Mama Said String Band
A four-piece collection of songwriters, David O’Neal, Taylor Shuck, Katie “Didit” Caudill, and Kaitlen Farmer, is Mama Said String Band. Based out of Louisville, KY and established in 2016, Mama Said String Band brings a refreshing reinvention to sounds once forgotten. Individually, each member’s background spans multiple cultures, genres, and styles. Together, they draw influences from Bluegrass, Folk and Americana while focusing on vocal harmonies and contemporary instrumentation to build an eclectic, eurythmic melody and tactfully delivered message.
During their time together, Mama Said has performed at various notable festivals and events including FloydFest, Bristol Rhythm & Roots, Louisville’s Waterfront Wednesday, and Master Musicians Festival. In 2018, the group was named runner-up in the annual John Hartford Memorial Festival band competition; along with being nominated as finalist in the category of Bluegrass Artist of the Year for the Louisville Music Awards, airing on KET’s Christmas Special, and winning “Album of the Year” for their most recently published album, “Carry the Water” at the Lexington Music Awards. Since their early beginnings, Mama Said String Band has been documenting their musical journey in an delightful and engaging fan favorite series of videos on their own You Tube Channel commonly known to their fanbase as “The Bathroom Sessions”. These amazing recordings properly capture the essence of both their unique personalities and musical authenticity in an acoustically pure and perfect setting that continue to delight audiences around the world. The ensemble has opened for and shared the bill with, Larry & Jenny Keel, Lost Dog Street Band, Old Crow Medicine Show, and Jeff Austin Band. Mama Said String Band released their debut self-titled album in February 2018, followed by their sophomore album, Carry the Water released June of 2019. Fans, old and new, and reviewers alike have boldly praised the up-and-coming four-piece.
Ms. Katie “Didit” Caudill, born and raised in Whitesburg, Kentucky, possesses an extraordinary capability to guide cadence and melody into a deliberate yet delicate relationship between voice and instrument. Katie’s repertoire includes guitar, banjo and upright bass; her main influences are John Prine, Andrew Jackson Jihad, The Tillers and Chris Wood. Katie Didit’s rich and playful sound can be attributed to her intricate, powerful lyrics and harmonious old-timey style. Katie has spent most of her life deeply immersed in the world of traditional Appalachian music, studying traditional mountain music at Mt. Empire College in Big Stone Gap VA, going on to become an instructor, and eventually program director, for JAMS (Junior Appalachian Musicians). In her spare time, you can find her indulging her love for reading, writing, drawing, cooking and gardening; or organizing and hosting weekly open mic nights in Louisville. Katie’s vintage flare is perfectly paired with her passion for lyrical composition, each line laden with intention leaving her listeners feeling as if they just finished their new favorite book.
Hailing from Henry County Kentucky, singer-songwriter Kaitlen Farmer has a unique ability to compel her listeners to recall a wide range of feeling and emotion through timeless melodies and simple, heartfelt lyrics. Her ballads are generous in their ability to finally put into words what we struggle to do so with ourselves. Kaitlen has played guitar since she was eight years old, sixteen years and counting; over time she has developed a thoughtful, melodious style that shines its brightest through her original compositions. Kaitlen puts each syllable to use to create rhythm with her words, making it impossible to sit still when greeted with her colorful, catchy sound. Kaitlen’s influences include Keller Williams, Del McCoury, and the Grateful Dead. Although playing and writing music are her main hobbies, she practices yoga, spins fire, and above all, makes traveling and seeing live music top priorities, along with spending time with her family and friends. If you’ve ever stayed up a bit too late around the campfire, maybe had one too many, or you want to remember the one that got away, Katilen’s warm sound and introspective message is there to help you along the journey.
David O’Neal is a master at manipulating dynamics and harmonies to add a marvelous, fascinating depth to the mosaic that is Mama Said String Band. David uses violin and voice to put forth a distinctive, inimitable sound charged with spontaneity and energy. Born in Wilmore, Kentucky, David has been playing violin for most of his life, eighteen years. David began his study of the violin under Ruth Ben-Ari and performed with various orchestras from 2005-2009; going on to form a band and pursue his own path with a number of singer-songwriters and various rock, country, EDM and punk bands from 2010-2015; the years since marking his entrance into “new grass” and folk music. David has a proclivity towards Si-Fi and fantasy novels, videogames, and history documentaries. His musical influences include, Chris Thile, Jesse Lacey, and Ben Gibbard. David has a special way of commanding his listeners to fully engage with what they’re hearing. His lyrical and vocal style endow one with intrigue and delight; pairing euphoniously with his ability to maneuver tempo and volume, while maintaining unusual harmonies. David’s fiddle should be considered the fifth voice in Mama Said String Band.
Having been involved in recording projects and performing for a variety of regional and national artists including: Still Holler, Nicholas Jamerson (Sundy Best), Tiffany Williams, Britton Patrick Morgan, the Phantom Project, and Hillhouse, Taylor is no stranger to the regional music scene. Taylor Shuck is a Kentucky based banjoist, singer-songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist that has been performing since 2006. Having been steeped in bluegrass tradition, as well as having pursued a degree in classical guitar and composition, he had the realization that his passion for music comes from the communication created by blending genres and getting to find the most impactful way to say something through his music.
Taylor’s influences in bluegrass, classical, folk, and jazz musics meld together into a unique style that continues to grow and be influenced by music from all walks of life and parts of the world. Some of the artists that Taylor is most heavily inspired by include Bela Fleck, Bob Dylan, John Coltrane, Emily King, Maurice Ravel, Matt Menefee (Cadillac Sky), Edgar Meyer, John Prine, Joni Mitchell, Allison Brown, and Crooked Still. When not performing, Taylor loves to share the culture of Kentucky’s folk musics by teaching at the Louisville Folk School, drinking tea, and cooking for his friends.