Mostly Merle is a country band with a Bluegrass flavor. Five good friends of varying instrumental and vocal capabilities. Most members of this group were derived from a recording session in 2017. Most members have been long time bluegrass community friends and players.
Robbie Berg from Bellingham, WA is the newest member to join the group. While most consider the pedal steel guitar outside the bluegrass realm, Robbie’s expertise and flair add a dimension to this group that everyone will really enjoy.
Bob Martin, a well-versed guitar, banjo and mandolin player from Blaine, WA has been in the Northwest bluegrass scene for many years. Playing at festivals, jams, senior centers and other events, Bob had become a well-known name in the Washington bluegrass arena.
Lyle Hjort from Arlington, WA has also been on the Northwest bluegrass and country scene for many years. Everyone seems to know Lyle. His vocals on old county songs from Merle Haggard and Hank Williams are well known at bluegrass festival jams. His vocal harmony is well sought after around bluegrass jams. He plays both dobro and guitar, but his steady beat and control of the bass is another of his great talents.
Curt Fields from Kennewick, WA a masterful guitarist and makes that Thompson guitar really sound great. He also is a member of “Badger Mountain Dry Band” and can be scene around the campground jamming with some of the greats.
Fred Holt from Lake Tapps, WA rounds out the field with his country style of vocals and guitar pickin’. He has played for many years from the 1970’s to present. He played in different groups while serving in the US Air Force. After 10 years’ service, he left and moved to Austin, TX where he traveled extensively with bands. During that time, he played many shows in honky-tonks, dance halls and street dances. He and his band were privileged to open shows for Conway Twitty, Brenda Lee, Mel Tillis, Alabama and others.
Dennis Nowack on banjo and guitar has been playing music since the age of six when his mother forced him to take piano lessons. Since selling his Chiropractic business in 2012, he has focused on his love of music, especially the banjo. Dennis has played with several bands in the San Diego and Spokane areas.
Jonathon Hawkins has been playing bass for 53 years and has a Masters degree in music. He has played everything from symphonies to gut bucket, and with many groups in the Spokane area. Jonathon grew up near the home of Bluegrass music, Bean Blossom, Indiana and has lived in the Spokane area since 1993.
Noel Taggart, mandolin and vocals, is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist. Noel sings most of the vocals and is one of the best in the business singing the high lonesome music. Noel’s bands are well known through California, and the Northwest. Noel was a founding member of Lighthouse and Silverado, all well known in California, Arizona and Washington. In the 70’s and 80’s he played with BlueSkies.
Kent and Karen Riggs are both amazingly talented vocalists and guitarists from Arizona. Kent holds down the rhythm section and is one of the hottest lead guitarists in bluegrass. If you give him a couple of bucks, he is even known to play the fiddle. Karen Riggs on rhythm guitar has one of the most beautiful voices this side of the Continental Divide. She rounds out the group with the sweet lead and back up vocals.
Jean Ballhorn, fiddle and vocals, recently relocated to Chewelah, Washington from the Front Range of Colorado where she performed and recorded with traditional bluegrass bands including Charles Sawtelle & the Whippets, Open Road, Camptown and the Laramie River Band.
Based in Whatcom County in the northwest corner of Washington state, the Yankee Drivers share an obsession with bluegrass music, solid picking, and heartfelt vocals. Their sound is grounded in the traditions of Bill Monroe, Tony Rice, Clarence White, Flatt and Scruggs and others who invented and energized this music. The Yankee Drivers also wander outside the bluegrass boundaries with influences from artists like Bob Dylan, the Grateful Dead, and Bob Wills, and traditional country artists. Be prepared for some serious foot-tappin’ when the tempo picks up, and a taste of misery and heartbreak when Robbie and Jeff roll out the ballads.
The High Mountain String Band is a progressive bluegrass band based in Bellingham Washington. The band plays both original compositions and a deep catalog of classic and modern songs. The band’s material is woven from the tapestry of the American string band songbook with influences from the traditional bluegrass of Bill Monroe to forward-looking artists like Bela Fleck, David Grisman, and John Reischman. Always upbeat and up-tempo, the High Mountain String Band blends vocal harmonies with virtuosic instrumental work on the fiddle, banjo, and mandolin.
Kurt Gisclair: Mandolin / Vocals
Ian McLelland: Banjo
Julie Campbell: Fiddle
Andy Bunn: Guitar / Vocals
Michael Medler: Bass
Heron & Crow is a bluegrass/old time band that relies on original tunes and chestnuts from the great recordings of the 20’s, 30’s and 40’s, some contemporary songwriters, and the original songs of songwriter Steven Dolmatz. Their first album, The Big Sky was released in 2014, and the new album Bird in the Hand, was released in December. The band consists of Steven Dolmatz on vocals and guitar; Mark Ingham on mandolin, banjo and vocals; Chris Norman on dobro, guitar and vocals; and Angus McLane on string bass. We play all over Northwest Washington State. Check us out on Facebook and hear our music on Bandcamp.