The Blackberry Bushes Stringband hails from the rain-drenched forests of Olympia, Washington. They take a bluegrass instrumentation, draw from the deep roots of American folk music and add influences from Bluegrass, Appalachian old-time, and Indie Rock, to jazz, pop and Alt. Country. The Bushes are band of talented musicians giving it all they have, with a sound that comes from a true desire to put the ensemble before the individual.
Jes Raymond first started singing in a church children’s choir in her hometown of White River Junction, Vermont. She played the trumpet in her high school marching band, and yes, she went to band camp. Her parents were avid bluegrass fans, but it was in North Carolina where she was a music major at UNC that she found her own love for the “mountain sound”. She picked up a used guitar, and has followed it wherever it has led. She is the recipient of the Jackstraw Productions Recording Award and the Seattle City Artist Award.
Kendl Winter comes from Central Arkansas. Both of her parents are professional musicians; her mother plays the cello; her father plays the trombone. Her own musical passion arose with the underground punk scene in Arkansas, and she followed that connection to Olympia, WA, which has long been a center for punk and alternative music. She is a recording artist on Olympia’s Indie label: K Records. Kendl began playing the banjo almost the same week that she met Jes. The Blackberry Bushes was born and became a canvas for their experimentations and learning.
Jakob Breitbach first learned to play the fiddle when he was 3 years old with a paperback copy of “The Hobbit” and a wooden spoon. By the time he was 8 years old he was playing on stage with Bill Monroe. He earned his degree in Jazz Violin from Cornish College of the Arts and continues to study with his mentor Paul Anastasio. He has toured with The Asylum Street Spankers out of Austin, TX, played in an orchestra with Yo-Yo Ma, and he has played everything you can imagine in between.
Joe Capoccia’s grandmother had some protests when his parents gave their 12 year-old son a guitar. “It will be the ruin of him!” Aren’t we glad they ignored that prophesy? Joe is a prolific songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. In the Bushes he holds it all together on the upright bass, although he has been seen on electric and washtub. He has self released several folk/punk albums solo and with projects he shares with Kendl. He has also released his most recent solo album on Olympia’s Bicycle Records.
Matt Sircely is the newest member of this modern stringband. Versatility with the mandolin has earned Matt Sircely gigs and guest appearances with some of the finest acoustic musicians on the continent. Matt started as a songwriter, inspired by the history and landscape surrounding his hometown in Pennsylvania, where he was born to a family of journalists. Just a few of the many, many groups and individuals he has worked with are Hot Club Sandwich, David Jacobs-Strain,Kelley and the Cowboys, Buell Neidlinger and the Prairie Ramblers , Faith Petric Dan Hicks - w/ Hot Club Sandwich as the backing band, Danny Barnes , Paul Anastasio, David Bromberg, and David Grisman.
Their debut studio album, “Little Bit of Grace” released in 2010, spent more than 6 weeks on the Roots Radio Report International Bluegrass Chart for Independent Radio, topping out at #19, and was one of the only self released albums to appear on that chart during that time. KVMR Nevada City DJ Che Greenwood had this to say about it: "I'm enchanted! Harmony as sweet as Uncle Earl, and destined for my top 5 albums of the year".
Virtuosic musicianship, compelling arrangements, quick wit, flying tempos, and heavy heel boot dancing are all elements of a live show that is joyous and vibrant with an intention to move the audience in their hearts and out of their seats. The poetic delivery of their hypnotizing vocal harmonies and fresh songwriting sets The Blackberry Bushes Stringband apart. Acoustic Americana lovers are continually surprised and delighted by this new bouquet of players on the festival stage.
"Their blend of traditional Bluegrass and Folk elements with more contemporary sounds has an appeal not seen since Nickel Creek or The Be Good Tanyas." (Joseph Kyle; The Big Takeover) The Blackberry Bushes Stringband has performed at The Wintergrass Festival in Bellevue, WA; The Oregon Country Fair; Northwest Folklife; Swallow Hill Music Association; and hundreds of other venues across the United States and Europe with upcoming bookings at Yosemite’s Strawberry Music Festival and North Carolina’s Shakori Hills Festival.
The Blackberry Bushes Stringband has that rare magic that allows them to artfully fuse sounds from many genres into a bluegrass instrumentation that retains distinct threads of sonic color. This is a daredevil sound that is delicate,bold, and like their thorny namesake, rooted and growing, growing, growing.