2024 Meltdown Lineup

Missy Raines & Allegheny

GRAMMY®-nominated Missy Raines was named 2021 International Bluegrass Music Association Bass Player of the Year for the 10th time, more than any other bass player in the history of the organization. Raines has proven herself, without a doubt, as an iconic bluegrass instrumentalist. But with the success of her latest release, Royal Traveller, Raines has stepped into the spotlight as a songwriter and singer as well.

Royal Traveller was nominated for a GRAMMY® in 2020 and was produced by Compass Records co-founder and renowned banjoist Alison Brown. Currently, Missy is touring with her own band, Missy Raines & Allegheny, a bluegrass ensemble featuring banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass.

With more than a nod to her deep bluegrass roots, Allegheny offers Missy fertile ground to bring together a lifetime of traditional inspiration along with her unique approach to string band music. An experienced teacher, Missy has been teaching bass at workshops and music camps all over the world since 1998 and also heads the ArtistsWorks Academy of Bluegrass School of Bluegrass Bass, an online learning platform that features its’ trademarked Video Exchange technology.

In 1998, Raines became the first woman to win IBMA’s Bass Player of the Year award. Her album, Royal Traveller, highlights this particular piece of Raines’ history with the standout track “Swept Away,” which features the first five women to win IBMA instrumentalist awards: Raines, Brown, Sierra Hull, Becky Buller, and Molly Tuttle.

“Swept Away” was named the 2018 IBMA Recorded Event of the Year. Missy’s version of the iconic Flatt & Scruggs “Darlin Pal(s) of Mine” (from the same album) was named 2019 Instrumental Recording of the Year by the IBMA. The tune features Alison Brown on banjo, Todd Phillips on bass, and Mike Bub on bass. In 2020, Missy received the IBMA Song of the Year award along with co-writers Becky Buller and Alison Brown for “Chicago Barn Dance”, a song written specifically for the Chicago-based band Special Consensus.

Seth Mulder & Midnight Run

Born in the holler of Tennessee’s first legal moonshine distillery, Seth Mulder & Midnight Run blend tradition with innovation through genuine songwriting and tasteful arrangements, bringing to life their original music and lost covers like no other in the genre. Combining elements of bluegrass, country, and folk music, their sound resonates with traditional and contemporary audiences alike. “In the day and age where authenticity is everything, Seth Mulder & Midnight Run are the real deal.”

Formed in 2018, the band released their first studio album, “Traveling Kind,” in 2020, followed by their second album, “In Dreams I Go Back,” released on Mountain Fever Records in 2022.

Their latest album features the acclaimed track “My, My, My,” honored as the S.P.B.G.M.A. 2023 Song of the Year. Fans can anticipate new music in 2024, solidifying Seth Mulder & Midnight Run as a genuine voice of roots and bluegrass music.

Damn Tall Buildings

In their early days, Damn Tall Buildings didn’t rehearse – they busked. Now, whether live or on record, the trio still radiates the energy of a crew of best friends playing bluegrass on the street. Anchoring that energy is their instrumental chops, their strong songwriting, and their varied influences that stretch beyond bluegrass, even beyond American roots music altogether. Whether sharing lead vocals and instrumental solos or blending their voices into high-spirited harmony, Damn Tall Buildings is a tight unit that contains more than the sum of its parts.

Since their busking days, Damn Tall Buildings have grown to new heights over the course of their decade of creating together. Based in Brooklyn, NY, they have begun to travel the globe, playing bigger and bigger stages and making lots of friends wherever they go. They carry with them a connective spirit, welcoming audiences to join in the moment with the band as they take us on a journey through a well-crafted show. The trio has a knack for making any room feel a little more like home.

East Nash Grass

“Nashville’s newest bluegrass ambassadors,” East Nash Grass, comes as a refreshing break — a balance of undeniably hard-driving bluegrass alongside surprisingly introspective songwriting and earnest narration. Featuring a who’s-who of Nashville’s hottest young pickers, the joy and passion these musicians feel towards the genre is infused in every note they play and every word they sing.

East Nash Grass is James Kee (guitar & vocals), Grand Master Fiddle champion, Maddie Denton, Gaven Largent (dobro), “Presidential Scholar for the Arts in Jazz,” Jeff Picker (bass), and TWO (2) IBMA Momentum Award-winners for Best Instrumentalist, Cory Walker (banjo) and Harry Clark (mandolin).

Their second full-length album, Last Chance To Win, has just been released in 2023.

Never Come Down

Weaving together modern and traditional styles of americana and acoustic music, Never Come Down is a Portland, Oregon-based 5-piece composed of Joe Suskind (guitar), Crystal Lariza (vocals), Brian Alley (banjo), Kaden Hurst (mandolin), and Ben Ticknor (bass). Their dedication to thoughtful songwriting and dynamic arrangements highlight polished technical skills and a commitment to listening to each other. Formed in 2018, the band’s self-titled debut arrived shortly thereafter, and their second album, “Better Late Than Never,” was released in 2021. They’ve toured internationally and have found acclaim from festivals and venues such as Iceland Airwaves, John Hartford Memorial Fest, Americanafest, FreshGrass, and RockyGrass.

SLO County Stumblers

The SLO County Stumblers are an energetic American string band based in California’s Central Coast. The band features fiddler Casy Meikle, guitarist David Baine, banjo player Daniel Bohlman, and Jerry James on bass. 

The Stumblers play hard-driving old-time fiddle tunes and spirited songs, heavily influenced by the golden-era string bands of the 1920s and 30s. Their performance is filled with humorous stories and banter and is guaranteed to get feet moving across the dance floor. 

The Fretliners

Winners of the 2023 band contests at the 50th Annual Telluride Bluegrass and the 51st Annual Rockygrass Festivals, The Fretliners are a powerhouse progressive bluegrass quartet born around a single microphone in a barn in the Rocky Mountains. Influenced by a multitude of genres and steeped in that high and lonesome sound, the band carves through the bluegrass landscape, leaving new pathways and possibilities in their wake. 

Consisting of Tom Knowlton on guitar, Taylor Shuck on upright bass, Dan Andree on fiddle, and Sam Parks on mandolin — these prolific pickers and singers have fluent musical conversations that invite their audiences into the dialogue. Expect hard-driving energy, exhilarating solos, soaring vocals, and captivating lyrical stories. Buckle up because The Fretliners show is sure to take you for a ride you won’t soon forget!

Tanasi, Featuring Anya Hinkle, Billy Cardine, and Mary Lucey

Tanasi is a collaboration of three celebrated Asheville, NC-area roots artists: Billy Cardine, Mary Lucey, and Anya Hinkle. A spark was lit when Anya and Mary sat down to sing together in the mountains of North Carolina. The tight sister harmonies created a fire that burned once Billy began layering his inimitable dobro musings into their original songs. Over three years of performing together, the trio has leaned in to bring their own unique world-inspired mountain music to listening rooms, festival stages, and theaters across the US and Europe. They will be touring in 2024 as Tanasi.

Anya Hinkle’s music is steeped in the tones of folk and bluegrass and seasoned by travels the world over. No Depression says of her 2021 release Eden and Her Borderlands [Organic Records], “…one of roots music’s gems so far this year.” She “effortlessly delivers…” (Pop Matters) with “…vivid songwriting and transportive vocals…” (Folk Alley). Hinkle won the 2019 MerleFest Chris Austin Songwriting Competition; her new album, Oceania, will be released on Red Parlor Records in 2024. Billy Cardine has been recognized as a slide guitar pioneer, taking the Dobro with him into unchartered genres. Dobro master Jerry Douglas calls him “an amazing Dobro player. He is fluent in everything that I do and everybody that has come before.” He has toured in India, Japan, Europe, and Canada. Mary Lucey is a talented vocalist, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter. A bass player for the Biscuit Burners and the all-female group Uncle Earl, she has been showcasing clawhammer banjo as her rhythmic muse with projects Lovers Leap and The Billy Sea, playing venues such as The Kennedy Center, Ryman Auditorium, Bonnaroo, Merlefest, and Rockygrass.


SLAY is a dynamic, melody-driven band with deep roots and an original musical style featuring Travis Stinson, Scott Slay, Nick Einterz, Pete Weber, and Andy Reiner. Their content draws inspiration from real-life and fantastical experiences while paying homage to the rich traditions of bluegrass music and various other influences. SLAY earned the honor of being a finalist in the prestigious 2023 Telluride Bluegrass contest, a milestone that introduced their unique sound to a wide and appreciative audience of Colorado bluegrass enthusiasts.

The Tumbleweeds

The Tumbleweeds formed in 2022 while Naomi (banjo), Maren (guitar), and Lucy (bass) were in college together. During their time on campus in Colorado Springs, they performed traditional bluegrass songs as well as covers of other genres. Since Lucy and Naomi graduated, The Tumbleweeds are reunited for the first time in 11 months to play in Durango after winning the band contest last year. They are thrilled to have another opportunity to be together and play again at the Meltdown in 2024.

Colorado College Bluegrass Ensemble

The Colorado College (advanced) Bluegrass Ensemble is an instrumental and vocal band created to provide students with a challenging and creative environment to develop material with the feel and structure of bluegrass music. The ensemble draws mainly from traditional sources, including Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, Jimmy Martin, and the Stanley Brothers, and its students are led by Keith Reed.

Alex Graf’s Bluegrass Super PAC

Alex Graf’s Bluegrass Super PAC is not a powerful lobbyist organization with a far reaching geo-political agenda, it’s just a bluegrass band from Durango, Colorado. There is no double meaning behind the band’s performances, just an embrace of the less conventional stylings and possibilities of traditional bluegrass music. No crooked individuals will appear on the stage, instead the band simply consists of Tony Holmquist on mandolin, Charles Henry on bass, Brendan Shafer on Banjo and Alex Graf on guitar.

The Badly Bent

The Badly Bent are so happy to be invited again to play the 2024 Durango Bluegrass Meltdown.  The Badly Bent is comprised of Patrick Dressen, guitar and vocals, Mark Epstein, banjo and vocals, Joel Denman, mandolin and fiddle, and our newest member of the band, Alex Read on bass. Be looking for our longtime bandmate and friend, Cindi Cone, to join us during our set. This band has been performing throughout the southwest and is happy to be performing for our hometown friends.

The Badly Bent, in the words of Bryant Liggett, “has been a mainstay in the local bluegrass scene for over 20 years.” The band has had a wide variety of member musicians through the years and has been able to reimagine itself with each new configuration. The Badly Bent for 2024 is no exception!

We are excited to be a part of this special event in Durango. From Patrick, Mark, Joel, and Alex, thanks to all our loyal friends and fans who have stuck with us through more than two decades.

Blue Moon Ramblers

The Blue Moon Ramblers have been the Sunday night House Band for nearly 3-1/2 decades, and include founding members George Usinowicz (banjo) and Red Greer (fiddle). Jenny Winegardner (principal guitarist, fill-in bassist), who also has been a member for 25+ years. Glenn Keefe (bass), has been with the band nearly 20 years, Moana Greer (lead & harmony vocals), and Joel Denman (mandolin, fiddle and guitar) and has been a contributing and regular member for over 2 years.

A humbling and significant honor was bestowed upon the band by the Strater Hotel last Spring, for the Ramblers’ contributions, legacy, and longevity in providing Americana music to locals and national and international visitors with their weekly Diamond Belle Saloon performances. The band was honored with a guest room dedicated to the Blue Moon Ramblers, with a brass plague on the door, and historical photos of the band hang on the walls of the 2-room suite, Room 223, right next door to the National Historical Site Room 222, dedicated to Louis L’Amour. George’s first year playing in the Saloon was below Louis’ room where he wrote many of his Western stories. Louis died that year, when George started playing there in 1988.

Here is an extract from the Biography that the Strater Hotel produced for guests to know about the band, describing the review of a nationally prominent music arranger:

“We were all warmed by a guy who stood by the downstairs door, critically observing us for a whole set, and then finding out he was the United States Navy Band Arranger, and he complimented us on our balance, our vast repertoire, our harmonies, taste, instrumentation – it just simply made us feel like $1 million, coming from a real professional musician.  He said we “checked all his Arranger’s boxes.”


A bird, a band, or a genre? You decide!

Bluegrouse emerged from the Durango music scene in 2015. This popular four-piece band is known for their outstanding vocal harmonies, with wide ranging musical tastes that dip into bluegrass, folk, swing and even the occasional Celtic tune. Comprised of veteran local musicians, they have become a mainstay in and around the desert Southwest. There is an undeniable natural chemistry that brings these birds-of-a-feather together and you can’t miss their fun-loving, playful energy on stage. So buckle up for an unforgettable performance and tap your feet, sing along, or get up and dance. Consisting of Carol Calkin (Fiddle/ Vocals), Laurie Swisher (Guitar/ Vocals), Jonti Fox (Bass/Vocals) and Jess Wilton (Mandolin/ Vocals), Bluegrouse invites you to be part of their musical journey.

Dirty Chords

Dirty Chords is a high energy bluegrass band from Mancos, Colorado. This 5-piece ensemble shares a love for driving rhythms and inspired melodies. While Dirty Chords have roots in traditional bluegrass, their diverse musical interests can be heard in unique original songs and covers that span musical genres.

The band includes Craig Feigenbaum (Banjo), Renee Feigenbaum (Bass), Erin Faehling (Fiddle), Bill Cuskelly (Mandolin), and Carlton Harwood (Guitar). 

La La Bones

La La Bones is a creative bluegrass band featuring original compositions and dynamic performances. Rooted in Durango, the band has played throughout Colorado at local stages, festivals, and private events. At first glance, La La Bones is reminiscent of a traditional bluegrass band, passing around breaks and harmonizing melodies. With a closer look, listeners can see how the band draws inspiration from a myriad of musical genres, ranging from punk, pop, to bluegrass. Listeners can also enjoy the songwriting and vocals of all band members, as each individual brings original music to the table. La La Bones recorded their first self-titled album in 2016, an 11-track record of original music. In 2023, the band recorded their second album, Bones Hit the Ground. La La Bones is Kyle Siesser on guitar, Tommy Frederico on banjo, Kathy Hilimire on fiddle, and Scott Roberts on mandolin. Joining the band for the Meltdown, on bass is Charlie Henry, Durango-based multi-instrumentalist from the popular touring act, High Country Hustle. 

People We Know

An aggregation of acoustic musicians from the hills of Southwest Colorado, People We Know has coalesced into a solid group of enthusiastic mountain-grass pickers. Featuring members of former Durango groups the Outskirts and Fellowship of the Strings, People We Know brings a new take on high altitude string music. Born amidst late night festival levity, they explore the limits of bluegrass while testing their early morning imaginations. With Alex Forsthoff on guitar, Jeff Berman on big fiddle, Aaron Cooklin on mandolin, and Mark Walser on small fiddle, People We Know will take you on a musical ride to all ends of the mountain-grass spectrum. Their highly anticipated shows, located from one San Juan mountain valley to the next, range from up-tempo foot stomping bluegrass to deliberate ballads. Join us!

Six Dollar String Band

A mainstay of Old Time music in Colorado for over a decade, the members of Six Dollar String Band play a passionate, eclectic, and refreshingly honest array of String Band music native to their home in the Centennial State.

The award-winning band’s second record, “Mayday,” is a 7” vinyl album that documents the early development of their distinct Colorado sound, as well as their special approach to presenting their recorded music. An EP at length, the album’s ripping fiddle and banjo tunes, backed with thumping bass and melodically-driven guitar, are woven together with audio collages that are composed from field recordings that band members collected onsite in Mayday, Colorado.

The band‘s most recent recording project is their most ambitious to date, yielding two separate albums entitled “Big Six” and “Fire On The Mountain”—the latter a double LP and the former an LP adding drummer Pat Dressen to the lineup. Recorded on location—this time at Willowtail Springs in Mancos, Colorado— both albums will be available by the Summer of 2020.

The Six Dollar String Band is Robin Davis, Guitar; Tony Holmquist, Fiddle/Banjo; Stephen Sellers, Bass and Brendan Shafer, Banjo/Fiddle

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