Jeff Trathen / Press

“Portage songsmith, musician, and performer Jeff Trathen had to travel more than a thousand miles to rediscover his musical mojo. A little more than two decades ago, Trathen, a fixture in the region music strata, was frustrated by the synth-heavy pop and rock that dominated the airwaves and live music venues. He credits a move to Houston in 1989 with getting him back on the musical track. “The music in the '80s left me a little disillusioned, there was a lot of electronic music, a lot of synthesizers, and not a lot of guitars,” he said. “When I went down to Texas, I discovered a lot of songwriters that got me back interested into songwriting and music. It just revived my spirit. In Houston, he found influence in southern and Americana songsmiths such as Guy Clark, Tom Russell and Robert Earl Keen. For more than a decade, he co-fronted the alt-country/bluegrass outfit Bluewing in the Lone Star state before returning to the Region in 2000.”

“Blue Wing, Blue Wing -- The sort of accomplished, salt-of-the-earth folk outfit that leaves Anderson Fair audiences awestruck, Blue Wing has a way with a song and a story. As for the 13 tracks on the quartet's self-titled debut, there isn't a sour note in the bunch, and the playing is stellar throughout -- no doubt the product of decades of experience among the four them. While the group's command of a variety of stringed instruments is exceptional in every way, the interplay between the steel guitar of Dan Crook and the mandolin of Kelly Lancaster is the most memorable. The perfect campfire companion.”

“On the record:Blue Wing (Moonlight Gold) This Houston Bluegrass quartet is composed of highly accomplished musicians who know how to make a song sizzle and tell a story along the way. Dan Crook’s acoustic and steel guitar playing truly stand out and Jeff Trathen’s electric guitar and harmonica keep it going. Kelly Lancaster’s swift mandolin paces the rhythm, and the whole thing is anchored by Sandy Buller’s acoustic bass. Many of the songs are memorable, especially the first one, “Couldn’t Stop the Wheels,” and others like “In At 8:09” and “Black Diamond.” The tightness and command in the playing makes for a vibrant album. ”