2017 International Folk Music Awards Artist of the Year Ordinary Elephant captivates audiences with emotionally powerful and vulnerable songs, that let the listener know they are not alone in this world. The collaboration of husband-wife duo Pete and Crystal Damore, their connection is felt on stage, as are their influences from Gillian Welch, Guy Clark, Anais Mitchell. “Two become one, in song…hand-in-glove harmonies surprise the listener with focused intensity and musical mastery,” says Mary Gauthier. The Associated Press is calling their latest album, Honest, “one of the best Americana albums of the year.”
From central North Carolina comes one of the state’s most beloved musical outfits, Chatham Rabbits. The husband-and-wife duo of Austin and Sarah McCombie captivate with intimate close-harmony singing, think Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings. They have a way of connecting with their audiences that is singular and personal, making them a fan favorite from the start. The couple favors minimalist acoustic arrangements — mainly clawhammer-style banjo and guitar — showcasing old-time reverence and compelling original songwriting. Their sophomore album, The Yoke is Easy, The Burden is Full was produced by Saman Khoujinian (Mandolin Orange, Mountain Man, Dead Tongues) and drops May 1, 2020.
Giri & Uma Peters
Somewhere at the intersection of old-time music, bluegrass, and Piedmont Blues, is the one-of-a-kind sound of acoustic musicians, Giri (age 14) and Uma Peters (age 12). These Indian-American siblings from Nashville, TN are award-winning multi-instrumentalists — Giri on fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, and Uma on clawhammer and gourd banjo — and have been electrifying audiences with their refreshing, soulful blend of music and songwriting. Although young in age, their musicianship and vocal harmonies showcase a level of creativity and originality well beyond their years. Their first album together, Origins, was released last year.
Sam Leslie, a multi-instrumentalist and composer from Colorado, grew up in a musical family where there was always someone to jam with and instruments on hand. Sam now lives in Boston, Massachusetts where he studied Guitar Performance and Music Production and Engineering at the Berklee College of Music. You can hear Sam playing bluegrass to old time string to honky tonk country to highly arranged new acoustic.
Nashville-based guitarist and composer, Ben Garnett, is an emerging voice in the American acoustic music scene and a highly regarded young instrumentalists of his generation. He currently tours full time with bluegrass bassist and singer/songwriter, Missy Raines, as well as up-and-coming progressive-bluegrass band, Circus No. 9. Ben has performed all over the U.S., as well as Australia and New Zealand; everywhere from the Ryman Auditorium to the Rochester International Jazz Festivall. Ben has also worked alongside a diverse cast of musical luminaries across the bluegrass, folk, jazz, and rock worlds, including Chris Eldridge, Matt Flinner, Billy Contreras, Joe Pisapia, Bryan Sutton, Alison Brown, Paul Kowert, Brittnay Haas, Andy Timmons, and many others.
Originally from Connecticut and now residing in Boston, MA, Korey Brodsky is currently a performance major at the Berklee College of Music. At the age of 4 Korey picked up his first guitar, and at 11, the mandolin. He has been featured in numerous publications such as Flatpicking Guitar Magazine and Bluegrass Unlimited. In 2013 he was a member of the IBMA Youth All Star Band and in 2018 was selected to be a part of the Acoustic Music Seminar. Korey teaches guitar and mandolin lessons and frequently plays with various local bands.