About the Band
Elixir is a high energy dance band and caller combination that blends superb calling, driving fiddle and guitar playing, and the rich texture and rhythmic excitement of a full horn section. Elixir performs tightly crafted music drawing on a wide range of styles and evoking a variety of moods. Elegant melodies evolve into raucous dixieland horn riffs; transcendent harmonies, playful improvisations, and rock, swing and reggae-inspired rhythms weave in and out of traditional and original Irish, French Canadian and New England tunes. Elixir plays for dances, festivals, camps, weddings and other events, with a repertoire that includes music for contra, square, English and swing dancing; waltzing; couples dancing; and concert programs.
Since its start in 2005, Elixir has evolved a sound that combines musical innovation with strong danceability, and has quickly become popular with dancers and audiences all over the country. In 2007 the band recorded a short four-track CD (now out of print), and in 2008 released their first full-length recording entitled Super Tonic. Their brand new CD Rampant is hot off the presses and available now! And while these recordings certainly rock, the real thing is even better – we hope you’ll join us soon at an upcoming show…
Nils Fredland has been calling dances with admirable skill and infectious energy since 2000. Respected for his expertise as a teacher and caller, sensitive leadership, and generosity, Nils is one of the busiest and most sought-after callers in the business. He draws on a large and varied repertoire of dances, presenting material from centuries-old “chestnuts” to cutting-edge contemporary choreography. Nils is also known for breathing new life into traditional singing squares, and in 2010 he co-authored a book on the topic with master caller Ralph Sweet. Nils studied classical trombone at Indiana University, and since 1996 has played his horn in ensembles ranging from symphony orchestras to ska bands. In Elixir Nils has found an ensemble that brings together his myriad talents in one thrilling package. When not on the road Nils works as the American Dance Publications Coordinator at the Country Dance and Song Society. Visit Nils’ web site.
Fiddler Ethan Hazzard-Watkins performs traditional and original music with driving energy, passion and grace. His fiery, lyrical fiddling fuses elements of Irish, French Canadian and New England styles, along with influences from Swing, Blues and Classical music. Based in Brattleboro, VT, Ethan tours extensively throughout the US and beyond, playing for Contra and English dances and at festivals and dance camps. Besides Elixir, Ethan plays with several other contra dance bands, teaches fiddle lessons, helps organize dances in Brattleboro and Greenfield, and is an avid composer of fiddle tunes. Visit Ethan’s web site.
Trumpeter Jesse Readlynn mixes keen musicality, skillful and accurate technical playing, and a clear and vibrant tone to create beautiful music in a variety of genres. Beginning as a young child Jesse has pursued an ever-deepening study of classical trumpet performance, attending Kinhaven School of Music, Ithaca College School of Music, and the University of Massachusetts, where he completed a Masters of Music in May of 2007. Besides playing with Elixir, Jesse has wide ranging experience performing in solo recitals, for weddings, as a member of chamber ensembles, and in large orchestra and band settings. He is also a talented teacher, offering lessons tailored to the needs of trumpeters of all ages and levels of experience. Visit Jesse’s web site.
Anna Patton plays clarinet with great verve, clarity, and harmonic whim, drawing on a richly eclectic musical background of jazz, classical, traditional, and world music. Based in Brattleboro, VT, she performs full time for dances and concerts, composes and arranges music, and teaches ear training and swing harmony singing. Besides Elixir, Anna’s current projects include playing dance music with bands such as The Figments, string-band and vocal swing with Housetop, Brazillian and gypsy jazz gigs with The Will Patton Ensemble, and improvisatory Balkan/ African/ South American influenced originals with the As Yet Quintet. Her solo album, Isadore’s Breakfast – featuring her work on clarinet and vocals along with many of Vermont’s finest musicians – is a mix of French-influenced swing and fiddle tunes. Visit Anna’s web site.
Owen Morrison’s fiercely rhythmic guitar playing has thrilled dancers across the country. Owen draws on his background in traditional music and his training in classical and jazz guitar to create a uniquely danceable style. In high demand as a rhythm player, he is also a master flat-picker, a solid mandolinist and an innovative composer. Owen has toured with Airdance, Night Watch, The Figments, House Red and The Morrison Brothers Band. Visit Owen’s web site.