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Fiddlehead Music Festival Returns with The Be Good Tanyas from Vancouver B.C., Jimmy Chickenpants of Santa Cruz, and local-band The Whipsaws
May 11, 2012 (Girdwood, Alaska) – In its third year, the Fiddlehead Music Festival scheduled for Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9, 2012 features the most unique mix of bluegrass, folk and rock inspired music-to-date. The festival will feature headliner The Be Good Tanyas from Vancouver, British Columbia along with Jimmy Chickenpants from Santa Cruz, California. The Whipsaws are scheduled to make a special appearance on Friday night. The festival is scheduled for 6:00 P.M. to midnight each night with doors opening at 5:00 P.M.
2012 Fiddlehead Music Festival Line-Up:
Friday, June 8
5 pm – Doors Open
6 pm – Jimmy Chickenpants
7:45 pm – Whipsaws
9 pm – The Be Good Tanyas
Saturday, June 9
5 pm – Doors Open
5:15 pm – Emma Hill
6:30 pm – High Lonesome Sound
7:45 pm – Jimmy Chickenpants
9 pm – The Be Good Tanyas
About the Bands:
The Be Good Tanyas (www.begoodtanyas.com) have let themselves shine out in the darkness of the music realm. What they sing about, oddly enough, makes America the pluralistic, multi-faceted, musically foundational country she is. This trio – Sam (Samantha) Parton, Frazey Ford, and Trish Klein – got their name from a song by music pioneer Obo Martin ("Be Good Tanya") and now have three albums to their credit along with having a song or two in movies such as Because of Winn Dixie.
Sam has the softest voice of the three – think of her as a feminine "Whispering" Bill Anderson.
Frazey Ford, often sings lead on Tanya projects, comfortable singing traditional blues and even old-fashioned gospel-type numbers. According to the band’s website, “Frazey is the Mick Jagger of folk/roots/American music as her enunciation is often hard to decipher- usually, you can't figure out what Frazey is singing unless one has a lyric sheet nearby.” Of the three, Trish Klein is the quietest, providing harmony vocals. She is the instrumentalist par excellence in the group. All three band members play but Trish “is the foundation of the musical underbelly of the group’s sound.”
The Be Good Tanyas lend themselves to traditional American sounds that return to the Jimmie Rodgers/Carter Family era. Embracing the folk, country, and blues roots of American music with a little touch of the contemporary, the ladies share vocal talents that transport their listeners from the past to the present and vice-versa. Some have called these three ladies anachronistic – they dress in outfits that hearken back to the Roaring Twenties and reference many old timey notions. Other terms used to describe this unique trio include “nostalgic,” “neoclassicist,” and “pacifistic postmodernists”. They love the old songs and love writing and singing new songs that just sound old. States band publicist Ken Cox, “Sam, Frazey, and Trish are an open-ended musical time capsule in suspended animation – out of the wilderness and into CD speakers and human ears – awaiting a musical feast.”
Who is Jimmy Chickenpants (www.jimmychickenpants.com)? No one really knows, but the band hails from the Santa Cruz area and includes the eclectic members Joni Davies, Hide Kawatsure, Jim Davies, and Ken Clarkson. They traditionally put the 'hick' in 'chicken' with music that combines bluegrass, newer-grass, jazz-grass, and original-grass, otherwise known as "Poultry In Motion". Jimmy's influences apparently include Bill Monroe, Gillian Welch, Bela Fleck, Duke Ellington, and most significantly, Rocky the Petaluma Free Range Chicken.
In grade school, after a few lessons on his $12 Stella six string and numerous garage jams, Jim played and performed bluegrass music for classmates and the community. Many decades later, Jim found himself in Santa Cruz where he met some fellow pickers around a beach campfire. They expressed a need for a bassist and asked Jim to join them. After laughingly assuring Jim that the name "Jimmy Chickenpants" had nothing to do with him personally, the band bloomed. The original band members eventually moved allowing the band to morph into its current form.
Joni, who spent four years in Alaska where she worked on the Exxon Valdez oil spill, plays guitar and is the lead vocalist. Joni was born and raised in the backwoods of northern Arkansas in a spunky little town known as Yellville. After listening to Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead, she turned her interests to bluegrass and old-timey music. Her influences range from the Carter Family, Lucinda Williams, Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and of course Bill Monroe.
Hide has played mandolin in a number of bands from coast to coast, accruing a number of awards along the way. He joined the bluegrass band Crossfire, a third place winner at the International Bluegrass Music Association band competition. In 2003 Hide won the first place at the Connecticut state mandolin competition. In the summer of 2004 Hide participated in Mandolin Symposium and took master classes taught by David Grisman, Mike Marshall, and Chris Thile.
Ken was reared in Roanoke, VA, near Sugarloaf Mountain, two notable landscapes that provided titles to Bill Monroe songs. Ken also found himself living in the Nunamuit Eskimo Village of Anaktuvuk Pass, Alaska, which means "place of caribou dung", and even Napoopoo, Hawaii in his life. At both remote locations, Ken could easily claim to be the lone banjo player. At age 12, he began competing at the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention. After moving to Fairbanks in the early 90's, he joined the Bluegrass Band Alpha Babe and the Beta Boys, and performed annually at the Juneau Folk Festival.
According to Glenn Burnsilver, features editor of the Fairbanks News-Miner, “In a land of extremes, The Whipsaws have relied on their own intuition to become a hard-driving rock band, albeit, one with some stomp and twang and the ability to mesh that with solid story lines and timeless tales.”
"We’re kind of sheltered from what’s going on Outside," explains lead guitarist Aaron Benolkin, who also plays steel guitar, banjo and sings. "Alaska has kind of kept us away to develop on our own, and we’re better off for it."
"If anything we were just kind of experimenting with different sounds, lost pieces lingering in our subconscious. But it ended up being something completely ours," says guitarist and vocalist Evan Phillips of the band’s approach.
In addition to Aaron and Evan, The Whipsaws ((www.thewhipsaws.com) also include drummer James Dommek, Jr. and bassist Ivan Molesky. The Whipsaws play “in true Alaska pioneer spirit and see boundaries as something to cross, not a place to get held up.” Described as “hard and aggressive, crunchy and raw, twangy and roots-deep, subtle and heartfelt,” The Whipsaws have found their way into the hearts of loyal Alaskan music fans and their return to the main stage is welcome.
Tickets for the festival are $20 in advance and $25 day of show. The festival is open to all ages, and children ages twelve and under are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.alyeskresort.com, by calling 907-754-2275 or visiting the Alyeska Tram Ticket Office.
The festival will be held on the Daylodge Lawn on the ski area side of the resort. The weekend is family-friendly and guests are encouraged to bring low-back chairs, blankets and dancing shoes. There will be an outdoor beer garden serving a variety of beer, wine and spirits. Please, outside alcohol, pets and firearms are not permitted at the festival.
Festival packages at The Hotel Alyeska are available for both nights. The Fiddlehead Music Festival package includes one-night stay in a deluxe room, festival tickets to the night of your choice, sightseeing tram tickets, and $25 resort credit. Package prices start from $319 pndo (per night based on double occupancy). Please call reservations at 907-754-2111 or 800-880-3880 to book. Package details and other information are available on the Alyeska Resort website at www.AlyeskaResort.com.
About Alyeska Resort (www.alyeskaresort.com)
Alyeska Resort is Alaska's premier year-round destination featuring The Hotel Alyeska, an award-winning 304 room full-service property. Located just 40 miles from Anchorage, Alyeska Resort is your base camp for summer and winter excursions. Alyeska Resort stands out during ski season with 650” of average snowfall annually and the longest-continuous double black diamond ski run in North America. Learn more about the resort at www.alyeskaresort.com or 800.880.3880.