Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion at The Renaissance Theatre in Kingsport, TN on Saturday December 7, 2013. Nearly a decade after folk-rock duo Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion put out their first album together, the husband-and-wife pair feel like they’ve finally hit their stride on Wassaic Way, a collection of 11 new songs to be released August 6th on Rte 8 Records.
Produced by Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy and Patrick Sansone at the Loft in Chicago, Wassaic Way ...finds Guthrie and Irion pushing further beyond the folky sound they established on 2005’s Exploration, their first studio LP. After Irion’s solo album Ex Tempore in 2007, the live album Folksong in 2009 and the children’s collection Go Waggaloo in 2009, the pair began expanding their sonic horizons on 2011’s Bright Examples, an album that drew praise from American Songwriter magazine for its “lush, dreamy sound.”
“This record is a departure from a folk duo,” Irion says. “I think this is the best example we’ve been able to present that shows the many facets of what we can do. There’s loud guitars, there’s soundscapes, there’s a lushness to it, there’s a popness, an edge. But that can be difficult sometimes to bring it all together and present it.”
Wassaic Way is also the latest entry in an ongoing creative relationship between the Guthrie family and Wilco. Sarah Lee is the daughter of Arlo Guthrie, and the granddaughter of the iconic folk singer Woody Guthrie, whose unfinished songs Wilco recorded with Billy Bragg on a pair of Mermaid Avenue albums in 1998 and 2000. Wilco also invited Sarah Lee and Johnny to perform at the band’s Solid Sound Festival in 2011, and the duo had toured with the Autumn Defense, Sansone’s project with Wilco bassist John Stirratt.
After recording most of Bright Examples live with a band, the duo credits Tweedy and Sansone in helping them put the new songs together in the studio. They had plenty of material to choose from: Before convening in Chicago last year, Guthrie and Irion sent along nearly 50 demos for Tweedy and Sansone to sort through. Once they got to the Loft, Tweedy pushed them to revise and tighten up the tunes they had decided on.
“We actually ended up rewriting a lot of these songs with Jeff in the studio,” Guthrie says. “We would powwow on a song before we got going on it, sometimes for two hours at the beginning of the day, just me and Johnny and Jeff, making sure it was lyrically sound and there were no musical loopholes.”
You can hear it throughout Wassaic Way, in the buoyant pop of album opener “Chairman Meow,” the wistful melody threading through an enveloping beat on “Not Feeling It” and the moody atmospherics underpinning “Nine Out of Ten Times.” Guthrie and Irion also haven’t abandoned their folky roots, as demonstrated by the harmonica and Dobro on the lilting acoustic number “Hurricane Window.” Tweedy and Sansone played on the album, along with multi-instrumentalist Charlie Rose and drummer Otto Hauser, which they recorded in bursts over a period of a few months.
“It was the first time we’d ever taken our time with a record and really gotten it right,” Irion says. “When I listen to the album, there’s not much I would change, and that’s hard to say with other records we’ve made.”
Although Guthrie and Irion perform as a duo, they rarely write that way. With all the time they spend together on tour, and at home raising their two daughters, writing songs is more of a solitary pursuit for each of them. As studio dates approach, they share what they’ve come up with and offer suggestions and ideas.
“Writing is kind of an escape from the work that we do together as a family and on the road,” Irion says.
“It definitely echoes exactly who we are,” Guthrie chimes in. “Johnny’s full of melodies and really creative chord structures. He’s constantly working on a song that’s better than the last one. I tend to be a lot simpler, and sometimes songs tend to flow through me, rather than me crafting it as much. I’m a lot lazier than him.”
Irion adds, “I end up writing a bunch of songs, and Sarah Lee will write two, and one of them will be the single.”
Any of the songs on Wassaic Way could be a single, which speaks to the strength of the songwriting, and also to Guthrie and Irion’s underlying goal: they wanted an album that moves them one step closer to getting at the heart of who they are as writers and performers.
“Every record has been a huge learning curve, and you get pushed beyond your limits, and then your limits are way bigger,” Guthrie says. “I think we’re still at the beginning of what we can do as recording artists. I think we’re just starting to carve a path that we can walk .
Kelley McRae will open the show. In the last 2 years and a half years, the Kelley McRae duo has played over 300 shows coast to coast and traveled over 75,000 miles in their V...W van. Along the way Kelley encountered the people and places that inspired the songs on her new album, BRIGHTER THAN THE BLUES. Kelley’s brand of heartfelt Americana has found impressive fans: Paste Magazine gave her four stars, and WNYC’s ‘Soundcheck’ named her performance one of the years best. Kelley performs as an acoustic duo with her husband Matt, and they have performed at such venues as The Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, The Red Clay Theatre in Atlanta, and The Living Room in NYC. Previously residing in NYC, the duo is currently writing and recording new material in a cabin in the Nantahala Forest of North Carolina.
Skyflight Productions presents an evening with The Barefoot Movement from Johnson City, TN at The Renaissance Center Theater in Kingsport, TN on Friday January 24, 2014. Johnson City's The Barefoot Movement have been making waves in the folk world since the release of their 2011 debut album Footwork.
2013 brings the release of a new album, cross country touring, and all manners of shoeless excitement. Their new effort, "Figures of the Year", comes on the heels of their west coast tour, opening for Anti R...ecords artists The Milk Carton Kids from Denver to San Francisco to Vancouver. The record itself is a journey through a year, each song telling its part of the larger story, with both original and traditional numbers, complete with all the elements that make up the Barefoot sound: lush harmonies, thoughtful instrumentation, and memorable melodies.
From the foot-tapping instrumental "Sheepherder" to the emotional ballad "Thunder" and everything in between, these roots music newcomers have assembled quite the collection here, both old songs and new, offering something for everyone.
Loves It will open the show. Loves It was born in the vibrant honky tonkin' community of Austin TX
in 2010. Vaughn Walters and Jenny Parrott, each veterans of the road,
left their other bands to hit the ground running as a duo. Their
homemade melodies and rhythms are inspired by folk, country, gospel...
and punk. Loves It plays with a veneration for tradition and a
determination to bring a modern voice to their favorite sounds. By playing 200 shows per year in the US, Europe, and Asia, Loves It has amassed a collection of all new original music for their first studio release "All We Are", due out October 2013. Loves It has appeared at such festivals as Bristol Rhythm and Roots, Red Wing Roots, OK Mozart, and has appeared on Wisconsin PBS special "30 minute music hour." The harmony driven duo switches between guitars, fiddle, and banjo, often adding special guests to create a bigger sound. Kinky Friedman calls their debut album “Yay” “an American original, another step on the road to the stars.”
Teaming with Grammy-winning producer Glenn Barratt, Sicilia recorded It Wasn’t Real at his Morningstar Studios in Philadelphia, near Gina’s native Newtown, Pennsylvania, with an A-team of local session players. The sparkling results make songs like the title track, the emotionally wrenching “Don’t Wanna Be No Mother (Don’t Wanna Be No Wife)” and her gilded interpretation of Etta James’ 1961 hit, “Don’t Cry Baby,” soaring new entries in a canon of recordings and performances that have won Sicilia multiple Blues Music Awards nominations — including “Best New Artist” — and raves from fans and critics alike.
“These songs mean a lot to me,” Sicilia explains. “My goal is to write in a way that’s observant and soulful, and to get at the pleasures and the pressures of love, joy, family, responsibility…all the complexities that are part of living. And with Glenn’s help and the support of the great band he put together, I think I’ve made my best album.”
The evidence is in the tracks. The set opens with a driving peal of drums, bass, guitar and organ, giving an undertow of strength to the vulnerability that drenches Sicilia’s warm contralto voice on “It Wasn’t Real,” a story of betrayal that’s slated to be the disc’s first video. She employs her flexible vibrato to convey the layers of regret and desire in the lyrics to the poignantly insightful “Don’t Wanna Be No Mother (Don’t Wanna Be No Wife),” a portrait of a woman feeling trapped in her own life – even if that feeling is just temporary.
“I’m a people watcher, and I wrote that song sitting in an airport waiting for a flight to Orlando,” Sicilia says. “All around me there were children running wild and their exhausted parents, and I really connected with the look of resignation on one woman’s face. So I decided to write what I imagined to be her thoughts. All of us feel like we’d like to trade our life for another occasionally, and that’s what she seemed to be living at that moment.”
Sicilia’s take on Etta James’ “Don’t Cry Baby,” with upright bass and wailing horn playing foil to her voice, goes to a place where molten blues and protean rock ‘n’ roll meet. “Please Don’t Stop” ups the percolating ante. “I wanted to write a twist, so I envisioned that rhythm before I started to write the lyrics, and then — since I really love doo-wop, too — I incorporated a doo-wop style ‘oh-oh-oh’ flourish in the vocal melody.” The breezy romp is a perfect romantic summertime anthem.
“Walking Down the Avenue” straddles the realms of jazz and blues, recalling the sophistication of such classic chanteuses as Lil Green, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Peggy Lee in Sicilia’s elegant delivery. In the sweetly chipper “I Wanna Write a Little Song With You,” she bends her vocal melody into soulful filigrees around a country arrangement replete with faux steel guitar bends, and “Walking Shoes” is a flat-out Texas honky-tonk roadhouse shuffle.
“Even though I’m mostly known in the blues world, I love and I’ve absorbed all kinds of music — R&B, country, doo-wop, jazz, soul, pop and blues. So when I get inspired to write a song, it’s likely to go anywhere and even combine those styles,” Sicilia explains. Tendrils of those genres can also be heard in her previous three albums, including 2008’s Hey Sugar and 2011’s Can’t Control Myself. Those were all produced by Sicilia’s bandleader and guitarist Dave Gross, a rising blues star in his own right. But this time, she was interested in pursuing fresh energy in her material, arrangements and vocal performances.
“Working with Glenn took me out of the comfort zone Dave and I have together, and that made me a little nervous and forced me to push myself,” Sicilia relates. “That gave me the edge and the encouragement I needed to explore the entire breadth of my vocal range, which I think people get to hear for the first time on this album.”
Of course, fans have loved Sicilia’s bold dark-honey voice since her earliest days on stage — in weekly jams at Philadelphia blues and jazz club Warmdaddy’s starting in 2005, when she was just 19. She’d already acquired her eclectic musical taste from her parents, who played all kinds of music on their home stereo, including pop tunes from her father’s native Italy. But after she ordered a packaged-for-TV compilation album called Solid Gold Soul that featured Bobby Bland, Etta James, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin and others, she become hooked on old-school soul, blues and R&B.
Still, Sicilia was too shy to sing in public. She had planned a career in journalism despite the encouragement of her musical mentor, Russell Faith. Faith was an important composer and musician on the Philly scene who’d written songs for Frank Sinatra. His death in 2004 galvanized Sicilia into action. “I started taking the subway by myself to the jams at Warmdaddy’s,” she says. “From the first time I got the courage to go onstage, the musicians there encouraged me.”
Sicilia and Gross met at Warmdaddy’s. They started dating and performing together. Gross encouraged her to record, and Allow Me to Confess was released just after Sicilia graduated from college and was free to begin touring. The album was soon picked up for distribution by the VizzTone Label Group and Sicilia rapidly signed with a national roots music booking agency.
“At that point I’d only done a one-week tour of the Midwest,” Sicilia recalls. “Suddenly, within months of my first album being released, I was playing major festivals, touring the world and got nominated for a Blues Music Award. It was amazing.
“Things were happening so fast that for a while I thought it was going to be easy,” she adds, laughing. “But I’ve learned that there are no short cuts for hard work and experience, which is what it takes to become a better artist.”
Despite her acclaim and her estimable talent, Sicilia considers her music a restless work in progress. “I see myself as always evolving, reaching for a new place where I want my music to be and a way I want it to sound,” she says. “I don’t know if I’ll find that place, but I’ll never stop searching.
"Right from the outset, this latest release from the Nashville residing Aussie sets out to be a blueprint of how traditional country music can be made relevant in the 21st Century and Audrey succeeds in this mission." ~ Three Chords and the Truth, UK
Ever the fearlessly independent woman, she runs her own label Reckless Records and enjoys great success as a songwriter. Auld's songs are recorded by Nashville stars and Carter Family descendants, are heard on the Grand Ole Opry, TV shows (Justified, The Good Guys, Longmire) and within the walls of San Quentin Prison where she has hosted songwriting workshops since 2006.
"The only problem with Auld is trying to decide if she's more remarkable as a singer or a songwriter, which isn't the worst problem an artist can have."
~ John Conquest, 3rd Coast Music, Austin, TX, April 2012
An honest and witty writer and a spontaneous comedienne, Auld is never afraid to venture into the dark places of life and shine a humorous light upon them. It's in her live show that you'll really meet her. She's entertaining, funny, heartfelt and dry. You'll laugh and cry. She's wickedly witty with a country sound that harks back to the days of a tight frock and a promise. But don’t be fooled – she’s Australian after all….
The Steel Wheels is an amalgamation of hard work and easy rapport. The band is renowned for their raw energy and chemistry on stage, where they often cluster tightly around a single microphone to adorn Trent Wagler’s unmistakable tenor with bell-clear four-part harmonies inspired by their shared Mennonite heritage. Add to this Eric Brubaker’s lively and evocative fiddle, Brian Dickel’s grounded yet buoyant upright bass, and Jay Lapp’s signature mandolin style, and it’s no surprise that The Steel Wheels have enthralled the contemporary Americana scene.
Their breakout album, Red Wing, garnered critical praise and enjoyed tremendous success on the radio. It spent 13 weeks on the Americana Music Association’s Top 40 Chart, where it reached the number 15 slot, and cracked the Euro Americana Chart top 10. Red Wing ranked 70th out of the top 100 Americana albums of 2010 and second out of all independent releases (Americana Music Association). The Steel Wheels were nominated for five Independent Music Awards in 2010, with “Nothing You Can’t Lose” taking top honors as Best Country Song. The Steel Wheels continue to take the Americana scene by storm with their latest album, Lay Down, Lay Low, which lingered for 10 weeks on the AMA’s Top 40 Chart. NPR named “Rain in the Valley” their Song of the Day, marveling that the “heavy hymn […] is sparse and dense all at once.” Already celebrated as the darlings of Merlefest 2012, the band looks forward to further accolades during a phenomenal festival line-up.
As the band thrives, so do their partnerships with local businesses, artisans, and charitable organizations. The values portrayed in their music—devotion to roots, community, and family—are a way of life for The Steel Wheels, and this is reflected in everything from production process and booking agency to merchandise and touring. For the past three years, they have performed an annual SpokeSongs bicycle music tour, during which band members tow their instruments, equipment, and merchandise from one gig to another via bicycle and blog about their adventures. Last year’s tour spanned 11 days, 550 miles, and 10 shows. This year’s tour included multiple charity rides, such as Lose The Training Wheels, Charity Ride for Kids, and Wheels Up for Cory.
The band’s merchandise represents a host of grassroots connections to people and businesses. Lucas Roasting Company, located just outside of Harrisonburg, created “Halfway to Heaven” dark roast coffee in honor of their friends The Steel Wheels. Blue Mountain Brewery, located on Afton Mountain in Virginia, hosted the band when they were just getting started and now sells a “Steel Wheels ESB.” The Livery’s master brewer rode with the band on their second bike tour and, soon after, created their “Steel Wheels Stout.” The band’s T-shirts are made in downtown Harrisonburg, and a potter who is a childhood friend of Jay’s makes their mugs. Each business is local for the band, and each product is intimately woven into their narrative. The Steel Wheels are proof that music remains a viable and sustaining force for connection in our world.
Hannah Aldridge will open for The Steel Wheels. Americana is the perfect concoction of American roots music that comprises our musical ethos as we know it today. It is something so engrained in our history, folklore, tradition, and mythology that it is not as simple as just "becoming" Americana, but rather, it is something that you are born into. It's that old cast-iron Coca-Cola sign that's been in your neighbor's shed for 50 years, a banjo and a Fender telecaster playing together, a 1955 Chevy with a modern stereo.
There are few artists that can truly encapsulate the essence and true range of Americana like Muscle Shoals artist Hannah Aldridge, whose musical pedigree precedes her and speaks for itself.
Hannah Aldridge is the daughter of Alabama Music Hall of Famer Walt Aldridge, who is one of the most prolific songwriters of the modern musical era. Twice named by Billboard magazine as one of the Top Country Songwriters of the year, ASCAP Songwriter of the Year, and countless Number One and Top Ten hits recorded by the likes of Lou Reed, Reba McEntire, Travis Tritt, Earl Thomas Conley, Ricky Van Shelton, Ronnie Milsap, and Conway Twitty.
With sounds ranging from blues in the Mississippi Delta to the dusty, dixieland jazz sounds from New Orleans, the musical stylings of Muscle Shoals on up to the primitive roots of American Country music, Hannah Aldridge leaves no inspiration or influence untapped.
Elliott always believed he’d be an artist. He spent his youthful years drawing, painting and sculpting, but the more he picked on those six-strings, the more he found familiar ground with his words and the imagery he strived to achieve on canvas. Songwriting became painting with his words and performing on stage became his new exhibition.
Averaging over 150 shows per year, Elliott has been on the road for more than a decade performing a blend of Americana, roots and country music. Along the way he’s collected more than a few interesting stories, many of which end up crafted into lyrics. Perhaps the most surreal moment in his career happened in 2009 while he was portraying Buddy Holly for the Surf Ballroom on the 50th anniversary of the fateful plane crash which took the rock legend’s life. He was asked to sing “Oh Boy” with Buddy’s widow Maria Elena Holly. She whispered in Elliott’s ear after the song faded, “You’re my Buddy.”
He has also shared the music stage with greats such as: Eric Church, Lonestar, Counting Crows, Brantley Gilbert, R.L. Burnside, Odetta, Tom Paxton and Loudon Wainwright III, among others.
Elliott has released 18 full-length albums since he began his songwriting career. In 2009, he released “Redemption Man.” Elliott worked with producer and guitarist Bo Ramsey (Lucinda Williams, Greg Brown) on this album to achieve it’s distinctive electrified roots sound. It also features Pieta Brown on the song, “Same, Old Way,” which was the 2009 Woody Guthrie Festival song contest winner as well as a 3rd place winner in the 2009 International Songwriting Contest for the Americana category. Two other songs on this album, “Redemption Man,” and “Illinois,” won Elliott a new folk finalist spot in the 2008 Grassy Hill Kerrville Folk Festival.
Elliott’s latest album, “So Sang the Crow” was released in March of 2013. Chad visited Basecamp Recording Studio in Montana to lay the tracks. Basecamp Recording is run by Chris Cunningham of the folk-duo Storyhill. Cunningham produced the album, adding his meticulous attention to detail to the well-crafted project. “So Sang the Crow” speaks to the souls of those “fighting the good fight” in a life of challenge.
It's a special treat when Danny Schmidt and Carrie Elkin, who normally tour separately and solo, get to share the stage together. If the chemistry seems especially sparkful, they come by it honestly, as they are a rare breed: a romantic partnership in real life, not just musical life. And the two together on stage makes for a classic case of the whole being great...er than the sum of its parts.
Danny Schmidt is best known for his riveting poetic lyrics, which have drawn favorable comparisons to Leonard Cohen and Townes Van Zandt for their depth and complexity. And gypsy spirit Carrie Elkin is best known for her incredibly soulful and dynamic vocals, which have drawn favorable comparisons to Patty Griffin at her most powerful, and Nanci Griffith at her most intimate.
Together, the respective strengths they each bring, individually, merge into a much greater whole . . . a performance of great energy and spirit . . . and one that audiences seem to be able to connect with on a multitude of levels, at once: Emotionally, Spiritually, and Intellectually.
Named to the Chicago Tribune's 50 Most Significant Songwriters in the Last 50 Years, Austin, TX-based singer/songwriter Danny Schmidt has been rapidly ascending from underground cult hero status to being broadly recognized as an artist of generational significance. Danny is considered a preeminent writer, an artist whose earthy poetry manages to somehow conjure magic from the mundane, leading Sing Out Magazine to tag him: "Perhaps the best new songwriter we've heard in the last 15 years."
With her Red House Records release, Call it my Garden, Carrie Elkin has emerged as one of the defining new voices in the world of Texas singer-songwriters, being celebrated by Texas Music Magazine as one of their artists of the year. The voice, the stories, the images, the grace, it's the complete package. But it's the power of her live performances that really have been creating an incredible buzz around this young artist. Maverick Magazine said it best, after a recent festival performance: "I have never seen a performer so in love with the act of singing. That's the gospel truth. Onstage, Elkin was simply a force of nature."
Don't miss these two great artists in a rare split-bill performance, sharing songs back and forth, lending their voices to each other's tunes, in harmony. And lending commentary to each other's tunes, in the form of smart-ass between-song banter.
Skyflight Productions presents an evening with Wild Ponies at The Willow Tree Coffeehouse and Music Room in Johnson City, TN on Friday May 30, 2014. Wild Ponies - The dead right, honest songwriting of Doug and Telisha Williams blended with a kick-ass band. Touring in support of their brand new release on Ditch Dog Records, "Things That Used To Shine", Wild Ponies - Doug, Telisha and drummer Jake Winebrenner - bring energy and charisma along as they perform brilliant new songs as well as some of the old Doug & Telisha favorites. Written during a busy year on the road, "Things That Used To Shine" is an album about leaving some things behind ... and meeting others head-on. Released by the newly formed independent label, DitchDog Records, the album finds Telisha opening up about the skeletons that have haunted her closet for years. Grammy-winning producer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams) recorded the 12 songs in three days, running the band's harmonies through the same pre-amps once used by the Beatles. "It's a terrific, raw, robust sound these guys have going on" said Kim Ruelhl in "No Depression".
Dolly Parton credits Claire with "one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today." Claire's harmonies have graced the recordings of many stellar musicians. Equally gifted as a songwriter, her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites and others.
Blazing her own trail in the mid 70's when there were few role models for a young woman in the genre, Claire Lynch made history when she led the Front Porch String Band, which evolved in the 80’s and 90’s into “one of the sharpest and most exciting post-modern bluegrass bands on the circuit.” She formed her own Claire Lynch Band in 2005 and has since consistently been a top pick of prestigious publications, critics and audiences across the U.S. and beyond.
Claire grew up in Kingston, N.Y. until the age of 12, when the family moved to Huntsville, Alabama. There she began her education in country music and got caught up in the bluegrass revival of the 1970's, joining a band called Hickory Wind. Later, the band changed its name to the Front Porch String Band with Claire’s vocals as its centerpiece.
In 1981, after their first nationally-released recording, the group retired from the road, and Claire pursued dual careers in addition to raising a family. As a songwriter, her tunes have been recorded by such luminaries as Patty Loveless, The Seldom Scene, Cherryholmes, Kathy Mattea, The Whites and Stephanie Davis. At the same time, she became a much sought-after session vocalist.
In 1991, the Front Porch String Band was resurrected with the album, “Lines and Traces”, a move that ultimately led to the launching of Claire’s solo career in earnest. Friends for a Lifetime was released in 1993 followed by Moonlighter in 1995 (Claire’s first GRAMMY nomination) and Silver and Gold in 1997 (also nominated for GRAMMY glory). She was named the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year in 1997 and enjoyed many chart successes. The band wrapped up the 20th century with the album “Love Light,” in 2000. At that time Claire took what she thought would be a full-fledged break from music, stepping away from the grind of daily touring. She wasn't sure when–or if–she would return. “I hadn’t planned to come back. Then one day I opened my catalog of songs and realized that I'd written my life,” she said.
Little by little, the lure of music worked its way back. She sang harmony on “The Grass is Blue” and “Little Sparrow” which led to promotional touring as backup vocalist for Dolly Parton. She graced albums by other artists with her background vocals including Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Pam Tillis, Alison Brown, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea and Ralph Stanley. Today, the impressive list of other guest appearances continues including spots on albums by Donna the Buffalo, Sara Watkins, the Gibson Brothers, Jonathan Edwards and Jesse Winchester.
In 2005, Lynch struck out on her own, forming the Claire Lynch Band and releasing the aptly named “New Day” CD. It was a hit on the bluegrass charts and earned her IBMA nominations for “Song of the Year” and “Female Vocalist of the Year.” In 2007, Rounder Records featured a brilliant catalog of music from her previous five albums on their label and titled the anthology collection, “Crowd Favorites”. More IBMA nominations followed as well as an induction into the Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
“Whatcha Gonna Do,” Claire’s next release (2009), was called “a stripped-down production with sumptuous acoustic atmospheres” showcasing…the instrumental brilliance of her four-piece band “ After a busy touring schedule in 2010, she received three IBMA nominations including “Song of the Year” and “Recorded Event of the Year,” winning the 2010 trophy for Female Vocalist of the Year.
Ms. Lynch’s USA Walker Fellowship Award ($50,000.) was one of 50 salutes given from United States Artists (USA) for 2012. The USA Fellows represent the most innovative and influential artists in their fields - including cutting-edge thinkers and traditional practitioners from the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater arts, and visual arts.
In January 2013, after a long, successful stint with Rounder Records, Claire signed a new recording deal with esteemed Nashville roots label Compass Records, called by Billboard Magazine, “...one of the greatest independent labels of the last decade.” With their co-founder Garry West producing, she released the ninth solo recording of her career titled “Dear Sister”. By Summer, the album had reached the #1 position on the Roots Music Reports Top 50 Bluegrass Chart seven times and was nominated for Album of the Year at the 2013 IBMA Awards.
The current Claire Lynch Band is a powerful juggernaut, a quartet that has the innate ability to perfectly interpret the beauty, subtlety, and genre-defying sophistication of Claire’s music. The Claire Lynch Band features like-minded musicians blending tradition and innovation - two-time IBMA-winning bassist-clawhammer banjo player-dancer-percussionist Mark Schatz, soulful mandolinist-guitarist Matt Wingate young string wizard Bryan McDowell, who at 18, won an unprecedented triple win at the Winfield, Kansas National Flatpicking Championship.
Touring behind Dear Sister provides the band the opportunity to present fresh, timeless material, including the title track – a tear-inducing masterpiece co-written by Claire with Southerner Louisa Branscomb. It’s an intimate farewell letter shared between a brother and sister, their lives ravaged by the destruction of the Civil War and delivered with all the tenderness Lynch is known for.
As one observer writes, “Listening to Claire Lynch sing is not something to be undertaken casually. Her songs and stage presence demand the listener’s rapt attention. She’s an intensely soulful singer, whose distinctive voice resonates with power and strength, yet retains an engaging innocence and crystalline purity. She’s also a songwriter of extraordinary ability who can bring listeners to their feet with her buoyant rhythms or to their knees with her sometimes almost unbearably poignant and insightful lyrics.” (Dave Higgs-WPLN Nashville, -WAMU Washington DC)