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      Mark O'Connor: An Appalachian Christmas in Sacramento


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      December 11, 2018

      Tuesday   7:00 PM

      1013 K Street
      Sacramento, California 95814

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      Mark O'Connor: An Appalachian Christmas


      Mark OConnor Bands very first performance took place at the legendary Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas in 2015. In 2017 less than a year and a half later they took home the GRAMMY Award for Best Bluegrass Album for their debut recording, Coming Home.In a whirlwind two years, the band has also performed at the GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, received standing ovations at the Grand Ole Opry, reached the No. 1 spot on Billboards Top Bluegrass Albums chart, and invited to open for the Zac Brown Bands 2018 summer tour. They have put together a show unlike any other, one that blends country and pop sensibilities with Americana rawness, bluegrass drive, and chamber music sophistication, one that has begun winning over audiences at festivals (AmericanaFest, GreyFox, IBMA, RockyGrass), clubs (Jazz Alley, Dakota Jazz Club), and the worlds premier theaters (Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Eastman Kodak Theater, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, Schermerhorn Symphony Center).Their recently released sophomore album, OConnor Band Live!, is a stunning showcase of their most exciting concert material to date. Recorded in Sellersville, Pennsylvania, in late 2016, the album captures the band on the heels of a packed summer festival schedule, during which they had honed their sound and risen to an even higher level of cohesion, power, and expressiveness than beforeThe Mark OConnor Band is the real deal. Mark is a musical genius and has been a pioneer in the bluegrass and Americana community. He has collaborated across so many different genres, while still being recognized in his own stratosphere for his conquering of the fiddle, and that is something I truly admire. Now together with his whole band hes really found his niche and its exciting to hear the sound theyre creating together. Zac BrownVery few bands can achieve this sense of playing-as-one so completely, so effortlessly that the entire force of the music the vocals and every instrument settles into us physically and emotionally as we listen. No Depression Magazinesomething that makes your life feel rich. All the songs are as accessible and all are such a balm to the spirit. Rosanne CashMark OConnor has managed to discover and reveal some very high level and intriguing new talent - within his own family! As a longtime fan, its very satisfying to hear Marks fiddling back in the bluegrass/country setting after 20 years away from it. There is nobody who does it like him. Bela FleckThe OConnor Band is the product of Mark OConnors imagination one that has served him well over the course of his four-decade professional career. A former child prodigy and national champion on the fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, Mark has won numerous GRAMMYs and CMA Awards, appeared on hundreds of commercial country albums, collaborated with the likes of Johnny Cash, Wynton Marsalis, Dolly Parton, and Yo-Yo Ma, and performed everything from original violin concertos to swing and jazz. But until recently, he had not worked on a project quite like this.Its been one of the most surprising and rewarding experiences to perform with my family members on stage, says Mark. Its really exciting to bend these American genres in new ways, combining accessibility with a real depth of musicianship and writing.In addition to Mark, the band features his son Forrest, (Harvard graduate and former Tennessee State Mandolin Champion), daughter-in-law Kate (frequent performer on the CMA Awards and CMA Country Christmas shows), and wife Maggie (graduate of the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University). The four of them play together as though they have been sharing the stage for many years and in some ways, they have.We all grew up listening to my dads music, says Forrest, so in a sense, weve been preparing for this band for a majority of our lives.The band is rounded out by Joe Smart (national flatpick champion on guitar) and Geoff Saunders (bassist/banjoist extraordinaire and recent graduate of the University of Miamis DMA program).All six band members possess charisma that, when combined onstage, ensnares audiences from start to finish. All are masters of their instruments, all improvise as readily as they play parts in counterpoint, all can sing, and all move about the stage in a free but gripping choreography. Kates beautiful and powerful voice belies her age. Forrests songwriting is at once poetic and accessible. Maggies violin playing blends effortlessly with her husbands, so much so that, at times, the two sound like one player. Joe rips solos on the acoustic guitar as though he were playing electric. Geoff arcos high as commandingly as he grooves low. And Mark, of course, does things on the fiddle that has Paganini turning in his grave. He has also returned to the guitar leaving audiences awestruck over the iconic musicians artistry all over again.If the bands first year was a flash flood, their second will be a calculated, steady rise. They are touring throughout summer and fall 2017 in support of OConnor Band Live!, performing an array of original songs, classics, and barnburners that require versatility and a depth of musical knowledge that most bands on the scene today on any scene, for that matter simply dont have.

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