A tenor with a clear voice and wide range, MacDonald is often cited for both his musicality and the content of his songs about political and social events: “Rod MacDonald is a brilliant folk singer and composer. His melodic songs possess words that go straight into your heart and soul.”The Press Of Atlantic City….“A poet with a lot on his mind who has never allowed himself to make points at the expense of making music.” The Boston Globe….“True to the folk tradition, MacDonald is not afraid to get political, take chances, and perhaps shock some people….MacDonald’s place in the folk hall of fame is assured by his ‘A Sailor’s Prayer,’ a hymn-styled tune that many people have mistaken for a traditional song.” All-Music Guide.Although usually labeled a folk singer, his musical styles include rock, pop, country, light jazz, and blues. In addition to his work in Greenwich Village, he has written extensively of experiences on US Indian reservations and in Europe, living in Italy from 1989 to 1992.
MacDonald has released 11 solo recordings on several record labels in the US, 8 in Europe on the Swiss label Brambus, and 21 songs with Smithsonian Folkways (through the Fast Folk Musical Magazine), and appears as lead singer of Big Brass Bed, a Palm Beach County rock and roll band, on 3 cds of Bob Dylan songs and originals. As with many independent artists, his recordings are often sold directly at concerts, and at online sites. His current label is Blue Flute Music.
MacDonald has appeared on stage with fellow artists, including Pete Seeger, Peter Yarrow, Odetta, Tom Paxton, the Violent Femmes, Suzanne Vega, Shawn Colvin, Dave Van Ronk, Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens, Ani DiFranco, Tom Chapin, Jack Hardy and David Massengill. He has performed at festivals in Philadelphia, Winnipeg, Florida, South Florida, Riverhawk, Boston, Kerrville, Greenwich Village, Falcon Ridge, New Bedford Summerfest, Port Fairy (Australia) and Trowbridge (UK), and on the radio program Mountain Stage. He was reportedly the first American singer to tour the newly independent Czech Republic in 1991, and has made 35 tours in Europe since 1985, nearly all of them with NYC bassist Mark Dann.
Rex Blazer's exuberant presence has been energizing dancers nationwide for over 25 years. Rex's powerful and irreverent fiddling blends tradition with a big dose of improvisation based on modern musical motifs. From growling to "trad", blues to singing, it's always full of surprises. Rex ascribes to the theory that life should be a nonstop music and dance party, and is renowned for his knack of matching music to dance.
Rex, who lives somewhere between Montana, Florida, Maine, and Alaska, has been fiddling for 30 years. He grew up in Eastern Kentucky where he was exposed to the music of Jean Ritchie, John Jacob Niles, and other local Appalachian influences at an early age. He attended high school in Austin, Texas in the early 70's, which brought an appreciation of "the Austin Sound" (Delta Blues, Cajun,"Texas country", Western Swing) as it was developing.
Rex started playing bluegrass fiddle in Montana in the 70's and played in numerous bluegrass bands there before briefly attending the South Plains College Country and Bluegrass music program -- until he discovered traditional fiddle tunes and dance. This love of traditional dance music led him to Cape Breton in 1983 where he studied for a year under Carl MacKenzie and Kyle MacNeill.
Subsequently Rex has actively studied many diverse great fiddlers, with a focus on contemporary dance related styles and tunes - Cajun & Zydeco, Quebecoise, Irish, Old-Time, Scottish, Bluegrass, Country, Blues, Swing, & Rock. He currently focuses on touring with the dance band LIFT TICKET as well as playing recording and performance projects with singer-songwriters, fiddle in country and rock bands, and solo work for receptions, weddings, and other private engagements.
Bill Walach’s chosen voice has been the mandolin for more than 30 years. In his musical journeys he has played folk, folk rock, contradance, country, old time, blues, standards, swing, jazz-world music fusion, and classical music. He has commissioned and premiered pieces from such diverse composers as Vaclav Nelhybel and Ornette Coleman. Bill writes music both for mandolin and larger ensembles. He is a strong advocate for the idea that the mandolin has its place in all music, both acoustic and electric.
Ben Childs and The Wails are a band that having learned both the tools of their trade and a little about themselves, have come together to tell stories of the swirls and eddies of life love fortune and fate. Their music and records will take you on a journey through time using narratives based in both their own lives and the common experience. Don't forget to pack your dancing shoes!
The Wails consist of Rocky Rucker, Ben
Stokes and Ben Childs. All musicians well versed in both live and recorded music they are aiming to truly express themselves through this their newest and most significant project to date.
Musicians: Ben Childs, Rocky Rucker, Ben Stokes and Virgil Price III