the 2019 bands...

special consensus

Special ConsensusIt's been quite a run for Chicago's Special Consensus since their last visit with us -- a Grammy nomination ("Best Bluegrass Album"), two IBMA awards ("Album of the Year" and "Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year"), the release of their 19th CD (#1 on the charts for months), and a European tour! For the past 43 years, this band has been a regular fixture on the bluegrass circuit and featured in the pages of every bluegrass magazine. This will be their 6th appearance with us and they never fail to provide a great show of both traditional and contemporary bluegrass music.

Greg Cahill (banjo, harmony vocals) is the group's founder and his banjo playing can also be found on many national TV and radio commercials. In addition, Greg has produced four highly rated banjo instruction DVDs. In 2006, Greg was elected President / Board Chair of the International Bluegrass Music Association. Dan Eubanks (bass, lead & harmony vocals) is a college music professor who has appeared several times on the "Nashville" TV show. Rick Farris (guitar, lead & harmony vocals) has his share of SPBGMA awards and is a talented guitar, mandolin and resonator guitar luthier. Nick Dumas (mandolin, lead & harmony vocals) has toured with several northwestern bands and has recently relocated to Nashville.

big country bluegrass

Big Country BluegrassTommy and Teresa Sells formed Big Country Bluegrass in the late 1980s.  All the band members live in and around the Virginia-Carolina Blue Ridge, and their music reflects much of the deep musical heritage found in this region which is at the heart of the Crooked Road Music Trail. Their latest Rebel recording, "Country Livin'" and its lead cut, "The Bluefield West Virginia Blues" has garnered the prestigious top spot on the Bluegrass Unlimited air-play chart.

Tommy plays mandolin and does most of the emcee work while Teresa plays rhythm guitar, sings lead and the high harmony vocals. Eddie Gill handles most of the distinctive lead vocals and plays the guitar. Newest member John Treadway plays banjo and also sings harmony for the group.  Tony King of Galax, Virginia, plays the acoustic upright bass, and bluegrass veteran Tim Laughlin plays fiddle and sings harmony.

Williamson Branch

Willaimson BranchThe Nashville-based, Williamson Branch band provides a highly entertaining show that showcases the talents of both parents and their amazing kids. With an extensive touring schedule and well-reviewed recording projects, they provide a tight, polished, fun show that lets all the members of this talented family strut their stuff.

Parents Kevin (guitar, vocals) and Debbie Williamson (mandolin, vocals) have years of bluegrass experience, with Kevin having performed with the likes of Dave Evans, the Country Gentlemen and Phoenix. They also performed together in the popular Shadow Ridge Band until the youngsters came along. Daughters Melody (fiddle, vocals), Kadence (U-Bass, vocals) and Caroline (fiddle, vocals, show-stealing) aren't just "good, for kids," but are just plain great pickers, singers, and songwriters, period. Newest member Anthony Howell (banjo) is one of the hot new banjo whiz kids who provides additional instrumental firepower to the group. Get ready for some family fun!

larry Efaw & the bluegrass mountaineers

Bluegrass MountaineersBased in Akron, Ohio, the Bluegrass Mountaineers has been a driving force on the bluegrass scene in the Buckeye State. The band was formed in 1963 and now features three generations of the Efaw family, along with some mighty talented friends. In addition, they are well-known
promoters of bluegrass music throughout Ohio and produce several concerts each year. The Mountaineers feature a driving, traditional sound that's influenced by the Stanley Brothers.

Larry Efaw (lead guitar, vocals) is an award-winning guitar and mandolin player who also produces bluegrass concerts and has made guest appearances with the likes of Rhonda Vincent and Dr. Ralph Stanley. Stanley Efaw (mandolin, vocals) joined the Mountaineers at age eight! He also tours with Remington Ryde. Joining the Efaw boys are other well-known performers on the Ohio bluegrass scene.

the allegheny drifters

Allegheny DriftersPittsburgh's Allegheny Drifters is one of the strongest vocal and instrumental bands on the traditional bluegrass scene. Seasoned entertainers, they breathe new life and excitement into many songs and styles yet undiscovered by a large part of today's audience. They've been a part of our festival many times -- 'cause we really like these folks! And to top it off, they are now celebrating 16 years as a band and a stellar review in Bluegrass Unlimited for their latest CD! Congrats!

Bob Artis (mandolin) and Bernie Cunningham (guitar) are the most recognizable names to western Pennsylvania bluegrass fans due to their individual tenures with the Dog Run Boys, the Dixie Travelers, Second Wind, and Beaver Creek. They've performed together for over 30 years, developing a tight vocal blend. Bob's wife Karen Artis (bass) has over 20 years of musical experience and sings both lead and harmony. Newest members Michele Birkby-Vance (fiddle) and Radford Vance (banjo) are no strangers to our festival stage, having appeared with Northwest Territory and Rachel Burge & Blue Dawning. Seasoned professionals, they bring a fresh new dimension to the band's sound.

hickory bottom band

Hickory Bottom BandThis relatively new band from Bedford, PA has been drawing rave reviews in the area as they bring their strong vocal harmonies and solid pickin' to the stage. Even though the members' diverse musical backgrounds draw material  from a variety of old and new sources and genres, it's "all bluegrass" from this talented bunch, Hickory Bottom Band.

Chris Bollman (vocals, guitar) provides much of the signature HBB sound with her strong lead and harmony vocals. She is also a prolific songwriter. Mark Bollman (mandolin, guitar, vocals) has a diverse musical background which is evident in his playing and singing. He also handles the band's live sound. Roger Grimm's (guitar, vocals) traditional country music roots run deep and are reflected in his solid baritone vocal style and lead guitar playing. Dan Smith (bass) is the only "classically trained" member of the band. His solid rhythm anchors the band's "hickory bottom end." Newest member Tim Custer (banjo, vocals) is an award-winning banjo player and co-organizer of the popular Coleman Station Bluegrass Festival. He previously performed with local favorite bands Brush Creek, Mac Martin & The Dixie Travelers, and Mountain Therapy.

open highway

Open HighwayOpen Highway has been a fixture on the Ohio bluegrass scene, providing solid traditional music for over 20 years. Based in Columbus, the band has ventured out of state to perform at Dollywood and Silver Dollar City, in addition to numerous fairs and festivals throughtout the region. They offer a strong mixture of standards and original material and have four recording projects, including an all-gospel CD. This is their second appearance with us and we're looking forward to another fine show. (Hopefully Jim's arm won't be in a cast this year!)

Jim Duty (bass, vocals) carries on his father's legacy as the leader of the band. Max Mobley (guitar, vocals), John Obora (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, vocals), Matt Inboden (banjo), and Scott Adkins (mandolin, vocals) all have extensive experience playing with numerous regional bands.

echo valley

Echo ValleyWestern Pennsylvania's Echo Valley has been entertaining people of all ages since 2009 with their variety of traditional bluegrass, gospel, Celtic, and folk styles. With their unique blend of six sisters and one brother, this group impresses with their superb stage presence, musicianship, sibling harmonies and multi-instrument talents. The band has played regularly for major festivals in our area including the Three Rivers Arts Festival in Pittsburgh, St. Joseph's House of Hospitality Charity Bluegrass concert, the Coleman Station Bluegrass Festival and have also performed at Dollywood! We're so glad they're joining us this year.

Audiences are captivated with Elizabeth's fun-filled guitar playing and rich song arranging; Emily's award-winning fiddling; Isabelle's soulful mandolin picking; Olivia's multi-instrumental talents; Emmaline's fabulous bass slapping; Annamae's sweet soprano; and David's show-stopping vocals!

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