Richie Stearns began performing nearly four decades ago as a teenager with Bubba George, a kick ass string band of precocious youths. He is best known for his work on banjo and vocals with The Horse Flies, one of the most innovative bands in American roots music. Over the past 30 years, The Horse Flies have produced eight CDs and two film scores (Where the River Flows North, A Stranger in the Kingdom) and they continue to create unique sounds. Richie is also a founding member with Jim Miller of the roots rock band Donna the Buffalo, with whom he recorded three CDs and toured nationwide. Stretching musical boundaries is Richie’s trademark; his banjo playing and vocals can be heard on recordings by Carrie Rodriguez, Natalie Merchant, Jim Lauderdale, Tara Nevins, Tony Trischka, Hank Roberts, and John Doyle. Richie currently performs as a duet with his musical partner, Rosie Newton. He tours nationally with Bela Fleck as part of The American Banjo Project and is a regular member of Natalie Merchant’s band. Before his death, Pete Seeger invited Richie to score original music for an album that will feature Pete telling his life story over a music background. Richie’s playing has taken him to music festivals across North America and Europe (Telluride, the Philadelphia Folk Festival, the Winnipeg Folk Festival, Alaska’s Folklife Festival), and he has performed on TV (MTV) and radio (Prairie Home Companion, World Café, All Things Considered, Mountain Stage). Red Dog Run is his latest collaboration, bringing together likeminded musicians who hope to create new interpretations from the huge range of influences in their lives.
Jim has been singing and playing American traditional and country music on guitar and banjo for over 30 years, but his recording career dates back even further. At the age of 8 years old he sang soprano and toured the Canadian prairies with the Saskatoon Boys Choir. Their vinyl album, recorded in 1961, included such hits as "They Call the Wind Mariah" and "Oklahoma." After taking a 30-year break from the pressures of touring, Jim co-founded the New York based roots rock band Donna the Buffalo and hit the road again. He toured with DTB for 15 years, performing in theaters across North America and on the stages of festivals such as Bonnaroo, Rhythm & Roots, and Telluride. His favorite performance during that era was a set with DTB and Peter Rowan on the main stage at Merlefest that went on so long, the angry sound crew eventually pulled the plug and shut off the stage lights; the music only got better… In addition to recording five CDs with DTB, Jim has recorded with Tim O’Brien, Jim Lauderdale, Ginny Hawker, Dirk Powell, and Tara Nevins. In addition to performing and recording with Red Dog Run, he writes books about moths and butterflies, performs in Country Hammer with Cahalen Morrison, and tours with Louisiana icon Preston Frank in Big Daddy Zydeco.
Rosie began playing fiddle at age eight. She grew up immersed in the rich folk music scene of Woodstock NY, attending concerts and parties with her mother, Celtic cellist Abby Newton. Rosie attended college in Ithaca NY, where she studied Viola Performance. She was quickly swept up in that area’s music scene, which infused her with a deep appreciation for the beauty and diversity of roots music. Rosie’s interests now span a wide range of musical styles, from Irish and old time to country and pop. She recently toured the Northeast playing zydeco fiddle with Louisiana legend Preston Frank. Newton currently performs in a duo with Richie Stearns, plays with Ferintosh, an internationally known Celtic band. In her latest project, Red Dog Run, Rosie joins three musicians – Richie Stearns, Jim Miller, and Jed Greenberg - with similarly broad influences. Together their goal is to stretch the boundaries of music genres. She has taught fiddle at Sunshine Coast School of Celtic music, the Taylor Music Festival and the Black Pot camp. Rosie has appeared at major US music festivals (Merle Fest, Newport Folk Festival, Philadelphia Folk Festival) and performs with Natalie Merchant, Chris Eldridge (Punch Brothers), Jefferson Hamer (Anaïs Mitchell/Child Ballads), and The Duhks. She hopes to continue traveling the world, meeting musicians of all kinds and exchanging with them her own musical perspective.
When he was a curly-haired college student, Jed Greenberg heard Richie Stearns play the banjo at a contradance in Ithaca. Soon after, he dropped out of college to pursue the mysteries of old-time fiddle music. He taught himself to play the fiddle while driving a Mister Softee ice cream truck and soon went to Europe to play on the streets with his pals the Buvas. Shortly after returning, he received a fateful phone call from one Jim Miller, who was scouting around for a bass player to join Donna the Buffalo. Jed had just the right lack of qualifications to land the gig, and spent the next 8 years or so on the bus with D the B. Currently Jed lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Teal and daughter Sienna, building houses and aspiring to teach children to sing songs and play music.