2007 FESTIVAL ARCHIVE - Return to main site.

August 24, 25, 26 2007

Smoking and Campfires are currently banned on the festival grounds and everywhere in the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park by order of the Governor of Michigan. There is an extreme fire danger due to the ongoing draught. A forest fire has already broken out this week in a remote area of the park. You may smoke in your car during the festival but not anywhere on festival grounds. - 23 August 2007 

2007 Artists

BluesCaravan: Sue Foley, Deborah Coleman, Roxanne Potvin - This year's lineup of the popular Blues Caravan tour includes blues veteran Sue Foley. The Ottawa native began her recording career at the age of 24, storming the international scene with a string of successful releases. Deborah Coleman (USA) earned 11 W.C. Handy Award nominations and a reputation as "one of blues music's most exciting young talents" (USA Today). The energy of her live performances is really her number one asset. Coleman rocks hard and never lets up. Roxanne Potvin (CAN) is an exciting new talent from Quebec. She began playing guitar at 15 and released a self-produced collection of original songs in 2003. These performers reflect the diversity and dedication of a growing generation of female blues players.

Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams The Circus emerged from the misty hills of Sleepy Hollow, New York in 1988 and exploded upon the Hudson Valley music scene with their stunning self-produced debut release, "A Good Thief Tips His Hat". The quirky quartet then began touring and rapidly developed a loyal following. Featured recently in Relix Magazine, the New York Times and on the CBS hit show, Joan of Arcadia. The music of Slambovia has been described as "Hillbilly-Floyd, folk-pop", "alt-country roots-rock, and "surreal Americana". Dancing freely between existing religious and philosophical mythologies, their music is uplifting, empowering and fun. Gandalf Murphy and The Slambovian Circus of Dreams ... Their music can "Heal what ails ya"!

Steppin' In It - Hailing from Lansing, Michigan -the heart of Factory Town, USA- these young men tote an ample supply of vintage instruments producing tunes that brings listeners back to the days of old-time radio. They pound out their own brand of tunes; combining old-time country, swing and blues playing what Performing Songwriter Magazine calls "some of the liveliest and most rocking acoustic roots music around." Upright Bassist Dominic Suchyta and multi-instrumentalist brothers Andy & Joe Wilson compliment the strong talents of singer/songwriter Josh Davis, who's haunting vocals paint a picture of Michigan's blue-collar workers under troubled times.

Natalia Zuckerman -The daughter of violinist/conductor Pinchas Zukerman and flutist/writer Eugenia Zukerman, Natalia grew up in Manhattan immersed in classical music. Performing live, and experiencing what she calls the life of a "wandering gypsy", she turned her talents to the guitar, began writing songs, and exploring varieties of the instrument: electric, acoustic, slide, lap steel, the banjo, and a brief foray into traditional Indian technique. Things really fell into place with her second album, On a Clear Day, which showcased her evolution as a guitarist and for which Zukerman gathered a veritable Who's Who of respected players from the acoustic music community to join her, including percussionist Allison Miller (Natalie Merchant), multi-instrumentalist Julie Wolf (Ani DiFranco, Dar Williams), and bassist Jason Kriveloff (Topaz, Tortured Soul), among others. 2006 brought her third album, Only One. "People have been asking if I have a recording that's more representative of what I do live," she says. Those requests were answered, along with her desire to create an intimate, unpolished, and almost-live sound. One thing is for certain: this girl can play.

Boiled In Lead - The Minnesota based high-energy band Boiled in Lead, are innovators. Bringing "folk music" kicking and screaming to rock audiences (and rock music to screaming folk audiences!) BiL's many instrumental dance tunes incorporate global influences, rhythms, and melodies that are guaranteed to keep the feet moving. The players improvise freely yet stay in sync, playing a vital mix of original and traditional material that sounds fresh and highly identifiable. The group and the individual musicians have won over 20 Minnesota Music Awards, and have toured throughout the US and in Europe.

Tangled Roots - Tangled Roots is one of the most energetic and exciting bands to hit the bustling Minnesota Bluegrass music scene. They've been performing for over half a decade throughout Minnesota and Wisconsin. With a broad spectrum of material ranging from songs and tunes by Bill Monroe and The Stanley Brothers to more recent tunes. Tangled Roots has become a favorite with bluegrass music fans. The members of Tangled Roots consist of some of the best known Bluegrass performers in the upper Midwest and combined, they bring to the stage over 100 years of musical experience.

Seth Bernard and Daisy May (singer-songwriter duo)- Two Michigan favorites, Seth Bernard and Daisy May Erlewine, are well-known to audiences as single acts. Seth grew up surrounded by gardens, goats and stringed instruments just outside Lake City. He traveled around as a storyteller, point guard, sax player or singer/guitar player in bands with names like "Freesoil", "King Lear and the Gothic Monks" or "the Pagoda Trees". Seth recorded his first album at his guitar teacher's home studio. Born into a family of musicians, May Erlewine has been playing music all her life. She paid her singer-songwriter dues in her late teens with several years of hitchhiking back and forth across the U.S., always writing and playing her music. Now with four CD? to her name, May works a variety of venues, focusing on the Midwest and her home state of Michigan. Her inspired lyrics and powerful voice have a sweetness that delights audiences. In 2006 Seth and Daisy released their first duo album, recorded in the historic Calumet Theater. This past April the duo placed third in A Prairie Home Companion? People In (their) Twenties Talent Show, out of 740 entries.

Charlie Parr - Charlie Parr of Duluth, Minnesota plays original and traditional folk and Piedmont-style blues, accompanying himself on National resonator guitars, 12-string guitar and banjo. Parr was raised in Austin, Minn, in a household that prized traditional American folk music and his style bears the influence of hours spent listening to country blues records and Smithsonian/Folkways field recordings. Charlie has performed publicly since 1988 and he has shared stages and opened concerts for Haley Bonar, The Black-Eyed Snakes, Baby Grant Johnson, Dan Rumsey, Paul Metsa, Dakota Dave Hull, Cam Waters, Bob Brozman, Catfish Keith and Greg Brown.

Drew Nelson - Drew Nelson's first full-length album, "Immigrant Son,"is the culmination of Drew's unique artistic efforts, a balance of his worldliness and small-town-America sensibilities. As a kid, he quietly rebelled against the strict, religious confines of his home by secretly listening to rock radio. He overcame his band teacher's humbling criticism of his drumming skills by teaching himself to play guitar. He escaped the quiet quaintness of his modest, conservative West Michigan hometown by joining the Navy and traveling to far corners of the world with his guitar on his back. His songs made a mark in his home state and his focus and dedication to his art brought him to Alaska, through Texas, to the Kerrville Folk Festival, to 18,000 fans at the Muskegon Summer Celebration (opening for Melissa Etheridge), to the recognition of the New Folk Contest for Emerging Songwriters, where he was a finalist. It's rare to hear songs which cut through the noisy, distracting chaff of the day -- and therein lays the promise of "Immigrant Son." "The need for love, hope and acceptance are all interwoven into the fabric of our humanity," Drew explains. "I want to touch that secret place in my songs."

The String Doctors featuring Joel Mabus and Ray Kamalay - The String Doctors is a new group with a few very familiar faces. Joel Mabus and Ray Kamalay have held forth on the Michigan scene for many years. They've traveled to Canada and Europe to play some of the most prestigious festivals, including Edinburgh, Vancouver and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. The Village Voice said, "...I thought I'd gone to Heaven when Ray Kamalay and Joel Mabus, a guitar duo from Lansing, Michigan, rode high, hard and handsome, duelling their swing guitars." Now they are joined by two talented fellows who have gathered kudos of their own. Dave Mosher started with The Deadbeat Society, playing guitar, mandolin, fiddle and a fine singer as well. He worked on recording projects with such notables as the Raisinpickers and Kitty Donohoe, and was named "Country Instrumentalist of the Year" at the 2007 Detroit Music Awards. Dave Rosin brings up the bottom on bass. In the early years Dave studied with some of the very best, including Peter Dominguez and Rodney Whitaker. Dave has performed and recorded with many great artists, including Branford Marsalis, Wycliff Gordon and Barry Harris. These four talents are The String Doctors, who bring a new kind of country swing, for your dancing and listening pleasure.

Joel Mabus - Joel Mabus, pictured on the left, has split his 35-year career in folk music between the traditional and the original. He was born and raised in a working-class family in a Southern Illinois along the Mississippi River. His great-grandfather Louis Charles Lee was a farmhouse fiddler of the 19th century, and his parents came of age in the Great Depression, taking their old-time music on the road as professional entertainers. Joel absorbed much of the blues and spiritual music that was rich through his homeland and family. Despite poverty,he attended the University in Michigan (on a national merit scholarship), where he studied anthropology by day and learned the business of being a musician by night. Interest grew beyond bluegrass & old time stringband music, studying older blues, western swing, and even Celtic traditions. Joel made his first record for a Michigan label in 1977 with mandolin legend Frank Wakefield guesting. Three years later he signed with Flying Fish Records for a two-record deal. In 1986 he was one of the first established folksingers to start his own independent label. While he is known to many as a songwriter, having penned several songs familiar to the folk crowd ("Touch a Name On the Wall", "The Druggist", and "The Duct Tape Blues" are three that have been covered by many and published in the pages of Singout Magazine), he is also a fixture on the traditional scene as a guitarist, old-time banjoist, singer and fiddler. Joel Mabus has toured widely making his living with his music, though he is like most professional folk musicians flying under the radar of American pop culture.

Ray Kamalay -Ray Kamalay, pictured on the right, is a Detroit native, with a degree in philosophy from the University of Detroit. He has made a living as a musician since 1974 and performed at some of the most prestigious venues, including Edinburgh, Interlochen and the Philadelphia Folk Festival. In 1998, his work with Howard Armstrong, a National Heritage Fellow, was nominated for the W. C. Handy Award.

Moreland and Arbuckle - Hailing from plains of Kansas, Moreland & Arbuckle have seen more success in the past 2 years than most musicians dream about. The pair began performing together in early 2001 and quickly became an authentic, innovate act. Since being a Finalist at the 2005 International Blues Competition (IBC), hosted by the Blues Foundation, they have seen their fan base grow exponentially. What is more, later that year the band? debut release, Caney Valley Blues hit #20 on the Living Blues radio charts. Moreland & Arbuckle have strong appeal on many different levels. They are one of the few acts on the scene today to have mastered both acoustic and electric blues. The band splits its gig schedule between a stripped down acoustic duo, and an electrified trio (incorporating drummer Brad Horner). The acoustic duo serves up fine country blues with a raw edge, while the electric trio doles out bone rumbling, hip shaking, tone-laden energy. The band's live shows have become nothing short of legendary. Their mastery of several styles of blues like early Chicago, North Mississippi Hill Country, and Delta have earned them standout status among their peers. The band's 2006 follow-up "Floyd's Market" was hailed as an instant success for its strong musicianship, impeccable songwriting, and honor of tradition. Moreland & Arbuckle are clearly a must see for any music enthusiast. Not only are they keeping a strong blues tradition alive, but they are pushing it into new boundaries.

Conga Se Menne - The musical style of Conga Se Menne is impossible to pigeon hole, running the gamut of Blues, Funk, Latin, Reggae, Rock, Caribbean beats and ethnic Finnish sounds. Island beat percussion blends smoothly with mellifluos keyboards, sonorous horns and big shouldered guitar work - all mixing with an influence of traditional styles. Syria's soumalainnen background shows in his comedic themes, Finnish lyrics and the yooper-accented crooning so familiar to local fans. Most of the music tells of good times and an appreciation of the finer, intangible aspects of living life on it's own terms, of not taking themselves too seriously.

Yvonne Blake - Yvonne Blake of Ontonagon, Michigan, is a popular performer at various local events. She will sing soul gospel in a Sunday morning performance.

Corey Carlson-Corey Carlson is a prolific songwriter and energetic musician who has frequented the Big Top Chautauqua stage, among many others. Joined by guitarist Andy Dee, who has done studio work and performed with many bands in the Twin Cities, Corey brings his a charismatic stage presence that has wowed many a Midwestern audience.

Randy McAllister - Randy McAllister is one of the premier singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist to emerge from Texas. McAllister has released 7 critically praised albums beginning with his debut "Diggin' for Sofa Change", followed by "Grease, Grit, Dirt and Spit", the much heralded "Double Rectified Bust Head", 2002 GRAMMY NOMINEE "Givers and Takers", "Temporary Fixes" and A "Little Left of Center" all built on a firm foundation that is his songwriting. His much anticipated Compilation CD, "Flying High While Staying Low Down" was released in late 2006.

Jeremy Rowe- Michigan native Jeremy Rowe has taken a wide variety of styles and molded them into a style that is truly his own. He shows his versatility as a songwriter on his new CD "Where the Truth Lies" and the title track extrapolates from a true story of a jet fighter sent to pursue a UFO in 1953. The jet was recently found by the Great Lakes Dive Company 70 miles off of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Jeremy recently recorded a theme song for The Jersey Todd Show, which airs on Sirius Satellite Radio.

Lindsay Tomasic with special guests Trees - Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter and composer Lindsay Tomasic creates incandescent music that glows with sensitivity and soulfulness. Tomasic's pair of solo albums, Well Kept Secret and Paradise Road established her as a recording artist, and she has headlined southern California landmarks such as The Troubadour, Genghis Cohen, Kulaks Woodshed, The Coach House and the notable showcase, "Quiet On The Set." A native of Michigan 's Upper Peninsula, Tomasic reunited her Midwestern band Trees for a new, eponymous recording project and in 2006 the group headlined a benefit concert for Habitat for Humanity in Ann Arbor, MI. That same year, Tomasic released the CD single Big World, a passionate blues/rock treatise about global warming with proceeds earmarked for environmental action. Her latest album with Trees, titled "Trees" is available on Datolite Records along with her two solo albums.

Papa John Kolstad and Clint Hoover - Nationally known recording artist and performer, Papa John Kolstad will be performing with virtuoso harmonica player, Clint Hoover. Their collective musicianship, energy, deep knowledge of blues, jazz and folk material, along with masterful communicating with the audience will make this an exceptional musical event. If you like blues, 12 string guitar and harmonica, and a thoroughly entertaining evening, this is a performance not to miss. Papa John, a fine singer, will perform primarily on 12 string guitar, which has been John's primary instrument for 40 + years. Papa John's finger picking on the 12 string is very accomplished, unique among today's musicians, but solidly based in tradition. Clint Hoover is one of the preeminent harmonica players in America today and one of the few masters of both the diatonic harmonica (blues harp)and the chromatic harmonica. Clint's playing is brilliant, melodic and very lyrical. His solos are show stoppers. The music at this event will be excellent, subtle and masterfully performed, punctuated with stories, anecdotes, and humor.

Dave McCormick -Dave McCormick is a musician and composer from Washburn WI. He has been selected as one of the inagural artists in the 2007 Artist in Residence Program at the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Porkiesin cooperation with the Park. To learn more about the program go to AIRP.

Scott Frazer with special guest Jeremy Dishaw - Singer/songwriter, Scott Frazer of Ontonagon received his first guitar at age 16 and he hasn't stopped playing since. Scott started out on electric guitar, turning acoustic when he first hearing the music of the Black Crowes, Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson and Leadbelly. After Scott switched his focus from electric to acoustic the songs started to flow from within. He wrote his first song at the age of 20. He views his songs as works in progress, writing many of his songs from an observer's viewpoint, his original tunes tap into his empathy for the people around him, painting vivid character studies with his music. Scott has previously performed in Silver City's weekly Peace Hill concerts series, at the SubUrban Exchange in Houghton and on the busking stage at this festival in 2006. In addition, he plays in a local group, Rosie's Machine. Scott will be joined by Jeremy Dishaw on bass, also of Ontonagon. They have played music together since high schools, sharing a fine tuned sync. Scott looks forward to his festival performance on Sunday and believes that the muse feeds from such an atmosphere.

U.P. North Connection -UP North Connection is a local Bluegrass dance band.

Greenstone Variety acoustic sound from the Copper Country, a blend of traditional, blues, folk, swing, bluegrass, country, gospel, and mountain music performed in a Doc Watson flat-pick style. Greenstone has performed at many events throughout the western Upper Peninsula and the group has also performed aboard the Keweenaw Star sunset cruise boat. The group includes, Gene Marion on lead guitar and vocals, Raoul Goulet on rhythm and back up lead guitar, and Jim Ross on stand up and electric bass guitars, and vocals. Our musical goal has been to have a strong work ethic and to continually improve our musical proficiency. Our performance goal has been first and foremost, to do our best to please the audience, and secondly, to have as much fun as possible doing so.

Buster's Dream - Chicago's Buster's Dream has a mountain folk sound with hints of Woody Guthrie and Rev. Blind Gary Davis. They feature acoustic guitars, mandolin, bass guitar, and mountain harmonies. Buster's Dream's songs run the gamut from the surreal and dark tale of a dying Civil War soldier to a comically romantic ode to Hot Dogs.

The Rory Miller Band - Hailing from Chicago, Rory plays an (almost) all original high energy acoustic guitar style. Her voice is powerful and emotive. Her songs are guaranteed to yank you from your daydreams and pay attention who is making that beautiful exciting sound. Her lyrics are sometimes surreal and always poignantly and aesthetically beautiful. If you're a guitar wonk looking for variety, she's one of the few musicians that you're likely to meet who plays with a partial capo and as many alternate tunings as she has songs.