Robbie Fulks – We’re thrilled that Robbie Fulks, headliner at our very first festival in 2009, will return to headline the 10th anniversary festival. Robbie is a singer, recording artist, instrumentalist, composer, and songwriter. His most recent release, 2017’s Upland Stories, earned year’s-best recognition from NPR and Rolling Stone among many others, as well as two Grammy nominations for folk album and American roots song. (Saturday 10:15-11:30, Rose Bowl; PLUS Workshop “Murder Ballads” Saturday 2:45-3:45, Urbana Free Library Auditorium)
Robbie brings with him two venerable icons of roots music, Linda Gail Lewis and Redd Volkaert. Linda is the little sister to musical genius, Jerry Lee Lewis, and was raised on rock’n’roll-pumping piano and country. A professional musician since fifteen, she continues to tour, sharing her high octane live show with music fans around the world.
Redd is one of the top Telecaster guitar slingers in the country and the winner of the 2009 Grammy for best country instrumental. He played as part of Merle Haggard’s band in the late 1990s and early 2000s and has jammed with a who’s who list of country greats over the years.
Saturday 2:45-3:45 Redd will also give a workshop in the First United Methodist Church Classroom
The 9th Street Stompers (Swing, Blues) are an outfit of well-dressed no-counts artistically wielding their acoustic axes and singing about life, death, love, and liquor. Hailing from Chattanooga, Tennessee, they cull up the musical scenery of an era when the lines between swing, gypsy jazz, blues, and rockabilly weren’t nearly as hard and fast as the drinking and dancing. Steering clear of much of the novelty and kitsch associated with pre-war music, they choose to demonstrate the modern relevance of their chosen medium.
Saturday 6-7:15 pm, Iron Post PLUS Dance Saturday 8:30-10 pm, First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall
Bones Jugs with Ryan Koenig (Ragtime, Jug Band) From the depths of Urbana, IL, Bones Jugs has emerged as the premier xylophone-driven roots Americana act in the country. It’s a 21st century spin on early American music, that includes, but is not limited to, ragtime, dixieland, jugband, bluegrass, blues, string band, skiffle, spasm, swing and more.
Saturday 9:15-10:15 pm, Iron Post
The Caleb Cook Band (Country) is dedicated to providing a good time though the preservation of Classic Country, Roots, and Old-Time music. Come out for these local favorites!
Friday 8:00-9:00 pm, Rose Bowl
Charlie Ford (Acoustic Folk, Bluegrass) Eclectic upright bass and vocals.
Saturday 6-6:45 pm, Community Center for the Arts
Church Street Ramblers (Jazz) specialize in jazz music from early in the 20th century, performing songs by Louis Armstrong, Clarence Williams, Mamie Smith, Louis Jordan, Fats Waller, and a host of other legendary musical artists.
Friday 6-7 pm, Community Center for the Arts
Coneflowers (Folk) are a group of fierce women who love to make music on their day off. Members of the group include accomplished local bluegrass, folk, choral, and classical musicians who sing and play everything from Gillian Welch to Talking Heads to Peggy Seeger – and often in four part harmony!
Saturday 1:30-2:30 pm, Urbana Free Library Reading Room
Dan Keding, storyteller of international acclaim, is well known for his telling of traditional world folktales, personal narratives of his boyhood in Chicago, ghost stories and dark tales, and superbly crafted original pieces. As a child he learned the traditional stories that his grandmother brought to this country from Croatia. A well-respected ballad singer, he accompanies himself on guitar, banjo and spoons. This combination of dynamic storytelling and powerful ballad singing has made him a festival and concert favorite throughout the US, Great Britain and Ireland, endearing him to audiences of all ages.
Saturday 1:30-2:30 pm, Urbana Free Library Lewis Auditorium
Deep Fried Pickle Project (Family, Jug Band) is a delectable musical treat. The Pickle Project has performed at Lollapalooza, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, High Sierra, Wakarusa as well as picnics, bars, baptisms, theaters, bathtubs and festivals across North America. They also fought to victory at the 2012 and 2016 Chicago Jug Band Battles.
Saturday 12:30-1:15 pm, Community Center for the Arts; Saturday 8:30-9:30 pm, Community Center for the Arts; PLUS Instrument Building Workshop Saturday 4-5 pm Urbana Free Library Auditorium
Devil in a Woodpile (Country, Blues, Jug Band) offers “raunchy, acoustic mayhem.” This Bloodshot Records trio play blues, country, Ragtime, Hot Jazz, Hillbilly. It’s all the same to them.
Saturday 10:45 pm-12:00 am Iron Post
Ever-Lovin Jug Band (Jug Band, Blues) writes and plays original music, influenced by the jug bands and string bands of the 1920s-30s. Plus they play a lot of that good old music, too: the Memphis Jug Band, Mississippi Sheiks, Hackberry Ramblers, East Texas Serenaders, and more.
Friday 6:45-7:45 pm, Iron Post; Saturday 6:30-7:45 pm, Rose Bowl; PLUS Jam leaders Saturday 1:30-3:00 pm, Iron Post
Fiddlin’ Banjo Billy Matthews (Old-Time Fiddle) is known far and wide across this land for his musical skill and Old Time fiddlin’ ability. He has traveled extensively throughout the Midwest for over 40 years.
Saturday 7:30-8:30 pm, Cohen Building Bank Room; PLUS Workshop Saturday 11:30-12:30, First United Methodist Church Classroom; Jam leader Saturday 2-4 pm, Sipyard
Goodfoot (Irish) – A family affair, Goodfoot is a traditional Irish trio of Brennan Brooker on fiddle, Erin Brooker-Miller on harp, and Andy Miller on bodhran.
Saturday 10-11:15 pm, Community Center for the Arts PLUS Session Saturday 3-5 pm, Iron Post
Jean-Rene Balekita (African/Gospel) shares music traditions from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has toured extensively in Europe and the US performing his original compositions based on a blend of Congolese Rumba and Gospel styles.
Friday 4-5 pm, Busey Bank; Saturday 2:15-3:15 pm, First United Methodist Church Sanctuary
Jensen Brothers (Bluegrass, Old-Time, Folk) The Jensen Brothers are indeed actual brothers–an old fashioned string duo with the rhythmic precision and style that you’d expect from two sibling drummers.
Saturday 2:45-3:45 pm, Urbana Free Library Reading Room
Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton (Blues) has earned a reputation for transporting audiences back to the 1920’s and making them wish they could stay there for good. Often described as “one of the greatest multi-instrumentalists that you have not heard of,” he is well-known to CUFRF audiences from his two previous appearances at the festival. Paxton sings and plays banjo, guitar, piano, fiddle, harmonica, Cajun accordion, and the bones (percussion), and he mesmerizes audiences with his humor and storytelling. According to Will Friedwald in the Wall Street Journal, Paxton is “virtually the only music-maker of his generation … to fully assimilate the blues idiom of the 1920s and ‘30s.”
Saturday 7:45-9:00 pm, Iron Post; PLUS Workshop Saturday 4-5:00 pm, First United Methodist Church Classroom
Joe Asselin and the Moonlight Ramblers (Blues, Country) Joe Asselin is a Central Illinois musician performing and writing original country blues and Americana. His creds include the Kilborn Alley Blues Band and The Sugar Prophets.
Saturday 8:15-9:30 pm, Rose Bowl; PLUS Saturday Jam leaders 2:30-4:30 pm, Rose Bowl
John Coppess the Limpin’ Cowboy (Folk, Country, Cowboy) With his distinctive bass voice, John is a well-know performer and leather worker from the C-U area.
Saturday 12:15-1:15 pm Urbana Free Library Reading Room
Joseph Huber (Singer-Songwriter, Americana) – Whether it’s irresistible, fiddle-driven, dancing tunes or honest, heart-wrenching “songwriter” songs, Huber spans the spectrum of ‘Roots’ music while preferring not to stay within the boundaries of any strict genre classification.
Friday 9:30-10:30 pm, Rose Bowl
Knights of Cabiria (World, Dance, & Film Music) – This 12-piece band will tickle your fancy with dance & film music from around the world.
Open Rehearsal Saturday 1:30-3:30 pm, Community Center for the Arts
Laquisha Burries (Gospel) is a singer-songwriter and gospel artist who uses her love of singing to praise God and lift up the spirits of her audience.
Friday 6-7:30 pm, First United Methodist Church Sanctuary
Local Storyteller Showcase with Dean Dempsey, Linda Dust, and Kim Sheahan
Dean Dempsey tells Native American stories and folk tales. Linda says that the stories she enjoys the most are the ones that also include music and ballads. She finds that each new story brings new understanding of the traditions of the cultures that have produced these marvelous tales. Kim performs folktales and one-woman shows at storytelling festivals, school assemblies, city-wide celebrations, and gatherings of all kinds.
Saturday 12:00-1:30 pm, Urbana Free Library Lewis Auditorium
Mackville Bluegrass (Bluegrass, Gospel) plays a mix of bluegrass and gospel music and consists of alternating vocal leads with strong harmonies along with instrumentals. They love playing bluegrass and gospel music and have a great time!
Saturday 3:45-4:45 pm, First United Methodist Church Sanctuary; PLUS Jam leaders Saturday 12-2:00 pm, Sipyard
Mother Banjo (Folk, Singer-Songwriter) features Ellen Stanley on banjo and vocals. She’s a New England-raised, Minneapolis-based songwriter. Called “an outstanding poet” (Inside Bluegrass), Mother Banjo weaves humorous stories with fun covers and her own original material, earning the praise of songwriters like Josh Ritter and John Gorka.
Friday 7:30-8:45 pm, Community Center for the Arts; PLUS Saturday Gospel 12:15-1:15 pm, First United Methodist Church Sanctuary
Mugdock Pipers (Bagpipe) – Founded in the 1960s by the late Jim Lynch of Urbana to promote the art of the Highland Bagpipe in the Champaign-Urbana area. Members have been drawn from among UIUC students as well as from the wider community.
Friday 6-6:45 pm, Sipyard
Nikki “D” and the Browns: Sisters of Thunder (Gospel) – Her playing is so elevated Guitar World calls Nikki “the Jimi Hendrix of Sacred Steel.” This musical style is within the African-American gospel tradition of using lap steel and pedal steel guitars in church. Nikki D carries on this tradition in her own wild and totally unique way.
Saturday 6:30-8:00 pm, First United Methodist Church Sanctuary
Orpheus Mandolin Orchestra (Americana, Folk, Classical) comes to us from Bloomington, Illinois, where it grew out of old-time jam session that attracted a remarkable number of mandolin players. The Orchestra’s repertoire includes popular turn-of-the-20th-century songs, ragtime, and classical pieces arranged for mandolin-family ensemble.
Saturday 4:00-5:00 pm, Urbana Free Library Reading Room
Papashoy (Klezmer) plays klezmer music in the style of the early Jewish village bands of Yiddish Eastern Europe’s own “papashoy” (corn) country. Bring your dancing shoes for our assortment of lively tunes and your hankies for some sweet, sad melodies. Surprises at every turn! Papashoy features Frances Harris and Amanda Ramey (fiddles), Rob Sweedler (accordion), Rob Krumm (guitar), Charlie Harris (bass), and Cody Jensen (mandolin, xylophone).
Saturday 4:15-5:00 pm, Sipyard
Porch Camp (World Fusion) – C-U’s newest performing trio plays an extraordinary range of powerful and achingly beautiful music from all over: Eastern Europe, South America, French Canada, Kentucky, and some places you’ve never heard of. Robin Kearton on violin and traditional viola; Sol Baer on clarinet, bass clarinet, percussion; Tom Faux on guitars and banjos.
Friday, 7:45-8:45 pm, Cohen Building Bank Room
Richie and Rosie (Old-Time) play at a junction of Americana, old-time, and folk, bringing a new sound to traditional music. Richie Stearns and Rosie Newton use their unique skill, varied musical influences, and honest storytelling to achieve music that people can connect with, containing timeless, universal messages.
Friday 6:30-7:30 pm, Rose Bowl & Friday 10:15-11:15 pm Iron Post
Rhumba Bums (Blues, Afro-Carribean) – Blues, reggae, early New Orleans jazz, swing, and more from this trio from Charleston, Illinois, with Reverend Robert on guitar, J.B. Faires on bass, and Jay Ferguson on drums.
Friday, 9:15-10:30 pm, Cohen Building Bank Room
Sam Payne & Cody Jensen are two of Urbana’s busiest music makers. Together, they form a fun and energetic duet of old time, bluegrass, folk, and calypso! Great for the whole family.
Friday 6:30-7:15 pm, Urbana Free Library Reading Room
Son Monarcas (Latin) is a Latin Folk Fusion ensemble led by Mercedes Inez Martinez and Irekani Ferreyra. Like that of the Monarch Butterfly, they take you on a musical migration from the USA to Latin America by fusing indie soul with traditional son & cumbia. Son Monarcas is comprised of musicians who are well-versed in the Afro-Mestizo genres of folk music from Latin America and blend the traditional with the contemporary by creating original arrangements of “son” while retaining the foundation of the traditional style.
Thursday 5:00-7:00 pm, Krannert Center for the Performing Arts; Friday 8:30-9:45 pm Iron Post
Songwriters in the Round (Singer-Songwriter) – With Emily McKown, Kenna Mae Reiss and Eli Amariah. These 3 local songwriters will take turns sharing original songs in an intimate and conversational setting.
Friday 6:00-7:15 pm, Cohen Building Bank Room
Stephen Wade (Old-Time) Time magazine call him “an impassioned banjoist, a nimbly authoritative clog dancer, a soulful singer of folk music and an enthralling tall tale raconteur … a wondrous artist, this Stephen Wade.”
Friday 9:15-10:30 pm, Community Center for the Arts; PLUS Thursday Workshop, 8:00-9 pm, C4A)
Tom Turino and Shannon Arnold with JB Faires (Cajun) Local cajun supergroup will get your fingers tapping and maybe even your feet dancing. These performers have been playing cajun and zydeco music from southwest Louisiana together locally for some twenty years.
Friday 5-6:15 pm, Iron Post; PLUS Saturday Workshop, 12:45-1:45 pm, First United Methodist Church Classroom
Too Old To Be Controlled plays straight-up old-time that gets dancers swinging in no time. Claudia Kaufman, fiddle, Gary Kaufman, banjo and Dave Kuntz, guitar, play tunes rooted in southern Appalachian music.
Friday Dance 8-10:00 pm, First United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall)
Wildwood String Band (String Band, Folk Revival) is an acoustic group that loves a good harmony. Whether it’s bluegrass, old time, country, or the blues, they always try to make the song our own. Wildwood hails from Mahomet and Champaign and currently features Kaitlin (Rushing) Lonergan on vocals/mandolin, Megan Rushing on vocals/mandolin/guitar, Brian Lonergan on vocals/upright bass, and Keith Rushing on vocals/guitar/fiddle. And yep, it’s a family band.
Saturday 7:15-8:00 pm, Community Center for the Arts
Will and Marina Hope (Old-Time, Bluegrass, Swing)
Marina and Will Hope are a daughter-father duo that play a mix of old-time & bluegrass, swing and ballads.
Saturday 6-7:00 pm, Cohen Building Bank Room