American Strings presents An Evening with Shook Twins

UPCOMING EVENT: An Evening with Shook Twins

Wednesday, October 6 at 7:30 p.m.
OSU Student Experience Center Plaza (Outdoors)

The American Strings Series, presented by the College of Liberal Arts at Oregon State University, launches a new season with a special outdoor program featuring the indie-folk band Shook Twins on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Student Experience Center Plaza on the OSU main campus.

The American Strings series brings renowned artists from around the U.S. to Corvallis and Oregon State University for an in-depth look at how and why stringed instruments play such a profound role in American music.

The Portland-based Shook Twins will be performing as a trio, comprised of identical twin sisters Katelyn and Laurie Shook and longtime bandmate Niko "Slice" Daoussis. Their music incorporates acoustic instrumentation including banjo, guitar, mandolin, glockenspiel and their signature gold egg, into a contemporary sound that has never been sonically confined to the indie-folk world in which they’ve become well-known artists. The sisters have always performed with an adventurous spirit, never shy to incorporate beatboxing, banjo-head drumming, vocals using a re-purposed telephone microphone, and other ambient sources within their arrangements.


Hosted by Bob Santelli, OSU director of popular music and performing arts, the conversation and live performance that comprises each segment of American Strings makes for a one of a kind opportunity to learn about the creative process, the performers and the influencers behind the great American music tradition.

Seating on the plaza is free and on a first come, first served basis.

The SEC Plaza is located between the Memorial Union and the Student Experience Center on Jefferson Street. Parking in permit restricted lots is unrestricted after 5 p.m. Future performances this season will be ticketed and held at the Majestic Theatre, 115 SW 2nd Street. 

For more information or to request accommodations relating to a disability, call 541-738-4769.


About the host

Bob Santelli served as the executive director of the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles from 2008 to 2016, and was instrumental in helping OSU become an official university affiliate of the Los Angeles-based museum. He is currently the director of popular music and performing arts in the College of Liberal Arts.  

A noted blues and rock historian, Santelli is the author of more than a dozen books on American music, including “Greetings from E Street” and "The Bob Dylan Scrapbook.” He has contributed to Rolling Stone and the New York Times, among other news outlets.  In 1993, he was one of the original curators of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, eventually moving to Cleveland to become the museum’s first director of education and vice president of public programs. 

In 2000, he became the chief executive officer of the Experience Music Project in Seattle, the first interactive music museum. Santelli also developed the UK’s first pop music museum, the British Music Experience. Named executive of The GRAMMY Museum in 2006, he created “An Evening With…” series that featured in-depth interviews with artists such as Dave Matthews, Brian Wilson, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Nicks and Clive Davis. 

Since arriving at OSU in September 2016, Santelli has brought a group of students to the White House for a special music education program, created programs for songwriters across campus and in the community, taught classes on popular culture, and maintained a partnership with the GRAMMY Museum. 

2020-2021 Season - Past Events

The Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the Oregon State University Alumni Association presented a conversation and live remote performance with blues artist and five-time GRAMMY Award winner Keb’ Mo’ on Wednesday, Aug. 19 at 5 p.m.

Singer, guitarist, songwriter, Kevin Roosevelt Moore, known professionally as Keb’ Mo’, has cultivated a reputation as a modern master of American roots music through his albums, live performances and collaborations with other successful artists, including Taj Mahal, Shelia E., Joe Walsh, Lizz Wright and Bonnie Raitt. Since releasing his self-titled first album more than 25 years ago, the Nashville-based artist has published a total of 14 highly successful albums, including his most recent, “Oklahoma,” which won the 2020 GRAMMY Award for Best Americana Album, giving Keb’ Mo’ his fifth GRAMMY.

He has been featured in TV and film, playing Robert Johnson in the 1998 documentary “Can’t You Hear the Wind Howl,” and appearing three times on the television series, “Touched by An Angel.” He was the ghostly bluesman “Possum” in John Sayles’ 2007 movie, “Honeydripper,” and created “Martha’s Theme” for the TV show Martha Stewart Living. He also wrote and performed the theme song for the hit sitcom, “Mike & Molly,” and was music composer for TNT’s “Memphis Beat.” In early 2017, nine songs from Keb’ Mo’s extensive catalog were featured in the film “Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Higher Ground” on the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries channel. This film was also Keb’s first feature film lead acting role. 

He also appeared in an episode on the CMT series “Sun Records” and can be heard playing his original song “Operator.” Keb’ Mo’ played his iconic version of “America the Beautiful” in the series finale of Aaron Sorkin’s “The West Wing,” as well as at the White House for President Obama.

The Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and the Oregon State University Alumni Association presented a conversation and live remote performance with Rosanne Cash on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020 at 5 p.m.

Cash, eldest daughter of country music legend Johnny Cash, is one of the country’s pre-eminent singer-songwriters, with 15 albums, 11 GRAMMY nominations and four GRAMMY awards to her credit, along with 21 top 40 hits, including 11 number one singles. 

Cash is also an author of four books, including the best-selling memoir, “Composed,” hailed by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the best accounts of an American life you’ll likely ever read.” She has published essays in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, The Nation and Oxford-American. 

She was awarded a SAG/AFTRA Lifetime Achievement award in 2012 and received the Smithsonian Ingenuity Award in the Performing Arts in 2014. She was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in 2015 and was awarded the Spirit of Americana: Free Speech Award by the Americana Music Association in 2018. She served as a Carnegie Hall Creative Partner for the 2019-2020 season.

With her captivating voice and richly detailed songwriting, Sarah Jarosz has emerged as one of the most compelling musicians of her generation. Originally from Texas, Jarosz began singing as a young girl and became an accomplished multi-instrumentalist by her early teens. After releasing her full-length debut "Song Up in Her Head" at the age of 18, she went on to deliver such critically lauded albums as "Follow Me Down, Build Me Up From Bones" and "Undercurrent," in addition to joining forces with Sara Watkins and Aoife O’Donovan to form the acclaimed GRAMMY-winning fold trio, I'm With Her. 

In making her newest album "World On the Ground" Jarosz collaborated with producer/songwriter John Leventhal, a five-time GRAMMY award winner known for his work with Elvis Costello, Shawn Colvin and his wife, Rosanne Cash. Working almost entirely on their own, the two musicians crafted a subtle tapestry of sound perfectly suited to Jarosz's Lyrical storytelling. In a departure from the nuanced introspection of her previous work, "World On the Ground" unfolds as a finely wrought collection of stories from her hometown of Wimberley, Texas (pop. 2,626), presenting a series of character sketches nearly novelistic in emotional scope, and revealing her remarkable gift for slipping into the inner lives of others and patiently uncovering so much indelible insight.

Alvin co-founded the roots-rock group The Blasters in 1979, and since leaving the band in 1986, the guitarist has created his own unique blend of traditional American music. His 2000 solo album “Public Domain: Songs from the Wild Land” earned him a Grammy award for Best Contemporary Folk Album. Alvin calls himself a “barroom guitarist” and says his songs are like California: “A big, messy, melting pot.”

He has recorded with Bobby Rush, Tom Waits, John Mellencamp, Little Milton and The Knitters, and his original songs have been recorded by Los Lobos, Dwight Yoakam, James McMurtry, Buckwheat Zydeco, Joe Ely and Marshall Crenshaw. His music has also been featured in movies and television including on “The Sopranos,” “Justified,” “Girls,” “Crybaby,” “Dusk to Dawn,” “The Wire” and “True Blood.”

Alvin’s recent projects include reuniting with his brother Phil for two blues albums, including the Grammy-nominated album “Common Ground,” a reunion with his 1977 punk band, The Flesh Eaters, and a new band, The Third Mind, made up of Alvin, Victor Krummenacher (Camper von Beethoven), David Immerglück (Counting Crows) and Jesse Sykes (Jesse Sykes and The Sweet Hereafter.) On Nov. 20 he released an album of rare and unreleased recordings titled “From an Old Guitar.”

Dom Flemons is a multi-instrumentalist, producer, actor, music scholar, historian and record collector. As part of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, he won a Grammy Award in 2010 for their folk album “Genuine Negro Jig.” His 2018 Grammy Award-nominated album “Dom Flemons Presents Black Cowboys” explored the often overlooked history and folk music traditions of Black cowboys in the West, which he says reflect some of his own family’s legacy.

He also has received two Emmy Award nominations. In 2020 he was selected for the prestigious United States Artists Fellowship Award for the traditional arts category, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

With a repertoire covering more than 100 years of early American popular music, Flemons has earned the moniker “The American Songster.” He is considered an expert player on the banjo, guitar, harmonica, jug, percussion, quills, fife and rhythm bones.

His latest project, “Prospect Hill: The American Songster Omnibus on Omnivore Recordings,” features the original “Prospect Hill” album, the 2015 EP “What Got Over,” and “The Drum Major Instinct,” complete with 12 previously unissued instrumental tracks.


The Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts (CLA) presents a conversation and live remote performance with the award-winning blues artist Shemekia Copeland on Wednesday, Feb. 17 at 5 p.m. PST.

The webcast event is part of CLA’s American String Series. Hosted by OSU Director of Popular Music and Performing Arts Bob Santelli, each segment of American Strings is comprised of a conversation and solo performance by successful artists from a variety of genres, making for a one of a kind opportunity to appreciate and know better the great American music tradition.

With a recording career that began in 1998 when she was just 18 years old, Shemekia Copeland has earned praise as the "greatest female blues vocalist working today" (Chicago Tribune). The soul, lyrically adventurous vocalist sings songs about the world around her, tackling the problems of contemporary American life head on with nuance, understanding, and a demand for change.

A three-time Grammy Award nominee, Copeland has performed all over the world, has appeared in films, on national television, radio and in print media. She has sung with Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Keith Richards, Carlos Santana, John Prine, Dr. John, and more. In 2012, she performed with B.B. King, Mich Jagger, Buddy Guy, Trombone Shorty, Gary Clark, Jr., and others at the White House for President and Mrs. Obama. She has appeared on Austin City Limits, and was recently featured on the PBS News Hour. She also hosts her own popular daily blues radio show on SiriusXM's, "Bluesville."

Her riveting latest album, "Uncivil War," builds on the musically and lyrically adventurous territory she's been exploring for more than a decade, blending blues, R&B and Americana into a sound that is now hers alone.

An Evening with David Hidalgo & Louie Pérez of Los Lobos

The Oregon State University College of Liberal Arts (CLA) presents a conversation and some music with Los Lobos front men David Hidalgo and Louie Pérez on Wednesday, March 31 at 5 p.m.

The webcast event is part of CLA’s American String Series. Hosted by OSU Director of Popular Music and Performing Arts Bob Santelli, each segment of American Strings is comprised of a conversation and music by successful artists from a variety of genres, making for a one of a kind opportunity to appreciate and know better the great American music tradition. 

Los Lobos ("The Wolves") is an American rock band from East Los Angeles. Their music is influenced by rock and roll, Tex-Mex and traditional Mexican music. The band gained international stardom in 1987, when their cover version of Ritchie Valens' "La Bamba" topped the charts in the U.S., the UK and several other countries. Hidalgo (vocals, guitar, accordion, fiddle, requinto jarocho) and Pérez, Jr. (vocals, drums, guitar, jarana huasteca) are two of the founding members of the band and wrote most of their songs together.

Hidalgo he has been featured on albums by T-Bone Burnett, Ry Cooder, Roy Orbison, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Simon, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits. He is also a member of the group Los Super Seven, and of the Latin Playboys, a side project with other members of Los Lobos. Pérez, the band's primary lyricist, started out with Los Lobos playing the jarana, a small Mexican guitar, and singing. As the band ventured more into Norteño music and rock he became the drummer, first playing with just a snare drum. Eventually he moved to the front of the stage and started playing guitar again. Pérez has also been a member of the Latin Playboys. Additionally he paints and has been the art director and artistic supervisor on many of Los Lobos' albums. 

Hidalgo and Pérez will talk with Bob about their longtime collaboration and unique experience in fusing cultures and crossing genres, and play some of their music.

Free and open to all.

Andrew Bird & Jimbo Mathus

Andrew Bird is an internationally acclaimed musician, songwriter and composer who has released sixteen records. He has performed around the world at festivals and at renowned venues including Carnegie Hall, Sydney Opera House and Walt Disney Concert Hall. A TED Talks presenter, a New Yorker Festival guest, and an op-ed contributor for the New York Times, Bird also made his professional acting debut in the cast of Fargo's fourth installment, which premiered on FX in the fall of 2020. Bird's 2019 album, My Finest Work Yet, was nominated for Best Folk Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.
Jimbo Mathus is an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his work with the gold and platinum-certified swing revival band, Squirrel Nut Zippers. The group toured extensively throughout the 1990s, including performances for the 1996 Summer Olympics, The Tonight Show, Late Night with David Letterman, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve and more. Since the early 2000’s, Mathus' career has included work for Buddy Guy and Elvis Costello, and a vast collection of solo projects that have led to his music being heard on Shameless, Ray Donovan and more.
In many ways, Mathus and Bird are the yin and yang of contemporary roots music. Mathus hails from Mississippi and Bird grew up in Chicago. Mathus was self-schooled by an inquisitive nature and being around other musicians. Bird formally studied music at Northwestern University. Music brought them together 25 years ago, and an equal devotion to their craft and mutual respect for each other as musicians has nourished their long friendship, resulting in numerous collaborations. Now, after a near 20-year hiatus from working together, the Mathus and Bird duo have been at it again with the March release of a new album, “These 13.” 
Written and produced from 2018 through 2020, These 13 captures "the warm first-take feel of two old friends having a fine old time" (MOJO). Mathus and Bird co-wrote every song through an exchange of voice memos, verses and ideas. Working with producer Mike Viola they recorded the LP live to tape, playing and singing from opposite sides of a single microphone.
Join us for a live, intimate conversation where Santelli talks to the duo about their friendship, the fun they had together in the making of this album, and the poignant story behind its opening track, "Poor Lost Souls." Bird and Mathus will also share some of their music in a pre-recorded video they made just for American Strings.

Close up detailed view of an electric guitar