Lonely Heartstrings rebound

Lonely Heartstring Band (US)

Awesome Lonely Heartstring Band won over the first Kiwigrass with their beautifully polished music, friendly disposition, and great Kiwigrass academy teaching skills. Now they have agreed to make a quick trip back just for Kiwigrass 2020.

If you haven’t heard Lonely Heartstring Band before check out their Smoke and Ashes CD or ask someone who was at the last festival. Nourished by deep roots in the expansive canon of traditional American music, the band embodies the modern American condition — an understanding and reverence for the past that informs a push into the future.  Members George Clements (guitar, vocals) Patrick M’Gonigle (fiddle, vocals) Charles Clements (bass, vocals) Matt Witler (mandolin) and Gabe Hirshfeld (banjo) bring together their own musical styles to create a sound greater than the sum of its parts.

Combining soulful instrumental virtuosity with soaring three-part harmonies, their growing repertoire of original songs and compositions showcases not only their considerable talents, but a dedication to meaningful roots-conscious music.
Since their beginnings in 2012, The Lonely Heartstring Band has been on the rise and shows no sign of slowing down. With their 2015 IBMA Momentum Award and their 2016 release of their debut full-length album, Deep Waters, on Rounder Records, this band is an amazing addition to the Kiwigrass lineup.



AJ Lee and Blue Summit: Winners of the American 2019 FreshGrass Band

AJ Lee and Blue Summit (US)

“Could This Kid Be the Next Allison Krauss?” Mother Jones magazine asked about AJ Lee — and for good reason.

AJ Lee and Blue Summit (US), are a bluegrass band led by singer, songwriter, and mandolinist AJ Lee and features Sullivan Tuttle (yes, Sully belongs to that family of Tuttles) on guitar and vocals, Jesse Fichman on guitar and vocals, and Chad Bowen on bass, singing sweet harmonies and sometimes singing lead on popular Grateful Dead tunes. This year, Jan Purat joined Blue Summit on fiddle, rounding out the band’s sound.

The band 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 harks back to traditional classics while remaining uniquely modern. Over the years, Blue Summit’s performed all around the US as well as in the UK, Ireland, France and their schedule includes a guest spot in New Zealand at the Kiwigrass bluegrass festival . They’ve accrued many devout followers and distinctions including the Freshgrass 2019 Band Contest Winner, IBMA 2019 Momentum Vocalist of the Year, 2nd Place at the 2019 Winfield Guitar Competition, and numerous awards in Northern California.

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. Equipped with these new songs and their archive of nostalgic tunes, they’ll continue playing to both familiar and new audiences, endearing themselves to the country and the world.

Bluegrass Parkway: Classic bluegrass showcase band

Bluegrass Parkway (Australia)

The Martha Layne Collins Blue Grass Parkway is a highway running from Elizabethtown, Kentucky to Woodford County, Kentucky, for a length of 71.134 miles.

The Bluegrass Parkway bluegrass band is Australia’s longest serving bluegrass band, celebrating their 31st birthday in 2020.

Bluegrass Parkway is all about the tradition of presenting bluegrass music in its most authentic form, performing around a single on-stage microphone, as was the norm for the pioneers of the genre during the 1940s.

They have played at dozens of folk and country music festivals throughout Australia, New Zealand and the United States, and have been past favourites on the Australian-based Bluegrass Cruise.

The Band features Paul Duff on mandolin, Maria Duff on bass, Wayne Perry on guitar, Mick O’Neill on banjo and this year Mick Patrick will be joining Bluegrass Parkway on fiddle.

Bluegrass Parkway will share the skills and knowledge as instructors at Kiwigrass Academy and with workshops during the festival.

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Coolgrass: Hilarious bluegrass from Melbourne

Coolgrass (Australia)

Coolgrass (Australia) delight audiences with their hilarious take on bluegrass, and are favourites throughout Australia and New Zealand. Do not get the wrong idea though – these boys really can play. Really play.

They have been featured at Australia’s National Folk Festival, the Auckland Folk Festival, Port Fairy, the Harrietville Bluegrass Convention, the Redlands Bluegrass Festival, the Fairbridge Folk Festival, the Tamworth Music Festival and many more, plus many folk clubs, wineries, town halls, arts councils, pubs and so forth across Australia and New Zealand. They have recorded 4 CDs – Toad Rage (2004), Jaguar Breakdown (2006), Never Put The Banjo Down (2009) and Most Peculiar (2012).

Jim Golding (banjo, vocals) challenges the traditionalists with bebop-banjo, rock’n roll-banjo, bossa-banjo, Mozart-banjo, and the rest.

Bruce Packard (mandolin, vocals) has recorded and travelled widely with “New Dogs Old Tricks”, folked-up jazzers “Straight Ahead” and trad bluegrass band “Sleight of Hand”.

Angus Golding (double bass, vocals) is the youngest member of Coolgrass, and brings extra strength (and mischief) to the vocal harmonies.

Doug Wallace (guitar, dobro, vocals) has one of the longest histories of any Australian (well, Scottish) bluegrass musician, having been part of the Hayes Brothers  not to mention many other top outfits over the past few decades, including “The Promised Band”, “The Melbourne Bluegrass Band” and the “Blue Grass Souls”.