Paula Bradley. A West Virginia-born multi-instrumentalist residing in the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, Paula has been involved in old-time and roots music for many years. Known for her strong, spirited vocals, as well as deep knowledge of old-time music, she has toured with old-time darlings “Uncle Earl”; with old-time powerhouse Bruce Molsky (on guitar and banjo uke); recorded and toured with Tony Trischka and Bruce as part of the acoustic roots trio “Jawbone”; and, performed and recorded with old-time trio “The Rhythm Rats.” She has been an instructor at many camps and gatherings, including: Augusta, Swannanoa, Ashokan, Mars Hill, Bluff Country, MBOTMA, and Stephen Foster Old-Time Weekend. She was a founding member of the popular New England honkytonk combo (on piano) “Girl Howdy,” and with her late husband, Bill Dillof, old-time duet “Moonshine Holler” in which she played guitar, banjo, and banjo ukulele. Currently, she leads her own popular juke joint swing combo “Miss Paula & The Twangbusters,” and performs with a variety of old-time musicians.
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.
Frank Evans fell in love with banjo at age 10 and quickly developed a passion for old-time Appalachian music. He won the youth banjo contest at the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Festival when he was 13 and later placed second over all. He joined the bluegrass band, the Slocan Ramblers in 2010; their first album Shaking Down the Acorns gained attention world wide and earned them an invitation to open for Steve Martin at the Toronto Jazz festival. Currently, Frank tours world-wide and has played at such noted festivals as Rockygrass, Merlefest, and the Jacobs Ladder Festival. He has taught at Rockygrass Academy and Nimble Fingers Bluegrass Camp. The Slocan Ramlers released their most recent album, Queen City Jubilee in 2018.
Adam Hurt (Old-Time Banjo) Deemed a “banjo virtuoso” by the Washington Post, Adam Hurt has fused several traditional old-time idioms to create his own elegantly innovative clawhammer banjo style, having been introduced to the instrument at age eleven in his native Minnesota. A respected performer and teacher of traditional music, Adam has played at the Kennedy Center and conducted banjo workshops around the country and abroad at such prestigious events as the Swannanoa Gathering, the Augusta Heritage Center, Midwest Banjo Camp, American Banjo Camp, Suwannee Banjo Camp, and Sore Fingers. Since moving to the South in 2002, Adam has placed in or won most of the major old-time banjo competitions, including three first-place finishes at Clifftop, and he has claimed several state banjo and fiddle championships. Adam’s music can be heard on multiple recordings, including Earth Tones, Perspective, Insight, and his most recent, Artifacts. adamhurt.com
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 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. 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 has offered banjo workshops at Ashokan Music and Dance Camps, Augusta Heritage Center, Banjo Camp North, Suwannee Banjo Camp, and Midwest Banjo Camp. She won 1st place at the 2018 Northeast Fiddler’s Convention Banjo Contest and the 2018 Oldtone Roots Festival Banjo Contest; and received 3rd place in the 2022 Online Oldtime Banjo Competition. In 2023 she was a finalist in the Appalachian Stringband Competition (Clifftop), as well as The Fresh Grass Awards. 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).
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.
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 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.
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.
Tony Trischka is one of the most influential banjo players in the roots music world. For more than 35 years, his stylings have inspired a whole generation of bluegrass and acoustic musicians. He was not only considered among the very best pickers, he was also one of the instrument’s top teachers, and has created numerous instructional books, audio recordings, and videos. In the 1970s, Trischka made his recording debut with the bands Country Cooking and Breakfast Special. In the early 1980s, he began working with the group Skyline, which recorded a number of CDs between 1983 and ’88. Along the way, he has recorded numerous solo recordings, including Bluegrass Light, Heartlands, Banjoland, Robot Plane Flies over Arkansas, Hill Country, World Turning, Bend, New Deal, and his newest: Territory. He has worked as a musical leader for Broadway shows, appeared on television, and also on National Public Radioís Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage shows. In 2007, Tony was declared Banjo Player of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA).
Erynn Marshall is an old-time fiddler, living in Hillsville, Virginia who is known internationally for her traditional music. Erynn learned the nuances of Appalachian old-time fiddling from archival recordings and directly from visiting 80-95 year-old southern fiddlers. Her effortless, transportive way of playing expresses joy, mournfulness, and stays true to the old tunes while revitalizing the tradition. Her original tunes are becoming common repertoire in fiddle circles. Erynn won first place fiddle at “Clifftop” (the first woman to do so) and the Mt Airy Fiddlers’ Convention. She tours regularly with husband/musician Carl Jones, has recorded numerous albums, appeared in five films and is featured in the books “As Has It” and “Singing at the Clothesline.” Erynn is coordinator for Swannanoa Old-Time Week (NC) and previously was director of music programs at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, VA and Alleghany JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians). She is excited to be returning to Suwannee Banjo Camp!
Fiddle classes will also be taught by Adam Hurt & others TBA. Check out the 2024 SBC Online Schedule when it comes out for their class topics.
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 & others TBA. Check out the 2024 SBC Online Schedule when it comes out for their class topics.
Niki Portmann is currently the bassist for The Night Travelers with James McKinney on 5-string banjo. Together they tour and play in the continental U.S. and are looking forward to tours in both Western Europe and Australia. The Night Travelers’ first CD project, Campfire went into world-wide release in fall of 2012. Niki studied electrical engineering and worked as an engineer for many years before discovering the acoustic bass and re-discovering her childhood love for playing music. Using her engineering skills, she also works as sound engineer for The Night Travelers and founded Portmann Acoustics, which sells her own boutique line of custom engineered speakers and amplifiers for acoustic instruments. Niki was inducted into the Atlanta Country Music Hall of Fame in November 2016.
Additional guest instructors are TBA.