Based in Montana, and originally known as Deep River, they hit the national scene in 2000 with a self-titled CD (Kane’s River) on Doobie Shea Records. Their sound was modern and very polished, drawing on the talented songwriters in the group whose distinctive and non-stereotypical material shaped the band sound. That, and the use of both male and female vocals, led to some plausible comparisons to the sound of Alison Krauss & Union Station, who were then just reaching the level of international recognition they currently enjoy.
The band at the start featured Jerry Nettuno on mandolin, John Lowell on guitar, Julie Elkins on banjo, and Dave Thompson on bass.
Kane’s River charted high on the Bluegrass Unlimited survey and was well-received by critics. They showcased in 2000 at IBMA, and were a popular draw at festivals over the next few years.
A second CD, Same River Twice, was released in 2003. At this time, Ben Winship was playing mandolin, and Jason Thomas had come on board to play fiddle.
But not long after, the band went into an indefinite period of hiatus, though a disbanding was never announced. Scheduling had become difficult with Thomas in Florida, Elkins in North Carolina, and the rest of the band remaining out in Big Sky country. As their families expanded, the travel took a back seat and Kane’s River faded into the background.
But later this month, they will do a trio of reunion shows out west, bringing the most recent lineup together again on stage.
- 12/16/09 Dornan’s Jackson Hole, WY
- 12/18/09 Chet Huntley Lodge Big Sky, MT
- 12/19/09 Museum of the Rockies Bozeman, MT
No luck for Kane’s River fans back east, but those back where it all began will have a chance to hear them play again around the holidays. Julie promised to send some photos after the shows. I’m sure it will be a blast for all concerned.