THE WELL DRINKERS
Formed as a family duo in 2018, in the hills and valleys of Northwestern South Carolina, The Well Drinkers continue to leave their mark on Bluegrass on the East coast and international music scene. The Well Drinkers fully formed into a five-piece, Newgrass band in early 2020, and since then have received acclaim and notoriety from critics, including Bluegrass Today:
“First things first. Did the band choose their handle based on the fact that they drink well or simply drink from a well. It really doesn’t matter, given the fact that their seven song EP, Make Good Neighbors, provides an impressive introduction. Founded just three years ago, the Western North Carolina-based band, The Well Drinkers … specializes in a sound that basks in the basics of bluegrass while taking a progressive posture.”
-Bluegrass Today (10/18/22)
The band’s collaborative songwriting focuses on the core of the Appalachian storytelling tradition, all the while bringing a current tone to listener as well as powerful instrumental prowess.
HAPPY TRAILS, PROSPECTOR
It all began at Northern Lights Bluegrass’s Camp in 2021: Five super cool people, most of which are meeting for the very first time, are gravitationally pulled together by super rad tunes and rib-cramping-laughter-filled conversations. One thing leads to another and they’re taking a band photo, you know… just for fun, and before you can even open a bag of Rold Gold pretzels, they’ve got a festival gig booked for the next summer.
A five piece, pan-Canadian ensemble, “Happy Trails, Prospector” features killer three part harmonies, smooth and sultry twin fiddles, rippin’ banjo, G-runs for days, and bass slappin’ in all of the right spots. With a variety-filled repertoire and fun stage presence, this seasoned bunch of pals plays with impeccable musicianship and they have a heck of a good time doing it.
“Happy Trails, Prospector” is a musical marriage between five lovely Canadians, each of which sings lead and harmony vocals offering their audience a diverse yet cohesive sound with tons of energy. The five friends are: Patrick Hamilton on guitar, Sarah Hamilton on fiddle, Nathan Smith on fiddle, Miles Zurawell on banjo and Nico Humby on bass. Their upcoming album “The Good, The Bad and the Dreadful” is a compilation of the group’s favourite Bluegrass, Old-Time and Classic Country songs. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for the album’s release later this year.
MARTHA SPENCER & THE WONDERLAND BAND
Martha Spencer is a singer-songwriter, mountain musician and dancer from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. She grew up in the musical Spencer family and learned to play several instruments (guitar, fiddle, banjo, bass, dulcimer, mandolin) and flatfoot/clog at a young age. She performs and has recorded with various groups and has been involved with several roots music projects. She has played shows, festivals and led workshops across the US, Australia, UK, Canada, and Europe. Martha’s first solo album 2018 and latest release “Wonderland” in 2022 have been featured in articles in Rolling Stone Country, No Depression, Holler, Wide Open Country, Bluegrass Situation, Americana Highways, PopMatters and more.
The Barrelmen are a quartet of multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriters from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
The band prides itself on the diversity of the songs, the four-part vocal arrangements, and the ability of the members to play any of the instruments. The live shows are a continual rotation of upright bass, guitar, banjo, mandolin, percussion, harmonica, piano, pedal steel and dobro.
Not quite rock. Not quite country. Not quite bluegrass. Quite entertaining.
JJ GUY AND CATHY SPROULE
We are so lucky this year to have this iconic duo playing our evening old time dances! They will also be showing off what they’ve got for a full performance on the main stage.
JJ Guy & Cathy Sproule have been preforming together as Dance masters for some time
now, however these two acclaimed musicians may be know to players on the popular stream, Jamming with JJ!
With exciting dance calls and up beat music, a good time is had by all wherever they play
JJ Guy is an award winning Saskatchewan fiddler whose music is steeped in tradition. He performs and teaches across Canada and with youth in the Canadian North. He has been featured at festivals, concerts and fiddle camps from Coast to Coast and all stops in between. JJ has released 9 albums and as a result of his hard work and dedication he was inducted into the North American Fiddlers Hall of Fame. He was also awarded the
People’s Choice Award at the Canadian Grand Masters.
Cathy Sproule is an avid fiddle fan, and is best known for her piano backup, playing with several fiddlers such as JJ Guy and Gordon Stobbe, Lucas Welsh, Jospeh Desjarlais, John Arcand and Tristen Durocher, to name a few. She has also taught piano accompaniment at several fiddle camps – FiddlyNess Fiddle Camp, The Hills are Alive Cultural Camp, Kenosee Lake Kitchen Party, Castlegar Fiddle Camp, and Shivering Strings Saskatoon. She is past president of the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Association and was the team leader for the 2014 Canadian Grand Masters Competition in Saskatoon.
THE BIX MIX BOYS
More than ten years ago, each member of The Bix Mix Boys had met over various jams and festivals in different bands throughout Alberta. Opportunity struck when a number of those bands dissolved, and late night jams led to the formation of a new band. Wanting to respect the roots of bluegrass, they chose the name The Bix Mix Boys after one of the biscuit products from the Martha White flour company – Martha White is known for sponsoring bluegrass acts such as Flatt and Scruggs, Hot Rize and Rhonda Vincent (just to name a few).
They have always focused on producing the highest quality of music possible, both vocally and instrumentally. While keeping the tradition of bluegrass alive, they want to bring their unique, Canadian interpretation to the genre. At the same time, they’ve always wanted to put on an entertaining show – with a humorous twist in between numbers.
They’ve entrenched themselves into the Edmonton and Calgary bluegrass scene and consider themselves ambassadors of bluegrass music to Alberta and Canada. You may have heard banjo player Darcy Whiteside as the host of the CKUA Bluegrass Hour.
From the heart of the Canadian Prairies, Hummingbird Crossing plays bluegrass, gospel, roots and folk music.
Audiences respond to their gentle sense of humour, their friendly enthusiasm, and their warm and open sound. Their musical training spans genres, from traditional bluegrass & country to classical training and rock’n’roll. They have performed throughout Saskatchewan, opening for
headliners including the Slocan Ramblers, the Greg Blake Trio, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, and Matthew Hornell & Andrew Sneddon, and appearing on radio & TV. They have performed at the world-famous MerleFest.
Steph Cameron’s debut album, Sad-Eyed Lonesome Lady, recorded at Toronto studio Revolution Recordings and released in 2014 on Toronto label Pheromone Recordings, was long- listed for the coveted 2015 Polaris Music Prize. The album garnered much critical acclaim. Pop Matters declared it the #1 Canadian album of that year, Exclaim! noted that “Sad-Eyed
Lonesome Lady delights from start to finish. Steph Cameron is the real deal”, while No
Depression termed it “a stunning debut”.
In 2017, Steph Cameron released her second studio album, Daybreak Over Jackson Street with
Pheromone Recordings and UK label At The Helm Records. Through 2017-2019, Steph toured the UK and Europe to promote Daybreak Over Jackson Street. Reviewer Three Chords and the Truth referred to the album’s title track as “a masterpiece of social commentary”, while Folk Radio UK dubbed the album “superb” and Folk and Tumble noted “Across all eleven tracks, Daybreak Over Jackson Street is a captivating listen”.
Steph Cameron has toured with legendary artist Buffy Saint-Marie, opened for The Cowboy Junkies, Corb Lund and Frazey Ford and has performed at major folk festivals and conferences
such as the Winnipeg Folk Fest, Vancouver Folk Fest, UK Celtic Connections and Folk Alliance International. She is currently in the post-production phase of her 3rd studio album, Blood Moon, which is her first full-band album.