Polecat Creek
Gig Seeker Pro

Polecat Creek


Band Americana Bluegrass


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Advance praise for Ordinary Seasons"

“With Ordinary Seasons, Polecat Creek fuses traditional mountain melodies with new lyrics and the result is sublime. The production is nicely transparent, allowing Laurelyn and Kari's beautiful duet singing to shine brightly through a fresh acoustic weave. The group has the knack of fitting new songs and old songs seamlessly together. Simply put, this is plain good music.” Tim O’Brien - Tim O'Brien

"Leaving Eden review"

Polecat Creek features Laurelyn Dossett and Kari Sickenberger, two singer-songwriters from North Carolina who have pooled their talents, ostensibly because their wonderful harmonies bring out more in their songs than each of their own individual voices could. Although the women straddle the fence between bluegrass and old-time (leaning more toward the later), there are also occasional echoes of Cajun music, honky-tonk, and blues.

Their second album was recorded in Louisiana with Dirk Powell producing and Riley Baugus as the main accompanist (mostly on banjo and fiddle). Kevin Wimmer (fiddle), Terry Huval (lap steel and resophonic guitar), Mike Burch (drums), and Powell (a multi-instrumentalist) make up the rest of the backing crew.

The songs, written individually by either Dossett or Sickenberger, are memorable and lyrically sophisticated. “Mama” has nothing in common with the sappy tributes to motherhood that are prevalent in some country music circles. “The Past Ain’t Over Yet,” the story of a prisoner who is haunted by a murder committed while under the influence, is a jaunty blues that includes some classic lines: “Now I can’t look ahead and I can’t forget/My future’s behind me and the past ain’t over yet.” The title track is a touching song about the collapse of a small-town industry and the inhabitant’s struggle to survive.

Strong vocals, tight harmonies, compelling arrangements, and impeccable musicianship all help to bring out the best in the duo’s songs.
- No Depression 2005

"Ralph Kirschner review"

“Thoughtful songs with beautiful harmonies and melancholy fiddle work, now that's real music by and for real people. Cowboy Junkies without the feedback and the clinical depression. Country without the whole Nascar vibe. Acoustic music without the wish-I-came-up-in-a-holler affectations. In a word, Genuine.” - notes from a fan

"Bill Frater review"

“Both women are intelligent songwriters and gorgeous singers, and seamlessly support each other with tight harmonies…songs of contemporary relationship matters, aching hearts, unrealized dreams and stubborn men. This is wonderful stuff that goes beyond the usual old-timey and singer-songwriter boundaries. I remember the chills I had when I first heard Gillian Welch's music, I get that same feeling here, times two.” - Freight Train Boogie

"On the Edge"

Polecat Creek is a duo comprised of Laurelyn Dossett and Kari Sickenberger. "Leaving Eden" is their second recording project, and features several guest musicians, including Riley Baugus (fiddle and banjo). Produced by Dirk Powell, the 15 selections are all original, including Laurelyn's "Come By Here," which won the 2003 Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at MerleFest. Laurelyn's and Kari's vocals are especially strong on "Come Dance," "The Worst Thing," and "Take What You Get." "Leaving Eden" is an immaculate example of contemporary folk music brimming with exhilaration and originality. - Bluegrass Unlimited

"Jeri Rowe review"

Listen to “Leaving Eden,’’ the sophomore effort from Polecat Creek, and you come away with the vision of the Other South, the place perpetuated by Mt Airy’s WPAQ, nighttime jam sessions around Blank Ankle, and of course, all things Doc. Just chalk it up to the songwriting talents of Laurelyn Dossett and Kari Sickenberger. The duo collectively known as Polecat Creek has created a Southern gothic world in 15 old-time country tunes that speak of hope dashed and love fulfilled in the everyday details of crows, rivers, cold beds and burning kisses.

Riley Baugus, the voice of Pangle from “Cold Mountain,’’ gives “Leaving Eden’’ an old-time sensibility through his masterful work on the fiddle, guitar and banjo. And producer Dirk Powell, who worked on the “Cold Mountain’’ soundtrack, gives “Leaving Eden’’ a polished sheen that makes the CD feel as timeless as the Dan River. But what gets you are the mesmerizing harmonies of Dossett and Sickenberger, especially on “That I Should Know Your Face’’ and “You Don’t Mean Those Things That You Said.’’ Their clutch-your-throat harmonies along with Baugus’ exceptional talent and stark, beautiful lyrics make “Leaving Eden’’ one of the best local releases of the year. - Go Triad

"Dave Hicks"

“Many thanks for sending me a copy of "Leaving Eden," a fascinating breath of fresh air. You and Kari have written some powerful tunes which have been creatively arranged and passionately performed. I love the "less is more" approach -- the sparse instrumentation accentuates the earthiness and realness of the tunes. I especially liked "Take What You Get," "You Didn't Mean Those Things That You Said" (probably my favorite), "Tomboy," "Lying Man" and the title track, but I though every tune is a gem. I have thoroughly enjoyed this project and plan on playing the heck out of it here in Nashville and in our other syndicated locations. Thanks again for breaking some new ground in such a classy and cool way.” - Nashville Public Radio

"Ty Buckner"

"Anyone who has the opportunity to see Polecat Creek perform will be fascinated by their stage presence and their original stories and tunes. Kari and Laurelyn have an authentic, organic charm that is completely unpretentious. Joined by Natalya Weinstein and occasionally, Riley Baugus, it is so evident that they enjoy one another and have fun performing. The authenticity of their music is reflected in the material as well as their performance. More than revivalists, Polecat Creek is completely contemporary in their musical choices. The creativity and relation of the lyrics to real life ("You'd rather be right than be in love," "I've got a crooked road running through my past") makes their music universally appealing. For me, Polecat Creek's performances have been a spiritual experience--their words and music touch my soul." - live music fan


Salt Sea Bound: 2001
Leaving Eden: 2004
Concert for Hope: 2006 (live recording of concert with Billy Joe Shaver and Jeffrey Dean Foster)
Ordinary Seasons: 2007

Listen at www.myspace.com/polecatcreek



Polecat Creek started small, much like the piedmont North Carolina stream that bears its name. In the mid 1990’s Kari Sickenberger and Laurelyn Dossett, both natives of the south, were living in the Greensboro area. Through some mutual friends they ended up in a book club together. A guitar standing in the corner of Kari’s apartment led to an evening of harmony singing – Carter Family songs and some early Gillian Welch. They haven’t stopped singing since. Kari and Laurelyn started writing their own songs and eventually formed the roots duo known as Polecat Creek.

Winners of the neo-traditional contest at the 2006 Appalachian String Band Festival, Polecat Creek has featured many fine musicians over the years. Sugar Hill recording artist and veteran old-time banjo, guitar and fiddle player Riley Baugus joined the group in early 2001 after sitting in at a local gig. He added the distinctive old-time sound which is characteristic of Polecat Creek recordings, and he joins the group frequently for concerts. The most recent addition, fiddler Natalya Weinstein, joined after coming south to Asheville, North Carolina, and moving in next door to Kari. Natalya adds her heartbreaking fiddle to current Polecat Creek shows.

Ordinary Seasons, Polecat Creek’s latest cd, showcases the talents of both Riley and Natalya, as well as young mandolin player Eric Robertson and veteran bassist Jeff Hersk – who bring another set of original songs to life. Made in the summer of 2007, it was recorded and co-produced by Grammy-winning Steven Heller, known for his work with artists ranging from Doc Watson to Toubab Krewe. Ordinary Seasons follows on the heels of Polecat Creek’s critically acclaimed Leaving Eden, produced by Dirk Powell in 2004. The band’s first cd, Salt Sea Bound was released in late 2001.

Songwriting has since become Polecat Creek’s hallmark; Laurelyn’s Come by Here won the Chris Austin Songwriting Contest in the gospel category in 2004. Kari’s Take What You Get has been featured on several compilation cds and has had extensive play in the U.K. Leaving Eden has been featured on the BBC and by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in articles about the decline of the textile industry. In recent years Laurelyn has written the music for Triad Stage’s Brother Wolf, Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Adventure and will premiere Bloody Blackbeard in June 2008. Her song, Anna Lee, appears on Levon Helm’s 2007 release, Dirt Farmer.

Kari and Laurelyn are perhaps best known for their singular style of harmony singing. They sang with Garrison Keillor on a recent show in Greensboro; Kari sang harmony on Ginny Hawker’s “Letters from my Father” and “Draw Closer” cd. They have played festivals including Merlefest, Birmingham’s City Stages, First Night Raleigh, Floydfest, and Shakori Hills, as well as concerts and harmony workshops around the southeast.