Rusty Jacobs - Pennywhistle, Guitar, Bodhran & Vocals
Michael Lussen - 5 String Banjo, Bouzouki, Guitar, Bodhran & Vocals
Howard Wooden - Stand Up Bass, 6 String Guitar, Bodhran, Concertina & Vocals
Tom MacKenzie - Hammered Dulcimer, Banjo, Keyboards & Vocals
Chip Chase - Fiddle, Mandolin, Banjo, Guitar & Vocals
Wood's Tea Company is a musical group that defies categorization. They perform bluegrass, Celtic tunes, sea chanties, and folk songs with an equal ease and skill. In concert, the Vermont-based group draws on a wide variety of musical experience and expression. They employ as many as a dozen different instruments from banjos, bezoukis and bodhrans, guitars and tin whistles.
The Vermont based group tours the country offering a mixture of lively folk, Celtic music, sea shanties, bluegrass, and dry New England humor. The award winning band has been featured at Lincoln Center, The Chautauqua Institute, and on National Public Radio. Because of their busy schedule, they've been labeled "Vermont's hardest working folk group" by both the Burlington Free Press and Vermont Public Radio.
The band is known for their easy going and witty rapport with their audiences combined with powerful musicianship. Although they are based locally, they recently signed with New York's Trawick Artist Management and will be touring the country with their Community Concerts program starting in 2001. "We won't be home much next year, but we'll be doing some interesting traveling and playing some great halls. It's pretty exciting, but it also means we value local shows like this one more than ever." said band member Rusty Jacobs.
Rusty Jacobs and Mike Lussen have played together almost since the founding of Wood's Tea Company in the early 1980s in Burlington, Vermont. Folk legend Woody Guthrie was an early inspiration for the band. "There is something about his music that bucked music establishment trends. He was singing directly to the people, and it appealed to us," said Jacobs. The band started as a trio, playing to small college audiences in Burlington, and then expanded to coffeehouses and Irish pubs.
Folk Music Quarterly described them as "one of the 10 hottest up and coming acts," adding "side stepping pretension and going for the grit, this New England trio gives a lusty performance every time."
Howard Wooden, who plays guitar, bass and concertina, and Bodhran. Howard is also responsible for the groups' graphic art and web site design. Howard cut his teeth professionally in the Midwest during the 1970's and early 1980's before relocating to Vermont in 1983 and has played with Wood's Tea since 1986.
Tom Mackenzie is one of Vermont's finest musicians. He is known world wide for his hammered dulcimer and banjo work. Tom is an accomplished composer and arranger. You can find some of Tom's solo recordings at: http://www.theHiRd.com
Chip Chase, the newest band member, who recently joined forces with Wood's Tea Co. Like the others in the group, Chase is a multi-faceted player, playing four different instruments in the band (fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and banjo).
The Irish Heritage Foundation honored them in New York with an "outstanding innovation award in appreciation and recognition for their creative contributions to Irish music." They have performed across the country at nearly 50 college campuses including the United States Air Force Academy. Combining exceptional musical skills with wit and humor, Wood's Tea Company will keep many delighted audiences entertained for years to come.