Cort Armstrong
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Cort Armstrong

Band Americana Acoustic


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Cort Armstrong, "Chicken Pickin' "
"Roots and Branches: Live From NW Folklife Festival 2009" ( two tracks from set of Armstrong Lawton Katz included... one as opening track of CD, and the other as a streaming track on NW Folklife website)
"Live From NW Folklife Festival 2008" (song from set by Jangle Bones included on CD)
Jangle Bones performance of "Runnin' To The Judgment" was included on NW Folklife Festival's website (
Blue Rooster, "Let's Get Together: A Tribute to Rev. Gary Davis"
Cort Armstrong and Blue Rooster, "My Heart Is Fixed"
Blue Rooster, "Sweet Booty Biscuit"



Cort Armstrong’s long musical path has always led toward the heart of traditional American music. As a young boy he learned to fingerpick guitar from his mother, who taught him a folk repertoire which reflected her inspiration, the Folk Revival of the sixties. By his college years in Eugene, OR, Armstrong had started a CSN cover band, and was following the Grateful Dead up and down the west coast. Jerry Garcia, another musical influence who was inspired by the Folk Revival, inspired Armstrong to dig deeper into the fertile soil of traditional American music. Soon after college, having relocated to Seattle, WA, Armstrong had become an impassioned devotee of Bluegrass and Old-time Stringband music, a passion which would compel him to migrate to Asheville, NC, where he would become consumed with Appalachian music and the business of running a band in the Southeast.

It was amongst his new musical peers in Asheville that Armstrong was first referred to as “that chicken picker”. Armstrong has held onto the moniker through the years, as it aptly describes his guitar picking style, which incorporates a thumb-heavy fingerpicking style, based in Country Blues, but used just as often with Bluegrass banjo and Old-time fiddle tunes. Like many of those musicians who have inspired him through the years, such as Rev. Gary Davis, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, the Stanley Brothers, Jerry Garcia, and others, Armstrong draws from a vast repertoire which defies genre and other naming conventions. An exceptional songwriter, he pulls from such traditional Americana niches as Country Blues (particularly Piedmont Blues, from east of the Appalachians), Bluegrass, Old-time Country, Ragtime, Honky Tonk and Folk music.

Armstrong’s path has seen a steady evolution of his musical abilities. Although many years has resulted in a repertoire of traditional songs extending into the thousands and technical mastery of the guitar, his voice and performances have developed the ability to speak directly to his audience’s hearts. Songs seem to express themselves “through” him, offering the listener an experience which is perhaps the greatest gift of music. With a musical performance which features his original songs, Armstrong’s growing base of fans get a pure, unfiltered folk music experience. His brand new album release of Chicken Pickin’ (2010), which is a collection of all original songs recorded with guitar and voice, will soon establish Armstrong in his rightful place among Americana music’s elite.

Three years of making Asheville home base for his band Blue Rooster inspired Armstrong to record three albums... Sweet Booty Biscuit (1999), My Heart Is Fixed (2001) and Let’s Get Together: A Tribute to Rev. Gary Davis (2002). Blue Rooster toured in the Appalachian region, playing festivals and clubs in West Virginia,Virginia, the Carolinas and Tennessee. The band’s fan base and opportunities grew, but fate would bring the run to an end, as Armstrong lost his father to a heart attack, and immediately moved back to the SF Bay Area to be with his mother.

Currently, Armstrong has found a family and home on a farm in Dungeness Valley, on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington state. Besides inspiring much of his new original music, the healthy and beautiful environment of Dungeness offers Armstrong a fine pool of musicians to draw from, which supports an intricate and extremely rich arrangement of his original and traditional material. Linda Dowdell, a world renowned pianist, provides a silky smooth counterpoint to Armstrong’s guitar, and a rhythm section which includes his wife, Kia Armstrong, creates a perfect support for Armstrong and Dowdell to spin their intimate musical phrasings together. Armstrong is also performing with a Seattle-based trio, Armstrong Lawton Katz, which, in its first year, was invited to play at NW Folklife Festival in Seattle, where its performance was included on the festival’s CD, Roots and Branches: Live From Folklife 2009. Cort Armstrong is a true purveyor of traditional American music, and with his debut solo release, Chicken Pickin’, the world will soon know about this great new, and old, sound.