The Angel City Bluegrass Boys are a young group of Angelenos steeped in the stylings of traditional bluegrass. Combining tight harmonies with solid instrumental base, The Angel City Bluegrass Boys are as compelling as they are lonesome. Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, Greg Fleischut (mandolin, vocals) and David Elsenbroich (guitar, vocals) joined forces with Southern California natives Zac Sokolow (banjo, vocals) and Jake Faulkner (bass) to form the group. Together they play a whole variety of traditional styles including straight ahead, honky tonk, and gospel. All four members of the band have been working as professional musicians in Los Angeles for several years, but both Zac and Greg have been steeped in the California bluegrass scene since they were old enough to hold their instruments. Zac, the son of legendary educator and multi-instrumentalist Fred Sokolow, started playing bluegrass festivals with his dad and consistently winning banjo competitions when he was only 11 years old. Similarly, Greg made a name for himself as one of the best young flatpick guitarists in the Bay Area, learning bluegrass when he was just 7 years old. Greg went on to study music in Los Angeles which is also where he picked up the mandolin with the Bluegrass Boys. The Angel City Bluegrass Boys currently play regularly throughout the Los Angeles area and are currently working on their next studio album.
Sausage Grinder, Los Angeles’ classic old-time string band, combines the traditional sounds of fiddle and banjo breakdowns with the low-down sound of country blues, topped off with a touch of ragtime and hillbilly jazz. The versatile acoustic ensemble features fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, jug, double fiddle, washboard and yodels! Sausage Grinder was formed in 2008 out of a desire to showcase the wide variety of music from Appalachia and beyond, all rooted in early America. As old-time and traditional bluegrass player Adam Tanner puts it, Sausage Grinder’s “reverence to the old 78s hasn’t restrained them from exploring even grimier nooks and crannies … unrestrained and impolite the Grinder’s performances are visceral and joyous — a blast from the past with a nod to the immediacy of the future!” Or as LA Weekly says succinctly, the band’s performance feels “reminiscent of an old Mickey Mouse cartoon.” Sausage Grinder has been a featured band at The Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention, Portland Old-Time Music Gathering, the Gainsborough Old-Time Festival (UK), the Goleta Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention, and the Los Angeles Old Time Social. The Grinders have performed and taught workshops throughout the States and Europe. Last year, Sausage Grinder member David Bragger (fiddle guru and founder of the Old-Time Tiki Parlour label) recorded the featured banjo and fiddle music for the critically-acclaimed western “Gone are the Days” which was filmed at the home of the Topanga Festival: Paramount Ranch. The members of Sausage Grinder: Chris Berry, guitar/banjo/vocals; David Bragger, fiddle/mandolin/banjo; Susan Platz, fiddle/banjo/washboard/vocals; Pat MacSwyney, mandolin, tenor banjo, tenor guitar; Timothy Riley, jug/washboard/jaw harp/saw/bagpipes/mouth harp/mandolin/guitar/vocals
More at sausagegrindermusic.com
With their debut album receiving notable acclaim, this acoustic quintet is already making waves as one of the few true crossover bluegrass bands. While it might not be that uncommon for a bluegrass band to have all five musicians singing in harmony, what sets this group apart is the clear and apparent virtuosity of their craft. Together these musicians seamlessly create a deep rooted pocket while trading ripping, flat-picked lines and sweeping solos. The live show they bring to the table is fun, fast, and an uplifting hootenanny! Jesse Olema (Fiddle) Paul Fuller (Banjo) Liam Lewis (Mandolin) Sasha Birrittella (Guitar) David Tranchina (Bass)
More at: www.hotoctober.com.
Evie Ladin Band w/ Keith Terry & Erik Pearson (neo-trad roots trio) Tenacious, innovative string musicians/dancers with a quirky neo-trad heart, the Evie Ladin Band throws down soulful folk songs with an unusual live show. While their third release, the 2016 Jump the Fire brought a feature in the San Francisco Chronicle, it’s the effusive audience response that keeps them touring around the world. The intermingling of music and dance, clever lyrics and mature arrangements, firmly grounded in deep traditions, make the ELB so potent, the performance experience a stand-out. Evie Ladin is a singer-songwriter, dancer and square dance caller and the polyrhythmic heat of Evie's clawhammer banjo has been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Celtic Connections, Lincoln Center to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Keith Terry (bass, percussion, body music, vocals) is a percussionist/rhythm dancer, and the founder of the International Body Music Festival. A pioneer in contemporary Body Music, Keith produces large-scale intercultural collaborations and educational outreach. Erik Pearson (guitar, banjo, bass, vocals) plays with the Crooked Jades, storyteller Diane Ferlatte, and his solo projects. His original banjo tune Fork & File was the soundtrack for a rapids rafting scene in Sean Penn's movie Into the Wild.
More at: Evie Ladin Band.
“Our Road Keeps Rolling On.” Our region has faced more than it’s share of tragedies and challenges recently, including the Woolsey Fire that scorched our beloved Paramount Ranch. But like the spring grass and wildflowers budding among the blackened trees we find a way to move forward. Sing along with your old pal Steve Werner and his friends on songs of strength, healing and rolling down the road. As Woody said, “Nobody living can ever stop us as we go walking that freedom highway.” Grizzled Topanga veteran Steve Werner is your average everyday world-traveling biker-sailor-adventurer-folksinger-songwriter. His songs have been sung and recorded all over the world. Through the years he has shared stages with the likes of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Mary McCaslin, Peter Yarrow and many more. His decade-long duet with Fur Dixon produced four albums of pure California folk gold.
More at: TBD
Cliff Latimer & Laura Osborn sing and play American heartland music with mandolin, banjo and guitar. Their repertory includes Old-Time Appalachian fiddle tunes and traditional songs in the manner of the Stanley Bros., the Louvin Bros. and the Carter Family. Their vocal harmonies have earned recognition at the Topanga festival and the Goleta Old Time fiddlers contest. In 2017 they were invited to perform at the California Bluegrass Associations Father’s Day Festival in Grass Valley. They perform regularly around Southern California.
Casy Meikle and Austin Derryberry first met in Middle Tennessee amidst the region’s rich string band tradition. Before the two were well acquainted, they were regularly competing against one another in fiddle contests throughout the South. Austin, a native of Bedford County, Tennessee, was born into a musical family and began playing fiddle at a young age. Heavily influenced by the old time fiddlers of his home state, he excelled in his knowledge of the instrument and acquired a strong repertoire of traditional tunes. Casy was first introduced to oldtime music after being given a fiddle in high school on the west coast. He moved to Middle Tennessee shortly thereafter, quickly making close friends within the regional oldtime music community and learning the distinct styles of the American string band traditions.
GRASSLANDS is an award-winning bluegrass band based in southern California. A favorite at bluegrass festivals, local venues, and private parties, the five member band includes: Shelah Spiegel- fiddle/vocals, Jim Cooper-guitar/vocals, Tim O'Brien-resonator slide guitar (Dobro)/vocals, Keith Chagnon-banjo, Dennis Witcher-bass, They represent the best of the Orange and Los Angeles Counties' bluegrass musicians. They play an eclectic mixture of traditional and new Bluegrass, Swing, Country and Rock'N'Roll classics, all performed in a bluegrass fashion.
More at: Grasslands Southern California Bluegrass.
Ikes Creek formed in 2017 with the chance encounter of 3 musicians, Korey Simeone, Mark Sanfilippo and Gabe Davis. Combining great songwriting, bluesy vocals and virtuosic instrumental skills of Simeone and the driving rhythm section of Sanfilippo and Davis, the 3 recognized the unique power of the acoustic trio. Later adding Thomas Moose on guitar and mandolin and Cori Cable Kidder on co-lead, IKES CREEK took 1st place in the Best Band Category at the Topanga Banjo Fiddle Contest. Clearly, IKES CREEK is already being recognized as a critical new voice on the Roots Americana scene of SoCal. The band's debut album is scheduled to release in early 2019.
More at: IkesCreek.
The Temple Street Quartet is a Los Angeles based string band that plays an eclectic mix of musical styles from the late 19th and early 20th century. Formed in 2016, the band specializes in interpreting songs that challenge the expectations of what a string band should sound like. Formed by multi-instrumentalist and 78 collector Frank Fairfield, the quartet is comprised of Frank, Zac Sokolow, and David Elsenbroich, who all alternate between guitar, fiddle, mandolin, and banjos, along with Jake Faulkner on the double bass. The four Angeleno musicians have all played in different groups together for years, Frank and Zac touring as a duo, Jake and Zac in their band The Americans, but this is their first time in this configuration playing some of the music that is closest to their hearts. Describing exactly what genre or style that they play has always been a struggle since their selections vary so widely, ranging from American ragtime to Brazilian choros to Italian mazurkas. Instead, they think of the quartet as a sort of shared passion project, using the string band idiom to stretch out and push themselves musically, and perhaps more importantly, to share the music that they care most about with audiences who likely wouldn’t have heard it otherwise.
More at: Temple Street Quartet.
More at: Frank Fairfield.
Cowboy Music and Poetry
Mike will be playing with Trailmix, featuring Fred Sokolow, selections from "The West of my Live".
He is a founding member and advisory board member for the Western Music Association. His background includes Broadcasting for KCRW and KCSN FM in Los Angeles & KBBQ in Ventura, CA. Mike was one of three that began the McCabes Concert Series in 1969 and began performing at Topanga with the band Trailmix back in 1980. Mike and Trailmix perform traditional and contemporary Cowboy and Western Swing. Mike regularly hosts the Cowboy Music and Poetry segment at the Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest.
Best known as the author of hundreds of instruction books and videos for stringed instruments, Fred Sokolow has been a fixture on the acoustic music scene in California since the early 60s, and his association with Brantley Kearns goes back that far. Fiddler/vocalist Kearns, a legend in the bluegrass world, is also known for his several years touring and recording with Dwight Yoakam. Fred's son Zac Sokolow, is a multi-string wizard Nowadays his band, The Americans, tours worldwide, but at age 14 he found the time to record with Fred and Brantley, so they will play songs from that album, accompanied by Fred's wife, bassist Lynn Shipley Sokolow. She currently plays with The Rattlesnakes among other bands and has several CDs with Sugar in the Gourd.
More at: Sokolow Music.
Hollywood meets the Old West on stage here, when Vicki Hill will be heard performing the 2019 Academy Award nominated song “When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings”, written by Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. Mike Mahaney and Scott T. will play along and wrangle up some sweet harmonies.Although Vicki is most often seen performing her Americana original tunes, she has always loved those golden lonesome cowboy ballads. She is featured on the TBFC Topanga! CD, as a finalist in the singing competition, with her lovely version of “I Ride An Old Paint”.
Founding member of String Bands, Crystal River and The Reptile Ramblers. Flat Picking guitar winner at Julian and Temecula Bluegrass Festivals. International Western Music Association, professional member. Performed around the county, in Canada and Australia. Shared the stage with Doyle Dykes, Bob Saxton, Michael O’Dorn, Highway 101, America, and Three Dog Night. ScottT regularly performs at the Autry Museum of the American West, Griffith Park in Los Angeles, with musician friends with International Western Music Association, Monthly on 3rd Sundays, from Noon to 3PM. ScottT is currently working on a new Album of favorite tunes. A gentle mix of Western ballads, Fingerstyle fun, International folk tunes and traditional vocal harmonies. He lives in beautiful Garden Grove, CA.
Los Angeles based and Tennessee raised Los Angeles based and Tennessee raised, Appalachian flatfoot dance instructor Rebecca Stout began clogging as a child. She has spent over thirty years developing and fine-tuning her own unique style of flatfoot dance and buck dance inspired by friends, relations, masters and mentors throughout Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, West Virginia and North Carolina. She has taught at numerous music camps and festivals throughout the United States. Her work is featured in the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
Hendricks Run is Steve Lewis on banjo, Laura Osborn on guitar, and Joe Wack on fiddle. They formed ten years ago, centered around Joe's repertoire of fiddle tunes from his former home in West Virginia. In 2013, they produced a cd with the title, "Yew Pine Melodies", a collection of a few of their favorite old time tunes. Although they play mainly for their own pleasure, they also can be found playing at square and contra dances and various performance venues. For a long time, Steve and Joe have hosted monthly jams in the Los Angeles area, and Laura plays and teaches flute in addition to her old time interests. They are very pleased to be be playing for Topanga's flatfoot contest for the fourth year in a row.
The Hollow Trees play “Folk Music for Families.” It’s high energy acoustic Americana played with passion, skill, and humor. They combine the musical styles of bluegrass, country, folk, blues and jazz with their funny original sing along songs and some favorite traditional folk songs too. The Hollow Trees were formed in 2004 by singer and guitar player Gregory Hollow Tree with upright bass player Laura Hollow Tree. After the release of their first CD and many shows they expanded their lineup to include singer and jug player Traci Hollow Tree and a revolving cast of other musicians on instruments such as drums, mandolin, fiddle, accordion, and banjo. Over the years they’ve released 4 CDs and performed many wonderful shows, including the Stagecoach Festival, Fan Fest in Nashville, McCabe’s Guitar Shop, The Long Beach Folk Revival Festival, and The Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest. Their 4th CD “Hello Friend” was released in 2016 and features such fun singalongs as “What Do You Want On Your Taco?” “I Can’t Dance (I’ve Got Ants in My Pants)” and “It Ain’t No Fault of Mine.” Warren Truitt from the blog Kids’ Music That Rocks says “With a reverent but playful nod to the classic folk sound of the late ‘40s to the early ‘60s, The Hollow Trees use a combination of old folk tunes, sea shanties, and originals to make modern day classics. Check it out. Have a hootenanny!”
The High Life Cajun Band plays straight out Cajun dance music. The sounds and rhythms of a Friday night dance in southwest Louisiana are alive and kicking when this band begins to play. With Jacob Pennison on accordion, Ben Guzman on fiddle at the helm of the melody, Angela Wood on guitar and vocals and Doug Tiano on drums bringing the beat, the melodies of Acadiana pulse and push dancers across the floor. This band plays Pig Roasts, BBQ’s, club dates, dances, and festivals all over California. The past three years the band has travelled back to Louisiana for the annual Blackpot Camp & Festival, where they soak in more and more of the music (and food and dancing) direct from the source. If you can’t make it to the prairies of Louisiana, catch the High Life and they’ll be sure to take you there (at least for the night)!
Guy Martin Wenzel Plauche was born to a creole mother in New Orleans into a family with deep roots in Bayou Lafourche and Avoyelles parish. Growing up steeped in the sounds of his grandfathers’ fiddle and harmonica playing and the family speaking in both the Creole French of Avoyelles his grandfathers family and the Cajun French of his grandmothers family from Larose, Bayou Lafourche. After having grow up overseas due to his engineer dad’s work, he returned for college in Louisiana. During this time he explored his culture with fresh eyes. During college he worked at Mulatte’s restaurant as a waiter and dance instructor helping tourists enjoy the dancing. He enjoyed nightly dances with Dewey Balfa, Don Montoucet and the upstart Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. The job was a great excuse to hang out, soak up the tones in which he could hear echoes of his grandfather’s playing, and enjoy dancing to some of the most honest and passionate musicians that carried the acadienne spirit. Later in life Guy would take up the fiddle to reconnect with those roots, so he brings both the musician’s and the dancer’s attention to learning. Guy looks forward to sharing the old way of dancing to both acadian and creole music and their rhythms.
Tunacious is Frank Hoppe, Steve Shapiro and Jeff Spero. Tunacious has a tenacious history dating back to about 1999. Be forewarned, each band member is known for their driving rhythms. Frank has been playing fiddle for Contras and English dances for over 30 years. Having hosted a bluegrass & old-time radio show called “Bluegrass, Etc.” on KCSN for many years. which https://bluegrasscountry.org/shows/bluegrass-etc-with-frank-hoppe/continues to stream on bluegrasscountry.org (Thursdays noon-3pm ET, 9am-noon PT) he teaches Information Literacy classes at Imperial Valley College's Spencer Library and Pasadena City College's Music Lab. Jeff is a sought after keyboard player, playing with The Syncopaths, Rhythm Raptors and Chopped Liver as well as other combinations of players across the country. He is known for his energetic style and creative arrangements. In his “spare” time, he is a video editor. Steve Shapiro has also played for contradances for over 30 years. He plays Irish tenor banjo, Appalachian fiddle, 5-string banjo and mandolin. He also plays for dances from San Diego to San Luis Obispo with Rhythm Method. He is president of FolkWorks organization and co-publisher of FolkWorks website
James Hutson is a veteran caller known for his clear instruction, precise timing and abundant enthusiasm. Aided by his skill for comfortably introducing new dancers to the joy of dancing, his programs of popular and unique contras and fast-moving squares have become favorites throughout the West Coast. He will teach the simple steps and patterns of this exciting form of lighthearted social dancing. The dances are so easy to learn that all levels of experience will enjoy dancing together.
Molly White will be leading another kids jam this year at Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest 2019 from 11:30 to 12:15 in the Eucaliptus Grove. Molly has sheet music for fiddles, and chord charts for guitars, banjos, mandolins, and any other instrument you play (upright bass? ukulele? tambourine? shaker eggs?). You are even invited to dance and sing to the tunes as they are played. All ages and abilities welcome! All kid jammers are invited to play Arkansas Traveler at the Flatfoot Dance Workshop with Rebecca Stout and The Hollow Trees at 12:30 P.M. Ms. Molly will lead the way! Featured tunes in D include Arkansas Traveler, Angeline The Baker, Soldier’s Joy, Possum Up a Gum Stump, and others. Featured tunes in G include This Land is Your Land, Elk River Blues, Coleman’s March, The Ash Grove, and others. Featured tunes in A include Boil the Cabbage, Shortnin’ Bread, Cripple Creek, Buffalo Gals, Candy Gal, Li’l Liza Jane, and others.