May 5, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Stolen Thyme is a neo-traditional Old Time string band based in Colorado Springs and Philadelphia and made up of John Weathers (guitar), Stacy Olitsky (banjo), and Ben Lewis (fiddle).
The music of Stolen Thyme celebrates the everlasting joys of life and explores the dark depths of human nature. The trio embraces the American folk music tradition and transforms it for a modern sensibility. The timeless truths and ancient melodies carried by the ballads and fiddle tunes of Appalachia and British Isles resonate in Weathers, Olitsky, and Lewis’ hypnotic arrangements. Whether chilling the spine with a dusky ballad, entertaining with a meandering, golden melody or lighting the place on fire with a rip-roarin’ barn-burner, Stolen Thyme always shares a transcendent, emotional musical experience with its audiences.
Ben Lewis is a fiddle player from Lyons, Colorado and a versatile musician well versed in old-time, bluegrass, jazz, and many other styles. He studied composition, world music and folk traditions at Vassar College and upon returning to Colorado, he quickly earned a place in the vibrant Colorado acoustic music scene as an in-demand fiddle player, though he has also been known to pick up the clawhammer banjo, mandolin, or guitar. After a two year tenure with Colorado Springs bluegrass band Grass It Up, Ben relocated to Lyons, Colorado. When he’s not playing with Stolen Thyme, Ben plays with Corn Yeti (with Grant Gordy, Jake Schepps, Jordan Ramsey, and Eric Thorin), The Hummin’ Birds, and as a guest with many other regional acts. Ben is also an accomplished music instructor. He has taught numerous fiddle workshops and seven years of private lessons, and is currently the music teacher at Lyons Elementary School.
John Weathers and Stacy Olitsky began performing together on street corners and subways in 1994 while hitchhiking through Europe and the Middle East. They even enjoyed five minutes of fame playing live on Turkish Radio in Cappadoccia. Past musical projects include playing in the traditional folk music band Cruel Sister, performing with Mogauwane Mahloele (master drummer and multi-instrumentalist from South Africa), and performing as a duo. Through the late 1990’s and early 2000’s, they were actively involved in the Philadelphia folk music scene and played in venues such as the Lansdowne Folk Club and the Xtreme Folk Festival.
Inspired by a wandering banjo player in the early hours of the morning at her first Philadelphia Folk Festival when she was sixteen years old, Stacy decided that one day she too wanted to be able to play lonesome banjo tunes under the night sky. Since that time, Stacy has been exploring the possibilities of both clawhammer and finger picking styles on the banjo. She studied under John Carlini, who has recorded with David Grisman and Tony Rice, and old-time musician Stan Scott. She is also a knowledgeable and powerful singer of traditional American and English ballads.
John was first introduced to the wide-range and roots of American folk music combing through the stacks of records when he co-hosted a college radio show entitled “Post-Industrial Bluegrass”. At about this same time, John got his first guitar and also met Stacy, who was just getting serious about learning the banjo. His fate was sealed. He has since drawn musical inspiration from Norman Blake, John Doyle, and Doc Watson, among others.