2023 Instructors

Old Time BanjoBluegrass BanjoFiddleGuitarGuest Faculty
Riley Baugus

Riley Baugus

Kirishi Riley Baugus. Born and raised near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Riley 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 learned as a young man from such greats as Tommy Jarrell, Dix Freeman and Robert Sykes. Riley has played with numerous old-time string bands, including The Red Hots, Polecat Creek, and the Old Hollow String Band. He has frequently toured the US and Europe, both as a soloist and with such notables as Dirk Powell, Tim O’Brien and Ira Bernstein. He built the banjos that appear in the Academy Award winning film “Cold Mountain,” and his singing was featured on the soundtrack. He has taught banjo at the Augusta Heritage Festival, Mars Hill, the Alaska Fiddle Camp, Pinewoods, and Wheatland; his solo CD is called Life of Riley

Hilarie Burhans

Hilarie Burhans

http://mrcrowder.us/2009-2nd-quarter-assignments-6th-grade-physical-science Hilarie Burhans has been playing and teaching clawhammer banjo for more than 45 years. She lives in the Appalachian foothills of Athens, Ohio and is a much in-demand player at old-time music festivals thanks to her intensely rhythmic, driving banjo style. Hilarie co-founded the Hotpoint Stringband, a nationally-touring contradance band with whom she has recorded five albums. HBO used a song she recorded on the critically acclaimed show Deadwood, and she has collaborated on too many other musical projects to count! More than 5,000 subscribers enjoy her banjo YouTube channel, and her instructional videos on the Patreon platform have many devoted subscribers who praise her clear, relaxed teaching style.

John Herrmann

John Herrmann (Old-Time Banjo) 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 70s, 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.”

Michael Miles

Michael J. Miles is one of America’s most innovative clawhammer banjo players. His musical background is steeped in the folk & blues of Chicago, in Bach and Motown, rock ‘n’ roll, and the American Songbook hits that his blue collar father sang in the car. With expansive unpredictable repertoire and high-reaching musicality, his work is described by Banjo Newsletter as: “a brilliant tour-de force that effectively obliterates the limits of what was thought possible on clawhammer banjo.” Hailed by the Chicago’s legendary WXRT as “Genius,” the Chicago Sun- Times simply says, “Give the banjo to Michael J. Miles you’ll hear a mighty soul stirring sound.” When Pete Seeger heard Michael’s very first recording his response was, “This is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.” Michael has published more than a dozen books with such companies as Hal Leonard and Mel Bay; he has recorded six CD’s with great collaborators including Bela Fleck, Darol Anger and some of Chicago finest musicians. His websites are MilesMusic.org and ExistentialBanjo.com.

Ken Perlman

kenbnj02Perhaps 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 Melodic Clawhammer Banjo and Clawhammer Style Banjo, he has recorded several series on 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

Maggie Shar

Maggie Shar

Maggie Shar. Born and raised in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and now living in western Massachusetts, Maggie teaches private and group banjo classes to people of all ages from all over the world. She won 1st place at the 2018 Northeast Fiddler’s Convention Banjo Contest and the 2018 Oldtone Roots Festival Banjo Contest; and received an honorable mention in the 2020 Online Oldtime Banjo Competition. Nowadays, Maggie plays banjo in two bands: The Moon Shells and The Ephemeral Stringband; she is also co-creator of Little Roots, an early childhood music program. All three of these ventures have issued multiple CDs (see her website maggieshar.com for listings).

Scott Anderson

Scott AndersonNative 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.

BB Bowness
BB Bowness

Catherine “BB” Bowness. Born in the small town of Marton, New Zealand,”BB” Bowness spent her early years working and living in her family’s Fish-and-Chip shop. A world away from the heart of bluegrass, BB spent much of her childhood teaching herself banjo, and through dedication and tenacity became New Zealand School of Music’s first banjo student. After heading to America in 2012 she co-founded her current group, Mile Twelve, which has won numerous IBMA awards, including 2020 New Artists of the Year and 2017 Momentum Band of the Year. Immersing herself in the traditions of bluegrass and having studied jazz performance at university, BB’s banjo playing is an exciting synthesis of new and old ideas. Say Tony Trischka: “She demonstrates a command of the instrument, and plays with great rhythmic clarity both in the traditional and progressive realms. J.D. Crowe co-mingles with the future.” In 2020, BB was a winner of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize.

Greg Cahill

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.

Ryan Cavanaugh

Ryan Cavanaugh

Ryan Cavanaugh may well have taken the art of playing jazz on 5-string farther than any other living player. He grew up in North Carolina playing traditional bluegrass and took first place at the Merlefest, Rockygrass, and Renofest banjo contests. He began studying jazz in high school, and soon began adapting it to banjo, developing in the process a method for playing rapid runs by in effect performing forward rolls on single strings. Discovered by guitar legend John McLaughlin in 2006, Ryan spent several years touring the international jazz scene with acclaimed saxophonist Bill Evans. Ryan’s first solo CD, “Songs For the New Frontier” was released in 2007. Cavanaugh has recorded and shared the stage with greats from all genres, including Sam Bush, Béla Fleck, Victor Wooten, Dennis Chambers, Warren Haynes and Robben Ford.

James McKinney

James McKinneyJames 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

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.

Pete Vigour

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

Other Fiddle Instructors

Fiddle classes will also be taught by John Herrmann & others TBA. Check out the 2023 SBC Online Schedule when it comes out for their class topics.

Jim Hurst

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.

Other Guitar Instructors

Guitar classes will also be taught by Alan Munde & others TBA. Check out the 2023 SBC Online Schedule when it comes out for their class topics.

Ellen Vigour

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.

Other Guest Instructors

Additional guest instructors are TBA.