Pokey LaFarge - Incorporating elements of early jazz, ragtime, country blues, Western swing, and beyond, LaFarge has created a vibrant, deeply expressive body of work that embodies an expansive musical vision and vivid storytelling sensibility that are wholly his own. He’s also earned a reputation as a tireless, uniquely charismatic live performer, winning a loyal international fan base that regularly packs his rousing, celebratory live shows.
Since he began recording in 2006, Pokey has maintained an indefatigable work ethic that’s yielded a wealth of compelling music. After making a grass-roots splash with his self-released debut album Marmalade and moonlighting as mandolinist with the Hackensaw Boys, he continued to gain notoriety with his widely acclaimed longplayers Beat, Move, and Shake, Riverboat Soul and Middle of Everywhere (the latter two were both named Best Americana Album by the Independent Music Awards) and the concert set Live In Holland.
Fred Eaglesmith - Country-folk singer/songwriter Fred J. Eaglesmith was one of nine children born to a farming family in rural southern Ontario. Often employing his difficult upbringing as raw material for his heartland narratives, he issued his self-titled debut LP in 1980. He recorded infrequently throughout the remainder of the decade, releasing only two more albums, The Boy That Just Went Wrong and Indiana Road. However, Eaglesmith gradually became an underground favorite in his native Canada, thanks largely to a relentless touring schedule in tandem with bassist Ralph Schipper and mandolinist Willie P. Bennett. In 1991, he released the double live collection There Ain't No Easy Road, followed two years later by Things Is Changin'. Another live set, Paradise Motel, appeared in 1994, and in 1995 Eaglesmith returned with Drive-In Movie. 1999 saw the release of 50-Odd Dollars. The double-disc Ralph's Last Show was issued in spring 2001, followed by Falling Stars and Broken Hearts in 2002, Dusty in 2004, and Milly's Cafe in 2006.
Ruthie Foster - Ruthie Foster was born in the small rural town of Gause, TX. Raised in a family of gospel singers, Ruthie first learned to sing during worship services at her community church. With a chapel-bred bravado trained on the works of powerful women such as Mavis Staples and Aretha Franklin, her sound grew into an inspired blend of blues, folk and gospel. She has collaborated on stage with artists ranging from Bonnie Raitt to The Allman Brothers to Susan Tedeschi, and has recorded tracks with Warren Haynes, Big Head Todd, and The Blind Boys of Alabama, among others. Ruthie has also recently been featured both as an actress, with a guest appearance on NBC’s television series Revolution, and as a classical vocalist, with Austin’s prestigious vocal ensemble Conspirare. Outside of her 2010, 2012 and 2014 Grammy nominations, Ruthie has been recognized by organizations such as the Austin Music Awards (2007, 2008 and 2013 Best Female Vocalist), Blues Music Awards (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), Living Blues Awards (2010 Critics’ Poll Winner and 2011 nominee for Blues Female Artist of the Year).
RJ Cowdery - Rj Cowdery is a Columbus, Ohio based artist who has solidified her place as a standout in the world of performing singer-songwriters. Rj confesses to being a late bloomer; while she’s been writing songs for three decades, she only made the life-altering decision to focus on music full-time within the past few years. She’s quickly made up for lost time, garnering songwriting awards at some of the most prestigious festivals in the U.S., including wins at the Mountain Stage NewSong, Kerrville New Folk, Falcon Ridge Emerging Artist, and Sisters Folk Festival/Dave Carter Memorial Songwriting Contest. Rj Cowdery’s songwriting is widely – and wildly appealing. Her lyrics are unpretentious and warm with wry humor punctuated by some seriously sassy guitar work. She writes about some of the most difficult of emotions in a way that allows listeners to lean in hard against her honeyed voice, and then come out the other side changed. Rj’s made a lot of new friends in this very way and despite the fact that you want to weep from the sweetness of the song she’s playing, you’ll feel better at the end of the show. Rj is a much sought after performer and guitar player. 2015 was highlighted with performances at The Kerrville Folk Festival, Wildflower Music and Arts Festival, and The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival. She added instructor to her repertoire at The Song School at Rocky Mountain Folks Festival and at Columbus Songwriter Workshop. 2016 marks her first Canadian festival performance at The Vancouver Island Music Festival. With three full-length studio albums, Rj continues to write and is preparing to record an new album of original material in 2016.
Rose Cousins - Driven by a voice that evokes raw emotion, Rose Cousins’ music bravely explores the shadowy corners of the heart. Just as her songs embrace sadness, pain, and longing, these emotions are counterbalanced in performance by quick, wry wit. A native of Prince Edward Island, she lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia, deeply values being part of multiple music communities, and is fueled by collaboration. Her 2012 album "We Have Made A Spark" won a JUNO Award, 3 East Coast Music Awards, a Canadian Folk Music Award, was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and made picks/best of lists in USA Today, NPR Music and Oprah Magazine. Her music has found its way into several TV shows including Grey's Anatomy. She will release her highly anticipated new album Natural Conclusion in February 2017 - recorded with Grammy Award-Winning producer Joe Henry.