" It's a roomful of HAPPY when The WellStrung Band rosins up their bow. "
Donna Rhodes - The Laurel Magazine
The WellStrung Band had its birth in the summer of 2011 when Rachel Friday, longing for her Atlanta based old-time bands, placed an advertisement inviting musical enthusiasts to a weekly jam at the Pine Street gazebo. As the summer rolled along, many came and went, but a faithful core of four returned and began crafting a sound all their own. Old-time and bluegrass standards were played, but occasionally an unexpected Dylan, Beatles, or Peter Rowan tune would emerge and gain a new voice from the traditional Appalachian instruments: mandolin, banjo, bass fiddle, guitar and harmonica. It wasn't long before WellStrung had gathered a loyal following who wanted their unique Appalachian sound.
Rachel’s thundering bass fiddle grounds the group with a solid tempo and confidence that comes from years of performing with contradance and old-time bands around the Atlanta area. As WellStrung’s founder, she also adds elegance and grace to an otherwise unruly and frequently mischievous ensemble. She is an accomplished clawhammer banjo player and will leave her stand-up bass to strike up the banjo to surprise the audience with an old-time tune from centuries past.
With David Goodrow’s rhythm guitar leading the way, they venture into songs from many genres, but always with the unmistakable Appalachian sound that filled these mountains for centuries. Growing up in the 1960's, the Woodstock movement laid the foundations for David's musical background, but it was Nickel Creek that turned David on to "newgrass" music, and current inspiration is drawn from Gillian Welch and Old Crow Medicine Show. David also plays washboard percussion, and stand-up bass whenever Rachel switches to clawhammer for an old-time sound.
A multi-instrumentalist, Jeff Schenck’s biggest conundrum may be deciding which of the many instruments he wants to play at any given moment. He has been known to surprise the audience, as well as his band mates, with a sudden instrument change during a song. Jeff’s brisk and tasteful mandolin licks, driving guitar and blues harmonica were derived from a lifetime of performing music with the likes of the Sourmash String Band (Gainesville) and the Budapest String Band (Orlando) His deep and soulful voice provides an excellent contrast to David’s expressions.
Knight Martorell''s banjo playing provides the syncopated drive as he confidently weaves in and out between traditional Scruggs style and melodic improvisations to navigate the banjo’s voice to suit whatever direction the bands goes. Since the age of 14, he has performed with a variety of bands, playing a variety of instruments and sings backup harmonies. Since he grew up playing bluegrass during the summer months in Highlands and rock and roll during the winters in Florida, he enjoys creatively blurring the boundaries between musical genres with the banjo, harmonica, mandolin and fiddle.
Well-known blues harmonica player and recording artist, Jerry Strom joins WellStrung on stage whenever his busy schedule allows. Jerry remains in high demand as a studio session, and the list of celebrity musicians he has perfomred and recorded with, is too lengthy to include here. With an extremely diverse playing style, he delivers an emotive voice to the band; be it a soulful sequence of blues notes, harmony counter-melodies, or blindingly fast lead solos.
The WellStrung Band brings fun, toe-tapping compositions laced with musical surprises and humor to wherever they perform.