Umpqua Valley Bluegrass Band's mountain-styled "tight & twangy" traditional bluegrass sound features banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, bass and vocals. The group formed in 2010 when they saw a newspaper classified ad for a “Bluegrass Band Needed for Pig Roast BBQ.” The rest is history!
Francis Stephenson was born in 1932 in New Brunswick, Canada, 100 miles north of the Maine border. He loved listening to Wilf Carter and Hank Snow on the radio, Canada's two country heroes during the early 40s. Around 1941, he started pulling in a radio station hundreds of miles to the south, known as WWVA, Wheeling, W.V. On their Saturday night jamboree, they had great old-time artists like Hawkshaw Hawkins, Little Jimmie Dickens and Cowboy Copas. But, husband/wife duo Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper (and esp. Wilma Lee's voice) was the one that compelled Francis to sing and play guitar. So, in 1946, at age 14, Francis got his first guitar, and started to play and sing. Francis knew at that time that Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper's sound would be the closest sound to bluegrass this world would ever hear, until Bill Monroe announced in 1946, that he had invented a unique music and named it bluegrass. In 1955, at age 23, Francis moved to Ventura, Ca. and then heard real authentic bluegrass for the first time. It was the Stanley Brothers' first Columbia LP. Before it finished playing, Francis' heart switched from country to bluegrass, forever. Even though Francis now has many favorite bluegrass artists, Ralph Stanley is at the top of the list.
Together, the Umpqua Valley Bluegrass Band has released two albums. In 2012, they put out "Live at the Siskiyou Bluegrass Festival." In 2014, "Old Growth Bluegrass" hit the streets with many fan favorites. When they perform live, you might be surprised by their attire. If not in their formal and traditional dress of black and white, they might be donning an old-time pioneer or some other look.
For more info, please visit their webpage or Umpqua Valley Bluegrass Band Facebook Page. Or call 541-673-9759 or 670-9120. Or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also watch many videos on You Tube of the band in full traditional bluegrass and bluegrass gospel action.