Abigail Washburn and Kai Welch
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Day Gig: TED Fellow, Goodwill Ambassador to China
Night Gig: Clawhammer Banjo Songstress
Environmental Concern: Protection of China’s Natural Treasures
Abigail & Kai talked to Billboard.com about why they're supporting All Hands Music. Check It Out
Born in Illinois in 1977 and based in Nashville, Abigail Washburn is a singer, songwriter and clawhammer banjo player. Washburn’s music career began when she was offered a record deal as she was preparing to move to China to study law.
Her first album, Song of the Traveling Daughter, included “old-timey originals” alongside songs she wrote in Chinese, and an instrumental piece that wove together an old-time banjo tune and with a traditional Chinese folk song: “Backstep Cindy/Purple Bamboo.”
At the request of the U.S. government, Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet toured Tibet in 2006 -- something no other American band had done -- and performed in Beijing during the 2008 Olympics.
In 2008, Washburn, together with cellist Ben Sollee, fiddler Casey Driessen and three-finger-style banjo player Bela Fleck, released the album Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet. City of Refuge, released in January 2011, is her second solo album.
In her February 2012 TED talk titled “Building U.S.-China relations… by banjo,” Washburn said ”I see the power of music to connect cultures.”
Born in Oregon in 1980, Kai Welch is a songwriter and musician who has worked with rocker Bobby Bare Jr., songwriters Laura Veirs and Carl Broemel of My Morning Jacket, bluegrass band The Greencards, fiddlers Brittany Haas and Darol Anger, and a long list of others. Currently, Welch is touring and collaborating with Abigail Washburn. In 2011, he released his debut solo record, Send It Down.