Alison Brown has achieved success in many areas: a Harvard graduate, record label co-founder and owner, mother, and, the role that most people know her in: banjo virtuoso. She first came to national prominence when she was asked by Alison Krauss to join her band Union Station in 1989, but had already made a name for herself prior to that by performing extensively with fiddler Stuart Duncan, and on occasional pick-up sessions with artists such as Vince Gill, Byron Berline and John Hickman. California native Chuck Prophet shapes his restless career with subtle flair: a vivid parade of razor-edged one-liners camouflaged in a slack-jawed drawl, songs about heartbreak and everyman heroism, drenched in twisted lines of rude Telecaster.




Simply put, they don’t make musicians like Chuck Ragan anymore. For nearly two decades Ragan has traversed the country and the world - first with his celebrated punk act Hot Water Music and later as a solo troubadour - to bring his music to the masses. Correspondingly, Ragan’s third solo album “Covering Ground” is as much of a love letter to his transient lifestyle as it as a concession to the loved ones he often has to leave behind, and is also undeniably his most honest and accomplished album to date.

FEATURING JOE ELY, JIMMIE DALE GILMORE & BUTCH HANCOCK The windy, expansive universe of West Texas around the town of Lubbock is distilled from just two elements: the land and the sky. They keep one another balanced in symmetrical counterpoint, with the horizon as a distant point of reference. In this most unadorned of landscapes, sunlight and shadow charge the Plains and the overarching sky with improbably transcendental power. This is the panorama that gave rise to the music of The Flatlanders.

Making sense of things isn’t always easy. Singer/songwriter Allison Moorer knows this, for sifting through life’s various complexities can make for a good song and even better story. Music has been second nature to the Alabama native since her early years. “I’ve always sung, since I was little bitty. I was real tiny when I started singing harmony. I learned from my Mama. If there’s one record that influenced me more than any record that exists, it’s the Outlaw record that Waylon, Willie, Jessie and Tompall did. It played in my house constantly when I was a kid.”


(FEATURING BECKY STARK & TOM BROSSEAU) A man who needs no introduction - but who we’ll introduce as John Reilly - has released not one but TWO Third Man singles recently (both produced by Jack White) with Becky Stark & Tom Brosseau. John’s duet with Tom Brosseau is sung in close harmony as they perform two songs originally by The Delmore Brothers. John paired with Becky Stark (Lavender Diamond) swerves more in the classic country vein taking in tunes originally performed by Ray Price and Dolly Parton/Porter Wagoner.

The Civil Wars are part of an ongoing wave of contemporary folk singer-songwriters whose work is firmly rooted in the tradition of the craft, while making a conscious effort to move it forward. Incorporating elements of modern pop and indie rock into their work, the Civil Wars will definitely be of interest to fans of similar progressive folk bands like The Decemberists and Fleet Foxes.

Giant Sand is the primary outlet for the stylistic curveballs and sun-damaged songcraft of Howe Gelb, a Pennsylvania-born singer/guitarist who formed the four-piece Giant Sandworms after relocating to Tucson, Arizona in the mid-’70s. The Giant Giant Sand lineup includes Brian Lopez, Gabriel Sullivan and Jon Villa who bring their Mex-Amer-i-can plunk to the band with a permeating cumbia style of playing, drawing on South American traditional music. Joining them all is a string section from Aarhus, Denmark including violinists Asger Christensen and Iris Jakobsen.


FEATURING SALLY TIMMS Somewhat of a Renaissance man, Jon Langford is perhaps best known as one of the founding members of the influential punk band The Mekons. The bandname, Langford and “His” Sadies, is, of course, a friendly joke: The Sadies are their own outfit, with several records to their name that hover around country/western but touch on everything from psych-rock to surf.

With its delightfully vibrant blend of inventive musicality and genre-blurring reach, Bay Area band ALO operates with fresh verve and vitality. Their always-kaleidoscopic funk pop n’ roll is set aglow with exceptionally ebullient song-craft and deliriously danceable grooves. “We’ve never fit into any quickly digestible category,” says ALO’s keyboardist/singer Zach Gill. “It’s just a different kind of experience.”



Conor Oberst is an American singer-songwriter from Omaha, Nebraska. He has been writing and recording music since 1993. In that time he has recorded and performed in many bands and musical collaborations including Commander Venus, Monsters of Folk, Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band, Park Ave., Desaparecidos, and most notably Bright Eyes, his main musical vehicle for the past decade.

The Irish songwriter has been in music almost his entire life - from busking on the streets of Dublin to becoming a founding member of the highly influential Irish rock group The Frames as well as The Swell Season (as seen in the wonderful movie “Once”). His solo album, “Rhythm and Repose,” was just released.

Jonny Two Bags has been a mainstay of the Southern California music scene for over 20 years. Most well-known for his work with Social Distortion and a host of other Southern California punk bands, Jonny is now bringing his mix of classic country, traditional folk and americana to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass for the first time.

When Amanda Shaw takes the stage, the petite fiddler commands the attention of the audience with a poignant and rhythmic sound that only a Louisiana prodigy could deliver. The 22-year-old New Orleans native is a pioneer of the new breed of young, roots-based musicians who have embraced both the traditional sounds of Louisiana and the pop sounds of the mainstream.




Best known as founding members of the spirited and unpredictable rock trio The Slip, the brothers have crafted a beautiful new album together with several esteemed Montreal musicians. The band features nuanced folk, African-laced rhythms and blistering blues. Under the Radar dubbed them “the MacGyvers of the folk world” due to their mad-scientist approach to instrumentation.

For more than 20 years, Cowboy Junkies have remained true to their unique artistic vision and to the introspective, quiet intensity that is their musical signature, creating a critically acclaimed body of original work that has endeared them to an audience unwavering in its loyalty.

WITH SPECIAL GUESTS THE WRONGLERS FEATURING JIMMIE DALE GILMORE The Wronglers are an old-time string band, founded by banjo player Warren Hellman, erstwhile benefactor of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. Forming at HSB6 they were surprised and delighted when Jimmie Dale Gilmore asked them to record with him. “Heirloom Music” came out in 2011 and, much to Warren’s delight, they spent the year touring the country, highlighted by an appearance on “A Prairie Home Companion” and at the legendary Station Inn in Nashville, TN. They are thrilled to be sharing the stage with Warren’s grandchildren, The Go To Hell Man Clan, who are making their debut HSB appearance.

Justin Earle comes from good stock. His father (legendary and ground-breaking singer/songwriter Steve Earle) must have taught him well. But don’t be so quick to compare him to his father. Whatever he may have learned from his old man, he continues to prove himself as an individual - always forging his own path no matter where the others are going.



Beachwood Sparks brings new life to what Gram Parsons famously described as “cosmic American music,” and recapturing LA’s laidback but vibrant heyday back in the late ’60s and early ’70s. Their first album in 11 years, “Tarnished Gold,” is like being under cobalt blue skies and smelling the night-blooming jasmine on a perfect spring day in Los Angeles.

Dave Alvin says, “There are two types of folk music. Quiet folk music and loud folk music. I play both.” Dave Alvin is steeped in Americana - not just the genre but a deep river of American myth that keeps giving him characters to write about. Former guitarist for roots heroes the Blasters, and long-time member of the Knitters, Alvin fills his 11th album with small towns, highways and losers we imagine he’s encountered on countless tours.


Songwriting legends Guy Clark & Verlon Thompson don’t merely compose songs; they project images and characters with the kind of hands-on care and respect of literary masters. The emotional level of their work, as well as the admiration and esteem of their peers, consistently transcends sales figures and musical genres.

FEATURING BERNIE WORRELL, WALLY INGRAM & ANDY HESS Singer-songwriter/guitarist/music lover Keller Williams crosses paths with his guitar-tone hero, Steve Kimock, and his keyboard wizard compadre, Kyle Hollingsworth (The String Cheese Incident), for a special set of music compiled by all three musical minds. If that doesn’t get you, then Kimock’s rhythm section will; funk legend Bernie Worrell (ParliamentFunkadelic, Talking Heads) on keys together with Wally Ingram (Sheryl Crow, David Lindley) on drums and Andy Hess (Gov’t Mule, The Black Crowes, Joan Osborne) on bass round out this rare collaboration.




A lot of kids are raised in musical families, but few had the introduction to music that Ben Kweller had. Nils Lofgren was one of Kweller’s father’s buddies during Lofgren’s days with Bruce Springsteen.Young Kweller, not even old enough for kindergarten at the time, would try to be like the famous guitarist when he picked up his own toy version of the instrument. The San Francisco native is easily compared to early Bob Dylan, along with hints of artists like Cat Stevens and Tom Waits.

Born in York County, PA 73 years ago, Del McCoury would once have seemed an unlikely candidate for legendary status. He was bitten hard by the bluegrass bug when he heard Earl Scruggs’ banjo in the early ‘50s. “Everybody else was crazy about Elvis, but I loved Earl,” he says with a chuckle. McCoury became a banjo picker himself and is now considered a living national treasure.

Seattle’s The Head & the Heart resemble a folksy Beatles or Crosby Stills Nash & Young with catchy piano melodies, a tight trio of harmonies and plenty of hand percussion and foot stomps to make the live show inspiring and fun.


This remarkable group melds folk, country, & blues when singing & playing string instruments with a jazz musician’s spontaneity & freedom. As songwriters, performers, innovators and founders of the influential Dead Reckoning record label, they have made a career of letting the song lead the way. In the process, they created a new genre of American roots music, blazing a trail for other artists to explore and develop.


Dirty Three is an instrumental band from Australia that defies categorization. Ballads, folk, rock, classical, chamber music, free jazz, blues, world, and Celtic music are all part of their sound. Nick Cave says “Dirty Three are my favourite live band. No contest.”

Often compared to fellow Ohioans, The Black Keys, Cincinnati-based Heartless Bastards hark back to garage-rock of the Sixties and pub-rock of the 1970s. They are a roots rock band whose tough, emotionally resonant music incorporates elements of blues, hard rock, garage punk and country as filtered through tales of a hardscrabble life lived in the American Midwest.


Texas Western Swing and California Honky-Tonk with an all-star cast including ex-bandmates of Merle Haggard, Doug Sahm, Asleep At The Wheel, Nick Lowe, Commander Cody, Maria Muldaur and Elvis Costello.

FEATURING: dave ALVIN - steve EARLE - delbert McCLINTON - boz SCAGGS jimmie VAUGHAN ...and whoever the cat drags in... Doug Sahm was a trailblazing Texas musician for 50 years, starting when he was 8 through hits with the Sir Douglas Quintet and then founding the Texas Tornados. He played it all with an unstoppable heart and deep soul. Boz Scaggs has gathered Jimmie Vaughan, Delbert McClinton, Steve Earle, Dave Alvin and others to pay tribute to the best friend Texas music ever had.


He has been a singer, and the successful writer and co-writer of songs other people sang, many of them country stars, including the Dixie Chicks, Lee Ann Womack, and Brooks & Dunn. He has been a multi-instrumentalist and harmony singer for a succession of acclaimed performers, beginning with his wife Julie, and then in prompt succession Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle & Lucinda Williams. And, most recently, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant. And he has produced acclaimed albums by Solomon Burke, Allison Moorer, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, to name just a few.

They say there are two sides to every story, but that old saying might not quite cover it if we’re talking about Jenny Lewis. Over the decade she’s showed us maybe four or five, depending on where you’re standing. With Rilo Kiley, her rock band of more than 10 years, she transformed before our eyes from a shy indie-rocker singing barely above a whisper to the authoritative, take-no-prisoners singer/songwriter/ frontwoman we know today.

“Some folks might say our music has always been what you call ‘eclectic,’” says John Doe of the Knitters. “Well, OK. As A.P. Carter used to say to me when we’d go song-hunting in the Clinch Mountains, ‘Buddy, it’s all music, y’know.’” The Knitters - Doe, co-lead vocalist Exene Cervenka, guitarist Dave Alvin, bassist Jonny Ray Bartel, and drummer DJ Bonebrake - have been rambling a tangled map of American musical highways since way back in the 20th century.


Dry Branch Fire Squad is a modern bluegrass band dedicated to bluegrass, old-timey, and Southern gospel music traditions. Mandolin player and comedian Ron Thomason founded the Fire Squad in 1976. All of the guys in the band have strong work ethics, varied interests, close ties to their families, have had success in professional endeavors outside of the field of music, and bring nearly boundless energy and enthusiasm as well as a variety of musical experiences to their efforts.

Internationally recognized as the world’s most renowned Dobro player, Jerry Douglas undoubtedly ranks amongst the top contemporary maestros in American music. “Jerry’s my favorite musician, and I’m including Otis Redding and Elvis in that.” - John Fogerty “... Dobro’s matchless contemporary master...” - New York Times

“Laurie is one of the greatest Bluegrass artists, woman or man, because of her consistency over decades, the depth and width of her subject matter, her commitment to the Bluegrass form, and her technical command. Laurie’s strength manifests in many ways: her commanding presence on stage combined with an emotional vulnerability, the truths in her lyrics, her physical voice which transcends gender, her strong commitment to causes.” - Darol Anger



Six time Grammy winners, The Chieftains are now recognized for bringing traditional Irish music to the world’s attention. They have uncovered the wealth of traditional Irish music that has accumulated over the centuries, making the music their own with a style that is as exhilarating as it is definitive.

Jerry Jeff Walker is strongly associated with the progressive (“outlaw”) country scene that centered around Austin, TX, in the 1970s and included such figures as Willie Nelson, Guy Clark, Billy Joe Shaver, the Lost Gonzo Band, Waylon Jennings, and Townes Van Zandt.

Bay Area native Les Claypool is a singer, lyricist, bassist, multi-instrumentalist, and composer, best known for his work with the alternative rock band Primus. Claypool’s mastery of the electric bass has brought him into the spotlight with his funky, creative playing style. Claypool mixes finger-tapping, flamenco-like strumming, and a Larry Graham-like slap technique to develop his own unique style and has earned respect as one of rock’s premier bass talents, becoming an influence for younger bassists in recent years.



Best known as the lead singer and guitarist of the acoustic-alternative band Dashboard Confessional, Chris Carrabba recently released a solo album paying tribute to the artists he most admires. In a folk-punkish plaint somewhere between Neil Young and Paul Westerberg, Carrabba croons heartfelt takes on Guy Clark, John Prine, Justin Townes Earle, The Replacements and Archers of Loaf.

The Kentucky-born singer-songwriter, actor and film director is most famous for his pioneering country music. Popular since the early 1980s, he has recorded more than 20 albums and compilations, charted more than 30 singles on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and sold more than 25 million records. Like the icons he so admires - Elvis, Merle, Buck Yoakam is one of a kind. He has taken his influences and filtered them into his own potent blend of country and rock that honors his musical predecessors and yet creates something beautifully new.



Since releasing his self-titled debut album in 1970, Jesse Winchester has quietly written a catalog of songs that earned him a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers. Along the way, he’s recorded a series of albums that has influenced a generation of younger songwriters.

Elvis Costello exploded onto the late 1970s new wave scene as a brash singer/songwriter who reinvigorated the literate, lyrical traditions of Bob Dylan and Van Morrison and paired them with the raw energy and ferocity that were principal ethics of punk. He remains one of the most highly respected and relevant artists in the world.

Growing up together in Dublin, Little Green Cars came together five years ago at the tender age of 15 to begin crafting their emotionally charged rock songs. With influences ranging from early R.E.M., to Elliott Smith and Woody Guthrie, Little Green Cars’ sound is accomplished and belies their young ages of just 20. The band spent the summer recording their debut album with renowned producer Markus Dravs (Mumford & Sons, Arcade Fire, Björk, Coldplay) for release early next year.


Chris Robinson is the singer of legendary roots-rock band The Black Crowes. In 2011, after more than 20 years of intense gigging and recording, he set off to shape something new, “a fresh rock mythology, a breathing kaleidoscopic thing stuffed with chooglin’ soul, bedrock boogie and shuffling wisdom birthed in intimate clubs.”

Jim Lauderdale is a multi-talented performer and songwriter, with successes in both country and bluegrass music. His roots stem from the Carolinas, yet his career has taken him all over the United States and abroad, making him an international recording artist with an evergrowing fan base.


Already celebrated as a discoverer and interpreter of other artists’ songs, 12-time Grammy Award winner Emmylou Harris has, in the last decade, gained even more admiration as much for her eloquently straightforward songwriting as for her incomparably expressive singing. She is and always will be the heart of HSB, having played every single year since our inception.

Lloyd Cole is a British singer-songwriter known for his role as lead singer of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions in the ‘80s and his subsequent solo work that consistently garners critical praise. “Two decades of thoughtful, literate pop . . . one of our finest songwriters.” - Independent on Sunday (UK)


After leading several popular ‘80s cult bands in and around his hometown of Lawrence, Kansas, Chuck Mead landed on Nashville’s Lower Broadway where he co-founded the famed ‘90s Alternative Country quintet BR549. The band’s seven albums, three Grammy nominations and the Country Music Association Award for Best Overseas Touring Act would build an indelible bridge between authentic American Roots music and millions of fans worldwide.

It’s been 5+ years since Joe Pug quit his day job as a carpenter, but his remarkable rise in the music world has been driven by the same hard-worn work ethic. In 2011 Pug was lured to Austin, Texas by its storied songwriting tradition. “Chicago is a very difficult place to leave, especially when it has supported my music to the level that it has. But I found myself enamored with the contributions that Texas has made to the American songbook and I had to go see where it was born.”


Lucero is an alt-country/punk rock band from Memphis, TN. Formed in 1998, the six-piece has built its reputation on writing sing-along songs about small town life and love, putting a modern edge on classic Americana subjects. The members may look like tattooed tough guys, but they write resonant songs that tug the heartstrings of even the most hardened rock fan.

The roots revival of the last few years has primed listeners for a new generation of rustic, heart-on-the-sleeve music - the kind that nods to tradition while setting off into uncharted territory. Denver-based (via New York) band The Lumineers walk that line with an unerring gift for timeless melodies and soul-stirring lyrics. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band derives its name from Preservation Hall, the venerable music venue located in the heart of New Orleans’ French Quarter, founded in 1961 by Allan and Sandra Jaffe. The band has traveled worldwide spreading their mission to nurture and perpetuate the art form of New Orleans Jazz. Whether performing at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, for British Royalty or the King of Thailand, this music embodies a joyful, timeless spirit.



Former member of New York State folk-rockers The Felice Brothers, chief member of The Duke & the King and published author to boot, Simone Felice has long been associated with a dusty, widescreen Americana that has gathered numerous plaudits for its honesty, literacy and spirit.

The Wandering gathers five traditionally-minded artists from Memphis and North Mississippi and features the string work of Luther Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes) and a quartet of distinctive female voices - Shannon McNally, Amy LaVere, Valerie June, and Sharde Thomas, erstwhile leader of the Rising Star Fife and Drum band.


When legends come to mind, there is one star that shines above them all and that is none other than the legendary icon Dr. Ralph Stanley. For over 6 decades he has become one of the most influential artists of all time. Dr. Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys are still touring 100+ dates per year. He is not only an American treasure but an international icon.

The Milk Carton Kids, a harmonizing, minimalist duo, use two guitars and two voices to create a new combination of back-porch Americana and classic folk. Relying on compelling narrative, the seamless interplay between their 1950’s acoustics, well-constructed harmony lines which play more like counterpoint melodies, and their natural stage chemistry, TMCK have drawn in and excited sold out crowds across North America since their formation in early 2011.

After spearheading the alternative country movement with his band Uncle Tupelo, Jay Farrar pursued his vision with Son Volt, who recorded three landmark albums in the ’90s before the groundbreaking artist put the band on extended hiatus and cut three solo records. Missing the free exchange of ideas and the surprises that inevitably occur when a group of simpatico musicians lock together, Farrar assembled a new lineup of Son Volt in 2004 and the band has continued to tour and record ever since.


For fifteen years Reckless Kelly has been doing things their way, bucking the mainstream system and playing by their own rules, straddling the fence between country and rock as if they built it themselves. Throughout the years their old school approach to recording has always adhered to one main objective: make each record better than the last. The Austin-based roots-rockers are known for the integrity of their musical approach, the hard-core energy of their live shows and the fierce loyalty of their fans.

New Orleans jazz-funk band Soul Rebels have an eclectic live show that harnesses the power of horns and drums in the party-like atmosphere of a dance club. Their weekly show at Uptown New Orleans spot Le Bon Temps Roulé has been known to descend into a sweaty shout-along.

Moonalice is a band of seasoned musicians who feel that live music should be a communal experience where the listener and musicians feed and derive inspiration from each other. Their songs try to speak to everyone, mixing a variety of genres with extended musical improvisations that evoke a sense of adventure and exploration.



“A ludicrous amalgamation of rock and bingo led by showmen with facepaint and a theremin...” - The Chicago Tribune Dressed in black, white and red like the leering faces on a good poker hand, the Bingo! Show is a multimedia stage experience that includes original black-and-white silent films, aerialists, dancers, ingénues, clowns, audience interaction, bingo games, slapstick comedy and shady characters who remind you that every stage door opens into a dark alley.

The pioneering Brooklyn dhol ‘n’ brass party juggernauts have made a name for themselves as one of the best live bands playing anywhere in the world. Led by dhol player Sunny Jain, the nine-piece comprised of dhol, drumset, percussion, sousaphone and five horns, melds the infectious North Indian rhythm Bhangra with a host of sounds, namely funk, go-go, latin, and jazz.

A protégé of legendary songwriters Townes Van Zandt and Guy Clark, Earle quickly became a master storyteller in his own right, with his songs being recorded by Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Waylon Jennings, Travis Tritt, The Pretenders, Joan Baez and countless others. Steve is an integral part of HSB, having played almost every year since its inception.



Lowe has for many years been held in high esteem by a loyal band of admirers aware of his dexterity as a producer, musician, vocalist and songwriter. He is best known for his songs “Cruel to Be Kind” (a US Top 40 single), and “I Love the Sound of Breaking Glass” (a Top 10 UK hit), as well as his production work with Elvis Costello, Graham Parker, and others. Lowe also wrote “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding.”

With an impressive record of heavy hitting performances with some legendary artists including Van Morrison, Edgar Winter, B.B. King and more, Jordan Cook (aka Reignwölf) is known to blow away audiences and critics alike. With a caveman stomp and shredding, bluesy guitar, there is nothing lacking from Cook’s performance. He completes his sound with no need for help and occasionally reminds us of the energy and vibe of early, early White Stripes material.

Tap any member of The Time Jumpers on the shoulder and the face that turns to greet you will be that of one who’s made major contributions to the richness and vigor of country music. The current edition of The Time Jumpers includes 10 members, each a master of his (and, in one case, her) instrument: Vince Gill, Dennis Crouch, Paul Franklin, Larry Franklin, Andy Reiss, Dawn Sears, Kenneth Sears, Joe Spivey, Jeff Taylor & Billy Thomas. To list the artists these pickers have recorded and toured with would be tantamount to posting all the Billboard country charts for the past 30 years.



Family bands have had a long tradition in bluegrass and country music, from the Carters to the Gibson Brothers. Now you can add the O’Briens to this prestigious list. O’Brien Party of 7 brings together the families of those talented siblings Tim and Mollie O’Brien; however, their family band - true to Tim and Mollie’s eclectic respective careers - follows traditions while also being something distinctive.

“I would love to have been one of the great singers in the world - like Vince Gill or someone like that - even if it was just for one hour,” says Robert Earl Keen. “But I really feel like my gift is writing songs. That’s just there and it’s always been there. I don’t know why, but I always have stories - they don’t all have to be true, just good. If I could put a subtitle on my best songs, it would be ‘based on a good story.’”

The Bay Area’s Tiny Television delivers solid, honest to goodness country-rock and original Americana. A tireless troubadour and brave balladeer, songwriter Jeremy D’Antonio is an inheritor of Guthrie, Seeger and Cash. He expands their legacy by honoring and uplifting Americana music with an explosive emotional power and gritty vocals that illuminate the human condition while asking us all to not only to listen but also to join together for a foot-stomping good time.



Best known as leader of the Drive-By Truckers, songwriter Patterson Hood was born into a musical family, with his father (David Hood) serving as the longtime bassist for studio legends the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section. Patterson began writing songs at the tender age of eight. 2012 saw the release of “Heat Lightning Rumbles In The Distance,” a third solo album that enlists the talents of all of his DBT bandmates.

Robyn Hitchcock is a true original. His surreal, often stream of consciousness songs are psychedelic but really exist in a world of their own. Whimsically English, he has played with long time backing band the Venus 3 for decades. Over the past three decades, Hitchcock has built a large and distinctive body of work that’s established him as one of rock’s most respected and beloved iconoclasts. The prolific singer/songwriter/guitarist’s vivid surrealist songcraft has won him an uncommonly devoted international fan base. Roger Knox is an Australian country singer known as the Black Elvis and the Koori King of Country. He is a Gamilaroi man (a group of Indigenous Australians), was born in Moree and grew up in the Toomelah Aboriginal Mission near Boggabilla near the border between New South Wales and Queensland. He states, “Song is as important as language, it is a part of our culture and well-being, it is another form of healing for Aboriginal people.”

Todd Snider is frequently considered one of the finest singer-songwriters in contemporary folk music, tackling everything from topical political songs to tunes about intensely personal issues. This is country music for nostalgists and liberals, for a listener who most likely expresses shock at what mainstream country music has become, but who likes dogma delivered in a rural package.


This year’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival is dedicated to the loving memory of Warren Hellman.

Born in Chicago and raised in South Jersey, poet/singer/songwriter Patti Smith moved to New York City and gained recognition as one of the first visionary artists of the 1970s known for the merging of poetry and rock. In 2005 she was awarded the prestigious title of Commandeur of Arts & Letters by the French Ministry of Culture, and in 2007 she was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


A very special tribute honoring the three great men of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass - featuring Alison Brown, Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien and Bryan Sutton, with special guests Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris with Heidi Clare & Colleen Browne (from the Wronglers), Peter Rowan, Nick Lowe & more!

Led by the musical couple of front woman Kalmia Traver and bandleader/trumpeter Alex Toth, Rubblebucket has spent the last four years building a reputation as a band that blurs the lines between psychedelic indie rock, upbeat dance, and radiant, left-field arrangements. The Brooklyn, NY by way of Boston and Vermont band has evolved into something that is “utterly post-genre - horns, synth, guitars, harmonies - a smile-inducing point on the tangent that connects Björk and Broken Social Scene,” which is to say that you never know what you’ll see or hear next.


Patty Griffin is finally achieving overdue success and acclaim. A natural songbird that can hush an audience with her performances, her power is in her passionate storytelling and that voice… that sad and lonely voice. Patty Griffin is above all a singer. In 2011, her album “Downtown Church” won the Grammy Award for Best Traditional Gospel Album.

4 girls. All can sing, play and write songs… sometimes all at once. None are named Trisha. The four principal members of Austin’s The Trishas would have you believe that they’re not blood related. But a DNA test might be in order. True, their individual bios may support their claims of having all had separate lives before meeting each other; but to hear them sing together, you’d swear they were harmonizing from the womb.



Grammy-award winner and six-time Grammy nominee, Peter Rowan is a bluegrass singersongwriter with a career spanning over five decades. From his early years playing under the tutelage of bluegrass patriarch Bill Monroe, and following his stint in Old & In the Way with Jerry Garcia and subsequent breakout as both a solo performer and bandleader, Rowan has built a devoted, international fan base through his continuous stream of original recordings, collaborative projects, and constant touring.



Watkins has spent most of her younger years, nearly two decades, as singer and fiddle player for the Grammy Award-winning, bluegrass-folk hybrid Nickel Creek, a trio she started performing in when she was a mere eight years old, alongside her guitarist brother Sean and mandolinist Chris Thile. Now, for the first time, she is stepping away from that marquee name, alone. As the BBC put it, “Watkins’ time in the spotlight is a triumph with her agile playing and the kind of voice that gives your goose bumps the shivers.”

Walter Salas-Humara was conceived in Havana, born in New York City and raised in Southern Florida. He has made New York City his home for the last 2+ decades. In 1987 his rock band, The Silos, was voted Best New American Band in the Rolling Stone Critics Poll and over the past 25 years has recorded numerous albums and put in thousands of days on the road. When you look at Salas-Humara’s wide-ranging career and his dedication to the art of songwriting, it’s definitely not a stretch to include his name alongside the likes of Alejandro Escovedo, R.E.M., Lucinda Williams, Stephen Malkmus, and Neil Young.


Raised on indie rock and a love for lo-fi garage bands, the members of Pickwick found themselves entrenched in underground gospel and blues recordings from the 1950s and ‘60s as well as popular northern soul artists. This new reference point combined with a renewed appreciation for UK bands like The Animals, Spencer Davis Group, and The Zombies helped the members of Pickwick cultivate their own unique take on garage rock, gospel, and ‘60s era pop while interpreting those genres through a modern lens.


Songwriter Seasick Steve is a 21st Century blues man, who reaches back to the old traditions but also has a punk sensibility, and a gravelly, soulful voice. Superb live and famous for his 3-string Trance Wonder guitar (though he does play 6-string more often, and a one-string diddley bow) he has played with everyone from Lightnin’ Hopkins and John Lee Hooker to Modest Mouse.

The White Buffalo represents an authentic homage to the times of hard touring, hard drinking artists who truly lived what they sang about. Seamlessly moving from heartfelt ballads to raucous bar songs, The White Buffalo sings with honesty and thoughtful reflection as he wanders the road, sharing his music. Everything about him is big, from his imposing physical size to his amazing vocal range. From his whiskey-drenched, growling lows to heartstopping highs, The White Buffalo paints a touching picture, whether he stands alone or performs with his energetic, charismatic band.

To have the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in Golden Gate Park without Warren seems incomprehensible. Over the last 11 Festivals, Warren was omnipresent, either on the stage playing music with his favorite bands, or sitting on a towel in the middle of the first row, trying to be incognito and listening to the music he adored. I remember well his nervousness when he was invited to play with Earl Scruggs. He wasn’t particularly nervous that he was playing in front of 250,000 people, what really made him uptight was the thought that he might mess up his banjo playing in front of one of his heroes. He played with many of the greatest stars of the country music stage – Emmylou Harris, Doc Watson, Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, Dry Branch Fire Squad & countless others. Over the 4 days of the Festival you had to be really on your toes to find out where he would pop up next and then you would continuously be surprised when one of the band leaders would say, “and please welcome to the stage, Warren Hellman.” He generally had a funny little baseball type cap on his head and some worn-out shirt and jeans – certainly looking less like a wealthy businessman and more like a down and out musician. Let’s honor Warren’s memory in the way that he would have wanted: Listen intently to all the great music-making Let the musicians know how much you appreciate them Enjoy every minute of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass as though Warren were here.

If ever the “child prodigy” label did Sierra justice, its usefulness has completely fallen away and a distinctive new identity emerged. What you hear on “Daybreak” is one of bluegrass’s few full-fledged virtuosic instrumentalist/singer/songwriters, and one who’s gracefully grown into her gifts. While her mandolin playing has always possessed clarity and fleet-fingered precision, here she attacks her solos with newfound spontaneity and depth of feeling; she calls it “playing with a point to prove.”

This SF-based quintet has developed a sound that is eclectic and engaging. PMW has been winning over national audiences with their upbeat performances, zany stage antics, and infectious songs. While seamlessly integrating acoustic and electric instruments the band weaves tales of everyday life, inviting the audience to become a part of each show.

This is rock n’ roll. Big Al Anderson’s first band since the eclectic NRBQ is The World Famous Headliners - Music City’s premiere rock band led by Anderson with hit songwriters Shawn Camp and Pat McLaughlin. Rounding out the band are Michael Rhodes on bass and drummer Greg Morrow. Anderson’s innovative guitar work has long fortified his reputation as one of Nashville’s finest tunesmiths.

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