Local band ‘stomps’ onto Kennedy Center stage

The Sligo Creek Stompers bring traditional folk, bluegrass, Irish folk and gypsy sounds to their performances. (Courtesy Sligo Creek Stompers)
Busking and D.C.'s folk tradition

wtopstaff | November 14, 2014 11:04 am

Tim Bracken, wtop.com

BETHESDA, Md. – This Friday at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, local band Sligo Creek Stompers will perform songs from America’s rich history of traditional folk, bluegrass, Irish folk and gypsy jazz.

The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage performances are free, and start at 6 p.m.

The band formed in early 2010, when bassist Adrian Erlinger met guitarist Chris Ousley, who introduced Erlinger to a weekly contra dance in Glen Echo, Md. The folk dance gatherings are always accompanied by traditional music.

The band describes their sound as roots music, because each band member adds a different form of traditional music to the group’s sound.

“We think of it like a chair with four legs,” Erlinger says. “We each add our own voice to the group.”

Erlinger has a background in bluegrass, violinist Sarah Foard plays with an Irish-influenced style and clarinetist Jess Eliot Myhre adds traditional jazz into the mix. Guitarist and banjo player Chris Ousley rounds out the group’s sound with his varied background in folk and bluegrass.

Hearing the band’s music is like stepping into a time machine — there is no evidence of influence of modern pop or rock music, a rarity from a young musicians.

The Stompers get lots of practice playing on the streets of D.C., often busking at Dupont Circle.

“We enjoy having people stop and listen to something that maybe they wouldn’t necessarily think they liked,” Erlinger says. “That’s great for us.”

The group is also well-versed in the D.C.area’s folk history, drawing influence from the likes of Ralph Stanley, John Fahey and Elizabeth Cotton.

“There’s a lot of that tradition here,” Erlinger says. “We want to branch it out a little bit more…get people listening.”

The Stompers are currently running a donation campaign on Kickstarter in hopes of funding their next album.

Listen to the band’s 2011 self-titled album:

Watch the Sligo Creek Stompers perform at the Glen Echo contra dance:

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