Caleb Stine is a songwriter of powerful dimensions who does not simply write songs and make albums, instead he creates experiences through his music that spring to life through his commanding voice that channels the heart of each character that inhabit his songs. The stories that exist in his songs run the full gamut of emotion from joy, to sorrow, to curiosity, to elation. Listening to one of Stine’s albums is a complete emotional journey, an experience beyond simply listening to music.
Charm City Bluegrass Festival, has released its lineup for the sixth annual version of the award winning festival (2016 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Award for Event of the Year and 2015 Best Festival by Baltimore Magazine). Expanding to two days, the event will feature twenty-one bands spread across three stage. It will be headlined by The Travelin’ McCourys and the Devil Makes Three, and feature The Steeldrivers, Jeff Austin Band, Larry Keel Experience, Billy Strings, Caleb Stine, Trout Steak Revival and many others.
The family-friendly festivities will also include local food vendors, adult beverages provided by Union Craft Brewery and Jack’s Hard Cider, artists, kid’s games, crafts, spontaneous jam sessions, and more.
Tickets are available now and include a VIP option. They can be purchased here.
Taking place at Ruins Park in Glen Rock, PA, the 2nd Annual Great Folkgrasss Happenstance Festival highlighted some of the mid-Atlantic’s best and most exciting, upcoming bluegrass and folk bands in one of the most unique locations every chosen to host a festival. Ruins Park is the re-purposed ruins of the historic Enterprise Manufacturing Company’s warehouse. Over the years the historic warehouse deteriorated into a concrete shell. In 2013 in it was transformed into an art and music venue. The walls are continually transformed with every evolving art and murals that decorate the building’s wall. The space is unique in that portions of structure remain, providing a sheltered enclosure that is still open-air. The stages have been built from pieces of the walls that have crumbled down and been re-purposed to create two performances stages.
The Great Folkgrass Happenstance Festival uses this unique space to showcase some of the best regional acts throughout the day including Pennsylvania bands, Colebroook Road and Mountain Ride and Baltimore acts The Dirty Grass Players and the day’s headliner Caleb Stine. Both Colebrook Road and Mountain Ride have seen their profile’s grow dramatically over the past year with a series of increasingly more prestigious shows. Colebrook Road has been touring steadily and was selected to be part of the lineup for the International Bluegrass Music Association award winning Charm City Bluegrass Festival in April. Mountain Ride is a hard-hitting bluegrass band from western Pennsylvania who perfectly straddles that dynamic jamgrass sound while still staying true to the music’s roots. They have recently been tapped by current jamgrass darlings, Cabinet, to be part of their New Year’s Eve celebration at the TLA in Philadelphia. Baltimore based the Dirty Grass Players is another band who is starting to find their stride, and whose name will soon be a regular part of shows and festivals across the country. The debut album is slated for early next year and will be their coming out party to a much wider audience.
The festival headliner, Caleb Stine, is a longtime Baltimore stalwart, who is perhaps the most criminally overlooked, but most stunningly powerful songwriter around. His music lives in the realm of Townes Van Zandt and Gram Parsons, by way of a trip to the mountains to visit Ola Belle Reed. He is an engaging performer who pulls everyone in with his highly intense and personal sets that make even those in the back feel like they are having a personal conversation with him. This personal touch even included a repeating his song “Butter” at the request of six-year old who was dancing in front of the stage the whole set and wanted to hear the song again because it was his, “favorite!”
The unique personality of Ruins Park and the laid back feel fostered by the crowd created a welcoming, community, atmosphere in which the music truly never stopped. Ruins Park has two stages, both of which are built from re-purposed sections of the wall that have fallen down. The larger, main stage stands firmly at one end, while a smaller stage is just off the side. During the brief downtime while band’s changed on the main stage, open jams were held on the side stage. Anyone was welcome to join, and it was not uncommon to see band members who had just finished playing wander over and join in with the rollicking, open jam taking place.
It is great in this day and age, when there are seemingly mega festivals every day of the year, that find you camped miles from the stage and forced to endure long waits and walks between stages, to still be able to find festivals like the Great Folkgrass Happenstance, that is part of the fabric of its community, and lets that spirit of the community permeate the day, creating an event that allows you to discover new music, new art, and new friends.
Roots-rockers Caleb Stine & The Brakemen will release their latest album, Time I Let It Go, Novemeber 7. The band will celebrate the release of the album with a show at the Mobtown Ballroom in their hometown of Baltimore, MD. Brooks Long & the Mad Dog No Good, and the Weisstronauts will open.
Time I Let It Go was recorded when the band decamped to Vermont over the winter. The recording process was captured by filmmaker Michael Patrick O’Leary and will be released as a documentary about the band and what it means to make music.
The new album showcases the band’s timeless style that is colored with deeply personal lyrics which lead one on a journey through the soul of American music. Time I Let It Go moves with ease from the foot-stomping funk of “Hey There Mister,” to the brooding intensity of “Edge of the Riverside,” to the unrestrained joy of simple pleasures in “Butter.” It is an album for all four seasons and every mood.
Track Listing for Time I Let It Go:
Hey There Mister
Edge of the Riverside
You Bet He Was My Friend
Eight Hour Haul
Baby’s Got the Business
Place You Used to Call Home
Time I Let It Go
Check out Honest Tune’s exclusive premiere of “Hey There Mister” from Time I Let It Go:
The inaugural Great Folkgrass Happenstance will take place October 17 in Glen Rock, Pennsylvania. The festival will be held at Ruins Hall and will celebrate some of the region’s best folk and bluegrass musicians. Ruins Hall is shell of the historic Enterprise Manufacturing building, which after years of neglect, has found renewed life as a unique space for music, arts, and popular events.
Glen Rock is a historic mill town in southern York County, Pennsylvania and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The early industries of Glen Rock centered on woolen mills, iron foundries, machine shops, and distilleries. Glen Rock is located 30 minutes south of York, in an area that was a hotbed of musicians who traveled down to Baltimore in the early formative days of bluegrass. Topped by the Quimby Mountain Band and Caleb Stine, the line-up of the Great Folkgrass Happenstance will reflect that long, proud, tradition of the area. The rest of the line-up is filled out with some of the surrounding areas premier bands including Swamp Donkey Newgrass, Mountain Ride, Shine Delphi, Muddy Creek Railroad, and more.
In addition to the music the day will feature arts and crafts and a wide selection of food. Author Tim Newby will also be there signing his new book Bluegrass in Baltimore: The Hard Drivin’ Sound and its Legacy.
Stine will celebrate the release of his new album with a show at theÂ Â Towson Unitarian Universalist Church with Letitia VanSant April 12. All proceeds from the show will benefit Blue Water Baltimore.
On a gorgeous spring afternoon the 1st annual Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival reinforced Baltimore’s long, proud tradition of bluegrass in the city with its stellar line-up that not only featured some of the biggest names in bluegrass (Tony Trischka and Tim O’Brien), but dug deep into Baltimore’s still going strong folk and bluegrass scene and highlighted the best the city has to offer musically.
The festival was powered by a trio of killer B’s, Baltimore, Brews, and Bluegrass. Held on the grounds of the Union Craft Brewery located within the Baltimore City limits, Union Craft marked the day with the release of the appropriately named Claw Hammer Ale to help celebrate the occasion. The location was perfect as the tree-lined Union Craft Brewery grounds provided ample room to roam around, to check out the vendors and the brewery, and provided a good view of the stage from just about anywhere on the grounds which easily allowed one to forget they were downtown. The day featured twelve acts on one main stage. Set changes were always quick and prompt so there was very little downtime between band. During the little downtime there was DJ Bohfunk was on hand to keep the music going.
The early part of the day was dominated by the sweet harmonies of the Honey Dewdrops and the loose, fun, free-for-all attitude of Trace Friends Mucho. Trace Friends Mucho is made up of mandolinist Kenny Liner and bassist Dave Markowitz formerly of The Bridge, drummer Jeff Hunter, Tony Bonta on banjo, and one of the festival’s founders Jordan August on guitar and vocals. The band is a raging good time that toes the thin line between rock, funk and bluegrass with expert ease. Quite simply they are living musical party every time they hit the stage. Their high-energy Steve Miller themed bluegrass set was a highlight of the day.
Following Trace Friends Mucho was the aggressive picking of Chester River Runoff and the cover heavy set of local favorites Feinwood. Feinwood’s set included a spirited bluegrass romp through Ween’s “Roses are Free” and The Band’s “Ophelia.” Feinwood and Chester River Runoff both perfectly set the table for the latter portion of the day which was led off by folk-rocker Caleb Stine. Stine’s music falls somewhere between the renegade cowboy-poetry of Townes Van Zandt and the sweet rough and tumble sound of Neil Young’s Harvest. His set pulled equally from all parts of his large catalog. The addition of Baltimore great Dave Hadley’s delicate touch on pedal steel in Stine’s set only served to heighten the emotional intensity of his always powerful music. Hadley is a Baltimore institution who has played on what seems like every album made by an artist from Baltimore. In just the past couple of years his pedal steel has graced albums by artists as diverse as Cris Jacobs, Caleb Stine, Wye Oak, Arboretum, and The Bridge.
Following Stine was the debut of former Bridge singer/guitarist Cris Jacobs latest project. Since The Bridge called it quits in 2011 Jacobs has been a busy man, assembling and playing with a variety of various bands. His latest project Cris Jacobs & the Union Men is an all-star line-up of some of the best bluegrass musicians in Baltimore. Based around the rhythm section of bassist Jake Leckie and drummer Ed Hough (both of whom play with Jacobs in The Cris Jacobs Band), fiddle prodigy Patrick McAvinue (Audie Blaylock) and legendary banjo-picker Mike Munford, The Union Men were a true force of nature. They ripped through a set that featured some new Jacobs’ tunes “Crooked Eye John,” “Saddle Up & Ride,” a classic Bridge tune “14 Days,” a Hough led vocal turn on the Smooth Kentucky song “I Don’t Mind,” and a few choice covers including Bob Dylan’s “Positively 4th Street,” and the Traveling Wilbury’s “Handle with Care.” Jacobs set ended just as the sun finished setting and gave way to the highlight set of the day Tim O’Brien.
Tim Brien’s solo set was an utterly engaging, masterful display of the former Hot Rize front man’s unmatched songwriting prowess. Switching between guitar, mandolin, and fiddle with perfected ease, O’Brien laced his set with classic Hot Rize tunes including “Working on a Building,” and “Nellie Kane,” (after the latter he thanked the sold-out crowd for their exuberant help in singing along with him), a pair of Bob Dylan covers in “Wicked Messenger,” and “When I Paint My Masterpiece,” and a boat load full of classic O’Brien solo songs. He took time during his set to explain the subtle difference between bluegrass and country, “country is three chords and the truth, and bluegrass is two chords and a bunch of lies!” To close out his set he brought Tony Trischka (banjo) and Frank Solivan (mandolin) onstage and the three masters proceeded to lay down an awe-inspiring display of picking.
After a quick change, the day’s headliners Tony Trischka and Territory hit the stage. Trischka is perhaps the most influential banjo player of the last thirty years and the man who taught a teenaged Bela Fleck how to play. His set was a lesson in what bluegrass picking should be. Just like O’Brien he was quick to share the stage bringing up O’Brien, Solivan, and Mike Munford to join him. Trischka and his band seemed to not want to relinquish the stage despite the impending curfew, and when the end of the day eventually forced them to leave the stage, the band that was not quite ready to quit and returned for an unplugged acoustic encore. Trishcka’s impromptu acoustic encore was the perfect way to close out a day that had featured such hot-picking and announced that the Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival was here to stay and wholly welcome addition to festival season.
With Festival scene soon upon us and stellar line-up after stellar line-up being announced, some tough decisions about which Festivals we can actually make it to will soon have to be made.Â To help make those decisions a little bit easier and your Festival season a little bit better we at Honest Tune are giving away two tickets to one of the first festivals of the year and what we are sure will become an annual favorite, the Charm City Folk & Bluegrass FestivalÂ in Baltimore.
The Inaugural Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival is being presented by the Baltimore Management Agencyand Union Craft Brewery, and will be held on the grounds of the Union Craft Brewery in the historic Woodberry neighborhood of Baltimore on April 27. Seriously is there a better combination than fine local craft brew and bluegrass?Â
Baltimore has a long, rich history in bluegrass stretching back to the 1950s and 60s when the city was, in the words of bluegrass legend Del McCoury, â€œthe hot-town for bluegrass music.â€Â The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival will keep that rich tradition alive.Â It will be headlined by multi-instrumentalist Tim Oâ€™Brien and banjoÂ legend Tony Trischka, as well as featuring a number of artists whoÂ will be familiar to Honest Tune readers.Â Baltimoreâ€™s own Cris Jacobs, who made a name for himself as the singer and guitarist of The Bridge, will debut his new bluegrass band, Cris Jacobs and The Union Men, which will feature banjo master Mike Munford.Â Also appearing will be the renegade cowboy-poetry of Caleb Stine, the sweet harmonies of The Honey Dewdrops, and the fine picking of Feinwood.Â
Â The outdoor festival will feature local food and craft vendors, and Union Craft Brewingâ€™s award-winning beer. Tickets are on sale now at www.eventbrite.com/event/4876444577
Cris Jacobs & the Union Men
Trace Friends Mucho
DJ Bohfunk presents: Bohfunk
Â And more artists to be announcedâ€¦
The details, official rules, and eligibility requirements…
Â What you are playing for:
1) You are entering to win (2) tickets to The Charm City Folk & Bluegrass Festival.
Â 2) Fill out the entire entry form. Partially filled out entry forms will be disqualified at the sole discretion of Honest Tune.
How a winner will be chosen:
1)Â Â Â Â Â All of the entered names will be copied from the survey site and pasted into a computer generated random name picker.
2) THE DEADLINE FOR ENTRY IS April 3, 2013, noon EST.
1) No previous or current Honest Tune editor/staff may enter.
Â 2) Contributors may enter.
Â 3) Only one entry per person will be allowed and IP Addresses are logged on the survey site.
Â 4) Applicants must be 18 years of age or older.
Â This contest and the contents contained herein are solely the responsibility of Honest Tune. Odds of winning depend on number of entries. The winner will be contacted via his/her email address and must respond to the contact within 72 hours. All entries must be received from within the United States. The winner will receive two tickets to Charm City Folk & Bluegrass. The tickets will be emailed to the winner from Baltimore Management Agency. The winner will be responsible for his/her transportation, parking, lodging, any other expenses associated with the event. The winner may not transfer or sell the tickets. Total prize value: $70.00 All entries must be submitted via the above listed criteria and Honest Tune reserves the right to disqualify entries based solely on its discretion and upon an entryâ€™s lack of conformity to the standards outlined above.
Emerging from the widely-divergent Baltimore music scene is singer/ songwriter Caleb Stine who is the soul of that scene, and the best representation of a city he calls, “vibrant, troubled, and passionate.” His straightforward, honest, music is what Baltimore is at its core – hardworking, genuine, and unafraid to tell it like it is. Armed with a storyteller’s eye and a restless independent spirit, Stine is set to deliver his latest album, I Wasn’t Built for a Life Like This, on September 25, 2010.
A glass of whiskey sat in front of me, directly next to it a typewriter with a blank sheet of paper loaded into the carriage. Try it out, implored Baltimore singer/songwriter Caleb Stine.
The typewriter sat on the table in Stine’s kitchen and he had just finished telling me how, in a very Dylan-esque way, he likes to type out all of the lyrics to his songs. He explained, “When it is typed it is real, it is much easier to see what lines work in each song. It is like having a demo recording”.
Following his advice I began to type. Despite the nonsensical sentences I put on the paper, the clacking of typewriter keys is a distinct sound, one long forgotten with the comparatively silent sound that emits from computer keyboards. And this intoxicating sound soon got me into the steady rhythm of writing. While I was typing away, Stine grabbed his guitar and took the seat across the table from me.
When my typing slowed, he announced, “Here is the new one.”