About the Band
Into The Fog is a genre-jumping string band located in Raleigh, North Carolina. With its members having various backgrounds ranging from bluegrass, country, rock, to funk, Into The Fog creates a musical melting pot of sounds in an acoustic/newgrass setting. The band is made up of Brian Stephenson on Vocals and Guitar, Winston Mitchell on Vocals, Mandolin and Dobro, Derek Lane on Vocals and Bass, and Michael Malek on Banjo. The original iteration of the band was formed in Wilmington, NC late in 2017 around an opportunity to play in the band competition for the prestigious Telluride Bluegrass Festival. That cross country trip was recorded by friend of the band and videographer Mason Godwin in his documentary Band #7:The Ride to Telluride.
After the Telluride trip, the band’s lineup restructured around the trio of Stephenson, Mitchell, and Lane. In November 2018 the band went to a cabin outside of Waynesville, NC and spent a week recording their debut album Wishin’ It Would Rain, which was released on February 22, 2019.
“The trio crafts a dynamic mix of songs and sounds, from the gypsy feel of “Caawphonation” to the running-from-Johnny-Law feel of instrumental “Cedar Island Rendezvous.”- Brian Tucker(Star News)
The trio went on to play over 175 shows in 2019 making a name for themselves by frequenting breweries and venues throughout North Carolina and Virginia. By August they were looking to round out their sound as they were transitioning to higher profile gigs, so they added Michael Malek as a full time banjo player. Since the addition of Malek, they have gained momentum through festival performances like Shakori Hills, Groove in the Garden, and The Ol’ Front Porch Music Festival, along with opening slots for acts like Jon Stickley Trio and Sam Bush Band. With their 14 track sophomore album Runnin’ Blind and Chasin’ Time due out in April of 2021 they are looking to make a statement about their sound and gear up for the next chapter of their musical journey.
“While purists might label label their sound as Newgrass, those in attendance respond to the gospel they are preaching and seem perfectly content with the foggy genre, since the sound is so clear”- Donna Davis(The Daily Reflector)
Brian grew up in Wake Forest, North Carolina and moved to Wilmington in 2011 to study at UNCW. His first exposure to playing music was going to the Campbell Folk School and other folk music camps across North Carolina with his grandparents playing the dulcimer. At the age of ten he picked up the guitar, and started writing songs a few years after that. His style is that of a folk/country singer-songwriter and much of his musical influences come from exposure at a young age to outlaw country and the rock of the 60’s and 70’s by his father Mark. By the time he got to UNCW, he had picked up playing the banjo and mandolin. Then exposure to newgrass and jam bands developed his style further. He’s looking forward to taking the next step in his musical career and exploring the country.
Winston started playing guitar at 14, learning from his father who played country, folk, and rock ‘n’ roll music. He was a skilled guitarist, singer, songwriter, and pedal steel player, as well as Winston’s heaviest influence musically. Playing mostly electric guitar until his mid-20s, Winston then found a love for bluegrass music and the raw nature of acoustic instruments. He began teaching himself to play mandolin and dobro simultaneously developing a unique guitar-rooted style to both. His playing is somewhere between washed in blues and making friends with the unloved notes, all while treating the song with the utmost respect.
Derek Lane is from Wilmington, NC. A multi-instrumentalist himself playing drums, bass, and guitar with a background in funk he brings an interesting take on bluegrass. He has been playing music around Wilmington for years as a solo artist and with other Wilmington bands such as Medicated Sunfish, Gnarly Feat, and Animal Behaviour.
A native of WI, Michael has been playing bluegrass for over a decade. In his early 20’s, he was inspired to pick up the banjo for its great bluegrass Appalachian melodies. He was initially drawn to the sound after listening to contemporary acoustic jam bands, which has evolved into appreciating the traditional sounds and harmonies of bluegrass. Over the last 5 years, Michael has played banjo in the Triangle based band, Counter Clockwise String Band, while participating in festivals across NC. Michael met the band members of Into The Fog in 2018 while in Wilmington, NC and is honored to have this opportunity to join them on the stage.