stage, Golden Bough captures the essence and joy of traditional music.
Amber Ikeman’s music carries audiences across the open spaces of the American West and into the depths of their souls. She weaves together light and darkness with her powerfully clear vocals and raw, confessional lyrics.
After getting a B.A. in music, Amber took a job as a nonprofit professional in her hometown, Sarasota, FL. Feeling unfulfilled and trapped by expectations, she drove to Yellowstone National Park to work as a dishwasher. It was the first stop on a 30,000-mile solo cross-country quest to find herself.
Amber’s debut album, Free, was named one of Southwest Montana’s top local albums of 2015. An engaging performer with a comedic edge, she placed 3rd in the 2016 Susanne Millsaps Performing Songwriter Showcase and tours all over the U.S.
Born in Yorktown, Virginia, Bryan Bowers was raised in New Bohemia near Petersburg of the Civil War’s Battle Of The Crater fame. As a child, Bowers would tag along with the field workers and gandy dancers and learned to sing old call-and-answer songs. Bowers recalls, “The music I heard while working in the fields was mesmerizing. And, I’d see the gandy dancers coming down the tracks, setting the rails and getting their ties straight. You’ve heard that song `Whup Boys, Can’t you line ’em?, Chack a lack.’ Whup Boys, can’t you line ’em? was the call the leader would sing. Chack a lack was the bounce- back of the hammer after falling on the pin. I just thought that music was something that everyone did. It was years later that I realized what I’d been raised around.”
Bowers enrolled at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Virginia, but found that college was not satisfying an emptiness he felt. Three hours short of earning a degree in Spanish, Bowers dropped out. About the same time (the late ’60s), Bowers discovered music when he took up the guitar. “The roots of the music had gone real deep in me. Music was real fulfilling, unlike anything I had ever done before.”
It wasn’t long before Bowers encountered the autoharp. “I ran into a guy that played several instruments and could get the harp in good tune. He played without any fingerpicks, just with his fingernails. He had a real sprightly style on it. It was the first time I’d heard someone play it in good tune and play it well. It opened my eyes and my ears. I went out and got one the next day.”
Bryan relocated to Seattle in 1971 and played for coins as a street singer and in bars for the right to pass the hat. Once he had polished his technique, he headed east in a 1966 Chevy panel truck he affectionately called “Old Yeller.” “The Dillards heard me in DC when I went to the Cellar Door,” recalls Bowers. “I introduced myself and played the `Battle Hymn Of The Republic’ to show them how the harp worked. Sam Bush, Curtis Burch and Courtney Johnson of the New Grass Revival were there. I didn’t realize how presumptuous I was being. The Dillards took me to a bluegrass festival at Berryville, Virginia and when they got an encore, they put me out there for their second encore, saying `Here’s a guy you ought to hear.’ The bluegrass community has been real supportive.”
Bower’s creativity and talent have won him induction into Frets Magazine’s First Gallery of the Greats, after five years of winning the stringed instrument open category of the magazine’s readers’ poll. This distinction put Bowers along side other luminaries, such as Chet Atkins, David Grisman, Stephan Grappelli, Itzhak Perlman, Tony Rice, Rob Wasserman and Mark O’Connor, recognized for their personal accomplishments. In 1993, Bryan was the first living member inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame to stand only with Maybelle Carter, Kilby Snow, and Sara Carter. In 2003, Bryan organized and co-produced Autoharp Legacy. He brought together 55 autoharp players and created the definitive three-CD set on autoharp music. In addition, Bryan Bowers’ critically acclaimed recordings on Flying Fish/Rounder Records are: The View From Home, Home, Home On the Road, By Heart, Friend For Life and For You.
From his rather unglamorous beginning as a street singer, Bryan Bowers has become a major artist on the traditional music circuit. He has redefined the autoharp and is also well known as a singer-songwriter. Bryan has a dynamic outgoing personality and an uncanny ability to enchant a crowd in practically any situation. His towering six foot four inch frame can be wild and zany on stage while playing a song like `Dixie’ and five minutes later he can have the same audience singing `Will The Circle Be Unbroken’ in quite reverence and delight.
In 2006 Bryan’s landmark recording, Bristlecone Pine, was released on Seattle Sounds with distribution assistance by Plectrafone Records. Autoharp partner and close friend, Ron Wall, directed and created the recording. Several of Bryan’s friends from through-out the years offered musical assistance, including: Tim O’Brien, Sam Bush, Mark Howard, Alan O’Bryant, Pat Enright, Dennis Crouch, Stuart Duncan and Ron Wall. A feature story on Bryan in the Feb/March 2007 issue of Dirty Linen stated, “Like the venerable pine of the title track, autoharp virtuoso Bryan Bowers’ vocal style and instrumental prowess have grown in depth and genius over the decades…to listen to this recording is to experience all the colors and emotions of a lifetime. Truly Bowers’ finest work to date…”
Crabby Old Man is released in 2011. This anti-produced and unvarnished recording offers 12 charming selections from Bryan’s vast repertoire. This CD sands editing, overdubs and compression and sounds as if Bryan is playing in your living room for just you and your friends. Bryan Bowers’ Live at Winterfolk 2015 is his most recent recording. This is Bryan’s first live album and features 12 selections that he loves. This CD was recorded at Portland’s premier folk event and 28th annual fundraiser for Sister of the Road. These recordings give the listener a wonderful musical experience from the man who re-defined the autoharp.
For over five decades, Bryan Bowers has been to the autoharp what Earl Scruggs was to the five-string banjo. He presents instrumental virtuosity combined with warmth, eloquence, expression and professionalism.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY ABOUT BRYAN BOWERS….
“Bowers is widely regarded as the leading virtuoso on the autoharp… Bowers also has distinct gifts as a singer and songwriter.” -PEOPLE MAGAZINE
“A brilliant, innovative autoharpist & powerful songwriter-the festival’s single most powerful performance.” -THE BOSTON GLOBE
“Bryan Bowers is to the Autoharp what Bjorn Borg is to tennis balls or Henny Youngman is to one-liners – he is just about the best there is at it.”-THE GLOBE AND MAIL
“He is considered one of America’s foremost virtuosos on the Autoharp.” -THE WASHINGTON POST
“For all the acclaim Bryan Bowers has won as the master of the autoharp, what radiates from the instrument under his touch is not flash but warmth and brilliance.” “You get a good feeling being a member of Bryan Bowers’ audience, the good feeling that comes from watching someone doing just what he needs to do and doing it well and for all the right reasons.” -THE PHILADELPHIA FOLK SONG SOCIETY
“He plays the autoharp and when he picks up the instrument, the entire room changes…a very magical world, a music never heard before.” -THE CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
“Bowers is a riveting performer who stands tall at the microphone, harps in hand and gently lulls the audience into taking part in his act. He has charm and gets his musical emotions across to the crowd easily.” -THE OREGONIAN
“Bryan Bowers is the kind of performer about whom people get that glint in their eyes and say, `Hey, have you heard about Bryan Bowers?”-WASHINGTON STAR NEWS
“A more than interesting and very unique performer.”-THE VILLAGE VOICE
“…This man makes more music from an Autoharp than you can imagine from a 12 string guitar and a harpsichord combined. He has more stage presence and charisma than any stage performer in recent memory.”-THE WASHINGTON TIMES
“…Dealing strictly on a musical level, my favorite of the entire festival was autoharp virtuoso Bryan Bowers. Bowers has taken what is a very simple instrument to play and does things with it that cannot be physically done.” -FOLK MUSIC
“…Bowers is acclaimed as a master of the rare instrument, the genius of the autoharp.” -PERFORMANCE
“I want to have a good time and I want people to have a good time, no `woe is me’ trip. I want the joy of bringing people together and communicating….if I can say it like I see it, I can bring happiness.” -BRYAN BOWERS
Like many of our Americana “roots” music genres, the blues has morphed many times and in many ways from its acoustic origins in the deltas and cotton fields of the steamy south to the electric rock and roll dance halls, clubs and bars in the rest of the country. It has spawned jazz, soul, R&B, rock and country music. Blues itself has become standardized, fitting nicely into 8 bars or 12 bars in minor keys with a set pattern to the lyrics and chord structure, and most always a sense of melancholy to the message.
Guy Davis is a renowned musician/composer/writer/actor who brings the blues back home again. In his hands, the blues is a joyful, free-wheeling expression of a people’s triumph over sorrow and oppression. This is blues with its acoustic roots showing, and Davis will share it with Tehachapi in a performance. in the BeeKay Theatre. The concert is part of the regular acoustic music series sponsored by Fiddlers Crossing.
Davis is also a storyteller. Although raised in a middle-class suburb of New York City, he grew up listening to his parents tell tales about the lives of his grandparents and great-grandparents in the rural south. Davis taught himself how to play the guitar by listening to and watching other musicians, and he often weaves his music around his stories.
As an actor as well as musician and composer, Davis has appeared on Broadway, in film and on TV, and won acclaim for his many CDs. Among his numerous credits, he has been a guest on Late Night with Conan O’Brien, A Prairie Home Companion, and Whoopi Goldberg’s series on Nickelodeon, and opened for Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. He was Dr. Josh Hall on TV’s “One Life to Live,” and his music was featured in the 1995 PBS series, “The American Promise.” Davis has also joined his parents, actors/writers Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, (both deceased) in a theater piece the three wrote called, “Two Hahs Hahs and a Homeboy.” The show combined their own compositions with African American Folklore and history.
In 1994, Davis performed a one-man show off-Broadway called “In Bed with the Blues: The Adventures of Fishy Waters.” A few years ago, a CD version of the show was produced and recorded by Peter Cutler, co-owner of Fiddlers Crossing and engineer for the FolkScene radio program.
With all his talents and experience, Guy Davis is still, at heart, a bluesman, with influences ranging from Mississippi John Hurt and Elizabeth Cotton to Taj Mahal, Fats Waller and even Harry Belafonte.
Among his many honors, he has won the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive Award.” A critic for the San Francisco Chronicle has said of him: “Davis’ tough, timeless vocals blow through your brain like a Mississippi dust devil.” This is the blues as “goodtime music”, originally made for dancing, and Davis holds true to its roots.