Greg Cahill has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. He formed The Special Consensus in 1973 in the Chicago area and the band became a full time touring (nationally and internationally) and recording entity in 1975. Greg has appeared on all eighteen of The Special Consensus recordings (one received a Grammy nomination and two others received multiple International Bluegrass Music Association [IBMA] awards). He has also released three solo recordings, one European bluegrass music recording and four banjo instructional videos/DVDs. Greg conducts workshops and master classes at bluegrass camps and festivals worldwide, has taught banjo at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago for over 40 years and became the first adjunct professor teaching banjo at Columbia College (Strings Department) in Chicago in 2011. Greg has released two banjo tablature books and is a regular contributor of banjo tablature and interviews with notable banjo players for Banjo NewsLetter.
Lorraine Hammond’s numerous credits as a traditional singer, songwriter, teacher, performer and instrumentalist include a Homespun Appalachian dulcimer instruction series and two elegant dulcimer books with Yellow Moon Press. Lorraine plays, performs on and teaches dulcimer, banjo, mandolin and harp. Her extensive mandolin teaching experience includes the John C. Campbell Folk School, WUMB-FM Acoustic music weeks and weekends, and nearly a decade at Mandolin Camp North. She is a lecturer in folk music at Lasell College in Newton, MA, and Music Director of WUMB-FM’s Summer Acoustic Music Week. Lorraine performs and records with her husband Bennett Hammond.
Now in his fifth decade as a working musician, Don Stiernberg has been involved in performing, writing, recording, producing, and teaching, but is best known for his mandolin playing. Born in Chicago, the mandolin found Don as he grew up “out in the woods” of Wauconda, IL. A desire to make music with his banjo and guitar playing brother led Don to take up the mandolin. Things came into focus when Don went to study with Jethro Burns, famous comedian (Homer and Jethro) and greatest mandolinist of his time. Don’s earliest professional experience was in a bluegrass band with his brother (The Morgan Bros.) and a bit later in The Jethro Burns Quartet. Currently Don is regarded as leading exponent of jazz mandolin style, and respected teacher. Recent releases include “Good Numbers” and four online video instructional courses for Soundslice.com. Don also conveys his love of the mandolin and music at camps across the U.S. and across the pond.
Frank Solivan is a monster mandolinist who is making big waves nationally these days. After six years performing with the United States Navy’s elite Country Current, the former Alaskan formed Dirty Kitchen, a tight-knit group of some of the best players on the scene today. His original music has climbed to the tops of radio charts, and his band is featured at major music festivals across the country. A gourmet cook and one of the top bluegrass musicians in the world? All in a day’s work for Frank.
Mike Compton has been called “a certified mandolin icon” by Mandolin magazine and “a new bluegrass instrumental hero” by the New York Times. This Grammy-winning instrumentalist, perhaps best known as the featured mandolin player for the film O Brother, Where Art Thou, is one of the modern masters of bluegrass mandolin. Sam Bush says “nobody plays Monroe better than Compton.” Mike Compton is one of the most recognizable and respected mandolin voices in the world today and as passionate an advocate for the mandolin as you’re ever likely to find.
Widely acclaimed as one of New England’s premiere instrumentalists, David Surette is highly regarded for his work on the guitar, mandolin, and cittern. His diverse repertoire includes Celtic and New England tunes, original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions. Surette is a gifted teacher, having taught at workshops and camps throughout the US, and in the UK. He is folk music coordinator at the Concord (NH) Community Music School, and artistic director of their March Mandolin Festival. His latest CD, Waiting For The Sun, a duo recording with Susie Burke, has been gathering widespread praise.
Gaining international fame with the Claire Lynch Band, and then performing in a duet with Missy Raines, Jim Hurst twice won the IBMA Guitar Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, and has been nominated nearly every year since. Jim has been working solo since 2010, and started the Jim Hurst Trio 2016. He’s a veteran of teaching at Music camps in the US, Canada, England, Italy, and cruise ships in the Caribbean and Alaskan waterways. Jim also does workshops, private and online lessons on guitar, vocals and band coaching as well as preparation and production of recordings etc. Inspired by Doc Watson and Tony Rice, Jim began as a flat-picker, but the finger-style playing of Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and Jerry Reed was the “turn in the road” for Jim. The intertwining of these musical threads defines Jim’s unique style.
Lincoln Meyers is an award winning guitarist who has been on the New England music scene for the past eighteen years and has been playing professionally for thirty. Lincoln, who was featured on the cover of Flatpicking Guitar magazine’s November/December issue 2010, has toured the world and performed with bands including Erica Brown & The Bluegrass Connection, The New England Bluegrass Band, Tony Trischka, April Verch, and most recently Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen. Lincoln is a veteran instructor, teaching private lessons as well as being involved with and conducting guitar workshops and seminars around the country.
Skip Gorman has been performing an impressive and varied palette of traditional American and Celtic folk music for over half a century. Bluegrass Unlimited magazine has called Skip “the finest exponent today of the style of mandolin that was performed by the Monroe Brothers”. An internationally recognized fiddler and singer of cowboy ballads, Skip has recorded for Rounder, Columbia, Folk Legacy and his own label, Old West Recordings. Ken Burns has used Skip’s music in four of his documentaries. His latest projects are Mandolin in the Cowcamp and Old Style Mandolin volumes 1 & 2.
Bennett Hammond started playing guitar in 1957 and began teaching in 1960, debuted as a virtuoso soloist in 1980 on the In-Bound platform, Harvard Square Station, and has played above ground, at home and abroad ever since. Bennett picked up banjo at BCN ten years ago. Early influences include an EP side of folk and cowboy songs with guitar accompaniment his sister Lucy made in 1951, recordings of Etta Baker, Mike Seeger and Duane Eddy, and of course the Three B’s – Bach, Bluegrass, and Bo Diddly.