All Strings Attached – Shemanski Family Plays ‘House Blend’

All Strings Attached - The Shemanski Family Bluegrass Band

Bluegrass Quintet from Leona Valley Makes TV Debut with High-Lonesome Classics

By Stephen K. Peeples

All Strings Attached - The Shemanski Family Bluegrass BandAll Strings Attached, the all-acoustic vocal-instrumental quintet featuring members of the Shemanski family from Leona Valley, California, makes its TV debut with a set of high-lonesome bluegrass classics on SCVTV’s “House Blend” show, hosted by Santa Clarita journalist Stephen K. Peeples and premiering Saturday, June 21, at 10 p.m. (PT).

Fronted by Virginia Shemanski on vocals and acoustic guitar, All Strings Attached also features four of her children — daughters Paige (age 22) playing fiddle-violin and Bethany (20) on banjo, guitar, penny whistle and much else, and sons Ethan (18) playing upright bass and Colin (15) picking mandolin.

All five Shemanskis sing as well, with a smooth and well-arranged vocal blend that benefits from sharing the same gene pool, and a leader-mom who’s an experienced, media-savvy performer.

(Virginia Semanski’s husband Dave, who occasionally roadies band gear for the group and chimes in on vocals, had other commitments and couldn’t make this “House Blend” gig.)

On “House Blend,” All Strings Attached turn the SCVTV Media Center set into the family’s front porch at home. They have fun singing and playing the traditional bluegrass classics “I’ll Fly Away,” “Down to the River” (the ladies, a cappella), “Whisky Before Breakfast” and “This World is Not My Home.”

Between songs, the Shemanskis talk with Peeples about making family music instead of family mayhem.All Strings Attached - The Shemanski Family Bluegrass Band

We find out how each member got started with their chosen instrument(s); how leaving the drums and piano at home liberated the group; and their experiences winning accolades at local festivals like the venerable Topanga Banjo & Fiddle Contest.

Not surprisingly, at the 2014 festival in May, the Shemanskis picked up top awards in banjo and singing and scored Top 5 in band, while Colin took second in the advanced mandolin competition, the first year he entered.

The group first played the renowned event in 2011 and earned an honorable mention. The next year, they earned second place in banjo and mandolin, third-place band, and first place in singing.

The Shemanskis also share the stories behind the four songs they perform on “House Blend,” and explain how each fits into the rich bluegrass tradition.

Shades of the Carters, America’s First Family of Country Music

While the tight-knit Shemanski family has always been musical, they’ve played together in this five-member configuration as All Strings Attached only a few years. You’d never know it by the quality and authenticity of their performance; it sounds like they were born to play genuine bluegrass and bluegrass-gospel.

Traditional acoustic American music does run in the Shemanski family. Virginia’s maiden name is Messick; she also plays cowboy and Western music as a member of the Messick Family Singers, local Newhall legends for generations. The Messicks are also regulars at the Santa Clarita Cowboy Festival each spring.

All Strings Attached - The Shemanski Family Bluegrass BandLocally, All Strings Attached has played at Vincenzo’s in Newhall, the Autry Western Heritage Museum in L.A.,at various Southern California venues on the Bluegrass Association of Southern California circuit, and at private parties and churches.

In a remarkable coincidence, Paige Shemanski is getting married earlier the same day, June 21, that All Strings Attached’s “House Blend” appearance premieres.

This edition of “House Blend” may very well wind up part of the wedding reception’s entertainment that night via big-screen TV, according to the bride-to-be.

Find out more about All Strings Attached on the group’ official Facebook page.

About SCVTV’s ‘House Blend’ with Stephen K. Peeples

Time-Warner Channel 20 in Southern California’s Santa Clarita Valley and AT&T U-Verse 99 in L.A.-Orange counties telecast the “House Blend” series, a presentation of SCVTV, community television for the SCV. SCVTV’s “House Blend” also streams live at the same time at

Award-winning Santa Clarita journalist Stephen K. Peeples books, researches, writes and hosts “House Blend,” one of SCVTV’s most-watched series.

SCVTV's 'House Blend' with Stephen K. Peeples logoPeeples and SCVTV studio director Megan Perez co-produce “House Blend” at the SCVTV Media Center in Newhall, Calif. Perez also directs the show and the production staff, usually assisted by renowned TV sound engineer Mike Mazzetti. SCVTV President/CEO Leon Worden is “House Blend” executive producer.

The “House Blend” series premiered on SCVTV in September 2010. The shows air and stream Saturday nights at 10 (PT) with an encore telecast/stream Thursday nights at 10.

SCVTV’s “House Blend” with Stephen K. Peeples is now wrapping up its fourth season, with All Strings Considered starring in the final show.

All “House Blend” shows produced to date – more than 40 original editions with music and interviews and a dozen all-music best-of compilations – are archived and viewable on demand.

A series highlight was the May 2011 show featuring renowned folk-country-bluegrass duo Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, one of the top finalists for a WAVE award from the Western Alliance for Community Media. Read more here.

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Stephen K. Peeples on the air at KHTS AM 1220 Santa Clarita, CaliforniaSanta Clarita journalist Stephen K. Peeples is a features writer and photographer for KHTS Radio News ( and, the online news and entertainment division of SCVTV, community television for Southern California’s Santa Clarita Valley. He also independently provides Web editorial, social media and SEO writing/editing services for select clients, and writes the occasional post for his own website.

On TV, Peeples books, writes, hosts and co-produces the popular “House Blend” music and interview show on SCVTV ( In addition, he delivers the KHTS/SCVTV “SCV Entertainment Beat” report Thursday night/Friday morning during SCVTV’s NewsBreak program (the Web version is posted at

Previously, Peeples was the award-winning Online Editor for the Santa Clarita Valley Signal newspaper (2007-2011); the original award-winning writer/producer of “The Lost Lennon Tapes” radio series for Westwood One (1988-1990); and a 1994 Grammy nominee as co-producer of the “Monterey International Pop Festival” boxed set (MIPF/Rhino, 1992).

To contact him, email skp (at) or visit

Photos: Stephen K. Peeples except certifications courtesy Shemanski Family, and bottom photo of author by Jason Endicott.

Article: All Strings Attached – Shemanski Family Plays ‘House Blend’
Author: Stephen K. Peeples
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All Strings Attached – Shemanski Family Plays ‘House Blend’