2023 Sugar Pine Artist Bios:
Here it is, right on time. Unify. The eighth studio album from Lettuce, it’s also a third consecutive record made at Denver’s Colorado Sound Studios, completing a loose trilogy starting with 2019’s Grammy-nominated Elevate, and continuing with 2020’s Resonate. “Dealing with the pandemic, being in separate places, trying to survive without our best friends, without touring, not to mention the political divide in this country,” says Lettuce drummer Adam Deitch. “We really needed to unify.”
Reunited with Colorado Sound’s esteemed engineer, Jesse O’Brien, Unify is a totally collaborative effort full of the highest of highlights, including its centerpiece track “Keep That Funk Alive,” inspired by the venerable Parliament-Funkadelic bassist, Bootsy Collins, and featuring Collins on bass and vocals. It’s, as well, a benchmark moment for the sextet- Adam Deitch (drums), Ryan Zoidis (saxophone), Adam Smirnoff (guitar), Erick Coomes (bass), Nigel Hall (keyboards/vocals), Eric ‘Benny’ Bloom (trumpet)- approaching thirty years since its humble Boston beginnings.
“We’re just getting tighter and tighter,” says Coomes. “Really, these are the first records made with the six of us as a team, and it’s the best the band has ever been: live and in the studio; the funkiest and the most fun.”
16 songs. Pure Lettuce. Unify will teleport you to a funky galaxy far, far away, where all life coexists as one in peace, love, harmony, and music!
Mike Campbell & the Dirty Knobs
Mike Campbell was a member, architect and co-captain of the Heartbreakers, a band he co-founded with Tom Petty, whom he met in a Gainesville, Florida carport in 1972.
The Heartbreakers lead guitarist, Campbell co-wrote many of the Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers hits and also co-produced many of their albums – in addition to penning songs for Don Henley (“Boys of Summer”), Bob Dylan, Stevie Nicks and playing on records by Aretha Franklin, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash.
In 2018, Campbell joined Fleetwood Mac’s World Tour on lead guitar and in 2020, Campbell released Wreckless Abandon, the first album by The Dirty Knobs, a group that was Campbell longtime side project but is now his primary musical focus.
Mike Campbell & The Dirty Knobs released their second LP External Combustion in 2022 and toured the USA, including runs opening for both Chris Stapleton and The Who.
Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe
In 2023, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe celebrate their 25th anniversary as a band.
KDTU has electrified audiences around the world from the fields of Naeba in Japan at the infamous Fuji Rock Festival to the hallowed stage of Madison Square Garden where they previously joined the Dave Matthews Band and The Godfather of Soul, James Brown. From performing as Sexual Chocolate (Karl was in the original band in the movie Coming To America and its sequel) at the Outside Lands Music festival in San Francisco, to being the first late night act at the inaugural Bonnaroo festival, KDTU have been a dominating force in music for the past 25 years.
All-night, sold-out concerts during Jazzfest in New Orleans have featured sit ins by everyone from Lenny Kravitz & Steve Winwood (with whom Karl has recorded and toured) to avant garde luminaries Marc Ribot & Boyfriend. Chuck Leavell and Bernard Fowler (Karl’s bandmates in The Rolling Stones where Karl replaced the great Bobby Keys as saxophonist in 2014) have joined onstage and on record, as have Lukas Nelson, John Oates, Michael Franti, Warren Haynes, Ivan Neville, Anders Osborne, Big Daddy Kane, Roy Hargrove, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley, Joshua Redman, Marcus King, and Bernie Worrell, among others.
Touring the country with the Allman Brothers, My Morning Jacket, D’Angelo, The Roots, Public Enemy, Bob Weir of The Grateful Dead, Parliament Funkadelic, Slightly Stoopid, Widespread Panic, very few concert goers have been untouched by the Tiny Universe live. In addition to KDTU, Karl Denson aka “Diesel” is a founding member of the seminal groove act The Greyboy Allstars.
ALO stands for Animal Liberation Orchestra—because music liberates the inner animal, of course. As liberated as they come, Zach Gill, Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz, and Steve Adams have certainly been at this a long time. The trio met while still pre-teens in Saratoga, California, where they quickly connected through their love of music and sound.
In junior high, they got the idea to put together a band for the eighth-grade talent show. Zach recounts the struggle of the emerging artist thusly: “It’s hard to get all the pieces right, you know, you’re chasing a dream and an abstract vision, and you’re going through puberty. It’s kind of a lot.” Lebo elaborates, “We met at a time in our lives where we were coming of age and craving identity. Music, and more specifically, our band, gave us a vessel with which we could “set sail” on the ocean of life”.
And the rest is history, but history is always a crooked path. You end up where you belong, but the journey is never quite what you expected when you took the first step. 25 years in, Gill (keyboards/vocals), Lebo (guitar/vocals), Adams (bass, vocals) and “new-guy” – Bay Area drum legend-in-training Ezra Lipp (drums, vocals) have recorded their greatest work to date. Quite simpy, this is what happens when the band doesn’t break up – the culmination of a lifetime of shared effort and camaraderie. Four master collaborators at the peak of their craft individually and collectively with nothing left to prove – near-telepathic cohesion.
These guys have played with everybody. From royalty like Phil Lesh and members of the Grateful Dead to SoCal surf-troubadour Jack Johnson, if the show happened in California, you’ll almost always find one of them in the corner of the shot and, sometimes, even in the center.
But you don’t really hear it all until you hear them together. And it urges repeat listening, because it’s a rich stew that only fully reveals itself with time, attention, a few tears, and a lot of love.
ALO call their music “jam-pop,” and the description is apt. Meticulously crafted, hooky and accessible compositions laced with improvisational departures in which they function as a single organism at once voice and consciousness. They’re always exploring, but never wandering. There is always intention, momentum, and a patience and confidence that can only be wrought from a quarter century of collaboration and water under the bridge.
The band’s new full-length album “Silver Saturdays” is a celebration of that crooked path, of having lived through a turbulent phase of human history, and of the winding road still to come.
Won’t you join us for the ride?
Garcia Grisman Tribute
Garcia Grisman – Revisited
There’s a place, deep in the cosmos, where jam bands and electronic dance music intersect with rhythm-driven funk. You’ll feel like you’re floating here but not lost completely to the atmospheric elements. Instead, you’re tethered to an avant-garde spaceship with Colorado-based SunSquabi on the frequency. This cosmic wonderland is a melting pot of a variety of musical genres and it represents the future of music.
A three-piece suit – SunSquabi has been catching the eyes and ears of music fans around the world with their ever-evolving sound in the studio and on the live stage. SunSquabi has gained national attention for their unique way of producing music. The band’s live show can be described as an ‘Electronic Hydro Funk Experience’ that is different every single time out. SunSquabi continues to break down and analyze the expectations of what a “Live-Electronic” band should be. The band unveiled their newest album ‘Instinct’ in January of 2019. The 10 track LP finds the band at their highest peak as they have been dedicated to the metamorphosis of capturing elements in their live performances in the studio as improvisational jams have been fleshed out into full-blown songs and staples in their repertoire.
Combining the talents of Kevin Donohue (guitars/keys/production) Josh Fairman (bassist/synth) and Chris Anderson (drums). This project is a disciplined and structured group. It takes a seasoned musician to stay in the pocket for the sake of building well-developed lines and climaxes. To do that seamlessly requires patience and skill. “It’s kinda like breathing, honestly. We can communicate directly with each other both verbally and non-verbally, onstage and off.” That connection will take the music collectively where we all want to go.” – Kevin Donohue
Based in the rustic Kootenay mountains of Western Canada, Nathan Gurley and Sean Rodman of nationally renowned electro-folk duo Moontricks draw inspiration from the ongoing cycles of the natural world. Both volatile and constant—like nature’s best offerings—the band finds solace and beauty in the fusion of seemingly disparate elements. There’s a kind of technicolor campfire quality to their uniquely hybrid sound: Each track is steeped in tradition and polished with a futuristic sheen, mixing organic folk, roots rock, and old-time blues with modern electronic production. Since its initial release, the band’s breakout hit “Home” has reached over 5 million streaming plays, and their original tracks have been licensed for a wide range of television networks, including Netflix and Fox Sports. With the release of their debut full-length album Currents, the duo reveals an ever-evolving, cohesive blend of introspective writing, soulful, gritty blues, boot-stomping basslines, and intricate electronic arrangements.
Ron Artis II & the Truth
Jennifer Hartswick Band
Trumpeter and vocalist, Jennifer Hartswick is one of the most exciting performers in music today. She exudes confidence and joy and brings her own refreshing spirit to the stage every time she performs. Jennifer’s music is honest, soulful and comes with a maturity far beyond her years.
Hartswick is an original member of the Trey Anastasio Band and has recorded/shared the stage with Herbie Hancock, Phish, Christian McBride, Tom Petty, Aaron Neville, Carlos Santana, The Rolling Stones, Big Gigantic, Dave Matthews and countless others.
Jennifer’s live performances are renowned as spontaneous, joyful and contagious. Her natural charisma and sincerity shines through, and each performance is a celebration of musical collaboration. And whether she is wailing on the trumpet or singing an intimate vocal solo, her performance is all part of a single seamless instrument, one that is played not only with astounding technical proficiency, but also with sensitivity, conviction and heart.
Hailing from Humboldt County, deep in the redwoods of California… Diggin Dirt is an undeniable force in the West Coast funk scene. With a deeply original sound and a reputation for high energy performance, this premier ensemble is a captivating act not to be missed.
Eddie Roberts & the Lucky Strokes
In addition to recording and touring the world with John Mayall since 2018, Carolyn has recently signed to Alligator Records and has been on the top of the Blues, Americana, and Alt Country charts, gathering critical acclaim for her Dave Alvin produced “Tempting Fate” album, released October 2021! Carolyn has 2 nominations in The Blues Foundation’s 43rd Blues Music Awards, Contemporary Blues Female Artist, and Song of the Year – “Fragile Peace and Certain War”!!!
Dead Winter Carpenters
Hailing from North Lake Tahoe, CA, americana/roots rock band Dead Winter Carpenters has built a reputation for pouring their heart and soul into each performance. Over the past decade,
the band has worked hard to position themselves, wrote Portland Metronome, “at the forefront
of a youthful generation trying to redefine what string music is and what it can do.” That progressive nature shines through loud and clear on the band’s latest release “Sinners ‘n’
Freaks” which debuted on April 24th, 2020. The 5-song EP is DWC’s fifth studio effort and
coincided with the band’s 10th anniversary. The release is a celebration of the hard roads
previously traveled and the road that lies ahead. Recorded in January 2020 at Baxter’s Ranch
in Auburn, CA, the band found a masterful ally with a keen ear and sensibility in studio
owner/engineer Matt Baxter. Born of an organic, roots based approach, Sinners ‘n’ Freaks rings
true to the Sierra Nevada foothills.
The band’s fourth studio project, Washoe, is a 12-song collection of originals recorded in Reno’s
Sierra Sonics Studio (Ozzy Ozbourne, Eminem, Dr. Dre, Collective Soul) and co-produced by
Dead Winter Carpenters and Zachary Girdis. The band’s previous albums include the group’s
2010 self-titled debut, Ain’t It Strange (2012), and the much-acclaimed Dirt Nap (2014). They
also released a single “Roller Coaster” in the summer of 2018 featuring alt-country hero Jackie
Green on organ.
Reminiscent of genre-benders like Jack White, Chris Thile, and Sam Bush, Dead Winter
Carpenters harmoniously blend refined musical ability with a scarcely restrained tendency to let
it all hang out. The result is a controlled burn, a riveting sound, and a connection with fans that
sells out shows and has the band sharing stages with the likes of Jason Isbell, Easton Corbin,
Greensky Bluegrass, Rising Appalachia, The Infamous Stringdusters and Hard Working
Members include Jesse Dunn (acoustic guitar, vocals), Jenni Charles (fiddle, vocals), Nick
Swimley (lead telecaster guitar, vocals), Brian Huston (drums, vocals), and Jeremy Plog (bass,
vocals). A steadily touring band since forming in 2010, Dead Winter Carpenters has entertained
growing crowds at notable festivals including High Sierra Music Festival, Strawberry Music
Festival, California Worldfest (CA), DelFest (MD), Northwest String Summit (OR), Harvest Music
Festival (AR), WinterWonderGrass (CA and CO), Hangtown Music Festival (CA) and more.
Dead Winter Carpenters is a band engrained with ambition, talent, and authenticity. Look for
them to continue to delight – and invite – fans from many music camps.
Honey Island Swamp Band
The Honey Island Swamp Band are a thrilling, eclectic band that defies genre conventions,
renders song structures elastic, and wholeheartedly stresses that the song reigns supreme.
Since they formed in 2005 in San Francisco after their displacement from New Orleans via
Katrina — and subsequently relocated back home — the band has evolved to embody
contemporary roots music.
The fivesome — bandleader and multi-instrumentalist Aaron Wilkinson, guitarist and vocalist
Lee Yankee, bassist Sam Price, keyboardist Chris Spies, and drummer and vocalist Garland
Paul — is about to release their most satisfying, consolidative album to date: Custom Deluxe,
out October 27 on Color Red Music.
Songs like the kinetic “High River Rag,” authoritative “Wildfire” and blues-rocking “Sugar For
Sugar” display these musical omnivores at a new zenith.
“We’re definitely melody-driven, vocal-driven, lyric-driven,” Wilkinson explains of the Honey
Island Swamp Band’s modus operandi at this juncture, with Custom Deluxe. “We like
something that’s new, yet sounds like it could have been a hit that you didn’t know about.”
Boot Juice hails from the Hills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains in Northern California. The band features electric and acoustic guitars, three vocalists, bass, drums, saxophone and trumpet. Inspired by the likes of The Band and Railroad Earth with an intensely energetic show reminiscent of Talking Heads, Boot Juice has been gaining buzz with their vibrant performances and party-sparking reputation. Shifting effortlessly between driving bluegrass and americana into cosmic rock’n’roll and swing. They deliver three part vocal harmonies and dynamic instrumental arrangements with a sultry dose of blues and soul. The collective effect leaves crowds little choice but to shake it down on the dance floor.
Boot Juice has been kicking around the west since 2017, leaving audiences happy, and dance floors sticky. They have kept an ambitious tour schedule, hitting the road in their 96’ International school bus, constantly adding to their ever-growing resume of festival and club appearances. Founding members Connor Herdt (acoustic guitar and vocals) and Evan Daly (electric guitar and vocals) have been friends since childhood. The two have been playing music together since their teenage years, combining their respective passions for americana and rock’n’roll songwriting with a desire to create a big sound that feels right at home in a barroom or on a large festival stage. Brett Worley (bass wizard) not only holds down the low end, he is also Evan’s cousin and has been touring with the band since the beginning. Brett’s melodic bass style has become a signature of the Boot Juice sound. Jess Stoll (vocals and artwork) joined the band shortly after, bringing another lead and backing voice to the group for deeply layered harmonies. She wears many hats for the band, acting as the artistic director for all of the band’s design concepts and providing the vision and drive necessary for a big production. Billy D. Thompson (drums) has been a staple of the Sacramento music scene for the past decade, graduating from Sacramento State University with a degree in Jazz Drum Performance. Billy brings his soul and funk influence into the Americana realm, adding yet another dimension to the band’s sound. In 2019 Boot Juice came into it’s full current lineup with the addition of its horn section. Caleb Sanders (alto and tenor saxophone), Matt Vollmer (Trumpet and Trombone) and Micah Marmorstein (trumpet) bring an infectious energy and tight horn harmonies to the stage, making it tough not to dance. It’s not uncommon to see these guys hanging off the rafters or running into the crowd by the end of the night.
Boot Juice plays music that will attempt to bring you to the street corner, the river side, or the open highway. They released their debut LP album, Speaking in Tones, in May 2019 and followed in March 2021 with their second record, Shifting gears. The group’s third LP, The Right Place, will be released in October 2023.
Broken Compass Bluegrass
Emerging as a band in 2021, Broken Compass Bluegrass has already been recognized for their tight arrangements, tasteful musicianship, & distinguished songwriting skills. Their fretboard mastery & angelic harmonies add extra depth and dimension to their live shows which captivate their audiences. Creative and melodic original works are intertwined with a unique perspective of your favorite cover songs.
Based in northern California, Broken Compass Bluegrass includes Sam Jacobs, Kyle Ledson, Django Ruckrich, & Mei Lin Heirendt. Though still in their youth, they are no strangers to the music industry. All four musicians are seasoned performers, multi-instrumentalists, songwriters, & singers and have established themselves as some of California’s most prominent up-and-coming artists. Now coming together as a band, they are a fresh force in the music scene. BCB has already found their way to the stage of many iconic music festivals including High Sierra, Strawberry, Winter WonderGrass, Hang Town, Northwest String Summit, & Hog Farm Hideaway and they’re ecstatic to add the inaugural Sugar Pine Music Festival to that list!
Starting in 2015 from a front porch in the college town of Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Armchair Boogie can be defined by their pickin’ skills and infectious grooves. Augie Dougherty (banjo, vocals) and Ben Majeska (guitar, vocals) began playing under the name before becoming complete with the addition of Eli Frieders (bass) and solidification of Denzel Connor (drums) as the driving rhythm section behind a bluegrass, up-tempo, jammin-funkgrass outfit.
In the spring of 2018 Armchair Boogie moved to Madison, WI and released their first album. During this time they began touring around Wisconsin, the Midwest, and across America. Their journeys on the road have led them to stages such as Blue Ox, Northwest String Summit, John Hartford Memorial Festival, Summer Camp, and Live on King Street. They’ve had the honor to share the stage with The Infamous Stringdusters, Horseshoes and Hand Grenades, The Dead South, Kitchen Dwellers, Pert Near Sandstone, Trout Steak Revival, and have jammed with many more.
With the help of a loving and dedicated following, the group was able to successfully crowdfund their album, “What Does Time Care?”, which was released on October 11, 2019.
Be warned: if you’re looking to listen to the Boogie Boys, drink some water, eat a banana, do some stretches, and be ready to boogie the night away.
Grateful Bluegrass Boys
Grateful Bluegrass Boys are an acoustic string band from the Santa Cruz/SF Bay Area.
Their primary mission is to get the audience singing and dancing along to beloved songs one might…or might not expect from a string band. Their first CD includes songs by Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, Led Zeppelin, Johnny Nash, The Eagles, and the Grateful Dead.
While the name of the band references the Grateful Dead, gratitude is at the core of the band. They feel incredibly fortunate to play music for people all over the country and keep their set lists fresh and diverse. Recent shows include music by Ray Charles, Dire Straits, Neil Young, the Cars and more!
The band also has a healthy respect for traditional Bluegrass and one can expect fiddle tunes and raucous Bluegrass songs.
The band fits in perfectly at Bluegrass Festivals, Jam Band festivals, and art centers.
They have shared the stage with Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, Lukas Nelson, Bill Nershi, and many more incredible musicians.
Salty Sally is Lucy Khadder, MK Martinez-Griffith, Naima Nascimento and Sophia Sparks. Formed in 2022, the band has already been recognized for its powerful vocals, accomplished instrumental skills and inventive arrangements. They play distinctive originals and covers from bluegrass, folk, jazz, country and other styles. Members of Salty Sally have been featured in several other bands, on studio albums, and at major festival performances. Ages 13-16, the group met through music camps and classes over the years, and now all attend a performing arts school in the San Francisco Bay Area. You can find them on Instagram and YouTube at @saltysallyband.
Lucy Khadder is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter who performs in several bluegrass and contemporary bands and jazz ensembles. She has played at festivals and major music venues, including IBMA’s World of Bluegrass, DelFest, and High Sierra Music Festival. She currently attends Oakland School for the Arts, where she studies jazz violin.
MK Martinez Griffith is a cellist and violinist who studies at Oakland School for the Arts. She has played with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra, Mariachi Juvenil de Hayward, and will tour with the Oakland Symphony Youth Orchestra during 2023. Her musical mentors include Mads Tolling, Megan Lynch Chowning, and Tashina and Tristan Clarridge.
Naima Nascimento is a vocalist, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. She is the lead vocalist for the Oaktown Jazz performance group and one of the leads in the Encore choir at Oakland School for the Arts. Naima has been featured in Rolling Stone Magazine and on Access Hollywood for her original song supporting BLM.
Sophia Sparks was drawn to the mandolin at the age of eight. Within the year, she was tapped by Sierra Hull to join her on stage. At age 11, Birches Bend formed with friends Jasper Manning and Lucy Khadder, and she’s been performing professionally ever since. She’s currently attends Oakland School for the Arts and studies jazz mandolin.
Emcee Joe Craven
Joe Craven, the “Old Rugged Crossdresser of Hangtown” is also a sound farmer, music producer, educator, carnival barker, and former museologist. For over 40 years, Joe has made a living playing forward folk tradition by reworking it and playing it forward as new music. Joe has recorded and played with Jerry Garcia, David Lindley, David Grisman, Alison Brown, Howard Levy, Vassar Clements, Rob Ickes and many other innovative artists. He is a featured artist/educator in the PBS television series, Music Gone Public, and Joe has created music and sound effects for commercials, soundtracks, computer games and contributions to several Grammy-nominated projects. He’s the Executive Director of Vocáli Voice Camp, WinterTunes and RiverTunes Roots Music Camps in California. He’s a recipient of the Folk Alliance Far-West Performer of the Year Award and the Swannanoa Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award. Joe has also been a Master of Ceremonies at music festivals, including Delfest, Telluride, Wintergrass, High Sierra, Grand Targhee Bluegrass, Live Oak and others. He also a poet and eulogist. He sleeps occasionally. “Joe Craven is magical” – San Francisco Chronicle