Circus no. 9
Circus No. 9 is East Tennessee’s own progressive bluegrass outfit, blurring the lines between bluegrass, jazz, jamgrass, and more. Described as “John Hartford meets John Coltrane,” the group has appeared alongside artists including David Grisman, Bryan Sutton, Larry Keel and more. Comprised of musicians Matthew Davis, Thomas Cassell, and Vince Ilagan, Circus No. 9 is one of the most exciting new bands on the acoustic music scene today.
"Circus No. 9 represents everything that's good about the new generation of acoustic music. These guys already exhibit a maturity and musicianship that has me thinking we're going to be hearing great stuff from them for a long time," says Hot Rize guitarist Bryan Sutton.
Banjo extraordinaire Matthew Davis is the winner of both the National Banjo Championship and the Rockygrass Banjo Contest, not to mention the achievement of his musical chops at just age 18. Davis has performed on the Grand Ole Opry, among other venues and shows around the country.
On the mandolin is Virginia’s own Thomas Cassell, now a Tennessee transplant. Cassell is the winner of the 2016 Rockygrass Mandolin contest, and has performed onstage beside artists including Darrell Scott, Bryan Sutton, Aofie O’Donovan, Mike Marshall, Julian Lage, Billy Strings and more.
Holding down the low end for the band is Knoxville’s Vince Ilagan, also holding a Bass Performance degree from the University of Tennessee and years of studio and touring experience. Ilagan has performed with artists including Justin Townes Earle, Jeff Sipe, Scott Miller and many others.