Emory Lester is one of this day’s foremost exponents of the acoustic mandolin. The power and attack of his mandolin playing are unmatched, and his sound is infectious. His recording projects ‘Pale Rider’, ‘The Emory Lester Set’, and ‘Cruisin’ the 8’ have placed him among the elite mandolinists of our time. His brand new recording ‘Reminiscing Today’ showcases Emory’s musical creativity, and skill as a mandolinist/instrumentalist.
Emory has inspired and influenced many of the young up-and-coming mandolin players of today, and pointed the way with his clean, clear, fast and efficient mandolin technique. Emory is currently performing with ‘Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa’, doing shows across the U.S., Canada, and internationally, just having completed an extensive tour of the Scotland and England, with a new recording climbing the bluegrass charts, and enjoying much success and national exposure for Emory’s talent as an instrumentalist and a vocalist. Emory’s ten year partnership with noted ‘Clawgrass’ banjoist Mark Johnson has yielded three very creative recording projects, the latest of which is the new ‘Acoustic Vision’. Mark and Emory have toured all across the U.S., and through the Crossroads Music label, have been nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year at the IBMA Awards program in 2007. Emory also performs with his own band, the Emory Lester Set, at concerts and festivals nationally.
A life long Virginia native, now living in Barrie, Ontario Canada, Emory has been teaching master series workshops at events such as the Steve Kaufman Camp, the Mandolin Symposium, Transatlantic Bluegrass School in Wales UK, and many other prestigious schools and workshops far and wide. He also has produced several recording projects for other artists.
Mark Johnson hangs his hat in Florida but learned his trade from Jay Unger while living in New York. Mark didn't know that Jay was a highly accomplished fiddler who also tinkered with the clawhammer style of banjo. It was in the early 1970s, that Mark learned from this consummate fiddler the basic technique of clawhammer banjo. He also learned the three-finger style of bluegrass picking as his familiarity with the instrument unfolded.
Mark moved to Crystal River in Florida in 1981 where, per chance, he met the Rice brothers, Larry, Tony, Ronnie and Wyatt. Mark was working at the local power utility with Herb Rice, Larry and Ronnie and through that relationship, his manner for style and creativity in composition and performance was forever changed.
Mark's unique style doesn't really fit into a strict category. It's very bluegrass but has overtones of traditional folk, progressive acoustic, new-grass and old-timey all mixed into one. It's authentic. It's unique. It's Clawgrass.
The Loafers are an acoustic quartet based in the Portland metro area, specializing in bluegrass, jazz and old-time instrumentals, with a few classic vocals thrown in. They are a new group with some old names and a couple of new faces. Mike Stahlman plays “Scruggs-style” 5-string banjo with just enough melodic influences to interpret old fiddle tunes and jazz standards. He also appears with the Midnight Serenaders and Lee Highway and is a veteran Sawtooth Mountain Boys. Mike is a former member of the well-known Portland band Sunny South and also teaches banjo in conjunction with Portland Community College. Dave Elliott (mandolin and vocals) has been a member of several popular Portland-area bands including Surefire, Old Friends, Columbia and Sunny South. Dave also hosts a bluegrass program on KBOO 90.7FM in Portland. Aaron Stocek (guitar) was influenced by Tony Rice and Clarence White. He has a great touch on rhythm and performs exciting bluegrass solos. Aaron also appears with North Fork. Standup bass is covered by the lovely and talented Holly Johnson, a newcomer to the bluegrass scene. Besides bass, she also plays guitar and contest fiddle.
Visit their Myspace page to hear music clips.
Misty Mamas play Home-Style Bluegrass, Oldtime, Gospel & Folk. This band – together since 2005 – has made a real name for itself in the Vancouver/Portland acoustic music scene. Collectively these women have decades of experience playing and singing in harmony. MISTY MAMAS serve up Home-Style bluegrass filled with powerful harmonies, traditional and original songs as well as tasty instrumentals combining the American genres of bluegrass, old time, gospel, folk and country music. Family friendly, the band can include interactive songs that engage the younger set. The MISTY MAMAS are Carol Harley (vocals, guitar, banjo, mandolin), Katherine Nitsch (vocals & guitar), April Parker (vocals, mandolin, accordion) and Eileen Rocci (vocals & upright bass). The band got its name from Carol Harley, founding member of the very popular local Americana Band, Misty River.
Eager to connect with their audience, the Misty Mamas tailor performances that not only entertain but educate as well. You might hear historical secrets and local lore woven into the music. Timeless melodies and heartfelt lyrics are laced tightly together creating a musical experience rich with history, steeped in tradition and performed with character and exuberance! Released March 2009, Misty Mamas’ CD, Wild Rose of the Mountain, genuinely captures the essence of these ladies on stage.
Blue Pickup can be found playing around the South Puget Sound area. You may recognize them from other popular bands, but they like to play together whenever possible. Greg Linder (guitar) has been a member of Runaway Train for 15 years. He is also a co-producer of the Bluegrass from the Forest Festival. Barbara Collins is a well-known fiddle player in the Northwest. She is a member of the Wire Tappers and a couple other groups. Brad Griswold has played banjo for 40 years. He currently plays with Third Street Bluegrass Band, Bar-K Buckaroos and the Floating Glass Balls. The bass player, Dave Quinton, played for years with the Muddy Bottom Boys and currently plays with the Floating Glass Balls, the Coconuts, North Coast Country and the Bar-k Buckaroos. Larry Gilliam (mandolin) is a regular fixture at bluegrass festivals in the Pacific Northwest. He played mando with Runaway Train and bass with the band Caravan.
Rose In the Heather offers folk, Celtic, Americana and contemporary ballads with lively fiddle, rhythm and melody guitars, bass, percussion and vocals. Julie “the Rose” Zamudio’s lively fiddle style sets the tone for the group. She has also played classical cello since childhood in various ensembles and orchestras. Mike Zamudio (rhythm guitar & keyboard) has played traditional and contemporary folk music since the 60′s. Mike & Julie have been performing together since 1993 and even studied music in Ireland. Chris Huey (guitar & backup vocals) has many years of bluegrass flatpicking and folk guitar experience. He has recorded tunes for the annual flatpicker’s association CD. His leads, counter melodies and rhythm add to the band’s unique sound. Curt Erickson (upright bass) has a strong music background with many years of rock experience that gives a bold sound not often found in traditional Irish music. John Parrott’s baritone vocals give the band its trademark sound. His bodhran (Irish lap drum) and djembei provides the solid beat for which the band is noted. Lisa Colgrove is a rhythm specialist on bodhran, bongo, conga drum and other percussion. Lisa’s vocals add even more variety to the band’s sound.