Concert and Square Dance
Skillet Licorice is the latest project from San Francisco Bay Area roots-music luminaries Elise Engelberg and Matt Knoth. Essentially a musical consortium, Matt & Elise are the core of an All-Star lineup featuring many of California's hottest old-time musicians, including Julay Brooks, Kelly Martin and Katy Harris. The result is a full-fledged proto-swing orchestra capable of expert musicianship in a dizzying array of folk genres. Whether they’re playing hot fiddle breakdowns, slinky blues, sparkling banjo breaks, ragged stomps or dreamy waltzes Skillet Licorice displays an impressive command of styles and techniques that comes from deep study and loving dedication to America’s folk traditions.
Skillet Licorice transport you back in time to the realm of old-time raggy stringband music like no other band that I know of today. They play with the finesse, virtuosity and mojo of the great players from the 20s and 30s. This is no easy feat. It's as if the East Texas Serenaders stepped out of a time machine for your musical titillation and edification. – David Bragger (Curator and Producer of Old Time Tiki Parlour)
Elise Engelberg (fiddle, banjo) a Kentucky native, got her start in music as a classical violinist. After moving to California, she rediscovered her bluegrass roots and began learning to play the fiddle. Since then, she has become a sought after fiddler in the Bay Area old time scene. Elise has recorded with the Crooked Jades, is a founding member of The Mercury Dimes and has toured with the Stairwell Sisters. Her love for teaching young children has afforded her a thriving music studio in San Francisco.
Matt Knoth (banjo, guitar, vocals) Matt Knoth comes from San Jose, CA where he grew up playing and listening to bluegrass with his father, KFAT Radio Legend Cuzin Al. In addition to the 5 string banjo, Matt is a driving old-timey guitarist and founding member of the rocking old-time group, The Mercury Dimes, and has shared the stage with Peter Rowan, Danny Elfmann and Chris Thile. When not performing as a blazing hillbilly star, you can find Knoth in the Marin Headlands pursuing his love of nature photography.
Kelly Marie Martin (vocals, bass) is based in Los Angeles, where she sings and plays guitar and upright bass with LA's favorite old-time quintet Echo Mountain. Kelly was a crucial part of fomenting a “squarevolution” in LA with trio Triple Chicken Foot, hosting a monthly jam and square dance that continue, along with founding annual festival the Los Angeles Old Time Social, now in its fourteenth year. Triple Chicken Foot produced 3 albums and were featured on NPR and in the Los Angeles Times. In 2017, she released her first solo album of original songs and sound interludes, The Last Kind Word.
Katy Hill Harris (guitar, vocals) is founding member of the popular old time ensemble the Hi-O Revelers... Katy's timing is so impeccable, you'd probably guess think she works in a watch factory or something.... and you'd be right! In addition to lending her sweet vocals to the Licorice sound, Katy's bluesy phrasing is key to keeping the skillet good and greasy.
Julay Brooks (mandolin, guitar) is a musician based in Portland. She is guitarist and harmony singer in the indie folk pop band Stackhouse and the Garden, and she plays fierce backup guitar in the old-time fiddle/banjo band Rats Gone to Rest. She is an honorary member of the hypnotic East Bay rebetika band The Disciples of Markos, bringing alive the underworld hashish dens of 1930s Athens. Julay is also an honorary member of Skillet Licorice, playing with them whenever the stars align.