307 S Locust St
Champaign, IL 61820
Renowned fiddler, Betse Ellis, founding member of Kansas City band The Wilders, is striking out on her own while the band takes a well-deserved break. She’s been singing with the fiddle during Wilders shows, taking center stage for solo performances mid-set –Betse now establishes herself as a solo artist. She gathers diverse music and presents it with humor, intensity, and love. She has also convinced many an audience to join her in songs they may have never heard. Above all, Betse connects with the audience while performing “old time/new time” material, drawing from traditional American (mostly Ozark) fiddle tunes, old songs and spirituals, her own tunes and songs, and finally, a dose of what she calls her “personal old-time music”. This is the music Betse grew up hearing, and it may draw from avant-garde artists like Talking Heads, punk pioneers The Clash, or even earlier art music composers like Gabriel-Marie.
Two fiddles – one in standard tuning, the other in cross-tuning – and a voice is usually all Betse needs to entertain an audience. Every once in a while, she picks up a tenor guitar, and sometimes, she puts all instruments down to sing a capella. Even all alone on a stage, Betse brings the sound of previous fiddlers, singers, and composers together with her unique, engaging style.
Opening for Betse will be three local musicians from C4A, Fiddler Robin Kearton, Banjo player Tom Faux, and Guitarist Sam Payne. They will be performing their own unique style of old-time music, and other surprises.