Rockin' Acoustic Circus
Rockin' Acoustic Circus Every so often a group of musicians come together to create a fresh sound that captivates a listening audience. The impressive musical prowess and boundary pushing style of Rockin’ Acoustic Circus is a refreshing and promising sign for the future of acoustic music. Comprised of four teens – (one a female cellist), they’ve partnered with musical mentor and guitarist, Rick Morton to share their musical passion on stages across the country. Their original interpretation of what acoustic music should be, is gaining critical respect from traditional and progressive fans alike. They’ve developed a unique sound and their own acoustic fusion allows each member to push the boundaries of typical string instruments. Rick Morton, a retired fire chief and accomplished instrumentalist and instructor on fiddle, guitar and mandolin, has already gathered an impressive musical career. He won a national talent contest with Ronnie Dunn just before Dunn hit the big time with partner Kix Brooks. Playing fiddle, Morton toured with Dunn, opening for well-known artists Ricky Skaggs, George Strait and Kathy Mattea. In 1994, Morton recorded with The Tractors on their Grammy nominated debut CD, which sold more than three million copies. Morton is not the only Circus member with music credentials; the other members have spent a good portion of their young lives involved with music as well. Sterling Abernathy, founding member of RAC, started guitar and mandolin lessons with Morton when he was eight. He’s been recognized as an “Outstanding Young Oklahoma Musician” and accumulated several top contest finishes. Eric Dysart, has taken fiddle from Morton since the age of six and gathered a list of achievements including 3-time Oklahoma Junior State Fiddle Champ and semi-finalist in Nashville’s Grand Masters. Emma Hardin, RAC’s "bluegrass cellist" received her classical training at the Barthelmes Conservatory of Music in Tulsa, but now works with Morton to innovatively charter a journey into new musical territory with the cello. Emma’s brother, Zac Hardin, has been a finalist in the International Society of Bassists (ISB) competition. He enjoys style variety and currently studies under one of Oklahoma’s leading jazz musicians. 'The Circus’ caught the attention of Oklahoma bluegrass legend Byron Berline, 3-time national fiddle champion and now director of the OIBF - Oklahoma International Bluegrass Festival (OIBF). Berline says the thing that impresses him most about the group is they strive for originality - "they aren’t copycats; they step out and do music their own way.” What Mary Burdette, with the award-winning Grey Fox Festival (NY) admires most – “they are very much a constellation of equally brilliant players with a fresh and gorgeous repertoire. When I first heard them, I was spellbound – the kind of spell I fell into when I first heard Chris Thile.” Most recently, the good ears at Elmore Magazine named them one of eleven “Artist to Watch in 2011.” Additionally, they’ve been chosen by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) as an official showcase artist for the 2011 World of Bluegrass Conference scheduled for September. These powerhouse teens – along with their musical mentor – have merged into one impressive band playing festivals and venues coast to coast. As they continue adding to their impressive repertoire complete with unique sound, creative arrangements and dynamic originals, listening to their acoustical fused music influenced by several genres including bluegrass, folk, country, classical and jazz – makes them an incredible listening experience.