Young and the Fretless

The Young and the Fretless The Young and the Fretless play old-time mountain music on the prairie–a mix of Appalachian Mountain and Midwestern tunes and songs. Members are Lyle Konigsberg (fiddle, banjo), Tom Bassett (fretless banjo, ukulele), Hilary Valentine (guitar, dulcimer), and Ben Juday (bass). “We love the groove of fiddle-banjo music and have so much fun playing it. When the toddlers start swaying and jumping, we know we’ve got the right rhythm going!”

Dump Chickens String Band

Dump ChickensThe Dump Chickens is an exciting old-time string band based in Champaign /Urbana. Five musicians who are veterans of (and some still playing in) several groups across the two communities over almost 40 years. Midwestern old-time music with a raggy swing. If your feet aren’t tapping, if you do not want to dance, we’re not doing our job.

What is a dump chicken? It depends on where you live. If you are from either coast, a dump chicken is a gull. If you are inland, a dump chicken may be a crow or a buzzard. So we are a bunch of old birds, or buzzards if you prefer. Slightly disheveled, somewhat irreverent, geezers dedicated to a good time. Let ‘em roll.

Hot Iron String Band

Hot Iron String BandThe Hot Iron String Band is a four-piece acoustic ensemble featuring Samuel Payne on guitar, Dustin Norder on mandolin, Jeremy Koch on banjo, and Nolan Lee on upright bass. Their inspiration is drawn from the hard-driving back-beat pulse of Bill Monroe’s bluegrass, the infectious swing of Django Reindhart’s gypsy jazz, and lonesome moan of a honky-tonk blues. And just like the roots from which their musical vision has grown — steeped in the age-old tradition of breaking the rules — they do it just a little bit different.

Matt and Tom Turino

Matt Turino grew up playing old-time and Cajun fiddle tunes with his father Tom, a clawhammer banjo player and button accordionist. Tom has also studied music in, and has played the music of India on vina, of Peru on kena and charango, of Mexico on guitar and vihuela, and of Zimbabwe on mbira. As a family tradition, Matt and Tom enjoy composing new tunes that they consider an extension of old-time music, but listeners often comment on the Cajun-influenced rhythms, and the chord progressions often do not fit the old-timey mold.

Man the Still

Man the StillMan the Still is a locally-grown five-piece bluegrass band. Transplanted here for grad school, the band members all took root in the fertile ground of the Champaign/Urbana folk and bluegrass scene. After one particularly hoppin’ Hootenanny, the seed of an idea was planted, which (nourished by plenty of Hamm’s and whiskey) eventually grew into Man the Still. These days you can most often find them with the rest of the local produce at the Urbana farmer’s market.

Kaia Kater

Kaia Kater

Kaia Kater

Banjo player and singer Kaia Kater is is an eclectic traditionalist, having quickly gained the attention as one of the most promising young performers in the North American folk world. Born in Quebec of mixed Afro-Caribbean ancestry, she now resides in Toronto and spends extensive time in West Virginia, where she ardently studies balladry and traditional dance. As an original songwriter, she works to incorporate her perspective as one of the few people of color in roots music into the complex racial history of the traditions themselves. Her music combines beautifully subtle old-time banjo with soft sensibilities, mixing elements of both Canadian and American historical traditions with a decidedly modern sound.