Zoe Speaks

The trio Zoe Speaks consists of Mitch Barrett, Carla Gover, and Owen Reynolds, who jump in and out of their east Kentucky vernacular to play everything from traditional ballads to guitar-thumping contemporary acoustic tunes. With a smooth, mellow instrumental mix, which includes guitar, banjo, upright bass, and dulcimer by turns, close vocal harmonies are a defining feature of their sound. The duo is a powerhouse of songwriting, with wins at many of the nation’s top contests between them, including the Kerrville New Folk Award, the Telluride Troubadour Contest and 3 time winners of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at Merlefest.

Bert Lams and Tom Griesgraber

With the release of Unnamed Lands, guitarist Bert Lams and Chapman Stick player Tom Griesgraber celebrate the completion of one of the most inspired projects either musician has ever been a part of. Fourteen original instrumental tracks tie together with artwork and text to tell the adventures of a North American wagon train journey through one traveler's personal experiences circa 1840.

California Guitar Trio

The universe of guitar knows no boundaries for The California Guitar Trio. Since 1991, the group has enthralled listeners with a singular sound that fearlessly crisscrosses genres. The trio’s questing spirit drives it to explore the intersections between rock, jazz, classical, and world music. It even throws in the occasional surf or spaghetti Western tune for good measure.

Ben Sollee

For a stalwart young artist who creates different means to an end, Ben Sollee has enjoyed a whirlwind year replete with remarkable success and warm, exciting music to match.

Sollee hails from Kentucky, yet sounds nothing like the colloquial music one traditionally associates with the state (or anywhere else for that matter). He eschews traditional singer-songwriter and folk boundaries, choosing a cello rather than a guitar as his divining rod, and utilizing unique plucking and percussive bow techniques juxtaposed against his blue-eyed soul meets Antony Hegarty vocal leanings. Ben enjoys collaborating with musicians as disparate as Otis Taylor and Bela Fleck, touring with indie rock royalty, and covering Sam Cooke as an homage to blues. When he ventures out of Louisville, sometimes he'll just strap this cello to his back and ride his bike rather than enjoy the comforts of a van or bus, as he did on his southern trek in the summer of 2009 -- playing intimate shows in every town he hits between his larger headlining performances. Yes, Ben's always done things a bit differently.