Fearless ambassadors for stringband music, Uncle Earl uses tradition as a springboard, coloring a vast and varied legacy with their own unique perspectives as vocalists, instrumentalists, and songwriters. Independently, Kristin Andreassen (guitar, fiddle, ukulele, harmonica, vocals, clogging), Rayna Gellert (fiddle, guitar, vocals), KC Groves (mandolin, guitar, bass, vocals), and Abigail Washburn (banjo, vocals), have each emerged as adventurous, compelling voices in the ongoing old-time renaissance. Together, their undeniable chemistry, charisma, and formidable combination of talents made them a fan and festival favorite both at home in the U.S. and abroad.
Over the course of many productive years together, Andreassen, Gellert, Groves, and Washburn introduced new audiences to the timeless beauty and limitless potential of traditional American old-time music, while inspiring the explorations of the next generation of roots musicians. A pair of striking releases on eclectic roots music imprint Rounder Records brought their take on stringband music to the pages of such influential outlets as Rolling Stone, the New York Times, and Mojo.
Tireless national touring and a pair of self-released EPs made Uncle Earl a word-of-mouth favorite at festivals and listening rooms, and brought them to the attention of Rounder Records – who released She Waits for Night in 2005. Produced by old-time maverick Dirk Powell, the album consolidated the group’s many strengths and helped establish a national following for the group. On the festival circuit they encountered stringband music enthusiast and former Led Zeppelin bassist/keyboardist John Paul Jones, who produced the band’s widely acclaimed 2007 follow-up, Waterloo, Tennessee. Rolling Stone cited Uncle Earl in its list of “The New Bluegrass: Five Acts to Watch,” calling Waterloo “their most ambitious [album] yet, mixing traditional fiddle-powered jams and rich four-part harmonies with countrified covers of classics and old-time hoedowns.”
Following the intense touring in support of Waterloo, Tennessee – which took them everywhere from the BBC to Bonnaroo – the individual members resumed their solo pursuits full-time. Groves and Andreassen have occasionally reconvened Uncle Earl with the help of some of the finest female performers in old-time music, and in 2016 the Andreassen/Gellert/Groves/Washburn lineup reunites for a handful of very special performances.