2017 Instructors


Advanced: Kirk Sutphin
Coming from a musical North Carolina family, spending lots of time with older relatives, Kirk Sutphin was exposed to grandparents and great uncles who all played fiddles or banjos in the early part of the last century. Starting at age 8, Kirk started learning from these older people. Kirk has taught at many of the old-time music weeks all over the world, and has been part of several national tours and folk festivals.

Intermediate: Mac Traynham
Multi-instrumentalist Mac Traynham of Floyd County in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia is known primarily for his rhythmic clawhammer banjo. He is a teacher, and performer dedicated specifically to the promotion and preservation of the traditional music of Southwest Virginia. He has been on the staff at Blue Ridge Old-time Week several times in the past. He is currently active as an instructor of kids in the regional youth music program known as JAM (Junior Appalachian Musicians) as well as being a leader for adult old-time music workshops held at his home. Mac, along with his wife, Jenny, and daughter Hanna, occasionally perform as the Traynham Family Trio and are currently working on a CD of local mountain music. In addition, Mac builds high quality open back banjos, cabinets and furniture as well as raising grass-fed beef on his farm.

Early Intermediate: Robby Roberson
Robby Robertson grew up playing music with friends and family around Western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina. He plays for dances and gatherings that aren't too far from home and has taught old-time music to kids through the JAM program in Haywood County for the last 16 years.

Finger Style: Pete Peterson
Pete Peterson fell in love with old-time banjo more than 50 years ago, and says "When everyone else wanted to sound like Tommy Jarrell, I wanted to sound like Charlie Poole." In fact, he owns one of Poole's banjos. "It seems to know some tunes better than others," Peterson says. He used that banjo to win the Grand Prize Three-Finger Banjo award at the Charlie Poole festival in Eden, NC and has been a frequent prizewinner at the Appalachian Stringband Festival. He currently plays banjo in the Orpheus Supertones (with Walt Koken, Clare Milliner, Hilary Dirlam, and his wife Kellie Allen) and in several other bands, including the Ubiquitones (with Adam Hurt, Beth Hartness and Kellie) and the Jane Rothfield Trio (with Jane and Kellie). He writes articles and reviews for the Old-time Herald and lives in Oxford PA, where he and Kellie host music parties and house concerts.


Intermediate / Advanced Bass: Hilary Dirlam
At the age of 13, after seeing Pete and Mike Seeger perform at her high school, Hilary got a guitar and began her lifelong journey of learning, teaching, performing, and writing music. Along the way she picked up piano, bass, banjo, and a bit of mandolin and accordion. In the 1970’s she toured with the Vermont-based Arm and Hammer Sting Band. Settling in western North Carolina in 1980, she performed with NC Heritage Award winners Luke and Harold Smathers and National Heritage Award Winner Carroll Best. Hilary has performed and taught at major festivals and music camps in the US, Europe, the UK and Australia. With fiddler Mary Gordon, she has co-authored the unique All-in-One series of fiddle/banjo books and CDs. Hilary is a member of the award-winning band The Orpheus Supertones. To see a full listing of her books and recordings, visit www.hilarydirlam.com.


Beginning:Margaret Wright
Margaret Wright has been seriously playing the Mountain Dulcimer since 1994. A not-so-by-chance visit to the McSpadden Dulcimer Shoppe changed the course of her family’s life. Margaret teaches all around the country and loves to get folks started and direct them toward old-time music and jamming. She and her late husband, Jerry, began organizing the very popular Palestine Old-time Music and Dulcimer Festival in 2002. Her teaching style is welcoming and her goal is to get you playing. She is also a collector of tunes and author of the Twelve Tune Songbooks, a set of booklets devoted to transcribing tunes into a simple to read dulcimer tablature. She and her family, including sons, Hollis and Lloyd, have 8 cd’s to their credit. She would enjoy hearing from you. margaretgwright@yahoo.com

Intermediate / Advanced: Lloyd Wright
Lloyd Wright has been performing music in the old-time scene for over 20 years along side his family: his mother Margaret, late father Jerry, and brother Hollis, all accomplished musicians, storytellers, song writers, and entertainers. Lloyd's recent ambitions are focused on his festival in Kennard, Texas at The Old Mill Music Festival where he hosts a wide array of artists every November. He and his wife, April are enthusiastic performers in the East Texas area not only with old-time gospel music, but also with their band, The Sawmill Vagrants. His knowledge of other instruments including fiddle, banjo, and mandolin gives him a strong perception of how to tastefully incorporate mountain dulcimer in any setting whether it be a casual jam or an on stage performance.


Advanced: Joseph Decosimo
Raised in East Tennessee, Joseph keeps the musical traditions of his region alive. In his teens, he spent much of his time with the region's older fiddlers and banjo players, learning their music and stories. A sought-after performer and dedicated teacher, he has shared this music at festivals, camps, and venues throughout the country and abroad. His fiddling and banjo playing have won blue ribbons at the most prestigious fiddle contests in the South. His band, the Bucking Mules, has won two blue ribbons at Clifftop and performs around the country. He served on the faculty in ETSU's Bluegrass, Old-time, and Country Music Studies Program, teaching Appalachian Studies and old-time fiddle and banjo. A trained folklorist, he is currently writing a dissertation on old-time music.

Intermediate: Rachel Eddy
Rachel Eddy learned to fiddle growing up just outside of Morgantown, WV, and has taught hundreds of students over the years to play fiddle, banjo and guitar. In 2007 Rachel moved to Nashville, TN to make her solo record 'Hand on the Plow', backed by Tim O'Brien, Mark Schatz, among others. After having spent 2008-2014 living in Stockholm, Sweden and traveling extensively throughout Europe playing old-time music, she is happy to report that coming back to the US has been wonderfully productive! Currently she splits her music time teaching and performing primarily between Morgantown WV, Pittsburgh PA, Washington DC and Baltimore. Rachel performs regularly with an all woman group called The Early Mays, with the Brad and Ken Kolodner Trio, and as a solo artist.

Early Intermediate:Helen White
A fiddler, singer, guitarist and tunesmith, Helen White is well known and respected as a musician in her home region of SW Virginia and her native North Carolina. She has won lots of ribbons at regional contests and has taught at numerous camps around the country. She founded the Junior Appalachian Musicians (JAM) program and led it for 15 years. This notable program introduces children to traditional music in afterschool settings – currently in 40 locations in 5 states. She has toured extensively with Wayne Henderson in the U.S. and Europe. Her compositions include works for theater and video projects as well as a Booklist honored recording of original songs for children. She has recently returned to school to study music composition.

Beginner: Shay Garriock
Shay Garriock is a Virginia native and has spent over 30 years studying and striving to emulate “old-timers” from Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. His true love of regional styles is from the Blue Ridge of Southwest Virginia where he has lived nearly half his life, after visiting and learning from a few old-timers in the area in the 80’s and 90’s, most notably fiddler Hick Edmonds (1913-2008) from Smyth County, Virginia. Shay has become a respected old-time fiddler in Southwest Virginia. In 1998 he won first place in the Senior Old-time Fiddle category at the Appalachian Stringband Festival. His workshops and performances include: Augusta Heritage Center, Blue Ridge Old-time Music Week, Stephen Foster Suwannee Old-time Music Weekend, Swannanoa Gathering, the MOTBA festival in St. Paul, Hoppin’ John Fiddler's Convention, and Sweetbriar College. Shay owns and operates a violin shop in Pittsboro, NC where he makes and repairs violins and regularly teaches individual and group fiddle lessons.

Blues and Rags: Mick Kinney
Mick Kinney has been playing traditional fiddle since the 1970’s, and is skilled in a multitude of instruments in an eclectic repertoire, which includes Cajun, blues, rags, and swing. Mick has taught old-time music at The Swannanoa Gathering, the Alabama Folk School, and the Blue Ridge Old-time Music Week, among others, and performs regularly with his string band, The Georgia Crackers. To learn more about his band and to hear them play, go to https://www.facebook.com/georgiacrackers/app_155326481208883

Flatfoot Dancing: TBA


Advanced: Wayne Henderson
Wayne Henderson’s top-notch finger-picking is a source of great pleasure and pride to his friends, family and neighbors in Grayson County, Virginia. His guitar playing has also been enjoyed at Carnegie Hall, in three national tours of Masters of the Steel-String Guitar, and in seven nations in Asia. Wayne is a luthier of great renown. Some of his instruments are intricately decorated but are most respected for their volume, tone, and resonance. Blues guitarist John Cephas said that Wayne Henderson “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in this whole United States.” He is the recipient of a 1995 National Heritage Award presented by the National Endowment for the Arts. Wayne was the 2014 convocation speaker at Appalachian State University in Boone. He has taught at many camps and festivals around the nation and we are pleased to have him teach at the Blue Ridge Old-time Music Week again this year. http://www.waynehenderson.org/wayne-henderson/

Intermediate: Beverly Smith
Beverly Smith was introduced to the music of the Carter Family as a pre-teen and has been in love with old-time music ever since. Along with Tara Nevins, June Drucker and Rose Sinclair she formed the Heartbeats and began to perform and teach internationally. She has toured with Bruce Molsky, Rafe Stefanini, John Herrmann and Meredith McIntosh, the Freighthoppers, Alice Gerrard, Carl Jones and John Grimm and has recorded with Irish musicians John Doyle and Mick Moloney as well as bluegrass singer Laurie Lewis. She has taught at camps and played at festivals around the world. She is an award-winning fiddler and on guitar she has won top prizes in the band contests at Galax, Clifftop and Mt Airy Fiddlers Conventions. Her guitar playing was featured in the October 2000 issue of Acoustic Guitar Magazine.

Early Intermediate: Susie Coleman
Susie Coleman is a lifelong musician and rhythm guitar player. Susie has eight first place singing awards from the annual Old-time Singing competition at Middle Tennessee’s Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree, two from the Indiana State Folksinging contest, and top honors at Uncle Dave Macon Days and other regional music competitions. She and husband Kirk Pickering have hosted an old-time jam in their home near Nashville, Tennessee for 17 years, giving birth to the PegramJam.com website (offering free audio recordings of hundreds of old-time tunes) and the Pegram Jam Chord Chart Book. She has served multiple years as a judge at regional fiddlers conventions. In addition to giving beginner guitar and singing lessons, Susie is a web and graphics designer. She’s authored a series of songbooks for women – Fabulous Folksongs Every Girl Should Know – and shares her love of music through her website www.folkslingers.com.


Beginning Mandolin: Pete Vigour

Pete has played and taught instrumental music in the Charlottesville, VA area for many years, performing since 1985 in Uncle Henry’s Favorites with his wife Ellen. Pete is also skilled on fiddle, guitar, clawhammer banjo and other instruments.

Intermediate/Advanced:Ellen Vigour
Ellen Vigour has been playing mandolin in old-time string bands since the late 1970’s (including the Crossroads String Band, the Blue Sky Girls, the Green Hills String Band, Country Ham, and Uncle Henry’s Favorites). She formed her band, Uncle Henry’s Favorites, over thirty years ago and the group is still going strong with all the original members. As well as performing at many festivals in the United States, she has performed with Uncle Henry’s Favorites in the UK, and on A Prairie Home Companion. Ellen has presented mandolin, fiddle, and string band workshops at various music camps and festivals including Augusta Heritage Center, Blue Ridge Old-time Music Week, Front Porch String Band Camp, The Woodfest, and Buffalo Gap. Ellen and her husband Pete have organized many string band camps and workshops in their local area. They have been performing traditional music together for 40 years.

Rhythm and Repertoire:

Erynn Marshall & Carl Jones
Erynn Marshall has carved out a niche for herself as an old-time fiddler in North America and abroad. She has played for over thirty-five years, performed and taught at many music camps in the US, Canada, England and learned old-time music from visiting 80-95 year-old fiddlers and singers in the South. Erynn has authored the book, Music in the Air Somewhere (on West Virginia fiddle and song traditions), filmed an instructional DVD and made several recordings including her new CD Greasy Creek of all original tunes. She has won many awards including a prestigious first place in fiddle at "Clifftop," (The Appalachian Stringband Festival), in West Virginia and was the first woman and person from outside the US to do so. Erynn lives in Galax, Virginia. She performs with Carl Jones, the Bow Benders and the Galax Bogtrotters. Website: www.dittyville.com Carl Jones started playing guitar and writing songs when he was ten years old, inspired by Roy Rogers. He played bluegrass music in college and attended many festivals, where he began a life-long pursuit of learning traditional fiddle music and making up “ditties.” He toured as a multi-instrumentalist with James Bryan, Norman and Nancy Blake, as The Rising Fawn String Ensemble and others. Carl and wife, fiddler Erynn Marshall, perform often all over and will be touring China and Australia (with the Galax Bogtrotters) in 2017. Carl has been an instructor at many camps teaching everything from old-time mandolin and banjo, guitar and arranging, to songwriting. His songs have been recorded by the Nashville Bluegrass Band, Kate Campbell, Rickie Simpkins, and others. Each song - wistful, yearning, or hopeful - is beautiful like a beach stone polished by Carl's special gift for song-smithing. Website: www.dittyville.com

Adam Hurt & Beth Hartness
Deemed a "banjo virtuoso" by the Washington Post, Adam Hurt has fused several traditional old-time idioms to create his own elegantly innovative clawhammer 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 south 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. Raised on a tobacco farm in Caswell County, North Carolina, Beth Williams Hartness began singing and taught herself to play the guitar at the age of twelve, influenced by her mother's passion for early 1960’s folk music. Beth was first introduced to old-time music in the 1980’s while living in Charlotte, North Carolina, and during this time she was a founding member of the Charlotte Folk Music Society, serving as vice president and festival organizer. Beth has been a member 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 several recordings.


Shaped Note:Laura Boosinger
Laura Boosinger is an award-winning performer and recording artist whose primary focus is the interpretation of traditional music from the Southern Appalachian region. Laura's concerts offer a step back to a simpler time, awakening memories for the old and gently instilling important cultural lessons for the young. Her performances have included The Tennessee Homecoming at The Museum of Appalachia, MERLEFEST and Greensboro's CITYSTAGES. Laura's recording "My Carolina Home," featured on folk programs across the nation, has received consistently glowing reviews. Her recording "Down the Road" is a collection of songs from many of her musical heroes and features some of Nashville's finest, including Stuart Duncan, John and Jamie Hartford, Buddy Spicher, Aubrey Haynie, Mark Howard and Roy Huskey, Jr. www.lauraboosinger.com

Country Duets: Alice Gerrard & Kay Justice
Alice Gerrard’s career spans some 50 years, learning from and performing with many of the old-time and bluegrass greats. Alice is especially known for her collaboration with Appalachian singer Hazel Dickens during the 1960’s and ’70’s, producing four classic LPs (reissued by Rounder on CD) and influencing countless women singers. Her solo albums have been critically acclaimed in the publications Billboard, Bluegrass Unlimited, New Country, among others, and showcase her compelling, eclectic songwriting; her powerful, hard-edged vocals; and her instrumental mastery on rhythm guitar, banjo, and fiddle. Alice has appeared on more than 20 recordings—with many traditional musicians such as Tommy Jarrell, Enoch Rutherford, Otis Burris, and Matokie Slaughter; she has also recorded with Tom Sauber and Brad Leftwich as Tom, Brad & Alice, with the Harmony Sisters, and most recently with the Piedmont Melody Makers. She is currently in the process of recording a CD with singer Kay Justice. She also co-produced and appeared in two documentary films. A tireless advocate of traditional music, Alice has won numerous honors, including an International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Distinguished Achievement Award, a Virginia Arts Commission Award, the North Carolina Folklore Society’s Tommy Jarrell Award, and an Indy Award. Her recording, Follow the Music, was nominated for a Grammy in 2015 for best folk album. She makes her home in Durham, NC. www.alicegerrard.com Kay Justice grew up in the small town of English, WV located in the southernmost county in the state. At an early age she began singing in school plays and at Sunday school and church. Later, when she was in nursing school, she discovered the music of popular folk singers of the time including Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, Peter, Paul and Mary, Ian and Sylvia and others. Drawn to the music, she began singing and playing many of the folk songs of the day. Further exploration into traditional music led her to the songs of Appalachia. In the 1970's, while a student at Clinch Valley College, she met Helen Lewis and Rich Kirby who organized a seminar in Appalachian music. There she heard Addie Grahm, Kate Peters Sturgill, Ralph Stanley, Nimrod Workman, Beechard Smith and other old-time Appalachian singers. Her quest to learn that music was begun and continues today. She has taught and performed for many years now in both solo and as a member of various duos and string bands. Past teaching experience includes, Blue Ridge Old-time Music Week, Augusta Heritage Vocal Week, Alleghany Echoes, and the Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp. She has performed extensively throughout the United States and in Canada. Kay is known as a gentle and welcoming instructor who loves passing her music to others.

Harmony:The Rosin Sisters
The Rosin Sisters are Barbara Panter-Connah and Jan Smith from Atlanta, and Ann Whitley-Singleton from Dahlonega, Georgia. These three “heart sisters” came together as a trio about eight years ago when Ann was still living in the big city, but they have known each other through the traditional music scene for almost thirty years. They perform around the southeast and have taught harmony singing here at the Blue Ridge Old-time Music Week, the Palestine Old-time Music and Dulcimer Festival in Palestine, Texas, the 2014 Organization of American Kodaly Educators Conference, and the Bear on the Square Festival in Dahlonega, Georgia. They have produced two CD’s, Sweet Sunny South and Walking Through Times Door. www.rosinsisters.com


Charlie and Nancy Hartness
Charlie Hartness has played old-time string band music since the mid-90s. One day he got tired of the way the guitar hurt his hand and he picked up a ukulele that a friend bought at the Goodwill. He sold his guitar in short order. Charlie and his wife Nancy live in Athens, Georgia, where they are known as the duo Hawk Proof Rooster.