Stillhouse Junkies Renee Anna Cornue photo

I really enjoy discovering new artists, well, new to me, that is. Such is the case with a trio of talented musicians that goes by the name Stillhouse Junkies, which is made up of Fred Kosak (on mandolin, guitar and lead/harmony vocals), Cody Tinnin (on upright bass and lead/harmony vocals), and Alissa Wolf (on violin and lead/harmony vocals). Based in Durango, Colorado, the threesome is on the road supporting their newest release, “Small Towns,” and will be making a stop at One Longfellow Square in Portland on April 19. To that end I recently chatted with Wolf via phone to her home in Durango.

Q: Let me begin by asking if you have played in Maine before.
Wolf: We did back in 2019. I can’t remember where we played, but I’ll look it up as we’re talking.

Q: And right between 2019 and now there were three years of total chaos.
Wolf: Exactly, yes, and I attribute my memory loss to this giant break we had to take. Oh, here it is: it was in September and we played in Portland, Maine, at Blue, so we’ve only had one gig in Maine and that was in Portland at Blue, and that was 2019 (chuckle).

Q: Well, you guys are coming back to Portland to a wonderful venue, One Longfellow Square. It’s a great listening room and very intimate, I think it’ll really suit what you do very well.
Wolf: Excellent, we do love listening rooms. They are refreshing shows; we can really engage with the audience. Yeah, that’s great!

Q: I’ve been listening extensively to “Small Towns” and there are several things that I enjoy about what you do. One is your vocal harmonies and you guys are spot-on in that category.
Wolf: (light laugh) Thank you.

Q: And the other thing I like is the fact that, even though it’s just the three of you playing on this album — that is correct, right?
Wolf: Yes, we do have one guest on one song, but that’s it.


Q: Well, that you can make that dense, lush sound with just three people really knocked me over. It was a joyful listen, by no small means.
Wolf: Oh, thank you. Yeah, in our experience as a band, one of the biggest compliments we could get is where folks come up to us after a show and say, “We were walking up and couldn’t believe there were only three of you!” We work really hard at making the big sound, because we really do love being a trio, but it comes with its challenges, for sure (laughter).

Q: And it’s all acoustic, too, right?
Wolf: Yes, yes.

Q: That’s even better. Like I said, One Longfellow is tailor-made for you guys. I think you’ll enjoy it tremendously.
Wolf: Excellent.

Q: Now when did this album come out?
Wolf: So that album, “Small Towns,” was released in September of 2022. We actually recorded it at the very beginning of 2022 in early February.

Q: So, with that being not even a year old I guess asking if you’re working on something new is probably moot.
Wolf: Well, we are working on the next album. We’re on an every-other-year cycle with our label, Dark Shadow Recordings out of Nashville, so we are working on new music. However, we won’t release our next album until 2024.

Q: That makes a lot of sense, actually.
Wolf: Yeah, and we enjoy it because it gives us time to not only work up the music but we get to tour the music for almost a year, which allows us to dig deep and really let it develop and change.


Q: Does the music change much over time and touring?
Wolf: We’ve found that even once we have a tune fully worked up, if we play it for a month of touring it shifts and changes.

Q: And speaking of changes, there was a familiar treat on “Small Towns,” and that was your Fleetwood Mac cover. Do you do many covers, because you made “Never Going Back Again” your own, there was no question about that.
Wolf: You know, that’s the only cover we’ve ever recorded. We don’t play many covers. We’re pretty much an all-original band, but when we do work up a cover, we try to pick something that hasn’t been covered a lot, kind of a deep cut, and we put a lot of effort into making it sound like us; we call it ‘junkifying.’

Q: Was it hard making that tune your own?
Wolf: Well, it’s really funny because we thought it would be pretty simple to work up, but it ended up being a lot harder than we thought. But once we came up with the bass line we wanted to use, it came together. We’re really proud of it, but it definitely was a challenge.

Q: How long has the band been together?
Wolf: In this configuration, the three of us have been together since 2018.

Q: That’s a real surprise because it sounds like you’ve been playing together since infancy. Everything’s so tight and clean.
Wolf: (Laughter) Well, thank you! You know, there are two things that go into that: one is that we have really incredible music chemistry and when we became a trio back in 2018, we made a commitment to rehearse every day, and we did that right up to the pandemic. And that was when the harmonies started to come together, too, because Cody and I never really sang that much before this band. So for us it was a big learning curve, and we had to put a lot of time into it. So, yeah, it’s band chemistry and a lot of hours (chuckle).

Q: Well, your commitment to the music is palpable. You can hear it with every note the Stillhouse Junkies sing and play, for sure. So, Alissa is there anything you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article?
Wolf: Just that this is our full-time job. It’s our full-time passion. We spend most of the year on the road, and there’s nothing that brings us more joy than sharing our music with people, especially in a listening room setting like this. And we get really excited because all of the hard work and nuance that we put into our music and our craft can be heard and appreciated. We can’t wait to get back to Maine and to Portland. We’re really excited to becoming there!

Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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