Jordan Tice & Mike Witcher with Allison de Groot & Tatiana Hargreaves
Jordan Tice is a singular voice on the American roots music scene. Over the last ten years, he has developed a reputation as a unique and versatile guitarist and prolific composer of some of the most thoughtful and well-crafted tunes of his generation. Jordan has a voice and sonic aesthetic that is all his own with which he filters the sounds and conventions of American Music into something unique. On his latest release, “Horse County”, he also demonstrates a unique voice as a songwriter and singer in addition to his known guitar and tune-crafting skills.
Born into a bluegrass family in Maryland, Jordan started early, playing bluegrass and fiddle tunes with some of the best players in the fertile mid-atlantic bluegrass scene. He also stayed busy playing rock and roll with his peers as well as studying jazz and classical guitar and composition in college. He released his first solo record of mostly original music at the age of 17 called “No Place Better” (2005) to critical acclaim within the bluegrass world. He quickly followed it up with “Long Story” (2007) a collection of original instrumentals that featured an all-star band of Noam Pikelny on banjo, Casey Driessen on fiddle, Andy Hall on dobro, and Mark Schatz on bass. The collection of adventurous yet deeply musical tunes solidified his reputation as being one of the most thoughtful and creatively driven personalities on the acoustic music scene and as a composer, player and bandleader capable of leading veteran musicians into uncharted waters. With his next release, “The Secret History” (2011), Jordan further pushed the limits of the absolute expressiveness of an acoustic ensemble. This outing, featuring Paul Kowert on bass and Simon Chrisman on hammered dulcimer, contained longer more through-composed pieces that despite their length never lost sight of the colorful hooks and beautiful and humorous sentiments that define Jordan’s work.
The development of Jordan’s creative work as a solo artist is only one narrative that defines his career. Since first busting onto the scene, he has also been an active sideman with progressive bluegrass pioneers like Frank Wakefield, Mark Schatz and friends, and Tony Trischka, lending his guitar playing to their endeavors both on stage and in the studio. He also contributed his mandolin playing skills to the Dave Rawlings Machine record “Nashville Obsolete” (2015), toured with the Canadian folk group, The Duhks, and worked with actor/comedian Steve Martin on his re-imagining of the Shakespeare play “As You Like It” for New York City’s “Shakespeare in the Park”.
Bridging the sideman and bandleader gap, Jordan is an active collaborator as well. His record “Corbett Chrisman Tice” (2008) with hammered dulcimer player, Simon Chrisman and banjoist, Wes Corbett was hailed as one of the top 5 records of the year by the Chicago tribune in 2008. Since 2014 he has worked closely with fiddler Brittany Haas (Crooked Still, Dave Rawlings Machine) and bassist Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers, Dave Rawlings Machine) in the trio Haas Kowert Tice. They released their debut record “You Got This” in 2014 and are set to release another in fall 2016.
This brings us to the present and Jordan’s latest release, “Horse County”. Horse County is not a real place and in fact there is nothing else called Horse County in the world. The record is Jordan’s first to feature his singing and original songs in addition to his picking and tune-writing. The 11 tracks (6 songs and 5 instrumentals) combine many American folk music conventions with Jordan’s eccentric harmonic, melodic, and lyrical sense. The songs seem to be written by someone who has been at it their whole life and each one explodes with craft, color, and personality. “Chicken Dog” calls to mind the wilder and weirder side of Roger Miller; “Poor Me” and “Runnin Back to You” recall the snarky acerbic bite of Bob Dylan; “Way Downtown” and “Didn’t Think I was Gonna” call to mind the chatty hooks of John Hartford combined with the masterful harmonic and melodic craft of Jimmy Webb or Neil Young. “Live on the River til’ I Die” is a 6 minute epic story song about adventure and regret. The instrumentals are some of Jordan’s best. The title track is a raging bluegrass burner, “Craig” is a humorous take on the flat picking rags of Norman Blake and Doc Watson, and “A Cool Dog” and “Various Sauces” recall some of the achingly beautiful melodies and interesting harmonic turns we’ve come to expect from Jordan from his earlier instrumental releases. The solo guitar piece “Horse County Rag” is a manifestation of Jordan’s recent interest in the rag-time guitar pieces of Blind Blake and Reverend Gary Davis; with his own spin on the genre of course. All the material is inspired, the playing is superb, and the arrangements and sequencing are airtight.
The band on “Horse County” is also top-notch and includes such first call players as Paul Kowert (Punch Brothers) on bass, Dominick Leslie (Deadly Gentlemen) on mandolin, Mike Witcher (Peter Rowan) on dobro, Brittany Haas (Crooked Still) and Shad Cobb on fiddles, and Noam Pikelny (Punch Brothers) on banjo. The record was recorded by guitarist Chris Eldridge who also, along with Jordan, co-produced the session.
Growing up the youngest of 5 in a musical and artistic family in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Michael found his voice playing the Dobro at the age of 14. In less than a year, he was playing with his dad’s, Dennis and brother, Gabe’s band The Witcher Brothers. Michael started teaching and doing session work when he was 16. Since then he has recorded/toured with Dwight Yoakam, Fernando Ortega, Peter Rowan, Laurie Lewis, Tyler Hilton, Missy Raines and The New Hip, John Paul Jones, Sara Watkins, The Gibson Brothers, Dolly Parton, Joan Osborn, Willie Watson, Chris Jones and others. Michael is currently a member of The Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band. Known not only for his rich tone and lyrical phrasing, Michael is also a highly sought after instructor. At age 19 he published his first instructional book, Resonator Guitar: Tunes Techniques and Practice Skills. Since then he has published a second book Resonator Guitar: 20 Bluegrass Jam Favorites and can be found teaching at the top acoustic music camps around the world.
Allison de Groot
- Old Time
Allison de Groot combines love for old-time music, technical skill and a creative approach to the banjo forming her own sound – unique and full of personality. Although firmly rooted in old-time and music, she has shown her ability to collaborate and create outside this genre, pushing the boundaries of the clawhammer banjo.
Allison has toured all over the world with various groups, performing at venues such as Newport Folk Festival, Stockholm Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival and Tønder Festival in Denmark. The music scene in her hometown of Winnipeg, Canada, immersion in Appalachian old-time communities, a performance degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and touring extensively throughout North America and Europe have all had a great impact on her playing. She is dedicated to honoring old-time music, the community that music creates and exploring the clawhammer banjo style. She is currently performing with Bruce Molsky’s new project Molsky’s Mountain Drifters and The Goodbye Girls, among others.
- Old Time
Since releasing her first solo album “Started Out To Ramble” in 2009 (produced by Bruce Molsky and featuring Sarah Jarosz, Mark Schatz, Alex Hargreaves, and more), Tatiana Hargreaves has toured with musicians from Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch, to Laurie Lewis, Bruce Molsky, and Darol Anger. From being the second woman to place first at the Clifftop Appalachian Fiddle Contest in 2009 to the 2015 release of an EP with bassist Ethan Jodziewicz featuring traditional and original material performed by the unique duo of bowed bass and fiddle, Tatiana is dedicated to respecting and preserving oldtime and bluegrass traditions while simultaneously seeking her own musical voice and exploring new ways of approaching these styles. In 2012 and 2013 she attended the Acoustic Music Seminar at the Savannah Music Festival, collaborating with other young acoustic musicians to explore contemporary approaches to traditional American roots genres. In the winter of 2015 she participated in the Dosti Music Project, a State Department funded program that brings together musicians from Pakistan, India and the US for a month of musical diplomacy and collaboration. Early 2016 saw three months of intensive study at La Fundación Alejo Carpentier in Havana, Cuba researching the role of the violin in Cuban music. She is most recently featured on Laurie Lewis’s new release The Hazel And Alice Sessions. Currently, Tatiana is pursuing a degree in ethnomusicology at Hampshire College and researching “the fiddle camp phenomenon.”