Chicory and Ragged Robin
Chicory, the band, is a bit like Chicory, the flower. There, in the midst of a weedy, sturdy, roadside patch of music, is a burst of beauty, a turn of phrase, an new harmony that just makes you happy.
Ragged Robin is the same, but a bit more old world. Ragged Robin, the flower, grows wild and weedy along roadsides in England. Its petals tend to wander off in different directions like a bad hair day. We're not saying that Ragged Robin, the English Country Dance band, is unruly, but the wandering off in odd directions might just be descriptive...
Chicory is a contra dance band. Not fancy. A couple of fiddles, a guitar, a bass, but it puts energy into the dancers' feet and makes them never want to stop. Chicory plays a New England style repertoire with a Midwestern sensibility - beautiful tunes with lots of color and that insistent forward drive that gets you from St. Louis to Champaign-Urbana in under three hours.
Chicory is Martha Edwards and Ben Schreiber on fiddles. They hide their classical training when they can, but it comes out. Martha is a veteran of Stringdancer and Summer Lightening and Reel Women, and Ben is a young phenom with a bluesy creativity that pops up in unexpected places. Together they play in a fiddler's sandbox, trading off melody and harmony, building sand castles.
Chicory is Michael Shapiro on guitar. It's powerful playing, rich in (sometimes strange) harmonies. Michael's solid, but never on autopilot. He's got the musical mind of a guy who listens to too much world music, a mind that's always working, always inventing.
Chicory is Mike Brown on bass. Mike puts the there in the music, he is the solid foundation. He stays grounded so the rest can soar. Plus, he's the snappy dresser, and keeps everyone smiling.
Ragged Robin is Ben and Martha on fiddles, and adds Billy Boyer on keyboard (Maestro Billy is shown here conducting, just one of his many talents). Billy Boyer is another young player with boundless creativity, constantly coming up with new musical ideas. Together, Billy, Ben and Martha achieve a playfulness that makes dancing fun.
Some Technical Details
Click the play button to hear Chicory play Flying Home to Shelley, Lady Ann Montgomery, and Troll Soup. This is not a studio recording, and your PC, like ours, may not give you the best experience. Try it with earphones.
Here are some pictures of the band and the flowers.