Stage Plots and Tech

Press Quotes

The Early Mays are three talented writers, singers, and instrumentalists, coming together on a masterpiece of a debut album. It is clear that the folk trio carefully crafted each other’s songs by adding emotionally stirring harmonies and delicate folk instrumentation (banjo, fiddle, and organ). While playing together for the first time at a late-night Christmas Eve service, they realized the full potential of future collaborations, thus forming The Early Mays. Using crowd funding to source their self-titled debut, the group brings traditional and original material to spectacular life. This is more than a band that writes and performs songs; it’s a group of serious musicologists who have studied the folk genre all their lives. It’s a rare combination of knowledge and talent. Cindy Howes, Folk Alley/WYEP, Pittsburgh, PA

…They sang harmonies that made my own heart sing. Close, perfect, high and sweet, intricate parts worked out that seemed as natural as breathing, we were swept away. Susanna Robinson Kenga, LBSpy, Lewisburg, WV

As local folk music goes, The Early Mays are a bit of a supergroup… Together, they literally make beautiful music — a play on the Appalachian folk all three are steeped in, with close vocal harmonies, and guitar, banjo and fiddle work. Andy Mulkerin, Pittsburgh City Paper

Career Highlights

  • NPR Mountain Stage, Featured Performer, August 2017
  • Winner of Neo-Traditional Band Competition, Appalachian String Band Music Festival (Clifftop, WV) 2016
  • Folk Roots Radio, Best Albums of 2015
  •  WYEP Artist of the Year 2014
  • #2 Debut on National Folk-DJ Charts, October 2014
  • 3 months in Top Ten Rotation on National Folk-DJ Charts 2014
  • Folk Alley Listener Poll, Top 50 Albums of 2014
  • Top Ten Albums of 2014, Cindy Howes at Folk Alley
  • #6 Song on Roots Music Report Pennsylvania, November 2014


The Early Mays “bring traditional and original material to spectacular life” (Cindy Howes, Folk Alley/WYEP) with Appalachian-inspired songs built on deep country sensibilities, masterful singing and a sweet old-time sound. They burst on to the scene with a #2 debut on the National Folk-DJ charts: an eponymous album where fiddle, banjo and guitar are the backdrop to flawless three part vocal harmonies. More recently, they took home the blue ribbon in the Neo-Traditional Band Competition at Clifftop (The Appalachian String Band Music Festival), and this summer they launch their latest project, “Chase the Sun”: a mix of driving tunes, sparkling acoustic arrangements, harmonium, and songs to make your heart sing.

Emily Pinkerton, Ellen Gozion and Rachel Eddy share a deep love of American tradition.  All three are celebrated solo artists who bring their rich and carefully honed craft to The Early Mays. Emily weaves folk, classical and world music traditions together in her songwriting. She recently won a 2015 New Music USA grant to compose a song cycle for banjo and chamber ensemble. Ellen is an accomplished ballad singer and visual artist who has taught at the Augusta Heritage Center, and was an American Music Abroad finalist with the US State Department.  Born and raised in West Virginia, Rachel is a prolific performer who has shared the stage with musical legends including Tim O’Brien, Uncle Earl and Bruce Molsky.  She recently moved back to the US after 6 years of living and touring in Europe.

There is an unsurpassed magic that springs from entwined and entrancing vocal harmonies.  The Early Mays love the camaraderie of the studio, the road, and rehearsals, and you can feel the gratitude radiate from whatever stage they are on.  You’ll never leave a show without carrying a little bit of that warmth away with you.




From Presenters

With their Appalachian inspired tunes, amazing three-part harmonies, flatfooting demo, and unique crankies of mosaic folk art, The Early Mays wowed the packed house (only our second sell-out!). Even I got up and did my own clogging! Audience members loved chatting with Ellen, Emily and Rachel about their songs, instruments and crankies during intermission and after the show. Have them back in a heartbeat… Jeff King, Deer Creek Coffeehouse, Darlington, MD

Ethereal beauty with old-time and edge… Lee Stivers, Whiskey Rebellion Festival, Washington, PA

Recent Venues include…

NPR Mountain Stage, Elkins, WV
Appalachian String Band Music Festival Showcase, Clifftop, WV
Heart of the Arts Festival, Titusville, PA
Concerts in the Loft, Morgantown, PA
Friends of Old Time Music and Dance Concert Series, Charleston, WV
Mountain City Traditional Arts Center, Frostburg, MD
Northern Appalachian Folk Festival, Indiana, PA
Fiddle and Bow Society, Winston-Salem, NC
Deercreek Coffeehouse Concert Series, Darlington, MD
Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering (Instructors), Huntingdon Township, PA
St. Francis University, Loretto, PA
Four Hour Day Lutherie, Baltimore, MD
The Bop Stop, Cleveland, OH
Whisky Rebellion Folk Festival Mainstage, Washington, PA
Three Rivers Arts Festival Mainstage, Pittsburgh, PA
Chatham University Bluegrass Festival, Pine Township, PA
Unitarian Universalist Metro Area North, Atlanta, GA
First Congregational Church, Kalamazoo, MI
Calliope Concert Series, Pittsburgh, PA
Appalachian String Band Music Festival, Neo-traditional contest winners, Clifftop, WV

Artwork by Maria Mangano