Band and Crew
Fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, accordion, keyboards
"God gave this one an overdose of talent" - Joan Baez
"Dirk Powell is a badass. To the bone. He is, in addition to being the greatest old-time banjo player alive, a graduate student of both mountain and Cajun fiddle styles and diatonic button accordion, an instrument that fights you back, take it from me, I've tried. He is a singer, songwriter, producer, recording engineer, and an all in all artist of unique vision and unbending integrity. As far as I can tell there is no genre of American roots music that Dirk doesn't understand, no primordial mode he can't master, no polyrhythmic code he can't crack. He also cooks the best sauce piquante I have ever tasted." - Steve Earle
Dirk Powell has expanded on the deeply rooted sounds of his Appalachian heritage to become one of the preeminent traditional American musicians of his generation. In addition to his widely influential solo recordings, he has recorded and performed with artists such as Levon Helm, Jack White, Emmylou Harris, Steve Earle, Kris Kristofferson, Linda Ronstadt, and Jackson Browne. His ability to unite the essence of traditional culture with modern sensibilities has also led to work with many of today's greatest film directors, including Ang Lee, Anthony Minghella, Spike Lee, Victor Nunez and Steve James. Dirk was a founding member of the important Cajun group Balfa Toujours and has been a regularly featured artist in the award-winning BBC series The Transatlantic Sessions. Dirk's soulful and emotionally fearless music has carried him to a unique place in today's musical landscape -- one where tradition, innovation, and inspiration meet without borders.
Surrounded by music since birth, Gabriel Harris has passionately sought out the secrets of the drum since the 1980s when he met master drummer Babatunde Olatunji. His apprenticeship with Olatunji inspired travel to West and South Africa to discover traditional rhythms and melodies with master drummers and griots - or jeli, as they are called in Africa - Ibro Konate, Djelimodou "Pisto" Sylla, Lassana Kouyate, to name a few. In the 1990s Gabriel performed and recorded with innovative world fusion group Collage of i and co-founded the Naamu Groove Ensemble. In 2001 he founded Rhythm Village, producing, performing and leading workshops for a wide variety of audiences, from schools to international corporations such as PIXAR, Kaiser Permanente, CISCO Systems, etc. He has performed with his mother Joan Baez, French born music sensation Marianne Aya Omac, Wangari Trio, The Grateful Dead, Carlos Santana, Mickey Hart, Indigo Girls, Don Cherry, Thelma Houston, Babatunde Olatunji, Pete Escovedo's Latin Jazz Ensemble, among others. In addition to touring with his mother, Gabriel is currently working on recordings with Marianne Aya Omac and Burkina Faso's Malima Kone and Les Harmonies. Gabriel makes his home in Marin County with his wife Pamela and daughter Jasmine.
Blair started playing violin when he was 6 years old, and he has been involved in music ever since. He has a degree in journalism from the University of Arkansas and lasted at a small daily newspaper for 6 weeks after his college graduation. Blair began working with bands in 1992, starting with the folk duo John & Mary. He has since worked as a tour manager for 10,000 Maniacs, Cowboy Junkies, Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, Dar Williams, and Mary Gauthier. He has also managed 10,000 Maniacs, Over The Rhine, Rose Polenzani, and Jennie Sterns, and he remains tour coordinator and occasional tour manager for Cowboy Junkies. Blair is also a founding member-owner and on the Board of Directors of Urban Roots Garden Center, the first start-up cooperative garden center in the United States. He lives in a 130-year-old Victorian house in Buffalo, New York, with his wife Monique Watts, two dogs and five chickens.
Jason became interested in audio engineering while a student working at the University of Massachusetts (UMASS) Fine Arts Center. After college he spent two years as house sound engineer at the Iron Horse in Northampton, Massachusetts before starting his career on the road as a tour manager, production manager, and sound engineer. Jason has toured with Catie Curtis, Erin McKeown, Luna, Ben Lee, Twinemen, Cowboy Junkies, and others. He now splits his time between mixing Modest Mouse and Joan Baez.
Guitar tech/tour assistant
Grace Stumberg is a 23-year-old singer-songwriter who was born and raised with a love and appreciation for music that speaks to the world. Grace spends her time playing around her hometown of Buffalo, New York, and also touring other cities to raise money for important causes. She also works full time teaching guitar and voice at the "Guitar Factory" in West Seneca, New York. Grace enjoys nature and sports, and she hopes that the Buffalo Bills will one day make it the Super Bowl and WIN!