News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Regional artists featured at concert

The Sisters Folk Festival’s Close to Home 2 event will feature artists from the Pacific Northwest and West Coast.

Multi-instrumentalist, Grammy award winning vocalist and songwriter Judith Hill spent the summer and fall of 2019 touring Europe, Canada, and the U.S. with her latest acclaimed studio album “Golden Child,” released in November 2018. Hill has already garnered praise for her live performances as opener for the likes of her former collaborator and mentor, Prince, and soul man John Legend, among many others. Hill has been praised by Rolling Stone for her “stellar powerhouse vocals.” In addition to penning and performing her own material, she has backed artists such as Stevie Wonder and the late Michael Jackson.

John Craigie, a humorous storyteller and accomplished lyricist, will return to Sisters following up his acclaimed 2020 release “Asterisk the Universe.” On his newest release, Craigie awkwardly encounters previous flames, mistakes a Catholic school custodian as a saint (and prays to him anyway), pays tribute to modern-day revolutionaries, and explores what it all means to live in the 21st century, where infinite possibility does not necessarily equate infinite understanding.

Thunderstorm Artis became a household name in 2020 performing on season 18 of “The Voice,” earning top three honors and national recognition. Thunderstorm is a singer/songwriter born on the North Shore of Oahu and learned at a very young age to play piano, guitar, harp and percussion from his father Ron Artis and mother Victoria. Ron was a Motown session player who played keyboards on Michael Jackson’s Thriller. His mother Victoria was also a member of the Motown family, touring as a vocalist with Lena Horne, and many other Motown greats.

Thunderstorm’s music crosses many genres including folk, rock, soul and country.

AJ Lee and Blue Summit, a bluegrass band led by singer, songwriter, and mandolinist, AJ Lee, has been the darling of the North Bay, California, bluegrass scene since their first appearance in Santa Cruz. Drawing from influences such as swing, folk, blues, jazz, country, soul, and rock, their undeniable talent and insatiable passion for bluegrass hearkens back to traditional classics while remaining uniquely modern.

In 2019, AJ Lee and Blue Summit came out with their debut album, “Like I Used To,” which consists entirely of AJ’s original songs.

Bluegrass-leaning Americana quartet Kristen Grainger & True North is a powerhouse of award-winning original songs, lush vocals, and crazy-good instrumentalists, Dan Wetzel (guitar), Josh Adkins (bass) and Martin Stevens (fiddle, mandolin, octave mandolin). On stage, the band delivers Grainger’s storied songwriting with mind-blowing vocal harmonies and mad instrument skills of a band deeply rooted in folk and bluegrass genres.

When Caleb Klauder & Reeb Willm sing, their honest incantations leave a swirling cloud of “magical sparkle smoke” around hearts.

Caleb Klauder’s rowdy and dynamic mandolin playing, and Reeb Willms’ unwavering rhythm guitar sound weave a beautiful fabric around their songs that proves joyous, timeless, and resilient.

From Waterville, Washington, and the high desert, Reeb comes from a salt-of-the-earth farming family with a rough-and-tumble appreciation of simplicity and he sings with a strong-and-quiet poise that cuts straight to the heart. Caleb comes from Orcas Island, in the Salish Sea in Northwest Washington, where the wind-blown tall trees, and salt sea have burnished Klauder’s voice to a heartbreaking patina.

The two play and tour as a duo, and can also be found performing with the Foghorn Stringband and the Caleb Klauder Country Band. They are pillars of the Portland, Oregon music scene and carry the torch of their music around the world.

The Parnells are an Americana/Country band from Bend, bringing a sexy, indie flare to the classic country sound. Powerful vocals, tight harmonies and solid guitar playing drive their rootsy sound. The Parnells will be performing as an acoustic duo, with Corey and Whitney Parnell.


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