Embrace the power of music in an unforgettable week featuring top folk artists from across the nation at The Ranch for our second annual Folk Fest! This week is curated for you to experience the healing power of music through daily concerts, artist talks and workshops, live recording sessions, and random acts of music. The serenity of The Ranch provides a perfect stage for some of today’s top folk touring artists to fully transform you. Join us and delight in a retreat for all the senses.
Featured Musicians: Amber Rubarth (RLP Folk Festival Co-producer, Co-Host and Artist) Jaimee Harris, Kai Welch, Mary Gauthier, SistaStrings (Chauntee & Monique Ross), Valerie June, Fiona Prine, and Carissa Stolting (Co-Producer, Co-Host and Commentator)
Amber Rubarth, (RLP Folk Festival Co-producer, Co-Host and Artist)
In her unassuming yet beguiling way, Amber Rubarth draws you into a world where wonder and high-minded concepts weave into a poetic tapestry, where space and time come screeching to a halt with “songs so strong they sound like classics from another era” (Acoustic Guitar). She has toured from South Africa to Japan and all throughout Europe and North America, including appearances at Carnegie Hall and Glastonbury, being handpicked to open for such legendary artists as Emmylou Harris, Richie Havens, Dr. Ralph Stanley and Kenny Loggins. Grand Prize Winner of the prestigious NPR Mountain Stage contest, songwriting has always been at the heart of how Rubarth navigates the world, both inner and outer.
Rubarth made her acting debut starring alongside Joe Purdy in the feature film ‘American Folk’ (now on Amazon) winning various festivals and awards, with a soundtrack featuring John Prine, Jerry Garcia and David Grisman. She has scored and composed for many films including Sundance Festival winner ‘Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work’ and the award-winning documentary ‘Desert Runners,’ and recently co-produced a double album of 24 artists for the documentary ‘Fantastic Fungi.’ Her latest album ‘Cover Crop’ is a meditation on sustainability and interconnectivity through the lens of 15 cover songs self-produced at her cottage in the woods.
When Jaimee Harris alighted upon the scene in Austin,TX, this jaded music city, replete with (and weary of) singer-songwriters, woke up and took notice. Here, finally, was a new voice—yes, her singing voice is noteworthy: rich, sonorous, full, delivering a uniquely stylized, throaty tone—but equally important, here was the new voice of a noteworthy writer and performer. When you watch her sing, she’ll break your heart, cradle your heart, win your heart, then break it all over again.
Harris turned 30 during the pandemic. It’s a milestone that is a rite of passage even during normal times. But for this Texas-born singer-songwriter, it came in the midst of one of the strangest and most tumultuous periods in American history. When the world stopped during lockdown, Harris, like many others, found herself gazing back into the past, ruminating on the nature of her hometown and family origins, and reckoning with their imprint on her. The term ‘nostalgia’ derives from the Greek words nostos (return) and algos (pain), and if Harris’s new album Boomerang Town can be regarded as a nostalgic album, it is only nostalgic in the sense that the longing for home is a desire to return to the past and heal old wounds. A poet and stunning vocalist, Harris has created an arresting, ambitious song-cycle that explores the generational arc of family, the stranglehold of addiction, and the fragile ties that bind us together as Americans.
“Writing helps me sort out confusion, untangle powerful emotions, and ward off desperation. It helps me navigate the powerful emotional weather systems of life.” – Mary Gauthier, Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting
As she has so eloquently accomplished over the past 25 years, acclaimed singer-songwriter Mary Gauthier has used her art once again to traverse the uncharted waters of the past few years. “I’m the kind of songwriter who writes what I see in the world right now,” she affirms. Thankfully, amid dark storms of pandemic loss, she found and followed the beacon of new love: Her gift to us, the powerful Dark Enough to See the Stars, collects ten sparkling jewels of Gauthier songcraft reflecting both love and loss.
Her eleventh album, Dark Enough to See the Stars, follows the profound antidote to trauma, Rifles & Rosary Beads, her 2018 collaborative work with wounded Iraq war veterans. It garnered a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album, as well as a nomination for Album of the Year by the Americana Music Association. Publication of her first book, the illuminating Saved by a Song: The Art and Healing Power of Songwriting, in 2021, brought her more praise. Brandi Carlile has said, “Mary’s songwriting speaks to the tender aspects of our humanness. We need her voice in times like these more than we ever have.” The Associated Press called Gauthier “one of the best songwriters of her generation.”
Kai Welch is a Nashville-based songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. He has shape-shifted between these multiple roles his whole musical life, from early years as a semi-serious classical musician, to formative times busking as a young man to help shoestring sailing adventures in the South Pacific, through to a current career as a studio-owner/record producer.
As a songwriter, he once lost a grammy to John Prine, which he claims feels like a big win. He has produced records for artists as diverse as bluegrass superstar Molly Tuttle, indie favorite Rayland Baxter, and psychedelic voyagers The Sam Grisman Project. As an instrumentalist Kai has contributed to records by artists like Rodney Crowell, Sarah Jarosz, Rhiannon Giddens, Morgan Wade, and countless more. And as a sideman, he has crisscrossed the world for 15 years, notably with: Kacey Musgraves during her meteoric multiple-grammy-winning “Golden Hour” era, Rickie Lee Jones, Abigail Washburn, and currently the nostalgia-pop band The Fray.
SistaStrings is a dynamic musical duo comprised of sisters Chauntee and Monique Ross, whose exceptional talent and versatility has made a profound impact on the music scene. With their unique blend of classical training, soulful melodies, and contemporary sounds, SistaStrings have established themselves as a formidable force within the music community. The duo was just voted “best instrumentalist” for the Americana Music Association’s 2023 honors.
Born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Chauntee and Monique discovered their love for music at a young age. Growing up in a musically inclined family, the sisters were exposed to a diverse range of genres and instruments. Chauntee found her calling as a violinist, while Monique developed her skills as a cellist. Together, they embarked on a remarkable journey, fusing their classical training with their deep-rooted love for R&B, hip-hop, and gospel.
As members of Brandi Carlile’s touring band, SistaStrings have performed at iconic venues such as Madison Square Garden, The Kennedy Center, Newport Folk Festival and Saturday Night Live. They have performed with an eclectic array of artists such as Joni Mitchell, Ed Sheeran, Maggie Rogers, Margo Price, Allison Russell and Jason Isbell.
SistaStrings are currently writing for their upcoming project, with Brandi Carlie taking the producer reins.
Valerie June Hockett is a Grammy-nominated artist from Tennessee. She’s been hailed by the New York Times as one of America’s “most intriguing, fully formed new talents.” A musician, poet, certified yoga and mindfulness meditation instructor, and author, she honorably served as a Turnaround artist working with students for the President’s Committee for the Arts and Humanities and continues serving through The Kennedy Center. She has recorded three critically acclaimed, best-selling solo albums and has also written songs for legendary artists such as Mavis Staples and The Blind Boys of Alabama. Her albums have been praised by numerous publications such as Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, The Washington Post, NPR Music, Mojo, Uncut and many others. She’s been featured on The Tonight Show, CBS, PBS, Austin City Limits, BBC, and many more. When she’s not touring, she splits her time between Tennessee and New York.
Fiona Whelan Prine brings an expansive viewpoint to the American roots music community as President of Oh Boy Records, the country’s second-oldest independent record label still in operation. In that role, she oversees the multiple Grammy Award-winning recordings and publishing copyrights of her late husband, the legendary American songwriter, John Prine. She also serves as Founder and President of the Hello in There Foundation. To honor John’s memory, Fiona created the foundation to identify, provide support, and collaborate with individuals and communities where people are marginalized, discriminated against or forgotten.
As one of Nashville’s most prominent and dedicated philanthropists, Fiona has raised awareness and funds for countless local and National initiatives that have helped support important social causes, including those related to voting rights, reproduction rights, gun safety and refugee support.
In 2021 Fiona was appointed, by President Biden, to The Council on The Arts.Fiona lives in Nashville where she loves to spend time with family and friends. She is a keen supporter of local music venues and is patron to several local arts organizations and institutions.Born and raised in Ireland, Fiona is the eldest of six daughters born to Donal and Mary Whelan.She served as Business Manager for Windmill Lane Studios in Dublin, considered Ireland’s premiere recording studio. Fiona met John while working there with artists such as U2, Van Morrison and many others, and they later married in Nashville, Tennessee, where together they raised their three sons. Fiona received her U.S. citizenship in 2004. In 2015, Fiona took over management of John’s career when Al Bunetta, John’s longtime business partner and manager, died after a brief illness. Together with eldest son, Jody Whelan, she now oversees all aspects of John’s business and musical legacy.
As one of Nashville’s most prominent and dedicated philanthropists, Fiona has volunteered countless hours on behalf of Thistle Farms, a global nonprofit social enterprise dedicated to helping women survivors recover and heal from poverty, prostitution, trafficking, and addiction. Through unique annual fundraising events, often with an appearance by John Prine, her initiatives have helped raise more than $3 million for the organization. In the last year alone, her community involvement has raised more than $1 million for important social causes, including those related to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Carissa Stolting, (RLP Folk Festival Co-Producer, Founder of Unmanageable Arts)
Carissa Stolting is the co-founder of Unmanageable Arts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to mobilize resources and build power for artists engaged in social change work. Stolting has also been an independent artist manager for over a decade after founding Left Bank Artists, a music management company supporting the careers of several internationally-celebrated musicians. Stolting was the Managing Director of the renowned Big Ears Music & Arts Festival in 2018 & 2019 and has worked extensively on music festival and event management. Before working in music, she studied French language and literature and was a French lecturer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where she was named the 2019 Alumna of the Year by Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures. She lives in Nashville, TN.
The highlights of the Folk Festival are performances that combine “Americana” artistry with relaxed discourse. Whether held at La Cocina Que Canta, Oaktree, Bazar del Sol or the Dining Hall, you will leave feeling invigorated, inspired and possibly transformed. In addition to scheduled events below, festival musicians are dedicated to enhancing the serenity of the Ranch in their own delightful ways with unannounced “random acts of music” woven into the week’s programming.
Every artist featured at the festival is also actively engaged in many wonderful things in the world. Join us for special artist talks on the healing power of music, interactive workshops around the elements of folk, and have a chance to interact with artists for a special Q&A.
Live Audience Recording Sessions
La la la la la! Warm up those vocal chords and join us for two live audience recording sessions throughout the week in the Oak Tree Pavilion! In addition to getting a (quiet!) peak behind the scenes as artists record a song, you will also be invited to lend your voice on the chorus or call and response of an old folk tune!
Random Acts Of Music
This week, it’s likely that you will be disarmed by the beauty of music when you least expect it, perhaps on a hike, during yoga, or at the labyrinth. Festival musicians are dedicated to enhancing the serenity of the Ranch in their own delightful ways.
The Ranch Program
Spend a week at Rancho La Puerta, one of the world’s top destination wellness resorts, set on thousands of acres of wildlands and landscaped gardens. Customize an ideal routine to energize your body, calm your mind and lift your spirits. In addition to extraordinary musical experiences throughout your week, we offer:
Guided hikes on 40-miles of mountain trails each morning.
More than 50 daily fitness classes, including Pilates, Pickleball, Barre, TRX, Hydro-Fit, yoga, and Zumba.
Three farm-to-table meals, sourced from our organic garden and other local farms.
Eleven gyms, four pools, a running track, as well as tennis, Pickleball, basketball and volleyball courts.
Three full-service spas offering massage, facials, wraps, scrubs and other holistic therapies.
Art classes, including painting and sculpting.
Presentations on music-making, nutrition and brain health.
Mind-body classes such as mindfulness, meditation, Feldenkrais and sound healing.
Live evening concerts and entertainment with world-class performers.
Contact Us or Make a Reservation
To find out more or make a reservation during Folk Music Festival Week please fill out the form below.
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