Freddy & Francine
To the casual observer, Freddy & Francine seem safely cemented as a folk duo. They got the look. The soulful harmonies. The folk circuit bookings — over 150 a year, including the legendary Telluride Bluegrass Festival. They’re even getting married. Cute. Even their act’s name is cute. You could make a movie about it. Someone probably has.
But Freddy & Francine (their actual names are Lee Ferris and Bianca Caruso) aren’t interested in acting, or genres, or talking or not talking about their relationship. They’ve done all that. “We just want to play music all the time and we don't care about the rest of the bullshit,” Ferris said.
But don’t call it folk music. It’s too energetic.
“We’re performers. We’re not just folk musicians who play and sing mellow songs with little voices ... there’s screaming,” Caruso said. Don’t call it Americana either. They don’t wear hats. Besides, Caruso says, “The minute you think one of our songs is an Americana song, it can turn into a retro pop song.” Despite the reaction of most roots music fans to the dreaded “P” word, Caruso says she doesn’t mind Freddy & Francine being labeled a pop band.
“Pop music gets a bad rap, but it comes from the word ‘popular.’ I’d love to be popular,” she said. “I never discriminate against a song because it’s popular if it stays in your head ... every Beatles song is a pop song.”
But mostly, Freddy & Francine sounds like Freddy & Francine.
Laura Totten Photography
Sway Wild Internationally-acclaimed songwriters Mandy Fer & Dave McGraw (from San Juan Island, Washington State, US), now joined by long-time friend and bassist Thom Lord, are back at it with a new sound, new album and new name - Sway Wild! Their exceptional harmonies coupled with Fer's pioneering electric guitar work have become a vehicle to carry them around the world, sharing the stage with such acts as Iron & Wine, Glen Hansard, Lake Street Dive, Gregory Alan Isakov and many others. Winning over audiences from Alaska to Amsterdam, Sway Wild performs a heartfelt and dynamic blend of innovative folk-rock, pop, and funk. Their debut self-titled Sway Wild album includes special guests Birds of Chicago, Sean Hayes, Anna Tivel and others and will be released worldwide in Summer 2019.
It's no secret that Sway Wild was a big fan favorite at Farmathon last year, and we're incredibly excited to have them back in 2019. We've been big fans for years, and we're continually amazed and impressed to see these musicians evolve and grow. From Dave as a solo acoustic singer-songwriter troubadour, to the addition of Mandy and her baby blue electric guitar, or the steady basslines of Tom Lord; it seems that every time we see them play live, things are just a bit different . Whether it's new instruments, sounds or languages, it's a kaleidoscope where the only constant is change. But even as they explore new dimensions and slip through doorways we never saw coming, the roots are still there, grounding, feeding and sustaining them, and us. So get ready... If you loved Sway Wild last year, it's a safe bet you'll love them even more this year!
The muddy Willamette River that runs through Portland, Oregon, may not be as famous as the mighty Mississippi, but it forms the border of a new form of American roots music, informed both by the traditions of the American South and the rainy woods of the Northwest. Portland bluegrass band Jackstraw has been the flagship of this movement since they formed in 1997. They know their bluegrass history and don’t hesitate to pay homage to their heroes, like the Stanley Brothers, but this ain’t your standard bluegrass band. These boys have a cutting edge take on bluegrass picking that they’ve developed over years of touring the United States and their original songs can sound as much country as oldtime. This is bluegrass that belongs in a dusty honky-tonk, country twang as rooted in Bill Monroe as George Jones, an old-timey sound for a new age.
The band’s devoted following includes bluegrass purists, altcountry fans, kids looking to dance, and people who know a good tune when they hear one. Jackstraw has developed a reputation over the years for their impeccable musicianship and hard-driving original songs.
Before Portland was on the map as the roots music capitol of America, Jackstraw was there, building the foundation of this community with their hard-worn picking and lonesome harmonies.
Kevin Burgess Project
Kevin Burgess is an articulate songwriter that gets right to the heart of the matter with his songs. He can capture that delicate essence of humanity and evokes universal sensibility in his lyrics. An instrumentalist well-versed in guitar, ukulele, harmonica and saxophone, he was recently accepted into the Multnomah Library Project for Portland area original musicians.
Keith Hinyard is a local Portland musician who has been playing in the local music scene for many years. He is a multi-genre guitarist comfortable with lead and rhythm - sometimes simultaneously. Having toured from Seattle to LA over the past many years, his style is balanced and tasteful: he knows just what each song needs.
After moving to Portland from Boston 3 years ago, Kevin was looking for musicians to perform his music. He started working with Keith and the two have been playing gigs all around the Portland area of late. The two have perfect balance and an inherent understanding of where the music needs to go.