Pert Near Sandstone
It was roughly a decade ago that Pert Near Sandstone first gathered around a microphone in a Minneapolis basement to record their debut album, 'Up And Down The River.' So much has happened since then: highs and lows, personal struggles and artistic triumphs, new faces and new sounds. The winding road they've traveled over the years makes it all the more meaningful for the band to come full circle on their dazzling new release, 'Discovery Of Honey,' which finds them once again recording in a basement and reuniting with founding member Ryan Young, who's spent the past seven years touring the world playing fiddle with bluegrass stars Trampled By Turtles.
"Besides playing with us, Ryan was also our first recording engineer back when we were just starting out," says mandolin/fiddle player Nate Sipe. "Working with him again on the new album, we were able to recapture that feeling of lightning in a bottle from the early days."
"We all learned how to do this together," adds banjo player Kevin Kniebel. "We have more tools in our kit now and we've evolved as musicians and songwriters, but what hasn't changed is the chemistry between us."
That chemistry has been abundantly clear from the very first days of Pert Near Sandstone, when the band—whose current lineup features Sipe and Kniebel, founding guitarist J Lenz, bassist Justin Bruhn, and clog & fiddle player Matt Cartier—burst onto the American roots music scene in a flurry of fiddling, picking, and stomping. They followed their debut record with a string of four critically acclaimed albums that had No Depression hailing them as "stellar" and The Minneapolis Star Tribune praising their songs as "masterfully and jubilantly plucked." NPR's Mountain Stage celebrated the band's "Midwestern stamp on Appalachian [sounds]," while The Current described their live performances as "a frenzied string shredding spree that takes audiences under its spell."
The band earned performances everywhere from the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival to A Prairie Home Companion, and shared bills on the road with the likes of Trampled By Turtles, Del McCoury, and Yonder Mountain String Band. As their reputation grew, they cemented their status as linchpins of the Midwestern scene by founding their very own festival, Blue Ox, which has featured performances by Bela Fleck, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Shovels & Rope, Justin Townes Earle, Blitzen Trapper, and more.
The Rocky Mountain Oysters
An eclectic blend of traditional American/Canadian/Celtic fiddle tunes, spiced with originals and a dash of covers spun together by some of South Dakota's most seasoned players and composers. The Rocky Mountain Oysters, is a five member band from Sioux Falls South Dakota. 1979 was a fine year for Rocky Mountain Oysters. It was a good growing season and saw the Oysters start to cut loose. The smooth blend of Tim Coates, John Donahoe, Jr., Neil Isaacson, Tom Schaefer and Charlie Smith made for a robust mixing of talents, creating songs and instrumentals unique to the Rocky Mountain Oysters. Mixed with original ideas, international flavorings of celtic, bluegrass, classical, folk, jazz, pop and reggae, the Oysters simmered on ballads only to turn to a full boil on a fiddle tune.
The first packaged Rocky Mountain Oysters were served to the public in 1980 with the release of “Oyster Stew.” Wrapped in plastic they stayed fresh and could be left out for days! Some preferred them live, so served on virgin vinyl in a generic cover, they were once again made available as a take-out item in 1982. To show no compromise on the commercial market, the album was subtitled, “Contains No Hit Single.”
Mike Balak replaced John at harvest time in 1984. Joe Erickson took Tom’s place in January the following year. As supplies of packaged product became scarce, the final dish was offered before the freeze in ’85. “Oysters In The Shell” was tastefully al dente and marked the end of an era for the band that could dish it up just about any way you could want it.
The Rocky Mountain Oysters were featured at many clubs and events throughout the state of South Dakota and surrounding region, sometimes for a nominal cost and other times served “on the house.” People developed a hunger for them and asked for extra helpings. The 1982 World’s Fair requested a special serving in Knoxville, Tennessee. The Sioux River Folk Festival, Black Hills Bluegrass Festival, South Dakota Public Broadcasting and South Dakota Arts Council asked for a steady diet of Oysters. Not afraid of new combinations, the Oysters did several highly successful concerts by concocting gourmet cooking styles with the Dakota String Quartet and another with classical guitarist Chris Johnson. Chris is an important ingredient in two songs on “A Platter Full.”
Since the first release of prairie pearls from the Rocky Mountain Oysters, new technologies have been developed. The current technology turns this compilation of tasty tidbits into a platter that’s better than the original. The new album, “A Platter Full” shows that some things do get sweeter with age.
“Tree Party shows it knows how to put its own spin on the desperate pain of early folk traditionals, creating a kind of dark, sparse rock ’n’ roll quality more reminiscent of Tom Waits or Nick Cave than Bill Monroe. ...winding a modern sensibility into it all, quickly jumping over the throw-off 'roots music' labels in favor of something different altogether.” - A.V. Club
Tree Party's third album Iced Over: Thawing Minnesota's Local Lore is a year-long project of researching stories and local history in smaller communities across Minnesota. MSAB 2013 Artist Initiative Grant recipient Joey Ford found his inspiration in small town museums and historical centers for this album, including songs about “Dorothy Molter: The Root Beer Lady,” “Wrinkle Meat: The 137 Year Old Man" and “Helmer Aakvik: The Old Man of the Inland Sea." Iced Over is a musical tribute to Minnesotans who have come before us and a celebration of their legacy.
Ginstring are a four-member stringband from Minneapolis, MN. Containing members from diverse musical backgrounds, rich warm harmonies accompany their tasteful melodies and imaginative rhythms. They have their own signature flavor of bluegrass, blending soulful singing and virtuosic solos. They recently won the Northwest String Summit Band Contest. Ginstrings composes original music that all listeners will enjoy. With intriguing tunes and a passionate performance, they are sure to resonate with your soul. 29 strings and harmony. Ginstrings will make your soul dance.
Band Members: Jon Miller (guitar, vox), Gavin Haskin (mandolin, vox), Eli Bentley (dobro, banjo, vox), Matt Blake (bass, vox).
The Two Tracks
Americana covers a broad spectrum of music these days, and it’s easy to get lost in trying to define its particular parameters. However, if one was to determine an overreaching definition, then it’s best to describe it as music that reverberates with heart-felt emotion, songs that come from the soul and speak to the listener with honesty, conviction and integrity.
If that’s the case -- and indeed, it should be -- then The Two Tracks, a band based out of Sheridan Wyoming clearly fits the bill. Their forthcoming album, Postcard Town (self-release, May 19) further affirms the promise and determination shown on their eponymous debut, which No Depression described as “creating an instant connection...in truth there’s not a single offering here that doesn’t engage the listener practically from the get go," and by The Alternate Root as “rural warmth...infusing their tunes with a feel for the open spaces of The West.”
Postcard Town continues this trajectory and confirms, both in songwriting and delivery, that this enticing new ensemble has something special to offer. No Depression writes: "There is just enough twang in the music to make it country, and just enough rock to make it interesting. Lay the voices of Szewc and Huebner on top and it is a musical banana split of consequence...the harmonies neither too strong nor too light but just right."
Produced by the legendary Will Kimbrough, with eleven new tracks performed by the band -- Julie Szewc (guitar/vocals), David Huebner (cello, electric guitar, and vocals), Fred Serna (drums/percussion), and Russell Smith (upright bass), the combination of these remarkable talents has yielded an album that is brimming with depth and emotion.
From rock to country, bluegrass to folk, the music helps define the sound of superbly crafted, fully assertive Americana. Their harmony-rich songs often add cello to a solid groove, creating a unique ambiance that’s all their own. Throw in a journeyman’s attitude and a penchant for affecting storytelling, and here again, The Two Tracks create a sound that typifies a style birthed in the heartland, with all the sentiment and sensitivity that does justice to that timeless sound.
Burlap Wolf King
Burlap Wolf King, is the vessel of song of South Dakota based singer/songwriter, Thomas Hentges. Hentges performs solo as well as with band, both under the Burlap Wolf King moniker.
Throughout 10 active years, BWK has seen a rotating cast of characters. 2009's full length LP "The Middle" was followed up by 2013's live and acoustic-leaning "BWK" EP. Now back with a decidedly solidified six-piece lineup, Hentges and company are stronger than ever. BWK's 2017 full-length offering, "Bitter Honey", is highlighted by a distinct leap forward in songwriting & style, all the while showcasing this new outfit's prowess and versatility both live and in the studio.
Over the years Burlap Wolf King has had the pleasure of opening the evening for the likes of Trampled By Turtles, Justin Townes Earle, The Hold Steady, Robert Ellis, Centro-Matic, William Elliot Whitmore, Sam Outlaw, The White Buffalo, The Cactus Blossoms, Night Moves, "Spider" John Koerner, Deadstring Brothers, Ryley Walker, Charlie Parr, Moondoggies, Rose Windows, Brian Wright, Jack Klatt and many more.
Condor is a South Dakota string band consisting of one of the rarest trios playing bluegrass today. With only a Cellist, Guitarist, and Banjoist, they decided to move away from calling themselves bluegrass at all, and are now pioneers in a new genre of music - Creamgrass. The music still gets folks on their feet and dancing, but the more complex chord progressions and movements that enrich the common bluegrass sound warrants the new genre. Condor recently released their debut album Poega and have been supporting the album with an consistent touring of the Pacific Northwest, Montana, Colorado and Greater Midwest. Condor is native to Sioux Falls, SD where they are frequently found on the bills of prominent regional festivals and in the pages of the local press. In a recent interview for the Sioux Falls newspaper, The Argus Leader, Condor stated that their relationship with their audience is crucial, and that one of their primary goals is to bring happiness to others. This goal is clear in the happiness that exudes from each one of the players when on stage performing
Melanie Devaney is a folk-Americana singer-songwriter from the small town of Epworth, Iowa (pop. 1,700). Clasically trained in piano and holding a degree in Creative Writing, her songs are stories from her own life’s adventures and the cast of characters she has met and created along the way. With a personal mission to “create beauty and change on song at a time,” Devaney strives to use to her music to inspire others to make the world a little better through simple acts of compassion and understanding. Devaney combines the values of her rural upbringing - integrity, authenticity and hard work - with her intellectual passion for learning. The result is elegant music that is nonetheless enjoyed by audiences from all walks of life.
Some of Devaney's notable performances include The Red Gorilla Music Festival in Austin, TX, the Tucson Folk Festival, the Nowoodstock Festival in Ten Sleep, Wyoming and the Black Hill Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, as well as the Kimball Arts Festival in Park City, Utah; the Julian Music Festival (Julian, California) and Groovefest (in Cedar City, Utah). Some of the artists she has opened for include Slaid Cleaves, Jon Dee Graham and Jalan Crossland. Devaney was also listed in Music Connection magazine’s Top 100 Unsigned Artists to look for in 2011. Devaney tours throughout the United States, with a heavy concentration of shows in the West and Midwest.
Devaney’s most recent album, “Single Subject Notebook” is the third such independent release. “Single Subject Notebook” was produced by Grammy-nominated Jamie Candiloro (R.E.M/Willie Nelson/The Eagles/Ryan Adams/ Ed Kowalczyk).”
Described by the San Diego Kensington News as “a real gem,” her music is “ At times country, at times pop, she’s like a mix of Carole King and Emmylou Harris with confessional lyrics and heartfelt music to spare.”
The Nesters are a folk duo comprised of Jami Lynn & Eliza Blue. Both women are an accomplished singers, songwriters, and multi-instrumentalists in their own right. They decided to form The Nesters after discovering each was a big fan of the other's music. Together they make delicate, plaintive songs that will delight folkies and fans of pop music alike.
The Teels with Dalton Coffey
The Teels are a Sioux Falls based family band that plays old-time bluegrass to traditional folk music.
Band Members: Clyde Teel (guitar, vox), Liz Teel (guitar, vox), Abbie Coffey (bass, vox), and Dalton Coffey (guitar, mando, dobro, vox).
Tom Peterson & Boyd Bristow
Tom Peterson (Vermillion) will bring you a picturesque journey through the prairie on the wheels of a diverse wagonload of country, folk, swing and Americana.
Tom has just released the CD “Black Hills Gold”. Tom will be joined on stage by SDFOTM Hall of Famer and legendary musician, Boyd Bristow, and possibly a few other surprise guests during the set.
Campground Contest Winner
Folk Off Winner