2013 FESTIVAL ARCHIVE - Return to main > site.

August 23, 24 & 25, 2013

2013 Artists

Shemekia Copeland - Shemekia Copeland is a force to be reckoned with in the blues. While only in her early 30’s, she’s opened for the Rolling Stones, headlined at the Chicago Blues Festival, scored critics choice awards on both sides of the Atlantic (The New York Times and The Times of London), shared the stage with such luminaries as Buddy Guy, B.B. King, Mick Jagger, and Eric Clapton, and has performed at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. Heir to the rich tradition of soul-drenched divas like Ruth Brown, Etta James and Koko Taylor, the singer was presented with Taylor’s crown by her daughter, Cookie, on June 12, 2011 at the Chicago Blues Festival and given the honor of the new “Queen of the Blues” by official proclamation of the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois. Born in Harlem, New York, in 1979, Copeland came to her singing career slowly. Her father, the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, recognized his daughter’s talent early on. He always encouraged her to sing at home, and brought her on stage to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight. At 19, Shemekia stepped out of her father’s shadow with the Alligator release of 1998 debut recording, Turn the Heat Up!, and the critics raved. Her second album, Wicked, scored three Handy Awards (Song of the Year, Blues Album of the Year, Contemporary Female Artist of the Year) and a Grammy nomination. New Orleans R&B legend Dr. John stepped in to produce her third recording, Talking To Strangers (2002). In 2005 Copeland released The Soul Truth which was produced by legendary Stax guitarist Steve Cropper. Never Going Back, her 2009 debut on Telarc, a division of Concord Music Group, captured Copeland at a crossroads on that artistic path. While Copeland will always remain loyal to her blues roots, Never Going Back took a more forward view of the blues, and in so doing pointed her music and her career in a new direction. Produced by Oliver Wood, guest players included John Medeski, Marc Ribot and Chris Wood. Copeland’s latest release 33 1/3, produced by Oliver Wood was honored as a 2013 Nominee for Best Blues Album.

*This presentation is supported by the Arts Midwest Touring Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and General Mills Foundation.

Audie Blaylock and Redline - Born in El Paso, Texas into a family whose roots go back to the hills of Virginia and Tennessee, Audie Blaylock learned to play guitar and sing with his parents and siblings, and went on to play in the Lansing, Michigan, area where he grew up. At the age of 19, Blaylock joined Jimmy Martin and The Sunny Mountain Boys learning the craft of bluegrass from one of the music’s first-generation legends. Blaylock took center stage in 2010 with his self-produced album, Cryin’Heart Blues, his sophomore album on Rural Rhythm Records. “The song, “Cryin Heart Blues”, went to #1 on the Bluegrass Unlimited Charts and the song “Matches” was one #1 on Sirius-XM Most Played Tracks.

Multi-Grammy® Award winner Carl Jackson writes in the liner notes of Audie’s first self-titled debut album on Rural Rhythm Records. “This new project by Audie Blaylock and Redline is not only bluegrass… its GREAT bluegrass… no argument… end of discussion! Accomplishments include: 2011 IBMA Nominated Album of the Year for “The All-Star Jam: Live At Graves Mountain” ; Grammy Award Nominee, Best Bluegrass Album and an IBMA nomination for Recorded Event of the Year for “A Tribute to Jimmy Martin: The King of Bluegrass”; International Bluegrass Music Association’s Emerging Artist of the Year Award Nominee 2001; and the Instrumental Group of the Year Award at the 18th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards Show held at the Grand Ole Opry House in October 2007. In addition to playing with some of bluegrass music’s most distinguished acts, including the great Jimmy Martin and Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, Audie has also performed with the legendary Lynn Morris Band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, and songwriting great, Harley Allen.

At the age of seven, fiddler Patrick McAvinue was introduced to the violin. He was honored with the title of Delaware State Fiddle Champion (2003-2005) and was a Candidate for Fiddle Player of Year at IBMA from 2009-2011. McAvinue has performed and recorded with Marty Stuart, JD Crowe, Paul Williams, Bobby Osborne, Del and Ronnie McCoury, Michael Cleveland, Mark Schatz, Ellery Eskelin, and Gerald Cleaver. Patrick received a Bachelor’s in Jazz Performance from Towson University, where he studied under the direction of renowned pianist Tim Murphy, trumpeter David Ballou and violinist Dr. Jeffrey Howard.

Russ Carson hails from Central Pennsylvania where his father Glenn made handmade banjos and played fiddle and clawhammer banjo. He had the opportunity to spend time with some of the great banjo players living near him, such as Chris Warner, Tom Adams, Mike Munford, Reed Martin and his first teacher Nev Jackson, each of which had an impact on his playing. Carson won or placed in a number of contests on bluegrass and clawhammer banjo, guitar, and mandolin and he played banjo for the Virginia based band Gold Heart before joining Redline.

Shawn Wallace is the newest member of Redline! Shawn began playing music at the age of 11, in the small town of Bumpusmills, Tennessee. It didn’t take long for him to pick up the guitar. He would follow local old-time fiddle players learning as many fiddle tunes as possible. When Shawn was the age of 16, he picked up the bass in bluegrass bands around the state, performing at bluegrass festivals and fiddle contest. “I am very proud to have the honor to be playing on the road with Audie and the rest of the members of Redline,” he says.

Gandalf Murphy and the Slambovian Circus of Dreams - Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams have been called “the hillbilly Pink Floyd,” which is an apt description, particularly if you throw in elements of Incredible String Band, Neil Young, The Band, Dylan, and maybe even some Frank Zappa as well. Upon returning recently from the U.K. this fall where they spread their contagious brand of quirky Americana from Glasgow to Penzance, the band completed work on their fourth studio album, “The Grand Slambovians”. The advent of “The Grand Slambovians” is both the band’s latest reincarnation and the title of their new soul stirring CD. Playing art school roots rock, sometimes folk and quirky Americana, they possess an exotic instrumental arsenal (accordion, cello, mandolin, theremin) in addition to standard rock regalia. “The entire root system of Rock Family Trees is embedded in Longo’s voice.”- The Big Issue, Scotland, U.K.

Together since the late 90’s where they met in art school, they settled in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and formed Gandalf Murphy & The Slambovian Circus of Dreams. The band has toured nationally and abroad since forming in 1998. Known for electrifying live performances, and strong original music, they have a devoted and ever expanding fan base. There’s something in the water along the Hudson River which continues to inspire creative souls – bandleader and songwriter Joziah Longo, (known for tall tales and philosophizing) is currently finishing his second musical with Broadway legend Theodore Mann scheduled to open this coming spring at the Circle in The Square Theater in New York City.

Rootstand - Rebel Rootsgrass and Reggae, a highland/island sound, abound with the wild blood of American roots and grass, alive with the joy of the jam and the pain of the ballad, acoustic-electric battlefield blues and rootsrock, country-boy hip-hop and whiskey reggae – encapsulated as a natural supplement that jives the soul. For best results, take with a big glass of fresh Michigan H20.

Jeffrey Foucault - Jeffrey Foucault grew up in a small town in Wisconsin. His father played a plywood guitar and his mother liked to sing. Winter Sundays were for church or ice fishing. He went to college and dropped out, took a job on a fruit farm and started writing songs about a girl from Iowa. He finished school, roofed houses, drove a snowplow, and home-schooled the son of the local bar owner in exchange for beer. He cut his first album in the winter of 2000. Longtime disciple of the rich and strange music that sings behind the American veil, Foucault has spent the last decade mining the darker seams of country and blues, producing a string of spare and elemental albums of rare power while garnering accolades across the United States and overseas for a tersely elegant brand of songwriting set apart by its haunting imagery and weather-beaten cool. He lives in Western Massachusetts. “Jeffrey Foucault is a young man with an old soul…contemporary and timeless.”–The New York Times

The Barley Jacks - The Barley Jacks sing original vocals and play jawdropping instrumentals in a spirit of excitement and fun.  They are masters of the fiddle, guitar, bass and drum who meld their divergent backgrounds of blues and bluegrass, classical and Celtic, R & B and bebop to inspire each other and create something entirely new. Their 2010 debut recording “Either Side of Night” and 2011 recording “The Lighthouse” has been met with great praise by reviewers. Virtuosity, magic and a little danger combine to make every performance unique. The first thing an audience notices is how much fun the Barley Jacks have when they perform. These Minnesota based veterans of years in the musical trenches enjoy making music together so much that they sometimes giggle like little kids completely lost in a moment of play.

The Tornaparts - The Tornaparts is a four-piece Chicago band whose country-rock sound brings to mind greats such as Tom Petty to the The Old 97s. Veterans Tim and Jason Bennett (Bastard Sons of Johnny Cash), Nick Ross and Dave Thomas (Second Hand Poets) play roots-rock with a simplicity and heart that grabs your attention and keeps you sticking for one more round...and one more song.

Tin Can Gin - In the summer of 2011, Bryan (mandolin) and Trevor (guitar, vocals) discussed forming a band. Alongside Trevor's roommate Harrison (banjo, vocals), the three of them jammed together and wrote a few songs. In September they performed their first performance, proclaiming themselves as Tin Can Gin. Over the next few months Tin Can Gin held gigs in various venues around the state of Minnesota, including Duluth's Pizza Luce and The Fine Line Music Cafe' in Minneapolis. In May 2013, they added fiddler Nori and bassist Mark to the lineup thus filling out the sound of the band.

Tin Can Gin’s unique sound draws from each member’s personal backgrounds: from Harrison's traditional bluegrass upbringing, Trevor's ska and reggae beginnings, Bryan's classic rock and folk backgrounds, Nori's Celtic melodies and Mark's jazzy bass lines, you're sure to find a sound emitted that tickles your musical palate. This hurricane stew of influence brings out a style of music that is as bitter and sweet as the best IPA's out there.

Fast-paced upbeat Bluegrass music from the North, Tin Can Gin is sure to get your blood pumping and your feet stompin' with their blend of traditional bluegrass, new-age folk, and alternative rock with a North Shore flavor.

Tin Can Gin is currently anticipating the release of their first studio album.

Drew Nelson - Michigan-born Navy veteran Drew Nelson is a storytelling songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. A fly fisherman and world traveler, he writes as a witness to the lives and journeys of those he has met along the way, mixing Americana and roots-rock with traditional folk styles. Drew has toured across North America and Europe, performing solo and opening for popular rock artists like Melissa Etheridge and Edwin McCain as well as esteemed folk singers like Josh White Jr. and John Gorka. Drew garnered further attention in 2009, when he released Dusty Road to Beulah Land (Waterbug Records), and it topped the folk radio charts. It also caught the attention of the Grammy-winning indie label Red House Records and Drew’s Red House debut Tilt-A-Whirl was released in early 2012. He can also be heard on the new album Dark River: Songs of the Civil War Era, along with Jon Dee Graham, Slaid Cleaves, James McMurtry and new label-mate Eliza Gilkyson.

Jonathan Byrd - Jonathan Byrd is a North Carolina flatpicker and a Texas songwriter, a Gulf War veteran and a preacher's son, and an award-winning songwriter whose songs you've probably heard, even if you haven't heard Byrd sing them. Covered by Tim O'Brien, Steve James, Red Molly, Jack Lawrence, Melissa Greener and more, Byrd's music will seem familiar to any Americana fan.

Byrd quit the rock bands of his youth and hit the road solo in 2000, flatpicking and singing new songs in an old style. A tip from a friend led him down to the Kerrville Folk Festival, a dusty ranch where he discovered the rich Texas songwriting culture and made it his own. In 2003 Jonathan won the festival’s ‘New Folk’ songwriting competition, a milestone for Americana's most influential artists: Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Nanci Griffith and Lyle Lovett. Byrd broke the record for CD sales at the festival, and has played there nearly every year since.

Byrd's 2008 release, “The Law and the Lonesome” is the fruit of this interstate cross-pollination, what might have happened if Townes Van Zandt had made a record with Doc Watson. Tamara Kater of Canada’s folk mag Penguin Eggs called “The Law and the Lonesome” her “album of the decade.” “Cackalack” is the newest Jonathan Byrd release, an homage to his home state. Recorded live in a day while on the road, “Cackalack” hit #1 on Roots Music Reports folk radio chart, #22 on the Americana chart, was the #91 Americana album of 2011, and made John Platt's "Best of 2011," along with strong international airplay and a dozen other "best of" lists.

Most recently, Jonathan won a 2011 SESAC Americana Music Award beside Bob Dylan, Seth Avett, Hayes Carll, Jim Lauderdale, and Colin Brooks from The Band of Heathens. "One of the top 50 songwriters of the past 50 years." -Chicago Tribune.

Louis Ledford - Although a city kid born and raised in Richmond, VA, Louis Ledford's familiar roots lay in Western North Carolina and Southwestern Virginia where as a child he soaked up the rural culture and music. Ledford spent much of the 1990's fronting and writing songs for the Alt Country band Used Carlotta. He borrows from Randy Newman his style of crawling inside a character and presenting the songs as visually as possible. Ledford cites Raymond Carver, Charles Bukowski, John Fante and William Faulkner as influences. "I see myself as a storyteller. My songs are like very short stories." "Louis Ledford is a great songwriter; witty, insightful, and observant regarding the oddities of human behavior. There is a real powerful air of truth in his music." - J. Kelly, Creative Loafing, Atlanta. "Ledford's attention to lyrical detail is simply stunning." -J. Holgren, Music Magazine.

Mary Cutrufello - On a chilly Minneapolis day in November 2011, Mary Cutrufello sat down in a recording studio and began work on a short collection of country songs. It was a happy day and a fruitful session. “Finally,” Mary says, “I was making the country record I'd been wanting to make for years and years. The sound of the honky tonks is back!” The Saint Paul-based Cutrufello, 42, has been known as a Texas honky-tonk heroine, a fiery Midwestern roots-rocker, and a powerhouse acoustic performer in her more than 20 years in the music business. Connecticut-raised and Yale-educated, she's made records showcasing all of those facets of her identity as her musical journey has taken her from the East Coast to Houston and now to Minnesota. But it's been over 15 years since the release of who to love + when to leave, her only straight country recording, in 1996. “It was time,” she says. “Even though I've gone on and done other things musically, that country sound and feel has never been far away. It's always in my mp3 player, always in my Tele playing, and always in my singing. I really wanted to focus on the singing part this time out.”With Fireflies Till They're Gone, Mary Cutrufello comes back to the country and makes her mark again.

Charlie Parr - Many people play roots music, but few modern musicians live those roots like Minnesota's Charlie Parr. Recording since the earliest days of the 21st century, Parr’s heartfelt and plaintive original folk blues and traditional spirituals don't strive for authenticity: They are authentic.

It’s the music of a self-taught guitarist and banjo player who grew up without a TV but with his dad’s recordings of America’s musical founding fathers, including Charley Patton and Lightnin’ Hopkins, Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. With his long scraggly hair, father-time beard, thrift-store workingman’s flannel and jeans, and emphatic, throaty voice, Parr looks and sounds like he would have fit right into Harry Smith’s “Anthology of American Folk Music.” Parr uses three instruments, not including his own stomping foot. A 1890 banjo and two Nationals, a 12-string and a Resonator, which became an obsession when Parr saw a picture of Son House playing it. Most of his recordings, including Roustabout (2008), Jubilee(2007), Rooster (2005), King Earl (2004), 1922 (2002) and Criminals and Sinners (2001) eschew typical studio settings. He has recorded in warehouses, garages, basements and storefronts, usually on vintage equipment, which gives his work the historic feel of field recordings. To many, Parr is considered a regional artist, which is another way of saying he doesn’t like to travel far from his family’s Depression era roots. “From Cleveland to Seattle and down to San Francisco and back is my area,” he says, though the focus is unquestionably Minnesota and the Northern Plains. Yet he’s built a big enough audience in both Ireland and Australia to tour both regularly.

Saint Anyway - Saint Anyway is a “stomp-grass” trio comprised of Tony Petersen, Jamie Kallestad, and Dane Levinski. Originally from northland region, the band honed their chops in the tightly knit (and lately renown) indie music incubator of Duluth, Minnesota but are frequently touring farther from home these days. Now three albums and one EP deep into a promising career, Saint Anyway is poised to strike out into the nation’s exploding roots/folk scene at large, with their muscular new release Behemoth (a should-be hit and the trio’s best work to date) pulling the wagon train. For any band so reverential to the antique sounds of early 20th Century Americana, the rare strain of hell-fire energy that propels Saint Anyway is refreshingly uncommon. On Behemoth, they continue a natural progression towards speedier (even reckless) playing styles yet choose to foreground laser-beam vocal harmonies and lyrics over traditional bluegrass bravado. The result is a well-crafted and swiftly moving album that could be shelved under alt-rock just as easily as the expected folk-bluegrass label.

Seth Bernard and May Erlewine (with band) (singer-songwriter duo) - Michigan has, for some time now, been a deep resource for songwriters and roots musicians. Two favorites, Seth Bernard and May Erlewine, well-known to audiences as single acts, have been performing and recording together for over nine years. Now they are playing folk festivals all over the country and concerts at venerable folk institutions such as Club Passim in Boston and the Ark in Ann Arbor. In 2007, Seth and May were featured on Garrison Keillor’s “A Prairie Home Companion”. Already seasoned songwriters with five solo records each and three duo albums to their names, Seth and May draw from a deep well of American folk, country, blues and soul music. May plays guitar, piano and violin and is a songbird reminiscent of Patsy Cline and Emmylou Harris. Seth has drawn comparisons to Woody Guthrie and Neil Young as a magnetic communicator of ideas and a shape shifting folk rocker. They harmonize their voices and instruments beautifully, believing music can bring people together and proving so at every performance. Like all the best folk musicians, they have the ability to get everyone’s attention and still a room. Seth and May’s common belief in music to strengthen communities and to be a part of positive change has led to collaborations with numerous schools, camps, farms and non-profit organizations. They partnered with best-selling author and famed environemtalist Bill McKibben and contributed songs to the www.350.org movement for Climate Change action. They have also fostered the creation of the Water Festival, a series of events in the Great Lakes region dedicated to music and education about preserving water quality and universal access.

Green Tea - To share the unified soul that is music through songs that drive bodies to move, inspire the conscious observer, and enchant the intellectual spirit is the main substance of Green Tea's music and performance.  Sonic diversity flows rampant within this group whom originates from New York, Washington State, Illinois, and Wisconsin, yet combining these various backgrounds is the natural fusion of Green Tea.  Mixing original indie hooks and lyrics with driving progressions is the band’s modus operandi, catalyzing original inventions behind the scenes and on stage. Not to mention, John (flutes, whistles, vocals) is most likely “THE WORLD’S BEST” hands player (it has to be seen to be believed).

As a Finalist for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest 2012 Green Tea is turning heads with their songwriting, indie roots rock sound, and high energy shows. Their song "Run" was recently chosen by a top music industry panel of judges including Fergie, The Veronicas, Natasha Bedingfield, Jesse Harris, Lamont Dozier, Matt Pinfield, Bob Weir, Ryan Shaw, The Bacon Brothers, or Ken Komisar.

Northern Magnolia - Northern Magnolia comes to you from the concrete canyons of Chicago, IL. The band, formed like a happy accident, as brothers Dave and Tony Piscotti’s previous band was winding to a halt. Taking its helm, Rory Miller responded to the Piscotti’s call for an original and unique songwriter. Rory had just returned to her native Chicago after honing her new sound in the Florida music scene. Getting back to her roots, Rory recruited her first bass player and longtime friend, Jerry Rinard. The four fell into place like the pieces of a puzzle. These four veterans of Chicago’s fertile music scene planted Magnolia in the soil of their creative synergy. Northern Magnolia’s growing audience is drawn to the band’s exploration of musical territory staked out by Whiskeytown, Neko Case, Patty Griffin, Buddy and Judy Miller, and Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.

Trina Hamlin - Trina Hamlin combines gentle understanding with raw emotion in a way that is, quite simply, captivating from the first note. She seamlessly moves from guitar to piano with self accompaniment on harmonica leaving many who have seen her wondering what she can’t do. Regarded as one of the best harmonica players around, she presents a driving, sensuous rhythm in her performance reawakening audiences to the art of the instrument. Trina offers an intelligent and refreshing musical experience. Her unique combination of ballads, folk-rock and blues has earned her a steady national following. Trina tours full-time throughout the US and Europe. Additionally, she is a much sought after harmonica player and percussionist, accompanying numerous nationally recognized singer/songwriters in the studio and live on stage. Having earned a degree in professional music from Berklee College in Boston, she graduated to the club scene in New York City with the band Blue Leaves, and has gone on to write and co-produce five albums of her own. Trina was chosen as one of the “most wanted new artists” at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival and has performed to a sold out crowd at the Newport Folk Festival in the company of Ani Di Franco, Dar Williams, and The Indigo Girls. She’s performed on The Late Show with Conan O’Brien, has had her music chosen as a backdrop for the CBS TV movie Friends at Last, as well as the WB’s series Dawson's Creek. Her songs have also been featured on Bravo’s “Tale Lights”, Lifetime’s “The Things We Do For Love”, MTV’s “Real World”, as well as ABC Family’s “Beautiful People.”  With unapologetic emotional freedom, Trina’s songs have the unique power to mirror and evoke the obvious and unspoken realities of life and being in love.

Jimmi and The Band of Souls - Jimmi and the Band of Souls. Energetic. Soulful. Genuine. It’s about the passion for the music. It’s about the love of the story. It’s about the joy of playing for people. The band pulls from the vast array of blues, roots and R&B in their original songs and covers. They play boogie-woogie. They play slow and lonely. They play toe tappin’, deep groovin’ and hard drivin’.You’ll hear Muddy, Minnie and Sonny Boy. You’ll hear Eric, Mayall and Etta. You’ll hear Dylan, John, Paul, Mick, Keith, Robbie and Levon. It’s about diversity: Guitars, Slide, Harmonica, Mandolin. Bass, Drums, Two-part harmonies. It’s a full sound that changes in tone and timbre with every song.

Dale Miller and Linda Garrett - Ontonagon-based Dale Miller is a prolific songwriter who plays the guitar as if it were part of him. His songs range from the wacky to the personal, populated by quirky characters and images from daily life. Guitarist Linda Garrett of Huntley, Illinois has collaborated with her long-time friend and musical kindred spirit, Dale Miller in various projects, including Buster’s Dream throughout the years. Linda is also a member of the Illinois band, Doris and the Daydreams. Watch out! When this pair gets together, it’s guaranteed to be a folky country-bluesin’ good time!

Yvonne Blake - Yvonne Blake of Ontonagon, Michigan, is a popular performer at various local events. Yvonne has played on Sunday at the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival every year since the very first event in 2005. Her latest CD ‘Hold on’ released in 2012, was recorded at Ricky Skaggs’ “Skaggs Place Studios” in Hendersonville, Tennessee. ‘Hold on’ was engineered and produced by Lee Groitzsch, formerly of Ontonagon.

The Children of the Porcupine Mountains Music Festival - Each year the children attending the festival cap their experience with a Sunday afternoon performance on the Peace Hill Stage. The children are the future of music...enjoy and encourage their exuberant festival celebration. The seeds we plant today, may come to fruition on festival stages years from now.