RAPIDGRASS - When a snowflake falls it melts to stream, and eventually meets the creek. The creek then pours down though the canyon and the rapids begin to speak.
The celebration of mountains and whitewater rapids is the inspiration for everything Rapidgrass. The music is original mountain music influenced by an active, outdoor lifestyle. Brought together through music and love for mountains, they define modern, acoustic, Colorado mountain music.
The lineup includes Colorado native and pro skier Mark Morris (guitar, vocals); Coleman Smith (violin, mandolin, vocals); Carl Minorkey (upright bass, tenor banjo, vocals); and Alex Johnstone (mandolin, fiddle, vocals). Adjunct players include Billy Cardine (dobro, vocals, recording producer) and Kyle Hauser (banjo, vocals). This front range Colorado ensemble uses classical, gypsy, bluegrass, pop, swing, and other world rhythms to create what is, and can only be described of as, Rapidgrass.
Rapidgrass Music Festival and Rapidgrass the ensemble were twins born of the desire to celebrate the rapids of Clear Creek and the mountains of Idaho Springs through mountain music, each complementing the other. The band released their first CD, RAPIDGRASS QUINTET, in 2013 and was voted as one ofthe top 5 albums by the Mountain Arts Culture Colorado. In 2015 they then released CROOKED ROAD and went on to win the prestigious ROCKYGRASS band contest that same year. Rapidgrass is currently producing their 3rd album, HAPPY TRAILS, which is due to be released at the eighth annual Rapidgrass Music Festival this June 23-25. Rapidgrass has had the pleasure of bringing mountain music throughout Colorado, Alaska, the lower 48, and the European Alps. The band is eager to kick off their 2017 music endeavors.
- Happy Trails!
Mark Morris began playing guitar when he was 10 years old, and shortly after he began playing the mandolin. His musical tastes eventually gravitated from folk and country to bluegrass and jazz by the time he was a teenager. He graduated from the University of Colorado in the fall of 2007 with a bachelor’s degree in music, and he has been a full-time touring musician/teacher since. His music has taken him all across the US, Europe, and Asia, teaching camps and workshops. Mark is also a big mountain athlete for the Colorado-based ski company Icelantic.
Coleman holds a degree in Music from Marywood University and has been teaching fiddle, mandolin, and guitar for nearly 15 years. He has traveled throughout the world with his fiddle bringing joy to all that hear him. Coleman has a unique style that fuses Jazz, Gypsy Swing, Celtic and Bluegrass. Coleman is also a virtuoso in the style of Western Swing and strives to keep the legacy of Bob Wills alive wherever he goes.
Alex Johnstone has spent the last many years touring around bars, bluegrass festivals, and kids music camps all over America and Canada as a member of the Colorado based bluegrass band Spring Creek. He started his musical life as teenager playing electric rock and blues guitar and took up the mandolin and fiddle in his early twenties. Alex started playing out professionally while ski bumming in Crested Butte Colorado and also where he met the other members of Spring Creek. He followed the band out to South Plains Collage in Levelland Texas where he studied music with renown pickers Alan Mundy and Joe Carr. Alex Now makes his home in Lyons Colorado and enjoys making music, skiing, and fly fishing.
Carl Meinecke hails from the plains of West Texas drawing inspiration from his windblown dusty roots. His background in classical and jazz styles serves as a good base. Relocating to the Gunnison Valley in 2008 he was thrust into string band music. Playing in Gunnison Valley bands Poverty Gulch, Gypsy Jazz Social Club, and Simpler Times Bluegrass over the years plus backing up valley star Drew Emmitt when in the valley. He is studying with bass legend Eric Thorin to further develop his style. Past teachers include Paul Sharpe, Jeff Bradetich, and Nick Scales to name a few. If not involved in music you will find him working with trees as a Certified Arborist helping to care for Colorado’s urban forest.
Adjunct member includes - Billy Cardine, a genre-blurring composer, slide guitarist, multi - instrumentalist who currently performs with a variety of bands and is an active session musician and producer. He has been featured on, BBC World's Destination Music, the PBS Roadtrip Nation, the new Jerry Douglas Production “Southern Filibuster”, The History Channel's Our Generation, andat The Ryman Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Bonnaroo and NPR's Mountain Stage. Billy also recorded and produced Rapidgrass' 4th studio album 'Happy Trails'