xfromxthexS T A I R W E L L


We knew Garrison Keillor would be bringing Prairie Home Companion to San Francisco’s War Memorial Opera House on Saturday, January 13; we knew we’d be a perfect fit for his old-time radio show; but we didn’t know we’d get a call to join the program until the Tuesday before. Sue screamed so loud when she found out that we heard her clear in Oakland.

Thrilled, honored and not the least bit nervous (!), we performed to the sold-out crowd of three thousand, as well as over 4 million National Public Radio listeners.

We were fascinated by the ability with which Garrison and his team transformed his brief sketches (a nostalgic and terrifying drive around San Francisco; a lonely ex-San Franciscan woman’s dating life in Lake Wobegon; connecting Google with the FBI) and our tunes (Garrison expressly requesting percussive dance and hambone) first tried out at Friday night’s rehearsal into brilliant entertainment Saturday afternoon. The performance, executed according to schedule to the minute, was broadcast live to the Midwest and East and later to the West, Europe, and the American Armed Forces abroad.

We ended the show with lively Sleeping Lulu, joined by Guy’s All-Star Shoe Band, twin fiddling with Stephanie and Andy Stein, and lovely local diva Maria Muldauer jumping in on her dancing feet.

Garrison is so clearly dedicated to preserving the old-time radio show as folk art; we are so pleased to have been a part of it that day.

And that’s the news from Lake Wobegon—

- Stephanie



We're bringing our tornado to Texas. Recent bookings include Celtic Connections in Scotland (Jan), and The Annual Horseshoe Class in Benton Hot Springs (Sept), ahhh....Here's some of the latest.
Stairwell Sisters' LITTLE MOSES on Steve Earle's Air American Program...

Steve Earle sits down with Anthony Arnove, critically acclaimed writer, editor and longtime activist, Anthony Arnove. His recent books include: Iraq: The Logic of Withdrawal (The New Press, 2006; Metropolitan Books, 2007) with a foreword and afterword by Howard Zinn; he is the editor, also with Howard Zinn of Voices of a People's History of the United States (Seven Stories Press). Playlist:

Pancho and Lefty - Townes van Zandt
Son of a preacher man - Dusty Springfield
Little Moses - The Stairwell Sisters
Jackson - Lucinda Williams
Pocahontas- Gillian Welch and David Rawlings
Oh, babe it ain’t no lie - Elizabeth Cotton
The Mountain- Steve Earle
It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry- Bob Dylan

from a fan ~~~ Stairwell Sisters stomp and shout Texas twisters whirl about Swing your partner through the air Panhandle handle on a dare Talking turkey struttin' stuff Back to Californy when you've had enough Ole timey music play hot licks Harmony how's they get their kicks They ain't shy and they don't stutter Hard as nails and soft as butter Sweetest tunes that are around Listen to that beautiful sound YeeHah de/cloudman



I don't know if you know this, but the Stairwell Sisters are purely a DIY operation. We are our agent, publicist, manager, graphic designers and all else. We like it this way, since we have total control over our time and money, and it doesn't seem to have hurt us any. This makes it ever more satisfying to be reaching national festivals and audiences.

Part of the payoff is finding ourselves in the midst of a thriving and skilled traditional music scene on our home turf, and in the presence of many musical heroes and inspirations everywhere we go. Our long festival season started with the amazing but freezing Strawberry Music Festival, and ended appropriately with one of the most monumental assemblies in roots music, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass in Golden Gate Park, SF. A free festival, the weekend apparently drew over 500,000 people, and several generations of performers.




The after party brought together all the performers and crew. Laurie Lewis ran the house band, inviting people up to play. The Stairwell Sisters went up between Hazel Dickens and Jimmy Dale Gilmore. Gillian Welch and Billy Bragg shouted kudos to the band, and maybe I speak for all the gals when I was just hoping I didn't do anything stupid. Earlier in the day The Sisters took the stage to thousands of fans new and old, Sue sporting a guitar strap Steve Earle offered to loan her. Best was the thrum of people dancing like mad, kicking up the mud. I was particularly pleased to see old friend Casey Driessen, fiddling for Steve Earle and Tim O'Brien. Emmy Lou was hanging out backstage. Earl Scruggs played Foggy Mountain Breakdown - and shouted encouragements to the Barbary Coast Cloggers who danced to his tune earlier in the day. It was almost too much, and I'm still floating.


Two weeks ago we had the immense honor of opening for the New Lost City Ramblers as part of the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention. The sold-out evening was a highlight of my life - watching the Ramblers together and knowing how many people there they had brought to traditional music, myself included. The entire weekend of concerts, square dance and cabaret was a like a homecoming - everyone I have met on the West Coast seemed to be here do-si-doing and picking all night long. Every night's party saw dawn. And you know the Sisters, as the Good Ole Village Persons, donned wigs and attitude to belt out BOTMC, letting our freak flags fly.

In between the two was the brand new Anderson Ranch BG & OT Festival in the mountains above Calistoga, near California's biggest lake, Clear Lake. It was beautiful, and we only wish we could have taken anyone up on the many invitations to stay in a lake house. We had a great time playing our show. Never mind that an excited fan threw a drink and took the power to the PA out in the middle - we finished up playing on the dance floor. There was an all-ages mosh pit, with no one seeming to fear for their lives or their image. We love it when people dance.

Taking it all the way back, we're remiss in not writing about our trip to New York City and points North. Lincoln Center kicked it off - free, out-of-doors, and we're grateful the rain didn't start till after we were done. Sorry to Robin & Linda Williams who followed us! We also would have like to stay to hear Percy Sledge, but it had been a very long day. After resting a bit, we headed back out at midnight (keeping on California time), to a bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn when they didn't mind if we crowded round the entrance and played till 4am. Thanks to Thomas Bailey for scouting us a place, Joe Bass for coming out at 2, all ready to fly to the UK next day, and our homegirl Sabra, joining us from her road trip.

Several dates in NYC, then on to Boston, lobster, and a plethora of fans who filled Cantab's on what should have been a slow Tuesday. Ithaca was a real treat - a full to overflowing Chapter House throbbed with people dancing, even on the slow, depressing songs. How great to introduce old friends Mac Benford and John Hoffman to our California girls. As always, a major thanks to Sally Freund who took us in to her beautiful country home, a respite under any circumstances.

Again, sold out crowd in Brattleboro, where we played intermission in the lobby of the theater where a crew of gals were hanging out, sorry they couldn't get into the show. And on to the truly dreamy Dreamaway - out of the late night mist came Daniel, offering us a nightcap (I don't think anyone has offered me a nightcap and meant an actual drink!). The coziest, funkiest, red carpet treatment, we ended our tour with wood-fired saunas and old friends coming out of the woodwork. Sarah Lee Guthrie & Johnny Irion closed out the bar with a late nite after their own show in town.

Even farther back, August began with a road-trip up north. We had a brief stop in beautiful Mt. Shasta, then on up to Portland for the Pickathon Roots Music festival, where we were blown away by the incomparable voice of Iris DeMent, and had our socks rocked off by youngsters The Avett Brothers. The best part was seeing songwriting genius Martha Scanlon and the sweet fellas in her band. A special thanks to Travis who filled in for Martha on bass.

There was a weekend in LA in there somewhere, but the dates roll on by and the friends (and cousins) keep a coming out to enjoy our music like we do. We're very excited to hunker down here at home for a while and work up our new songs and old tunes. We hope to see you again soon. -Evie & the gals

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09.18.06 GOOD OLD VILLAGE PERSONS do B.O.TMC + "Wish I Was"

You bet!

AND, Sue's song "Wish I Was" was just nominated for song of the year in the bluegrass category - Just Plain Folks Awards!

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06.06 STAIRWELL SISTERS NOW AVAILABLE from & FEATURED on MILES OF MUSIC home page. "It's a Cracker - 100% Guaranteed"

Feet All Over the Floor
The Stairwell Sisters

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Summer/June - slam packed. Us crazies somehow got the idea we wanted to be away every week/weekend in June - and so it was.
STRAWBERRY proved to be an amazing time! Always such a well-run festival. Great folks, staff, and surroundings. It was hot AND it was cold and snowed! Really enjoyed playing our new gospel numbers. We had a ball gallavanting with Martha Scanlon (who we bow down to), Roy Andrade, and Travis & Trevor Stuart. We attempted to sleep in the attached cabin one night...er, 3am morning, while "Sweet Home Alabama" and other 70s country hits complete with wild raucus stomping made our beds jump off the floor. And we had a lot of Bay area pals to pick with in our fancy Corbin Pagter hilltop camp oasis. Thanks to Keith & Clay Terry, Brian, Corbin, Tracy, Sabra, and Isaac. We even got Sue's fella, Brian to pull out his accordion, and more importantly, wear our red shirt while selling merch. Now, if you didn't know...that is something. Big fun with Faux Renwahs - Cactus Bob, Prairie Flower Chris, Michael Kennedy, and Masha, and Mark & Penny from Fresno area too. Dance Monkeys Dance!
YREKA - how can you go wrong with so many great old-time bands in one place!? Dirk Powell (his fiddle, wooden banjo, and cajun accordion), Foghorn, Mercury Dimes, Gov't Issue Orch, Tom Sauber and gang, Caroline and Michael calling dances. It was even warm at night this time! We had a fine Son Jarocho jam w/Michael Ismerio and Dan Tennenbaum too.
We're off to the beautiful COLORADO mountains where we hear it'll be 90 degrees. More on this soon...
Look for 10 old-time gals stirring up a ruckus at GRASS VALLEY next weekend!
2 words - YUBA RIVER.

-ox the gals

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Look for plenty of shows with that gal. No rest for the weary!!
And Evie got an endorsement from GHS! She swears by their JD Crowe light banjo strings (they even have a red & black logo...fancy that).

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First a heartfelt thanks to all those that were so kind to us on our little tour through the midwest! We all converged in Chicago (Evie, Martha, Bill & son Danny all drove up from Indiana after their visits there). It began for some of us with a Vienna beef hot dog (tofu for Marth). It was a joy for Lisa to hang in Wicker Park where here Grandpa's hot dog stand used to be located. Next, a little picking to get up to speed with Bill Foss who learned all our songs and tunes for one tour in a very short period of time - and absolutely wow'd us all. He even had a cold and could hardly talk - but made us all belly laugh everytime he yelled out "Fiddler A Dram" in the most inadvertantly drunken sounding shout from the back of the stage. How can we possibly thank him enough?! Next was a peek through Fitzgerald's history - from their beautiful commemorative book to their signed accordion-adorned walls. We were honored to have so many of our friends, comrades, and family in the audience! Big ups to Sue's friends Elizabeth, Donny, and Alan for putting us up. And there were so many more of you! It was a pleasure to meet Jeffrey Mankin of the Steampowered Preservation Society who recorded our show (man, those SPPS folks are everywhere!). Lisa checked out to the Old-town School of Folk Music and was pretty floored - what an inspiring place. We're honored that they've expressed interest in us playing there next time we make it out to Chicago. Thanks also to Old Town School dobro teacher Rob Anderlik for his support and suggestions.

The Creole Gallery in Lansing was pure joy. A wonderful audience and Robert and Meegan were such gracious hosts (plus Robert is an amazing artist). Hanno did an amazing job on the sound. Lisa noticed a big plant intentionally placed in front of Meegan's front entryway window - an hommage to Tom Lucas who almost joined the ranks of headless Pearl Bryan as he walked through the glass last time The Crooked Jades played there. Dan Lynn (Jades' first bass player), John Hatton (of Cleff'd Ear Music), and Jeremy Baldwin (WEMU DJ) all made it out, plus some of Martha's relatives (who she met there for the 1st time). An old friend of Evie's, phenomenal young dancer/musician Nick from Mt. Pleasant, MI got up on stage with us and thoroughly wow'd the crowd (and us)! A host of wonderful djs and local old-time musicans came out for the show, including Monica Ionescu from Dreamboat Radio (WRUW in Cleveland) who brought us her zine which has an article on women in bluegrass & old-time including us gals. And the next morning we went to heaven...Elderly Instruments is truly the candy store for musicians (hello sugar daddies?). Lisa about traded in her Scheerhorn for a beautiful Martin slide from the 30s, a gourd banjo, a charango for Sue, (durn, Sue missed the Martin tiple sale by 1 day!), a dobro for Danny (Martha and Bill's son) - go Danny!, and much more. Libby had been so sweet to us when we played the Elderly showcase at Folk Alliance and made us glow inside with all she had to say. We were so honored that such a highly respected place such as Elderly was so welcoming and supportive (see Libby's comments on our quote page). At one point we felt like we were in Switzerland when more of Martha's relatives showed up and surrounded her - nothing much cuter than this sight. Martha appreciated the fact that all the women were the same height as her. It was really cool to meet "Nobody's Darlin'" another all-gal old-time band in person as we'd only met them on myspace previously.

Our final night brought us out to the Acorn Folk-Lore Center in Warrenville, IL - where Donna and Dan help keep the folk tradition alive and well - the crowd was lovely! Jeffrery Mankin came out again to grace us. We also met "Boy Evie"! Wow! Evie had been telling us about her cousin, Brian. He really is "Boy Evie!" We couldn't stop looking at him! Thanks so very much to Donna and Dan for hosting us. We were honored to have Juel Ulven there who asked us to play his almost 30-year running "Fox Valley Folk Music Festival. Evie's Poppa Jay drove up from Indiana with "baby" Clay (we had missed our little travelling buddy) and is always such a wonderful addition to our tours and such a great support. 3 cheers for Poppa Jay and Clay.

Overall, we had a swell time! We just didn't get to eat enough hot dogs! There's always next time. (We did try our first "Butter Burger" and frozen custard. Delish!). And again, thank you Bill Foss!!

OX, the Gals

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04.16.06 "COME ALONG JODY" - from the SOURCE (literally)

>>Subject: Come Along Jody
Hi Stephanie,
I don't think we've ever met but a friend just played me your recording of "Come Along Jody" written by my dad, fiddler, Tex Logan, going back to the days when I was always on the road with him at bluegrass festivals....if you send me an address I'll send you some live recordings of my Dad and his old partner, Pete Rowan, when they started playing the tune. Just got a bit of it online...I'm always interested to hear new versions of the tune as it seems more fiddlers are playing it....out of curiosity....where or who did you first learn the tune from? Living in So. Florida...hope to hear you all perform sometime.   
Take Care....
Jody Logan

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We're all so happy for (and envious of) Steph! See excerpts from her post below -

...one (dream) was to go to the office of Radio Tanzania, the national radio station, which has a large collection (157) of field recordings of tribal music, which they sell on dubbed cassettes (poor quality, sadly) for $1.00 each. I got 12.
Thanks to Keith, several months before I came to Tanzania I had the opportunity to hear a CD of some traditional music from the Gogo tribe. The people are called Wagogo. That music instantly captivated me and I couldn't believe my ears. I loved it! The Wagogo are the ones who play zeze.From the liner notes I saw that their land is in the area around Dodoma. I decided then that I was going to find the Wagogo people and play music with them! Call it a pipe dream, but guess how I spent the day before and the day of my birthday??? In a remote hamlet, not even a village, out in the Wagogo countryside, surrounded by an entire village, eager to perform their music and dance for me! They hoped, of course, that I could help them get a recording and more support, I told them I couldn't and that I was there as a fellow musician interested to share music with them, although I did contribute money and beer to the various choir leaders. I also wanted to give them Sisters' CDS, but they didn't know what CDs were. My driver said he would copy the CDs onto tapes and give them to the musicians. And if anyone has any ideas about helping Zeze orchestras, talk to me!
I felt like I was in a national geographic movie. Imagine being in front of the orchestra, along with a large group of people dancing and singing, and then the rest of the village crowded around. It was unreal. And, to top it off, at the end I played several tunes on my fiddle for them, surrounded by a hundred listeners. As we were leaving, they asked to hear the tape, so we put it in the car's tape player and blasted it (as high as the lousy fidelty would allow). All hundred gathered around the car, it was a sight!
Attached you will see one of the older girls' drumming corps (you may notice that they hit each others' drums, too), and a cute one of the youngest girls dancing with the rest of the village to the zeze orchestra. Finally, a shot of one of the two orchestras that played for me.
See many of you soon, Love, stephanie

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We're ever so grateful to Elise Engelberg (of The Mercury Dimes) for all the time and talent she put in to help us Stairwell Sisters out while Steph has been gone. We enjoyed playing with her so much and were amazed at how quickly she learned everything (and how fast she could play those tunes). We look forward to playing with her again in Colorado in June for a little tour that Steph can't make. Of course, we are sure looking forward to the return of Steph around April 20th!! Before her return we have one more tour - to the midwest (Chicago & Michigan) where we'll have the honor of playing with yet another amazing fiddler, Bill Foss!! Please send your friends and family out there our way. And we sure look forward to meeting all our new friends that we've made on myspace!
ox The Sisters

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04.06 EVIE's BUCKDANCING Video now on DVD!

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03.31.06 BENEFIT for our DEAR UNCLE BRUCE!

Thats right, we're leaving the Marshall stacks at home this time to play a couple of unplugged, upclose & personal sets to raise a little money for a friend in need. Our dear Uncle Bruce got hurt at work last week, and a bunch of his pals are doing what they can to help out while he's on the mend. Bruce has been one of our most loyal fans & biggest supporters over the years (you may have seen him dancing in the back row of our concerts, wearing his Stairwell Sisters T-shirt!), so we're happy to return the favor!
About Philz Coffee: Philz Coffee is a great little place that is quickly becoming a neighborhood institution. Delicious "handmade" coffee, a comfortable casual space, and a sweet staff. This mission district appearance is one of our only shows in SF for a long time, so city dwellers, come on out & shake your funky stuff.
Show details on our shows page.

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02.17.06 myspace.com + big ugly review + etc.

hi folks. after wondering what it all means and do we really need to join the oh so many others on myspace.com (?), we carved out our own little page : www.myspace.com/thestairwellsisters.
it's rather bare bones now, but will continue to be updated. feel free to pop on and add a line or two.

on another note, sue's song "wish i was" was chosen to be included in the "big ugly review." check it out, lyrics and all : www.biguglyreview.com/music/stairwell.htm

and lastly, we seem to have channeled the weavers : www.stairwellsisters.com/miscphotos.html
thanks to our dear friend and photographer extraordinaire, rosey lakos.

oh and lastly, really - you can now find us thousands of feet up in the air on lufthansa airlines inflight country program! www.radiogoethe.org/conpresso/playlists_lh/detail.php?nr=2755&kategorie=playlists_lh

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02.06 Steph (Mama Afrika) finally pulls out her fiddle - and tries on a new one (a zeze).

fiddle face isn't exclusive to appalachian fiddling, apparently.

02.06 Steph does the Masai jumping dance
with her new dada (sister) connie. we didn't photoshop this one in, really.
look for new moves at our shows (in addition to the windmill) when stephanie returns.

01.06 Stephanie made it up to Uhuru Peak on Kilimanjaro!

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12.07.05 Benefit a success!

We were very honored to be part of the Freight & Salvage benefit show (with Wake the Dead, Eric & Suzy Thompson, and Keith Terry). All proceeds went to earthquake victims in Pakistan and to the Jazz Foundation of America which helps musicians affected by Katrina. Together we raised some $2600, and being inspired by the Freight show benefit, the Hellman Family Foundation (that's Warren of Hardly Strictly Bluegrass) donated $10,000 to the Jazz Foundation. (See our posting on Nov. 13, below, for info on the benefit compilation CD we're part of.)

THANKS for your support!
the gals

P.S. Does anyone have a video of Evie and Keith in their crazy wigged out mumu duo number "Tea for Two" that night?! We were rolling on the floor!

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11.19.05 Stephanie goes to Tanzania! (click here)

Besides playing fiddle and singing with my Sisters, I am committed to protecting and preserving health and environment. After two and a half years of unemployment/underemployment and some soul-searching, I decided to look forward to traveling to a foreign (poor) country and contributing what I can towards health and environment, rather than to dread another bout of job-hunting after my bio-tech position ends in November, 2005.

I found an opportunity to go to a small village near Arusha, Tanzania for three months with the non-profit volunteer organization Cross Cultural Solutions. I’ll go in January, and return (via Zanzibar) in April. Arusha is home of the Rwanada Genocide Tribunal and the base of many safari companies, so there should be some quite interesting foreigners around. Still, it’s appreciating the local people and the native culture that really excites me. I’m studying Swahili. And, I’ll bring my fiddle, so I can communicate with people independent of spoken language. I bet I will get into some pretty amazing music sessions. Maybe I will find my Tanzanian Sisters and Misters!

I’m reading about all the public health, environmental protection, and community empowerment projects in Tanzania I can find. I don’t know exactly what I will be doing once I’m there, and even if I thought I did, I know it will be something quite different once I get there anyway. I’m going with a flexible attitude and a commitment to contribution. I’ll miss you all and look forward to sharing my adventures with you once I’m back. Meanwhile, big thanks to my Sisters, friends, fans, and especially fiddle angel Elise Engelberg for carrying on while I’m gone.

Love, Stephanie

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We're proud to be part of a new compilation CD dedicated to assisting hurricane disaster efforts -
“Musicians Assisting Disaster Efforts, A Conscious Alliance of Voices, Vol. 1".
In addition to the Sisters, the CD’s roster includes The Gourds (who wrote a special song about hurricane Katrina just for this CD), Split Lip Rayfield, Umphreys McGee, Hit and Run Bluegrass, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Jefferson Hamer w/Ben Kauffman from Yonder Mountain String Band, Zen, Kathryn Keats w/Darol Anger, Cornmeal, Steppin’ In It, Toni Brown Band, the Tallboys, plus a few "surprise bands" and the Deep Fried Pickle Project. Limited Edition CD of "the finest Americana Musicians" with a $20 donation.
Check out the details here!
For more information on how you can help, go to www.consciousalliance.org or www.pickleproject.com.

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11.06.05 Keith Terry beat our socks off!

We enjoyed our Noe Valley Ministry set with Keith so much! Had a rocking full, polyrhythmic, percussive sound with Keith's African bells, cajons and vintage clanggy toys on a bunch of new material. Can't wait to do it again. In the meantime, catch Keith in one of his many amazing projects and/or classes in body music. www.crosspulse.com

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11.01.05 IBMA + Grammy Pre-Nomination!

We're still reeling from the IBMA in Nashville!! We met so many incredible folks from all over the world, and got to see dear family members and so many dear friends. There were so many highlights...and so little sleep.

Lisa and Sue did a little "speed dating" at the "gig fair" the first part of the week. 7 minutes each with 10 festival promoters...way too early in the morning. Thanks to all the folks that took the time to meet with us. Our "church" fans made it into the hands of plenty of hot folks (especially handy for verklempt "power surging" women) walking the long distances between the conference center and the hotel's 18th floor ("California" that is). The new longer distances between activities were actually welcome as a fine way to burn off large amounts of delicious calories inhaled at Jack's Barbeque and Waffle House.

Our two official showcases were received with a lot of excitement! We were asked to do a third one at the Wisconson Suite as well. Big thanks go to Claire & Kitsy who led up the "Roots & Branches" stage, Larry Kuhn & The CBA folks, Carl and Corbin Pagter and Tracy who were over-the-top hospitable toward us gals, The Wisconson folks, Abby Ladin and Patty Garber (for lending Martha 2 basses), and to the incredibly supportive Keith Terry. And hail Darby "den mother" Brandli who is now the new president of the CBA! We're so proud of her (and she wears red cowboy boots)! We can't possibly thank all these folks (and many others) enough!

One especially crazy night, we had an impromptu old-time square dance up by the bar in the hotel...darling Corbin at the wheel. It was a raucous time with the Uncle Earl gals, the fire-eating Sidewinders, Matt Kinman & the Old-Time Sereneders, many other old-time players from all over, and David Rawlings! The intoxicating old-time presence is definately growing every year at IBMA-the bluegrassers can't seem to help themselves. (...IBOTMA) It was also great to meet the fellas from the Ebony Hillbillies of New York, song swap with Mark Simos, and see showcases by Foghorn, The Wilders, The Earl Brothers, The Lonesome Sisters, and Jackstraw. We adored meeting and jamming with the Blue Mountain guys from Sevilla, Spain. Old-time and bluegrass in Spanish - we can't wait to go there! Another huge highlight for us was playing and singing with Hazel Dickens and friends til 5:00am one fine morning! At this point, we about died and went to heaven. We were so honored that Hazel sat down and listened to part of our showcase as well. She has been such an enormous influence on every one of us. We're grateful.

Sue and Lisa also had the honor of meeting the wonderful & wacky DJ Zeke Buttons (WRFL's "Blue Yodel #9") from Kentucky at Waffle House! Quite a character. He gave us bumper stickers: "Stop Willy Before He Kills Again! Remember Pretty Polly." Entertaining conversation with Zeke was peppered with continual joke-telling by our waiter William 9 (who physically fit the name), complete with teasing, chiding sneers, and rolling eyes from his fellow waitstaff that know him oh too well. This man could tell jokes for a month straight. Maybe longer.

Lastly, we came home to some great news from Tom Diamant at Arhoolie Records who passed along the preliminary Grammy nominations list which is being voted on now. And we're on it!! If anyone who is reading this is a Grammy voter we sure hope you'll consider voting for us - Traditional Folk #035. Since you can vote for up to five at this stage, we hope you'll vote for Arhoolie’s Suzy Thompson CD as well #038!

Thanks! We're grateful to you all!
ox The Stairwell Sisters

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Hi folks,
We're excited and gearing up for our first band trip to IBMA in Nashville! Should be quite a time. If you'll be there we hope you'll come see us on the "Roots & Branches" stage Sat.,10/29 at 4:pm - also midnight at the California Bluegrass Association (CBA) suite the same night, er, next morning. Sue and I will be there for the biz conference/trade show and general howdys starting Monday. Of course, we'll be drooling at Hatch Show Prints as well. The rest of the gals will show up rarin to go on Thurs. We're lucky that Keith Terry of Crosspulse will be joining us too. It will give us an opportunity to practice up more for our big San Francisco show at Noe Valley Ministry upon our return (on Sat. Nov. 5). We've been inspired by the Horseflies "Dance Tent" sessions. Keith will be adding African bells, Cajón, sticks, and toys - so we plan to create quite a hard-driving ruckus! Hopefully everyone will dance their hineys off too! Equally exciting for us is that we'll be sharing the bill with the awesome old-time duo Beverly Smith and Carl Jones!

We've been asked (and agreed) to add a track to a compilation CD titled Musicians Assisting Disaster Efforts, A Conscious Alliance of Voices” (got that?) The other bands involved are: Umphreys McGee, The Gourds, Split Lip Rayfield, Chubby Carrier & the Bayou Swamp Band, Jefferson Hamer, Slipstream, Zen, Cornmeal, Steppin’ In It, Toni Brown Band, the Tallboys, and the Deep Fried Pickle Project (of whom the organizer of this wonderful project is a member of). Proceeds will benefit the New Orleans Musicians Hurricane Relief Fund, a foundation created by Ben and Sarah Jaffe of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band - to help musicians get “back on their feet” after the ravages of the storm. We'll keep you posted when the CD is available.

It was such a treat to have so many folks from our Bay Area old-time community and many of our Portland pals at the Berkeley Old-Time Music Convention. For those of you that weren't able to make the BOTMC, we're sorry you missed a good ol' crazy time, including our freaky banjo orchestra "Twisted Mister" doing a rendition of "The Women Wear No Clothes At All" (oh my) at the Caberet. Ideas for next year already rolling rampant...beware. We also had the honor of having the raucous Road Oilers, our amazing local inspirations Suzy & Eric Thompson, and even the venerable Mike Seeger join us on stage during our Freight set! Mike decided to take up the 10-stringed tiple for the first time on the spot. Now that's somethin!

Thanks, as always, for all of your support.
We hope to see you lovely people soon!

– Lisa & The Stairwell Sisters

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We just rolled back from an amazing time in Colorado! A huge thanks to Sheila (Evie's Aunt) for putting us up and feeding us way too much delicious food. (And 3 cheers for Sue who hand-carried a plastic trough of coffee for blocks to wake the altitude-impaired). Thanks to G'Earl KC and folks for spreading the word. It was a joy to play for Evie's Mom and family, and wonderful to have Evie and Keith's boy Clay along - that is, the "little heckler that kept following us around" (as Sue dubbed him). The folks at D Note, KRFC's "Live at Lunch", Avogadro's Number, and KGNU (Joan Wernick) were extremely kind to us. The folks in Salina (and their cute Suzuki trained fiddle kids) were especially good to us. They have a terrific series going at "Little Church in the Pines" way up in the mountains. Beautiful! "Stranger Stop & Cast An Eye" was especially spooky with the thunder and lightening!

We enjoyed Chataqua park in Boulder-a nice sunny day, blankets and picnic spread with more of Evie's wonderful family. A crazy wind came up out of nowhere in the blink of an eye...Clay's stroller, deli delights, song sheets and all, blowing away. We took cover and it stopped about as fast as it started. The next day while busking on Boulder's Mall, another wind picked up...all quite exciting for us wimpy California folks. We were thrilled to meet Lloyd Maines and Terri Hendrix while busking. Been a big fan of Lloyd's for a long time. I (Lisa) was so happy to hang out with my dear friend and inspiration, Sally Van Meter, and the lovely Amy (Open Road Caleb's sweety).

Simply can't wait for our big trek across Alaska at the end of the month! Please tell us of any "must-sees", and wish us well in surviving Sue's "dancing" Uncles & family who are coming along to re-live their old Alaska haunts!

– Lisa/The Stairwell Sisters

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Hurrah! We have emerged from our winter of hibernation, cranking out our beautiful new CD - Feet All Over the Floor (Yodel-Ay-Hee 061). We are so proud of it. Not only does the CD represent us well, but we think it grooves like crazy! Exceptional artwork by our own Lisa Berman, and extraordinary playing from the whole band, has produced an album that is already bringing rave reviews from fans and DJs. Thanks to Jim Nunally with his big ears and generous spirit. Jim co-produced the CD with us at his studio up in Crockett, where he has recorded everyone from Alice Gerrard to David Grisman, getting those clear tones on our acoustic instruments.You can hear Jim picking with many fine bands, including John Reischman & The Jaybirds, Due West and Keith Little.

While our Winter was primarily devoted to digging in and lighting a fire under our new material, Spring has seen us back on the road, celebrating with our fans, both old and new. We had a dynamite first CD Release party at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, and are following up with shows all around the Bay and beyond. We're getting especially wonderful feedback from our solid standing of original material, adding an edge to the rowdy tunes and traditional chestnuts that have our particular Sister spin.

The Sisters kicked off the Summer with a slam-bang round of shows at the first annual Golden Old Time Festival in Yreka, CA. This new festival is destined to become an annual meeting ground for the West Coast Old-Time Scene. Purposefully equidistant from LA and Seattle, the site is lovely, the light through the trees divine, and the bathrooms ideal for late night picking in freezing temperatures. We had a wonderful outdoor living room, with music all day and night, and entertainment from one very happy two-year-old naked tap dancer. We could feel the Mt. Airy vibe from so far away.

While we were otherwise occupied this Winter, the first Stairwell Sisters cover band started up - Ryan Holland's String Jam Club at Menlo Middle School. Ryan is a banjo student of Evie's, and he formed this club of junior high students we think to back him up on the banjo. They've got a few guitars, some game violinists learning the fiddle parts, bongos, harmonica, piano and vocals, and have been learning our repertoire. They've performed our version of Dylan's Buckets of Rain, Alcatraz Blues, and others from our first CD, and are so happy to have the new CD for more material. We're honored.

Lots of travel and shows coming up through the summer.We're excited to be spending so much time with each other, and hope to spend some of it with you.Check our calendar for a show near you!

– Evie/The Stairwell Sisters

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Alright folks we’ve added a NEWS page to keep you up to date on our travels and travails, and bring us closer to your hearts. Hope you enjoy the deeply personal information you are now privy to, from the Bay Area’s rocking old-time band, the Stairwell Sisters.

Gigtober was a hell of a month. The gals played up and down and all around, feeling better and tighter as we went along. Highlights….

Mid-month, the Sisters performed an intimate dinner show in the heart of North Beach, San Francisco, at the Bolivian gourmet restaurant Peña Pachamama. The show was a treat both in the incredible cuisine and the historic atmosphere. Peña Pachamama’s building has many tales to tell – Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe ate there when it was an Italian restaurant, the building was a speakeasy, and on and on. Hosts Quentin & Eddie Navia (of Sukay) plied us with their special sangria, played Carter Family name that tune, and joined us for a couple of numbers. We’re looking forward to our next reunion.

We were delighted to join the Foghorn Stringband for their hometown CD release party at the White Eagle in Portland. The night was complete with old-time conga lines, impromptu square dancing, and fog machines. Special thanks to Brian and Rebecca for hosting us in all our finery, and the best vegetarian breakfast around. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to hang out in Stumptown, but fortunately we seem to cross paths with Foghorn about once a month, and we like it like that. The next night, our double bill was with Les Femmes D’enfer – an all gal Cajun band from Seattle. Hot! There was a fine crowd at Conor Byrne Pub, and an inexplicable surge of hula hoops at some point in the Cajun dancing. Next time you’re in Ballard, beware a devil in a hula hoop in the road. Martha?

Bruce Reid & Bonnie Zahnow were wonderful hosts for a house concert in South Seattle. It’s a treat, after living with people in the woods to actually see how they live at home. The kitchen literally glowed with warmth, and the show was a wonderful way to wrap up our Northwest visit. Thanks to all our friends who spent a lovely Sunday afternoon inside with us. And to Baby Clay who stole the show by rolling around in front of us, and dancing for the people. Now where’d he learn that?

We closed the month with a Big Bang – our Spooky Halloween Square Dance with SF’s own Squirrelly Stringband. I think we’ve found what we’re looking for, folks – the Starry Plough in Berkeley is a neighborhood bar central to the old-time ghetto, with just the space for a dance – not too big or small. Friendly bartender, big stage. Now if we could only dress incognito every time….The Sisters pulled off a hell of a concert set, appearing as The Blackest Crow Bride, Busy Bee, The Devil’s Own Child, Disco Stu and Teresa Heinz Kerry Ketchup. The BCB opened the show with a spooky song of epitaphs, and we’re proud that it was her first public rendering of an original song. Gave us goosebumps. Go Sister Lisa!

The square dance itself was a happening hoot with a good mix of those who know and those who had no idea. Disco Stu was on the mic, channeling all the callers of her youth. Squirrelly Stringband made the bossest showing, as a hair-lipped ensemble offering Moustache Rides. Did anyone take them up on their concession? I think more Berkeley men are currently sprouting facial hair as a result. Evie is thrilled the experiment of an evening worked – and you can keep your allemande eye out for the Ladies Banjo Society Benefit Square Dance November 20 in SF, and the Breaking Up Xmas Square Dance January 15, back in Berkeley.

We’ve got a few more good shows up ahead this year, and then we’re heading into the studio – we are so ready to be laying down some of our new favorites, and working up newer ones still. The band really grew into itself while touring our first CD, and we’re excited to hear the Stairwell Sisters sound in a new collection of tunes and songs. We think you’ll enjoy it, hopefully in person.

Onward with the old-time music. Life is better because of it. See you soon.
– Evie/The Stairwell Sisters