Colorado Tour This Week!

After touring out East last month, from the Appalachians to New England (and even trekking to Canada for a Wilders reunion at Calgary Folk Festival!), I’ve been catching up at home in KCMO…and now I’m gearing up for another tour journey – this time out west through the mountains of Colorado! I sure have fallen for Colorful Colorado and I do want to share my concern for so many of you in the state who have been impacted by either wildfires or recent flooding.  My heart goes out to you.

Starting today, I’ll be making my way through the Rockies for a bit over a week, playing at a couple of summer festivals and great breweries, as well as stopping in to do some live on-air radio. I’ll be returning to Fruita, CO on August 16 a show at Hot Tomato, where I’ll play some of my solo material in addition to joining Honey Don’t (my good friends, formerly of Sweet Sunny South) on stage. The following day, I’ll head over to Marble, CO for Marble Fest for a both a solo set and a performance with Honey Don’t!

I’m excited to visit Revolution Brewing in Paonia, CO again, where I will perform on August 21. Y’all know I love Paonia-town, and again I’ll have good musical friends joining me throughout the evening! The next day I’ll be performing on-air at KSJD radio (located in Cortez, CO and broadcasting out to surrounding areas) at 2:00pm, then later that night I’ve got a show at Dolores River Brewery in nearby Dolores, CO. Last time I played there, we had a full-on dance party packed house. It was an absolute blast when I stepped out in front of the speakers to join the dancers as I fiddled!

Last summer, I had a blast at the Americana Music & Art Festival in Florence, CO and am pleased to let you all know that I’m performing again at the festival on Saturday, August 24. Click here for more information on the fest and to reserve your tickets while they’re still available at a discounted price! I’ll be closing out my tour through Colorado with a performance on August 25 in scenic Gold Hill, CO (just outside of Boulder) at a historical establishment called the Gold Hill Inn. I just got word that a friend of mine from KC is relocating to the area, and there’s a good chance he’ll show up to join me for a few! His name is David Burchfield and he’s an excellent musician and singer.

Before I sign off, I’d like share a bit of nice press that my new album, High Moon Order, has received as of late! The music blog When You Motor Away said, “The original songs are strong and the musicianship is never less than stellar. This is a diverse, well-played, really terrific album.” William Saunders of The Deli said, High Moon Order slips on like an old flannel shirt or a broken in pair of jeans. If comfort food were 13 tracks of down-home musical cooking, it would sound a lot like this.” Thanks, y’all! Click here for the full review from When You Motor Away, and click here for the complete write up from The Deli.

Thanks for reading, everyone, and I hope to see you all soon down the road! I’ve got more tour dates in the works — mostly in the Midwest and Appalachian regions — for this November…be sure to stay in the know for updates on my performance schedule! A great way to keep up-to-date is to ‘like’ my Facebook page and follow me on Twitter (@fiddlebetse).

Enjoy the rest of your summer, and thank you for your support!

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Tour & News Update

I’m traveling East-Northeast this month, with lots of shows and a couple of on-air radio performances at excellent radio stations (think big: SiriusXM!)…AND two major festival appearances (one with The Wilders – our only show together this year!).

Click here to read my latest newsletter with more details…and if you’d like to receive my every-so-often e-mail newsletters, you can sign up though the widget in the right sidebar of the site. Thanks for reading!

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Today is the day! HIGH MOON ORDER is released today. June 18, 2013! This date has been rolling around in my head for quite some time!


There are a number of you out there who already own it – the Pledge Music campaign made it possible for me to make this album. Today, I feel gratitude, relief, excitement, hope, acceptance, and… tired. I had my KCMO album release show last Friday. It was a magical, historic night for me. This followed the opening of my (first) photography show the week prior. Now it’s time to get ready to hit the road again but just for now… I’m going to breathe.

Of course, you can purchase the album right here on this site. You can also listen to it streaming… at No Depression!

Where am I going next? Check out my calendar page… this Saturday, I am performing with my “Musical Grandma”, Violet Hensley, at the Ozark Folk Center! So excited. This run also includes a Chicago performance and the Indiana Fiddlers Gathering! Good start to the summer.

Happy listening… happy day.

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The last few months have brought completion, beginnings, travels, creations… I completed the album(!), but of course not by myself. Mike West, brilliant engineer and producer, finished the mixes and did the mastering. Rachel Eilts, visionary artist, created and designed the package. John Smith, head of Free Dirt, my label, did all that other stuff, loads of stuff, to bring it all together. Soon, a PR campaign will start, from Hearth Music. The Pledge Music campaign is alive until right before the CD gets released — pre-orders are available, and every bit helps me to offset all the remaining costs like duplication, delivery, promotion, and more. Visit Pledge Music for more info. Pledgers get special bonuses like a soon-to-be-added bonus track!

So I mentioned Mike West… and just so you know, he and his wife have this great band… Truckstop Honeymoon… and then there’s the other west of this post. I’m going west again – Colorful Colorado, a dip into Utah (Moab), and NE Oklahoma. First show is this Thursday in Moab, with the New Reeltime Travelers… Here’s a little bit of what that’s about…

Then I do a solo tour, mostly in the Western Slope of CO, before I head southeast to OK to meet up with my pals, The Carper Family… we’ll be doing 5 shows together, including an appearance at Davey’s Uptown on May 3… check the calendar and I hope to see you soon.

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Things that are New

A new year can happen any time. Any moment can be a new start. It’s coincidental that my album fundraising campaign had a deadline soon after this year began, so I feel doubly renewed that the goal was reached before that deadline. Somehow the momentum picked up and when I was about a week from that important date, the goal was reached, and exceeded. So now I can breathe a little easier, knowing that the initial expenses will be covered. All thanks to so many people believing in me, believing that I can make something that will add to their lives, in some small or maybe not so small way. That is what gratitude feels like.

This new year, I’ve had a lot of flashbacks to previous travels with The Wilders. We had some great adventures and I hold on to the fond memories. Traveling in the winter months has a special feeling for me. Darkness coming early, the long nights, make having a show exciting to me. I do love summer festivals, don’t get me wrong! They are a kind of magic, too.

This winter I’ve got some exciting new opportunities to look forward to. After some local shows to celebrate my birthday at the end of the month, I’ll get geared up to open for TIM O’BRIEN (with Bryan Sutton) at The City Winery in Chicago. Besides being a hero to us, Tim has long been a pal of The Wilders and has joined us on stage in the past. But I am and will always be such a fan, it’s hard to stay cool when I’m around him. His fiddle/singing style is a huge influence on me. He’ll always be one of my favorite singers, period. I’m excited and nervous to have this great opportunity.

Immediately after the Chicago show, I am headlining a concert in Manhattan… Kansas – at the lovely Manhattan Arts Center. Then after an appearance co-hosting KKFI’s Wednesday Midday Medley with Mark Manning for their fund drive, I’m off to the Folk Alliance International Conference, where I have an official conference showcase – and other opportunities to perform and serve as a panelist. What an honor. The Folk Alliance International is moving their headquarters to KCMO this year too, which is a super big deal to me! The future of folk music is changing every day – it’s a new year for Folk. I identify with folk more now than ever and welcome FAI to their new home.

Right now it’s mixing/sequencing time for the album, and thinking about artwork and such. As I head into this next phase, and send thanks again to so many of you who have supported me in the campaign, let me invite you to pre-order a copy of the album if you have yet to visit the PledgeMusic site. The goal I set was modest compared to the total expenses. This is an opportunity for you to be involved in my entire creative process. Take a peek at my PledgeMusic page and be a part of a New Kind of Album.

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Lots of -ings

Since my last post, I’ve been on the road, performing, practicing, and preparing for the recording. I’ve spent about a workweek’s time up to now in the studio… I’m heartened by what I have done so far. And the people who have come in to record with me… I’m just overwhelmed, they have been so inspiring and put down some gorgeous music. A little behind here on the site, but I have been writing a lot. If you sign up for my mailing list (easy to use fill-in box on the right column), you’ll get to read a bit more in depth (and more often) what this project is like. I hope you will join the cause – the recording project cause. Getting closer to the goal, which is a good feeling, and in a couple of weeks I return to the studio to complete tracking. I need your help making it to the Pledge Music goal. There’s a link on the right side of this page that will take you to my campaign site.

Here’s a link here, too: Betse Ellis on Pledge Music

It’s been an added and usually fun challenge to update the campaign with video and photo posts. Usually, studio time is quite private to me. That’s why this is a New Kind of Album… because for the first time, I am inviting you to be involved. There is plenty of room for involvement, and I hope to hear from more of you on the Pledge Music site. What do you want to know about the process? The material I’m recording? The challenges?

In the meantime, I’ll be practicing, writing, dreaming…

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A different kind of campaign

Guess I couldn’t resist a tagline like this during this season. While we are engrossed in our country’s future, I am also focusing keenly on my next album, which will be recorded next month. In order to make this album, I am embarking on a fundraising campaign. I’ve seen many projects successfully funded, and contributed to quite a few as well. When I see my friends far and near working hard to achieve their goals, I feel excited to be involved, to help them make things happen.

Today, it seems pretty common (and necessary sometimes) to make an album in this high-tech, yet grassroots way. I’m looking at it as a whole new kind of album, as a new opportunity for artist and audience. If you know me, you know that I depend on communication between myself and the audience. I encourage participation, whether through singing, dance, or random outbursts. When it comes to making this album, I’m thinking of it as a participatory project. By inviting you to be involved, I will share with you my experiences as I prepare for and make this recording. I’ll be doing all of this through Pledge Music, which has great benefits for artists and fans. I’ll post diary-style blogs on a pretty regular basis, and when it’s studio time, I’ll post a bit of video, photos, and other surprises. I want you to feel like you are part of the experience, which you will be. It’s a different approach for me, and I plan to embrace the opportunity.

One of the great perks of Pledge Music is the ability to donate a portion of the funding to a charity of my choice. I chose The Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, which provides musical instruments to schools that otherwise could not afford them. I think it’s so important for children to have access to music of all kinds, and it’s pretty cool to make this a part of the project.

Please take a look at the Pledge Music site, and on my page, you can look around and read about my project, download a live track, and more in the future.

Thanks for your consideration. Let’s do this thing. Let’s make a record.

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Back in the flatlands, changed by the mountains

My mountain excursion revealed much. I found I was able to do things I didn’t think I could do… in musical ways, yes, but more in physical ways. I hiked in high elevations, and enjoyed nature to a level I hadn’t experienced, nor expected. I celebrated my body’s ability to adjust to the demands I placed on it. I took (a little) time to be quiet and soak in the beauty. I got on a ski lift, which before might as well have been a roller coaster (gasp), and eventually craved a daily ride to the top of the 10,500 foot mountain at Targhee Resort. I played music on top of that mountain, with stunning 360 degree views. Shared music and joy with a diverse group of people all gathered for a common cause. It’s a bit of a fantasy life, going to a music camp such as this. Actually, I wonder if there is another camp such as this. Targhee Music Camp represents a pinnacle to me. I received so many soulful gifts that week.

As I continue on my various paths of creativity and working towards goals, I think back on the many emotions I was fortunate to experience in the Targhee mountains. I can carry the mountains inside me as I walk the hills in my neighborhood. I can carry the joy and love everywhere I go, and I can share that with everyone I contact.

These are the things I carry with me as I prepare for the next things coming… a visit to Winfield, not as a performer this year for the first time in a long time; IBMA, a reconnection to this huge vibrant world of bluegrass; a short but notable tour taking me to Chicago and Indiana; the FARM conference in St. Louis; and preparing to record another album later in the fall. Wherever you go, there you are. Don’t you want to go?

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Rocky Mountains, Tetons, Targhee, and Me

I am a flatlander. (Hey, just saw those wonderful singers who write those exquisite songs, a month or so ago. You know, The Flatlanders. WOW.) I grew up in Northwest Arkansas, but anyone who knows about the Ozarks and geology, has learned that these are not truly mountains, but a plateau with a lot of dips…but hey, those were and are my mountains. I love the Ozarks. The first time I went to Colorado and beyond, into the western US and its browner, taller, more imposing landscapes, I was a bit afraid. Where was the green grass? What happened to softness? My bandmates were in love with this landscape, and gradually, I learned to appreciate it. John Denver songs ran through my head and I tried to embrace the Rocky Mountains. But it wasn’t until I saw the Tetons, outside Jackson Hole, WY, that I really found majestic beauty in the western landscape.

I’m about to embark on my own journey out west… playing the Americana Music and Art Festival in Florence, CO, and then driving all the way to Alta, WY, which actually I have to drive into Idaho to get to. I can picture that very road, very clearly. The Wilders have driven it a number of times. It will be bittersweet to drive there on my own. But also an adventure. I am honored to teach at the Targhee Music Festival, and also get to play with other instructors at Grand Targhee Bluegrass Fest! I’m a lucky girl. Save me some of that oxygen, ok? It’s about 9000 feet there.

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Hello, Arkansas… nice to see you

Oh yeah. I love the Natural State. I grew up there, and I am actually playing several times in NW Ark in the next week-ish!

I’m super excited to play the Second Saturday Series in Siloam Springs, presented by old time music lovers and musicians themselves, Bill and Deanna Lisk. From our chance meeting on the Fayetteville Square years ago, these two fine folks have always been so kind and inviting. I’ll be playing their series this coming Saturday, July 14.

The next day I head over to Eureka Springs – thanks to Gina Rose for making it possible for me to do a co-bill with Chucky Waggs (Adam, from Mountain Sprout!), during the Sunday happy hours. Excited to play this show and see that banjo-pickin super crafty gal!

Later next week, I’ll be doing a show at Smoke & Barrel Tavern in Fayetteville, on July 19. Liz Guinn Miller is a true-hearted supporter of music and musicians – thanks, Liz, for your super positive encouragement, and for arranging for Wally ‘n Nature to share that bill with me!

Details on the Calendar Page… and I wrap this post up with my new favorite happy word: Whoopty!

smoke & barrel

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