The Jolly Bankers are a punchy string band consisting of guitarist Kristin Andreassen, fiddler Laura Cortese, and banjo player Pierce Woodward. Their second CD, Tax Return, features a three-fiddle Cajun tune, some original songs, a nearly-in-tune piano, an old Irish ballad, some dial-surfing on the AM radio and a genuine bunch of clatter on some kitchen pots and pans by guest drummer Chris Merenda of the The Mammals. All recorded more-or-less live with an unspoiled gritty groove and vibey vibe.
July, 1999 -- Laura & Kristin meet in the basement of the Ethier's home in Mission, British Columbia. The two of them were dancing with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble at a festival that weekend. Kristin asks Laura whether to cut two feet off the bottom of her glitter dress, and Laura asks Kristin about boys. Kristin scratches out the only jig she knows on the fiddle and Laura plays some kick-ass reel. The general pattern of their relationship was established.
August, 2002 -- Kristin meets Pierce at the Cutting Edge of the Campfire Festival at Club Passim in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Pierce plays his song "Farm Pond" with Mike Merenda backing him up playing brushes on a fiddle case (Kristin thinks she remembers this). Pierce tells Kristin that he's trying to decide whether to continue a career in journalism or continue playing music. The determining factor will be potential positive impact on the world in general.
September, 2002 -- Laura meets Pierce at dawn when the Mammals van pulls up to Kristin's farmhouse in Maryland. (Pierce had decided to pursue music...). Laura and Hanneke Cassel (of Halali) had stayed up playing fiddle tunes by the piano for hours after Kristin went to bed. They wrote the tune "Jeezler" just before the van pulled up. The mist settled low over the corn field.
March, 2003 -- Kristin takes a job with Mad River Theater Works in West Liberty, Ohio. She performs a play about Ohio history all over the state for school children. In this play she plays an 19th-century tomboy who falls out of a walnut tree, is knocked unconscious and sings a beautiful song called "Dancing in My Sleep" while doing a dream-sequence waltz-clog. Not really knowing anyone in Ohio (except for the awesome songwriter Bob Lucas), and living alone in the undertaker's apartment at a funeral home on the road between West Liberty & Bellefontaine, she was feeling a little isolated. Laura & Pierce traveled together to West Liberty to spend Easter with Kristin, promising to play a bunch of tunes.
April, 2003 -- Somehow, Death & Taxes was created. We don't really remember how this happened except that it involved walking around the graveyard in circles, minidiscing strange sounds, learning how to use the "loop" function in Digital Performer, playing our instruments, one return trip to Ohio, a trip to Exeter, New Hampshire, and a number of exciting recipes for cabbage.
May, 2003 -- Death & Taxes released. World tour sells hundreds of CDs while street busking on a trip from Boston thru Burlington to Montreal & back. Despite the hoards clamoring for more, we return to our "other lives."
August, 2004 -- The Jolly Bankers "retreat" to the Galax Fiddlers Convention in Galax, Virginia and barnstorm tunes for a Banker comeback. They spearhead a musical collective called the Red Tent Band which played for at least three people and a live radio audience on the Galax stage at 10am Thursday morning. Other members of the Red Tent Band included Ben from Old School Freight Train, Joe & Mary Simpson, the Knicelys of Harrisonburg, and more.
Meanwhile, having sold out of their first 600 Banker CDs, a new edition is released -- with a 2004 date on the package. The Bankers continue to get love notes from people who have heard their music on the radio in places where we can't imagine how anyone could have heard of them.
February, 2005 -- The Bankers "retreat" again to Brooklyn, New York where they made a rare public appearance at Pete's Candy Store and recorded a second album in two days at Kristin's apartment.
April, 2006 â€“ The Bankers release Tax Return on Tax Day, 2006.
1. The Lost Creek (by Kristin Andreassen & Dan Rose) 2. The Evangeline Two-Step (a three-fiddle quasi-cajun romp) 3. Arthur MacBride (featuring the bell-like voice of Laura Cortese) 4. September 12th (Talk Little Radio) (a traditional tune with words by Kristin Andreassen) 5. Kitchen Cleaner (by Pierce Woodward)
Check out the artist's website:
1. The Lost Creek
2. Evangeline Two-Step
3. Arthur MacBride
4. September 12th (Talk Little Radio)
5. Kitchen Cleaner