The celebration of mountains and whitewater rapids is the inspiration for everything Rapidgrass. The Internationally acclaimed mountain music is influenced by an active, outdoor lifestyle. Brought together through music and love for mountains, they define modern, acoustic, Colorado mountain music.
The lineup includes Mark Morris (guitar, lead vocals); Coleman Smith (violin); Carl Minorkey (upright bass); and Alex Johnstone (mandolin, vocals); Billy Cardine (dobro, recording producer). This front range Colorado ensemble uses classical, gypsy, bluegrass, pop, swing, and other world rhythms to create what is, and can only be described of as, Rapidgrass.
The band released 'RAPIDGRASS QUINTET', in 2013 and was voted as one ofthe top 5 albums by the Mountain Arts Culture Colorado. In 2015 they then released 'CROOKED ROAD' and went on to win the prestigious ROCKYGRASS band contest that same year. Rapidgrass produced their 3rd album, 'HAPPY TRAILS' in 2017 and was released at the eighth annual Rapidgrass Music Festival June 23-25 2017. The band is currently finishing their 4th studio album 'GYPSY CATTLE DRIVE' and 1st live album, both recorded in Chamonix, France August 2018. Rapidgrass has had the pleasure of playing mountain music throughout Colorado, Alaska, the lower 48, Ireland, Hungary, Scotland, Poland, and the European Alps. The band is eager to share new music with you!
- Happy Trails!
5th generation Colorado Native, Mark Morris began playing guitar when he was 10 years old. He graduated from the University of Colorado in the fall of 2007 with a degree in music business and has been a professional touring musician/promoter/teacher/athlete since. His music and skiing has taken him across the world throughout US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Central America, teaching camps, and workshops. Mark co-founded Rapidgrass festival in 2009 with Sister Sarah, Rapids & Grass festival in 2014, and Rapidgrass band in 2012 with Coleman. When Mark is not performing music or skiing the big mountains he works full time as a music promoter and talent buyer for multiple festivals and events. Mark also books, manages, and directs Rapidgrass Band, and is been the US ambassador of bluegrass at La Roche Bluegrass festival since 2016. In 2015 Mark developed an international band exchange where winner of the La Roche Bluegrass Festival band contest is invited to play at Rapidgrass Festival, in his home town of Idaho Springs, CO. Mark also spends his winter as a professional sponsored athlete for Icelantic Skis, SCARPA, Discrete Clothing, Flylow Gear and Rab USA. Mark has been featured in POWDER magazine, Warren Miller Entertainment, Outside Magazine, Trail Runner Magazine, and Freeskier Magazine for combining music and skiing. Mark and Sarah were also nominated for the WRIGHT Award (presented by Colorado governor John Hickenloooer), in 2016. Mark has shared jams with Chris Thile, Mike Marshal, Darol Anger, Rushad Engleson, Edgar Meyer, Noam Pikelny, Anders Beck, Paul Hoffeman, Andy Thorn, and Drew Emmit. He has also shared the stage with Sam Bush, David Grisman, Peter Rowan, Rob Ickes, David Grier, Matt Flinner, and Luke Bulla, Jeff Austin, and Tim Carbone.Read more about Mark and visit his personal website HERE
Coleman started playing the violin at 3 years old. In his youth Coleman traveled across the country studying various styles of fiddle music and competing in some of the nation's most prestigious fiddle contests. Coleman was awarded a Presidential scholarship to the music department at Marywood University where he studied music performance and minored in music pedagogy. Coleman has a unique style that fuses Gypsy Swing, Jazz, Celtic, Bluegrass and Texas Fiddle, all from a classical perspective. Currently, Coleman travels the world, including an annual tour with Rapidgrass throughout Europe where he both performs and leads workshops for Europe’s largest bluegrass festival. When Coleman is not performing with Rapidgrass he is either teaching at his music school Coletrain Music Academy, performing with his side project, Gypsy Cattle Drive, or guest appearing with a wide variety of popular bands including but not limited to The Drew Emmit Band, David Grisman, Billy Cardine, Jeff Austin Band, Peter Rowan, Pete Wernick, and Pheobe Hunt & The Gatherers. [READ MORE]
Alex Johnstone has spent the last many years touring around bars, bluegrass festivals, and kids music camps all over America and Canada as a member of the Colorado based bluegrass band Spring Creek. He started his musical life as teenager playing electric rock and blues guitar and took up the mandolin and fiddle in his early twenties. Alex started playing out professionally while ski bumming in Crested Butte Colorado and also where he met the other members of Spring Creek. He followed the band out to South Plains College in Levelland Texas where he studied music with renowned pickers Alan Mundy and Joe Carr. Alex currently makes his home in Buena Vista, Colorado and enjoys making music, skiing, and fly fishing.
Carl Meinecke hails from the plains of West Texas drawing inspiration from his windblown dusty roots. His background in classical and jazz styles serves as a good base. Relocating to the Gunnison Valley in 2008 he was thrust into string band music. Playing in Gunnison Valley bands Poverty Gulch, Gypsy Jazz Social Club, and Simpler Times Bluegrass over the years plus backing up local musician Drew Emmitt when in the valley. He has studied with such bass legends as Eric Thorin to further develop his bass style and is currently working on furthering his skill set on the cello. Past teachers include Paul Sharpe, Jeff Bradetich, and Nick Scales to name a few. If not involved in music you will find him working with trees as a Certified Arborist helping to care for Colorado’s urban forest.
ADJUNCT MEMBER - (Billy plays with Rapidgrass as often as he can but is not a full time member)
Adjunct member includes - Billy Cardine, a genre-blurring composer, slide guitarist, multi - instrumentalist who currently performs with a variety of bands and is an active session musician and producer. He has been featured on, BBC World's Destination Music, the PBS Roadtrip Nation, the new Jerry Douglas Production “Southern Filibuster”, The History Channel's Our Generation, andat The Ryman Auditorium, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Bonnaroo and NPR's Mountain Stage. Billy also recorded and produced Rapidgrass' 4th studio album 'Happy Trails'