Horning’s Hideout welcomed their annual travelers for the 16th annual Northwest String Summit last weekend, July 13th-16th. Bluegrass faithful from across the country met to hear some of today’s most talented string instrumentalists.

The Summit’s main amphitheater hosted a diverse group, from young folks dancing next to the stage, kids playing games, and couples laying out on blankets. On the way to the Cascadia Stage, I even witnessed one of the Summit’s famed yoga sessions. What a great way to recover from a long night!

Crow and the Canyon

The Cascadia Stage was beautiful. There, I was treated to a jaw-dropping performance by Portland’s own Crow and the Canyon. The band took stage dressed in all white, most of them wearing sunglasses. Once on stage, the band’s banjo player, Austin Quattlebaum, announced that he was still on the up-and-up from last night. “I know we might look clean and nice in all white, but we’re just as dirty as everyone else under these clothes.” The crowd laughed, and children danced up front before the small area began to fill.

Ben Larsen played mandolin while singing “Wine and Whiskey” with the band’s other lead vocalist, Leigh Jones. Larsen’s voice fits the genre so well that it was tough to imagine the band rivaling it with another lead, but they did! Leigh Jones’ rich voice was strong enough to fill the main amphitheater even without the microphone. She then performed a moving solo and sang “Golden Chains.”

My personal favorite was the song the band derives its name from: “Crow and the Canyon.” It’s one of Quattlebaum’s only shots at lead vocals. His whisper-like voice gave the slow song the lonely feel it needed to sink in.

Still, it’s not often I find a band where each member is equally, extremely talented. Crow and the Canyon was an exception. From Jeremy Elliot’s complex guitar solos to Audra Nemir standing atop her upright base, all members of the band were brilliant.

Thank you to the Northwest String Summit and Crow and the Canyon for a great weekend in the Pacific Northwest. Until next year!