Long Time Courting
Take four individually accomplished traditional musicians and singers with fresh attitudes. Combine them, and you have the rich, soaring four-part vocal arrangements and high energy dance tunes that are Long Time Courting. Bringing together the talents of Sarah Blair on fiddle/vocals, Liz Simmons on guitar/vocals, Shannon Heaton on flute/vocals, and Ariel Friedman on cello/vocals, this Boston-based band shares a love of traditional Irish, Scottish and American folk music as well as contemporary material. They bring elements of these various genres to their repertoire in a way that is seamlessly innovative, inventively arranged, and skillfully rendered. Meet Long Time Courting:
Sarah Blair "Sarah Blair is simply a great fiddler. Her combination of grit and control makes for music with drive, lift, and a compelling earthiness." -Fiddler Magazine. Sarah began playing Irish fiddle in Providence, Rhode Island's thriving traditional Irish music scene. She honed her playing as a sought-after session leader in Boston and in the world of American contra dancing. With her band The Sevens and with other ensembles, Sarah has played at festivals, concerts, and dance weeks from Alaska to Quebec to Florida. Her most unusual gig was filling in for fiddler Liz Carroll for a portion of The Eagles' singer Don Henley's 2000 tour. In 2001, the Sevens were featured on NPR in an interview with Noah Adams. She is included in "Handy with the Stick: Fiddler Magazine's Best of Irish fiddling," a forthcoming book profiling top Irish fiddlers by Brendan Taaffe.
Liz Simmons "A honey-voiced singer. . .Simmons sings with winsome ease and genuine feeling." -Dirty Linen Magazine Liz grew up listening to her mother sing traditional songs from Ireland, Scotland, England and Appalachia, as well as the New Orleans brass music her father plays. Since then, she has developed a unique vocal and guitar style that incorporates the sounds of traditional and contemporary music. She is the lead singer of Annalivia, a string-band that fuses Celtic and Americana musical styles. Among her other performing credits are North Cregg, The Sevens, and The John Whelan Band. Her singing will be featured in the soon-to-be-released film "Time and Charges", written and directed by Grammy and Emmy award winner Ernest Thompson.
Shannon Heaton "Shannon's voice is the sun: remarkably light yet powerful, reminiscent of the 10,000 Maniacs' Mary Ramsey...Shannon's flawless flute playing adds another layer of lightness..." -Molly Snyder, OnMilwaukee.com Shannon is a veteran performer, having toured nationally with her husband, guitarist Matt Heaton, for over ten years. She developed her love of folk and traditional music early on, having lived in music-rich Nigeria and Thailand. It was in Chicago, IL that she discovered the local Irish music community and began learning tunes at Comhaltas and pub sessions. Since then, her keen melodic and arranging sensibilities, discerning ear, and exquisite Irish flute style has been featured with numerous Boston area ensembles.
Valerie Thompson “One of the most interesting female low end musicians isn’t technically a bass player. She is electric and acoustic cello player, Valerie Thompson.”-Bill Copeland - CTRL ALT Music
Kansas City native, Valerie grew up a classical cellist in a household filled with the music of Bach, The Beatles, The Chieftains and the blues. Entranced by dance music in her teens, she supplemented her formal studies by participating in summer folk festivals. She graduated with honors from the Berklee College of Music and is currently pursuing a masters in music in Contemporary Improvisation at New England Conservatory. She has toured nationally and internationally with musical projects as diverse as Fluttr Effect (world infused progressive rock band,) Laura Cortese's Acoustic Project (acoustic folk pop,) and Goli (songdriven chamber duo.) Not just an engaged performer, Valerie is an active teacher and recording session musician in the Boston area and her original music has scored independent films and plays.