First formed as a furiously hard-driving bluegrass band in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2003, King Wilkie was hailed by bluegrass purists as the music's great young hope. They received the International Bluegrass Music Association's coveted Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2004, the year their national debut album Broke
was released. As Broke
topped the bluegrass charts, King Wilkie put in appearances at the Grand Ole Opry and at all of the major North American folk and bluegrass festivals.
All the while their music was mutating. The band recast their bluegrass instrumentation into increasingly more orchestral textures for their next album, Low Country Suite
, which was released by Rounder Records in 2007 and produced by Jim Scott (Tom Petty, Dixie Chicks, Red Hot Chili Peppers). While the same undercurrent of yearning that underpins the best bluegrass was very much present, Low Country Suite
had little musically in common with their first incarnation. King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers
is the latest chapter in the saga of this band who has made a career of defying expectations and continually reinventing itself. Founding member Reid Burgess relocated to New York City and enlisted a diverse group of collaborators for this conceptual album, set against the backdrop of a fictional world of musical siblings and other characters. Adding to the proceedings on King Wilkie Presents: The Wilkie Family Singers
are Peter Rowan, who sings lead on "Railroad Town," maverick string players David Bromberg and John McEuen, harmony vocalists Abigail Washburn (Uncle Earl, Sparrow Quartet) and Sam Parton (Be Good Tanyas) and Robyn Hitchock, heard playing electric guitar and singing on Videotape.
Grand Ole Opry - Morning Edition - Mountain Stage - The Bob Edwards Show - Sirius Satellite - XM Satellite - WSM Live from the Ryman - Car Talk (theme music) - Woodsongs - World Cafe
Merlefest - Telluride Bluegrass Festival - Ryman Auditorium - Levon Helm's Midnight Ramble - Rockygrass - Ann Arbor Folk Festival - Town Hall (NYC) - Dollywood - Festival de Crappone (France) - Opryland - Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival - Voodoo Music Festival - Sanders Theater (Harvard University)
ARTICLES AND PRESS