Today’s modern bluegrass scene is ripe with young, talented, and driven musicians. Contrary to a common stereotype the genre is championed by an older generation, young bands like Greensky Bluegrass, The Punch Brothers, and Cabinet have taken control of bluegrass to breathe fresh new energy into the scene. Another major contributor to this revitalization is the four-piece psychedelic bluegrass band, Kitchen Dwellers.
Founded and based in the mountains of Bozeman, Montana, Kitchen Dwellers was originally formed as a trio comprised of Shawn Swain (mandolin / vocals), Joe Funk (bass / vocals), and Kyle Shelstad (guitar). Shortly after its inception, the band added Torrin Daniels on the banjo and started to perform shows at local Montana music venues. Before hitting the road for their debut tour in Colorado, the band rounded out its five-piece lineup by adding Jesse Butler on the fiddle. After performing as a quintet for several tours, Shelstad left the band and was replaced by Max Davies, and Jesse Butler also left the band, completing it’s current 4-piece lineup. Enjoy this stellar HD video of the Dwellers performing at the Fox Theatre in Colorado last fall.
The Kitchen Dwellers haven’t only won over audiences across the nation, but also the attention of judges and critics alike. They were voted one of the top three bluegrass bands in the country by viewers through a video contest hosted by Ninkasi Brewing Co. and Northwest String Summit in Eugene, Oregon. They also won the Zoo Music Awards, a Montana music competition based on performance, originality, and popularity. They were also awarded “Best Local Band ” by the Magpie Awards.
Last year, the Kitchen Dwellers continued their meteoric momentum by joining Vermont jam-sensation Twiddle on their Fall tour. The two bands sold out venues all across the Midwest, including a two-night run at Denver’s Ogden Theatre and a hometown show at the Eagles Ballroom in Bozeman, MT. Twiddle then invited and featured the Kitchen Dwellers on the main stage at their inaugural Tumbledown Music Festival in Burlington, VT, alongside rock heavyweights like Nahko & Medicine for the People, Turkuaz and Cabinet. Check out this brief interview shot at Tumbledown with Torrin Daniels & Shawn Swain, filmed by G-Funk Productions.
“The Kitchen Dwellers, formed in Bozeman, MT, are quickly emerging as one of the best bluegrass bands in the country,” says Rich Ledoux of The Moose 95.1. Karen Wilson of the MSU Exponent describes the Kitchen Dwellers as “authentic and talented musicians; they play because they like to, and their passion is evident even when playing for a one-person audience.” In another piece of praise, Maria Wyllie and Tyler Allen of Explore said “playing and hanging with the ‘Dusters and Kitchen Dwellers was equally enjoyable as playing with heroes like Sam Bush and Tony Trischka.”
This Friday (4/21), the Kitchen Dwellers are releasing their second studio album, titled “Ghost In The Bottle.” This release marks the first album with the band’s current lineup, and includes a collection of star-studded guests like Anders Beck (Greensky Bluegrass), Bill Payne (Little Feat), Mihali Savoulidis (Twiddle), and Tim Carbone (Railroad Earth). The record was produced by Andy Thorn (Leftover Salmon) and A.G. Lungsford. You can listen to the two tracks featuring Mihali and Anders Beck below, and can preorder the album here.
A week after their new album release on Friday, April 28th, the Kitchen Dwellers bring their unique brand of psychedelic jamgrass to New York City’s historic Gramercy Theatre. Funk, Swain, Daniels and Davies are scheduled to perform an opening set for Pennsylvania stalwarts Cabinet during this “Road to the Breakdown” concert. For those not familiar, Susquehanna Breakdown is Cabinet’s annual multi-day bluegrass festival at Montage Mountain in Scranton, PA. We interviewed JP of Cabinet last week, and you can read the full interview here. The Kitchen Dwellers are joining Cabinet at this summer’s event alongside world-famous acts like Keller Williams, The Wood Brothers, and Greensky Bluegrass. The festival takes place on May 19th and May 20th, just a few weeks after Cabinet’s and the Dweller’s “Road to the Breakdown” show in New York City. Tickets for the 4/28 Gramercy Theatre concert can still be purchased here, while passes and more information about the Breakdown can be found here.