Riley Baugus, born and raised near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, started playing banjo at the age of 11, inspired by the traditional Appalachian music that he discovered during weekends spent with his grandparents in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He also learned as a young man from such greats as Tommy Jarrell, Dix Freeman and Robert Sykes. Riley has played with numerous old-time stringbands, including The Red Hots and the Old Hollow Stringband, and currently plays with the Dirk Powell Band and Polecat Creek. He built the banjos that appear in the recent Academy Award winning film “Cold Mountain,” and his singing features on the soundtrack. Riley tours the US and Europe regularly with Dirk Powell, Tim O’Brien and Ira Bernstein. He has taught banjo at the Augusta Heritage Festival, Mars Hill, Midwest Banjo Camp, American Banjo Camp, the Alaska Fiddle Camp, Pinewoods and Wheatland; his solo CD is called Life of Riley.
Allison de Groot combines love for old-time music, technical skill and a creative approach to the banjo forming her own sound – unique and full of personality. Her collaborations with Tatiana Hargreaves, MBC 2020 fiddle instructor Bruce Molsky’s Mountain Drifters, The Goodbye Girls, and Nic Gariess provide spaces to explore the role and depth of clawhammer banjo. Whether playing an Irish jig, a Swedish polska, improvising, or playing outside of traditional idioms, Allison is comfortable on clawhammer in an array of musical situations. She has toured all over the world with various groups, performing at events such as Newport Folk Festival, Celtic Connections, Rockygrass, Hardly Strictly, Winnipeg Folk Festival & Tønder Festival.
John Herrmann learned the Round Peak style of clawhammer from its original masters: Fred Cockerham, Kyle Creed, and Tommy Jarrell. He was also influenced early on by the playing of such contemporary old-time pickers as David Winston, Al Tharpe, Blanton Owen, and Steve Slottow. He was part of the Upstate New York old-time avant guard of the mid 70’s, and is responsible for many, now widespread, rhythmic innovations inspired by that style. John’s specialty is playing with the fiddle. He has played all over the world – and in fact is known in Japan as the Father of Old-Time Music in that country. He has performed and recorded with most prominent contemporary old-time fiddle players, including Dirk Powell, Tom Sauber, Rayna Gellert, Rhys Jones, Rafe Stefanini, and Tim O’Brien; he also toured widely with traditional fiddlers Ralph Blizard and Art Stamper. John has played and taught at most major festivals and music camps in the US. As a teacher, he specializes in getting people to play tunes they don’t know, has developed many innovative teaching techniques, and is often credited for having both invented and created a name for “the slow jam.”
Chuck Levy has earned the titles of Florida’s Old-Time Banjo Champion and Old-Time Fiddle Champion, and has received both the Thelma Boltin and the Ed Fleming Awards for his contributions to old-time music in Florida. He is equally at home on 5 and 6 string banjos, fretted or fretless, playing clawhammer, two-finger up-picking, and minstrel styles. Chuck is a respected banjo scholar who has visited Senegal and Gambia where he learned to play the akonting (ekonting), a 3-string African banjo ancestor, with Jola master musicians Remi Diatta and Ekona Diatta. His scholarly work has been featured in the Old-Time Herald, Banjo Newsletter, and in the book, Banjo Roots and Branches edited by Robert Winans. Gold Tone was inspired by Chuck to develop the a 6-string banjo (the OT-6), to Chuck’s specifications. Chuck is a past president of both the Florida Banjo Society and the Florida State Fiddlers Association, is a co-director of the Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend and a former co-director of Suwannee Banjo Camp. Chuck is also active with the University of Florida Center for Arts in Medicine program as a performer and as Chair of the Advisory Board.
Joe Newberry is a Missouri native and North Carolina transplant who has played music most of his life. Known far and wide for his powerful banjo playing, he is also a prize-winning guitarist, fiddler, and singer. Joe was a frequent guest on Garrison Keillor’s A Prairie Home Companion, and was recently featured on the Transatlantic Sessions tour in the United Kingdom with fiddler Aly Bain and Dobro master Jerry Douglas. In addition to performing solo, Joe plays in a duo with mandolin icon Mike Compton, sits in the banjo chair with old-time music legends Mike Craver, Bill Hicks, and Jim Watson, and also performs with the dynamic fiddler and step-dancer April Verch. The recipient of the songwriting prize for Gospel Recorded Performance at the 2012 IBMA Awards for his song “Singing As We Rise,” and co-writer of the 2013 IBMA Song of the Year for “They Called It Music,” Joe writes songs that consistently show up on the Bluegrass charts, does solo and studio work, and teaches and performs at festivals at home and abroad.
Perhaps the best-known exponent of the “melodic” clawhammer style, Ken Perlman is known where-ever banjos are played as a master of clawhammer technique and an expert teacher of clawhammer mechanics. He has been a Banjo Newsletter columnist since the early 1980s; he has written several books on clawhammer instruction including the well known works Melodic Clawhammer Banjo and Clawhammer Style Banjo, he has recorded several series of audio and video banjo instruction, and he has taught at well over a dozen music camps including Augusta Folk Heritage, Common Ground on the Hill, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, the Swannanoa Gathering, and the Tennessee Banjo Institute; he has also been music or co-director of several banjo camps including American Banjo Camp, Banjo Camp North, the Bath International Banjo Festival, Maryland Banjo Academy, and Midwest Banjo Camp. Ken toured for nearly fifteen years with renowned Appalachian-style fiddler Alan Jabbour (1942-2017), and recorded two CDs with him: Southern Summits and You Can’t Beat the Classics. His most recent solo recording is Frails & Frolics, and his most recent banjo book is Appalachian Fiddle Tunes for Clawhammer Banjo. In the summer of 2017, Ken was invited to offer a Master’s Showcases at the Appalachian String Band Festival, popularly known as “Clifftop.” According to organizer Bobby Taylor, these Masters’ events are set up to “showcase the legends who have dedicated their lives to the preservation and presentation of old-time music.” kenperlman.com
Native Floridian Scott Anderson has been performing in professional bluegrass bands since the late 1980s; his first groups were Tom Henderson’s Bluegrass Parlor Band and a band he co-founded called Endless Highway. He has since toured in the US and abroad as banjoist and vocalist with the Jim Hurst Band and Keith Sewell; and he has performed or recorded with such well-known bluegrass figures as Claire Lynch, Vassar Clements, Larry Rice, Byron Berline, Adam Steffey, Clay Hess, Newtown, Chubby Wise, Allen Shadd, and Chief Jim Billie. He has also played banjo with the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. Scott has been a featured artist in Banjo Newsletter, for which he also writes features and conducts interviews. He now fronts Medicine Springs and The Scott Anderson Band and teaches private banjo and guitar lessons from his home in Gainesville. His recordings include Endless Highway, Rivers, Another Day (with his daughter Amanda), and his most recent, Tales from the Swamp.
Greg Cahill formed the Special Consensus in the Chicago area and began touring nationally (and internationally) in 1975. Greg has appeared on all 20 of the Special Consensus recordings and has released three solo recordings (two with internationally renowned mandolinist Don Stiernberg, one with mandolin maestro Jethro Burns), and one European bluegrass music recording (with renowned Czech guitarist Slavek Hanzlik). He has also released four banjo instructional videos/DVDs (Musician’s Workshop), one banjo lessons book and one banjo tablature book (both co-authored with Michael Miles, Hal Leonard publishing). Greg has appeared on numerous recordings by other artists and on countless national television and radio commercials (jingles) and conducts workshops and master classes at bluegrass camps and festivals worldwide. His teaching credits include Nashcamp, the Maryland Banjo Academy, Banjo Camp North, Midwest Banjo Camp, Suwannee Banjo Camp, Nashville Banjo Camp, Augusta Heritage Bluegrass Week, Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp, the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshops, the Sore Fingers Summer School (UK), and Bluegrass Camp Germany. Greg has taught at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago for over 40 years and became the first adjunct professor teaching banjo for the Columbia College (Chicago) Strings Department in 2011. Greg is a regular contributor to Banjo Newsletter, received the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award in 2011 and was inducted into the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA) Hall of Greats in 2019.
Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, Gina Furtado began her musical journey at the age of five with Classical piano lessons. Upon discovering the banjo several years later at the Galax Fiddlers Convention, she quickly changed gears along with her siblings, and they began touring up and down the east coast in what Bluegrass Today has dubbed “the absurdly talented Furtado family.” Gina has played with several bands, including Blue Light Special, New Girls Night Out, Nash Street, Bud’s Collective and Chris Jones and the Night Drivers; she currently tours with her own band, the Gina Furtado Project. She is a featured artist on the Patuxent Banjo Project, and has recorded on over half a dozen albums to date, including her own solo project. Her fresh approach to the banjo demonstrates a strong focus on musicality, dynamics and precision, and she is accomplished in a variety of styles from traditional Scruggs, to melodics and beyond. As a teacher, Gina is down to earth and a strong believer in learning primarily by ear. She has taught at the Murphy Method Banjo camps, multiple workshops, and has given private lessons for over ten years. Gina hails from Winchester, VA.
James McKinney is both a Scruggs and Reno style expert, one of the foremost jazz players of the bluegrass banjo world, and one of the
most technically precise banjoists around. He won the Southern U.S. Banjo Championship at age 15. Before long he had won dozens of state and regional championships, including the National Banjo Championship at Winfield, Kansas. He made the first of several appearances on the Grand Ole Opry at age 19 and worked for a time at Opryland theme park as a banjoist and musical arranger. James moved to Nashville for good in 1990 to play full time in the James and Angela McKinney Band. He has taught countless workshops, and he has been on the staff at a number of major banjo camps, including the Midwest Banjo Camp, Smokey Mountain Banjo Academy, and the SPBGMA workshop. He has performed and/or recorded with Vassar Clements, Porter Wagoner, Barbara Mandrell, John Hartford, and Johnny Cash. His latest CD is called Mind Over Banjo.
Alan Munde needs no introduction to long-time Bluegrass fans. From his early creative work with Sam Bush in Poor Richard’s Almanac to his traditional bluegrass apprenticeship with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys to his 21-year stint anchoring the landmark Country Gazette, Alan has blazed a trail as one of the most innovative and influential banjo players of all time. Along the way, Alan has recorded and contributed to numerous instrumental recordings, including the 2001 IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year — Knee Deep in Bluegrass. Alan has supplemented his recorded work with several instructional publications for the banjo; from 1986-2006 he taught Bluegrass and Country Music at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas.
Jeff Scroggins is an internationally known performer and teacher; he has taken his fiery banjo style to stages in Europe, Asia and North America, and won numerous contests and awards – from state, regional, and local banjo contests to the prestigious National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. He has performed and recorded with many of the top names in bluegrass and his work has been featured in movies, television and radio in both dramatic works and commercials. A well-known banjo instructor, he taught for years at the Swallow Hill Music School in Denver, and teaches regularly at music camps around the world. Jeff now tours extensively with his own band, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, which also features award winning players Tristan Scroggins, Ellie Hakanson, and Greg Blake.
Pete Vigour has enjoyed playing old-time music since his childhood in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, and has won first place ribbons in both fiddle and clawhammer banjo at numerous fiddlers’ conventions in Virginia and West Virginia. A highly experienced and inspirational music teacher, Pete has been on staff at Augusta Folk Heritage, Pinewoods Music Camp, Sierra Swing, and Blue Ridge Old-Time Music Week; he is also director of Front Porch String Band Camp, an event held near his home in Charlottesville. Nowadays he plays with the old-time string band, Uncle Henry’s Favorites (which also includes his wife Ellen), with the Lovell Coleman Band and also with Zuzu’s Hot 5. For more on Pete go to VigourMusic.com and UncleHenrysFavorites.com
Fiddle classes will also be taught by John Herrmann. Check the Program Schedule for offerings.
Jim Hurst Jim Hurst’s mastery of bluegrass guitar is revered by guitar students and widely respected by his musical peers. His eclectic career has made him a remarkable performer, an experienced instructor and a highly sought after session musician. His affability and gregariousness make him one of the most approachable musicians of his caliber. The product of a musical family, Jim was also influenced by the likes of Tony Rice, Clarence White and Jerry Reed. He got national exposure with Holly Dunn’s Rio Band, and had several high profile television and radio appearances while touring with Trisha Yearwood Jim also performed with Travis Tritt and Sara Evans, and then joined Grammy-nominated Claire Lynch and her Front Porch String Band in 1995. Later he formed a duet with bassist Missy Raines; in 2001 and 2002 they earned IBMA Guitar and Bass Player of the Year, respectively. Jim left the Claire Lynch Band in 2010 to embark on a solo career, and has five solo CD’s to his credit: Open Window, Second Son, A Box of Chocolates, Intrepid and his newest: Looking Glass. He performs his show full time and teaches at guitar workshops and music camps throughout North America and Europe. While he occasionally collaborates with other bluegrass notables, he is best known as a soloist.
Guitar classes will also be taught by Alan Munde and Joe Newberry. Check the Program Schedule for class offerings.
Mike Compton seemed like the obvious choice to inaugurate our brand new full-time mandolin program. As a Preservationist, performer, modern-day musical pioneer, composer, and educator, Mike Compton has earned a reputation as one of the best and most influential mandolin players in acoustic music today. As Mandolin Magazine, notes Mike has “taken a passel of influences including old-time fiddle tunes, rock salt and nails bluegrass, and the aching allure of the true Delta blues — to create one of the most recognizable and respected mandolin voices anywhere.” A Grammy award winner and nominated as IBMA Mandolin Player of the Year, Mike has entertained at Carnegie Hall, at the White House, and been honored by the Mississippi State Senate. He has made music with such diverse notables as Ralph Stanley, Elvis Costello , David Grier, John Hartford, and producer T-Bone Burnett, and he has performed as a sideman on over one hundred CDs in a variety of genres. When the Nashville Bluegrass Band was being put together, Mike was their first choice on mandolin, creating a “band like a marriage made in heaven.” www.mikecompton.net.
Mandolin Guitar classes will also be taught by other instructors TBA. Check the 2021 Program Schedule when it comes out for class offerings. Note that 2021 is the first year for our mandolin program; don’t bother looking for mandolin options on the 2020 Schedule (still posted on the site); you won’t find much there.
Susie Coleman of Pegram, Tennessee, has over a dozen first place singing awards from major regional music contests, such as the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree, the Indiana State Folksinging Competition, Uncle Dave Macon Days and Bluegrass Along The Harpeth. An avid fan of old time music, she co-hosts the PegramJam.com website (offering free audio samples of hundreds of old time tunes) and publishes the popular PegramJam Chord Chart Book. She’s served multiple years as a judge at the Tennessee Valley Fiddlers Convention in Athens, AL,and Hillbilly Days in Lafayette, TN. Susie teaches at home and on the road, giving courses in beginner to intermediate old-time rhythm guitar. She has authored a three-book series of beginner-to-intermediate level guitar songbooks for women called Fabulous Folksongs Every Girl Should Know along with a ukulele edition written with Charlie and Nancy Hartness. Susie will help out as a “jam assistant” at our faculty run jams. Also a web and graphics designer, she is the webmaster for SuwanneeBanjoCamp.com and KenPerlman.com! Her own website is www.folkslingers.com.
Ellen Vigour has been playing fiddle and mandolin since the 1970’s, and has taught at many camps and workshops including Augusta and Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week. She and her husband Pete are the organizers of the summertime Front Porch String Band Camp. Ellen plays regularly around Charlottesville, VA, with her bands: Uncle Henry’s Favorites and the Lovell Coleman String Band. She loves teaching fiddle and mandolin, jamming with her students and calling dances. Recently retired from her career as a Special-Ed teacher, Ellen is now happy to have more time for music-making.
Additional guest instructors are TBA.