The Accidentals - Official
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The Accidentals - Official

Traverse City, Michigan, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2011 | MAJOR | AFM

Traverse City, Michigan, United States | MAJOR | AFM
Established on Jan, 2011
Band Folk Indie




"The Accidentals Sign with Sony Music Masterworks Label, Look Forward to National and International Distribution of New Album"

As popular as Michigan’s The Accidentals have become over the past two years – selling out venues across the region and beyond – their stardom potential is about to ramp up considerably on a national and international scale.

The young, much-buzzed-about Traverse City band has signed a contract with New York’s Sony Music Masterworks, a highly regarded label that features renowned and eclectic artists such as Yo-Yo Ma, Sonny Rollins, Tall Heights, Bill Frisell, Branford Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, The Bad Plus, Yanni, Jackie Evancho, Robert Randolph and Joshua Bell.

Earning widespread national media praise as a breakout “act to watch,” the multi-instrumental duo of Savannah Buist and Katie Larson, with touring and studio drummer Michael Dause, will release its Sony Music Masterworks debut album this spring.

The genre-melding indie-folk band recorded the full-length album with engineer and co-producer Jason Lehning (Mat Kearney, Guster, George Jones, Alison Krauss) at North Carolina’s Echo Mountain Recording, with additional tracking at Nashville’s House of Blues Studios and Addiction Sound Studios.

The album boasts guest appearances by The Decemberists’ Jenny Conlee, Jack White bassist Dominic John Davis and “one-man jam-band” guitarist Keller Williams.

“It has been amazing,” Larson said of working “nonstop” on the new album, which follows independent release of the band’s 2014 “Bittersweet” album and 2016 “Parking Lot EP.”


After meeting with label executives in New York City, The Accidentals chose Sony Music Masterworks for worldwide distribution of the new album due to “the longevity of their artists as career musicians” and the label’s ability “to support the bands’ work as composers, arrangers, producers and authors.”

Buist described label representatives and Sony Masterworks senior vice president Chuck Mitchell as “a family that gets us and our music, and wants to support that authentically.”

Added Larson: “We feel like we can be truly who we are and they appreciate the honesty.”

Although initially considered a classical crossover label spawned from a restructuring at Sony Music Entertainment several years ago, Sony Masterworks has signed a number of genre-bending artists, including singer-songwriter Allison Pierce, Boston progressive folk duo Tall Heights, future soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote and Minnesota avant garde jazz trio The Bad Plus.

The signing came after The Accidentals spent months gauging interest from other labels, and after recording some initial demos.

Sony Music Masterworks executives called the band a perfect fit for the eclectic label. Mitchell even cited the video for a 2015 “HopCat presents Local Spins Live at River City Studios” interview and performance session in Grand Rapids – hosted by Local Spins – for helping convince him to add The Accidentals to the fold. (Watch that Local Spins interview and performance session online here.)

The well-traveled band this week is in Nashville before launching a Western tour with Martin Sexton. The Accidentals will return to Michigan for February performances, including an appearance at WYCE’s Feb. 10 Jammie Awards at The Intersection in Grand Rapids — the beginning of what’s expected to be a whirlwind year for the band.

“We’re moving into this new year powerfully and without any fear and boldly,” Buist said in a video message to fans that you can watch here at Local Spins. - Local Spins

"The Accidentals Have Arrived: Meet the Tireless Trio Behind the Wheel of Good Fortune"

It’s not by accident that Savannah “Sav” Buist, Katie Larson and Michael Dause spend more days on the road than they do in their own Michigan homes. It’s by design.

For two young female singer-songwriters who play classical instruments in a folk-rock band with their male drummer, the Accidentals are driven to stay on the highway of life as long as gas supplies don’t reach the post-apocalyptic Road Warrior stage.

Already known for their high-energy live show and a willingness to connect with fans through personal tunes, plugged-in social media awareness and an intriguing back story, the Accidentals are going places. If you haven’t seen or heard of them by now, keep your eyes on the road.

2016 Folks Fest logoThe Accidentals are moving fast and nothing can stop them now. Except for an occasional tire blowout, maybe.

Calling in late July from — surprise! — a hotel room in Wisconsin before moving on to Chicago to add some strings to a track by the Giving Tree Band, then resuming a summertime tour, the Accidentals sounded like seasoned pros discussing the group’s dramatic rise. Yet their youthful exuberance was evident as they expressed excitement for the chance to take a plane ride to an upcoming gig — the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival in Colorado.

That rare upgrade is out of necessity, of course. Performing in their home state at Festival on the Bay on the night of Aug. 20, these Michiganders will have an early wake-up call the next morning, arrive at Denver International Airport by 9 a.m. (if all goes well) and get whisked to the scenic mountain town of Lyons alongside the St. Vrain River for a noontime performance. Talk about cutting it close.

“In true Accidental fashion,” they said with a laugh followed by some sighs. “We definitely wanted to make it happen.”

Buist, 21, and Larson, 20, have maturely maintained a frenetic pace since getting “thrown together for a class assignment” for the school orchestra program at Traverse City West Senior High in 2011.

“We ended up playing the White Stripes instead, so we were a band pretty much that night,” said Buist, whose literary experience while playing in her family’s band was strictly devoted to books until she meet her musical partner.

“Savannah,” Larson offered admiringly, “I can just say that she’s one of the best writers I’ve ever met. ... She writes amazing books. And so that’s one reason I think her song lyrics are so intelligent is because she comes from that background.”

Larson admitted that at the age of 15, “performing was definitely not on my radar. I’m super-thankful that Savannah and I happened to accidentally meet because we’re both super-introverted, we’re super-nerdy and passionate about music. ...

“We’re also really passionate about putting in these weird elements. I played in a jazz band my freshman year. And so I love jazz guitar, those kind of influences. Putting in weird melodies and stuff like that. ... And Savannah helped me break out of my stage-fright shell,” she said, laughing.

Both multi-instrumentalists from musically inclined families, Buist focused on the violin and Larson the cello, and they recorded their first album Tangled Red and Blue in 2012, receiving scholarships to attend Interlochen Center for the Arts that same year.

While writing songs for homework, they reached out to a number of producers and got a response from Rob Feaster (Crowded House), who worked on their 2013 release Bittersweet, an infectious 15-song collection made possible by crowd-funding $16,000 in only one week.

“Katie turned 17 in the studio over spring break in the middle of recording Bittersweet,” Buist said. “And some of the songs we were finishing up literally on the car ride to Nashville (where it was recorded). So it was crazy but the album overall ended up winning a couple of awards and it was a really organic catalyst for everything that’s happened thus far.”

Added Larson: “Releasing Bittersweet and playing around our hometown, those are definitely things that helped build our local base. And that was something we worked on really hard for about two or three years.”

The sonically diverse Accidentals combine the sweet sisterly harmonies of Sweden’s First Aid Kit with classically composed San Fermin, a formidable group of trend-setting rockers based in Brooklyn.

A production deal in 2014, the year Larson graduated from high school, was signed with ILO, the company run by musician Marshall Crenshaw and producer Stewart Lerman, but not before some anxious moments.

Becoming full-time musicians or full-time students were life-altering options for both the violinist and cellist, who had opportunities to attend the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Larson had 24 “absolutely terrifying” hours to decide before turning down a full-ride Presidential scholarship, and doesn’t seem to regret her choice.

“I think it’s kind of funny because a lot of people who grew up playing music, it’s a dream come true to have a production deal and be in a rock band and tour,” she said. “But Savannah and I are so passionate about continuing to learn, continuing to grow that it was a hard decision not to go to college when we’d spent our whole life already taking AP classes and the extracurriculars and trying to have a perfect resume for college and studying other things, too. ...

“But ultimately we’re having a pretty insane opportunity doing what we’re doing. So a production deal is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing and we know that college is always gonna be something that’s there for us and something that we can go back to. And honestly, touring full time for two years is one of the craziest learning experiences we can have.”


The Accidentals (from left): Katie Larson, Michael Dause and Savannah Buist.

Buist and Larson rounded out the band in 2014, a year after meeting Dause at Michigan’s Blissfest, where he performed an open mic show before one of their sets.

“And we all kind of just became friends because we were all the same age and playing music,” said Dause, who hails from the Detroit/Ann Arbor area and already was a “huge fan” of their songs. “We connected like that. And about a year later, I guess I had forgotten to mention that I played the drums. And then they found that out and they were like, ‘Well, we’re looking for a drummer. Do you want to sit in for like a month and see how it goes this summer?’ “

They’ve been together ever since, recently celebrating their two-year anniversary as a trio. “Now that we have momentum behind it, we’re happy to keep doing this for a while,” Buist said.

Another milestone will occur March 21, 2017 — Larson’s 21st birthday. For 24 hours, they’ll all be the same age. On March 22, Dause, who also plays guitar and writes for his own band that includes Savannah’s father Rick Buist on guitar and keyboards, will turn 22.

By then, there’s no telling how how many frequent driver miles they’ll have on the odometer of their GMC Savana extended cargo van. Sharing the wheel with Amber Buist, Savannah’s mother who’s also the band’s tour manager (“the best driver out of any of us by far,” Larson said), and front of house engineer Jeremy Chereskin, the Accidentals figure they’ll play about 200 shows in 2016, falling short of last year’s record number (around 230).

Yet, they’ll have a good reason. In 2016, their contractual obligations to ILO fulfilled, Buist and Larson decided to become free agents again.

TheAccidentals_ParkingLotDespite already releasing Parking Lot, a seven-song self-produced EP, on June 1, the group plans to head back into the studio in October to record a full-length album that will be out in the first quarter of 2017. “We have 30 to 40 songs that need a home and we have some label interest,” said Larson, offering thanks to their management team of Mike Kopp and Sharon Corbitt-House at All Good Factory in Nashville.

Cool, calm, collected and confident, the trio continues to pick up life lessons on the road. For instance, they now know when winter ends, it’s time to replace the snow tires on the vehicle they’ve nicknamed “Black Betty,” shown on the Parking Lot cover with the rest of their gear.

After performing at South By Southwest this year, they survived their scariest horror story of the road to date, when “our tire blew off in the middle of the night on a highway with a semi-truck behind us, like going downhill,” Larson recalled.

Once a set of all-season tires was installed, the nightmare didn’t end, though, according to Buist. On the way back to Michigan, they got caught in a blizzard. “That was probably the worst,” she said.

Maybe that’s material for a future song by Buist and Larson, who still manage to find time to maintain relationships with boyfriends living in Michigan (videographer) and Arkansas (touring musician), respectively. Meanwhile, Dause is single and available, the laughing ladies claim.

TheAccidentalsVertWhile Buist and Larson generally write separately, all three members have their hands in arranging numbers such as “Michigan and Again,” the love note to their home, “The End” (moving on after high school) and “Sixth Street” (about Austin’s entertainment district).

These coming-of-age experiences may or may not be as touching as those found in Buist’s 250-page yearlong journal that she just finished.

“There’s so much to say about touring with people who aren’t related to you by blood but become related to you because you’re in their space 24/7,” Buist said.

When each of them were pressed to come up with a standout moment in their still-budding career, Buist said it’s been the “experience of recording Parking Lot“ at Blue Rock Studio in Wimberly, Texas.

“This place is like a musician’s haven. It’s beautiful. It’s like basically a nature preserve in the middle of nowhere,” added the wildlife lover who “geeked out” by celebrating her 21st birthday watching baby wolves on a tour of Yellowstone National Park this summer.

For Larson, it was the chance with Buist to arrange and compose parts to their beautiful Bittersweet song “Mangrove” for a 72-piece symphony orchestra (including some of their former teachers) in Traverse City. She called it “the most terrifying and amazing experience because it all happened so quickly.”

The final memory came from Dause, who mentioned the many emails the Accidentals receive from fans across the country, some of which they share on Facebook or the Famgrove page on their website.

When the band was in Denver recently, one such note arrived from a Michigan man who was missing his wife, a teacher spending time in Colorado getting trained to learn the Montessori method. Dause relayed the message that went something like this:

“Hey, my wife is from Michigan and I haven’t seen her for like a month and she’s going to your show. I know you’re in Colorado but would you play ‘Michigan and Again’ for her?”

The song written by Buist already “has kind of blown up for us completely unexpectedly,” Larson said. “I think that the video blew up and became viral because people were sharing it to everyone who they knew maybe moved out of state and were across the country but had this feeling of homesickness. And so it really connected to people in a way that we didn’t expect. And it connected to us, too. The first time I played it, Michael started crying.”

They all shared a laugh about that but the two women credited Dause for his cool idea that became a theme in the “Michigan and Again” video. The state signs were shot at every border crossing the band made, whether it was bland Nebraska or colorful Colorado.

No matter where their travels take them, though, Buist, Larson and Dause always cheer whenever they pass the sign heading into Michigan, where supportive family, friends and the original fan base gave them a jump-start.

“We’ve also been finding homes away from home while we’ve been touring, which feels really good, too.” Larson hastened to add.

If, as the saying goes, the journey is the reward, the Accidentals already have paved their path to success. - Huffington Post

"10 Artists to Watch in 2017"

Meet Americana’s next big thing. The Accidentals, led by Savannah Buist and Katie Larson, hail from Michigan, a state that inspired in them an ode catchy enough to serve as its own tourist draw, “Michigan and Again.” Like all the group’s songs, it boasts a finely observed lyric and a brightly catchy tune. Musically, their songs sift together folk, bluegrass, alt-rock, and even classical music, via the somber tones of Larson’s cello. The Accidentals match their instruments to girlishly high voices that can sound both winsome and wise. The core duo began performing four years ago while still in high school. They’ve been prolific since, recording loads of indie releases, filming well-shot videos, while earning Billboard’s nod as one of the breakout groups at 2015’s South by Southwest. They’ve opened national tours for the likes of Andrew Bird, Brandi Carlile, and Dar Williams. This coming spring, they’ll finally issue their major-label debut for Sony. - Yahoo Music

"SXSW 2016: Artists to Watch"


Billboard’s Breakout Band at SXSW 2015, Winner of the Emerging Artist Series, Winner of WYCE’s Album of the Year 2015—and the list goes on. In just two years, The Accidentals recorded three original albums, scored two films, landed song placements in documentaries, independent films and commercials and played over 700 live shows…and then they graduated high school. The group features an eclectic blend of classical, jazz, bluegrass and indie folk and synthesizes a wide variety of instruments that reflect the group’s impressive orchestral roots. - VINYLMAG

"The Accidentals' New Song Should Be Your Michigan Summer Road Trip Anthem"

The Accidentals, an electrifying, genre-bending trio originally from Traverse City, have just released a new single that gives Michigan's unofficial state song, "My Michigan," a run for its money.

"Michigan and Again" is the band's first single off its forthcoming EP, and the upbeat, folk-tinged tune plays like a sunny-sweet love letter to the Great Lakes State. The song is temporarily available as a name-your-price download on The Accidentals' Bandcamp page.

"It really is kind of a love letter to the state, and a thank you for everyone supporting us," said The Accidentals' Savannah Buist, who wrote the song. "It's a homesick letter, too."

Buist, 20, and fellow multi-instrumentalist Katie Larson, also 20, founded The Accidentals when the two were still in high school. Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Michael Dause, 21, was later added to the line-up as the band's drummer, and the trio has been touring extensively the past year, opening for the likes of Andrew Bird, Arlo Guthrie, Joan Baez, Brandi Carlisle, and others.

"It's really blown my mind to spend so much time outside the state and see the rest of the country," Larson said. "I love traveling, but it's really made me realize how special our community is in northern Michigan, and how special the [Michigan] music community is."

"Michigan and Again" came to be thanks to an Indiegogo campaign The Accidentals held to help fund their travels to the South by Southwest Music Festival in Texas (where, incidentally, the band was named one of the fest's top breakout bands by Billboard Magazine). The campaign was "a musical garage sale," Buist said, offering up old instruments and other treats -- including a custom song written about any topic -- in exchange for donations. A fan who the band refers to as "Mark from Ludington" bid on the custom song and requested a tune about Michigan.

"We said, 'Wow, why didn't we think of that?'" Buist said. "There's so much we could say about Michigan. The song ended up being about how great it is to come home after being on the road for touring."

The Accidentals are headed into the studio this week to finish recording songs for the rest of their forthcoming EP. After that, they'll be hitting the road for more shows (schedule here), including EP release parties in Grand Rapids, Traverse City, Detroit, Lansing and Kalamazoo in the first week of June. They'll also be making the rounds on the Michigan festival circuit this summer -- where performing their homesick home-state tribute might feel just that much more meaningful.

"What we want people to take away from this song is that we are so grateful for where we came from, and we'll never lose sight of that," Larson said. "It's just a funny little state shaped like a mitten, and it's got so much to offer. It's incredible." - MLive

"SXSW 2015: From The Accidentals to Songhoy Blues, 7 Breakout Acts"

...displaying a genre-hopping range of influences and some smart songwriting skills to go with their abundant musical chops. -

"The Accidentals wrap up crazy year..."

To say that the meteoric rise of Traverse City’s The Accidentals has made for a frenzied, event-filled year would be selling the year short.
The young, acoustic indie-folk/rock group has racked up 10,000 miles by playing an astounding 230 shows across the country in 2014, earned widespread media attention, signed a contract to record four albums in New York City with producers Marshall Crenshaw and Stewart Lerman, and exponentially expanded its fan base across the Midwest.
- See more at: - Local Spins

"SXSW 'breakout band' The Accidentals announce west coast tour dates"

Savannah Buist and Katie Larson are both amazingly talented musicians who seem capable of playing just about anything. -

"10 Must See Acts At Electric Forest Festival"

The Traverse City, Michigan trio, who are all under 21 and play a plethora of instruments in order to produce their high-energy folk sound, is an up-and-coming band who is making their Electric Forest debut. No stranger to the festival scene, The Accidentals were named one of the top seven breakout bands at SXSW by Billboard; most likely due to exceptionally catchy tunes like their single, “The Silence.” Sling a hammock among the trees and catch this set so one day when they’re racking up awards, you can claim that you “knew them way back when.” -

"Meet The Accidentals"

Savannah Buist, 19, and Katie Larson, 18, have played more than 200 shows so far this year, so their combined energy probably could replace the electrical grid. The Traverse City sensations met in high school and were part of the first program for singer-songwriters at the Interlochen Center for the Arts high school. Their band, the Accidentals, has won Traverse magazine's "Red Hot Best" of northern Michigan music two years in a row.

Recently, they signed a recording deal with pop-rocker (and metro Detroit native) Marshall Crenshaw.

The band — which now includes drummer Michael Dause — will be in Detroit today to make a video and is scheduled to sing a couple of songs at the TedX Detroit event on Tuesday. Check out their acoustic-tastic original song "Epitaphs" on YouTube. - Detroit Free Press

"Waiting to Happen: The Accidentals"

"Listening to Traverse City duo The Accidentals (a name even more witty than it sounds, as it refers to musical terminology) is something quite different than what you might expect.

The buzz around these two singer-songwriters is that they’re up-and-coming local musicians who have just released their first CD, Tangled Red and Blue, and that they’re playing impressive, quirky live shows around town. Back to that first listen, their original songs carry titles like “Eye to Eye,” “Jargon,” and “The Band-Aid Song,” all of which feature an eclectic range of sounds (both play at least a half-dozen instruments - each) as well as carefully-constructed harmonies and lead vocals that recall Juliana Hatfield, Joni Mitchell, or Metric’s Emily Haines.

It’s difficult to believe that music this accomplished is being crafted by two talents who are still in high school - but that’s The Accidentals’ story. "-​ Kristi Kates - Northern Express Magazine 7/2012 - Northern Express Magazine

"Introducing The Accidentals"

Multi-instrumentalists, Katie Larson and Savannah Buist are creating quite a name for themselves among music lovers of all genre’s.

Described as, ‘A duo giving an edge to folk with unique instrumentation’, Z93 FM DJ, Matt Mansfield writes: ‘Combine musicality, originality and melodic beauty with a welcome and unexpected bite to clever lyrics and you’ve got Accidentals music. Songwriters, look no farther to find a new pairing to be jealous of, especially with such a bright future ahead of them.’

They met in 2011 at their public high school. Katie (15) was a freshman cello player, ‘playing up’ in the Philharmonic Orchestra and Savannah (16) was Concert Master, violinist. They volunteered for a class assignment that threw them together for their first rehearsal and The Accidentals were born.

Growing up in musical families with professional pianists for fathers and vocalist for mothers, their influences bounced between classical, jazz, bluegrass, country, alt-rock, and the obscure.

Their collective playlist you won’t find on mainstream radio. They are ‘explorers and admirers’ of indie music greats like Andrew Bird, St. Vincent, Sufjean Stephens, Arcade Fire, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah’s, Black Keys, Sara Jaffe (and the Beatles).

Their original tunes reflect their exposure to a wide variety of instruments while staying true to their orchestral roots. In addition to playing guitar, bass, glockenspiel, mandolin, banjo, piano, organ, accordian, and kazoo…you can’t miss the edgy violin and cello that defines this duo.

In 2012 these two ladies auditioned for and snaged a covetted spot in the first ever singer-songwriter major at the renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts High School -around the time they released their first self-produced album, Tangled Red and Blue.

In early reviews of Tangled Red and Blue , Kristi Kates, The Express, was the first to say what everyone was thinking, ‘It’s difficult to believe that music this accomplished is being crafted by two talents who are still in high school – but that’s The Accidentals’ story.’

In two short years (2011-2013) they would write and record two albums, play as guest artists on seven others, score three films, and land song placements in several commercials, documentaries, independent films, and music compilations while playing over five hundred live shows and maintaining a 3.9 + GPA.

In 2013 The Accidentals opened for some of their favorite artists, Andrew Bird, Sixto Rodriguez (Sugar Man), Aunt Martha, Rosco Bandana, and Lauren Mann. They hopped an RV to tour their home state of Michigan for a consecutive seven weeks while finishing and releasing their second album Bittersweet.

The GR Examiner called their stage show ‘stunning, an unforgettable experience watching these two girls play a sea of instruments (twelve to be exact), moving effortlessly from one to the other, while entertaining the masses with their wit, haunting harmonies, and catchy melodies, they are truly unforgettable.’

Fifteen track, Bittersweet, was recorded with award winning producers in Nashville and Indiana in March 2013. According to UK Magazine, Leicester Bangs: ‘The lyrical flow is intriguing and absorbing – and so complex as to draw comparison to Joanna Newsom in full poetic flight.”
DW Magazine, UK adds; “heady folk and sweet melodies embellish an accomplished set of songs – Larson and Buist have found their trademark sound but they’re not going to let it get in the way of a little diversity.”

The Accidentals recently won Traverse Magazine’s “Red Hot Best” of Northern Michigan Music and reviews of thier song “The Silence” landed them a featured artist spot on Reverbnation’s home page and put their new album in rotation on CBS Radio. It also garnered the attention of songwriting legend and producer, Marshall Crenshaw and Grammy award winning engineer, Stewart Lerman. Stay tuned for news on that front!

Just graduating high school May 2014, The Accidentals journey is just beginning and they can’t wait for you to join them. - Niji Magazine

"Wheatland Fest sure to draw thousands"

Fennville’s Mark Schrock considers it a folk festival tradition unlike any other.

The in-demand bassist and co-owner of Fennville’s Salt of the Earth has attended 38 of the 40 Wheatland Music Festivals, and he’ll be back this weekend at the “granddaddy” of Michigan folk fests for No. 41, performing with Madcat Midnight Blues Journey and staging workshops on the rural, 160-acre site near Remus in Mecosta County.
As Schrock puts it, there’s a special vibe surrounding the prestigious September festival where about 10,000 Wheatland devotees will be “experiencing some of the best of the best in traditional and contemporary roots and folk music.”

Best of the best, indeed: The three-day affair organized by the Wheatland Music Organization boasts stellar names in American roots music such as Grammy-winning Texas singer-songwriter Rodney Crowell, folk-jazz icon Claudia Schmidt, Virginia’s highly acclaimed The Steel Wheels and St. Louis folk-roots fave Pokey LaFarge.
For Schmidt, who moved not long ago from the Traverse City area to Minnesota’s Twin Cities, it’s a true homecoming for an artist who has attended and performed at many past Wheatlands. She plays the Main Stage at 8:20 p.m. Friday and the Centennial Stage at 8:05 p.m. Saturday, both with guitarist Dean Magraw, as well as participating in a Saturday afternoon songwriting workshop.

“I have been part of Wheatland since nearly the beginning,” she said. “I’m just … glad to be back, especially with Dean Magraw as a bandmate.”

Wheatland has nurtured and cultivated an appreciation for roots music through its education programs and a dedication to traditional arts for many years, thereby attracting young audiences as well as older fans, Schmidt noted.

“Wheatland has been teaching a lot of these younger music lovers with their school programs, so there is a continuity,” she said. “Folk music is for all ages, always has been.”

Michigan acts are featured on Wheatland’s stages all weekend long, too, including Traverse City buzz bands Billy Strings and Don Julin and The Accidentals, Kalamazoo’s Red Tail Ring, northern Michigan’s Detour and Grand Rapids’ Bennett, as well as Michigander-turned-Nashville-ite Rachael Davis.

The family-styled Wheatland enhances all those performances with workshops, dance sessions, children’s activities and a true nurturing of those “traditional arts.”

For the up-and-coming 18- and 19-year-old Accidentals, getting a chance to play Wheatland is literally a dream come true. They first heard about the festival a few years ago from Detour’s Scott Zylstra, who told them it might be difficult to land an opportunity to perform there because “only the best of the best showcase there.” The Accidentals will play the event for the first time at 7:15 p.m. Friday on the Centennial Stage.

“Those words really stuck with us and Wheatland became our goal,” said multi-instrumentalist and singer Savannah Buist of The Accidentals, a string duo that’s toured extensively the past year and recently signed a four-album development contract with Marshall Crenshaw and Grammy-winning producer Stewart Lerman.

“We know that a ton of people advocated for us to play Wheatland and we are so incredibly honored to stand on the stages graced by some of our most inspirational musical influences.”

Schrock, who’s passed the Wheatland tradition on to his sons, noted that members of Madcat Midnight Blues Journey will use their Wheatland appearance to celebrate release of a new live album that was recorded at Salt of the Earth last winter.

“We are on the Centennial Stage late Friday night (11:15 p.m.),” he said, “and we plan to throw a party for the Friday night faithful.” - Holland Sentinel

"Wheatland 2014 kicks off with electrifying sets by Michigan stars, new and seasoned"

From The Accidentals to The Steel Wheels, the folk and roots music festival has turned the rural Remus site this weekend into a ‘village’ of 10,000 very happy Wheatland devotees.

If anything vividly illustrates the power and the soul of Wheatland, it was one of the festival’s opening sets on Friday delivered by Traverse City’s The Accidentals.

The fast-emerging teen string band’s debut at the prestigious folk and roots music festival was everything organizers, attendees and the musicians themselves could ever have hoped for, with a rapt, standing-room only, overflow crowd hooting, cheering and rabidly applauding the trio’s wildly eclectic set of folk, gypsy jazz and indie-rock.

The birth of a true musical phenomenon is always a pleasure to watch, but this milestone performance by multi-instrumentalists and singers Savannah Buist and Katie Larson, with drummer Michael Dause, was a dramatic example of a band absolutely coming into its own right there on the Wheatland stage, energizing a diverse throng with its upbeat stringed magic and the gleeful exuberance of youth.

Afterward, the trio of 18- and 19-year-olds continued to soar amid the adrenaline rush of a life-changing experience, signing autographs and chatting happily with a long queue of adoring new fans who clutched their recently purchased Accidentals’ CD.

This particular chapter during the 41st annual Wheatland Music Festival, with 10,000 people gathered literally in the middle of nowhere on a rural patch of 160 acres in Mecosta County just outside Remus, was just part of the rich story of the event’s opening night, which featured captivating Main Stage performances by national acts such as Claudia Schmidt and Dean Magraw, Eden Brent and Virginia bluegrass/Americana powerhouse The Steel Wheels.

And by the end of the night, the dance pavilion was jammed with ebullient two-steppers propelled by Louisiana’s Bonsoir, Catin firing up the crowd with foot-stomping, heart-pumping Cajun cuisine.


But frankly, Michigan acts ruled the roost and electrified audiences all evening under the tent at the Centennial Stage, with Grand Rapids’ own Bennett – playing Wheatland for the second year in a row – following up The Accidentals with its own harmony-laden version of contemporary folk, and the trio pumped up its set this time around with the help of a drummer.

Michigan-born and Nashville-based singer-songwriter Rachael Davis – a Wheatland staple – kept those fires blazing with a who’s who band that included her husband, bassist Dominic John Davis, Traverse City guitarist Joshua Davis and keyboard player Mike Lynch among others, performing swing-, folk- and Americana-fueled songs, some of them from her brand new EP, “Bandbox Jubilee.”

The evening closed with musical fireworks of the blues variety, as the all-star Madcat Midnight Blues Journey (Ann Arbor’s Pete “Madcat” Ruth, Fennville’s Mark Schrock, Lansing’s Drew Howard and South Lyon’s Mike Shimmin) turned up the amps and dialed in the jams.
Davis told me that once you’ve been baptized in the musical waters of Wheatland, you can’t wait to get back every year.

“This is the village I was raised in,” said Davis, 35, who has attended every Wheatland since her father brought her to the festival when she was one month old.

When she arrived at Wheatland on Friday, she told her young son, Virgil, that she was, in essence, home. “We’re here,” she said. “Our whole village is back together again.”

The village that is Wheatland brims with this sort of family-driven affection and reverence, from the grinning crowds that warmly applaud the stars on stage to the late-night campfire jams that stretch into the woods like never-ending, pastoral open-mic sessions.

This is a festival with spotty cell phone service at best, a festival which doesn’t offer wi-fi and chuckles at the very thought of such a thing, and no one really seems to care.


I asked several musicians – some of them who were there just as attendees – to cite the one thing that makes Wheatland stand out for them. Their answers were different and yet reflected the same adoration for a musical institution that’s now been embraced by multiple generations of roots music fans.

“The energy,” said Bennett violinist Nick Rolls.

“The people,” said Grand Rapids singer-songwriter Eric Engblade, a Wheatland diehard.

“Everybody’s happy and you meet someone new every year,” said West Michigan multi-instrumentalist and singer, Cherie Lynn Hagen, another Wheatland veteran.

“Walking around late at night and not knowing what you’re going to run into,” said musician Josh Walters, who’s attended 20 Wheatlands.
Even first-timers, aka Wheaties, feel the love almost instantly, with “Happy Wheatland” greetings coming from every passerby on the festival grounds.

“Happy Wheatland to every one of you. I just learned that phrase but it’s showered over me ever since we got here,” Steel Wheels guitarist Trent Wagler told the crowd. “It’s so great when you find your people and that’s what we’ve found here.

And with fans enthusiastically demanding an encore at the end of the night, he added: “We do a lot of festivals these days and not many of ’em stack up to what you’ve got here.”

Correction: Perhaps none of them.

The live music, workshops and dance sessionse continue today and Sunday at Wheatland, with performances by Grammy winner Rodney Crowell, Sarah Jarosz, Billy Strings & Don Julin and others. Get the full, downloadable schedule and more about Wheatland in this Local Spins story. And check out photos from the final day of Wheatland online here. - Local Spins

"Review: The Accidentals"

This Michigan duo comprises undergraduates Katie Larson and Savannah Buist, whose stock-in-trade is a quirky, vital and accomplished brand of indie-folk that owes much to Regina Spektor, Roches, early Indigo Girls, Laura Veirs, Andrew Bird, and a couple of other artists I can't quite place (which is probably why I've taken so long to get round to this review!). But such manner of specific reference points, tho' useful, shouldn't matter unduly when the music on offer is so captivating and thoughtful while also surprisingly easily absorbed. The girls' charismatic self-penned songs straddle the divide between alt/nu-folk and Americana, yet sound like neither sub-genre really.

I'm not sure how the Accidentals' kickstarter-funded Bittersweet compares with their 2012 debut album Tangled Red And Blue, but on its own terms it's a very assured and distinctive collection of songs that take the word bittersweet literally in exploring the trials and tribulations of relationships with a notable confidence of expression. The writing's not quite equal-handed (nine songs are by Savannah, five by Katie and one's a joint composition), but there's both variety and consistency in the whole collection. Reasonably enough, each of the girls takes the lead on her own songs; each of them possessing a characteristically sweet-toned, charming turn of voice and appealing tone that nevertheless has sufficient presence and edge to avoid cloying. The musical interest is generated in the appealing melodies and often quite imaginative settings, which pit Katie's guitars, cello, ukulele, glockenspiel, piano, bass and accordion and Savannah's violin, viola, guitar, mandolin, ukulele and musical saw, against the colours provided by a small number of musician friends (on organ, banjo, toy piano, vibraphone bass and drums) on all but two of the tracks. The settings suit the songs and their special, perhaps slightly elusive lyric ambience, with a fairly childlike perspective it must be said, but one of considerable charm (if at times in a woozy, slightly drugged sense that doesn't always quite refine itself into a clear vision of the situation).

Highlights of the disc for me are the poignant, languidly aromatic Lemons In Chamomile, the bleak and delicately vulnerable City Of Cardboard, the genial lullaby Golden Lantern, the decidedly oddball Grisly Bear, the doomy Ghost Of A Lie, the ambient-layered Mangrove, the autumnal closer Blessed and the driving, catchy, timeless radio-friendly pop of Brake. But after just a couple of plays of this generously-proportioned set I'm rather getting to love every track. Thus far, Bittersweet has proven somewhat addictive… so methinks I need to hear that aforementioned Accidentals debut rather soon now!

David Kidman - FATEA

"ReverbNation: The Accidentals"

Coming out of Traverse City, Michigan, The Accidentals follow in the footsteps of New Yorkers Anne Dressner and Robin Bacior, making beautifully crafted folk songs for the albeit quirky entertainment of the masses.

Theirs is a tried and tested sound, but in this case it’s been perfected by the voices and fingers of Katie Larson and Savannah Buist, two young women destined to make an impact on the music scene in the coming few years. A violin and banjo join the duo on “The Silence”, the opening track and lead single from the band’s sophomore record Bittersweet. The album was funded through none other than Kickstarter, putting an all important kick to The Accidentals’ stride and proving a loyal fan base already in existence.

The Accidentals formed in 2011, when at the tender age of 15 and 16 respectively, Larson and Buist met in their local orchestra. Now in their late teens, they’ve already self released a successful debut in the form of Tangled Red and Blue, and are looking forward to a UK tour in the summer of 2014. - Drunken Werewolf

"Chart Discovery: The Accidentals (WNMC) and Grumpus (WDCV)"

Each week the CMJ staff sifts through thousands of radio playlists that contribute to the weekly CMJ charts. In the Chart Discovery column, we highlight exciting artists, albums and songs brought to our attention by the charts of our reporting panel of college and non-commercial radio stations. This week’s favorites come from WNMC in Traverse City, MI and WDVC in Carlisle, PA.

The Accidentals on WNMC

Traverse, Michigan duo the Accidentals stole the No. 16 spot at WNMC this week with their crowd-funded album, Bittersweet. Still in high school, Katie Larson and Savannah Buist have crafted 13 songs that are just as the title suggests; musically light and fun, but deceptively dark at times, in terms of lyrics. The instrumentation is to be admired, as the duo seems to incorporate anything they can get their hands on (banjo, cello, fiddle, orchestra bells, uke, etc). Complete with delicate harmonies and catchy melodies, Bittersweet creates a great folk-pop landscape to get lost in.

Grumpus on WDCV

Grumpus is the moniker of Boston based singer-songwriter Graham Stevenson who landed the No. 30 spot this week at WDCV. The self-produced Man Child is a dark and poppy six-song outing that is the perfect soundtrack to a lonely and anxious night spent in your parent’s house. Stevenson’s guitar chops are commendable, and his delivery of lines such as, “I’ve got some dust bunnies in my room/They’ve all grown tired, hearing songs about you,” creates a very chilling kind of intimacy. - CMJ

"The Accidentals - "Shoulders of Giants""

Songs from the Second Floor is a collection of the ephemeral performances that occur live on the air, in one take, on 88.1 WYCE. This video series is produced by GRTV in collaboration with WYCE and The Rapidian in order to capture and archive these rare moments.

Traverse City duo The Accidentals stopped in the WYCE studio to share a couple songs. This is one of those songs. - The Rapidian

"Review: The Accidentals – Bittersweet"

The Accidentals – Bittersweet (Independent)

The Accidentals are Katie Larson and Savannah Buist, a Traverse City, Michigan duo who play a captivating brand of accessible, heart-on-their-sleeve alt. folk. Melody and hooks are ever-present and the teenage pair sing their songs with a quirky charm. They originally got together in late 2011; they hit it off musically almost immediately and released their acclaimed debut “Tangled Red and Blue” in 2012. “Bittersweet” is its successor and they’ve effortlessly avoided any suggestion of the dreaded “sophomore album slump” with a collection that gets under the skin and makes itself very comfortable.

Their youthful enthusiasm is utterly infectious, and they sound like they’re enjoying themselves throughout the album’s 15 tracks. They both play a variety of gizmos, from traditional folk and songwriting instruments like guitar and piano, to more exotic devices such as glockenspiel, kazoo and musical saw - together with a selection of serious strings, including violin and cello. The diversity of instrumentation adds several layers and much warmth to the recordings, and the songs flourish in their lush surroundings.

Recorded with major producers in Indianapolis and Nashville, their professionalism has helped realize Larson and Buist’s ambitious artistic vision, and delivered a wealth of standout material. They begin with “The Silence”, an upbeat arrangement propels the song onwards and upwards, and the lyrical flow is intriguing and absorbing – and so complex as to draw comparison to Joanna Newsom in full poetic flight. Then there’s the title track, which arrives fully formed with a shuffling rhythm and rich harmonies, and enthralls a little more with each listen, and “Bulletproof Glass” brings out their equally compelling acoustic-indie inclinations.
The Accidentals CD Baby Page

Phil S. - Leicester Bangs

"THE ACCIDENTALS – Bitter Sweet (Self Released)"

Not to be confused with the New York a capella choir (or indeed several others) of the same music terminology name, Katie Larson and Savannah Buist are a pair of Michigan high school multi-instrumentalists (cello, violin, piano, ukulele and glockenspiel all loom large) who share lead (both have an engagingly sweet trill, though Susannah’s is possibly the huskier) and harmonies on an infectious, upbeat 15 track collection of indie folk.

This is their second album in as many years and, while most of the tracks are fleshed out by a variety of other musicians providing the likes of bass, drums and keys, it’s the girls, who also arrange their own material, who hold everything together.

If you’re seeking comparisons, then perhaps a cocktail of The Roches, First Aid Kit, early Indigo Girls, Regina Spektor and Juliana Hatfield might be a reasonable description; as both the finding love in the grocery aisle tale, Miso Soup (one of the two tracks featuring just the duo), and clattery stomp Grisly Bear show, they certainly share the sense of playfulness and fun that characterises all of the above.

They offer plenty of variety too, opening with the bustling ‘The Silence’ and fluidly flitting from the breathy title track’s jazzy shaker percussion sway and the swampy blues ‘Ghost Of A Lie’ to the pizzicato folk pop of ‘Brake’, the sparse acoustic ‘Golden Lantern’’s cobwebby mood and the languidly narcotic, slow waltzing ‘Lemons In Chamomile’.

As if their musical talents weren’t precocious enough for their young age (both come from musical families), they’re also accomplished songwriters, although Buist’s more melancholic, reflective offers take the lion’s share of the credits with particular highlights being the emotional vulnerability of the strings-brushed ‘Bulletproof Glass’, the anti-war themed ‘Blessed’ and ‘City Of Cardboard’ where she sings “One day it’ll burn and the lesson you’ll learn is your paper holds nothing but words and records.”

They graduate in May, after which time they’ll be setting off to spread the word with a summer tour of Europe. I’d recommend keeping a sharp eye out for the dates, these girls are going to become very much in demand.

Mike Davies -


Door de via ‘Kickstarter’ bijeengeschraapte financiële bijdrage van 132 mensen die onverwijld in de kwaliteiten van het duo geloven, konden Katie Larson (18 jaar) en Savannah Buist (19 jaar), oftewel het akoestische folkduo ‘The Accidentals’, nu hun tweede album “Bitter Sweet” op de platenmarkt lanceren.

Deze vijftien songs tellende plaat is de opvolger van het in 2012 verschenen debuutalbum “Tangled Red and Blue” dat de twee dames uit Traverse City, Michigan amper één jaartje na de oprichting van de groep hadden uitgebracht. Het leverde hen meteen voorprogramma-optredens op bij de shows van het muzikale genie Andew Bird, die ze als hun muzikale mentor beschouwen.

Meestal vertrekken ‘The Accidentals’ van een song die door één van beiden werd gecomponeerd. Enkel het nummer “Golden Lantern” is de vrucht van hun samenwerking als componisten. Ze brengen voornamelijk zeemzoete folkliedjes onder begeleiding van akoestische gitaren, maar ze beheersen ook het spelen op o.a. viool, cello, ukelele, mandoline, piano en orgel. De lead vocals bij de songs worden netjes afgewisseld en de andere dame zingt dan altijd mee in harmony vocals.

De cd opent met het liedje “The Silence”, maar gelukkig wordt er wel degelijk gezongen en gemusiceerd op deze song. Dan volgt de titeltrack “Bittersweet” die u op bijgaande video kunt bekijken en beluisteren. Het werk van ‘The Accidentals’ doet me af en toe denken aan het Zweedse folksongs zinngende zusterduo ‘First Aid Kit’. Vooral “Bulletproof Glass”, “City Of Cardboard” en “Miso Soup” hadden ook op de playlist van deze Zweedse zussen kunnen staan.

De prijs voor de meest catchy song uit deze cd is naar ons gevoel weggelegd voor het nummer “Brake” dat op een lekker voortstuwende melodie wordt gebracht, terwijl “Grisly Bear” op een jazzy ritme wordt gepresenteerd en “Mangrove” ons aan iets van Regina Spektor herinnert. Enkele andere tracks zoals “Ghost Of A Lie” en “Golden Lantern” zijn nog vrij experimenteel en lijken eerder wat op het werk van de Amerikaanse folkzangeres Joanna Newsom.

Als je op dergelijke jonge leeftijd al zo’n degelijke liedjes kunt schrijven en daarbij ook nog eens een grote variëteit aan instrumenten kunt bespelen, dan lijkt ons een lange en succesrijke toekomst weggelegd voor ‘The Accidentals’. Deze tweede cd “Bitter Sweet” is dan ook maar een beginnende stap die de weg naar internationaal succes verder zal moeten helpen plaveien. Daar kunnen beide dames voor de volle 100% voor gaan, nadat ze in mei 2014 zullen afgestudeerd zijn en de schoolboeken kunnen inruilen voor een boeiende muzikale loopbaan die hen hopelijk ook eens naar Europa zal over doen komen.

“Still amazingly young teen girls, the two ladies from the acoustic folk duo ‘The Accidentals’ have already released their second album ‘Bitter Sweet’ with 15 self-penned songs that vary from melodic, catchy to experimental. After leaving school soon, they can both start to launch their international career and work on a long and bright future in today’s musical landscape.”
– -


Parking Lot - EP

  • Released: 2016
  • Format: Digital Download/CD
  • Label: Independent
  • Producer: Self-produced
  • Singles: Michigan and Again, Parking Lot, Sixth Street
  • Released: 2013
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Independent
  • Producer: Rob Feaster, Paul Mahern, The Accidentals
  • Singles: The Silence
Tangled Red and Blue 
  • Released: 2012
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Independent
  • Producer: Self-produced
  • Singles: N/A



Billboard's Breakout Band at SXSW 2015, Huffington Post’s Sweet Sixteen of 2016, and Yahoo Music’s Top Ten Bands to Watch 2017…

Described by John Sinkevics of Local Spins as “genre-melding indie-folk,” The Accidentals (Sav Buist and Katie Larson) exhibit “a musical and lyrical sophistication that outstrips most mainstream bands.”

From 2012-2014, The Accidentals recorded three original albums, were guest artists on fifteen others, scored two films, and landed song placements in commercials, documentaries, and music compilations while playing over seven hundred live shows.  THEN they graduated high school. 

After graduation from world-renowned Interlochen Arts Academy, The Accidentals added multi-instrumentalist-singer-songwriter, Michael Dause, as their touring/studio drummer and opened for musical greats such as; Andrew Bird, Sixto Rodriguez (Sugar Man), Brandi Carlile, Dar Williams, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Ben Sollee, Rusted Root, The Wailers, Keller Williams, Arlo Guthrie, Martin Sexton, Joan Baez, and more.

In 2015, they scored original pieces for a 72-piece orchestra, an opera-dance project with Son Lux, and a smaller 30-piece string ensemble while touring the US extensively.  

In June of 2016, they released a brand new, self-produced EP called Parking Lot, of which the single, “Michigan and Again,” went viral. 

They’re kicking off 2017 as major label artists, having signed a record deal with Sony Masterworks to release a full-length album in the second quarter of the year. 

Yahoo called it first – this is the band to watch.

Visit their website at, or become a member of their FamGrove to be a part of the journey.

“Stunning, an unforgettable experience watching these two girls play a sea of instruments (twelve to be exact), moving effortlessly from one to the other, while entertaining the masses with their wit, haunting harmonies, and catchy melodies, they are truly unforgettable.” –Grand Rapids Press

“In performance they can rock.  Their live act is frequently electric.  The stage patter and presence is polished but real.  They switch instruments before the song they have finished sinks in.  A 45 minute set passes like a train.  They already have more good originals than most hit acts, and their tastefully eccentric list of covers, well…covers the gamut.  They pack performing space with a mutli-generational mix any act would beg for.” –Jim Linderman, Grammy Award Winning Blogger and Author

“Musicality, originality and melodic beauty combine with a welcome, and unexpected, bite to clever lyrics.  Such talent, wit, and enthusiasm are hard to find anywhere.  A duo giving an edge to folk with unique instrumentation is as close as I can come to describing them.  A must hear!  Songwriters need look no further to find a new pairing to be jealous of, especially with such a bright future ahead of them.” –Matt Mansfield, Z93 Radio

Band Members