Stringrays brings together an inimitable trio of musicians (and, often, a few of their inimitable friends) with a shared interest in playing and exploring great tunes. Between the fiddling of Rodney Miller, guitar playing of Max Newman, and bass/banjo playing of Stuart Kenney, their sound is playful and sublime, raucous and tender, modern and old-school.
These three players are exponents of traditional fiddle tunes old and new. They find constant inspiration in each other for lyrical improvising and interplay. Each moment of performance is fresh, surprising, nuanced, and excellent….
Rodney‘s fiddling commands the stage and the eardrums. He is well known as both a traditionalist and innovator, with a playful style and nuanced tone. He is widely considered to be the foremost exponent of New England style fiddling, a uniquely American blend of French Canadian and Celtic influences, although his exploratory style invites in quite a few surprises.
Over the past 35 years, he has toured the U.S., British Isles, Australia and Denmark, performed and taught at hundreds of music and dance festivals, and recorded numerous albums, among them the acclaimed New England Chestnuts, Airplang, and Airdance albums.
He’s also a respected luthier, building violins like the one he’s holding here.
The youngest of the group, Max has been surrounded by traditional music and dance from an early age. He’s spent a good portion of his life playing dances great and small across the continent, as well as accompanying Irish music. His guitar playing is refreshing, fun, and creative, and has allowed him to collaborate on-stage with a wide swath of traditional musicians. In the Stringrays, he alternates between hammering down rhythms with Stuart and trading licks with Rodney.
Stuart is the man to go to for bass thump and banjo twang. His long career in several traditional music genres includes cutting his teeth with the legendary Dewey Balfa. He followed that with prodigious output with numerous groups and contra dance bands, including Airdance with Rodney and Undertoe with Karen Tweed.
Stuart’s musical home is at the Guiding Star Grange in Greenfield, MA, where he plays for and hosts the TopHill Music and Dance Series.
And we’re often lucky enough to be joined by…
Sam Bartlett & Mark Hellenberg
Sam Stuntologist, mando-picker, tunesmith. Sam brings a love of tunes and great playing. His creativity apparently knows no bounds. He will also show you many things you can do with a straw. Sam’s website.
Mark The master of percussion. Mark’s known for a presence that packs a wallop, but his playing has a sensitive side that we enjoy showcasing, too. He’s also adept at the lost art of telling a joke well.
And then there’s…