The Reckless Abandoners perform contemporary bluegrass and Americana, with touches of honky tonk, Western Swing, acoustic country and blues. We have an eclectic repertoire that includes original songs and tunes, traditional standards and some creative covers, from upbeat to mellow. The core line-up consists of Maria Wallace and Phil Stott, with a rotating cast of excellent UK bluegrass musicians. In the last two years we’ve called on some outstanding musicians to dep with us including Dick Embery (Monroe’s Revenge) on double bass, Alistair McIlroy (Catfish Skillet) on banjo, Laura Carrivick (Midnight Skyracer, Cardboard Fox) on dobro, Kieran Towers (Hot Rock Pilgrims) on fiddle and Hilary Gowen (Molly and the Blackbriar Band) on banjo. We look forward to performing more with these fine fellas in 2019, as well as with Richard Partridge (New Essex Bluegrass Band) on fiddle. Bruno Pichler (dobro) and Mark Gibbons (guitar) are still regular members of the collective who plan to perform with us occasionally but are both busy with other projects. Eleanor Wilkie (fiddle/vocals) and her mum Julie Cross (double bass) have now moved on, due to their increasing commitments with Midnight Skyracer and as organisers of Crossover Festival. We wish them every success!
Maria Wallace brought the band together and is the lead singer, bandleader and songwriter, with a powerful alto voice. With a passion for bluegrass and Americana music, under the True North Music banner Maria is also a successful grassroots music promoter and booking agent bringing some of the finest bluegrass and Americana artists (from the USA, Canada and the UK) to audiences in Yorkshire and throughout the country. Her current clients include Ron Block, Front Country, The Slocan Ramblers, Joe Newberry & April Verch, Mile Twelve, The Honey Dewdrops and many more. Maria also writes and blogs about bluegrass and old time Americana.
Phil Stott (mandolin/guitar/vocals) is a fine Yorkshire-based musician and singer who’s been active on the folk and bluegrass scene for over 30 years as a keen picker, festival organiser and musician in various bands, including Yorkshire quartet Cowbaby. Phil takes lead vocal and rhythm guitar duties on several songs as well as singing harmony vocals.
Guitar picker extraordinaire Mark Gibbons is an ace flatpicker. Originally from Shetland and now based in Southport, Mark has been playing guitar for most of his life and is well known on the UK festival scene for his picking skills and free-ranging style, as well as his beaming smile. Mark may be working abroad for some of 2019 but we hope to have him in the line-up when he’s in the UK!
Bruno Pichler (dobro) is based down south in Sussex, a skilled and subtle musician known for his great work with the bands Lands End and Hot Rock Pilgrims. Bruno is one of the best resonator guitar players in the UK and has won prizes in the instrument contests at the massive Rockygrass festival in the USA several times. Bruno has a very busy day job and family life as well as another regular band, but we hope to get to perform with him occasionally in 2019!
We made our debut on the main stage at Orwell Bluegrass Festival in Suffolk in May 2016, where the audience gave us a really great welcome. Further festival performances since then have been very well received, with the Abandoners performing at Didmarton, Coastline, Tamworth and Cornish bluegrass festivals as well as the Moniaive, Gower, South Essex and Crossover bluegrass events, plus a couple of smaller gigs in Yorkshire. We’re looking forward to bringing our particular good-time blend of acoustic music to more audiences in 2019! See you down the road somewhere!