Update: Since this was first posted a lot has happened to Donna and Jeff. The little kids you see in the photo below are now 19 and 14 respecitvely and budding musicians themselves(see new pix from Benefit). The biggest event was Jeff's recent illness. He was stricken with a very rare form of pneumonia which nearly cost him his life. He is fine and at home recovering but was in a coma for 2 weeks and in the hospital for more than a month. The bills from the hospital and various providers are astronomical (who says we don't need health care reform?) His friends and band mates put together a benefit concert on October 5th which raised a significant amount of money.
Jeff and Donna want to thank everyone who took part in the benefit either as performers or contributors with Special Thanks to Rick and Carleen Bellaire , Vinnie and Liz Pasternak, Steve Hug and Patrick Norton at the Narrows and Barb Kemper for putting together and awesome auction that raised over $1,000!!!
Donna and Jeff Olson starting performing together under the name "Wire & Wood" in 1993. As a duo, they performed at Stone Soup Coffeehouse, The Mark Twain Festival, First Night Providence, The Blackstone River Theater, and the "Local Artist Showcase" at the 1994 Newport Folk Festival.
The music of Wire & Wood is featured on a number of fine compilations including "First Nite Providence '95" "Our Invincible Summer," "Digital Mystery Tour," and "The 12 Steps of Christmas and Other Holiday Fare."
Despite back to back (1996/ '97) nominations as "Best Local Folk Act" in the Providence Phoenix Readers Poll, Wire & Wood were never satisfied with the instrumental and vocal limitations of their duo sound.
In search of something more, the Olson's asked their friends Bellaire & Dunn to produce and perform on "What Is In A Name," a song destined for "The 12 Steps of Christmas and Other Holiday Fare,"a holiday compilation Jeff was co-producing for the Providence MusicWorks label. (The Bellaire & Dunn song "A Cup of Kindness" also appears on this CD)
During the Promotional Tour for "The 12 Steps," the duos often joined each other on stage, providing harmonies and added instrumentation. At the end of each show, the artists from the CD got together for a high energy jam. At The Olde Vienna Kauffeehaus, Rick and John invited their good friend Vinnie Pasternak to join the jam. Vinnie's fiddling brought the house down, providing one of the high points of this tour..
The enthusiastic audience reaction to their onstage collaborations convinced the duo's that they would both benefit from continuing their collaboration... They briefly worked under the unwieldy name of Bellaire & Dunn/Wire & Wood w/ Vinnie Pasternak, but thanks to a snafu by a local promoter, the group was billed as "Folks Together." For reasons no one can really explain, the name stuck.
Although they no longer played as a duo, Wire & Wood/ FolksTogether was nominated as Best Local Folk Act in the 1999 Providence Phoenix Readers Poll. Cheryl Wheeler won, but we were grateful for the nomination.
Off the stage, Jeff and Donna lead a "quiet" suburban existence in Barrington RI, with sons Mathew 13 and Eric 8 (see below). They are diligently working with the other "Folks" on our first full group studio CD while continuing the never ending quest for reliable baby-sitters!!!!