About Us

Phil Giammattei (guitar, upright bass, lead vocals) was involuntarily inducted into Allegheny College’s Folk Federation when it was discovered he owned an upright bass. Having played and sang for an astounding variety of grungy garage bands in high school, his introduction to Old Time music was timely and enlightening. Phil sells electronics for a living, and collects acoustic instruments when his paycheck allows. Chief among his influences are the Folk Revival projects of the last decade, including The Avett Brothers, Langhorne Slim, and Sufjan Stevens. His beard-growing skills are intimidating.

Zach Kurtz (mandolin, guitar, vocals) aspires to become a cave man; music for him is a primal urge.  His tastes are distressfully eclectic, drawing on and mashing together influences from the Mennonites, Old Time, Pop, and YouTube.  He has a day-and-night job as a graduate teaching assistent in the statistics Ph.D. program at Carnegie Mellon University and plans to become a subsistence farmer and consultant as soon as he can afford an estate.  The estate will have regular hoedowns in addition to animals and plants.

Jessica Spieser-Landes (fiddle, bones, vocals, band manager) is an old time fiddler, freelance violinist, and Suzuki violin teacher at Landes String Studio in Swissvale, PA.  She has been a member of the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra and the Williamsport Symphony Orchestra and in 2010 performed with Dyl&Co in the Festival International de Musique Universitaire in Belfort, France.  She is also currently a member of the Simcha String Quartet.  In addition to loving the mad musical mix of the Sidewalk String Band, Jessica enjoys speaking French, tinkering around the house, crocheting, baking, campfires, and eating local food.

Special Guests:  Chad Hunter (banjo), David Spieser-Landes (driver, zydeco tie guy)