Chris Stuart & Janet Beazley Trio
The words fresh and traditional don’t often apply to the same group, but they do in the case of Chris Stuart & Janet Beazley. This award-winning act delivers traditional-sounding original songs and fresh-sounding traditional songs with guitar, old-time and bluegrass banjos, pennywhistles, dobro, flutes, and harmony duet vocals.
Drawing on such great duos of the past as the Louvin Brothers and Stanley Brothers, Chris & Janet incorporate the repertoire of these great duos with strong original material. They have developed their own sound and for each performance create sets that are unique to each show—infused with bluegrass, folk, Americana, and even early classical music—making for an evening of some recognizable material, some new material, some surprises, and always entertaining.
The duo has recorded four albums together as part of their bluegrass band, Chris Stuart & Backcountry, and both have recorded a solo album. They are currently writing material to go on their first duo album to be released in early 2013. All of their previous albums received extensive airplay on folk and bluegrass radio stations and spent significant time on charts such as the Bluegrass Unlimited top-30.
Chris’s songs have been recorded by many bluegrass and folk artists, among them Claire Lynch, Dale Ann Bradley, Danny Paisley, Larry Cordle, Michael Cleveland, Bobby Osborne, and Doyle Lawson. In 2009, Chris received the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Song of the Year award for co-writing “Don’t Throw Mama’s Flowers Away,” which was recorded by Danny Paisley and the Southern Grass. And he was nominated for Gospel Song of the Year for “When the Last of Our Days Shall Come” recorded by Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver. And Chris is a past winner of the Merlefest Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in both bluegrass and gospel categories. He is also a writer for magazines such as Bluegrass Unlimited and bluegrasstoday.com where he has a weekly humor blog called “Blue Yodel.”
Janet is a nationally known banjo player and teacher. Her solo CD, 5 South appeared on the Bluegrass Unlimited national survey chart for the Top 15 Albums, and the song, “Julia Belle,” spent eight months on the Top 30 chart. Her songs have been recorded by Sierra Hull and Grasstowne, among others. Janet is also an expert on Baroque flute, recorder and Renaissance and Baroque chamber instruments and holds a doctorate in Early Music Performance from USC. Janet is a much-in-demand teacher at many of the largest banjo camps in the US, including the Midwest Banjo Camp, the American Banjo Camp, and Banjo North. She has written a banjo instruction book that is a big seller at all the shows.
Both Chris & Janet are teachers and love to add a workshop around their performances, usually on harmony singing, which a lot of people love to try but are sometimes intimated by the process. Chris & Janet have developed a teaching method that gets people singing right away and feeling comfortable with the lead, tenor, baritone, and bass parts. They have even filmed a harmony singing DVD with Murphy Henry and Bill Evans that teaches two-, three-, and four-part harmony.
The duo has taught harmony singing, banjo, guitar, and songwriting at many of the most prestigious music camps in the US, Canada and the UK, including the British Columbia Bluegrass Week, the California Bluegrass Association camp, and Sore Fingers Bluegrass Week in England, where they have taught three times. They have toured the UK, mainland Europe, and even performed at the Muscat Festival in Oman in the Middle East.
When Chris & Janet decided to go from a five-piece bluegrass band to a duo act, they did it because they had gotten a great response from their duo show at small venues such as house concerts where the audience and performers create a shared evening of music together.
These intimate performance venues are perfect for a duo. But as they developed their act and played at larger venues such as folk and bluegrass festivals, Chris & Janet found that a duo sound is an antidote to the “ear fatigue” of hearing one big band after another. Duos have a long history in American music and Chris & Janet carry on that tradition with respect and appreciation.
And that’s what they enjoy most. Bringing something different to each venue, to each person listening—a shared moment of music that in this hurried age can create an evening of enjoyment, reflection, and delight.
Chris and Janet will be joined by fiddler and frequent collaborator John Mailander for Winter Village. John Mailander is a San Diego based musician currently studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. Playing in a variety of styles on the fiddle and mandolin, he has shared the stage with artists such as the Alison Brown Quartet, Victor Wooten, Mike Marshall and Darol Anger. In 2006, John recorded with Rob Ickes on his upcoming instructional DVDFiddle Tunes for the Dobro. He has performed at venues including the Freight & Salvage and Club Passim, and at events such as the San Diego Symphony Summer Pops and Joe Val Bluegrass Festival. At Berklee, John has studied performance under the instruction of John McGann, Julian Lage and others.
For more about Chris Stuart & Janet Beazley, please visit their website at www.chrisstuart.com.