Artist Announcements for Mountaingrass 2016
Rob Ickes and Trey Hensley
Rob Ickes has been playing bluegrass with his much-decorated band Blue Highway for over twenty years, during which time he has been adjudged Bluegrass Dobro Player of the year fifteen times. From his powerful yet sympathetic vocal interpretations of traditional and contemporary material to his jaw-dropping instrumental skills on both acoustic and electric guitar and considerable song writing talents, Trey Hensley is bursting at the seams with freshness and musical excitement. This unique collaborative effort between two uniquely gifted musicians is a revelation to traditional music fans.
There’s no better way to say it than in the words of Mandolin Magazine–Mike Compton, is, simply put, “a certified mandolin icon.” Mike stuns through his ability to engage a crowd with his one-of-a-kind Compton signature mandolin sound. He is highly sought after as a solo artist, studio musician, band member and instructor at the annual Monroe Mandolin Camp that Mike co-founded.
Haywood Billy Goats
Featuring master fiddler Bob Herring, the Haywood Billy Goats are a driving Old-time string band out of Chatham County, NC. Their infectious groove and solid repertoire of regional dance music has made the Billy Goats one of the most respected dance bands in North Carolina.
The Sonoran Dogs
Seasoned bluegrass veterans Peter McLaughlin, Mark Miracle, and Tyler James formed The Sonoran Dogs in 2011 and have been thrilling audiences in concerts and at festivals since. They play a collection of traditional bluegrass standards, newgrass, Americana, folk, Celtic, and original compositions. Every concert is different, as they often improvise the set to follow the mood of their audience. It makes for a fun and dynamic show! The Dogs are joined on their Australian tour by Bruce Packard on bass.
Australian and New Zealand artists
Hamilton County Bluegrass Band
The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band formed in the 1960s in NZ and featured on the nationally-broadcast TV show, ‘The Country Touch’ which ran for three series, hosted by the legendary Tex Morton. In the 1970s the band moved to Australia, recording and touring with the Slim Dusty Show. The 2016 Hamilton County Bluegrass Band features the two original members of the band, Paul Trenwith on banjo, and Alan Rhodes on guitar. They are joined by Keith MacMillan on mandolin, Pam Findlay vocals and guitar and Paul’s son Tim Trenwith, on bass.
Heavily influenced by New Grass Revival and Tim O’Brien, the four-piece bluegrass band The Pipis play fast, hard contemporary and traditional bluegrass. Hailing from the tiny seaside village of Leigh, north of Auckland, New Zealand, the Pipis are staunch supporters of Mountaingrass and are regular festival favourites.
Much of Pete Denahy’s music deals with the history around Yackandandah where he lives, but he also has other less serious material which makes his show less serious.if he chooses to do any of it. Sometimes he doesn’t. Pete will be joined on stage by Aron McLean on bass and together they will take you from Harrietville to a fiddle maker’s workshop in Tennessee and back. It is rumoured good friend Montz Matsumoto may be around to pick some banjo as well!
The Stetson Family
The Stetson Family have been flying high with ‘True North’ (2015) breaking out of Australia and onto US Americana charts. Spirited, free-wheelin’ folk and gritty bluegrass infused with lush harmonies… songs of murder, mayhem and tales of the human heart take the audience down life’s often joyous and sometimes crooked highway.
The Appalachian Heaven Stringband play mountain music with gusto and authenticity, learnt directly from the masters during regular visits by all band members to the USA. From sensitive and driving fiddle tunes, dance tunes with curly toes, to cheeky songs and disarmingly touching ballads, Appalachian Heaven Stringband delight audiences both young and young-at-heart. The band loves to share their skills and musical enthusiasm through workshops and open jam sessions.
Freya Josephine Hollick
Freya Josephine Hollick is an old-timey, country, folk singer/songwriter from the Victorian Goldfields. Freya perfectly articulates those things about love and loss, and our very human fear of both, that most can scarcely put into words. Her sound is steeped in the darkness of old time country and blues, intertwined with fragile folkisms. Freya’s voice has been described as haunting, both powerful and fragile, unlike any other, and of another time.
What has helped set the band apart from many others is the priority they have placed upon presenting Bluegrass music in its most authentic form, focused around a single microphone; singing incredibly tight harmonies and above all respecting the legacy of the creators of the genre.
Take four highly trained musicians, add addiction to bluegrass, a passion for contemporary music, traditional music and all good music generally and what do you get? Astro Cobalt! Coming to you from between the churches of Adelaide, this band are tuned up and ready to roll, Banjo Style!
The Cherry Pickers unique take on Bluegrass has been delighting audiences over the last decade. Traditionalists at heart but not afraid to shy away of adopting these techniques to reinvigorate other musical styles. The Cherry Pickers have recently recorded their latest collection of Australian “folk songs” on their album “Hand Picked”. Songs in a style you both know and love.
Wayward Angels are an all-female bluegrass outfit who have been impressing audiences with their sweet vocal harmonies and picking prowess since forming in 2013. Lead vocals are shared equally between Kay (banjo), Jody (mandolin), Brenda (guitar) and Anne-Marie (double bass) in a dynamic variety of bluegrass covers and originals.
The Kissin’ Cousins
Live and stomping, The Kissin’ Cousins bring a fresh, youthful Australian sound to traditional American bluegrass and Old-time music. Hard-driving banjo, melodic harmonies, twin fiddles and a whole-lotta banter makes The Cousins are festival favourites all over the East Coast of Australia. The gig you can kick up your heels to but still bring your mum along!
Nine Mile Creek
Nine Mile Creek play a mix of traditional bluegrass, newgrass and original compositions. The band has been playing for about four years and developed a following who appreciate the solid rhythms, expert musicianship, harmony vocals, and engaging enthusiastic performances. Members are: Andrew Barcham, Colin Weight, Doug Wallace, Mark Pottenger.
The Company have a passion for high-energy original and traditional acoustic bluegrass music. The playing and singing is crisp, melodic and soulful, in concert you will witness the band’s virtuosity but also a wry humour and engaging camaraderie. “A masterclass in bluegrass” – Sean Sennett, The Australian.
In the timeless tradition of the hayride & medicine show string bands, the Strzelecki Stringbusters combine elements of old time country, bluegrass, blues and jug band sounds with good humoured banter and audience participation. The 14 piece band hails from world-famous Yinnar in Victoria and their boundless enthusiasm results in a “good natured musical riot.”
Her award winning original songs are lyrical & quirky, and collectively with her re-imaging of trad bluegrass, OT and folk songs, provide for a captivating show. Think John Hartford and Crooked Still.
Widely respected as a singer and upright bass player; Kim has been a member of acoustic bands Little Rabbit, Uncle Bill, and Appalachian Heaven.
Andrew Clermont & Rachel Johnston present All Corners Covered
Clermont is 3 time Bluegrass Guitar Champion and Director to the Golden Fiddle Awards, and is simply wild on the mandolin. He will be visiting songs from Dan Fogelberg’s “High Country Snows” through to deep traditions featuring even triple Fiddle! Rachel Johnston is just returned from 3 months touring North America playing & collecting Old-time to New-time tunes. They are joined by Montz Matsumoto, renowned for powerful banjo and a voice that pulls at your G string!; fiery & expressive fiddler Hugh Gordon and Janet Gordon with a sultry voice and chordal back up like no other in town!
Oh Willy Dear
Bluegrass style country music characterised by beautiful three part harmonies from a repertoire drawn from Bill Monroe, The Stanley Brothers, The Louvin Brothers, Gillian Welch, Hank Williams, John Hartford, Lefty Frizzell, Patsy Cline, and Kenny Baker. Band comprises: Jenny Shimmin (banjo), Anna McInerney, (vocals and fiddle), Daniele Marando,(vocals and guitar) Daniel Babekhul, (vocals and guitar) and Brendan Pace (bass).
Coolgrass win and delight audiences with their hilarious take on bluegrass, and are favourites throughout Australia and New Zealand. Entwining solid bluegrass chops with a sharp sense of humour, everyone and everything is fair game for a bluegrass parody.
Sunny and the Dark Corners
Loaded with a repertoire of tough original and traditional Bluegrass and acoustic music. Mick Moffitt, Robert Green, Jon Wilby and Cate McCarthy combine heartfelt vocals with exciting and evocative songs. Their love of acoustic music, diverse instrumentation and vast experience captivate audiences wherever they go. Music to live by.
- The music of the Carter Family – with John Boothroyd and Rob Lewis
- Tony O’Rourke – guitar
- Peter Scholtz – banjo
- John Taylor – banjo
- Belinda Gibson – Clogging Workshop
- Sally Taylor’s ‘Old Time Fiddle’ Workshop
- Ian Alexander’s “Appalachian Clawhammer Banjo” Workshop
- Strzlecki Stringbusters – Old Time Jam
- The Stetson Family – Harmony workshop