By Mike O’Cull, independent music journalist.

Fox Crossing Stringband is a four-member, six instrument, and all-female bluegrass group from Chicago that’s made quite a splash around the Midwest region since forming in the Fall of 2016. The group plays traditional material, original songs, and grassed up covers of popular artists ranging from Dolly Parton to Rod Stewart to The Rolling Stones. Fox Crossing has been winning new friends and fans at every show with this approach and why not? Great songs, quick picking, and sweet-as-soda-pop vocal harmonies combined with an entertaining stage vibe and energy are always a winning combination.

The four musicians in Fox Crossing Stringband are Allison Branch on guitar and vocals, Cassie Lynn Brooks on dobro, banjo, and vocals, Beth Earl on bass and vocals, and Despina Pafralides on fiddle, mandolin, and vocals. Together, they have the kind of organic musical chemistry that is impossible to manufacture. No music has been released yet but a debut record is expected by the end of 2018.

The first gig was at the Winter Roots Festival in February of 2017. It was a big hit and led to appearances at other impressive shows including the Frankfort Bluegrass Festival, Summer Stomp, Shoe Fest, the East Troy Bluegrass Festival, and the CU Folk Festival. The band has also performed at A-List Chicagoland clubs like Schuba’s, Martyrs’, and Fitzgerald’s. Already in 2018, the group is booked at the John Hartford Memorial Festival, the Ladies of Bluegrass Festival, and a whole lot more. These four will be bringing the high and lonesome wherever they go, along with a driving groove and the kind of songs careers are built upon.

For Despina Pafralides, Fox Crossing is a dream goal come true. “Wanting to form an all-female bluegrass band was one of the reasons I started playing fiddle about 7 years ago,” she says. “Im lucky to know and be able to perform with such talented musicians. I couldn’t be happier that it’s all coming together in Fox Crossing Stringband. I’m really looking forward to what the future of this band will be.”

Indeed, the future looks pretty promising for this bunch. With an ever-filling calendar of gigs and a debut release on the horizon, Fox Crossing Stringband is in an excellent position to level up and develop a larger audience. This is still an emerging band but one that punches above its weight, and that bodes well for the next couple of years. The reception these women have already received is also a good sign. Time will tell, as it always does, but there are a lot of people hoping to see Fox Crossing go national. Fans of progressive and compelling acoustic music will want to seek Fox Crossing Stringband out this summer on the festival circuit. Consider this your official invitation to the ground floor of something great.

Visit the official Fox Crossing Stringband website at

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