White Squirrel Weekend

May 24th - 26th, 2024

Friday, May 24th


Paul McDonald & The Mourning Doves


Paul McDonald’s voice is immediately recognizable and impossible to ignore. Often compared to legends like Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan, the poetic story-driven narratives and deeply catchy hooks in his music are delivered by a raspy yet refined voice reminiscent of another era that demands to be heard right now. He pulls off the rare feat of being a poet, visual artist, songwriter, adamant performer, and powerful vocalist. Paul’s hope is to spread peace, love, and unity through his music. Connection & community through song. He’s currently writing for his next album and planning to tour extensively in 2024.

The Coffis Bros


“It’s all-American music,” says The Coffis Brothers’ co-frontman, Kellen, about the band’s 2022 release, Turn My Radio Up. “There’s rock, blues, acoustic folk, and country in there. As music fans, we go all the way back to the beginning — to pioneers like Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers — but we also look to artists like the Eagles and Tom Petty for influence. That’s our playbook.”

Jamie and Kellen Coffis were raised in the Santa Cruz Mountains of northern California. Their mother was a children’s musician who often recruited the boys to join her onstage, instilling in them an appreciation for energetic, catchy songs that focused on melody, mood, and message. “We learned how to sing three-part harmonies with Mom at a young age,” remembers Jamie, who later grew into an accomplished keyboardist as his brother sharpened his chops on guitar. When the two began writing songs together in 2007, they found that their shared upbringing — including the music they’d heard on the radio airwaves as kids — had left a lasting mark on their artistic sensibilities.


High Flying Criminals


Based out of Brevard, Nc, High Flying Criminals specialize in bringing Funk, Soul, and Groove to WNC and beyond. This dynamic group packs their high-energy shows full of funky originals and a mix of some new and old-school covers. The Criminals attract fans spanning multi-generations and often cultivate a crowd of movers and shakers.

The band consists of Matt Gardner (Guitar & Lead Vocal), Jay Altemose (Bass & Vocal), Kevin Sanders (Keys), Evan Jacobi (sax), and Chris Alley (Drums). You can find their music on all streaming platforms, as well as frequent spins on WNCW radio.

Saturday, May 25th


The Hip Abduction


Evoking the ocean and guided by the spirit of travel, The Hip Abduction pilot a sonic expedition past genre barriers. The band is the moniker for singer/songwriter David New who writes and produces music in between travel excursions and touring. Live shows morph into a versatile musical ensemble consisting of Matt Poynter (drums), Chris Powers (bass), Justino Walker (guitar, vocals, ngoni), and Cody Moore (keys, sax); each of whom have a mutual appreciation for African (Afrobeat/Soukous/Malian Blues), Reggae, and American (jam/electronic/indie) music. Since 2012, the band has played almost every noteworthy music festival in the country, has landed major TV/Movie syncs and Sirius Xm radio spins, have 500k+ mo listeners on Spotify, have provided direct cross country tour support for artists like Dirty Heads, Galactic, Slightly Stoopid, The Revivalists, and who’s highly energized live show have landed the 5-piece a sizable fanbase across the US and Canada.

J & the Causeways


At the core of soul music is a vibrant, embracing spirit, one aimed at connecting the dots of humanity that reside on both sides of the microphone.

“It doesn’t matter if there are 10 people in the audience or a 1,000,” says Jordan Anderson, lead singer/keyboardist for J & The Causeways. “It’s that sacrifice we make of our art, so that people can feel it that much harder the first time they hear you.”

In a serendipitous sequence of events, J & The Causeways was formed at the legendary Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans. A juggernaut soul/R&B ensemble, the group is filled with heavy backbeats and a soaring horn section, all swirling around the magnetic vocal stylings of Anderson.

“We definitely shine live because each and every member of this band loves to be onstage and in that genuine moment of performance,” Anderson says. “New Orleans is home to some of the finest singers and musicians on the planet, which also means you have to bring your A-game to every single show — you’re representing this city and the long history of beautiful music that’s been created here.”

Tray Wellington


Growing up in western North Carolina’s Ashe County, Trajan “Tray” Wellington heard a lot of music — and from the first time he heard the banjo as a young teen, he was, he says, “hooked.” Even before he graduated from East Tennessee State University’s renowned Bluegrass, Old-Time and Country program, Wellington had earned acclaim as the banjo player with Cane Mill Road, performing across the country and winning a 2019 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Momentum Instrumentalist of the Year award while the group took Momentum Band of the Year honors. A well-received, independently released 2020 EP under his own name, the creation of his Tray Wellington Band and signing with Mountain Home Music Company that same year marked Wellington’s decision to make his own path going forward. As he began releasing singles in advance of his full-length debut, Black Banjo, Wellington continued to garner attention, leading banjo workshops at the prestigious Merlefest and Gray Fox festivals; performing on the IBMA’s 2020 World of Bluegrass Main Stage and acting as host for the Momentum Awards ceremony; gaining coverage in publications like No Depression, The Bluegrass Situation and Folk Alley; and appearing on David Holt’s PBS NC series, being interviewed by Rhiannon Giddens for a BBC documentary series and by W. Kamau Bell for his CNN series, United Shades of America. Upon its release in May, 2022, Black Banjo earned a glowing review in the Wall Street Journal that concluded: “This is a record that breaks right through subgenre boundaries. If bluegrass is about spotlighting virtuosos, here’s a new one people will be checking in on for some time to come.”

Pink Beds


Pink Beds sits at the intersection of spacious grooves and lush song-crafting. If All I Have, the band’s debut LP, was a love letter to the sounds that surrounded them in Appalachia, the March 2024 follow-up, Spare Key To A Memory, is a nuanced and evolved form, showcasing their love of lush, angular, and ethereal sounds designed to resonate with our deepest emotional experiences. 

Shifting from a lockdown songwriting project to an electrifying live act, the band has taken on a vibrant and captivating quality all to their own. Playing off of the spark of a live environment, the band evolves and expands upon their familiar compositions, taking them to new and exciting places. After securing a foothold in southeast markets, becoming a FloydFest On-the-Rise artist, a Relix Magazine Sonic Showdown Finalist, and making prominent regional festival appearances, the band is eager to bring these new songs and experiences to audiences throughout 2024. 

Pink Beds from Asheville, NC comprises Aaron Aiken (Vocals, Guitar, Keys, Synths), Jackson Van Horn (Guitar, Keys, Synths), Logan Hall (Bass, Synths), and Ryan Sargent (Drums, Percussion). The group explores their shared influences nurtured by a deep bond with one another.

The Wilder Flower


The Wilder Flower has been building a sound together since meeting in 2020 at the Hagood Mill Fiddlers Convention, where each member has taken home multiple blue ribbons. The band’s musical chemistry developed easily during their first practice, and they’ve been refining their sound and show ever since, flexing between traditional bluegrass and Old-time tunes and original compositions. They thrive vocally on three-part harmonies, whether a two-chord old-time ballad, or a modern, minor-filled melody. Instrumentally, they feature bluegrass banjo tunes, fiddle and clawhammer string-band songs, flatpicking guitar tunes, and everything in between.

Sunday, May 26th

The Sensational Barnes Brothers


The Sensational Barnes Brothers are a melting pot of the old and the new. As Pop Matters states, “The brothers run through a spectrum of moods and modes in their gospel soul, often bridging the gap between, say, the Soul Stirrers and Stax, all the while keeping a local flavor.” The brothers are able to dive deep into their roots, creating a sound that reflects the music of their history, all the while drawing in a modern-day audience. 

The Sensational Barnes Brothers are featured on vocalists Don Bryant’s Grammy nominated album Don’t Give Up on Love, lead singer of The Black Keys, Dan Auerbach, on his newest solo album, and you can expect to hear them on the soon to be released album from Latin Grammy nominated Making Movies. 

The Sensational Barnes Brothers recorded their first album under the Bible and Tire Recording Co./Fat Possum. Inspired by their shared past, fueled by harmonies that resonate with both their blood and their kindred souls, The Sensational Barnes Brothers see themselves singing, playing, and dancing for a long time coming.

Big Daddy Bluegrass


Steve “Big Daddy” McMurry has been the lead singer, guitar player, and front man of the roots-rock/Americana band Acoustic Syndicate for over 30 years. Their tours have taken them across the US, including appearances at Farm Aid, Jazzfest, MerleFest, and the Bonnaroo Music Festival. Acoustic Syndicate’s fusion of traditional and improvisational musical styles helped pave the road for other North Carolina based string bands, including the Steep Canyon Rangers. Having shared the stage many times over the past few decades, McMurry and the Ranger’s Mike Ashworth and Mike Guggino have become longtime musical collaborators.  Big Daddy has been one of the most popular guests at Mike & Mike’s annual Hometown Holiday Jam in Brevard and the Big Daddy Bluegrass Trio was born from these jams. Tight vocal harmonies, high-energy pickin’, and McMurry’s larger than life voice and signature songwriting make this a show you don’t want to miss!

Gritty Flyright


Gritty Flyright has connected himself to a group of talented musicians he refers to as “The Music Family”.  Successfully merging the elements of Blues, Country, and Soul, the singer-songwriter consistently presents an authentic and undeniable sound.  Always quick to spread the love when asked about any musical accomplishment, Gritty says, “I have made it a point to surround myself with gifted musicians.  These performers are incredible at their craft and always bring their best to each show.  I am fortunate to have such wonderful friends to collaborate with in this business.”  Together they can be found tapping into multiple instruments including guitar, saxophone, trumpet, harmonica, percussion, fiddle, and banjo, crossing various genres to accommodate the needs of each event.

Fiddle player and close friend Boyd Richardson says, “Wes pours his heart and soul into the songs he writes and welcomes you to experience the raw emotions that he has for his music.  It’s incredibly relatable and you feel what he’s singing about whether you’re on the stage with him or not.”

The Brevard All-Star Percussion Ensemble


The Brevard All-Star Percussion Ensemble was established by Dr. Nathan Tingler in 2022.  The ensemble is an outreach program by Brevard College in close cooperation with Brevard High School and Brevard Middle School to provide students with educational and performance opportunities beyond their school music programs.  The All-Stars are unique in western North Carolina, performing percussion ensemble repertoire far larger and more complex than possible for the typical high school or small college.  The group has already gained a following from the local community and recently performed as a featured ensemble at the regional Cedar Cliffs Day of Percussion.