9th Annual High Peaks Music Festival
Saturday, September 8, 2018

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MONOCLE BAND is led by the sweet and soaring vocals of Monica Whittington (vocals, acoustic guitar) and includes songwriting partner Bill Huston (vocals, guitar) and the unparalled ensemble of jazz-trained and roots-based musicians, Eric Wiggs (vocals, upright bass, guitar), Ben Blechman (violin) and Josh Moore (drums, percussion).

The quintet formed in 2010, and have been wowing audiences by blending their stirring song-craft, with flat-picked guitar, fiddle, mandolin, upright bass and the most musical of drums into a sound that moves body, mind and soul. Rooted in a rustic sound as natural as the Rocky Mountains, Monocle Band has embraced an approach to Americana that is as varied and striking as their Colorado home.

Colorado music legend Danny Shafer says “Monocle’s instrumental ability is as strong as their connection to the audience. They always are able to give an engaging performance whether to a dancing crowd or a listening room”.

Indeed, the band’s noted performances have led them to the main stage of the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Rockygrass, countless venues across Colorado’s Front Range including opening for The Steel Drivers, The Samples and Ralph Stanley. Monocle Band is Rocky Mountain Indie Folk… brand new, original music rooted in traditions of Telluride bluegrass and the troubadour wanderings that led Townes Van Zandt through the San Juan Mountains on horseback.



DAKOTA BLONDE consists of Mary Huckins, the sunny South Dakota blonde who plays a plethora of instruments and sings lead on most songs, Don Pinnella, guitarist and lead vocalist and Tony Randell on acoustic bass, backup vocalist and all around funny guy. Huckins’ vocals evoke, on various numbers, Nanci Griffith or Shawn Colvin, but mostly Huckins sounds like herself. Hers is a voice of clarity and singularity. Ernie Martinez, multi-instrumentalist, and singer/songwriter/producer joins them to make this an extra special performance. special performance.

The three band members, Mary, Don and Tony met while working as music therapists at Fort Logan Mental Health Center in Denver, CO. Their authentic camaraderie is evident and their audiences tend to feel better after a dose of Dakota Blonde. Their combination of original tunes and carefully selected covers, along with their endearing stage presence and humor is out of this world! Their musical sound is hard to classify, but best put, they are part folk, part bluegrass, part acoustic rock, part singer/songwriter, and Celtic. A unique blend of heart, authenticity and contagious spirit, their acoustic sound is like no other. Their tightly blended harmonies will have you believing they were born to sing together. Dakota Blonde has received top honors for their song writing, CD projects and performances throughout the world. www.DakotaBlonde.com


TC Smythe and Gary Taylor are known for their tight, symbiotic harmonies, their humorous lyrics and ‘3-D’ brand of guitar playing. Between them they have 10 CD’s. Their craft of songwriting includes a blend of bluegrass, blues, folk, Celtic, pop and Americana music. Performing together for eighteen years, they have completed nine world tours including appearances at the Guildford Music Festival in England eight years running. As one reviewer put it, “Lots of humor, lots of fun, but some really poignant and insightful songs as well.”

Multi award winners, they are the Houston Songwriter’s Association’s Lyric Contest Winners, Songwriter of the Year Winners, Lifetime Achievement Award Winners and Folk Champion Winners. In 2009, they won the Vocal Duo of the Year My Texan Award and in 2013 they won the Popular Cover of the Year, Texas Music Award.

Joining Gary and TC is Kathy Taylor on standup bass and Drew Horton on mandolin. Drew is a 1st Place Mandolin Championship Winner, Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield KA.


• Mollie O'Brien and Rich Moore

Mollie O'Brien and her husband, guitarist Rich Moore, have for nearly 30 years quietly made it their mission to find, mine and reinvent other artists' songs. They are geniuses at the craft of interpretation in the way that great singers, since the beginning of popular American music, have made the songs of their era their own. As songwriters they add their own tunes to the canon of American roots music they inhabit and show us they’re completely at home with their musical selves. Rolling Stone describes their music as “Heartfelt intelligence and unselfconsciously sophisticated.” Led Zeppelin’s John Paul Jones says “If you want to know what singing is all about, listen to Mollie O’Brien.” “An Incredible Singer and Fantastic Guitarist performing some of the Best Songs you’ll ever hear in one show…”Larry Groce, Artistic Director and Host, Mountain Stage.

Grammy winner Mollie has long been known as a singer who doesn’t recognize a lot of musical boundaries, and audiences love her fluid ability to make herself at home in any genre while never sacrificing the essence of the song she tackles. She is a singer at the very top of her game who’s not afraid to take risks both vocally and in the material she chooses.

Rich, while known to produce some of the funniest onstage running commentary, is also a powerhouse guitar player who can keep up with O’Brien’s twists and turns from blues to traditional folk to jazz to rock and roll. He creates a band with just his guitar and, as a result, theirs is an equal partnership. www.mollieobrien.com

• Greg Blake

GREG BLAKE grew up in the mountains of southwest West Virginia, and when he sings, you can hear a voice that connects to the great old generations of mountain singers, invested with a rich twang and rumbling drawl, and the kind of eerily powerful high tenor cry that first inspired the 'high, lonesome sound.' These days he's traded the low, rolling mountains of his West Virginia homeland for the sky-scraping peaks of Colorado. While bluegrass gospel may be one of Greg Blake's signature talents, he's certainly not averse to a little rough-and-tumble country singing, and his new album features a blazing bluegrass version of Johnny Cash's "Hey Porter" that shows off Blake's razor-sharp and lightning-fast guitar picking abilities. Drawing from a wide variety of song sources, from Cash to 80s country (Joe Diffie), to Canadian folk (Ian Tyson), to the original source himself, Big Mon, Greg Blake has a far ranging set of influences but a powerful Appalachian base to his music that resets these vocal gems in new ways.

Growing up in West Virginia, Greg Blake was immersed in the sounds of old country, mountain bluegrass, and gospel harmonies from a young age. Moving to Kansas City, he started playing in more and more bands, eventually recording on 12 albums for bands like the Bluegrass Missourians, Mountain Holler, The Harvest Quartet and more. He's twice been nominated for the SPBGMA's Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year and five times won the SPBGMA's Guitarist of the Year, not to mention the Kansas State Flatpicking championship. After moving to Conifer, Greg joined all-star progressive bluegrass band Jeff Scroggins & Colorado as the lead vocalist. With both Jeff and his son Tristan breaking new ground instrumentally on the banjo and mandolin, Greg stepped up to the plate as a guitarist, and crafted the band's sound around his signature high tenor vocals.

A big man with an even bigger heart, he brings an uplifting joy to the music he knows and loves. Unfettered by genre divisions and unconstrained by tradition, he just follows his heart to find the deep mountain roots of the music, infusing everything he sings with a powerful, soaring spirit.


• Rebecca Folsom

Rebecca Folsom’s music is about liberation. Her songs crack open hearts, inspire hope, and leave listeners with a deeper perspective. Rebecca’s world-class voice traverses a near-four-octave range. KUNC radio describes it as “knock-you-to-your-knees.” The Daily Camera describes her music as “shining…with lush harmonies,” and Westword Magazine says, “Her songs hit like little earthquakes!”

Rebecca’s voice pours from an inner source of honest emotion, flowing from lilting tenderness to fully liberated, unbridled release. Her poetic songs open your heart, setting free a vulnerability you didn’t realize was locked away and inviting you to embrace life with all of its joy, sorrow, passion, and love. She brings both a pure vocal quality reminiscent of old Appalachia and a blues prowess.

With the release of two new CDs, Rebecca is in full stride, more masterful than ever and more personal too. Her newest CDs, Extraordinary Days and Little Medicines, born out of writing 52 new songs in a year, are a delightfully positive ensemble of songs. Mixed to listening perfection, the delicious blend of front porch instrumentals, intimate vocals, and soaring harmonies reveal tales of human heartbreak, redemption, and liberation. As Rebecca’s songwriting paints a picture of shadow and light, she digs down to gather life’s stories, alchemizes them, and offers a transcending, toe-tapping vision of hope. These songs are little medicines for the soul.

Within a few weeks of its release, Extraordinary Days hit number 5 on the national Folk DJ chart, while the song “Better Times” was named number 1 Best Folk song. Rebecca also earned the number 8 spot on Folk DJ’s list of top artists of 2016. The CD is Top 40 on National Americana Country radio charts, and the song “Colorado” hit number 22. National radio has called the CD “Stunning” and “Spectacular.”

Whether performing solo, or as a duo, trio, or the full band, Rebecca’s music lifts you up for a truly heart-opening and inspiring musical ride. Rebecca and her colleagues share many accomplishments, including Nashville songwriting success and a Grammy nomination, as well as topping the Roots/Americana and College radio charts, playing the highest caliber national and international venues, and being voted best of BBC television and radio. They have been professional singer/songwriters, touring musicians, and teachers for over 20 years. www.rebeccafolsom.com