Our 2017 Banjo Clinic Staff
Bobby Anderson (BGB): I have been playing for 55 years and teaching for 35 years. I travelled the road for 25 years with my band, "A Grain of Salt". I spent several years in Branson, Missouri; have recorded 12 Albums, 8 Tapes, and 5 CDs with my current band, "Bobby and Blue Ridge Tradition". We have performed on NPRs Song of the Mountain, at countless Festivals including MerleFest and Bluegrass First Class, and I teach privately at Blue Ridge Music Academy in Asheville, NC.
Rob Bourassa (BGB): Rob Bourassa has been teaching banjo and guitar since the 70s. He has developed a method of teaching intuitive fingerboard theory that allows the student to play melodies by ear without hunting or pecking for notes and has also been able to break down ideas in syncopation, drive and bounce into clear and easy to understand bites. He teaches in his Downriver Michigan studio, in person as well as by Skype around the world. He also writes, arranges and produces for NorthStar Media in Bloomfield Hills Michigan, doing commercial work, as well as industrial composition and arrangement. Rob has played in many recordings, appearing on albums with Maria Muldaur, Brian Setzer and Drake Bell (The Drake and Josh Show) as well as providing vocal harmony arrangements for a variety of artists and venues. Rob has a YouTube channel with which he publishes free lessons in improvisation and fingerboard theory for several instruments. His banjo influences have been Earl Scruggs, JD Crowe, Doug Dillard and Pete Wernick. He has taken elements of many players to meld his own unique style.
Bob Buckingham (OTB): Bob Buckingham (OTB) has played banjo since the late 1960's. For the past 15 years he has taught private lessons in Greenville, SC at 5th String Music and has taught at Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week in Mars Hill and teaches regularly at the John C. Campbell Folk School. He has appeared at festivals and contests winning numerous ribbons. He also has taught workshops throughout the South and Mid-Atlantic regions. He writes for Fiddler Magazine and Bluegrass Unlimited as well as occasionally for Banjo Newsletter.
Bob on Facebook
Hilary Dirlam (OTB): Hilary Dirlam has taught banjo workshops at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival, Alabama Folk School, Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week, Janey's Jumpstart, Suwannee Banjo Camp, and Madison County's Junior Appalachian Musicians Program. She has also instructed all-in-one workshops with fiddler Mary Gordon for the Charlotte Folk Song Society, Charlotte, NC McClellanville, SC, Columbus, OH, and at Cheddar, Dorset, United Kingdom. Hilary taught individual lessons at Celestial Mountain Music in Brevard, NC and continues to give individual lessons at home. Her publications include: Banjo Without Tears, All-In-One-Jam Books, Volume 1 and 2, and Tuesday Night Favorites. Hilary is also accomplished on string bass and guitar and has taught these instruments at numerous workshops and music camps. With extensive performance experience, she recently completed a month long tour of Australia with her present band, the Orpheus Supertones.
Wayne Erbsen (BGB/OTB): For the past twenty-eight years, Wayne Erbsen 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 directing the Jam Classes. He also teaches clawhammer and bluegrass banjo.
Donnie Little (BGB): Just celebrating his 50th year anniversary playing the banjo, since 1989, Donnie Little (shown on left picking one with Don Wayne Reno at NCBC) has been teaching the instrument full time. He also works in conjunction with banjo-maker, Warren Yates. He has his own Yates banjo model. His stage performances began at age 5 while playing in a local band around 1965 called
The Little Brothers
. It was a big hit consisting of his family (Dad) Clyde, (Mother) Jane, and (Brother) Joel. Professional bands book in the area needed show openers to set the stage for them. His ability to play so well at such a young age made the band that much more popular. The Little Brothers became the The Little Family. His father had to hand-build him a little banjo from scratch in order for him to use it. This was during a time when out founding Bluegrass fathers were starting the music we love. Donnie knew many of the bluegrass legends and basically grew up with them. He later chose the profession of teaching music at his home rather than traveling away from his family, but Donnie still loves playing with friends whenever he can.
Tom McKinney (BGB): Now playing banjo for the Asheville-based Redeye Ramblers, Tom is known throughout the bluegrass world as one of the best Scruggs-style banjo pickers in the business. Beginning in 1969, he began his professional career playing and singing with a number of bluegrass groups including the Boys from Shiloh, the Shenandoah Cut-Ups, and the Country Grass. Tom has also been featured in a Walt Disney movie production playing the five string! Having spent much of his life on the road, including a stint with Curley Sechler and the Nashville Grass, he is devoted to teaching, to playing in local bands, and to performing banjo repair and set-up. Tom will be available for general questions and banjo counseling. He will be performing BGB setup.
Tom & the Redeye Rambler's website
Tom McKinney (BGB): Currently 24 years old, Seth has been playing the banjo since the age of twelve. The music of Flatt and Scruggs and many other early pioneers of bluegrass left a lasting impression on him at an early age. Since learning the banjo, Seth has been fortunate enough to be on many well-acclaimed projects. His own release in 2009, Come on In, was voted the number (5) bluegrass album of the year by WNCW. His work has been featured on albums that have been and are still at the top of the bluegrass charts. His latest work has been with Mark Kuykendall and award-winning fiddler player Bobby Hicks for their Rebel Records albums. He has been fortunate enough to work with Michael Cleveland, Doyle Lawson, Barry Scott, and many other acclaimed bluegrass musicians. Seth places a great importance on backup and playing behind a singer. To him, that is the most critical aspect of banjo playing.
Mike Scott (BGB): Mike Scott is from Johnson City, Tennessee. Well versed on banjo, guitar, and mandolin, his credits include singing, songwriting, producing, publishing, and hosting media, including TV. Having performed professionally since age 10, Mike celebrated 42 years in music last December 2014. Since moving to Nashville, he has performed in over 450 shows at the Grand Ole Opry. An internationally known banjo/guitar player, he has earned a reputation as a solid solo artist, studio musician, and as a sideman for some of music's greatest performers. Now leading Mike Scott & The Nashville Band, he also performs with Ronnie Reno & The Reno Tradition. They can be seen regularly on 'Reno's Old Time Music Fest' TV Show airing weekly on RFD TV. Mike hosts Rural Rhythm Records TV Show "Behind The Dream" on Blue Highways TV. After being offered jobs with Grand Ole Opry Stars "Bill Monroe & The Bluegrass Boys" and with "Jim & Jesse and The Virginia Boys," at age 15 Mike continued to perform regionally with area local bands in East Tennessee. At age 18, he joined "Carl Story and The Rambling Mountaineers" (The Father of Bluegrass Gospel) for two years. Then he joined Jim & Jesse at The Grand Ole Opry for nearly four years. Mike had an acoustic Bluegrass & Country record deal in the works with Randy Tallmadge (RCA) as Mike Curb (Curb Records) in 1990 & 1991 which including Nashville's top studio musicians including Carl Jackson, Stuart Duncan, Steve Turner, Gary Smith, Bruce Bouton, Emory Gordy Jr., & Brent Mason. This project featured Emmy Lou Harris on vocals and was produced by Carl Jackson. Mike later performed from with "Big Band" sensations "Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass" and with "Boot Randolph". Mike still enjoys occasionally playing with Jesse McReynolds and The Virginia Boys, Jesse carrying on the legacy since the passing of Jim McReynolds. He continues to travel across the globe with "Mike Scott & The Nashville Band" as well as with "Ronnie Reno and The Reno Tradition".
Gary Spence (BGB/OTB): Gary studied and played music with Obray Ramsey and later prepared Ramsey's recordings for the Library of Congress American Folk Life Center collection. Soon after Gary Spence arrived in Madison County and began studying with Obray Ramsey, David Shelton and Obray Ramsey began working together on a Polydor International album (circa 1970-1971). Gary Spence has gone on to both perform and teach music, continuing a lifelong love of Appalachian music and history. He was awarded the Bascom Lamar Lunsford Award in 1996. Gary has also been an adjunct music faculty member at Mars Hill University for 43 years. Aside from performing and judging at the Asheville Folk festival, 2014 marked his 45th Bascom Lamar Lunsford Festival performance at Mars Hill University. He has performed at both the Union Grove Fiddlers Convention, the Fiddlers Grove Festival, and the Galax Virginia Old Time Fiddler Convention. He recorded Blue Ridge Gospel Guitars with Eddie Swann c.2003-2004 and collaborated on a number of bluegrass CDs released in western North Carolina.
Warren Yates (BGB): Warren Yates has been building rock solid banjos for years. Clinic attendees will have the opportunity to play many of his banjos. Prior to starting Yates Banjos, Warren worked as an engineer for a furniture company. An avid player for over 40 years, his banjos can be heard on multiple recordings. He is Ronnie Stewart's banjo supplier and technician. Ronnie, as well as Donnie Little, has been instrumental in providing feedback and design considerations further defining Warren's banjos. Skilled as a machinist, Warren builds most of his banjo parts. He has built over 500 banjos. The wood, detail, and construction of a Yates banjo is impeccable. After Donnie Little sets one up, players will appreciate the power and tone emanating from a Yates banjo.
Tom Adams (BGB): Tom Adams has played the banjo in some of the best-known bands in bluegrass. A 3-time recipient of the IBMA Banjo Player of the Year award, Tom first toured nationally with Jimmy Martin & the Sunny Mountain Boys. Over the next 20 years he went on to record and tour with the Johnson Mountain Boys, the Lynn Morris Band, Blue Highway, Rhonda Vincent, and Dale Ann Bradley. Along the way he has recorded with Hazel Dickens, James King, and fiddler Michael Cleveland. Tom and Mike's album of fiddle/banjo duets, Live at the Ragged Edge, was named IBMA's 2004 Instrumental Album of the Year. Tom also released two solo projects, Right Hand Man and Adams County Banjo . During a six-year hiatus from the banjo, Tom was the lead singer and guitar player first with Bill Emerson and later with Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper. Since 2013 Tom has returned to the banjo, touring with the band Springfield Exit, teaching online from his home in Pennsylvania, and hosting both the monthly High Five column in Banjo Newsletter and the BanjoThink channel on YouTube.
Terry Baucom (BGB): The Duke of Drive got his first banjo at age 10 and soon after began performing with his father in a local band-The Rocky River Boys. By 1970, his first professional job came as a fiddler with Charlie Moore. Soon thereafter, along with legends Ricky Skaggs and Jerry Douglas, he was back on banjo as a founding member of Boone Creek. Between multiple stints with Doyle Lawson and Quicksilver, Terry helped create IIIrd Tyme Out, Lou Reid Terry Baucom and Carolina, and BlueRidge. Terry currently tours with The Mashville Brigade and continues to free-lance and conduct banjo workshops. Look for a new Terry Baucom recording on Rebel Records in early 2011.
Bill Emerson (BGB): Bill Emerson is a true master of the instrument. Called a "banjo legend" by the Washington Post, Bill has been inducted into the SPBGMA Preservation Hall of Greats, The Washington Area Music Award Hall of Fame, the Virginia Folk Music Association Hall of Fame, and has twice been awarded Banjo Player of the Year by Muleskinner News. Credited with starting the careers of dobro legends Mike Auldridge and Jerry Douglas, he was a founding member of The Country Gentlemen. Among others, he has worked with Jimmy Martin, Country Current, Wayne Taylor, and Emerson and Waldron. Having penned numerous bluegrass standards including "Theme Time," Bill plays with "Bill Emerson and the Sweet Dixie Band." We are proud to have him and his band as part of this year's North Carolina Banjo Clinic.
Josh Goforth (OTB): 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.
Rhonda Gouge (BGB): Since her birth in McDowell County in 1955, Rhonda Gouge has lived in Mitchell County, and she has played guitar since she was a young girl. "I was exposed to music through my mom and her family," she says. Rhonda's mother was an expert shape-note singer and could play piano by ear. Her brothers and sisters were also musical. Rhonda spent many days visiting neighbor, Oscar "Red" Wilson, a North Carolina Folk Heritage Award recipient, playing guitar accompaniment to his old-time fiddle tunes. His group, the Toe River Valley Boys, was one of her favorite bands. "When I first got a guitar and could put two or three chords together, I would go up to [Red Wilson's] house. He would take his old fiddle down, and he would play his old time tunes, and I would play guitar with him. And he would always say, ‘That's just wonderful.' And he would say, ‘You're going to be a fine musician.' And he was very encouraging to me." Eventually, she discovered bluegrass music, which became her passion. Rhonda also began playing bass in church, and a neighbor bought her a banjo for her eighteenth birthday. Soon the mandolin was also added to her cannon. Rhonda's interest in the music kept on growing, and others were taking notice. Friends started asking her for lessons, and her teaching career was born. Rhonda worked for years on factory lines, but eventually built a studio and started teaching full time. Rhonda has recorded with Red Wilson. She also has two solo projects. She is pursuing a master's degree in Appalachian Studies, and she keeps a regular waiting list for students interested in guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass, fiddle, or singing.
Jack Hatfield (BGB): Jack Hatfield placed in several local and state banjo contests, when a young man, including the National Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas. He taught banjo, guitar, mandolin and fiddle in Knoxville full time for seventeen years before moving to Pigeon Forge to perform at the Dollywood theme park and Dixie Stampede. He worked with mandolinist Red Rector and performed with Ava Gardner and Dick Dale at their show in Pigeon Forge. He works the East Tennessee convention circuit with his band True Blue. Jack has also appeared in two full-length feature films and three syndicated television shows. Jack began his writing career in 1976 as a columnist for Banjo Newsletter magazine, writing the Scruggs Corner column, followed by Beginner's Corner, then Systems and Concepts column which delved into music theory and other "big picture" ideas. Jack has authored several instruction books through Hatfield Music and through Mel Bay Publications, Inc. His most recent Mel Bay release is Exercises for Three-Finger Banjo. Jack was on the faculty of the first banjo camp in 1988, the Tennessee Banjo Institute. Since then he served as Bluegrass Director of all three of Banjo Newsletter's Maryland Banjo Academy camps and Chuck Stearman's Nashville Academy of Traditional Music. He has directed the banjo workshop at the SPBGMA (Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America) Bluegrass Convention in Nashville for nineteen years. In 2006 Jack established his own Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy which merged with Five-String Fest in 2014. In 2015 he renovated barn adjacent to the Hatfield Music shop. The Hatfield Music Barn is now home of Smoky Mountain Banjo Academy and is available for lease to other workshops and concerts. Jack's runs a music store and ecommerce business, Hatfield Music, specializing in bluegrass banjo instructional materials and supplies. Along with the dozen or so instruction books Jack has authored, Hatfield Music carries several items he invented and manufactures himself such as the Banjo Board, the Pick Pouch, the Anti-Gravity strap, his patented Capo Caddy, Raejusters (adjustable resonator screws) and the re-designed the Gerald Jones Acoustic Plus banjo pickup, now called the Jones-Hatfield banjo pickup. Jack will be teaching Friday Advanced Bluegrass Banjo.
Jens Kruger (BGB): Originally from Switzerland, Jens Kruger began playing North American folk music at an early age and was particularly inspired by recordings of Doc Watson, Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and other progenitors of country, bluegrass and folk music. While he has written and continues to write the music for all of The Kruger Brothers’ original tunes, in 2006, Jens began his "official" venture into the themes and forms of classical music when he was commissioned to write Music from the Spring for banjo, guitar, bass and full symphonic orchestra. Since then, he has received three commissions to write classical pieces which The Kruger Brothers have performed with various orchestral ensembles: Appalachian Concerto with string quartet; Spirit of the Rockies with a small orchestra, and most recently in 2013, Lucid Dreamer, a chamber music piece written specifically for and commissioned by the Kontras Quartet and debuted in 2014. Jens is a member of the Blue Ridge Music Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 2011. In 2013, he was awarded the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music. Jens is the first winner of the award who resides in North Carolina and the first born outside of the United States. Happy Traum, guitarist, folksinger, teacher, and writer for aspiring musicians, has described Kruger as, "One of the world’s most musically sophisticated and technically accomplished five‐string banjo players." While Jens plays in a melodic style that has roots in bluegrass, his music is distinguished by long, melodic passages and a complex compositional foundation, often building on jazz or classical themes and techniques.
Ned Luberecki (BGB): New to our staff in 2010 will be Ned Luberecki. Ned has been teaching and playing bluegrass banjo for over 25 years. He has played with Paul Adkins' Borderline Band, Radio Flyer, the Gary Ferguson Band, and the Rarely Herd. He has recorded with the Apocalyptic Cowboys, Garrett Grass, Jim Hurst, Bull Harman, and New Strings. Ned was also the banjo player for the soundtrack of the movie "Chrystal" starring Billy Bob Thornton. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine has declared, "Ned's banjo captures that killer tone and technique banjo players die for." Currently, as banjoist for Chris Jones and the Night Drivers, he occasionally tours as second banjoist with Tony Trischka's Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular Band. Many of you may know Ned as a radio personality on Sirius XM Satellite Radio's bluegrass channel "Bluegrass Junction." He brings an uncomplicated teaching style and fresh wacky sense of humor has made him a favorite for instructing the five-string banjo. We are glad to have Ned teach intermediate and advanced melodic banjo techniques at our clinic."
Don Wayne Reno:
Don Wayne Reno (BGB): Don Wayne Reno's early musical studies with his legendary father, Don Reno, introduced him to the banjo's potential for experimentation and innovation. By the time Don Wayne was 13, he was performing duets with his father. Two years later, he officially joined Don Reno and the Tennessee Cut Ups, performing and recording several albums with them until Don's death in 1984. The Reno Brothers (Don Wayne and his brothers Dale and Ronnie) successfully merged traditional bluegrass with mainstream country music and produced several acclaimed recordings, including Kentucky Gold, Acoustic Celebration and Swing West. From 1994 to 1998, Don Wayne hosted The Reno Revival, a four day banjo camp in Nashville. The camp focused on the many aspects of his father, Don Reno as well as his own interpretation of the banjo. In 2001 Don Wayne, with his brother Dale joined together with John Wheeler to form the self proclaimed rockgrass band Hayseed Dixie. Nine years and eight albums later, Don Wayne is still touring Europe and plans to tour the States later this year.
Don Wayne and the Hayseed Dixie website
Jim Rollins (BGB): Hailing from the Greenville area of South Carolina, Jim Rollins has been playing 5-string banjo for over 30 years. Known for his solid and straight-ahead style, he has played with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys, The Dale Ann Bradley Band, Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers, Buzz Busby and The Bayou Boys, Bobby Hicks and The Fiddle Patch Band, and with many others. His primary musical influences are Earl Scruggs, JD Crowe, Bill Emerson, Allen Shelton, and especially South Carolina banjoist and native, Al Osteen. Jim's playing style is firmly based in the Scruggs camp with a strong emphasis on stating the melody. Jim's playing is based on the three Ts: Timing, Taste, and Tone.
Graham Sharp (BGB): Graham is the banjoist for The Steep Canyon Rangers, a fine band from Western North Carolina.
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