Jazz-grass band MilkDrive features award-winning instrumentalists Brian Beken on fiddle and lead vocals, Noah Jeffries on guitar and harmony vocals, Dennis Ludiker on mandolin and harmony vocals, and Matt Mefford on double bass. But awards reveal nothing about the Austin string band’s exhilarating sound. Fueled by equal parts tradition and innovation, MilkDrive delivers a distinctive acoustic experience that crosses genres, geographies, and generations.
The band's much-anticipated sophomore studio album WAVES, produced by Bil VornDick, will be released in June. Capturing the band’s sophisticated arrangements and fierce musicianship, the album showcases a number of original compositions and features guests Noam Pikelny (of Punch Brothers) and Futureman (of Bela Fleck & the Flecktones).
Dennis Ludiker, Brian Beken and Noah Jeffries met as youngsters competing in the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho. Eventually they migrated to Austin, where they toured with an eclectic mix of bands and honed their songwriting chops before joining up with bass player extraordinaire Matt Mefford and forming MilkDrive.
In June 2009, the band recorded and released a live album, MILKDRIVE LIVE ’09, which spotlights the band's vigorous picking technique and charismatic writing style. Their debut studio album ROAD FROM HOME, released in April 2011, combines haunting ballads with their signature instrumentals – “achieving a rootsy feel with a sophisticated edge,” as reviewer Graham Robertson put it. “A fantastic canvas for solo work.”
Andrew Dansby of the Houston Chronicle calls the MilkDrive repertoire “a virtuosic blast of bluegrassy string-band music.” With labels that range from jamgrass and nu-folk to redneck gypsy jazz, the band has built a following that’s as funky and friendly as they are. The group plays festivals from coast to coast every year, with stops in between at Colorado’s beloved RockyGrass Festival and at home at the Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Denver native, Katie Glassman has a sparkling voice, a fast and soulful fiddling style and original songs that freshly interpret genres from vintage jazz to Western swing and bluegrass — all of which converge on her recent release SNAPSHOT, a perfect sonic representation (or snapshot, if you will) of her current work.
The March 2012 release expresses a sprinkle of a fiddling love affair Glassman began at age 9. Inspired by old-time Texas music, she began playing by ear, honing her skills at countless competitions throughout the country. In 1998, she won the National Junior Fiddle Championship in Weiser, Idaho; in 2000, the National Young Adult Fiddle Championship; in 2002, 5th in the National Grand Champion Division and in 2012, 3rd in the Grand Champion division. In 2011, she won the National Western Stock Show championship, making her the Colorado State Fiddle Champion. She judged the National Oldtime Fiddle Competition in 2001 and 2010.
Based in Colorado, Glassman has traveled far and wide to study with her heroes, including legendary fiddle players Darol Anger, Jimmie Don Bates, Stuart Duncan, Paul Anastasio and Joey McKenzie and (Stephane Grappelli’s protégé) Didier Lockwood.
In 2007, Glassman cultivated her musical family tree by becoming only the second American student to attend the Centre Musique Didier Lockwood in France, where she earned a Certificate Avec Mention Bien after a year of jazz studies.
Glassman studied jazz and classical violin at the University of Colorado under jazz pianist Chip Stephens and violinist Jennifer John. She played in the top CU jazz combo, was awarded the Outstanding Performer Award at the Abilene Jazz Festival and was first runner-up for the IAJE International Sisters of Jazz Group. In 2004, she graduated with a degree in music performance and the first certificate in jazz studies awarded to a violinist.
Katie fell in love with the intricate, diverse and treasured aural tradition that is fiddle playing. In 1994, Glassman opened the Fiddle Parlor Studio in Denver, where she currently teaches inspired fiddlers of all ages. As a teacher, Katie is committed to passing along the treasured lore of fiddling, as she is sought out nationally for various camps, workshops and seminars.
In 2007, Katie returned to the music scene in Denver. She currently fronts the Katie Glassman band as a fiddler, singer and songwriter. The band plays contemporary tunes with vintage, sepia toned nostaglia flavor. The classic sound of the band connects a crowd to an intimate love for the past. A style of music everyone can relate to……Check out the calendar for upcoming tour dates…..
Katie has played with the Lannie Garrett, Impromptu, Gypsy Swing Revue, Charlie Provenza, Randall McKennan, The Quiet American (Aaron Keim), Dave Alvins, Sean McGowan, Andy Stein, Liz Masterson, Mike Music Band, Grant Gordy, Swing Chicks, David Williams, Justin Donovan, Pickin’ on the Porch, Pastor Mustard, Bill Nershe, Boulder Acoustic Society, Darol Anger and the Bloomers.