2020 Festival Lineup
The Infamous Stringdusters stand out as the rare group who can team up with contemporary artists on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert one night and headline the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre or perform alongside The Grateful Dead’s Phil Lesh the next. Engendering a sense of impassioned fandom, they band have attracted a faithful audience that continues to grow. Moreover, their powerful music and performances paved the way for a GRAMMY® Award win in the category of “Best Bluegrass Album” for 2017’s Laws of Gravity.
Yonder Mountain String Band is one of the most influential acts on the acoustic music scene. Pioneers of the Jamgrass movement Yonder Mountain is known for their ability to channel a wide variety of musical styles, the sky has always been the limit for the bluegrass band, with no real tendencies to play straight-up bluegrass. The acoustic lineup just happens to be the vehicle they’ve chosen to haul their myriad of influences ranging from punk rock to the Grateful Dead. With a willingness to try new things and do what the music demands, Yonder Mountain continues to expand the traditional genre beyond all established boundaries and into the realms of rock n roll and improvisation,
Notorious for their wild live shows, choice cover tunes, and lengthy onstage experimentations, Yonder Mountain String Band earned an especially loyal audience on the jam band circuit. With a large following of extended family “Kinfolk” traversing the country with them, taping their shows and trading their music... the band gained momentum and found themselves playing to sold out crowds in iconic venues such as Red Rocks, The Fillmore San Francisco, The Warfield Auditorium, and esteemed festivals such as The Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Bonarroo, High Sierra, Fuji Rock Festival, Summer Camp and Delfest, to name a few.. Yonder Mountain partnered with festival promoters and curated their own festivals: Northwest String Summit (Oregon), Kinfolk Celebration (Colorado) , Yonder Mountain Harvest Festival (Arkansas) and Strings and Sol (Mexico)
Yonder Mountain has shared the stage with well-known bluegrass musicians like Del McCoury, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush and Bela Fleck, as well as members of jam band staples Phish, Widespread Panic and The Grateful Dead. In 2008 they even shared a stage with Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention. The band has released 7 studio Albums and 6 live albums on their own Frog Pad Records Label. This past September, 2019 marked the 20th Anniversary of Yonder Mountain’s critically acclaimed debut album, Elevation. Out of print for years and considered by decades-long fans to be the band’s career defining album, the band celebrated this milestone with a 20th anniversary 180g double vinyl re-release. YMSB’s Elevation broke past traditional bluegrass music boundaries, opening the door for acceptance of the next generation’s take on a new style that audiences would fully embrace.
Founding Members Adam Aijala, Ben Kaufmann, David Johnston and Allie Kral, who became an official member in 2015 will be joined by multi -instrumentalist Nick Piccinni in early January 2020. The live show will undoubtedly be in line with what you’d expect from Yonder Mountain String Band: heart-felt, edgy and genre-defying music without boundaries.
Drawing on the energy of a rock band and the Laurel Canyon songwriting of the ‘70s, The Lil Smokies are reimagining their approach to roots music on Tornillo, named for the remote Texas town where the album was recorded. Produced by Bill Reynolds (The Avett Brothers, Band of Horses), Tornillo is the band’s third studio album. Formed in Missoula, Montana, The Lil Smokies have built a national following through constant touring, they have performed at Red Rocks, LOCKN’, High Sierra, Telluride, Bourbon & Beyond and more.
Shae Fiol (born Shae Geever on December 2, 1978, in Portland, Oregon) is a Cuban-American singer-songwriter who currently lives New York City. The name Shae was given to her after the Cuban revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Her mother is American born and her father is of Cuban descent. Shae's sound is described as acoustic soul, with Latin and jazz influence. She has been compared to artists Nelly Furtado, Esthero, and Sade.
At a time when most people feel constantly distracted by technology and barraged by the news, authenticity and straightforward honesty are paramount. There’s something about the music of The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys that cuts right through the noise of the world and speaks plainly to the soul. Formed in the Smoky Mountains, The Po’ Ramblin’ Boys are at once exactly what you would expect and not at all what you would expect from a tattooed East Tennessee Bluegrass outfit. No strangers to hard work, the boys are as much at home riding in their 1965 GM Tour bus as they are crawling underneath to fix it when it needs maintenance. But they take pride in being ambassadors of their genre, and the group has brought their music from rural bluegrass festival stages to the rock clubs of Europe, with stunning results. “I think to a certain extent everyone is just craving music that they can feel, and any music that feels real will reach any audience” says CJ Lewandowski, the groups founder, “We want to put bluegrass right where it’s least expected”./
Bluegrass and Hip-Hop may sound like an odd combination, but don’t tell that to Producer Rench, who birthed the fusion in 2006, with Gangstagrass. “There are a lot more people out there with Jay-Z and Johnny Cash on their iPod playlists than you think.” says Rench, who had previously made a name for himself as an in-demand Brooklyn country and hip-hop producer and singer/songwriter. He should know – he’s toured the country with a band of bluegrass pickers and hip-hop emcees to the delight of standing room crowds everywhere."
making beats for local NYC rappers and hosting country music nights in popular NYC venues. In 2007, Rench had a musical itch that needed to be scratched – he was listening to the 1970s recordings of Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys and couldn’t help imagining what classic bluegrass would sound like with rap vocals and beats. The result was a genre-demolishing blitz called Rench Presents: Gangstagrass. He put it up for free download and people took notice. Hundreds of thousands of downloads followed creating an intense underground buzz.
When FX Network came to Rench looking for the Gangstagrass sound for the theme song to their new series Justified, he had bluegrass players lay down an original track with rapper T.O.N.E-z, the younger brother of early hip-hop legends Special K and T-LaRoc. The result was "Long Hard Times To Come," the song that opened every episode of six seasons of the hit series. "Long Hard Times To Come" was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2010, contending for best theme song after critical praise and massive fan response.
The same live bluegrass band approach was used to make Lightning On The Strings, Thunder On The Mic, a full length album of with T.O.N.E-z, the emcee featured on the Justified theme song. Two years later the Gangstagrass sound was expanded with the release of Rappalachia, a 15 song album featuring a variety of rappers, including Kool Keith, Dead Prez, Nitty Scott MC, T.O.N.E-z, BROOKLYN35, R-SON, and Dolio The Sleuth. Country singers Brandi Hart from the Dixie Bee-Liners and Jen Larson added gritty harmonies alongside Rench’s choruses. Broken Hearts and Stolen Money was released in 2014. Featuring performances by legendary rap team Smif-N-Wessun, Juno award winning rapper Liquid (of BranVan 3000), Brandi Hart of the Dixie Bee-Liners and Alexa Dirks of Chic Gamine in addition to the now regular crew of emcees and pickers, the album received universal critical acclaim including the Boston Globe labeling the raucus single Two Yards “Essential.” A fourth official album titled American Music was released in April 2015. Featuring a collection of standout original cuts and traditional folk anthems the band once again broke new ground, while also paying tribute to their cast of American songwriting heroes, and debuted at #5 on the Billboard bluegrass charts.
Gangstagrass has toured internationally, blowing minds on main stages from SXSW to Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, with a live stage act taking full advantage of the improvisational aspects of both hip-hop and bluegrass. With two emcees R-Son and Dolio The Sleuth trading verses, Dan Whitener on Banjo, Landry McMeans on dobro, and Rench on guitar, and frequent 3 part harmonies, the Gangstagrass live show has garnered a reputation among fans for its dynamism and spontanaety. Currently touring across the US, Gangstagrass is using live performances to organically develop new material for an album that will further explode the boundaries between genres generally thought to be incompatible.