Michael J. Miles is regarded as one of America’s most inventive clawhammer banjo players. The Chicago Tribune’s critic Howard Reich said that, “Everything Miles plays is worth savoring.” Pete Seeger described his playing as “the most beautiful I’ve heard…this is enough to make me want to learn the banjo all over again.” In 2016, Hal Leonard Publications release Miles’ newest books, Bob Dylan for Clawhammer Banjo and The First 50 Songs You Should Play on the Banjo (co-written with Greg Cahill). In 2015 Miles premiered The Camerado Suite for banjo, chamber orchestra and jazz choir (text by Walt Whitman). www.MilesMusic.org
Catherine (BB) Bowness started the banjo thirteen years ago in her hometown, Koitiata, New Zealand and soon after was accepted as the New Zealand School of Music’s first banjoist. After completing a Bachelor of Music in jazz performance in 2012, BB moved to Boston, MA and has since been in demand as a teacher and performer throughout New England. BB has performed with bands across the United States as well as in New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. Her newest band, Mile Twelve, has quickly been gaining recognition for their outstanding performances in the bluegrass world.
John Herrmann has traveled the world playing old-time music for over thirty years. He plays fiddle with the New Southern Ramblers but has performed with many bands, including The Henrie Brothers (1st Place at Galax, 1976), Critton Hollow, The Wandering Ramblers, One-Eyed Dog, the Rockinghams, Bigfoot, and Chicken Train. Equally at home on banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and bass, John is known as the “Father of Old-time Music” (in Japan!) and as the originator of the slow jam. He has been on staff at numerous music camps from coast to coast and has completed several European tours with dancer Ira Bernstein. John Lives in Asheville, NC.
Deemed a “banjo virtuoso” by the Washington Post, Adam Hurt has fused several traditional old-time idioms to create his own elegantly innovative clawhammer banjo style, having been introduced to the instrument at age eleven in his native Minnesota. A respected performer and teacher of traditional music, Adam has played at the Kennedy Center and conducted banjo workshops at many venues around the country and abroad. Since moving to North Carolina in 2002, Adam has placed in or won most of the major old-time banjo competitions, and he has claimed several state banjo and fiddle championships. Adam’s music can be heard on multiple recordings.
Cathy is one of the country’s finest clawhammer banjo players. In 1980 she became the first woman to win the West Virginia State Old Time Banjo contest. Her recordings include: “Banjo Haiku: 26 Clawhammer Banjo Tunes”, “Old Time Music Party”, “Old Time Slow Jam” on Homespun Tapes with Bruce Molsky and Marcy Marxer, and “Singing With the Banjo, Clawhammer Style” DVD on Homespun Tapes. She and Marcy produced the “The Oldtime Banjo Festival” CD and Cathy’s GRAMMY® nominated solo project “Banjo Talkin’”.
Her interest in the rich history of women in country music led Cathy to meet, play music with and even perform with some of country’s greatest female pioneers. She and Marcy toured and performed with Patsy Montana for 10 years. She visited, interviewed and played music with Ola Belle Reed and Lily May Ledford.
The music scene in her hometown of Winnipeg, Canada, immersion in Appalachian old-time communities, a performance degree at Berklee College of Music in Boston, and touring extensively throughout North America and Europe have all had a great impact on her playing. She is dedicated to honoring old-time music, the community that music creates and exploring the clawhammer banjo style. Allison de Groot combines love for old-time music, technical skill and a creative approach to the banjo forming her own sound – unique and full of personality. Although firmly rooted in old-time and music, she has shown her ability to collaborate and create outside this genre, pushing the boundaries of the clawhammer banjo.
Tom Adams is a 3-time recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Banjo Player of the Year award. He’s toured and recorded with some of bluegrass music’s most influential artists these past 30 years including the Johnson Mountain Boys, the Lynn Morris Band, Michael Cleveland, Blue Highway, Rhonda Vincent, and Dale Ann Bradley. Gaining national recognition in 1983 for his work with the legendary Jimmy Martin, Tom is recognized as one of the best interpreters and innovators of Scruggs-style playing. Tom’s contribution to the Earl Scruggs Tribute Album earned him the 2013 IBMA award for Recorded Instrumental Performance of the Year.
Alan Munde has blazed a trail as one of the most innovative and influential banjo players of all time, from his apprenticeship with Jimmy Martin to his 21-year stint with Country Gazette. Alan taught from 1986 to 2007 at the Bluegrass and Country Music Program at South Plains College in Levelland, TX, and has supplemented his recorded work with several instructional publications. He performed and recorded with his South Plains faculty colleague (and former Gazette-mate) Joe Carr. His extensive body of recorded work, instructional materials, and work at South Plains has solidified his status as one of the gurus of the 5-string.
Tony Trischka has been expanding the boundaries of the banjo for 45 years. He’s written many important banjo history and instructional books and has been a frequent banjo columnist for many magazines. Tony has created many instructional recordings and been on faculty at instructional camps nationwide. He has a lengthy list of solo and group recording credits, and is featured on many duet, anthology, and special-project recordings. Tony’s Grammy-nominated Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular won three 2007 IBMA awards. His Tony Trischka School of Banjo has revolutionized on-line instruction. Tony is a 2012 United States Artists Friends Fellow, a multi-Grammy Nominee, and recipient of the IBMA Lifetime Achievement Award.
Award-winning guitarist and mandolinist Tony Watt has performed throughout the United States, Europe and on the Grand Ole Opry. Tony is a visiting faculty member at the Berklee College of Music, and teaches courses in guitar, mandolin, harmony singing, bluegrass jamming and more. He has served on the IBMA’s Education Committee, and is currently a Board Member and Education Co-Director of the BBU. Tony founded The Bluegrass University, which offers classes at Grey Fox, Jenny Brook, Pemi Valley, and Podunk. Tony teaches in Albany, Hartford, throughout the Boston area, points in-between, and anywhere in the world via on-line Skype videoconferencing.