It’s hard to believe the Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass Festival is just three short weeks away!
The festival will take place June 6-7 on Reservoir Hill with a free kickoff concert on Friday, June 5, at 5 p.m. at the Town Park gazebo.
This year’s lineup includes a wide variety of musicians including The Infamous Stringdusters, The Belleville Outfit, Bearfoot, the John Jorgenson Quintet, Tony Furtado Band, Missy Raines and the New Hip, The Boston Boys, Sarah Jarosz, Sweet Sunny South, Expedition Quartet, Jeff and Vida, The Badly Bent, and this week’s featured artist, Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen.
Frank Solivan is a singer of power and passion, a writer whose articulate songs go straight to the heart, and a multi-instrumentalist who combines the pure, hard drive of classic bluegrass with 21st century sophistication. Frank’s 2002 debut recording, “I Am A Rambler,” revealed an exciting new talent on the bluegrass horizon. The following year, his skills on mandolin, fiddle, guitar, and vocals earned him a place in Country Current, the United States Navy’s elite country and bluegrass band. In 2006, Frank’s second recording, “Selfish Tears,” demonstrated the depth of his songwriting and the breadth of his musicianship.
Born in Modesto, Calif., Frank learned to sing and play the fiddle and banjo from his parents, both gifted musicians. By the time he was 12 years old he had already taken first place in several fiddle and banjo contests. During his high school years Frank studied the cello, eventually occupying the second chair in the cello section of the California All-State Honor Orchestra.
In 1995, Frank moved to Alaska, where he taught fiddle, mandolin and guitar, and took first prize in the Alaska State Fair fiddle contest four years in a row. While playing first chair violin in the University of Alaska’s Symphony, he was also touring with bluegrass legends Doug Dillard and Ginger Boatwright. And even though he was barely 20 years old, he acted as a key mentor to members of Bearfoot (Winners of the 2001 National Band Competition at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival in Colorado) and other young Alaskan artists.
Frank’s self-produced debut recording, “I Am A Rambler,” proved a hit with listeners and DJs alike. In the Alaska Public Radio Network’s Song Of The Year contest, four of Frank’s original songs from the album — “Day to Day,” “Dirty Kitchen,” “A Mother’s Hand” and “I Am A Rambler” — placed in the top of their respective categories.
More recently, “Day To Day” took Honorable Mention in the 2007 International Songwriting Contest. Frank’s picking and singing on “I Am A Rambler” shine with polish and authority even when sharing the tracks with the likes of Nashville-based artists Rob Ickes, David Grier, Byron House and others. His latest project, “Selfish Tears,” is a worthy follow-up with performances that display an added strength and maturity.
Frank, along with his band, Dirty Kitchen, has played at prestigious festivals and venues including The Grass Valley Bluegrass Festival (Grass Valley, Calif.), The Kennedy Center (Washington, D.C.), The Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival (Ancramdale, NY), The Anchorage Folk Festival (Anchorage, Alaska), The Alaska Folk Festival (Juneau, Alaska), The Blueberry Bluegrass Festival (Alberta, Canada), and The Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival (Gettysburg, Pa.).
Frank left Alaska for the eastern U.S. a few years back. When not on the road (which isn’t often), he hangs his Stetson in Alexandria, Va. Frank will play some smokin’ hot bluegrass at the Pagosa Folk ‘N Bluegrass main stage on Saturday, June 6 at 12:15 p.m.
Tickets to the June festival are selling quickly. You can pick them up locally at Moonlight Books in downtown Pagosa Springs, or in Pagosa Lakes at ReSport in the City Market shopping center. Tickets and information are also available online at www.folkwest.com or by calling (877) 472-4672. Children 12 and under are admitted to FolkWest festivals free with an accompanying adult.