2018 LineupNorthern Lights

Memories of our 2018 lineup

What a great bunch! 

The Barrel Boys

The Barrel Boys are a musical powerhouse featuring soaring vocal harmonies, killer picking, and down-to-earth songwriting. Fed by the deep roots of bluegrass, old-time, country, and Americana, The Boys have crafted their own unmistakeable sound into an exuberant and deeply soulful musical experience.

“There’s a certain “band next door” feel to The Barrel Boys. They may be accomplished musicians with tight harmonies and great arrangements, but their music is also brimming with the kind of personality that makes you want to buy them a beer and hear their life stories.” – Kristin Cavoukian, “Exclaim!”

Spencer Branch

Spencer Branch is the collaboration of siblings Martha and Kilby Spencer from Whitetop Mountain along with North Carolina native Kelley Breiding. They play music drawn from their mountain heritage in addition to traditional country, bluegrass, and a healthy dose of original songs. Their vocal harmonies and exciting fiddle tunes are a powerful combination sure to keep you entertained.

Kilby Spencer is an award winning fiddle player in both old-time and bluegrass styles as well as a sought after guitar player.  He has been playing old-time music for most of his life, learning from his parents, Thornton and Emily Spencer, who have been performing in the Whitetop Mountain Band for over 40 years. Kilby has also collected and digitized rare local recordings for many years and serves on the board of the Field Recorder’s Collective, who mission is to preserve and release rare field and home recordings. Kilby also formed his own award winning band over ten years ago, The Crooked Road Ramblers, who have played many prestigious venues such as The National Folk Festival, The Richmond Folk Festival,  and Floydfest.

Martha Spencer also grew up on Whitetop Mountain immersed in the musical Spencer Family and has been playing music and dancing since a very young age. She is a multi- instrumentalist, playing guitar, banjo, fiddle, bass, mandolin, and is also well known for her flat foot dancing. She has taken part in master workshops on dance at the National Folk Festival, Australia’s Woodford Folk Festival, and the Lowell Folk Festival and been featured in various other festivals and workshops across the USA, UK, Australia and New Zealand. In 2006, Martha and her father, Thornton Spencer, took part in the Virginia Foundation of the Humanities Master/Apprenticeship Program for the old time fiddling tradition. Martha is very active in passing on music and dance traditions to local youth as well,  teaching in the Junior Appalachian Musician program in the Ashe and Alleghany Counties of NC. Martha is also a full time member of The Whitetop Mountain Band.

A native of NC, Kelley Breiding is known by many as “the girl with the big voice” having led her own traditional country band, Kelley and The Cowboys, for over 10 years now. After a childhood of singing and playing piano, Kelley became interested in traditional music of Appalachia as a teenager and quickly became interested in the guitar and claw-hammer banjo. Today Kelley is recognized as an award winning banjo player specializing in the roundpeak style, which she learned by living for over a decade in the heart of roundpeak, NC and playing with the old time band Back-Step. A talented singer and multi-instrumentalist, Kelley has done workshops and performed at many festivals with artists such as Jimmy C. Newman, Dale Watson, Donna The Buffalo, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brian, The Quebe Sisters, Deacon John, and Ralph Stanley.

South Carolina Broadcasters


The South Carolina Broadcasters bring a unique brand of American roots music that hearkens back to the 1930s and 40s – a time when country music was inclusive and uncomplicated – to the stage. Their razor sharp harmonies, exceptional multi-instrumentation, and fabulous song selection will have listeners riveted to their seats. This unique trio has put their own spin on the music of the foothills. They’ve been members of The Whitetop Mountain Band and Roan Mountain Hilltoppers yet they’re not looking backward. Between Jackson Cunningham and David Sheppard’s ability to write a new song that sounds old and Ivy Sheppard’s prowess for digging up obscure field recordings, The Broadcasters most always have new songs in the works. Their recent releases “We’ll Sing Once More” and “A Distant Land To Roam” feature a broad and mature mix of sounds ranging from Surry County bluegrass to Carter Family country and even the Cajun sounds of Lafayette. Audiences wherever they go connect with the Broadcasters through heart songs and good old fashioned entertainment.

Ben and Joe

Seattle songsters Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons give life to voices that have long been silenced in American culture. Their award-winning performances are highlighted by story-telling that, rather than bringing the past to life, vividly shows how the past still lives in the present.

The Osmond Davis Band

In a place as flat as their prairie home, The Osmond Davis Band ensure mountain music thrives by keeping that Appalachian connection with their southern neighbours. This group of five Manitoba pickers have a common passion for bluegrass and honky tonk music. Guitar flatpicker Simon Davis and 5 string banjo/dobro player Tim Osmond sing a repertoire of music from the likes of the Stanley Brothers, Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt & Earl Scruggs and other traditional and contemporary bluegrass standards. Joined with them on fiddle is the extraordinary Jeremy Penner, the driving mandolin of Dan Simpson, and the solid backbone upright bass of Karl Ratchinsky. Fans of bluegrass music and supercharged country will love the blend of harmonies and dynamic picking between these fine musicians.

Creeland Dancers


The Creeland Dancers are an Indigenous dance troupe originating from the Beardy’s & Okemasis Cree Nation. They are known throughout North America for their entertaining style of dance, their professionalism, and their competitive spirit. Creeland provides high-energy entertainment with a fusion of Metis jigging and square dancing. The group was founded nearly 40 years ago by Therese Seesequasis and her late husband Ken, as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle through creativity, cultural awareness, and the performing arts (dance). The group was founded as a way to promote a healthy lifestyle, as well as promote culture, tradition and the arts.

The current group consists of 12 full-time and 3 part-time dancers all off Indigenous descent from various First Nations & Metis communities across Saskatchewan. The group tours with 4-8 dancers depending on the event/venue and is currently managed and operated by the granddaughter of Therese.

The group has performed at numerous local events over the years, and has also performed at both national and international venues including: National Aboriginal Achievement Awards, Regina, SK; East Coast Fiddlers Competition, Atlantic Provinces; Creefest, Moosonee, ON; Prince George Cultural Days, Prince George, BC; Saskatoon FolkFest, Saskatoon, SK; World Track and Field Games, Edmonton, AB.

The Creeland Dancers have competed in numerous Square Dance competitions throughout Western Canada and in the nearly 40 years of dancing, are proud to boast consistent top 3 finishes. In September of 2010 at the Prince Albert Metis Fall Festival, and after a 6 year hiatus, the Creeland Dancers were proud to finish in first place!

The Creeland Dancers pride themselves on providing an entertaining, first-class performance and demonstrating why they are “Western Canada’s Finest Square Dancers”.


Shaela Miller Band


Although born in Victoria BC, Shaela Miller has spent the majority of her life in the windy southern Alberta city of Lethbridge and has been honing her skill as a songwriter for over ten years. Her affinity for the classic country greats of the yesteryear gives her an unparalleled disposition as an original ambassador of a new wave of country music. When asked to describe her music she replies simply: “Honky Tonk”. But that’s certainly not all it is. Tear in your beer ballads, dance hall shuffles and dark alt-country craft work are all part of the package. With a voice that will send shivers up your spine and a penchant for turning a phrase that will make you relish in its simple eloquence, Shaela’s musical force is unabated and unrivaled.

Recent career highlights include a TV placement on HBO’s “True Blood,” a songwriting/production session in Los Angeles with Tim Feehan (Park Drive Productions), winning the South Country Fair songwriting competition, and continuing to perform steadily while raising two children. In June of 2017 Shaela won Telus’ Storyhive 10k music video grant and with director, Laura Combden, made award winning video for her latest single, “Colour My Love”. The music video was featured in the Edmonton film festival, the Indie Memphis film festival and the Muskogee Oklahoma film festival. A veteran of the stage, Shaela feels that her current band best represents the sound she is going for with her country noir music. Guitar in hand, Shaela is joined by a band of very accomplished musicians. Currently: Tyler Bird on drums, Paul Holden on upright bass, Skinny Dyck on pedal steel guitar and Jon Martin on lead guitar. With a full length release (Love Is Brave – 2010), a split album with local cohorts “Treeline” (Curtains – 2013) and brand new album (Bad Ideas – 2018), Shaela is making her name across western Canada and parts abroad.

Jim and Penny Malmberg

With roots down to bedrock and branches up to the prairie sky, Jim and Penny are a husband-and-wife duo from Edmonton, Alberta. They raised a family before they got around to writing music together. Songs about love
of all kinds are delivered with humour and passion on guitars, mandolin, and their intimate harmony voices. Their latest CD “We’re Here For Love” was released in 2018.

Raven She Hollers

Raven She Hollers, hailing from the boreal forest fringe at Birch Lake, Saskatchewan, will touch your heart and set your toes a’tapping. Chandra Pederson, Joys Dancer and Nissa Shiell, share their musical enthusiasm through their original material as well as unique interpretations of old-time Appalachian songs, jazz, swing, back-country blues and tin-pan alley tunes.  Guitar, ukulele, 5-string fretless banjo, accordion, and dobro back up their honey-sweet harmonies.

Gopher Broke

Gophiddle Paul was originally from the borough of Queens, New York, but after much tunnelling and visiting several other burrows he’s emerged in Saskatoon because it has Toon right in the name. And that’s where Gophiddle bumped into Mark and his gophriend Mona scratching tunes and dodging shotgun pellets at the Farmers Market. They’ve been chasing melodies ever since.

Mark Gimby grew up playing oldtime dances in rural Saskatchewan in a time when people knew how to entertain themselves. In community halls and one room schools he learned the ropes from the players who pioneered the genre. Mona spent 17 years traveling with her family band in Canada, USA and Europe playing music on the streets, in bars and restaurants, for weddings and small festivals. Paul is a musician, teacher, composer and producer. Paul has written hundreds of fiddle tunes and loves to play them, especially for dancers. Together they bring a mix of fiddle tunes, old classics, Appalasian hoe down and Saskatchewan dance standards.

Rugged Little Thing


Saskatoon’s Rugged Little Thing blends together a perfect cocktail of Old Time, Bluegrass, and Folk Music that feels like home. Born out of kitchen jams and late nights by campfires in Canada’s north, these two have fallen into sweet harmonies and catchy rhythms that are sure to get your toes tapping.

The Local Group

Named after the cluster of galaxies containing the Milky Way, the Local Group plays acoustic music of astronomical proportions. The trio of high school homies put their own unique spin on bluegrass, celtic, classic country, and traditional Canadian music. Featuring hot banjo and guitar picking, tight harmonies, and a mixed bag of instruments including double bass, fiddle, harmonica, penny whistle and triangle, their show aims to take you out of this world on a rocket fueled by pure folk music.

Irvin Amundson and Friends