A break from the break!

Hey y’all,

Well we are doing one very special thing this year… playing the Calgary Folk Festival!!

They had asked us a few years ago, but it didn’t work out then… so they asked again, and well we thought, and said, YES!

This will likely be our only appearance this year. We love you all and wish we could see all of you. For now, let’s invite you to meet us in Calgary!!


June Newsletter

Here’s the March 2012 newsletter … click here to view it in its full form, or read the abbreviated version below…

Howdy folks, Betse here… we told you back in March that we’d be playing a couple shows this summer… well, the shows are upon us, this week!


8 pm, Friday, June 29: Arts in the Park @ Larry Norvell Band Shell, Manhattan, KS

It’s a free show, and we’re happy to come back to play the park!

Go to this link for
Manhattan, KS and click on “2012 Arts in the Park Schedule”

9 pm, Saturday, June 30: The Wilders at Knuckleheads, Kansas City, MO

This one is all Wilders, all night… we’ll be playing favorite songs and tunes from our 15 years of music so far…

Excited to play for our hometown friends and family. Thank you Kansas City!!

Knuckleheads Saloon

Go to “Upcoming Shows” and scroll down to June 30… there’s a link for advance tickets.

Then, we are offically on our hiatus. We’ve already been on a break since our shows in February/March – it’ll be great to get back together for these two nights – we wish we could teleport everywhere to share it with you all in person! We know there are so many family and friends and fans and supporters and presenters and programmers and music business associates of all kinds who had everything to do with all of our adventures over the last 15 years. We’re grateful for every experience and when we get to reunite with you all, we’ll be so happy.

if you want to cast a vote for the Vox Populi portion of the IMAs (the judges awarded us the best Alt.Country album of 2011 recently – but the people have a choice, too!), you can check out their site:


You do have to register to vote. You will probably get turned on to a lot of other cool music while you check out the IMA site. That’s always cool…

BETSE ELLIS SOLO: I am starting a separate email list as I am starting to get out there in the world with my solo performing, and some other collaborative projects… so far it’s been great. Most recently I got to pay tribute to John Hartford at the John Hartford Memorial Festival at Bean Blossom, Indiana. I am a devotee of John’s music and songs and it was magical to be a part of this festival.

If you want to know where I’ll be performing, I’d be grateful if you’d sign up for my own list, also through ReverbNation… here’s a link:

Betse Ellis Reverbnation site

I have my own website, and a little blog, too:

Betse Ellis Music

I really hope to connect with all you Wilders fans when I’m out there doing my FiddleBetse thing.

Now, we hope to see a whole lot of you this weekend… we’ll drop you a line when anything exciting happens, and in the meantime, be well, and be happy, and know


Independent Music Award!

Our album, “The Wilders” (Free Dirt, 2011) has been awarded by the judges to be best alt.country album of 2011! We are truly honored that this album received such recognition. There are a lot of amazing artists in the nominated sections as well as winners – independent music is alive and well.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this album possible, and for our never-tiring cheering section. Special notes go to Chad Meise, who engineered all the songs; Mike West, who engineered the fiddle tunes; John Smith of Free Dirt Records; and our own Phil Wade, who produced the album. We done good.

You can still vote for the “Vox Populi” version of the awards – click on the image to be directed to the IMA site.

March 2012 Newsletter: “The Wilders” nominated for IMA Award!

Here’s the March 2012 newsletter … click here to view it in its full form, or read the abbreviated version below…

Howdy folks, Betse here… we just heard that we were nominated for an Independent Music Award, for best alt.country album! In 2008, we received this very award for “Someone’s Got to Pay”, so it’s exciting to be nominated again. The IMAs also feature a Vox Populi voting award system, so you can be involved in the process too. Last time, we won both Vox Populi and judge’s award for best alt.country album. We’d be grateful for your help again this time.

Here’s a link to the IMA nominee list… if you registered last time, you should be able to just sign in again and they’ll tell you when the voting opens.

So we just came home from two incredible experiences. We played Wintergrass, for the fifth time, and went to Alaska, for the third time. Wintergrass was amazing. Our Saturday night dance set turned into a superstar jam with a bunch of talented guests… if anyone sneaked any video, we’d love to hear from you!! Then, on Sunday, we did something that will forever be a special milestone. We performed two of our own compositions with the Seattle Youth Symphony, as part of a concert featuring several amazing Wintergrass artists and the inspiring kids making up the Symphony. Ike and I got to do our own scoring for “Mid November” and “Riverboat”. Oh, it was incredible to hear the sensitive and artistic performance of both of these pieces. Ike really went to town on the Mid November scoring – it sounded like a movie soundtrack! I tell you, as someone who grew up playing in orchestras, this was a dream come true. You can find some pictures on the Wintergrass Facebook page

And Alaska – it’s like a dream every time. We are so lucky to have the friends we do up there. They made it possible for us to get there from Seattle, and we played a really fun big dance concert, a blast of a house concert, and of course a big finale at the famous historic Alaskan Hotel Bar. That place is something else. We loved every minute of our visit and we’re so grateful to our good Alaskan friends.

So… now, the hiatus really starts. What are we all up to? Ike’s happy at home with his family, and working on some music projects with friends in Pennsylvania; Nate’s having great family time too, and playing music with friends, both acoustic and electric (in his punk rock band Switchitter); Phil’s an audio/video pro, traveling and working conferences, and also doing some recording and producing (drop us a line if you want to contact him for a project!); and I’m playing in three bands in Kansas City (Blessed Broke, The Sawyers, and a new small group project with Howard Iceberg), and I’m also touring some solo shows, doing workshops, and collaborating with friends in different parts of the country. We’re none of us bored! But it’s a bittersweet time, for sure. There’s nothing like that Wilders magic. Now, pssst… this summer we will play twice in the KC area… June 29-30, save the dates!

We’ll keep you posted about any other excitement… in the meantime, be well, and be happy, and know THE WILDERS LOVE YOU.

December 2011 Newsletter

Here’s the December 2011 newsletter … click here to view it in its full form, or read the abbreviated version below…

Hi folks,

Ike here, with some news for ya.  After 12 years of the Ike, Betse, Nate, and Phil show, we’re gonna take a well-deserved break.  I believe the Funk & Wagnalls word for that is “hiatus”…basically a fancy way to say we don’t know what the future holds, but we know we’re gonna be giving The Wilders some time off to check out life from a different focus and direction for a year, and then see how we feel after that.  We do have some shows in December around home, and have a few special select performances planned for 2012. 
Friends, the last 12 years have been the most amazing experience…we wish we could sit you down and tell you all the tour stories, let you stand in the middle of this outrageous band while we’re playing and feel the fire, let you see from the stage all the welcoming and rocking faces that make every night meaningful, and throw you in the van so you could come visit all the big parts of the world we’ve been so lucky to see.  We are so thankful to all of you:  our fans, our friends, and our families…we could never have done any of this without your support and love.  That is the one thing we know for sure. 
And another thing:  we have to give a big hearty thank you and hug to our long-time agent, Mary Brabec.  We could have never achieved what we have without you.  You made opportunities magically appear for us and always took the extra step in spreading the Wilders love.  Thank you, Mary.
We are really proud of our most recent album, “The Wilders”… it was released earlier this summer on Free Dirt Records.  John Smith, label owner, is another true believer and we thank you, John, for putting out this album, and for all you’ve done for us too.  Phil produced it, and we wrote and played our hearts out and we’re really proud of what we made.  Maybe ya wanna check it out, if ya haven’t already… you can see and order it on our site … the No Depression blog gave it a thumbs-up recently, and we appreciate that.  
So, now what?
Well, let’s enjoy and see what happens (good advice for almost any situation).   We’re not doing a “farewell tour” or anything like that…”hiatus”, remember?  But if ya want, come on out and see us before we take our break.  We’re gonna play a little bit in December with our St. Louis friends, Pokey Lafarge and the South City Three.  Look for us in St. Louis, Lawrence, KS and Columbia, MO.  Then we head down to the Ozarks for a couple of shows, too…Hey, just check out the tour page …it knows more than we do.

We do have a few goodies booked for 2012 and we’re excited about those.  Keep an eye on the tour page for the announcements… but in 2012, for the most part, we all get to see again (for better or worse) what a Wilder-less year looks like.  Could be cool…or could be nasty…or anything in between.  We’ll just have to see…
Everybody knows bands don’t stay together forever…except the Rolling Stones…and the wonderful polka band formed out of the dust of the Korean War and northern Minnesota, “Dutch” Drebbel and his Fiddle-Faddle Fellahs (actually, we made that up…but it probably exists anyway).  But the good thing is:  music lasts forever.  Thank you for listening to ours, and for inspiring it as well.  We really couldn’t have done it with out you.
Much love to y’all… we are THE WILDERS from KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI!!!  Thanks for listening.
Your pals,
Ike, Betse, Nate, and Phil

September 2011 Newsletter

Here’s the September 2011 newsletter … click here to view it in its full form, or read the abbreviated version below!

Hi folks!

It’s late in September, and this means it’s post-Winfield. This time of year feels like a turning point, as Winfield is such a heartfelt reunion and kind of an anniversary for us. In 1996, Phil, Ike, and myself went on Stage 5 in the campgrounds to perform this brand new stuff (to us), the beginnings of a new band. We didn’t even have a name yet so we scrambled and agreed on “High Strung String Band” – although our performance looks more like we should have called ourselves “Excited but Nervous New Band”. Despite those early nerves, we were having so much fun starting this new project. Early fans from that first Winfield made us feel like we should keep on working. So we did. And fifteen years later, we played our 11th Walnut Valley Festival. And we still felt excited (though maybe not as nervous), and we still felt so much encouragement and support from all the fans. Thanks, WVF. All the staff, crew, and volunteers deserve a great big thanks. And all you fans, know that we brag about you all around the world.

So now we move on into Autumn… October brings a new string of live performance dates (see full tour schedule here), starting with a hometown throwdown! This is a continued run to support our 2011 self-titled new album release.

We’re loving the radio play and fan feedback about all the different material on this recording. You can check out the tune listings here and order direct from us on our website. Be sure to have a look at what critics are saying about it in the right hand column of this newsletter.

Drop us a line any time on our new website… or just simply respond to this email – we love hearing from you!

Thanks always for your support, and we’ll see ya down the road!

The Shed – a great little place in England

We had a really cool gig in a really tiny place earlier this year, during our Jan/Feb UK tour. We played The Shed Session, in the Somerset countryside, in a lovely part of England. The session gets captured forever by a digital camera. Not a video camera… a photo camera. Yep, the sound too. And guess what? It sounds and looks really cool!

Check out a song from our session

So The Shed unfortunately got a case of woodworm. We donated a track to a compilation album that they have produced, to raise funds to restore the wormy damage.

Here’s a link to the CD info page on The Shed’s site.

We want to see The Shed continue great coverage of all kinds of creative musical artists – it was one of our favorite stops on the whole tour.

August 2011 Newsletter

The August 2011 Newsletter from The Wilders is out… click here to view it in its full form, or read the abbreviated version below!

Howdy folks!

Well, we had just a tremendous time in the Northwest this month. Started out a little more south in Salt Lake City, then Pickathon (our second time and we sure enjoyed performing and also catching so many great artists), a great fun show at The Tractor Tavern in Seattle, a “christening” of the new Green Frog in Bellingham, outdoor chillin’ at Kenmore, a Montana country wedding, and then more festival love at Blue Waters and Grand Targhee… Our good friend (and former bass player from 13 years back), Clayton Brown, joined us for the whole tour, on drums, kicking it up for set finales and feeling right at home since he already is a Wilder. We were overdue for a NW run, and thanks y’all for making us feel right at home again!

What’s next?

Our album “The Wilders” is still pretty dang new…

We’re loving the radio play and fan feedback about all the different material on this recording. You can check out the tune listings here and order direct from us on our website. Be sure to have a look at what critics are saying about it in the right hand column of this newsletter (which is viewable in our newsletter’s full version here)

Getting geared up for the Walnut Valley Festival (Winfield!) It’s less than a month away… It’s the 40th anniversary of this beloved festival. We’re excited to be coming back!

We have a Midwest tour coming up in October… Includes KCMO, St. Louis, Chicago, Nashville, and the Harvest Fest in Mulberry, Arkansas. Dates are posted on our tour dates page, and more details coming in next month’s newsletter.

Drop us a line any time on our new website… or just simply respond to this email – we love hearing from you!

Hope you have a happy end of summer/beginning of fall… Best wishes from The Wilders.

Free Dirt releases “The Wilders”, by The Wilders!

Folks, we are so excited. Our new album is officially released this Tuesday, June 21! But… you can order it now on our site! Check out the Merchandise page, cause it’s there right now!

We made the album right here in Kansas City… Chad Meise engineered it, Phil Wade produced it, Paul Andrews took the photos for it, Free Dirt Records released it, all after we spent over a year working on it to hopefully make our best album yet.

The BBC got to play it first. We released it in the UK ahead of the US release, because we did a big six week tour there this spring (thanks all of y’all in the UK for making it such a memorable time). We had a great response from fans in the UK who came to see us at shows after buying it.

Some of our local stations have been spinning it already: KTBG, KANU, KKFI… we appreciate the local love.

Tim Finn of the Kansas City Star had some good things to say about it:

It does have some challenging material on it – including a few minor 4-letter words on a couple songs. That’s a disclosure just in case it concerns you. It has drums again on some songs, and some electric guitars and bass. And glockenspiel (a first for a Wilders album). It’s also got Ike’s guitar that you love, Nate’s hard-hitting bass, Phil’s full sound on that dobro, banjo, and more mandolin sweetness, and Betse’s fiddle that goes from a whisper to a scream. It’s got all of us singing, including a song with Nate’s lead and one with Betse’s lead. It’s all original material written by us (plus one written by our Rural Grit friend Pat Frazier). It’s us. It’s The Wilders.

We want to know what you think about it. Drop us a line here once you’ve heard it.

Wilders love you!