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Our 2011 Flatpick & Bow Staff

Wayne Erbsen:

Wayne Erbsen (Guitar, Mandolin, Fiddle): Wayne has been teaching guitar since 1963, and claims he can teach anyone to play music. For the past twenty-eight years, he has taught Appalachian music at Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina. He also teaches at "The Log Cabin Cooking & Music Center" in Asheville, NC. For radio listeners, Wayne has a popular radio show called "Country Roots," which broadcasts on Asheville's public radio station, WCQS. You can listen live every Sunday when his show streams from 7:00 - 9:00 pm, Eastern Standard time, at http://www.wcqs.org/. In addition to Wayne's deep interest in old-time Appalachian and bluegrass music, he has researched, recorded and written on numerous other themes of American music, culture and folklore including The Civil War, pioneer America, log cabins, cowboys, railroads and gospel. Wayne will be teaching beginner guitar.
Wayne's website

Josh Goforth:

Josh Goforth (Guitar, Mandolin, Fiddle): Returning to instruct in 2010 will be Josh Goforth, a native of Madison County, North Carolina. Josh has performed in 9 countries and in most states east of the Mississippi River. He is active in Eastern Tennessee University's Bluegrass and Country Music Program and he tours regularly with the bluegrass band Appalachian Trail, the ETSU Bluegrass Pride Band, David Holt, Laura Boosinger, and numerous other bands. Josh has appeared at Lincoln Center, Gstaad Country Nights Festival in Switzerland, The Austrian Alps Performing Arts Festival, and many other festivals and international concerts. He teaches music workshops and he lectures at colleges and universities around the nation. He appeared as "Fiddlin' Will" in the Trimark Feature Film "Songcatcher," and contributed several fiddle pieces to the soundtrack. In 2000 and 2003, he was named Fiddler of the Festival at the nationally acclaimed Fiddler's Grove competition. A fine banjo player and teacher, Josh will be teaching clawhammer banjo.
Josh's website

Rhonda Gouge:

Rhonda Gouge (Guitar, Mandolin): For over 30 years, Rhonda has been teaching one-on-one and group traditional music styles in the Blue Ridge Mountains. This includes teaching at Mars Hill College and at Appalachian State University. An accomplished musician on numerous instruments, Rhonda has performed extensively at both the local and regional level and has several recordings to her credit. Her newest CD release titled, "On the Wing," is a mix of old and new material. It is her tribute to having been raised on traditional, gospel, and old time music in the mountains of Bakersville, North Carolina. Rhonda will be focusing on our novice bluegrass banjo classes. New students to the instrument will immediately connect with her touch and insight on how to best build a solid platform for learning how to pick the 5-string banjo.
e-mail Rhonda

Bobby Hicks:

Bobby Hicks (Fiddle): Bobby was born in Newton, North Carolina in 1933 and started playing fiddle when he was nine years old. He is self taught and was hired by Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe in 1954 to play bass, but switched to fiddle after fiddler Gordon Terry was drafted into the military. Bobby spent the 1960's through the middle 70's in Iowa, Montana, Oregon and Las Vegas. In 1975 he returned home to North Carolina, where he met Ricky Skaggs at Camp Springs, North Carolina. In 1981, Bobby joined the Ricky Skaggs Band, which was one of the hottest country bands of the 1980's and received many, many awards including three time winners of the CMA "Instrumental Group of the Year", three time winners of Music City News "Bluegrass Act of the Year", the five time winners of the Academy of Country Music 's "Touring Band of the Year". The Ricky Skaggs Band transitioned to Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder and became an award winning Bluegrass band - twice winning the IBMA and SPBGMA's "Instrumental Group of the Year" in 1999 and 2000. Additionally, they have won GRAMMY awards for Bluegrass Rules!, Ancient Tones, Soldiers of the Cross, History of the Future and Live from Charleston Music Hall (Bobby's last album with Ricky). In many ways, Bobby has come full circle - back to Bluegrass music where he started years ago. Bluegrass music is enjoying a resurgence in popularity not seen since the 1950's. Whether it's teaching young fiddlers or playing a hot fiddle break on stage, Bobby Hicks is a living legend and continues to contribute to the enjoyment of fans everywhere.
Bobby's website

Larry Keith:

Larry Keith (Guitar): Larry has been teaching guitar since 1998. Until then, though asked numerous times to teach his "style" of guitar, Larry had little time for instruction as he playing with The Lonesome Road Band and handling family responsibilities. Bluegrass fans who have followed his career, know that Larry has a deep passion for Gospel music as well as Bluegrass. He traveled briefly with a successful Gospel group in the mid "70's where his warm acoustic guitar supported a traditional southern gospel sound, making it more Appalachian sounding. He enjoyed playing with Jeanette and Joe Carter of the Carter Family Fold in Hilton, Virginia. Jeanette, like Bill Monroe, taught Larry that keeping guitar-breaks simple and close to the melody-line of a song, was a style that was being ignored and almost forgotten. Many "new players and bands" had taken a more progressive approach to bluegrass and old-time guitar playing. In 2007, promoters in Austria invited The Lonesome Road Band to perform at several of Europe's oldest Folk Festivals. In 2008, The Lonesome Road Band was asked to return to Europe to teach and perform bluegrass music. Having to adjust his teaching method for students with limited English-speaking ability, Larry brought his style of flatpicking guitar to Europeans eager to learn Bluegrass guitar the way they' d been hearing it. To teach Bluegrass guitar in Austria, the home of Mozart, was unbelievable! Larry's passion is teaching beginning flatpicking guitar. "To see a student, young or old play the Wildwood Flower - like Jeanette Carter taught me - for the first time, causes tears to well-up even today." There is nothing like the experience of sharing music with others! And there is nothing like being taught an instrument right - the first time.
e-mail Larry

Emory Lester:

Emory Lester (Guitar, Mandolin): Emory Lester is one of this day's foremost exponents of the acoustic mandolin. The power and attack of his mandolin playing are unmatched, and his sound is infectious. His recording projects 'Pale Rider', 'The Emory Lester Set', and 'Cruisin' the 8' have placed him among the elite mandolinists of our time. His brand new recording 'Reminiscing Today' showcases Emory's musical creativity, and skill as a mandolinist /multi-instrumentalist. Emory has inspired and influenced many of the young up-and-coming mandolin players of today, and pointed the way with his clean, clear, fast and efficient mandolin technique. Emory is currently performing with 'Wayne Taylor and Appaloosa', doing shows across the U.S., Canada, and internationally, just having completed an extensive tour of the Scotland and England, with a new recording climbing the bluegrass charts, and enjoying much success and national exposure for Emory's talent as an instrumentalist and a vocalist. Emory's ten year partnership with noted 'Clawgrass' banjoist Mark Johnson has yielded three very creative recording projects, the latest of which is the new 'Acoustic Vision.' Mark and Emory have toured all across the U.S., and through the Crossroads Music label, have been nominated for Instrumental Album of the Year at the IBMA Awards program in 2007. Emory also performs with his own band, the Emory Lester Set, at concerts and festivals nationally. A life long Virginia native, now living in Barrie, Ontario Canada, Emory has been teaching master series workshops at events such as the Steve Kaufman Camp, the Mandolin Symposium, Transatlantic Bluegrass School in Wales UK, and many other prestigious schools and workshops far and wide. He also has produced many recording projects for other artists.
Emory's website

Bryan McDowell:

Bryan McDowell (Guitar): Bryan McDowell is an accomplished multi-instrumental musician. He is a vocalist and songwriter and enjoys performing and recording numerous genres of music.  Bryan made Winfield, KS history at the 2009 38th Annual Walnut Valley Festival’s National and International Competitions. He competed in fiddle, mandolin, and flatpick guitar and took 1st Place in all three. This was a feat which no one had accomplished in the festival's storied history. In 09' & 10' Bryan won 21 of the nation's most prestigious acoustic instrument championships, nearly half of which was on guitar. Bryan, now 19, performs with "The Winfield Three" and teaches music lessons.
Bryan's website

Gary Spence:

Gary Spence (Guitar): Since 1972, Gary has been Adjunct Music Faculty at Mars Hill College, North Carolina. He has played at most of the southern major music festivals including Galax, Union Grove, Fiddler's Grove, Lunsford Festival, and the Asheville Folk Festival (where he auditioned for Bascom Lunsford). Gary served as a judge at the the Asheville Folk Festival for a number of years. In 1996, he received the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Award, at the Mars Hill Festival, for "significant contributions in music." Gary has submitted field recordings to the Library of Congress and in 1998, released the recording Blue Ridge Gospel Guitars. He has played in numerous bands and released two CDs with the band Southwind. Currently, he plays with All Strung Out and is working on a CD, to be released soon. Gary teaches and plays in the mountains of Madison County.

Adam Tanner:

Adam Tanner (Mandolin, Fiddle): Born in NY state and raised in Northern California, Adam was introduced to music via Suzuki Violin training at the age of nine. Adam's older brother Evan, also, had a keen interest in music and played the guitar, eventually teaching Adam enough rudiments on that instrument to keep his interest growing. Adam's high school years were a pivotal time in his musical development, when he was exposed to Bluegrass Music and took up the mandolin. As a young adult he spent most of his spare time seeking out recordings and attending concerts and jam sessions; expanding his knowledge and vocabulary of southern Appalachian vocal harmonies, and continuing to improve his guitar, fiddle and mandolin skills. By the time Adam reached the age of 21, he had begun to branch out beyond traditional music and found a new way of expressing himself: by playing electric guitar and composing original Rock and Roll based music. In 1983, Adam relocated to Southern California and helped to form what was to become a seminal electronic/rock fusion band, Grotus. The band played up and down the west coast, building a fan base and eventually putting out two records on the "Alternative Tentacles" label owned by famed Dead Kennedys front man and political activist Jello Biafra. In the early 1990s, Grotus landed a recording contract with London/Polygram records (USA). Adam and the band continued to tour, sharing the stage with the likes of Nine inch Nails, Swiss industrial rockers The Young Gods, New Jersey rockers Monster Magnet, and influencing and touring with Korn. The mainstream music business was a hard road and after eight years of touring the US and Europe, Grotus disbanded. In the years to follow the break up of the band, Adam refocused his energy on acoustic American roots music and dove head first into studying and playing pre-Bluegrass southern Appalachian string music. In 2000, Adam relocated to Western North Carolina, to be closer to the geographical origin of his revitalized musical passions. During his early years in Western NC, Adam sought out older masters of the Appalachian traditions. Visits with older musicians such as Joe Thompson, Charlie Acuff, and Clyde Davenport provided a chance to learn the music from it's source, a much more rewarding experience than just learning from recordings. In 2003, Adam joined the Crooked Jades, a California based progressive acoustic band with roots in pre-war southern styles. During the next three years, the band, with Adam on fiddle, mandolin and acoustic lap guitar, released a cd entitled "Worlds on Fire," and toured folk festivals and clubs throughout the US, UK and Germany. Throughout this time Adam discovered and began to explore connections between pre-war African-American music and early anglo string band music. This research resulted in the development of a unique repertoire that crosses racial barriers. Adam cultivated his instrumental and vocal skills to present a personal and fresh interpretation of this music to a modern audience. As of December 2006, Adam parted ways with the Crooked Jades to embark on a solo career focusing on early country blues vocal and instrumental styles. He recently completed work on a new cd entitled "Sure as You're Born". In June 2007, Adam was called upon to fill in for Kip Beacco with the Hunger Mountain Boys playing a variety of dates in the U.S. and U.K.. He currently sings, fiddles, plays mandolin and guitar as a fourth member of the band. Adam is currently available for recording and performance work and prefers to make music in an American traditional music or American roots influenced original music setting.
Adam's website

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