The Duhks head a long list of folk entertainers at RiverRoots
The Canadian band blends various
American music sounds
(May 2015) Formed in 2002 in Winnipeg, Canada, The Duhks are a high-powered band with a myriad of sounds comprising its playlist. The band has been called one of the most musically adventurous groups to emerge from the roots scene in the last decade.
In 2002, clawhammer banjo player Leonard Podolak founded the band with fellow Canadian singer Jessee Havey, fiddle player Tania Elizabeth and Celtic-influenced guitarist Jordan McConnell. The band derives its name from Podolak’s previous band, Scruj MacDuhk.
The Duhks will take the Main Stage at 7:30 p.m. Saturday evening at the RiverRoots Music & Folk Art Festival in Madison, Ind., before The Wood Brothers close out the festival.
The band seems to effortlessly blend folk music with various Canadian and American traditional styles, including soul, gospel, old-time country string and zydeco. In addition, The Duhks often play traditional Irish dance music, add a touch of Latin-influenced percussion and Celtic and Cajun-influenced fiddle sounds.
They are Grammy award winners and the band’s first album, “Your Daughters & Your Sons,” was nominated for a Juno award in 2003. This led to a contract with Sugar Hill Records.
Latin-influenced percussionist Scott Senior joined the band, and it released a second album in 2005, “The Duhks.” Produced by Bela Fleck, this album won a Juno for Best Roots & Traditional Album by a group and was followed by “Migrations” in 2006.
Harvey eventually left the band to pursue other interests and was replaced by lead singer Sarah Dugas. Senior also left in 2007, replaced by Dugas’ brother, Christian. In 2008 the band released its first live album featuring the Dugas siblings. This album was a compilation of old and new songs, largely recorded in April 2008 at a post Earth Day benefit in Nederland, Colo.
The RiverRoots lineup also features American singer-songwriter John Fullbright, who is scheduled to perform at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. He will unleash his signature style of American, folk, pop and rock music. He is a former member of the Turnpike Troubadours and the Mike McClure Band.
Fullbright, 27, grew up on an 80-acre farm in Bearden, Okla. He began playing the piano at age 5, not taking piano lessons until age 9. While still in high school, he made his debut performance at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival in Okemah, Okla.
After a year of college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, he left to work with musician Mike McClure and began his solo career in 2008. It took Fullbright several more years to release his first studio album, “From the Ground Up.” For his efforts, he received a Grammy nomination in the category of Best Americana Album.
Fullbright’s next release in May 2014 was “Songs.” Within a week of its release, favorable reviews began appearing.
Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper will entertain RiverRoots crowds at 4 p.m. Saturday. Known as an award-winning traditional bluegrass band, it promises to have toes tapping and crowds clapping along with every note.
A fiddle playing virtuoso, Cleveland took up the instrument at age 4. He made his Grand Ole Opry debut as a guest of Alison Krauss and continued guest appearances over the years with the likes of Bill Monroe, Ralph Stanley, Mac Wiseman and J.D. Crowe.
When Cleveland first began taking lessons, he said, “I told the teacher right up front that I wanted to learn how to play bluegrass and I wanted to play ‘Orange Blossom Special.’ ” At age 9 he was invited to sit in with the legendary Monroe at the Bean Blossom Bluegrass Festival.
This Charlestown, Ind., native in 2000 joined forces with Rhonda Vincent and The Rage. He earned his first International Bluegrass Association’s Fiddle Player of the Year award one year later and has since won nine such awards.
Cleveland formed his own bluegrass band in 2006. His current band lineup includes Nathan Livers, a Louisville, Ky., native, on vocals and mandolin; Tyler Griffith on vocals and bass; Joshua Richards on vocals and guitar; and Gaven Largent on vocals, banjo and resophonic guitar.
The band strives to honor bluegrass music’s founding fathers while breaking new ground with its latest release, “On Down the Line.” Cleveland has been quoted as saying, “The only reason I’ve ever done it is because I love it.”
Before Michael Cleveland and Flamekeeper hit the stage, Willie Watson will rev up the crowd with his brand of bluegrass and folk music. Watson will perform at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.
This singer-songwriter, guitarist and banjo player was born in Watkins Glen, N.Y. He may be best known as a founding member of Old Crow Medicine Show, an Americana string band that performs many original songs as well as pre-World War II blues and folk songs.
Watson, 35, played with several bands before meeting Old Crow Medicine Show co-founder Ketch Secor. The band performed around Ithaca, N.Y., where Watson said there is “a very lively old-time music scene.” The area had a heavy musical influence on him.
After spending more than a decade with the band, Watson left for a solo career in fall 2011. He made appearances with the John C. Reilly band and John Prine. He released his debut solo album, “Folk Singer Vol. 1,” on May 6, 2014.
On his move to a solo career, Watson has said, “I don’t have any regrets, but I’m really happy that I’m where I’m at now. I’m playing the music I want to play, and it’s real simple.”
SHEL tops the RiverRoots lineup for Saturday. This folk and pop band from Fort Collins, Colo., will kickoff the festival at 1 p.m.
Since 2005, the four sisters comprising SHEL have performed together. While growing up, they were home schooled by an artist mother and a professional song-writing father. The siblings began their career in the early 2000s, backing up their father, Andrew Holbrook, also a guitarist and singer.
Sisters Sarah, Hannah, Eve and Liza showcased daring, fanciful arrangements on their 2012 self-titled release, “SHEL.” Eva performs lead vocals, guitar, banjo, cello and mandolin; Hannah sings vocals and performs on accordion and keys; Sarah also performs vocals, bass and fiddle; and Liza percussion, djembe and beat boxing.
Their music can be heard in TV shows. “When the Sky Fell” can be heard in “The Fosters” and “On My Way Home” can be heard in the CBS series “Made in Jersey.” “Wise Old Owl” was featured in a Splenda commercial, and their song “Hold On” has been featured in the original motion picture soundtrack for “The Best of Me.” The latter song was a duet with Gareth Dunlop.
Friday’s RiverRoots lineup includes The Haunted Wind Chimes, who will perform on the Main Stage at 7:30 p.m., followed by Friday’s closing act, Scythian. The Haunted Wind Chimes hail from Pueblo, Colo., and have a vintage quality to their sound, setting them apart from other bands.
The Haunted Wind Chimes debuted in 2006 with “Verse/Visa” and immediately attracted fans of all ages. Through their music they strive to craft original music that crosses the boundaries between old-timey folk, traditional country and blues, giving them a diverse following of fans. They have released several albums since 2006.
Each member brings a special quality to the lineup. “When their voices blend, it is nothing short of beautiful,” wrote Bill Reed of The Colorado Springs Gazette.
The Haunted Wind Chimes are comprised of Inaiah Lujan, Desirae Garcia, Chela Lujan and Mike Clark.
In 2011 and 2012 the band was featured on “A Prairie Home Companion.” They are known for performing traditional folk and American roots music. They were awarded the Indy Music Award for the Americana Category and best Album Categories for 2011 and 2012.
ATO Recording Artist Caitlin Rose said of The Haunted Wind Chimes, “Their name sort of says it all, but in case you haven’t heard, they’re the best singers around.”
The Tillers will kick off Friday’s lineup on the Main Stage at 6 p.m. The Tillers have a reputation for being “magnetic showmen, mature musicians, and colorful storytellers.”
In summer 2009, The Tillers were featured in a documentary about U.S. Route 50. Their musical style encompasses many genres: traditional folk, bluegrass, jazz and punk rock.
The Tillers have shared the stage with such renowned folk legends as Doc Watson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Guy Clark, Country Joe McDonald and The Carolina Chocolate Drops. They debuted in 2008 with “Ludlow Street Rag,” a year after the band formed in the Cincinnati area.
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