The story of SEVEN NATIONS is that of a truly original and determined band that began in New York City, with members now hailing from California, to Toronto, to Florida. They have for years booked their own tours and have had their own PBS & CNN specials. Throw away any preconceived notions you may have about Celtic music...this is a band that has invented its own sound and attracted a prodigious national and international following.
Seven Nations is not your father’s Celtic band. With a passionate, tender, and rollicking style that winningly veers from roots and folk to dance and fusion-rock, Seven Nations has earned a growing reputation as an adventurous band with a charismatic stage presence.
“Seven Nations — the name refers to the seven original Celtic nations of Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall, Galecia, Isle of Man, and Brittany — officially began in 1993 in New York City with a standard line-up of drums, guitars, and bass,” notes lead singer and guitarist Kirk McLeod.
“We soon introduced bagpipes into the show, and over time the number of songs utilizing bagpipes grew until it became obvious that they were integral to our emerging sound,” says McLeod. “Most of the band members grew up playing Celtic music, and we’ve been performing original compositions since we began. Our instrumentation, and bagpipes and fiddle mostly, give us a distinctive sound and that’s what makes us different.”
2019 is destined to break all records. It’s Seven Nations’ 25 Years Says It All anniversary tour; marking a quarter of a century of the band’s ground-breaking Celtic Fusion-Rock music. Their anniversary tour promises to be an extraordinary anniversary celebration.
“2019 will be a very special and a very busy year for us; something we want to share and celebrate with as any Seven Nations friends—old and new—as possible. After all, it’s our audience who has been right there with us in growing numbers for all these years. They embraced and supported us from the very beginning when we were first inspired to create this new sound. And our 25 years of success belongs to them as much as it does to us,” adds Kirk.
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Piper Jones Band is centered around beautifully and energetically played Highland bagpipes accompanied by the percussive chords of the bouzouki and drum. In addition to original instrumentals and traditional tunes from Ireland, Scotland, and Appalachia, the group sings powerful harmonies and can lead the audience in traditional Celtic dances. They bring authentic traditional music in an entertaining form.
Technical experts, they can focus on delivering a passionate and audience-focused show. Piper Jones Band seeks to share abundant spirit, life-filled dance tunes, and song – with those who know Celtic music well and with those who are hearing it for the first time. The band’s first album The Wandering Stars has been played on The BBC Radio Scotland’s program Pipeline, NPR’s The Thistle and Shamrock, and has been enjoyed on the WNCW Celtic Winds program. With the recent release of Crossing the Sabine, Piper Jones Band is expected to reach even wider audiences.
Piper EJ Jones has excelled as a performer of traditional Highland bagpipe music and as a folk musician, co-founding the renowned group Clandestine in 1991. In addition to Clandestine’s five albums, he has a solo album, The Willow, with Gerry O’Beirne and Rosie Shipley. EJ has recorded for artists such as Ed Miller, Robert Earl Keen, and others. In addition to performance, EJ teaches privately and at piping workshops and seminars across the US. EJ is ranked as a professional level competitive piper in the Eastern US Pipe Band Association and recently had the honor to represent the US at the 2014 MacCrimmon Trophy piping competition at Festival Interceltique Lorient in Lorient, France.
Frances Cunningham, on bouzouki, lives in Nashville and is a frequent member of the Mike Snider String Band, playing weekly on the Grand Ole Opry. Frances has enjoyed a long career performing nationwide with a variety of musicians. Her first love is traditional Irish music, and she was the winner of the Midwest Fleadh in 2013 in both accompaniment and tenor banjo. Beloved by fans from the East Coast to the Gulf Coast, Frances is currently recording her first solo album.
The percussion is organized according to the needs of the performance, from full drum kit, to a hand drums setup, to the Tupan, double-sided marching drum with both bass and high sounds. The band has a roster of percussionists all over the country, which allows flexibility since the drummer can be local/regional.
North Texas Irish Festival (2015 Headliners), Dallas TX
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, Linville NC
Rio Grande Valley Celtic Festival, Albuquerque NM
Rural Hill Scottish Festival, Loch Norman NC
Kansas City Scottish Festival, Kansas City MO
New York Faerie Festival, Binghamton NY
McGonigel’s Mucky Duck, Houston TX
Boyd’s Jig and Reel, Knoxville TN
Piper Jones Band Website
Four Leaf Peat is Tennessee’s premier Traditional Irish Band and has been performing locally and regionally since 2004! Traditional Irish music ranges from vibrant dance tunes to soulful songs, and Four Leaf Peat’s performances are always marked by a keen sense of the tradition, mixed with just the right amount of influence from the rich musical history of East Tennessee. Four Leaf Peat's unique sound is a result of its members' various musical backgrounds, and their continued passion for traditional Irish music. By taking all of their years of musical training, and building on Irish influences like The Bothy Band, Planxty, Flying Cloud & Silly Wizard, to more modern twists on Traditional music such as Dervish, Open the Door for Three & Lunasa; Four Leaf Peat has built its own brand of Irish music which celebrates the musical bridge that spans the Atlantic.
The Selkie Girls have become one of the premier Folk and Celtic music acts in the southern United States. With dozens of local and regional music and art festivals under its belt, as well as numerous television appearances, the band never fails to captivate audiences with its unique instrumentation, lush harmonies, and dynamic arrangements. The band--Alli Johnson: vocals/guitar, Jaycie Skidmore: vocals/flutes/penny whistles, Dave Ervin: vocals/guitar/mandolin, Joel Black: upright and fretless acoustic bass, Martin McCall: percussion, and Linda Mudd: harp--draws upon a vast repertoire of ancient and contemporary ballads, traditional Irish and Scottish songs (often sung in native tongues), and foot-stomping jigs and reels, creating a truly eclectic and affecting musical experience.
Bob Valentine will again be our Master of Ceremonies at the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games. If you have seen him perform - then you know why we keep asking him back! If you haven't seen him - don't miss him! Whether it’s an intimate Burns Supper or a huge festival, Bob will keep you entertained with his jokes, songs, and unique (and often times warped) view of life.
As a solo artist, Colin touches every emotion with his enthusiastic, high-energy, professional and artistic performance, tailored to fit any occasion, Scottish, Irish, Folk, Schools or Workshops. His captivating repertoire of Traditional Celtic-American, bluegrass and nationally acclaimed original material is delivered with his powerful tenor voice, and fiery quick guitar together with irrepressible good humor and stories. This, mixed with sing-along songs and even some unbelievable yodeling, appeals to audiences of all ages.
Will MacMorran is a multi-talented musician, producer, audio engineer, and Department Head of Entertainment Technology at Northeast State Community College. Will also serves as an adjunct instructor in East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies program. Will continues to tour both nationally and internationally with acclaimed acts including Seven Nations, The StepCrew, The Fitzgeralds, Dakota Bradley, and Ashley Davis. Will will be touring with 6 time Grammy winning group The Chieftains on their 2019 Fall Tour.
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Colin Shoemaker, a native of Charlotte, has been immersed in the North Carolina traditional music culture virtually since day one. A self-taught flute and whistle player, Colin has played in and lead Irish sessions up and down the east coast over the last decade, and although not being, as he puts it, “paper trained,” continues to add to the tradition by frequently composing new tunes.
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Wild Blue Yonder has endeared audiences with warm harmonies and old-time banjo and fiddle across East Tennessee and Western North Carolina since its inception 20 years ago. The group’s appreciation of Celtic lore, language and song informs each performance, and their unique arrangements bring fresh voice to ancient melodies.
Band founders Melissa Wade (guitar and vocals) and Philip Coward (banjo, mandolin, vocals) write the group’s original material. Fiddler Cindy Wallace adds a Celtic air to the group's sound, which melds beautifully with the flute, piccolo and penny whistle stylings of Karen Murphey Leffel, a newer member of the ensemble. Karen's husband Michael Leffel contributes various and tasteful percussion.
The Good Thymes Ceilidh Band formed in 2008 from members of the Knoxville Scottish Music Club. They play fiery Scottish tunes, including jigs, reels, strathspeys, waltzes, and lovely slow airs. The band is comprised of five musicians playing fiddles, a guitar, and hammered dulcimer - often changing up the sounds with penny whistle, bodhran, mandolin, vocals, and occasional step dancing. This group shares their love of Scottish music and performs repertoire that illustrates the shared influences on the old time traditional music often enjoyed in Appalachia and beyond. Players can be heard at the Scottish session held at Boyd's Jig and Reel in Knoxville on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of each month.
Lona Bartlett is a professional storyteller, puppeteer and educator who has delighted audiences throughout the U.S. and internationally for over 30 years. No matter the genre, whether folktales, fairytales, puppets, or personal stories, Lona loves bringing excitement and insight to audiences of all ages. Lona's Scottish line has held a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for retention in genealogy, Celtic storytelling is simply part of her heritage.
Judy Larkin is one of only a handful of people in the world who have earned the title “Certified Tea Specialist” from the Tea Association of the USA.
She has been a member of trade delegations to Sri Lanka, India, China and Nepal where it was possible to study tea cultivation in the world’s top producing nations. In fact, she has crossed three oceans and 26 countries on four continents in her continuous quest to learn more about the world of tea.
Not satisfied merely with learning about the cultivation and production of tea, she has studied its history plus the etiquette, superstitions and customs surrounding the consumption of this beverage worldwide.
Known for sharing her vast knowledge with a touch of humor, her “students” have ranged from the elegant clientele of the Boston Park Plaza Hotel to elementary school children and even inmates in the Virginia Prison System.
Judy Larkin is a native of Manchester, England. She has lived in the States for 49 years. (She jokes that she is IBM “Irish By Marriage.”)
Educated in Europe, she graduated from the Burleigh College in Manchester, England and Alliance Françoise in Paris, France.
TEA AND THE SCOTTISH CONNECTION
Did you know that if it weren’t for the Scots, tea, as we know it, wouldn’t exist today?
Judy Larkin will share how the Scottish were instrumental in developing the vast tea industry in Southern Asia. The program will teach the correct methods of brewing tea and the perfect etiquette in how to drink it.
Tea drinking is steeped in ancient superstition. Practically every stage of the tea-making ritual overflows with omens. Ms. Larkin will also light-heartedly enlightened everyone on the different taboos and even touch on tea-leaf reading.
Visit her store at: https://larkintea.com/
St. Andrews Stage
The O’Kennessee Strings student group of instructor, Conny Ottway started in Murray, Kentucky in 1995, performing for the Western Kentucky Scottish Highland Games and the local Robert Burns Dinners. Because the string players were from both KY and TN, the name was chosen to reflect that fact. In 2009, Conny moved to Knoxville and started up the O’Kennessee Strings again, the first performance was the 2010 Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games.
For more information: https://connyottway.com/
Mindy McIntosh-Shetter is an agricultural blogger and video blogger (vlogger) by day and an historical botanist by night. Her vast knowledge is an accumulation of life experiences and Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Education, with a minor in biology from Purdue University, along with a Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Louisville. A new approach to gardening is the field of historical botany combining ethnobotany and gardening with a story. Utilizing her educational background, Mindy has found an interesting and intriguing way of reaching history lovers, gardeners, and the famous Outlander fans.
Currently, she has written three books, which include The Unofficial Outlander Book Of Herbs, Unofficial Guide to Outlandishly Outlander Landscape Designs, and her newest book The Unofficial Outlander Book Of Herbs II. While each book is different and covers different Outlander books, all of them allow you to learn how to “garden like an Outlander thru space and thyme.”
If you would like to contact her, check out the Outlander Botanist YouTube channel, Facebook and/or Twitter. You can also find additional information about the books and upcoming events on the Outlander Botanist website.
LINK FOR PURCHASING BOOKS
Bruce was born and raised in southern lower Michigan but spent most of his working life in Houston, Texas, as an engineer in the oil \ chemical industry. He has always been an avid crafter.
When he retired in 2006, He decided to look in to basket making as a hobby. Bruce took a few courses in the Houston area, and he ordered a number of kits from the Internet. Over the last ten years, Bruce has tried making nearly every type of basket. He now enjoys making Appalachian rib baskets and Cherokee twill baskets. He also enjoys light wood working, genealogy, travel, and reading non fiction.
In 2009 Denise and Bruce moved to Maryville, TN. He started the to pursue basket making as a serious hobby. His wife and best friend, Denise Robertson live in Maryville, TN, with two nearly perfect cats. They are members of the local Odds and Ends basket guild, and enjoy attending other states' basket conventions. Bruce is a past president of the Tennessee Basketry Association.
Mike Clem, Andy Kruspe, and Garrett Smith have been playing Celtic music together in one form or another since 2010. During this time, they kept a running tab of cool band names and even better album names. When it came time to form a trio, "Black Market Haggis" became the clear choice for a band name. So they did what every new band should do when starting out- they searched their band name on the internet to see if it had already been taken. Predictably, no band has ever used that moniker. However, they did find that there is a demand for such a product since the USDA will not allow real haggis in the United States.
Then in the fall of 2015, the band lucked out. The band had been looking for vocalist, and Chenoa Clark's schedule was finally able to accommodate our musical shenanigans. She joined the band, and the boys have had to watch their language ever since."
Featuring award winning instrumentalists and dancers, the Celtic Martins from Southeastern Pennsylvania have been entertaining audiences for well over a decade with their high energy, fiddle driven Celtic music and Irish dance. Their creative upbeat arrangements based on original and centuries-old traditional Irish, Scottish, Cape Breton, French Canadian, and Americana tunes, are joyful and infectious, leaving listeners with both a sense of satisfaction and a desire for more. Their shows also feature Irish step dancing by the Martin sisters, always a crowd favorite.
The Celtic Martins is truly a family band. The six Martin siblings each began their musical career with the fiddle around the tender age of 5, branching out over time to other instruments, including Irish whistles, bagpipes, guitar, accordion, cello, percussion and vocals. They are joined by their parents and brother-in-law on guitar, bass and drums. The Celtic Martins have been performing since 2004 and have quickly became a musical sensation, appearing nationwide at various festivals, theaters and other venues such as the Bethlehem Music Fest, Smoky Mountain Highland Games, the Kutztown Folk Festival, Bitterroot Valley Highland Games, and more.
Highland Reign, an international touring Scots American Folk Rock Band from Indianapolis, takes the tunes of the old country and breathes a rocking new life into them!
With traditionals such as "American Stranger", originals like "Carry On" and "The Streets of Edinburgh ", and many many more, Highland Reign has become one of America's favorite Scottish Folk Rock Bands!
With over 20,000 CDs sold, the new CD, "JACOBITE", is now available! This CD has the trademark upbeat vocals, lilting Scots Irish fiddle , catchy lyrics, and bagpipes/guitars!! Many of the songs were written while on their tour of Scotland/Ireland! Highland reign appears at venues and festivals all across America , Scotland and Ireland!
With wailing bagpipes/guitar tunes, lilting fiddles, and upbeat vocals, Highland reign will rock you back to the old country!!!
MacGilliossa is a Florida-based Scottish/Celtic influenced, national touring band playing a mix of traditional songs and tunes and their own original compositions.
Featuring guitars, drums, bagpipes, the fiddle, bodhran, bouzouki and whistle, MacGilliossa are crowd-pleasing, high energy performers led by Scottish immigrant, champion bagpiper, singer/songwriter Paul Macleish, Kathryn Parker on fiddle and bass guitar, Dominick Mandano on percussion and KT Scott on bagpipes and Irish whistle.
The Piper Jones Band has one mission: to bring spirited, magical dance tunes and songs to everyone - from Celtic music veterans to those hearing it for the first time.
The Piper Jones Band is a lyrical, high energy trio based on the moving and beautiful sounds of the Highland bagpipes, accompanied by unique percussive chords from the bouzouki and inspired drums. While maintaining a strong musical base in traditional tunes from Ireland, Scotland, and Appalachia, the group also performs original instrumental compositions and powerful vocal harmonies, as well as stepping off stage from time to time to lead the audience in traditional Celtic dances. The Piper Jones Band brings authentic, traditional music to your audience in a fresh, entertaining way.
Piper EJ Jones has been performing and excelling as a performer of traditional Highland bagpipe music and folk music since he first picked up the pipes in 1987. He co-founded the renowned group Clandestine in 1991, with whom he produced five albums and won multiple awards. In addition, he also performs with Medieval dance band Brizeus and produced a solo album, The Willow, with Gerry O’Beirne and Rosie Shipley. Know for his technical expertise and lyrical piping, EJ can be heard piping for other artists such as Ed Miller, Robert Earl Keen, and many more. EJ is currently serving as the Concert Director for Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, the largest Highland Games in the United States. In addition to performing with the Piper Jones Band, EJ also teaches piping privately and at workshops and seminars across the country. In his spare time, EJ also creates bespoke, handcrafted smallpipes through his pipemaking company, Tidy Cottage Smallpipes.
Frances Cunningham is a native of Southeast Texas and fell into Irish music at an early age. She learned the Irish Bouzouki and became a founding member of the Celtic Rock band SixMileBridge which recorded and toured heavily from the late 90s into the 2000s. She moved to Nashville where she picked up the Tenor Banjo and since then has gone on to be an in-demand accompanist and session musician in the Nashville recording scene. She is a winner of the Midwest Fleadh on both the Bouzouki and Banjo.
Frances spent 5 years playing the Bouzouki weekly on the Grand Ole Opry in the Mike Snider String Band and was very pleased to be an ambassador for the instrument to Country music audiences during those years. She currently tours with EJ Jones in the Piper Jones Band singing, playing, composing and Scottish Step Dancing. She released her first solo album last year which has been featured on Fiona Ritchie’s ‘Thistle and Shamrock’ as well as other radio shows.
Seven to the Sea hails from Nashville, Tennessee. Their music is a blend of what they've heard and enjoyed all of their lives: styles that run the gamut from bluegrass to folk, Celtic, and rock. They've taken the best of what excites them musically.
Seven to the Sea grew out of the Nashville Celtic music scene of the early 2000's. Travis Johnson and Tom Saffell played together on numerous occasions before coming together to produce a debut album as The Fells: "A Moral There Must Surely Be." With fiddler Jennifer Halenar, The Fells found regional success and toured regularly throughout the southeast.
After Jennifer's departure, they re-christened themselves "Seven to the Sea," and embarked on a somewhat different musical direction, allowing latent influences from far-flung styles to enter into their songwriting. The result is the current EP, "Above & Below - Part 1," which was released on July 1, 2017.
At this point, their goal is to build upon their past successes, with highlights such as opening for Alison Krauss and appearing on Music City Roots.
John Miles is a retired US Marine Corps Officer and former college professor that now delivers lectures on Scottish history and other historical topics to groups. I have presented lectures to multiple Scottish Highland Games and Celtic Festivals throughout the U.S.
John Miles was previously or is presently a member of Clan Gillean USA, Clan Donnachaidh USA, The Scottish American Military Society (SAMS), Scottish American Society Palm Beach, FL, the St. Andrew's Society of Albany, NY, the Scottish American Society of Tidewater, VA, and the Robert Burns Society of the Midlands, SC.
John Miles volunteers as a guest history lecturer at the Vermont Veterans' Home and has spoken to the Vermont Governor's Veterans' Education Committee (GVEC). In addition to the highland games and veteran's organizations, John also gives historical presentations at multiple Assisted Living Facilities and libraries in South Carolina.
John received a Master’s degree in Military Studies (military history) from American Military University and holds a Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology with a minor in History from Texas A&M University.
John Miles is a six-time published author in Marine Corps Gazette, the professional journal of the Marine Corps. His article on Highland Regiments service in North America was published by Scots Heritage Magazine in its Spring 2017 edition. His article on Martial Bagpiping was published by Pipes & Drums in its’ July 2017 edition. Additionally, the magazine History Scotland recently published his article online Iconic Songs of World War One sung by Scottish Singers.
“Give me a stage, and I will entertain you,” has been Marci Salyer Nimick’s credo ever since she was old enough to know what that means. Couple that with her belief that all the world is indeed a stage, and you will understand why her friends and fans have dubbed her Marci the Entertainer.
When you see a Marci the Entertainer show, you never know what you will get—stories, music, poetry, dancing. The only thing you can predict is unpredictability. Marci’s lively performances take her audiences on journeys from the soul-searchingly profound to the toe-tappingly upbeat to the humorously irreverent. Marci wears her Appalachian roots, her 1980’s rocker fashion, her quick wit and her sentimental spirit as badges of honor. She knows exactly who she is and exactly how she got that way.
Marci was born to the bluegrass music stage. She grew up on the road with her father, South Salyer, who is a member of the Bluegrass Hall of Fame. She had her first paying gig more than 30 years ago at age 13. In the years since, Marci has been simultaneously living out all of her performance dreams—from the college classroom to the keynote speaker podium to the Opry spotlight to the International Storytelling Center stage.
Marci’s love of words and their power to affect audiences led her to a life of writing and performing. A prolific bluegrass songwriter, Marci also writes blues, country, swing, jazz, and alternative rock. However, her songs and her performances are always under the influence of grass—bluegrass, that is. Bluegrass Unlimited, the premier bluegrass music magazine, hails Marci as a creative singer and songwriter. “Marci’s got the charm and delivery that audiences want,” says Mike Dunbar, Nashville promoter, host, producer, and songwriter. “Her music is bluegrass that’s bluesy and sassy, and her lyrics are entertaining and thoughtful.”
Marci always was a storyteller; she just didn’t know that storytelling was a “thing”. After years of calling herself a singer-songwriter, a musician, a professor and a professional speaker who used stories to enhance her music and to engage students and conventioneers, Marci began calling herself a storyteller who uses everything she must touch people. Marci tells stories with her whole body, her whole soul and her whole heart. In fact, a line from one of her songs says, “I tear my heart out every night and leave it on the stage.”
Marci’s bubbly, upbeat, optimistic and always entertaining personality makes her a standout on any stage. You could call Marci Salyer Nimick a singer, a songwriter, a musician, a storyteller, a speaker, a buck dancer, a humorist, an actor, or you can simply call her Marci the Entertainer.
This band is one of Scotland's premier traditional bands. Their diverse repertoire spans the centuries with fire-driven instrumentals, topical songs, and original ballads and lullabies. Their music demonstrates to old and young alike the rich and varied musical heritage of the Celtic people. These versatile musicians have received worldwide accolades consistently over the years for their exuberant performances and outstanding recording efforts that seemingly can't get better...yet continue to do just that.
Trip Rogers has been performing Celtic music throughout the Southeastern US for 15 years. As half of the traditional Celtic duo Thistledown Tinkers and lead guitarist and vocalist for the Celtic rock band Stirling Bridge, he has played at many of the Scottish Highland Games in the region, including Grandfather Mountain, Loch Norman, Charleston, and Sarasota to name a few.
Trip is known for bringing lots of energy and humor to the stage, and gives traditional Celtic music styles a hard-driving southern rock attitude!