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Visiting Performers

Balsam Range

Balsam Range is a group of five outstanding acoustic musicians and singers from Haywood County, North Carolina.  For their band name, they thoughtfully and respectfully adopted the name of a majestic range of mountains that surround part of their home county…where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge…the Balsam Range. Tim Surrett delivers entertaining MC work as well as seasoned lead and harmony singing.  Tim also plays bass most of the time, and he will occasionally move his talents to the resonator guitar.  His presentations are spontaneous, polished and professional.  Buddy Melton is one of the most gifted tenor voices in bluegrass and Americana today.  His range and tones largely give Balsam Range its identifying sound, and his stellar fiddle playing supports the band’s programs equally.  Caleb Smith has been called “one of the top young guns of guitar.” His envied unique guitar style pairs perfectly with his energetic power singing.  Caleb also delivers ballads with a perfectly toned, believable tenderness.  Darren Nicholson is one of the most gifted mandolins players and harmony singers ever to come from the Southern Mountains.  Darren’s studied, energetic performances rival those of the classic old guard performers, and his enthusiasm for American heritage music styles has no bounds.  Marc Pruett plays traditional three finger banjo in intuitive and powerful ways that blend and compliment the influences in the band of jazz and bluegrass…country and gospel…and swing and old-time. Marc adds a credible entertainment experience of over 40 years to this fresh, unique Southern band…Balsam Range.

Gibson Brothers

sponsored by:   The Chocolate Claim and Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Camp

In a recent Washington Post article bluegrass legend Del McCoury said, “ when I hear someone like the Gibson Brothers, I know it’s them from the first note. They have that little thing in their voices that no one else has…” And from Bluegrass Unlimited: “The brothers and the band have it all- lead vocals, brother–duet harmony, instrumental virtuosity, ensemble sensibilities and great original material.” That’s the buzz. Here are the facts: 2012 IBMA Entertainers of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance for “Singing As We Rise;” 2011 IBMA Vocal Groiup Of The Year for Help My Brother, also named 2011 Album of the year by PopMatters; and 2010 IBMA Awards for Song Of The Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year for “Ring The Bell.” Watch for their new release “They Called It Music” on the Compass Record Label coming out on March 26, 2013.

Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice

From the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia comes one of bluegrass music's most honest voices in the genre's history, Junior Sisk. Over the years, his haunting, almost lonesome vocals have earned him the devotion of countless traditional bluegrass fans from all over the world. His songwriting talents helped the Lonesome River Band make their ascent into bluegrass stardom in the early 1990's and then he became a member of Wyatt Rice & Santa Cruz and ultimately Blueridge, again reaching new audiences that would eventually follow him on his own musical path. In 1998, Sisk formed Ramblers Choice and together they recorded and released their first solo project titled Sounds Of The Mountains and also contributed to the award winning The Stanley Gospel Tradition. Nominated numerous times for Male Vocalist of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA), Junior Sisk is at the top of his game and has surrounded himself with a top notch band of musicians including Jason Tomlin on bass and vocals; Chris Davis on mandolin and vocals; Billy Hawks on fiddle and vocals; and Jason Davis on banjo and vocals. Junior Sisk & Ramblers Choice are enjoying great success with their latest Rebel Records CD, The Heart Of A Song.

The Chapmans

From their home in Ozark, Missouri, The Chapmans bring 20 years of experience as a family bluegrass band. With Bill on banjo, John on guitar and lead vocals, Jeremy on mandolin and lead vocals, and Jason on bass and vocals, The Chapmans have been compared to such high profile bluegrass bands such as Nickel Creek, IIIrd Tyme Out, Lonesome River Band and Blue Highway. Their 2010 release on Compass Records is called “Grown Up, A Revisionist History.” This lively collection is a retrospective of their 20 years playing music together. The bands intention was to create a personal milestone project that highlights the songs and arrangements that The Chapmans have developed through their many years on the road. They used this opportunity to re-record songs from their past, to fully represent all that they have learned through these many years together. The Chapmans and their fans were pleased with the results, as witnessed by the fact that the CD was #1 on the Bluegrass Junction show on Sirius/XM Radio in October of 2010.

Spinney Brothers

From the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia, The Spinney Brothers are comprised of Allan Spinney on guitar and vocals, Rick Spinney on banjo and vocals, with Gary Dalrymple on mandolin, fiddle and vocals and Darryl Hebb on the upright bass. Brothers Allan and Rick Spinney debuted their band in 1992, showcasing a tight brother duet vocal style that was immediately recognized for its energetic and distinctive sound. The cornerstone of The Spinney Brothers musical identity is the sound of traditional, Southern-flavoured bluegrass music. The first generation bluegrass legends have been an important musical influence, yet their music is equally shaped by their personal lives and local heritage. By incorporating original material, which draws from various sources, The Spinney Brothers effortlessly intertwine the past with the present. The Spinney Brothers believe in the freshness and excitement of traditional bluegrass music. Brother duet singing, backed by supportive and complimentary instrumentation, is the foundation of their tasteful and recognizable sound. Give a listen and you are sure to be entertained!

The Sweet Lowdown

The Sweet Lowdown is an acoustic roots trio from Victoria, B.C. Drawn together by mutual passion for old-time groove, hard driving bluegrass, sweet harmonies and well-wrought songs, The Sweet Lowdown (Amanda Blied–guitar, Shanti Bremer–banjo and Miriam Sonstenes–fiddle) blend original song-writing with old time roots music to create a sound that is unique and timeless. Originally conceived as a duo in 2008 by Blied and Bremer, The Sweet Lowdown recorded a seven song EP with Adam Iredale-Gray (Fish & Bird), touring and performing in the Pacific Northwest. By the spring of 2010, the duo was ready to develop a fuller sound and fiddler Sonstenes joined the group.  The newly formed trio quickly set to work refining their new sound and in January 2011 they traveled by train to Parry Sound, Ontario, to record their self-titled debut album with musician and sound engineer Andrew Collins (Creaking Tree String Quartet, Foggy Hogtown Boys). By the early spring of 2011 the trio had garnered quite a local following and won the Monday Magazine M-Award for Favorite Roots/World Music Group.  In June they released their debut album which was nominated for 2012 “Album of the Year” by the Vancouver Island Music Awards. This past spring saw the trio head back in to the recording studio closer to home with musician, producer and recording engineer Adrian Dolan (The Bills, Ruth Moody), on Mayne Island, BC.  The result of that session is their soon-to-be-released second album, May, an emotionally intimate collection of 10 original compositions and two traditional songs that build upon their previous collection of music while demonstrating a greater range of their influences, including Irish and Indian music.

Local Performers

Blue Creek

Blue Creek formed in 2012 with the coming together of three long-time Yukoners passionate about playing bluegrass music. Amongst them these musicians have be performing in the Yukon since the 1980s. The trio consists of Erica Heyligers (Bluegrass Babes) on guitar and vocals, Rick Mombourquette (Klondike Fuel) on guitar, mandolin and vocals and Scott Wilson (Second Cousins) on double bass. Joining Blue Creek for the festival is Alana Martinson on fiddle and vocals... a recent welcome addition to the Yukon music scene.

Canyon Mountain

Devotees of the Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival will know the Canyon Mountain Boys – Jeff and John Faulkner, Mike Stockstill and Stephen Maltby.  They have the distinction of having appeared at the Festival more times than any other band.  Together for many years, the Boys have been playing bluegrass for even longer, all being alumni of legendary Yukon bands Klondike Fuel or Disturbin’ The Peace. Yukon music lovers will also know Amelia Rose, ace fiddle player and veteran of Celtic rockers Fish Head Stew and many other projects, including last winter’s Grand Ole Northern Opry.  Now, the Canyon Mountain Band brings together all five musicians, each with a long tradition of good tunes, good pickin’ and good fun, to deliver a new, fuller, more exciting bluegrass sound.

Gordie Tentrees and Hill Country News

International award nominated roots artist Gordie Tentrees & Hill Country News will be making their debut at the Kluane Bluegrass Festival this year. Gordie Tentrees-dobro, harp, guitar, porchboard bass, joined by Fabian Brook-fiddle, guitar, and Aiden Tentrees-upright bass, are looking forward to turning grass blue with their stellar harmonies, weaving fiddle, dobro, and harmonica into songs from his 5 releases including the latest "North Country Heart". Recently returning from an 8 country 140 date concert world tour with Fred Eaglesmith and Mary Gauthier, this Western Canadian Music Award and International Song Competition Nominee makes this years festival his first stop of the summer. "This is the fifth album by a man who really should be a household name thanks to the excellence of his vocal and writing skills and his ability to create atmospheres and arrangements perfectly suited to his writing, something not all great singer songwriters are able to master" Americana Roots UK

The Hinterlands

Winner of the 2012 Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Showcase, The Hinterlands is an acoustic folk jazz ensemble made up of four talented musicians from Whitehorse, Yukon. Their music is energetic and inventive, with dazzling vocals, intricate violin harmonies, and punchy guitar chords that make toe tapping unavoidable. Beloved jazz classics are interspersed with original instrumental numbers for a tremendously musical and entertaining performance that is sure to captivate audiences of all ages. Katie Tait’s stunning vocals sparkle overtop of snappy accompaniment by multi-instrumentalists Ben Barrett-Forrest, Graeme Poile, and Kieran Poile to create a unique sound that has been enjoyed by crowds in Canada and the US. The Hinterlands delivers an uplifting, one-of-a-kind performance that is not easily forgotten.

Second Cousins

Based in Whitehorse, Yukon, Second Cousins was formed in September 2009 and grew out of the burgeoning local bluegrass scene. In 2010 Second Cousins won the Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival showcase competition. Second Cousins plays an eclectic mix of bluegrass, roots, alt-country, their own unique take on rock classics as well as original tunes. Their infectious stage presence and up-beat songs have brought folks to their feet at house parties, festivals and mixers throughout Whitehorse and beyond. Second Cousins is Scott Keesey (guitar and vocals), Thane Phillips (mandolin and vocals), Mark Nelson (banjo), Jon Heaton (dobro) and Scott Wilson (double bass).

The Bennett Sun

The Bennett Sun first made an appearance on the music scene at the 2010 Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival Showcase. Five women who love music and enjoy each other’s company meet once a week to play their favourite songs and weave together some lovely harmonies. They have performed at many local venues and were winners of the 2011 Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Festival Showcase. The Bennett Sun is Dana Jennejohn on guitar and vocals, Lisa Christensen on banjo, guitar and vocals, Roslyn Wilson on mandolin, ukelele and vocals, Dorothy Williams on fiddle and Erin McKnight on acoustic bass.

The Bergmans

With Deb on mandolin, Bruce on guitar, and his brother Rob on the upright bass the Bergmans have been singing and picking together since their arrival in the territory over thirty years ago. For this festival, fellow Yukoner and long time musical collaborator “Harmonica” George McConkey will join them. They play their own style of northern acoustic music influenced by bluegrass, blues and roots.  Their collection of tunes is anchored by strong rhythms and flavoured with beautiful melodies and vocal harmonies.