About The Railsplitters
The Railsplitters return to Del Mar by popular demand, with their 2017 and 2015 Bluegrass and Beyond performances still vividly memorable as audience favorites.
Although rooted in traditional bluegrass and old time music, The Railsplitters push the boundaries of those genres in every sense. With their lush harmonies, instrumental virtuosity and non-conformist songwriting, The Railsplitters deftly demonstrate what happens when musical influences ranging from samba to hip hop merge with traditional Appalachian music.
Hailing from the Rocky Mountain front range in Boulder, CO, the Railsplitters have won multiple awards including first place in the RockyGrass Band Competition in 2013, followed by tours all across the US and Europe.
Lauren Stovall – vocalist extraordinaire, guitarist, and composer – was born in Mississippi, where she fostered a connection with music before she could walk. As a child, she took part in the rich musical tradition of the south and from there, expanded her musical reach, both across genres and across the US. In 2005, she found her home in Colorado, where a thriving bluegrass community welcomed her in, and put her on a path to finding her own place in the future of this music.
Mandolinist and composer Peter Sharpe was born in Brazil and grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut. He has been playing stringed instruments since age 12, playing electric and acoustic guitar in a variety of bands throughout high school and college before quite literally finding a mandolin under the bed. The mandolin was an old Gibson A style, purchased by his great-grandfather, and largely neglected since that time. He became quickly obsessed with learning the history and technique of the instrument and was pulled into the world of bluegrass and American folk music, bringing a Brazilian and bluesy flair to his mandolin playing. He moved to Boulder in the late 90’s, dividing his time between rock climbing, skiing, and playing music, and earning his Masters degree in Counseling Psychotherapy.
Banjoist Dusty Rider grew up in rural upstate New York, and started playing banjo at the age of 13. He studied music education at the Crane School of Music, playing bass trombone under the tutelage of Dr. Mark Hartman, in addition to studying composition. While in college, Dusty traveled to Alaska, where he helped form his first bluegrass project, High Lonesome Sound. Dusty moved to Colorado in 2011, where he met fellow bandmates Lauren Stovall and Pete Sharpe. As a member of The Railsplitters, Rider has appeared on the main stage of festivals such as Rockygrass, Grey Fox, and DelFest.
Fiddler and vocalist Joe D’Esposito started playing violin at the age of seven and as a young teen, studied with Earl Maneein, a multi-genre violinist whose projects include classical chamber music, jazz, bluegrass, and metal. Joe was raised in a musical family that gave him constant exposure to American jazz, Celtic, rock, bluegrass, and classical performances, in a family band setting. Joe went on to study violin and music education at Ithaca College under Susan Waterbury. It was in Ithaca, NY where doors began to open for Joe with Celtic, bluegrass, and contemporary string band music. His New England and Italian- inspired fiddling is a signature element of the Railsplitters’ sound. Outside of his role with The Railsplitters, Joe is a Denver-based music educator and collaborator, continually striving to expand the reach of music education to those not ordinarily lucky enough to have it as part of their lives. His work as a teacher with Denver’s community musical school, Swallow Hill, includes many outreach programs that are part of the school’s community engagement work.
Bassist and vocalist Jean-Luc Davis , born and raised in Colorado, picked up the bass at the age of fifteen so he could be in his high school’s jazz band. His love for music exploded and soon he was performing with his friends in coffee shops, clubs, and on the radio. During this time, Jean-Luc was invited to participate in the inaugural session of the Colorado Conservatory for the Jazz Arts (CCJA) by drummer/educator Paul Romaine. Jean-Luc went on to study classical music performance at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. He currently works with a handful of private students and has become a regular teacher for CCJA.