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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/

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!

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


Pumpkins - Halloween 010What could be more delightful than taking a short trip to the country on a (hopefully) beautiful fall day, sipping some delicious hot cider, and hearing some great music? We can't think of a thing!

The Onlies are pleased to be playing the Oxbow Pumpkin Festival, at the Oxbow Farm and Education Center in Carnation, WA. If you don't know about this amazing Northwest resource, check out their website. They are outstanding farmers and teachers, and this event kicks off a busy pumpkin and harvest season for them.

Six year old Riley thinks it will be a blast!


First stop: Portland!

Road tip: The Onlies' 2013 West Coast Tour itinerary.
Road tip: The Onlies' 2013 West Coast Tour itinerary: Portland, Ore., Arcata, Berkely, and Palo Alto, Calif., and Cottage Grove., Ore.

Well, we're getting close. Packing, planning, renting a van, all that stuff before a road trip. Our dads Johnny and Tom will be our chauffeurs, roadies, and merch sales staff, but they won't be our sugar daddies: We're actually paying for most of the trip--and the destination fiddle camp--through money we've made at gigs and other performances. Wahoo -- does that make us professional musicians?

Anyway, our itinerary includes five West Coast stops, and if you can't attend any of them, well, at least make sure your friends do! Portland is our first stop on Tuesday (Aug. 20), for a 7:30 p.m. house concert at our friend Etienne's. Then on Wednesday (Aug. 21), amid the redwoods of Northern California, we'll do a second house concert chez another friend, Jennifer MacKey, a fiddler and artist who lives in Rio Dell, Calif., just south of Arcata. That one starts at 8 p.m. On Thursday (Aug. 22), we'll do a third house concert in as many days, this one at 7:30 p.m. in North Berkeley, with Brad and Lisa Gallien.

Then we spend a week at Alasdair Fraser's Valley of the Moon Fiddle School, after which we play a contra dance in Palo Alto (8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 31) and, the next day, a pub gig at Cottage Grove's Axe & Fiddle (7:00 p.m. Sept. 1).

Whew. And we hope to pack in a few college visits too.

Details on the dance locations, prices, and so forth will be found on our calendar page!

Onlies are Folk Alley's Open Mic Artist of the Month, June 2013!
Onlies are Folk Alley's Open Mic Artist of the Month, June 2013!

What a treat and honor -- that way cool online-folk-radio site named us its Artist of the Month in its Open Mic section for up-and-coming artists. We are honored, and recommend you visit the site. A few of our tunes are available there, and tons more, including interviews and reviews of musicians we love. Check it out!

We were recently asked to pay tribute to Jimi Hendrix (a Garfield High alum!) at Seattle’s Experience Music Project, and decided to play the Star-Spangled Banner. Hendrix, as you know, took that tune and turned it on its head. (Jimi disagreed: “I didn’t think it was unorthodox. I thought it was beautiful” he told Dick Cavett. Did you know he was in the 101st Airborne?)

Well, we tried to do both Jimi and our national anthem justice. We added a little old-time tune to the end, too. Let us know what you think. And please, if you like it, please share it widely!

Join our email list!
Join our email list!

The fans have spoken. We have created an email list for news about upcoming concerts and other news. We must admit that that this development came with more than a tad of heartbreak: We are, after all, trad musicians, and have always relied on word of mouth, smoke signals, and the occasional Web/FB post. But with this act, we are firmly moving into the mid-1990s (when we were just little visions of anticipated familial gratification in our parents' heads), when Al Gore invented the Internets and e-mail lists grew exponential.

So, here's the deal: Subscribe here! And let us know what you want to know. We'll do our best to tailor. Hey, it's a 20th century technology, right? Doesn't that make it trad?


Our new song "Past the Fog"... 


Us with Beatboxer CDQ on "Decisions" ...


Us playing on a group collaboration with musical director Meshell Ndegeocello!


The Finale with everyone!


Riley with a solo on Otieno Terry's song "Sweet Summer Lady" 


Sami playing fiddle and harmony vocals on Emily Randolph's song "A Little Rebel"



Northwest Folklife home page, June 3, 2013
Northwest Folklife home page, June 3, 2013

Well, not the cover of the Rolling Stone, but the cover of Northwest Folklife Web site. That's us (at least as we write this). Thank you to Folklife's rock-star photographer Dan Thornton: It's a fabulous portrait of our affection for each other and for our wonderful audiences--thanks so much for braving the rain last weekend and attending our show. It was one of our favorites ever!!! Oh, and if the link above doesn't include our photo, here's the evergreen post containing it.