Part of the
Weekend Concert Series
Our weekend concert series showcases a culturally diverse mix of musical genres in a seated, listening room environment.
Erica Brown and The Bluegrass Connection is a five piece band featuring some of the finest musicians in New England. They incorporate music from the traditional bluegrass repertoire, French Canadian fiddle music as well as original songs.
Erica Brown started playing the fiddle at the age of six and has been performing since the age of nine, traveling throughout New England, Canada and Louisiana. She has won numerous fiddle contests in New England as well as Canada. Erica was the recipient of a Maine Arts Commission Traditional Arts Apprenticeship in 2006 and is now recognized as a Master of Traditional Fiddling by the Maine Arts Commission. Erica brings a special energy and style to the Maine music scene. Her band, The Bluegrass Connection, is comprised of some of the finest musicians in New England. Matt Shipman on guitar, Steve Roy on mandolin, Read McNamara on banjo and Ken Taylor on bass. Performance highlights include opening for Grammy Award winning country music superstar, Dwight Yoakam, as well as Grammy Award winning bluegrass performer, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder.
ERICA BROWN- Erica developed an interest in music at an early age. At the age of seven, Erica was competing in fiddle contests with kids twice her age. At age nine, she was traveling throughout New England, Canada, and even Louisiana with the Maine French Fiddlers. Erica also performed as a special guest with Mac McHale And The Old-Time Radio Gang for five years. Currently, she has her own bluegrass band, Erica Brown & The Bluegrass Connection, which performs all over New England. Erica also performs with her husband Matt Shipman in a duo called Darlin’ Corey (www.darlincorey.com). Erica was a member of the Bates College “Fighting Bobcats” Orchestra for five years (8th-12th grade) and was a member of the Maine All-State Music Festival for two years. She has competed in and won numerous fiddle contests throughout New England and Canada. In 2003 she was awarded Junior Female Entertainer Of The Year by the Maine Country Music Association and in 2006 she received the Harold Carter Memorial Award from the Down East Country Music Association. Erica has helped bring music into several elementary schools by holding workshops and personally performing. She has a strong desire to share her knowledge with anyone who has an interest in music and the fiddle. Erica has been a music educator for over 12 years and recently opened a teaching studio in her Portland, ME home called Darlin’ Corey Studios (www.darlincoreystudios.com) where she and husband, Matt Shipman give lessons to people of all ages and abilities. Erica Brown was a recipient of a 2006 Maine Arts Commission Traditional Arts Apprenticeship Award and was recognized as a Master Artist by the Maine Arts Commission that same year. Her talent for combining the precision of classical music with the spontaneity of country and bluegrass fiddle makes for a fun-filled performance every time she plays.
MATT SHIPMAN- Matt Shipman (guitar) currently resides in Portland, ME and is a performer and teacher of acoustic and traditional music. He attended the Hartt School of Music for a time where he studied Jazz trumpet before going back to his first love of traditional and acoustic music. This appreciation of traditional music is reflected in his college career, a 2004 graduate of Vermont College, majoring in a self designed major of Traditional Music Studies. For this study he traveled through Nova Scotia, North Carolina and Maine recording and compiling songs and stories from people he met, which later culminated as a radio documentary about traditional music in the 21st century. During that time he also attended the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago where he studied various instruments and styles. Matt also plays bouzouki, clawhammer banjo and mandolin. Matt performs with his wife Erica Brown in a duo called Darlin’ Corey (www.darlincorey.com) as well as Erica Brown & the Bluegrass Connection (www.ericabrownonline.com) and High Range. Matt and Erica have been music educators for over 12 years and recently opened a teaching studio in their Portland, ME home called Darlin’ Corey Studios (www.darlincoreystudios.com) where they give lessons to people of all ages and abilities.
STEVE ROY- Steve Roy is a mulit-instrumentalist from Portland, Maine. While he is most well known for his bass playing, he also plays and teaches mandolin, guitar, and fiddle. He has performed locally as well as internationally with a myriad of bluegrass bands, including Erica Brown and the Bluegrass Connection, Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, Hit and Run Bluegrass, Spring Creek Bluegrass, Chris Stuart and Backcountry, The Stowaways, High Range, and many others. Bluegrass Now Magazine calls him a “dangerous weapon”. Steve also performs regularly in a wide variety of jazz, rock, country, rockabilly, and folk groups, and sometimes as a solo artist. Steve currently teaches at 317 Main St. Community Music Center in Yarmouth, Maine.
KEN TAYLOR- Ken Taylor has been performing with Erica for over 12 years playing acoustic bass and adds some vocals for the group. Ken keeps the band tight with arguably the most solid bass-playing in the New England area. He originally started as a guitar player with an interest in folk music but was soon sidetracked into bluegrass. He’s been hard at work too…. Ken was one of the original members of the Central Turnpike Bluegrass Band from the Central MA area. He also gets a chance to strut his stuff with Blackstone Valley Bluegrass Band and Heritage String Band. Always in demand, you never know where you will find him playing bass. Ken plays like an old master, his style is powerful, his timing is right-on and his love of music shows in every performance.
READ MCNAMARA- Read McNamara started playing banjo at the age of 18 while at college. As he puts it, “Everyone else played guitar. After my Grandfather died, I inherited his old Gibson banjo, so I started playing that to change things up a bit.” The ancient tones of bluegrass struck a chord with Read, and he and the four other members of his college band began immersing themselves in all things bluegrass. After graduating, Read and the members of the band moved to Virginia and began touring full time up and down the East Coast. When he left the band in May of 2002, Read was offered a spot playing banjo for SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America) 2001 & 2002 Midwest Entertainer of the Year, Charlie Lawson and Oak Hill. For the next year, Read honed his chops on the road. Charlie had also won the Banjo Player of the Year award numerous times, and helped Read develop his traditional Scruggs style banjo. To this day, Read attributes much of what he has learned to Charlie and is deeply indebted to him for all that he learned. Unfortunately, in late 2003, Charlie retired from traveling. With the help of legendary bluegrass utility man, Butch Robins, Read eventually found a spot playing for a local Indiana band called the Old City Trio. In March of 2004, Read and his soon-to-be wife left Indiana for the East Coast to be closer to their families. Now settled in Alfred, Maine, Read is proud to be a member of Erica Brown’s band the Bluegrass Connection.
Fri Jan 18 | 8pm
- Advanced | $15
- Day Of Show | $18