Inyo Council for the Arts presents Millpond Festival artists

By: 
Register Staff
Staff Writer

Music celebration set for weekend of Sept. 20

Editor’s note: This is the first of five in an ongoing series of performer bios for the 2019 festival.

Jelly Bread
Jelly Bread has risen from Reno/Lake Tahoe area favorites into a nationally-touring, powerhouse quintet that delivers a high-energy, chameleonic playlist all over the United States. Jelly Bread’s distinct style is identified by a blend of desert twang meeting the urban tones of funk and rock. Exceptional songwriting and storytelling interlaced with four part harmonies, intricate “in-the-pocket” drum and bass grooves, swampy lap steel guitar, dirt under the fingernails guitar licks, tasty talkbox, “take-’em-to-church” organ come together into a sound that is downright appetizing.
The quintet’s musical alchemy blends a dash of alt-rock with soul and funk, yet is thoroughly steeped in Rock-Americana. They have been described as mixing “tight soul grooves with swampy lap steel guitar lines, funky vintage keyboard and organ sounds, upbeat horn charts, and jammy guitar solos.”
Jelly Bread is Dave Berry – guitar/vocals, Cliff Porter – drums/vocals, Alvin Johnson – keys/vocals, Ian Lindsay – bass/vocals, and Kevin Russell – lead guitar. The groovy music, the funky vintage keyboard and organ sounds, upbeat horn charts, and jammy guitar solos of this local favorite is sure to have the Friday night crowd rocking at Millpond this year.

Sam Ravenna
The Berklee College of Music graduate and Lake Tahoe-based musician Sam Ravenna has spent the bigger part of the last decade as a side man for many artists. Sam Ravenna crashed onto the scene in 2017 with his self-titled debut EP, hailed by the Tahoe Weekly as “a clear statement of an artist intent on breaking new ground.”
Ravenna’s new album “Fragile” picks up where his self-titled EP left off, diving deeper into the world that drives Ravenna as an artist. On the new album he explores themes of the fragility and fluid nature of life. Through life’s challenges, injuries, a mental health breakdown at the age of 22, he muses on his amazement of human resilience and how we can adapt, grow and change through life’s ups and downs. The new album, a testament to Ravenna’s artistic nature, illustrate his experiences of life lived, and loves found and lost, all laid out for the world to absorb.
Ravenna and his band deliver a dynamic and soulful show ranging from classic and neosoul to power funk. Ravenna leads the band with driving bass lines and smooth vocals, supported by group of accomplished musicians inviting the audience into their soul kitchen. 

Sway Wild, featuring Mandy Fer and Dave McGraw
Sway Wild is comprised of Mandy Fer, Dave McGraw, and Thom Lord. With Fer on electric guitar, McGraw behind a drum kit, and Lord on electric bass, the trio explores the corners of pop, jazz, funk, prog, worldbeat, folk, and, of course, rock. At its nucleus, though, their music is undeniably full of joy – saturated in gratitude for well-lived lives and sympathetic to our shared humanity.
Sway Wild, the band’s 2019 self-titled debut, shimmers with the diverse influences of the three musicians, a classic power trio wringing refreshingly engaging and novel music from a familiar format. The sophisticated lyricism and gorgeous vocal harmonies of Fer and McGraw are propelled by the danceable foundation of McGraw’s deceptively complex beats and Lord’s deep, understated bass lines. Fer’s moving lyrics serve to both process and share her jubilation, her grief, and her frustration with a complex and deeply imperfect society. This authentic and thoughtful approach is underscored by McGraw and Lord. They provide unwavering support to Fer’s formidable musicianship in a way that remains consistently accessible and emotional.
Sway Wild’s music can squeeze the heart in your chest, it can draw tears from your eyes, and it can force you to get up and move your body; over and over, it somehow manages to do all three at once.

The Millpond Music Festival is Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, Sept. 20-22, at the Millpond County Park. Tickets and more information are available at Inyo Council for the Arts, (760) 873-8014 / www.inyo.org/millpond / 137 S. Main St. in Bishop.

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