Scott Ainslie is a traditional acoustic Blues singer, guitarist, historian and songwriter with personal roots in the Civil Rights era and a great affection for cross-cultural exchange. He is a powerful musician, a fine singer, and a masterful storyteller.
As a traditional musician with expertise in both the Southern Appalachian fiddle and banjo tradition, and Piedmont and Delta Blues, Ainslie has specialized in performing and presenting programs on the African roots of American music and culture in community and educational settings.
Ainslie's sixth and latest CD, The Last Shot Got Him, follows the inclinations of a 1934 Gibson arch top guitar toward Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson, Fats Waller, Sippie Wallace, and Yip Harburg, among others: songs from when the guitar was young! Please visit CattailMusic.com for more information, to hear Scott's work, or see a guide to his performances and teaching activities on youtube.com.
Rolly Brown is a lifelong student of the guitar. He has been a National Fingerpicking Champion (1980), a Philadelphia Music Award nominee, a solo performer, sideman, and teacher. Folk, blues, ragtime, bluegrass, country, & jazz have each, over the past 46 years, been his passions. Acoustic Guitar Magazine calls Rollys guitar sound an exceptionally melodic, articulate playing style that takes full advantage of the acoustic guitars beautiful tone. Wise sage Bennett Hammond says, He's the real deal, the gen-you-wine article, the guitar picker's guitar picker. Blues master Andy Cohen (who IS prone to hyperbole) told Rolly, "Dammit, you are the best that ever was. You may quote me." Check Rolly's instructional and performance videos at www.youtube.com.
Susie Burke has been performing since the 1980’s in numerous settings, solo, band and duo. No matter the setting, Susie is known for the soulful way she delivers a song. Of her singing, Scott Alarik of the Boston Globe said “her phrasing is unerringly devoted to the lyric.” The diversity of those lyrics is also notable. With influences from traditional to new folk, swing to blues and beyond, Susie performs songs from a wide variety of sources, including her own compositions.
She has taught at a number of music camps for the last decade, teaching guitar and song workshops. Susie and husband David Surette, with whom she has performed for 25 years, maintain a teaching studio near their home in southern Maine. There she hosts a class called, “Singing for the Joy of It”, teaching songs by ear on the fly for the sheer love of singing together.
Susie has released 5 acclaimed CDs, and sung back up harmonies on many, and has performed in many areas of the US, as well as Quebec.
Something of a late-bloomer, singer/songwriter Kate Campbell didn't begin her professional career until the age of 30. But in short order she managed to include the likes of Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, as Buddy Miller as both admirers and collaborators in her distinctly literate musical vision. Since making her recording debut in 1995 with Songs From The Levee, Campbell has since put together a body of work marked by consistency, artistry and honest self-examination and self-revelation. Kate's Moonpie Dreams (1997) and Visions of Plenty (1998) each garnered "Folk Album of the Year" nominations from the Nashville Music Awards. Kate is the daughter of a Baptist preacher from Sledge, Mississippi. Her formative years were spent in the very core of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and the indelible experiences of those years have shaped her heart, character, and convictions ever since. As a child of the South, her musical tastes were forged in the dampened, smoky fires of soul, R&B, Southern rock and folk music. Kate released her first live recording, Two Nights In Texas in the Fall of 2011. A new recording of original music, 1000 Pound Machine is set for release in March 2012.
Whether Guy Davis is appearing on Late Night With Conan O'Brien or nationally syndicated radio programs such as Garrison Keillor's, A Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage or David Dye's, World Cafe, or in front of 15,000 people on the Main Stage of a major festival, or teaching an intimate gathering of students at a Music Camp, Guy feels the instinctive desire to give each listener his all. He's a musician, composer, actor, director, and writer. But most importantly, Guy Davis is a bluesman. The blues permeates every corner of Davis' creativity. Throughout his career, he has dedicated himself to reviving the traditions of acoustic blues and bringing them to as many ears as possible through the material of the great blues masters, African American stories, and his own original songs, stories and performance pieces. His influences are as varied as the days. Musically, he enjoyed such great blues musicians as Blind Willie McTell (and his way of story telling), Skip James, Manse Lipscomb, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, and Buddy Guy, among others. It was through Taj Mahal that he found his way to the old time blues. He also loved such diverse musicians as Fats Waller Throughout his life, Davis has had overlapping interests in music and acting. In 1993 he performed Off-Broadway as legendary blues player Robert Johnson in "Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil". He received rave reviews and became the 1993 winner of the Blues Foundation's "Keeping the Blues Alive Awards presented to him by Robert Cray at the W.C. Handy Awards ceremony. Looking for more ways to combine his love of blues, music, and acting, Davis created material for himself. He wrote "In Bed with the Blues: The Adventures of Fishy Waters" -- an engaging and moving one-man show. The Off-Broadway debut in 1994 received critical praise from the New York Times and the Village Voice. Most recently Guy had the honor of appearing in the PBS special on Jazz and Blues artist, the late Howard Armstrong. And he was an honored guest at the Kennedy Center Awards, in which his folks received their medals, alongside other recipients like Warren Beatty, Elton John and composer John Williams from the President of the United States.
John Doerschuk has been in the sound business for over 25 years. He was attracted to waves and electrons while playing in bands in the seventies, and somehow continues to make a living as an "audio guy." He lives with his artist wife Bessie and daughter Sophie in Cambridge, Massachusetts. John plays piano and guitar and is trying to tame a Dobro.
Peter, Paul and Mary; David Wilcox; John McCutcheon; Sally Rogers; Lui Collins; Garnet Rogers; June Tabor, (and many more) all sing and record Bob's music. Seasoned veterans and novices alike are drawn to the complex, warm-hearted spirituality and captivatingly clear-cut melodies of Franke's songs. "There is an affection for Bob's work that is really palpable," says Noel Paul Stookey, of Peter, Paul and Mary. "It's like everybody thinks that they're the one who discovered him - and they're all right! People know he has given them something rare and powerful, real and uncompromising. I have felt a lot of power in the appreciation people have for him."
Bob, the writer of ""Hard Love," "For Real," "Thanksgiving Eve," and "The Great Storm Is Over," has been bringing out the best in his students and fellow artists in songwriting workshops and classes.
“Lorraine Hammond is the most versatile dulcimer player I know,” observes North Carolina dulcimer wizard Don Pedi. Lorraine’s numerous credits as a traditional singer, songwriter, teacher and instrumentalist include her groundbreaking Shanachie release with fiddler Gerry Milnes, Hell Up Coal Holler, a Homespun dulcimer instruction series, and two elegant Appalachian dulcimer books with Yellow Moon Press. Lorraine also plays, performs on and teaches five string banjo, mandolin and harp. Lorraine’s new CD, The Opal Ring, on the Snowy Egret label, combines the traditional New England ballads of her childhood with her own songs drawn from that childhood in the Connecticut Berkshires. Reviewer Mark Flanagan observes: “Lorraine Lee Hammond opens her latest CD with some of the sweetest notes ever produced on the mountain dulcimer.” Lorraine is Music Director of the WUMBfm SAMW programs, and a lecturer in American Folk Music and World Music at Lasell College in Newton, MA. She and her husband, guitarist Bennett Hammond, have been touring, teaching and performing and recording together for the past thirty years.
“Bennett is the sort of finger-picking guitar player you can listen to all day” – The Shetland Times.
He started playing 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. 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. More recently he has capitulated to the pleasures of playing the 5-string banjo, which he celebrates on his Rock-A-Folky Banjo CD on the Snowy Egret label.
Bennett's classes focus on developing students' individual skills and styles, helping you to play like yourself, only more so.
Pete Kennedy's main gig is songwriting duo The Kennedys, with his wife Maura. His broad experiences in the folk world include two decades of working closely with Nanci Griffith as lead guitarist and record producer, and prior to that touring nationally with Mary-Chapin Carpenter and Kate Wolf. As a freelance guitar slinger, he's gigged with Doctor John, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne, and sat in with The National Symphony. His own mentors include Tony Rice, Doc Watson, Chet Atkins, rockabilly legend Danny Gatton, and jazz greats Charlie Byrd and Joe Pass. Pete loves teaching just as much as playing, and he loves to impart traditional techniques in a way that helps each student find their own unique guitar voice.
Maura Kennedy has been touring, writing and recording for two decades with WUMB favorites The Kennedys. Along with husband Pete, she has also spent the last two years touring the US and the British Isles with legendary songstress Nanci Griffith. Maura co-produced Griffith's latest CD, and they have written a number of songs together. A vocal graduate of Ithaca College's School of Music, Maura combines her knowledge of singing and live performing with a unique songwriting technique based on dream imagery, and she is an enthusiastic and energetic teacher who loves to see and hear her students tap deep into their own creativity.
In a career that now spans two decades, New York duo Pete and Maura Kennedy have traversed a broad musical landscape, surveying power pop, acoustic songwriting, organic rock rooted in their early days in Austin, and a Byrds-inspired jangle that drew the attention of Roger McGuinn, Steve Earle, and most notably Nanci Griffith. The duo co-produced Nanci's latest CD. On their own recent release, "Closer Than You Know," the songs have a quality, inherent in Maura’s voice, that is both soothing and urgent. As writers and producers, the Kennedys continue to mature, from their early style-conscious pop to today’s burnished sheen. Always tuned to their own muse, Pete and Maura have once again come up with a unique sound that is as uplifting as it is unclassifiable.
Widely acclaimed as one of New England's premiere instrumentalists, David Surette is highly regarded for his work on the guitar (both flatpick and fingerstyle), mandolin, and bouzouki, in a wide variety of settings. As a soloist, he is nationally-known as a top player of Celtic fingerstyle guitar, yet his diverse repertoire also includes original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity. He has performed as a duo with his wife, singer Susie Burke, for 20 years, recording several albums and building a reputation as one of New England's top folk duos. Surette was a founding member of the Airdance band with fiddler Rodney Miller, with whom he recorded four albums and toured nationally. He has also released five solo recordings; his most recent is Sun Dog, a collection of original solo guitar pieces. David is an accomplished and gifted teacher who has taught at workshops and camps throughout the U.S., and the U.K. He is folk music coordinator at the Concord (NH) Community Music School, and artistic director of their March Mandolin Festival. He has authored a book of Celtic fingerstyle guitar arrangements for Mel Bay Publications, and is a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar and Strings magazines.
Folk-pop artist Sloan Wainwright belongs to a musical dynasty of impossibly gifted singer-songwriters.
Her family tree (brother and folk-music luminary Loudon Wainwright, sister-in-law Kate McGarrigle, nephew Rufus Wainwright, nieces Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche) reads like a who's who of contemporary folk music. Sloan's incredible gift is not only her unique songwriting ability but her dramatically voiced rendition of her original songs.
"She's folk-influenced, obviously (you can't grow up in the First Family of Folk and not be, one imagines), but the real star here is her voice. Warm and smoky and smooth, it makes her earthy, ominous lyrics seem all the more intense."
Defying standard categorization, singer/songwriter Sloan Wainwright consistently demonstrates her easy command of a variety of American musical styles -- pop, folk, jazz and blues -- held together by the melodious tone of her rich contralto. The end result, a unique and soulful hybrid.
With a solid and impressive discography of 8 original CD releases to her credit, Sloan continues to write, sing and perform live.
Erica Weiss has been teaching music workshops and playing for dances up and down the East Coast and in the American South for more than fifteen years. Proficient on guitar, fiddle, and vocals, Erica currently plays and sings with Appalachian old-time, Cajun and country bands including Square Peg Rounders, Lightning in the East, Jesse Lege & Bayou Brew, and Killer Bees. Sought after for her solid driving rhythm guitar, she has backed up winners in both fiddle and banjo contests, and has placed numerous times with pick-up bands at the Old Fiddlers' Convention contest in Galax, VA. Erica loves teaching as much as playing and performing, which she discovered during her years as director of the Yale Slavic Chorus. A patient and enthusiastic instructor, Erica is known for helping experienced learners as well as complete novices broaden their knowledge base, further their ability, and continue to find joy in making music. Also a dance caller and instructor, she has brought the joy of dance, including square dance, contra, international, Cajun, and Zydeco, to participants of all levels and ages as well. Erica has taught and performed at camps and festivals including Pinewoods Folk Music Week, Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend, Chesapeake Dance, Music Camps North, Ashokan Fiddle & Dance New Years', The Dance Flurry, Lincoln Center NYC, Black Pot Festival Louisiana, and many others. When she is not on the road, Erica teaches private lessons to children of all ages in the Greater Boston area.