Wirrina Bluegrass & Acoustic Roots Festival 2021 Performers
Montz Matsumoto’s unique music is a fusion of folk and bluegrass with a touch of Japanese and Indian traditional styles. Montz began his music career 1987 with the legendary Japanese folk group Takaishi Tomoya & The Natasha Seven. Later, he travelled to South India to where he studied traditional vocal and rhythm theory. After returning to Kyoto, he formed a group with musicians including percussion player Robin Lloyd and mandolin player Miyazaki Katsuyuki. Their first CD was released in 1996. In 1997, he supported Peter Rowan’s Okinawa Tour. Living in Australia since 2002, he was awarded first place in Francis Folk Gathering Musicianship Contest and the Band Contest in 2003 and in 2004. He released his second CD Banjo Moon in 2007. We are lucky indeed to have Montz on the big stage this year at Wirrina.
Mark Curtis & the Flannelettes
“An urban cowboy weaving wild thoughts into timeless tunes.”
Drawing influence from artists such as Wilco, Gillian Welch, The Beatles and Daniel Johnston, Mark Curtis has a gift for channelling the inner world in a way that is identifiable to any listener. He communicates the fragility of being human while keeping a certain playfulness. Drenched in harmonies, vulnerability, cynicism, longing and humour; complimented tastefully by Bonnie Aué and Michael Hutchison on upright bass and drums respectively, Mark Curtis and the Flannelettes are a fresh take on an old story. Their key successes so far include releasing three singles, playing the Music SA Umbrella festival, Fringe festival and the Adelaide Superloop 500 in 2020. With COVID lockdowns hopefully behind them, the group are excited to spend this year getting their music out there by playing shows, making videos, releasing singles and basically doing all the things that weren’t feasible for musicians last year.
It would simply not be a proper Wirrina Festival without Andrew Clermont’s Supper Club! Born of Festivals from Fairbridge WA, The National ACT, Port Fairy VIC , Woodford QLD, and the Tamworth Country Music Festival NSW, The Super Club has appeared as far afield as Tallin in Estonia. Andrew brings to the stage a wonderful and varied array of musicians each time. There is always a wild card or two at The Supper Club—and it is exciting every time to witness the maestro at work with whomever he invites to play.
Note: Be there for the Friday night Supper Club—something VERY special will be happening!
Newbury Fog is a duo from the Central Highlands, Victoria. The raw honest energy of old time tunes expresses their deep love of music. Newbury Fog play traditional songs, fiddle tunes, country ballads and rural music. Previous notable performances include the Great Trentham Spudfest and Lost trades Fair, Bendigo. Nara Demasson has been a professional musician for over 20 years and has played at numerous Australian folk festivals with various acts including at WOMAD, Woodford folk festival, The National Folk Festival and many others. Karina has spent many years absorbed by old time music playing banjo and guitar at sessions and festivals and dancing to Cajun and old time whenever she gets the chance.
Ned Wright grew up in the 60’s and 70’s in Salisbury North, SA. His three guitar playing brothers were listening to Jim Kweskin, Ry Cooder, Blood Sweat and Tears, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Asleep at the Wheel, Commander Cody, and David Bromberg. Their influence encouraged him to make his own music. Ned learned finger-style techniques from Australian guitarist Tim Rickards as a teenager, and then honed his skills from listening to Doc Watson, Ry Cooder, and Merle Travis. Ned has played in a variety of bands; blues, western swing, Afro-Cuban, pub rock, folky, often as the bass player. He loves ‘story songs’—songs that paint a picture. His musical influences include John Prine, Warren Zevon, Jerry Jeff Walker, Neil Young, and more recently, Tim O’Brien.
Mae Napier-Traeger (fiddle/vocalist) and Gage Stead (multi-instrument/vocalist) are Miss Ohio. They radiate a warmth and intimacy through genre-bending material, hauntingly beautiful vocal harmonies and instrumental skill. Having immersed themselves in the music of the Americas and anchored by a deep love of folk tradition, Miss Ohio will captivate you with an honest musicality that will take you on a journey through life, death and the space in between.
Bluegrass Junction are bluegrass royalty at Wirrina. The group grew from several lifetime’s obsessions for old-fashioned, hard-core, high-lonesome bluegrass. Bluegrass Junction plays a big repertoire of bluegrass classics as well as their own original music inspired by the tradition. Trev Warner, Nick Cawthorne, Geoff Bridgland, Stephen Loss, and John Bridgland, joined forces to become Bluegrass Junction around 1997. Each band member began their music careers years before that, frequently playing bluegrass together in other bands since the early 1970’s. The result is an intuitive understanding of each other’s approach to playing and singing, and a song and instrumental list ‘longer than your arm’.
Image: Courtesy of Ian Fisk
The Cherry Pickers
Always a favourite at Wirrina, we welcome back Adelaide’s very own Cherry Pickers! The Cherry Pickers are a contemporary bluegrass band playing your favourite tunes from today and back in the day. Always on the search to uncover hidden bluegrass in any song, their tasty arrangements are reverent to bluegrass tradition. Coupled with their love of traditional tunes and their original songs, the Cherry Pickers make for an exciting and refreshing bluegrass experience. The Cherry Pickers appear regularly around Adelaide and have played at many festivals around the country including the National Bluegrass Festival, Mountain Grass, the Kelly Country Pick, JamGrass , the Fleurieu Folk Festival, Healesville Festival, Cullulleraine, Groundwater, Dorrigo Folk Festival and the Wirinna Bluegrass Festival. In 2016, the Cherry Pickers toured the US including playing at AmericaFest in Nashville Tennessee.
The Cherry Pickers are:
Mark Bandick: Guitar, vocals Paul Cooper: Banjo, vocals Rob Cooper: Dobro, vocals Lou Evangelistis: Mandolin, vocals Mae Napier-Traeger: Fiddle, vocals Gage Stead: Bass, vocals
The River Pearlers
The River Pearlers are Henk Groot, Ashley Turner,Tony Schick and Tim Bailey. As individuals, they are well-know to the Wirrina music community, performing previously in various configurations. Henk’s song writing, vocals and musicianship, are supported beautifully with Tony’s upright bass and Ashley’s magnificent fiddle playing. Tim Bailey recently joined the band and brings his banjo, guitar and much more to the line up. The River Pearlers will not disappoint—be there!
Images: Courtesy of Ian Fisk
Expect to be entertained! Apocalyptic Breakdown perform a repertoire which is intensely political. The songs are mischievous, waspish, pointed, colourful, quirky and almost exclusively original, and sprinkled with disarming anecdotes about their origins. Some are hilarious. Others poignant. The whole is upbeat. Apocalyptic Breakdown is a collaboration between local Adelaide musicians and an ex-pollie (The Reverend and Mrs Rowdy, local Import & a former SA parliamentarian).
Crooked Road are well-known to Wirrina audiences and are always a crowd favourite! A bluegrass-oriented band based in Adelaide, Crooked Road play harmony-driven originals and a few pieces by their favourite musicians. Bluegrass, folk, country, gospel—these influences all come out in their music. In their long history with bluegrass in Australia and New Zealand, Crooked Road’s members have individually toured and recorded many albums. Songs about trains, whisky, death, relativity, love, despair, roadkill, rain and lost car keys. Over time, and with different bands the members of Crooked Road have made 13 albums, many TV and radio shows and several national and international tours. Crooked Road are: Phill Parker—guitar and vocals, Andrew Hook—vocals, mandolin and guitar, Dave Taylor— vocals, double bass and guitar, Leonard Cohen— vocals and dobro. Crooked Road will be joined on stage by multi-instrumentalist veteran Richard Tonkin, in a new and exciting incarnation. Richard will also be offering a workshop or two over the weekend—watch out for details.
Jodie, Emlyn, Matthew & Amber
Jodie & Emlyn O’Regan with Matthew Lykos and Amber Evans
Emlyn and Jodie O’Regan recently spent two years in Nashville Tennessee and have stories to share of their musical adventures. They have arranged and performed a range of a’cappella roots and celtic folk songs at festivals and workshops around Australia. They both have a background in choral and classical music and are often sought after to run festival choirs and singing sessions.
An alumnus of The Elder Conservatorium of Music, Matthew Lykos combines his formal training with the life-embracing experience of his lifelong participation in the folk music community to weave performances of great richness and extraordinary beauty and energy. Some will remember Matthew from his barber-shop quartet days with the multi award winning Fishbowl Boys.
Amber Evans is a vocalist, composer and conductor based in New York and Brisbane. Amber has premiered over thirty new vocal works and became well-versed in modern contemporary classic works of the last few decades. She has a Masters in vocal performance from the Manhattan School of Music and a choral conducting degree at University of Cambridge.
Scott Creek String Ensemble
Aspiring musicians of the future, the Scott Creek String Ensemble are a committed and vibrant group from Scott Creek Primary School—a small rural school in the Adelaide Hills. All performers are 12 years and under. The ensemble perform at community focused events including: Dream Big Festival 2019, Adelaide Festival Centre, The Hutt 40th Birthday, The Hutt Repair Cafe community event, the Fleurieu Folk Festival 2018, and Stirling Laneways 2019. Their 2021 lineup instruments are three violins, two guitars, and one ukulele.
Dee Trewartha from the popular folk duo the Fiddle Chicks is the group’s teacher. The Fiddle Chicks have performed for many years at festivals around the country including Wirrina, Woodford Folk Festival, the National Folk Festival, Fairbridge Festival and the Fleurieu Folk Festival.