Below is a partial list for the 2022 line-up. Stay tuned for more info to be announced!
Saturday night country dance – Bar K Buckaroos
John Reischman & the Jaybirds
Like the powerful mandolinist and composer at its helm, John Reischman and the Jaybirds fashion a stylish take on bluegrass that seamlessly blends original songs and instrumentals with Appalachian old-time music for a truly unique band sound. Now in their 20th year, with seven acclaimed albums and two Juno nominations, the Jaybirds are simultaneously innovative and unadorned, sophisticated and stripped-down, happily old-fashioned and 21st-century contemporary.
Bluegrass Unlimited calls John Reischman “one of the world’s undisputed masters” of the mandolin, famed for outstanding tone and taste. Many of his dozens of original instrumentals have become popular favourites for sessions and covers, such as the jam standard Saltspring. He has three critically-acclaimed solo instrumental albums and has recorded on many other projects, including the Grammy-winning True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe. John also plays Latin-based jazz and choro music with highly regarded finger-style acoustic guitarist/composer John Miller; the duo has released three superb albums. John began his career in the San Francisco Bay area in the early ’80s with the eclectic Good Ol’ Persons bluegrass band. He was an original member of the legendary “new acoustic” quartet, the jazz-influenced Tony Rice Unit, renowned for highly skilled instrumentals.
Guitarist Patrick Sauber joined the Jaybirds in 2017. The veteran performer has played with, among others, Doc Watson, Richard Greene, John Jorgensen, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien and John Fogerty. He played on the 2016 Grammy-nominated album The Hazel and Alice Sessions by Laurie Lewis, and appeared in the film A Mighty Wind with Christopher Guest.
Bassist Trisha Gagnon is portrayed by Sing Out! as “one of the most versatile” and “irresistible” lead vocalists in bluegrass, her strong and distinctive style ranging from “mournful and plaintive” to “hopeful and yearning.” Trisha anchors what Dirty Linen magazine calls “gorgeous three-part harmonies.” She’s also known for songwriting, dating back to her early days with the award-winning B.C. bluegrass band Tumbleweed. Her solo album includes guests Vince Gill and Peter Rowan.
Banjo player Nick Hornbuckle has developed his own voice on the five-string banjo – a two-finger roll unlike other contemporary banjo players. “Nick Hornbuckle’s banjo can be downright spine-tingling,” said the L.A Daily News. His solo album 12×2 (+/-1), was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2015, and Nick is a composer who also digs for rare old-time gems. His sprightly instrumental Wellesley Station on the new Jaybird album “showcases Nick’s sharp picking and sense of melody,” said Green Man Review.
Fiddler Greg Spatz is hailed as a “world-class bluegrass fiddler” by Fiddler Magazine. Audiophile Audition says Greg’s “virtuosic playing is flawlessly delivered time after time,” while Bluegrass Unlimited says he “lays down some seriously fine bluegrass fiddle” on the latest Jaybirds release. His strong chops have made him a popular fixture down through the years on the West Coast, where he’s played with iconic mandolinist Frank Wakefield, resophonic guitar master Rob Ickes, and many others including Laurie Lewis, Bryan Bowers, and Eli West and Cahalen Morrison. Visit website
AJ Lee and Blue Summit
AJ Lee and Blue Summit made their first appearance in Santa Cruz in 2015. Led by singer, songwriter, and mandolinist, AJ Lee, the bluegrass band has performed all over the world, but finds home in California’s Bay Area. In 2019, they released their debut album, Like I Used To. Their second full length project, I’ll Come Back, came out August 2021 – with national touring in support of the record ongoing.
Although falling loosely under the bluegrass label, AJLBS generally plays sans banjo, with Sullivan Tuttle and Jesse Fichman on steel stringed acoustic guitars, AJ on mandolin, Jan Purat on fiddle, and Chad Bowen on upright bass – a configuration effectively used to create unique space and texture in the arrangements not as commonly found in the music of their peers. Drawing from influences such as country, soul, swing, rock, and jam music, the band uses the lens of bluegrass as a vessel through which to express and explore the thread that binds and unifies all great music. Visit website
Nick Dumas & Branchline
After learning to play mandolin, guitar and banjo and to sing lead and harmony vocals, Nick became a co-founder of the popular Northwest-based bluegrass band Northern Departure. He soon became known as a highly respected mandolin player and singer in the region and co-founded another very popular bluegrass band called North Country Bluegrass, touring both regionally and nationally. In 2015, Nick was very pleased to relocate to become the new Special Consensus mandolin player. He made his Special C recording debut on the 2016 Compass Records band release “Long I Ride,” which received the 2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Instrumental Recorded Performance of the Year Award for the tune “Fireball.” Nick also appeared on the 2018 Compass Records band release “Rivers And Roads” that won two IBMA awards (one for Album of the Year) and a GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album. Visit Nick’s website
After a solid career touring and recording with Country and Bluegrass artists, Jim decided in 2010 to embark on a solo career. Already seasoned with seven recordings, Open Window, Second Son, A Box of Chocolates, Intrepid, Looking Glass, Atlantic Crossing (duet recording w/Roberto Dalla Vecchia), and JHT-1 (from his Jim Hurst Trio), these exhibit his diverse and deft guitar work and soothing vocals. His shows meet with rave reviews as he astounds his audiences with his brilliant playing yet makes people feel right at home with his humble congenial and funny persona. Jim is currently performing solo full time and with his Jim Hurst Trio, both nationally and internationally, as well as teaching at camps and workshops in North America and Europe. Additionally, his highly sought-after talent has led to side projects with other bluegrass greats such as Claire Lynch, and David Grisman. Visit website
Runaway Train Bluegrass
Like strong traditional bluegrass with an edge to it? Then you’ll like Runaway Train Bluegrass! They perform on special occasions when time and availability permits. They’re the host band for Bluegrass from the Forest festival and they also play an important role in helping to get the festival going every year.
Greg Linder guitar & vocals – Union, WA
Kent Powell bass & vocals – Tacoma, WA
John White mandolin & vocals – Olympia, WA
Clayton Hess, banjo – Woodinville, WA
Patrick Connell & the Portland Radio Ponies
Patrick Connell is a Pacific Northwest bluegrass powerhouse who knows his way around traditional bluegrass, fiddle music, folk, classical, and even jazz. A talented guitarist and vocalist, he is at the hub of the Portland bluegrass scene. Patrick is the guitarist for three fantastic bands in the PNW: The Hollerbodies, Julie & The WayVes, and Whistling Rufus.
Patrick also co-directs Taborgrass (an organization offering bluegrass workshops, jams, and musical community in Portland, OR) and curates the Oregon Bluegrass Association’s 365Live bluegrass radio. He also coordinates workshops and showcases for the Oregon Bluegrass Association. Don’t miss this consummate performer, teller of good jokes, and all-around contributor to the betterment of bluegrass.
Patrick Connell – Guitar & Vocals
Josiah Payne – Mandolin
Forrest Marowitz – Bass
Jon Meek – Banjo
The Bar-K Buckaroos – The Host Band for the Saturday Night Country Dance
The Bar-K Buckaroos play traditional western swing dance music in the style of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. They bring their love of Bluegrass, Country and Swing, Jazz, Blues and Raggae’ to form a great evening of western swing and 20-40’s era swing music.
The band, based on the north coast of Oregon is made up of:
Brad Griswold – Guitar & vocals
Dave Quinton – Bass & vocals
Richard Thomasian – Lead Guitar and vocals
Tom Peake – Percussion
Scott Wagner – Trumpet
Barbara Collins – Fiddle