From the Blog

Hillberry 2016 Preview – Day 2

Hillberry Music Festival 2016 is less than a week away! Friday, kicks off the second day of this years celebration with a loaded lineup on the Main Stage, and a special campfire set to wind down the evening afterwards. Check out what’s in store, and plan your day so you don’t miss out on your favorite artists.

 

Friday October 14, 2016 — Main Stage

 

2:30PM – 3:55PM  //  Arkansauce

“Arkansauce is a genre-hopping, four piece string band from northwest Arkansas, bending the rules and blurring the lines between bluegrass, newgrass, folk, americana, and country. With two albums under their belt in the last two years, and a loyal following growing every day in the Natural State, the band is proud to be stepping into a hard-driving sound they can call their own.

The band’s roots go back to 2011 when founding members Ethan Bush, Zac Archuleta, and Stephen Jolly began picking together after becoming acquainted through mutual connections in the close-knit Fayetteville music scene. After a couple of years building a repertoire of original music and releasing their first album as a trio, they were joined by Tom Andersen on the upright bass and Adams Collins on the five-string banjo. The road-tested chops Andersen and Collins brought to the table helped to cultivate the mature, well-rounded sound needed to accommodate their sophomore release “All Day Long.”

An Arkansauce show is riddled with improvisational guitar, banjo, and mandolin leads, paired with powerful harmonies and heart-felt songwriting. There’s an undeniably intimate connection between the band and their fans that’s contagious and leaves everyone in front of, and on the stage wanting more. Arkansauce holds their head high, as they look forward to enjoying everything life and music has in store for them and their fans.”

Arkansauce is from Fayetteville, Arkansas and comprised of members Ethan Bush, Zac Archuleta,Tom Andersen, and Adams Collins.

arkansauce

 

4:25PM – 6:05PM  //  Split Lip Rayfield

“The fire rages on for the powerhouse trio from Kansas, Split Lip Rayfield (SLR), as they celebrate the release of their new record, “I’ll Be Around.” The new album showcases the songwriting talents of mandolin player Wayne Gottstine and banjo player Eric Mardis, tied together by the harmony and deep-bass licks of Jeff Eaton. Such songs as “Aces High,” “Heart of Darkness,” and “The High Price of Necromancy” will take listeners on a journey of love, loss, change, and dark powers, as they discover what lies in the mysterious minds of SLR. The song for which the album is named, “I’ll Be Around,” serves as a tribute to the band’s fallen teammate Kirk Rundstrom, whose influence on the band and its path was great. Rundstrom’s legacy continues to live on in the new album and also the band itself as every live show is dedicated to his memory. Split Lip Rayfield has carved out their own genre of music with their unique sound and instrumentation. Often described as a mix of bluegrass and country with an accent of metal, no other band delivers the experience of the homemade gas-tank bass played by Jeff Eaton, sets the mandolin strings on fire like Wayne Gottstine, or makes the banjo sing like Eric Mardis. Together, they burn up speakers and stages alike providing an unforgettable experience. This is one trio not to miss!”

Split Lip Rayfield is from Kansas and comprised of band members Wayne Gottstine, Eric Mardis, and Jeff Eaton.

split-lip-rayfield

 

6:45PM – 8:20PM  //  Travelin’ McCourys

“The Travelin’ McCourys do not stand still. They are on the road—and online—entertaining audiences with live shows that include some of the best musicians and singers from all genres. It’s always different, always exciting, and always great music.

No other band today has the same credentials for playing traditional and progressive music. As the sons of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, Ronnie McCoury on mandolin and Rob McCoury on banjo continue their father’s work—a lifelong dedication to the power of bluegrass music to bring joy into people’s lives. And with fiddler Jason Carter and bassist Alan Bartram, the ensemble is loved and respected by the bluegrass faithful. But the band is now combining their sound with others to make something fresh and rejuvenating.

They recently played with the Allman Brothers at Wanee Fest and then brought the house down at Warren Haynes’ Annual Christmas Jam, an invitation only Southern Rock homecoming. Their jam with the Lee Boys was hailed by many as the highlight of the evening, and once word of the live video hit the streets, sent new fans online to watch a supercharged combination of sacred steel, R&B, and bluegrass. They’ve also performed with Warren Haynes, Phish, and have a tour scheduled with the aforementioned Lee Boys. Ronnie McCoury described it as “peanut butter and jelly.” It was just right.

They can push forward so far because their roots are so deep. The band has a confidence that only comes with having paid their dues with twenty years on the bluegrass road. Other groups and new fans hear this immediately—the tight rhythm, the soulful material, and the confidence in taking bluegrass from the safety of the shore into uncharted waters.

Ronnie says, “We like to go in and play traditional bluegrass music the way we do it with Dad, but we also like to be able to step into situations where we can really stretch out. If we need to plug in, we’ll plug in. We’re open to anything.”

It’s that attitude, backed up by talent, that marks great musicians, traditional or progressive. The Travelin’ McCourys are twenty-first century musical pilgrims and adventurers. They’re onto something new, just like Bill Monroe was in the 1940s, but now we can see and hear that adventure live or online. Go see them, or—if you hold still long enough—they’ll come to you.”

The Travelin’ McCourys are from Nashville, Tennessee and comprised of members Ronnie McCoury, Rob McCoury, Jason Carter, Alan Bartram, and Cody Kilby.

travelin-mccourys

 

9:00PM – 11:ooPM  //  Greensky Bluegrass

“For more than a decade and a half, the members of Greensky Bluegrass have created their own version of bluegrass music, mixing the acoustic stomp of a stringband with the rule-breaking spirit of rock & roll. They redefine that sound once again with their sixth album, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted.

Like the band’s own name, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is a collection of opposites, full of dark psychedelic swirls, bright bursts of acoustic guitar, soundscapes, solos, freethinking improvisation, and plenty of sharp, focused songwriting. It’s wild and wide-ranging, showing off the diversity Greensky Bluegrass brings to every live show. At the same time, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is unmistakably a studio album, recorded during two different sessions — one at Echo Mountain Studio in Asheville, North Carolina; the other at the Mountain House Recording Studio in Nedarland, Colorado — that comprise the band’s longest block of recording time ever. The result is an 11-track album whose songs cast a wide net, mixing the full-throttle energy of a Greensky Bluegrass concert with the nuanced approach of a band that’s still eager to explore.

“You can call us an acoustic ensemble, or a drum-less rock band, or a rock & roll bluegrass band,” says mandolin player Paul Hoffman, who, along with guitarist Dave Bruzza, handles most of the album’s writing duties. “All of that shifting identity has taught us to cover a lot of ground. There’s a flow to this album, just like there’s a flow to our setlists. There are some aggressive, rocking moments. Some bouncy, funky moments. An acoustic think piece or two. It’s a balance of moods and textures that we create as a band, almost like a mix tape.”

Formed in 2000 in Kalamazoo, Michigan, Greensky Bluegrass kicked off their career playing living rooms and open mic nights across the Midwest. By 2005, they were touring nationally, and by 2006, they were playing the first in a long series of appearances at the annual Telluride Bluegrass Festival. Bandmates Hoffman, Bruzza, dobro player Anders Beck, banjoist Michael Arlen Bont, and upright bassist Mike Devol spent most of the following decade on the road, fine-tuning a live show modeled not after the toned-down production of traditional bluegrass music, but the full-on spectacle of rock.

“We play two sets of music every night with a big light show, and really care about creating a large scale production,” notes Bruzza, adding that, “the goal isn’t just to play important music. We want to cultivate an experience, where people can escape from their everyday lives for a minute and put their worries aside.”

Playing as many as 175 shows per year, Greensky Bluegrass have graduated to headlining status at some of the country’s most iconic venues, selling out amphitheaters like Red Rocks and world-class auditoriums like the Ryman. They’ve become a regular name on the festival circuit, too, adding Bonnaroo, the New Orleans Jazz Festival, Austin City Limits, Forecastle, and Outside Lands to their touring schedule. Supported by a grassroots audience whose members often travel for hours to see the band, Greensky Bluegrass are still a proudly independent act, enjoying the success of a major-label act — including a Number One debut on the Billboard Bluegrass chart for their fifth album, 2014’s If Sorrows Swim — without giving up complete control of their own business.

Released on the band’s label, Big Blue Zoo, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted kicks off with “Miss September,” a song that splits its focus between Hoffman’s mid-tempo melodies and the band’s instrumental solos. Most of the album’s tracks strike a similar balance, showcasing a group whose vocal hooks and flat-picking skills share the spotlight equally. Meanwhile, the guys stretch their legs on “Living Over” — an improvised, seven-minute knockout that’s already become a live staple — and show surprising restraint with “While Waiting,” a slower song whose ebb-and-flow arrangement often finds no more than two bandmates playing at once. “Room Without a Roof” features some of the group’s most layered production to date, with electric instruments adding some thick sonic padding, while “More of Me” cranks up the drama, with Hoffman singing about heartache over a bed of minor-key guitar arpeggios.

“We tend to have a darker sense to ours songs than most acoustic bands,” Bruzza adds, “but we still have light moments, too. We’re trying to explore the textures and sounds we can make, while still having the instrumentation of a bluegrass band. There aren’t many rules. We’ll run a dobro though an amp on a song like ‘Past My Prime.’ We can get pretty epic. This album is a crazy carnival one minute, and it’s a psychedelic Pink Floyd jam the next.”

Equal parts dark, driving, and dynamic, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted is Greensky Bluegrass at their best, fusing the fiery fretwork of their live shows with the focus of a true songwriting outfit.”

The band is from Kalamazoo, Michigan and comprised of members Anders Beck, Michael Arlen Bont, Dave Bruzza, Mike Devol, and Paul Hoffman.

greensky

 

11:50PM – 1:50AM  //  The New Mastersounds 

“From their inception nearly two decades ago in Leeds, UK, The New Mastersounds have wholeheartedly embraced the “old school” label—their sound rooted deeply in those classic soul jazz, boogaloo and funk albums on labels such as Blue Note and Prestige by artists like Wes Montgomery, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff and Lou Donaldson. The New Mastersounds’ latest LP, The Nashville Session, takes that devotion one step further by recording in the same tradition that many of those rare groove gems were made.

The Nashville Session, a 10-track collection cut at Welcome To 1979 studio in Nashville, was multi-tracked live onto one-inch tape in a single evening session in front of a small studio audience. Following the performance the recording was mixed down to quarter-inch stereo and cut direct to vinyl lacquers. There are no guests and no overdubs, just bass, drums, guitar and organ—essentially pure New Mastersounds. Hitting the studio at the tail end of their Fall and Winter 2015 cross-country U.S. tour, the band was razor sharp and vise tight. They selected material to record from across their 16-plus year career and ten studio albums. The lone exception being their take on legendary jazz guitarist Grant Green’s arrangement of James Brown’s “In The Middle.”

“We made the decision to record in this context because our older tunes have been evolving over a decade and a half of live presentation.. Once-spontaneous improvised sections have gradually become fixed into the live arrangements. Much of the change has come about since organist Joe Tatton joined the band in 2007,” explains drummer Simon Allen. “It was also the perfect time to capture the cheeky, spontaneous and confident energy of a live show at the point—straight off of tour—when the band was at the top of its game. As lovers of ’60s and ’70s funk and soul jazz, we have never much enjoyed the sound of modern digital live recordings. Somehow the balance of frequencies such recordings deliver is never what we crave; our music just makes the most sense to our ears and to our feet when everything is crunched onto tape, exactly the way the music that first influenced us was recorded.”

The Nashville Session will be released exclusively on vinyl via a limited edition 1000-piece pressing on Royal Potato Family and will not be available in any other formats upon initial release. Top to bottom gritty, greasy and funky to the bone, the collection presents The New Mastersounds at their finest—utterly unadulterated by modern digital technology, full-on analog and unapologetically doing it old school.”

The band is from Leeds, United Kingdom and comprised of members Eddie Roberts, Simon Allen, Pete Shand, Joe Tatton.

new-mastersounds

 

2:00AM – 3:00AM  //  Ozark Travelers – Campfire Set

“The Ozark Travelers are a folk/blues/bluegrass fusion band out of Fayetteville Arkansas. The band is Korey Danley (vocals & mandolin),  Kevin Riddle (vocals, guitar, & drums), Brendan Danley (bass & drums), and Nicholas Vinson Clark (vocals, guitar, banjo, drums). The music of the Travelers tells of the beauty of the Ozark mountains, loving your neighbor with positive vibes, and making joyful music. The band has found success in Northwest Arkansas and the surrounding area, playing such venues as Highberry, Hillberry, Springfest, George’s, Ryleigh’s, and many more. Be prepared for some angelic vocals, gritty harmonies, and some sweet guitar licks, until the banjo rolls you home!”

campfire