String stars to shine at COS

Steve Gerace
Multiple Grammy and IBMA award-winner Tim O’Brien

Tristan Clarridge sees the annual Summer String Summit he and his sister Tashina put on at College of the Siskiyous in Weed as a rare opportunity to unite a “musical family” whose members often cross paths but rarely all share the same stage at the same time.

Multiple Grammy and IBMA award-winner Tim O’Brien joins the family this year for a July 7 evening performance in the COS Kenneth Ford Theatre.

“We’ve been listening to his music all our lives,” Tristan says of O’Brien, who is recognized as one of the most influential performers and songwriters in acoustic/bluegrass music.

Grammy-nominated fiddler/composer Darol Anger, another artist who has influenced the grand national champion Clarridge siblings since their early years, returns for this year’s 6th annual String Summit.

“He’s been a huge influence on a large crop of young acoustic musicians,” Tristan says of the innovative Anger, who has worked with such pathbreaking ensembles as the David Grisman Quintet, his Republic Of Strings and the jazz-oriented Turtle Island String Quartet.

Tristan, speaking by phone from Anchorage, Alaska, where he was on tour with his folk/bluegrass band Crooked Still, said he and Tashina saved up their money 15 years ago to travel to Nashville to meet Anger.

“I?was 9,”?Tristan said. “We worked up a tune from one of his old recordings and asked him to critique it.”

A five-time grand national fiddle champion and cellist, Tristan says he performs some 200 shows a year with Crooked Still, the Bee Eaters string quartet and his sister. They’ve performed throughout the country, as well as Europe and Canada. Next year they’re scheduled to play in Australia.

Tristan was 4 and Tashina 8 when they first performed at a talent show in Trinity County. They grew up in Burnt Ranch on Highway 299 and have lived in several northern California locations, including Mount Shasta from 2003 to ’06.

They now live in Boston, where “a lot of adventurous young musicians are playing a lot of different kinds of music,”?Tristan said. “We live in a house with six musician friends. We’re always playing together and going to concerts, learning music. It’s a vibrant community.”

Tristan said he and Tashina are “really excited to bring all these people to our home turf” in northern California for the Summer String Summit.

This year’s event includes:

• Appalachian fiddle master Bruce Molsky,

• Cellist and Julliard graduate Natalie Haas

• Fiddler Brittany Haas of Crooked Still

• US National Scottish Fiddle Champion and jazz violinist Jeremy Kittel

• Jazz violin genius and Nashville recording artist Billy Contreras

• Cutting edge banjoist Noam Pikelny

• Punch Brothers guitarist Chris Eldridge

• The Bee Eaters and

• Nic Gareiss, who was been described by the Boston Herald as possibly “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene.”

The “genre-blending” music they make “doesn’t have a name yet,” according to Tristan, but the musicians have this in common: “We’re all open-minded and interested in exploring music from different backgrounds to see what can be made of it.”

Tickets to the Summer String Summit are available at Village Books in Mount Shasta, The Music Coop in Ashland, and from BrownPaperTickets.com (24/7 Hotline: 1-800-838-3006).

Tickets are available at the door and can be purchased with cash or by check.

The concert project is supported by the Siskiyou Arts Council.

“This show is absolutely the dream show of the year for anybody interested in acoustic music, strings or fiddling,” said Darol Anger. “I’ve watched these young artists grow up. They are the future, but they’re happening right now. Bring your kids and watch their ears grow big and their eyeballs pop.”

Grand national fiddle champions Tashina and Tristan Clarridge, who grew up in northern California and lived for a while in Mount Shasta, are excited to bring an all-star cast of musicians to their annual Summer String Summit at College of the Siskiyous in Weed.