FestivaLink.net presents The Wilders at MerleFest, NC 4/28/06
This talented group, formed in 1996, is regularly regarded as 'the band to see' wherever they go. Led by singer, guitarist and country wisecracker, Ike Sheldon, the band grounds itself firmly in the early formative years of recorded country music. Featured in each performance are the hard driving old time fiddle tunes presided over by multi-award-winning fiddler, Betse Ellis. Her infectious fiddling is often the cause of spontaneous dancing by both the audience and the band!
The Wilders' playlist is peppered with original country, bluegrass, hillbilly songs, and fiddle tunes, and also includes many of the classic country favorites heard in the early days of the Grand Ol' Opry radio show. Songs by Hall of Famers Jimmie Rogers, Roy Acuff and the Carter Family are presented in a faithful yet original light. Anchored by the insurgent walking bass lines of Nate Gawron, the band resurrects 1940's and 50's honky-tonk heroes like Hank Williams and Lefty Frizzell, providing each tune with all the swinging electricity found in the originals without plugging in a single instrument. The finishing touch for the band's sound is produced by the slippery dobro, chugging clawhammer banjo and plunky mandolin of jack-of-all-trades, Phil Wade. While Sheldon and Ellis handle the bulk of the vocal chores, the whole group can sometimes be heard harmonizing on a beautiful old gospel tune.
Ike Sheldon (lead vocals, guitar)
Betse Ellis (fiddle, vocals)
Phil Wade (banjo, dobro, mandolin, vocals)
Nate Gawron (bass, vocals)
Related FestivaLink.net sets:
The Wilders at MerleFest, NC 4/24/08
21st MerleFest Welcome Home Jam at MerleFest, NC 4/25/08
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Photos: Leila Jackson, Gnu Moon Graphics (gnumoon.com).