Old Time Week Staff - July 17-23, 2016
PLEASE NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS FOR THE 2016 WORKSHOPS.
INFORMATION FOR THE 2017 WORKSHOPS WILL BE POSTED NEXT MARCH.
Erynn Marshall | www.dittyville.com
Erynn Marshall has carved out a niche for herself as an old-time fiddler in North America and abroad. She has played for thirty-five years, performed internationally, and learned old-time music from visiting 80-95 year-old southern fiddlers and singers. Erynn authored the book, Music in the Air Somewhere (on West Virginia fiddle and song traditions), filmed an instructional DVD and recorded five CDs, including her recent duet CD Sweet Memories Never Leave with husband Carl Jones. She has won many awards including a prestigious first place in fiddle at The Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia and was the first woman and person from outside the US to do so. A Canadian native, Erynn enjoys living in Galax, Virginia when not traveling all over with her fiddle.
Phil Jamison | www.philjamison.com
Founding coordinator of Old-Time Music & Dance Week, Phil is nationally-known as a dance caller, musician, and flatfoot dancer. Since the early 1970s he has been calling dances and performing and teaching at music festivals and dance events throughout the U.S. and overseas, including more than thirty years as a member of the Green Grass Cloggers. His flatfoot dancing was featured in the film, Songcatcher, for which he also served as Traditional Dance consultant. From 1982 through 2004, he toured and played guitar with Ralph Blizard and the New Southern Ramblers, and he also plays fiddle and banjo. A longtime proponent of traditional Southern square dancing, in 2004, he co-founded Dare To Be Square!, a weekend workshop for square dance callers. Phil has done extensive research in the area of Appalachian dance, and his book, Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance, was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2015. Phil teaches mathematics and Appalachian music at Warren Wilson College, and in 2008, he became the twelfth recipient of the Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award for lifetime achievement.
Bruce Molsky | www.brucemolsky.com
One of the most well-respected old-time fiddlers of his generation, Bruce Molsky comes at southern roots and blues on fiddle, banjo, guitar, and song with great depth of spirit. Known for his collaborations with musicians of other cultures, his wide-angled approach to traditional folk music has influenced a generation of players and listeners. Bruce is a member of Andy Irvine & Dónal Lunny’s acclaimed Mozaik, he tours frequently with Aly Bain & Ale Möller and with his new trio Molsky’s Mountain Drifters (with Allison de Groot and Stash Wyslouch). Bruce was featured on British rock legend Mark Knopfler’s most recent CD Tracker, and on Altan’s The Widening Gyre. He is also a Visiting Scholar at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and a frequent instructor at colleges and camps in the US and Europe. Bruce’s solo concerts and many CDs have become staples for fans of American and world music everywhere.
Alice Gerrard | www.alicegerrard.com
Singer/songwriter/musician Alice Gerrard has performed on more than twenty recordings. She has produced or written liner notes for a dozen more, and she has co-produced and appeared in two documentary films about Appalachian music. Her numerous honors include a Virginia Arts Commission Award, the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Tommy Jarrell Award, and an Indie Award. In 1987, Alice founded the Old-Time Herald magazine. Known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and 70s, this duo produced four classic LPs and was a major influence and inspiration for scores of young women singers. Her solo CDs, Calling Me Home and Pieces of My Heart received critical acclaim. In 2010, Alice was awarded the Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award for lifetime achievement. Her 2015 album, Follow the Music, was nominated for a Grammy.
Earl White | www.fiddlersjam.com
For forty years, Earl White has been a prominent figure in the old-time music and dance community. A founding member of the Green Grass Cloggers in 1971, he is the creator of ‘The Earl,’ a popular syncopated clogging step that is now known by dancers across the country. During his years with the Green Grass Cloggers, he had the opportunity to perform with many of the greats of the old-time fiddling world, including Tommy Jarrell, the Highwoods Stringband, the Plank Road Stringband, and the Red Clay Ramblers. Earl began learning the fiddle in 1974, and he is one of the few Black Americans playing and reviving the music that was once an important part of life in rural black communities and on the plantations in the South. Earl is widely known for his extensive repertoire of unusual tunes and his driving, energetic, heartfelt style. He currently performs with his band, “The Earl White String Band.” www.fiddlersjam.com
Brad Leftwich | www.bradleftwich.net
Brad Leftwich’s music is a direct link to the traditions of the southern Appalachian and Ozark regions. He grew up hearing the old-time music of his father, grandfather, and great-uncle, and learned first-hand from many of the last great traditional musicians from the turn of the 20th century. A noted fiddler, banjo player, and singer, Brad has been performing since the early 1970s, both solo and in bands including Plank Road, Leftwich & Higginbotham, the Humdingers, Tom, Brad and Alice, and the Hogwire Stringband. Recordings of his music appear on the County, Copper Creek, and Rounder labels, and he has published instructional materials with Homespun Tapes and Mel Bay Publications — in fact, he counts the late country music star Buck Owens among the enthusiastic students of his instructional videos. Brad has won the fiddle contest at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival in Clifftop, West Virginia, and his fiddling has been acclaimed by critics in magazines from Billboard to Bluegrass Unlimited. He tours internationally, and has performed at venues from the White House to the Philadelphia Folk Festival.
John Herrmann | www.myspace.com/newsouthernramblers
John has been traveling the world playing old-time music for over forty years. He plays fiddle with the New Southern Ramblers, but he has performed with many bands including the Henrie Brothers (1st place Galax, 1976), Critton Hollow, the Wandering Ramblers, One-Eyed Dog and the Rockinghams. Equally adept on banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass, he is known as the “Father of Old-Time Music” in Japan(!), and the originator of the ‘slow jam.’ John has been on staff at numerous music camps from coast to coast. He lives in Madison Co., NC.
Paul Brown | www.paulbrown.us.com
Paul Brown has been hooked on traditional southern music since early childhood, when he started picking up songs his mother had learned as a kid in piedmont Virginia. Paul took up banjo at age ten, and fiddle a bit later. His playing bears influences of the North Carolina and Virginia masters he sought out as a young adult, and he loves to share what he learned from these memorable players. He also loves dancing and playing fiddle and banjo for square dances. Paul has appeared at camps and festivals around the U.S. since the early 1970s. He’s recorded and produced highly-regarded traditional music albums, and won numerous banjo and fiddle contests.
Sheila Kay Adams | www.sheilakayadams.com
Ballad singer, banjo player, writer and storyteller, Sheila comes from a small mountain community in Madison County, North Carolina. For seven generations, her family has maintained the tradition of passing down the English, Scottish and Irish ballads that came over with her ancestors in the late 1700s. She learned the ballads from her relatives, primarily from her great-aunt Dellie Chandler Norton. A perennial favorite at Asheville’s Mountain Dance and Folk Festival, Sheila has performed and taught at many major festivals and workshops throughout the country, the UK, and in 2011, performed at the Celtic Colors International Festival in Nova Scotia. In 2013, she was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship – the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. She has been a featured performer in the Southern Arts Federation’s Sisters of the South tour, the National Folk Festival, the North Carolina Folklife Festival, the Kent State Folk Festival, the San Diego Folk Heritage Festival, and the Folkmasters series on National Public Radio. She served as the ballad-singing coach for the feature film, Songcatcher, and her novel, My Old True Love, published in 2004 by Algonquin Books was a finalist for the Southeastern Booksellers Association’s Book of the Year Award.
Ben Nelson grew up in a family of old-time musicians in southwestern Virginia, tagging along to fiddlers conventions across the southern Appalachians throughout his childhood. After he began playing old-time music as a teenager, Ben was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to spend a year immersed in traditional music communities in Ireland and West Africa, studying the historic heritage of the fiddle-banjo duet. A passionate educator living in Asheville, NC, Ben works as an elementary school science instructor and traditional music teacher. He gives banjo and fiddle lessons to young people through the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program and to students at Warren Wilson College, and he has also taught at the Augusta Heritage Center and the John C. Campbell Folk School. When he’s not playing old-time music, Ben enjoys flatfooting and calling square dances.
For over fifty years, Tom has devoted much of his life to playing traditional music and is widely recognized as one of the master musicians of his generation. Equally at ease on banjo, fiddle, guitar, and mandolin, he has performed and recorded old-time music with older generation musicians such as Earl Collins, Ed Lowe, Bob Rodgers and Mel Durham, as well as such contemporaries as Blanton Owen, Tom Carter and Dirk Powell. Tom has also played and recorded his share of both bluegrass and cajun music with artists such as Byron Berline, John Hickman, Alan Munde, Joe Simien, and Wilfred Latour. An experienced teacher, Tom has taught numerous classes at music camps and workshops throughout the country and abroad. These days Tom performs primarily with Loafers’ Glory, an old-time and bluegrass band featuring his son Patrick, Herb Pedersen and Bill Bryson; and with the Brainstormers, along with son Patrick and harmonica virtuoso, Mark Graham.
John Lilly | www.johnlillymusic.com
John has been playing and singing old-time and early country music for more than 40 years. A former member of Ralph Blizard’s New Southern Ramblers and the Green Grass Cloggers, John is a respected solo performer, known for his fine guitar and mandolin playing, as well as his singing, yodeling, and songwriting. John lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he is the former editor of Goldenseal, West Virginia’s state folklife magazine. According to one reviewer, “If Hank Williams had a sunny disposition, he’d be John Lilly.”
John Hollandsworth | www.blueridgeautoharps.com
A native of Christiansburg in southwest Virginia, John grew up listening to friends and relatives play stringed instruments, and he developed his own autoharp style incorporating both chromatic and diatonic techniques. John has performed and led workshops at the Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering, the Willamette Valley Autoharp Gathering, Sore Fingers Summer School, Augusta, the John C. Campbell Folk School, and elsewhere. He has served as editor of the “Interaction Lesson” feature in Autoharp Quarterly magazine, and in 1991, he became the first champion of the prestigious Mountain Laurel Autoharp Gathering Competition. He has been named the “Best All-Around Performer” of the Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention three times, the only autoharp player ever to win this recognition. In 2010, John was inducted into the Autoharp Hall of Fame.
Carl Jones | www.dittyville.com
Carl Jones is an American songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Born in Macon, Georgia, Carl presently lives in Galax, Virginia. He is widely respected for his instrumental talents and original songs about the joys and tribulations of day-to-day life in the South. Carl’s songs have been recorded by The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Kate Campbell, Rickie Simpkins with Tony Rice, and others. His song “Last Time on the Road” appears on the Grammy-award-winning album, Unleashed. In the 1980’s Carl played mandolin with James Bryan, Norman and Nancy Blake as part of the Rising Fawn String Ensemble. Today he performs with his wife, fiddler Erynn Marshall and the Bow Benders. Carl’s recording features a collection of all original songs and tunes entitled Traveling Star.
Ron is a performer and scholar of the music of the Appalachian region. A founding member of the Appalachian Association of Sacred Harp Singers, with whom he performed on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, Ron is also Professor of Music and Director of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music at the University of Kentucky. He is the author of I Wonder As I Wander, a biography of folk icon John Jacob Niles. Ron began fiddling thirty years ago in Rockbridge County, Virginia and has since participated in various workshops and festivals across the region including Hindman Settlement School’s Folk Week, Augusta’s Old-Time and Singing weeks, Berea’s Christmas Dance School, and many times at Swannanoa. He has also performed music across the globe with the Red State Ramblers.
Paul Kovac | www.paulkovac.com
Paul Kovac started picking and singing as a teenager and quickly learned that his musical elders held the knowledge he craved, which put him on a path to meet, learn from, play and perform with as many musical heros as he could. His skills in old-time, bluegrass and fiddle music have landed him on stage with Bill Monroe, Hazel Dickens, Roy Clark, and Hank Thompson. Paul has also backed up fiddlers Chubby Wise, Art Stamper, Kenny Baker and Vassar Clements. Being mostly self-taught, teaching and sharing music has always been important to him. Paul has been on staff at numerous music and dance camps, he’s created a guitar instruction DVD, and coordinated the Bluegrass Week at the Augusta Heritage Center from 1996 to 2007.
Ellie Grace | www.gracefamilymusic.com
Ellie was born into a deep musical tradition and began her life-long love affair with Appalachian clogging at the ripe old age of five. She has spent her life performing professionally as a singer, multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and dancer, first as a young member of her family band and now as an independent artist. She has toured internationally with her sister duo (Leela & Ellie Grace), the Dirk Powell Band, the all-female old-time trio Blue Eyed Girl, and several percussive dance companies. Ellie is an experienced and dynamic teacher, having taught at camps, schools, and festivals across the country for well over twenty years. In 2015, Ellie was the first Appalachian clogger to graduate from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts with an MFA in Dance. As a teaching fellow, she has been busily infecting the undergrads with her ridiculous love of traditional dance.
A native of Grayson County, VA, Eddie Bond has been performing old-time music since he was a child. Growing up with music on both sides of his family, he was steeped in the musical traditions of the Blue Ridge at an early age. All four of his great-grandfathers were old-time banjo players, and he was raised by his grandmother, who was a singer and guitar player. Eddie is now one of the region’s most respected old-time fiddlers, and he has won first place on fiddle, banjo, and autoharp at the Galax Old-Time Fiddlers Convention. Since 2001, he has been the fiddler and lead singer for the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters, one of Virginia’s best-known old-time string bands, and he has performed at the Smithsonian Folklife Festival, the National Folk Festival, the Kennedy Center, the Library of Congress, the Montana Folk Festival, the Berkeley Old Time Music Festival and the Gainsborough (England) Old-Time Festival, and he has carried his music to Ireland, Scotland, and Australia. In 2015, Eddie’s band once again took first place at the Galax (VA) Fiddlers Convention.
Carol Elizabeth Jones
Carol Elizabeth Jones has made her mark as a singer of traditional mountain music, a guitar player, and as a writer of new songs in the traditional style. She has many albums to her credit including those with Jones & Leva, Laurel Bliss, and most recently, the New Reeltime Travelers. Rounder Records has featured Carol Elizabeth on several anthologies including the bestselling O Sister – Women In Bluegrass collection. She has been a member of the Hopeful Gospel Quartet with Garrison Keillor and Robin & Linda Williams on A Prairie Home Companion. She has toured Africa and Southeast Asia as cultural ambassador for the U.S. Information Agency and has performed and taught at festivals throughout North America. Originally from Berea, Kentucky, Carol Elizabeth now lives in Lexington, Virginia where she is the Children’s Librarian at the Public Library. Dave Higgs of Bluegrass Breakdown says “…Carol Elizabeth has one of the most haunting and honest voices in acoustic music.”
Gordy Hinners | www.myspace.com/newsouthernramblers
A veteran of the old-time music and dance scene, Gordy is known for his distinctive clawhammer style on the fretless banjo and his masterful rhythmic footwork as a clogger and buckdancer. He plays banjo with the New Southern Ramblers and for many years was a mainstay of the Green Grass Cloggers. Gordy has taught at workshops throughout the country, and has been a part of the Gathering since its inception. He lives in western NC, and teaches Spanish at Mars Hill University.
Don Pedi | www.donpedi.com
A spectacular mountain dulcimer player who can match the fiddle note-for-note on tunes, Don has been collecting, preserving and performing Appalachian music for more than four decades. He has spent most of his life working, playing music and living alongside old-time musicians in North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, and he has developed a playing style that translates the older style fiddle and banjo tunes, ballads, and songs to the dulcimer, while maintaining traditional rhythms and stylistic sensibilities. He’s performed at many festivals across the country, including the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC, and he played music and appeared in the film, Songcatcher.
Josh Ellis discovered old-time music when he moved from his home in Bluefield, WV to Galax, VA many years ago. (Prior to that time, he was playing rock ‘n’ roll guitar in a punk band in Bluefield.) Upon moving to Galax, he learned from many local banjo players including Ray Chatfield, Peco Watson, Kirk Sutphin, and Enoch Rutherford, however, his playing is also influenced by Tommy Jarrell, Fred Cockerham, Kyle Creed and Wade Ward. Josh credits some of his playing style to a comment made by Ray Chatfield, who told him that the two most important parts of playing the banjo are to keep time for the dancers and to try to play what the fiddle is playing without losing the rhythm. Today, Ellis is an award-winning clawhammer banjo player and a member of the renowned old-time band, the New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters.
With a degree in music education and a great love for old-time music, Meredith is known as a patient and enthusiastic teacher. She plays fiddle, guitar, bass, flute and piano. Over the years she has performed with Ida Red, the Heartbeats, Balfa Toujours, the New Southern Ramblers, and most recently Chicken Train and Bigfoot. She lives in Asheville, NC where she is a certified Alexander Technique teacher and a licensed massage therapist.
Terri McMurray shows up with a sharp wit, a memorable smile and great chops on 5-string banjo, banjo uke, and guitar. She looked and listened hard during her years around some of the great master traditional musicians in North Carolina and southern Virginia, and won the Galax, VA old-time banjo contest in 1982. Terri played for more than 20 years with the Toast String Stretchers, the most active band in the well-known metropolis of Toast, NC, between Round Peak and Mount Airy. She currently plays with Paul Brown in the Mountain Birch Duo.
This year marks forty-four years since Rodney first danced with the Green Grass Cloggers and forty-five since he was told he would “never make a clogger”! Over the years, he has shared his love of clogging by teaching workshops for beginners at camps around the country, so that no one else will be told, or led to believe, that they cannot “make a clogger.” These days Rodney is known mostly for his smooth flatfooting. He is also a caller, musician, storyteller, a veteran of the early days of the Green Grass Cloggers, and co-founder of the Fiddle Puppets (now known as Footworks). Over the years, he has traveled all across the US and in the British Isles, performing and teaching clogging, and calling square and contra dances. Rodney also produces, stage manages and emcee’s outdoor festivals and concerts. He currently is the Director of Joe Shannon’s Mountain Home Music Concerts in Boone, North Carolina.
Children’s Program coordinator Melissa Hyman has been involved with kids and music throughout her working life. She traveled for years with bands on the folk circuit, working full-time as a touring and recording artist, cellist, singer and songwriter. When not on the road she gives private cello lessons, and teaches music on the pediatric unit at Mission Hospital in Asheville as the Music Fellow for Arts for Life (www.aflnc.org), a non-profit that provides art and music activities to patients at North Carolina’s children’s hospitals. Melissa has taught music at Evergreen Community Charter School and Rainbow Community School in Asheville, and coordinated children’s programming at the Southeast Regional Folk Alliance (SERFA) conference in Montreat, NC. In 2010 she was the music teacher for our Children’s Program, and it was ‘love at first Gathering.’ In 2014, Melissa took on the role of Children’s Program Coordinator, and now she looks forward to many more unforgettable summers in Swannanoa. She feels right at home in this world of messy games, silly songs, amazing crafts and fast friendships.
Ginny Hawker & Tracy Schwarz
Ginny grew up in southern VA and has been singing gospel harmony, early bluegrass and the unaccompanied hymns of the Primitive Baptist Church all her life.Tracy has been a traditional music legend for over forty years and was a member of the seminal old-time stringband, The New Lost City Ramblers. Together their singing is strong and energetic and goes straight to the heart of southern Appalachian music and culture.
Lee Sexton was born in 1928 in Linefork, Kentucky. He and his wife, Opal, still live in Linefork about a hundred yards from his homeplace. He started playing banjo as soon as he was old enough to hold the instrument, and quit school after the eighth grade in order to earn his own way, first playing music and then working in the coal mines. His playing was featured in the square dance scene in Coal Miner’s Daughter. “Lee Sexton is one of the finest traditional old-time banjo players in the country.”– David Holt.
Thomas Maupin describes himself as a “self-taught buckdancer with a flatfoot style.” He has won First Place in the senior flatfooting competition at the Appalachian String Band Festival at Clifftop, WV, as well as the Silver Stars talent contest at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. A recipient of a Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award, Thomas was featured in a recent documentary film, Let Your Feet Do the Talkin’ and in 2013, he was inducted into American Clogging Hall of Fame. Joining him is his grandson, Daniel Rothwell, who plays banjo, sings, and tells stories. The two have been performing together since Rothwell was small, and they have appeared at the Grand Ole Opry, the Museum of Appalachia’s Fall Homecoming, Uncle Dave Macon Days, the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, and the National Folk Festival.
Green Grass Cloggers
With feet flying, swirling calico skirts, and high-kicking legs, clogging burst onto the national folk festival scene in the early 1970s, personified by a group from North Carolina known as the Green Grass Cloggers. 2016 marks the 45th anniversary of this legendary group, and their influence can be seen at old-time music and dance festivals across the country. Former and current members include Old-Time Week staff Rodney Sutton, Earl White, Gordy Hinners, and Phil Jamison. www.greengrasscloggers.org
New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters |
The New Ballard’s Branch Bogtrotters of Galax, Virginia are one of the premier old-time string bands in the Blue Ridge of Virginia. Taking their name from the original Bogtrotters, the famous Galax-area band of the 1930s, they are carrying on the musical tradition of the region into the new millennium. Featuring Eddie Bond on fiddle, Dennis Hall on guitar, and Josh Ellis on banjo, the band has won the old-time band competition at the Galax Old Fiddler’s Convention several times over the years, most recently in 2015.