Tree Small Tree Large
Main Dark Star Jubilee Banner

band bios

Dark Star Orchestra
Dark Star Orchestra

Performing to critical acclaim worldwide for nearly 17 years and over 2400 shows, Dark Star Orchestra continues the Grateful Dead concert experience. Their shows are built off the Dead's extensive catalog and the talent of these seven fine musicians. On any given night the band will perform a show based on a set list from the Grateful Dead's 30 years of extensive touring or use their catalog to program a unique set list for the show. This allows fans both young and old to share in the experience. By recreating set lists from the past, and by developing their own sets of Dead songs, Dark Star Orchestra offers a continually evolving artistic outlet within this musical canon. Honoring both the band and the fans, Dark Star Orchestra's members seek out the unique style and sound of each era while simultaneously offering their own informed improvisations creating a sound that truly encapsulate the energy and the experience.

Los Lobos
Los Lobos

Los Lobos were already East L.A. neighborhood legends, Sunset Strip regulars and a Grammy Award winning band (Best Mexican-American/Tejano Music Performance) by the time they recorded their major label debut How Will The Wolf Survive? in 1984.

Although the album's name and title song were inspired by a National Geographic article about real life wolves in the wild, the band-David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin-saw parallels with their struggle to gain mainstream rock success while maintaining their Mexican roots. Perez, the band's drummer, once called their powerhouse mix of rock, Tex-Mex, country, folk, R&B, blues and traditional Spanish and Mexican music "the soundtrack of the barrio." Three decades, two more Grammys, a worldwide smash single ("La Bamba") and thousands of rollicking performances across the globe later, Los Lobos is surviving quite well -- and still jamming with the same raw intensity as they had when they began in that garage in 1973. The band chronicles a key moment of their expansive journey on Disconnected In New York City, a dynamic live album that marks the band's 40th anniversary and launches their new association with 429 Records.

Recorded over two nights in December 2012 at The City Winery in NYC, the engaging 12-song set celebrates Los Lobos' great legacy as a freewheeling and unpredictable live band, which most recently includes touring in Europe with Neil Young and Crazy Horse in June 2013. Disconnected in New York City features fresh interpretations of songs from throughout their three decade recording career, including their first ever live recording of "La Bamba," their worldwide pop crossover hit from the 1987 film which reached #1 on the U.S. and UK singles chart and whose video won a 1988 MTV Music Video Award. The collection covers the band's 25 year studio discography, from "Gotta Let You Know" (a bouncy zydeco rocker driven by Hidalgo's accordion from How Will The Wolf Survive?) through "Tin Can Trust," a bluesy rock ballad that was the title cut from their last studio release in 2010.

By design, Disconnected in New York City has songs that have been longtime staples of Los Lobos' tours mixed with other gems that had somehow fallen by the wayside over the years. The mix includes the mid-tempo shuffling rocker title track from The Neighborhood (1990); the easy flowing and whimsical (thanks to Berlin's jazzy sax solo) "Oh Yeah" (from This Time, 1999); the spirited, traditional flavored, Rosas penned Spanish language "Chuco's Cumbia" (from The Town and the City, 2006); the graceful and spiritual "Tears of God" (from By The Light of the Moon, 1987); "La Venganza de Los Pelados," a fiery burst of Latin rock fusion with mariachi textures (from The Ride, 2004); the soulful, simmering blues of "Little Things" (from The Town and The City, 2006); the Latin blues funk classic "Set Me Free Rosa Lee" (from By The Light of the Moon); and two mid tempo funk pop/rock tunes from 2002's Good Morning Aztlan, "Maria Christina" and "Malaque."

As per the literal meaning of its title, Disconnected In New York City sets itself apart from Los Lobos' other acclaimed live recordings (most notably, 2005's Live At the Fillmore) by stripping down the instrumentation for a mostly acoustic affair. Lozano, who drives the grooves with his bass and also plays the deep-bodied Mexican 6-string acoustic bass called the guitarron, says, "It's funny because when the venue hired us, they specifically requested that we do something acoustic to fit its smaller dinner house vibe. The idea popped into our heads to ask them if we could record it and they were cool with that.

"We're well known for our electric, high energy performances but we've done acoustic stuff for certain smaller auditorium tours," he says. "Playing these songs acoustically makes them feel more intimate. We notice that when you play softer and quieter, the audience tends to pay attention to everything we're doing. When you play rock, they're thinking more about rhythm than melodies and lyrics, but playing them this way allows for more subtle elements of the songs to stand out."

Perez laughs when he calls the Los Lobos Unplugged experience "folk music for the hearing impaired - it's still loud because the acoustic instruments are amplified! The idea of making a record like this came from never having the opportunity to work some of our favorite songs from over the years into our usual sets. Because most tours are done in support of new albums, the fresh material we play means that some favorite older tunes fall away over time. When we thought about making another live album and what would make it different, the logical concept was to revisit songs we haven't played in a while but had been requested by a lot of fans. We had already documented our rock show with Fillmore, so we felt kind of liberated to take another approach with this one.

"There are two challenges releasing a live album, though," Perez continues. "One is choosing certain songs over other ones. It's like having kids. We love Tommy as much as Johnny but one day Johnny gets to go the park today and Johnny stays home. In spite of this, we do cover a lot of ground. The biggest problem is the way people sometimes perceive live albums, like they're an afterthought put out to fill some kind of gap. Bands love doing them but fans don't always pay attention. But historically, it can be a license for great creativity. Jimi Hendrix did Band of Gypsies to fulfill his last recording commitment, but it was one of the most incredible recordings he ever made. Because Disconnected in New York City marks a key anniversary and the start of us working with a new label, we put a lot of thought into the project, from its design and structure and how we performed the songs."

Steve Berlin is Los Lobos' saxophonist, flutist and harmonica player who met the band while still with seminal L.A. rockers The Blasters. He joined the group after performing on and co-producing (with T-Bone Burnett) their breakthrough 1983 EP ...And A Time To Dance. Though he wasn't jamming with the others way back in the "Krypton days"" (as Perez calls it) in the barrio garage, Berlin felt it was important to find a special way to mark his cohorts' 40th year--just as they had done on their 30th by inviting special guests (Dave Alvin, Bobby Womack, Elvis Costello, Mavis Staples) to be part of their 2004 date The Ride.

"Trying to figure out a way to acknowledge 40 years as a band is harder than you might think," he says. "We got to play with all of our heroes on our 30th so what was something we had not done? So, like Louie said, we thought the best thing was to bring back songs we rarely if ever play and put them into a fresh context. We wanted to create something of value for our fans that would reflect the mutual appreciation we share with them - starting, of course, with 'La Bamba,' which we had never documented live before. I think it was important also that once we knew the set lists for the shows that we would eventually choose the final tracking from, we didn't over-think the arrangements. We only rehearsed these shows for a single day. The coolest part of how Disconnected worked out is that we hadn't been doing some of these songs long enough to worry about how to pull them off. And because we performed them acoustically, we couldn't just blast everyone with power and skate through them. We had to be present and make the choices that occurred to us in each moment."

Around the time of their last big anniversary Rolling Stone magazine summed up that distinctive, diverse and spontaneous Los Lobos aesthetic perfectly: "This is what happens when five guys create a magical sound, then stick together for 30 years to see how far it can take them." Most fans know that the group came together from three separate units. Hidalgo, the band's lead vocalist/guitarist (whose arsenal includes accordion, percussion, bass, keyboards, melodic, drums, violin and banjo) met Perez at Garfield High in East LA and started a garage band. Rosas, who plays guitar and mandolin, had his own group, and Lozano launched a power trio. "But we all hung out because we were friends and making music was just the natural progression of things," says Perez. "Like if you hang around a barbershop long enough, you're going to get a haircut."

Looking back at the historical and cultural sweep of the band, Lozano sees the release of Disconnected In New York City as Los Lobos coming full circle. "A lot of people forget that though we were rock musicians when we got out of high school, the band started off as an acoustic outfit," he says. "We wanted to play Mexican folk music because those were our roots and there was this whole Chicano awareness thing happening back in the early 70s. We started to pay attention to our traditions and culture, and focused on those styles of music for years. We studied music from every region of Mexico, learned how to play all these authentic instruments. So that's what we did for ten years until we decided to play rock again by bringing in drum and electric bass.

"We were playing this restaurant gig for two years, and some small local clubs, playing the same songs, when people in the crowd started shouting out, 'Do you know any Beatles or Grateful Dead tunes?'" Lozano adds. "Soon we got fired from the restaurant and headed back to the garage to write our first original songs that were rock with some accordion on them: 'Let's Say Goodnight' and 'How Much Can I Do?' We made a little tape and gave it to the guys in The Blasters, which included Steve Berlin, when we went to see them live on Sunset Strip. They loved our tunes and invited us to open their show at the Whiskey-A-Go-Go, which was the first time Los Lobos performed on the other side of the Los Angeles River. We played some originals and old favorites by Hendrix, Cream, The Yardbirds and Beatles - all the stuff we loved as kids. The icing on the cake is that the audience loved it, too."

Railroad Earth
Railroad Earth

There's a great scene in The Last Waltz - the documentary about The Band's final concert - where director Martin Scorsese is discussing music with drummer/singer/mandolin player Levon Helm. Helm says, "If it mixes with rhythm, and if it dances, then you’ve got a great combination of all those different kinds of music: country, bluegrass, blues music, show music..."

To which Scorsese, the inquisitive interviewer, asks, "What's it called, then?" "Rock & roll!"

Clearly looking for a more specific answer, but realizing that he isn't going to get one, Marty laughs. "Rock & roll..."

Well, that's the way it is sometimes: musicians play music, and don't necessarily worry about where it gets filed. It's the writers, record labels, managers, etc., who tend to fret about what "kind" of music it is.

And like The Band, the members of Railroad Earth aren't losing sleep about what "kind" of music they play - they just play it. When they started out in 2001, they were a bunch of guys interested in playing acoustic instruments together. As Railroad Earth violin/vocalist Tim Carbone recalls, "All of us had been playing in various projects for years, and many of us had played together in different projects. But this time, we found ourselves all available at the same time."

Songwriter/lead vocalist Todd Sheaffer continues, "When we started, we only loosely had the idea of getting together and playing some music. It started that informally; just getting together and doing some picking and playing. Over a couple of month period, we started working on some original songs, as well as playing some covers that we thought would be fun to play." Shortly thereafter, they took five songs from their budding repertoire into a studio and knocked out a demo in just two days. Their soon-to-be manager sent that demo to a few festivals, and - to the band's surprise - they were booked at the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival before they'd even played their first gig. This prompted them to quickly go in and record five more songs; the ten combined tracks of which made up their debut album, "The Black Bear Sessions."

That was the beginning of Railroad Earth's journey: since those early days, they've gone on to release five more critically acclaimed studio albums and one hugely popular live one called, "Elko." They've also amassed a huge and loyal fanbase who turn up to support them in every corner of the country, and often take advantage of the band's liberal taping and photo policy. But Railroad Earth bristle at the notion of being lumped into any one "scene." Not out of animosity for any other artists: it's just that they don't find the labels very useful. As Carbone points out, "We use unique acoustic instrumentation, but we're definitely not a bluegrass or country band, which sometimes leaves music writers confused as to how to categorize us. We're essentially playing rock on acoustic instruments."

Ultimately, Railroad Earth's music is driven by the remarkable songs of front-man, Todd Sheaffer, and is delivered with seamless arrangements and superb musicianship courtesy of all six band members. As mandolin/bouzouki player John Skehan points out, "Our M.O. has always been that we can improvise all day long, but we only do it in service to the song. There are a lot of songs that, when we play them live, we adhere to the arrangement from the record. And other songs, in the nature and the spirit of the song, everyone knows we can kind of take flight on them." Sheaffer continues: "The songs are our focus, our focal point; it all starts right there. Anything else just comments on the songs and gives them color. Some songs are more open than others. They 'want' to be approached that way - where we can explore and trade musical ideas and open them up to different territories. But sometimes it is what the song is about."

So: they can jam with the best of them and they have some bluegrass influences, but they use drums and amplifiers (somewhat taboo in the bluegrass world). What kind of music is it then? Mandolin/vocalist John Skehan offers this semi-descriptive term: "I always describe it as a string band, but an amplified string band with drums." Tim Carbone takes a swing: "We're a Country & Eastern band!" Todd Sheaffer offers "A souped-up string band? I don’t know. I’m not good at this." Or, as a great drummer/singer/mandolin player with an appreciation for Americana once said: "Rock & roll!"

Robert Randolph & The Family Band
Robert Randolph & The Family Band

When Robert Randolph talks about his new album, Lickety Split, a few words come up over and over-"joy," "freedom," "energy." Which is no surprise, really, because those are the same things that immediately spring into a listener's mind when these twelve tracks from the virtuoso pedal steel guitarist and his longtime accompanists, the Family Band, explode out of the speakers.

"My thing is really upbeat, uptempo, with great guitar riffs," says Randolph, summarizing his musical ambitions, "but also catchy choruses and lyrics that someday will make this music into classic tunes."

"Robert Randolph is an American Original," says Don Was, President of Randolph's new label, Blue Note Records. "He has mastered what is, arguably, the most complex instrument in the world and developed a unique voice that is equal parts street-corner church and Bonnaroo. This album finally captures the energy and excitement of his legendary live performances."

But for Randolph, the road to Lickety Split-his first studio recording in three years-wasn't an easy path. Though his distinctive mix of rock, funk, and rhythm & blues continued to earn a rapturous response from a fervent, international audience, he felt that he had lost some of the enthusiasm and intensity that had driven him to make music in the first place.

"We just weren't being creative musically," he says. "Being on the road 280 days a year, you wind up playing too much and it isn't fun anymore. Soon, you stop being that concerned about how good you can be, how important it is to create and write. You kind of lose sight of that, of being focused on your craft and spending time with your instrument. I've become more in love with my guitar now, and staying relaxed and practicing and trying to create different sounds."

The new album showcases the unique chemistry of the Family Band-comprised of the guitarist's actual family members Marcus Randolph, Danyel Morgan, and Lenesha Randolph, together with guitarist Brett Haas. The eleven original compositions, plus a stomping cover of "Love Rollercoaster" by the Ohio Players, were produced by Robert Randolph & The Family Band, Danyel Morgan, Marcus Randolph, Tommy Sims, Drew Ramsey, and Shannon Sanders; engineered by the legendary Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin); and feature special guest appearances from Trombone Shorty and Carlos Santana.

Randolph notes that the title track of Lickety Split (on which his sister sings the hook) is one of his favorites. "What's great about that one is that it's something we actually played in church, just like that," he says. "There's a section in the service called the 'Jubilee Jam Session Time,' and I can show you video where we played that very same riff."

But if there's one track on the album that captures the band's new spirit, it's one that started as a jam session in a Nashville studio during a break in recording, and later came to be titled "Born Again." "It's about finding the joy again," says Randolph. "At first it was more of a love song, the sense you get when you find the right person, but then as we were recording this new music with a whole new sense of direction, and feeling free again, that all came into it. It's not a religious thing, it's just new energy-which is really the old energy that I had at the beginning of my career."

Robert Randolph & The Family Band first gained national attention with the release of the album Live at the Wetlands in 2002. The band followed with three studio recordings over the next eight years-Unclassified, Colorblind, and We Walk This Road-which, together with tireless touring and unforgettable performances at such festivals as Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, won them an expanding and passionate fan base. Randolph's unprecedented prowess on his instrument garnered him a spot on Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time" list, and also attracted the attention of such giants as Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana, who have collaborated with him on stage and in the studio.

"What I've learned from being around those guys-and you never really notice it until the moment is away from you-is that it's really important to them that someone keeps original music going, that you're not just trying to be like everybody else," he says. "Eric really wants to know what's going on now, he's always going 'Show me that lick again!'-they're like little kids, and that's really the great part about it. It makes me think that I need to keep getting better, to stay excited and keep trying to be innovative and keep growing."

Most recently, Randolph has attempted to amplify the tradition from which he came by executive producing the Robert Randolph Presents the Slide Brothers album, a recording which features some of the older "sacred steel" players from the House of God church who inspired him to pick up an instrument. "This is part of my whole story, which a lot of people don't understand," he says. "In our church organization, playing lap steel in church has been going on since the 1920s. These guys were my mentors, my Muddy Waters and B.B. Kings. Thinking that I started this style is like saying Stevie Ray Vaughan was the first guy to play the blues. I wanted to do this record so that everybody could understand the story and start connecting the dots."

He is also taking a bold new step by remodeling an abandoned school building in his hometown of Irvington, New Jersey and opening the Robert Randolph Music and Arts Program. "There hasn't been any arts in the schools, period, since I was in high school," he says. "So my whole motivation changed to a full-on effort to get these kids into music, and also find out what other passions they have and try to offer that. These kids don't have anything to do, they don't have any hope."

With a new label, a new dedication to his craft, and a new sense of responsibility in his life off-stage, it seems like Lickety Split might also represent the urgency Robert Randolph is bringing to all of his efforts these days. "I'm still undiscovered, and that's really the best thing about it," he says. "Now we have the chance to present the music right, and have the story told right, and for me to be focused on being an ambassador for inner-city kids and a role model, and also an ambassador for my instrument and as an artist. As all these things happened, it got fun again."

Peter Rowan's Twang an' Groove
Peter Rowan's Twang an' Groove

Grammy-award winner and six-time Grammy nominee, Peter Rowan is a singer-songwriter with a career spanning over five decades. From his early years playing under the tutelage of Bluegrass veteran Bill Monroe, to his time in Old & In the Way and breakout as a solo musician and bandleader, Rowan has built a devoted, international fan base through a solid stream of records, collaborative projects, and constant touring.

Born in Wayland, Massachusetts to a musical family, Rowan learned to play guitar from his uncle. He spent his teenage years absorbing the sights and sounds of the Hillbilly Ranch, a legendary Country music nightclub in Boston frequented by old-time acts like The Lilly Brothers and Tex Logan. In 1956 Peter Rowan formed his first band, the Cupids, while still in high school.

Following three years in college, Rowan left academia and decided to pursue a life in music. Rowan began his professional career in 1963 as the singer, rhythm guitarist and songwriter for the Bluegrass Boys, led by the founding father of bluegrass, Bill Monroe. "One thing I started to like about the Monroe style was that there was a lot more blues in it than other styles of bluegrass," reflects Rowan. "It was darker. It had more of an edge to it. And yet it still had the ballad tradition in it, and I loved that."

The late '60s and early 70's saw Rowan involved in a number of rock, folk and bluegrass projects, including Earth Opera, Sea Train, Muleskinner, and the Rowans, where he played alongside brothers Chris and Lorin Rowan. After the Rowan Brothers disbanded, Rowan, David Grisman, Jerry Garcia, Vassar Clements and John Kahn formed a bluegrass band christened Old & In the Way. It was during this incarnation that Rowan penned the song "Panama Red," a subsequent hit for the New Riders of the Purple Sage and a classic ever since.

Rowan subsequently embarked on a well-received solo career in the late '70s, releasing critically acclaimed records such as Dustbowl Children (a Woody-Guthrie style song cycle about the Great Depression), Yonder (a record of old-time country music in collaboration with ace dobro player, Jerry Douglas) and two extraordinarily fine bluegrass albums, The First Whippoorwill and Bluegrass Boy, as well as High Lonesome Cowboy, a recording of traditional and old-time mountain music with Don Edwards and Norman Blake. Rowan's recent releases- Quartet, a recording with the phenomenal Tony Rice and Legacy with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, coupled with a relentless touring schedule have further endeared Peter Rowan to audiences around the world.

Following on the heels of the celebrated album "Crucial Country: Live at Telluride" Peter recorded his second album for Compass entitled "Old School" with memorable new songs such as "Doc Watson Morning", "Drop The Bone" and "Keepin' It Between The Lines (Old School)" with members of the current Bluegrass Band plus Chris Henry, Michael Cleveland, Bryan Sutton, Ronnie, Robbie and Del McCoury and more. Since then the prolific singer songwriter has recorded and released Peter Rowan's Twang an Groove Vol. 1 on There Records and Dharma Blues on Omnivore Records.

Internationally, Rowan often performs as a solo singer-songwriter, while stateside he plays in three bands: the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, a quintet featuring Keith Little, Chris Henry, Blaine Sprouse and Paul Knight; Big Twang Theory and its Texas Cousin Twang n Groove and rock band The Free Mexican Air Force.

Keller Williams and The Keels
Keller Williams and The Keels

Keller and The Keels is a fun, foot-stomping project that includes Keller's old buddy and award-winning flat picker Larry Keel on guitar, and Larry's beautiful, rock-solid in-the-pocket acoustic bass playing wife, Jenny Keel. The trio released their first album, "Grass", in 2006 to the acclaim of critics and fans alike. A delightfully bizarre collection of anything-but-traditional bluegrass songs comprised of both covers and originals, "Grass" successfully blended the world of bluegrass, rock and folk into one tasty meal.

In 2010, Keller and The Keels have returned with their follow-up effort to "Grass" entitled "Thief". This time around, the super-chill trio spent a few days in the studio recording entirely unique renditions of songs originally recorded by a diverse group of musicians such as Kris Kristofferson, The Butthole Surfers, Amy Winehouse, The Raconteurs, Ryan Adams and many others. Check out "Thief" and discover how, regardless of whether a song is penned by Keller or The Presidents of the United States of America, once again, Keller makes it his own.

Steep Canyon Rangers
Steep Canoyon Rangers

"True bluegrass, when done well, is a thing of art and the Steep Canyon Rangers are the genre's current Rembrandt." -Examiner.com

When the time came for the Steep Canyon Rangers to record the follow-up to 2012's Nobody Knows You, they headed north to Woodstock, NY, to Levon Helm's famed studio with Grammy-winning producer Larry Campbell and engineer Justin Guip. This was a departure for the band, and they gave Campbell full control over the recording rather than act as their own co-producer.

Over the months before they started to record Tell The Ones I Love, they sent him several dozen new songs to consider. And while the Steep Canyon Rangers were certainly open to recording songs by other composers, or to dip into traditional material, Campbell ultimately had them record all original tunes, based both on the strength of the songs and the band's arrangements. This seems fitting for a band whose stellar reputation is based on performing original material, and who had just won the Best Bluegrass Album Grammy Award for Nobody Knows You. There's a backstory here, too: last year, the band played Levon's Midnight Ramble, and impressed Helm enough that he invited them to come back and record at the barn. Unfortunately, that didn't happen before his untimely passing, but they still felt his joyful, creative spark and subtle influence while working in his studio.

The band wanted Tell The Ones I Love to reflect the spirit of their concerts-an original, freewheeling, high-energy approach to bluegrass that rests mainly on the songwriting of Graham Sharp and Charles Humphrey. They recorded the album almost entirely live, using few overdubs. "We wanted it to be different from our last album," explained banjo player Graham Sharp, "and create something more raw and immediate." Guitarist Woody Platt added that they headed into recording with "more confidence and momentum" from both their Grammy win and their unrelenting touring schedule.

Campbell, a highly sought after musician and producer (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm), was often down on the floor with the band so he could feel what was being performed. His strategy to have the music sound organic - "where you can hear the environment of the barn" - fit well with the band's performances. Sharp praised Campbell for being "exactly what we needed in a producer. Larry took us through arrangements from a little different perspective."

Tell The Ones I Love actually is the first bluegrass album Campbell produced, although as a big bluegrass fan, he has heard, in his estimation, "20 million bluegrass bands." When he saw the Steep Canyon Rangers play at the Ramble, Campbell was attracted to how they respected bluegrass without being constrained by its conventions. Getting into the studio with the band only enhanced Campbell's appreciation of their collective and individual talents. He admired that they "held on to the essence of what makes bluegrass viable, and subtly reinvented it to make their thing unique."

One way that the band stretched bluegrass boundaries was with their use of drums and percussion on Tell The Ones I Love. "We didn't want something that was just a bluegrass track with drums laid on it like an afterthought," said Sharp. "We wanted something that was really integrated." They enlisted Jeff Sipe (Leftover Salmon, Susan Tedeschi, Aquarium Rescue Unit), whom Sharp described as "one of the best drummers around." His propulsive playing helps to drive the title track as well as injecting some funky rhythms into "Camellia."

Tell The Ones I Love showcases the Steep Canyon Rangers' myriad talents- nimble instrumental agility, tight harmony vocals, and inventive songwriting. The 12-song set ranges from full-band workouts like the title track to the haunting, vocally tight "Hunger." On "Las Vegas," the band displays jazzy touches while Mike Guggino's instrumental "Graveyard Fields" is a bluegrass tour de force. Tell The Ones I Love, in fact, affords each Ranger opportunities to shine, whether it's Graham Sharp's expressive banjo intro on Charles Humphrey/Jonathan Byrd's plaintive "Bluer Words Were Never Spoken," Nicky Sanders' soaring fiddle on "Boomtown" or Humphrey's walking bass that anchors his "Mendocino County Blue." "It's a record that doesn't stay on the same plane," Platt, who contributes dynamic lead vocals on nine of the songs, explained. "It has an interesting contour, like we try to develop in our live shows."

These days, it's hard to talk about the Steep Canyon Rangers without mentioning Steve Martin. After meeting at a party and clicking immediately, Martin invited the band to tour and record with him. 2011's collaboration Rare Bird Alert was nominated for a Grammy, and later that year, they won IBMA's Entertainer of the Year Award. They average about 50 dates a year together, touring as Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, and most recently with the addition of special guest Edie Brickell. What has emerged is a real collaboration of seven consummate musicians-creating music that they are passionate about, and blending it with humor to form a sophisticated show. They are proud that it has exposed legions of new fans to the bluegrass genre. These collaborations have stretched the Steep Canyon Rangers musically, and definitely broadened their horizons and experiences, which include recent appearances on Austin City Limits, the Late Show with David Letterman, and the Today Show, and performances at Carnegie Hall, the Grand Ole Opry, MerleFest, Neil Young's Bridge School Benefit, as well as their own Mountain Song festival and Mountain Song at Sea cruise.

The release o Tell the Ones I Love finds the Steep Canyon Rangers in a unique situation, and one they don't take lightly: "It took a lot of work for us to nose our way into the bluegrass world and become a de facto representative," Sharp acknowledges, "and we think it's a real responsibility." With this new record, "we can be a bridge between the bluegrass crowd and a wider audience that may not be die-hard bluegrass fans." Yet.

Melvin Seals & JGB
Melvin Seals & JGB

Melvin Seals has been a powerful presence in the music industry for over 30 years with a long-established reputation as a performer, recording artist and producer. Melvin is most revered for his powerful, high-spirited, Hammond B-3 organ, and keyboards in the Jerry Garcia Band. Melvin spun his B-3 magic with the Jerry Garcia Band for 18 years and in doing so helped pioneer and define what has now become "Jam Band Music". From blues to funk to rock to jazz, Melvin Seals serves up a tasty mix with a little R&B and gospel thrown in to spice things up.

Melvin and JGB brings an intuitive, expressive style, soul, spontaneity and remarkable chops to the table. With acoustic and electric ingredients and unique combinations of Dave Hebert's guitar and vocals, Pete Lavezzoli's hearty drums and, of course, a heapin' helpin' of the wizard's magic on Hammond B-3 Organ and keyboards. Along with backing vocals, the result is a most satisfying blend of natural organic grooves that challenges genre boundaries. Their chemistry is the focus from which they create a spontaneous and high art where the sky is the limit musically. They offer an exciting, often psychedelic musical journey that changes nightly and keeps the audience dancing and smiling (and some staring in amazement) for hours.

In addition to the often played staples, the band has recently been exploring the back catalog and performing a ton of super rare tunes, some of which The Jerry Garcia Band played only a few times over all those years.

Adding his rock-gospel-soul-rhythm and blues touch with his funky style of playing, no wonder Jerry nicknamed him "Master of the Universe". Melvin continues to treat music lovers to his unique brand of melodic flavor with JGB. Come see and hear for yourself!

Jeff Austin Band
Jeff Austin Band

Mandolinist Jeff Austin is unstoppable. He is celebrated for his fleet fingers and penchant for improvisation on stage, but those qualities also speak volumes about how he chooses to live. Austin has cultivated his natural musical abilities and allowed himself to be driven by his boldest instincts. In this way, he has been able to build positive, exciting momentum around his life's greatest passion.

Austin's enthusiasm for the vast, vibrant world of music was rooted in him as early as he can remember: "I was always raised very musically. My mom always had music playing; she always sang." It's no surprise then that Austin himself grew up singing too. From beginning to end of his years in grade school just outside of Chicago, he sang in classes, choirs, and musicals, allowing his musical influences to lead him where they may. "I started listening to Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings," Austin says. "And then the Beatles, that turned into Bob Dylan, and then the Grateful Dead and Phish."

Austin continued this fearless course of action, attending University of Cincinnati and majoring in Musical Theatre, until he a stumbled upon a crossroads that threatened to derail all of his plans. "I remember standing in front of the Grateful Dead three weeks before I dropped out of college and thinking, 'there's so much more to this music thing than being educated and being told what you are,'" Austin explains. "You can take what you think is your value and throw it at a crowd of people, and they will throw it back to you. The beauty is that nothing is black and white. It's all grey; it's interpreted at the moment." Austin goes on to illustrate what this meant for his future: "At the time, I was auditioning for Broadway and off-Broadway shows. I walked away from everything I was set up to do because I realized that I just wanted to be in a band."

Serendipitously, he met banjoist Dave Johnston around the same time. He encouraged Austin to try the mandolin so as to join his band The Bluegrassholes, so Jeff learned how to play the only way he knew how - with music: "I would listen to Not for Kids Only, which is a record of kids' songs that Garcia/Grisman put out, nothing too fast. I would listen over and over and over and find the notes on my mandolin." Picking up an instrument for the first time was exhilarating for Austin. "I never took lessons," he admits. "I just threw myself in that world. I've always kind of learned in the line of fire." The line of fire inspired Austin to be better, so he kept coming back. "For the better part of 3 years, I jammed night after night with these guys. There's something about the pace, the speed, the aggressiveness, the chasing of the beat." Austin was hooked.

In 1998, Austin and Johnston relocated to Nederland, Colorado. While working at a bar called the Verve, Austin met Adam Aijala and Ben Kaufmann, with whom he and Johnston would form the Yonder Mountain String Band. Together, the four musicians have created a wild, high-energy niche among the bluegrass legends of old and the up and coming jam band scene. Over fifteen years, Yonder Mountain String Band have built an intensely loyal fan base by playing festivals and venues across the nation, sharing the stage with legends like Jon Fishman, Phil Lesh, Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzman, Earl Scruggs, Pete Thomas, and Jimmy Herring, and releasing five studio albums and five live recordings.

"My time with Yonder has taught me what is possible," Austin says. "It has shown me that if you work hard at it and you believe in it and there's a part of you that's meant to do it, it will happen. It's clichéd, but it's true."

It is with this rich personal history at his back that propels Austin into a new creative direction as he prepares to step into the spotlight as a solo artist. On his forthcoming debut project, Austin's songwriting remains rooted in Americana inspiration and the frantic energy of the jam genre but also, reaches even further weaving in more mainstream themes, reminiscent of his co-write contribution "Fiddlin' Around," that was featured on the 2010 Grammy nominated Dierks Bentley album, Up on the Ridge. While the upcoming, untitled solo effort is still a work in progress, it can already be summed up succinctly as Austin's love letter to storytelling. "I love writing a three-minute song with a hook that would grab a five-hundred-pound marlin as much as I like writing something that goes, 'okay, after the bridge, it's going to open up and just go wide.'"

Indeed, "wide" is what Jeff Austin is all about. He wants new and different, complex and interesting. He wants everything the music world has to offer, and he's willing to work hard to get it.

The Weight: Playing Songs of The Band
The Weight: Playing Songs of The Band

Replicating the music of The Band is a tall order. But interpreting the music of The Band is an art. Songs that have reverberated across history for decades continue to speak to millions of us. And The Weight, a five-piece ensemble featuring Jim Weider and Randy Ciarlante from The Band, Brian Mitchell and Byron Isaacs of the Levon Helm Band and Marty Grebb, who worked with Rick Danko and Richard Manuel of The Band, remains a vehicle through which we can continue to share those stories and dance to those back beats. Come and take a load off.

Moonalice
Moonalice

Moonalice is a psychedelic, roots-rock band of seasoned musicians mixing a variety of genres with extended musical improvisations that evoke a sense of adventure and exploration. Everyone is a part of the experience and the music inspires dancing and other acts of self expression. Every show has an original art poster created by a well-known artist memorializing that event and given to all attendees ...each poster has its own Moonalice legend. All concerts are broadcasted live in HD and available in archive shortly after their set.

Moonalice plays mostly original material mixed with several covers, and during their extended freeform jams the band moves as one, drawing from many musical genres honed from years of experience playing with various major acts. Their single "It's 4:20 Somewhere" has been downloaded over 5 million times. Just released: 420 Gathering of the Tribe by Jay Blakesberg and Alex Fischer - a short film about the Moonalice posters and poster artists: http://www.moonalice.com/song/its-420-somewhere. Social media: nearly 350,000 on Facebook & over 67,000 on Twitter. Their extensive tour schedule and videos of every Moonalice show can be seen at moonalice.com and every show poster with legends can be viewed at moonaliceposters.com.

Kung Fu
Kung Fu

Proud to be firmly installed in the new-funk movement, KUNG FU is quickly popularizing their unique sonic contribution, blurring the line between intense electro-fusion, and blistering dance arrangements. Making fusion music "cool" again, the band draws on influences such as early Headhunters and Weather Report, and merges those ideas with a contemporary EDM informed sensibility. Imagine 70's funk-fusion meets a modern dance party!

Although the ensemble cast enjoys a seasoned pedigree that reads like a late-night summer festival all-star jam, this fledgling "nu-sion" project is growing a unique and rabid following by commanding audiences at theaters, clubs, and major national festivals, all within the past 18 months.

Kung Fu features Tim Palmieri (guitar), Robert Somerville (tenor sax), Todd Stoops (keyboards), Chris DeAngelis (bass guitar), and Adrian Tramontano (drums/percussion). The powerhouse quintet's live show has been described by critics and fans alike as "lethal funk", "explosive", "jaw dropping", and "musically mesmerizing".

Mattson Barraco and Friends
Mattson Barraco and Friends

DSO lead guitarist Jeff Mattson has been a leader in NYC's Jamband scene since its inception, starting with the Zen Tricksters and making his name nationally with The Donna Jean Godchaux Band, a short stint with Phil Lesh & Friends, and now Dark Star Orchestra. Never without a guitar in his hands, Mattson has teamed up with current DSO - and former ZT - band mate Rob Barraco to form Mattson/Barraco. This time out they are joined by Rob's son Tom Barraco to form a psychedelic, electric trio that jams with the best of them, exploring the classic songbooks that inspired them, including Dylan, The Beatles, and Grateful Dead, not to mention an original tune here or there. If it's a good song, they can find a way to jam on it.

The Nth Power
The Nth Power

Proving that soul music can be exponentially greater than the sum of its parts, The Nth Power's transcendent live performances will inspire you to dance, make love or just stand there with goosebumps.

The formula starts with heavy-hitting drummer Nikki Glaspie (Dumpstaphunk, Beyonce)'s deep pocket, explosive energy and silky vocals, compounded by bassist Nate Edgar (John Brown's Body), whose quiet confidence lies in perfect contrast to the emphatic, funky low-end he creates. Next, Nigel Hall (Lettuce, Warren Haynes Band)'s unmistakable vocals and innate ability to preach with a keyboard hit the groove in full force. Over the top comes Nick Cassarino (Jennifer Hartswick Band, Big Daddy Kane), oozing more soul in one finger than most guitarists could create in a lifetime, and with a voice that immediately wraps the room in sex appeal. West African djembe master Weedie Braimah (Toubab Krewe, Kreative Pandemonium) is the final X-factor, creating a rhythmic symphony that ties the whole equation together with flagrant finesse.

Together, The Nth Power wants to change your life through a message of musical love and understanding. "Just know that when you hear this music, you're going to feel something - you're going to connect with something higher than yourself," said Braimah.

Celebrating their year anniversary, December's "Thank You" tour follows the April 20, 2013 release of Basic Minimum Skills Test, a six-song EP the group unleashed on the streets of New Orleans during Jazzfest. There, early buzz about The Nth Power first took hold, and the band has since appeared on a handful of festival lineups, including Electric Forest, Gratitude Harvest Festival and Bear Creek Music Festival.

"The sound we create is built on a strong foundation of love," said Hall. "We're just getting started, the best is yet to come."

Owsley County
Owsley County

Founded in January of 2012 by Dino English of Dark Star Orchestra. We started as the Very Garcia Band and played exclusively JGB music when Dino was home in Kentucky and off of DSO tour. After 2 great years exploring the Garcia catalog, we've renewed the band as "Owsley County" in order to broaden our musical horizons beyond Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead. We're looking forward to a bright future exploring a wide range of musical styles.

The Ark Band
The Ark Band

The Ark Band is a St. Lucian reggae band, based in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1987 by Terry and Eustace Bobb, (The St. Lucian Riddim Twins) The Ark Band has continually toured across the United States, Canada and Jamaica sharing its roots reggae, calypso and soca music.

Combining heavenly harmonies with tight crisp performances, this powerhouse of talent captures their audiences with their very first note. The Ark Band's repertoire combines original and cover compositions with classic and current reggae hits designed to entertain, educate and enlighten all types of people. The Ark Band continues to be a dynamic force on the American scene after two decades, their songs expressing the love, peace, togetherness and spirituality needed in our world today!

Matt Reynolds
Matt Reynolds

Matt Reynolds is a singer-songwriter, as well as tour manager for DSO. Performing during the first two years of Dark Star Jubilee, Matt took some time off from performing in 2014 to work on his debut album of original songs, featuring well known artists from bands such as DSO, Widespread Panic, Pink Floyd, Steep Canyon Rangers, Kentucky Thunder and many more. Matt returns to the Jubilee line-up in 2015, along with a few friends, to perform some songs from the new album.