The Kennedy Center




Mike Auldridge - dobro,lap steel and pedal steel
Jimmy Gaudreau - mandolin
Moondi Klein - guitar
T. Michael Coleman - bass

Chesapeake is a young band of seasoned players who all honed their chops in traditional bluegrass ensembles. Now they're on their own and trying out every musical flirtation they fancy, in a "new acoustic" band that challenges all record store filing systems. The rich, layered sound of Chesapeake is distinctive among bluegrass, folk, blues, jazz or rock 'n' roll - all of which they touch on in their sharp originals and sparkling new renditions of old standards. Their complex tapestry of instrumental work creates a distinctive framework for soaring, heartrending vocals. Traditional tunes are twisted into a new, vibrant life. And Chesapeake's originals sound like they've been around forever.

On stage, they let loose with strung-out blues or a calypso beat - then verge into a spirited Beatles cover or an extended Bach intro to a song. "We don't consider what we're doing really bluegrass," says pedal steel player Mike Auldridge. "If people want to call it bluegrass, that's fine. But we're not. We have a very unique sound, we think. Because it's kind of a blend of about five or six different styles of music. And it all comes from not only who we've played with, but who we've listened to for all our lives.

A wealth of previous musical experience has given the four members of Chesapeake a unique perspective. Vocalist and guitarist Moondi Klein was trained in opera. T. Michael Coleman played for years with Doc Watson before joining seminal bluegrass band The Seldom Scene, where he worked with Auldridge. Mandolin player Jimmy Gaudreau spent many years in the Tony Rice Unit.

It was Gaudreau who, as Tony Rice's voice sadly deteriorated several years ago, began to cast about for a new kind of band. He and Klein had tried to get a band together earlier, but it hadn't panned out. He contacted Klein again, and they pulled in Coleman and Auldridge from The Seldom Scene.