Eight Dollar Mountain
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Eight Dollar Mountain

Ashland, Oregon, United States

Ashland, Oregon, United States
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Press Release
Southern Oregon-Based Quintet Eight Dollar Mountain Blends Smooth Harmonies And Driving Bluegrass Rhythms For A Rockin’ Good Time.

(ASHLAND, Ore.) Eight Dollar Mountain rises from the Cascade-Siskiyou Mountain region of Southern Oregon, offering fine string music from the long standing traditions of excellent bluegrass. The group describes themselves as a high-energy, exciting bluegrass dance band from the hills of Ashland, Oregon. The band features smooth-blending vocal harmonies and red hot picking on the banjo, dobro, mandolin, guitar and bass.

All the guys share an appreciation of bluegrass, newgrass and old-timey music like no other. The band came together after many of the members would frequent the bluegrass jams around the Ashland area. After pickin’ on a few standards, the ultimate formation of the group seemed natural and destined. Each member contributes their unique individual talents to forge a strong bluegrass sound that’s unlike any other.

With whitewater-fast flatpicking by guitarist Darren Campbell, the driving rhythms of banjoist Stuart Green, the monstrous chop and Monroe-like tones from mandolin player Phil Johnson, the pulsing low-end of bassist Peter Koelsch, and the haunting bluesy riffs of dobro player Mark Lackey, Eight Dollar Mountain is taking the Northwest by storm.

About the Band

Darren Campbell
Smokin’ guitarist and vocalist Darren Campbell brings some Appalachian flavor from central Pennsylvania, though his addiction to Bluegrass really began in Boulder, CO and from many trips to Telluride Bluegrass Festival in the early ‘90s. Campbell honed his chops playing old blues and funk, but nothing brings it together for him like a little grass! While he has a strong appreciation of traditional sounds, it’s hard to keep Campbell contained for long--before something else finds its way onto the fretboard. More recently, Campbell began studying the gypsy-jazz style, but the bona fide flatpicker can’t stay away from the good ‘ole G-chord for long. He cites virtuoso Tony Rice as his main influence in the Bluegrass style, along with Charles Sawtelle, Clarence White and Doc Watson, to name a few. Campbell also draws influence from other guitar greats that shaped his playing early on, like Stevie Ray Vaughn, Freddie King, Michael Hedges, and Jerry Garcia.

Stuart Green
Stuart Green was raised in Virginia, and came of age roaming the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Montana. After a few years with a guitar, Stu found his way to the banjo and never looked back. Stu’s admiration for traditional bluegrass runs deep, and he enjoys the contemporary retelling of old stories. He keeps the tradition alive with haunting vocals, original tunes, and driving banjo lines. He names Don Reno, J.D. Crowe, Hot Rize, the Kruger Brothers, and the Steep Canyon Rangers as some of his favorite influences. Stuart lives with his wife in the woods outside of Ashland.

Phil Johnson
On mandolin is Phil Johnson, hailing from the great state of Texas. His burning mandolin breaks and barking chop are inspired by a myriad of mando-masters, from the great forefathers Bill Monroe and John Duffey to the more progressive Tim O’Brien and David Grisman. Phil’s hot licks are heard on a 1977 Ibanez 527 Mandolin, of which he is quite proud. Phil also contributes stellar songwriting, as well as lead and harmony vocals to the distinctive Eight Dollar Mountain sound. Phil is married to the greatest woman in the world and they have an amazing son (and budding musician) named Austin. His wife Andrea is learning the bass. They all reside in a house in Ashland, Oregon.

Peter Koelsch
Hailing from the snowy hills of Salt Lake City, bassist and vocalist Peter Koelsch was bit by the bluegrass bug at an early age. His dad Smokey used to own a popular record store, which was the sole ticket outlet in the beehive state for the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, held each summer in Colorado. As a result, Peter’s summer vacations were always spent in the San Juan mountain range, listening to the high lonesome sounds of Peter Rowan, Hot Rize and the New Grass Revival, all of which have been tremendous and lasting influences on his musical approach. A rather unconventionally trained vocalist, Peter often taps into that bluegrass history when approaching melodies and harmonies, and often helps drive the ensemble’s sound. With strained vocal leads, face-melting harmonies and a rhythm that could power a freight train, Peter supports the group’s sound with style, strength and substance, doing it all with a token knockout smile.

Mark Lackey
Raised on the hillsides of the Ozark Plateau, dobro player Mark Lackey began his strong love of bluegrass and folk music as a child. Witnessing summer performances from the likes of Bill Monroe and Ralph Stanley while with his grandfather made a deep impact on him. Spending his twenties roaming the crags of the west deepened his commitment to roots music as he began playing guit