Spotlight Artists

High Desert Music Collective aims to regularly feature a “Spotlight Artist'” by interviewing them and sharing their music journey. Spotlight Artists are then booked for a live performace presented by HDMC.

September 2022 Spotlight Artist:

Keith Borman

At age four, Keith Borman was already making up impromptu harmony parts to pop songs on the car radio. But his calling kicked into high gear after watching the Beatles perform on the Ed Sullivan show. 

“I was absolutely enthralled, totally speechless, riveted,” he said.

He knew instantly that music was what he wanted to do, and he did it. An accomplished singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist (guitar, keyboards, bass, flute), his bands have opened for big names like Toto, Tower of Power, Crowded House, Level 42, Greg Kihn, Chuck Berry and other national acts. As a recording artist, studio musician and arranger, he has also been a musical part of various albums, movies and commercials throughout his career. Working with legendary musicians like Joe Satriani, Herbie Hancock, Vinnie Caliuta, Mark Isham and Carlos Rios, Borman has traveled an eclectic musical journey, including a long stint as a senior sales executive and product specialist/performer with Gibson Musical Instruments and various music software companies. 

“Music has always been, and continues to be, my ultimate passion,” said Borman. “It consumes just about every waking moment. I even dream about music at night, coming up with melodies and lyrics. Sometimes, even completed new songs are playing in my head in the middle of the night.”

Borman came to Central Oregon in November 2021 and has been actively involved in the local music scene, playing a few times a week at open mics around Bend.

“I’m really impressed with the local support for live music, as well as the quality, dedication and commitment of my peers here. What a wonderful community!” said Borman.

His connection to High Desert Music Collective happened the first week he landed in Bend.

“I ran into Charlie at a Silver Moon Roots event!  I wandered up to the stage after his set, asked a few innocent questions about the local music scene, and he really took time to talk to me, to help. He was so nice, so supportive of newcomers. It really piqued my interest in potentially becoming a member. And then, I found out about the Songwriters Circle! Done deal. Really a no brainer for me,” said Borman. “HDMC has helped me become a better musician, helped me with networking, gig promotion, you name it.  The perfect environment to thrive for a guy like me.”

These days, Borman is recording original music at his home studio (you can access some of his music through Bandcamp).  Home recording for Keith enables the flexibility to play a lot of instruments as well as sing lead and background vocals, with virtually unlimited tracks at his disposal.

“I love to try different arrangements, tonal combinations, lyric interpretations and phrasing,” he said.

He’s also playing solo gigs, as well as contributing to several groups and writing new material. He hopes to do some mini tours on the west coast in the months to come. 

“I want to give back to the community, maybe offer some group lessons to help people polish their instrumental skills, theory and songwriting. I can talk about my path, what worked, what didn’t and all the take aways. No deep career goals, I just really enjoy the journey,” he added.

To hear Borman’s music, visit

August 2022 Spotlight Artist:

Ryan Carter

 Ryan Carter was only five years old when he first decided he wanted to be a rockstar. It was the guitar player at his family’s church who sparked his interest, and by age 11 he was obsessed.

“Like many musicians, my musical journey started in the church as a child,” said Carter. “Although I’ve ‘fallen from grace’ since those days, one of my early memories is the church guitarist who would spill his heart out on stage. I later asked my parents to introduce me to him, and I told him I wanted to be a rockstar. He told me it’s a good thing I’d be starting early.”

Shortly after, Carter experienced a few “bad lessons” learning songs like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and Row Row Row Your Boat with his brother’s old guitar. But on his 11th birthday, his uncle gave him an electric Ibanez guitar that unleashed his passion.

“I was obsessed with any music and any sound I could make outta that thing. I was playing in church while simultaneously hiding ‘the devil’s music’ under my bed, like it was a dirty magazine,” he said.

Today, he fronts the Central Oregon-based band Mougli & The Blues that just released a new album titled Bible School Dropout . Rooted in rock with a punk rock heart, the album draws from his experiences growing up in — and rebelling from — a religious upbringing with song titles like Handjobs in Church and Apocalypse When?!. 

Early on, Carter was known as a singer/songwriter who played acoustic music. At the age of 19, he was signed to a small record label based out of Oklahoma City where he recorded one album before parting ways. Over the next five years, he started playing throughout the northwest —  both solo and with a jam band called The Stirlings. Today, Carter (Mougli) runs an independent label in Bend, Oregon called The Trees Are Talking Records.  

Carter pulls his inspiration from a variety of sources. “It’s one of those things that comes from anywhere. It could be anything from a painting or a drawing, or a movie or a cartoon. I love cartoons. Obviously, any music that just hits different. I also find a lot of my lyrics just out of interesting conversations I’ve had with people. But mostly, my inspiration comes from just using my songs to fight through past trauma,” said Carter who added that the title track of his new album ends with some resolution. “I go off at the end talking about all the shit I can do now that it’s over.”

When asked what’s next for this High Desert Music Collective member, he answered “The World. I just wanna play music every day and never stop.”

You can find Carter’s upcoming shows on Instagram and hear his music on all of the major streaming platforms including SpotifyApple Music, and Amazon. He also has videos on You


July 2022 Spotlight Artist:

Mike Wayock 

Mike Wayock hasn’t lived in Central Oregon for very long, but he’s left an impression on our local music scene. A professional musician and singer of more than 30 years, Wayock is affectionately known as the “human juke box” because of his unique ability to play just about any request thrown his way.

“I enjoy playing solo acoustic shows where I can take requests and push myself to play songs I’ve never played before,” said Wayock. “My motto when people make requests is ‘If I’ve heard it, I’ll try it’. 

Wayock is originally from the Philadelphia area where he grew up on rock, Motown, funk, hip-hop and bluegrass. His earliest musical memory was singing along to the chorus of Hall & Oates, Maneater…’Whoa-ooh here she comes’. 

“They’re my hometown heroes and they dominated Philly radio in the early 80s,” said Wayock who was seven-years-old when he got his first guitar. “My uncle taught me the intros to Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones and Last Train to Clarksville by The Monkeys. I was hooked and started lessons a few months later.” 

Wayock later honed his skills as a musician in Nashville, Tennessee, where he lived for four years, playing lead guitar and banjo and singing back up vocals for major label country artists and songwriters including Luke Combs, Wyatt Durrette and Rob Snyder.

After moving to the Bend, Oregon in 2020, he started playing as a solo acoustic cover artist and joined in with other local acts, including Bend-based David Bowie tribute band Aladinsane.

“I enjoy playing in bands and the chemistry that happens when playing with other dedicated musicians,” said Wayock. 

When it comes to inspiration, Wayock said he finds it by listening to his favorite bands and artists. 

“Classic rock and the music of my parents’ generation had a huge influence on me. I grew up listening to The Beatles, Elton John, James Taylor, and Creedence Clearwater Revival among others. But my uncle made sure I knew that the real roots of rock and roll came from guys like Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters, not Elvis. I also discovered my own bands too. Guns N’ Roses hit me like a ton of bricks when they came on the scene, and Slash is still one of my favorite guitarists of all time. The grunge music of the 90s coincided with my teenage years, so bands like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stone Temple Pilots had a huge impact on my playing style,” he said. 

Wayock learned about HDMC less than a week after moving to Central Oregon. He went to Silver Moon to check out the weekly HDMC showcase after seeing a Facebook post about it. 

“I met Charlie Utter and Jake Soto that day and decided to sign up,” he said. “Thanks to HDMC everyone who supported me, especially those who threw me a gig or played one with me!”  

In August, Wayock is moving to Seattle with his new bride, Jade Edwards, a practicing physician who recently accepted a position in Kirkland, Washington. He will be missed, but the HDMC community is looking forward to following his future success.

“I’m looking forward to seeing what the Seattle music scene has to offer. I’ll be available as a guitarist, banjoist and back-up singer for whoever needs one, and I might even start my own cover band,” said Wayock.  


“There were no YouTube videos to watch back then, so I wore out my records playing the leads over and over again.”


April 2022 Spotlight Artist:

Mike Ogden 

Mike Ogden was 17 years old when he took his first guitar lesson. A true blues fan, his only lesson option at the time was classical. After buying a Yamaha acoustic guitar, he taught himself to play more popular music by ear, starting with country rock by artists like Eagles, America and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Next came Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers and Santana.

 “There were no YouTube videos to watch back then, so I wore out my records playing the leads over and over again,” said Ogden.

After playing his first gig with a country rock band at an all-women college in Upstate New York, Ogden got into the bluegrass scene, honing his flat picking and learning to sing lead. With a calling to bend notes and explore blues leads, he bought a fender telecaster and amp and joined a combo blues rock and country band on the east coast.

Following a move to Colorado, he played and sang with bands throughout this college years. After graduating and landed a job with the forest service as a cruising timber, he started his own blues rock band that played the mountain bar circuit and bonded with the biker crowd. 

It didn’t take long for an agent to scoop in an represent. After two years, Ogden needed a break from music and left the band. He moved to Portland, Oregon years later and suffered debilitating injuries in a head on collision. It was the long recovery that brought music back into his life. Today, he’s a member of the High Desert Music Collective and plays with Justusworx in Bend, Oregon. 

“The Justusworx band is a labor of love and a monument to what can happen if you just set your mind to it no matter how much damage has been done! Rock on,” said Ogden. 


“I fell in love with folk and country music and learned how to improvise in these circles. I haven’t put the violin down since!”  


February 2022 Spotlight Artist:

Lilli Worona 

Lilli Worona has been surrounded by music her entire life. Her father, a classically-trained vocalist, guitarist, music teacher and the cantor for the family’s synagogue in Boston, would bring her up on stage as early as age 6 to perform songs with him at services. She also sang in the synagogues’ kids’ choir and joined the adult choir when she was in high school.

“My dad insisted that my brother and I choose instruments to play when we were very young.  When I was 6-years-old, he brought home a bunch of VHS video tapes of his students playing different instruments and watched our reactions as we watched. I was most excited about the violin video, and my brother chose the cello video,” said Worona. 

From that point forward, she and her brother were taking weekly lessons. By middle school, they were enrolled in a local classical orchestra, and in high school, both played – and Worona sang – at the district level. Eventually, she dropped violin lessons and orchestra to join the high school swim and track teams. 

“My dad was crushed,” she said. “I came to despise the rigidity and discipline of classical violin and I thought I would never touch it again. I left my violin at my childhood home when I left for college, but I joined a classical vocal group and toured with them around the Northeast.”  

When Worona moved to Oregon in 2007 she was inspired to pick up the violin again. After 8 years without touching the instrument, a group of new friends coaxed her to play again at folk-inspired song circles around the campfire. 

“I fell in love with folk and country music and learned how to improvise in these circles. I haven’t put the violin down since!” she added. 

Shortly after reconnecting with the violin, Worona joined Bend roots rock band Broken Down Guitars, where she and Stacie Lynn Johnson shared songwriting and lead vocals.  Worona also added rock violin to the band through the use of delay and distortion pedals. In 2017, Worona left BDG to join local country band Dry Canyon Stampede. She still performs with an offshoot of DCS called Grits n’ Gravy. 

In October of 2021, Worona released her first solo album Between the Lines, As a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist (including guitar), she features an eclectic mix of  original music that has inspired her to keep writing, recording and playing live. The new album is playing on JIVE radio, KPOV and is available on spotify and itunes. Worona also keeps her fiddle skills fresh by performing with other musicians, including former band mates.  

A middle school teacher in Redmond, Worona says she has limitations around gigging. 

“Teaching is always my first priority,” she said. “Playing music is pure creativity. I simply want to create beautiful music, share it with others, and hopefully spark some joy and happiness for those who connect with it. My aim is not to play big shows every weekend, go on tour, or make it to the big time. I love my life and my career in education. I want to continue to play shows in and around Central Oregon for the community that I love. That brings me a lot of fulfillment and joy and I don’t need anything bigger than that.” 

Worona became a founding member of HDMC in 2020 after playing livestream shows at Central Oregon Recording and Silver Moon Brewing during the pandemic.   

“I was so impressed with HDMC and how much they were contributing to our arts and music community during the pandemic. I decided to join the collective as a founding artist as a way of supporting this organization and sharing my music with others,” she said.

For more information about Lilli Worona, visit


“For as long as I can remember, I have been using music to communicate and express myself. My parents tell me that even as an infant, I would sing melodies in my crib when I woke up and was waiting for them to come get me.”  


November 2021 Spotlight Artist:

Holly Wilson 

Holly was two-years-old when she took her first step into the limelight as a performer. Her earliest gigs were large family gatherings where she would drag a stool into the center of a room full of adults, climb up and sing every song she knew. An avid Shirley Temple fan and first born grandchild (on both sides), she received the positive attention and encouragement she needed to inspire a musical future. Rooted in theater performance and choral arrangements, her musical expression was nurtured by her supportive family.

“I always wanted to write my own music, but felt that since I did not know how to adeptly play any instruments, I would always fall short,” said Holly. “It was ultimately heartbreak that inspired me to finally pick up a guitar.”

It was a devastating betrayal and breakup at age 20 that sparked Holly’s overwhelming need to express and create something to channel the storm she felt inside. After a few introductory guitar lessons, she learned the basic chords needed to write her first official song.

“It was the first time in my life that I felt I could adequately express myself, and I was hooked,” she said.

As a songwriter, Holly has continued to use songwriting to channel her inner world. A self-described highly sensitive person, she struggles with sensory overload and anxiety. Music, she explains, has given her a vehicle to release and express her emotional experience. At first, Holly used songwriting as a tool to heal and process anxiety, trauma and pain. Today, her music is constantly evolving and inspiration comes from many directions, including her early days in musical theater and choral music. 

“I often surprise myself. I do not believe in the separation of joy versus pain, but instead hope to capture the holistic experience of both in my music. I am inspired by the ways in which I perceive and understand my surroundings, and how very nuanced my relationship to everyone and everything is. I am inspired by the inherent magic that each moment holds, full and boundless. Each song that I create comes forth from me as an autonomous entity all its own. I am simply a conduit for the music to come through; without ownership or judgment,” said Holly.

A fan of early music by Handel, Percell and Chopin, she is also influenced by contemporary artists like Portishead, Joni Mitchell, Leonard Cohen, Elliott Smith, Radiohead, Velvet Underground, Adrianne Lenker Talking Heads and Sevdaliza.

During a hiatus from live performing this past year, Holly spent time in the studio, releasing two singles as Wyelow – “The Water” and “Pheromones” – on Spotify and other streaming platforms. She has also been composing choral arrangements to integrate into her songs and is currently recording a five-song EP. She is excited to play live this winter with her new band.

“I am feeling very expansive and optimistic in regards to the future of my musical journey,” she said. “I am so excited to witness how my songs will further evolve with the collaboration and comradery of band mates.” 

September 2021 Spotlight Artist:

Jake Soto

Jake Soto was six-years-old when he felt the rush of performing in front of an audience for the first time. He stood attentively in a row of his first grade peers, a bell in each hand, just waiting to chime in with his notes at the precise moments – it was the elementary school bell choir and it made a lasting impression.

 “All we had to do was move the right chime in a soft hammer motion to play our note and then wait for it to come back around again; I don’t remember the songs we played, but I remember very well how the ringing out of those chimes just resonated pure joy through my body. That’s when I got hooked,” said Soto who grew up in Nebraska, where public education was the seed to him learning music.

 In middle school (aka junior high school), he graduated from bell choir to vocal choir, which he continued through high school graduation. It wasn’t until his senior year, when a buddy handed him a guitar, that he started picking and he’s been picking ever since. In the years that followed, he dabbled with a banjo and other instruments, but he found his sweet spot blending guitar, vocals and harmonica. When he moved to Eugene, Oregon in the early 2000s, he pulled together his first band, High Mountain Stand, and started gigging. By the time Soto’s first daughter was born, he made the decision to return to school. While earning a master’s degree in applied physics, he continued to write music and practice guitar. Then a move to Utah, a music shop called Wasatch Musician, and a few open bluegrass jams inspired him to explore new music genres and guitar styles. After moving back to Oregon and settling in Bend with an established engineering career, he was able to devote more time to music. In 2017, he and fellow musician Nick Chapoy formed Larkspur Stand, a self-described “ragtag duo” named after Soto’s neighborhood. Over the next few years, the band grew and has featured other local musicians including Nat Berliner (Natty Red) on bass, Jeshua Marshal (Larry and his Flask) on bass, Garrett Miller (Skillethead) on banjo, Jason Summer (Shining Dimes, The Woodsmen) on pedal steel guitar, Bob Morris on spoons and cajon, and most recently Matt McConnell (Broken Down Guitars) on bass.

 Soto’s first EP, Road Trip Playlist, was recorded at Central Oregon Recording in 2020. While he has a hard time pinpointing his musical influences, he grew up listening to his dad’s favorites which included Bob Dylan, Rolling Stones and Bruce Springsteen. He found heavy metal/rock rather appealing in his teenage years.

“Through my dad, I think I’ve always kept music central to my life and in my daily activities. When I moved to Oregon, I became strongly influenced by a mixture of jam bands and bluegrass, they’re just great forms of music. To me, one is in-the-moment creative in its presentation and the other is structurally and melodically rooted. I think I lean toward a mixture of the two styles to try and keep myself creative and disciplined at the same time,” said Soto.

Soto’s songwriting approach varies but is rooted in an old spiral bound notebook that holds all of his earliest songs.

“I think that notebook was sort of like my teddy bear for song writing. It kept me feeling good to have them all accumulating all in the same place. Once that book filled up, I had to resort to whatever scraps of paper that were around when inspiration struck. These days, I keep notes in my phone as ideas come around. One thing I find important to the process is just writing down ideas even if they’re not complete at the time. There are a few songs I play these days that actually started out as garbled/drunken/mindless phone recordings, haha,” he quipped.

Soto’s future hope is for Larkspur Stand to be a band people recognize in the High Desert area.

“Mostly, I want keep on pickin’ as much as my family life and day job allows,” said Soto.

He’s hoping to book more gigs in Central Oregon and beyond, play some of Oregon’s festivals in 2022 and meet and collaborate with new musicians.

Pete continues to push the boundaries of the eclectic world of acoustic music. Pete is a truly limitless artist and a craftsman, whose songwriting draws from a myriad of musical traditions.

August 2021 Spotlight Artist:

Pete Kartsounes 

Pete is an award winning singer-songwriter, flat picker, and cutting-edge musician’s musician, No stranger to life out on the road, Pete has spent over two decades bringing his voice and guitar to stages all over the world.

After 19 years submerged in the Colorado bluegrass scene sharing the stage with bands such as Leftover Salmon, Greensky Bluegrass and Yonder Mountain String Band, Pete now resides in Bend, OR spending most of his days writing, recording, teaching guitar, song schools, doing photography/videography, touring as a solo act and performing with others in small group gatherings under Covid-19 guidelines.

​Pete continues to push the boundaries of the eclectic world of acoustic music. Pete is a truly limitless artist and a craftsman, whose songwriting draws from a myriad of musical traditions. Writing ballads, blues, jazz, bluegrass, folk, and compositions that defy definition, he is best described as a story teller, weaving a tale through a soulful musical journey.

Referred to as a “must see”, “truly one of a kind”, and “as original as he is diverse” from critics, Pete has rapidly become one of the renowned songwriters of today.

Shireen’s 2020 album “Break Myself Free”  is a proud proclamation of Shireen’s queer identity and an invitation into deeper connection with the Earth. 

July 2021 Spotlight Artist:

Shireen Amini 

Shireen Amini is an independent artist and a self-described queer, Puerto Rican-Iranian-American, Earth-loving musician based in Bend, Oregon. She is most known for fronting the successful Latin dance rock band ¡Chiringa! for the last 8 years. Her new solo album “Break Myself Free” was successfully crowdfunded through the pandemic, recorded in Boston, MA in October 2020, and will now poignantly be released as we emerge on the other side.

“Break Myself Free” (the album) is a proud proclamation of Shireen’s queer identity and an invitation into deeper connection with the Earth. It is filled with energizing grooves, anthemic choruses, and soulful stories of change. At times socially-conscious, at others emotionally-tender, this pop, rock, soul record comes inevitably infused with the Latin sensibility and hip hop attitude that are part of her musical makeup.

The album was primarily produced by Mike Davidson at Plaid Dog Recording, a studio in Boston fully-powered by crowdfunding. Two tracks on the album were recorded at local studio the Firing Room with engineer Dayne Wood and produced by Shireen herself.

Kelly’s musical tastes are firmly rooted in the present with rock and pop artists like Kate Bush and Nick Cave, but she adores the singing of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald.

June 2021 Spotlight Artist:

Kelly Martin 

June Spotlight Artist of the month, Kelly Martin, is the creative behind her most recent project, Black Currant. Musically speaking, some may consider her a late bloomer, but to others, her artistry speaks in matured layers of poetic beauty. In her youngest years she spent hours dancing alone in a room to various records on a Fisher Price player, while eventually graduating to radio and cassette tape – devouring whatever she could get her ears on.

Kelly’s ears took in the sounds of a life that seemed out of reach, but continued to immerse herself in that natural beauty by covering her walls with the poetry and artistry of what she knew was a part of her. She was deep in a wellspring of creativity, but struggled to pinpoint her own way to share what she was experiencing. The Muse constantly pulled her toward a life of music filled with live shows and musician friends, eventually finding an opportunity to do some work in exchange for voice lessons.

The singing lessons for Kelly turned out to be a pivotal moment in her finding the confidence to perform live. The sounds of the old soul singers spoke to her deeply and helped her find her own voice in the field. Kelly’s musical tastes are firmly rooted in the present with rock and pop artists like Kate Bush and Nick Cave, but she adores the singing of Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald. That decision to take those lessons opened the door to possibilities of what once seemed a pipe dream, with her new-found confidence she pursued music as if it were her first and only passion – seeking teachers, joining bands, practicing and performing as if she had to make up for lost time.

Kelly eventually found herself in San Francisco on a whim with an experimental improv group, then found another band, a rock band called Sun Prayrie and became the female vocalist for a short time before going solo under the moniker Native/naive. This project existed for several years, and feature a rotating cast of musicians.

Her most current project Black Currant is poised for promising creativity. Black Currant is led by Kelly, combining the experimental approach of Kate Bush with the darker themes of Nick Cave, her music explores the unusual, the beautiful, and the dark. She documents the consequences of a life lived in the vast spaces that exist beyond the boundaries of tradition and the familiarity of material living.  She is self-taught, and self-made; this offers a creative freedom that is both exhilarating and painful. It has been her life to live, and she lives it with equal parts of fear and excitement, darkness and light, order and chaos.  The music she makes is clearing an entirely new sonic path, leaving in her wake a light for others who will inevitably be compelled to follow.

The inception of Black Currant coincided with the onset of the pandemic, and matured quietly during quarantine. Born out of Kelly’s solo project, Native/naive, it has grown into a full-fledged band that includes lead guitarist Brigham Rockwell, and classically influenced bassist Mollie Hicks. The band is now coming out of hiding with two new singles and an EP, scheduled to be released in October of this year. 

Black Currant’s latest EP contains a diverse arrangement of instruments and rich textures. The songs combine the electronic and the organic to create surreal stories and new sonic landscapes that depict the space between our inner world- dreams and the subconscious- and external, real life events. Listening to Split is like standing at the edge of a river in the moonlight: lyrical guitar tones flow like darkened water, oscillating between soft and aggressive. Bass lines blend in the depths with the rhythmic pulse of an unrelenting drum machine. The singer’s creamy, rich vocals fill the night air, providing some comfort but lingering, seeking to haunt your soul.

Check out the links to give yourself a swim in the breadth of what Black Current has to offer, and look for the releases coming later in the year.

Music has always been a part of Laurie’s life. In her childhood and all the way through high school she was involved with school choirs.

May 2021 Spotlight Artist:

Laurie Hamilton 

Our spotlight artist for May is Laurie Hamilton. Her name may not be completely familiar in the high desert music scene, yet, but her artistry is becoming well known in the band She’s With Me.

Music has always been a part of Laurie’s life. In her childhood and all the way through high school she was involved with school choirs. When starting college at Western Washington University she auditioned for the jazz choir and was accepted. Then, sadly, for a couple decades after college, Laurie wound up in an unfortunate relationship where music was not welcomed. As you may have guessed, that relationship was ended, which led to her moving to Bend with her dad in 2014 – who insisted on buying her a nice guitar, what a great dad!

The retirement home where Laurie’s dad lives would have a monthly bluegrass jam that she would attend with her sister, Boo. This was a great chance for her to play music with her father, which provided an opening to her and her sister singing and playing together more. They then ventured out to an open mic, hosted by Bill Powers at the Commons. Bill recognized the talent and enthusiastically encouraged them to keep performing. This set the stage for them to meet Linda Quon, who added the beautiful three-part harmonies that planted the seed for She’s With Me. As the world of live music opens back up, be sure to catch Laurie or any of the names mentioned here!

Laurie enjoyed singing and being a part of choirs throughout her childhood years through high school. At Western Washington University as a freshman she was able to audition and join the jazz choir. Unfortunately during her 24 year marriage music was not welcomed. She divorced and moved to Bend around seven years ago and her dad insisted on buying her a nice guitar!           

Laurie‘s father plays the guitar and had a bluegrass jam every month at the retirement home where he lives. Laurie and her sister Boo would go to these jams and also  play music with her dad. A couple of years ago Boo and Laurie started to sing and play together. They worked up the courage  to sing at  open mics. Bill Powers would host Open Mic at the Crow‘s feet Commons. Bill’s  enthusiastic support gave them courage to keep performing! That set the stage for them to  meet and eventually start singing with Linda Quon. And singing with Linda and  three part harmonies is the most fun of all!  The trio decided to form She’s With Me. 

She’s With Me is an all-female indie/folk band from Bend featuring Boo Rigney (vocals/guitar), Laurie Hamilton (vocals/ukulele), Linda Quon (vocals/guitar/harmonium) and Shelley Gray (vocals/upright bass). The nuance that makes them stand out are their plush vocal harmonies, which they perform as a mix of cover tunes and original songs written by Linda Quon. 

For the longest time, Mark was a “closet” guitar player and singer, playing only behind the closed door of his bedroom. Painfully reserved, he never played for family or friends, so many never even knew of his musical gift.

April 2021 Spotlight Artist:

Mark Quon 

For the month of April, Mark Quon is our spotlight artist! Many of you have likely seen Mark around town crooning his soulful voice with deep lyrical poetry, but he didn’t get there overnight, and these are the stories we’re going to summarize for you this week. 

When Mark was about 13 years old his curiosity of music and unearthing of albums led him to discovering James Taylor. The music of James Taylor left an impression on Mark, and during a family vacation in Mexico he begged his parents to buy him a guitar; Mark’s parents were wise. When they got home with the guitar, Mark took a group “Beginner Guitar” class in Jr. High School where he learned his first 3 chords. From that point on, Mark primarily was a self-taught musician, trying to recreate the sounds and style that was James Taylor.
For the longest time, Mark was a “closet” guitar player and singer, playing only behind the closed door of his bedroom. Painfully reserved, he never played for family or friends, so many never even knew of his musical gift – Mark stayed diligent in practicing his strumming and fingerpicking style behind closed doors.
Flash forward to marriage and kids. Mark’s wife Linda, who also plays and sings, encouraged him to slowly perform in public. By the early 2000’s they had an acoustic band called Blue. Soon after, Mark began to write songs. Despite feeling relatively late to it all with Blue, Mark continues writing to this day. Now Mark is a prolific songwriter with well over 100 songs penned. Most of his songs lean toward dark themes and he had to tell himself to stop apologizing for them. If you’ve been lucky to hear Mark, then you’ve heard the beauty in his music and probably understand why shouldn’t apologize for his writing style.

The humble beginnings of Mark Quon are beautiful, but you need to know more about where that start has taken him. When the Quon family moved to Bend in 2005, Linda and Mark started performing as a duo called The Quons. From there, they formed a local folk band called Parlour with Susan Conner on fiddle and Mike Potter on mandolin. If there ever is a chance for you to catch Parlour, you should note that they once opened for Lee Ann Womack at The Tower Theatre – definitely another reason to make sure you catch them. 

As the musical journey would have it, after Mark and Linda’s six year run with Parlour they each decided to do something different musically. Sticking with Mark’s original tunes, he started a trio called DRIFT in 2019 with Terence Neal on guitar and John Allen on bass. 

Even though Mark has a special place in his heart for James Taylor, he also has a significant fondness of the late David Bowie. Most recently Mark put together his dream cover band, Aladinsane. As you may have guessed, Aladinsane is a David Bowie (acoustic) tribute band with Lindsey Elias on drums and Patrick Pearsall on bass. They played the 2020 Virtual Roots Festival and were spectacular! If you haven’t noticed yet, any musical endeavor Mark has set his heart on has been a fabulous experience for listeners.


Bill started learning guitar about age 17 and began writing his own tunes shortly after. Jazz and blues were some of his first major influences, and upon moving to Austin, Texas around 1988 he met some folks into the Grateful Dead and started “jamming”. 

March 2021 Spotlight Artist: 

Bill Powers 

Bill Powers is our March spotlight artist. Bill started learning guitar about age 17 and began writing his own tunes shortly after. Jazz and blues were some of his first major influences, and upon moving to Austin, Texas around 1988 he met some folks into the Grateful Dead and started “jamming”.  This progressed into moving to Colorado and finding a passion for bluegrass. While in his early days in Colorado he began electric guitar in an 8 piece “world beat” band where they wrote and performed their own songs. All his musical interactions eventually found him DJing a bluegrass and country show on community radio. Through that radio show he formed a bluegrass band with a group of DJs that hosted with him.  This was when Bill really began writing more for that band and echoing the music that for so long he’d loved but thought was technically difficult – bluegrass; clearly, it wasn’t impossible for Bill to pick some bluegrass. Through this hard work the band Sweet Sunny South was formed. The group of four had good chemistry, which became apparent soon after his wife Shelley joined the band as the bassist. Sweet Sunny South wound up recording 5 CDs over a ten year span and played festivals, theaters, and concert series. SSS eventually played some pretty large fests like Strawberry around 2010, as well as Pickin in the Pines in Flagstaff. We’ll continue to share more of Bill’s musical history later this week.After writing for Sweet Sunny South for so long his other influences started breaking into his writing and had more material than they could flesh out in Sweet Sunny South. The new writings also fell outside of the bluegrass box, thus, he and his wife Shelley formed Honey Don’t in 2006. Eventually, Sweet Sunny South fell by the wayside and the musical focus went into their duo.

The first Honey Don’t CD was created and produced with the help of some skillful players. Their self-titled album charted nationally and received a good response from audiences. They continued to travel and play fests and recorded a second CD in 2014, which Bill produced mostly on his own; this was the same year he and his better half graced Bend with their presence. Soon after Honey Don’t started playing gigs in Bend they met Benji Nagel (dobro) and Don Hawkins (snare); still the members of the band. Along the way they befriended a young fiddler – CJ Neary – who would sit in with them; CJ was about 9 when he first played with them. They’re currently well into their 3rd recording effort – we can’t wait to hear it. During all of Bill’s musical action in Bend, the Silvertone Devils was a group Bill formed with Evan Mullins, which started as Bill and Even doing duo shows at The Bite called “livin room sessions”. Eventually, it made sense to bring in some folks from Honey Don’t – except Shelley who was rather busy building a career and business as a private tutor focusing on dyslexic kids. Silvertone Devils provides Bill an electric outlet after spending years in the acoustic realm. Bill very much views the Devils as a collaborative effort with players that have pushed him to be a better musician. Silvertone Devils have made substantial progress recording an EP that they expect to have ready soon. Bill feel’s lucky to be in a place with so much musical opportunity (so do we); keep your ears out for his solo gigs around town. The devils haven’t played a live set since roots last year – they’ve been working up new songs and covers and are excited to play the HDMC series!

Silvertone Devils are a 5 piece American roots rock band. Steeped in the realm of outlaw country a la Waylon, Willie, Townes, Cash etc. but also perform original music inspired by those influences along with gritty rock and roll of Clapton and JJ Cale, The good ol Grateful Dead, Levon Helm, the Band and more. The band features players familiar to fans of Honey Don’t, Watkins Glen, Skillethead, Elektrapod, and Orbit. The Devils have made some solid headway on an EP of original songs in spite of COVID and will be looking to release the music summer 2021.


Maggie moves between genres with soulful vocals and harmonies. Outside of bandlife, she’s affiliated with the Cascade School of Music and hosts house concerts to support causes and musicians. 

February 2021 Spotlight Artist:

Maggie Jackson & Burnin’ Moonlight 

Maggie Jackson has been singing all her life – it began with a guitar and four part harmony with her mom and sisters. She loves 40’s tunes, Bob Wills, Billie Holiday, Bonnie Raitt and bluegrass.  After moving to Central Oregon in 2006 she was inspired to take up banjo and bass.  She moves between genres with soulful vocals and harmonies. Outside of bandlife, she’s affiliated with the Cascade School of Music and hosts house concerts to support causes and musicians. Maggie loves gardening and traveling.

Maggie is part of a trio called Burnin’ Moonlight. The musical kinship of this versatile multi-instrumentalist band has amplified over the 10 years that Burnin’ Moonlight has shared their spirited music.  They barely knew each other when it started with a no-rehearsal 4 hour gig on a flatbed trailer but they knew how to have fun with the music and they were invited back.  From bluegrass to blues they have guided each other across other genres to include swing, country, a little rock n roll and “really oldies”.  Today, many gigs later, they have been part of Oregon Bluegrass festivals, restaurant, resort and brewery events, seasonal celebrations, a Nevada blues festival, weddings and local fundraisers. In 2015 they released their second CD, Mountain Doctors, and opened for Clint Black at the Tower Theater in Bend.  Burnin’ Moonlight continues to cultivate old and new melodies while mixing up the instrumentation for some energetic, lusty, wistful and impish tunes.

Scott Foxx, a Breedlove endorsed musician and career professional songwriter, studio musician, performer and teacher toured the US and opened for well known national artists.  Influenced by the Beatles, Tony Rice, Vassar Clemens and too many others to mention, he has honed his skills on multiple instruments. Aside from compelling backup guitar, his impassioned fiddle, acoustic, slide and resonator guitar solos are his “voice” and you’ll smile at what he has to say.  An old road dog, Scott loves snow and traveling.

Jim Roy played and performed acoustic blues after moving from New England to Santa Cruz , CA in 1979. His ardent vocals fuse with the Piedmont style guitar pickin’ akin to Mississippi John Hurt, Jorma Kaukonen and Blind Boy Fuller. It’s been a little over a decade since he arrived in Central Oregon and began to pursue his bluegrass mandolin musings, inspired by Bill Monroe.  He contributes instrumental stylings and expressive lead and harmony vocals.  Jim loves fishing and traveling in his RV.

 Burnin’ Moonlight is all about having a good time – with innovative arrangements, imaginative jamming and lively lyrics, they get caught up in the music and hope you catch some of their enthusiasm.

December 2020 Spotlight Artist:

Darin Gentry 


“I want my music to not only reach people’s ears in a sweet and engaging way, but also to challenge the mind and inspire the heart and soul. I have creatively explored music very deeply in my life, and I see no end to the amount of musical wisdom to be gained. It is an honor for me to be able to share my musical expression with people that are open and willing.”

November 2020 Spotlight Artist:

Eric Leadbetter 

Eric Leadbetter was born in the town of Bozeman, MT. He spent his youth hanging at his families ranch in Ennis MT, and snowboarding at Bridger bowl.

His musical career started in 2003 when he recorded his first solo album, Eric’s cosmic kitchen. He then moved to Boulder, CO in 2004 when he started playing out in local coffee shops and small bars. In 2006 he established the rock n roll band, Jive Coulis with some good friends from high school. They traveled to over 20 states performing in the veggie oil powered school bus Sharleena. Jive recorded 4 all original albums of Eric’s music, which included 2 songs written by bass player Jordan Mack. Jive Coulis was dis-banded in 2017 and Leadbetter Band was born. Leadbetter Band released their first album in 2019, and the second album, “Howl” will be released in summer 2021!

Currently, he lives in Central Oregon and plays gigs constantly in the Pacific Northwest. Whether solo, duo, or full band he is always gigging, as well as teaching guitar and songwriting. 2020 was a challenging year for all, but Eric and his wife Briana were blessed with the birth of their son, Silas. Through out the challenges of 2020-present with the gig economy shifting, Eric has continued to evolve and find creative ways to bring music into the Pacific Northwest communities, and the online community. His music is very unique and original, with ghostly echoes of the golden ages of rock. And it should be, since he draws his musical inspiration from these eras by listening to a vast collection of classic vinyl.

October 2020 Spotlight Artist:

Olivia Knox 

Pop singer-songwriter Olivia Knox is only 18 and just moved to LA but has already caught the attention of many heavy hitters in the music biz (Charlie Puth, JKash, Louis The Child, Andy Grammer, etc.) She has had many viral moments on TikTok. The biggest ones being a duet with Charlie Puth and her duets with Andy Grammer that were featured on the TODAY Show. Olivia has been hard at work collaborating with some of the industries top writers and producers who have worked with artists like Taylor Swift, Justin Timberlake, Kanye West, and Jon Bellion. She recently posted a TikTok of an unreleased song called “GORGEOUS” that hit 800k+ views in less than 48hrs. So she’s riding that momentum and releasing her debut single “GORGEOUS”