Mando & Banjo Week Staff - August 6-12, 2017
Tony Trischka is perhaps the most influential banjo player in the roots music world. In his 40-plus years as a consummate banjo artist, his stylings have inspired generations of bluegrass and acoustic musicians. His technical and conceptual advances opened the way for such players as Bela Fleck and Alison Brown and his recordings with them and others, from Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley and Pete Seeger are part of every banjo- lover’s musical reference. A native of Syracuse, NY, Trischka’s interest in banjo was sparked in 1963 by the Kingston Trio’s hit, “Charlie and the MTA.” Over the next decade and a half, he was a member of a number of influential groups including the Down City Ramblers, Country Cooking, Country Granola, and Breakfast Special. These last three comprised his “food band” period. After his third solo album, Banjoland, was released in 1976, he became the musical leader for the Broadway show, The Robber Bridegroom. In the early 1980s, he formed a new group, Skyline, with whom he recorded four albums, and in 1984, he performed in his first feature film, Foxfire. Three years later, he worked on the soundtrack for Driving Miss Daisy. He has also appeared on NPR’s A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, From Our Front Porch, and other radio shows, and recently produced Steve Martin’s Grammy-nominated Rare Bird Alert (Rounder), which features performances by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks. His 2007 release, Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular, featured appearances by Steve Martin, Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Alison Brown and more, was nominated for a Grammy and won three IBMA awards including Banjo Player of the Year for Tony. His recent recording, Territory, was named Best Americana Album at the Independent Music Awards,and in 2015 Tony was presented with the Gathering’s Master Music Maker award for lifetime achievement. Tony is the musical director and associate producer of the documentary, Give Me the Banjo, which aired on PBS and has been released on DVD. He has created numerous instructional books, DVDs, CDs and the groundbreaking Tony Trischka School of Banjo, that is the online banjo home for students from around the world. Tony was also recently one of 50 recipients to receive a fellowship from United States Artists, a privately endowed organization that annually awards grants to participants in all of the arts, including music, dance, visual artists, and literature. His album, Great Big World, featuring Steve Martin, John Goodman, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Noam Pikelny and many others, was released in 2014, and his most recent CD, the seasonal Of a Winter’s Night came out in late 2015.
Mike Marshall is one of the most accomplished and versatile mandolinists in the world today. Since 2011, Mike has taught hundreds of mandolinists from around the world through his Mike Marshall School of Mandolin online website. There, students from around the world get access to Mike through a video exchange system and receive direct comments about their playing from Mike personally. A master of mandolin, guitar, mandocello and violin, Mike is a living compendium of musical styles and has created some of the most adventurous and interesting instrumental music in America today. Mike seamlessly blends his American roots background with a deep understanding of European classical, American Jazz and Pop styles and Brazilian and other world musics. Mike cut his teeth on traditional American music in Florida but by age 19 he was snatched up by the groundbreaking David Grisman Quintet to tour and record with jazz violin legend Stephane Grappelli. Since then, Mike produced over 40 of his own recordings on the Windham Hill, Sony Classical, Rounder, Sugar Hill, Compass and his own Adventure Music label. His most recent recording projects include the 2014 Grammy-nominated recording, Mike Marshall & The Turtle Island Quartet as well as a new CD of Bach duets for mandolin and mandocello with his partner, Caterina Lichtenberg. Mike’s Brazilian group Choro Famoso also released their second CD in 2015, entitled Secondo Vez. A short list of some of the groups that Mike helped found includes The original David Grisman Quintet, The Montreux Band, The Modern Mandolin Quartet, New Grange, The Big Trio, Psychograss, and Choro Famoso, while his list of duo partners includes Caterina Lichtenberg, Darol Anger, Edgar Meyer, Chris Thile, Hamilton De Holanda, Bela Fleck, Joshua Bell, Jovino Santos Neto, and Andy Narell. From 2003-2015 Mike and fellow mandolinist David Grisman ran the Mandolin Symposium in Santa Cruz, California where over 100 mandolinists and 10 of the greatest players/teachers in the world would gather each June. Mike is currently the director of the American Music Seminar at the Savannah Music Festival, where each spring he hand-selects 15 of the hottest young acoustic musicians from all over the country to meet for a week-long intensive. In 2015 Mike was presented with the Gathering’s Master Music Maker award for lifetime achievement, and he has just launched his newest venture, the Global Mandolin Retreats, an exquisite mandolin gathering at fabulous locations around the world. Stay tuned!
Bill has taught hundreds of thousands of banjo players of all levels from all over the world through his best-selling books and DVDs, hundreds of camp and workshop appearances and private lessons. His books Banjo For Dummies, Bluegrass Banjo For Dummies and Parking Lot Pickers Songbook: Banjo Edition, along with nine Homespun, Murphy Method and AcuTab DVD projects have set the modern standard for bluegrass banjo instruction. He has mentored professional players Chris Pandolfi, Greg Liszt, Wes Corbett and Jayme Stone among many others. Bill’s latest CD release is More Fine Times At Fletcher’s House with Norman & Nancy Blake, and his most recent DVD set is Licks-ercises for Bluegrass Banjo from Homespun. He has performed with David Bromberg, Dry Branch Fire Squad, Peter Rowan, David Grisman, Laurie Lewis, Jody Stecher, Hazel & Alice, Mike Seeger and many others in a career that now spans over four decades. He currently tours with his solo show, The Banjo in America, and he also appears with guitar flatpicking legend Dan Crary.
Since first hitting the professional scene in the early 1980’s, Alan has made a name for himself as one of the most creative and technically gifted mandolinists in bluegrass and acoustic music. He was an original member of such ground-breaking bands as The New Quicksilver, IIIrd Tyme Out, BlueRidge and, for the last 9 years, Alan Bibey & Grasstowne. He was selected as Mandolin Performer Of The Year for 2007, 2009 and 2010 by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) and won Album of the Year in 2008. His IBMA awards include Instrumental Album of the Year in 2001, Album of the Year in 2006, and Recorded Event in 2012. He has had numerous #1 albums and songs, including Grasstowne’s latest, “Cold Dark Ground”, which he wrote with country great Mark Collie and Ronnie Bowman. His latest project, The Mandolin Chronicles, was nominated last year for 5 IBMA awards. 2004’s BlueRidge project, for which he wrote the title track, was nominated for a Grammy. He was included in the Mel Bay book Greatest Mandolin Players of the Twentieth Century, and in 2004, the Gibson Company put into production the Alan Bibey Signature line of mandolins, reaffirming his status as one of the most influential mandolin players in bluegrass and acoustic music history.
Paul Brown has been hooked on traditional southern music since early childhood, when he started picking up songs his mother had learned as a kid in piedmont Virginia. Paul took up banjo at age ten, and fiddle a bit later. His playing bears influences of the North Carolina and Virginia masters he sought out as a young adult, and he loves to share what he learned from these memorable players. He also loves dancing and playing fiddle and banjo for square dances. Paul has appeared at camps and festivals around the U.S. since the early 1970s including many times at our Old-Time Week. He’s recorded and produced highly-regarded traditional music albums, and won numerous banjo and fiddle contests.
Grammy-nominated mandolinist Matt Flinner has made a career out of playing acoustic music in new ways. Whether it’s with his own Matt Flinner Trio or with the Frank Vignola Quartet, Phillips, Grier & Flinner, Darrell Scott, Steve Martin, the Ying Quartet, Leftover Salmon or the Modern Mandolin Quartet, Flinner’s style and compositional ability have established him as one of the most accomplished and musically diverse mandolinists in the world. Originally a banjo prodigy who was playing bluegrass festivals before he entered his teens, Flinner later took up the mandolin, won the National Banjo Competition in Winfield, KS in 1990, and won the mandolin award there the following year. Matt now tours regularly with the Matt Flinner Trio, which is known for its off-the-cuff compositional daring, writing music the same day it’s performed on most of their shows. He also tours regularly with the Modern Mandolin Quartet, which was nominated for three Grammy awards for their CD Americana in 2013. Some of Matt’s compositions have been performed by the Ying Quartet, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, the Expedition Quintet and the Modern Mandolin Quartet.
A Juno-nominated and Grammy-award winning artist, John Reischman is one of the premier mandolinists of his generation, known for his work with his band, the Jaybirds, and his acclaimed solo albums, but he got his start in the late 1970s as an original member of the Tony Rice Unit with whom he helped define the “new acoustic music” movement. Influenced by Bill Monroe, but also by such adventurous players as Sam Bush, David Grisman, and jazz mandolinist Jethro Burns, Reischman performed during the 1980s with the seminal bluegrass band, The Good Ol’ Persons. In 1996, he won a Grammy as part of Todd Phillips’ all-star tribute album to Bill Monroe, and he’s collaborated with a remarkably wide range of artists, such as Kathy Kallick, Scott Nygaard, Tony Furtado, Chinese Music ensemble Red Chamber, and more. Long inspired by Latin American roots music, from Puerto Rican cuatro to Brazilian choro music, John’s been exploring this music and forging new compositions from these inspirations in his duo with Seattle master acoustic guitarist John Miller. In 2013, John released his third solo album, Walk Along John, a celebration of his long career, with old friends like fiddler Bruce Molsky, banjoist Tony Trischka, the Punch Brothers’ Chris Thile, bluegrass guitarist Kenny Smith, plus members of the Jaybirds, and new friends such as guitarist Eli West of The Deadly Gentlemen.
Don Stiernberg recently began his fifth decade as a working musician. Along the way he has been involved in many musical activities: performing, writing, recording, producing, and teaching, but is best known for his mandolin playing. Born and still based in Chicago, the mandolin found Don as he grew up “out in the woods” in the nearly-rural suburb of Wauconda, IL. Things came into focus both mandolin- and life-wise when his parents sent Don to study with Jethro Burns, famous comedian(Homer and Jethro) and the greatest mandolinist of his time. From the very first lesson, Burns was more than a teacher. He was a role model, hero, mentor, and friend, and Stiernberg was hooked and hooked bad on the mandolin. Currently, Don is regarded as a leading exponent of jazz mandolin style,and a respected teacher. The most recent of his nine recording projects is Good Numbers, a collection of standards and jazz tunes played by his working band, The Don Stiernberg Trio, which has performed coast to coast as well as in Germany and Brazil. In 2016, Don released three online video instructional courses for Soundslice.com and he also conveys his love of the mandolin and music at events such as The Mandolin Symposium(CA), The Swannanoa Gathering(NC), Django in June(MA), Mandolin and Guitar Camp North(MA),Steve Kaufman Acoustic Camp(TN), River of the West Mandolin Camp(OR), Cape Cod Mandolin Camp(MA), Ashokan Swing Week(NY), Accademia Internacionale di Mandolino(Italy), European Mandoline Akademy(Germany)and Momento Rio Bandolim(Brazil).
Caterina Lichtenberg is one of the most important classical mandolinists in the world today. Raised in Germany, she has spent the past 20 years recording, teaching and touring throughout Europe, Japan, Taiwan, South America, Canada and the U.S. Since 2007, Caterina has held the world’s only professorship for classical mandolin/soprano lute at the Music Conservatory in Cologne. As a featured soloist, Ms Lichtenberg has performed with the New Century Orchestra under Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, the LA Guitar Quartet, the Brandenburgisches Staatsorchester of Frankfurt, under Diego Fasolis, and the Aachen Chamber Orchestra. She has also performed with the Dresden Symphony Orchestra, the MDR Orchestra under Fabio Luisi, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under Riccardo Chailly, the MDR Sinfonie Orchestra under Howard Arman, the Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra under Lorin Maazel, and with Art Garfunkel on live German TV. To date, Caterina has released 10 CDs under her own leadership in a variety of chamber music settings and five with Mirko Schrader (lute/guitar). As a specialist on early period instruments, Caterina was invited to record on a 1775 mandolin from the Ferdinandeum Museum in Innsbruck in Austria. She has performed at The Carmel Bach Festival, Rockygrass Bluegrass Festival, Festival de Mandolins de Lunel France, The Savannah Music Festival, and the Baroque Festival in Santa Cruz, CA. She has also been a juror and a sought-after lecturer at numerous events including the European Plucked String Orchestra in Logroño (Spain) and Bologna (Italy), the International Mandolin Festival in Kobe (Japan), The International Mandolin Convention in Washington, Minneapolis and San Diego (USA), The Mandolin Symposium, and she has been a part of Mando & Banjo Week since its inception. Her collaborations with husband Mike Marshall blur the lines between their classical, jazz, bluegrass and Brazilian musical backgrounds. She has published instructional books and filmed two DVD instructional videos for Homespun music, and in January of 2016 launched her online Classical Mandolin School through ArtistWorks where students will receive direct comments about their playing from Caterina personally through a video exchange system.
Terri McMurray has a sharp wit, a memorable smile and great chops on 5-string banjo, banjo uke, and guitar. She looked and listened hard during her years around some of the great master traditional musicians in NC and southern VA, and won the Galax, VA old-time banjo contest in 1982. She played for more than 20 years with the Toast String Stretchers, the most active band in the well-known metropolis of Toast, NC, between Round Peak and Mount Airy. She currently plays with Paul Brown in the Mountain Birch Duo.
Alan Munde began his long career in bluegrass music with the 1968 recording of Poor Richard’s Almanac featuring Sam Bush and Wayne Stewart, followed by a grounding in traditional bluegrass music with IBMA Hall of Fame member Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys. In 1972, Alan joined his college picking friend Byron Berline in the progressive bluegrass group Country Gazette. Alan continued as the anchor of the group for 21 years. Along the way, he recorded many highly-regarded albums including Banjo Sandwich, the Festival Favorites series and he was featured on the 2001 IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year, Knee Deep in Bluegrass. His most recent recording is a duo CD with mandolin player Billy Bright entitled Bright Munde. He taught in the Bluegrass Music Program at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas for 20 years and has also published many instructional books for Mel Bay, instructional DVDs for Texas Music and Video, and participated in music workshops and camps in both America and Europe
A native of Mississippi, Compton picked up mandolin in his teens and absorbed the area’s native blues, old-time country and bluegrass sounds. He soon gravitated to Nashville, where he helped found one of the 20th Century’s most admired and influential bluegrass groups, the iconic Nashville Bluegrass Band. With more than 140 CDs in his discography, he’s spent decades touring and recording with everyone from rock stars Sting, Gregg Allman and Elvis Costello to acoustic legends John Hartford, Doc Watson, Peter Rowan, Ralph Stanley, David Grisman, and country icons Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton and Patty Loveless. When A-list Americana producer T-Bone Burnett needed experts in authentic rural musical styles to anchor the award-winning landmark O Brother, Where Art Thou? film and subsequent tour, he called upon Compton’s unique knowledge and signature mandolin style to authenticate the Soggy Bottom Boys’ rootsy sound. Befriended and mentored by Bill Monroe, the acknowledged father of bluegrass music, Compton is one of today’s foremost interpreters of Monroe’s genre-creating mandolin style, but with equal proficiency in old-time string band music, country blues, rootsy Americana styles, and much more, he soars beyond easy categorization. Connoisseur of hand-painted vintage silk ties, popularizer of the denim overall urban fashion statement, and lover of iconic men’s hats, Mike Compton thrives at the intersection of traditional funk and modern authenticity.
One of New England’s premiere instrumentalists, David Surette is highly regarded for his work on the guitar (both flatpicked and fingerstyle), mandolin and bouzouki in a wide variety of settings. As a soloist, he is nationally-known as a top player of Celtic fingerstyle guitar, yet his diverse repertoire also includes original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity. He has performed as a duo with his wife, singer Susie Burke, for over 20 years, recording several albums and building a reputation as one of New England’s top folk duos. Their new duo CD, Waiting For The Sun, was released in the fall of 2015. Surette was a founding member of the Airdance band with fiddler Rodney Miller, with whom he recorded four albums and toured nationally. He has also released five solo recordings – his most recent is Return to Kemper, a collection of original and traditional solo guitar pieces from 1990-2011. David is an accomplished and gifted teacher who has taught at workshops and camps throughout the U.S. and the U.K. He is folk music coordinator at the Concord (NH) Community Music School, and artistic director of their March Mandolin Festival. He has authored a book of Celtic fingerstyle guitar arrangements for Mel Bay Publications, and is a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar and Strings magazines.
Rich DelGrosso’s music has been described as a “box o’ rocks voice, locomotive riffs, and sparks-a-flyin’ licks doing nothing but right.” His performances at clubs and festivals, and airplay of his recordings, have garnered him eight Blues Music Award nominations. Six of them were for “Best Instrumentalist” for his mandolin work, and two others for “Best Acoustic Album of the Year:” Live From Bluesville, with Fiona Boyes and Mookie Brill, and The Ragpicker String Band. This writer/teacher/performer is widely regarded as the leading exponent of mandolin blues. For over thirty years DelGrosso has performed and written articles for Blues Revue, Living Blues, Mandolin Magazine, Frets, and Sing Out!, and published mandolin and guitar instruction books for Hal Leonard Publications. He has presented workshops across the Americas and Europe, earning him a “Keeping the Blues Alive Award” from the Blues Foundation in Memphis.
Ed is the lead guitarist and singer for Wood & Steel, a bluegrass band based in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. Bluegrass Unlimited called their 2007 release, Poor Boy, “a masterpiece of hard-driving bluegrass.” Tony Rice calls their music, “Bluegrass, in one of its most pure, unfiltered forms; played by good musicians.” Wood & Steel’s music was featured nationally in Home & Garden Television’s 2002 special, Barns Revisited, and Ed has recorded three albums with mandolin player/builder Skip Kelley, including their 2010 release, Hopped That Train and…Gone. Ed is an accomplished songwriter, and a powerful rhythm and lead player with a deep abiding love of traditional music.
Lynn Dudenbostel | www.lynndudenbostel.com
Among many players, Lynn’s intruments are some of the most highly prized, and he is usually listed in that rareified handful of the very best luthiers. Inspired by the vintage Martin guitars and Gibson mandolins of the 1920’s and 1930’s, Lynn became a full-time luthier in 1997 and continues to build traditional-style guitars and mandolins in his shop in Maryville, TN. This is Lynn’s sixth year as our luthier-in-residence, offering repair services throughout the week.