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The Bee Eaters to perform at Oak Street Dance Studio

The Bee Eaters will perform at 7 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 7, at Oak Street Dance Studio, 1287 Oak St., Ashland.

The quartet's music is a fusion of tradition and innovation, including bluegrass, old-time, Celtic, jazz and pop. Its debut CD will be available at the show. Local singer/songwriter Emy Phelps will open.

The Bee Eaters boasts four young new-acoustic musicians. Tristan Clarridge is a cellist and five-time Grand National Fiddle Champion. He tours internationally with Crooked Still and Darol Anger's Republic of Strings, and appeared with Mike Marshall, Bruce Molsky and Natalie MacMaster.

Tristan's sister, Tashina Clarridge, is the 2005 Grand National Fiddle Champion. She toured with Mark O'Connor and Tony Trischka, and performed at Carnegie Hall as part of MacArthur Fellow/Grammy-winning bassist Edgar Meyer's Young Artists program.

At 22, Wesley Corbett is making a name for himself both as a banjo player and composer. He appeared with the David Grisman Quintet and Matt Glaser, and toured internationally with the bluegrass band The Biscuit Burners.

Hammered dulcimer player Simon Chrisman performed with Mike Marshall and Darol Anger, opened for Bill Frisell, and at 16 was a scholarship guest artist at the Augusta Heritage Festival in West Virginia. He is known for his sophisticated rhythmic sense and tonal flexibility on an instrument usually considered limited.

Phelps will be opening the concert with her band that features Sam Cuenca on mandolin, Bob DiChiro on bass, Joe Diehl on guitar, Jacob Phelps on percussion, and special guest Alex Golden on fiddle.

Singer and guitarist Phelps performed throughout the Northwest for many years. She was a founding member of the Ashland band, Borderline. She also shared the stage with Ricky Scaggs, Bruce Hornsby, The Nashville Bluegrass Band Duke McVinnie, Willis Alan Ramsey and The Sally Van Meter Band. Phelps also performed at a number of music festivals.

A music teacher at John Muir School, Phelps says she writes about whatever strikes her and that includes all the emotions.

"I write about being a parent," Phelps said, "when my words of wisdom turn around and come back on me and be the words I need to hear."

Phelps is excited about performing with the Bee Eaters. She has performed with Tristan and Tashina before.

"It's an honor to be in a show with them," Phelps said. "It's great that they are performing in Ashland."

The band is based out of Boston. They were in Mount Shasta, Calif., for many years and run Mount Shasta Fiddle Camp and a similar camp at Big Sur,Calif., where they teach and work with young performers and share their love of what they do.

"Tristan and Tashina weave in and out of each other so seamlessly," Phelps said of the two musicians. "They've been playing together all their life. It's like a tag. They take turns."

Phelps describes the Bee Eaters' sound as like being in a warm rain by a waterfall.

"It just sort of envelopes you in this incredible texture and harmony."

Tickets are $10 in advance, $12 at the door and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets are available at The Music Coop, Ashland; at brownpapertickets.com; or by calling 1-800-838-3006.

For more information, call 482-8026.

The Bee Eaters will perform in Ashland and introduce their debut CD. - Photo courtesy of Emy Phelps