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Polecat Creek started small, much like the piedmont North Carolina stream that bears its name. In the mid 1990’s Kari Sickenberger and Laurelyn Dossett, both natives of the south, were living in the Greensboro area. Through some mutual friends they ended up in a book club together. A guitar standing in the corner of Kari’s apartment led to an evening of harmony singing – Carter Family songs and some early Gillian Welch. They haven’t stopped singing since. Kari and Laurelyn started writing their own songs and eventually formed the roots duo known as Polecat Creek.
Winners of the neo-traditional contest at the 2006 Appalachian String Band Festival, Polecat Creek has featured many fine musicians over the years. Sugar Hill recording artist and veteran old-time banjo, guitar and fiddle player Riley Baugus joined the group in early 2001 after sitting in at a local gig. He added the distinctive old-time sound which is characteristic of Polecat Creek recordings, and he joins the group frequently for concerts. The most recent addition, fiddler Natalya Weinstein, joined after coming south to Asheville, North Carolina, and moving in next door to Kari. Natalya adds her heartbreaking fiddle to current Polecat Creek shows.
Ordinary Seasons, Polecat Creek’s latest cd, showcases the talents of both Riley and Natalya, as well as young mandolin player Eric Robertson and veteran bassist Jeff Hersk – who bring another set of original songs to life. Made in the summer of 2007, it was recorded and co-produced by Grammy-winning Steven Heller, known for his work with artists ranging from Doc Watson to Toubab Krewe. Ordinary Seasons follows on the heels of Polecat Creek’s critically acclaimed Leaving Eden, produced by Dirk Powell in 2004. The band’s first cd, Salt Sea Bound was released in late 2001.
Songwriting has since become Polecat Creek’s hallmark; Laurelyn’s Come by Here won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in the gospel category in 2004. Kari’s Take What You Get has been featured on several compilation cds and has had extensive play in the U.K. Leaving Eden has been featured on the BBC and by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in articles about the decline of the textile industry. In recent years Laurelyn has written the music for Triad Stage’s Brother Wolf, Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Adventure and will premiere Bloody Blackbeard in June 2008. Her song, Anna Lee, appears on Levon Helm’s 2007 release, Dirt Farmer.
Kari and Laurelyn are perhaps best known for their singular style of harmony singing. They sang with Garrison Keillor on a recent show in Greensboro; Kari sang harmony on Ginny Hawker’s Letters from my Father and Draw Closer cds. They have played festivals including Merlefest, Birmingham’s City Stages, First Night Raleigh, Floydfest, and Shakori Hills, as well as concerts and harmony workshops around the Southeast.
January 18 – 20
Kari leads a private singing workshop
Saturday, January 26
Saturday, February 2 8 pm
Fort Mill, SC (south of Charlotte)
Tuesday, February 5
Laurelyn Hosting American Songwriters night
Saturday, February 16 1pm – 5pm
Laurelyn and Kari host a harmony workshop in Greensboro
Charlie and Ira, Rabon and Alton, Jim and Jesse, Carter and Ralph……. This workshop will focus on the outstanding sounds of some of the great brother duets. All singers welcomed (shower and car singers included)! Bring open minds and open throats, and be prepared for having fun!
Make checks out to Polecat Creek and email firstname.lastname@example.org for mailing address.
Friday, April 4 8 pm
Polecat Creek opening for Lo-Fi-Breakdown cd release
Saturday, April 5 8 pm
Polecat Creek opening for Lo-Fi Breakdown cd release
Saturday, April 5 10am-5pm
All-day Harmony Singing Workshop
email email@example.com for details and reservations
April 25 – 27
Polecat Creek at Merlefest! North Wilkesboro, NC
May 9 – 11
Kari leads a private singing workshop
Friday, June 20 7 pm
Polecat Creek at Music on the Square
Friday, October 3 TBA
Backporch Music concert series
American Tobacco Warehouse District
Saturday, October 4 4:45 pm
Mt. Airy NC
More personal than its predecessor, Leaving Eden, Polecat Creek’s third CD grabs the Tough Subjects – death, temptation, old age – with both hands and stares them down…in a nice way. Laurelyn and Kari are true roots musicians, rooted in 2007, rooted in life as they see it around them. They are not play-acting, and they are not paying homage to tradition for tradition’s sake. Rather, in Ordinary Seasons, they are celebrating ordinary life, where cardinals fly through the yard, hurricanes happen, temptation is tough to resist, and people around you might speak Spanish. Where ultimately you will grow old and die, and the only thing that matters is what’s in your heart. This album takes those seemingly ordinary things, and shows us the extraordinary within them.