Chapel Hill’s esteemed indie Americana band Mipso and acclaimed bluegrass troubadour Ben Sollee and Kentucky Native co-headline a run of shows together in early 2018. Kicking off on February 27th, 2018 at Antone’s in Austin, TX, Mipso and Ben Sollee and Kentucky Native hit 10 cities across Texas and the mid-west before wrapping on March 9th at the International in Knoxville, TN. See below for the complete list of stops for this co-headlining bill.
Chapel Hill’s indie Americana quartet Mipso – Jacob Sharp (mandolin, vocals), Wood Robinson (bass, vocals), Joseph Terrell (guitar, vocals), and Libby Rodenbough (fiddle, vocals) – is influenced by the contradiction of its progressive home and the surrounding rural southern landscapes. Hailed as “hewing surprisingly close to gospel and folk while still sounding modern and secular” (Acoustic Guitar) and recently recognized by Rolling Stone as an "Artist You Need to Know Now," Mipso brings a distinctly unique sound – full of wistful beauty, hopeful undercurrents, and panoramic soundscapes. Venturing ever-further from its string-band pedigree to discover a broader Americana where classic folk-rock and modern alt-country sounds mingle easily with Appalachian tradition, Mipso’s music is lush and forward moving, with lyrics that sear and salve in turn. Mipso’s most recent album, Coming Down The Mountain (April 2017), debuted at # 3 on the Billboard Bluegrass Chart, #49 on The AMA Americana Radio Chart, and spent weeks at #1 on The Roots Music Report Top 50 Americana Country Album and Top 50 Country Album Chart.
Kentucky-born cellist and composer Ben Sollee likes to keep moving. Over the six years following the release of his debut record, Learning to Bend, Sollee and his rugged cello, Kay, told an unconventional story. Seeking a deeper connection to communities on the road, Ben packed his touring life on to his bicycle in 2009. Since then he has ridden over 5,000 miles! He has been invited to perform and speak on sustainability at a number of festivals including South by Southwest Music (2011), TEDx in San Diego (2012) and Richmond, VA (2017) and recently won the “New Normal Award” at the Telluride Mountain Film Festival (2017) for his documentary “Ditch The Van”. Closer to home, Ben has devoted a tremendous amount of energy to raising awareness about the practice of Mountain Top Removal Strip Mining in Central Appalachia. His 2010 collaborative album Dear Companion (Sub Pop) brought together fellow Kentucky artist Daniel Martin Moore with producer Jim James (My Morning Jacket) to shed light on the issue. In teaming up with international organizations such as Patagonia Clothing and Oxfam America, Ben has come to be known as a thoughtful activist and dedicated informer at shows. His most recent album Ben Sollee and Kentucky Native (2017) is an exploration of the bluegrass genre and the immigrant influence both old and new. “Bluegrass music is immigrant music. It's the music of Irish and Scottish musicians bringing their fiddle tunes; it is gospel music; it is African music; it is gypsy jazz; it is rock 'n' roll. It is all these things. What makes it unique and of Kentucky is that it was distilled by the people who lived here in Kentucky, and turned into something else.” However, Ben set out to examine what the genre might sound like today with more modern immigrant influence. “What does bluegrass music sound like today if we continue to include cultures that live here? I'm trying to continue the actual act of what bluegrass music was and is, rather than maintaining a tradition. Adding a node to the tradition.”