Adam Agee (2017)

"Adam’s music has been familiar to me for many years… I’ve never heard him play a note that wasn’t sincere and from the heart. His music is true and free from pretense. He constantly seeks the deepest expression of the music.” -Martin Hayes

Raised in the mountains of Santa Cruz, California, Adam Agee came first to Ireland in 2004, basing himself in Ennis, County Clare.  He has studied with many of today's living tradition-bearers, and journeyed deep into the Irish idiom. His connection to his instrument and the transcendent energy in his music are guaranteed to captivate and uplift listeners.

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Peter Rowan (2018)

Grammy winning Bluegrass icon Peter Rowan is a singer and songwriter who's career spans five decades. From his early years playing under the tutelage of Bluegrass god Bill Monroe, to his time in Old & In the Way (with Jerry Garcia & David Grisman) and four decades as a solo musician and bandleader, Rowan has built a devoted, international fan base through a solid stream of beloved original songs, collaborative projects and recordings.

Born in Wayland, Massachusetts, Rowan learned guitar from his uncle. He enrolled in college, but left academia to pursue a life in music. In 1963 he joined Bluegrass founder Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, as singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter. "One thing I started to like about the Monroe style was that there was a lot more blues in it than other styles of bluegrass," reflects Rowan. "It was darker. It had more of an edge to it. And yet it still had the ballad tradition in it, and I loved that."
The late '60s and early 70's saw Rowan involved in a number of rock, folk and bluegrass projects, including Earth Opera, Muleskinner, and alongside brothers Chris and Lorin Rowan. He then joined David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Vassar Clements and John Kahn to form legendary bluegrass band Old & In the Way. It was during this incarnation that Rowan made his mark on The Stone's Wild Horses, and penned songs that include Land of the Navajo, Midnight Moonlight, and Panama Red, a subsequent hit for the New Riders of the Purple Sage and a classic ever since.
Rowan embarked on a well-received solo career in the late '70s, releasing critically acclaimed records such as Dustbowl Children (a Woody-Guthrie style song cycle about the Great Depression), Yonder (old-time country music with dobro ace Jerry Douglas) and two extraordinarily fine bluegrass albums, The First Whippoorwill and Bluegrass Boy, as well as High Lonesome Cowboy, a recording of traditional and old-time mountain music with Don Edwards, Tony Rice, and Norman Blake. More recent releases include Quartet, (a collaboration with Tony Rice) and Legacy with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band (feat. Jody Stecher & Keith Little). Rowan also appears with Big Twang Theory and its Texas cousin Twang n Groove, as well as rock band The Free Mexican Air Force.

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Bernie Pháid (2018)

Hailing from the cultural wellsprings of the Dingle Peninsula, Ireland, with roots firmly planted in her tradition, Bernie Pháid's engaging presence and soulful songs captivate audiences as she effortlessly transmits a love of story and song that spans generations. In her wide-ranging, bilingual repertoire, Bernie pairs uplifting, rootsy songs with achingly honest ballads, infusing them all with an infectious warmth.

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Stuart Duncan (2018)

Whether folks know him by name or not, Stuart Duncan could easily be called America's favorite fiddler. His tasteful touch has been enjoyed by millions of Country, Americana and Bluegrass music fans for over 40 years via the recording studio and on tour. He is featured on many soundtracks including O Brother Where Art Thou and Cold Mountain, and on more than 800 recordings, with Nashville Bluegrass Band, Alison Kraus, Bela Fleck, Ricky Skaggs, Robert Plant, Dolly Parton, George Strait, Victor Wooten, Tim O'Brien, Elvis Costello, Alan Jackson, Guy Clark, Diana Krall, Chris Thile, and Edgar Meyer to name a few...

http://www.nashvillebluegrassband.net/

Paul Kowert (2017)

Paul Kowert is recognized as one of the best young bassists in the world. A student of world renowned bassist & composer Edgar Meyer, Paul is known for his monumental work as a member of Grammy Winning supergroup Punch Brothers (alongside Chris Thile), and Dave Rawlings Machine (with Gillian Welch), as well as Mike Marshall's Big Trio, Haas/Kowert/Tice, and many others. As a member of Punch Brothers, Paul has toured extensively throughout the US, UK and Europe, contributed music to "Inside Llewyn Davis," "This is Forty," and "The Hunger Games,"and appeared on Conan, Leno, Letterman, Jools Holland, A Prairie Home Companion, Austin City Limits and the Coen Brothers' concert documentary "Another Day, Another Time. "PaulKowert.com-PunchBrothers.com

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Scott Nygaard (2017)

(Berkeley concert only) Scott Nygaard is one of the most inventive and original guitarists in bluegrass and acoustic music. His solos, a seamless amalgam of bluegrass, folk, and jazz influences, shift easily from breathtaking virtuosity to soulful melodic musings and his accompaniment is always intriguing, supportive, and propulsive.  He has two solo recordings of original compositions, and has worked with Tim O'Brien, Laurie Lewis and Darol Anger, earning him numerous Grammy nominations. Scott excels at bluegrass, jazz, Cajun, old-time, western
swing, rock and roll, and traditional Swedish and Irish styles.
"A phenomenally talented stylist"–Downbeat - ScottNygaard.com

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Brittany Haas (2017)

(Weed concert)  Old-time fiddle phenomenon Brittany Haas is widely regarded as one of the most influential fiddlers of her generation. Born in Northern California, Brittany grew up honing her craft at string camps nationwide, influenced by mentors Bruce Molsky and Darol Anger. Haas began touring with Darol Anger's Republic of Strings at the age of fourteen. At seventeen, she released her debut, self-titled solo album. She continued to tour and record while simultaneously earning a degree in Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University -it was during this time that Brittany was asked to join the seminal nu-folk group Crooked Still, with whom she has made four recordings and toured the world.
Brittany has performed on Late Night With David Letterman and Saturday Night Live as part of Steve Martin's bluegrass band, and features on Martin's Grammy-winning bluegrass album. She is an active member of the house string band of Chris Thile's Prairie Home Companion. She has collaborated with Bela Fleck, Abigail Washburn, Tony Trischka, Yonder Mountain String Band, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas (her cellist sister), Nic Gareiss, and many more. Her trio Haas Kowert Tice (featuring bassist Paul Kowert of Punch Brothers and guitarist Jordan Tice) is gearing up to release their 2nd album. In 2015, Haas began touring with the Dave Rawlings Machine (featuring Gillian Welch) and is featured on their latest release "Nashville Obsolete."
"A real roots musician in the most modern sense--Brittany Haas fiddles from a very deep and personal place, the way she feels it, the way she wants to hear it, with seemingly infinite facility, and a spirit that's simply uplifting." -- Bruce Molsky
"Britt opens the window, gets out of the way, and the music floods through in a tide of joy." -- Darol Anger
"Brittany is a joy to listen to and her style just makes you feel happy." -Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster
BrittanyHaas.com

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Maeve Gilchrist (2015)

(Weed concert only)  Maeve Gilchrist is "a phenomenal harp player who can make her instrument ring with unparalleled purity" (Dirty Linen)  Born and raised immersed in folk music in Edinburgh, Scotland, Maeve fuses her Scottish roots with the colors and freedoms of jazz and other improvisational musics to produce a fresh and unique new sound.  An in-demand member on the traditional music scene in Scotland as well as the US, she performed at events such as the opening of the Scottish Parliament, the Celtic Connections Festival and the International Edinburgh Harp Festival.  Her solo project is called ‘THE OSTINATO PROJECT’, an exploration of the harp with a focus on each hand working as an individual voice.

Watch Maeve in duet w/ Roger Tallroth at the 2011 Shasta String Celebration here, and in duet with Nic Gareiss here
www.MaeveGilchristMusic.com

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Paul Brown (2015)

(Both concerts) Paul Brown is a master of traditional southern music with a passion for truth and wisdom, and the voice to share it. He recently concluded 14 years in executive, editorial and on-air positions at NPR in Washington, his last as the network's top-of-hour morning newscaster.
As a young child, Paul learned songs his mother had learned as a kid in Piedmont, Virginia. His playing bears influences of the North Carolina and Virginia masters he sought out and studied with as a young man, such as Benton Flippen, Tommy Jarrell, Luther Davis and Robert Sykes. He has recorded and produced highly regarded albums of traditional musicians, and appeared at camps and festivals around the U.S. since the early 1970s.                     http://www.brownpaul.net/

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Billy Contreras (2015)

(Both concerts)  Lauded by many as one of the greatest jazz violinists alive, Billy Contreras toured for years with country music legend George Jones until his death, and has recorded for the likes of Willie Nelson.

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David Grier (2015)

(Weed concert only) A masterful bluegrass guitarist with a sharp wit, David Grier is "a willful, accurate instrumentalist who's every note seems to run through a bright, intelligent sieve. He maintains an unqualified standard of excellence... always with a knack for unorthodox surprise". (Claire Lynch) Grier is featured on the Grammy Winning recording, "True Life Blues-The Songs of Bill Monroe" and is a three-time IBMA Guitar Player of the Year.
www.DavidGrier.com

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Mark Schatz (2015)

(Weed concert only)  Appalachian clog dancer, veteran bluegrass bassist, acclaimed clawhammer banjoist, composer, and longtime member of the platinum-selling band Nickel Creek, Mark Schatz was twice named IBMA Bass Player of the Year and has worked and/or recorded with an impressive variety of artists including Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Bela Fleck, John Hartford, Jerry Douglas, Maura O'Connell, Tony Rice, and Tim & Mollie O'Brien. He is the Musical Director for the internationally-acclaimed Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble.

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Ryan McKasson (2015)

"The bow drives across the strings, thick and throaty, creating a pulsing sound that feels more of muscle than tendon...a compositional sophistication that is cinematic, transporting, and tantalizingly modern", wrote The Boston Globe. Ryan McKasson has gained a reputation as a performer, composer, collaborator, and teacher. In 1996 he was the youngest to win the National Scottish Fiddle Championship.  Ryan tours with The McKassons,  and renowned contra dance band The Syncopaths.  Hhas recorded with Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, Hanneke Cassel and others...  RyanMckasson.com

Laurie Lewis (2014)

(Weed only) Laurie Lewis is a grammy winning singer, songwriter, fiddler and multi instrumentalist, respected as a true legend of bluegrass.  "Laurie's strength manifests in many ways: her commanding presence on stage combined with an emotional vulnerability, the truths in her lyrics, her physical voice which transcends gender, her strong commitment to causes and issues in which she deeply believes, which all resonate with a respect for the land, the natural world, and human mercy and justice." -Darol Anger      www.LaurieLewis.com

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Darol Anger (2014)

(Weed concert only - workshop full week) Grammy nominated fiddler/composer Darol Anger was a founding member of the David Grisman Quintet, the Turtle Island String Quartet, Psychograss, and his own Republic of Strings. His ideas and sound have reshaped fiddling all over the globe, inspiring 3 generations of players. He can be heard on NPR's Car Talk every week, with Earl Scruggs, Tony Rice, and David Grisman.
www.DarolAnger.com

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Nic Gareiss (2015)

(Both concerts) Nic "may be the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene." (The Boston Herald)
"The human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being...Gareiss is more fleet of foot than an Olympian sprinter and more buoyant than a helium-filled balloon...his restraint is palpable and freeform flight is inevitable."  (Siobhán Long, The Irish Times)  "Mesmerizing...a whirling dervish in tap shoes." (Bay City Times)
Since the age of eight, Nic Gareiss has been intrigued by cultures that employ the feet as rhythmic entities, transforming dance into a musical activity that appeals to both the eyes and the ears.  This fascination has led him on an international study of shoe-sounds and grooves from Irish sean-nós dance, to American flat-footing, to Quebecois gigue. Following his studies at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, Nic has collaborated with The Chieftains, Dervish, Gráda, Beoga, Téada, FIDIL, Le Vent du Nord, Genticorum, Dr. Anthony Barrand, Liz Carroll, Frankie Gavin, Martin Hayes, Bruce Molsky, Darol Anger and Alasdair Fraser, performing throughout North America, Ireland, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Scotland, England, Italy, Denmark, and Sweden.  Watch Nic's feet up close with the Jumpsteady Boys here, and in collaboration with Jeremy Kittel here, and with Liz Carroll here
NicGareiss.com

Mike Witcher (2014)

(both concerts) "...what sets Michael apart is his sound. ...achingly gorgeous tone, dead-on intonation, and ideas and breaks that make you feel that thing deep in your gut when the music is just right. Every time I hear Michael play I hear something new, jaw-droppingly creative and tasteful. He is, simply put, one of the best resonator guitar players in the world." —Chris Stuart, 2009 IBMA Songwriter of the Year
A much-in-demand session player in LA and Nashville, Michael has worked with such artists as Dwight Yoakam, Fernando Ortega, Dolly Parton, Peter Rowan, John Paul Jones (of Led Zeppelin), Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek), The Gibson Brothers, Willie Watson (Old Crow Medicine Show), and Chris Jones. He has played the Grand Ole Opry and Prairie Home Companion many times and you can hear him on hundreds of records, sound tracks, commercials and TV shows.  www.MikeWitcher.com

 

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Jon Sousa (2015)

(both concerts) Jon Sousa fell in love with music at an early age, listening to the 70′s folk albums in his mother’s record collection. He journeyed on to rock music, passed through the realm of electronic dance music, then made his way on to West African percussion, and finally landed in the world of traditional Irish music.  Jon’s passion for music has taken him all over the world, from the beautiful countryside of France to study with master fingerstyle guitar player Pierre Bensusan, to Senegal, West Africa, to study Sabar Drumming, and eventually to reside in Ireland in 2008.  He earned his Master's Degree in Traditional Irish Music Performance from the University of Limerick in 2009. Jon delights in sharing his passion for finger-style guitar and traditional Irish music, giving expression to the human spirit.  www.AdamAgeeJonSousa.com                                                                                                   

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Evie Ladin (2014)

(Both concerts) The polyrhythmic heat of Evie Ladin's clawhammer banjo, resonant voice, real stories and rhythmic dance have been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Celtic Connections, Lincoln Center to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. "Evie Ladin is a natural entertainer with a gift for infusing folk practices with contemporary verve."                -SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE


"Ladin's voice is a revelation. Clear, strong, delicate and emotive all at the same time... the music is gorgeous." --NO DEPRESSION

www.EvieLaden.com - audio/video coming soon..

Lena Jonsson (2014)

(Both concerts) Lena Jonsson is a curious and exuberant musician, always searching for new musical meetings. She was brought up in Hälsingland, a region in Sweden with a rich tradition of folk music and culture, in a family where everyone plays the fiddle.

Lena began her musical journey at age 6, going on to study Swedish folk music performance at the Royal Music academy in Stockholm. Active in Sweden's progressive and creative youth folk music community, she tours regularly in Sweden and Europe with her bands Duo Jonsson Coudroy, Skenet, Limbohofvet, plays for traditional Swedish dances, and as a solo artist.   www.LenaJonsson.com

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