Michael Reno Harrell – National Storyteller
Michael Reno Harrell is an award winning songwriter, as well as a veteran storyteller and entertainer, and he’s from the South… the Southern Appalachian Mountains to hone it a bit finer.
One could compare Michael’s performances to his granddaddy’s pocket knife: well warn and familiar feeling, but razor sharp and with a point. His brand of entertainment appeals to a very diverse audience. A typical day for Michael might include a program for 4th graders in the afternoon and a concert for a mixed audience that evening.
Michael’s recordings top the Americana Music Association charts year after year. His original songs and stories have been described as “Appalachian grit and wit” but, as his writing shows, Michael’s awareness is much broader than the bounds of his boyhood home or even the Southern Experience. Having toured throughout the British Isles and much of Europe, as well as most of the US, the songs he writes and the stories he creates reflect an insight into people’s experiences that catch the ear like an old friend’s voice.
Michael’s natural knack for storytelling, in print, song and spoken word has earned him praise from not only the music community but from the literary and storytelling worlds as well, having had the honor of being a Featured Teller at the National Storytelling Festival and to be Teller In Residence at the International Storytelling Center, as well as performing at major music events like MerleFest and the Walnut Valley Festival. Along with his performances, Michael often conducts workshops in songwriting and storytelling as well.
Michael’s recordings have for years received and continue to garner awards in Country, Americana and Folk circles. His humor and wit, as well as the emotional depth of his work, keep his fan base growing and staying tuned in for whatever comes next. Don’t miss the chance to experience what those faithful fans keep returning again and again to enjoy.
Kim Weitkamp – National Storyteller
Kim’s childhood adventure with story was shaped by T.V.’s Sanford & Son, All in the Family and M.A.S.H. …plus the old worn out fairy tale collection she read over and over. Add to that her father’s love of Johnny Cash and old time radio shows being played throughout the house and the dye was cast. Kim carved out her role as the class comedian at a young age; writing plays and skits and sharing stories that exasperated her parents while thrilling her high school theater teacher.
The results of these influences show up in her work time and time again. One review stated, “Kim is a master at seamlessly building bridges from story, to song, to story. Like all good storytellers she evokes both laughter and tears, but her impeccable timing, and dead-on anticipation of her listeners’ needs place her at the pinnacle of her craft. Then, she pulls her guitar out and you think, where did that come from, that milk and honey voice?”
In her work as a humorist, storyteller, singer and songwriter, she has taken home an armload
of awards and recognitions. Kim currently has 8 award winning audio collections, the latest being, Dead Bird Singing.
“It’s all about the people, Kim says, I love people. People are a walking, talking story…I am no different; I just get to share mine from stage. When I am on stage, I am at my most, I feel whole. I make no apology for that, it’s how I was created. When I get a good laugh from the audience I know we are getting somewhere and that somewhere is the meaty part of the story I am telling. I tell stories not only to provide a release valve through humor and comedy, but to deposit a piece of myself, my story into another person and hopefully…it makes a difference. Actually, that is what we are all called to do.”
The Oregonian stated, ‘Kim studs her storytelling performances with bits of musical Americana
that match the sweet and gentle tones of her narrative”.
Her material is played regularly on NPR affiliate stations and on SiriusXM Radio. Kim travels the continent full time performing at theaters and at festivals. She has made numerous television appearances, hosted a successful morning show and has keynoted for some of Forbes most recognized companies and high profile national non-profits.
Bil Lepp – National Storyteller
Bil’s humorous, family friendly tall-tales and stories have earned the appreciation of listeners of all ages and from all walks of life. Though a five time champion of the WV Liars’s Contest, Lepp’s stories often contain morsels of truth which present universal themes in clever and witty ways. Audiences all across the country, from grade schools to corporate execs to the Comedy Central’s Hudson stage, have been delighted by Bil’s mirthful tales and delightful insights into everyday life. Bil’s books and audio collections have won awards including the PEN Steven Kroll Award for Children’s Book Writing, Parents’ Choice Gold awards, and awards from the National Parenting Publications Assoc., and the Public Library Assoc.
Sam Payne – National Storyteller
Sam’s fill-the-room stage presence, craftsmanship, and his soaring tenor voice have established him as a favorite with audiences and critics alike. Payne has brought his stories and songs to halls in Canada, Bulgaria, Tokyo, and from coast to coast in the United States, including the Will Rogers Auditorium in Dallas, Texas and the Kennedy Center in the nation’s capitol. A regular performer at the Weber Storytelling Festival, he’s been featured at other festivals large and small, including the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival and on the Exchange Place stage at the National Storytelling Festival. He’s shared stages with rock legends Foreigner and Toto, and with pop superstars Air Supply and Marie Osmond. Sam has authored publications for children, with a regular readership of more than a million elementary school students. He co-directed the “Soundcheck Series,” an artist development program for independent songwriters, and currently hosts “The Apple Seed: Tellers and Stories,” a national radio show on the art of storytelling, broadcasting daily on BYU Radio.
Clive J. Romney – Regional Storyteller
Clive Romney, recording producer, composer, songwriter, cowboy poet, and storyteller, serves as Executive Director of Utah Pioneer Heritage Arts (www.upharts.org), and on the Utah Arts Council (heritage.utah.gov/arts-and-museums/arts-museums-boards) board representing the folk arts.
Clive plays guitar, bass, mandolin, banjo, accordion, percussion, dan tranh, charango, bodhran, and other ethnic instruments. But his passion for pioneer stories has hijacked his life and sent him (willingly) down Story Road Utah. He now travels the state helping find Utah’s untold stories, creating engaging tellings of them, and helping families, storytellers and communities do likewise.
He began telling fanciful stories to his children more than thirty years ago, involving them by name as the protagonists in the stories. But when his interest in ancestral stories blossomed a few years ago, he began searching for ways to involve his grandchildren (24) in those stories. This workshop (Family Storytelling For Moms & Dads) grew directly out of that experience.
Clive has recently told at the Timpanogos Storytelling Festival, the Cache Valley Storytelling Festival, the Draper Heritage Festival, the Old Capitol Arts & Living History Festival, the Scandinavian Heritage Festival, and the Panguitch Lake Fall Festival, and was a featured teller at the Weber State University Storytelling Festival in February of 2017.
Clive was honored by the Sons of Utah Pioneers in 2012 as a Modern Pioneer, and by the Days of 47 Committee in 2016 as a Pioneer of Progress for his work with pioneer and ancestral storytelling.