PineCone & The City of Raleigh Co-Sponsor Showcase Stage at 2018 Folk Alliance Conference


Top row, left to right: Wild Ponies - a man and a woman standing side by side in a black and white portrait - he holds a guitar and wears a hat and dark shirt and jacket and looks off into the distance; she wears a jean jacket and dark top and is looking up and to her right at him; EmiSunshine - sitting in room with natural light coming in through a window, resting her chin on her right hand, she wears a glittery star headpiece and appears pensive; Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer - Fink holds a banjo by its neck in her right hand, and her left arm is around Marxer's shoulders, and Marxer holds her guitar in front of her with her right hand. Both are smiling. Bottom row, left to right: Giri and Uma Peters - the two siblings stand back to back outside, smiling, and Giri is a head taller than Uma; The War and Treaty - Michael Trotter and Tanya Blount lean side by side against a corrugated metal wall - Blount wears a light-colored floor-length dress with a black belt, and Trotter, to her left, wears pants with suspenders, a white t-shirt, and a black hat, and he is looking away from her; Trout Steak Revival: four men and one woman all smiling and wearing casual outfits, one man wears a hat, four of the men are clean-shaven, and one has a beard and mustache, and the woman has long hair and glasses. Below the photos, the words Washington Park Place I (Sponsored by The City of Raleigh and PineCone) #FAI30.

PineCone and the City of Raleigh will co-sponsor a showcase stage at the 2018 Folk Alliance Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, which takes place February 14-18, 2018.

The showcase will feature performances by Wild Ponies (Doug & Telisha Williams), EmiSunshine and The Rain, Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, Giri & Uma Peters, The War and Treaty, and Trout Steak Revival on the Washington Park Place I stage.

Wild Ponies

Although they're based in Nashville, Wild Ponies have always looked to Southwest Virginia — where bandmates Doug and Telisha Williams were both born and raised — for inspiration. There, in mountain towns like Galax, old-time American music continues to thrive, supported by a community of fiddlers, flat-pickers, and fans. Wild Ponies pay tribute to that powerful music and rugged landscape with 2017's Galax, a stripped-back album that nods to the band's history while still pushing forward. The result is a broad, bold approach to Appalachian music, created by a multi-cultural band whose members span several generations. Doug and Telisha took some of their favorite musicians from Nashville (Fats Kaplin, Will Kimbrough, Neilson Hubbard and Audrey Spillman) and met up with revered Old-Time players from Galax, Virginia (Snake Smith, Kyle Dean Smith, and Kilby Spencer). Recorded in the shed behind Doug’s old family farm in the Appalachians (steps away from the site where Doug and Telisha were married), it returns Wild Ponies to their musical and geographic roots.

Learn more about Wild Ponies

EmiSunshine and The Rain

It’s nearly impossible to explain the exceptional talents of EmiSunshine, the 13-year-old prodigy from East Tennessee who has captured the nation’s attention and enchanted hearts-a-many with her musical wizardry. Born Emilie Sunshine Hamilton, the singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist has been surrounded by family members who possess a genuine love for “salt-of-the-earth,” mountain melodies and lyrics. Emi embraced the classic country, blues, and folk music that echoed throughout her Madisonville, TN home. Steeped in Appalachian music, Emi is a true vocal stylist. Influenced by legends (Loretta Lynn/Tanya Tucker/The Louvin Brothers), she is a throwback to earlier eras of country music when trendsetters like Bessie Smith, June Carter, Loretta Lynn, and Hank Williams made history. The sassy, strikingly powerful, ultra entertainer is bound and determined to follow in their footsteps, and while she has some pretty big shoes to fill, this little lady fits the bill. Emi launched her professional career performing at churches, community outings and local festivals. It’s the spectacular 2014 performance at a Tennessee flea market that skyrocketed her career to become a worldwide phenomenon when a video of her stage show went viral on YouTube. Since her breakout at just nine years old, Emi has garnered more than 14 million YouTube views and a half million Facebook followers. Emi’s indescribable and inexplicable talents have taken the world by surprise. The witty songwriter self-produces all of her music (live and in the studio). Emi plays a wailing guitar; she can make the mandolin cry and the ukulele sing. Her ability to combine her youthful, bubbly disposition with deep, meaningful and rather dark song content brings her imagination to life. While her music as been described as “old-timey,” she adds her own unique, contemporary blend of roots music that is equal parts Americana, bluegrass, gospel, and country, with a sprinkle of blues and a whole lot of “shock factor.” Described as a “modern-day Janis Joplin,” she delivers vivid emotion with every spine-chilling, spirited yet haunting note. The crooner now plays more than 50 dates a year backed by a group made up of those closest to her. Her father plays upright bass, her brother (John Letner) accompanies her on mandolin, and “Uncle Bobby” Hill plays drums. The fearless entertainer has performed on The Today Show and The Grand Ole Opry (more than a dozen times), at The Ryman and numerous renowned festivals (CMA Fest and MerleFest).

Learn more about EmiSunshine

Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer

Two-time GRAMMY® Award winners, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer are master musicians with a career spanning more than 35 years. Their superb harmonies are backed by instrumental virtuosity on the guitar, five-string banjo, ukulele, mandolin, cello-banjo, and many other instruments. An eclectic folk festival on their own terms, their repertoire ranges from classic country to western swing, gypsy jazz to bluegrass, and old-time string band to contemporary folk including some original gems. Their versatility defies a brief description. Perhaps “well rounded Americana” does it best. They have entertained the Queen of Thailand, been keynote singers for the AFL-CIO, performed at hundreds of folk festivals, appeared on The Today Show and on National Public Radio. They have advocated in Washington for unions, health care for children, and the rights and livelihoods of artists. In February 2017, the duo released their 45th recording, GET UP AND DO RIGHT. The album features duets of some of their favorite songs by songwriters such as Alice Gerrard, Tom Paxton, Ola Belle Reed and David Francey, with an original tune and song for good measure. The last piece, “Song of Joy” is by their good friend Ken Whitely and includes percussion and a vocal ensemble the duo created with their own voices.  Cathy & Marcy have performed at hundreds of bluegrass and folk festivals and taught at close to 100 music camps. The Washington Area Music Association has recognized the duo with over 60 WAMMIE Awards for folk, bluegrass and children’s music. They have performed with Pete Seeger, Theodore Bikel, Tom Paxton, Patsy Montana, Riders in the Sky and a wide range of musical luminaries. They are happily known as “social music conductors” ready to start a jam session, a community sing or to create a music camp helping others learn to play and sing. Past students include Kaki King and Rhiannon Giddens. Through their long relationship with the Music Center at Strathmore they collaborated with positive hip-hop artist Christylez Bacon. They continue to mentor up-and-coming artists on navigating the professional music world. As curators, performers and hosts, Cathy & Marcy produce two annual shows at The Birchmere, in Alexandria, Virginia. The Mike Seeger Commemorative Old Time Banjo Festival is in its 11th year, and their Tribute To Hank Williams in its 21st year. Their annual weeklong Ukulele & Guitar Summit at Strathmore goes into year 10 in 2018. Cathy & Marcy have earned two GRAMMY® Awards for their recordings cELLAbration: a Tribute to Ella Jenkins and for Bon Appétit!. Cathy & Marcy have toured worldwide from Japan to New Zealand, Vancouver to New York and everywhere in between. Shows include The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum (OH), Smithsonian Institution, and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. American Voices Abroad chose Cathy & Marcy with fiddler Barbara Lamb to perform in China, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu for the U.S. Department of State.

Learn more about Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer

Giri & Uma Peters

Giri (age 12) and Uma (age 10) Peters are an Indian-American  brother/sister duo from Nashville, TN. These award-winning multi-instrumentalists - Giri on fiddle, mandolin, and guitar, and Uma on clawhammer banjo - have been electrifying audiences with their refreshing, soulful blend of old-time, folk, and roots music. Although young in age, their musicianship and vocal harmonies showcase a level of creativity and originality well beyond their years. They have attracted the attention of MacArthur Genius Grant awardee Rhiannon Giddens, and banjo greats Abigail Washburn and Bela Fleck. Giri and Uma have performed around Nashville, and at festivals around the Southeast.

Learn more about Giri & Uma Peters

The War and Treaty

For Michael Trotter Jr., the journey began in 2004, when he arrived in Iraq, an untested soldier stricken by fear and self-doubt. His captain made it his personal mission to see to Trotter’s survival. The unit was encamped in one of Saddam Hussein’s private palaces, and in a forgotten corner in its basement, they found a black upright piano that once belonged to the dictator himself. When Trotter shared the fact he could sing, he was encouraged to teach himself to play piano on that confiscated keyboard. “I wrote my first song after that captain was killed,” Trotter recalls. “I sang it for his memorial in Iraq.” Soon after it became his mission to sing at the memorial services for those that had fallen. For the next three years, he sang songs that brought solace and comfort to the members of his unit. His efforts eventually garnered wider recognition as well. He came in first place in “Military Idol,” the army’s version of “American Idol,” during a competition held in Baumholder, Germany. Following his discharge, he was featured on the Hope Channel program My Story, My Song. Then he met Tanya Blount, a seasoned performer whose musical influences include Mahalia Jackson, Dolly Parton, Sister Odette and Aretha Franklin; she was amazed by Trotter. "His personality drew me in ... and then the sparks started to fly. I knew that I was hooked," she recalls. The two fell in love, got married, and used the experiences they had gained to create a new musical collaboration. The couple then secured the services of musicians whose skills add a distinctive sound to The War and Treaty’s blend of roots music, bluegrass, folk, gospel, and soul. Recorded in Albion, Michigan, Down to the River boasts a sound that’s both stirring and sensual, driven by joy, determination, and an unceasing upward gaze. The music is visceral but never morose, flush with emotion but void of despair… a style that touches on a variety of genres, but never finds itself confined to anyone. The arrangements are uncluttered– harmonies, basslines, guitar and mandolin licks, settle drum patterns and keyboards create an immensely moving soundscape — but the sentiments and emotions are fully realized and soar with a steady, chilling assurance.

Learn more about The War and Treaty

Trout Steak Revival

Ever since winning the 2014 Telluride Bluegrass Festival Band Competition, Trout Steak Revival has quickly become the quintessential Colorado string band. The band won an Emmy Award for a soundtrack they contributed to a Rocky Mountain PBS. They have collaborated with school children in mentoring programs in both Denver and the mountain communities. Their music is featured on Bank of Colorado’s radio and television advertisements. Most recently, Westword named them Denver’s Best Bluegrass Band, and they were nominated as a Momentum Band of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association. Defined more by expressive songwriting and heartfelt harmonies rather than any one genre, Trout Steak Revival crosses over and blends the bounds of folk, indie, bluegrass, and roots, evoking its own style of Americana. With five band members all contributing unique lyrics, lead vocals, acoustic instrumentation, and harmonies, Trout Steak Revival delivers memorable tunes to an energetic fanbase that grows hand-in-hand with the band.

Learn more about Trout Steak Revival


Learn more about the 2018 Folk Alliance Conference