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
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:
“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.
Tickets: $16 advance, $20 at the door.
They released ther debut album, “Sometimes We Feel the Same”, independently in the spring of 2016, under the guidance of Grammy-Winning producer Dave Clauss. And have toured extensively throughout the PNW, opening for folk-star Brett Dennen, and sharing several shows with Oakland’s T Sisters.
“Dan is a monster of a guitar player.” – Kenneth Pattengale, Milk Carton Kids
“Their great feat turns out to be taking what’s best of the classic Irish folk revival without falling into any of its clichés. The resulting album bears repeated listening from start to finish, with ten beautiful, crystalline songs.” –Huffington Post
Eamon started playing Irish music while growing up in Dublin through his friendship with the Mayock family, traditional musicians from County Mayo. When he moved to New York City in the early 90’s, he immersed himself in the city’s traditional music scene and travelled widely, performing with many of the great players in Irish music. In 2004 he and fiddler Patrick Ourceau released the album Live at Mona’s. Eamon has taught at many traditional music programs in the US and also records and performs original music. His last solo record, Old Clump, was released in 2012.
Jefferson is a guitarist and singer based in Brooklyn, NY. In 2013, in addition to The Murphy Beds, he and songwriter Anais Mitchell released Child Ballads, a collection of new adaptations of English and Scottish folk songs which won a BBC Radio 2 Folk Award. His original songs are featured on the 2016 album Great Shakes by Cambridge, MA roots rock ensemble Session Americana. In the Oct. 2013 issue, Acoustic Guitar magazine wrote, “A gifted guitarist and singer, Hamer is able to hit close harmonies… and weave gorgeous instrumental lines.”
Tickets: $18 advance, $22 at the door.
With more than a dozen albums and over a thousand shows between them, Ty Greenstein and Ingrid Elizabeth of Mouths of Babes are no strangers to the modern folk music scene. For years, their respective bands Girlyman and Coyote Grace captivated thousands of loyal fans as they criss-crossed the country, rocked festival main stages, and toured with the likes of the Indigo Girls and Dar Williams. Now, as Mouths of Babes, Ty and Ingrid have distilled the very best of the songwriting, humor, and musicianship of their previous groups into a new power duo that brings more style and depth than ever before.
The key to the Mouths of Babes magic is in the contrast. Rarely is a sound or a show as balanced as it is with these two, and the differences in both their songwriting styles and personal presentation makes for an unusually satisfying yin and yang. The Chicago Tribune writes, “They offer unique counterpoints to one another…the laidback Ty, nattily dressed in a tie and crisp suit jacket, has a rich, lovely alto. Ingrid, clad in a sultry pink satin mini-dress, is a sassy chanteuse with a lilting soprano. Trading jokes and sharing elegant harmonies, the two women display an intuitive professional bond.” They easily switch off lead vocals and play a wide array of instruments, with Ty on acoustic and electric guitars, banjo, and foot percussion, and Ingrid playing upright bass, ukulele, and cajon.
Mouths of Babes burst onto the acoustic music scene in 2014 with big shoes to fill, and on their debut EP Faith & Fumes they delivered with songs that are equal parts celebration and blues, folk and soul, tear-jerker ballad and irreverent ditty. In just over a year, the duo has become a sought-after act in its own right, headlining some of the best rooms on the circuit, such as the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, Evanston SPACE in Chicago, and Club Passim in Boston. They’ve also made some fans in high places, and in February 2016 Mouths of Babes will record its first full-length CD with legendary Grammy-winning producer Malcolm Burn (Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Peter Gabriel, Patti Smith). Burn calls the new Mouths of Babes songs a veritable “gold mine of material,” and the highly anticipated CD is slated for a fall 2016 release.
“Ty Greenstein and Ingrid Elizabeth have an absolutely mesmerizing kismet together, and are both accomplished musicians [with] versatile, fun-loving, moving, accessible and simply beautiful songwriting. Go see this band – and prepare to fall in love!” – North End Concert Series
Tickets: Available through KickStarter.
Click here to support Debbie’s KickStarter.
Tickets to the live album recording can be obtained through certain KickStarter pledges.
Please join us for a live album recording with Debbie Miller, Julia Massey, and Gabriel Wolfchild, live at Empty Sea!
“Watching her perform live, Miller has an uncanny ability to keep an audience smiling the entire night – A direct reflection of her humbled stage presence and endearing personality. She’s about as real as they get when it comes to musicians in Seattle.“ – City Arts Magazine
Seattle-based singer/songwriter Debbie Miller will tug at your heart, cause you giggle, and make you think twice about crossing her – Sometimes all during the same song. Blending humor with heart-wrenching honesty, Miller’s refreshing brand of unique lyrics and playful melodies capture and delight audiences from east to west. Her music has garnered media attention from local and national press including City Arts Magazine, AOL Music, Seattle Weekly, SSG Music, PureVolume, CDBaby, and more.
Miller, a New York native and classically trained pianist who studied under a Julliard alumna for ten years, began her career in the Brooklyn and East Village music scenes in 2008. With song topics ranging from love to bathroom graffiti, Miller’s music oscillates flawlessly between folk-ish tunes on guitar and pounding numbers on the piano.
After moving cross-country to Seattle in 2010, Miller immersed herself in the legendary music scene and has been quickly embraced by West Coast audiences. With quirky lyrics that teeter between honesty, seriousness and silliness, Miller has developed a reputation for her unique live shows, which are often highlighted by her propensity for error. “I always mess up somehow in a live show. Whether I forget the words, screw up the music, or fall off the stage — true story.” These “Debbie Do-overs” have become fan favorites. “I think it’s because people respond to authenticity and honesty in art and performance,” she said. As a result, Miller plans to record a live album at Empty Sea Studios to capture the experience of her performance.
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!
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 www.kathrynclairemusic.com
Tickets: $10 advance, $13 at the door.
Click here to purchase advance tickets.
Please join us for an evening with The Long Memory, live at Empty Sea!
As the son of Bruce, “Utah” Phillips, Duncan Phillips began traveling on the road with his father in the winter of 2000. Utah referred to Duncan as his “road manager,” but Duncan jokes that everyone knows his father couldn’t be managed. Bruce always had the dream of playing on stage together with his son, but as a kid, Duncan could never reconcile that in learning to play the guitar, he would be learning one of the very things that kept him separated from his father for so many years. Duncan performed on stage just shortly after his dad’s death in 2008. Along with Utah’s old road-worn Guild guitar, Duncan inherited the songs and stories of the people and places that his father wrote about over his forty plus years of wandering the country. In Duncan’s own words: “Well, even though he may be gone, every time I’m on the stage, he is there with me and this my story, so far…oh yeah, I do live in Utah.”
Kat Eggleston is one of the most accomplished guitarists and singer/songwriters in the folk, Celtic and traditional music genres. Elating, moving, and amusing audiences with her beautiful blend of sweet melodies, gentle honesty and searing humor, Kat’s music reflects a wide range of life’s experiences with unusual clarity and authority. In a clear alto with flawless intonation, Kat Eggleston goes straight to the lyrical and emotional truth of every word and every note. Her musings on home, childhood, and her father’s garden are gems of direct, unassuming plainspokenness. Her narratives push hard at our senses and demand we return again and again to pick up the pieces we dropped on first hearing, expanding our comprehension of difficult, personal and universal experience.
California banjo sweetheart Erin Inglish is an incredibly unique female songwriter. Like the late John Hartford, she is a solo act with a voice, a banjo, some body percussion, and poignant songs. This internationally-touring, banjo-wielding woman presents a “raw, sweet and sincere Emmy Lou-ish sound…[and] she makes the banjo sound like a musical instrument” (fan, North Carolina). From the thoughtful and conscientious messages in her songwriting, to her magnetic and entertaining stage-presence, Erin is a consummate performer and humanistic storyteller.
This Thursday, Danny Schmidt takes the Empty Sea stage for a concert with a live webcast. Click here to learn more and to purchase advance tickets.
Named to the Chicago Tribune’s 50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt has been rapidly ascending from underground cult hero to being widely recognized as an artist of generational significance. With lyrical depth drawing comparisons to Leonard Cohen, Townes Van Zandt, and Dave Carter, Danny is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane.
How did you first start playing music?
I first started playing music (electric guitar) (loud!) in my room as a teenager as a way to get away from my family, and express a little bit of my teenage angst. That started my obsession with the guitar. Eventually as I matured, that obsession found more refined focal points, like the country blues pickers . . . which eventually led to a convergence with my interest in writing. I discovered the songwriters who hung out with (or idolized) the country blues guys.
Would you describe yourself as a “folk musician?” How do you define that term?
It depends who’s asking. If it’s a regular person, then yes, I say I’m a folk singer. Cause all they really want to know is if I play acoustic guitar and sing by myself. If I’m talking to a music aficionado, I’ll usually tell them I’m a “singer/songwriter” . . . just cause it’s a broader term, and more accurate. I write my own songs, and I sing them. Beyond that, the songs are really without genre. I think of songs as pretty loose frameworks, musically, and depending on what sort of instrumental fabric you hang on them, what instruments you choose to add to them, can wind up in almost any genre.
What do you think is the hardest part of this job? What is an unexpected perk?
The traveling is both the best and worst parts of this job. I love seeing the world, I love catching up with my far-flung friends, I love meeting new people . . . but I hate not having a steady rhythmic home life. It’s become more and more obvious to me how much I need a home routine to feel connected to my community and to feel rooted, personally. And in turn, it’s become clearer and clearer to me how much I need that rootedness to be a productive writer. So I’ve been actively trying to scale back the touring, and keep a healthier balance in my life. God, I sound like frickin’ Oprah.
How have the places you have lived influenced your music?
Very much so. I grew up in Austin which taught me that music is (and should be) ubiquitous and eclectic and collaborative and common. I lived communally for five years where music was a part of our daily life. It wasn’t a stage or performance affair, it was daily on the porch. Then I lived in Charlottesville, VA just as I started getting serious about songwriting, and immediately fell in with a brilliant community of upstart songwriters that to this day remain huge influences on me . . . they’re the voices in my head that help me edit my songs, and judge them when it’s judgement time.
You’ve received high praise from many, many music publications – Sing Out calls you a “force of nature, a blue moon, a hundred-year flood, an avalanche of a singer-songwriter.” Is that a lot to live up to? Does it feel strange to be described as a person by reviewers you may never have met?
Yeah, it takes awhile to get used to the idea of being “reviewed”. . . it’s kind of a polite way of saying “being judged” really . . . and that’s not a super comfortable position to find yourself in! Eventually, though, you just kinda stop paying much attention to any of the reviews, good or bad, cause you have your own internal barometer for whether what you’re doing is any good. I could argue with any glowing review and tell them all the things that are wrong with the album that they missed. And I could argue with any bad review and tell them all the brilliant themes they missed!
What are your current musical and non-musical sources of inspiration?
I love podcasts. I listen to a lot of great talks online while I drive . . . they’re really what gets my brain cranking these days.
What are you most excited about now with your music?
It’s always the writing that makes me excited. New songs are the fuel for my rockets, for sure. I’m kind of excited to be shifting back towards complexity rather than simplicity, too. For awhile there I was trying to simplify the songs, to distill the ideas and make them more accessible. And I think that was a good process to go through. I think it helped my writing. But I’m excited to be shifting back the other way now some . . . embracing the complexity and the the mystery and the code of complicated ideas . . . to allow the listener more process and unfolding. I don’t know if that’s my intent, per se . . . but that’s the result. The intent is just simply that I’m enjoying the process of writing songs that are multilayered, and heavily folded and twisted . . . and I’m indulging myself in that. Hopefully folks will enjoy the new tunes.
Formed 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.
Tickets: $20 advance, $25 at the door
Born in Washington, D.C. in 1961, a family move to Nashville at age 3 fully immersed David Grier into the bluegrass music world, and at age 6, he began playing the guitar. Today, he is regarded as one of the premier acoustic guitarists in the world, along with his early influences, Doc Watson, Tony Rice, and family friend Clarence White.
Recognized by Acoustic Guitar Magazine in 2000 as one of the Artists of the Decade, and named Guitar Player of the Year three times by the International Bluegrass Music Association, Grier has played on four Grammy Award-winning albums (True Life Blues: A Tribute to Bill Monroe; The Great Dobro Sessions; Alison Brown’s Fairweather; and Amazing Grace 2: A Country Salute to Gospel).
Having released four albums on Rounder, beginning in 1988 with Freewheeling, Grier launched his own label, Dreadnought Recordings, with the 1998 debut release, Hootenanny, with Dirk Powell and Tim O’Brien (“endlessly inventive and tasteful” – All Music Guide). His most recent release, Evocative (Dreadnought 2009), featuring 10 original tunes and a rich complement of collaborators (Victor Wooten, Paul Franklin, Stuart Duncan and more), has been hailed for its “deep musical introspection” as well as its “unmatchable mastery of the guitar” (Martin Mull). Other Dreadnought releases include the highly-acclaimed Live at the Linda (2007) and I’ve Got the House to Myself (2002) (“unfettered explosive invention” – Tim O’Brien).
“His unmatchable mastery of the guitar is ever present, but it’s the emotional exploration of the music as a whole that leaves a lasting impression. There is evidence everywhere of deep musical introspection: real soul-searching, and, I would have to say, bravery.” ~ Martin Mull
“David Grier is a willful, accurate instrumentalist whose every note seems to run through a bright, intelligent sieve. He maintains an unqualified standard of excellence in guitar playing, always with a knack for unorthodox surprise.” ~ Claire Lynch
“Grier sculpts fascinating forms the way air and moisture combine to create billowing cumuli.” ~ Jazz Review
“I’ve had the good fortune to see David Grier live several times, and while I certainly delight in watching him play, I especially like to watch folks who have never seen him live before. There’s this denial/acceptance cycle as they try to rationalize what they “know” to be possible with the guitar versus what their eyes and ears are experiencing. . . . And he does it in this self-effacing way that almost undercuts his musical inventiveness [and] preternatural skill.” ~ Chris Thiessen, Flatpick Guitar Magazine
Tickets: $15 advance, $18 at the door.
Ryan Ayers began playing guitar at the age of thirteen. He attended Loyola Marymount University and graduated with degrees in classical guitar performance and recording arts. It was there that he began his studies with classical guitarist Martha Masters.
Tickets: $20 advance, $24 at the door.
Kitchen tables, springs, loss, miners, mountains, culture clash, trailers, stray dogs, loggers, hope, forest fires—Rita Hosking‘s country-folk music is this and more, and always fierce and lovely. Her delivery is, to put it simply, intense. “From the first time I heard Rita sing, her voice gripped me and did not let go,” (Joe Craven.)
That voice, called a “soulful howl from the mountains” (California Bluegrass Association) is calling attention around the country—”What? California girls don’t sing like that!!?” But Rita will tell you about her upbringing in rural Shasta County, and the old-time band of seasoned mountain characters that took her under their wings. “This California girl comes by her mountain-music sensibility with true authenticity, with original songs deeply rooted in her family’s frontier experience,” (Dan Ruby, FestivalPreview.com.) A descendant of Cornish miners who sang in the mines, Rita grew up with deep regard for folk music and the power of the voice.
Come Sunrise, a collection of 11 original songs and Rita’s third album, was released in June of 2009. Recorded in Austin, Texas with producer and guitarist Rich Brotherton (Robert Earl Keen, Caroline Herring,) Come Sunrise launches Rita onto the international Americana scene with players such as Brotherton himself, Lloyd Maines, Warren Hood, Glenn Fukunaga, and many more. “Superb country-folk from a brilliant singer-songwriter,” (Americana UK.) In addition to her ’07 Silver Stream and ’05 Are You Ready? featuring members of her band “Cousin Jack,” Come Sunrise completes a collection of well received recordings.
“In scorching form” (UK Telegraph), Northern California’s own Rita Hosking sings of forest fires, culture clash, demolition derbies, the working class and hope. With major U.S. music festivals to Bob Harris’s BBC show, Rita is moving audiences around the globe with her stories in song and doubly sweet and sinewy voice, “a captivating performer,” (R2 Magazine.) Her new release, Burn, is a fiery follow-up to Come Sunrise, which won Best Country Album Vox Pop in the 2010 Independent Music Awards. Rita’s songs have been lauded for story and sense of place, and her performances praised for capturing the audience. Other honors include winner of the ’08 Dave Carter Memorial Songwriting Contest at the Sisters Folk Festival, finalist in the ’09 Telluride Troubadour Contest, and others as well. “There’s a grit to her songs and sinewy toughness to her voice that weave their own spell,” (Q Magazine.) From the pages of Uncut Magazine, “Fourth album [Burn] confirms poetic Californian’s arrival into the country pantheon,” to an Oregonian reviewer’s words, “a sledgehammer to my heart” (Frank Gutch Jr.), most new listeners will agree with Rita’s fans who call her “the real deal.” Cousin Jack is Rita’s illustrious band that weaves string band accompaniment and harmonies: Sean Feder on Dobro (resophonic guitar) and melodic banjo, Andy Lentz on fiddle, and Bill Dakin on acoustic bass.
Tickets: $12 advance, $16 at the door.
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”.
Tickets: $8 advance, $10 at the door.
Lindsay Fuller is an Alabama bred, Seattle-based songwriter who has been described as “Flannery O’Connor with a telecaster” (Twang Nation) on account of her gritty, haunting storytelling. Her most recen album The Last Light I See , a follow up to her debut Lindsay Fuller and The Cheap Dates, was released in June 2010.
Her unique voice has been described as a “burnished, soulful trill that sounds like the frame of a beautiful old church that’s about to collapse on itself” (The Examiner) and “a delicious combo platter of soulfulness and vibrato that grabs you by the shoulders and gives you a good shake” (Spectrum
Culture). She recently had the opportunity to open some shows for national acts including the Indigo Girls and The Civil Wars. She and her band (The Cheap dates) are currently working on a new record that they plan to release in the fall of 2011.
Gregory Paul spent most of his life as a musician in Upstate, NY before moving to Seattle in May, 2009. He has been touring and releasing solo albums sporadically since 1996 consisting of haunted, mesmerizing songs and compositions with folk, traditional, psych, experimental and minimalist influences. He currently earns a living as a street musician performing old time clawhammer banjo songs at the Pike Place Market.
Tickets: $8 advance, $10 at the door.
Please join us for this triple bill as three Seattle songwriters take the Empty Sea stage!
Levi Fuller has released three solo albums since moving to Seattle from Boston in 2001. His 2009 album Colossal was praised as “one of the most elegant, quietly powerful albums you’ll hear this year” by The Stranger, and “a striking collection of minimalist acoustic songs” by the Seattle Weekly. In addition, he performs as a member of Seattle bands Pufferfish, The Luna Moth, and The Dexter Street Stompers, and curates the compilation series Ball of Wax Audio Quarterly.
Tomo Nakayama is the singer, multi-instrumentalist, and chief songwriter of the Seattle ensemble Grand Hallway. Nakayama’s folk-influenced chamber pop songs feature his high tenor voice and stark, poetic lyrics sung in both English and Japanese. Grand Hallway’s albums have earned acclaim from NPR, KEXP, and Amazon.com, and they have performed all over the United States and Japan, sharing the stage with such artists as Shearwater, Damien Jurado, Robin Pecknold, and Shugo Tokumaru. Nakayama will be performing songs from Grand Hallway’s upcoming full-length album, which they are currently recording in Portland and is due out sometime in 2011.
Louis O’Callaghan has released two solo rock/folk albums as The Graze, currently plays in neo/art grunge band An Invitation to Love, and is a veteran of several Seattle bands including Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Rosyvelt, and Mississippi Painful.
Tickets: $8 advance, $12 at the door.
Shannon Stephens began her musical career in 1994 as the voice of the band Marzuki, a folk-rock ensemble assembled by Sufjan Stevens. Marzuki played a lot of shows around Michigan, and a few ill-fated shows in New York City. They released two albums in the five years that they were together.
After Marzuki disbanded, Shannon began to perform and record on her own. She recorded her self-titled debut LP in 1999, the same year she moved to Seattle and shared the stage with the likes of Denison Witmer, Rose Thomas, Jason Harrod and Damien Jurado. But by the time the new album had come back from the manufacturer, she had realized that all this music stuff was a lot of work. The boxes went into her garage and collected dust for nine years while she got married, read copious amounts of books, had a daughter, and did lots of hippy stuff like growing potatoes, canning preserves, and making kombucha.
In 2008, one of her songs (“I’ll Be Glad”) was covered by Bonnie “Prince” Billy on his album Lie Down In The Light. In 2009, Shannon released her second album, The Breadwinner, which Rachel Carson at Exclaim! described as “…a spectacularly beautiful and fiercely compelling sophomore album” and Sufjan Stevens called “…a joyful, heartful collection of quiet, gorgeous songs about family, friends, work, love, and the beauty of the world at large.”
In 2010, Asthmatic Kitty Records proudly re-released Shannon’s self-titled debut (2000). Produced by Stephens and her former Marzuki bandmates Sufjan Stevens and Matthew Haseltine, the re-press features new artwork and two previously unreleased bonus tracks. Shannon continues to play shows in the Seattle area and around the Pacific Northwest, and is busy writing songs for her next album.
Appearing with Shannon Stephens is Tony Kevin Jr, “a next generation troubadour with songs that explore both the spiritual and venal sides of life with knowing sadness and sweet choruses that will stick with you for days.” – Abbey Simmons (Sound on the Sound)
“This Western Washington native is a singer/songwriter with dynamic vocals, attention-grabbing lyrics and an easy going style. When listening to Tony or attending one of his shows you won’t feel the distance that often pops up between a musician and their audience. His music is made of stuff you can reach out and grasp, mold in your hands and make your own. Through his words and gritty vocals, Tony grabs you in your seat and turns the color in your world brighter, the shadows darker, the edges sharper. He is an everyday man who makes life into art for the ears of anyone who will listen. What he has to say will move you.” – Kimberly Loomis (The Musician’s Wife)