Performance Highlights

The Wilders are an internationally touring string band from Kansas City, Missouri. Ike Sheldon (lead vocals, guitar), Betse Ellis (fiddle, vocals), Phil Wade (dobro, mandolin, banjo, vocals), and Nate Gawron (string bass, vocals) write and perform original songs, classic honky tonk, old time country, and fiddle tunes with engaging energy and spirit. The Wilders have gained critical acclaim and radio airplay throughout the United States and beyond. Since 1996, they have performed at festivals and concerts, on radio, television, and independent film soundtracks. In June 2002 The Wilders appeared on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Prairie Home Companion” with Iris DeMent; they performed at the Kennedy Center in 2004, and on “Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour” in 2005. In 2006, The Wilders were selected to perform at the Famous Spiegeltent at Edinburgh Festival Fringe; their show sold out and they were honored for their performance with a coveted Herald Angel Award.


Celtic Connections, Glasgow, SCOT
Two UK Tours
Tour of Germany
Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Alta, WY
Wheatland Music Festival, Remus, MI
Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, KS

Wintergrass, Tacoma, WA
South by Southwest Official Showcase
Old Town School of Folk Music, Chicago, IL
CBA Father’s Day Festival, Grass Valley, CA
Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Oak Hill, NY
Joe’s Pub, New York, NY
The Famous Spiegeltent, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, SCOT
Tour of Scotland
Coors Light Open House Festival, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Lotus Festival, Bloomington, IN
Festival of American Music and Crafts, Silver Dollar City, MO

Tour of Germany: May 3-28
Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Fest, Haines Junction, Yukon
Tour of Alaska
Spiegeltent, Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, SCOT
Walnut Valley Festival, Winfield, KS
Festival of American Music and Crafts, Silver Dollar City, MO

Northern Midwest Tour with Foghorn Stringband
Old Town School of Folk Music’s Trad Fest 2
Supergrass, Bakersfield, CA
San Francisco Bluegrass & Old Time Fest, Berkeley, CA
Wintergrass, Tacoma, WA
Tractor Tavern, Seattle, WA
Station Inn, Nashville, TN
Merlefest, Wilkesboro, NC
Festival International, Lafayette, LA
Bluegrass & BBQ Fest, Silver Dollar City, MO
Kluane Mountain Bluegrass Fest, Haines Junction, Yukon
Tour of Alaska
Nome Folk Fest, Nome, AK
Rockygrass, Lyons, CO
Pickathon, Happy Valley, OR
Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Edinburgh, SCOT
Tour of Scotland
Ulster American Folk Park Festival, Omagh, IRE
Walnut Valley Fest, Winfield, KS
IBMA Fan Fest, Nashville, TN


– BBC TV at Celtic Connections, Jan 2009
– BBC Radio Ulster, on-site at McHugh’s Basement at Open House Festival, Sept 2008
– NPR’s “Weekend Edition” feature story: June 2008 listen online
– PBS syndicated show “Song of the Mountains” (to be aired 2008-2009 season)
– WXRT Jon Langford’s “Eclectic Company”: April 2008
– BBC Radio Scotland, The Fred MacAulay Show: August 2007
– KEXP “Swingin’ Doors”: August 2006
– KCBS “The Old Country”: May 2005 (rebroadcast March 2006)
– WDVX “Blue Plate Special”: April 2005, October 2005, April 2006, Jan 2007, April 2008
– WNCW “Music Mix”: April 2006
– Michael Jonathan’s “Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour”: April 2005
–’s “The Turnpike”: February 2005
– Kennedy Center’s Millenium Stage: July 2004
– NPR’s “Prairie Home Companion”, with Iris DeMent: June 2002
– Iowa Public Television’s “Old Time Country Music” show: Series 2001-02


* 8th Annual Independent Music Awards, 2009 WINNER, judges: “Best Alt-Country Album” (Someone’s Got to Pay) and WINNER, popular vote:”Best Americana Song” (Hey Little Darlin).
* The Pitch “Best of Kansas City — Best Country Band” award, 2008.
* Nashville Scene’s “Best of 2006: Albums too Country for Country Radio” (“Throw Down”)
* Biloxi Sun Herald’s “Music’s Best of 2006” (“Throw Down”)
* Best New Folk Artists 2006
* Bank of Scotland’s “Herald Angel”, August 2006.
* IBMA Fan Fest Performers, October 2005-2006.
* “Best of Kansas City — Best Country Band” award from The Pitch, 2005.
* Performed on the “Roots & Branches” stage at IBMA convention, 2002.
* Nominated for two Midwest SPBGMA awards in 2002.
* Nominated for a Pitch Weekly Music Award for Best Country/ Roots/Bluegrass Group 2002-2008.
* Nominated for a “KLAMMIE” (Kansas City/Lawrence Area Music Award) for Best Country Group in 2001.

3 Replies to “Performance Highlights”

    1. Hello Kim, just seeing this comment – I’m not on the site much these days. The band went inactive in 2012. You can find a lot of our albums to stream on youtube. Our gospel album “On the Wings of a Dove” includes some of the songs you mention – and Arkansas Sheik, you might find a live version of it on youtube too. Also you can look at the Merchandise page and see if you’d like to order any albums. Hope that helps you to get your Wilders memories fixed up! Thanks for remembering us!

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