RAPIDGRASS - When a snowflake falls it melts to stream, and eventually meets the creek.  The creek then pours down though the canyon and the rapids begin to speak. 

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 Coleman Smith (violin, mandolin, vocals);  Mark Morris (guitar, vocals); Coleman Smith (violin, mandolin, vocals); Carl Minorkey (upright bass, tenor banjo, vocals); and Alex Johnstone (mandolin, fiddle, vocals). Adjunct players include Billy Cardine (dobro, vocals, recording producer) and Kyle Hauser (banjo, vocals). 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. 

Rapidgrass Music Festival and Rapidgrass the ensemble were twins born of the desire to celebrate the rapids of Clear Creek and the mountains of Idaho Springs through mountain music, each complementing the other. The band released their first CD, 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 is currently producing their 3rd album, HAPPY TRAILS, which is due to be released at the eighth annual Rapidgrass Music Festival this June 23-25. Rapidgrass has had the pleasure of bringing mountain music throughout Colorado, Alaska, the lower 48, and the European Alps. The band is eager to kick off their 2017 music endeavors.


- Happy Trails!


Mark Morris

Mark Morris began playing guitar when he was 10 years old, and shortly after he began playing the mandolin. His musical tastes eventually gravitated from folk and country to bluegrass and jazz by the time he was a teenager. He graduated from the University of Colorado in the fall of 2007 with a degree in music, and he has been a full-time touring musician/teacher since. His music has taken him all across the US, Canada, Europe, Asia, and Central America, teaching camps and workshops. Mark founded Rapidgrass festival with his sister Sarah Morris, Rapids & Grass festival, and co-founded Rapidgrass band. When Mark is not performing with Rapidgrass he is working full time as a music promoter for several festivals and events, he books and manages Rapidgrass, and works as an international ambassador of bluegrass music with La Roche Bluegrass in France and across Europe. Mark also spends his winter as a professional skier for athlete for Icelantic, Scarpa North America, Discrete Clothing, Flylow Gear and Rab USA. Read more about Mark HERE


                                                                                 COLEMAN SMITH

Photo Credit: Mark Woods

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

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 minorkey

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.



Billy Cardine 

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'