Alison Harris grew up in rural Sonoma County. Her father was a music teacher and her grandfather an eccentric Hollywood composer. As a child, her father and grandfather played Ray Charles, Nat King Cole, and Ella Fitzgerald in one ear while her great grandmother sang Kentucky Lullabies in the other. Meanwhile, she fell asleep to Balkan Folk Dancing and sang hours worth of family style rounds in a 1976 Jenny Blue Cadillac on long drives down Highway One. Her songs are inspired by age-old melodies and classic themes- Love, Lust, Country livin’, Community, and Natural beauty. Alison’s Debut album, “Smoke Rings in The Sky” was released on Omega Records in 2008. Since 2009 Alison has been performing with classic Americana band The Barn Owls, who combine Country and Blues roots to create a unique blend of Bluegrass and California Soul. Since 2008 Alison has opened for Sam Bush, John Doe, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot, Chatham County Line, Langhorne Slim, The Mother Hips, Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers, and Hot Buttered Rum. She is working on the release of her second album, recorded live and analog with The Barn Owls at the Walker Road Schoolhouse, a partially restored schoolhouse from 1875 set among dairy ranches in Petaluma, CA.
Brendan Phillips and Fast Rattler
Portland, OR’s Fast Rattler made its debut on the 2009 Grammy-nominated album “Singing Through the Hard Times: A Tribute to Utah Phillips,” which included artists like Emmylou Harris, Ani DiFranco, Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton paying their respects at the passing of one of Folk music’s activist heroes.
Fronted by Utah’s son Brendan, Fast Rattler dug deep into Utah’s extensive catalogue, crafting their own versions of his songs and setting his poems to music. Fast Rattler’s full-length debut “Linger On: Celebrating the Songs of Utah Phillips,” was released in 2011 to wide acclaim, as they toured throughout the US and Canada, earning slots at major folk festivals including the Kate Wolf Memorial Folk Festival.
The band’s follow-up EP, “Hands on the Plow,” focuses on original material and new arrangements of traditional folk songs. While Utah’s music will always be a part of Fast Rattler’s repertoire, the band has won audiences over with their own original material and renditions of cherished classics. Most significantly, Fast Rattler has been invited to contribute an original track to the upcoming “Occupy This Album,” a compilation of songs inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement, featuring artists from Willie Nelson and Steve Earle to Third Eye Blind and Thievery Corporation.
“Just like his farm-spun songs, Petaluma songwriter Arann Harris is raw and exuberant. In conversation, the horn-rimmed glasses-clad Oakland transplant is all over the map—if the map spanned from the East Bay to a farm teeming with lambs, new babies, kids on field trips and music.
"I'm just a big sweaty mess of exuberance," says Harris about his stage presence. As frontman for Arann Harris and the Farm Band, farm "hoke" is something that the tall, gangly musician says he embraces; it's not about being cool, but about being "raw," a style drawn on the simplicity of growing vegetables, what comes from the earth, the rawness of life.”