The Blue Canyon Boys are equal parts purists and innovators when it comes to Bluegrass: they stay true to the form’s roots while constantly reimagining their relationship to tradition. The result is a toe-tapping mix of haunting standards, genre-bending arrangements, and catchy original numbers—all built on the bedrock of their collective bluegrass mastery.
Ever since founding members Jason Hicks and Gary Dark launched the Blue Canyon Boys in 2006, the Blue Canyon Boys have raised the bar for bluegrass bands. They bring it all: seamless brother-duet style, crisp instrumentation, unvarnished lyrics and subversive humor. After winning first place 2008 Telluride Bluegrass festival band contest, the Blue Canyon Boys went off at full tilt, taking the bluegrass circuit by storm, performing in illustrious venues across the country as well as internationally.
Fronted by banjoist, singer and songwriter Gina Furtado, the Gina Furtado Project lays heavy emphasis on catchy, relatable, original material that spans the gamut from bluegrass to swing to gypsy jazz and beyond.
With two IBMA nominations for Banjo Player of the Year to show for it, Gina has been quickly earning recognition as one of the most innovative banjoists on the scene today. The Bluegrass Situation says, ‘It is no surprise that her songs would showcase her swift and graceful picking” but that her album also “reveals her to be a graceful singer and insightful songwriter.”
Joining Gina is a cast of equally compelling and creative musicians: Max Johnson on bass (Molly Tuttle Band, Jacob Joliff Band, Jeff Austin Band); Drew Matulich on guitar (Billy Strings); Malia Furtado on fiddle (Director of Education at the Front Porch Music School)
Growing up in the mountains of East Tennessee, and sharing a birthday with the great Earl Scruggs meant that destiny was written in the stars for Kody Norris, who founded his band, The Kody Norris Show, more than a decade ago.
Kody learned early the strong musical legacy of Johnson County, Tennessee, home to musicians including Clint Howard, Fred Price and Clarence “Tom” Ashley; the first group to tour with Doc Watson during the folk revival of the 1960s. The first recording of “House of the Rising Sun” was created in Johnson County by Tom Ashley in the 1930s. Tom Dooley (of the oft-recorded folk murder ballad) was captured there by another resident of the county, Col. James Grayson.
“My dad would take me to numerous festivals where I saw all my bluegrass heroes,” Kody says. He treasures the memories of experiencing Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Jimmy Martin, Jim and Jesse, and others whose music continues to inspire his own original songs. Blending echoes of the past from numerous genres with newer styles and arrangements has become the hallmark of Kody’s music.
It is always a cool thing when an artist who has been in the music business for a long time is suddenly “discovered.” In the bluegrass world, this is hopefully about to happen to Rebekah Long who, through her many talents, is no stranger to some of the most successful folks in the genre.
Long grew up in Lincolnton, Georgia near the famous musical kinfolk The Lewis Family and spent time touring and playing upright bass with Little Roy Lewis and Lizzy Long, Rebekah’s twin sister. She also played bass in Valerie Smith & Liberty Pike.
Rebekah was one of the first students to graduate from the Glenville State College Bluegrass Certificate Program after it was created in 2002. With a BA in Bluegrass Music and a BA in Music Education under her belt, Long immersed herself in the bluegrass business working as a recording engineer, graphic designer, video editor while also playing in various bands.
Based in Portland, OR and Seattle, WA, Whiskey Deaf plays many regional festivals, small concerts, and occasional private shows. The band is made up of talented and experienced bluegrass musicians who share a passion for finding and playing lesser known bluegrass and related music from the repertoires of first generation bluegrass, early country and old-time sources, and then giving it the Whiskey Deaf stamp.
Everyone in the band loves playing this music, and loves playing it with each other, and that comes through in every show.
The Lonesome Town Painters are a tried-and-true, bona fide bluegrass quartet hailing from Vancouver, British Columbia. These fellas have a look, style and sound that harkens back to the raw and ragged edge of the genre. Their spirited performances are characterized by soaring harmonies and driving instrumentation, and their honest original songwriting pays homage to golden era pioneers.
Greg Linder is the founding member of Runaway Train. He played other types of music in the past, but fell in love with bluegrass music in the ’80’s after attending the Tumwater Bluegrass Festival. His resume includes performing with several local groups and winning the guitar contest at the Chilliwack Bluegrass Festival. Greg currently holds the post of guitar player in Runaway Train. Not only does he enjoy performing on stage, but he has become a key figure in the Bluegrass From The Forest festival that is held every May. Greg is a well respected figure in the Northwest bluegrass scene.
John began his musical endeavors at the age of five when he began to play on his sister’s guitar. As he grew older, his talent grew as well, leading to performing in local coffee houses, festivals, concerts, and private parties in his hometown of Grand Rapids. He learned how to play mandolin as well, and has played guitar and mandolin in numerous groups around the country, including Williams Family Band, Bluegrass Rangers, Bunchgrass, Stoney Point, The Maddy’s, and Horsejazz. While living in Utah in the ’80’s, John won a guitar flatpicking contest. This was followed up by winning a mandolin contest at the long running Columbia River Gorge Bluegrass Festival in the ’90’s. John currently holds down the mandolin spot with Runaway Train.
Clayton Hess is the newest member or Runaway Train. He grew up playing bluegrass with his family band. He began playing banjo after his grandma sent him a banjo in hopes that he’d stop playing piano, as she thought he’d have more fun with the banjo. Clayton is without a doubt the best banjo player living in the Northwest today. He can play all styles of banjo with absolute competence and innovation. He recently served several years in service to the United States, and was stationed in Guam. While there, he was able to hone his skills as a guitar player as well.
Kent Powell is a veteran of the Northwest bluegrass scene. He played banjo for many years with local groups including Backgrasswards, North Cascade Ramblers, Crossfire, and for a while, Runaway Train. Kent currently plays bass with Runaway Train, String Theory, and North Country. While playing with Crossfire, the band won the local Gibson/Pizza Hut talent contest and traveled to Owensboro, Kentucky, where the band took third place. Kent traveled with North Country to Nashville, where the band placed in the SPGMA band contest. Kent has also shared the stage with Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, as well as with Greg Blake.
Roosevelt Road is a band of well experienced musicians bringing decades of experience and styles including great Bluegrass, Americana and Gospel music to the Northwest and beyond.
Jane McMahon’s vocals are beautiful and pure. Jane has her own style of 5 string Banjo that pleases the listener.
Steve McMahon, our Bass guy, loves to explore his Bass and play ‘just a few different runs now and then. Steve also adds great vocals.
Mike Janda has been involved in the NW music scene for many years. His guitar style complements Bluegrass and Americana styles and his hometown vocal is unique in its soothing yet pronounced 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 and he rounds out Roosevelt Road with true Bluegrass vocals as well.