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19th Annual Rhythm & Roots Festival

September 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2016

Ninigret Park, Charlestown, Rhode Island

Bruce Hornsby & The Noisemakers

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Grammy award-winning multi-instrumentalist Bruce Hornsby joins us in Charlestown with his roots-meets-rock-and-roll Noisemakers. With an evidently improvisational spirit that electrify his live performances, Hornsby is known for spontaneity in his performances that honor audience request and the enthusiasm of every moment.

The Noisemakers include JT Thomas (Keyboards, organ), Bobby Reed (saxophones, flute), JV Collier (bass), Doug Derryberry (guitar, mandolin), and Sonny Emory (drums).

Taj Mahal Trio

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Blues powerhouse Taj Mahal aspires to make his audiences dance- and we hope you'll be doing just that as he joins the Rhythm and Roots lineup with his grooving trio. Steeped in a rich heritage of African diasporic music, Mahal has celebrated calypso, jazz, reggae, and gospel over the course of his 50-year career. Decorated with two Grammy's as well as an Americana Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, Mahal has lost no momentum since his earlier years performing with legends such as Ry Cooder, Don Was, Van Morrison, and others.

The Taj Mahal Trio features Mahal on vocals, guitar, keys, and banjo, Kester Smith on drums, and Bill Rich on bass. The trio has been performing and recording with each other for over 40 years.

Lucinda Williams

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With a nearly four-decade career behind her, Lucinda Williams joins the Rhythm & Roots lineup wheels forward to deliver honest vignettes from her latest record, "Ghost of Highway 20"  (February 2016). Williams has left a heartfelt impression on listeners with her distinct blending of folk, country, and rock woven with the sentiments of her Southern upbringing that has won her three Grammy Awards and a fan base that touches generations.

David Grisman Sextet

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As a mandolinist, singer, and composer, David Grisman is a great pioneer of jamgrass. After founding a band in 1973 called Old and in the Way with close friend Jerry Garcia (who gave him the nickname “Dawg”), Grisman created the David Grisman Bluegrass Experience and hit the road for forty years. With influences ranging from hot jazz to classic rock and even old-world Mediterranean folk, 

Rhythm and Roots is proud to host David Grisman with his hard-hitting sextet.

Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin w/ The Guilty Ones

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Influenced both by their upbringing in the sprawling heat of Southern California and Delta Blues legends like Son House and Leadbelly, Dave & Phil Alvin began to gather a following in the 1970s with their rock and roll band The Blasters. After the band disbanded in the 1980s, each brother devoted time to their solo careers and other projects, making a profound impact on the development and songwriting of modern folk and Americana. In 2014, the rekindled partnership gained recognition with the release and Grammy-Nomination of their duo album "Common Ground".
Set apart by Phil's honest poeticism and vocal styling coupled with Dave's reflective and virtuostic blues-influenced guitar style, they have toured around the country both as a duo and with their band The Guilty Men, garnering nominations and awards along every bend in the river. Most recently.  They were nominated by the Blues Music Awards in Memphis, Tennessee for the 2016 Traditional Blues Male Artist award. They have also been featured on NPR's Fresh Air, and included on the Los Angeles' Times Albums of the Year listery in 2015. This is their first Rhythm & Roots Festival.

Donna the Buffalo

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One of the most dynamic and determined bands continuously touring America for since 1989, Donna the Buffalo has created a community environment at their shows through their distinctive, groove-heavy, and danceable music. Donna the Buffalo is a band for the people that is accessible, positive, and memorable.

With roots in old time fiddle music that evolved into a soulful electric American mix infused with elements of cajun/ zydeco, rock, folk, reggae, and country, Donna’s music often contains social and moral responsibility as core beliefs, and they are just simply fun to get out and celebrate life with.

Orchestre Royal

Steve Riley, Roddie Romero, Kevin Wimmer, Eric Adcock and others


Attention music lovers, there's something new brewing out of the music scene in Lafayette, LA! Meet Orchestre Royal- the newest supergroup disguised as a sidegroup destined to take center stage! A veteran crew makes up Orchestre Royal (pronounced en francais); you’ll recognize Steve Riley and Kevin Wimmer from Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys, Roddie Romero and Eric Adcock from Roddie Romero & the Hub City All Stars, and Kyle Hebert and Jermaine Prejean from their work with numerous Louisiana bands. You've seen them all play in their own respective groups, but never in this configuration.

Reinventing the classics, challenging each other's own playing while remaining superbly loyal to the groove, this new outfit is guaranteed to deliver. Just because you know them doesn't mean you know all their tricks because they're pulling out all the stops with this Cajun/Creole/Swamp Pop symphony of sound. You won't want to miss this opportunity to party with the best and rest of them. Expect Clifton. No doubt some Bobby Charles thrown in the mix, Cajun tunes & Creole tunes. It wouldn't be a surprise if they include some special guests to share a 'lil bit of that spotlight. Orchestre Royal has it's own two feet planted firmly in the Louisiana repertoire, and it will surely knock you off yours.

Matt Andersen & The Bona Fide

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With nearly 10 million views on YouTube, a 2013 European Blues Award, and winning Best Solo Performer at the Memphis Blues Challenge, it appears that the entire world is now discovering Matt Andersen. A powerhouse performer with a giant soul-filled voice and commanding stage presence, Matt has built a formidable following the old fashioned way – touring worldwide and letting the converted audiences and Andersen devotees spread his reputation through word of mouth.

In addition to headlining major festivals, clubs and theatres throughout North America, Europe and Australia, he has shared the stage and toured with Bo Diddley, Buddy Guy, Greg Allman, Tedeschi Trucks Band, Randy Bachman, Little Feat, Jonny Lang, Serena Ryder, and more. Andersen has won the 2013 Euro Blues Award for Best Solo /Acoustic Act, three Maple Blues Awards in 2012, and nabbed him 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Since the release of Weightless in early 2014, Andersen has received a JUNO nomination for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year, a CIMA Road Gold award, and two consecutive Maple Blues Award for Male Vocalist of the Year.

The Knickerbocker All Stars

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The Knickerbocker All-Stars are celebrated veterans and masters of their craft. Original Roomful of Blues members and other Roomful alumni, members of the Duke Robillard Band, Sugar Ray and the Bluetones, and vocalists Willie J. Laws and Brian Templeton all make a powerful blend, and among them they've garnered literally dozens of BMA and Grammy nominations.

The songs are characteristic of the ones played in the heyday of the Knick, first done by early Roomful influences Bobby Bland, Freddie King, Guitar Slim, Cleanhead Vinson, and many others, and this crew reanimates them with authority. The tenor battle on “Hokin'” could have been played at the Knick in 1953 – or 1973 – but the excitement is freshly minted, and there are new songs which could have been done by Louis Jordan and Albert King. What better place than this to celebrate a robust yet undervalued American musical genre? It may have started years ago, but its spirit is timeless, and it's found a home at the Knick.

Sarah Potenza

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After spending seven years with her band Sarah & The Tall Boys, Sarah Potenza relocated to Nashville Tennessee with not much more than her husband and her monster vocals. That coupled with her honest reflective songwriting she quickly garnered the attention of the city’s thriving music scene and she became a staple at the world renowned Bluebird Café and the globally broadcast Music City Roots program.

One of her performances on Music City Roots resulted in a phone call from the NBC television show, “The Voice”. Potenza took the challenge in stride and managed to land a four chair turn and out of 50,000 contestants, she made it to the top twenty!

Her passion for performing and undeniable voice resonated with America and made her a fan favorite across the country. Nashville welcomed her home with pride and celebrated her authentic, heart-felt songwriting with a sold out show at the Bluebird Cafe and her debut on the Grand Old Opry.

Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas

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Born and raised in Louisiana in a Creole-speaking home, premiere Zydeco accordianist and singer Nathan Williams Sr. brings the bayou to you with a rousing good time of dance music true to his roots. One of the most admired Zydeco players on the scene, Nathan was awarded the 2015 ZBT Clifton Chenier Lifetime Achievement award, and was mentored for years by Buckwheat Zydeco. With down-home songs of good times, heartaches, and faithful friends, Nathan and the Zydeco Cha-Chas have been a friend to Rhythm and Roots for just shy of twenty years.

Duke Robillard

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Guitarist. Bandleader. Songwriter. Singer. Producer. Session musician. And a one-man cheering section for the blues, in all its forms and permutations. And every one of those names has shared recording studio space or stage time with a man who is a legend in the blues community.

Uncle Earl Reunion

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Fearless ambassadors for stringband music, Uncle Earl use tradition as a springboard, coloring a vast and varied legacy with their own unique perspectives as vocalists, instrumentalists, and songwriters.

Independently, Kristin Andreassen (guitar, fiddle, ukulele, harmonica, vocals, clogging), Rayna Gellert (fiddle, guitar, vocals), KC Groves (mandolin, guitar, bass, vocals), and Abigail Washburn (banjo, vocals), have each emerged as adventurous, compelling voices in the ongoing old-time renaissance. Together, their undeniable chemistry, charisma, and formidable combination of talents made them a fan and festival favorite both at home in the U.S. and abroad.

Dustbowl Revival

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The Dustbowl Revival is a Venice, California-based collective that merges old school bluegrass, gospel, pre-war blues and the hot swing of New Orleans to form a spicy roots cocktail. Known for their roaring live sets, Dustbowl bravely brings together many styles of traditional American music.

Some call it string band-brass band mash up. Imagine Old Crow Medicine Show teaming up with Louis Armstrong’s Hot Fives and Sevens, or Bob Dylan and The Band jamming with Benny Goodman and his orchestra in 1938. It’s infectious, joyous music - a youthful take on time-worn American traditions.

Roomful of Blues

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For all that time, they’ve celebrated the jump blues, R&B and early rock ‘n’ roll music of the horn-powered golden era of the late 1940s and early 1950s. Roomful don’t simply recreate the famous and obscure 78s and 45s of those years. Inspired by the spirit of the groundbreaking bands of the post-World War II decade, they’ve breathed new life into vintage songs, infusing them with boundless energy and fiery, swinging solos and vocals. For the last two decades, Roomful has been led by Chris Vachon, one of the most underrated guitarists in the blues.

For 40 years, their hard-charging horn section has been sparked by Rich Lataille on tenor and alto sax. Energizing the band on Hook, Line & Sinker is their terrific new vocalist, Phil Pemberton. Phil’s performances showcase his flamboyant, multi-octave voice, fun-loving attitude and his deep understanding of the era when jumping blues bands were fronted by huge-voiced singers like Roy Brown, Wynonie Harris and Big Joe Excellent, marvelous wall-to-wall grooves…between the wicked guitar work and the brassy horn section, things never stop swinging.

–USA Today

The Revelers

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Founding members of the Red Stick Ramblers and The Pine Leaf Boys, two of the groups unquestionably at the vanguard of the Louisiana cultural renaissance, have joined together on their newest project which combines Cajun, Country, Blues and Zydeco into a powerful tonic of roots music straight from southwest Louisiana that's sure to get you moving.

As individuals, they are each in high demand having performed and recorded with Natalie Merchant, Linda Ronstadt, Preston Frank, Walter Mouton, Mamadou Diabate, Dirk Powell, Cedric Watson and Tim O'Brien to name a few. As a group they play with a sense of empathy and depth that can only be fostered after years of making music together. Simply put, The Revelers are the next Louisiana supergroup.


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HoneyHoney joins the Rhythm and Roots lineup for the first time as the sweet and tangy final destination of their Coast-to-Coast summer tour celebrating the release of their recent album "3". Formed in Los Angeles in 2006 after meeting at a costume party, HoneyHoney  explores a contemporary evolution of the tried-and-true Old-Time duo of rotating guitar, banjo, fiddle, and immaculate harmonies.
A little bit of everything, Paste Magazine describes the duo as "Display(ing) the common pop thread between alt-country, spaghetti western soundtracks, and swampy blues”.

The Honeycutters

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Joining us for the first time from Ashville, NC is the Americana group The Honeycutters. The five-piece group performs original music that is "both sardonic and sweet, which adds a contemporary element to their country twanged American sound". Drawing from traditional country harmonies and musical sentiments, their music speaks of simpler and more honest times. In 2011, their song “Little Bird”, written by vocalist Amanda Anne Platt, was chosen as a finalist at MerleFest’s Chris Austin Songwriting Contest.Their songs, raw and true, are not to be forgotten.

Los Texmaniacs

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Combine a hefty helping of Tex Mex conjunto, simmer with several parts Texas rock, add a daring dash of well-cured blues, and R&B riffs, and you've cooked up the tasty Grammy winning TexManiacs groove.  Founder Max Baca (bajo sexto, vocals) is a legend on the bajo sexto, a twelve string guitar-like instrument, which customarily provides rhythm accompaniment for the button accordion, thus creating the core of the conjunto sound. Max is being credited as turning a traditional folk / roots/conjunto instrument hip again, attracting young, new audiences while maintaining his roots in traditional conjunto. Other band members include Josh Baca, Oscar Garcia, Lorenzo Martinez and Willie J. Laws. Their latest cd is Texas Towns & Tex Mex Sounds. (Smithsonian Folkways)

Jim Kweskin & Geoff Muldaur

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Jim Kweskin and Geoff Muldaur are founding members of the hugely popular 1960s group, Jim Kweskin & The Jug Band (also with Maria Muldaur, Fritz Richmond, and Mel Lyman) which is credited with setting the stage for Jerry Garcia's first band, Mother McCree's Uptown Jug Champions, and subsequently The Grateful Dead.

Jeff and Jim share a rare chemistry that was instantly renewed when they reunited as a duo in Tokyo in 2006. The distinctive qualities they brought to the Jug Band Kweskin's clean, rhythmic finger picking and Muldaur's emotional, quavering voiceremain their signature. When it comes to acoustic folk, blues, and ragtime, Kweskin and Muldaur are unparalleled exponents of the best American music.

Cedryl Ballou & The Zydeco Trendsetters

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A native of Lake Charles, Louisiana, Cedryl (pronounced “see-DRELL”) Ballou began playing music at the tender age of five, making his professional debut as a drummer with his grandfather, legendary guitar pioneer Classie Ballou, at the age of 11.

His future as a frontman was inevitable—both Cedryl’s father, Cedric Ballou, and step-grandfather, “Rockin’ Sidney” Simien, were successful touring musicians, and Cedryl grew up steeped in Creole music and culture.

Just Us Western Swing All Stars








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Waylon Thibodeaux

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Born in Louisiana’s ‘Bayou Country’ just a few miles southwest of New Orleans, Houma native Waylon Thibodeaux has been dubbed “Louisiana’s Rockin Fiddler”. Today, this talented, self-taught Cajun musician has gained a notable reputation as one of Louisiana’s best known recording artists.

His talents have led him to play festivals, clubs and other special events throughout the United States, Canada, France, Central and South America. His rollicking, crowd-pleasing performance on stage is exactly what one would expect from someone who, at age 16, was Louisiana’s state fiddle champion. He never fails to serve up a good helping of spicy, high-energy Louisiana and Cajun/Zydeco music.

Hat Fitz & Cara

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Hat Fitz is a “veteran” wild man of the blues scene in Australia. He has a record 18 straight appearances at Byron’s East Coast Blues and Roots Festival, a record that is not likely to ever be broken, and one which bears testimony to his amazing live performances and popularity with festival goers.

Cara draws on her soul background (she’s toured Europe and the United States with singers such as Jamiroquai and the hugely popular Corinne Bailey-Rae), and although blessed with a sensational voice she was not content to be labelled as ‘just a singer’. She has taken to drumming duties as well as washboards, flute and tin whistle, sometimes all at once.

Willie J Laws

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Raised in the Gulf Coast of Texas, Willie J. developed his "funky blues" guitar and vocal sound, influenced by Texas Blues and R&B, Tex-Mex Tejano/Conjunto, Louisiana Zydeco, and Country.

The influences heard in the music of the Willie J. Laws Band are many and eclectic. There are deep roots in Texas music tradition and uniquely American roots music.

The Huntress & Holder of Hands

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MorganEve Swain uses only her voice and arsenal of stringed instruments to create music from experience. Informed not only by the loss of her husband and musical partner, Dave Lamb, to leukemia in April 2014 but also by their life together, Swain pulls from the Lamb/Swain duo Brown Bird’s pool of influence, determined to uphold a legacy while creating new music which she hopes is strong and universal.

The Suitcase Junket

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He deploys his oddball, lo-fi but forceful sound in the service of well-conceived, engaging songs with literate and interesting lyrics." "The Suitcase Junket is much more than a curiosity or a novelty act, he's a serious artist who shouts and winks at us at the same time, and has deep things to say to an open mind.

- Seattle Post Intelligencer.

Guthrie Brown & The Family Tree

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Guthrie Brown is a young buck, up and coming songwriter based out of Nashville TN. His song's paint pictures of wild western sky's as well as colorful love stories. His songwriting is always expanding along with the sound of his band "The Family Tree", in which there is indeed a family dynamic between Guthrie and back up singer/sister, Maddy Brown. Though the other band members, John McNally (Guitar), John Ogelby (Drums), and Will Honaker (Bass) are not blood related, the musical chemistry between the bunch is as dynamic as a family band.

Guthrie Brown and the Family Tree have been a band since the summer of 2013. Guthrie first released an EP that was recorded in his bedroom of a small house in North Nashville in 2012. He went on to release a second EP with "The Family Tree" that was collectively produced by Stuart Mathis of (The Wallflowers, Lucinda Williams) and Trey Grey of (Ronnie Dunn).

Jesse Lége

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Bringing foot stomping' Cajun music to the world one dance hall at a time... Jesse Lege is the Real Deal!

For more than 40 years Jesse Lege, originally from Guydan LA, has been bringing traditional Cajun dance hall music from the dusty back roads of southwest Louisiana, coast to coast and around the world, playing everywhere from local neighborhood dance halls to the largest international festivals. 

Today, Lege is one of the most-admired Cajun accordionists and vocalists from Southwest Louisiana. He has garnered numerous Cajun French Music Association awards in many categories, including original song for "Memoires Dans Mon Coeur”. In addition to his rich accordion style and soulful singing, his knowledge and vast repertoire that includes many of the earliest recorded and shared Cajun songs is treasured by everyone from other Cajun musicians to the first-time listener.

Jesse Lege & Bayou Brew brings you deep into Cajun tradition, with Accordion and Vocals: Jesse Lege;  Fiddles: Darren Wallace (who hails from Lafayette LA and played for many years with esteemed Cajun band, File’), and Missy Roser;  Guitar: Erica Weiss;  Bass: Evelyn Schneider;  and drums: Kit GarovoyJesse Lege & Bayou Brew will bring a smile to your face and get your toes tapping with driving Cajun rhythm, and will melt your heart with soul-stirring songs too!


Quiet Life

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"Portland doesn't have a Laurel Canyon scene, but if it did, you could bet that Quiet Life would be the official house band."

- Willamette Week

Kelsey Waldon

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Kelsey Waldon is an American country music singer and songwriter. The 26-year-old Kentucky-native moved to Nashville, TN from a tiny Kentucky town called Monkeys Eyebrow.

She released her critically acclaimed debut LP, “The Goldmine”, in late 2014. Goldmine has received hefty praise, with note in the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, New York Minute, American Songwriter, USA Today, Billboard, and many more.

Ed Poullard & Preston Frank

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As one of the most widely recognized caretakers of the Creole fiddle tradition, Ed Poullard extends his musical virtuosity to the accordion as well. As if that weren’t enough, he has taken his love of the instrument even further, making and selling accordions that are both beautiful to look at and a joy to play. Ed is showcased (playing with Darol Anger) on “Creole Bred: A Tribute to Creole and Zydeco” (Vanguard Records), a collaboration conceived by Ann Savoy.

Preston Frank plays real Creole music. A member of one of the great zydeco families, accordionist Preston can trace his musical lineage at least as far back as his fiddle playing great-great-grandfather. Preston is a shining light in the zydeco world, a link to the traditional Creole sounds of years gone by, and is considered to be an important force in the preservation of that music. 

Johnny Nicholas


Virtuostic blues guitarist and songwriter Johnny Nicholas is a not to be missed performer. A Rhode Island native, he began performing with Duke Robillard in the 1960s, and is most noted for his contributions with the Grammy award-winning western-swing group Asleep at the Wheel.

Marcia Ball says, "…he is an extremely engaging innovative traditionalist. Johnny writes instant classics and sings them to break your heart and rock your soul".

Occidental Gypsy

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Occidental Gypsy plays an exhilarating blend of gypsy swing, jazz and world music that enraptures the listener with a complex acoustic sound, burnished by smooth vocals reminiscent of the first era of swing.

Hailing from the New England, Occidental Gypsy plays a dynamic, multi-genre mix of original vocal and instrumental pieces. And they’ve been recognized for notable covers like a “gypsyfied” take on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. The Boston Globe has named them a “Best Bet for Weekend Entertainment,” and musician David Bromberg said of the group, “great singing, fantastic guitar and violin work, with high energy originals that leave the crowd crazy. An awesome band.”

Longshot Voodoo

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When Carl Eddy and Matt West, formerly of the Rhode Island-based rock bands, “Krimzen” and “Obscurus” (2001-2005), were looking for a new sound and a different direction from the Hard Rock scene, they recruited Adrienne West, a member of the legendary “Ken Lyon and Tombstone Blues Band” (2007-2009) to front their new acoustic project. Soon, the trio felt it was time to evolve to another level and sought the percussive stylings of Don “DC” Culp, Motif Magazine’s “2010 Percussionist of the Year” of “Gary Guitar & The Grinders”, “John Cafferty & Beaver Brown” and endorsed by Vater Drumsticks / “Everyone’s Drumming” custom made drums & percussion. As their distinct diverse styles combined and the grooves grew from the four musicians, Longshot Voodoo was born.

The band released their 2013 EP "Zen Cave Mojo" and followed up with a Motif Magazine Best Americana Act Nomination in 2015. Over the past years, in the secrecy of the mystical Zen Cave, the members of Longshot Voodoo have begun to tap into the spiritual realms of Roots Music and folklore inspiring the eclectic sounds of their forthcoming album “Voodoo Radio”.




Rhode Island’s hometown Cajun band, Magnolia, has been a favorite in New England since 1989! They’ve long favored the traditional dancehall style of driving two-steps and smooth waltzes with soulful French vocals, learning from some of Louisiana’s fines musicians. The dance floor is always full when Magnolia’s in town!

Alan Bradbury on accordion, Michelle Kaminsky and Chris Ash on fiddles, Maggie Moniz on guitar, Martin Grosswendt on bass, and Richie Moniz on triangle, and Jack Ezikovich on drums.

Planet Zydeco


PLANET ZYDECO captures the essence of traditional rural-style accordion-driven dance music as it is played in zydeco clubs and dance halls in southwest Louisiana today.


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