Friday, May 2, 2014

The Celtic Tradition -- Keeping the "Auld" Tunes Alive


Linda Danielson, Janet Naylor and Joe Ross have played together in a wide variety of settings over many years. Linda and Janet are part of the English-Scottish dance band Flying Haggis, and Janet and Joe released a highly-acclaimed album called “The Harper’s Reverie: Irish Music of Turlough O’Carolan” in 1998. A few years later, all three of the musicians collaborated on a children’s music album, “The Crazy Zoo: An Animal Songfest.” Today, the trio is simply The Celtic Tradition

In solo, duo or trio settings, the musicians have appeared widely at concerts, festivals, fairs, pubs, restaurants, coffeehouses, weddings, receptions and special events throughout the region. Their music ranges widely through the songs and tunes of Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, with excursions into the Scandinavian countries and northern Spain. Keep up with The Celtic Tradition on Facebook.

Linda Danielson plays for Scottish country dancing, English country dancing, and contra dancing with bands headquartered in Eugene, Seattle and Portland. She’s appeared on KLCC’s Front Porch Revue. She also fiddles for a cowgirl band, The Slow Ponies, based in Yoncalla, and for the Annie Rhodes Band, country music out of Cottage Grove.  One of her most unusual musical memories involves playing for Scottish country dancing at a grand hotel in Tokyo, the night before the Tokyo Scottish Highland Games. She also teaches privately. Linda, along with David Stuart Bull and Chico Schwall, will soon open their 27th season of “A Celtic Holiday.”

JanetNaylor has played solo for many summers at the Caledonian Games in Athena, OR., the Celtic Highland Games in southern Oregon, and at Ye Merrie Greenwood Faire in Washington.   She toured for many years with Celtic storyteller Rachel Foxman for the Oregon Committee for the Humanities.  She has performed Celtic music with the bands Sheila na Gig and The Oregon Country Dance Orchestra. Janet’s played Renaissance music with Terra Nova Consort, and currently plays with Americanistan, a Middle Eastern group.  She’s also been a Celtic harp judge, and has won national Celtic harp awards for performing, composing and arranging. She teaches Celtic harp at her home.


For Info or Bookings, Please Contact:

Joe Ross

Tel. 541-673-9759 or 670-9120


No one can resist Joe Ross’ invitation to have fun while he’s performing his interactive “edu-taining” shows with many different instruments. Born in Virginia and raised a “military brat” in Japan, his music career started on electronic organ player in sixties rock/soul bands. Bluegrass and Celtic music entered his life in the 1970s at University of Oregon. Ross has played in many bands over the past four decades, from Celtic to Country, Latin to Hawaiian, and Gypsyjazz to Bluegrass. Current bands include Umpqua Valley Bluegrass Band, Alamojo Western Swing Band, The Liberty Players, and Keynotes Polka Band. Joe’s eight albums span various genres and emphasize originality, eclectic influences and tastes. Joe also presents a storytelling program (Folk Tales of Old Japan), teaches at Absolute Music in Roseburg, and writes regularly for music magazines, blogs and websites.  He works full-time to share the “enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of making music together.”


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

The Liberty Players and Contra Swings!

What do you get when you combine expert fiddle with jazzy guitar and swinging mandolin? Rhythmic and rollicking Celtic and Old-Time tunes that will make you tap your toes and twirl your partner.  The Liberty Players are Jennifer Sordyl (fiddle), Don Berg (guitar), and Joe Ross (mandolin, tenor banjo, string bass).
Jennifer Sordyl performs Celtic & contra-dance tunes with her guitarist husband, Don Berg in the ensemble “Contra Swings.” Jennifer was literally "raised in the music business" in Springfield IL. She learned violin and other instruments, along with her eight brothers and sisters in the family-owned music store, the House of Music. Eventually, Jennifer landed in Southern Arizona, where she taught fiddle at two rural Montessori charter schools for 14 years. All the Kinders at the schools received a year of fiddle instruction as part of their regular curriculum. She also taught aspiring fiddlers at Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp in Colorado for 12 summers.

Don Berg hails from Tacoma WA, where he was heavily influenced by the playing of Jerry Miller from the Moby Grape, and Neil Anderson from Gypsy Jazz group, Pearl Jango. Jazz won out, and after retiring in Green Valley, AZ he performed with two big band jazz groups for over seven years. Jennifer and Don met while playing music in church. A musical match made in Heaven! After falling in love with Jennifer, Don took up the Celtic and Contra-dance style, and they performed in several groups in the Tucson, AZ area. New to the Coos Bay area in 2013, they’re delighted to be part of the active Celtic and jazz music scene here.

No one can resist Joe Ross’ invitation to have fun while he’s performing his interactive “edu-taining” shows with many different instruments. Born in Virginia, raised a “military brat” in Japan, his music career started on electronic organ in 1960’s rock/soul bands. Celtic and bluegrass music entered his life in the 1970s at University of Oregon. Over the past five decades, Joe has played from Celtic to Country, Latin to Hawaiian, and Gypsy-jazz to Bluegrass. According to Joe, his eight albums have “gone iron or lead.” Spanning various genres, they emphasize his originality, eclectic influences and tastes. Joe also presents a storytelling program (Folk Tales of Old Japan), teaches at Absolute Music in Roseburg, and writes regularly for magazines, blogs and websites.
All three of these musicians work full-time to share the “enjoyment, fun and camaraderie of making music together.” For example, The Liberty Players will be heavily involved with both performances and workshops at the South Coast Celtic Festival in Coos Bay in May.  

The Festival’s schedule can be accessed here, and be sure to check out their respective performances, as well as individual workshops such as Irish Pub Songs, Dissecting the Concertina, Beginning Fiddle for 5-7 yr olds (give or take a year) and as leaders of the Irish Session. Joe Ross & Contra Swings will perform at McFarlin’s Pub in Bandon on March 15, and at the South Coast Celtic Festival Revue House Concert in Coos Bay on March 16. You can also catch The Liberty Players at pubs, farm markets, restaurants and such special events as Douglas County’s Earth Day Festival and Energy Fair in Roseburg on April 5 and the First Presbyterian Church’s Lenten Meditation in Music on April 4.

For more info about The Liberty Players and Contra Swings, please phone 541-361-8188 (Coos Bay) or 541-673-9759 (Roseburg) or e-mail rossjoe [at] hotmail [dot] com  OR  violinjenn [at] charter [dot] net

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Eugene Women in the Blues hold March 8th Womenspace Benefit at Cozmic

Vipertoons Productions and The Eugene Weekly present Eugene Women in the Blues, a benefit for Womenspace, at Cozmic (199 West 8th, Eugene, OR.) on International Women’s Day, Saturday, March 8 from 6 - 11 p.m. The benefit will feature Eugene area blues musicians and bands including Deb Cleveland with The Vipers, Gaye Lee Russell, Joanne Broh, Barbara Healy, Lynda Duffy, Darcy Lee Gribble with Heavy Chevy, Matrisha Armitage with Bajuana Tea, the Fiddlin’ Big Sue Band, Janie Smith, and Naomi Debacker.

For more than ten years, powerful, gospel-trained vocalist Deb Cleveland has performed with the no-nonsense, straight-up blues band, The Vipers, including a European tour.  She also performs soulful, swinging, jazzy blues and funk with her own Deb Cleveland Band.

Dynamic singer and charismatic entertainer Gaye Lee Russell performs with the Badass Band.  Joanne Broh sings upbeat blues with some rock for spice and splash of funk with the appropriately named Joanne Broh Band.  Deb Cleveland, Gaye Lee Russell, and Joanne Broh are all previous winners of the Rainy Day Blues Society’s Rooster Award for “Best Female Blues Vocalist.”
Barbara Healy’s soulful vocals and lyrics have ignited West coast stages and radio waves for more than thirty years.  Her fifth CD, Shades of Blues, was released last year with her band, Barbara Healy & Her Groove Too Band.
Explosive, sultry vocalist Lynda Duffy performs R & B and blues with the richly blended Americana band Barefoot Leroy.  Darcy Lee Gribble performs with the rockin’ blues and soul band Heavy Chevy.  Matrisha Armitage is one-half of Bajuana Tea, a duo combining old and new school in a way that and captures audiences with creative originals and classic covers.

The Fiddlin’ Big Sue Band, comprised of Sue and Tom Hunnel and Janet Nelson, has been performing their brand of good old time music for more than three decades.  Multi-instrumentalist Janie Smith has performed with numerous area bands over the last 35 years and currently plays saxophone with Heavy Chevy.

Womenspace believes each person has the right to live a life free from violence and fear of abuse. The agency’s mission is to prevent domestic violence in intimate partner relationships in Lane County and support survivors in claiming personal power. One in four women and one in seven men will experience some form of domestic violence in their lifetime. Locally, one in three police call outs are domestic violence related. By providing support and resources to survivors of intimate partner violence, educating the community and working together, Womenspace knows we can decrease the rate of domestic violence and create a healthier and safer community for everyone.

Advance tickets for $10 are available at Cozmic, CD World, and House of Records, or online here at  Tickets at the door are on a sliding scale of $12 to $18 with a suggested admission of $15.  The show runs from 6 pm to 11 pm.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Introducing Gordon Kaswell

Besides being an active Eugene-area music teacher, Gordon Kaswell is a multi-instrumentalist (electric and acoustic guitars, piano, keyboards, bass guitar, hand percussion) in a range of styles (blues, folk, rock, swing). He’s also had success as a songwriter and composer.

Gordon Kaswell has been playing guitar for more than 40 years. He began his musical education as a private student of the piano, and went on to apply the music theory and concepts he learned to the guitar. He performed in clubs in Boston, MA, and Rochester, NY, before moving to Eugene. He performs locally on both guitar and piano, and plays the electric bass guitar, keyboard synth, and hand percussion as well.

At the 2001 Worldfest Film Festival in Houston, Gordon earned a Platinum Award for composing, performing, and recording the world beat musical score for the documentary film, "The Passionate Harvest" (on the subject of international coffee culture and agriculture). "Java Roads" is his soundtrack CD from that film.
 "The Performer," a song he co-authored, has been featured in made-for-TV films on ABC ("A Murderous Affair") and Cinemax ("Desire"), and performed on Saturday Night Live.  The song’s also been covered by several noted jazz singers.  It's featured on "Love is Blue," the 2004 CD release from Blue Note Records jazz singer, Jackie Allen. A member of the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) since 1988, Gordon also has created custom music for numerous commercial clients, including Symantec, Bellissimo Media, and States Industries.

Since 2007, Gordon has been teaching guitar at The John G. Shedd Institute, where he offers instruction in folk, blues, rock, and swing jazz acoustic and electrical guitar, as well as music theory.

"I give my students the skills and techniques they need to play and enjoy the guitar, while gradually introducing musical concepts that will enable them to understand what they are doing and express themselves creatively in whatever styles and genres they prefer. I believe my teaching style closely matches my performance style which can be summed up as ‘relaxed and personal.' I am here for my students – to help them reach their individual musical goals in a relaxed and supportive environment."
In this video, Kaswell shares what it is like to mature as a musical artist. Also, check out Gordon Kaswell’s Reverbnation page to learn more about his traditional American and British fingerstyle acoustic, rock, classic and contemporary blues, swing jazz, and world beat music.
Vanessa Salvia of the Eugene Weekly offers: “He has built an impressive performing career, but Kaswell is also known among his peers as a talented composer.” 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Introducing Chico Schwall

For the latest installment about Lane Musician Collective members, I'd like to introduce you to Chico Schwall. Folksinger, multi-instrumentalist and songpoet William "Chico" Schwall believes there IS enough to go around and we CAN figure out how to make it work.
Instrumentalist and singer, traditional musician and songwriter, his music is a genre-defying tightrope walk over Folk Music Falls. He has sung at labor rallies, traveled with Northwest Touring Theatre, played in pit bands, done "side man" gigs in the studio and on stage, directed folk music camps for kids and played gigs of every stripe in half a dozen states. 
Chico's newest CD, "Then What's It For?" draws on blues, gospel, mountain music, Irish tunes and international acoustic sounds and puts his original songs and tunes among gems and classics from all over.

When he's not traveling, Chico fans the flames of discontent in Eugene, Oregon and teaches Everything with Strings at the Shedd Institute for the Arts.

"When I was a kid at recess time," says Schwall, "I'd go over to the place where the older kids did the high jump and the pole vault in gym class. There were two hollow metal posts set in the ground, with holes drilled in them for the pegs they used to hold the bar at various heights. When the wind blew those posts were like two giant randomly tuned flutes, singing as the wind blew across the holes. I could sit in the sand pit and listen to them until the teacher called me in off the playground. Always changing, always beautiful. I'm surprised everybody wasn't over there listening." 

To see a video of Chico Schwall performing "Mayn Rue Plats,"click here. It was recorded in February 2009 at Folk Alliance, Memphis, Tennessee. Videography is by Tom Weber. And here's Chico singing and playing "What I Know About Love."

Monday, January 20, 2014

Introducing Nancy Hopps

Nancy Hopps has been professionally combining performing arts and healing arts for over 30 years. She is recognized nationally for her award-winning Relax Into Healing series of spoken-word audio recordings. Nancy currently has 11 titles out on the market, which have earned praise from leaders in the field, including Bernie Siegel, MD, and Jack Canfield, of Chicken Soup for the Soul fame. Her CDs (on topics including deep relaxation, sleep, affirmations, childbirth, cancer, surgery and pain) are in widespread use in hospitals and other therapeutic settings. Background music on most of Nancy’s CDs is by local harpist Donna Mast, whose intuitive approach to her music greatly augments the healing aspects of these powerful recordings. For more information, please visit Nancy's website at

In the performing realm, Nancy has been seen on most local stages as an actor/singer over the past few decades. Favorites include title roles in The Decent of Inanna (ECT), Sylvia, The Taming of the Shrew, and the one-woman show, Raw Canvas (LLTC/OCT). She sang for years with the Eugene Vocal Arts Ensemble, and various small groups, performing mostly in the folk/jazz realms. She is a member of Fred Crafts’ Radio Redux troupe, with favorite roles as Mary in It’s a Wonderful Life, Ilse in Casablanca, and 13 character voices in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

In early 2014, she is assistant-directing and performing the role of Alta in Julia Cho’s The Language Archive at The Very Little Theater (24th and Hilyard). This unique, award-winning script has been described as “a magically inventive comedy about love and lost languages.” The production only runs through Feb 1st , and tickets are going fast! For tickets or more information please call VLT at 541-344-7751 or click here.
On Valentine’s Day, February 14, which is also WORLD SOUND HEALING DAY, Nancy will offer her 7th annual Alchemical Crystal Singing Bowls, Toning & Guided Meditation: A quietly joyful, deeply renewing experience. On this day traditionally devoted to the celebration of Love, join thousands of others around the world in using the power of sound and intention to create love and healing for self and others ... and for our planet.

In an atmosphere of loving Presence, experience Nancy’s inspired guided meditations, the power of intention and toning, combined with the alchemy of 20 Crystal Singing Bowls. 7 to 8:30 PM. Unity of the Valley, 39th & Hilyard. Suggested Donation $15 -$20. (No one turned away.) For more info, call 541-345-9913 or click here.
Wearing yet another hat, Nancy maintains a limited private practice. She intuitively draws from an extensive background in various healing modalities, including sound healing (alchemical crystal singing bowls, toning, etc.) and other forms of energetic healing, therapeutic massage, mindfulness-based meditation, interactive guided imagery, affirmation, cognitive therapy, hypnotherapy, NLP, etc. (Happily, much of the work Nancy does tends to defy labels.) She also practices and teaches Yoga Plus and Edgu.

While acknowledging the value of this eclectic background, she credits her spiritual practice as her most significant “training”, and the incomparable healing power of Love as her most valuable "tool".

When asked “What do you do when you work with people?” Nancy’s response is, “Whatever needs doing."

"Most importantly," she adds, "I offer myself as a Vehicle to guide the client into their own inner knowing. In this place of relaxed clarity, the growth or healing they're seeking occurs in the most appropriate, expedient, elegant, and sometimes seemingly magical ways. I feel deeply honored when I'm able to assist a client in their journey to Self ... witnessing someone remember who they truly are, being in that transcendent place with them, is an indescribable joy."