PUBLISHED: 5:18 PM on Wednesday, April 6, 2005
Alaska Folk Festival gets Juneau's toes tapping for 31st time
It doesn't matter if you like fiddles or not - you won't be able to resist at least some level of toe-tapping when the Alaska Folk Festival gets Juneau rocking -Eor, is that folk-ing? - for the 31st time.

In years past, the non-profit organization that's created what's known in folk music circles as "a musicians' festival" has brought us pretty much everything from Eastern European Kletschmer music, Middle Eastern bellydancing and traditional singer/songwriters to reggae, bluegrass, and blues.


This year's guest artists, Jawbone, is a trio made up of Bruce Molsky, Tony Trischka, and Paula Bradley, who together have cooked up a generous serving of bluegrass and old-time music with an entirely new taste for hungry ears.

Molsky, a multi-instrumentalist with a special gift for the fiddle, won an Indie award in 2001 for his "Poor Man's Troubles" (Rounder Records) for Best Traditional Folk Recording, and was dubbed "old-time music's answer to Ry Cooder" by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Molsky, one of the most influential fiddlers of his generation, is also a remarkable singer, who creates music that blends Appalachia and Africa. Violinist & fiddler Darol Anger (of the Turtle Island String Quartet) dubbed him "The Rembrandt of Appalachian fiddling."

Bradley, maybe best known as the old-time guitar player and singer from the Rhythm Rats, has strong roots in tradition. And when she puts that guitar down, you're likely to see her pick up a ukulele or break into flatfoot dancing.

Bradley also performs with her husband Bill Dillof as the duo Moonshine Holler and with the honky tonk band Girl Howdy on piano and vocals.

Trischka, another Rounder Records artist, plays the five-string banjo and has been a groundbreaker on that instrument since his debut album "Bluegrass Light" with a fusion of bluegrass, jazz, and classical music came out in 1973. Over the years, he has recorded with a plethora of artists -Efrom members of REM, Violent Femmes and Leftover Salmon, to Pete Seeger, William S. Burroughs, and Béla Fleck.

Fleck, on Trischka's website, doesn't mince words when he talks about Trischka's importance for musical tradition:

"You think about somebody like Miles Davis or John Coltrane, people who learned everything about jazz and then digested it and it came out a new way. I think Tony's very similar; he's that kind of figure in the banjo world. Tony was ahead of his time. My springboard was Tony Trischka, and without Tony, none of what's happened with my music would have happened."

Other highlights

But wait -Ethere's more: Besides the guest artist, Centennial Hall will be swinging to the 15-minute sets of musicians and musical groups from Alaska, the American West Coast and Canada.

Artists include

• Dave Bowen and Bruce Gartner from San Diego, California Performers of Traditional Irish and Scottish tunes and songs (with a little American Old-Time for good measure).

• Juneau's own beloved Rory Merritt Stitt -Enow performing without wig and makeup with his own songs

• Prince of Wales Gospel Bluegrass Band

• The newly established So Wat Dee Krab band from Juneau - with Chai Reungjan, Tony Newman, Brad Gobel & Adam Farabee playing Thai classical music - spicy, salty, sweet, and sour all at once

• Costa's Greasy Griddle Lickers -Ewith chief soup chef and singer extraordinaire Collette Costa, Big Al, Lindy Loo, Mars E. Doats & Cap'n Woodford.

And if you haven't had enough -Ethere'll be nightly dances at the National Guard Armory, featuring among others local talents the Daddy-Os, Salsa Borealis and Sofa Kings, as well as the Appalachian style Foghorn String Band from Portland, Ore.; The Lundgren Sisters from Spokane, Wash., and Ketchikan's Red Hoochie & the Tomcods.

St. Ann's Parish Hall on 5th and Gold will house an all-day coffee & jam session next Friday, April 15, from 9am to 3pm with potluck breakfast & lunch.

The full schedule of performances and dances can be downloaded from the web at