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In 1992, Virginia native Pete Kennedy was playing a solo show at Austin’s Continental Club on a brief sabbatical from his duties as country-folk singer-songwriter Nanci Griffith’s lead guitarist when he met former Syracuse, NY, resident Maura Boudreau, enjoying a night off from performing with her own country-rock band, The Delta Rays. The duo “instantly connected on a soul level, or maybe even something deeper,” according to Pete.
When Griffith needed a harmony singer to replace Iris Dement on short notice for a British tour in Spring 1993, Maura was the obvious choice, and her touring life alongside Pete began. While boarding the plane to England, Nanci informed the duo that they would serve as the opening act for many of the shows on her tour, as well as performing in her backing band. With a need for material to fill their set, Pete and Maura wrote an inspired set of songs in Dublin that would become the basis for their first album, 1995’s River of Fallen Stars, which earned an Indie award as “Best Adult Contemporary CD” by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors. The duo have enjoyed a successful recording and performing career under their own name, and maintain their wonderful relationship with Griffith as well.
“…combines traditional folk and bluegrass sounds with genuinely poetic lyrics, landing somewhere between Gillian Welch and Lucy Kaplansky.” -Star Tribune
“genuinely poetic lyrics, landing somewhere between Gillian Welch and Lucy Kaplansky” -Star Tribune
“powerful songwriting” -Pioneer Press
Featuring Ellen Stanley on banjo and vocals, Mother Banjo is a New England-raised, Minneapolis-based songwriter. Called “an outstanding poet” (Inside Bluegrass), she was a Midwest Finalist for the prestigious Mountain Stage NewSong Contest and has been featured nationally on SiriusXM Radio.
Following up on the success of her CDs “Stray Songs” and “The Sad and Found” (named the #10 album of the year by the Pioneer Press) , she releases her highly anticipated new album The Devil Hasn’t Won. An Americana gospel collection produced by Steve Kaul, it showcases her all-star 5-piece band that includes guitarist Dan Gaarder (Trailer Trash, The Roe Family Singers), bassist Eric Paulson (The Cactus Blossoms, Jennifer Markey & The Tennessee Snowpants), mandolin player Jim Parker (Ukrainian Village Band, Town Hall Stompers) and pianist/drummer Ben Cook-Feltz (The Federales, Art Vandalay). Featuring lively originals and unique covers of songs that she calls “pub gospel,” the new album shows why Mother Banjo has been hailed for her poetic songwriting and powerful vocals.