AN APPALACHIAN SUMMER FESTIVAL
Music - Dance - Theatre - Visual Arts - Film
Dobro master and 13-time Grammy-award winner Jerry Douglas is to the resonator guitar what Jimi Hendrix was to the electric guitar: elevating, transforming, and reinventing the instrument in countless ways. In addition to being widely recognized as the foremost master of the Dobro, Jerry Douglas is a freewheeling, forward-thinking recording artist whose artistry incorporates elements of bluegrass, country, rock, jazz, blues and Celtic into his distinctive musical vision.
The renegade traditionalists of Mipso – Jacob Sharp on mandolin, Joseph Terrell on guitar, Libby Rodenbough on fiddle and Wood Robinson on double bass -- are doing their part to take three-part harmony and Appalachian influences into new territory. Formed in Chapel Hill in 2010, these musicians draw continual inspiration from their rich North Carolina roots.
Called "dobro's matchless contemporary master," by The New York Times, thirteen-time Grammy winner Jerry Douglas is one of the most innovative recording artists in music, both as a solo artist and member of groundbreaking bands including J.D. Crowe & the New South, the Country Gentlemen, Boone Creek, and Strength In Numbers. Douglas’ distinctive sound graces more than 1500 albums, including discs released by Garth Brooks, Paul Simon, James Taylor, Elvis Costello, Earl Scruggs, and Ray Charles, among many others.
Since 1998, he's been a key member of “Alison Krauss and Union Station featuring Jerry Douglas,” touring extensively and co-producing and playing on a series of platinum albums. He has produced albums for Krauss, the Del McCoury Band, Maura O’Connell, and Jesse Winchester and is is co-Music Director of the acclaimed BBC TV series Transatlantic Sessions, and his latest solo album Traveler features guest appearances by such notable friends as Paul Simon, Mumford & Sons, and Eric Clapton, among others.
When Mipso’s 2013 debut, Dark Holler Pop, rose to #8 on Billboard’s Bluegrass charts, the success surprised a lot of people – Mipso’s four members included. “Well, we didn’t know so many people would buy it,” laughs mandolin player Jacob Sharp, “and we definitely didn’t know we were a bluegrass band.”
Since then, Mipso has performed over 300 shows and welcomed frequent collaborator Libby Rodenbough’s voice and fiddle to the fold – and has continued to grow as musicians and songwriters, while drawing continual inspiration from their rich North Carolina roots. Their new album, Old Time Reverie – produced by Mandolin Orange’s Andrew Marlin – is a reflection of that musical and personal growth: a gripping, mature sophomore release that finds the quartet expanding their sonic resources while doubling down on their experimentation with string band tradition.
While the instrumentation on the acclaimed Dark Holler Pop embraced North Carolina’s bluegrass heritage head-on, Old Time Reverie finds Mipso shifting their focus away from bluegrass, introducing new instruments and textures to create a distinctly different sound. Clawhammer banjo out of 1920s early country music meets atmospheric electric organ (played by Josh Oliver of The Everybodyfields) more native to 1970s pop. Add imaginative songwriting and a group cohesion gained from two years of near-constant touring, and the resulting sound is powerfully rhythmic, lyrically sharp, and woven with beautiful four-part harmonies.
Before forming Mipso, Jacob Sharp (mandolin), Joseph Terrell (guitar), Wood Robinson (bass), and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle) were just classmates at UNC-Chapel Hill, where the experience of singing together in harmony drew them together. The sound of their blended voices remains one of the band’s hallmarks. Since those college jam sessions, the four have entered a new phase of life, one where the work of making music – and the work of living – has become a more complicated affair. Many of the songs on Old Time Reverie grapple with the moral ambiguity that comes with keeping hope in a difficult world and making sense of its contradictions.