FORMER MEMBERS OF THE WILDERS AND HIGH ON THE HOG HAVE A NEW BAND…
AND IT’S RAMPING UP WITH A FULL-LENGTH DEBUT ALBUM
Short Round Stringband presents a revival of old-time, country and southern mountain music that’s fresh and relevant. Founded in 2017 by duos Betse & Clarke and The Aching Hearts, this pan-Missouri folk band enthralls new fans and long-time roots music devotees with their captivating personalities and consummate artistry.
SHORT ROUND STRINGBAND:
Betse Ellis: fiddles, vocals
Kelly Wells: guitar, mandolin, vocals
Ryan Spearman: guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, vocals
Clarke Wyatt: banjo, guitar, vocals
Chris DeVictor: bass
Ozark Folk Center Fiddle Weekend
Wheatland Music Festival
Walnut Valley Music Festival (Winfield)
Selected Past Performances
Kansas Bluegrass Association Winterfest
John Hartford Memorial Festival
Carlsen Center presents Light Up The Lawn
The Rock House
Ozark House Concert Series
Stockyards Brewing Company
Carondelet Concert Series
Short Round Stringband released its debut full-length album on July 19, 2019, entitled Ain’t No Part of Nothin’ — a tribute to Bill Monroe. The recording presents an old time, refreshing atmosphere for classic and lesser-known songs written and/or recorded by Monroe. Expect to enjoy some of Monroe’s biggest hits, and be ready for surprises. There’s even a collectible comic released in tandem, the first in a series illustrating the band’s adventures.
The material selected for the album comes from different rooms in Monroe’s musical house. Fans of Monroe are aware of his background playing old time songs and tunes before he founded the Blue Grass Boys and his continuing homage to his roots throughout his career. With this new album, Short Round maintains the traditional string band approach, highlighting lyrical content, harmony singing, and ensemble playing.
This band initially formed to perform a tribute set to John Hartford at the Bill Monroe Music Park (for the John Hartford Memorial Festival)… late night jam sessions at the festival provided a perfect catalyst to take a closer look at Bill Monroe’s songs and repertoire for a tribute album. Short Round Stringband is an old time band, one not bound by so-called restrictions of genre or style. It’s about the core of the music. If it rings true, if it’s exciting to play, if it feels real, it’s worth doing. Working on the selections for this album was an awakening experience.
Arranged, recorded, and produced by Short Round Stringband, Ain’t No Part of Nothin’ will bring joy to long-time bluegrass and old time music fans, and has the power to convert those who have yet to be convinced.
OFFICIAL VIDEO OF “ROCKY ROAD BLUES” FROM THE ALBUM
LISTEN TO THESE TRACKS FROM THE ALBUM
A BAND DECADES IN THE MAKING
Two old time bands meet at a bar... not just any bar, but the legendary Grand Emporium (RIP) in Kansas City, Missouri. In the early 2000s, Ryan Spearman’s Band, High on the Hog, on tour from Colorado, played the Rural Grit Happy Hour and Betse Ellis just happened to be there with her band, The Wilders. The legendary jam session in the alley next to the bar after the show cemented a lifelong friendship. High on the Hog and the Wilders may be history now, but there’s new history in the making…
...And it sure was worth the wait. Ryan and Betse have finally come together musically, bringing along Ryan's duo partner, Kelly Wells (The Aching Hearts from St. Louis) and Betse’s duo partner Clarke Wyatt (Betse & Clarke from Kansas City). All night jam sessions, love of traditional music, and shared musical sensibilities turned into a special main-stage show at the 2017 John Hartford Memorial Festival, where the two duos performed together for the first time, highlighting the magical chemistry of those former bands in a new setting with two musical couples. Longtime collaborator Chris DeVictor on bass really ties the room together, earning him “The Rug” nickname.
One set just wasn’t enough. Now these four are creating more music together and planning more adventures as the newly-formed Short Round Stringband. With deep connections to old-time, country and Ozark tunes and songs, Short Round Stringband takes you on a moving journey through the sounds and stories of the American experience. Their hard driving fiddle tunes will get you out of your seat. Their vocal duets will bring a tear to your eye, and their original songs and inventive new compositions showcase a passion for the depth of tradition and a look to new creative paths.
Members of the Short Round Stringband have collectively honed their craft and engage in multiple aspects of the folk music community. How many folk bands can boast an electroacoustic jazz composer trained in Paris, an executive director of a community radio station, 2 podcast producers, 2 radio DJs, 2 engineer/producers, 2 published ensemble composers, an online banjo lesson website, a multiple fiddle contest winner, 2 classically-trained instrumentalists, 4 folk music educators, 2 fiddlers, 2 banjo players, 3 mandolin players, 3 guitar players (and one tenor guitar player), 2 cellists, a violist, a harpist, a bassist, and 4 inventive cooks?
Band members have graced such stages and festivals as Celtic Connections (Glasgow, Scotland), High Sierra, The Shetland Folk Festival, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Northwest String Summit, Wintergrass, John Hartford Memorial Festival, Fayetteville Roots Festival, Grey Fox Festival, Wakarusa, Austin City Limits Festival, Hamawe Roots Festival (Belgium), Walnut Valley Festival, New Orleans Jazz Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Telluride Jazz Festival, The Sheldon Concert Hall (St Louis, MO), The Fox Theatre (Boulder, CO), and Carnegie Hall (Dunfermline, Scotland).