2018 Winter concert series
Tuesday, January 23, Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band
Josh Ritter & the Royal City Band with special guest Nicki Bluhm will perform for the first time in Sisters and Central Oregon. Josh Ritter‘s acclaimed 20-year career as a songwriter and musician reaches new heights with the release of his ninth full-length album, “Gathering.” Along with his loyal bandmates, the Royal City Band, Josh returned to the studio with more songs than he’d ever had before at one time. Reenergized after a recent collaboration with legendary musician Bob Weir (who also contributes vocals and guitar to a song on Gathering) and – at the same time – tired of living in the shadow of his earlier self, Josh felt charged with exploring the possibility of cutting himself loose from his own and others’ expectations. In his words, “I began with an exciting sense of dissatisfaction, and what emerged, as I began to find my voice, was a record full of storms. I still can’t tell what era these stories are from. They feel part roustabout, part psalm to me.” Ritter is considered one of the 100 best living songwriters, a musician, a New York Times best-selling author, a painter, a consummate performer. Josh Ritter encompasses all of these descriptors and more. He is a true artist. One who is not afraid of growing, changing and constantly challenging earlier versions of himself. Here, two decades into his storied career, Josh Ritter is just getting started.
Monday, February 12, We Banjo 3
The band, from Galway, Ireland that plays a blend of traditional Irish, old time, bluegrass and have pioneered the term “Celtgrass.” The band is composed of two sets of brothers, Enda and Fergal Scahill and Martin and David Howley. The members of the band have been highly successful in the competitive music field with Martin winning seven All Ireland titles on the banjo and Enda capturing the award four times. Fergal and David have likewise been honored, earning All Ireland titles on the banjo, fiddle, bodhrán and guitar. In 2016, the band was selected to play for President Barack Obama and Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the annual “Friends of Ireland” luncheon held in Washington, DC around Saint Patrick’s Day. President Obama praised the band’s show, calling it, “Great music. Incredible performance.” Earle Hitchner, music-writer for The Wall Street Journal, described their playing as “freshness and finesse bordering on the magical,” and Live Ireland proclaimed them “the hottest group in Irish music…”
Their debut album, “Roots of the Banjo Tree,” was released in 2012 and was named “Traditional Music Album of the Year” by The Irish Times. This was followed by the release of Gather the Good in 2014. Siobhan Long, music critic for The Irish Times, writes “We Banjo 3 are a musical Betty Ford Clinic, almost singlehandedly rehabilitating the much-maligned banjo in 4 short years.” In 2016 the band released their fourth album, “String Theory,” which debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. They are wildly entertaining and coming back to Sisters after being on the bill for the cancelled 2017 Festival.
March 14 Darlingside with Henry Jamison
On Wednesday, March 14 the final show in the series will feature crowd favorite Darlingside, with Henry Jamison, celebrating their brand-new record, “Extralife.” The last time Darlingside played Central Oregon, Sisters Folk Festival produced the show at the Tower Theater.
The word “extraordinary” is defined as something beyond, amazing, or incredible. The word “extralife” doesn’t exist. But in the world of Darlingside – another previously non-existent word – it’s all about invention, expansion, and elevating everything into the realm of the extraordinary both conceptually and through musical performance.
The band’s new album intensifies the journey begun on its critically acclaimed 2015 album, “Birds Say.” On that project, Darlingside’s quartet of bassist Dave Senft, guitarist/banjoist Don Mitchell, violinist/mandolinist Auyon Mukharji, and cellist/guitarist Harris Paseltiner fused assertions (“Go Back”), assumptions (“God Of Loss”), predictions (“The Ancestor”), projections (“Do You Ever Live?”) and reflections (“White Horses”). “We put our heads together and created this collective consciousness about bits and pieces from our past and how we saw the world based upon reminiscences,” explains Paseltiner about that sojourn. Birds Say mastered a musical and lyrical path that led to the more challenging territory explored on Extralife. Mukharji describes the Extralife concept as “…a life beyond where we are now, whether that’s a brand new thing, a rebirth, or just a new version of ourselves as we move forward.” So by abandoning Birds Say’s nostalgia and its tales of “what once was,” Darlingside created its polar opposite with Extralife, the new album exploring “what is now” and “what might be” simultaneously in the brave new world. Darlingside continues to push the boundaries of genre-expanding music with stunning harmonies, progressive, thought-provoking lyrics and intensely creative live shows.
Tickets can only be purchased online or at the door. Series passes are $60 for adults, $35 for youth 18 and under. Tickets are also available for individual shows. Tickets are $5 more at the door if available. All shows are at the Sisters High School auditorium, and start at 7 p.m.