Folk, Americana, and Bluegrass musicians, Joe Walsh, Mariel Vandersteel, and Eli West will be joining forces to carve out a unique sound on their upcoming New England Spring Tour. Drawing from the trio’s strong individual musical voices, Walsh, Vandersteel and West will be collaborating on traditional American songs and tunes, Norwegian fiddle tunes (using Vandersteel’s hardingfele, Norway’s traditional folk instrument), and original songs and instrumentals. Mandolinist Joe Walsh of “Mr. Sun” has performed with legendary musicians including John Scofield, Bela Fleck and Emmylou Harris. In addition to continuously pushing the boundaries of the mandolin, Walsh also is an avid educator and teaches mandolin at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Joe performed for numerous years with Bluegrass group, The Gibson Brothers. Last year, Joe released an album of original music called, “Borderland”.
Mariel Vandersteel and Walsh meet when they were both students at Berklee. Vandersteel says, “It was my first semester and Joe’s last. Ever since then, Joe’s musicality and versatility has been something I’ve deeply admired.” After graduating from Berklee, Mariel moved to Norway to study the hardingfele and recorded an album of Old-Time and Norwegian fiddling, “Hickory”. Her passion of world music and international collaboration led her to be accepted twice by the U.S. State Department’s American Music Abroad Program. Performing with Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards, the group traveled to Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, India and Bangladesh among other places, to share and exchange American traditional music with other cultures.
Vandersteel looks forward to continuing exchanging music with Walsh and West: “I’m thrilled to collaborate with Joe and Eli. They both have beautiful ways of hearing things musically and expressing them so honestly.”
Based in Seattle, Eli West is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist. Spending many years performing in the duo Cahalen and Eli with Cahalen Morrison, the two toured internationally and recorded three albums. Cahalen regularly collaborates with Ben Winship, and Norwegian fiddler Olav Mjelva. In 2016, West released an album that includes duets with three musicians, Bill Frisell, Dori Freeman, and John Reischman.
Hailed by CBC-Newfoundland as “one of the best mandolinists of his generation” and by Vintage Guitar Magazine as “brilliant”, Portland, Maine-based mandolin player Joe K. Walsh is known for his exceptional tone and taste, and his collaborations with acoustic music luminaries including legendary fiddler Darol Anger, flatpick guitar hero Scott Nygaard, folk star Jonathan Edwards, and pop/grass darlings Joy Kills Sorrow have taken him all over the global and musical map. He’s played with everyone from John Scofield to Bela Fleck to Emmylou Harris, and performed everywhere from festivals to laundromats to Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. After a number of award-winning years as mandolinist with bluegrass stars the Gibson Brothers, Joe currently splits his time between an inventive string band called Mr Sun (featuring Darol Anger,Grant Gordy and Ethan Jodziewicz) a duo with Grant Gordy, and his own band. An avid educator, Joe is a mandolin instructor at the Berklee College of Music. He teaches regularly at music camps throughout North America and beyond, and teaches online through Peghead Nation.
Eli West is a Seattle-based multi-instrumentalist. With an interest in angular phrasing and nontraditional improvisation within the historic precedents of bluegrass and old-time music, his guitar playing has been called both unique and strong. He has released a solo record in 2016 including duets with Bill Frisell, Dori Freeman and John Reischman, and three records as half of the new/old-time duo Cahalen Morrison & Eli West. He also collaborates regularly with Ben Winship, Joe Walsh, Norwegian fiddler Olav Mjelva, among others.
Mariel Vandersteel is a musician, educator, and graphic designer currently living in Boston, Massachusetts. Since graduating from Berklee College of Music, Mariel has established herself as a folk musician of multiple styles; recorded her first solo album, Hickory; lived in Norway while studying the hardingfele; and toured Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, India, Bangladesh, Ukraine,Montenegro, Greece and Estonia, the UK and North America with Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards. Mariel has performed and taught nationally and internationally with Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, Blue Moose and the Unbuttoned Zippers, The Three Irish Tenors, Emma Beaton, Annalivia, Putnam Smith and has been a guest lecturer and performer on the hardingfele at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts Musical Instrument Collection. Currently, Mariel is pursuing a masters degree in Arts Administration at Boston University and continues to teach privately and at the Club Passim School of Music.