Mac Benford has been a leading figure in the preservation and performance of traditional Appalachian stringband music for more than forty years. He began playing clawhammer banjo in 1960, while a student at Williams College. Later, having moved to upstate New York, he became the nucleus of the now-legendary Highwoods Stringband. Following the Highwoods' demise, Mac formed the Backwoods Band and continued performing on the same circuit with continuing success. In 1990, Mac returned to recording and the festival circuit with the highly acclaimed Woodshed Allstars These days Mac is primarily appearing as a solo performer, and has been an instructor at banjo camps across the country.