A dynamic acoustic band bringing old notes to original songwriting and new notes to old. Close harmonies backed by mandolin, fiddle, banjo, guitar, and bass. Wanigan’s name is taken from the annual log drive that used to take place each year down the North Fork of the Clearwater River. The wanigan served as both sleeping quarters and cook shack for the men who worked on the river, risking their lives to free the logs every spring.
Wanigan has become known for our wealth of story songs inspired by our ancestors, the areas they encountered, and the obstacles they overcame. Our repertoire is always growing and features a lot of original works in addition to bluegrass, Gospel, and folk classics. We like to describe our sound as “bluegrass, etc.” due to other stylistic influences that come peeking through every once in awhile (Folk, Celtic, Appalachian, Blues, etc.).
In 2008, Wanigan released Brand New Day, a ten-song debut album featuring a number of original story songs about encountering change. Better in a Different Way, for example, was inspired by Warren’s grandmother and all who endure hard times with grace. The album also features some classic bluegrass and old-time numbers, including Foggy Mountain Breakdown, Arizona Waltz, and Hamilton Country Breakdown.
Wanigan’s second album released in 2013, Firefly, was a landmark project featuring story songs about a number of individuals who set out to chase their dreams. The title track further cemented the band’s eclectic sound with its elements of zydeco, in celebration of the southeastern United States; and the progressive bluegrass sounds of The Fiddle’s Playin’ You and The Ridgerunner. Tight three- and four-part harmonies are featured on many of the tracks, including Who Lived Here, One of the Few (The Wanigan Song), and Love at the Five and Dime.
For all our albums, concert schedule, store, and all the latest information on the band, be sure to bookmark Wanigan.net.
Wanigan has ranged from a four- to a six-piece or more band over the years. The band was started by lead singer and guitarist Warren Akin and mandolin player Tim Gundy in 2006, soon joined by banjoist Dale Vallandigham, bassist Denis Hackwith, and violinist Jason Hackwith in 2007. In 2015, guitarist and mandolinist Mike Haberman moved to accept a new position; and in 2016, longtime banjo player and vocalist Dale Vallandigham retired from the band. Banjo and mandolin player Adam Leavitt (formerly of the band Higher Ground), joined the band in 2017, followed by Warren’s son Drake Akin.
Once a Wanigan artist, always a Wanigan artist. All of our members emeritus are always welcome at our gigs, and you never know who might show up!
GUITAR AND LEAD VOCALS. A solid guitarist and vocalist, Warren is also a fantastic songwriter- in fact, he’s written most of our original works. His songs are lyrical, meaningful, elegantly written, and heartfelt. We’re his biggest fans. Warren hails from the big city of Genesee, ID.
MANDOLIN AND VOCALS. In addition to being a killer mandolin player, Tim is about the humblest guy you’ll ever meet. He just rocks, but you’d never hear it from him! Tim is an amazing musician, husband and father, and a superb track and cross country coach. He is often found running around Clarkston, WA.
BASS, MANDOLIN and VOCALS. Born in a musical family, Denis has been playing bluegrass, folk, and other roots music his entire life. He’s an incredibly solid bass fiddle player who adds the foundation to all of our music. We also like to bring him forward to show off his mandolin style. Denis is retired and playing as much music as he can in the lovely town of Lewiston, ID.
VIOLIN, GUITAR, MANDOLIN, VOCALS, ETC. Jason, Denis’ son, also grew up playing roots music, but branched into all kinds of musical styles throughout his life (everything from opera to alt rock) and has been writing funky, bluesy-folk/acoustic rock music since high school. When he isn’t playing bluegrass, he is writing and teaching music in the little town of Darrington, WA.
BANJO AND VOCALS
Dale’s technique is just superb, providing just the right rolls, fills and solos that color our sound so well. He’s also a killer vocalist (with barbershop quartet experience), a songwriter, and an outstanding yodeler. Dale retired from the band in 2016.
GUITAR, MANDOLIN, AND VOCALS
An excellent guitarist, mandolin player, and songwriter, Mike is a veteran musician with a family full of outstanding musicians. Mike moved to the Bellingham, WA area in 2015.