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Black Hills duo Jami Lynn & Dylan James met on the street in the summer of 2012. Their fortuitous meeting not only revealed their shared love of folk, bluegrass, and jazz, but marked the beginning of an ambitious duo project harnessing Jami’s powerful vocals and Dylan’s first rate flat-picking skills. After a few weeks of working up material, their hearts were set on a full length album featuring songs written by each. Lynn’s vocal prowess, delicate finger picking, and West Virginia style claw-hammer banjo blend seamlessly with James’s ringing tenor, driving guitar, and old-time fiddling. Their diverse instrumentation as well as their unique arrangements of traditional American folk songs and jazz numbers sets them on the edge of each genre. Both are native South Dakotans and are currently based out of Rapid City, SD.
Hailing from the Great Plains of north eastern South Dakota, singer/songwriter Jami Lynn began performing folk and bluegrass music at the age of thirteen. She attended the University of South Dakota majoring in vocal performance, studied briefly in Nashville at Tennessee State University, and released her first album Dreamer under Jami Lynn & The Aquila Band in 2008. Jami’s senior thesis at USD, “Early American Folk Music of the Upper Midwest,” inspired the recording of Sodbusters, her second full length album. Made of up of folk songs from South Dakota and the surrounding states and artfully crafted originals, Sodbusters received substantial attention from South Dakota Public Radio programs On Record, Dakota Midday, and Dakota Digest, but also caught the attention of international critics in France and the Netherlands. Lynn is a member of the South Dakota Artists in the Schools & Communities Program, and was recently featured in the Smithsonian’s Shared Harmonies program.
Self-taught flat picker and singer/songwriter Dylan James grew up in a small mining town in the northern Black Hills of South Dakota. Though his mother was a classically trained piano virtuoso, Dylan didn’t take music seriously until his late teens, when he discovered the picking and singing of Doc Watson and fell in love. After a brief time of playing with the bluegrass band, Six Mile Road, he started his own bluegrass band, The Fancy Creek Jumpers. The hard driving three-piece drew on the music of Django Reinhart and eastern European jazz, drawing rave reviews from music lovers across the Black Hills. These days, Dylan makes up one half of a folk and jazz duo with Rapid City singer/songwriter Jami Lynn. The two have a new album in the works, and anticipate releasing and touring behind it in early 2013.