Archive for December, 2021

MARCH 17-20, 2022

Greensky Bluegrass – Trampled By Turtles
Yonder Mountain String Band – Sierra Hull

Peter Rowan – Donna The Buffalo
Jim Lauderdale – Verlon Thompson
Roy Book Binder – Jon Stickley Trio – and more!

Early Bird Tickets on sale now atwww.suwanneespringreunion.com

LIVE OAK, FL —  The Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park (SOSMP) is thrilled to announce the return of  the Suwannee Spring Reunion, set to take place Thursday through Sunday, March 17-20, 2022 at SOSMP in Live Oak, FL. 

The Suwannee Spring Reunion lineup for 2022 features Greensky Bluegrass, Trampled By Turtles, Yonder Mountain String Band, Sierra Hull, Peter Rowan, Donna The Buffalo, Jim Lauderdale , Verlon Thompson, Roy Book Binder, Jon Stickley Trio, Town Mountain, Chatham County Line, Fireside Collective, Rev Jeff Mosier Ensemble, The Grass Is Dead, Songs From The Road Band, Two Foot Level, Nikki Talley, Quartermoon, Sloppy Joe, The Low Crows, and Habanero Honeys.

“Back in early March 2020, we were on the cusp of things closing down because of COVID-19. The pressure to make the eventual decision to cancel the festival was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done,” says Beth Judy, Festival Director. “That makes it so much more thrilling for the Suwannee Spring Reunion to finally be happening again after two years of not being able to put it on because of the pandemic. This incredible lineup has many of the acts slated to happen back then, plus a few more to sweeten the pot!” 

Folks of all ages will make plans to gather at during the forefront of spring at this gorgeous park and its mossy live oak laden grounds for this beloved festival tradition that features a range of music genres rooted in original music – Americana: Bluegrass, Newgrass, Folk, Singer/Songwriter, Blues, and more. Literally something for everyone!

For four days and nights this family-friendly festival is home to early morning sing-a-longs and night time musical pyrotechnics from the park’s stellar cast of alumni and new favorites. There will be music on four stages and Suwannee Spring Reunion attendees will also enjoy music in the campground with jamming at Slopryland and the Bill Monroe Shrine as well as camp pickin’ parties. Hands-on and performance workshops will be held throughout the weekend with a variety of artists set to perform.  

Placing a strong emphasis on embracing the traditions that have made the park a national treasure, there will be a wide array of arts & crafts as well as an array of culinary delights ranging from healthy to decadent in the Vending Village. The park itself is a place where kids of all ages can remember why they fell in love with the magic mixture of sights, sounds, and sensations that constitutes a weekend of paradise that is the Spirit of the Suwannee Music Park.

Tickets are on sale now. Suwannee Spring Reunion offers a multi-day Weekend Ticket that includes festival admission for four days of music, as well as primitive camping on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. Children 12 and under are free if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Early Bird Tickets are on sale now with a price of $140 (includes fees and taxes) good through January 4th, 2022. Student / Military Early Bird are $130 (with a valid ID). Get your tickets before the Early Bird Tier ends. An additional event car pass is now required to bring a car into the campground. Advance Car Pass: $15 or $20 at the Gate. For complete ticket information and to purchase tickets, visit www.suwanneespringreunion.com/Tickets/

SOSMP offers guest comforts including a general store, full service restaurant, free showers, indoor bathrooms, and water stations. Upgraded camping, including RV hook ups and cabin rentals, as well as golf cart rentals are currently on sale. Reservations may be made by calling the Park office at (386) 364­-1683. SOSMP is located between Jacksonville, Florida & Tallahassee, Florida about 30 minutes south of the Georgia State line, about 45 minutes north of Gainesville and is host to a variety of events. Please visit the park’s web site at www.musicliveshere.com for further information.

Suwannee Spring Reunion 2022
Greensky Bluegrass
Trampled By Turtles
Yonder Mountain String Band
Sierra Hull
Peter Rowan
Donna The Buffalo
Jim Lauderdale 
Verlon Thompson
Roy Book Binder
Jon Stickley Trio
Town Mountain
Chatham County Line
Fireside Collective
Rev Jeff Mosier Ensemble
The Grass Is Dead
Songs From The Road Band
Two Foot Level
Nikki Talley
Sloppy Joe
The Low Crows
Habanero Honeys
For more information, tickets, and to reserve camping, please visit www.suwannee spring reunion.com.

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Chris Castino & Chicken Wire Empire Independently Release Fresh Pickles
A Star-Studded Bluegrass Restyling of Castino’s Music with The Big Wu

Featuring guest appearances by

Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Andy Hall, Peter Rowan, Keller Williams,
Tim O’Brien, Nick Forster, Vince Herman, and Album Co-Producer Adam Greuel

~Fresh Pickles Due Out February 4, 2022~
www.chriscastino.com | www.chickenwireempire.com

Hear the First Single, “Red Sky” Featuring Sam Bush on Fiddle now at Relix

“It is so great to hear Chris playing and singing with some of the best in the ever-expanding bluegrass world. To go from one of the seminal jambands of my young adult life to a bluegrass outfit is a testament to his versatility. Always loved Chris’s voice!” 
Adam Ajala (Yonder Mountain String Band)

“It’s fun to collaborate with old bros. This direction seems to make sense for Chris. Storytelling and quick picking is right up his alley.” Keller Williams

“Castino is one witty and wild loon. His lyrics tell a vivid story and his chord progressions are often that lovely balance between familiar and boundary-pushing.” —Adam Greuel

St. Paul, Minn. —You could say that Chris Castino is a writer of dance music. Not the kind you hear at any club. It’s the kind you hear at a Dead show, or festivals, when the crowd moves together spinning and bouncing like an ocean of blissful and emancipated souls. Chris is the primary songwriter for his longtime popular Minnesota-based rock’n’roll jamband The Big Wu. The Big Wu started in the mid 90’s and quickly ascended from the comforts of the local club scene to playing H.O.R.D.E Fest, Bonnaroo, Gathering of the Vibes, High Sierra, and the list goes on. 

Castino joined forces with the incredibly talented band Chicken Wire Empire from Milwaukee, WI, and took the opportunity, while sitting through COVID-19 lock-downs in 2020 and 2021, to arrange some of his catalog into impeccably fitting bluegrass tunes. With the addition of many of Chris’s lifelong musical heroes,  including several GRAMMY winning artists in the bluegrass and Americana: Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Andy Hall, Vince Herman, Nick Forster, and Keller Williams, this feels like a classic bluegrass album and sounds instantly familiar. Fresh Pickles aims to satisfy your cravings—it is a light-hearted, down-home concept that plays with the idea that although some of the songs were written many years before, they now feel brand new. Fresh. Fresh Pickles will be independently released on February 4 and is now available for pre-order.

Chris says, “What turned out to be just something to occupy our time while we weren’t touring, became something outstanding. I am driven to make music that is lasting and accessible; but my personal style is a combination of sincerity and imagery. There is, to be fair, much more depth in my writing now, having gone through the reckoning of addiction that laid me low, and required nothing short of a rebirth.”

Fresh Pickles features 11 original songs penned by Castino. All of which, but one, were first released on four of The Big Wu’s five studio albums spanning from 1997-2019. Formed in 1992, the Big Wu’s momentum was driven by Castino’s catchy songwriting and the band’s hefty tour schedule in the late 90’s early 00’s, which launched the band into becoming a mainstay in the national roots and jamband scene as a full-time touring commodity for years. Fresh Pickles can be seen as a retrospective and reexamination of Castino’s music through a bluegrass lens.

Chris Castino. Photo by David Jackson.

“It brings me joy to hear how these songs in particular have been given new life,” Castino continues, ”For music lovers who are unfamiliar with my songs I truly believe that this record will be a fresh experience for them. It’s not essential to understand the history of these songs to appreciate them. My hope is to bring a new audience to my music, so that the next record can reach more people. This is my only desire. And my best tunes are yet to come.” Fresh Pickles follows Castino’s introspective 2020 debut solo album Brazil.

The Fresh Pickles album opener, “Kangaroo,” demonstrates how well the songs lend themselves to bluegrass and introduces the core band of Castino on lead vocals and guitar along with Chicken Wire Empire’s Ryan Ogburn on mandolin, Jordan Kroeger on bass, Ernest Brusbardis IV on fiddle, and Jon Peik on banjo. Castino says, “‘Kangaroo’ is one of the very first songs I wrote as a professional. It’s upbeat and irreverent but also reveals the bluegrass influence which was so strong in my writing in those early days.” 

An ambitious “Red Sky” recounts a drive home from the Dead shows in 95; the lyrics being sets of images with Sam Bush’s fiddle work here knitting several different movements within the theme together. Hear it now at Relix.

The Ballad Of Dan Toe is a south-of-the-border inspired tune that The Big Wu has kept in their repertoire since the 90s. Castino says, “It’s a tale of a mythical mystic who is bigger than life. Because it is inspired by the writing of Peter Rowan there’s no understating the bliss of having him sing with me on this tune. Jerry Douglas also appears here. These two are my bigger-than-life heroes.”

The travelogue “Bound For the South” features Tim O’Brien on harmony fiddle and Nick Forster on vocals (both of Hot Rize). Other tracks include a buoyant “Shantytown” (feat. Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon), country-song-turned-funky, “Minnesota Moon” (w/ Adam Greuel), the jolly Texas Fireball” (feat. Keller Williams and Andy Hall (The Infamous Stringdusters), a nostalgic “Young Pioneer,” the high speed “Rhode Island Red,” atmospheric song from the road “Jackson County” (feat. Jerry Douglas and Adam Greuel), and a more Thile-inspired closing track, “Irregular Heartbeat.” 

Adam Greuel (Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, The High Hawks) worked with Castino to produce the album, along with adding vocals on a couple of tracks. Greuel says, “I’ve always heard and felt the influence of bluegrass music on Caz’s songwriting. Lyrically, his content and themes seem to occasionally draw from that tradition, while the music has hints of that bluegrass drive or perhaps the sweetness of a traditional waltz. When Castino gave me a ring and explained that he was interested in breathing some new life into some of his more loved Big Wu classics by way of bluegrass, my initial reaction was raw excitement.”

Castino’s early passion for bluegrass music was cultivated by his father, a professional singer of standards, who was captivated by that plaintive, lonesome vocal style. He says, “I learned all he could from the weekly dose of bluegrass served, like some foreign cuisine to the northern city folk of Minneapolis who knew not the traditions of the southern hill folk, by host Phil Nussbaum and his 35+ years long running radio show Bluegrass Saturday Morning on local community radio: to this day.” Captivated, he began to steer his composing down this road.

Fresh Pickles is just the beginning of Castino’s heartfelt and fulfilling voyage into bluegrass— highlighting some of his most beloved tunes with a classic 70’s and 80’s alt-bluegrass sound, it features stomping rippers and sweet, harmonic ballads, as well as a taste of genre-shifting psychedelic rides. Always true to the tradition and authentic in presentation, Fresh Pickles is packed with great music.

Fresh Pickles Track Listing: 

1.) Kangaroo 2:38
2.) Red Sky 4:25 (feat. Sam Bush)
3.) Bound For the South 5:26 (w/ Tim O’Brien and Nick Forster)
4.) Shanty Town 3:24 (feat. Vince Herman)
5.) Minnesota Moon 3:41 (w/ Adam Greuel)
6.) Texas Fireball 2:38 (feat. Keller Williams and Andy Hall)
7.) Young Pioneer 3:57
8.) Rhode Island Red 3:18
9.) Jackson County 5:33 (feat. Jerry Douglas and Adam Greuel)
10.) The Ballad of Dan Toe 6:32 (feat. Peter Rowan and Jerry Douglas)
11.) Irregular Heartbeat 4:59

Fresh Pickles Credits and Instrumentation:

Chris Castino – vocals, guitar

Chicken Wire Empire:
Jordan Kroeger – bass
Ernest Brusbardis IV – fiddle, vocals
Jon Peik – banjo, vocals
Ryan Ogburn – mandolin

Special Guests:
Sam Bush – fiddle (2)
Tim O’Brien – fiddle, vocals (3)
Nick Forster – vocals (3)
Vince Herman – vocals, spoken word (4)
Adam Greuel – vocals (5,9)
Keller Williams – vocals (6)
Andy Hall – Dobro (6)
Jerry Douglas – Dobro (9,10)
Peter Rowan – vocals (10)

All songs written by Chris Castino
Songs arranged by Chris Castino and Chicken Wire Empire
Recorded by Ryan Young at Neon Brown Studio in Minneapolis, MN except “Rhode Island Red” (and some vocals) recorded by Vinny Millevolte at Axis Recording Studio in Oconomowoc, WI
Mixed by Ryan Young
Produced by Adam Greuel and Chris Castino

Chris Castino:

Chicken Wire Empire:

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Single Out Dec 17, 2021

Pre-save the “Why Women Need Wine (At Christmas)” here —>

Hear Anya Perform “Why Women Need Wine (At Christmas)”
@ Holidaze At Home Livestream

Sunday, Dec 19 @ 5pm ET at www.facebook.com/anyahinkle.music
also streaming at www.anyahinkle.com/holidaze-at-home
Add it to your calendar on Facebook

ASHEVILLE, NC — Anya Hinkle is bringing some holiday cheer with “Why Women Need Wine (At Christmas).” It is a fun and festive take of her original song “Why Women Need Wine,” from her album Eden and Her Borderlands (Organic Records July 16, 2021) and will be independently released on Friday, Dec 17. 

Pop Matters calls “Why Women Need Wine” “a musical eye roll that takes on the patriarchy” and Folk Alley says the accompanying video is, Full of tinkling effervescence, wry nods and winks, and capacious laughter… With a bright canniness, Hinkle points out many of the expectations women face in our society.” 

Anya says, “‘Why Women Need Wine’ has always been about honoring women’s work and women’s journeys into trusting themselves while celebrating their own unique ways of doing things… even when it feels like we are getting it all wrong. A wonderful friend of mine suggested that a holiday-themed rewrite of the song could be a fun thing to do for the holidays this year, and she was right—writing a Christmas version of the song has been just what I needed to jump in with two feet. With this version I want to celebrate all the incredible work women do to make the holidays special, and laugh a little while we work. Happy Holidays and Cheers!” 

Taking to social media for some suggestions she cooked up new lyrics and recorded it solo in her home studio in Asheville, laughing all the way, ho ho ho… She says, “Y’all, it’s been fun! I’ve been laughing out loud, really. Bellyfulls of laughter. Levity I’ve really needed recently.”

Anya Hinkle at Home
No one was injured while decorating…

Just as the original relates stories of situations and attitudes that women deal with day to day and reminding them with a little humor, a lot of friendship — and maybe an eye roll — they can shake it off and move on with their lives, the Christmas version sums it up for the holiday season.

When I woke up this morning I tested all of the Christmas lights… (Tell-me) Why when one burns out the rest go out on down the line” and Santa, Do you hear what I hear? Let me get this through my mind… You’re just gonna let everybody thank you for all the stuff I go out and find.” 

The phrase “Why Women Need Wine” came to Hinkle when she was feeling down and reached out to a friend who said “Come over, I’ve got a great bottle of wine, let’s talk.” “I spilled it all out, just said every ridiculous thing and we laughed, I cried, and on my way home I just felt so much better,” says Hinkle. “Everything seemed possible again, I got a grip, and this line popped into my head: This is why women need wine.”

Anya is hosting a special holiday livestream program, Holidaze At Home, on Sunday Dec 19 and will perform “Why Women Need Wine (At Christmas)” along with some tunes from Eden and Her Borderlands, and you can see her tree!

We hope you will enjoy listening and sharing the song as you gather with your friends and family over the Holidays. Most importantly, enjoy this beautiful time of year. The light is so beautiful and poignant.

“Why Women Need Wine (At Christmas)” is available as a free download with any purchase from her online store before Dec 31 at www.anyahinkle.com/store and it will hit the digital streams on Dec 17.

For further news and updates, please visit: www.AnyaHinkle.com, Facebook.com/AnyaHinkle.Music, and @AnyaHinkle.Music. Eden and Her Borderlands is available HERE.

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