MountainGrass Festival 2016 Line-Up and Workshops
MountainGrass 2016 will be held at Harrietville (regional Victoria) on 18 to 20 November 2016. Last year’s event was my first and it was a joyous three days, beautiful setting, great music (formal and informal), easy to get around and the friendliest atmosphere you could imagine. You can read my report on last year’s event.
The full line-up has been announced and it is worth going through the impressive artist roster. There will be workshops as well (see below). MountainGrass organisers ABOTMA have put together a charming video (at the bottom of this page) to whet your appetite even more.
Hope to see you there.
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.
I was fortunate enough to see this dynamic pair perform just last month at The Birthplace of Country Music Museum in Bristol (Virginia/Tennessee). Read my review of their show.
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
Formed in 2011, The Sonoran Dogs have exploded upon the bluegrass scene and is made up of seasoned veterans. They play a collection of traditional bluegrass standards, new-grass, Americana, folk, Celtic and original compositions.
Hamilton County Bluegrass Band
The Hamilton County Bluegrass Band formed in the 1960s in New Zealand 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 Pipi Pickers are Barry Torkington on guitar, Garry Bigwood on mandolin, guitar and vocals, Nat Torkington on 5 string banjo, and Jenine Abarbanel on double bass and vocals. The Pipis hail from the tiny seaside village of Leigh, north of Auckland, New Zealand.
Much of Pete Denahy’s music deals with the history around Yackandandah where he lives, but he also has other less serious material 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. Read my review of True North.
Appalachian Heaven Stringband
The Appalachian Heaven Stringband is well known for its tight, driving arrangements of tunes and songs from the southern Appalachian USA mountains. The Stringband is the precursor of bluegrass, featuring fiddle, banjo and vocal harmonies transposed from the Celtic fiddle traditions, infused with African-American cultures, and rural sensibilities.
Freya Josephine Hollick
Freya Josephine Hollick, the vintage Victorian 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 a saccharine of fragile folk-isms. A true old-timey country affair in the vein of The Carter Family.
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 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 is a five-piece bluegrass band playing 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 and harmony vocals.
Her award-winning original songs are lyrical & quirky, and collectively with her re-imaging of traditional bluegrass, old-time 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.
The Company have a passion for high-energy original and traditional acoustic bluegrass music. The playing and singing are 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.
The Strzelecki Stringbusters
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 fourteen-piece band hails from country Victoria and their boundless enthusiasm results in a “good natured musical riot”.
Andrew Clermont & Friends
Andrew Clermont, three-time Bluegrass Guitar Champion and Director to the Golden Fiddle Awards, is simply wild on the Mandolin. He will be visiting songs from Dan Fogelberg’s “High Country Snows” through to deep traditions featuring triple Fiddle and even triple Mandolin!!! He is joined by Rachel Johnston, just returned from three months touring North America playing old-time ton-time tunes; Montz Matsumoto on banjo, 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. Bluegrass with a mischievous twist.
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
Video of last year’s event