Laurel Premo is known for her rhythmically deep and rapt delivery of roots music. For the past 8 years, she’s performed in the nationally touring duo Red Tail Ring, a collaboration with Michael Beauchamp-Cohen that blends traditional American songs with new compositions and features Laurel’s ruminant nature on clawhammer banjo, fiddle, and vocals. Premo graduated with a BFA from the Performing Arts Technology Dept. of the University of Michigan School of Music, and has spent half-year stints at both the Sibelius Academy of Music in Helsinki, Finland and the University College of Southeast Norway in Telemark to study traditional music and dance. Alongside several continuing music projects (described below), she’s an oft-requested recording guest, and is active in organizing community events connecting with folk art and dance.
Her current main project is the roots duo Red Tail Ring. Since 2009, this partnership with Michael Beauchamp-Cohen blends traditional American songs with new compositions, and their music runs the gamut from boot-stomping to heart-rending.
“Red Tail Ring is re-imagining Americana music with pure soul and without pretension”– Jay Lapp, The Steel Wheels.
“The very best of the 21st century’s minimalist and highly original folk music . . . a peerless duo.”
– American Roots UK
Beginning in 2015, Laurel has been collaborating with Swedish traditional musician Anna Gustavsson on an instrumental project that blends Swedish and American fiddle traditions, and features new compositions based on these rich roots. Using fiddle, claw hammer banjo, nyckelharpa, and occasional bi-lingual vocals, their sound is built off of the driving dance-based fiddle traditions from both countries, as well as the adventuresome musicality of 21st century female musicians.
BOWHUNTER STRINGBAND – Bowhunter is an old-timey quartet built in 2011 for the highest goal of providing solid music for square dances. Michael Beauchamp (guitar), Sam Cooper (fiddle), Sam Herman (banjo), and Laurel Premo (fiddle) come together in this project to render old time tunes to fuel a traditional dance floor frenzy.
“This was my first chance to hear them all together and let me tell you: They get it done, and they do it right. There’s going to be plenty of good dance music in the Midwest for some time to come.”
– Paul Tyler, the Volo Bogtrotters
BEETHOVEN & BANJOS – Beethoven & Banjos was founded by Laurel’s brother and double bassist, Evan Premo. The weeklong event held in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is an annual cross-genre music festival. Each year, members of Decoda, Carnegie Hall’s affiliate ensemble, and a folk ensemble create and performing music together. Laurel Premo participates yearly as a composer and as part of the folk contingent.