The Kathy Kallick Band

Tickets: $20 advance, $23 at the door.
Click here to purchase advance tickets.

Please join us for an evening of contemporary bluegrass music with The Kathy Kallick Band Live at Empty Sea!

“Veteran West Coast roots singer/guitarist Kathy Kallick makes bluegrass records that at their best — and decades into it she makes nothing less — are exciting propositions. She’s as gripping a vocalist as anybody on the scene, she has a superior band and she writes and chooses superb material. If you ask for more than that, may the universe forgive you.” - Jerome Clark, Rambles

The band is based along the west coast — the SF Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, and Anchorage — but their powerful mixture of original and classic material, mirroring their distinctive combination of traditional and contemporary sensibilities, has great appeal everywhere.

“They still play the tried-and-tested mixture of hot bluegrass and cool originals, and latter category provides the album’s opening trio of standout cuts, in my book all virtually guaranteed instant-classic status. [But] every single cut exhibits that characteristic sense of sparkling yet relaxed drive and entirely confident instrumental chops, with splendid, almost incidental, vocal harmonies from every member of the band – you can sure tell they’re in tune with each other in every sense.” - David Kidman, Fatea

Kathy’s exceptional career includes: winning a Grammy and two IBMA Awards … receiving a Lifetime Membership from the California

We are broadcasting this show live on the Roots Channel, click here to learn more

Bluegrass Association … co-founding the internationally-acclaimed band, Good Ol’ Persons, and releasing five albums with them … performing and recording with the Frank Wakefield Band … appearing on three high-profile Rounder collections of bluegrass songs by women … writing and releasing award-winning music for children and families … touring throughout North America, Europe, and Japan … having five title tracks and albums each spend a year in the upper echelon of the national bluegrass charts … and collaborating with the country’s top acoustic musicians – including her mighty current band:

• Annie Staninec (fiddle, vocals)
• Tom Bekeny (mandolin, vocals)
• Greg Booth (dobro, banjo, vocals)
• Cary Black (acoustic bass, vocals)
• Kathy Kallick (guitar, vocals)

“Kathy Kallick is one of the best songwriters in bluegrass and acoustic music, always coming up with interesting, sometimes playful, always sure-handed songs [featuring] conversational yet evocative lyrics and solid bluegrass sensibilities. The Kathy Kallick Band is a wonderful combination of youth and experience. All are strong musicians and they create a distinctive band sound.” - Chris Stuart, Sing Out!

Led by one of the music’s extraordinary composers and vocalists, the Kathy Kallick Band has nearly as much fun as the audience when performing. The material is compelling, the tone ranges from humorous to bittersweet to soulful, the instrumental playing is electric, the vocals luminous, the presentation inclusive.

Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves

Tickets: $16 advance, $20 at the door.
Click here to purchase advance tickets.

Please join us for an evening with Allison de Groot and Tatiana Hargreaves – Live at Empty Sea!

Allison and Tatiana brings together two women on the forefront of American traditional acoustic music. In this new duo, clawhammer banjo innovator Allison de Groot (Molsky’s Mountain Drifters) and fiddler Tatiana Hargreaves (Laurie Lewis, Dave Rawlings Machine) join forces to explore the boundaries of Appalachian stringband music. Having both studied with musicians such as Bruce Molsky and Darol Anger in addition to more traditional masters, Allison and Tatiana share a musical vocabulary that reflects on tradition while also utilizing new techniques and sounds.

Allison has toured all over the world with various groups, performing at venues such as Trafalgar Square in London, Newport Folk Festival and other major festivals across the US and Canada.  She combines love

We are broadcasting this show live on the Roots Channel, click here to learn more

and passion for old-time music, technical skill and a creative approach to the banjo. Allison has immersed herself in American roots music through festivals such as the Appalachian String Band Festival in West Virginia, making pilgrimages to musical communities in North Carolina and participating in the acoustic music scene in Boston, MA.

Since releasing her first solo album “Started Out To Ramble” in 2009 (produced by Bruce Molsky and featuring Sarah Jarosz, Mark Schatz, Alex Hargreaves, and more), Tatiana has toured with musicians from Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, to Laurie Lewis, and Darol Anger. From being the second woman to place first at the Clifftop Appalachian Fiddle Contest in 2009 to her 2012 and 2013 participation in the Acoustic Music Seminar in Savannah Georgia, Tatiana is dedicated to respecting and preserving oldtime and bluegrass traditions while simultaneously seeking her own musical voice and approaching these styles in new ways.


Kathryn Claire and The Dream Band

Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door.
Click here to purchase advance tickets.

Please join us for an evening with Kathryn Claire and The Dream Band featuring Allen Hunter, Zak Borden, Don Henson and Ara Lee – Live at Empty Sea!

We're webcasting this show live on The Roots Channel. Click the logo to learn more.



For over 10 years, Kathryn Claire has been a force in the celtic and folk music scenes in the Pacific Northwest. Her diverse musical career has spanned a wide range of genres and she has been an integral part of many music projects. From her early days with Eugene-based Irish/punk pub band, Toad in the Hole, to co-founding and fronting Portland based all-star band Circled by Hounds with Matthew Hayward-Macdonald, to her extensive and award-winning collaboration with Hanz Araki from 2010-2013, Kathryn Claire has continually been evolving as a singer, guitarist and fiddle player. Her deep love and respect for traditional music has long been a driving influence, and those roots are evident in her music.

Kathryn has released 4 solo albums of original music over the past 10 years, and is completely at home both the roll of front person or side person. Her charismatic presence and infectious smile have made her a favorite at venues and festivals around the world. She has toured and performed extensively in the US, Japan, India, Holland, Belgium and France.

Over the past year, Kathryn has been honing a unique sound that draws from her diverse musical background. The sound is energized, inspired and eclectic, yet there is a distinctive sound that is her own.

In March, 2014, Kathryn released her most recent album Shimmering Blue, a collection of cover songs, and toured with a band which she fondly calls The Dream Band, comprised of Allen Hunter on bass, Zak Borden on mandolin, Don Henson on percussion and piano, and Ara Lee on vocals.

“There is something magic that happens when the five of us play together. There is a deep and abiding sense of respect that is shared between us, and our diverse backgrounds complement each other beautifully, making for a fresh sound.” – Kathryn Claire

Zak Borden has put down roots in many musical disciplines. In his late teens, he fell in love with bluegrass music. As it does for so many, that fertile American hybrid introduced him to a world of other styles: from the country soul of The Band to the lilting traditions of Ireland; from modern string band takes on Thelonious Monk to the syncopated rhythms of Brazil. However, as a performer and educator he soon came to find that it was really just passionate, well-played and interesting music that he loves; Music that connects and tells a story. Zak’s shows employ nimble picking on guitar or mandolin and a deep baritone voice that leaps easily into a clear, high tenor.

Don Henson‘s band, Sneakin Out, has played various stages with Pink Martini, on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and also has opened for K.D. Lang and graced the stage of Carnegie Hall.

Allen Hunter has been playing live and recording with Portland area songwriters and bands for the past 20 years and has been touring internationally for the past 10 years with LA-based band, Eels. He has also recorded with the Eels on Vagrant Records, Michael Dean Damron & Thee Loyal Bastards on Rosa Records, Black Angel, James Low, Alan Charing, The Vibrasonics, and Jim Mesi to name a few.

With an upbringing split between the hills of Appalachia and the heart of New York City, Ara Lee’s dichotomous childhood made for a unique musical education. Ara cut her teeth fiddling and singing in the folk and gospel traditions of Tennessee, and then lived a second life in New York as an R&B and blues soloist, studio and commercial vocalist, and back-up singer. In her current incarnation as a singer-songwriter based in Portland, Ara’s powerful, soul-infused vocals combined with the simplicity of acoustic folk create a style uniquely her own—one that has been perhaps best described as “Soul-folk-tribal-funk-heathen-gospel butter.”

For more information, visit

The Fretless

Tickets: $15 advance, $18 at the door.
Click here to purchase advance tickets.

Please join us for an evening with The Fretless, live at Empty Sea!

We're webcasting this show live on The Roots Channel. Click the logo to learn more.










The Fretless
is a new approach to folk music that is quickly gaining high acclaim around the world.  This unique band is taking string music to fascinating places as it transforms fiddle tunes and folk melodies into intricate, beautiful, high-energy arrangements.

In November 2011, Karrnnel Sawitsky (Fiddle), Ivonne Hernandez (Fiddle), Eric Wright (Cello) and Trent Freeman (Fiddle) got together for the first time on Vancouver Island to start rehearsing this project.  After 10 days straight of writing, arranging, practicing and an absurd amount of tea, The Fretless emerged as a band.

With the release of their debut album Waterbound in early 2012, (which features their fresh styles, compositions, as well as collaborations with singers Ruth Moody and Norah Rendell), the quartet grabbed the attention of critics and fans across many genres.  This recording fueled a busy summer of festivals across Canada, a month long tour of Germany, and world wide sales and radio play. The year was capped with 3 awards, bringing the album, and the band further into the public eye; Instrumental Album of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, and at the Canadian Folk Music Awards, the Fretless walked away with both Ensemble of the Year, and Instrumental Group of the Year.

Now, with their brand new self-titled album, which has already won a Western Canadian Music Award and a CFMA for Ensemble of the Year, The Fretless are pushing themselves and their instruments further still. This album is a true demonstration of a band is gaining momentum and breaking new ground.

The Fretless is an innovation in music that must be heard.  They harbor all the energy of fiddle tunes, while shattering all expectations in writing, creativity and performance.

Laura Cortese: Concert & Live Webcast

Tickets: $18 advance, $22 at the door.

Click here to purchase advance in-person tickets.

We're webcasting this show live on The Roots Channel. Click the logo to learn more.

Photo of Laura Cortese and The Dance CardsBoston folk-pop darling Laura Cortese, with her band The Dance Cards are sounding as tight as ever: they have just returned from their US State Department-sponsored American Music Abroad tour to India, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan & Kazakhstan.  Cortese, speaking about the band’s experience performing abroad says, “From the first notes of every show, the electricity is palpable…The separation between stage and the audience seems to have never existed at all. We haven’t needed to tear down or kick in the fourth wall. just look across it and the energy comes streaming back.” Fresh from their experience abroad, the band is ready to head to the West Coast for a spring tour with dates in Venice Beach, LA, Berkeley, Chico, Arcata, Ashland, Portland, Spokane, Kelowna (BC), and Seattle.

The electricity of LCDC live shows vibrates from the stage. The trio’s creations are dark and ethereal: multi-textured gritty and personal original songs with plenty of inspiration from Americana and pop greats; songs that electrify and spellbind audiences the world over. While lush fiddle stylings root their music in a folk tradition, Cortese’s vocals are as modern and savvy as they come.  Mariel Vandersteel’s sensitive fiddle accompaniments, and Valerie Thompson’s rock-solid cello grooves ground Cortese’s dreamy, poetic voice.

The group’s latest album Into the Dark (released spring 2013) has been widely celebrated in music outlets such as No Depression, and Beat Surrender, which described the album as “a musical landscape [that] is one to admire from afar and in its minutiae.”


David Brewer & Rebecca Lomnicky — Scotland’s Music United: Concert & Live Webcast

Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door

Click here to purchase advance tickets to attend live.

Just returned from living in Scotland, duo performers David Brewer of the popular Celtic band Molly’s Revenge, & Glenfiddich International Fiddle Champion Rebecca Lomnicky will be performing captivating Scottish music which bridges the gap between the fiddle & bagpipe music of Scotland—two worlds united.

Rebecca Lomnicky and David Brewer each have spent copious amounts of time delving into the traditions of their respective instruments, living and studying in the highlands of Scotland, and have forged their duo in the spirit of merging these two similar but very different worlds to create a new seamless sound which is both kinetic, and full of passion.

Rebecca and DavidDavid Brewer is a multi-instrumentalist who has toured with the Scottish super-group The Old Blind Dogs, and with Molly’s Revenge across the US, the UK, Canada, China, Australia, has been a special guest of the six-time Grammy winning group The Chieftains, and was a key musician for the sound track of the PBS documentary, Andrew Jackson, Good, Evil, and the Presidency. David, who is known for being animated and engaging on stage, accompanies Rebecca’s award winning fiddling with guitar, Irish penny-whistle, and bodhran frame-drum, but primarily the Scottish bagpipes, on which he is unarguably one of the most energetic and charismatic performers of the instrument in the world today.

Rebecca Lomnicky began playing classical violin and piano at age five, discovered Scottish fiddle music a few short years later, and in 2005 won the Junior Division of the U.S. National Scottish Fiddle Competition. Following that victory, she recorded her first CD, The Call, praised by “Dirty Linen” magazine as “technically masterful, and wonderfully melodic.” In 2009, Rebecca won the 20th Annual Glenfiddich International Scottish Fiddle Championship held at Blair Castle, Blair Atholl, Scotland. The invitation only championship – seen as the Grammys of the fiddling world- is widely regarded as the most prestigious in Scottish fiddle. She has performed in Scotland, Ireland, Italy, China, and across the US, has been featured on the BBC radio show, Take the Floor, and in 2009, recorded her second CD, Inspired, with David Brewer. Presently, Rebecca is studying music and anthropology at Cornell University, & the University of Edinburgh, and the duo tours the Celtic festival circuit between semesters.

Whether intricately arranged toe-tapping dance tunes, or soaring majestic airs –catch their show and you’ll leave energized.

10 String Symphony with Josh Philpott

Tickets: $14 advance, $18 at the door

Click here to purchase advance tickets.

10 String Symphony

The Nashville music scene is a famous home for world-class side musicians, as well as a plethora of legendary songwriters.  Now it presents us with a duo that combines the best of both worlds, skilled instrumentalists with an incredible amount of soul and a love of great songs.

10 String Symphony is an arena for mesmerizing acoustic innovation.  Although difficult to categorize, their music is instantly recognizable as a blend of two distinct but equally vivacious musical voices, encompassing “aggressive, almost discordant, celtic and dare I say punky string-chording experimentations” (The Bluegrass Situation).  Vocally, Rachel Baiman and Christian Sedelmyer lock in seamlessly, and their vocal duets often take center stage despite the fact that they are self-described fiddle players.

Sedelmyer (Formerly of the Farewell Drifters) and Baiman (Formerly of Belfry Fellows) met in Nashville, and realized a mutual love for the range and depth of the 5-String fiddle.  Their desire to see just how far a two-fiddle, two-vocals instrumentation could take them was the inspiration for the 10 String Symphony project.  By the time their first full-length album was released in November 2012, their instrumentation had expanded to include the occasional clawhammer banjo and resonator mandolin, though still maintaining a stripped down, tightly woven and carefully arranged duo sound.

Decidedly contemporary in their musical approach, their debut album showcases Sedelmyer’s virtuosic improvisation and creative harmonic soundscape ideas alongside Baiman’s old-time rhythm and emotional melodic sensibilities. Just over a year old, the duo has already gained recognition and attention from some major festivals, landing slots at the ROMP festival in Ownsboro, KY and the Strawberry Music Festival in Yosemite, CA in the summer of 2013.

“When each song ended, the two pressed tight into their microphones, savoring the last strains of the harmony – and even the bartenders seemed to be leaning forward breathlessly, awaiting someone to clap first.  Their self titled recording aptly demonstrates the power of a spare, tightly-connected acoustic performance that is given room to evolve – for bluegrass fans, the lightning-fast harmonic runs on dueling fiddle is worth the price of admission alone. But it’s the off the road experiments, especially from Christian’s biting bow-strokes that will make future audiences take note.”   -Z. N. LUPETIN, The Bluegrass Situation

“The fiddle playing from both Sedelmyer and Baiman is beautiful, articulate, expressive, and their synchronicity is compelling.  Baiman’s clawhammer work is tastefully gentle as well, and Sedelmyer’s improvisational work is a wonderful balance of the traditional mountain music fused with contemporary harmonic and rhythmic influences that make for a great listen. Their vocals are equally impressive, capturing that far away feeling so loved in folk music, and when set against the texture of the two fiddles (or fiddle and banjo), it is easy to get lost in this record.”   – The AcoustiCana Journal

Josh PhilpottJosh Philpott hails from TN where he spent years working as a musician in Nashville. To his liking he blends the simple charm of Appalachian and folk music with a jazz tinged improvisational approach. He started singing long after being an established guitarist. Now he identifies with them in a unique and equal way.

“Very intimate, interesting and down to earth acoustic music. Josh Phillpott’s vocals are rich in character and pull you into the story of each song.”
-Brent Truitt

“Philpott’s entrance to the “scene” with this album brings a unique twist to an old time sound.  His combination of creative arrangements and heart felt guitar playing is topped off by a Tim O’Brien-esque voice that sounds anything but old.”
-Carol Young (The Greencards)

Musical Chemistry: Q&A with Impossible Bird

This Saturday, Impossible Bird will take the stage at Empty Sea.  Click here for more information and to buy advance tickets.

Impossible BirdFormed by Nick Drummond and Tyler Carson, Impossible Bird is a duo that will shake your bones. The genre smashing duo from Seattle has been turning heads up and down the West Coast of North America with their blend of infectious songs and playful live shows.

How do you describe the music you play and how were you first drawn to this music?

Tyler Carson: I’ve been playing the violin for 24 years. I started with classical modified Suzuki lessons when I was five years old and my teacher who was of eastern European descent told me – “Tyler, you are very talented, but you are very lazy!” (I was practicing for ‘only’ 30min per day). You see, she wanted me to practice for at least an hour, 2 by age 8, 3 by age ten… I love it. But she also was very smart and said much to her personal disinclination, that maybe I should try playing ‘fiddle music’. And that was the beginning of a life time pursuit!

When I was 11years old I played in front of 60,000 people (fiddle music) at the Commonwealth games and I am told my feet didn’t touch the ground the whole performance (I tend to be… enthusiastic in my performance). When I was 13, I played as a solo guest artist with the Victoria Symphony half classical and then send half fiddle music. And that has been a blending experience I have always had in my playing which eventually incorporated jazz, rock, country, Celtic, bluegrass… all of these genres I performed in professionally until my recent work with Impossible Bird that was the first time that I brought all of these influences together under one project. I love it!

Nick Drummond: We actually have a pretty hard time describing what we do! Neither of us are quite sure we’ve ever heard anything like it before, as it is simply the alchemy of two players who share a whole lot of musical chemistry. But what we are sure of is how much we enjoy creating it! Fans will often tell us how our sound is way too big for just two players, and how they feel they’ve been taken on a journey by the end of a show. And frankly we agree, because we feel the same way a lot of the time. When we get painted into a corner and forced to describe what our music sounds like we usually say its a cross between Paul Simon, Radiohead, and Dave Matthews. But even that doesn’t quite seem to paint the whole picture.

How did you each first start playing music and how did you meet and start playing together?

Nick: I started out writing songs and playing in a band called The Senate. Tyler came through on tour with The Paperboys and we opened for them, and immediately hit it off. There has always been a spark between us when we play, and we both felt it pretty much immediately. Then my old band broke up, Tyler toured the world, and we reconnected at a great time for both of us. This band has been together for 18 months

Impossible Bird is such a wonderful name.  Where did it come from?

Tyler: Nick’s sock drawer.  Nick you want to take it from here… ? ;)

Nick: Ha, yes. My sock drawer.

Nick, What do you think about when writing music?  What are your goals and what do you want to say with your songs?

Nick: Songs are a fascinating window into who is writing them, I find. Some songwriters leave you with the sense that they feel squeezed from all sides simply by their own existence, and others show you just how deeply one can think about the world and what one experiences in it. And some are just fun. I guess I think of myself as a combination of all three… at least on a good day. I think I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve and so what I write tends to be a reflection of where I’m at as I struggle to be the best version of myself I can. Plus I love women and dancing and babies and the idea that we are better when we come together. If I had to distill that into a single message or idea, I think it would be “love wins.”

Tyler, You play the stroh violin (a violin which uses a metal horn instead of a wooden sound box)  as well the violin or fiddle that most people know.  Could you describe this instrument and tell us why you use it?

Tyler: It is from the late 19th century and designed to be more effective in the recording medium that was the gramophone. It has a more nasal and higher frequency sound that causes it to etch into the wax more deeply. They actually made full orchestras of these instruments – they even had stroh cellos!

When I heard it the first time, I just had a sense that it was important to me. Didn’t know why. 2 weeks later, Nick sent me the first song that we collaborated on – Sand and Stone which is absolutely marvelous. Deeply haunting and personally questioning and I knew why I had found the stroh.

What are you listening to now?  Who are your musical inspirations?

Tyler: Being a musician and keeping late hours by necessity, I was disappointed that I couldn’t fall back asleep at 7:30am. I had a lot of things running around in my head and then I listened to “In Rainbows” (Radiohead).  It gave me all the answers I needed and I was back to sleep.

Tom Yorke is a wonderful lyricist and possibly, no absolutely a more brilliant vocalist. He takes words and changes vowels at the most perfect time so that the word has still been spoken but it also turns it into something completely different and much more “instrumental.” He’s blurring the definition between vocals and instrument which I appreciate very much, from the opposite point of view…

Nick: Right now I’m listening to a lot of Elbow and Radiohead. Pretty standard for me in the winter. :)

What’s next for Impossible Bird?  What are your goals with this group?

Tyler: I’m very much looking forward to getting into studio again this spring and bringing that record to a number of festival performance this summer!

Nick: Next up we are working on some new songs and maybe heading back into the studio before too long. Then it’s off on the road again.

TAARKA: Concert & Live Webcast

Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door.

Click here to purchase advance tickets.

David and Enion Pelta-Tiller met in New York City in the spring of 2001. Big changes were waiting in the wings that spring, for the world at large, and for the world of music. Spheres of influence collided, and the unique brand of music called gypsy chamber-grass was born, in the subways and on the streets of the big apple.

Wielding powerful and lightning quick mandolins and fiddles, the pair sallied forth, westward, to carry their brave new sound to the pacific side of the country. There they planted the seeds and grew the dominion of Taarka, there they transplanted the flowering vine, Thamusemeant, and there they wrote scores of beautiful and strange melodies, ensconcing all the fruits of their labors on compact discs for all the world to share. The florid outgrowth of intrepid David and Enion’s oeuvre was fed and watered with the rich nutrients of history:

They’ve performed with members of the Grateful Dead, Phish, and String Cheese Incident, Yonder Mountain String Band, Darol Anger, Joe Craven, ALO, Keller Williams, Mike Marshall, Danny Barnes, Leftover Salmon, Steve Kimock, Garaj Mahal, Colonel Bruce Hampton and Aquarium Rescue Unit, Kaki King, Drew Emmit Band, Rob Wasserman, Tony Furtado, The Slip, The Motet, Dan Bern, The Everyone Orchestra to name a few and have been Mark O’Connor fiddle camp performers and instructors.

They’ve performed festival stages and concert rooms throughout North America over their 11 year journey. In time they yearned for higher climes, and packed up the old caravan to trundle along to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and a little town that rang out day and night with tuneful noise, Lyons. The trip passed more quickly with a song and sing they did, adding voices to the formidable arsenal of furious stringed instruments. Their latest album, Adventures In Vagabondia, to be released this fall, features an impressive cast of characters such as Darol Anger, others from the David Grisman Quintet and many other stringed instrument greats.

Bruce Molsky w/ Jim Miller

Sorry, this show is completely sold out!  No tickets will be released at the door.

However, seating is unlimited for our multi-camera HD webcast!  Purchase access at the link below before showtime to tune in.

Bruce Molsky
stands today as one of the premier old-time fiddlers in the world, a defining virtuoso of Appalachia’s timeless folk music traditions. That must feel odd for a former engineer from the Bronx, who didn’t begin a music career until he was forty. But folded into those strange facts is the secret to his unique genius.

In addition to a prolific solo career, performing on fiddle, guitar, and banjo, Molsky frequently joins genre-busting supergroups, like the Grammy-nominated Fiddlers Four, and Mozaik, with Hungarian Nikola Parov, and Celtic giant Donal Lunny. He was on Nickel Creek’s farewell tour, and performs in a trio with Scottish fiddler Aly Bain and Sweden’s great Ale Moller.

“Playing in these kinds of groups is an important part of what I do,” Molsky says. “Regionalism was one of the hallmarks of traditional music in the old days; now we’re in the Information Age, and I don’t think that’s what folk music does anymore. But the more cultures I discover, the more I realize that folk music performs the same function for everybody; and therefore is the same thing everywhere – just spoken with different accents.”

Molsky was born in the Bronx in 1955, and fell in love with old-time music as a teenager. He moved to Virginia in the ’70s, learning directly from old masters like Tommy Jarrell, and seeing how the music fit into people’s lives.

“It was only the older people, of Tommy’s generation, who still had the music as part of their everyday existence,” Molsky says. “At first, I wanted to live like that; but then I realized I didn’t want to claim the culture as my own – I just loved the music.”

That personal authenticity deeply informs his music. Whether performing an ancient reel from Virginia, a Swedish waltz, or a loping cowboy ballad, Molsky presents himself as exactly who he is. Rob Simons, executive director of the Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis, says that’s the key to Molsky’s enormous appeal as a live performer: “He’s that unique blend of virtuoso and humble, nice guy that is irresistible to audiences.”

Perhaps that’s how he discovered the real secret to the humble genius of traditional music: that it’s real people’s music; the honest expression of life as we all live it. You don’t master that by imitating others, nor by trying to live in other people’s worlds. You master it by being yourself; and at that profoundly simple and profoundly difficult musical art, Molsky is truly old-time’s master craftsman.

“I’m still a social musician,” he says, “in the sense that I talk to an audience the way I talk to people in my house; and I play for them just like we’re all in the living room together. I want to present myself as who I am; and this music as what it is. The biggest lesson from changing careers at mid-life is that you discover the strength is not in what you do; it’s in who you are.”

Jim Miller has been performing traditional and country music for decades (he and Bruce played in a band together in 1975), but his recording career dates back even further!  At 8 years old Jim sang soprano and toured the Canadian Prairies with the Saskatoon Boys Choir. Thirty years later he co-founded the roots-based band Donna the Buffalo.  He toured with that band for 15 years, performing across the US at festivals such a Bonnaroo, Rhythm & Roots, and Telluride.  In addition to five CDs with DTB, Jim has recorded with Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Ginny Hawker, Carol Elizabeth Jones, Dirk Powell, and Tara Nevins. He also writes books about moths and butterflies, and played electric guitar with Louisiana legend Preston Frank as a member of Big Daddy Zydeco.

Brittany Haas & Lauren Rioux

Tickets: Sorry, this show is completely SOLD OUT. No tickets will be released at the door.

However, you can purchase live or on-demand access to our HD webcast through Empty Sea Television by clicking on the link below.

Click here to purchase webcast access.

Two fiddlers from widely respected bands (Brittany Haas of Crooked Still, and Lauren Rioux from Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings) are joining forces. As a duo, the women bring their extensive knowledge of Appalachian music and experience of being at the forefront of the contemporary string band scene, as well as the strength and depth of seasoned performers. Their music is steeped in groove, emotion-filled and harmonically progressive. The joy they share on stage as they weave and dance through duets on their instruments and vocals is palpable among audience.

“Enchanting, thoughtful and musically satiating”
-Portland Herald

Brittany Haas is a 5 string fiddle player from Northern California, currently residing in Nashville. A Princeton graduate, she is a member of the Boston-based alternative bluegrass band, Crooked Still. She has spent the past 11 years touring the world with various musicians and groups such as Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings, Yonder Mountain String Band, Tony Trischka, Alasdair Fraser & Natalie Haas, and The Waybacks.

She played fiddle on Steve Martin‘s Grammy Award-winning CD, The Crow, and performed in his band on “The David Letterman Show” and “Saturday Night Live”. Herdebut self-titled solo album was released in 2004, produced by Darol Anger and featuring Bruce Molsky, Mike Marshall, Alison Brown and others. She recently recorded a soon-to-be-released project with hardanger fiddler and composer Dan Trueman featuring their own original music. She also plays in an all-girl indie old-time band called The Fundies and an exciting new duo with fiddler Lauren Rioux.

Lauren Rioux fiddles from the heart with soul and joy. This, in combination with her warm tone, elegantly expressive phrasing and playful style, leads her to create music that artfully explores themes of both heartache and hope. With her debut album, All the Brighter, Lauren presents a beautiful collection of melodies that embrace and celebrate the richness of life. Rooted in the old-time tradition, and drawing inspiration from a wide swath of musicians, from Sam Cooke to Hillary Hahn, her music is at once timeless and fresh.

Lauren performs regularly with Darol Anger, Scott Law, and Mike Block in the band Republic of Strings, and Scott Nygaard and Joe Walsh in Crow Molly. She also tours with fellow fiddler and All the Brighter producer Brittany Haas of Crooked Still. She has shared the stage with Bruce Molsky, Tim O’Brien, Mike Marshall, Vasen, Laurie Lewis, Natalie Haas and others at such festivals as Wintergrass, Delfest,Rockygrass, and Celtic Connections.

Double Duos: Michael Connolly & Miller McNay w/ Prairie Wolfe

The Next Gen Folk Series is jointly presented by Hearth Music, Victory Music and Empty Sea Studios.

Sorry, this show is completely sold out!  No tickets will be released at the door.

Please join us as double mandolin meets double fiddle in this special evening of instrumental music!

Mandolin duo Michael Connolly & Miller McNay will present music from their breakthrough mandolin duo album The Mandolin Casefiles.

To kick off the evening, fiery Celtic fiddler Prairie Wolfe will be joined by Michael Connolly on fiddle, chromatic button accordion and guitar for an opening set of Irish and French Canadian tunes.

With tunes spanning the blues, old-time, bluegrass, Irish and French Canadian genres, this is a Next Gen Folk show you won’t want to miss!

Michael Connolly & Miller McNay: The Northwest’s premier mandolin duo

Playing their mandolins together for more than five years, Michael Connolly and Miller McNay have traveled along and across genre boundaries, from bluegrass to old-time to swing. In their inaugural album celebrating the unusual pairing of two mandolins, Connolly and McNay share the sound they’ve developed as a duo: transparent and open, but warm, varied, and eminently listenable.

In The Mandolin Casefiles: It Takes Two To Mando, Connolly and McNay offer up a mix of traditionaltunes, covers, and originals like McNay’s “The Grapes of Rag,” which introduces the disc, and Connolly’s “Mr. Pick’s Blues,” a chromatic, colorful adventure in 12/8. A vintage Gibson mandola makes an appearance on “Over The Waterfall” and on the duo’s cover of Lennon and McCartney’s “In My Life.” Exhibiting an unparalleled responsiveness to each others’ playing, the musicians slip effortlessly between lead, accompaniment, and even percussive roles.

Recorded live in the studio with no overdubs, The Mandolin Casefiles captures the palpable energy and moment-by-moment musical dialogue between two longstanding collaborators at play.

Michael Connolly’s love affair with the mandolin began at age six. During his musically charged upbringing in Memphis, Tennessee, he delved deeply into bluegrass, old-time, Irish traditional, blues, and swing music. The result is a unique “hornlike” approach to the instrument. His deft ear and sensitive accompaniment have won him appearances touring with and performing alongside Michelle Shocked, Coyote Grace, and The Indigo Girls.

An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, Connolly performs regularly on fiddle, piano, and accordion as well as maintaining a busy teaching schedule. He has recorded widely, appearing on nineteen albums. The Mandolin Casefiles is the twelfth to feature his mandolin playing.

Miller McNay’s mandolin story began in his native Charlotte, North Carolina. Winner of the Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival’s mandolin contest, he has played with Free Roaming Buffalo Herd,and Barnyard Stompand as a founding member of Captain Gravel.

McNay’s impeccable tone and rhythmic drive have led to his sharing the stage with Joe CravenG-Love & Special Sauce, and Ben Winship as well as opening for Tim O’ BrienDanny Barnes, and The Wilders.

Prairie Wolfe

Seattle-based Celtic fiddler Prairie Wolfe never intended to play the fiddle at all. “I wanted to play the celtic harp as a kid,” she reports. It was French-Canadian/Metis fiddler Anne Lederman who influenced her to try her hand at the fiddle. “I’ve definitely always been attracted to the raw, unrefined sound of the fiddle.” It is this raw energy and the old-world accents that stand Prairie apart from other fiddlers and distinguishes her dynamic, rhythmic playing.

In 2005, Prairie’s talents whisked her from her westcoast home to Europe on a tour with Irish trio Damanta. The band played Ireland, Holland, Germany and Austria, bringing to audiences what Prairie describes as their unique “Christina Ricci meets Ashley MacIsaac” sound. Following the tour, she landed in Boston and decided to stay a while.  During her stay, Prairie was quickly initiated into the New England contradance scene, playing dances at the Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield, MA and getting involved with teaching, busking, and frequenting the odd session or two at the Burren.

The Burren is a long way from the church basement meetings of the Vancouver Scottish Fiddle Club, where Prairie got her start and where she met her initial mentor and teacher, Juno-Award winning fiddler Shona Le Mottee, of “Paperboys” and “Lord of the Dance” fame. Before long, she was performing in Vancouver’s CelticFest, doing demonstrations at schools, and hosting “Fiddlers For Funds: Tsunami Relief Benefit Concert.” “I have been amazingly lucky to play with all of Vancouver’s very best fiddlers and musicians, and to know them personally too. It’s been a charmed life.”


Matthew Hartz Trio

Tickets: $12 advance, $16 at the door.

Click here to purchase advance tickets.

Matthew Hartz holds a unique position in roots and americana music. From an early age, his ear was bent toward old time fiddle masters including Benny Thomasson, Texas Shorty and Terry Morris.

Attending local, regional and national level fiddle contests enabled Matthew to hone his skills and learn directly from these legends. One of Matthew’s greatest fiddle heros was a full blooded Native American from Oklahoma. In 1985, Matthew got his chance to meet Orville Burns. In 1989, Texas Style Old Time Fiddling with Matthew Hartz and Orville Burns was first released. This is the only recording project Orville participated in.

That same year, Matthew won “The Big Three”. “The Big Three” being the Grand National Fiddle Championships held each year in Weiser, Idaho, the Grand Master Fiddle Championships held in Nashville, Tennessee and the World Championships of Fiddling held in Crockett, Texas. Being crowned champion at any one of these prestigious contests holds high regard in the world of old time fiddling. Matthew would go on to win the Grand Master Fiddle Championships twice more (1993, 1995) and the Grand National Fiddle Championships again in 1992.

Naturally, Matthew has made his mark in the old time fiddle world, however, his music spans more than just the four strings found on a fiddle. The Beach Boys, the Ramones, Fleetwood Mac, The Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash, among others, have all influenced Matthew’s music. Performing original music in both acoustic and electric settings has fine tuned his skills as a complete musician. Listen carefully and let his songwriting skills take you on an emotional journey.

“If you ever have the pleasure of hearing him play fiddle, guitar and sing you too will be humbled. While some musicians dazzle with technical ability,Matt can do that but also give you the whole experience of entertainment. Hewill make you understand the blues, make you laugh and want to sing along.Every lick and note he plays comes right from the heart. This pun is intended.”  -Steve Eaton, Gold and Platinum Award winning songwriter

“His compositions spring from his heart and speak of his ability to express through music what most of us can only feel.”   -Jim, Texas Shorty, Chancellor 7-time World Fiddle Champion

Jefferson Hamer & Tashina Clarridge

Tickets: $12 advance, $16 at the door.

Click here to purchase advance tickets.

When two of the best young artists from the east coast new acoustic music scene come together to play as a duo, the audience knows it’s in for a treat! Jefferson Hamer, multi-instrumentalist and clear-voiced folk singer, mixes his repertoire of new and old songs with the fiddling of one of America’s greatest young players, Tashina Clarridge, a fiddler since age two and winner of the National Old Time Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho. What results is a sparkling musical collaboration that pulls the audience into a world of astonishingly relevant original and traditional folk songs, performed with excitement, creativity, and tremendous all-around musicianship.

Jefferson Hamer started singing and playing stringed instruments around Colorado in the late 90′s, making a mark with his acoustic trio Single Malt Band and the country-rock outfit Great American Taxi. After a decade spent in the West, he took his talents to New York City. Because of his ability to cross genres and musical styles, and his versatility both as a soloist and as an accompanist, Jefferson has become a master of collaboration, cultivating partnerships with Anais Mitchell, Laura Cortese, Kristin Andreassen, Session Americana, and Irish music quartet Murphy Beds. Jefferson’s original songs reflect a wide breadth of influences and echo the distilled melodies and lyricism of British, Irish, and American traditional music. His 2004 release “Left Wing Sweetheart” earned a 4-star review from Marquee Music Magazine, who said it “sounds like a forgotten Gram Parsons release suddenly discovered.”

Tashina Clarridge was raised in the mountains of northern California. She is one of the youngest fiddlers to become Grand National Fiddle Champion, and in addition she is a 6-time Grand National finalist, 6-time California State Fiddle Champion, and 2-time Western Open grand Champion. Though her contest record speaks to her clear abilities in Texas style contest fiddling, it is her enthusiasm for many diverse styles that brings a higher level of creativity to her playing. Tashina has performed at Carnegie Hall as part of Grammy winning bassist Edger Meyer’s Young Artist Concert. She is a member of the influential new music string band, The Bee Eaters, which performs accross the United States. Tashina lends her fiddling to projects by other prominent musicians including famed banjo player Tony Trischka, and Grammy Winners Laurie Lewis and Mark O’Connor. O’Connor has said of Tashina, “…she will make a lasting impact on the people she touches with her talent in the future. She is in music for the right reasons and we as listeners will benefit from it”.

Molly’s Revenge

Tickets: $12 advance, $16 at the door.

Click here to purchase advance tickets.

Molly’s Revenge is a dynamic, acoustic Celtic band known for its unique and infectious on-stage enthusiasm. The classic combination of bagpipes, whistle, fiddle, and song — set against a backdrop of guitar, bouzouki, and mandola accompaniment — guarantees an enjoyable experience for all fans of Scottish and Irish music. Their arrangements of traditional jigs and reels bring these dance tunes up to date with a driving, hard-edged accent that always leaves audiences shouting for more.

From epic sets on highland pipes and fiddle, to angelic folk songs over bouzouki and mandola, to ripping sets of Irish jigs and reels, the lads of Molly’s Revenge have expanded their range on their seventh release, “The Western Shore.” The new record was produced by John Doyle, a founding member of Irish supergroup Solas. Guest performers include percussionist Fraser Stone (Old Blind Dogs), John Doyle, and vocalist Moira Smiley (VOCO).

David Brewer has been playing whistle and four types of bagpipes for about 15 years. He studied in Scotland at the Ceolas Music School in South Uist under the tutelage of some of the best pipers in the world. His authentic and unique style of playing has earned him the reputation of being one of the most accomplished pipers on the West Coast. David has composed close to 200 traditional style tunes, many of which have appeared on recordings, independent films, and television.

John Weed is a classically-trained violinist who switched to playing Irish fiddle about 10 years ago. John lived in Ireland in 2000 and taught fiddle workshops at the Flowing Tide International Music School in Doonbeg, County Clare. He hones his skills annually by attending the Frankie Kennedy Winter School in Dunlewey, County Donegal where he has studied with Ciaran O’Maonaigh and Dermot Mcloughlin.

Pete Haworth grew up in the Blackburn area of Lancashire County, England, where he collected and sang the local folk songs. He brings an authentic vocal style, a very big bouzouki, and an unflagging sense of humour to the band. He and his family moved to California in 1982.

Stuart Mason has been collecting and performing traditional music for over 30 years. He has appeared on stage from Ireland to China performing Celtic, old time bluegrass, and his original compositions, which have won awards from the West Coast Songwriters Association. He leads workshops and classes in traditional music techniques at music festivals and camps.

Next Page »