MATT MITCHELL, 29
A friend once gave Mitchell the complete works of Bob Dylan and he listened to the iconic singer/songwriter exclusively for about a year. Mitchell is the band’s primary singer and songwriter. “Most of what I want to say is about to be recorded,” Mitchell said. “We just believe in the music and I think that’s going to translate.” He grew up playing classical, crediting an influential teacher for inspiring him and his mother for encouraging him. He began writing his own music at an early age. He started with piano, then added organ, guitar and harmonica (which he says doesn’t count because it’s always in the right key). He toured for five years with the jam-grass band Ten Mile Tide, leaving to marry his wife, Missy. By day, he works at 14Four, working with advertising agencies on interactive campaigns. He’s also a graphic designer whose T-shirts are regularly sold at Boo Radley’s.
SETH CAREY, 33
Carey came to Spokane in 2008 looking for a fresh start, a place to lay down roots and start a family and business. He is the only member of Folkinception who has children – a 9-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son and one on the way. He is married to Laura and they run Veraci Pizza, a mobile business popular at markets and festivals. He’s been playing bass since he was 17 and has recorded two other albums: one with Seattle indierock band The Pale Pacific, and another with Scratch Chance, which he describes as harder, bluesy rock. Before he joined Folkinception, he had taken a 10-year break from performing. As a musician, he said, “I like to find my own space, being very intentional about my dynamics and intensity and sparseness.” He’s deeply grateful to his wife for supporting him in being in the band and recording the album, acknowledging the toll it takes on her to run their family and small business alone. “I’d like to thank her for her support,” he says.
HEATHER MONTGOMERY, 34
Montgomery has been teaching music to Spokane middle schoolers for seven years and also directs elementary and middle school orchestras, along with a segment of the Spokane Youth Symphony. She began studying violin in fifth grade, then switched to viola in high school after taking piano and voice lessons as a young girl. Other band members say she has perfect pitch without a tuner, which Heather disputes. During recording, she routinely was able to complete her parts in one or two takes. Being in the band has caused her to bring more bluegrass and pop influences into her teaching, which she said her students love. Her harmonizing with Mitchell is one of the most entrancing features of Folkinception’s live shows. Her intense focus on matching him perfectly frees him to be raw and passionate. “I like his full-on style of singing. He just doesn’t hold anything back,” she says, then laughs. “I’m so concerned about always being right.”
JEFF NORDVALL, 36
Before settling in Spokane, Nordvall traveled the country with his partner, Laura Paisley, working in the health care field. He’s a histologist – someone who studies tissue – and discovered Spokane during a stint working at Deaconess Hospital. He’s played guitar for 24 years but only got serious about it a few years ago. He learned to play mandolin for the band. His musical taste is eclectic but focuses on good instrumentation. Nordvall is probably best known as the original owner, with Paisley, of the popular Lantern Tavern in the South Perry District, which opened in 2009. They sold it last year and now plan to open a beer and burger joint nearby. It’s been life-changing for Nordvall to settle down and not only be part of a community but to have affected its growth. “I think of the neighborhood as the bohemian part of town,” he said, adding that he loves hearing people say with pride: “Yeah, I live in Perry.”
BEN BRADLEY, 41
You’ve seen Ben Bradley around town. He worked at Atticus coffee shop for about four years before leaving less than a year ago to bartend at The Lantern. He’s in two other bands, Go Man Go’s and Ampersand. “It is what I am,” he said of drumming. “Everything else is stuff I do.” He started playing drums when he was 11 and had a natural talent for it. He’s lived in Spokane for 20 years. He wasn’t sure Folkinception was a good fit for him until a breakthrough practice during which the band developed its collaborative writing style on the instrumental “Tower Mountain Heist.” “The more than we allowed that to happen with no ego,” Bradley said, “the more we were collectively able to write better songs.”
JOHN BOTTELLI, 43
Bottelli is called “JB” for short and the nickname has become a verb for the band – to “JB something” is to just do it. This might come from the fact that about eight years ago he broke his neck and shattered his leg and spent 9 months on crutches. Recovering and still being able to do his favorite thing – “dancing my ass off to live music” – feels like a gift. He’s assistant director of Spokane County parks and loves helping create trail systems and natural areas and parks. As a cello player since second grade, one who traveled internationally with youth symphonies, it is a delight for him to “play my cello in a way that bridges the gap to all my other musical interests.” He’s been in bands before, playing guitar, but not since college. He loves jamming and is one of the early fans of the jam-band Phish, formed in Vermont when Bottelli attended college there. He just celebrated his 15th wedding anniversary with his wife, Roberta.