|Bluegrass Banjo||Old-Time Banjo||Other Instruments|
ABC offers full-time tracks in Old-Time Banjo, Bluegrass Banjo, Fiddle, Guitar, and Mandolin. ABC also offers classes in other instruments (e.g. bass) and in jamming. While an old-time banjo student will be faced with a choice among multiple simultaneous old-time banjo classes in every period, even a student playing an instrument with just one or two classes will find other interesting classes (jamming, singing, etc.) and hosted jams (and time for practicing) to fill the time and make the weekend seem much too short!
ABC Faculty in 2020
|Bluegrass Banjo||Old-Time Banjo||Other Instruments|
Banjo player extraordinaire Danny Barnes is the 2015 recipient of the 6th annual Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass. Described as “one of a kind” and widely acknowledged as “one of the best banjo players in America,” Barnes is recognized for his experimental sound. The raw and unpolished musical breadth of his compositions has propelled him across the industry today.As a Texas native and one of bluegrass music’s most distinctive and innovative performers, Barnes is known for blending together different sounds in order to defy labeling. He frequently plays with artists such as guitarist Bill Frisell, Dave Matthews, and keyboardist Wayne Horvitz and has composed the scores to Richard Linklater’s, The Newton Boys and (with Frisell) the documentary American Hollow. Today he is working primarily on his solo-project, and sometimes tours with a trio consisting of Joe K Walsh, Grant Gordy, & himself. His upcoming album features all his most recent original works that will feature musicians such as Dave Matthews, Bill Frisell, Matt Chamberlain, & John Paul Jones.
Janet Beazley plays banjo and sings with the California bluegrass band Chris Stuart & Backcountry and in the duo Chris Stuart & Janet Beazley. She has toured extensively with CS&B throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the Middle East. Janet has taught bluegrass banjo, harmony singing, music theory and song writing at the British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop, California Bluegrass Association Music Camps, Midwest Banjo Camp, American Banjo Camp, Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week, Banjo Camp North, Munich Banjo Camp, and Sore Fingers Week in the UK. She produced and engineered all three of the CS&B albums as well as solo projects by Chris Stuart and flatpicking guitar virtuoso Eric Uglum. Janet Beazley’s solo CD, 5 South, spent eight months on the Bluegrass Unlimited National Survey Chart, and she was featured as the cover story in Banjo Newsletter for the December 2011 issue. She is also a specialist in early music, teaching and performing on Renaissance and Baroque instruments.
Born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, Gina Furtado began her musical journey at age 5 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 as what Bluegrass Today has dubbed "the absurdly talented Furtado Family." Gina has played with a number of bands, including Blue Light Special, New Girls Night Out, Nash Street, and Bud's Collective, and currently tours full time with Chris Jones and the Night Drivers. 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 which was released in 2017. Her fresh approach to the banjo demonstrates a strong focus on musicality, dynamics and precision, and she is accomplished in a variety of styles ranging from Scruggs to melodic and beyond. As a teacher, Gina is down to earth and a strong believer in teaching primarily by ear. She has taught at the Murphy Method Banjo camps, Suwannee Banjo Camp. and at many other camps and workshops.
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 also 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, Colorado, and teaches regularly at music camps around the world. Jeff now tours extensively with his own band, Jeff Scroggins and Colorado, which also features the award winning players Tristan Scroggins, Ellie Hakanson, and Greg Blake.
Mike Stahlman is a Portland, Ore. banjo player whose playing style was heavily influenced by Earl Scruggs and Alan Munde. Mike has taught bluegrass banjo at Portland Community College in Portland since 1997, and currently plays banjo and tours with the Oregon-based Lee Highway. He also plays with The Loafers. Mike has recorded two banjo instrumental CD's -- "Bluebonnet," and "First Dance."
Sara Grey is widely known and respected – both as singer of traditional ballads and songs, and as a powerful, yet lyrical old-time banjo player. Although she grew up in New Hampshire, she was exposed to old-time Appalachian music during her childhood when her father was in the military and stationed in North Carolina. While still in her twenties, she joined a circle of traditional singers called the Golden Ring, which also included such folk-music notables as Ed Trickett and Gordon Bok; many of them would go on to record for Folk Legacy, a prestigious independent label (Sara’s banjo playing on her first Folk Legacy LP, Sara Grey with Ed Trickett would deeply inspire ABC Co-Director Ken Perlman). She moved to Scotland in 1970 and over the next few decades became a major fixture of the British folk scene. Sara often performs at folk festivals in the States, the UK and the European continent, and she teaches at traditional music camps and schools around the world. She now makes her home in Rockland, Maine.
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 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.
Perhaps the best-known exponent of the "melodic" clawhammer style, Ken Perlman is known wherever banjos are played as a master of clawhammer technique and an expert teacher of clawhammer mechanics. He has been a Banjo Newsletter columnist for 20 years; 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 the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Common Ground on the Hill, and the Tennessee Banjo Institute.
Lukas Pool is a multi-instrumentalist and luthier known for his innovative playing style and respect for Old-Time tradition. He grew up in Mountain View, Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains, where he started playing banjo at the age of 12. Spending most evening on the courthouse square with his friends and family, learning and growing with the music. In 2008, Lukas left Arkansas to attend Berklee College of Music. Upon graduating in 2012, Lukas has performed alongside comedian/banjo enthusiast Steve Martin, recorded with fiddling legend Darol Anger, and performed at a wide array of venues and festivals including the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Lukas is a two-time National Old Time Banjo Champion and a returning guest professor at the Berklee College of Music, and is in high demand as an instructor at camps nationwide.
Laura Smith was born and raised in Hawai'i, surrounded by the music of the islands, her Dad's piano and tenor banjo music, and the rich harmonies of the church choir. She started playing old time banjo in 1973 when she attended the Sweet's Mill Music Camp in California and has been playing and singing ever since. She sang with Larry Hanks for years and more recently has been in a duo with Steve Palazzo. She taught in the public schools for 23 years and has taught at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, the American Banjo Camp, the Georgia Strait Workshop, and the California Coast Music Camp. She lives in Bellingham, Washington.
Stephen Wade is a wildly versatile banjo player whose music equally effective in concert and theatrical settings. As noted in Bluegrass Unlimited, he "is arguably the best nongrass five-string banjo player around. His loyal following includes people who saw Banjo Dancing, his one-man stage show created from folksongs, stories, banjo tunes, and his own personal insights. Among other venues, he presented it nightly at Washington’s Arena Stage for ten years, before his On the Way Home succeeded it for several more. The Beautiful Music All Around Us, his widely-acclaimed book, includes the origins of “Rock Island Line,” “Goodbye, Old Paint,” and “Bonaparte’s Retreat,” and demonstrates that the stories behind them can be as absorbing as the songs themselves.”
David Cahn is a versatile instrumentalist who has played banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, bass, and accordion in numerous bands over the past twenty years. He's toured with Rodney Miller and appears on two of his CDs which include several of David's original tunes. He's also recorded with Clyde Moody, Charlie Moore, Wade Mainer, Helen Carter, and Mark Simos, and is featured on the Rounder recording "Young Fogies II" with his old-time band, "The Queen City Bulldogs" (the Bulldogs won first place in the band competition at Clifftop in 1994). He has taught at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Pinewoods, Augusta, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes (where he led the beginners’ band lab for twenty years),and many other camps and festivals around the country and abroad.
Orville Johnson is a singer, instrumentalist, record producer, songwriter, session player, teacher, and, above all, an instinctive and sensitive musician. As his entry in the Encyclopedia of Northwest Music (Sasquatch Press 1999) states, he has been a vital figure on the NW music scene in the thirty-some years he's lived there, appearing on over 400 CDs, movie and video soundtracks, commercials, producing 21 CDs for other artists, hosting a roots music radio show, and appearing in the 1997 film Georgia with Jennifer Jason-Leigh and Mare Winningham, on the Prairie Home Companion radio show and on Jay Leno's Tonight Show. Orville is also known as a patient and insightful teacher of music and has taught often at the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop as well as the International Guitar Seminar, Pt. Townsend Blues Workshop, Euro-Blues Workshop, ResoSummit and others.
Peter Langston will play anything with strings on it (even the banjo!). He has played in bands on both the East Coast (Metropolitan Opry, Wretched Refuse) and the West Coast (Puddle City, Entropy Service, Portland Zoo), and has performed with such notables as Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis, Tony Trischka, Peter Rowan, Chill Wills, Alison Brown, Johnny Gimble, and Mike Seeger. He appears regularly with bluegrass/Americana band 3 Play Ricochet.
Peter has led a double life as a musician and a computer whiz and has taught audio recording, computer science, and songwriting at the college level. In addition to the American Banjo Camp, Peter directs the California Bluegrass Association's Summer Music Camp in Grass Valley, CA. WEB SITE
Mick Nicholson started out as a tuba player, and was a member of the Bremerton Symphony for 6 years. While a Navy musician in the 1970s, he led several jazz and rock bands as an electric bassist touring thoughout the Pacific. In order to concentrate on the upright bass, Mick joined the Washington, DC Navy Band in 1984, culminating with a four year stint in the navy's premier Country/Bluegrass group, "Country Current." Mick moved back home to the Northwest in 1995 and quickly became an active player in the local acoustic music scene. Comfortable with a wide variety of styles, he has gigged with artists ranging from Vince Gill to Dizzy Gillespie. Presently, he is a member of "Me and the Boys" (bluegrass), "The Don Alverson Quintet" (jazz and dixieland), and "The Less Paulish Trio" (Django on steroids). In addition, Mick freelances as an electric and acoustic bassist and teaches at various band camps and workshops. He also plays a mean tuba, though he does not endorse or receive any remuneration from the Mean Tuba Company.
The son of a National Banjo Champion, Tristan Scroggins was surrounded with bluegrass traditions from birth. Having performed everywhere from rural bluegrass festivals to the Grand Ole Opry, Tristan was awarded the prestigious Instrumentalist of the Year Momentum Award by the International Bluegrass Music Association in 2017 and the inaugural Freshgrass Mandolin Award in 2019. With a signature raw mandolin groove, bold fashion sense, charismatic yet soft spoken confidence, and keen sensitivity to style and artistic innovation, twenty-four year old mandolinist Tristan Scroggins is quickly becoming a highly influential voice of both music and community in the world of bluegrass. Tristan has taught at camps and workshops across the U.S., Canada, and Europe for the better part of the last decade.
Bobby Taylor is a fourth generation West Virginia fiddler. He plays several styles of old-time and contest fiddling, but got his start from the legendary fiddler Clark Kessinger, who is considered one of the fathers of bluegrass fiddling. Bobby was the 1977 West Virginia State Open Fiddle Champion. In 2003, Bobby received the Footbridge Award from FOOTMAD (Friends of Old-Time Music and Dance) for his contributions to old-time music. In 2010, he was presented the Vandalia Award - West Virginia’s highest folk-life honor - by the West Virginia Division of Culture and History. Bobby has been the coordinator of West Virginia's Vandalia Gathering contests in Charleston, WV since 1979. He was the contest coordinator of the Appalachian Open Contest from 1984 through 1987, and for many years he has served as the contest coordinator at Appalachian String Band Music Festival (often known as “Clifftop”). Bobby is also a noted fiddle contest judge; he has judged the Tennessee, Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia state championships, and is a regular judge at the Old Fiddler’s Convention in Galax, VA. He has judged the Grand Master Fiddle Championship in Nashville, TN five times from 2006-2010. In 2008, he served as a judge at the Grand National Fiddle Championship in Weiser, ID. Bobby has taught fiddle workshops at the Augusta Heritage Center and at Allegheny Echoes in West Virginia. He currently presents historical showcases on fiddle styles with his old-time band “Kanawha Tradition.” His website is http://www.btfiddler.com