Artists – Main Stage

MAIN STAGE LINE-UP

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

With chops so hot, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen were named IBMA’s 2016 Instrumental Group of the Year for the second time, with a third nomination in 2017. Their critically acclaimed album Cold Spell earned a 2015 GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album of the Year, yet the accolades don’t end there.

Solivan, with banjoist Mike Munford, 2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, award-winning guitarist Chris Luquette and bassist Jeremy Middleton, simmer a progressive bluegrass stew of infinite instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills soon to be featured once again on their new album If You Can’t Stand the Heat slated to drop January 25th, 2019.

Since leaving the cold climes of Alaska for the bluegrass hotbed of Washington, D.C., Frank Solivan has built a reputation as a monster mandolinist — and become a major festival attraction with his band, Dirty Kitchen. Their respect and deep understanding of the tradition collides, live on stage, with jazz virtuosity creating an unforgettable, compelling performance.

Vocals, Mandolin, Fiddle / Frank Solivan
Banjo / Mike Munford
Bass / Jeremy Middleton
Guitar / Chris Luquette

Missy Raines Trio

Missy Raines Trio – Based out of Nashville, TN, Missy Raines is considered to be one of the most respected, popular, and trailblazing figures in bluegrass today. A seven-time winner of the IBMA Bass player of the year award, she has backed greats such as Claire Lynch, Mac Weisman, Kenny Baker, and Peter Rowan.

Raines now leads her own innovative and genre-bending trio, which is a rich combination of her bluegrass roots and thick Americana featuring  George Jackson on the fiddle / banjo and Ben Garnett on acoustic guitar.

With a smoky and seductive alto, Missy Raines heads up this trio where the sounds are lush, the groove is thick, and the songs are memorable. The territory the trio covers is broad and the compass is set by Raines, planted center stage, directing with her bass every bit as much as she’s playing it.  Missy Raines most recent release, “Royal Traveller” produced by Alison Brown, was released on Compass Records last Fall to critical acclaim, including receiving the 2018 IBMA award for “Recorded Event of the Year.”

Modern Tradition

By popular demand, Modern Tradition is returning to the Main Stage at this year’s North Cascades Bluegrass Festival.  This energetic band delightfully blends the bluegrass music of their roots with their own unique flavor. Because the band boasts members from five different states across the country, Modern Tradition is able to construct a well-rounded and artistically diverse sound that encompasses the musical essence of each region’s distinctive heritage. From smooth old country favorites to fresh original music, Modern Tradition is sure to keep your toes tapping and your ears perked at every performance. The band, formerly known as #mashtag, was the winner of the 2017 SPBGMA International Bluegrass Band Championship and has been pleasing audiences across the nation ever since.

Colebrook Road

Winners of the 2016 D.C. Bluegrass Union’s Mid Atlantic Bluegrass band contest in Washington D.C., winners of the 2015 Podunk Bluegrass Festival band contest in Hebron, CT, winners of the 2014 Watermelon Park Fest band contest in Berryville, VA, and winners of the 2011 Pickin’ In The Panhandle Bluegrass Festival band contest in Martinsburg, WV, Colebrook Road has become a standout string band, a bluegrass powerhouse made up of five individuals whose sum is more than the total of their talents.

From modest beginnings as a four-piece band, Colebrook Road now plays as a five-piece ensemble and has become a familiar name throughout the Mid Atlantic region.  The band is composed of lead singer, guitar player, and songwriter Jesse Eisenbise, mandolinist and winner of the 2014 Watermelon Park Fest mandolin contest Wade Yankey, upright bassist and tenor vocalist Jeff Campbell, banjoist, bass vocalist, dobro player, and winner of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival banjo contest Mark Rast, and fiddler, baritone vocalist, and winner of the 2015 Deer Creek Fiddler’s Convention bluegrass fiddle contest Joe McAnulty.

The Warren G. Hardings

The Warren G. Hardings, an award-winning dance stringband in Seattle, WA, hearken back to their forefathers with a unique brand of uptempo bluegrass. With “strong originals and stellar musicianship” according to Country Standard Time, the G’s have rewritten the rules of stringband music charging headlong into progressive sounds. Playing organic, handmade traditional bluegrass infused with infectious influences of Pop and Americana, they entertain with high-energy tunes you can’t help but dance to.

Andrew Knapp – Bass
Andrew began plucking bass as a youngster, spending days in his basement learning the ever important Zeppelin catalog to supplement the public school repertoire of Beethoven and Basie. After a subsequent degree in Music at Whitworth University, his search for a place in society led him to the whims of folk and bluegrass. True to his roots, he is leaving his modern mark on the traditional tunes of America’s past.

Gabriel Marowitz – Mandolin
Gabriel was first inspired to pick up a mandolin after accidentally stumbling into a Yonder Mountain String Band show in Boulder, Colorado. This started a journey down the bluegrass rabbit hole leading further and further into the past, until he reemerged with a beard, heavily calloused fingers and many new friends.

Heath Reinhard – Banjo
Heath lives in the trees, we call him coach. His banjo fell into his hands from the high heavens while he wasn’t looking and he learned to play it before he had ever touched one. Hailing from New York City, his attitude says it all.

Joe Ellingson – Guitar
Joe has been playing music since he was inspired by his mother’s musings as a child. Growing up in a family of roving musicians his picking fingers matured at a young age in the Cascadian wood.

Lee Callender – Fiddle
Lee’s been making music and playing fiddle for the majority of his life. His bluegrass appreciation blossomed during his years with the Saline Fiddlers, a premier youth fiddling group out of Saline, Michigan. During his involvement with the Fiddlers, Lee performed on stage with many notable musicians including Mark O’Connor, Natalie MacMaster, Mountain Heart, The Infamous String Dusters, Darol Anger, Jeremy Kittel, and Richard Greene.

FarmStrong

FarmStrong lights up the stage with exquisite harmony signing and seasoned instrumentation. The heart of the band draws on inspiration from the last century of country, blues and bluegrass music from the 1920’s through the 50’s, as well as folk, rock, gospel and soul music of the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s and beyond.

FarmStrong’s talented and experienced musicians take their audience outside the bluegrass tradition. Their unmistakable sound moves the soul, while remaining firmly rooted in music from the mountains.

Jim Faddis:  At the heart FarmStrong, Jim Faddis’ soulful voice strikes a chord deep within audience members, and resonates a musical memory of long ago.  His bluegrass band, Prairie Flyer, has been firing up the Washington State bluegrass scene for years, and is a reflection of Faddis’ talent and skill in driving a very talented group.  Faddis’ gift for songwriting and his songster ways shine in FarmStrong, where he leans on styles from Gillian Welch to Neil Young for inspiration, making new and old tunes, his own.

 

Cort Armstrong:  It is Cort Armstrong’s unique style of thumb-driven guitar picking, reminiscent of Merle Travis, which has tied together the many styles of music he performs, from country blues to bluegrass.  However, Armstrong’s voice has tempered through the years, and is a big part of his ability to bring songs to life.  His harmony signing sensibilities reflect a lifelong passion, and Armstrong’s connection to the soul of the Appalachian Mountains contributes to a vocal blend with Faddis and Rick Meade that is hard to beat.

 

Rick Meade:  Rick Meade brings a virtuosic touch on the dobro and completes the vocal trio.  He takes the band’s harmony singing and instrumental arranging to a new level with his substantial experience, both in choirs and in numerous exceptional bluegrass bands, such as Rural DeliveryBrother’s Keeper, and Me & The Boys.  Meade contributes a very complementary set of songs to the band’s mix, including contemporary bluegrass and folk/rock songs.

 

John Pyles:  John Pyles brings so much more to the band than just top-notch bass playing, as his sense for song construction, vocal harmonies and instrumental arrangements has been a driving force in helping guide the band’s very natural song development process.  John’s 50 year pursuit of bluegrass music and bass playing forms a firm foundation for FarmStrong’s sound.

Brograss

With their feet firmly planted in rootsy, mountain bluegrass, this young brother band from a small Pacific Northwest island brings a new energy to the form with their fast-picking style and brotherly harmonies.

Still in their teens, Tashi and Kaj Litch have already “blown the roof off” Seattle’s Benaroya Hall with Brandi Carlile and Mike McCready, and entertained standing – room-only crowds at venues around the Northwest.

Playing and learning with world-class musicians since they were knee-high to their instruments, the brothers have shared the stage with Brandi Carlile, Balsam Range, Darol Anger, Doyle Lawson, Sierra Hull and many others.

The birth and rise of Brograss was the subject of the award-winning film “It Takes an Island,” which was featured at the 2018 Seattle International Film Festival, and in 2015, Tashi and Kai performed a TEDx Talk on the power of music in rural communities.

Brograss brings their mix of traditional and original bluegrass as a duo with guitar, mandolin, fiddle and voice, and also performs as a quartet adding upright bass and fiddle.

Roosevelt Road & Friends Gospel Show

Roosevelt Road is a band of well experienced musicians bringing decades of experience and styles including great Bluegrass, Americana and Gospel music to the NW.  We have asked Roosevelt Road and a few of their friends to provide our annual Sunday Morning Gospel Show.

Jane McMahon’s vocals are beautiful and pure.  Jane has a personalized 5 string Banjo style that pleases the listener.

Steve McMahon Loves to explore his Bass for that ‘other run’  and he adds great vocals to the mix as well.

Mike Janda, like the rest of Roosevelt Road, has been involved in the NW music scene for many years.  His guitar style compliments Bluegrass and Americana styles and his hometown vocal has a unique and soothing tone.

Loren Postma, Dobro Guru adds a unique and pleasant sound to the band.  Loren also sings lead and harmony vocals.

Robbie (John) Bennett is one of the NW finest fiddle players.  His fiddle playing is so pleasant and smooth its a joy to hear.  He rounds out Roosevelt Road with his high and lonesome bluegrass vocals as well.

Together, Roosevelt Road produces a great energized sound with entertaining arrangements from hard driving songs to smooth story telling songs.

The North Cascades Bluegrass Boys

The North Cascade Bluegrass Boys are a group of artists who met while playing in several of the region’s busiest bands.  Band members live and work from the waterside in Bellingham to the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range.

Sitting in the back holding down the bass is “The Professor,” Michael Medler.  Many bands are in pursuit of Michael’s solid bass artistry and this big guy brings some fancy chops and power to the low-end work from his early days in jazz combos and rock bands.  Michael is also the foundation in the creation of the North Cascades Bluegrass Boys.

Robbie Kane, a professional sailboat racer and guitar player, brings a rare clarity and precision to guitar playing that compliments his powerful lyrics.  Besides his work with other band, duet and trio gigs, Robbie is also a sought-after guest performer with other regional bands.

Jeff Panko has been singing mournfully and playing mandolin in Whatcom County for the better part of this century.  In 2002 he started playing with the eccentric string-band Bentgrass. After a  14-year run with Bentgrass, Jeff plays with another local band and is joining us for the North Cascades Bluegrass Festival.  Jeff  and his musicianship is known well in Glacier Washington and elsewhere in the county. He also runs Graham’s store in Glacier, WA. Swing by his store on your way up to Mount Baker.

Ian McLelland is a forester and wild-land firefighter. He hails from Pennsylvania where he played banjo in the family band Grass Stained Genes. He is currently the rhythmic anchor that binds together one of our hot local bands.  Sometimes, you can even catch his band mates asking for more banjo in the monitors. We are pleased he is joining the North Cascade Bluegrass Boys for this year’s festival.

Joey Gish hales from across the water on the Olympic Peninsula where he plays fiddle for several gigging bands. However, his deep intellectual curiosity has brought him to graduate school at Western Washington University in Whatcom County. We are lucky to have his fast and fancy fiddle playing showing up in a bunch of Whatcom bands.