Fiddle, banjo, and guitar playing the stage at the Damascus Old Mill.
Folk musicians, bluegrass musicians, Damascus Old Mill Inn pub
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Damascus Old Mill Music

Band Schedule

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Band Biographies

The Damascus Old Mill has featured numerous acts. These are the biographies of many of these bands.

Mark Larkins

Mark performs “Summer spirited” music to remember the fun Summer times in our lives…

Mark was born in Tennessee, yet he spent most of his childhood growing up in California in the area around West Covina where his love for the ocean and summer music was instilled. Mark’s family moved back to the Tri-Cities when he was about 11 years old, and from then on it was all about focusing his energies as a musician, with a goal of sharing his style of music to the listening audience.

Soon after winning the NACMAI awards in 2001, Mark changed musical directions and pursued the love of his heart, beach/island music. The music has taken him to exciting and exotic places such as Key Colony Beach, Fl, North Miami Beach, Fl, Montego Bay, Jamaica, and Myrtle Beach, SC. He enjoys performing at home here in the Tri-Cities at various restaurants, marina venues, and private parties for a summer crowd.

The excitement of performing is just as great at home as it is away …

this Mountain

this Mountain is a collaborative group of friends and musicians making lovely folk-rock tunes for themselves and others. Based out of Johnson City, TN, they have been making music together since the fall of 2010, and have been capturing ears and getting bodies moving. In the fall of 2011 they released a four song, self-titled EP and released their first full-length album August 21, 2012. And they may well soon be coming to a town near you.

Barlow Gin & the Hatchetmen

Elvis would be proud. Back in the day, hardly anybody knew about jazz, much less rockabilly. Elvis embraced this phenomenon. Which is a huge coincidence, because Barlow Gin is an obscure phenomenon too. Take one guy from here, another couple from there, mix in an oddball drummer. Stir in one mean Mama. Sort of like the good ol' days -- a potent hip switchin' brew. Elvis would probably like it a lot. Ask him when you see him.

The Shifters

The Shifters formed in 2010 when the trio rose from the ashes of their former band, genericpeople. The band quickly changed gears from a technical and electronic based new rock band to a gritty, vintage inspired, heavy blues band. With total creative control, The Shifters began writing and recording their first album. Naturally, it was their collective love of the blues that served as the adhesive for the components of their sound.

Calling Bristol, TN their home, Billy Thomas, Emily Faith Dickenson, and Jordon Benjamin Yates make up the trio. Southern roots, as well as an obsession with vintage equipment stand as evident influences for The Shifters. Between their fearless delivery and a strong hold on unique rawness, the three drive it home with their hard rocking modern blues jams. Dickenson's sultry overdriven bass and Yates' perfectly aggressive drumming lay the foundation for Thomas' bluesy guitars. Thomas and Dickenson share the role of lead vocalist, and Yates assists with background vocals. This recipe allows The Shifters to deliver their smokey, modern, and classic rock influenced take on the blues.

Doug and Jessie Gehner, Dueling Pianos

Out of Johnson City, Tennessee, the father and daughter duo of Doug and Jessie Gehner have been playing and singing together for the last 20 years. Doug was one of the original Howl at the Moon Saloon Piano players and has performed at hundreds of private and public events around the Cincinnati area. Jessie also plays with the rock bands "The Beatus" and "Jollet Hollow" in Lexington, KY.

They have been making music together since the fall of 2010, and have been capturing ears and getting bodies moving in the region. In the fall of 2011 they released a four song, self-titled EP and released their first full-length album August 21, 2012.

Doug and Jessie also are avid backpackers and thru hiked the Appalachian Trail together from Maine to Georgia in 2008, and the John Muir Trail through California in 2009. They also enjoy farm life and their animals with their biggest supporter and wonderful mother and wife Joan Gehner on their little piece of heaven in California, KY.

Yates Family Band

For years, Tim and Debbie Yates toured around the Appalachians with their instruments. Debbie played with the Konnarock Critters. Tim played with the Rice Brothers. "Her family played old-time music," Tim Yates said, "and my family played bluegrass."

Now, with their own family, they play a little bit of both. Married for a decade, the Yates are the parents of 10-year-old Molly, a mandolin player, and 8-year-old Sadie, who plays banjo. Tim plays bass, and Debbie plays a variety of instruments, including fiddle.

"We thought we would start a new tradition together," said Debbie Grim Yates. Having their daughters in the band is "a gift from above," said Tim Yates, who grew up in Taylor’s Valley, Va. The parents don’t pressure the girls to play music. "It comes natural to them. It just flows right out of them," Debbie said. "They want to have fun. And it makes it fun to perform for the audience."

Besides music, Debbie makes pottery in the basement of the couple’s Konnarock home, perched along the Smyth-Washington county line. Here, all along the gravel driveway, you’ll see little pots in the yard.

Annabelle's Curse

Bristol Born and Bound for Glory.

Zack Edwards
Tim Kilbourne
John Warren Watson
Travis Goyette
Carly Booher

Hundred Acres

Hundred Acres is more than a band, it’s that special place in your mind that you go to remember what it was like hanging out on your Grandma’s porch, or driving that first car full of your buddies, peeling out at red lights, and throwing out your transmission. Inspired by the loss of his farm in 2010, Hundred Acres founder and songwriter Jeff Lane decided that music wasn’t something he could put off any longer now that it was time to start over again, and that it had to be more than anyone would have ever expected, especially since nobody knew he had been writing music for 20 years. On his 40th birthday, he released the first culmination of his work with the album “Where the Buffalo Roam”, officially at Hundred Acres first gig in September 2011.

Since then, Hundred Acres has been turning heads with their high-energy, old time twang and alternative country sound. From the first guitar chord off of Jeff’s 1940′s electrified arch top to the screaming Quentin Horton telecaster guitar solos, these boys will keep your attention. Foot stompin’, dancin’, hollerin’, and cluckin’ are all standard at a Hundred Acres show. It all comes from the ability to cross over genres, blending Americana and country, with the sounds of 70′s rock, Texas-boogie, classic soul, and even a splash of serious blues! Vocal harmonies and hot musicianship are very memorable strengths of the show, accompanied by the amazing selection of original material!

Yo Mama's Big Fat Booty Band

Deeply rooted in Funk and fully committed to the ongoing evolution of the genre, Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band has a sound that is unique yet has the power and soul to create lasting melodies and seismic rhythms.

The group has been together for a full decade, performing well over 150 shows and completing three to four national tours each year. With new albums coming out and frequent tours, they are definitely artists to watch. Their album Re-Doin‘ It Hard features some of the band’s favorite DJ‘s including Agent 23 (GFE and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo), DJ leSpam (Spam Allstars), and Lee “InstaFunk” Allen (Booty Band and Eymarel) adding their distinctive perspectives to select tracks from their albums.

Wise Old River

Wise Old River shares songs about the human condition, human experience, times of need, times of pain, times of being lost and times of being found, our searching and finding hope, grace and truth, as well as our times of spiritual growth. They sing about it all. Their desire is for their music to be stripped down, organic, earthy, wires, wood, and vibrations from our souls.

Wise Old River blends a variety of influences and instruments that combine tradition with originality. The group features vocalist/guitarist Jamen Denton (formerly of Virginia Ground, and recognized as best male vocalist by the Music Awards in 2005). Jeanne Denton provides well-crafted harmony vocals and occasional percussion. Jim Denton adds acoustic lap steel, 12 string slide guitar, and bouzouki. Bassist Stephen Marshall joined the band in fall 2010 and plays with an Americana focus bridging musical styles with his honest sound and harmonic vibe. Their sound has been described as “Eclectic-Americana.”

Larry Keel and Natural Bridge

Larry Keel is described by some reviewers as the most powerful, innovative and all-out exhilarating acoustic flatpicking guitarist performing today. Keel has absorbed the best lessons from his Bluegrass family upbringing, both sides deeply steeped in the rich mountain music culture and heritage of Southwest Virginia. From there, he has always integrated that solid musical grounding and natural-born talent with his own incomparable approach to flatpicking the guitar and composing original music. He’s also got a knack for choosing interesting and appealing material from all realms of music with guts, whether it’s a tune written by a fellow song-writer/musician friend, or a tasty cover from any number of genres all over the map. The combination is pretty irresistible, and has earned Keel the highest respect and billing among the top acoustic musicians alive, and some now gone: Tony Rice, Chris Thile,Vassar Clements, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, John Hartford, Bill Monroe, Peter Rowan, and Darol Anger to name a few. And his fierce, high-spirited energy also appeals to young rockers, jammers and alt country pickers and fans who are equally drawn to Keel’s deep rumbling voice, his earthy and imaginative song-writing, and his down-home-gritty-good-time charm. Keel regularly collaborates with JamBand and Rock giants Yonder Mountain String Band, Keller Williams, Jorma Kaukonen, David Nelson, Little Feat, Rebirth Brass Band, Dirty Dozen Brass, Railroad Earth, members of String Cheese Incident and Leftover Salmon, amongst others.