Kansas City string band with a sense of adventure:
Betse & Clarke with Brushy Creek is a Kansas City string band with a sense of adventure. A collaboration of talented musicians who came together through love of music and friendship, their take on American roots music is enthusiastic and might just have you laughing at their stories and on-going feud about Charlie Poole vs. Flatt and Scruggs.
Betse & Clarke — Betse Ellis and Clarke Wyatt — are a fiddle and banjo duo who have toured the US and Ireland in their three years together. Betse sings traditional Ozark songs, and some of her own songs as well. She often tells the story of a song, crediting the sources who maintained its history. Her fiddle playing is passionate and truthful, matching her singing. She’s found herself a banjo playing partner and the two of them play like they’ve done it all their lives. Clarke is a finger-style old time banjo player, a great scholar of banjoists such as Mike Seeger and John Hartford. He matches the melodies of the fiddle and puts great emphasis on dynamics and musicality. And he tells stories too, when Betse stops talking...
The band is complete with the fantastic talents and personalities of Brett Hodges and Alex Mallett. Brett is a multi-instrumentalist, lifelong musician, with decades of experience leading his own bands, and his singing is outstanding. He's an encyclopedia of old and time and bluegrass songs. He and Betse share the lead vocal duties and they often sing in harmony. Sometimes they play fiddles in harmony, too, like great string bands of yore. On string bass is Alex Mallett, who is part jazz musician, part folksinger, and a banjo player in his own right. He also has a prominent role in Folk Alliance International, and in fact that is how he met the other three, at the annual conference shortly before he relocated to Kansas City. Alex has got a few funny tricks up his sleeve, so be on alert!
You can hear the whole band on Betse & Clarke’s album “River Still Rise”, released in 2016. The group’s live performance is an old time country music variety show. Betse & Clarke with Brushy Creek is sure to keep you entertained and maybe even exhausted by the time their set wraps up, from a combination of laughter, singing along, and maybe a dance step or two.