Story Road began two years ago as a side project for two members of Molly’s Revenge (Santa Cruz, CA) and vocalist Colleen Raney (Portland, OR). Before long they had enlisted Johnny B. Connolly on button accordion and two years later, the quartet has become one of the premier traditional Irish bands on the West Coast. They convene twice a year for autumn and spring tours that have earned them the love of trad music fans from Santa Barbara to Seattle. Their live show ranges from driving dance tune medleys to heart breaking songs of love and immigration. This year’s presentation promises a taste of Americana as well, and a singalong or two in the mix.
Portland, Oregon’s Colleen Raney is a gifted traditional singer who recently released her fourth album, titled Here This is Home which was produced by guitarist, singer, and producer Aidan Brennan and engineered by Trevor Hutchinson over the summer of 2013 in Dublin, Ireland. Among the finest interpreters of traditional songs of her generation, Colleen Raney grew up inspired by the Irish and Scottish songs and tunes in the rich Irish community in Seattle. Her four solo CDs have staked her claim as a serious presence in Celtic music today and provoked Hearth Music to enthuse, “Singing with a deep love for the tradition and the dark poetry of Celtic song, Colleen has been drawing new life from old ballads and renewing our love for Celtic music.”
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. Tradconnect.com writes that Colleen is “one of America’s best traditional voices.” (Sept 2013)
Acordionist Johnny B. Connolly was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland. He began playing when he was eight and by age 15 he was a regular feature around his hometown, performing with musicians sometimes twice his age. Johnny’s dexterity on the accordion earned him a place with the established Celtic ensemble Anam at the age of seventeen. In 1996 Johnny seized an opportunity to bring his skills to America. In 2001 he signed with Green Linnet Records and released his first album entitled Bridgetown, named after his adopted hometown of Portland. While based in Portland, Johnny tours internationally, performing at festivals, concerts, and schools.
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.