Story Road is a collaboration between 5 of the West Coast’s premier Irish traditional musicians, John Weed, Stuart Mason, Colleen Raney, Hanz Araki, and Ryan Davidson. Known for their dynamic live shows, the band’s repertoire of tunes and songs is culled from the rich traditions of Ireland, Scotland, and the American South.
Fronting the band is Portland, Oregon’s Colleen Raney, a gifted traditional singer who recently released her fourth album, titled “Here This is Home.” Colleen’s open-minded and warm-hearted approach to her repertoire was instilled by Seattle’s celebrated Raney Family, where she grew up steeped in step-dancing and song. She breathes new life into the old tunes, finding facets in the music that haven’t been heard before and performing in the company of gifted friends who illustrate both the most delicate and upbeat aspects of her winning style. It’s earned her a following among longtime adherents of Celtic music as well as younger fans who are new to the genre.
Colleen has toured extensively both at home and abroad. Highlights have included The KVMR Grass Valley Celtic Festival, Winston-Salem Celtic Festival, Juan de Fuca Festival of the Arts, and Seattle’s respected Northwest Folklife Festival, where she has been a performer since 1980. Her music can be heard on radio from Italy, to Ireland, to New York, to Hawaii, to Japan and all parts in between. Irish Music Magazine writes that Colleen is “among the best in her genre.”
John Weed and Stuart Mason are members of Molly’s Revenge, a dynamic, acoustic Celtic band known for its unique and infectious enthusiasm. Molly’s Revenge has performed at many of the top folk festivals and performing arts events in the USA, and prestigious events in Australia, Scotland, and China. They have released 11 albums and appeared on stage with John Doyle, Liz Carroll, Aaron Jones, and other top Celtic artists. “There is an engaging freshness and yet an impressive maturity in their playing,” said National Heritage Award recipient Mick Moloney.
An accomplished fiddler across genres, John Weed has lived in Ireland and immersed himself in the traditional styles of Clare and Donegal. The result is an old-time Irish fiddling style that compliments his forays into bluegrass, swing, and other American music. Stuart Mason has been collecting and performing traditional music for over 30 years. He has appeared on stage from Ireland to China performing Celtic, old time bluegrass, and his original compositions, which have won awards from the West Coast Songwriters Association.
One wouldn’t imagine that six generations of mastery of the Japanese shakuhachi would lead to a career in Celtic music but as Irish Music Magazine says, Hanz Araki is definitely a master of his art.” An accomplished singer and flute player, Portland, Oregon’s Hanz Araki has been prominent in the Irish music community of the Pacific Northwest for more than 2 decades. In that time he has released 10 award-winning albums; played countless festival stages including the Vancouver Folk Fest, Milwaukee Irish Fest, Austin Celtic Music Festival, and Celtic Connections; toured internationally in Ireland, The United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Canada, and Mexico, and collaborated with a number of renowned musicians within and outside of the Celtic music genre.
Talented multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and ethnomusicologist, Ryan Davidson has been performing across genres in the US and Europe for the last 2 decades. After years spent in Ireland; graduating the University of Limerick; studying jazz at the Bob Cole Conservatory, and performing with countless traditional, folk, rock and blues artists, he has developed a dynamic, diverse, and complimentary style that has lent him to collaborate on over 20 albums with prominent performers in a variety of genres.