Sequoia Rose
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Sequoia Rose

Eureka, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2023 | INDIE | AFM

Eureka, California, United States | INDIE | AFM
Established on Jan, 2023
Band Country Bluegrass




"Backs to My Roots – Sequoia Rose"

Sequoia Rose is known to the bluegrass community as an award-winning mandolinist and a former member of The James King Band. His latest release, Back To My Roots, is a blend between traditional sounds and more progressive musical ideas.

The bulk of the album’s nine tracks were written by Rose. The title track is a ballad that places strong emphasis on the overall theme of this project. The minimalist configuration of guitar and bass brings even greater light to Sequoia’s silky lead vocals.

The true highlights of this recording are the instrumental pieces which showcase Rose’s strong and soulful mandolin playing. West Union, Lambaste, and Miller’s Reel pairs Sequoia with guitarist Cody Kilby, bassist Barry Bales, banjoist Scott Vestal, resophonic guitarist Randy Kohrs, and fiddler Andy Leftwich.

Please Don’t Fade Away is the one track that felt out of place. It doesn’t fit into any one category stylistically speaking. The instrumentation which features electric guitar and drums is vastly different from anything else on this project. This song also contains some unnecessary vulgarity.

Trap House Blues is a moving and heartfelt piece on drug addiction and the life consequences one can face as a result of that dependency.

Two of the album’s tracks should be familiar to bluegrass listeners. Crazy Heart is a song that’s been previously recorded by artists such as James King and the Lonesome River Band, among others. Sequoia Rose does a great straight ahead rendition with solid instrumental backing from Clay Hess on banjo and John Bellew on bass. All I Ever Loved Was You was written by Ricky Skaggs’ mother, Dorothy, and has been covered by many artists over the years. Rose’s simple duet version featuring himself on guitar, mandolin, and vocals, along with Bellew on bass, is a fitting closer for this project.

Back To My Roots is somewhat of a fitting title for this album. Sequoia Rose has released a recording that pays homage to tradition while also looking forward and slightly pushing the boundaries. It is a well-conceived effort. - Braeden Paul

"IBMA announces Bluegrass Ramble artists for ’23 World of Bluegrass"

The International Bluegrass Music Association has today announced the artists who will be invited to showcase during the 2023 World of Bluegrass convention, as part of the annual Bluegrass Ramble in Raleigh, NC. Each act selected will have the opportunity to perform live twice during the convention, September 26-28, typically once at the Raleigh Convention Center for the assembled attendees, and once at a downtown Raleigh venue in cooperation with World of Bluegrass.

Bluegrass Ramble artists are chosen through an application process, overseen by the IBMA Showcase Selection Committee, seated for this very reason. Showcase acts receive complimentary registration for the conference, plus an exhibit hall booth, and priority appointments for the annual Gig Fair where festival and concert managers meet one on one with bands during the convention.

It is quite common for bands who appear as part of the Bluegrass Ramble to come away from IBMA week new management, representation, and even record contracts, based on their performances in Raleigh.

Selected to participate for 2023 are:

Alex Leach
Buster Sledge
Caleb Bailey & Paine’s Run
Corner House
DownRiver Collective
Golden Shoals
Grain Thief
Into The Fog
J.M. Clifford
Lori King & Junction 63
Magpie the Band
Mild Goose Chase
Prairie Wildfire
Rachel Sumner & Traveling Light
Remedy Tree
Sequoia Rose
Seth Mulder & Midnight Run
Sicard Hollow
Taff Rapids Stringband
The Faux Paws
The High & Wides
The Ruta Beggars
The Tennessee Bluegrass Band
Thomas Cassell
U.S. Navy Band Country Current
Violet Bell
Wyatt Ellis
These acts range from full bands to duos, trios, and individual artists, who play bluegrass, old time, and Americana styles of music. Basically all the musical genres that fly under the bluegrass banner these days. They come from all over the US, and include a couple from overseas as well.

Congratulations all! See you in September. - John Lawless

"Favorite songs and new mandolin players at Grey Fox"

Was it coincidence or fate that brought James King and the Gibson Brothers together July 19 at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, sharing a stage and possibly a recording this coming winter?

These back-to-back International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Emerging Artists of the Year – the James King Band in 1997 and the Gibson Brothers in 1998 – presented an evening workshop, Our Favorite Songs, under the Creekside Stage tent after their afternoon sets on the High Meadow Stage. It was classic North meets South, with the Gibson Brothers hailing from New York and James King from Virginia.

“I want to hear some of that wonderful brother harmony,” King said on stage, standing with his guitar between Eric and Leigh Gibson. “Basically what you’re witnessing tonight for the first time, and I hope not the last time, you’re witnessing a Gibson Brothers-James King sandwich.”

In all, King and the Gibson Brothers band – Eric and Leigh, Mike Barber on bass, Clayton Campbell on fiddle, and Jesse Brock on mandolin – played 10 of their favorite songs: Why Don’t You Tell Me So, I Just Think I’ll Go Away, Dig a Hole in the Meadow, Crazy Heart, More and More, In the Shadows of My Mind, Love’s Gonna Live Here Again, Ring the Bell, How Mountain Girls Can Love, and – for the encore – Think of What You’ve Done.

“I’ve never done that song before,” King said after playing Dig a Hole in the Meadow. “I’m learning all kinds of new things … Ain’t it fun to pick with somebody you never picked with before?”

This may have been their first time on stage together, but it may not be the last.

“I suggest that me and the Gibson Brothers go in the studio and record a song this winter,” King said. “It would be fun.”

jamesJames King, center, performs on the main stage July 19 at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival with banjo player Barry Crabtree and mandIt may also be fun for their fans, of which they have many. And their awards are piling up, too. James King is the 2013 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) Male Vocalist of the Year (traditional), and the Gibson Brothers are the 2012 IBMA Entertainers of the Year.

In another twist of fate, the mandolin player who was performing with King on the Creekside Stage – Jesse Brock – also played on the James King Band’s upcoming Rounder release – Three Chords and the Truth.

“Ken Irwin of Rounder Records gave me a call and said they were putting this project together and asked if I was interested in being a part of it,” Brock said after the “Favorite Songs” performance. “I said, ‘Sure.’ That was a no-brainer for me. I love James’s music, and it’s been about a year, a year and a half since we did it in the studio.”

Adjusting to life on the road with Eric and Leigh Gibson has been a natural process for Brock, who spent his childhood touring with his own musical family.

“I already feel like a brother. I feel like a Gibson,” Brock said. “I’ve known the guys since the ’90s when they were in the infant stage of their career, and it’s great to see them blossom into such a wonderful group with great business minds. They’ve, along the way, acquired the know-how to stay in business, and I’m glad to be a part of it and be part of the team.”

Jesse Brock meets David Watson Jr at Grey Fox 2013 - photo by Andy FlynnSince late June, the Gibson Brothers and the James King Band both acquired new mandolin players. Brock, who signed on June 19, met David Watson Jr. of the James King Band informally for the first time backstage between the bands’ sets. Watson, playing his eighth show with King in a few weeks, was so fresh that Chance Leadbetter was still listed as mandolin player on the James King Band’s website during Grey Fox.

Watson is a 20-year-old from West Union, W. Va., and his introduction to bluegrass began at the age of 9, while he was playing the electric guitar.

“My grandma told me about this jam session going on, but she said I had to bring my acoustic guitar,” Watson said in the Grey Fox hospitality tent. “And I wondered, ‘What the heck? Why not?’ So I did, and it turned out to be bluegrass. So that’s the first time I played bluegrass, and I’ve been doing it ever since.”

A few years later, Watson began playing mandolin, filling in for several bands and had been touring with a country band the past year before James King hired him.

“I emailed him and sent him some recordings I had,” Watson said. “He liked what he heard, I guess, and he had me down to his house to meet him. He decided to hire me on board.”

Being the youngest and newest member of the band, adjustments have to be made, and there’s always something to learn.

“I guess the biggest thing I’m learning right now is how to travel and work the maps and drive all night,” Watson said. “We got here just a few hours before we played with no sleep, and we’re not going to be sleeping this night, either, except a little bit on the van, I guess.”

As for learning the music, Watson spent some quality time with King’s many recordings.

“I had about five days to learn 30 songs, so I spent a lot of hours memorizing the choruses and getting the harmony down,” Watson said. “But it just takes a lot of practice playing along with CDs and the metronome.”

On July 20, the James King Band flew out to the West Coast for a 10-day tour of northern California and Washington state. On the same day, the Gibson Brothers flew out to Ohio for a performance. Once the festival season is behind them, perhaps they’ll meet in the studio for that recording King suggested. - Andy Flynn


Back to my Roots



Sequoia Rose seamlessly blends traditional roots with contemporary flair to deliver a truly unique musical experience. Sequoia Rose combines soulful vocals, intricate instrumentals, and dynamic arrangements to create a distinctive sound that fuses traditional bluegrass with elements of jamgrass and modern influences. With an expansive repertoire that includes beloved classics, original compositions, and imaginative reinterpretations of popular tunes, each Sequoia Rose performance is a unique experience.
Prepare to be swept away by their soul-stirring melodies, infectious rhythms, and a passion for bluegrass that knows no bounds.

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