2008 FESTIVAL ARCHIVE - Return to main site.

August 22, 23, 24 2008

2008 Artists

Enter the Haggis - There aren't many groups in North America who could lay claim to possibly 18 different genres of music, but Toronto's Enter The Haggis (ETH) is one of them. To engage this quintet is to indulge rock, fusion, bluegrass, traditional Celtic fare, agitpop, folk, even Latin flavors. Sounds awfully confused, right? Wrong. ETH is one of those rare jewels that actually pulls it all off as if to own everything. 

ETH's live show is a musical feast- viscerally dynamic, emotionally uplifting and intellectually stimulating. The band's oeuvre darts effortlessly from the traditional strains of, say, The Chieftains and the Pogues to the frenetic pop of early Elvis Costello and even to the Latin-tinged spirit of the Buena Vista Social Club and beyond, complete with Lewington's deft guitar playing, the reeling of Brian Buchanan's flawless fiddle, the diverse rhythmic machinations of bassist Mark Abraham and drummer James Campbell, and Downie's transporting pipes, not to mention the near-perfect vocal harmonies.

Mountain Heart - Mountain Heart is the band that has been fearlessly revolutionizing the way acoustic music can be presented and played. Widely known throughout the music industry for constantly redefining the cutting edge, the band has gained legions of fans both as a result of their superlative musicianship, and more notably, their incomparably exciting live performances. Mountain Heart’s name has been synonymous with cutting-edge excellence since their creation in 1998. As one of the most highly awarded ensembles ever assembled, Mountain Heart, or members of the band, have won numerous Grammys, ACM, CMA, and IBMA Awards. They have appeared on the revered stage of the Grand Ole Opry in excess of 100 times and have shared the stage with everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Montgomery Gentry, Merle Haggard, and Brad Paisley, to Alison Krauss, Yonder Mountain Stringband, LeAnn Rimes, and Patty Loveless.

Now, with the introduction of their phenomenally talented young lead singer, the band is poised to take their success to an even higher level. As the group leading the charge in taking acoustic music to the masses, Mountain Heart deftly combines elements of rock, jamband, blues, jazz, and bluegrass into a high-energy sound that is at once fresh, accessible, and unmistakable.

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"!

John Gorka - John Gorka is honored to be a part of the folk tradition — energetic acoustic music that is not a trend, not a fad, but an expression of everyday life.

“Gorka is widely heralded for the sophisticated intelligence and provocative originality of his songs.”  - The Boston Globe

“Listening to John Gorka sing, one can get goose-bumps all over. There are many reasons: fresh lyrics, a stunning emotional baritone voice, and his twisted humor.” – The New York Times

Tony Furtado - Tony Furtado grew up in Pleasanton, CA and took up the banjo at age 12. At age 19, he entered himself in the banjo playing competition at the venerable bluegrass festival in Winfield, Kansas (Walnut Valley Festival) and won the Grand National Championship. Hailed as a banjo prodigy, he got his first record deal in 1992 and has been making music and releasing records ever since. As he was cementing his reputation as banjoist extraordinaire, Furtado was also developing himself into an equally virtuosic slide guitarist. And now, with his latest release, Thirteen (Funzalo Records, 2007), this restless artist makes an exponential leap into the wide-open spaces of mythopoetic America, a terrain inhabited by such personal heroes as Cooder, the Band, Creedence, Petty and Waits. No two ways about it - this heartfelt, multileveled work completes Tony Furtado's ascent from the folk circuit to the big leagues.

Dixie Bee-Liners - With a cult following reaching far beyond their south-western Virginia stomping grounds, and a debut album voted one of the Reviewer's Top Five Picks by Bluegrass Now, PINECASTLE RECORDS recording artists THE DIXIE BEE-LINERS are creating quite a buzz. Known for their high-octane harmonies and stunningly beautiful original songs, the band has appeared live on BBC Radio Scotland, NPR, the Food Network, and radio playlists across the country and world-wide, including regular rotation on Sirius and XM satellite radio. Their self-titled CD debuted on the Roots Music Report bluegrass chart at no. 14, going on to spend 56 weeks on the chart, with 9 of those weeks in the Top 10. In 2007, the band's music was featured on the soundtrack of the Civil War film FREEDOM.

RIPE, THE DIXIE BEE-LINERS highly anticipated sophomore CD, produced by legendary Grammy-winner Bil VornDick (Alison Krauss, Ralph Stanley, Bob Dylan, Jim Lauderdale, James Taylor), was released on PINECASTLE in April 2008, and has already topped several bluegrass charts, including Bluegrass Now readers' poll, Bluegrass Music Profiles Top 20, and the Roots Music Report bluegrass chart (9 weeks at no. 1).

Women in Docs - Women in Docs formed in 1998. To consider a label like “perhaps Australia's hardest working artists” might be giving too much credit to some acts, but for Women in Docs it’s a label that fits like a glove. As the girls release their sophomore album "Red Wine & Postcards", their achievement and continued dedication to their craft has never been more marked.

For over eight years, Roz Pappalardo and Chanel Lucas have worked their way up through the music industry ranks from playing in their bedrooms in far North Queensland, then moving to the big smoke of Brisbane and capturing the hearts of a dedicated national fan base. But they didn't stop there. The girls grabbed their passports and headed overseas to win over audiences throughout North America, Europe and Asia.

Women in Docs have accrued an impressive array of career benchmarks. They’ve played major festivals and music industry events throughout the world. They enjoy ongoing airplay throughout Australia. They regularly play to packed houses, touching the lives of people from a broad cross-section of ages and cultural backgrounds.

It’s hard not to love Women in Docs. If they haven't already caught you in their web of fans, their new album will grab you with delightfully honest and down-to-earth humor, dressed in stealthily addictive melodies and comfortable shoes.

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, whose haunting vocals paint a picture of Michigan's blue-collar workers under troubled times.

Paul Mayasich and The Benderheads - Paul Mayasich and the Benderheads is a blues-based jam band based out of the Twin Cities. They play a variety of music including: roots, soulful blues, some unique re-worked covers, to original funk and gut-bucket tunes written by the lead guitarist and singer, Paul Mayasich.

Zydecology - Zydeco in the Upper Peninnsula of Michigan. Oh Yeah. Six well rounded musicians have gotten together to play the complex rythms that make up Zydeco. No more stale three chord distorded rock cover tunes. No more music that just sits in the background for people to look over. The music that ZYDECOLOGY brings is music that makes parts of your body move. Head nods, foot stomps, finger snaps we produce. It will make you get out there and shake that booty. We have been told that we are therapeutic. Leave the shrink aside and listen to the sounds of ZYDECOLOGY. Big smiles are an often occurence. Its your mouth tellin' you, this is what fun music is all about. Kids dancin', couples dancin', singles dancin, threesome dancin', it's all the same dancin', baby, and we produce. If you don't dance to this music your legs are broken. Now get out there, let the music take your soul, move that body 'til you lose control.

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.

Lehto and Wright - Lehto and Wright have a sound that is a unique blend of traditional and modern styles. By taking cues from the Irish, English and American folk traditions and interpreting them with contemporary guitar-based arrangements, Lehto and Wright have taken fresh approach to the world of folk and folk rock.

Kevin Bowe & The Okemah Prophets - Kevin Bowe is a singer/songwriter/producer from Minneapolis. He has earned 3 platinum records and a Grammy working with artists like Jonny Lang, Etta James, Paul Westerberg, 3 Dog Night, Peter Case, Leo Kottke, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and others.

His band is a rotating cast of roustabouts and shiftless characters, currently featuring steel guitar hero John Ely who played with Texas Swing legends Asleep At The Wheel for 10 years and Leon Redbone for 5 more!

Squeaky Clean Cretins - The Squeaky Clean Cretins adhere to the deep roots of folk tradition while adding a contemporary spin to their songwriting. They are quickly becoming recognized on the midwest festival circuit for their knack of combining beautifully crafted melodies with blended harmony vocals and infectious guitar riffs. Their eclectic songwriting style runs the gamut from pertinent and socially aware to carefree hook-inspired jams that move crowds to their feet. The Cretins call the Lake Superior country of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula home, and if you listen just right, you might hear the rolling waves of the Big Lake woven intricately into the fabric of their songs. The Cretins released their debut CD “of flesh…of marrow” in October 2007 and have recently performed at the following festivals or venues: Calumet Theatre, Earthwork Harvest Gathering, White Crow Conservatory of Music, Porcupine Mountains Music Festival, Bridgefest (Houghton MI), Crazy Wisdom Tea Room, Kraftbrau Brewery, Horizon Books, and many other clubs and coffee houses.

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.

Rachael Davis - Rachael Davis has been singing on-stage since she was two years old. Being born to parents who never intended to keep her very far from music for very long seems to have made all the difference in the world. Before she was mobile, Rachael would be set in a car seat and placed in the middle of a song circle, and with silver bells on her ankles she would shake her feet to the rhythm. At one-and-a-half Rachael was singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" to anyone who asked, and at two she started performing with her parents on stage.

Born in Lansing, Michigan, Rachael spent almost six years of her life in Chicago before her parents – musicians as well – settled in Cadillac, Michigan, where she was constantly nurtured and encouraged by family, friends, and other respectable musicians. When Rachael was eight she was singing on second stage at Wheatland Music Festival. The Irish singer Maura O'Connell was just backstage. When Rachael walked off stage Maura went up to her, and grasped Rachael's face with both hands and said, "Never stop doing it for the love of it!"

Rachael has spent most of her life involved with music in one way or another, whether it was singing with her family-based group Lake Effect, or performing solo with a few friends as special guests. She attended Interlochen Arts Academy in Northern Michigan, which also counts among its alumni, Peter Yarrow, Anne Hills and Jewel (Kilcher).

Summit Stunt Pilots - A Blues/Roots trio based in the Twin Cities area. Dave Babb, guitar and vocals, Randy Webb, guitar, vocals and footstomp, and Harold Tremblay, harmonica and vocals. The Summit Stunt Pilots cover a mix of Delta, Country and Roots based blues along with an occasional old style swing tune. Dave and Randy are founding members of the very popular roots/rock band "The Front Porch Swinging Liquor Pigs". Randy and Dave have backed many local and national touring acts and are very popular in the Twin Cities with the Roots/Blues crowd. Harold started playing harmonica 30 years ago. He "cut his teeth" on the Bluegrass/roots style and moved on to Chicago blues when he saw James Cotton at age 16. He's currently a founding member and harmonica player for Cool Disposition, a Twin Cities based blues band that performed at the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival in 2006. Harold has played on stage with Janiva Magness, Reverend Raven & the Chainsmoking Altar Boys, Rena Haus and Howard "Guitar" Luedtke and others. He recently played in Memphis as part of the International Blues Challenge. Harold also has a popular Blues Radio show on KFAI Radio in Minneapolis called House Party. The Summit Stunt Pilots are a blend of seasoned musicians from different backgrounds, ready to get your toes tappin' and put a smile on your face.

Greenstone - A Variety Acoustic Sound from the Copper Country offering a blend of traditional, blues, folk, swing, bluegrass, country, gospel, and mountain music performed in a flat-pick style, enjoyed by people of all ages. Greenstone has performed at festivals, jamborees, private parties, supper clubs, and community band shell concerts throughout the west, and central Upper Peninsula. The group released its first CD Pickin’ Choose, in June of 2007.

The musicians in the group include: Gene Marion on lead guitar and vocals, Raoul Goulet on rhythm and backup 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.”

Cynthia Rintala & Dave Frank - Early on, Cynthia Rintala understood that her guitar could be used as a tool not only for music, but to express her deepest thoughts. Out of that expression, songs were born as she sang about her day, struggles, and beliefs. Then, as a young adult on her search to find a deeper meaning to life, she was convinced by others that her music was holding her back from what they thought her purpose should be, and she gave away her guitar.

Years later, her music and art still whispered to her and inspired by her daughter, she wrote Hello Moon. The experience reawakened the artist within, the artist who hid deep inside. “I am very passionate about people being able to express their talents,” says Cynthia, who paints as well as composes and sings. Unmatched Socks, (she also designed the cover), with influences of Carol King, Edie Brickell and Joan Baez threaded throughout, is a reminder to not conform to what others believe you should do – or be.

Laura Bates and Brandon Foote - Laura Bates and Brandon Foote's sound is timeless, rootsy and lush, with soaring harmonies, piano, mandolin and guitars harkening back to the olden days with new vision. Bates and Foote look and sound like they just stepped off the stage of the Grand Ole Opry, or perhaps even further back, to the dance halls of the Civil War era - always digging deeper and moving forward

With their unique blend of old-time, folk, bluegrass and country, Laura Bates and Brandon Foote have graced coffee shops, bookstores, pubs, and festivals with traditional favorites and original songs. Booking their act as "Guitar, Mandolin, and Two Voices", their sound is refreshingly simple and strives for authenticity, with nods to the Carter Family, the Monroe Brothers, and Tim and Mollie O'Brien.

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.

Reverend Eddie Danger - Dangergrass - Described as “Cosmic Folk with a Tribal Twist of Jazz” or simply “Feel Good Music”. A One-Man Band playing over 25 instruments. The lyrics are word-heavy stories with an underlying message usually about political or environmental justice, Metaphysical epiphanies or frustrations and blowing off the suburban teen angst, bad love, & trashy rap star negative vibe mentality saturating today’s music. “I have bad days like anyone else. I just make a conscious effort in my songwriting to focus on the positive. Even my sad songs tend to see the light through the clouds.” –Ed Danger

Black River John - The deep woods of the U.P. hold big secrets. Who would guess the rippling waters of the Black River would be counterpoint to some of the most exciting Blues piano one will hear?

Witness one powerhouse performance by the man they call BLACK RIVER JOHN, and be awed. If he only played piano, it would surely be enough. When he starts blowing harp to accompany his rockin', syncopated piano thumpin'...the air gets thick and the house comes down.

Johnny has been playing piano since twelve and has been perfecting his hot one man style since 1973. Plenty of clubbing in New England and Chicago honed is act sharp. His gutsy singing voice suits his homegrown material to a tee.

Very obviously, John is a careful and respectful listener. His over 300 original compositions reveal a great love for the history of Blues and Stride and a deep understanding of counterpoint in the best Ragtime tradition. Traditional, but not frozen in time, his music holds a crowd in rapt, swinging, attention.

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.

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.