Banjo

with Jake Blount
ABOUT THE CLASS

Class description coming soon!

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Jake Blount is an award-winning banjoist, fiddler, singer and scholar based in Washington, DC. He has studied with modern masters of old-time music, including Bruce Molsky, Judy Hyman (of the Horse Flies), and Rhiannon Giddens and Hubby Jenkins (of the GRAMMY-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops). Although he is proficient in multiple old-time styles, he specializes in the music of Black and Native American communities in the southeastern United States, and in the regional style of Ithaca, New York. In 2016, Blount became the first Black person to make the finals at the prestigious Appalachian String Band Music Festival (better known as Clifftop), and the first to win in the traditional band category.

Blount has shared his music and research at the Smithsonian Institution, the Old Songs Folk Festival, and Berklee School of Music, as well as numerous other venues and institutions. He teaches fiddle and banjo privately, as well as at camps like the Augusta Heritage Center’s Old-Time Week, the Ashokan Center’s Old-Time Rollick, and Earful of Fiddle Music and Dance Camp.

Old Time Fiddle: Dance Tunes from the Blue Ridge

with Mac Traynham
ABOUT THE CLASS

Build up your repertoire of mountain style dance tunes for fiddle.In this workshop Mac will demonstrate how basic bowing plus simple phrase endings can be used to play certain tunes with more confidence. Such stylistic bowing details will match-up with the basic clawhammer banjo lick to create a sound that attracts dancers. Mac will touch on several tunes both obscure and common that are local to the Blue Ridge area of Southwest, Virginia. Old-time fiddle tunings of ADAE and AEAE will used.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

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.

Mac Traynham

Two Finger Banjo

with Nora Brown
ABOUT THE CLASS

In this two finger workshop we will dive into a favorite old time tune, East Virginia. This is a version I got from George Gibson, a great Kentucky banjo master – but many others play the tune as its a common one in the old-time repertoire. This is a great intermediate tune, it’s best if you are familiar with the two finger style. Two finger is a great style to accompany singing and is often used this way in Eastern Kentucky banjo music. East Virginia is a great example of this. That being said, if you like to sing and play banjo, this workshop is great for you!

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Nora Brown started learning music at the age of 6 from the late Shlomo Pestcoe. From his studio apartment in Brooklyn, Pestcoe instilled in her the belief that music is meant to be shared. Nora plays old-time traditional music with a particular interest in eastern Kentucky and Tennessee banjo playing. Along with the banjo she’s interested in techniques of unaccompanied ballads form the Southeast region of the United States. She has played at numerous venues and festivals on the East Coast including TED salon in NYC, Joe’s Pub, the Floyd Radio Show, Washington Square Park Folk Festival, Brooklyn Folk Festival, Brooklyn Americana Festival, Oldtone Roots Music Festival, Irvington Folk Festival, Summer & Winter Hoots at the Ashokan Center, and has had multiple month long residencies at famed Barbès in Brooklyn NY.

Nora has taught both beginning and advanced banjo classes at the Ashokan Center’s long standing old-time camp known as Southern Week in Olivebridge, NY. Nora continues to travel and learn from old masters and has taken regular trips to eastern Kentucky to visit with 90 year old master banjo player and former coal miner Lee Sexton and master banjo player and historian George Gibson.

Nora has won numerous banjo and folk song competitions at various fiddlers conventions including the Clifftop Appalachian String Band Music Festival and Grayson County Old-time and Bluegrass Fiddlers Convention. In October 2019 Jalopy Records released Nora’s first album of 11 traditional songs and tunes called Cinnamon Tree. It was produced by the legendary Alice Gerrard and pressed by Third Man Pressing in Detroit. It’s only available on limited edition vinyl with a digital download and liner notes. Cinnamon Tree landed #7 on the Billboard Bluegrass Charts the 2nd week of its release.

Nora Brown

Flatfoot Dance (all levels)

with Becky Hill
ABOUT THE CLASS

Learn a few steps to invigorate you to dance in your kitchen or at the Floyd Country Store on a Friday night. We will spend an afternoon immersed in clogging & flatfooting steps from an array of dancers from the Appalachian region. We will look at improvisation, musicality, and creating our own steps inspired by the masters. Come ready to dance in either leather bottoms or smooth soled shoes, and have a spot cleared out in your house that you can move in. I encourage dancing on a nice hard wood floor, just no cement please. Bring your questions and we’ll try our very best to have a dance party.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Becky Hill is an accomplished and sought after percussive dancer, Appalachian square dance caller, and choreographer. Becky has worked with Footworks Percussive Dance Ensemble, Rhythm in Shoes, Good Foot Dance Company and studied with an array of percussive dance luminaries. She performs regularly with the T-Mart Rounders, directed her first full-length music and dance work inspired by Appalachian traditions, Shift in 2017 and in Fall 2018 she was selected as a fellow for OneBeat, a U.S. State Department Cultural Diplomacy Program. She is currently seeking her MFA in Dance at University of Maryland College Park. As an avid organizer and teacher, Becky’s work is deeply rooted in the connections between music and community. She believes there is always more to learn and is dedicated to creating innovative choreography rooted in percussive and vernacular dance. Learn more at rebeccahill.org.

Duet Singing (with Andrew Small)

with Ash Watkins
ABOUT THE CLASS

This workshop will delve into the incredibly varied and intimate world of vocal duets. While there may be as many ways to approach duet singing as there are singers, we’ll take this time to demonstrate and examine some of the many considerations to be made when arranging songs as a duet. Topics will include how we choose parts (assigning lead and harmony), finding the right key, and various stylistic choices to be made, as well as how to achieve a good vocal blend by examining phrasing, pronunciation, intonation, and tone production.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Ashlee Watkins is a singer and multi-instrumentalist originally from Newcastle, NSW. Described by fiddler Bob Herring as having “it”, her powerfully unadorned vocals possess a timeless quality that evokes an uncommon emotional poignance. She has been awarded a number of blue ribbons from fiddlers’ conventions around the southeast for her folk singing and old-time banjo playing, and her band the New Macedon Rangers has been awarded blue ribbons in both old-time and bluegrass band categories. Now making her home in Floyd, Virginia, Ashlee also performs as a member of Jackson Cunningham’s string band Nobody’s Business.

Ash Watkins

Mandolin, Duet Singing (with Ashlee Watkins)

with Andrew Small
ABOUT THE CLASS

In this workshop we will explore the role of the mandolin in an old-time string band while considering both rhythmic and melodic capacities. We will highlight differences between playing the mandolin in old-time and traditional bluegrass settings. Addressing topics including shuffle rhythm, accents, stylistic melodies, two and three-finger chord shapes and inversions, and tone production, we will use tunes from the heart of the old-time repertoire as vehicles for demonstration.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Multi-instrumentalist Andrew Small has performed with artists ranging from Sierra Hull and Mandolin Orange to the North Carolina Symphony. A native of eastern North Carolina, Andrew now lives in Floyd, VA where he serves as Director 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, their band the New Macedon Rangers are regular performers 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 Masters Degree in Double Bass Performance from Yale University.

Andrew Small Fiddle (portrait)

Fiddle

with Kalia Yeagle
ABOUT THE CLASS

Class description coming soon!

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

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.

Kalia Yeagle

Old Time Guitar: Beyond the Boom Chuck

with Kris Truelsen
ABOUT THE CLASS

In this workshop you will learn some approaches to making your old time guitar playing have a unique and refreshing voice of its own. Expand your repertoire and build upon your fundamentals by dissecting an obscure tune from the 1930s. You’ll learn what makes it stand out from the crowd and come away with various techniques to help you develop your individual voice on the guitar. This workshop is intended for the intermediate and advanced student.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

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.”

Kris Truelsen

Bass

with Joseph Dejarnette
ABOUT THE CLASS

The bass workshop will focus on solid rhythm playing for dancing and concert settings and we will emphasize quality time keeping. I am excited to share my experience, techniques, thoughts, tips and stories about:

  • Timing
  • Tone
  • Muting
  • Right and left hand techniques and exercises
  • PerformanceSound reinforcement options
  • Note choice, runs, ornaments, slap styles and what not to play (don’t be afraid of open spaces!)

Class will consist of listening where we analyze recordings of stringbands, as well as discussion and hands on playing. In particular, we will examine a multitrack recording of the new river valley’s most popular dance band by listening to isolated tracks and identifying the elusive and abstract timing subtleties that make for a great dance groove. After listening and discussion, we will craft bass backup parts to a popular dance tune. I teach by ear, and there will be no tablature or chord charts.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Originally from Madison, Virginia, Joebass discovered old-time music through 78 rpm records which he began collecting at age 6. Eventually he traveled to Brooklyn, NY, and spent a decade playing music full-time throughout the US and internationally, concluding with over two dozen shows on the 2009 Bob Dylan/Willie Nelson tour. He now lives back in Virginia where he runs Studio 808A, a “band and breakfast” recording studio that specializes in traditional music. He has taught in the JAM program (Junior Appalachian Musicians), Music Lab Floyd, The Carnegie Hall Neighborhood concert series as well as festival workshops around the world. He runs sound at the Swannanoa Gathering, CROMA and Rockbridge old-time music weeks and in 2015 he was selected to become coordinator of the Old-Time Music Week at the Augusta Heritage Center. At Studio 808A, DeJarnette has worked with many master Appalachian musicians in the studio such as Alice Gerrard, Bruce Greene, Eddie Bond, and Gerry Milnes, up and coming young traditional musicians such as Anna and Elizabeth, as well as more mainstream acts such as Lake Street Dive, Sxip Shirey, Curtis Eller and Rhiannon Giddens.

Appalachian Step Dance: Buckdancing, Flatfooting, and Clogging (pre-recorded lecture)

with Phil Jamison
ABOUT THE CLASS

At music venues, such as the Floyd Country Store in Floyd, Virginia, when an old-time or bluegrass band plays a lively breakdown, it is not uncommon to see dancers get out on the floor and accompany the music with their feet. This traditional Appalachian step dancing is commonly known as “buckdancing” or “flatfooting.” In this presentation, we will examine the history of these step dances, identify the influence of earlier European and African dance styles, and trace the evolution of clogging – from the square dance teams of the late 1920s, when percussive footwork was first combined with southern Appalachian square dance figures, to the contemporary clogging of today.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Phil Jamison is a nationally-known dance caller, old-time musician, and flatfoot dancer. He has called dances, performed, and taught at music festivals and dance events throughout the U.S. and overseas since the early 1970s, including more than thirty-five years as a member of the Green Grass Cloggers. His flatfoot dancing was featured in the film, Songcatcher, for which he also served as Traditional Dance consultant. From 1982 through 2004, he toured and played guitar with Ralph Blizard and the New Southern Ramblers, and he also plays fiddle and banjo.

Over the last thirty years, Phil has done extensive research in the area of Appalachian dance, and his recently-published book Hoedowns, Reels, and Frolics: Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance (University of Illinois Press, 2015) tells the story behind the square dances, step dances, reels, and other forms of dance practiced in southern Appalachia. Phil teaches traditional music and dance at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, North Carolina, where for twenty-five years he served as coordinator of the Old-Time Music and Dance Week at the Swannanoa Gathering.

Women in Traditional Music (pre-recorded lecture)

with Alice Gerrard
ABOUT THE CLASS

Women have always sung and played traditional music: music that grew and flourished in traditional communities since the beginning of time. Although often unrecognized and often oppressed, these women played a vital part in preserving and in advancing musical traditions, and they insisted on being heard. This presentation will show, in photos, audio, and video some of these women and the communities in which they lived and from which they drew their strength. Many of them had a profound influence on me.

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR

Simply put, Alice Gerrard is a talent of legendary status. In a career spanning some 50 years, she has known, learned from, and performed with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats and has in turn earned worldwide respect for her own important contributions to the music.

Alice is particularly known for her groundbreaking collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s. The duo produced four classic LPs (recently reissued by Rounder on CD) and influenced scores of young women singers — even The Judds acknowledge Hazel and Alice as an important early inspiration.

Alice Gerrard
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