Artists and Bands who performed at Blue Mountains Music Festival 2019

Melissa Crabtree & Dayan Kai - appearing at the Blue Mountains Music Festival of Folk, Roots and Blues, 2018 - in Katoomba!

Melissa Crabtree & Dayan Kai (USA)

Whether guiding a raft through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River, or writing songs and singing about the majesty of the American West, Melissa Crabtree’s heartfelt love for the natural world transports her listeners to the wild places she knows best. Melissa, you see, lives two lives; one as a wilderness guide and the other as a working musician, and at this intersection of nature and music, she conjures songs—like a contemporary, female Woody Guthrie, that amuse, inspire and entertain.

In performance, Crabtree delivers her poignant stories in a distinctly husky alto, with a pleasingly twangy guitar. Her band is top-notch and is as comfortable playing on the back porch as they are on a festival stage. In the last several years, Melissa has played many notable festivals, including the High Sierra Music Festival, Moab Folk Festival, Oregon Country Fair and the Taos Solar Music Festival. She has also received songwriting awards at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, The Rocky Mountain Folks Festival, The Tucson Folk Festival and the Kerrville Folk Festival. In 2002 she was among the 10 finalists in the Songwriter’s Showcase at both the Rocky Mountain Folk Fest and at the Tucson Folk Festival. In 2004 she was among the top five finalists in the Telluride Bluegrass Festival's “Troubadour Contest.” In 2006 her song Message from a Soldier got the attention of Noel “Paul” Stookey (of Peter, Paul and Mary) who invited her to perform at the Kerrville Folk Festival where she was a finalist in its "Music to Life" Public Domain Foundation songwriting contest.

Melissa also received honourable mention for the song Message from a Soldier in the 2010 International Songwriting Competition, hailed as "The songwriting competition to take note of" by the New York Times. Kasey Chambers from Australia and Carrie Rodriguez were finalists the same year.

She released her first CD, Off the Beaten Path, in 2002 and then toured the country in a vegetable-oil powered van to call attention to our nation's addiction to petroleum. Her song Biodiesel Van was featured in the film "Fields of Fuel" which won Best Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival in 2008. She also produced a compilation CD of songs and spoken word about alternatives to fossil fuels that includes Julia Butterfly Hill, Tony Furtado and Julie Wolf (of Ani DiFranco’s band).

Melissa has shared the stage with many leading performers including Eliza Gilkyson, Joan Osborne, Greg Brown, Ani DiFranco, Michelle Shocked, John Prine, Patty Larkin, Catie Curtis, Dar Williams, David Wilcox, Kris Delmhorst and Tony Furtado.

Dayan is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, vocalist, and producer with a lifelong dedication to music. Equally versed in jazz, blues, world, Americana, bluegrass, folk and rock, Dayan demonstrates a depth of musicality that bridges cultural and musical worlds.

 A partial list of instruments Dayan plays includes keyboards (piano, organ, accordion), guitars (Spanish classical, six- and 12-string acoustic, electric, and resophonic), other strings (charango, ukulele, bass, 4- and 5-string banjo, mandolin, and fiddle), the single-reed woodwind family and flutes from around the world, trumpet and trombone, concha’s, and percussion (trap kit and hand drums [Cajon, pandero, doumbec, tabla, and congas]).

"This is one bad ass who knows how to weave a soulful tune". – Tony Furtado

"I'm glad she's on the planet." – Patty Larkin

Melissa's music is like the white water she guides on: "A bluesy wild ride down a river of emotions or environmental issues, dealing with them honest and in earnest... her performance is strong and free." – Caroline Aiken

“A road-wise folkie with a bluesy soul reminiscent of early Michelle Shocked, Melissa Crabtree is an original storyteller and performer not to be missed.” – Catie Curtis