Dan Frechette and Laurel Thomsen

 

 

Besides her work with Dan, Laurel Thomsen, also a singer, writer, and respected educator, has performed classically since 1998 and with a variety of California Bay Area bands and artists since 2002. With an unforgettable violin tone and a way of offering every musical line or silence as a gift, she is frequently sought for her ability to add depth and emotion to diverse styles of music and her knack for creating infectious melodies, both live on stage and in the studio. She has also released two albums, the latest, “Light & Shadow”, demonstrating her budding talent as a diverse singer-songwriter and composer as well. The host of the Violin Geek Podcast since 2010, the author of two multi-media guides to string playing technique, a longtime Strings magazine contributor, and since 1996, a dedicated private, Skype, and workshop lessons instructor to violin, viola, and fiddle students around the world, Laurel is passionate about not only sharing her music on stage, but also helping others find their own musical voices.

 

 

"Dan and Laurel’s concert in our home drew a standing ovation and a demand for encores. Everyone left with big smiles!"     

Margo and Tyler Baker, California house concert hosts

 

Saturday, May 9, at 8:00 p.m.

One Manitoba winter evening, music and modern technology transpired to bring together two artists with captivating musical synergy, despite their living 2,000 miles apart. Dan Frechette, celebrated Winnipeg singer-songwriter, released a record breaking 10 albums in 2012, and discovered Laurel Thomsen, American genre-bending violinist, that same year via a chance YouTube sighting. 

Dan was instantly impressed by Laurel’s ability to “conjure emotions and spirit with the violin” and imagined how she could add these qualities to his own songs, with an astonishing 1300 of them and counting, including The Duhks hit singles “The Mists of Down Below” and “You Don’t See It”. Laurel was equally impressed with Dan’s diversity as a songwriter, his heartfelt voice, and his one-man-band style of guitar playing - fusing lead, rhythm, and bass lines on just one left handed acoustic guitar. The two became fast friends online, overdubbing each other’s parts on recordings sent back and forth, but didn’t meet in person until nearly a year later when they collaborated on a tour of Laurel’s home state of California. 

Dan Frechette, also a multi-instrumentalist and an uncanny impressionist, has been performing high-energy and soulful concerts throughout North America and Europe since 1992. Dan has toured across Canada several times, both solo and with Laurel, and has appeared at many festivals over the years, including the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Edmonton Folk Festival, Lake Eden Arts Festival, Stan Rogers Festival, Mariposa Folk Festival, Islands Folk Festival, Summerfolk Festival, Bismarck Bluegrass Festival,  Suwanee Springfest, Brandon Folk Festival, Trout Forest Festival, and the Harvest Moon Festival. He’s been called one of Canada’s best on guitar and harmonica, inspiring many up-and-coming singer-songwriters now touring Canada and Europe. 'Sing Out!' magazine also called Frechette "one of the most talented singer-songwriters I've heard in a long time."  

 

 

"Any grounded, sound-minded person would have a perma-grin throughout a Dan and Laurel show." 

Bernie, Manitoba house concert host

 

“A good songwriter...a terrific violinist...and together their voices blend beautifully and harmonically...  I can’t wait to hear more...” 

Les Siemieniuk, Penguins Eggs Magazine

  

 

 

Saturday,  June 6 at 8:00 p.m.

Mbrascatu is a fusion of the cobbled streets and cafés of the Old World and the creative melting pot of Portland. The band is a group of talented musicians that draw from very different musical backgrounds to create a unique blend of sounds encompassing European and American roots.

Since the formation of the band, back in 2010, Mbrascatu, has performed extensively throughout the Pacific Northwest delighting many at the hottest music venues, outdoor festivals, bars, clubs and local radio stations.

If you are not one of the lucky explorers who has already discovered the magic of this band’s music, stop reading, hit play, and submerge yourself in the first song before reading any further. The band features impressive vocals, fantastic arrangments, making surprising use of banjo, ukelele, lap steel, viola, violin, bass, electric and acoustic guitar, and exhilarating drumming. The rhythm, which can be portentous, energetic and catchy, sometimes all at the same time, will get you dancing, the singing will resonate in your chest and the strings and drums will carry you away. Listen loud people!!

 

Redwood Son   

Whether or not the name and music of Redwood Son has yet hit the big radar, this year’s “Best New Artist” of the Portland Music Awards is on the rise. Boasting a 20 Song double-disc debut album titled “The Lion’s Inside” he brings a dynamic versatility that crosses the borders of their West Coast Americana with hook-laden Roots-Rock and Alt. Country, while maintaining an authentic Universal “Pop” vibe

 

 

The first time I listened to Mbrascatu's self-titled debut, it was because I was expecting to hear music that was West-African-by-way-of-Portland. It was the combination of consonants, you see; they misled me. Because from the first notes of the first song, Mbrascatu is unmistakably Americana—acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo—except that the lyrics, and the song titles, are all Italian. Singer/songwriter Andrea Algieri moved from Calabria, Italy, to Portland, where he joined forces with bassist Michael Doherty, also of Future Historians, and John Sabestinas, formerly of Sick Pony, who plays banjo, ukulele, electric guitar, and lap steel. The combination of vernaculars—old-timey folk and Italian crooner—has created indie folk's very own spaghetti western, with Algieri's baritone vocals playing lead heartthrob”. REBECCA WILSON.

The Portland Mercury June 28, 2012 about MBRASCATU's presentation at The Secret Society, 116 NE Russell, Portland, OR.

Mbrascatu and Redwood Son

Mbrascatu

 

Redwood Son

 

"You don’t need to understand Andrea Algieri’s huskily sung Italian lyrics to appreciate Mbrascatu’s refreshing take on local/world indie rock. Their songs fluidly transition from joyfully raucous rock to low-key folk to psychedelic jams, all while maintaining the integrity of the band’s unique sound. While rarely taking the spotlight, the violin acts as a perfect complement to Algieri’s vocals while threading its own distinctive, cohesive voice through the music. Allow yourself to get swept up in the unabashed joy of their live shows, where it doesn’t matter if you look cool dancing and clapping to the band’s sheer exuberance. Mbrascatu’s rich, textured sound isn’t fully represented in their studio recordings; the live performance is where this band truly shines." AMII.

 Metaturtleblog.com June 13, 2014.

 

 

 Houston Jones

 

  

    

" This is as good as it gets! Stellar musicians with a  great sound."             PERI'S, FAIRFAX

****

"As good as any singing and picking I've heard in my thirty years in the music business. Do your friends a big favor, and turn them on to this band!"

- BOB BROWN, OWNER / RANCHO NICASIO AND MANAGER / HUEY LEWIS AND THE NEWS

 ****

"My favorite band!"  -   JACKIE LOKEN, DJ AND HOSTESS OF “THE MOONLIGHT TRAIL”, KKUP 91.5 FM, CUPERTINO, CA

 ****

"Always a favorite here...this killer acoustic music act has unique interpretations of grassroots Americana that will leave you breathless and thoroughly rocked.”

- "WEST COAST LIVE", KALW-FM,  NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO

  ****

"Fantastic guitar playing!"

- MIKE GREENSILL, "WEST COAST LIVE", KALW-FM, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO 

 

Saturday, July 11, at 8:00 p.m.

  

No one delivers the goods quite like Houston Jones. The band's infectious mix of acoustic rock,  bluegrass, folk, and country, driven along by the drumming of Peter Tucker, the guitar of Glenn    Houston, and the soulful vocals of Travis Jones, are in ample supply on their latest effort, Queen of Yesterday. "... Queen of Yesterday, is in a class by itself." - David Wiegand, SF Chronicle.

While the members have always been virtuoso players and arrangers, it's the depth of Kee's songs that adds a defining element to the band. It has expanded the sound somewhat with some down-home honky-tonk on "Born in the Moonshine," some funk on "Mighty Red," and the experimental 11-minute "Roads to Dominion" which adds some middle eastern influences to a basic Texas rhythm. As always, Houston Jones remains one of the West Coast's most talented and entertaining bands.

 

PETER TUCKER     A Percussionist extraordinaire who has worked with the latest, the greatest and the oldest, from THE MONKS to THE WAYBACKS and everything in between.

GLENN HOUSTON    Winner of Northern California Bluegrass Society's "Best Guitarist" award for 2009, a Bammie award winner, and co-founder of THE WAYBACKS and HEARTS ON FIRE.

HENRY SALVIA   Wizard of the keyboard, who has worked with artists such as Bo Diddley, Rickie Lee Jones, Johnny Colla (of Huey Lewis and the News), Big Jay McNeeley, Jessica Mitford, Tommy Ridgely, Al Kooper, Peter Coyote, Big Lou the Accordion Princess, Jan Fanucci, and (his favorite) Johnny Adams.

TRAVIS JONES   Popular blue-eyed Bay Area singer and guitarist, seen in many venues with bands such as LARGE AND IN THE WAY and  who has worked closely over the years with leading Bay Area musicians.

JJOSHUA ZUCKER  Standup Base and Harmony Vocals

 

"The high-energy Americana band has evolved into a potent quartet …(with) a wicked left-handed guitar slinger.  Part of what makes the group so effective is that it seamlessly blends instrumental prowess with tasty vocal harmonies.”

- ANDREW GILBERT, SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS

 ****

"Boy, what a band, what a band!  I’m so impressed every time I hear you guys! We’re looking forward to your next visit already!”

– SLEEPY JOHN SANDIDGE, HOST OF “PLEASE STAND BY”, KPIG 107.5 FM, FREEDOM, CA

 

 

 

 

Saturday,  August 8 at 8:00 p.m.

 

The Blackberry Bushes are a Contemporary Stringband from the rain-drenched forests of Olympia, Washington. They take a bluegrass instrumentation, draw from the deep roots of American folk music and add influences from Bluegrass, Appalachian old-time, Indie Rock, jazz, and pop. Virtuosic musicianship, compelling arrangements, quick wit, flying tempos, and heavy heel boot dancing are all elements of a live show that is joyous and vibrant with an intention to move the audience in their hearts and out of their seats. The poetic delivery of hypnotizing vocal harmonies and fresh songwriting sets The Blackberry Bushes Stringband apart. Acoustic Americana lovers are continually surprised and delighted by this new bouquet of players on the festival stage.

The Appalachian Mountains are the meeting place of the fiddle and the banjo, and musical culture permeates the entire length of the Mississippi River. Jes Raymond and Jakob Breitbach may have started their musical journey in the rainy bottom of the Puget Sound, but their work is infused with the essence of the homes they wandered West from. Joined by Daniel Ullom on the mandolin and Forrest Marowitz on the upright bass, The Blackberry Bushes draw from the deep roots of American traditional music to create a playful and resonant sound with both twang and sophistication. They are emerging as a band of artists whose Americana is honest and generous with an obvious love of performing, spot on chemistry, and a live show that truly aims to stir the spirit.

Jes’s songs connect the day to day with the muses of wonder, folk wisdom, earthiness, and impermanence. Backed by two, three and four part harmonies, she sings with joy and a desire for every person in the house to feel that she is singing to them. Jakob’s virtuosic fiddle improvisation and Daniel’s longtime immersion in bluegrass and old-time create a thrillingly potent onstage correspondence. Together with Forrest’s exceptionally sensitive and deeply grooving bass lines, they propel a song-focused band to expand outward in exploratory delight. Jes’s skillful flatpicking interlocks these soundscapes while the band simultaneously honors the genius of tradition and innovation.

The Blackberry Bushes

 

 

It is a rare magic that allows a band to use voices from many genres in an acoustic instrumentation that retains distinct threads of sonic color. Elements of jazz, classical, pop and gospel saturate this modern string band sound that is buoyant, bold, and like their thorny namesake, rooted and growing, growing, growing.

 

 

“Their blend of traditional Bluegrass and Folk elements with more contemporary sounds has an appeal not seen since Nickel Creek or The Be Good Tanyas.”

(Joseph Kyle The Big Takeover)

 

 

 

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