Hey music lovers! From 22 – 28 May I’m taking a turn as volunteer curator for the Quarantine Happy Hour Facebook group, and I’ve prepared an awesome line-up of Americana, bluegrass, folk and roots artists! QHH was founded by our friends Barry & Gabrielle (of the band The Horsenecks) and is a wonderful initiative. It has featured a livestreamed performance from a grassroots artist every single day since April 2020. The group has grown to 20,000 members, and the gigs are supported by audience donations. The downside is that these livestreams start at 5.30pm Pacific time (1.30am in the UK) – not exactly convenient for us! I’m planning to share all the shows on my True North Music Facebook page the next day, so that you can watch at a more convenient time. I’m featuring fantastic performers that I’ve either hosted for past gigs (real-life or online) or that I hope to bring to the UK in the future, including some of the most exciting talent in bluegrass, Americana and old time music. If you’ve been a supporter of our live music series over the last few years, you’ll know that we keep the standard of music incredibly high, so please do check out these livestreams and contribute to the artists’ tip jars if you can afford to. Check out more details on all the artists below!
Saturday 22nd May – Simon Robinson, Evan Davies & Mick Russell (UK)
Three stellar young talents of UK old time and bluegrass music from Leeds. Simon Robinson is a talented clawhammer banjoist, dulcimer player, guitarist and singer. In late 2020 he released his well-received second album When The Sun Goes In. Evan Davies is a gifted, versatile musician (primarily on mandolin, guitar and fiddle) who performs with acclaimed UK bluegrass/Americana band The Often Herd and folk trio Lonan. Evan also teaches mandolin at Leeds Conservatoire. Mick Russell is an outstanding old-time fiddler. He also plays drums with eclectic trio Neutrino, winners of the 2021 Jackson Jazz and Blues Award.
Sunday 23rd May – Mishra (UK)
With strong roots in UK folk, and a myriad of global influences including Indian music and Americana, Mishra weave an enchanting web of compelling original music. Led by Kate Griffin’s gorgeous voice and inimitable clawhammer banjo, Mishra’s sound is driven by Ford Collier’s outstanding instrumental skills on Indian tabla, African calabash, Irish whistle and guitar. Their debut album The Loft Tapes (2019) received glowing reviews. Kate Griffin also performs with popular UK folk quartet The Magpies, and recently received grant funding to explore musical collaborations with Mozambique artist Matchume Zango.
Monday 24th May – The Evie Ladin Band (USA)
From Oakland, California, the Evie Ladin Band performs an entertaining mix of Appalachian roots music and dance. Multi-talented singer, songwriter, clawhammer banjo player and step dancer Evie started playing banjo at the age of eight and has been clogging since she was just five! Versatile musician and dancer Keith Terry takes care of double bass and percussion, and joins Evie in dance elements of their performances. Founder of the International Body Music Festival, Keith is a skilled proponent of the art of body percussion. A regular member of the full Evie Ladin Band trio, gifted multi-instrumentalist and composer Erik Pearson performs with acclaimed artists including The Crooked Jades, and lends his talents on guitar and banjo to the ELB.
Tuesday 25th May – Small Town Therapy (USA)
This superlative acoustic duo performs outstanding contemporary string music that ranges from barn-burning to soothing. Extraordinary instrumentalists Leif Karlstrom (violin, mandolin) and Adam “Roscoe” Roszkiewicz (mandolin, guitar) focus on original compositions that allow for virtuosic improvisation. Small Town Therapy have released two albums to date, and have performed together in acclaimed Americana/roots band Front Country and in the Grammy nominated Modern Mandolin Quartet. Leif is also an associate professor in earth sciences at the University of Oregon, and recently created the Volcano Listening Project, compiling sonic data from Mount Kilauea in Hawaii to create a musical soundscape.
Wednesday 26th May – Helena Rose (USA)
Helena Rose is a talented singer and musician based in rural North Carolina. Probably best known for her exquisite work on banjo, banjo uke and vocals in acclaimed old time country band Bill and the Belles, Helena is now branching out on her own as a singer-songwriter with some powerful material, accompanying herself on guitar. She intersperses thoughtful original songs with some traditional tunes and songs on banjo, showcasing her impressive chops as an instrumentalist. Helena has been performing since she was just eight years old, and at the age of 18 was featured in American TV talent show Chasing Nashville.
Thursday 27th May – Liv Greene (USA)
At just 23, Boston-based Liv Greene is already an astonishingly accomplished and award-winning songwriter and performer. Her 2020 album Every Bright Penny was produced by Isa Burke of Lula Wiles, and is a modern classic packed with dreamy, evocative songs. Armed with a gorgeous, distinctive voice, as a teen Liv took up guitar and songwriting. She graduated from the New England Conservatory in Boston a couple of years ago, and in my opinion is one of the brightest young talents in acoustic Americana.
Friday 28th May – Stillhouse Junkies (USA)
This talented trio performed at my online festival last October and I had booked a UK tour for them in 2020 before the pandemic struck. Combining many influences including bluegrass, Western Swing and acoustic country, the band was born out of a longstanding residency at a distillery in Durango, Colorado. With a loyal fan base on the Colorado music scene, Stillhouse Junkies have performed at festivals across the USA and were showcase artists at IBMA’s virtual festival in 2020. With songs often inspired by their corner of the South-Western USA, the band combines outstanding musicianship with a lively stage presence.