Like the powerful mandolinist at its helm, John Reischman and the Jaybirds fashion a stylish, elegant take on bluegrass that is at once innovative and unadorned, sophisticated and stripped-down, happily old-fashioned, yet unselfconsciously new. To see their live show is to believe it. A genial blend of story-telling and side-show humour provides the backdrop to their studied performance of original songs, instrumentals, and newly arranged traditional material.
The Jaybirds feature some of the finest musicians in the acoustic scene. A world-renowned mandolinist and composer, John began his career in the San Francisco Bay area in the early '80s with the Good Ol' Persons bluegrass band, and was an original member of the legendary instrumental new acoustic quartet, the Tony Rice Unit. John moved to Vancouver in the early '90s and later formed the Jaybirds, a two-time Juno-nominated band delivering their own trademark blend of original songs and instrumentals, reimagined tunes from the old-time vaults, and bluegrass power. They are simultaneously modern, vintage and unique.
John has also released three critically-acclaimed solo instrumental albums, and recorded on dozens of other projects, including the Grammy-winning True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine called John "one of the world's undisputed masters" of the mandolin, and he's known for producing wonderful tone from his famous 1924 Gibson 'Lloyd Loar' F-5 mandolin. He also plays Latin jazz with highly regarded finger-style acoustic guitarist John Miller; the duo has released three albums.
"The folks he's playing with are neck-and-neck with him all the way," Victory Review magazine said of the Jaybirds. "Though Reischman is the leader and front man, he gives each of them plenty of room to shine, and together they produce music that is seamlessly excellent and rewarding," Sing Out! magazine said of the West Coast ensemble.
Los Angeles, CA-based guitarist Patrick Sauber joined the Jaybirds in 2017. The veteran performer has played with, among others, Doc Watson, Richard Greene, John Jorgensen, Peter Rowan, Tim O’Brien and John Fogerty. He played on the 2016 Grammy-nominated album The Hazel and Alice Sessions by Laurie Lewis, and appeared in the film A Mighty Wind with Christopher Guest.
Chilliwack, BC-based Trisha Gagnon is portrayed by Sing Out! as "one of the most versatile" and "irresistible" lead vocalists in bluegrass, her strong and distinctive style ranging from "mournful and plaintive" to "hopeful and yearning." Trisha anchors what Dirty Linen magazine calls "gorgeous three-part harmonies." She's also known for songwriting, dating back to her early days with the award-winning B.C. bluegrass band Tumbleweed. Her solo album includes guests Vince Gill and Peter Rowan.
Nanaimo, BC-based Nick Hornbuckle has developed his own voice on the five-string banjo - a two-finger roll unlike other contemporary banjo players. "Nick Hornbuckle's banjo can be downright spine-tingling," said the L.A Daily News. His solo album 12x2 (+/-1), was nominated for a Canadian Folk Music Award in 2015, and Nick is a composer who also digs for rare old-time gems.
Spokane, WA-based Greg Spatz is hailed as a "world-class bluegrass fiddler" by Fiddler magazine. Audiophile Audition says Fiddlin' Greg's "virtuosic playing is flawlessly delivered time after time." His Paul Bunyanesque chops have made him a popular fixture down through the years on the West Coast, where he's played with iconic mandolinist Frank Wakefield and resophonic guitar master Rob Ickes. Greg also tours and records with Mighty Squirrel, has a solo album called Fiddler's Dream, and is an award-winning novelist.
John Reischman and the Jaybirds (2001)
Field Guide (2002)
The Road West (2005)
Stellar Jays (2007)
Vintage and Unique (2011)
On A Winter’s Night (2014)
On That Other Green Shore (2017)
John Reischman solo albums:
The North Shore (1991)
Up In The Woods (1999)
Walk Along John (2013)
John Reischman and John Miller (Latin jazz):
The Singing Moon (1998)
Bumpy Road (2002)
Road Trip (2013)
Fiddler’s Dream (2007)
12x2(+/-1) —— (2014)
A Story About You and Me (2010)
|John Reischman||mandolin, vocals||2000 - present|
|Greg Spatz||fiddle||2000 - present|
|Nick Hornbuckle||banjo, vocals||2000 - present|
|Trisha Gagnon||bass, vocals||2000 - present|
|Patrick Sauber||guitar, vocals||2017 - present|
The Cowichan Valley Regional District is a broad geographic region stretching from the Malahat to North Oyster and from the Cowichan Lake to Thetis Island.
The region's artists are represented by 5 sub-regional arts councils with support from the CVRD Arts and Culture Division