The Raisin Pickers
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The Raisin Pickers

| INDIE

| INDIE
Band Americana Bluegrass

Calendar

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Oct
09
The Raisin Pickers @ Cantigny Park

Wheaton, Illinois, USA

Wheaton, Illinois, USA

Sep
26
The Raisin Pickers @ Milwood United Methodist Church

Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

Aug
07
The Raisin Pickers @ Riverfolk Festival

Manchester, Michigan, USA

Manchester, Michigan, USA

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Music

Press


The Raisin Pickers don’t pick raisins, they pick music. Their name comes from Michigan’s Raisin River, which is also known as the most crooked river in the country. There is nothing crooked about the Raisin Pickers... but there is something river-like. Their music flows effortlessly from swing to ballad, from hometown cookouts to outer space. All of this with an undercurrent of good humor, great musicianship, and pure fun. This is the Raisin Pickers’ third release, but the first that features the current lineup of Mark and Carol Palms, David Mosher and James Sneyd. Think of the Raisin Pickers as a string band that swings. Or, if you prefer, think of them as songwriters who can go from ballad to bluegrass without missing a musical beat. Handed Down opens with the title cut, a lament for the family farm, skillfully written by founding member Mark Palms. Mark sings and plays guitar, old-time banjo and fiddle throughout this recording. His other song contributions include a delicious number called Chicken Flippin' which celebrates the traditional summer cookout in their hometown of Manchester, Michigan. A cookout so fine ”Home of the Famous Chicken Broil” is engraved on the town’s welcoming road sign. Mark’s song gives ”flippin’ the bird” a whole new meaning. And don’t forget Out Of This World, Mark’s song about....on second thought, I’ll leave that one for you to discover for yourself. Mark’s musical and life partner, Carol Palms, thumps a steady stand-up bass and lets fly on Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring. Her love of singing in the swing style is obvious. But she can handle the ballads as well. She sings Craig Johnson’s Keweenaw Light as only someone who has experienced the splendor of Northern Michigan can. And she joins Mark on the sweet A Uke and You to close the record out. Multi-instrumentalist, producer and all around musical wizard, David Mosher offers up 3 original tunes and some astounding guitar and mandolin licks on Handed Down. His bluegrass inspired songs include Michigan Moon, Old Back Roads, and For The Love of Brandy, a haunting tale of love and death that you would swear has been around in the tradition for a long time. David’s skill and taste is prevalent throughout this recording both as musician and producer. It’s not surprising that his name is showing up as producer on several recordings throughout Michigan. The Raisin Pickers have found a combination that works and if this is any indication, we can all look forward to more - lots more - great songs that mix both fun and tradition." - MW Sing Out Magazine (Vol. 44 #1 - Fall 1999) - Sing Out Magazine


In July, this summer, I was performing at a community festival in Evart, Michigan on the same bill with an exciting band called, The Raisin Pickers. I was instantly impressed with their unusual mix of old-timey, bluegrass, and swing, all of which is presented with great musicianship and singing but, critically, with the integrity which comes from care and passion for the tradition and the people who crafted and shaped it. And then, wonder of wonders, they integrated an outstanding step-dancer into the act! - from Tony Berrand


The Raisin Pickers have been a local sensation since their debut in Manchester ten years ago. They are regular guests at the Gazebo Concert series each summer and have become regionally popular through tours and their CD releases. The Raisin Pickers, are named in honor of the River Raisin, the most crooked river in the world and local Manchester tributary. Over the years the band membership has changed and evolved, always retaining the nucleus of Mark and Carol Palms….”Mark really is who keeps us going. He’s got a good finger on the pulse of the business.” says Carol. David Mosher, the third member of the band is a versatile full time musician, songwriter, and producer, this groups remains our favorite! - Heritage Press


"Fans of traditional American music who appreciate aces fiddling, boffo banjo work, strong songwriting and harmonies as sweet as sugar can't go wrong with the Raisin Pickers' latest CD. It's that good. The band, from Manchester MI, named after the River Raisin, includes Carol Wells Palms (vocals, string bass, fiddle), Mark Palms (banjo, vocals, guitar), and David Mosher (mandolin, vocals, fiddle, guitar). They've opened for the Ann Arbor Folk Festival, were awarded a blue ribbon in the Non-Traditional Band Contest at the Appalachian String Band Festival in 1995, and recorded several CD's of which this is their latest. The disc, mostly originals but a few covers thrown in, includes guest appearances from harmonica whiz Peter "Madcat" Ruth and fiddler James Sneyd. The title cut is a clever and funny ode about driving to an out-of-town concert ("let's get the road on the show, we got a gig in Ohio"), written by the two Palms, Mosher, and Gary Reynolds. From the bittersweet "Which Way's the Wind Blowin" to the bluesy harmonies present on "Bourbon Street," through a spirited rendition of the familiar "A Little Moonlight Can Do," to the furious fiddling of the traditional "Chilly Winds," this album confirms what fans have probably known all along. The Raisin Pickers have buckets of talent." - Roger LeLievre
- Ann Arbor News


I love what the Raisin Pickers do. This talented stringband from Michigan (near the Raisin River) has released their fourth recording, and they have never sounded better. "Drivin'" is a collection of 13 songs and tunes that span about one century of American music. In addition to the outstanding original contributions from band members David Mosher, Mark Palms and Carol Palms, you will find traditional and contemporary folk favorites and high-energy performances of Tin Pan Alley classics. Carol Wells Palms singing on "The Lady from 29 Palms" is worth the price alone. Vintage classics like "What a Little Moonlight Can Do" and "Chilly Winds" mesh effortlessly with great originals like Mark Palms' "Bourbon Street" and David Mosher's "Which Ways the Wind Blowin'." The musical mix varies, but the style stays crisp and consistent. This is also true of contemporary folk classics like "Crossing the Water" by Bill Staines and "Nobody's Moggy Now" by Eric Bogle. The tune for which the CD is named is a clever, toe-tapping glimpse into one band's quest to get to a gig. Great tunes, both old and new, high energy performances, and great overall musicianship make "Drivin'" worth the trip. - MW
(Matt Watroba WDET-FM)
- Sing Out Magazine


Discography

Drivin' (cd) 2002 Flying Raven Records
Handed Down (cd) 2000 Flying Raven Records
Michigan Wind (cd) 1998 Flying Raven Records
Palm Trees (cd) 1996 Flying Raven Records

Photos

Bio

"The Raisin Pickers are three musicians who understand completely where traditional music comes from, and what their role is in carrying it forward."

Just as traditional music in America finds its roots in Celtic and Scottish rhythms, folds in the passion of African-American songs, and embraces the souls of those who pass it on, so the Raisin Pickers of Michigan, have learned from the past, assimilated their strengths and arrived at a sound all their own. A distinguished string band that draws on that vast array of traditional musical influences, the Raisin Pickers feature:

Carol Wells Palms, (string bass, fiddle, vocals) a classically trained string player who captures the heart of traditional music without letting go of high musical standards. Pulling into a campground at a West Virginia music festival and watching fiddlers reach for their instruments even before staking their tents opened a whole new world for Carol, whose experience in music up to that point involved music stands, conductors and strict rehearsal schedules. "What struck me at the festival was that nobody was concerned with how well they were playing or how much training they had," she recalls. "They were more intrigued with, "Oh, there's a tune I haven't learned yet. I'm going to go sit in on that one. Fifty times through the tune, sitting around the campfire, they had that tune learned." While Carol's family had fun playing popular music together for community events and even on TV, she and her brothers were also trained in classical music from their earliest years. Both of her parents taught music professionally, and Carol studied viola, earning spots in the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestras while still in her teens.

Mark Palms, (banjo, fiddle, guitar, vocals) a self-taught musician who chases the heritage of mountain music by studying banjo knee-to-knee with old-time legends and sharing what he's learned with audiences and students. When Mark performs it's always with a sense of where the music comes from and his role in passing it along. An interest in musical heritage led Mark to music early on. He'd always known that his grandfather played and sang old songs, but seeing his dad pull out a banjo at a party once and strum Sweet Georgia Brown left him in awe. "I was impressionable", he says, "And that spurred my interest in banjo playing." Mark taught himself to play guitar as a teenager and after several years learned to read music. He joined Western Michigan University's School of Music's education department on a dare. "I felt like I was sinking rather than swimming, and the only thing I really found any connection to was the guitar," Mark says. "I strolled in with my guitar and told them I just wanted to sing. I didn't have much previous training, and I'm not so sure I had any talent," he says. "But I had a lot of desire and they must have seen that written all over my face." Today Mark teaches music and he's still a student himself, studying knee-to-knee with old-school fiddlers whenever he�s able. For several years, he attended workshops in West Virginia and learning to play the banjo in true mountain music fashion. "I really became an old-time music player," Mark says. It might be this diversity that drives the Raisin Pickers. "We believe that if we put a different spin on something, it will stand out because it's being heard in a different way. It also gives us the chance to share the legacy of traditional music with new generations. We have a strong sense of the music we do. We have an original drive and a traditional focus."

David Mosher (mandolin, fiddle, guitar, vocals), one of southeast Michigan's most in-demand side men who carries a half-dozen instruments and follows his sense of aural aesthetics where they lead, be it writing songs, producing recordings or finding a bird in the woods by its call. As David Mosher sets down his guitar after one song and reaches for his fiddle to play the next, the fluidity of motion represents years of practice mastering change. As a child, Mosher did everything from musical theater to doo-op on stage, and today he makes his living as a musician playing in a variety of venues and alongside a wide range of top Michigan performers. "I usually walk into a situation with a guitar, mandolin or fiddle. It suits my nature to be diverse. I'm a try-everything kind of person." With the Raisin Pickers as his home band, David applies his skills as a musician, vocalist, songwriter and producer. Playing with the three-person string band is a comfortable fit, as it marries his diversity with the styles of classically trained Carol Wells Palms and traditional music devotee Mark Palms. David was named "Country Instrumentalist of the Year" at the Detroit Music Awards in 2004. And today he is settled into a busy performance schedule and a new home. "After 16 years of moving every year, I finally bought a house," he says. The home, on a lake in Michigan, is set in place that allo