Mountain Sage Summer Music Series

The Bands...

June 11

Sierra Eco SUMMIT

Jelley Bread

Over a few short years of touring, Jelly Bread has risen from Reno/Lake Tahoe area favorites into a powerhouse quintet with a high-energy calling card that delivers a high-energy, chameleonic playlist all over the United States. Jelly Bread’s distinct style is identified by a blend of desert twang meeting the urban tones of funk and rock. Exceptional songwriting and storytelling interlaced with four part harmonies, intricate “in-the-pocket” drum and bass grooves, swampy lap steel guitar, dirt under the fingernails guitar licks, tasty talkbox, “take-’em-to-church” organ come together into a sound that is downright appetizing.

Here, There & Everywhere, Jelly Bread’s upcoming album is due to be released this fall. The album was mixed by renowned engineer/producer Justin Phelps (Cake, Galactic, Fruition, The Mars Volta, The Neville Brothers, and Dead Kennedys among many others). Jelly Bread has performed direct support for the likes of Robert Cray, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Moe, Rusted Root, JJ Grey, Dragon Smoke (members of Galactic), The Motet, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk, Lukas Nelson and the Promise of the Real, Pimps of Joytime, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, Allen Stone Band, Orgone, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Carolyn Wonderland, and The California Honeydrops. The band has also appeared at premiere festivals including the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Festival, Safeway Waterfront Blues Festival, High Sierra, Joshua Tree, Strawberry, and Mammoth Festival of Beers and Bluesapalooza.

On a recent tour through the in the upper reaches of the Northwest states, Jelly Bread had a fortuitous encounter with American Idol winner, Taylor Hicks. Taylor decided to sit in with Jelly Bread that evening for a couple songs on vocals and harmonica.

Jelly Bread is co-fronted by powerhouse singer/gospel drummer, Cliff Porter, and southern-fried singer/guitarist, Dave Berry. They are backed by Jeremy Hunt on bass, Sean Lehe (formerly of Isabella and Poor Man’s Whiskey) on lead guitar, and Eric Matlock on keyboards and talk box.

BAND WEBSITE
 

The Sextones

The Sextones are a family of music renegades known for viciously executed soul compositions and white-knuckle driving funk. Fronted by the charismatic and soulful vocalist Mark Sexton - The Sextones’ sound is a tip of the hat to the days of Tower of Power and Stevie Wonder while actively forging the path for a new generation of soul and funk. Based in the wild desert of Reno, NV, The Sextones continue to diligently craft their distinctive brand of soul with face-melting guitar parts, intricate bass-work, commanding drum rhythms, sticky Hammond B3 comping, brutally honest and heartfelt vocal acrobatics and a fearless and exciting stage performance.

In 2014 the original trio of Mark Sexton, bassist Alexander Korostinsky and drummer Daniel Weiss employed the talents of keyboard virtuoso Ryan Taylor to complete their musical family. Over the last 10 years, these young soul renegades have relentlessly toured the west coast gaining a multifarious group of loyal fans that help turn every show into an all-out funk dance party. The future has continued to get brighter for The Sextones as they have shared the stage with music heavyweights Macy Gray, Charles Bradley, Dumpstaphunk... and their idols are starting to take notice. Festival appearances have included Railroad Earth’s Hangtown Halloween Ball, Wanderlust and Brews Jazz & Funk Fest just to name a few. The release of their debut album later in 2016 will include a national tour and more regional support tours.

Formally known as Mark Sexton Band, their 2013 release, Young & Naïve, was mixed by none other than legendary drummer Alan Evans of Soulive. “It sounded great even before I got my hands on it”, explains Alan Evans, “that’s what happens when you get great players playing great songs.” The album was recorded in Los Angeles by Emmy Award winning engineer Larold Rebhun. The group’s new album was recorded at Prairie Sun Studios in Northern California and is set for release later this year.

BAND WEBSITE
 

June 24

California Honeydrops

The California Honeydrops don’t just play music — they throw parties. Led by dynamic vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Lech Wierzynski, and drawing on diverse musical influences from Bay Area R&B, funk, Southern soul, Delta blues, and New Orleans second-line, the Honeydrops bring vibrant energy and infectious dance-party vibes to their shows. They’ve taken the party all over the world: on 9 European tours, featured slots at such premiere festivals as Monterey Jazz, High Sierra, and Outside Lands, and recent performances supporting B.B. King, Dr. John, Buddy Guy, and Allen Toussaint. Whether in those high-profile performances or in more intimate venues where the band itself can leave the stage and get down on the dance floor, the California Honeydrops’ shared vision and purpose remain: to make the audience dance and sing.

The Honeydrops have come a long way since guitarist and trumpeter Lech Wierzynkski and drummer Ben Malament started busking in an Oakland BART station, but the band has stayed true to that organic, street-level feel. With the additions of Johnny Bones on tenor sax and clarinet, Lorenzo Loera on keyboards, and Beau Bradbury on bass, they’ve built a powerful full-band sound to support Wierzynski’s vocals.

Listening to Lech sing, it can be a surprise that he was born in Warsaw, Poland, and raised by Polish political refugees. He learned his vocal stylings from contraband American recordings of Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Louis Armstrong, and later at Oberlin College and on the club circuit in Oakland, California. Bringing all those influences together with the rest of the band’s diverse experiences into a unified musical vision, the California Honeydrops expect to play parties for a long time.

BAND WEBSITE
 

The Little Fuller Band

Born high upon the western slopes of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California, The Little Fuller Band is a highly energetic and refreshing change of pace from your usual folk band. These young performers have a sound that is something very much alive and growing rapidly.

Combining influences from americana, bluegrass, country, folk, gypsy, punk and rock & roll, with a focus on heavily rhythmic use of traditional string instruments, every song breathes with its own unique dynamic, sound and velocity. Their music is naturally energetic, an energy that is compounded by their magnetism and presence on stage. Their writing creates an ever-changing style that blends seamlessly with powerful lyrics that touch on subjects ranging from political to playful. A familiar sound with a breath of fresh air, The Little Fuller Band is something you don’t want to miss.

BAND WEBSITE
 

July 23

T Sisters

It is said the deeper a tree’s roots run, the taller it can grow. For siblings Erika, Rachel, and Chloe Tietjen of the T SISTERS, their roots as songwriters are buried in a narrative of family and sisterhood.

California born and raised and now based in Oakland, the Tietjens have been singing together their whole lives. “We sang together when we were little, making up songs and writing plays together in the attic of our grandparents’ house,” says the trio. “Our parents were dancers and our father is a musician, so rhythm and movement were a constant backdrop for our experience of music.” Staging original musical theater productions together in college inspired Erika, Rachel and Chloe to write and arrange their own music, leading to the T Sisters.

The three sisters, typically accompanied by upright bass, guitar, banjo, percussion and mandolin, captivate audiences with close harmonies, inventive arrangements, and plenty of sass. When performing their lively set of originals and covers—sometimes in arresting a cappella—they call to mind classic girl groups: from the Andrews Sisters and The Ronettes to The Roches and the Dixie Chicks. Touching on elements of folk, Americana, gospel, R&B, bluegrass and soul, the T Sisters weave evocative stories with a sound that is at once modern and timeless.

BAND WEBSITE
 

Marty O'Reilly

This four-man orchestra seamlessly weaves trance based blues music, harkening back to John Lee Hooker and Howlin’ Wolf, with a drunken minor swing comparable to some of Tom Waits’ darker works.

Marty O’Reilly hail from Santa Cruz, California. In addition to O’Reilly on the electrified Resonator guitar and vocals, the band features Chris Lynch on the Fiddle, Jeff Kissell on upright bass, and Matt Goff joining in on the drums. Within the three years since this project started, the band is already touring nationally, internationally, and selling out venues along the West Coast and throughout the United Kingdom.

BAND WEBSITE
 

Aug 5

Hot Buttered Rum

Hot Buttered Rum lives for a good time, and a mindful recklessness settles in whenever these five guys step on stage. From Anchorage to Miami, the group’s onstage chemistry fuels the lovefest that is a live Butter show. Rooted in the trajectory of west coast bluegrass, Hot Buttered Rum plays what has been described as California’s own acoustic music.

HBR’s years of touring have given the band the chance to work and play with a wide cross-section of musicians, people like Peter Rowan, Phil Lesh, Chris Thile, Brett Dennen, and Robert Earl Keen. Seasoned veteran Steve Berlin (Los Lobos), acoustic guru Mike Marshall, and left-coast rocker Tim Bluhm (Mother Hips, Nicki Bluhm) have all produced studio albums for the band. Each guided HBR towards the next step in its evolution. It’s a sound that is tough to describe and easy to love, and it has found its way to the most prestigious pop, folk, and bluegrass stages in the country: Telluride, Newport, Bonnaroo, Strawberry, Hardly Strictly, Kate Wolf, Horning’s Hideout, String Summit, Grey Fox, Merlefest, All Good, High Sierra, Wakarusa, and many more.

The next step in Butter’s evolution involves recording three 5-song EPs, each focusing on a part of music that Hot Buttered Rum loves and is inspired by, and each with a different producer. The first EP was recently recorded with Railroad Earth’s Tim Carbone and will be released this fall. The second will be a collection of Ralph Stanley old school bluegrass standards, to be recorded in September with producer Sally Van Meter. The third will be Hot Buttered Rum’s latenight throwdown music, to be recorded in November with SCI’s Kyle Hollingsworth. Together, the three collections of songs will explore Butter’s roots and express Butter’s present passions.

At the center of Hot Buttered Rum is the enduring camaraderie of old friends. The band was conceived on a backpacking trip of high school and college buddies in the High Sierra. What was dreamed up on mountaintops and around campfires has found its way into the hearts, minds, and bodies of thousands.

BAND WEBSITE
 

The Brothers
Strong & Co.

The Brothers Strong & Co. are a 4 piece string band based out of Sonora, CA. Stemming from the foothills and mountains of the Sierra Nevada the band has formed their own brand of "mountain" music based heavily in Americana and folk. But like Louie Armstrong once said, "All music is folk music, I've never heard a horse play a song" the band has merged many styles of playing, ranging from the strong rhythms of indie rock and ska to the complexities of jazz, flamenco, and classical music.

Their live sets are best described as a self-proclaimed boxing match. Each fast song has the audience on their toes bobbing and weaving just like a boxer set, ready for the head jabs. And when the audience thinks they've learned all the moves the band throws the "gut" punch. A slower song with thoughtful lyrics that cuts to the depth of emotion.

Gathering inspiration from bands such as The Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons the songwriting explores many of the daily struggles of human life from love and loss to success and failure. Coupled with the smart lyrics of bands like Modest Mouse, The Brothers Strong & Co also seek to expose the duality of most situations and to speak to the ever-present enigma of emotion. This two sided thinking can also be heard in their use of instrumentation. While understanding that each instrument, the guitar, banjo, fiddle, and bass all have so much potential to create a highly energetic sound, they can each also speak softly, simply, and clearly to foster an equally powerful style of performance.

It is these key elements that define The Brothers Strong & Co. Both loud and soft, unbreakable and moving. And it is this unique combination that unifies their audiences of young and old. Performing with acts such as Hot Buttered Rum and members of Front Country: Melody Walker and Jacob Groopman has made the band appeal to, and comfortable in front of bluegrass aficionados, good ol' country boys, folk lovers, hot blooded punks, and indie rock audiences.

While the band adopted the name The Brothers Strong & Co. when the fiddle player, Owen Ragland, and bassist, Ian Evans joined with the brothers, Stephen Strong: guitar player, and Shane Strong: banjo player, they've always understood that music unites people to form a community. It is in this spirit that "Co." stands not just for the band members on stage, but for all the good company the band has.

BAND WEBSITE
 

Aug 20

The Brothers Comatose

Expansive, uplifting, and just downright beautiful, City Painted Gold is one of the most anticipated records of the coming year – at least amongst the loyal fans The Brothers Comatose had won while touring across the country in support of their past two releases. Infused with a sense of relaxed, experienced confidence, The Brothers Comatose offer a southwestern-tinged, rowdy stringband sound that might just make this your new favorite record before you turn it over to side B. Walking lockstep with their undeniable top-flight musicianship is an easy humility. “It’s just one, big, extended Morrison music party,” they say. Brothers Ben and Alex Morrison, guitar and banjo, and lead vocalists, front this rocking string band that has become a West coast headliner and national touring act in a mere handful of years. With bassmaster Gio Benedetti and stellar accompanists Philip Brezina on fiddle and Ryan Avellone on mandolin, their high energy, audience engaging shows have caught fire with fans from San Diego to Seattle to Salt Lake to Silk Hope, NC and beyond.

“It all sort of started before we ever picked up instruments” explains Ben. “Our mom was in a folk quartet that sang beautiful songs in harmony. Alex and I would watch them rehearse for hours when we were kids.” Growing up around band rehearsals and music parties, the Morrison brothers eventually found themselves with instruments in their hands. Ben started playing on his dad’s acoustic guitar and Alex happened upon a banjo that someone had left behind after a household music party.

The brothers learned a mess of classic rock covers, playing casually in their living room and around campfires (and at those famous Morrison music parties) for the next few years. Eventually their genre of choice drifted to broad-stoke Americana and a buddy asked them to come record a few tunes in his garage. Their friend Benedetti had been studying upright bass and they called him up for the session. He couldn’t make it that day but shortly after they all began playing together. They needed a few more good players to round out their sound, and the brothers put up fliers all around San Francisco. A few people answered, including Philip Brezina, at the time pursuing a Master’s degree in violin performance at the Conservatory of Music. “When he showed up, I thought, who the hell is this guy?” says Ben. “He’s kind of a redneck but he’s getting his masters in classical violin. Turned out to work pretty well.” Avellone had shared bills with the Brothers a few times over the years in other bands and was a perfect fit. Ben called him up, and “next thing you know, he’s our mandolin player.”

Soon enough they put the axe to the grindstone, releasing two critically acclaimed records in Songs From The Stoop (2010) and Respect the Van (2012). Those releases led to extended tours with Devil Makes Three, Yonder Mountain String Band and Lake Street Dive, which in turn led to their own headlining club tours and festival appearances including the likes of High Sierra, Delfest, Outsidelands and Pickathon.

BAND WEBSITE
 

The Trespassers

The Trespassers have been playing original, string band music together for over eleven years. We are most often described as a Bluegrass band, but our influence stems from many genres. Bronco Ben's songwriting is gritty and gutsy, and, though we are acoustic musicians, his compositions take us through rock, blues, gypsy jazz, and country. Andy's original songs are most often inspired by old-time music, but instead of an Appalachian feel, they have a Western twist. Andy also writes melodic banjo and fiddle tunes, heartwarming folk songs, and all sorts of dancehall numbers. While the two of them write almost all of our original music, BennyLee and Sarah add spice, flavor, and flare with the double bass and fiddle. Most songs include two and three-part harmonies.

We have a great time bringing the unexpected, causing minds to listen closely to the poetry at the same time as feet are stomping to the driving rhythm. Having been together quite a while we have become like brothers and sister, and the road has taken us throughout California. We have played at Strawberry Music Festival, The Great American Music Hall, Mill Pond Music Festival, Joshua Tree Roots Music Festival, Cafe du Nord and the Poster Room at The Fillmore, but some of our favorite shows have taken place at The Mobil gas station in Lee Vining, Mountain Sage nursery in Groveland, Divided Sky in Lake Tahoe, and the Bug Hostel in Mariposa.

We love to be in the mountains, we love to play for people who enjoy singing along and dancing. Our music presents stories of adventure and tales of natural destruction, and our listeners are inspired by our joy and our motivation to promote change. We will remain rooted in the Sierra Nevada and continue to bring our music to all who appreciate its diversity and honesty.

BAND WEBSITE