They say patience is a virtue, and in the case of Cornmeal, their patience has paid off and then some. After fiddler Allie Kral announced she was leaving the band in May of 2013 (she has played with Yonder Mountain String Band on occasion since Jeff Austin’s abrupt departure), the group played on and has been searching for the right addition. They have finally found that in accomplished fiddler Phillip Roach, who has played with The Giving Tree Band since 2009, has a degree in classical violin performance, performed with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestras, and has been featured on recordings as a violinist, guitarist, and mandolinist for artists like Lupe Fiasco and Company of Thieves.

This year marks the group’s 15-year anniversary, and back with a full lineup, Cornmeal has promised a forthcoming new album and national tour dates.

A statement from Cornmeal (via the band’s Facebook page):

“After a patient and long 2-year search we are thrilled to officially welcome fiddler Phillip Roach into the Cornmeal family. Phil has been a long time friend of the band and as his tenure with The Giving Tree Band came to a close in early 2014, it only made sense to bring him aboard for some sit ins and collaborations with Cornmeal over this past year. He is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist with a diverse musical palate bringing passion and unrivaled energy to the stage.”

Roach on joining Cornmeal:

“Through my time with The Giving Tree Band, I had the pleasure of opening for Cornmeal on many shows, and took every opportunity to watch in awe as they performed their sets. When the opportunity arose to perform alongside these musicians, I was not only inspired to elevate my playing to their level, but was inspired at the transition from being a fan to being a member. I have such admiration and love for the body of work as well as the community of fans that Cornmeal has cultivated, and I am humbly motivated to honor both entities with my genuine love for this band. I always wanted to be in a band like this, and though my time here is still new, it feels like home. “