Kristen Grainger & True North

Short bio

Fronted by singer-songwriter Kristen Grainger , the folk-bluegrass powerhouse includes Dan Wetzel, guitar; octave mandolin; Martin Stevens, mandolin, octave mandolin, and fiddle; Josh Adkins , bass – and everybody sings. The band’s current release, Ghost Tattoo , was #2 on Folk Alliance International’s Top albums of 2020 , and made Folk Alley’s Listeners Choice Top 20 Albums of 2020, hitting #1 on folk radio charts for both albums and singles. According to FAI, Ghost Tattoo was the second most-aired album on folk radio in 2020.

Detailed bio

Fronted by honey-voiced songwriter Kristen Grainger , the folk-bluegrass powerhouse includes  Dan Wetzel,  guitar; octave mandolin; Martin Stevens,  mandolin, octave mandolin, fiddle; Josh Adkins , bass – and everybody sings. The band’s current release, Ghost Tattoo, was #2 on Folk Alliance International’s Top albums of 2020, and made Folk Alley’s Listeners Choice Top 20 Albums of 2020, hitting #1 on folk radio charts for both albums and singles. According to FAI, Ghost Tattoo was the second most-aired album on folk radio in 2020.

A songwriter whose star is rising, Kristen Grainger was named, alongside Brandi Carlile and Dolly Parton, one of the Women Who Wrote Our 2020 Soundtrack by The Bluegrass Situation. Kristen won first place in the 2020 USA Songwriting Competition (folk), and she has won or been a finalist in national songwriting contests at Telluride Bluegrass Festival (CO), Wildflower Festival (TX), Merlefest (NC), and Kerrville New Folk (TX).

An accomplished singer-songwriter who toured nationally as a solo artist, Dan Wetzel is also a luthier who handcrafts musical instruments, including those used in performance, that look and sound beautiful. His superb skills as a vocalist and on guitar, both flat-pick and finger style, give True North’s songs their fat sound and driving groove.

Martin Stevens grew up in the Old Time Fiddlers contest community, winning several state and regional championships during his childhood. Martin’s first two bluegrass groups, Athena and the River City Boys and Molly Adkins and Martin Stevens, performed for several years at bluegrass festivals in the Pacific Northwest. A silky-voiced singer and stellar fiddle and mandolin player, Martin was a co-founder of the Bluegrass Regulators, releasing two albums and performing all over the country, most notably as one of the IBMA showcase artists.

Josh Adkins cut his teeth, musically speaking, alongside Martin in the Bluegrass Regulators. A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist of considerable skill and versatility, Josh delivers a solid bass groove that is anything but mundane. A monster musical talent, Josh’s superpower is his knack for arrangement, finding the missing piece, vocally or instrumentally, that best showcases the song.

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Industry Reviews

Jeff Burger
Jeff BurgerAmericana Highways
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“The musicianship is excellent as is Grainger’s vocal work, but the album’s greatest strength may be the material.”
Shawn Underwood
Shawn UnderwoodTwangville
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“As a writer, I suppose it’s natural for me to have a soft spot for well-written lyrics. I was gobsmacked, though, at some of the turns of phrase on the latest record from Oregonian Kristen Grainger.”
Kate McKenzie
Kate McKenzieGrammy-Nominated Singer/Songwriter
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“Kristen Grainger’s singing is perfection. No gimmicks, nothing superfluous. Just amazing tone and killer songwriting. They [True North] are the perfect modern bluegrass band… Focusing around the terrific lead vocals of Kristen Grainger, the band shows what can happen when great songs meet great singers… This is a band making wonderful musical choices. They are going deeper than mere instrumental wind sprints and reworked standards. Highly recommended.”
Mike Elliot
Mike ElliotNo Depression Magazine
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“Sometimes the most gentle approach accentuates the power in a lyric. Kristen Grainger & True North prove that again and again.”
Americana U.K.
Americana U.K.
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“These are powerful and emotional songs. This slice of Americana deserves to be spread a little further than America's Northwest.”
Gareth Jenkins
Gareth Jenkins Music From The True Vine, Bluegrass Express
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“I truly love the energy of good hot picking as well as celestial harmonies, yet perhaps more than anything I love a well-crafted song that transports me and tells me a story, and Ghost Tattoo is filled with such songs. For the past decade and a half Oregon-based True North has been producing recordings with well-crafted songs, tasteful instrumentation and beautiful vocals."
Lee Zimmerman
Lee ZimmermanBluegrass Today
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“The songs ring with resolute determination even though they ply each of their arrangements with carefully considered subtlety and finesse.”
Rick Anderson
Rick AndersonCD Hotlist, Pick of the Month Folk/Country
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"What are front and center are Grainger’s songwriting, which is graceful and intelligent, and her singing, which is beautiful but plainspoken, and becomes heart-stopping when combined in harmony with that of guitarist Dan Wetzel."

Has shared a stage with:

Sarah Jarosz, We Banjo 3, Crooked Still, Della Mae, John Cowan and Darrell Scott, The Duhks, The Punch Brothers, Ronnie Bowman, Kenny and Amanda Smith, Trampled by Turtles, Steel Drivers, The Seldom Scene, Chris Thile

Recent Honors & Awards

The Bluegrass Situation’s Women Who Wrote Our 2020 Soundtrack : Kristen Grainger “Throughout 2020, the BGS editorial team embraced this wealth of excellent music from women songwriters in roots music. It has been a privilege to share these original voices with our readers, too.
Winner, 2020 USA Songwriting Competition (folk category) 2nd Place, 2020 USA Songwriting Competition Overall Grand PrizeKeep the River on Your Right (Kristen Grainger)
Finalist, 2020 International Acoustic Music Awards (folk category) Tattooed Love Song (Kristen Grainger)

More video here: https://www.truenorthband.com/gallery/

Press contact:
Kristen Grainger, truenorthband@comcast.net

Booking contact/ USA inquiries:
Dan Wetzel503.559.7998

International inquiries:
Please email us at truenorthband@comcast.net

More video here:https://www.truenorthband.com/gallery/

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