What started as a routine experiment has turned into a revolutionary project, henceforth known as Hickory Project. Formed in 2001, the band features hard–driving traditional and original acoustic music deeply rooted in bluegrass. Hickory Project is a powerhouse of musical prowess with the expert licks of National Mandolin Champion Anthony Hannigan, banjo phenomenon Dave Cavage, Steve Belcher, Coleman Smith, Mark Morris, Craig Vance, and Jillian Hannigan.
Hickory Project is globally acclaimed. They have captivated audiences throughout Europe and the US, and even as far away as Australia. As musical ambassadors Hickory Project is taking their music worldwide.
Hickory Project has now produced 1 DVD and 7 CDs under their own label, Hickory Productions. Whether it is straight-forward traditional or a flare for the new realm in acoustic music, Hickory Project is a tour-de-force.
Linking Old and New in Acoustic Music
Anthony Hannigan (mandolin, vocals) is one of the fastest mandolin pickers on Earth! He is the 1999 National Mandolin Champion and has been playing bluegrass music from the age of four. Anthony has been involved with many recording projects and major artists for years including Vassar Clements, David Grisman, David Bromberg and Frank Wakefield. He is accomplished on the banjo, guitar, and fiddle as well as the mandolin and is the inspiration and writer of much of the band’s original music. Anthony’s influences range from Vassar, Van Halen, Monk, Cavage, Pass, Moorse, Prince, Monroe, Parker, Baker and even James Brown. Whether it is creating tunes, or performing with the band, Anthony will leave an impression lasting long after the performance is over.
David Cavage (banjo, vocals) ranks among the finest banjo players and songwriters in bluegrass music today. According to Bluegrass Unlimted, "He sounds like Béla Fleck with an attitude." Dave resides in Carbondale, Pennsylvania and Okeechobee, Florida. He has been a member of many bands, including The Roots of Bluegrass, Appalachian Mountain Boys, and was a co-founder of the Blue Merles. Dave is also an avid pilot and often flies himself to his performances. His banjo style has been called a work of brilliance and his influences include Tony Trischka, Allison Brown, Béla Fleck, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. Whether it is soaring in the air, or flying on the neck, Dave is a master by all means. Dave is also a pioneer of online music lessons. You can find his lessons and demonstrations all over the web.
Steve Belcher (acoustic bass) was born in Liverpool, England and now makes his home in north-central Pennsylvania. He began his music involvement playing drums, which drove his passion for rhythm. Playing the bass was a natural evolution from this start. He is a co-founder of the Blue Merles and Burnt Toast, and has toured the US, Canada and Europe with many acts and nationally acclaimed artists. Steve has been providing rock solid rhythm since HP's inception and is undoubtedly the foundation of Hickory Project.
Mark Morris (guitar, vocals) is a native of Colorado and has been involved in many musical projects and recordings over the years. He is one of the best and most original song writers on the scene today forging a brand new style of music, Rocky Mountain Bluegrass. His passion for music is exceeded only by his passion for POW (snow). Mark is an amazing extreme skier and will jump off of anything with his skis. Mark’s solid, driving rhythm and original tunes are sure to please one and all.
Coleman Smith (fiddle, mandolin, vocals) is from Texas and has been playing the fiddle all of his life. He is one of the top cross over violinists of all time. Coleman is a member of Doctor Horse Machine, The Money Notes, Rapid Grass Quintet and many others. Coleman holds a degree in music from Marywood University and has been teaching fiddle, mandolin and guitar for nearly 10 years. He has traveled throughout the world with his fiddle bringing joy to all that hear him. Coleman has a unique style that fuses jazz, swing, hip-hop, Celtic and bluegrass.
Craig Vance (guitar, vocals) began his career as a solo act playing warm-up sets for such noteworthy performers as Doc and Merle Watson, the Country Gentleman, and Berline, Crary, and Hickman. He has also performed on stage with master guitarist Norman Blake. Craig has taken first place honors in numerous guitar competitions including the contests annually held at the Sugar Grove Fiddler's Convention and the Chilhowie Bluegrass Festival in Virginia. He has performed on the nation's top stages including Carnegie Hall, Berkley Performing Arts Center, Lincoln Center and many other venues and festivals throughout the US as well as in Ireland, Scotland and Europe. Craig is also a contributing columnist for Flatpicking Guitar Magazine.
"Hickory Project offers dazzling new acoustic music flavored with a twist of sassy bluegrass." -Bluegrass Unlimited
"Hickory Project is on the forefront of the contemporary bluegrass movement. " -Bluegrass Unlimited
"This band makes astronomically fast look boring and mundane. Unfortunately, they've spoiled a lot of bluegrass for me because a lot of it now seems like molasses on a winter's day." -Times News, Lehighton
“Audiences … sit up and take note of the incredible musicianship, vocals, and original music presented by the band.” -Bluegrass Australia Magazine
"This is exciting, adventurous stuff!" -Bluegrass Unlimited
"Hannigan ... leaves no doubt why he's one of the best mandolinsts around, peppering his solos with style, speed, and soul." -Bluegrass Unlimited
"Dave Cavage throws down bold licks with a bell-like tone and a fearless improvisational style that sounds like Béla Fleck with an attitude." -Bluegrass Unlimited
"Hickory Project embodies much of what carries the best of bluegrass and progressive acoustic music into the 21st century." -Bluegrass Unlimited
"After the Polka Brothers, Hickory Project is my favorite band!" -Dave's Mom
Jillian Hannigan (flute, pennywhistle, vocals) is the newest member of HP. A native of Virginia, surprisingly she was not introduced to the world of bluegrass until later in life, but that has not hindered her love for the music. Jillian grew up playing classical, folk, and Celtic music with her twin sister and parents, and now enjoys the company of her three children and husband, Anthony who keep her very busy. She studied music and communication at George Mason University and continued her studies at Mansfield University earning her Master’s in secondary social studies education. Jillian combines her love of early jazz, Celtic, bluegrass, and jamming to bring a vibrant and distinct dimension to the band.