Performers’ Bios

PERFORMERS’ BIOS

Chris Jones and the Night Drivers

Chris Jones and the Night Drivers are making some of the most distinctively elegant yet driving music to be heard anywhere today, and they’re delivering it with a unique blend of dry wit, emotional authenticity and broad humor that’s won the loyalty of a growing number of fans across the country. Chris Jones leads the band with his soulful lead singing, songwriting, and solid rhythm and lead guitar. Banjo player/actor/director Steve Martin declared that, “Chris Jones’ voice is there with the great masters,” and called The Night Drivers “some of the best players in bluegrass.” Mark Stoffel’s mandolin style perfectly fits the band’s sound with his beautiful tone, taste, and rhythmic sense. Bassist Jon Weisberger is a sought-after fill-in player in Nashville with the Del McCoury Band, Roland White Band, Larry Cordle, and others. Gina Clowes, the band’s newest member, is a driving and innovative banjo player, and another contributor of original material, with a newly released and critically acclaimed solo album. Chris Jones and the Night Drivers have released numerous albums, most recently on the Mountain Heart label.

The band is also becoming known as a songwriter’s bluegrass band, with Weisberger and Jones now co-writing many of the band’s current songs, and all four members contributing material. Jon has had over 200 of his songs recorded by various other artists as well, from The Infamous Stringdusters to Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver, including numerous #1 songs. Chris and Jon are both IBMA award-winning songwriters, Jon being the 2012 Songwriter of the Year, and Chris taking home the trophy for the 2007 Song of the Year for “Fork in the Road.” Altogether, members of Chris Jones & The Night Drivers have won nine IBMA awards and have recorded ten #1 songs, including two from their latest Mountain Home album “Made to Move. Chris Jones is also an award-winning DJ on SiriusXM.

South Carolina Broadcasters

South Carolina Broadcasters is a three-person bluegrass/old-time music group whose razor sharp harmonies plus exceptional multi-instrumentation equal southern music at its finest. Ivy Sheppard, who plays banjo, fiddle, and guitar and sings is a collector of obscure recordings of early country music that bring “new” material to the group. David Sheppard’s love of guitar began at age 12. In addition to being a highly respected guitar player, singer, and songwriter, David is world renowned as a luthier and stringed instrument repairman. Andy Edmonds can play anything with strings. He grew up singing and playing music in church. As a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter, his talents have opened a world of possibilities for the South Carolina Broadcasters. The group is about to go into the studio to record a new album (their fourth), which should be released in time for the Santa Fe TradFest.

Cedric Watson

Cedric Watson, a four-time Grammy nominated fiddler, singer, accordionist, and songwriter is one of the brightest young talents to emerge in Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco music over the last decade. He has performed French music in 17 countries. On his double row Hohner accordion, Cedric writes most of his own songs and his music channels his diverse ancestry – African, French, Native American, and Spanish – to create performances that are both progressive and nostalgic.

Wil Maring and Robert Bowlin

Wil Maring, a highly acclaimed singer/songwriter and guitarist has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry with her original music as well as touring exclusively in Europe and Japan. In recent years, Wil’s beautiful airy vocal style and heartfelt lyrics have raised the eyebrows of the acoustic music world. A two-time National Fingerpicking and Flatpicking Guitar contest winner, Robert Bowlin began playing the ukulele at age one and at age five graduated to the guitar. As a Nashville session guitarist and fiddler, he has played onstage with nationally recognized artists and has performed his own music on stage of the Ryman Auditorium. Together Wil and Robert combine their talents to create beautiful original acoustic music which straddles the fence between bluegrass, folk and country.

Lone Piñon

Lone Piñon celebrates the integrity of their northern New Mexico roots. Noah Martinez and Jordan Wax, both talented multi-instrumentalists, use the fiddle, bajo quinto, accordion, quinta huapanguera, mandolin, guitars, and bi-lingual vocals to bring people together and keep alive the traditional music of New Mexico. As “musical archivists”, they search out the music of earlier generations and, with their creative arranging, bring those tunes back to life. Noah and Jordan often appear with guest musicians, performing Northern New Mexican polkas, chotes, and valses, virtuosic Mexican huapango and son calentano, and classic borderlands conjunto music.

Mariachi Sonidos del Monte

As the premier mariachi in Santa Fe, Mariachi Sonidos del Monte includes eight talented musicians. Santiago Romero, guitar; Christina Gomez, guitar; Gabriel “Gabe” Chavez, vihuela; Steven Montaño, guitarron; Eric Ortiz, trumpet; Gabe Tafoya, violin; Margaret Armstrong, violin; and Sara Maldonado, violin, have performed together 10+ years, expressing their love of music through the acoustic sounds of mariachi. In addition to their distinctive instrumentation, every member sings the songs of the origins of mariachi – machismo, love, betrayal, death, politics, and heroes.

Lara Manzanares

Originally from Tierra Amarilla NM, Lara Manzanares has lived in various U.S. cities over the last several years. While in Washington D.C., Granada, Spain, Chicago and, finally, six years in San Francisco, Lara performed the traditional rancheras, corridos, and western ballads of her homeland in cafés and on street corners, while writing her own music in Spanish and English. In 2016 she returned to New Mexico and recorded her first original album, “Land Baby,” which won Album of the Year at the 2018 New Mexico Music Awards. Lara continues to write and record new original music while also delving deeper into the music of her roots, touring as a member of the Carlos Medina mariachi group and collaborating with musicians of all genres. She’ll be joined at the festival by her friends Jordan Wax and Noah Martinez of Lone Piñon fame, and on cajón, accomplished percussionist and songwriter Rafael Herrera.

Brownsville Thomcats

Anchored by the dual fiddling of Thom Curdts and Dave Brown, The Brownsville Thomcats can cook! The Brownsville Thomcats have played primarily as a dance band for square, contra, and barn dances in Colorado’s Front Range. They performed at the Open Stage Showcase at the 2017 CROMA festival and for the CROMA Benefit Concert, City Star Brewing, Berthoud, CO. They also play weddings, farmers markets, and private events. Dave Brown first picked up a fiddle in New Orleans in the early 1970s. He moved to Colorado in 1974, where he has become a mainstay of the old-time scene. Thom Curdts has been playing old-time banjo since 1974 but was bitten by the fiddle bug nine years ago and it won’t let loose. New Mexico-raised banjoist, John Carr’s percussive clawhammer style might inspire you to pelt him with rotting fruit or crisp dollar bills. It’s your call. Chip Belcher’s powerful guitar playing welds his study of old-time greats with his unique blend of “fret-oil and monkey-dust.” Chip is arguably the Front Range’s most sought after old-time guitar player. Darrin Goodman began chiseling his musical craft in high school. Now, 30 years down the road, he loves playing fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, and bass.

Full Owl

Full Owl is a Santa Fe based Americana duo. Singer/songwriter Michael Sheppard plays a hot hand of fingerstyle guitar and Dobro in the traditions of Doc Watson, Jorma Kaukonen, and Jerry Douglas. Julia “Songbird” Meeks lends tight harmonies and lyrical lead vocal, a sweet cross between Joan Baez and the Wailin’ Jennys. Full Owl brings together old and new, traditional and original songs that reach the hearts of those who listen. Full Owl have performed together for five years; they are regulars at the Cowgirl and the Sage Inn in Santa Fe. Ryan Little will join the group on steel guitar for this performance.

ATC String Band

The Academy of Technology and the Classics String Band plays traditional American folk and old-time tunes. Band members are all current high school students. The group is taught and led by award-winning music teacher and musician Erik Carlson.

Karina Wilson

Karina Wilson is a creative and dynamic international fiddler, celebrating traditional music from around the world, including Appalachia, Cajun Louisiana, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, Austria, Belgium Spain, France, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Born and raised in Santa Fe, Karina grew up as part of the city’s contra dance community, and she now travels the country and the world playing and learning fiddle music from many traditions. At the Santa Fe TradFest she will perform with a small ensemble of other expert musicians.

Bayou Seco

Bayou Seco’s brand of Southwestern Chilegumbo – Cajun two-steps, waltzes, polkas and rancheras, chotis’s, meringues and huapangos, and, perhaps a broom dance – is cross-cultural and multi-lingual, transcending labels. Bayou Seco’s roots are in the deep south and southwest, but their branches reach far across the world. Ken Keppeler and Jeanie McLerie are the heart of this group that has been going strong since 1980 and they live in Silver City. Bayou Seco received the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts for 2017, mostly for their work with New Mexican music.

Jim Trujillo

Jim Trujillo, Native American Drummer, builds frame drums and will cover the making and playing of traditional drums. He will present an exciting demonstration of different styles of drums and show how they are used to accompany singing and dance. Jim’s drums are works of art that are displayed at the Adobe Gallery in Santa Fe.

Sid Hausman & Washtub Jerry

Sid Hausman performs all across the Southwest with a wide variety of music. He can be found playing bluegrass, at cowboy poetry gatherings, and on the train from Williams, AZ, to the Grand Canyon. As a professional musician, Sid is expert on 5-string banjo, 6 and 12-string guitar, and Dobro, but he has a special love for the lowly Uke. Sid is known internationally as a storyteller, artist, and award-winning author. Dirty Linen says, “Sid Hausman’s music and songs are an amalgam of folk, bluegrass, and cowboy ballads. His songs evoke and salute the Spanish, Indian and Pioneer legacies which are such an important part of the southwest.”

Washtub Jerry is a recognized authority for building and playing the washtub bass. In 1999, he was named “Instrumentalist of the Year” by the Western Music Association. Jerry has performed with Patsy Montana, Yakov Smirnoff, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Riders In The Sky, Peter Yarrow, Johnny Gimble, and yes, Don, Waddie, Red and R.W. (plus hundreds of other musicians)! He participated in musical cultural exchange tours in Russia, Germany and Ireland. Jerry has authored and published four books. Washtub Jerry is the fifth generation descendant of South Dakota homesteaders and has lived among West Texas ranchers and cowboys for over four decades.

Jane Voss & Hoyle Osborn

Jane Voss & Hoyle Osborne have been featured in concerts and folk festivals all across North America. Jane started as a solo performer of the songs of the Original Carter Family and other other old-time country music. Hoyle was in the Berkeley old-time band, The Arkansas Sheiks, as well as in a trio with Eric & Suzy Thompson, and he had toured widely with Idaho singer Rosalie Sorrels. They draw from a big range of American roots music — folk, blues, old-time, country, vaudeville, ragtime, and folk revival. Jane’s own songs come directly out of the traditions, and several have been so widely sung that they qualify as folk songs. Many superb artists, including Bayou Seco, Dave Van Ronk, Chuck Pyle, and several bluegrass bands have recorded Jane’s songs. Voss & Osborne have lived in New Mexico for 36 years. They give historical concert-lectures around the state under the auspices of the New Mexico Humanities Council. Hoyle played piano in the made-in-New-Mexico movie “Cowboys & Aliens”.

Stillhouse Junkies

Born in a distillery in Durango, CO, Stillhouse Junkies play a delirious, head-spinning mixture of original roots, blues, funk, swing, and bluegrass music. With all three band members sharing vocal duties and swapping instruments, the Junkies conjure a wide range of tonal landscapes that pay tribute to the iconic sounds of Gillian Welch, the Allman Brothers, Tim O’Brien, the Wood Brothers, John Hiatt, and countless others while breaking new musical ground with their genre-bending original material. Band members are Alissa Wolf, vocals, fiddle, and guitar; Cody Tinnin, vocals, bass, and banjo; and Fred Kosak, vocals, guitar, and mandolin.

Virginia Creepers

The Virginia Creepers love tunes and songs from Appalachia and beyond and have been playing old- time music in New Mexico for more than 25 years. Their repertoire includes weird, old, crooked tunes from exotic places like West Virginia and Kentucky, lively dance tunes that they play for squares and contras, and songs about hard times, trains, and whiskey, all ranging in age from the Civil War era and earlier to newer pieces in the old-time style. The band features Rick Olcott on guitar, Scott Mathis on mandolin, Jane Phillips on fiddle, Laurie Phillips on mandola, and Marc Robert on bass and banjo. All of them sing now and then.

Sevda Choir

The Sevda Choir is a Santa Fe-based singing group that performs traditional songs from Eastern Europe, the Balkans, and the Black Sea and the Mediterranean regions. Sevda Choir is propelled by the close harmonies, vocal acrobatics, complex rhythms, and deep storytelling found in the music from these regions. Their concerts feature the vocal traditions of Albania, Bulgaria, Corsica, Croatia, Georgia, Macedonia, Serbia, Russia and Ukraine. The word Sevda stems from Turkish (with roots back to ancient Arabic), and means love, in the most profound and passionate sense–that which aches or tugs at a person inextricably, an overwhelming yearning or longing, simultaneously leading to feelings of both joy and melancholy. Sevda Choir is a 16-member mixed group, founded in the winter of 2014 by Grammy-Award-winning singer Willa Roberts.

Robert Shlaer

Robert Shlaer (Piobob) plays the Great Highland bagpipes as a solo piper and with the Order of the Thistle Pipes and Drums. He has been playing bagpipes for eight years, but has been involved in music for decades, playing Baroque recorder, as well as building copies of 18th-century flutes and recorders. He has a strong interest in the history and musicology of the bagpipes, as well as interesting stories behind the tunes. Robert will open the festival activities on Saturday and Sunday mornings from a corner of the Camp Stoney.