Seemingly oblivious to the limitations of what two musicians can create, Still on the Hill has set new boundaries of originality. Kelly Mulhollan and Donna Stjerna use traditional instruments from their Ozark Mountain home (mandolin, banjo, fiddle, guitar, harmonica and scrub board) and other oddities, such as the musical saw, ukelin and tenor uke, to create a kaleidoscope of musical color and texture. The result is a yet-to-be-named hybrid music that simply compels people to stop and listen.
Still on the Hill’s high-energy show seems to emerge from somewhere deep inside their souls. They play music for one reason: it’s a spark, or maybe a raging bonfire, inside each of them that has to come out, something that’s shared just as easily with a large festival audience as it would be with a quiet Ozark forest.
With over 400 songs to her credit, Donna has become an accomplished and much loved songwriter. She especially likes to write songs in the folk tradition of spurring social change through music. Kelly is a powerful instrumentalist. Their new CD, Once a River, released in 2014 is an exciting project about Northwest Arkansas’ Beaver Lake; it’s history and collective stories. This makes their twelth appearance at the Festival.