One of the most prolific and original finger-style guitarists of his generation, Stephen Bennett is also a leading exponent of the harp guitar. A challenging teacher, a gifted composer, and a performer of “great sensitivity”, the Toronto Finger-Style Guitar Association referred to him as “the Jedi Master of Finger-style Guitar”.
Stephen has performed around the world, shared the stage with some of the finest guitarists there are, and created a well-regarded body of work.
From America: “Stephen’s music draws the listener in. He has the ability to make you feel as though you are a part of the music he is making.”
From France: “Stephen’s compositions are so beautiful, filled with great emotion and great sensitivity. He is one of those musicians who serve the music, and only the music.”
From Canada: “Sitting there watching and listening to this guy hunched over his harp guitar exuding this strange calmness and wisdom through his music just made me think of the Jedi Master, Yoda. So, the Jedi Master moniker is not promoter hyperbole, it was a genuine reaction to hearing Stephen for the first time three years before I started promoting guitar concerts.”
From Italy: “When I first heard him playing a few years ago, I felt like I had been pushed into a different world, where the lost emotions come back to your heart and make it beat in a different way. What Stephen can do, and few artists have this gift, is to speak directly to your heart and to move your best feelings!”
He is the founder of the Harp Guitar Gathering, an annual event that brings players, luthiers, scholars and fans of this instrument together for a weekend of performances, workshops and camaraderie. The 16th annual Harp Guitar Gathering takes place in Connecticut, October 12-14, 2018.
Whatever guitar he happens to be playing, in live performance or on recordings, Stephen’s life-long love affair with the sound of guitar strings is apparent – and contagious!
Wayward Vessel is an unique group of highly talented and capable young musicians. Each member draws upon their extensive experience in bluegrass, folk, jazz and classical music to bring a pleasing and engaging sound to any venue.
The band was born when Ken Chapple and Julie Schmidt met at a bluegrass pickin' session in SE Portland in 2009. It was immediately obvious that the two musicians has a connection, and began to go to work composing, arranging and jamming around the clock. Ken (guitar) and Julie (violin) continue to be the primary singers and songwriters in the band.
Wayward Vessel has been compared to other masters of the illusive modern acoustic music genre such as Chris Thile's Punch Brothers and Crooked Still.
SugarPine is a Willamette Valley based bluegrass and acoustic band: versatile, polished, high energy and beautifully musical. They are a five-piece band centering on the vocals and original songs of bass player Yvonne McMillan. They share vocals three ways, to the accompaniment of banjo, guitar, Dobro, mandolin and fiddle. SugarPine can inspire foot-stomping fun but they also can encourage you to sit quietly and just listen. Above all, they hope you enjoy their music.
SugarPine Bluegrass at Pickersfest 2014
The Great Northern Planes
Formed from the ashes of the band Pumpkin Ridge, The Great Northern Planes are among the old guard in Pacific Northwest bluegrass, having played with the same core group for 25 years. They are known for their great vocal harmonies, irreverent humor, and friendly, approachable manner.
The Planes performed at nearly all of the first dozen or so WinterGrass bluegrass festivals, and have played at nearly every bluegrass festival in the Northwest. They have performed on stage with Bill Monroe, played at the Peter Britt festival in Jackonsville, OR, and even played inside the cockpit of the Spruce Goose!
The Cowchips play a mix of western swing, bluegrass and cowboy tunes. They feature three-part harmony reminiscent of the Western bands of the 1940's. Al Miotke, their newest member, brings a melodic mandolin, guitar and vocals to the group. Jeff Anderson, well known for his talent in Dixieland Jazz, can't be topped for cowboy harmonica and swinging clarinet. With Bob Johnson and his big ol' bass fiddle to keep the beat, and Neil Massey, the heart of this old-timey group on guitar and banjo, who delivers the best darn cowboy vocals anywhere, you're sure to keep tapping your feet when the Cowchips play.