Steamboat Gypsy is a band that meets at the crossroads of folk, bluegrass, old-time and country and harks back to a time when rivers ruled and steam was king.
Steamboat Gypsy is a band that is within the big tent that is bluegrass, with music that includes high energy instrumentals and soaring vocal harmonies. Their sound is also very Maine, with original music set among craggy mountains, clear water, spruce forests, rocky coastlines, and the state’s agricultural traditions.
The Gypsy was an early passenger steamboat on Maine’s Penobscot River, and was chosen to represent the band because of its local connection but also as a nod to bluegrass pioneer and steamboat captain John Hartford. Similarly, Steamboat Gypsy’s music is also a blend of roots music traditions including bluegrass, old-time, and Acadian contradance music, merged with fresh and original music inspired by present and past musical greats including the Grateful Dead, Gillian Welch, Little Feat, Jimmy Cliff, Prince and many others.
Mild mannered children's librarian by day, wailing banshee musician by night, Mariah Sewall's soaring lead and harmony vocals are both stunning and rich. In Steamboat Gypsy her rhythm guitar and vocals give the band its soul. Mariah grew up playing guitar, piano and singing in the family band All Ways One and also performs in the duo Porchlight.
Craig Hensley is one of the leading mandolin and guitar pickers in Maine. Craig's vocal and performance abilities were honed with years of busking on street corners and market lanes, and his distinctive voice can be heard through subtle harmony or be powerful as a canon. Craig also performs with the bluegrass band Muddy Marsh Ramblers and contradance band Desperate Measures.
Fiddle player and vocalist Justin Schlawin's old-time style can be both rhythmic and rock-and-roll. Justin has been playing fiddle for 25 years, and the drive of his playing is what creates Steamboat Gypsy's high energy experience. Justin also performs in the group Shadowfly.
Prior to moving to Maine, bassist Asher Barreras had been performing and teaching in New Mexico and New York City. Trained in Jazz performance at the University of North Texas, Asher is comfortable laying down rhythms or taking complex bowed solos.