New Reeltime Travelers is a new project featuring old-time music in a wide-variety of contexts with a super group of musicians. Founding members of the Reeltime Travelers, Roy Andrade (banjo) and Thomas Sneed (mandolin) are joined by Carol Elizabeth Jones (guitar), Betse Ellis (fiddle), Ben Winship (octave mandolin) and for this tour Eric Thorin (bass).
Larry Gillis comes from a little town called Soperton, located in southeast Georgia. He was raisedon backwoods music and was especially influenced by his father to play the five string banjo. He developed a style reminiscent of Don Reno and Ralph Stanley, although plainly it is Larry’s own sound. One half of the legendary Gillis Brothers, Larry continues with his music career in bluegrass. A world renowned banjo picker, and one of the few who still plays the old claw hammer style. He definitely has a traditional style of his own. 2012 marks thirty-two years in the business for Larry and truly justifies the title “Dr. Swampgrass Gillis”.
This powerful ensemble of talented musicians can only be described as a hard-core, hard-driving, straight-up, traditional bluegrass band. With a sound that comes from the deep south, and the admiration of the legends of bluegrass music, their style is one of a kind.
A style of originality that can only be tagged as the “Gillis sound” just flows out and leaves the audience with a lasting impression few ever forget. Tom Henderson of Tampa, Florida and DJ of the syndicated radio show, “This Is Bluegrass” on WMNF, said a phrase went around a few years ago about rating other hard driving bands by “The Gillis Factor”. . . few others measure up!
James Reams formed the Barnstormers in 1993. Coming from a family of traditional singers in southeastern Kentucky, James has played both old-time and bluegrass music since he was just a little sprout. James is known as an “ambassador of Bluegrass” for his dedication to and deep involvement in the thriving bluegrass and Americana music community. To date, he has released eight CDs including a special DVD documentary of the band. A single (Almost Hear the Blues) from his most recent CD, One Foot in the Honky Tonk, charted nationally and the CD made 2 Top Ten Lists of 2011. His original songs are important additions to the bluegrass repertoire, keeping this tradition alive with contemporary issues and new sounds. His guitar playing was highlighted in Flatpicking Guitar Magazine’s “Masters of Rhythm Guitar” column. James is also the organizer of the Park Slope Bluegrass Oldtime Music Jamboree, an annual music festival he started in 1998 that attracts musicians and fans of traditional music to its workshops, jamming and concerts – the only event of its kind in or around New York City.
Much in demand as a performer and session player, Blaine Sprouse performed on the Grand Ole Opry for over 15 years. Blaine has toured nationally and internationally and recorded with a stunning array of legendary bluegrass and country artists, among them, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Jim and Jesse and the Virginia Boys, Charlie Louvin, Alabama, Randy Travis, Glen Campbell, and the Osborne Brothers. His solo recordings are available on the Rounder and Cumberland Record labels. In 2013 the band will be promoting itsʼ 20-year anniversary with a Coast-to-Coast Celebration featuring special guest performances and reunions with previous band members. To coincide with the Celebration, James will be releasing another documentary, Making History with Pioneers of Bluegrass, in which he interviews first generation bluegrass musicians about the early days, capturing and preserving this tasty slice of Americaʼs musical pie for the future.
“This weekend, I had the opportunity to go to Connecticut with some of my best friends to play at a church in Greenwich. On Friday night, I had a late gig up near Mammoth Cave in Kentucky, and got back to Nashville past midnight. The alarm was set for 5:15am so we could get to the airport by 6:30am to catch our flight. I put on my three-piece suit and red tie, which is my uniform of choice these days, and Mike Bub picked me up about 5:45am. We went to get our favorite fiery fiddler, Shad Cobb, and met Brad Folk, formerly of the band Open Road, at the airport. We flew into LaGuardia, getting there about 1:00pm.
Keith Reed, also of Open Road and now bluegrass professor at Colorado College, met us at the airport. He had gotten a call from his wife’s best friend’s husband, Kevin, who is the music minister at the First Presbyterian Church in Greenwich, asking if he could put together a band to play for their spring concert series. Keith’s a great banjo picker and well-connected fellow and we were all looking forward to the trip even though that particular configuration of pickers had never all played together at the same time.
Shad, Bub, and I play a lot together in Nashville. Brad and Keith played for years together, and Brad and I have done a few shows together, so we were all confident that we could find the common ground and pick out some tunes and it would all work out. We all love traveling with Bub, who is a seasoned veteran and pro road-dog. He always seems prepared and is very resourceful, as well as being full of great stories to amuse everyone from his thirty plus years in bluegrass. Between Bub and Brad there were already a whole lot of laughs.”
Jeff Scroggins and Colorado is a high energy, high mountain “bluegrass explosion,” that features the amazing banjo playing of Jeff Scroggins. Jeff’s fiery style and lightning fast licks have earned him many fans worldwide, and have left many a first time listener in stunned disbelief! It also features the award winning mandolin playing of Jeff’s son Tristan Scroggins. Tristan is also an accomplished songwriter, and his and Jeff’s original instrumentals play a large role in the band’s unique and energetic sound.
The band also features incredible bluegrass vocals, led by the powerful voice of front man Greg Blake. Greg has twice been nominated for SPBGMA’s “Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year” award, and his phenomenal bluegrass guitar playing has earned him 9 nominations and an amazing 5 consecutive wins as SPBGMA’s Guitarist of the Year!
Annie Savage also brings to the group strong vocals and an aggressive fiddle style that is well suited to the band’s high energy approach, and she, along with bassist Sebie Denson round out the band’s stellar bluegrass vocal trio. Sebie attended South Plains College’s Bluegrass music program and his knowledge of bluegrass music and excellent arranging skills have made him the “de facto music director” of the band. Sebie’s tasteful and driving bass playing is the cornerstone of the band’s sound.
Annie Savage brings to the group strong vocals and an aggressive fiddle style that is well suited to the band’s high-energy approach. She is a conservatory-trained musician with 15 years teaching experience and is a great instructor as well as performer! Check out her teaching at www.savage_ddler.com.
KC Groves founded the all girl band Uncle Earl and is truly a force to be reckoned with! Having recorded with such greats as Charles Sawtelle and John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin and toured internationally for many years, KC is an internationally renowned musician and songwriter. She teaches through Planet Bluegrass and is a fabulous addition to the project.
When Long Road Home formed in 2005 some described it as a “teenage super group”. The band was formed out of a jam session of like-minded youngsters at the 2005 Midwinter Bluegrass Festival in Denver, CO. Just one year later, in the summer of 2006, they took first place in the Rockygrass Band Competition. With the departure of three members, they had the opportunity to stretch out a little bit and make the jump from a “good kid band” to a plain great act. Now joined by two-time Grammy winner, Gene Libbea on bass, Jordan Ramsey on mandolin, and bluegrass banjo legend Pete Wernick on the banjo, Long Road Home is cementing their place in the bluegrass pantheon.
Steel Pennies, purveyors of rusty, zinc-coated music, is a four-piece bluegrass band featuring lead and harmony singing accompanied by banjo, guitar, mandolin, and bass. We play a rousing mix of original and traditional bluegrass tunes, and we’re not above throwing in some old country and honky-tonk when the crowd gets rowdy! Band members are:
David Okay Patton, MC, banjo, lead and harmony vocals. David originally hails from the bluegrass state of Kentucky, and has been performing in Colorado since 2000. Prior to joining Steel Pennies, David played in Coal Creek Bluegrass Band. In 2007, David was inducted into the Colorado Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Honor. Off stage, Dave enjoys tinkering with old radios and sipping old bourbon.
Kathy Foster-Patton, Upright bass. A western Kentucky native, Kathy has been writing about and playing bluegrass music for over five years. She founded the Steel Pennies in 2007. In addition to laying down a rock-solid rhythm, Kathy is an avid writer and gardener. She hopes to one day become a beekeeper.
Darrell Cox, Mandolin, lead and harmony vocals. Darrell grew up in Kansas listening to old country music tunes. As he grew to embrace bluegrass, he was influenced by the likes of Bill Monroe, John Moore, and Ricky Skaggs. He and his wife grow all manner of livestock on their small farm outside of Denver.
Kathy Drazsnzak, Guitar, lead and harmony vocals. Kathy grew up outside of Chicago, but it wasn’t until she moved to Colorado that she began to sing and play music. She plays music with many of the talented musicians who live in Lyons and also loves to bike in her spare time.
Kevin Slick, Guitar, lead and harmony vocals. Since 1985, Kevin has been recording and performing an amazing array of music. His original tunes combine the best of traditional roots with contemporary creativity. He says his life was forever changed when he went to see a Flatt and Scruggs show at the age of 8.
Steel Pennies plays a mix of traditional bluegrass and original music and is always looking for new and interesting music to add to their repertoire. The band took its name from the 1943 steel penny, produced by the U.S. Mint to save copper during the Second World War. Widely rejected by the public for being too rusty, in 1944 the Mint dumped the remaining steel pennies into the San Francisco Bay!
Kantankerous delivers it’s own brand of high energy, traditional bluegrass with a repertoire stretching from Bill Monroe to Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. The group features tight vocal harmonies and cookin’ instrumental solos that spotlight traditional fiddle tunes and hard driving breakdowns mixed with heartfelt ballads.
Eric Grace – mandolin, vocals. A veteran of the Colorado bluegrass scene, Eric has played with favorites like The Bluegrass Patriots, The Denver Grass, and Stone Mountain Bluegrass. His booming, yet warm, down-home singing style is matched with a hot mandolin technique reminiscent of “The Father of Bluegrass,” Bill Monroe. As the band’s M.C., Eric’s genuine stage presence connects Kantankerous to the audience.
Marty Meyer – banjo, vocals. A rock solid Scruggs style player, Marte has worked with Prairie Home Companion’s Pat Donahue, among others. In addition to handling banjo duties, Marte sings the tenor vocals for the band.
Joel Denman – fiddle, vocals. Joel is a graduate of Berklee College of Music in Boston and has been playing country and bluegrass professionally for almost 20 years. He has been a longtime member of Lannie Garrett’s Patsy DeCline show as well as Carlos Washington and the Steel Horse Band, The Missing String Band, and The Grass Cats. His fiddle and baritone vocals are integral to the band.
Kenny Pabst – bass, vocals. Kenny provides the heartbeat for Kantakerous with his rock-solid acoustic bass. Kenny’s abilities on the bass earned him the title “Bass Player of the Year” at the 1996 Rocky Mountain Bluegrass Awards Show. Kenny is also the bass player and a founding member of High Plains Tradition.
Doug Elrick – guitar, vocals.
Songwriter Sand Sheff’s music over the years has blended country and western, bluegrass, folk, and rock to create a style that Nashville’s Music Row Magazine called “the very definition of Americana”. Born in Flagstaff, Arizona and raised in the foothills of the Ozarks in Tahlequah, Oklahoma, he has lived and performed throughout the Four Corners. Since he last performed at the Meltdown in 2004, he’s released a trilogy of acoustic flavored CD’s-Dust, Cowboyin’, and Lion on a White Horse , a compilation of Nashville material, Turn Me Around, and spent 3 years in Austin, Texas where he performed five shows a week as the guitar-slinging “Mr. Texas” at the world-famous Vaudeville theater Esther’s Follies. His new trio features versatile guitarist David Steward, who is an established songwriter and recording artist, and bassist Sunnie Holland.
The Colorado College Bluegrass Ensemble is an instrumental and vocal band created to provide for students a challenging and creative environment in which to develop material with the feel and structure of Bluegrass music. The ensemble draws mainly from traditional sources including Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, and the Stanley Brothers. The ensemble receives credit and is by audition only. The members are Drew Campbell, guitar; Alexei Desmarais, fiddle; Emily Guffin, banjo; Chris O’Neil, guitar; Nicole Pey, mandolin; and Charlie Shaw, guitar. They are directed by Keith Reed, Performance Faculty, Colorado College.
Band Leader/Utility Man, Gary Cook, grounds this cast of Old Western characters with his award-winning guitar work and arranging. Good ol’ Matt Palmer grins from ear to ear while playing that ol’ fiddle of his. Richard Lee Cody sings those gun-fightin’, night-ridin’, pants-too-tightin’ ballads and Bass Buckaroo, Joel Racheff, beats that Dawghouse like a bad, bad dog. Cowboy Harmony and Hootin’ Annie Fun for everyone - even the family pet.
As said in the quote above, Waiting On Trial is the kind of band that can go places. And they are. What started as a group of college buddies rocking out at legendary house parties in the band’s hometown of Durango, CO, has over the last few years turned into Southern Colorado’s premier up-and-coming band. As they began to leave the kitchens, living rooms, and backyards of the house parties they frequented and began playing publicly in the local bar scene, it was obvious that they had a strong following.
Right from the beginning, Waiting On Trial has shown that it is a truly unique and special band. Never having any interest in doing things the standard way, the band plays almost entirely original material, occasionally breaking from that to play the random obscure tribute the many diverse artists from which they have drawn inspiration.
Instrumentally, WOT is a bluegrass band, featuring Upright Bass, Guitar, Mandolin, and Banjo. The band has been described as “an upbeat, rock and roll jugband that likes to have fun.” Labeling is difficult-to-impossible, however, as they are very much a genre-bending group. Whatever you want to call it, the band writes really good material, and people like it. And despite the non-traditional setup of the music, Waiting On Trial is equally at home entertaining the “sit-and-listeners” at traditional style bluegrass and folk festivals or at raging, drinkin/dancin/twirlin types of shows.
The energetic conviction and rowdy fun times of the live shows ensure the continued success of the band. Progressing from a party band, the past year has seen Waiting On Trial release a self-titled CD, and they have jumped from the local bar scene to festivals, clubs, and theaters, sharing the stage and holding their own with notable acts such as The Infamous Stringdusters, Emmit-Nershi Band, Paper Bird, Elephant Revival, and Greensky Bluegrass, among others. They have performed at theaters and festivals such as The Moab Folk Festival, a headling spot at Clear Creek Rapidgrass, The Durango Meltdown, The Silverton Jubilee, and the Pagosa Folk Festival. 2012 is shaping up to be a year of continued growth and epic good times for the band.
“This band is so Nasty.” -Travis Book, of The Infamous Stringdusters
Wild Mountain Ramblers are an all acoustic string band from Durango, Colorado that plays a unique blend of original bluegrass and Americana music focusing on life “West of the 100th Meridian.” The band is a rich blend of musical styles featuring the husband and wife team of Brad Bartlett and Estella Moore on guitar, fiddle and vocals. Their original songwriting is the heart of Wild Mountain Ramblers and mixes traditional and regional ‘mountain music’ with engaging historic, social, and environmental themes.
Rusty Charpentier (bass, vocals), a virtuoso musician, is a music major graduate of Fort Lewis College in Durango where he is mastering violin and numerous other stringed instruments. Mark Epstein (banjo, dobro and vocals) is the newest member and one of the best banjo players in the Southwest. Mark performed with the bluegrass favorite The Badly Bent, winners of the 2005 Telluride Bluegrass band competition. Wild Mountain Ramblers are currently working on their second CD which will be available sometime this year.
The Six Dollar String Band captures the exuberant, communal, and unifying spirit inherent in Old Time music. In their hometown– the mountainous and musically diverse micropolitan ofDurango, Colorado– they are becoming widely regarded for their tight, driving, and unpretentious sound; passing along a playful dedication to pre World War II dance music. The Six Dollars are firmly committed to espousing traditional American roots music. They do so in a manner that’s particularly vibrant, relevant, and enjoyable to audiences of all ages and musical backgrounds. The Six Dollar String Band is: Tony Holmquist, fiddle; Stephen Sellers, upright bass; Brendan Shafer, clawhammer banjo; Cyle Talley, guitar.
I grew up on a ranch in southwestern Colorado outside of a small town. There wasn’t much else to do besides play music all day. And that’s what I did. I played music, listened to music, thought about music, and just generally obsessed about it all day long. After high school, I got out of Pagosa Springs, my home town, and relocated to Durango, CO, and quickly fell in with a group of pickers and we started a band, unfortunately named, “Broke Mountain.” For about three years, that band made some waves in the acoustic music scene, and I fell in love with being on stage and living the musician lifestyle. The band broke up when individual members were pulled away to join other more well-established bands including The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass, Leftover Salmon, Town Mountain, Emmit-Nershi Band, and Larry Keel and Natural Bridge.
After Broke Mountain, I became a solo performer, and spent about a year in Nashville doing sideman work. Then I came back to Colorado, because I love it here and I love the music scene here. I joined the Durango band of delinquents, Waiting On Trial, and currently play mandolin in that band.
The Robin Davis Unit was concieved as an outlet for me to play acoustic guitar, and focus on all of the beautiful nuances it is capable of. It also allows me to play with the best pickers I can find, sing my ass off, and flatpick the hell out of my guitar (or at least try to)!
Joining me to form the core lineup of this band are a couple of my good buddies, who I’m lucky to play with. Jimmy Largent plays upright bass, and Hap Purcell plays banjo.
Sweetwater String Band delivers a hard drivin’, boot stompin’ mix of original and traditional mountain music from their home in the high sierra mountains and wild deserts of eastern California. Using a unique arrangement of guitar, upright bass, mandolin, and cello, they channel their diverse musical backgrounds into an original highly dance-able sound. Solid songwriting reflects the rollercoaster of life’s ups and downs, inspired by journeys throughout America. Sweetwater String Band got its start traveling up and down the Sierra Nevada mountains and enjoying performing in living rooms, street corners, bars, and music festivals. With one member relocating to Durango, Colorado, the band is excited to venture away from the west coast and bring their music to the mountainous west and beyond.
Bluegrass Cadillac, from Pagosa Springs, Colorado, will captivate you with their vocal harmonies and solid instrumentals. The band focuses on a contemporary bluegrass repertoire and has been performing regularly for the past four years with the current line-up which includes Randall Davis on banjo, Clay Campbell on bass, Melinda Lutz on guitar and Ron Sutcliffe on mandolin with all band members contributing vocally.
With its origins stemming from the weekly jam session at Durango Brewing Company, Missionary Ridge is a new band to the Durango bluegrass scene. The members are made up of some familiar faces and some newcomers to bluegrass as well. Banjo player and vocalist Mark Epstein was with The Badly Bent for many years and, in addition to Missionary Ridge, plays with Durango-based Wild Mountain. Recently, Mark has been sitting in on banjo with Michael Martin Murphey at several regional events. Prior to moving to Durango, Mark played in the Front Range-based band Fret Knot for 10 years. Don Cooke played mandolin with the Down the Road band, and now is back on fiddle, and handles much of the singing for Missionary Ridge. Don has been playing bluegrass and related music for almost 40 years, beginning with the Big River Boys down in Albuquerque, and subsequently with dozens of bands over the years. His wife, Abbie Cooke, plays the electric upright bass, and comes from a more jazz inspired vocal tradition, which the band puts to use on some swing tunes and standards not usually found in the bluegrass repertoire. Marc Katz has been playing mandolin for just a few years and is fairly new to bluegrass. He’s better known as co-founder of local mega-company Mercury Payment Systems. Jim Harvey, well known to those who attend the weekly jam sessions, holds down the guitar chores. He’s one of those misguided souls who believes that all will be well if he simply finds the right guitar. He’s currently on guitar number 537, and is absolutely certain that number 538 will be “the one.”
The Scrugglers formed in 2009 when Steve Labowskie (bass) and Todd Webster (mandolin) had come up with a funny name and Steve, after many years of playing electric and stand-up bass started experimenting with a 2-stringed washtub bass (known as a “cabletub bass”). The two had a concept but lacked a banjo player, not just any banjo player, but one who talented and innovative enough to be associated with the name “Scruggs” in any way. At the local weekly jam at Durango Brewing Company they met Patrick O’Halloran and quickly realized he was just the guy they were looking for.
Four years later the trio have become known as a hard working local band, bringing bluegrass into the bars and clubs, becoming purveyors of the jamgrass style that many Colorado bands have become known for. The band has developed a unique sound with their unusual instrumentation and always keeps the material interesting with a blend of campground jam favorites, bluegrass standards as well as cover songs from all genres and original material. All three band members take turns on the lead vocal duties which enables them play to play long high energy shows. “We really look forward to The Meltdown every year because we get a chance to do a nightgrass set and a sit-down theater set in the same weekend, it’s always a good experience for us as a band” says Todd.
Although The Scrugglers are known as a trio, they have collaborated with many local musicians, such as former resident Benny Galloway and recently Robin Davis. “The nice thing about playing as a trio is that we can easily throw in a experienced player on a big night and instantly change the entire sound” says Labowskie. The Scrugglers play Friday nightgrass at The Summit and have said they will be filling the band out with some special guests.
Blue Moon Ramblers
The Blue Moon Ramblers are a Durango tradition. George Usinowicz (banjo) began playing Sundays at the Strater Hotel’s Diamond Belle Saloon with the Marmot Mudflaps in 1986. A few years later he and Red Greer (fiddle) founded the Blue Moon Ramblers and continued the Belle’s Sunday night tradition. Veteran Durango musician Jenny Winegardener (guitar, bass) joined early on, adding her beautiful whiskey toned vocals. The band recently welcomed Glenn “Junior” Keefe (bass). Also, the band will be joined by Peter Neds (not pictured) ; one of the hottest country guitarists to ever call Durango home. They’ve been playing their unique blend of country and bluegrass to appreciative crowds at the Belle all these years. They are the only band who has played all the Durango Meltdowns. Please extend a warm welcome to the Blue Moon Ramblers.
Sugar Creek is a four-piece string band that takes a bluegrass spin on American folk tunes, alternative country and pop. We hail from as far east as Georgia through Missouri all the way to California, converging in the small Rocky Mountain town of Durango, Colorado–all with a love of hearing just about anything played with sweet-sounding (or twangy) traditional folk instruments.
Anna McBrayer, lead vocalist, was introduced to the Walkabout dulcimer in 2009, and she hasn’t shaken the draw of its lonesome Appalachian sound ever since. She grew up on the coast of Georgia catching crabs and shrimp in the saltwater tides of the Tivoli River and Sugar Creek as a kid.
Dan Peha has been mesmerized by the sound of the banjo ever since he was a kid listening to Earl Scruggs and Pete Seeger. He got himself a 5 string about a dozen years ago and has been picking and jamming with folks ever since. He was part of the bluegrass/soul group “The Magpies” for 5 years. He loves and plays Nechville banjos and bends strings to get the blue notes out of bluegrass.
Jim Harvey, well known to those who attend the weekly jam sessions, plays whatever guitar ends up in his hands that day, and can generally find at least one note per set that sounds just right. He enjoys being in a vocal centric band playing both in and out of the bluegrass tradition.
Charlotte Overby grew up in Columbia, Missouri, playing bass and singing in old-time and Cajun bands. Missouri was also home to an eight-member band she helped form called The People’s Republic of Klezmerica, infamous purveyors of “raucous, dirty-fingernails klezmer from the Midwest.” She moved to Durango in 2011 and is happy to be playing again.
Grown from a weekly living room jam in Dolores, Colorado, the Mudflaps blend a variety of bluegrass, country, folk and rock songs with a traditional bluegrass sound. They have impressed audiences at the Cortez Farmer’s Market, Mancos Follies, the historic Hollywood Bar (R.I.P.), Dolores River Brewery, Mancos Valley Distillery, the KSJD Studios and a range of private events, including fundraisers, parties and weddings. The Mudflaps made their first Durango appearance at the 2012 Durango Meltdown’s Band Showcase and at Miller Middle School for the Bluegrass in the Schools program. With Chris Bouton and John Chmelir on guitar, Bobby Wintringham on mandolin, Mark Youngquist on banjolele, and Nikki Sargent on upright bass, the Mudflaps enjoy crafting a collective and blended bluegrass sound with all members contributing vocally.
Running Out of Road taps into great American roots styles through its arranging and performance of original material. The band is also driven by strong sentiments to unseat North Carolina as America’s top producer of halfway decent looking bluegrass musicians and also to contribute to the ever growing bluegrass tradition of southwest Colorado.
Rusty Charpentier: Hailing from Vermont, Rusty is an acoustic music lover, frequently performing bass in the Durango scene. He is currently living in a retired train caboose along with his girlfriend, his bass, and their 92-pound dog. It is no wonder that he set his sights in this band on the smaller and more manageable fiddle. A voice box doesn’t take up much space either so Rusty lends harmony vocals to the group as well.
Ian Lennox: With his pleasant lead vocal style and lightning fast flatpicking, we were thinking we couldn’t have gotten luckier than to land Ian in the band. That was until we heard his songwriting. To top it off, we are routinely entertained by stories of his family’s connections to 80’s metal bands.
Duane Tucker: Duane is our banjo player hailing from somewhere in Virginia. He has written a number of vocal and instrumental songs, many of which feature local settings and a secret Kum and Go gas station.
Michelle Fletcher: Providing rhythm on the bass fiddle and lending vocal harmonies, Michelle is a Silverton-turned-Durango native who emerged onto the local bluegrass scene only a few years back. Her presence has prevented any potential for this band to spontaneously morph into a ‘bluegrass boy band’.
Jeff Moorehead: Returning to his hometown after a long absence, Jeff was pleasantly surprised to witness the infusion of bluegrass into Durango’s once-ailing music scene (we’re talking way back in the 70’s here). In response, he made a promise to his dobro to make it sound better and not give it the “optional” instrument status it has so far endured.
Chokecherry Jam started in 2009. Members are Tom Miller, Guitar, Elaine Gapinski, Guitar ,Mandolin, and Bass, Bob Ashley, Banjo, and Sue Coulter, Bass and Mandolin. It grew out of a jam started by Bob Ashley at the 1st Presbyterian Church in Farmington. Bob Ashley is the Music Director at 1st Presbyterian Church. Elaine Gapinski is involved with Music Ministry at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Farmington. The band has played numerous places in Farmington and Durango including The Farmington Museum Summer Terrace Series, The Animas Riverfest, Aztec Library and San Juan College Christmas Celebration, TGIF Friday Concert Series, and Durango Natural Foods Customer Appreciation Day. They regularly play at long-term care facilities in Farmington and Aztec. They started an on-going twice -monthly Bluegrass Jam at the Hiway Grill in Aztec. They were Showcase Band at the SWT &BMA Festival in Santa Fe in August, 2012. They recently hosted a Gospel Sing-Along in Farmington. They are looking forward to their first time playing for the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown.
The Flume Canyon Boys
The Flume Canyon Boys, formerly known as, Halfway to Heaven started as a project in the Sangre De Cristo mountains of New Mexico in the summer of 2011, playing for groups of scouts at Philmont Scout Ranch. The band’s debut album “100 Miles” released on April 27th of 2012. As recent residents of Durango they are working on getting their foot in the door of the local music community. The band plays original and traditional old time and bluegrass music featuring: Joshua Standard on guitar and lead vocals, Timmy Borden on bass and vocals, Evan Coombs on banjo (not pictured), Jeremy Ralstin on guitar and vocals, and Art Woodard on mandolin.
Porchlight Revue is a Durango-based stringband that plays a diverse mix of original and cover tunes. These four friends started playing music together in 2011 and quickly realized that they had a unique blend of vocal harmonies and instrumentation. An open-minded approach to picking has taken the band from late night camp fire settings to the various stages around the Southwest Region. While the band has its roots in bluegrass-inspired music, the group’s diverse musical backgrounds allow for a wide range of sound that spans a variety of genres. A typical show includes everything from the high lonesome sound of a mandolin to the dirty blues notes of a resonator guitar. When combined with an original style of banjo and highly technical upright bass playing, Porchlight Revue captivates its audiences and adds a new sound to the Durango music scene.
Whispers of the North
Whispers of the North will be traveling to Durango along the oxbows of the Red River and amber waves of grain of the Great Plains. Like a nor’easter, blowing in over a desolate border crossing, Whispers of the North cry out with a solitude only found in their homelands of North Dakota. Many may recognize front man, David Smith, from his previous work in Durango bluegrass bands. Though he may have once been known for the high lonesome sounds of Appalachian murder ballads, he’s now embraced the polka melodies and topics of the North with songs such as, “You Betcha That’s My Nana’s Hot Dish” and, “Ufdah, We’ve Got Lutefisk for Supper.” While past Durango performances have seen David in classic, Western snap shirts, he’s proud to announce his Arctic Cat endorsement and now is only seen on stage wearing neon green, full-body, snowmobile coveralls. Please welcome Whispers of the North to the stages of the Durango Bluegrass Meltdown and let their whisper be your call of the wild.