From Kate Wolf's backing band to an institution in West Coast bluegrass and Americana music, the Cache Valley Drifters have kept the music alive for over 40 years with first-rate musicianship, extraordinary harmonies, and a dedicated fan base.
"The Cache Valley Drifters have graced our stage more times than any other artist. And no wonder. For they are simply our all time favorite band. It's hard to say what is most appealing about them however; their breathtaking harmonies, their gorgeous instrumentation or their hilarious personalities. Now in their fourth decade, the band consists of Wally Barnick, Bill Griffin, and Mike Mullins. They perform a wide range of material from folk to bluegrass, the Eagles to the Grateful Dead, plus originals - all with incredible harmony and outstanding instrumental arrangements." - Donna and Roger Brinton, Brinton House Concerts
It began as a bunch of California kids playing music for the fun of it, and now the Cache Valley Drifters have been pushing the boundaries of American acoustic music for over four decades. Their performances are as likely to include bluegrass interpretations of songs by Paul Simon, Etta James and Cream as they are to feature tunes by the late folk-singer Kate Wolf and traditional bluegrass tunes. CVD's association with Wolf is natural considering that the band's longest-standing member, BILL GRIFFIN (mandolin, guitar & vocals), produced and was responsible for the musical arrangements on many of Wolf's recordings (more information about Griffin can be found on his website). MIKE MULLINS (guitar, mandolin & vocals), CVD's resident songwriter, joined the group in 1993. Mike has been active in acoustic music since the early 1980s when he played guitar in the Phil Salazar Band. In 1990, Mike teamed up with former Cache Valley Drifter Cyrus Clarke as a member of the Acousticats, a post he held until joining CVD in '93. WALLY BARNICK (bass & vocals), who played with CVD from 1975 to 1979, rejoined the group in 1993. An excellent vocalist and bass player, Wally also spent two years with Bluegrass Etc. The Cache Valley Drifters have had a more varied performance history than most bands in Acoustic Music. They have shared concert and festival stages with artists such as Doc and Merle Watson, Newgrass Revival, Stephane Grappelli, David Grisman, and Alison Krauss, but also with artists you most likely wouldn't expect, such as The Allman Brothers, Dave Mason, Little Feat, Willie Nelson, Ricky Nelson, and Emmylou Harris.
The self-titled LP THE CACHE VALLEY DRIFTERS was released on Flying Fish Records in 1978. The band would go on to record two more LPs for Flying Fish (STEP UP TO BIG PAY and TOOLS OF THE TRADE) before disbanding in 1985. In 1993 CVD reformed and with the release of WHITE ROOM on CMH Records in 1995 (joined by guest artist John McFee of the Doobie Brothers) the band was officially back. In 1998 the band formed their own label, MightyFine Records. The resulting CD, MIGHTYFINE.NET (CVD's personal favorite), was released the following year and featured their good friend DENNIS CAPLINGER (Bluegrass Etc.) on fiddle, banjo and dobro. WHITE ROOM and MIGHTYFINE.NET were subsequently released in Europe on the German label Taxim Records resulting in several European performances by CVD. In 2000 the band received an out-of-the-blue honor when their 1980 version of "Cumberland Blues" was picked by the Grateful Dead to be the first cut on STOLEN ROSES (Grateful Dead Records), a collection of the Dead's favorite covers of Dead songs by other groups. Today the Drifters have come full-circle as they are once again playing just for the fun of it. Their philosophy and agreement between themselves: when it stops being fun, that'll be the end of the ride. Hopefully, that won't be happening anytime soon. As they will tell you, it's all about the joy they've found in their music, their friendship with each other and, most importantly, the connection they share with their audiences everywhere.