Kelly Stockwell started on banjo and soon realized two banjos in one house was two banjos too many; in 2006 she switched to doghouse bass and never looked back. She learned through the school of hard knocks and dirty looks from guitar players, joining in at jams and parties and as the staff bassist for Banjo Camp North and Mandolin Camp North. For five years she has played with Hot Mustard, a double banjo band that includes her husband, Bruce Stockwell; since Hot Mustard’s end rather than the logical evolution to form a three banjo band she has instead joined the Stockwell Brothers. Kelly’s favorite banjo tuning is open D.
Bruce Stockwell has been playing bluegrass banjo since 1968 and teaching since the 70’s. By age 16 he had won banjo contests, recorded his first album, and opened for Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, John Hartford, and many others. In the late 70’s he worked with Phil Rosenthal and Mike Auldridge as Old Dog producing two albums on Flying Fish. Since the 1980’s, Bruce has performed with his two brothers (and now wife Kelly) in various acoustic/electric formats. In 2005 he won the Merlefest Banjo Contest, and in 2008 a NH Arts Grant led to the formation of Hot Mustard, a double-banjo bluegrass band.
Beginning his mandolin career in the Carolinas and making his way up to New England via Washington DC, Ben Pearce has played bluegrass mandolin all over the East Coast. Currently playing with multiple regional bands, Ben is also the sole proprietor of the Outlier Workshop (www.outlierworkshop.com), where he toils day and night to create some of the best mandolins and flattop guitars available today. Don’t let his youthful appearance fool you! He knows a huge variety of tunes, songs and mandolin styles as a result of his careful study of many contemporary players as well as first- and second-generation mandolin giants.
Laura Orshaw, fiddler and vocalist, “has firmly established [herself] as a significant emerging artist in the arena of traditional American music,” according to Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. Laura learned to play and sing from grandmother and regional Old Time musician, Betty Orshaw. She has 10 years of experience performing, teaching private lessons, and conducting educational programs and workshops throughout the Northeast. Laura hosts teen ensembles, kids academies and bluegrass instruction for adults at bluegrass festivals, among them Joe Val, Jenny Brook, Pemi Valley, Podunk, and Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival. Laura works at Lesley University as the coordinator for their music and art therapy program.
Glenn Nelson, resident instrument specialist, has been building, restoring and repairing instruments for 20 years. Glenn and his wife Barbara own Mockingbird Music in Berlin, Massachusetts where they build custom stringed instruments and specialize in the repair and restoration of vintage instruments. Glenn teaches five string banjo and performs with Wide Open Spaces and Acoustic Planet, encompassing world music, folk, jazz and bluegrass. At BCN he will be available to do minor setups and repairs on site and to accept instruments for more extensive work.
Dick Bowden is a well known northeastern practitioner of the thumb pick (and finger pick) in country and bluegrass lead and rhythm guitar. For 10 years he was the guitar playing half of The Case Brother – Martin & Gibson, an early country guitar/mandolin duet. For 10 more years he played rhythm guitar with The Old Time Bluegrass Singers. He is an exemplar of forceful, run-laden rhythm guitar drawn from the powerful country and bluegrass rhythm guitarists from Mother Maybelle to Del McCoury.