Founded in 2014 in Ithaca, New York, the Rapid River Boys' roots stretch deep into the winding valleys of New York's Southern Tier and throughout the Finger Lakes Region. Marty Horn and Mike have been nourished by the resilient landscape, drawing inspiration from their experiences and inspiring others to continue a process of growth through storytelling.
Marty and Mike grew up on the banks of the Chemung River in Corning, New York. Both self taught musicians, they took a raw style of folk music to Cutting Room Studios in Greenwich Village in 2014. The Cutting Room sessions (later released as ‘Trek’) cultivated into a collection of travel songs and were mastered by Tony Gilis who has worked with Steely Dan, Prince, Jay-Z, 3 Doors Down, and The Postal Service.
In 2015 the track “Fill Your Cup” from the ‘Trek’ was featured on Roadtrip Nation and nationally televised on PBS. Since the release of their first full-length album “Animating Principle” in 2016, the Rapid River Boys have performed over 125 shows in 11 states, sharing the stage with acts like Tom Hamilton’s American Babies, The Burns Sisters, Bobby Sweet, Kate Purcell, and Cats Under the Stars. They continue to travel and share their experiences with communities throughout the United States. In 2018, The Rapid River Boys returned to Roadtrip Nation as featured musicians with their tracks “Sun and Moon” and “Pretty Song”. In the spring of 2018 the Rapid River Boys evolved into a quartet, introducing the violist Natalya Cowilich and the bassist Jon Stewart to the line-up.
Little did she know it, Natalya Cowilich grew up just down the Chemung River from Marty and Michael. Natalya was raised by bonfires, acoustic guitars, and shaking tambourines on the banks of Catherine Valley Creek; Old Church Slavonic melodies and harmonies spiraling around her, carried to Elmira by Ukrainian ancestors from The Carpathian Mountains; the classic rock radio station her grandfather would always have on in his green 1993 Chevi Blazer on their way back from fishing Seneca Lake. Natalya helped raise her two brothers right by the Chemung River, taking them on hikes through the swamps and dikes and grassland just miles apart from her later-life musical friends. It wasn’t until after she moved to Ithaca, New York that the three musicians crossed paths. Natalya began playing the viola when she was eight years of age and hasn’t stopped since. She picked up the banjo when her grandmother passed away. She’s grateful that Michael and Marty have adopted her as their fiddler, and it brings tears to her eyes when all three reflect on their childhood--they were all right there together, and didn’t know it until now.
Jon Stewart first met Marty while attending S.U.N.Y Potsdam in 2008. Jon first started playing bass at the age of 12, and quickly moved to add guitar, banjo, pedal steel and all things strings to his repertoire. After spending his college years developing and immersing himself in playing. Jon moved to Boulder, C.O. in the summer of 2013 to pursue his other musical passion, lutherie. While living in his humble mountain home, far away from the modern convenience of a local grocery store, he began to dive deep into the world of Old-time, Blues, Bluegrass, and folk music traditions. Adding to his vast knowledge of the history and songbook of Jerry Garcia and The Grateful Dead; he began to widen his repertoire through artists like Tony Rice, Clarence Ashley, and Woody Gutherie. He soon began writing his own songs, while interpreting songs of these traditions in his own unique style. After moving back to Saratoga Springs, NY, his home town, nestled in the Hudson Valley, just at the foot of the Adirondacks, he reconnected with Marty and brought this knowledge, and his steady, yet inventive bass lines into the fold.