What We Do

DANCES!     Sassafras Stomp is a dance band.  We love traditional music from the various branches of the celtic and old-time family trees.  We deeply enjoy playing old and new tunes for contradances.  Not familiar with contradance?  It’s like this.

We play dances in tiny towns you might never have heard of, like Basin, Montana, and Lubec, Maine.  We also play in towns you have heard of, such as Boston, Seattle, Ottowa, Montreal, Rochester, and Atlanta.  We’re  pretty happy in both situations.

CONCERTS!   When we perform in concert settings, we draw on our repertoire of traditional fiddle tunes and old ballads, but also include some original material.   Harmony vocals, fiddle, banjo, guitar and foot percussion are the revolving instrumentation.  Adam is a songwriter (who also performs solo under the stage name “Adam Nordell“) , and we sing his songs.  You can see us in action here, here, and also here.

WORKSHOPS!  At weekend festivals, we teach an hour-long workshop on poly-rhythmic foot percussion.   With Johanna’s fiddle providing the melodic context, we start off with traditional French Canadian foot percussion, and wind up exploring how unconventional rhythms can be adapted to accompany jigs and reels both, borrowing a few ideas from rock & roll, Caribbean music, hip-hop and afropop.   Here is some footage from a workshop at Catapult! Festival 2012.

Adam offers a workshop for dance band accompaniment.  In this workshop he guides guitar and piano players through some of the ways a chordal player can make traditional music dynamic and exciting, including chord substitutions, rhythm changes, drone notes and bass lines.

We play for contradance-in-the-schools workshops, which we’ve done in communities across Montana.

WEDDINGS!   Oh yeah!  We also perform sweet, traditional fiddle music to set the tone for your wedding ceremony and/or the party afterwards.

We have played beautiful waltzes at the edge of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area in Montana, sweet, stately marches for a couple getting married in canoes on a central Maine lake, a wedding contradance where Punjabi folks from India and New England Quakers mingled on the dance floor in fine style.

Any of these things could happen at YOUR wedding.  Let us know how we can help make your wedding a special day.

Send us an email!  newrootmusic (at) gmail (dot) com