Sassafras Stomp is a high-energy dance-band with one foot in Maine and one foot in western Montana. Weaving together diverse fiddle traditions with a strong rhythmic sensibility, fiddler Johanna Davis, and guitarist Adam Nordell build a rich, dynamic contradance sound marked by driving foot percussion and sweet harmony vocals. $10 at the door.
Davis and Nordell’s collaboration began during a month-long musical residency in a tiny Montana town a stone’s throw away from the continental divide. After a debut performance at Seattle’s Northwest Folklife Festival, the duo established themselves as a regular band at dances across Montana. In 2010, they relocated to Davis’ home-state of Maine to start an organic farm and participate in the New England contra dance and trad music communities. They have since performed for a widening circle of dances, concerts, and festivals across the country.
Johanna Davis sings and plays fiddle and shruti box. She grew up in Round Pond, Maine and started playing the fiddle in the 4th grade at Waldorf School. She grew up in a thriving community of dancers and contra dance musicians, and yes, she was one of those little kids with a sleeping bag at the contra dance hall.
Adam Nordell plays guitar, sings, stamps his feet in syncopated patterns and sometimes plays the banjo. He grew up in the hills south of Helena, Montana. At age 13 he received a bass guitar instead of a Bar Miztvoh, and yes, things have gone downhill since. He discovered high octane, traditional fiddle music at the little contradance in Trenton, Maine. Soon thereafter, he bought a guitar and a pair of leather soled cowboy boots. He also performs as a songwriter, and the duo performs Nordell’s songs alongside traditional fiddle tunes and ballads in concert.
Adam & Johanna also operate Songbird Farm, a certified organic, mixed vegetable farm on a south facing hill in Unity, ME. Along with a variety of other crops, they grow sweet potatoes, melons, dry beans and heritage grains.