|Debuting in April 2009 at the Dandelion Romp in Ohio is Dr. Groove, a new supergroup in the contra dance scene. Bringing together leading musicians from many of the greatest dance bands ever—including the Reckless Ramblers, Lift Ticket, and The Sevens—Dr. Groove will knock your socks off! Out in front are two phenomenal improvisers, Nat Hewitt on fiddle and lead guitar and TJ Johnson on mandolin. Cooking up the rhythm are the incomparable Seth Houston on keyboard and rhythm guitar and Mark Hellenberg on percussion. Grab a partner, tie your dancing shoes on tight (or go barefoot), and get ready to experience new heights of contra dance ecstasy with Dr. Groove!|
Nat Hewitt, fiddle, lead guitar
“Nat is a demon fiddler with a glint in his eye who can also wow dancers with his deft guitar work.” (Country Dance and Song Society) Known for his energetic and innovative approach to traditional and contemporary New England dance music, Nat Hewitt has played to great acclaim at dances, dance camps, and festivals with the Reckless Ramblers, Reckless Abandon, and Honk the Moose. He now performs primarily with Rumblestrip. When he’s not playing music, you can probably find Nat sailing or fixing up his boat.
TJ Johnson, mandolin
T.J. Johnson’s irreverent style and high energy are notorious for inspiring dancers and musicians alike. He has toured with the Hillbillies From Mars, the String Beings, the Rocket Boys, and the Rodney Miller Band; he now performs extensively with Lift Ticket. As a sought after session musician, he has performed and recorded with Vassar Clements, John McCutcheon, Robin and Linda Williams, and Tom Paxton. Starting out as a teenager playing contemporary bluegrass, TJ has branched out over the years to enjoy all different styles from jazz to middle eastern. Of all music, he likes playing for dancers the best. TJ’s popular workshops, such as “Fiddle Tune Improvisation,” “Music Theory for Folk Musicians,” and “The Embodied Beat,” leave participants delighted and eager to use what they’ve learned.
Seth Houston, keyboard, guitar
Oberlin alum (religion and composition ’97) Seth Houston heats up the dance floor with his ultrakinetic dance grooves on the piano and guitar. While adept at traditional style of dance music accompaniment, Seth infuses his playing with funk, pop, blues and swing. You’ve probably heard him heating up the hall with Lift Ticket. Seth has also toured with Honk the Moose, Firetruck, and Crazy Quilt. Between gigs, Seth teaches middle and high school choir at Shining Mountain Waldorf School. Seth’s singing workshops are always a big hit at dance camps and festivals. When he’s not singing or playing music, you can probably find Seth skiing at Vail, backpacking in the Indian Peaks, or gardening in his back yard. Check out Seth’s website at www.sethhouston.com.
Mark Hellenberg, percussion
Mark Hellenberg, affectionately known as Pokie, is simply the most awesome percussionist on the planet. He has been playing traditional music for over forty years, beginning as a drummer in his father’s bagpipe band in the early sixties. Since then, he has been featured as a percussionist on over a dozen recordings including two Green Linnet releases by the Celtic ensemble, The House Band. Currently, Pokie is in high demand at dance weekends and festivals with many of the great dance bands, including Notorious, Airdance, The Sevens, and Wild Asparagus. When not playing music, Mark works as a producer and Classical music host at Ohio University Public Radio in Athens, Ohio.