Tickets: $12 advance, $15 at the door.
Benny Sidelinger has always had a wanderlust. This was the catalyst for a trip to Buenos Aires that would shape the course of his life. Studying the art of Guitar Building with master Luthier Rodolfo Cuculelli sparked a flame that would take Benny on a journey of a lifetime. While building his custom acoustic guitars in Western Massachusetts, Sidelinger found himself playing locally with a group of musicians that included Phill Saylor Wisor. When Phill and Benny found they both had ambitions to tour, The Shiftless Rounders was born. Together they scoured the Appalachian byways absorbing anything that felt true, from the music of traditionalists in the hill-towns of West Virginia, to the gritty sounds of east Tennessee rock and roll. At a small festival in Oregon, the Shiftless Rounder crossed paths with Po’ Girl, and a few years later Benny found himself crossing the Atlantic with the Western Canadian based band. Working as an arranger and accompanist gave Sidelinger the opportunity to dig deeper into the craft refining the raw material of songs into thoughtful and tasteful music.
After extensive international touring with The Shiftless Rounders and Po’ Girl, Benny Sidelinger has set out on his own. Singing, playing guitar or banjo and playing drums all at the same time may be impressive, but it’s the songs that drive the music. That’s why he’s coined the term “Don’t call it a one man band”. The focus of this act is not on the novelty of multi-instrumentalism, but on raw American roots music. Vivid and gritty songs are delivered with an honesty that only comes from true mastery. There is nothing in this sound that mimics the sounds and textures of traditional Appalachian music. Rather, Sidelinger has dug so deeply into American roots styles that the music oozes out of him effortlessly. This gives Benny the unique appeal of possessing all the elements of tradition while remaining refreshingly relevant. Blending original songs with artistically arranged traditional material, Sidelinger has crafted an original sound that is as much at home in the mountains of West Virginia as it is in the Streets of Greenwich Village.
“Hauntingly gorgeous, melding Appalachian roots with intimate, Beat poet-esque lyrical ruminations.” – Seven Days (Burlington, VT)
Tickets: $13 advance, $15 at the door.
Ryan McKasson, Ashley Broder & Dave Bartley are all quite well-known in their respective fields, but never before performed as an ensemble. This unprecedented collaboration on the Empty Sea stage will provide a night of music-making never before heard!
Ryan McKasson started his classical violin studies at the age of four and began his viola studies when he was fourteen. At the same time, he switched from classical violin to begin his traditional fiddle journey with the renowned fiddler and teacher, Carol Ann Wheeler. Under her instruction he explored a wide range of American and Celtic styles, but found a new passion in the music of his heritage, Scotland. In 1993 Ryan attended the Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddling School for the first time. There he heard the fiddling of Alasdair Fraser and Buddy MacMaster, who have since been his greatest influences. In 1995, Ryan was winner of the National Junior Championship, and went on a year later to be the youngest winner of the National Scottish Fiddle Open Championship in Loon Mountain, New Hampshire. As a fiddler, Ryan has performed with artist Bobby McFerrin. He has also shared the stage with pop artists Elvis Costello, Beck, Bjork, Galvin Friday and composer Phillip Glass. In 2001 Ryan collaborated with fiddler Richard Greene and the Greene String Quartet in Los Angeles for the Harry Smith Project. An accomplished classical musician, Ryan attended the University of Southern California in Viola Performance as a student of Donald McInnes. He has been awarded fellowships to many prestigious music festivals, including the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara and the Bowdoin Music Festival in Maine.
Ashley Broder began her classical violin studies at the age of eight in Ventura County, California. Her violin teacher, Charl Ann Gastineau, also encouraged her to simultaneously learn mandolin where she became familiar with fiddle styles associated to the instrument. Ashley traveled the west coast competing in fiddle contests, winning several. In 2005, after studying classical violin and cello in college, she met fiddler Jamie Laval and the duo set off on a four year musical touring adventure that took them across the U.S. numerous times and to the U.K. Ashley has worked with renowned mandolinist Mike Marshall at the Mandolin Symposium in Santa Cruz, CA as well as helped organize his series The Mandolin Method Books. Now pursuing another passion, composition, Ashley is currently working on arranging singer-songwriter, Billy Jonas’, songs for orchestra.
Dave Bartley plays mandolin, guitar, cittern, and numerous other plucked string instruments in numerous bands. He has also written over 250 tunes, some of which are working their way into repertoires around the country. He can provide a quiet foundation, inject a fiery driving rhythm, or pull wicked licks out of thin air. His odyssey from flashy rock guitarist to classical musician to eclectic sideman to tunesmith filters through his fingers.
Dave has played mandolin onstage in the Seattle Opera in the 1999 and 2007 stagings of Don Giovanni and played steel-string acoustic guitar with the Seattle Symphony in 2004 for performances of Naive and Sentimental Music by composer John Adams, as well as mandolin for Mahler’s 7th and 8th symphonys with the same orchestra.