The Last Whole Earth Revival


Brett Ratliff is a multi-instrumentalist and lifelong apprentice of the Kentucky repertoire who loves to share the stories of his native Appalachian home. 

Born and raised in Van Lear, KY, the historic coal camp that gave birth to Loretta Lynn, Ratliff has made a name for himself as a solo artist and with groups such as Clack Mountain String Band; Dirk Powell Band; and Rich & the Po’ Folk with folk legend Rich Kirby. Ratliff has taught traditional Kentucky repertoire far and wide, including The Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Swannanoa Gathering, Sore Fingers Week, Augusta Heritage’s Early County Music Week and Old-Time Week, Cowan Creek Mountain Music School, and elsewhere. 

Also a community organizer, Ratliff is an activist for the connection between the arts, foodways, and social justice. Ratliff has worked toward the wellness of his region with such organizations as Appalshop and Hindman Settlement School, and he has helped found festivals such as the Morehead Old-Time Music Festival and the Lexington Old-Time Gathering. His first solo release was the 2008 June Appal recording Cold Icy Mountain. Gone Boy, his long awaited second solo project, released in November 2017.  

Betse & Clarke’s music is familiar... and totally different; a fiddle and banjo duo with a sense of adventure. This duo from the heartland (Kansas City, Missouri) has its roots in Ozark old time music, honoring traditional songs and tunes that resonate with human experience.

For each concert setting, Betse & Clarke take an audience on a musical field trip. 

Betse Ellis plays powerful and beautiful old time fiddle tunes, sings traditional Ozark songs, and shares her own songs with themes relating to human experience. Expect her to tell some stories along the way, featuring personal moments with her fiddle mentor Violet Hensley. Long known for her energetic style in her former band The Wilders, Betse’s earned a level of maturity while maintaining her contagious enthusiasm.

Clarke Wyatt is an engaging finger-style banjo player, drawing inspiration from great traditional and inventive banjoists of earlier decades such as Mike Seeger and John Hartford. His melodies match the fiddle, and also build rhythmic interest to embrace the music’s character. He also plays finger-style guitar, when it suits the musical style and texture.

Together since 2014, this musical couple has traveled across the United States and Ireland, from the Portland Old Time Music Gathering to Grand Targhee Bluegrass Festival, Walnut Valley Music Festival, John Hartford Memorial Festival, Guinness International Bluegrass Festival (Co. Waterford, Ireland), Bluegrass Music Festival (Ulster American Folk Park, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland)  and Folk Alliance International Conference (as official selected showcase artists, and music camp instructors). They are dedicated instructors as well as performers and enjoy teaching at camps and workshops as well as private instruction.