After deciding to form a full band, Maria brought The Reckless Abandoners together in late 2015. The band subsequently performed at all the main bluegrass festivals in the UK between 2016 and 2019, before changes in personnel put this project on the back burner. The Covid-19 crisis has made it more difficult than ever to bring a full band together, but we to play out with a version of the Abandoners at some point in the future!
The Reckless Abandoners performed contemporary bluegrass and Americana, with touches of honky tonk, Western Swing, acoustic country and blues. Their eclectic repertoire includes original songs and tunes, traditional standards and creative covers, from upbeat to mellow. The core line-up consists of Maria Wallace and Phil Stott, with a rotating cast of excellent UK bluegrass musicians. Many have depped with us over the last few years including Dick Embery (Monroe’s Revenge) on double bass, Alistair McIlroy (Catfish Skillet) on banjo, Laura Carrivick (Midnight Skyracer, Cardboard Fox) on dobro, and Kieran Towers (Hot Rock Pilgrims) on fiddle. Bruno Pichler (dobro) and Mark Gibbons (guitar) were regular members of the collective who we hope may perform with us occasionally in the future. Eleanor Wilkie (fiddle/vocals) and Julie Cross (double bass) have now moved on, due to their increasing commitments with Midnight Skyracer and as organisers of Crossover Festival.
Lead singer, bandleader and songwriter Maria Wallace has a powerful alto voice. With a passion for bluegrass and American roots music, under the True North Music banner Maria is also a successful grassroots music promoter and booking agent. Maria also writes about roots music, and is actively involved with the IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) and its efforts to become more diverse and international-facing. Phil Stott (mandolin/guitar/vocals) is a fine musician and singer who has been active on the folk and bluegrass scene for over 30 years as a participant, festival organiser and musician in various bands, including Yorkshire quartet Cowbaby.
Guitar picker extraordinaire Mark Gibbons is an ace flatpicker. Originally from Shetland and based in Southport, Mark has been playing guitar for most of his life and is well known on the UK festival scene for his picking skills as well as his beaming smile. Bruno Pichler (dobro) is based in Sussex, a skilled and subtle musician known for his great work with Hot Rock Pilgrims. Bruno is one of the best resonator guitar players in the UK and has a very busy day job and family life too, but we hope to get to perform with him occasionally in the future.
The Reckless Abandoners made their warmly received debut on the main stage at Orwell Bluegrass Festival in Suffolk in May 2016. Further performances through to autumn 2019 included all the main bluegrass festivals in the UK – Didmarton, Coastline, Tamworth, Cornish, Moniaive, Gower, South Essex and Crossover, plus a few regular gigs in Yorkshire. The 2020 pandemic brought a halt to festivals but we hope to bring our particular good-time blend of acoustic music to more audiences in the future.
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