Based in Madison, WI, the award-winning husband and wife duo of Mary Gaines (cello, guitar, bass, vocals) and Chris Wagoner (violin, mandolins, lapsteel, ukulele, guitar, accordion, vocals) play an eclectic mix of Americana—original and classic tunes ranging from folk to jazz, bluegrass to blues, honky-tonk and a little singer-songwriter on the side.
Let’s just say you happen to walk into a music venue and see a duo playing cello and violin. You’d most likely expect to hear either classical or folk music of some kind, right? But just as you spy the lineup of crazy acoustic and electric stringed instruments of all varieties the duo tears into a tune that combines funky electric fuzz-wah fiddle with thumping pizzicato cello and your assumptions start to crumble. The next tune features old-time duo vocals over the jangle of an acoustic mandolin and guitar followed by a righteous gospel-fired slide-guitar-driven blues and then right into a crooning, heart-stopping jazz ballad. The space in-between the tunes is alternately punctuated by folk-style storytelling and light-hearted riffing with the audience. This is not “one-size-fits-all” music. This is Gaines and Wagoner.