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.
Deemed a "banjo virtuoso" by the Washington Post, Adam Hurt has fused several traditional old-time idioms to create his own elegantly innovative claw hammer 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.
Sparky & Rhonda Rucker's passion for the American Civil War inspired their special historical program entitled The Blue & Gray in Black & White. This presentation tells stories from the war in music and narrative and focuses on the war's impact on the different regions of our country. The stories, some sad and some humorous, reflect personal insights from the various personalities who participated in the war. Sparky & Rhonda can often include stories about the events of the local community in which they are performing. Since more songs came out of the Civil War than any other war in history, they have a large repertoire of music to draw upon.
James “Sparky” Rucker has over forty years of international touring, recording, and teaching experience. He is known as a storyteller, historian, and folk musician. He has taught and led workshops at Augusta, Common Ground, Ashokan, Pinewoods, SAMW, Hindman Family Folk Week, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Clarion Folk College, and Wisconsin’s String-A-Long Weekend. His performance credits include NPR’s On Point, Prairie Home Companion, Mountain Stage, and Morning Edition. In his study of the blues, Sparky learned at the feet of such masters as John Jackson, Howard Armstrong, and Babe Stovall. Reverend Pearly Brown, who taught Duane Allman how to play bottleneck-style guitar, showed him some moves. Sparky also picked up pointers from Buddy Moss, who taught Blind Boy Fuller and Johnny Shines, who traveled with blues legend Robert Johnson. Sparky has researched the music of early America, including the vast number of songs that the American Civil War produced. He performs with his wife, Rhonda, and their album, The Blue & Gray in Black and White, won critical acclaim from historians and Civil War buffs alike. Their music is also included on the Grammy-nominated anthology, Singing Through the Hard Times.
Rhonda Rucker practiced medicine before becoming a full-time musician, author, and storyteller. She performs with her husband, James “Sparky” Rucker, adding vocals, piano, banjo, blues harmonica, and rhythmic bones to their music. When she first began learning harmonica, Rhonda studied the techniques of Sonny Terry, the renowned blues harp player. She then branched out to other styles. Rhonda has recorded nine albums with her husband, including Treasures and Tears, which was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award. Their music is also on the Grammy-nominated CD, Singing Through the Hard Times. Their album, The Blue & Gray in Black & White, won critical acclaim from historians and Civil War buffs alike. Rhonda has been an author since 1998, publishing articles in newspapers, magazines, and books. Her debut historical novel, Swing Low, Sweet Harriet, was published by Motes Books in 2013. The story is based on Harriet Tubman’s work as a spy and scout during the Civil War when she helped lead African American soldiers on the Combahee River raid in South Carolina. Rhonda has taught classes at Augusta, Common Ground, SAMW, Hindman Family Folk Week, Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, and Clarion Folk College.
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.
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.
Louisiana-born Charles Williams has won international acclaim since his opera debut at the Festival of Two worlds in Spoleto, Italy. He has acted and sung in theaters and opera houses, and for radio and television around the world. He has performed at the metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, and the Kennedy Center. He toured Europe as a cast member and vocal coach of "The Temptation of St. Anthony" directed by Robert Wilson with music and book by Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon. He is currently on a world tour with the Pomegranate Arts production of "Einstein on the Beach" composed by Philip Glass and directed by Robert Wilson. For more than a decade, Charles has partnered with global-jazz percussionist Tom Teasley to form the duo Word-Beat. Word-Beat has performed and conducted music workshops in the U.S., Europe and the Middle East. Charles is a master teacher/artist in voice at the Levine School of Music in Washington DC. Students come from many countries to study with Charles in his home studio in Alexandria, Virginia. He also travels the country giving master classes and conducting vocal workshops.
Jack Williams began his musical journey at 4, playing his mother's Arthur Godfrey ukulele, and learning to play the piano, trumpet, and guitar, absorbing big band, pop, jazz, show tunes, and classical music he first heard on his parents' 78 rpm records. His current music is strongly influenced by an early career in jazz, classical, rock and roll, blues, R&B and folk. A musician for 66 years and a professional touring artist for 55 years, Jack is a singer/ songwriter/ guitarist/ storyteller whose songs display a strong sense of place, many of them grounded in - or inspired by - his South Carolina roots. His songs have been recorded by artists ranging from Cindy Mangsen and Chuck Pyle to Tom Jones and David Clayton-Thomas. His virtuosic guitar-playing and finger-style accompaniment to songs follow no stylistic models but spring directly from his own personality and musical history.
Finding his place within the U.S. Folk Community some 20 years ago, he has performed and taught at festivals such as Newport, Kerrville, Philadelphia, SummerFest and Boston, as well as in music halls, city arts centers, coffeehouses and hundreds of house concerts across his circuit of 47 states and 8 countries. He currently has 10 albums and a DVD on Wind River Records. His workshops are creative and inspiring, and his performances are joyously reckless - music from a poet’s heart and a virtuoso’s hands