Friday, November 16, 2012

Callers Workshop

Just added!  At the potluck time (5:00 pm) we are having a Callers workshop space, grab your plate and come and hear the wisdom of Ron Buchanan and Bob Isaacs.  Sign up for that and all workshops available at the front door!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Huge Old Time one day fest!

Music and Dance Lovers!
This weekend there will be an AMAZING series of workshops, concerts, and dancing for nearly 24 hours in the D.C. area. Some of the best players of Old-Time, Irish, Bluegrass and New England music will be appearing, as well as some of the best callers on the East Coast. This is a rare opportunity to listen to, learn from, jam with, and dance to some of the best! This is a rare gathering of great performances, and a rare opportunity to take a large number of workshops over the course of a day and a night, and even into the next morning. Dancing will be going on simultaneous to workshops, so mix and match your interests! For details on this event, visit or
2:00 - 3:30 Old Time Fiddle workshop with Rhys Jones
2:00 - 3:30 Clawhammer Banjo workshop with John Herrmann
2:00 - 3:30 Upright Bass workshop with Marshall Wilborn
2:00 - 3:30 Alexander Technique Workshop with Meredith McIntosh
3:30 - 5:00 Old Time Fiddle workshop with Paul Brown
3:30 - 5:00 Old Time Vocal Harmony workshop with Meredith Watson and Meredith McIntosh
3:30 - 5:00 Alternate Chord Backing for Guitar workshop with Pat Egan
5:30 - 7:00 Old Time Banjo Workshop with Hilarie Burhans
5:30 - 7:00 Old Time Guitar workshop with Sabra Guzman
5:30 - 7:00 Mandolin Workshop with David McLaughlin
9:30 - 11:00 Dance Fiddling and New Tunes workshop with Jane Rothfield
9:30 - 11:00 Old Time Banjo workshop with Paul Brown
9:30 - 11:00 Old Time Vocals with Guitar workshop with Sabra Guzman
11:00 - 12:30 Old Time Fiddle workshop with Joseph Decosimo
11:00 - 12:30 Old Time Banjo workshop with Luke Richardson
11:00 - 12:30 Old Time Guitar workshop with Meredith McIntosh
7:00 - 9:15 CONCERT, featuring Bigfoot Stringband, The Bucking Mules, Jane's Gang, Paul Brown, Pat Egan and others
2:00 - 5:00 Challenging Contras and Squares with Jane's Gang
9:30 - 12:30 Contra Dance with Bigfoot and The Bucking Mules
1:00 - 6:00 AM All Night Dance, varity of callers and bands, open mic, mixup combinations of all performers and workshop attendees
Performers and teachers:
Paul Brown has been hooked on traditional southern music since early childhood, when he started picking up songs his mother had learned as a kid in piedmont Virginia. Paul took up banjo at age ten, and fiddle a bit later. His playing bears influences of the North Carolina and Virginia masters he sought out as a young adult, and he loves to share what he learned from these memorable players. He also loves dancing and playing fiddle and banjo for square dances. Paul has appeared at camps and festivals around the U.S. since the early 1970s. He's recorded and produced highly-regarded traditional music albums, and won numerous banjo and fiddle contests. He currently plays with The Mostly Mountain Boys
John Hermann has been traveling the world playing old-time music for over forty years. He plays fiddle with the New Southern Ramblers, but he has performed with many John has been traveling the world playing old-time music for over thirty years. Equally adept on banjo, fiddle, mandolin, bass, and guitar, he is known as the “father of old-time music” in Japan. He has taught numerous times at every leading music camp in the United States, including the Augusta Heritage Festival, Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, the Swannanoa Gathering, Banjo Camp North, Merlefest, the Wheatland Music Festival, and the Anchorage Folk Festival. He toured extensively in Germany with highly regarded percussive dancer Ira Bernstein, in France, Germany, and Italy with the French band “Ida Red,” and has done several tours through Japan with Meredith Mcintosh. He has recorded at least fifty records on labels such as Rounder, County, and Sugar Hill, most notably with Art Stamper and Ralph Blizard. John also played at the National Heritage Award Ceremony, for which Blizard was the recipient, and has performed numerous times at the Smithsonian Folk Festival on the mall in Washington. He recorded “Songs from the Mountain,” with Tim O’Brien and Dirk Powell, a record inspired by the book “Cold Mountain,” and subsequently toured the country with its author and National Book Award Winner, Charles Frazier. He was a member of the “Down From The Mountain” tour, with Ralph Stanley, Alison Krauss, and the Nashville Bluegrass Band. He won first place at the Appalachian String Band Music Festival with Bigfoot in 2010. He lives in Marshall, North Carolina.
Marshall Wilborn, a legendary bluegrass bassist, singer, and songwriter, learned to play the banjo, at a very early age before taking up the acoustic upright bass. His unerringly solid bass lines have graced the stage and a host of recordings by the legendary Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mt. Boys, the Lynn Morris Band, Bob Amos, Bill Grant, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Hazel Dickens, and the super group, Longview. A Grammy nominee, he has also won the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Song of the Year award. He has received countless nominations for the IBMA Bass Player of the Year award. His debut solo album, Root 5: Bass & Banjo. Featured duet with his wife, Lynn Morris, and Pete Wernick, Alan Munde and Tony Furtado. Marshall’s original songs have been recorded by Alison Krauss, Rhonda Vincent, Doyle Lawson, the Johnson Mountain Boys and Jeannie Kendall.
Joseph Decosimo grew up in Chattanooga and has been interested in the fiddle and banjo traditions of his local area since first encountering the banjo in seventh grade, especially the music of the Cumberland Plateau, southeast Tennessee, and western North Carolina. For several years during high school and college, he performed with Charlie Acuff, and more recently, in bands with Tennessee fiddlers Bob Townsend and Mike Bryant. He has won a number of blue ribbons for his fiddling, including First Place at Clifftop in 2010, and the National Old-Time Banjo Championship. Joseph has taught and performed at the Augusta Heritage Center, the Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, and the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA. He is currently completing an MA in Folklore at the University of North Carolina, studying fiddling traditions in Tennessee and north Georgia. He currently performs with the Clifftop-winning stringband The Bucking Mules.
Meredith McIntosh: With a degree in music education and a great love for old-time music, Meredith is known as a patient and enthusiastic teacher. She plays fiddle, guitar, bass, flute and piano. Over the years she has performed with Ida Red, the Heartbeats, Balfa Toujours, The Rockinghams and the New Southern Ramblers. She lives in Asheville, NC where she is a certified massage therapist and teacher of the Alexander Technique.
Cleek Schrey is a fiddler and percussive dancer from Charlottesville, Virginia. As a teen in Virginia, he learned Irish fiddle tunes from Brendan Mulvihill and other fiddlers in the region. Regular visits to the home of the late Paddy Reynolds, the great Longford fiddler who settled in New York, helped to intensify Cleek's interest in the fiddle playing of the 78 rpm era. In 2005, he co-produced the release of archival recordings of the late Reynolds’ surviving work. While a teen, he was a featured musician on The Raw Bar, a documentary on Irish music that aired on RTE 1 in Ireland, and most recently on Féilte, a program on Irish music in America, on the Irish language station TG4. Cleek performs Irish music regularly with his longtime friend, accordion player Sean McComiskey and the Clare accordionist and fiddler, Damien Connolly. He also fiddles in the old time stringband, Bigfoot, alongside legendary old time musicians Rhys Jones, John Herrmann, and Susie Goehring. Last summer they picked up first place in traditional band competition at the Clifftop festival in West Virginia.
Jane Rothfield has been playing since early childhood. Her classical beginnings included study at Julliard’s pilot Suzuki children’s program, where she met the founder, Shinchi Suzuki. As a teen, she slipped her classical mooring and headed for other shores, along the way mastering an inspiring repertoire of American and Celtic traditional tunes, with a strong smattering of old-time and Scottish-rooted pieces as the centerpiece. With decades of collecting tunes, she still has left room in her heart for lots of original compositions in the many traditions of the roots music she loves. Jane performs with Red Hen, a vibrant ‘new’ Old Time Band with hot vocal harmonies and instrumentals (Jane Rothfield, Allan Carr, Linda Schrade and David Kiphuth). She plays dances with a varying collection of musicians called Jane’s Gang. She teaches and performs with Donna Hebert and Max Cohen in Groovemama at Old Songs and Philadelphia Folk Festivals every year. With banjo star Hilarie Burhans and Bernie Nau (piano) playing hot southern style dance music, they are Great Big Taters. Whenever possible, she also performs with Kentucky banjo/fiddle master Jimmy McCown.
Meredith Watson was born in Boston, Massachusetts where, at the age of three, she began studying classical dance at the Boston Ballet School. Through her years of dance performance, she developed a love of the performing arts in general, and sought out an education in theater and music. She was featured in countless productions at the Wheelock Family Theater in Boston, and, as a teenager, she taught classes in acting, movement and choreography at the Harwich Junior Theater in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She was selected to attend the prestigious National High School Institute at Northwestern University, where she studied Theater Arts, and subsequently received her BFA in Acting and Music from the Tisch School of the Performing Arts at New York University. While attending NYU, she met acclaimed Bel Canto vocal coach Jeff Halpern, with whom she studied privately for seven years. She has performed in, and played music for, many productions with the award-winning off-broadway theater company “Collaboration Town.” In 2009, she was selected as a finalist in the Telluride Acoustic Blues competition at the Telluride Blues and Brews Festival, and quickly garnered the attention of modern acoustic blues luminaries Chris Smither and Jorma Kaukonen. Meredith teaches fiddle at the Junior Appalachian Musician’s program in Black Mountain, North Carolina. Meredith currently performs with the Asheville based stringband Locust Honey and is currently collaborating with Rhys Jones on a project to digitize and release several dozen hours of previously unrecovered home recordings made by the famous Virginia fiddler, John Ashby.
Rhys Jones has been playing traditional Appalachian, French-Canadian and Irish fiddle music for 30 years. Born in Chicago, he began his fiddling at age 7 in the fertile environment of the Chicago Barn Dance Company. Soon after, his family moved to southern West Virginia where he learned from the older generation of fiddlers, including Ernie Carpenter, Melvin Wine, Glen Smith and Wilson Douglas. Rhys continued his musical education while living in Westport, County Mayo, Ireland, and has now played for concerts, dances, workshops and festivals across the United States and Europe. He has won both fiddle and band contests at The Appalachian String Band Festival (Clifftop), and is regarded as "one of the bright lights of the current generation of traditional performers.
Hilarie Burhans has won the Ohio Banjo Championships 9 times. She was a member of the Hotpoint Stringband and currently plays with Jane Rothfield in Great Big Taters. Her music was featured on the acclaimed HBO series Deadwood. She also performs with klezmer musicians Sruli & Lisa, and plays with fiddler Peggy Conant and banjo-uke player Mark “Pokey” Hellenberg in a band called Peg & All. In 2011, Hilarie was a member of the winning band in the Old-Time Band Competition at Clifftop, West Virginia, along with Rachel Eddy, Kristian Herner, Mark Hellenberg and Stuart Kenney.
Sabra Guzmán: Originally from Southern California, Sabra has been a resident of the Virginia hills since 2007, where she has become a fully entrenched member of the burgeoning old-time and country music scene of the Appalachians and beyond. A founding member of the award winning old-time band Old Sledge, Sabra is well known for her solid guitar and bass skills, her unique vocal stylings, and her captivating stage presence. She has been seen on stage at many prestigious venues and festivals – Freight and Salvage, Club Passim, The Los Angeles Old Time Social, The Ark, Floydfest, Bristol Rhythm and Roots - and received a coveted first place Traditional Old Time band at the Clifftop Appalachian Stringband Festival. Sabra Guzmán brings a musicianship and her unique approach to all projects, regardless of genre or instrumentation. While much of her time has been spent in the world of traditonal and neo-traditional old time music (The Mercury Dimes,The Crooked JadesThe Flatiron StringbandOld Sledge), Sabra Guzmán is currently pursuing projects that span the musical spectrum from old-time (Long Branch Ramblers) to honky tonk (Joe Overtone and the Clear Blue Sky) to pop-rock (We Are Star Children).
David McLaughlin: Bluegrass mandolinists and long-time fans of traditional bluegrass music are well acquainted with David. He’s been involved in several popular bands since he first started performing actively in the late 1970s, and has been responsible for clarifying how Monroe-based mandolin styles can be applied to more modern music. Notably, David performed with The Johnson Mountain Boys and started touring widely in the early 1980s. The Johnson Mountain Boys stand out for their total immersion in the bluegrass retro vibe, from their stage attire and banter, to their song choice and arrangements. McLaughlin’s mandolin style was a driving force throughout their career.His style was explosive and aggressive, but against the grain as compared to the envelope-stretching approach coming into vogue at the time.David went on to work with Lynn Morris where he developed a different mandolin style, at Lynn’s request, which made use of the Monroe sound, but adapted for Lynn’s music. He has also produced an instructional video for The Murphy Method, and performed with a number of DC-based bluegrass acts.
Pat Egan is highly regarded as one of the leading singers/guitar players in 
traditional Irish music. His guitar backingdisplays a rare sensitivity and impeccable rhythm which manages to be tasteful yet driving and uplifting. Pat is equally admired for his smooth, lyrical vocals, honest delivery and repertoire of storied songs
Originally from County Tipperary, Pat now resides in Baltimore, Maryland. While growing up in his native County Tipperary, Patrick loved the music so much that he used to take his guitar on the back of a horse and cart to school every week to get lessons from his school teacher, Phil Kelly. 
He would also trudge across fields and farmland with his guitar just to get a song from local singer John Norton. Luckily, there were lots of singers and guitarists in his home parish and one of the first musicians he ever heard playing traditional Irish music was his neighbor – uilleann piper Michael Cooney with whom, along with Paddy O’Brien, he would later go on to form the band Chulrua. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Numbers on the move

At last, I come home to an inbox resplendent with reservations and paypal notifications!  Finally, people are beginning to let me know how many are coming, just an email will suffice, you can certainly donate at the door.  Tomorrow, Rhys or I will post the workshop schedule, but suffice it to say (in Rhys' words)  "You have more stellar performers and callers here than in three typical music festival weeks combined. The concert alone should be freaking amazing."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Workshops Workshops Workshops

Have you ever wanted to take a Master Fiddle- old time, Irish, Round Peak , Master Banjo, Bass, Voice Class?  How about all of the above?  It seems a shame to get all the best Old Time musicians together under one roof and not have workshops.  So we're not doing that! (That is to say, we're not, not doing that - or, oh heck, WE'RE DOING WORKSHOPS!!!)

This time I really need your feedback, either email me at to let me know what workshops you want, or post it in the comments.  Later we'll put a schedule together!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

and The Bucking Mules

yes, you read right, in addition to Big Foot, Locust Honey, Jane's Gang with Hilarie Burhans I just heard the Clifftop 2012 Traditional Band Champions the Bucking Mules are going to be at Raise Rhys' Roof!

The Bucking Mules are Joseph Decosimo, Luke Richardson, and Meredith Watson!

Get your tickets now through paypal, or at least shoot me an email if you're thinking of coming, so I know how much pancake batter to make...

Monday, October 22, 2012

Did you notice...

the ever growing canon of musicians, not just in the posts, but being added to the flier which is the picture there...  Yes, I just put a new version up, since I learned that Sabra Guzman will be there too!!

If you follow the blog, you'll be the first to know!

So, a little more on the day, there will be, along with a mind boggling array of music and dancing and music, a silent auction featuring all manner of fantastic things!

Body work, custom made clothes, bicycle repairs, commissioned dances, baked goods, music, lessons and workshops...

Speaking of workshops, I heard a rumor that there were going to be some workshops available on the day, on site, so...

buy a ticket, pack your shoes, ax and 16 hour energy drink...

Also - this event *may* be partially sponsored by an excellent microbrewery in Pittsburgh, just sayin'

Sunday, October 21, 2012

More! Attention Old Time Music Lovers...

I promised more, and this morning I open my email to find that world class old time clawhammer banjo player of Hotpoint Stringband fame Hilarie Burhans will be joining us, and she's bringing current Great Big Taters band mate, fiddler Jane Rothfield!  And for good measure(s), they're bringing guitar and bass man extraordinaire Allan Carr.


I don't know where we're going to fit every one, but after scoping out Ballroom Blum - conveniently attached to the large, lovely and comfortable home of the Blums - we figured out we can have two live jams in the (two separate!) rec rooms and one upstairs in the living room SIMULTANEOUS with dancing in the ballroom!

Makes my head spin...

So, you do not want to miss what is shaping up to be the single most amazing old time pajama party ever!  Get a ticket today! See the panel over there on the right for info.