If you're like me, you'll feel a burning sense of jealousy when listening to the new album from Seattle roots trio The Onlies. How can kids this young be making music this mature? I've known each of these kids since they were actual, little kids, and I've seen the delight in their eyes as they ran pellmell through fiddle camps like The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes. This is the new generation, raised at the feet of the masters by a system of folk patronage laid in place by the folk revival generation. Especially in the Northwest, where places like Fiddle Tunes strive to bring out elder fiddlers and musicians and to connect younger players to these elders. But still, there's something special at work in these three young kids. There's an innocence that's all too rare, and that's maintained by the simple, sustainable pleasure of sharing great music with great friends, as I've seen each of The Onlies do at countless late night jam sessions across the Northwest.


The Onlies' new album, Long Before Light (produced by Grand National Fiddle Champion Tristan Clarridge of The Bee Eaters), is a masterful work of fiddle-driven Americana that draws from old-time, Irish, and Celtic roots. Their arrangements are wickedly complex, deliciously well-crafted, and not easy to imitate. Their tunes are so well written I keep grabbing for my fiddle to try them out. Their original songs demonstrate an enviable ability to move beyond the immediacy of their lives to touch at deeper truths, and their covers of traditional songs and tunes harken to the original but are unleashed with the kind of wild, free abandon that only youth provides. Trad music is in very good hands with these kids playing the field.

The Onlies are:
Sami Braman
Riley Calcagno
Leo Shannon

They're playing Seattle this Saturday, April 4 at Town Hall Seattle! And they're bringing out the wonderful Kristin Andreassen. Alumna of seminal old-time stringband Uncle Earl, Andreassen is one of the best next gen roots songwriters right now, crafting songs that speak to tradition, but have a lot more to say than just plain covers. We wrote about here HERE in our Folk Alliance preview, so you can read more about her new album.

The Onlies were kind enough to let us premiere the traditional song "Jubilee" off their new album, Long Before Light. And nicely enough, it's a song that Kristin Andreassen taught them at Big Sur Fiddle Camp in 2014. On her Facebook page today, Kristin said "Hang on. Have I officially transmitted a folk song to the next generation?! Feeling honored by this..." That's how it works folks! From person to person, generation to generation, swing and turn, jubilee, live and learn, jubilee.


The Onlies
w/Kristin Andreassen & The Atlas Stringband
Saturday, April 4
Town Hall Seattle
Great Hall
1119 Eighth Avenue
Doors at 7pm, Show at 8pm




AuthorDevon Leger