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Dirk Powell

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BIOGRAPHY

“Dirk’s got great subtlety, tremendous feel, and he’s very loose and very modern, in the best sense of the word.” —-T-Bone Burnett

Dirk Powell has expanded on the deeply rooted sounds of his Appalachian heritage to become one of the preeminent traditional American musicians of his generation. In addition to acclaimed releases on Rounder Records, he’s recorded and performed with artists such as Loretta Lynn, playing several instruments on her Grammy-winning release “Van Lear Rose,” Sting, Jack White, Levon Helm, Jewel, T-Bone Burnett, Ralph Stanley, and Linda Ronstadt, among others. His ability to unite the essence of his culture with modern sensibilities has led to work with many of today’s greatest film directors, including Anthony Minghella, Spike Lee, Ang Lee, Victor Nuñez, Steve James, and Edward Burns.

His live performances of powerful Appalachian music with The Dirk Powell Band have inspired audiences across the globe in a wide variety of venues, including such prestigious settings as the Eastman School of Music and the Interlochen Academy. Dirk selected and arranged traditional Appalachian material for Riverdance: The Show, in which he also performed on fiddle. For the past several years, he has also enjoyed a strong collaboration with Tim O’Brien, resulting in acclaimed recordings such as “Songs From The Mountain,” and performed with his Cajun group Balfa Toujours.

In his early teens, Dirk formed a musical bond with his grandfather, James Clarence Hay of Sandy Hook, Kentucky, and discovered a personal resonance with traditions that stretch back to Scots-Irish ancestors who came to the mountains in the middle of the 18th century.

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