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.
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.
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 our Camps, he will be available to do minor setups and repairs on site and to accept instruments for more extensive work.
Dick Bowden is one of the leading traditional bluegrass banjo pickers in New England. Starting in 1966 with The Bowden Family and The Fort Knox Volunteers, Dick helped establish bluegrass in his home state of Maine. He was a bench member of Joe Val’s New England Bluegrass Boys, and played five years with Herb Applin’s Berkshire Mountain Boys. Moving to New York in 1989, Dick played guitar with The Case Brothers – Martin & Gibson (two recordings) for 10 years, and played banjo on fiddler Joe Meadows’ final CD in 2001. With his encyclopedic knowledge of bluegrass styles and lyrics, Dick is the go-to guy to lead high-level bluegrass jam sessions or emcee concerts and festivals. He’s a frequent contributor to online and print publications and currently serves as Ringmaster of Dick Bowden’s Flying Circus, a high-energy revue of seriousness and silliness.
Janet Beazley plays banjo and sings with the California bluegrass band Chris Stuart & Backcountry. She has toured extensively with CS&B throughout the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, and also in the Middle East. Janet has taught bluegrass banjo, harmony singing and music theory at many workshops, including Midwest Banjo Camp, American Banjo Camp, Suwannee Banjo Camp, Banjo Camp North, Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week, Kluane Bluegrass Week in the Yukon, Rivertunes, California Bluegrass Association Bluegrass Week, Munich Banjo Camp, and Sore Fingers Week in the UK. She is also a specialist in early music, and has taught for many years at UC Riverside, UC Irvine, USC, and at early music workshops throughout the West.
Bob Altschuler has played banjo for 45 years and performs and records with multiple bands. An in-demand teacher since the 1970s, Bob has been on the BCN faculty since 2003. He teaches at Pete Wernick’s Bluegrass Camp, has led 11 Wernick Method jam classes, offers workshops and has many private students. He has written more than 100 online banjo instruction articles, has been published in Banjo Newsletter, and was showcased in the May 2011 issue. Gene Senyak’s 2008 book, Banjo Camp! Includes a chapter about one of Bob’s workshops. His playing has been heard on National Public Radio and radio and TV commercials. Bob is a 2012 graduate of the International Bluegrass Music Association Leadership Bluegrass Class in Nashville.
Marcy Marxer is a multi-instrumentalist, studio musician, performer, songwriter and producer with 40 years of experience and a shelf of impressive awards. She has played acoustic music on Emmy Award winning National Geographic specials, platinum shipping Eva Cassidy CD’s and on over 50 recordings and instructional materials created with her partner, Cathy Fink. Marcy is a two-time GRAMMY Award winner and fourteen-time GRAMMY nominee whose guitar playing spans a variety of styles- swing rhythm and lead, bluegrass, old time, Celtic fingerpicking, folk fingerpicking and some of the most tasteful backup you can hear. She plays a signature Martin guitar, signature National Steel Tenor guitar and signature KALA tenor ukulele. She is a well-loved instructor at many camps including Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Camp and she teaches online via Truefire, Homespun Tapes and Peghead Nation.
“It is the power of her playing that keeps listeners coming back.” – the alternate route
Howie Bursen is best known for his gravity-defying, triplet-filled, fiddle-tune variations and is certainly one of today’s foremost practitioners of clawhammer banjo style. He has taught clawhammer at the Maryland Banjo Academy, Common Ground and the California Traditional Solstice Festival, and his eclectic recordings contain quite a number of stellar clawhammer solos. Speaking of eclectic, Howie is also an excellent singer, song-writer and guitarist, and he makes his living as manager and head wine-maker for a Connecticut vineyard. Howie is working on his new solo recording “Spring on the Swamp”.
Raised on a tobacco farm in the Piedmont of North Carolina, Beth Williams Hartness began singing and taught herself to play guitar at the age of twelve, developing her own unique finger-picking style. Beth was first introduced to old-time music in the 1980s while living in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she became a founding member of the Charlotte Folk Music Society, serving as vice president and festival organizer. Beth has been a vital part of numerous award-winning string bands, and she has won ribbons of her own in competitions for back-up guitar. Her playing is featured on many recordings including The Young Fogies II, Uncle Henry’s Favorites, In Good Company, A Tribute to the Appalachian String Band Music Festival, and several Adam Hurt projects including his most recent release, Artifacts.