Dirk Powell Band
Dirk Powell’s vibrant creative energy crosses many boundaries while remaining grounded in his rural Appalachian heritage. His formal musical training and self-expression make him one of the most important artists in America.
In addition to acclaimed releases with The Dirk Powell Band and live performances at prestigious venues, he has recorded and performed with top musical artists, worked with leading film directors; selected, arranged and performed traditional Appalachian music for Riverdance; and he also performs with his Cajun group Balfa Toujours.
In his early teens, Dirk formed a musical bond with his grandfather, James Clarence Hay of Sandy Hook, Kentucky, and discovered a resonance with traditions that stretch back to Scots-Irish ancestors who came to the mountains in the mid-18th century.Dirk learned banjo and fiddle and was featured in The Great High Mountain Tour, focusing on his multifaceted involvement with the Academy Award-winning film Cold Mountain, for which he acted on screen, arranged traditional material and served as on-set musical consultant.
Other films featuring his musical performances include Ang Lee’s Ride With The Devil, Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, and Edward Burns’ The Brothers McMullen.
He has worked with artists such as Loretta Lynn, playing on her Grammy winning release Van Lear Rose, Sting, Jack White, Levon Helm, Jewel, T-Bone Burnett, Ralph Stanley, and Linda Ronstadt. With The Dirk Powell Band, his powerful Appalachian music has inspired audiences at the Eastman School of Music, the Interlochen Academy and other top venues. For several years, he has enjoyed a strong collaboration with Tim O’Brien on acclaimed recordings such as Songs From The Mountain and performed with his Cajun group Balfa Toujours, founded with wife Christine Balfa after her father Dewey died in 1992.
Dirk has scored several documentaries, including the awardwinning films Stranger with a Camera, The Unfinished Civil War, and Thoughts in the Presence of Fear. He also appeared in the BBC/RTE series The Irish Empire as an expert on the Scots-Irish culture of Appalachia. He recently collaborated on a fusion of Appalachian music and Hip Hop with rapper Danja Mowf for the film From the Holler to the Hood about tension in the new maximum security prisons in Appalachia.
Dirk recently established the Cypress House studio in Louisiana and has recorded and/or produced The Red Stick Ramblers, Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz, Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, The Wilders, Uncle Earl, April Verch, Richie Stearns, Polecat Creek, Tony Davoren, Corey Ledet and Tit Salé. He is joined on stage over the weekend by multi-talented musicians and heavy hitting artists in their own right, namely; Riley Baugus, Caleb Klauder and Stephen Lind.