2019 Reno Uke Fest Lineup!
Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer
Workshops, Jams, Saturday Concert Finale
“As close to flawless folk-bluegrass as it gets.” ~ Billboard Magazine
I can’t think of a better headliner for an “Acoustic Faire” than two-time Grammy® Award Winners, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer. They are master musicians with a career spanning over 35 years. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on ukulele, guitar, five-string banjo, mandolin, cello-banjo, and many other instruments. An eclectic folk festival on their own terms, their repertoire ranges from classic country to western swing, gypsy jazz to bluegrass, and old-time string band to contemporary folk including some original gems. Their versatility defies a brief description, perhaps “well rounded Americana” does it best.
Cathy & Marcy are happily known as “social music conductors,” ready to start a jam session or sing-a-long on a moment’s notice. They have entertained the Queen of Thailand, performed at hundreds of festivals, and appeared on the “Today Show” and on National Public Radio.
Workshops, “Swing Thing” Band Leader
Casey MacGill performs music that swings. Nat “King” Cole Trio meets the Mills Brothers. Fats Waller meets Fats Domino. Slim Galliard meets Fred Astaire. It is American music of many decades and no decade in particular, all happening at the same time, woven into a seamless, beautiful whole. He plays boogie-woogie, swing, and stride piano and blows a lyrical jazz cornet. But his most unique instrumental voice is a 6-string steel body resonator ukulele.
Casey is the heart and soul of the band and is a classic Hollywood character in appearance and style. MacGill has been singing and arranging vocal harmonies for over 40 years, in a career that stretches from feature films in Los Angeles (“Frances” and “Swing Shift”), to The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, to Broadway.
Casey will lead our Swing Thing Band, backed by Gerald Ross on ukulele and Hawaiian steel guitar, James on double bass, and Rick Metz on saxophone, and the workshops we have planned will be highly enjoyable!
Workshops, “Guitars & Ukes” Performances
Daniel Ho has been a festival regular for me and for good reason! It’s hard to list his accomplishments in one breath! Six-time Grammy® Award Winner, World Music Trailblazer, Yamaha clinician, singer, songwriter, ukulele virtuoso, slack key guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger, singer-songwriter, producer, audio engineer, record company owner, and more. He is the designer of the iconic Romero Creations Tiny Tenor ukulele and Ohana Bongolele and Shakerlele. His custom-designed six-string ‘ukulele is on exhibit at the GRAMMY Museum at LA Live.
This year, Daniel and I are designing a interactive, educational tour we call “Guitars & Ukuleles,” that will blend the two worlds through ukulele instruction and group performance with some of the finest guitarists on earth. On Saturday, Daniel and Muriel Anderson will give a sneak peek at a portion of this project and Daniel will teach workshops previewing the extended classes that will be part of the project.
Workshops & Swing Thing Band
Gerald Ross is one of the finest instrumentalists on the scene today. Whether he is playing the guitar, the ukulele, or the Hawaiian steel guitar, his music expresses a sense of rhythm and melody that is rare in contemporary music. His musical virtuosity and entertaining mix of swing, blues, Hawaiian, American roots music and Tin Pan Alley are a joy to hear. And eclectic? When the mood strikes him, he’ll pick up the Cajun accordion, mandolin, bass, banjo, harmonica, charango and, as mentioned, the ukulele.
Gerald has performed in concert with Bonnie Raitt, Arlo Guthrie, Doc Watson, Johnny Gimble, Riders In The Sky, Brownie McGhee, and many others. He appears in the award winning film documentaries “The Mighty Uke” and the PBS syndicated “Wheatland – The First 40 Years” and has appeared many times on “A Prairie Home Companion.”
Dead Man’s Uke
Workshops & Various Performances TBA
I stumbled across the incomparable “Dead Man’s Uke” at the Ukulele Festival of Great Britain in 2017 and immediately began devising plans to have them visit our festival. Dead Man’s Uke is the father and son team of Tim and Jake Smithies and they are definitely a one-of-a-kind (two-of-a-kind?) entertainment phenom, with big daddy Tim on vocals and uke and the impeccably dressed Jake on double bass. Their name comes from a celebrity that Tim and I both appreciate much: Tim’s resonator ukulele once belonged to the legendary Tiny Tim and was played by him up until his death in 1996.
Although they won’t be an “official” part of the festival lineup, they will be over here on a business trip and they’ve volunteered to show off their stuff! We’ll figure out their schedule and keep you all posted—you won’t want to miss them!
Workshops & Performance TBA
Dani Joy is a California based singer/songwriter/instructor and Ko’aloha Ukulele featured artist. She is also an accomplished music instructor, following a legacy left by the Herreid family and most especially her Dad, my old friend Stu. I have watched her mature as an artist, a songwriter, and an instructor and I’m proud to include her in my festivals whenever I can because she’s a truly talented individual. If you’re a newer player, you’ll definitely want to get under Dani’s wing—she’ll lead you down the power path!
Her world-influenced style is soothing, romantic and fun, blending vintage jazz with latin rhythms and contemporary classics. She is most noted for her crooning alto vocals and tasteful fingerpicking accompaniment. She performs with Perry Stauffer on Double Bass, who adds a brilliant fullness to their act. Watch for Dani Joy & Perry throughout the festival.
Workshops & Performances TBA
Muriel Anderson is a good friend and a great guitarist. She deserves national recognition. ~ Chet Atkins
Just one hell of a great player…the touch that Muriel has…the way she plays it is like we all wish to play. ~ Les Paul
Muriel is key to the “Acoustic Faire” portion of our festival. She’s brilliant on the harp-guitar and acoustic guitar and uses right hand techniques that I truly want to have her offer to the ukulele community. As I mentioned in the opening description for the festival, there are techniques that could be used in the ukulele that aren’t because they are thought of as pertaining to other instruments. Muriel will present an entire new dimension to your right hand playing. Classical tremolo, bluegrass banjo style, Clawhammer, and Travis picking are but a few from her “50 Right Hand Techniques” course that can be applied innovatively to ukulele.
Muriel will also perform in our Saturday night concert finale and she and Daniel Ho will give a preview of our upcoming Guitars & Ukes project.
Workshop: Composing Melodies & Soundtracks.
Performance: Friday May 3, 2:30PM
In my quest to add new unique content to my festivals every year, I am very excited to announce that the brilliant Atlantic and 20th Century Fox Records and CBS Television composer, songwriter, and performer John Batdorf will be teaching a Composing Melodies class on Thursday and Friday.
John and his partner, Mark Rodney were discovered by legendary co-founder and president of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun (Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Ray Charles, BB King, The Rascals, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.) Batdorf & Rodney were one of Ertegun’s favorite acts and he personally produced their first albums at Muscle Shoals. Batdorf & Rodney became staples in the soft rock era from 1970-75, playing regularly with Bread, America, Poco, and other major acts of the day.
After B&R, John wrote songs covered by America, Dan Seals, Kim Carnes, and others then began composing for television, creating source music and orchestral cues for Touched By an Angel, Promised Land and the TV movie, Book Of Days.
John’s voice is also sought after, resulting in two spectacular CDs with James Lee Stanley of Rolling Stones songs completely re-arranged for acoustic guitar and voice. John was also a central vocalist in Adele’s backing choir at the 2015 Academy Awards, and his lead vocals can be heard in last year’s blockbuster movie Marvel’s Guardian’s Of The Galaxy ll.
If you’d like to compose your own melodies for ukulele, you won’t want to miss John’s workshop or performance!