About Blue Ribbon Tea Company:
Since hitting the Spokane music scene in 2003, the Blue Ribbon Tea Company (BRTC) has earned the respect of followers and fellow musicians throughout the Inland Northwest thanks to the powerful lyrics and unique vocals of primary singer/songwriter Bill Kostelec. A factory worker from Illinois, turned PhD, Bill is a prolific songwriter and a crafter of words and memorable melodies. In the vein of John Prine and Utah Phillips, Bill is a master storyteller, a distiller of worlds, public or private, weaving emotion, mood, the passage of time, and all in the space of a song. According to Dan Maher of Northwest Public Radio?s Inland Folk, Bill is ?a gentleman that writes with integrity.?
While Bill?s songwriting is the primary focus of BRTC, he is also a virtual walking, or shall I say singing, library of American roots music, having grown up listening to his father sing old cowboy and railroad songs. The down to earth quality of Bill?s voice and straight forward musical presentation of BRTC brought rousing applause from a sold out crowd of nearly 700 at a concert featuring the songs of Woody Guthrie sponsored by KPBX, Spokane Public Radio, in 2006 at the Met Theater in Spokane. Current performances include mostly original songs, mixed with old-time folk and blues - and sprinkled with the unexpected. You may be treated to a beautifully haunting instrumental fitting of a movie soundtrack or a spoken word poem or story.
Bill and his wife Kathy make up the core of BRTC and also perform as a duo. Kathy?s distinctive harmonies and background vocals give their music an emotional edge that ?will make you shiver? said Carlos Alden, host of Spokane Public Radio?s Nacho Celtic Hour. Kathy also plays mandolin, fiddle and guitar. Multi-talented fellow band members Brad Keeler and Jenny Edgren add a variety of instruments from bass, Dobro, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and autoharp, as well as vocal harmonies. Brad is a well known regional blues and old time artist and often performs solo or accompanies other groups. Jenny also performs solo with a combination of traditional folk and children?s songs. She is new to the band, but her beautifully pure vocals and many instruments including a Bolivian charango make her a welcome addition.
The band is in the process of finalizing its fourth CD, Storyteller 2, And He Descended Into Hell, with an expected release date of April 2007. Three more projects are planned for the current year including an album of traditional songs and originals with an old time feel, an album of children?s songs, and an album of Kathy?s originals. Kathy is also a songwriter and future performances will include the added interest of songs from a strong female voice. All BRTC music is produced within the stone wall basement of the Kostelec?s 100 year old home ? Cherry Street Studios. With the wealth of material written by Bill and Kathy, but yet to be recorded, you can be sure that The Blue Ribbon Tea Company won?t be folding anytime soon.