August 26, 27 & 28, 2016

2016 Artists


The Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band - The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band bridges genres and eras with an intensity and effortlessness few contemporary artists possess. And their lates album So Delicious elevates the trio’s work to a new level. Produced by Rev. Peyton, So Delicious, offers the band’s most diverse collection of songs buoyed by the Rev.’s supercharged six-string virtuosity — a unique style of fingerpicking inspired by his Delta blues heroes, but taken to new, original heights.

The Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band has always been strong on authenticity, playing music that blends blues, ragtime, folk, country and other traditional styles with the sleek modern energy of do-it-yourself, homespun, punk fueled rock. And performing tunes plucked from their lives, their community or from the canonical songbook that fed the Rev. Peyton’s formative creative identity. It’s a mix that’s allowed the band to win fans from all corners of the Americana and rock worlds, and bring a new generation to blues and other forms of American roots music.

The Rev’s fascination with country blues began at the age of 12, when he started dipping into his father’s album collection and his dad brought a beaten Kay guitar into the Peytons’ Indiana home. In addition to mirroring the guitar playing he heard on recordings of early blues artists like Robert Johnson and Patton (to whom the Rev. paid tribute with 2011’s solo acoustic Peyton on Patton), he also started assimilating more modern recordings from Muddy Waters’ Chess Records catalog and blues-rock players like Johnny Winter. Those recordings often featured multiple guitar players and overdubs, but Peyton blended all the six-string lines he heard into one fluid part. “That forced me to start thinking outside the box right from the start,” he notes.

“When people hear So Delicious and see us play live, I think they understand that what we’re singing about is real to us,” the Rev. says. “We believe in the stories we’re telling and in the way we play. And when we’re on stage or off, there’s nothing fake about us. We are what we do, and I’m proud of that.”


Papa Mali - Papa Mali is a New Orleans singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer whose multi-faceted career has explored many areas of American and World Music. He was recently voted Best Roots Rock Artist by Offbeat Magazine's readers, who also named his latest release, Music Is Love, as Roots Rock Album of the Year. Music Is Love was produced by veteran record producer John Chelew, a threetime Grammy winner for his work with The Blind Boys Of Alabama, whose many notable productions include records by Donovan, Charlie Musselwhite, Gillian Welch, Vic Chesnutt, Richard Thompson, John Hiatt and Peter Rowan. In 2015, Papa Mali signed with 429 Records, whose roster also includes Los Lobos, Boz Scaggs and Robbie Robertson.

In the past few years, Papa Mali's original songs have been featured prominently in several popular television series, including American Horror Story (FX) Banshee (Cinemax) and most recently, Colony, an epic sci-fi drama, from the producers of Lost, which debuted on the USA network in January 2016. This has resulted in his music receiving over 500,000 plays to date, on streaming services such as You Tube, Spotify and Pandora and has created a new legion of Papa Mali fans, worldwide.

He is the founding member, lead singer and producer of 7 Walkers, a band formed in 2008 with Grateful Dead drummer Bill Kreutzmann, Meters bassist George Porter, Jr. and Matt Hubbard. Their self-titled 2010 release debuted at #1 on the Relix/Jamband charts, holding that position for the following three months. The single from that album, 'King Cotton Blues' features a Papa Mali vocal duet with Willie Nelson and is one of nine original compositions co-written for the album by Mali and longtime Grateful Dead lyricist, Robert Hunter.


Seth Walker - Over the past 10 years, Seth Walker has become recognized as one of the most revered modern roots artists in the United States; a three dimensional talent comprised by a gift for combining melody and lyric within a song, a rich, Gospel-drenched, Southern-inflected voice and a true-blue knack for getting around on the guitar. On his latest studio album, Sky Still Blue, produced by Oliver Wood of The Wood Brothers, Walker delivers a masterwork that further expands upon this reputation.

Growing up on a commune in rural North Carolina, the son of classically trained musicians, Seth Walker played cello long before discovering the six-string in his 20s. When his introduction to the blues came via his Uncle Landon Walker, who was both a musician and disc jockey, his fate was forever sealed. Instantaneously, Seth was looking to artists like T-Bone Walker, Snooks Eaglin, and B.B. King as a wellspring of endless inspiration. The rest is history. He’s released seven albums between 1997 and 2015; breaking into the Top 20 of the Americana charts and receiving praise from NPR, American Songwriter, No Depression and Blues Revue, among others.

In addition to extensive recording and songwriting pursuits, Seth is consistently touring and performing at venues and festivals around the world. Along with headline shows, he’s been invited to open for The Mavericks, The Wood Brothers, Raul Malo, Paul Thorn and Ruthie Foster, among others.

Recently relocating to New Orleans and having previously resided in Austin and Nashville, Walker completed a trifecta for time spent living in hallowed Southern music cities. He’s used those experiences wisely, soaking up the sounds and absorbing the musical lineage of these varied places. With a blues man’s respect for roots and tradition, coupled with an appreciation for–and successful melding of–contemporary songwriting, Seth sublimely incorporates a range of styles with warmth and grace. Perhaps County Standard Time said it best: “If you subscribe to the Big Tent theory of Americana, then Seth Walker–with his blend of blues, gospel, pop, R&B, rock, and a dash country–just might be your poster boy.”


The Way Down Wanderers - Equal parts fast-paced and soulful, 5-piece modern-folk Americana act, The Way Down Wanderers, draw in listeners with energy, originality and soulful generosity. Playing, performing and writing together for just over 2 years, the Wanderers have built an enthusiastic and fast-growing following across the country, earning Deli Magazine's Readers Choice title of “Chicago’s Best Emerging Artist, 2014.”

Youthful and professionally trained, these young men captivate audiences with soaring instrumentals, foot stomping sing-alongs and a lively stage show and have created a buzz for themselves with their unplugged, off-stage encores and propensity for performing self-titled, “restSTOMPS” - free acoustic sets at rest & truck stops along their tour routes. The band’s debut EP, "Path to Follow” and their brand new live EP, “Wellspring” are available wherever music is sold. The Way Down Wanderers first full-length album is due to release in the Spring or Summer of 2016.

Front-men and founders, Austin and Collin, met in their hometown of Peoria, IL when they joined the same folk band and embarked on their first tour at the ages of 14 and 18 years old. The two became fast friends and soon began writing music together, ultimately forming The Way Down Wanderers when Collin was 16 and Austin, 20 years old.

Austin Thompson - Guitar, lead & harmony vocals as well as percussion in the studio. Austin studied music at the collegiate level where he grew as a musician. Austin finds much inspiration for his lyrics in the beauty of nature and his love for hiking. He adds his unique musical influences of rock, folk and the spoken word to the music he writes and performs.

Collin Krause - Just 18 years old, Collin plays mandolin, fiddle and sings lead and harmony vocals for the band. Collin became involved in music when he began taking classical violin at the age of 3. Growing up around traditional roots & bluegrass music had a big influence on him. Collin enjoys writing, co-writing and arranging music for the band.

John Merikoski - Drums, Percussion. John has been playing drums since age nine and is featured on dozens of recordings, ranging from Jazz and Metal to Hip-hop and Bluegrass. In 2012 he was awarded a full ride scholarship to study Jazz performance for drum set at the University of Illinois where he has taken a break to pursue The Way Down Wanderers, full-time.

John Williams - Upright bass and vocals. John is a former classical upright bass performance major who also enjoys singing, song-writing and entertaining a crowd.


Lindsay Lou and the Flatbellys - On their new album, Ionia, blazing hot Michigan roots ensemble Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys rest on the cusp of change, poised at that moment where everything shifts into high gear and time rushes forward. As a tight-as-hardwood stringband, these ace players know how to sustain this moment expertly, relishing the tension between the past, which keeps pulling them backwards, and the future they're about to rush into. You can hear this tension musically on their new album, especially on the leading song Hot Hands, which rabbits playfully between off meters, rapid-fire picking, stop-and-go bass lines, and steamy vocals that surge back and forth. There's incredible kinetic motion in this music, a sense of movement so exacting and precise that it's almost architectural.

Over the course of four days during a Michigan autumn, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys holed up in their home to record their new album. Gathered in a circle, aound one microphone, forcing them to lean closer and closer, blending vocals and instruments organically, and to listen with the kind of musical precision that's all too rare these days. “We didn't leave the house for those four days except to walk around the block and get some air”, Lindsay explains. “Fall in Michigan is something to behold. Some of our favorite moments were standing on the big wrap around porch (pictured on the album cover) and watching the rain come down in sheets taking gusts of orange and yellow leaves with it.” Holed up against the elements, Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys turned to each other for support, and this closeness is easily evident in the uncommon depth and sensitivity of their ensemble playing.

Listen to the new album from Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys and you'll hear a band at the very top of its game. A band uncommonly attuned to each other, the product of near-constant touring and live shows made legend by their infectious, high-energy performances. Performing live, the Flatbellys delight in swapping instruments back and forth, and this is preserved on the album as well, with each band member taking turns on each other's instruments. There's a great sense of play and warmth in their music as well — just listen to the fantastically sarcasticCriminal Style or the lovely housewarming song House Together — no doubt bolstered by long car rides and a strong camaraderie between the band members. But much of the power of this interplay comes from the impressive mastery each member shows over their instruments. Mandolinist Joshua Rilko picks with a careful precision that turns surprising when he slams into speedy power chords, dobro player Mark Lavengood is remarkably deft at matching melody lines with quick responses, and bassist PJ George creates bass lines cleverly crafted to uphold the whole structure of the songs. Leading the group, Lindsay Lou has the kind of voice you can get lost in. One part jazz singer, effortlessly transitioning octaves, one part blues shouter, soaring over the band like a clarion call, and one part folk singer, rousing them all together in song.

The instruments and the bedrock of the band may come from bluegrass, but the music that Lindsay Lou & The Flatbellys present on their new album Ionia can best be described as Americana. This is music that's caught between the pull of the past and the push of the beckoning future, ready to leap forward bursting with new ideas and youthful energy.


The Stray Birds - The Stray Birds have been flying high since the 2012 release of their critically acclaimed self-titled album. Two years, hundreds of gigs, and thousands of highway miles later, the genre-melding acoustic trio has made its Yep Roc Records debut. Known for their songwriting, instrumental virtuosity and gorgeous three-part harmony singing, their most cohesive and ambitious album to date, Best Medicine, was released in October 2014.

The band — multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Maya de Vitry, Oliver Craven, and Charlie Muench — hails from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. All three are classically-trained musicians who've been making music of all kinds since childhood (before they reconnected through the local music scene, de Vitry and Muench first met in middle school orchestra); however, they were also all raised with a steady diet of music ranging from pioneers like The Carter Family and Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys to the joyous invention of The Beatles and The Band, to the groundbreaking artistry of Jimi Hendrix.

Where their previous releases (aside from the 2013 EP, Echo Sessions, which consisted of covers of songs penned by Townes Van Zandt, The Louvin Brothers, Jimmie Rodgers, Nanci Griffith, and Susanna Clark) consisted nearly entirely of songs that the band members wrote individually while remaining close to home, for Best Medicine, the band's primary songwriters, Maya and Oliver, wrote new, original material inspired by their last two and a half years on the road; then The Stray Birds honed the majority of these songs onstage together.

"By the time we recorded this album, singing together had become so natural," explains de Vitry. It had become familial rather than just professional. Our vocal ranges and tones were complementary to begin with, but our inflection and phrasing evolved so effortlessly once we were singing out on the road every night."

Muench agrees, noting, "I think the three of us have really gelled and inhabited The Stray Birds as a single entity. In the beginning it was 'Maya and Oliver and Charlie sometimes playing music together.' Now we are a solid unit."


Randy McAllister - Randy McAllister is one of the premier singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist to emerge from Texas. Heartbreak, humor, high hair and tall Texas tales all play a part in the song writing of Randy McAllister. His music has been hailed as some of the most original and innovative being made today. While comparison's are not easy, it has been said that his music is a cross between Doug Sahm, John Hiatt and Delbert McClinton, with a blues man's background and sensibilities thrown into the mix. 

Raised in the small Texas town of Novice, McAllister is a fifth-generation Texan, whose father was both a fireman and musician. His father was a drummer in a band called "The Flames". At a very young age, Randy followed in his fathers foots steps. He began to take up drumming, but the drums were just the beginning for Randy, as he began to develop as a singer and songwriter.

"If Mark Twain had envisioned a 21st century roots musician, he might have created a character like Randy McAllister, with an easy-going persona and a wry, and an observant wit. McAllister weaves material in the singer/songwriter tradition, with nods to a variety of styles. He is one of those rare artists who is able to meld genres such as gospel, blues, country, Tex-Mex, rock and zydeco together and come away with something that is uniquely him.

In performance, his songs combine an uncontainable energy and intensity with lyrics that dig into the tough topics. From urban violence, homelessness and other harsh realities to more common concerns like love and dating, McAllister's songwriting approach is particularly skillful, able to be both truthful and funny. McAllister takes universal feelings and translates them into today's reality, with his own pointed style expressed through his distinctive, soulful voice."


Laney Jones and the Spirits - There's a sort of magic when you meet someone who’s doing what they're clearly meant to be doing. There is electricity in the air—an energy that can't quite be explained. This is undeniable when meeting Laney Jones. In a few short years, since picking up the banjo, this young songwriter and bandleader went from playing rural Florida watering holes to performing on PBS alongside Alison Krauss and licensing music for the likes of Disney Pixar.

Amazingly, Laney Jones’ music career started as something of an accident. She picked up the guitar and began writing songs during college as a respite from the demanding academic curriculum working on an international business degree. Her aptitude as a singer and songwriter was instant. She soon found herself immersed in the roots scene as a rising young talent. It was all a whirlwind for Laney—uncovering her innate multiinstrumental gifts and being thrust into a distinct niche of music. Laney would unpack her creative ambitions while studying business abroad in China, without any instruments. Far away from the hubbub, she realized her desire to do music and vowed to pursue it. When she came back to the states, she auditioned for Berklee College Of Music and was awarded a songwriting scholarship. Laney matriculated at the esteemed institution for a year and a half where she had the opportunity to study with singersongwriter, record producer, and A&R executive Kara DioGuardi. Learning the craft of pop songwriting from a master enabled Laney to authentically discover and cultivate her own talents for emotionally resonant and infectiously catchy songwriting.

Laney has received accolades from No Depression and L.A. Record, as well as the legendary Alison Krauss. As an unsigned artist, she’s managed to grace the stage at New York’s Lincoln Center and DC's Kennedy Center for the Arts, feature on PBS’s Great Performances series, earn corporate sponsorships and licensing deals, and receive nationwide college radio spins for her original songs. Currently, her music is spinning in steady rotation on more than 50 CMJ indie radio stations across the country, and her voice can be heard on soundtracks of films and TV from the likes of Disney and Dreamworks. Laney’s also won many prestigious songwriting and new artist competitions, most notably the prestigious John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

In 2015, Laney and her band, the Spirits, totaled more than 140 performances across the USA, all the while showcasing her lively stage presence and diverse body of work. Up next, Laney Jones and the Spirits will be on the road through the summer. As one critic commented, “Laney is a firecracker on stage. This band is not to be missed!”


The Whistle Stop Revue - The Whistle Stop Revue is a Progressive/Bluegrass/Americana Band from Port Huron, Michigan.  The band is known for its unique and eclectic style, which fuses elements of bluegrass, blues, rock, country, jazz, and other forms of music in their live performances.  The Whistle Stop Revue have been touring regionally throughout Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, and Illinois, playing over 350 shows at notable festivals and brewpubs and events since their inception in Spring of 2012. 

They released their self titled album in early 2014 gaining air play on radio stations in several Midwest markets including, Detriot's WDET and Ann Arbor's 107.1.  2015 saw the band visit and return to many notable venues festivals including: Hoxeyville Music Festival, Porcupine Mountain Music Festival, Royal Oak's Arts Beats and Eats, Blue Water Folk Society's Thumbfest, Niles Bluegrass Festival, Bell's Eccentric Cafe, Short's Brewery, The historic Ark in Ann Arbor and many more. In 2016 the band is planing more extensive touring and hopes to release a new album.


Seth Bernard and May Erlewine - Michigan has, for some time now, been a deep resource for songwriters and roots musicians. Two favorites, Seth Bernard and "Daisy" May Erlewine, well-known to audiences as single acts, have been performing and recording together for almost six years. Before they teamed up, they each paid their dues traveling across the land playing their music and sharing stories with everyone they met. Now, they are in constant demand playing festivals all over the country and at venerable folk institutions such as the Ark in Ann Arbor and Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion".


Scottie Miller Band - Singer-Songwriter-Pianist Scottie Miller is an international touring artist. He has just announced the release of his 9th self-produced CD RECIPROCATION - Scottie Miller Band. (October, 2015-Blues/Rock.)

Scottie’s sterling silver vocals, passionate and hope-filled lyrics, distorted Wurlitzer and Hammond organ take the captain’s chair on this CD. A funky, punctuated and massive wall of drums and bass surround the highly featured guitar work on this powerful new contribution in the Blues/Rock world.

In 2008, Scottie was inducted in to the Minnesota Blues Hall of Fame for his contributions to blues music and heritage with his instructional book and CD titled; Rock Keyboards published by Hal Leonard Corporation. He has also been the touring keyboardist for three-time Grammy nominated singer Ruthie Foster (Blue Corn Records) since 2008. He is featured on her Blues Music Award winning CD/DVD Live At Antones. He was a finalist in the ‘solo-duo’ category at The International Blues Challenge in 2006.


Tracy Grammer - Tracy Grammer rose to acclaim as half of the "postmodern, mythic American folk" duo, Dave Carter & Tracy Grammer. From 1998-2001, the duo released three internationally celebrated, folk chart-topping albums featuring Carter's mytho-poetic Americana songcraft and in 2002, toured with Joan Baez, both as featured artists and Baez's band members. Called “the new voice of modern folk music,” the duo was clearly in its ascendancy when in July 2002, Carter suffered a fatal heart attack while the duo was on tour. He was 49; Grammer, 34.

Grammer has become one of folk music's most beloved artists. Renowned for her springwater-clear alto, perfectly intoned violin, and guitar playing that is by turns percussive and delicate, Grammer is also a masterful storyteller with an ease and charisma on stage -- not to mention a riotous sense of humor -- that hardly belie her modest beginnings as Carter's reclusive accompanist. Stories about the duo's first meeting, Carter's quirks and fancies, or Grammer's own misadventures and missteps are woven thoughtfully into the set list to create a uniquely personal evening that connects audiences to performer, to the Carter/Grammer legacy, and most importantly, to one another. Additionally, Grammer has begun down the songwriter's path as part ofRealWomenRealSongs, and is sharing her fresh, fledgling efforts -- and the stories behind them -- on her current tour, to the delight of her longtime fans. 

As one fan put it, "With Tracy, it's never just about the music. It's a soul journey."

Grammer tours the United States and Canada regularly, and has traveled to Europe and Japan. She holds the record for the most consecutive appearances at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival ~ a lucky 13. She performs in a variety of configurations -- solo, duo, trio, and full band -- with Jim Henry (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Burns Sisters, Susan Werner), Rob Schnell (Glim Dropper, Christine Havrilla), Tom Hampton (Marshall Tucker Band, Poco), and David Chalfant (Nields) rounding out her ensembles.


Jack Klatt - Jack Klatt is an award winning songwriter and guitarist from Minneapolis.  Combining musical traditions from pre-war blues to the roots of country music, he has been touring the lower 48, spreading his brand of American music.  He’s won recognition from the MN state arts board, recorded alongside “Spider” John Koerner, and made it onto Daytrotter’s list of best songs in 2014.


Vox Vidorra - Vox Vidorra is an indie/soul quartet from Grand Rapids, MI.

Lead by vocal phenom Molly Bouwsma Schultz, the band combines rich, Motown worthy vocals with an underbelly of indie rock, soul, and jazz provided by multi-instrumentalists Scott Schultz, Ryan K Wilson, and Theo Ndawillie II.

The songs are reminiscent of days-gone-by but are rooted in now, exploring inequality, race, and religion, all with a melodic sheen that allows access to the depth of the recordings. The instrumentation is deliberate and often times sparse, highlighting Bouwsma Schultz’s electric mezzo-soprano, but is also complex, utilizing Ndawillie’s composing skills to employ lush string arrangements, propelling the songs over a familiar backbone that hints at Marvin Gaye and Aretha Franklin.

Written in a collaborative process, each member is essential to the band’s songwriting. With influences like Harry Nilsson, Patrick Watson, Radiohead, and Ella Fitzgerald, the band isn’t held to one sound, but is held together by Bouwsma Schultz’s voice, three-part harmony, and a strong commitment to melody.

In playing almost 200 gigs in two years (and leaning on Wilson’s dozen plus years of experience in the local scene) the band has honed a stage show that will make anyone look up from their phone.

“[Bouwsma Schultz] unceasingly stalks the stage – swaying, bending, stooping, kneeling and, inevitably, even writhing on the floor in an ever-passionate vocal display. “ remarked West Michigan legend writer John Sinkevics.

The remaining members switch instruments seamlessly, suiting their talents to the song at hand, and provide a steady current for Bouwsma Schultz to swim in. The band’s restraint allows for a dynamic and engaging performance that can harness a crowded bar or command hushed attention from a theater.

Established in early 2014, Vox Vidorra hasn’t been around long but is making waves in Michigan. Goon Lagoon Studio’s Tommy Schichtel (who co-produced/engineered the debut album “Promise Land”) asserts the band has the potential to be “one of the biggest things to come out of Grand Rapids in many years.”

With attention from NPR/Michigan Radio, Valslist.com and West Michigan’s Local Spins, more and more seem to be coming to the same conclusion.


Doug Otto and Hurricane Harold - Doug Otto is a Twins Cities based musician. He performs many types of music including Country, Jazz, Roots/Americana and Blues. You can find him fronting his own bands (the Getaways, North Country Bandits), backing up The Sisters Shaw or interpreting Minnesota Lumber camp songs with flutist Julie Johnson in the No Accounts. Blues and Country are Doug’s passions, playing guitar like a seasoned pro while singing in the most believable way. What listeners remember is his voice. Rich and resonant, effortless while ascending into the upper register, grabbing at your senses.

Hurricane Harold Tremblay plays harmonica and is also based in the Twin Cities. While his main form is OLD SCHOOL BLUES, Harold crosses over into Country, Bluegrass and the all-encompassing Roots/Americana. He started playing at 14, but it wasn’t until the early 90s when he met his mentor Curtis Blake and really learned how to play. Hurricane Harold has several recordings with various projects he was involved in, mostly known for his co-founding of popular Twin Cities Blues/Jump band “Cool Disposition”, as well as guesting on a number of releases by others. Harold also hosts a weekly drive time roots/blues show “House Party” on KFAI Radio in Minneapolis. His “All Star Revue” includes Allen Kirk (Magic Slim, Johnny Rawls, Deitra Farr, Mississippi Heat, Shawn “Lil Slim” Holt), Grammy winning pianist/songwriter Bruce McCabe (Lamont Cranston, Johnny Lang, Bernard Allison) and Minnesota Blues hall of Fame inductee Dan Schwalbe (Mojo Buford, RJ Mischo, Lazy Bill Lucas, Rockin’ Daddy and the Rough Cuts). 

Doug Otto and Hurricane Harold are a Maxwell Street/Delta Blues duo performing old school country blues and originals.

“BLUES at BARKIN’ JACK’S” is their new cd available now. 

“Phenomenal cd.” —R J Mischo

“There is a lot to like about Barkin’ Jack’s and Doug & Hurricane really delivered the goods.” —Rex Bartholomew, Blues Blast Magazine, Feb. 2015

“Hurricane Harold well deserves his moniker, as his playing is a force of nature.” —Thomas J Cullen III, Blues Revue, Mar./Apr. 2011 (Cool Disposition)