Equal parts fast-paced and soulful, 5-piece modern-folk Americana act, The Way Down Wanderers, draw listeners in with energy, originality and soulful generosity. Playing, performing and writing together for just 3 short years, the Wanderers have built an enthusiastic and fast-growing following. Youthful and professionally trained, these young men captivate audiences with soaring instrumentals, foot stomping sing-alongs and a lively stage show and have created a buzz for themselves with their unplugged, off-stage encores and propensity for performing self-titled, “restSTOMPS” - free acoustic sets at rest & truck stops along their tour routes. The band’s debut, self-titled album, produced by Mike Marsh of the Avett Brothers and recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso TX, is now available wherever music is sold.
International Song Writing Competition finalist,“Dead Birds,” is available on Spotify, iTunes and wherever digital music is sold.
Front-men and founders, Austin and Collin, met in their hometown of Peoria, IL when they joined the same folk band and embarked on their first tour at the ages of 14 and 18 years old. The two became fast friends and soon began writing music together, ultimately forming The Way Down Wanderers when Collin was 16 and Austin, 20 years old.
Austin Thompson - guitar, lead & harmony vocals as well as percussion in the studio. Austin studied music at the collegiate level where he grew as a musician. Austin finds much inspiration for his lyrics in the beauty of nature and his love for hiking. He adds his unique musical influences of rock, folk and the spoken word to the music he writes and performs.
Collin Krause - Collin plays mandolin, fiddle and sings lead and harmony vocals for the band. Collin became involved in music when he began taking classical violin at the age of 3. Growing up around traditional roots & bluegrass music had a big influence on him. Collin enjoys writing, co-writing and arranging music for the band.
John Merikoski- Drums, Percussion. John has been playing drums since age nine and is featured on dozens of recordings, ranging from Jazz and Metal to Hip-hop and Bluegrass. In 2012 he was awarded a full ride scholarship to study Jazz performance for drum set at the University of Illinois where he has taken a break to pursue The Way Down Wanderers, full-time.
John Williams - Upright bass and vocals. John is a former classical upright bass performance major who also enjoys singing, song-writing and entertaining a crowd
Travis Kowalsky - Banjo & fiddle. Travis got his start in music at a very young age in his family band. He is entirely self-taught and can play pretty much any instrument he picks up. The Wanderers were lucky enough to meet Travis at his home town festival in Alpena Michigan and he has been touring with them ever since.
GoldenOak is an emerging sound in New England folk music. A Portland, Maine based, Indie-Soul-Folk, sibling duo, Zak and Lena Kendall were born and raised in the Sandy River Valley of Western Maine. The two started making music together as kids and the bond of brother and sister is evident in their carefully crafted songs, poetic lyrics, and flowing harmonies. Influenced early by legends like Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Simon and Garfunkel, and The Band, and by the like of Fleet Foxes, First Aid Kit, and Ray LaMontagne.
GoldenOak began writing music and performing in 2014. Their early songs led to their first official release, Pleasant St., in 2016, an album they co-wrote with cellist Seth Wegner. The full length album painted the landscape of the duo’s childhood and their experiences growing up and leaving home. Appropriately, they recorded with accompaniments on electric guitar, cello, and trumpet, from hometown friends. The original album with beautiful instrumentation and voice solidified the band as ambassadors of the Maine Folk Scene.
Following Pleasant St. Zak and Lena produced the Acadia Sessions, a series of live video sessions to highlight the album as they toured widely in the Northeast gaining in audience and recognition. The homegrown and honest approach of the band shows integrity and style, earning them praise across the board. The success of Pleasant St. and the following tour gained GoldenOak a nomination as “one of Portland's most important upcoming bands” by Dispatch Magazine.
In October 2017, GoldenOak released Foxgloves, a 6 track EP that builds on Zak and Lena's folk roots with a remarkable orchestral approach. On the EP, the siblings expand their earthy sound and songwriting with percussion, piano, trumpet, cello, and violin. Evolvement Radio said of the EP, “the vocals are little more than another pair of instruments adding another exquisite layer of atmosphere to the songs. It’s not until ‘side two’ of the EP that Zak and Lena’s vocals take center stage in the mix. When they do step out vocally, they bring a stunning release of energy to the songs.” The band kicked off their Foxgloves release tour with a sold out show at Portland’s One Longfellow Square, and in December, Foxgloves was voted “EP of the Year” by the Portland Music Awards.
As GoldenOak evolves and pushes boundaries, they continue to sow seeds in a rich folk tradition. Zak and Lena record and often tour with fellow musicians and band mates, Mike Knowles (Bass), and Jackson Cromwell (percussion). Over the last two years, they shared the stage with many notable artists such as Lady Lamb, The Dustbowl Revival, The Ghost of Paul Revere, The Mallett Brothers Band, and Parsonsfield.