Visiting Artist Series: American Roots Edition Featuring Dom Flemons, Sierra Hull ’11, Sarah Jarosz, Chris Thile, Molly Tuttle ’14, and the War and Treaty (Virtual Event)
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The Berklee Visiting Artist Series is a live, interactive forum featuring some of today's most innovative professional performers and creators. These moderated discussions will focus on the topics of artistry, entrepreneurship, and social justice, and students will have the opportunity to actively participate by posing questions directly to guests. This event features a live panel discussion with American roots music artists Dom Flemons, Sierra Hull ’11, Sarah Jarosz, Chris Thile, Molly Tuttle ’14, and the War and Treaty, moderated by Matt Glaser, artistic director of the American Roots Music Program.
How to Participate
RSVP in the Berklee Career Manager. Once you are registered, we will send you a link to access the Zoom webinar 24 hours before the event.
A Grammy winner and two-time Emmy nominee, Dom Flemons is originally from Phoenix, Arizona, and currently lives in the Washington, D.C., area with his wife and daughter. Since his repertoire covers over 100 years of early American popular music, he has the nickname the American Songster. A songwriter, producer, and actor, he is also a music scholar, historian, and record collector, and an expert player on a variety of instruments including the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, and rhythm bones, among others.
Flemons released his third solo album earlier this year. Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus (Omnivore Recordings) is a two-CD album featuring three parts: the original Prospect Hill album; the 2015 EP, What Got Over; and The Drum Major Instinct, which includes 12 previously unissued instrumental tracks. Recently, he released a cover of the Elmore James classic “Shake Your Money Maker,” recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis alongside Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band and featuring legendary guitarist Steve Cropper.
In 2019, Flemons was chosen to be a Spotlight Artist at the Soundtrack of America event curated by Quincy Jones and Emmy-winning director Steve McQueen. He's featured in the Bank of America and Ken Burns Country Music commercial that airs regularly on PBS; has toured solo in Spain, France, Belgium, and Holland; and has served as a U.S representative at the YodelFest in Munich, Germany.
In her first 25 years alone, Sierra Hull hit more milestones than most musicians do in a lifetime. After making her Grand Ole Opry debut at the age of 10, the Tennessee-bred singer, songwriter, and virtuoso mandolinist played Carnegie Hall at age 12, landing a deal with Rounder Records just one year later. Now 29 years old, Hull released her fourth full-length for Rounder, the elegantly inventive and endlessly captivating album 25 Trips, earlier this year.
Revealing her profound warmth as a storyteller, 25 Trips finds Hull shedding light on the beauty, chaos, and sometimes sorrow of growing up and getting older. To that end, the album’s title nods to a particularly momentous year of her life, including her marriage to fellow bluegrass musician Justin Moses and the release of her widely acclaimed album Weighted Mind, a Béla Fleck–produced effort nominated for Best Folk Album at the 2017 Grammy Awards.
On her latest full-length release, World on the Ground, Sarah Jarosz shares a collection of stories of her Texas hometown, each song lit up by her captivating voice and richly detailed songwriting. Throughout the album, the three-time Grammy winner explores the tension and inertia of small-town living, the desire for escape, and the ease of staying put. As she inhabits characters both real and imagined—many of them sensitive souls prone to aimless wandering and back-porch daydreaming—Jarosz reveals her remarkable gift for slipping into the inner lives of others and patiently uncovering so much indelible insight.
The follow-up to 2016’s two-time Grammy-winning Undercurrent, World on the Ground came to life in collaboration with producer and songwriter John Leventhal, a five-time Grammy winner known for his work with Elvis Costello, Lucinda Williams, and his wife, Rosanne Cash. Along with shaping the album’s spacious, yet lushly textured sound, Leventhal played a vital part in Jarosz’s decision to center the album on her intricate storytelling.
Chris Thile is a Grammy Award–winning mandolinist, composer, vocalist, and member of Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. He is also a MacArthur Fellow and the host of the radio program Live from Here. With his broad outlook, Thile transcends the borders of conventionally circumscribed genres, creating a distinctly American canon and a new musical aesthetic for performers and audiences alike.
A child prodigy, Thile first rose to fame as a member of the Grammy-winning trio Nickel Creek, with whom he released four albums and sold over two million records. Thile has released several solo albums, including his most recent project, Thanks for Listening, a collection of recordings produced by Thomas Bartlett that were originally written for Live from Here's "Song of the Week" series. In February 2013, Thile won a Grammy for his work on The Goat Rodeo Sessions, collaborating with Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer, and Stuart Duncan. In September 2014, Thile and Meyer released the album Bass + Mandolin, which won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. Punch Brothers released their latest album, the Grammy-winning All Ashore, in July 2018; Pop Matters described the album as "a call to savor, to pay attention, to step back from the hustle and bustle, and remember the importance of being calm."
A virtuosic, award-winning guitarist with a gift for insightful songwriting, Molly Tuttle established herself as a new artist to watch with her boundary-breaking debut album, When You're Ready. In March 2020, the Nashville-based artist experienced the devastating tornado that tore through East Nashville, followed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Tuttle, who grew up in California and has toured as a solo artist for years, suddenly found herself—along with the rest of the music community—sheltering at home. She found solace in revisiting favorite songs from throughout her life in an attempt to remind herself why she loves music. She conceptualized an idea for a record with renowned Los Angeles producer Tony Berg (Phoebe Bridgers, Andrew Bird), to be recorded from more than 2,000 miles apart.
Tuttle taught herself how to use Pro Tools, recording and engineering all of her parts alone before sending them to Berg in L.A. Berg proceeded to enlist legendary session musicians, such as drummer Matt Chamberlain and keyboardist Patrick Warren, and guest vocalists Taylor Goldsmith (Dawes) and Ketch Secor (Old Crow Medicine Show). “This is how the astronauts do it!” she recalls Berg saying as they sent the files back and forth. The result: 10 tracks that cross musical styles and decades—from FKA Twigs to Cat Stevens, Rancid to Karen Dalton—released as …But I'd Rather Be with You on Compass Records in August 2020.
Since moving to Nashville in 2015, Tuttle has been welcomed into the Americana, folk, and bluegrass communities, winning Instrumentalist of the Year at the 2018 Americana Music Awards. Her debut, the Ryan Hewitt–produced When You're Ready, stretched the boundaries of those genres and introduced her to a wider audience both here and abroad. Tuttle has continued to accumulate accolades, winning Folk Alliance International’s Song of the Year honor for “You Didn’t Call My Name.” She also took home consecutive trophies for the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Guitar Player of the Year award, becoming the first woman in the history of the IBMA to receive that honor.
Since forming in 2014, the War and Treaty has amassed a following as eclectic as their sound itself, a bluesy, but joyful fusion of Southern soul, gospel, country, and rock 'n' roll. Known for live shows with an almost revival-like intensity, the husband-and-wife team of Michael Trotter Jr. and Tanya Blount-Trotter create an exhilarating exchange of energy with their audience, a dynamic they’ve brought to the stage in opening for the legendary Al Green and touring with the likes of Brandi Carlile and Jason Isbell. So when it came time to choose a title for their forthcoming sophomore album, the War and Treaty quickly landed on Hearts Town, the Nashville duo’s adoring nickname for their devoted fanbase.
Their full-length debut for Rounder Records, Hearts Town arrives as the follow-up to 2018’s Healing Tide, a widely acclaimed effort that recently saw the War and Treaty named Emerging Act of the Year by the Americana Music Association. Mainly recorded at Blackbird Studio and featuring appearances by such musicians as Jason Isbell, Jerry Douglas, and Punch Brothers guitarist Chris Eldridge, Hearts Town was produced by Trotter, and coproduced by Blount-Trotter and the duo’s longtime guitarist, Max Brown. While the album harnesses the thrilling vitality of their live set, each song spotlights the War and Treaty’s heart-on-sleeve storytelling and poetic simplicity with greater impact than ever before.