Mac Traynham
Mac Traynhamfiddle, clawhammer banjo, rhythm guitar
Mac Traynham is an accomplished fiddler and banjo player as well as a fine guitar player and singer. Influenced by well known and obscure musicians of the past, Mac has developed a hard-driving style of playing which keeps the rhythm going strongly and delights dancers! He teaches at numerous music camps and has won many ribbons from various Fiddler’s Conventions.
Jesse Smathers
Jesse Smathersmandolin, guitar
Currently performing on mandolin and singing lead and tenor vocals with the Lonesome River Band, Jesse Smathers is an accomplished mandolinist, guitarist, and singer from Eden, North Carolina. Heavily influenced by the music that runs in his family, Jesse has found inspiration and takes pride in his musical family lineage. His grandfather, Harold Smathers, and grand uncle, Luke Smathers, recorded for June Appal and were awarded the North Carolina Folk Heritage Award in 1993 for their contributions to North Carolina Folk Music with the Luke Smathers String Band. In 2009, Jesse won the guitar championship of the Virginia Folk Music Association. He also has won at the Charlie Poole Festival and placed 3rd in guitar at The Old Time Fiddlers Convention in Galax. Jesse began his career as a touring musician with the James King Band in 2010, playing mandolin and singing tenor and high baritone, and later rejoined the band performing guitar and vocals. In 2013, High Voltage, featuring Jesse as guitarist and lead vocalist, won first place in the bluegrass band category at the Galax Old Time Fiddlerʼs Convention. Jesse joined Nothinʼ Fancy and was also inducted into the music fraternity Phi Mu Alpha in 2014. The Lonesome River Band welcomed him to the group as a mandolin player and lead and tenor vocalist in 2015 and Jesse won the 2017 IBMA Momentum Award for Vocalist of the year. He now resides in Floyd, Virginia.
Seph Custer
Seph Custerguitar, mandolin, dobro, bass, ukelele
Seph learned guitar at age 12 from The Handmade Music School’s very own David Cannaday. He took that knowledge and applied it to banjo and mandolin in his teenage years, and has been teaching lessons and playing with various bands since. Seph released a solo album through Windfall Studios in 2016, and has played a number of high profile shows with The Papa Tom Band since, averaging 120+ performances a year. With almost a decade of experience in teaching, playing, and repairing instruments, Seph is well versed in music theory and practical application.
Elizabeth LaPrelle
Elizabeth LaPrellesinging
Elizabeth LaPrelle has been performing and studying Appalachian ballads and old-time songs since she was eleven. Raised in Rural Retreat, Virginia, Elizabeth attended old time fiddlers’ conventions and sang harmonies with her family, who encouraged her to sing their own favorite American folk music. As a teen Elizabeth learned the ‘mountain’ style of singing from mentors Ginny Hawker and Sheila Kay Adams, which led her to explore archives and field recordings for ancient and little-known songs. She received her undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary with a major in Southern Appalachian Traditional Performance, and in 2011 formed performance duo “Anna & Elizabeth” with Anna Roberts-Gevalt. She now tours the US regularly both performing and teaching.
Kris Truelsen
Kris Truelsenold time guitar, country and blues fingerstyle guitar (online instruction only)
Kris Truelsen is the leader of Bill and the Belles, a cutting-edge string band based in Johnson City, TN. Over the years, Kris has developed a unique approach to singing, songwriting, and guitar playing that is influenced by country music sounds of the past yet remains fresh and original. As the first student to graduate with a master’s degree in Appalachian Studies from East Tennessee State University, he continues to expand and share his knowledge of traditional American music and his enthusiasm surrounding early country music touches audiences internationally. Kris is the Producer of Radio Bristol and reviver and host of the historic radio program “Farm and Fun Time.”
David Cannaday
David Cannadaybluegrass banjo, bluegrass guitar, mandolin
David started teaching at 15 years old. He has worked in music stores and teaching studios ever since. David is currently teaching on Thursdays and accepting students for bluegrass banjo, guitar, mandolin, lap dulcimer & autoharp.
Andy Buckman
Andy Buckmanclawhammer banjo
Andy has played clawhammer banjo and sung in church since childhood. He has performed and recorded with Mac and Jenny Traynham, the Reed Island Rounders, and the Wolfe Brothers, and has taught at numerous workshops. His music is rooted in the playing of Wade Ward, Abe Horton, and Harold Hausenfluck. Andy teaches both fretted and fretless banjo in traditional Blue Ridge clawhammer and thumb lead styles.
Andrew Small
Andrew Smallfiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, bass, dulcimer, singing
Born and raised in eastern North Carolina, Andrew Small is a multi-instrumentalist and singer who has performed with artists ranging from Sierra Hull and Mandolin Orange to the North Carolina Symphony. He now resides in Floyd, VA where he serves as Coordinator of the Handmade Music School and also tours with the group Bill and the Belles. Singing and performing on mandolin and fiddle with his wife Ashlee Watkins as the New Macedon Rangers, Andrew is a regular performer for Friday Night Jamborees at the Floyd Country Store. Andrew has won numerous blue ribbons from fiddlers’ conventions around the Southeast for his old-time fiddling and in 2015 was named the Bluegrass Mandolin Champion of Australia. He holds a master’s degree in music performance from Yale University.
Kalia Yeagle
Kalia Yeaglefiddle (online instruction only)
Kalia Yeagle (kuh-LEE-uh YAY-gull) is among the faculty of East Tennessee State University’s Bluegrass, Old-Time, and Country Music Studies program. She is a fiddler and vocalist with Bill and the Belles, who’s accomplishments include tours across Europe, critical acclaim from Rolling Stone, garnering blue ribbons at fiddlers conventions, participating in the first Appalachia-Michoacán cultural exchange with indigenous Purépecha musicians, and serving as the house band for PBS special and historic radio show Farm and Fun Time. Before joining the faculty at ETSU, Kalia ran a private studio and led classes and workshops throughout the United States and Canada. Kalia grew up in Alaska, where long winters and strong, diverse communities have produced a music scene unlike any other.
Abe Goorskey
Abe Goorskeymandolin
Abe first discovered acoustic music at The Floyd Country Store as a teenager. He learned to play from local musicians Bernie Coveney and Mike Mitchell and has gone on to perform and record with many bands and groups since. He currently plays with the folk/bluegrass group Amber Collins & Branch House Pavilion, as well as Lynchburg based acoustic band Good Buddy. ​