The Onlies: Year in Review

Wow. This year has been one heck of an amazing year filled with endless wonders. To attempt to encapsulate this greatness, we thought we’d highlight our favorite musical moment from each month of this year. We hope to include every one of you—the most supportive and enthusiastic group of fans (more like friends) we could ask for. We owe 2013’s success to you!

Note: Links to videos are included, so do click!

Portland Old-Time Music Gathering posterJanuary: We had the pleasure of playing the Portland Old-Time gathering for the first time! Here’s a video of the Family Dance, Portland Old-Time Gathering. It was a weekend bursting with music, dancing, inspirational people, and Voodoo doughnuts. We got opportunities to jam with friends from near and far, along with deepening our Old-Time musical skills. We’re looking forward to returning again in 2014!


February: Our album was close to finished as we headed over to the East side of Lake Washington to attend Wintergrass’ 2013 kid’s program. Along with crazy-fun jams, adventures, and parties within ngton to attend Wintergrass 2013. We were Youth Academy Teacher Trainees (YATTs) for the deep corridors of the Bellevue Hyatt hotel, we got the opportunity to play on-stage with Darol Anger and the Furies for a song. T’was a most fabulous fiddle weekend. Later that weekend, we attended a Rushad Eggleston house concert, and got the deep and true honor of accompanying him on “Hegwilard Basugiman”  (Spell check?). If you know Rushad, you know that we were joining him on a Sneth journey toward a Fwethering Ubujnux party (Spell check….again?)-circle extravaganza, as you can see in the video.

March: This month marks the birth of our first full-length CD, Setting Out to Sea! On March 16 at Hale’s Palladium, the three of us rosined up our bows and tuned our strings in preparation for our CD release party. We must  say, it was quite an exhilarating night. With the combination of 300+ enthused audience members (made up of friends, family, musical mentors, and personal mentors), The Barn Owls (the opening band), and our boundless excitement, the night couldn’t have gone any better. The energy in that room could have fueled infinite rockets to the moon. We also received notice that we were accepted into More Music at the Moore, a program in Seattle for young artists to collaborate to put together a musical show at the Moore Theater!

AprilAlong with rehearsing new material for the Moore, our families decided to take a trip to Hawaii over Spring Break. It was relaxing, inspirational, and snow-cone filled. While inspired by the island, we arranged Past the Fog, the song we would later sing at the More Music at the Moore show. Mahalo, Kauai!

May: Always a crazy-busy month, we started it off with performing a collaboration with beatboxer CDQ on New Day Northwest! Under the mentorship of bass player/singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello, we spent a week preparing for the big More at the Moore show after school at the Moore theater. Meshell was a great musical and personal role model for us, exemplifying her love of music and performance through her teaching style. Almost everything that came out of her mouth could be put into an inspirational quote book, we thought. We loved this experience–though different from what we usually do, because it gave us a chance to meet other young musicians in Seattle and learn to cross genre barriers. Who says a fiddle can’t back up a beat boxer!

We also had the honor of performing and having an interview on KUOW!

Later on, we had an annual Folklife gig, and were asked to play the National Anthem at the Experience Music Project’s Sky Church to honor Jimi Hendrix’s musical influence. We put our own twist on it, just like Jimi did.

Here is our performance at More music at the Moore:; here is Riley’s performance with Otieno Terry:; here is Sami’s performance with Emily Randolph:

You can find more videos of the group collaboration at the STG Youtube channel:

June: With the conclusion of school comes the favorite time of the year….SUMMER! Leo and Riley drove over to Weiser, Idaho for the Weiser fiddle contest/festival (Sami, alas, couldn’t attend). With a week of jamming and fun, Leo and Riley decided to compete in the twin fiddle category of the competition. They made it through to the finals, yet had to leave too early to compete once more. Here’s the video.weizer

July: We boarded the ferry boat on our way to one of our most beloved fiddle camps, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes! While there, we spent our time roasting marshmallows, exploring abandoned barracks at Fort Warden, playing tunes in those barracks (great acoustics!), playing tunes about everywhere else, putting on crazy hats for the annual campsite hat-party, and not getting much sleep. We all got the opportunity to play a couple tunes on Ed Haley’s fiddle, a really memorable musical experience.  

August: Man, this month was jam-packed as well! It started with Leo’s Clifftop adventure in West Virginia, winning 4th place overall and 1st place in the youth division for fiddling! We are renaming ourselves “Leo and the Onlies” as a response to his success…haha, just kidding! At the end of the month, we embarked on our West Coast Tour! T-shirts were made:

Headed down to Valley of the Moon Scottish Fiddle School (VOM), lead by the fearless Alasdair Fraser, we stopped to play house concerts and shows in Portland, Arcata, Berkeley, Palo Alto, and Cottage Grove. Along with MANY hours in the car, we saw many friends on our way up and down and played a lot of music on our way up and down. Valley of the Moon, like all many fiddle camps, was quite amazing. We played all sorts of tunes with all sorts of people, reconnecting with old friends and meeting new. Riley was constantly pullin’ out his ole’ banjo, and began to jam in the three-finger style with it! Sami was learnin’ new chords on her ole’ guitar, and also began to jam with it. Leo was also pullin’ out his ole’ banjo, and clawhammered it up. I don’t know why we just went abbreviation-crazy there, but it seemed to fit the rustic mood!

September: We readjusted to school life, you know, the kind where it isn’t quite the “norm” to pull out your fiddle at any time and start jamming on some tunes in the middle of the hallway like it is at fiddle camps. Schoolwork piled up, teachers were good and teachers were bad, life was busy. We did, however, play one show at the Oxbow Pumpkin Farm outside on a day where it was POURING rain…we ended up selling one CD to the two people who showed up! Here’s our set-list after the day was done…. 

October: We played the Issaquah Salmon Days Festival, which was quite a blast. It was a warm and sunny day in October…something unheard of in Seattle! 

We also played a show at the Royal Room in Columbia City, a very fun night where we saw many friends! We opened for Scrape, a small orchestra Riley is part of.

Finally, we played a show with A Thousand Years At Sea, made up of Colin and Ethan, two friends from VOM!

November: We Onlies were getting into the Mexican mood rehearsing with Paul Anastasio, Elena Delisle, Juan Barco, and RuthMable Boytz for our Calentano music show! Paul and Elena had asked us if we wanted to play some Mexican tunes (from the region of Tierra Caliente) for a couple of shows, and we had our first one at the Bounty coffeehouse! La musica de tierra caliente es muy bonita, nosotros pensamos! (Now this post is tri-lingual! Notice the Hawaiian we used earlier:) Here is a video of us playing Piedritas Al Agua.

December: Ah, we’ve reached the end of this fabulous year! We were notified that we made it on to Sound Off, a competition between local bands hosted by the Experience Music Project in Seattle. We’re looking forward to it! We’re also looking forward to having our own concert series, “the Onlies Presents.” A bluegrass supergroup is coming to town on January 8th to play a show–we’ll be opening for them. We played a private event on the Paramount Theater stage with a couple friends from More at the Moore, and enjoyed looking out at the massive theater from a new point of view. Our recent meeting solidified our goals for 2014, and there is some pretty exciting stuff to look forward to! Finally, we’ve been working tirelessly on New Year’s Eve to complete writing this, complete embedding videos and pictures, complete adding a few stupid jokes to keep y’all interested. If you still are, congratulations! YOU win nothing except for extra knowledge :)

Aaaaannnnnddddd…..that was our year! Other stuff happened, of course, but these were our Onlies highlights. We are looking forward to the future! We hope you, the best supporters EVER, are looking forward to the future. 2014, here we come!

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The Onlies Present: Bluegrass ‘supergroup,’ Wed. Jan. 8

The new fab five?

A new fab 5? Leslie, Clarridge, Chrisman, Kraukaer & Price.

The Onlies want the world to hear five acoustic-string geniuses, and to that end have invited them all to perform a house concert at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 8 in Madrona, at the fabulicious home of Gretl Galgon.

Tashina Clarridge and Simon Chrisman of the Bee Eaters have brought together an all-star band to play and sing two sets of high-octane bluegrass, taking a break from their regular gigs to revel in the sounds and grooves of traditional bluegrass, a music in which all players have deep roots.

The musicians are:

  • Dominick Leslie on mandolin (Deadly Gentlemen, Missy Raines & The New Hip)
  • Luke Price on vocals and guitar (Scott Law, Tony Furtado)
  • Ben Krakauer on banjo (Old School Freight Train, David Grisman)
  • Tashina Clarridge on fiddle (Bee Eaters, Tony Trischka)
  • Simon Chrisman on bass (Bee Eaters, Jeremy Kittel).

Though these five have shared the stage and toured together over the years in various combinations, the roots of their connection grow from late-night jams they’ve had at festivals, parties, and music gatherings… and that’s the energy they’ll be bringing to the stage on this one-off run down the West Coast: The playful exuberance and freedom of making music just because it feels good.

The Onlies will play a new tune or three to begin the evening, and then turn the stage over to Tashina, Simon, and friends. Please come, and invite your friends: It’ll be a faboo way to usher in the new year!

Entrance is $15, students $10. Come at 7 for snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and wine in the loveliest of venues! Show starts at 7:30 p.m. promptly!

Gretl lives at 816 35th Ave. in Seattle. Map is here:

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KBCS names “Setting Out to Sea” one of year’s 10 best CDs!

KBCS logoA huge shout out to KBCS and all the air time they’ve given us over the last year, and woohoo are we on cloud nine having “Setting Out to Sea” named as one of the year’s 10 best CDs.

That designation came from Eric Hardee, host of one of our favorite KBCS shows, “Folksounds,” which airs Tuesday nights with co-host Jeanne Geiger.

You can check out the whole list of each DJ’s top CDs on the KBCS Web site — we highly recommend it.

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KEXP interviews EMP on Sound Off!

KEXP logo

KEXP: An interviewing machine

KEXP’s Troy Nelson did a FABOO interview today with the EMP’s “Anita” (no last name mentioned), covering Sound Off! 2014 in which we’ll be participating.

Definitely give the interview a listen — it includes tunes by several of the bands — synth pop from Laser Fox of Seattle and ethereal electronic coolness from Manatee Commune of Bellingham, and hip hop from Tommy Cassidy of West Richland. Great stuff, and stiff competition. We’re excited!

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Feb. 15 @ the EMP: It’s battle time!

Sound Off! lineup for Saturday, Feb. 15.

Sound Off! lineup for Saturday, Feb. 15.

When we think of music, the word “competition” isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Rather, it’s being in the groove, in harmony, tight and in the pocket. But alas, we’re going to throw that all aside now that we’ve been invited to join the Experience Music Project’s 2014 “Sound Off!” battle of under-age Pacific Northwest bands.

The four-Saturdays event (Feb. 8, 15, 22, and March 1) pits 12 up-and-coming soloists and ensembles against one another, though we’re guessing it’ll be a lot more fun than fight. Our big date is Feb. 15 — hopefully you can come and cheer us on. We know several of the performers, and listened to all the others today, and we know that we’ll be in great musical company, performing alongside folkies, indie rockers, hip-hop artists, soul singers, hard rockers, and so forth.

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The Messiah!

While it is not an Onlies gig, we’re excited that Sami and Riley are getting the chance to play a beautiful piece of music for a great cause. Their high school orchestra, the award-winning Garfield Symphony Orchestra, will be accompanying the singing of Handel’s Messiah at Seattle’s First Baptist Church, on Saturday, December 7th.

More details on the event’s Facebook page. It should be a great night!


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Viva Mexico!!!

At the 2013 Festival of American Fiddle Tunes we were fortunate enough to dip our toes in the waters of the amazing music of the Tierra Caliente region of Mexico. Elena DeLisle saw us enjoying ourselves and proposed a project where we worked with expert fiddler Paul Anastasio and others on a concert or two of the best of these tunes. Paul’s three part fiddle harmonies are gorgeous, and Leo and Elena have been working hard on the tricky guitar rhythms.

The first concert is at 7:00 this Friday, November 22nd at  The Bounty (formerly known as Laughing Ladies Cafe) in Shoreline. Here’s the Facebook page for the event, with all the information you need to attend!



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The Rain in Spain Lies Mainly on the Plain

090226210033-largeWe are often amused and delighted when we hear DJs and MCs (and new friends!) pronounce our somewhat tricky names. It’s one of the reason why our website banner prominently displays the proper pronunciation of “The Onlies.”

We realize we need to make it easier for everybody. Feel free to print this out and stick in your shoe for the next time you need it:

The Onlies – /thē ōn’ lēz/

Samantha Braman  – /sə măn’ thə      brā’ – mən/

Riley Calcagno  – /rī’  lē      kăl kăg’ nō/

Leo Shannon  – /lēō      shăn’ ən/

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Sunday, Oct. 20: House concert, with us & with these guys!

Colin Cotter, left, and Ethan Lewis of A Thousand Years At Seat.

Colin Cotter, left, and Ethan Lewis of A Thousand Years At Seat.

House concert! House concert! Our favorite place to play. And at a way cool house in Madrona, too (thank you, Gretl!).We’re super excited to introduce Colin Cotter and Ethan Lewis of A Thousand Years At Sea to you. We’ll be playing an evening of music with them, each on our own and perhaps we’ll even mix it up a bit. Ethan and Colin are fiddlers, guitarists, singers, and songwriters who deliver high-energy performances of heartfelt songs, rocking tunes, and virtuosic mad skills (with an emphasis on ‘mad’ — do come just for that!). Their ever-evolving exploration of contemporary American songwriting and the living-tradition of Celtic music has created a new sound that stays true to the band’s roots in folk music, integrating Celtic, rock, Americana, and instrumental improvisation into, as the Sacramento News Review wrote, “something sweet and subtle.” And yes, they’re coming all the way up from California: We’re lucky enough to hang and play music with them at a fiddle camp down there every year. Please come!

Doors open at 7 for pre-concert treats (snacks and beverages), and music starts at 7:30 p.m. Suggested donation is $10 to $15, though if you’re hurting for cash, just come as you are!

RSVP to, so we’ll know how much snack-a-liciousness to prepare!

See you there!

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3 gigs this weekend: Wahooo!!!

A set of fiddles and a secret pickleLast week we got caught in a rainstorm, playing to a crowd of milllions–of raindrops. That was the Oxbow Farm Pumpkin Festival in Carnation; the festival’s past, but they’d got an incredible pumpkin patch, and other activities: We highly recommend visiting even if we’re not playing there. What could be better?

Well, perhaps hearing us play would only make it better, and you’ve got three chances. First, on Saturday Oct. 5, we’re back for a second time at this year’s Lakewood Community Center Oktoberfest. We love this gig: It’s rowdy, community-filled, and they don’t make us wear leiderhosen! $20 buys you all the sausages, potatoes, and beer or non-alcoholic drink you’ll ever need. Doors open at 6:30, and we start playing at 7.

On Sunday, we’ll begin the day at the Issaquah Salmon Days, performing at 1 p.m. on the Hatchery Stage, hopefully to millions of sun rays and salmon worshippers. Salmon Days is crazy fun–have you ever been?–where Puget Sounders flock to the city’s historic hatchery and celebrate the return of spawning salmon to the lakes and creeks of east King County.

Then–drum roll please–we’ll be playing at 6 p.m. at The Royal Room in Columbia City, opening for the amazing contemporary string orchestra Scrape (Riley’s is a member) and Travis Gore’s Feeds On Majesty. We’ll be introducing a few new songs and tunes, while Scrape will be performing compositions by Jim Knapp, and Eyvind Kang. You can check out some of FOM’s music at the link above, where its described as a “group of talented multi-instrumentalists and singers (who) set out to bring elements of bluegrass, folk, psychedelia, and contemporary classical music to the modern band.”

All the details are here. See you at one of these? Hope so! – r, s & l

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