Folk Festival 2024 - Rancho La Puerta
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Rancho La Puerta Folk Festival

June 15 – 22, 2024

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, Steve Poltz, Valerie June, Devon Gilfillian, Fiona Prine, Jason Cupp (sound engineer), and Carissa Stolting (Co-Producer, Co-Host and Commentator)

Listen to the 2024 artists!

Musicians

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.

Interview with Ambar Rubarth


Jaimee Harris

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.

Interview with Jamie Harris (2023)


Mary Gauthier

“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.”

Interview with Mary Gauthier (2023)


Kai Welch

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.


Steve Poltz

This is the story of Steve Poltz.

Some people start life with a plan. Not Steve. He opens himself up to the universe in a way most of us will never be loose enough to achieve, and the universe responds with a wink, a seemingly bottomless well of inspiration, and the talent to truly connect with an audience.

With a cult following that includes fellow musicians, regular folks and festival goers who stumble onto his performances, there’s no common denominator to Steve’s fans. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and raised in San Diego, CA Steve toured and recorded with San Diego cult favorites The Rugburns (they still play annual sold-out reunion shows). But it was through his creative partnership with Jewel that he vaulted into the national spotlight; co-writing her multiplatinum Billboard Hot 100-busting smash, “You Were Meant For Me,” and continues to work with her to this day.

Among other collaborations, GRAMMY-winning bluegrass phenom Billy Strings tapped him to co-write “Leaders” on 2021’s Renewal and he’s co-written with Molly Tuttle, Sierra Hull, Nicki Bluhm, Oliver Wood and even Mojo Nixon.

He’s resumed his tour schedule, and when he comes to your town, he’ll say, as he does every night, “This is the best show I’ve ever played.” And hell, maybe it just is.

Ultimately, Steve never needed a plan.

He’s something of a natural, after all.

– Official website: https://poltz.com/
– IG: @StevePoltz
– Facebook: @StevePoltz
– Twitter: @StevePoltz
– Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZ1P774bAGQ


Valerie June

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.


Devon Gilfillian

“When there are dark clouds overhead and the shit is hitting the fan, you’ve still gotta find joy somehow,” the rising singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Devon Gilfillian said, with a smile. As the pain of the pandemic persisted and the United States’ political chasm widened, Gilfillian relied on a few simple resources: the music of Marvin Gaye, new love, therapy, and his beloved cats, Barry White and Felicia. The result of that warmhearted self-care is the aptly titled Love You Anyway (Fantasy Records), an album spanning soul, hip-hop, R&B, and rock all under the banner of Black joy. “I wanted to share my story and pour a whole lot of love into the gap that’s grown between people in our country,” Gilfillian says.

Potent, seductive, and raw, Love You Anyway is an intoxicating, genre-blasting game changer that re-imagines modern soul music by redefining its possibilities. With an incisive eye and unassuming swagger, Gilfillian ignites the mind, and makes the body move.

Produced by Jeremy Lutito (Joy Oladokun, NEEDTOBREATHE) and recorded in Nashville, Love You Anyway, confronts as well as comforts. Chronicling Gilfillian’s journey as a Black artist living in the tumult of 21st century America, the album’s 10 original tracks, (all co-written by Gilfillian) are as much about fighting for what you believe in, equity and representation, as it is about love- finding it, making it, and channeling it into every facet of our lives.

An ecstatic proclamation of self-empowerment and love, opener “All I Really Wanna Do,” sets the tone immediately. Over a slithery, R&B bed of electric guitars and supple bass, Gilfillian effortlessly rides this enticing, Temptations infused invitation, looking to find that place where he and a special someone can “be as weird as we are.” The track’s free-flowing sonic exploration moves with a deep appreciation for embracing one’s truest self, even when bumping up against some long and difficult odds. Likewise, on “Love You Anyway,” the album’s anthemic, irresistible end-title track, Gilfillian promises that no hatred will change his bright spirit. “We’re all broken, cracks in our hearts/ Let hope in, light in the dark/ I’m gonna love you anyway,” he sings, the comfort radiating endlessly.

Ever the optimist, Gilfillian stared down the difficult time of the last few years and took the bold stance of hope and love. “Everyone has their screws that are loose, and you just have to find and surround yourself with the people that know how to tighten them,” he says. “Love You Anyway is all about growing into that knowledge and still loving yourself in the process.”

That enduring positivity was instilled in him as a young boy growing-up on the musically fertile streets of Philadelphia, PA. His musician father’s love for classic soul permeated the household, the crackling vinyl, and warm and tender lyrics laying a musical base that persists to this day. As a teenager, Gilfillian picked out tunes by everyone from Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Wonder to AC/DC and Led Zeppelin on his guitar, while also obsessing over contemporary hip-hop and rap artists including Wu-Tang Clan, Kanye West, Notorious B.I.G., and Jay-Z. After relocating to Nashville as a volunteer through AmeriCorps, Gilfillian quickly nestled into the local music community, signed a record deal and in 2020, released his acclaimed GRAMMY-nominated debut album, Black Hole Rainbow. The socially aware artist then followed it with a track-x-track cover of Marvin Gaye’s classic What’s Going On, donating the proceeds to local organizations that fight voter suppression and support democratic justice.

Summoning an array of musical touchstones amid a rush of unexpected ear-catching twists, Love You Anyway is as listenable as it is thought-provoking. Soulful disruptors, “The Recipe,” and “Right Kind of Crazy,” wrap around “Brown Sugar Queen,” a Prince meets Anderson Paak super-sized jam (featuring rising Swedish soul star Janice.) And while Bill Withers’ slinky gift for melody is evoked on “Better Broken,” don’t be fooled, it’s Gilfillian’s blazing talent and effortless charisma that makes Love You Anyway such a memorable ride.

Fellow R&B soul singer Nathaniel Rateliff guests on the grit and glimmer of “Righteous,” a call for humility and finding equal ground. “Nathaniel and I met at Newport Folk Festival and singing some Marvin Gaye tunes with him really changed the way I was feeling about music,” Gilfillian says.

The gospel tinged “Let the Water Flow,” was inspired by the pain and suffering Black Georgians have endured for decades, most recently in the form of the latest round of voter suppression. The moving track’s choir of voices embodies the fight for freedom and equality that can never be silenced. “Let the water flow to Georgia / Oh because I have to believe/ One day we’ll find freedom/ Till then no justice no peace,” Gilfillian’s soaring voice rings out. Though not as explicitly political in their messaging, the album’s love songs still feel like they can change the world in their focus on equality and freedom of expression¾something close to the songwriter’s heart. “Being open-minded and accepting of everyone, no matter their orientation or how they identify, is essential,” he says. “We all have to love ourselves and each other on the path of growth.”

Performing has become another essential part of Gilfillian’s path. The in-demand musician has maintained a relentless touring schedule, burnishing his growing reputation as a captivating, can’t-miss live performer. Commanding club, theater, and festival stages around the world, while also supporting artists such as Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Lake Street Dive, Anderson East, Keith Urban, Gladys Knight, Kaleo, The Fray, and Mavis Staples, among many others, Gilfillian is building an enduring connection with a burgeoning audience both in the U.S and overseas.

“As a kid, I never fit into any one group. I am mixed, so I never felt white enough for the white kids, or black enough for the black kids. I was too nerdy for the jocks and too goofy for the science nerds,” he explains. “During the pandemic, I realized that for me, creating art was about healing, a way to connect with different types of people and make them feel vulnerable enough to relate to others who may be going through similar things.”
With Love You Anyway, Devon Gilfillian pays it forward, conjuring the raw, sexy emotions of his predecessors and the next-level production grooves of his R&B and hip-hop contemporaries, taking soul music into an exciting and restorative new future.


Fiona Prine (Special Guest)

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.

Interview with Fiona Prine

  • – Official website: https://www.thehellointherefoundation.org/
  • – IG: @fprine
  • – Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FionaWhelanPrine/
  • – Twitter: https://twitter.com/fionaprine
  • – Youtube video: https://youtu.be/pcGISz6VubI?si=U51aqJ0TJVxQb3QJ

Jason Cupp (Sound Engineer)

Jason Cupp brings over two decades of experience in the music industry. As a record producer, audio engineer, and tour manager, Jason has collaborated with a wide range of artists spanning multiple genres, from multi-platinum Grammy-winning pop acts to independent rock and Americana artists. With a portfolio of over 50 albums, including notable credits such as The Milk Carton Kids, Jon Brion, Tim Kasher, Ratboys, and American Football, Jason’s expertise extends beyond the studio. Recently, he has integrated his educational background in psychology to explore the intersection of creativity and group dynamics. Originally from the Arizona desert, Jason now calls the Midwest city of Saint Louis home.

– IG: @WorldCupp
– Facebook: @jason.k.cupp


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.


Performances

The Week

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.


Musical Talks

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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