Lulu’s Fate is a trio based in the Washington, DC area, performing a variety of traditional American music as well as original and “new traditional” songs and tunes. The group is comprised of Tom Espinola (guitar, mandolin & vocals), Kristen Jones (cello & vocals) and Kara Bolling (vocals). Lulu’s Fate combines virtuosic instrumentals with tight three-part harmonies to create new interpretations of traditional Appalachian music. They also mix in a variety of country blues, Dixieland, sea chanteys, southern string band tunes, and covers ranging from Hank Williams to Tom Waits. In addition to several original songs and instrumental tunes by Tom Espinola, Lulu’s Fate also features songs by other contemporary “new traditional” performers.
Why “Lulu?” Strong-willed, self-reliant, independent and self-assured, Lulu shows up in the lyrics of many southern traditional songs. Her strength is drawn from the strength of her culture. Lulu's Fate wishes to honor her and to escort her into the 21st century - for her fate, in part, lies in the present.
Lulu’s Fate has performed at the Kennedy Center's Millennium Stage, Washington Folk Festival, Takoma Park Folk Festival, Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival, Institute of Musical Traditions and numerous coffeehouses and house concerts throughout Maryland, DC and Virginia. They were a showcase artist at the 2014 Southeast/Northeast Regional Folk Alliance conference. The group released its debut EP, “The Blackest Crow,” in September 2014, which was voted Best Debut Recording by the Washington Area Music Association. Lulu's Fate was also nominated for Wammie awards in the categories of Best Traditional Folk Group, New Artist of the Year, and Best Traditional Folk Recording. They released their second CD, "The Cowpalace Sessions," in April 2016.
Tom Espinola - Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Kristen Jones - Cello, Electric Cello, Vocals
Kara Bolling- Vocals
Lulu's Fate began in 2001 as a larger ensemble with core members Tom Espinola and Steve Smith. This group brought their unique blend of southern string band songs, original songs/instrumentals and Trinidadian calypsos to venues such as Institute of Musical Traditions, the Chamizal Festival in El Paso, TX, the Black Box Theater in Las Cruces, NM and the Takoma Park Folk Festival. The group relaunched in 2013 as a trio with Tom Espinola, Kristen Jones and Kara Bolling, keeping its focus on traditional music with guitar, mandolin, cello and three-part harmonies. Original instrumental tunes and songs are also brought into the mix. The current trio has performed at the Washington Folk Festival, Takoma Park Folk Festival, Kingman Island Bluegrass & Folk Festival and Institute of Musical Traditions, as well as at numerous coffeehouses and house concerts around DC, Maryland and Virginia.
|ca. 2003: Tom, Kristen, James, Joellen, Steve, Ira. Photo by Sterling Trantham
Joellen Perry - vocals
James McLaughlin - percussion
Ann Marie Calhoun - fiddle