Classic Country Week

Classic Country Week

July 9 - 14, 2017

Augusta Week 1 Day 2-049

Country music borrows from folk, pop, blues, swing and religious sources, and yet it is distinctly different. It is easily remembered, loves to tell a story and invites you to dance. The music we focus on is not from the current Nashville scene. This is classic country music from its roots, from Jimmie Rodgers and The Carter Family, through folks like Kitty Wells, Merle Haggard and Dolly Parton, to the soulful singing of George Jones and Vern Gosdin. During this week, we explore this treasure trove of American music with some of the most dedicated instructors doing country music today.

“Hello again to all our old friends and friends we haven’t met yet! The staff of Classic Country Music Week is set to help you have maximum fun while learning more than you ever dreamed you would. This is what’s known as The Augusta Experience. The Augusta Experience does not, can not, happen just anywhere. It’s something about eating together with new friends, staying up late dancing or talking, striving to pick up new skills in a nonjudgmental classroom, being cheered on when you finally “get it” by your new buddy from another country, and watching an 85 year old and an 18 year old laugh and sit down and play together. Or maybe it’s just the closeness of the mountains that surround you all day. We welcome you to join us July 9, 2017. Some new instructors and some familiar faces with new songs are getting fired up to meet you and pass on to you the good ol’ country songs we all love.
-Ginny Hawker, Coordinator

Tuition Guide:
$475/week if paid before June 1. $515/week if paid after June 1.

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

Week at a Glance | Register Online

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Classic Country Week Coordinator – Ginny Hawker

Ginny Hawker

Ginny Hawker is a mainstay at Augusta and has been the coordinator of Classic Country Week since it began in 2009, then known as Early Country Music Week. Emmylou Harris said Ginny Hawker is “real as dirt – she sings from the heart” when she chose Ginny’s CD, Letters From My Father as a favorite in Oprah magazine. That’s the only way Ginny knows how to sing – the way she learned to sing from her father, Ben Hawker. She and her dad taught at Augusta Vocal Week for 10 years and traveled to the Smithsonian, Vancouver, and Chicago to perform at festivals and teach workshops. Whenever Ginny sings, she makes the song sound like a classic you had forgotten about, while at the same time, making it sound so effortless that anyone could do the same. That’s what makes her a good teacher. Ginny will touch your heart and draw you into her world with her singing. She has taught at music camps for 25 years, as well as singing workshops in her home for the past 9 years. Ginny has recorded with Kay Justice and with her husband, Tracy Schwarz. She has two solo CD’s on the Rounder Label. Ginny and Tracy live in Tanner, WV.

Master Artist – Alice Gerrard

Alice Gerrard

Alice Gerrard is a singer and songwriter who has performed and advocated for old-time and bluegrass music for over 40 years. She plays old-time fiddle, banjo, and guitar. Her recordings with Hazel Dickens during the 1960s and ’70s influenced a generation of women musicians from Laurie Lewis to the Judds. Alice’s song, “Agate Hill,” was an inspiration for Lee Smith’s latest novel, On Agate Hill. Her most recent recording, Follow the Music, was a finalist for a 2015 Grammy in the Folk category. She is founder of the Old-Time Herald music magazine and makes her home in Durham, NC. Alice often surprises her audiences on the big stage and in small jams with a memorable rendition of a Leona Williams or a Jerry Lee Lewis hidden treasure. She knows what makes a good song, and she brings all of her life experiences to the telling of the story. Country and Cajun students will see another side to this unique national treasure.

Hey Loretta- Songs of Loretta Lynn (All Levels) & Take Me in Your Lifeboat: Country Gospel (All Levels) – Karen Collins

Karen Collins

Karen Collins grew up in the mountains of Southwest Virginia in a coal mining community. She spent a lot of time listening to country music on the radio and singing in the local Baptist Church. The echoes of those early country sounds stand out in her singing and in her songwriting today. Karen is lead singer with the honky-tonk band Backroads Band, and with the Cajun/Zydeco band Squeeze Bayou. She also sings with the acoustic country quartet The Blue Moon Cowgirls, plays solo shows, and teaches harmony singing workshops in the Washington, DC, and Baltimore area. Karen has won Wammies (Washington Area Music Awards) for “Country Vocalist” and also “Country Duo/Group” for her band, Karen Collins & The Backroads Band.

Songs of Loretta Lynn

Loretta Lynn is a living legend in country music, and she sure writes good songs. A coal miner’s daughter who has lived a colorful life, Loretta often writes from her personal experience. Her songs have been described as “brash, funny, tragic, and truthful all at the same time”.

Since early in her career, Loretta has been a major force in paving the way for strong, independent women in country music. But many of her topics are universal. So guys, this is not a class just for the ladies. Come and learn some Loretta songs and add a (Loretta & Conway or Loretta & Ernest Tubb) duet to your repertoire. Participants will listen to and learn Loretta’s hits, but will also dig into some of her lesser known songs.

The class will also learn about her life. She has been out on the road touring, writing songs, and making recordings and for almost 60 years, and is still going strong. The instructor heard her perform twice in the past year and was blown away both times. It’s going to be a fun class.

Take Me in Your Lifeboat: Country Gospel

Country gospel songs have always been an important part of classic country music, and they are often a big part of singing sessions and jams. With catchy choruses, gospel songs encourage that close harmony sound that singers love.

Some scholars feel that “the gospel song is the basic source of all country music.” Even if gospel isn’t the root of country music, gospel music has had a strong influence on country music. It is emotional and intense, and that influence can be heard in the singing of the great country singers like Hank Williams, George Jones, Kitty Wells, and others who sing from the heart.

Today gospel songs are an important part of American roots music, which unites us in spite of our different backgrounds and paths. In this class participants will be doing group singing and searching for that perfect country gospel harmony sound. Participants will learn songs like “When the Roll is Called Up Yonder,” “Take Me in Your Lifeboat,” and “Wait for the Light to Shine.” Participants will receive lyric sheets and should bring an audio recorder and an open heart. All singers are welcome.

Acoustic Bass in a Country Band (Beg./Int.) & The Many Rhythms of Classic Country Music (Int./Adv.) – Miss Tess

Miss Tess

Miss Tess has been leading her own band, performing, and touring professionally for the last decade. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, making a living as a singer, songwriter, guitarist, and bassist. Tess specializes in writing and playing American roots music including styles of country, blues, and swing.

Acoustic Bass in a Country Band (Beg./Int.)

This class will look at the acoustic bass and its role in country music standards. Participants will work on hearing chord changes, keeping good time, and playing simple lines to support the singer and other instrumentalists. The class will also touch upon techniques to make the bass easier to play, and to support getting the best tones on the instrument.

The Many Rhythms of Classic Country Music (Int./Adv.)

In this class, participants will delve into the rhythms in classic country tunes. The class will work on 2-steps, walking shuffles, western swing, 12/8 tunes, straight eighth feel, and stretching ideas for note choices or bass lines in the context of the song.

Classic Country Essentials (All Levels) & Songwriting: Keeping it Real (All Levels) – John Lilly

John Lilly

John Lilly is an award-winning songwriter and performer from Charleston, West Virginia. Formerly a tour guide at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, a member of the Green Grass Cloggers dance team, and a member of the band Ralph Blizard and the New Southern Ramblers, John served as editor of West Virginia’s GOLDENSEAL magazine for 18 years. He recently retired in order to pursue music full-time. John plays across the country with the acclaimed Blue Yonder band and also performs solo. He recently completed an ambitious recording of original state songs.

Songwriting: Keeping it Real

Creating new songs in the style of classic country music is a high calling and a nearly lost art. This class will deconstruct a few unforgettable songs from the past to see what makes them still tick today. Then participants will craft a new song or two of their own. The class will discuss song structure, tempo and “groove”, writing memorable melodies, finding solid hooks, balancing tradition and innovation, and above all, keeping it real. Copyrighting, publishing, collaboration, and song pitching will also be briefly discussed. Time will be made each day for song critiques and feedback – one song per participant (optional). Participants should bring a pen and pad of paper, a mobile recording device, and a guitar (optional).

Classic Country Essentials

This repertoire class for all levels will discover – or rediscover – the classic songs and artists who defined country music. Participants will listen to, discuss, and learn songs from artists including George Jones, Connie Smith, Merle Haggard, Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, Buck Owens, Dolly Parton, Jimmie Rodgers, The Carter Family, and others. This class is open to all singers who seek a firm foundation in classic country music or wish to reconnect on a deeper level with its core sound. Participants should bring their voices – no instruments needed.

Country Duets (Int.) – Emily Miller & Jesse Milnes

Emily Miller

The first song Emily Miller remembers learning is the Louvin Brothers’ hit, “When I Stop Dreaming,” around age 8, which she sang as a duet with her older brother Ethan. After performing with many different groups in her teenage years (most notably Northern Harmony, with whom she toured all over the US and Europe), Emily formed the honky-tonk country band The Sweetback Sisters in 2006 with fellow singer Zara Bode. They have recorded three full-length records and have performed their renegade retro style of country music in barrooms, festival stages, and concert halls around the world, including appearances on A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage. Emily and her husband Jesse Milnes also perform as a duo, singing country and old-time music in close harmony. Emily is musical director for the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble string band in Elkins, WV, which recruits talented old-time instrumentalists and percussive dancers from around the country for a high-level student performance ensemble. She and Jesse make their home in Valley Bend, WV.

Jesse Milnes

Jesse Milnes grew up in the world of West Virginia old-time music (his father is fiddler and folklorist Gerry Milnes). Although he is widely known as a fiddle player, Jesse’s first instrument was a guitar, and he has developed a personal style of finger-picking, drawing on influences from blues to bluegrass to country. He has played fiddle and guitar with many country, old-time, and bluegrass bands over the years, including the Sweetback Sisters, a country band for which he was also a main songwriter. Jesse has won many local and regional fiddle contests, including the WV State Folk Festival in Glenville, WV, and the Ed Haley Fiddle Contest in Ashland, KY. Jesse and his wife, Emily Miller, recently toured in Australia and California and recorded their first album as a duo. They live in Valley Bend, WV.

Country Duets (Int.)

Singing harmony, especially country harmony, can give pleasure like no other art form. This class is geared toward participants who already have a grasp of basic harmony singing, and will teach them how to bring their duet singing to the next level by fine tuning style and delivery. The class will focus on songs from classic country acts like the Louvin Brothers, Buck Owens and Don Rich, Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn, the Davis Sisters, and more, as well as some great old songs from the likes of Hank Williams and Kitty Wells that the instructors have worked up into soul-satisfying duets. Many great songs will be taught during the week, but participants are also encouraged to bring duets they want to polish up. Lyrics will be provided. Participants should bring a portable audio recording device.

Honky-Tonk Electric Guitar – All Levels & Practicing Effectively – All Instruments and Vocals (All Levels) – Karl Straub

Karl Sraub

Karl Straub is a highly regarded songwriter and performer called “a world–?class original on electric guitar” (CDBaby) and “DC’s most original songwriter” (Pete Kennedy).  Karl headed the legendary Graverobbers in the 1990s, and countless artists have covered his material, including Last Train Home, Virginia Coalition, Little Pink, Eugene Chadbourne, Kevin Johnson, and many more. His songs range from rock ‘n’ roll fuzz to Elvis Costello- like lyrical surprise, from bubblegum pop to Western swing, and from Hank Williams honky-tonk to Thelonious Monk jazz, often in the same song.

His most recent work is the 2014 release Hangtown Dancehall (Red Beet Records) with Eric Brace of Last Train Home.  The album, a romping song cycle of the California Gold Rush, also features Kelly Willis, Jason Ringenberg, and John Wesley Harding.  In 2013, Straub and Peter Fox issued the Harlem Hayride album of reworked, previously unreleased Graverobbers songs (Overtone Records). Coming up, Karl will release an album of pure, trashy rock-and-roll with side project Crowtown, and he is also completing the long awaited Bubblegum Picasso disc. Alongside all this, Karl teaches professional-level songwriting and guitar, both in Northern Virginia classes and online.

The Karl Straub Combo gathers all-stars Ariel Francis on keyboards, Matt Tebo on drums, Jeff Muller on bass, and Stephen Dawson on guitar and vocals, expertly backing Straub’s deep repertoire of original numbers.  Frequent guests include trumpeter Kevin Cordt and vocalist Martha Beggs.  The Karl Straub Combo plays all kinds of venues throughout DC and Northern Virginia.

 

Practicing Effectively – All Instruments and Vocals

This class will help participants who sing or play an instrument and have been stuck at the same level for a while. When musicians struggle to learn new skills, or have trouble moving to the next level, it’s usually because their practice method doesn’t work. Practicing the correct way can be more fun and more productive, and it only takes a few quick and easy adjustments to the way practice time is spent.

The class will use songs by Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson to demonstrate practice methods that can be used by singers or instrumentalists. The class is open to all levels, and to singers and players of all instruments (acoustic guitar, fiddle, piano, steel guitar, Telecaster, etc.). The class will deal with methods that can be applied to any practice goals, and will address any specific questions musicians and singers have about their own practice needs

Honky-Tonk Electric Guitar

The honky-tonk style is the very essence of country music. Honky-tonk is about storytelling as much as it is about dancing, and it’s just as suited to uptempo party songs as it is to tear-jerking weepers. Although any electric guitar can be used, the Fender Telecaster is the perfect instrument for honky-tonk music. Its bright and ringing sound delivers bite in the treble register, and truckdriver twang in the bass notes. Players who are used to acoustic will be encouraged by how easy it is to move over to the Telecaster.
This class will talk about the basics of honky-tonk through listening to classic recordings; singing songs by Hank Williams, Merle Haggard, and Willie Nelson; and looking at the Telecaster’s central role in the style on both rhythm and lead guitar. The class is open to guitarists, singers, and other instrumentalists of all levels. Guitarists will pick up a few Telecaster licks, and singers and other instrumentalists will learn a ton about singing, playing, and listening to honky-tonk music.

Introduction to Playing Steel in Country Music (All Levels) & Melodic Improvisation in Country Music – All Instruments (Int.) – Thomas Bryan Eaton

Thomas Bryan Eaton

Thomas Bryan Eaton is the most fun, patient, organized yet relaxed teacher you will ever come across. He currently lives in the Nashville area where he is in demand as a studio musician. He writes and performs his own songs in solo performances and tours with Miss Tess and The Talkbacks. You may have heard the old saying that someone is “eat up with music”? Well, that is Thomas. He can stay up all night playing steel guitar, slide guitar, and singing whatever the jam or performance calls for. He knows all the old classic country songs and sings them with feeling that belies his young years. A young student wrote last year, “This man is a phenomenal musician, teacher, and human. He made the hardest instrument there seem not so daunting.” Believe it.

Intoduction to Playing Steel in Country Music

This is a lead instrument and VERY important to the authentic country sound. A basic understanding of music is recommended, very basic. This class will be focusing on either a 10-string pedal steel in E9 tuning or a 6-string lap steel in C6 tuning, depending on what the class needs/wants and has available. The class will be dealing with such topics as single note melodies, chords, blocking, use of volume pedal, intros, endings, and improvisation. Thomas is hoping to really delve into pedal steel this year. If participants are interested in this but don’t have a pedal steel, please get in touch with Thomas ASAP to work out the details and possibly arrange a reasonable rental here in West Virginia.

This is a challenging and tremendously rewarding instrument, and Thomas is excited to show participants how it’s done. Every singer of country music wants a steel player in their band. Please contact Thomas Bryan Eaton if you need to rent an instrument: thomas.bryan.eaton@gmail.com
Participants should bring a mini-amp (they are pocket size, cheap, and available in music stores), fingerpicks and bar, cables, volume pedal, tuning wrench, chromatic tuner, pen and notebook, and an audio recorder.

Melodic Improvisation in Country Music

This workshop will deal with the nuts and bolts of playing an instrumental lead in a country song. Some call them “solos,” but the whole band is still playing! Participants will learn how to break apart the vocal melody into basic building blocks and then interpret them in a tasteful and interesting manner. This is an intermediate class, so participants should be able to at least pick out a melody on their instrument. Some knowledge of scales and basic chords will also be helpful. This class is open to various instruments (acoustic guitar, fiddle, piano, steel guitar, Telecaster). In fact, some diversity would be welcome as different instruments have different ways to interpret melodies. Please contact Thomas Bryan Eaton with any questions at thomas.bryan.eaton@gmail.com.

Playing Fiddle in Country Music (Int.) -Jesse Milnes

Jesse Milnes

Jesse Milnes grew up in the world of West Virginia old-time music (his father is fiddler and folklorist Gerry Milnes). Although he is widely known as a fiddle player, Jesse’s first instrument was a guitar, and he has developed a personal style of finger-picking, drawing on influences from blues to bluegrass to country. He has played fiddle and guitar with many country, old-time, and bluegrass bands over the years, including the Sweetback Sisters, a country band for which he was also a main songwriter. Jesse has won many local and regional fiddle contests, including the WV State Folk Festival in Glenville, WV, and the Ed Haley Fiddle Contest in Ashland, KY. Jesse and his wife, Emily Miller, recently toured in Australia and California and recorded their first album as a duo. They live in Valley Bend, WV.

Playing Fiddle in Country Music (Int.)

This class will focus on learning to play leads and fills in an appropriate style to accompany country songs. It will be geared particularly towards fiddlers who play fiddle tunes (whether old-time, Cajun, Irish, or some other style) and want to learn to play songs as well. Participants will learn to use their ears to pick up a melody, decide how and when to play fills, and learn bowing techniques that will help them slow down and simplify their playing to match the way a singer might sing a melody. The class will also cover how to kick off a tune and how to construct a fiddle break.

#1 Hits From the 1950s (All levels) and Country Rhythm Guitar (All levels) – Carol Elizabeth Jones

Carol Elizabeth Jones

Carol Elizabeth Jones has made her mark as a singer of traditional mountain music, a guitar player, and as a writer of new songs in the traditional style. She has many albums to her credit including those with Jones & Leva, Laurel Bliss, and most recently, the New Reeltime Travelers. Rounder Records featured Carol Elizabeth on several anthologies including the bestselling O Sister – Women In Bluegrass collection. She was a member of the Hopeful Gospel Quartet with Garrison Keillor and Robin & Linda Williams on A Prairie Home Companion. Carol Elizabeth toured Africa and Southeast Asia as cultural ambassador for the US Information Agency and has performed and taught at festivals throughout North America. Originally from Berea, Kentucky, Carol Elizabeth now lives in Lexington, VA. Dave Higgs of Bluegrass Breakdown says “…Carol Elizabeth has one of the most haunting and honest voices in acoustic music.”

#1 Hits From the 1950s (All levels) and Country Rhythm Guitar (All levels)

Since there are more great classic country songs than we can learn in a week, this class will focus on the most singable number one hits from the 1950s as sung by Hank Williams, Webb Pierce, Kitty Wells, Lefty Frizzell, The Davis Sisters, Ray Price, and Stonewall Jackson. The workshop will be a bit of listening and a lot of singing, with a primary focus on becoming strong and stylish lead singers. Participants will prepare a song from the 1950s to share with the rest of the class. All levels are welcome.

Country Rhythm Guitar (All Levels)

Sure, the fiddlers and steel players get a lot of the attention in a country band, but most country songs start their lives with just a voice and a rhythm guitar. Country rhythm playing doesn’t have to be flashy, it just has to be rock steady and have a beautiful tone. We will cover these skills and more in this class for players who know most of the basic chords and want to refine their country strum and learn the secrets of being a good back-up guitar player.

Singing from the Heart (All Levels) – Courtney Granger & Ginny Hawker

Ginny Hawker

Ginny Hawker is a mainstay at Augusta and has been the coordinator of Classic Country Week since it began in 2009, then known as Early Country Music Week. Emmylou Harris said Ginny Hawker is “real as dirt – she sings from the heart” when she chose Ginny’s CD, Letters From My Father as a favorite in Oprah magazine. That’s the only way Ginny knows how to sing – the way she learned to sing from her father, Ben Hawker. She and her dad taught at Augusta Vocal Week for 10 years and traveled to the Smithsonian, Vancouver, and Chicago to perform at festivals and teach workshops. Whenever Ginny sings, she makes the song sound like a classic you had forgotten about, while at the same time, making it sound so effortless that anyone could do the same. That’s what makes her a good teacher. Ginny will touch your heart and draw you into her world with her singing. She has taught at music camps for 25 years, as well as singing workshops in her home for the past 9 years. Ginny has recorded with Kay Justice and with her husband, Tracy Schwarz. She has two solo CD’s on the Rounder Label. Ginny and Tracy live in Tanner, WV.

Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger is an old soul at a young age, and he’s Cajun through and through with all the depth of emotion and experience that one life so young can hold. He is a master fiddler and singer of his native Cajun music, but he can also sing a country song that will burn your heart and have you crying for more. Students have written, “He broke my heart every day and I loved it.” “His class worked – here is a set of songs and how to sing them. It worked because he truly listened to his students and was very generous.” “Courtney has wonderful insight into the music – and can articulate those thoughts.” Whenever Courtney sings at a country or Cajun dance, dancers stop and get lost in his deep commitment to the music, so deep that he sweeps the listener right up into it with him. You feel like, “he’s singing my life.” Ginny Hawker said, “This year, Courtney’s long-awaited recording came out and it’s even more than we were expecting! It has received rave reviews wherever Courtney’s longtime fans are listening and from publications that introduce us to new music.” Beneath Still Waters will be available in the Augusta Store on vinyl and CD.

Singing from the Heart

Good singers are everywhere; great singers that connect with listeners are rare. This is a class for solo singers who want to know what it takes to emotionally move listeners when they sing. Participants will listen to a few truly great country women and men singers and locate the emotional core of their songs. Then participants will discover the connections in their own life experiences that will allow them to move their listeners when they sing. The class will then work on things like tone, tempo, and finding a comfortable key. No instruments are necessary, just a willingness to let go of “performing” and start SINGING. Participants should bring an audio recorder and a favorite classic country song that resonates with them personally. Lyric sheets will be provided for a few standard, classic country songs that have been in American culture for over 50 years. Participants who normally back themselves up with a guitar should bring it to class. For others, Courtney will back them up.

Step Up to the Mic (All Levels) – Emily Miller

Emily Miller

The first song Emily Miller remembers learning is the Louvin Brothers’ hit, “When I Stop Dreaming,” around age 8, which she sang as a duet with her older brother Ethan. After performing with many different groups in her teenage years (most notably Northern Harmony, with whom she toured all over the US and Europe), Emily formed the honky-tonk country band The Sweetback Sisters in 2006 with fellow singer Zara Bode. They have recorded three full-length records and have performed their renegade retro style of country music in barrooms, festival stages, and concert halls around the world, including appearances on A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage. Emily and her husband Jesse Milnes also perform as a duo, singing country and old-time music in close harmony. Emily is musical director for the Davis & Elkins College Appalachian Ensemble string band in Elkins, WV, which recruits talented old-time instrumentalists and percussive dancers from around the country for a high-level student performance ensemble. She and Jesse make their home in Valley Bend, WV.

Step Up to the Mic (All Levels)

This class will take on the full scope of how to be the lead singer in a country band – both mastering vocal style and leading a group of musicians. This could even be called “Performance 101: How to sound as good onstage as you do in your living room.” Although no one will be expected to be country “stars” at the outset, students should feel comfortable singing on their own. We will learn some great Classic Country songs as a class (think Kitty Wells, Ray Price, Lefty Frizzell, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, and Hank Williams). Participants are also encouraged to bring old songs that they love for fine tuning. Participants who play instruments can bring them along, but the main focus will be on lead singing style and technique. This year the class will also go into such things as how to handle the mic, what to say to sound engineers, how to be a democratic leader, working out arrangements, overcoming nerves, and other issues that might keep you from being your best self in front of an audience. Lyrics will be furnished. Participants should bring an audio recording device.

Staff Musician – Scott Phelps

Scott Phelps

As a past recipient of an Augusta Scholarship, Scott Phelps understands the power of a week spent studying at Augusta. After purchasing his first guitar at 21 years old, Scott has spent countless hours studying all forms of American roots music. He is particularly passionate about early country, early rock n’ roll, and rock-a-billy music. He holds a graduate degree in Archival Studies from East Tennessee State University where he participated in the internationally recognized Bluegrass, Old-Time, and country Music program. During this time he studied bluegrass guitar, old-time banjo, and honk-tonk electric guitar. In addition to being a musician, Scott spent several years as a performing member of the Green Grass Cloggers. He had the opportunity to dance at music festivals such as Merlefest and LEAF, as well as perform with the Carolina Chocolate Drops on several occasions. When not traveling and playing music, you can currently find Scott living in St. Louis, MO, and working for the Boy Scouts of America.

Arts, Crafts & Folklore Workshops

Blacksmithing (Beg./Int.) – Woody Harman

Woody Harman

As a self-taught artist blacksmith, Woody Harman has developed his skill and knowledge to work hot iron. Using age old techniques, a coal forge, hammer, tongs, and an anvil along with modern techniques and tools, he creates artistic items such as floral designed sculptures and utilitarian items such as fireplace screens and tool sets. Most often his creations have a combination of both the aesthetically pleasing and functional qualities that can be found in an ornate personal chalk board for note taking.

To most people, a blacksmith is characterized by his sheer brute strength. They miss the mark when they don’t recognize his mental abilities. The blacksmith’s brain, imagination, and visualization are more important than his brawn. Woody’s creativity is a direct reflection of his ability to imagine and he strongly feels that one’s imagination is the only limit to creating something unique and artistic in the blacksmith shop.

His attention to detail in this art form is what makes each of his iron pieces an heirloom treasure. His journey as an iron worker has been a tremendous enjoyment from receiving the response that he refers to as the “WOW” factor from those who take the time to appreciate his hand-craftsmanship.

He is a juried member of Tamarack: The Best of West Virginia, and the Pocahontas County Artisan Co-op. He has maintained a membership with the Artist Blacksmith Association of North America and other various blacksmithing organizations since the late 1970s and is a current member of the Appalachian Blacksmith Association. Researching blacksmithing books and attending various blacksmithing hammer-ins and events are his passions. www.forgeandbroom.com

Blacksmithing (Beg./Int.)

Explore the foundational skills of blacksmithing in an energetic and active, hands-on class of moving metal. Starting and maintaining a coal fire will be the first lesson. Students will learn the parts of the anvil and be shown an ergonomic and safe way to develop hammer control. The class will move on to explore the essential skills to draw, upset, split and taper black iron. Using these techniques, students will develop a strong foundation of the basics to create artistic and functional items while they gain skill in manipulating stock. The primary goal is for each student to gain comfort in their forging ability.
Projects will include a series of small, functional items such as wall hooks and household items. Depending upon time and ability, students may move on to their own projects or create items from samples provided by the instructor. While attention to design and details will be demonstrated, any range of eccentric, zany or unexpected designs will be encouraged. Projects can be as creative as your imagination.

This class is appropriate for beginning and intermediate smiths. No prior experience or skill is required, but some arm strength is helpful. Beginners will receive one-on-one assistance and instruction. Advanced-beginners and intermediate smiths are welcome to sharpen their skills, improve their attention to details and learn how to work more efficiently. Bring your curiosity, enthusiasm and creativity. Safety glasses, welding gloves and leather covered shoes for secure footing are required.
Ages 16 & up. Materials: $50, payable to Augusta at time of registration.

Cajun Cooking – Jackie Miller

Jackie Miller

Coming Soon

Cajun Cooking (All Levels)

Coming Soon

Instrument Repair I (All Levels) – Bob Smakula, assisted by Dorse Gillum

Bob Smakula

Bob Smakula of Montrose, WV, has been building and restoring fretted instruments for more than 40 years. He has encountered almost every type of instrument repair situation and buys, sells, and restores vintage stringed instruments through his internationally known business, Smakula Fretted Instruments. Bob, an award-winning fiddler and banjo player, is also a contributing editor for Old-Time Herald magazine and writes a regular column on instrument repair.

Instrument Repair I (All Levels)

Participants will learn how to make nuts and saddles, do fret jobs, re-set necks, make intonation adjustments, repair cracks, touch-up finishes, and more. Participants should bring their own instruments in need of repair. It is strongly recommended that participants be familiar with woodworking tools such as a band saw, belt sander, and drill press. Participants may sign up for either or both weeks. When registering, please specify Week 1 and/or Week 2. Bob will be taking the year off from teaching in 2018, so don’t miss your chance to learn from this master repairman!

Ages 18 & up. Materials: Approx. $15, depending on student projects, payable to workshop leader.

Willow Wicker & Tulip Poplar Basketry (All Levels) – Talcon Quinn

Talcon Quinn

Talcon Quinn is a native of southeastern Ohio and has traveled extensively in the states as well as abroad. She has been making jewelry for over two decades, and weaving and tanning leather for over the last decade. She has completed multiple programs in herbalism, wildcrafting, survival skills, and midwifery. Talcon has dedicated much time to studying and practicing these skills outside of these programs and has also befriended talented teachers across the globe to expand her knowledge and keep the tradition of folk teaching alive. She has also challenged herself to obtain materials for her crafts in an ethical and sustainable sound way.

Traveling and learning from others in the folk tradition keeps the stories, history, and culture of the crafts alive. Talcon strongly believes that it is important for humans to understand where we came from, how our ancestors lived, and the stories they shared about the plants, animals, crafts, and the world around them. By teaching and practicing these old and not yet forgotten crafts, she strives to inspire others to slow down and connect with the natural world. She hopes to create waves of change and inspiration for everyone to respect themselves, each other, and the world in which we live.

Willow Wicker & Tulip Poplar Basketry (All Levels)

This class will cover two basketry techniques: folding tulip poplar bark into baskets, and weaving wicker baskets with willow branches. Humans have folded bark into containers for centuries, and tulip poplar bark was one of the preferred materials to make such containers by Native Americans and then European settlers. Wicker basketry is a style of weaving that was developed in Europe and the knowledge and skill of this weaving was brought to the Americas by early settlers. These types of containers are still very useful today and are a beautiful reminder of timeless craftsmanship.
To make tulip bark baskets, students will peel the bark from a tulip poplar, make the cuts to fold the container, and prepare materials to sew the sides. Students will leave with a gorgeous container and the knowledge with which to make one again.

Willow is the traditional material used for wicker weaving that creates a basket that is strong, utilitarian and very beautiful. Students will learn multiple weaves, where to obtain materials, how to prepare materials for weaving, how to grow and propagate willow for weaving, as well as how to cure it. Students will leave with a beautiful pack basket that they made themselves and all the skills to do it again! (Note: Students will weave at different speeds. Slower weavers may need to dedicate more time to ensure it is completed by the end of the four days.)

Ages 13 & up. Materials: $95, payable to workshop leader.

Folk Arts for Kids Workshop

Exploring Cajun Culture (Grades k-5) – Megan Brown

Megan Brown

Megan Brown, originally from Tepetate, LA, grew up to the sound of Cajun music at her grandparent’s Cajun restaurant. She has been singing all her life. Megan took to Cajun music and with it the French language at the age of 18, joining first with her accordionist brother, Briggs Brown. She was a co-founder of the all female Cajun group Les Bassettes and performed with Ryan Brunet and Les Malfecteurs, The Pine Leaf Boys, The Lafayette Rhythm Devils, and Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys. She has performed at many cultural events, including Festivals Acadiens et Creoles, Folk Roots Balfa Camp, the Breaux Bridge Crawfish Festival, Festival International de la Louisiane, and many more nationally and internationally. She has been with T’Monde for the last five years. Megan has been working with kids of all ages for 15 years and is glad to be a second year teacher for Folk Arts for Kids during Cajun Week.

Exploring Cajun Culture (Grades k-5)

Exploring Cajun Culture – Grades K-5 – All Levels: Join Megan Brown for a week of fun educational activities about Louisiana and its special culture and history. We will focus on five topics, including Mardi Gras, food, music and instruments, holiday celebrations, and dancing. Each day we’ll learn a little history and French vocabulary relevant to each topic, followed by an art project or field trip. We will build our own masks and capuchons (hats for Mardi Gras), run Mardi Gras, dye & paque eggs, make Acadian flags, learn some dance moves, and even get a chance to cook up a Cajun dish! Parents, please have an old t-shirt for students to decorate. Each student should also have a 2×3 poster board to make their capuchons.
Folk Arts for Kids is a program for youth who have completed kindergarten through 5th grade. Participants explore arts and crafts through a variety of media and themes while getting a taste of the music, dance, and other activities running within the week. See the website for detailed class descriptions. To register, specify Folk Arts for Kids and select the week of your choice.

Cajun & Creole and Classic Country Week Evening Mini-Courses

Cajun Men Cook (All Levels – 4-6 p.m.) – Johnny Navarre & Patrick Fuselier

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Johnny Navarre & Patrick Fuselier

Firefighters have a reputation for being good cooks and Johnny Navarre is no exception. He started to learn to cook from “the old folks” and has finely tuned his skills at the fire station. His impromptu cooking sessions at Augusta inevitably led to this class.

As in many South Louisiana households, Patrick learned to cook at an early age by observing his parents and grandparents at family get-togethers, which always seemed to congregate in or around the kitchen. Patrick enjoys cooking for family and friends, curing homemade bacon and sausages, and smoking a variety of meats in his smokehouse. He is looking forward to teaming up and creating some tasty dishes with Johnny Navarre during this year’s Cajun & Creole Week and Classic Country Week.

Cajun Men Cook (All Levels)

Jambalaya? Red beans and rice? These are just a sampling of what will be on the menu when Johnny Navarre & Patrick Fuselier show their class how Cajun men cook. Anyone is welcome to participate, not just men!

Accordion Repair (All Levels) – Jesse Lege

Jesse Lége

Jesse Lége is the real deal. Growing up in a rural, pre-electricity home in Gueydan, Louisiana, Jesse spoke Cajun French and learned music from relatives, neighbors, and the family’s much-loved battery-powered radio. Today he is one of the most admired Cajun accordionists and vocalists in the world. He has won numerous CFMA (Cajun French Music Association) awards: Traditional Band of the Year, Accordion Player of the Year, Male Vocalist of the Year, Band of the Year, and Song of the Year. In 1998 he was inducted into the Cajun Music Hall of Fame.

Accordion Repair

Class Description Coming Soon

Dance Party: South Louisiana Style – Jim Phillips & Christy Leichty

Jim Phillips & Christy Leichty

Christy Leichty and Jim Phillips are artists and educators who love to dance to Cajun and Creole music. They loved it so much that even before they moved to Louisiana to help rebuild and work in education after the 2005 hurricanes, they bought an old Texaco distribution center, moved it to a secret location, and created the South’s premiere underground dancehall and honky-tonk called The Whirlybird. There, legendary dance parties and music events erupt spontaneously. They have thrown dance parties and showcased Lousiana dance joie de vivre at Augusta, Ashokan Fiddle and Dance Camp, Louisiana Folk Roots Dewey Balfa Camp, and Festivals Acadians et Creole.

Dance Party: South Louisiana Style

Look’n for some fun? Come to the dance party mini-course with Christy Leichty and Jim Phillips, who have come all the way from Opelousas, LA, to dance on one of their favorite dance floors – the Augusta dance pavilion. Their approach to getting you to feel comfortable with Cajun and Creole two-stepping and waltzing is to create a social context for dance fun.

Harmony Singing 101 (From Scratch) – Debbi Kauffmann & Tom Cook

Debbi Kauffmann

Debbi Kauffmann was lucky to be born into a musical family outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She began singing and playing guitar as a teen and was introduced to both Irish and country music in her early adult years. After moving to the Baltimore area, Debbi had the opportunity to sing and play with great bluegrass musicians at the Sandpiper Inn and Arcadia Bluegrass festival. Later, she began singing with old-time musicians in York County, Pennsylvania, and at many festivals in West Virginia, Virginia, and North Carolina. Debbi has attended Irish, Old-Time, Vocal, and Classic Country weeks at Augusta. She has studied harmony singing with Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz, and has attended several other harmony workshops. Debbi has also greatly benefited from individual vocal instruction with Dede Wyland. In 2001 she began singing professionally with mandolinist Henry Koretzky in the duo Rootbound, recording in 2004. Debbi has also had the honor of joining Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz for several performances. She has been a member of two all-female string bands and two bluegrass bands, singing lead and harmony, playing guitar and bass. Debbi has been singing lead and harmony with teaching partner Tom Cook for the past few years. Southern harmony is what drew Debbi to this music and has always been at the heart of her love for the music.

Harmony Singing 101 (All Levels)

Participants who can can carry a tune and would like to learn Southern harmony singing will enjoy this mini-course. No knowledge of music theory is needed. The instructors will demonstrate the basics and guide participants in learning, by ear, to sing both two-part and three-part harmony. The class will find the close harmonies of great early country, classic bluegrass, and gospel songs, creating the sound that touches hearts and souls.

Seconding on the Fiddle (All Levels) – Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger

Courtney Granger was born in Eunice, Louisiana. A master fiddler and extraordinarily strong singer, Courtney hails from the Balfa family lineage, which is evident in his powerful vocals and heavily Balfa-influenced fiddling. Courtney produced his own solo CD in the mid-’90s, which brought him praise from the Cajun music scene and several CFMA awards. In 1999, he joined Balfa Toujours on bass and fiddle, playing alongside the great Kevin Wimmer. Courtney’s endless repertoire of both Cajun and classic country tunes, as well his impeccable, thoughtful fiddling and soulful singing, has made him one of the most sought-after Cajun fiddlers in the world, playing with legends Jason Frey, Dirk Powell, and Horace Trahan. Courtney has been a member of The Pine Leaf Boys since 2008. He released a solo country album in 2016, entitled Beneath Still Waters.

Seconding on the Fiddle (All Levels)

Throughout his years of teaching Cajun fiddle, Courtney Granger has learned that everyone wants to learn tunes, which is wonderful, but without the knowledge of chords and the basic rhythm and groove of the songs, all they have are notes. This mini-course will take its time to cover the basic chords on the fiddle, easy transitions between chords, and most importantly, the rhythm. All of this can be incorporated in every tune participants play, and they will be able to sit in on any jam session and back up any accordion or fiddle player. Courtney will teach participants what the backbone of Cajun music is.

Sampling Cajun French (All Levels) – Zach Fuselier

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Zach Fuselier

Born in Scott, Louisiana, Zachary Fuselier was brought up surrounded by Cajun French when visiting with his great-grandparents after school and listening to Cajun music as much as he could. He attended the Lafayette Parish French Immersion Program from kindergarten through eighth grade, and continued taking French courses at Lafayette High School until graduation. Zach is currently taking French courses at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where he is majoring in biology and plans to apply for a dual degree in French. Learning how to play fiddle with numerous legends in Cajun music including Mitch Reed, Milton Vanicor, Don Montoucet, D. L. Menard, and Freddie Hanks exposed Zach to the Cajun French dialect of South Louisiana and gave him countless opportunities to learn and practice it. He is a founding member of the Huval-Fuselier Cajun Band as well as Kegan Navarre and Louisiana Traditions.

Sampling Cajun French (All Levels)

Coming Soon

Where Do Country Songs Come From? (All Levels) -Mary Battiata

Mary Battiata

Mary Battiata is a performing songwriter and bandleader whose lyrics have been praised for their interest in the natural world. She tours solo and with her band, Little Pink, from New York to Texas, and has taught creative writing to graduate students of photojournalism at the Corcoran College of Art + Design in Washington, DC. She currently teaches visual art and creative writing to children with learning differences at the Lab School of Washington and works as a teaching naturalist in Arlington County, VA. Her latest CD of original songs, The Heart, Regardless, was released earlier this year.

Where Do Country Songs Come From? (All Levels)

From Hank Williams to Harlan Howard, from Dolly Parton to Johnny Cash, country music’s greatest songwriters and performers gave us songs that drew on their experiences of country life and the natural world. You can, too! This course uses those songs and the spectacular beauty of the Augusta campus to help participants access their own songwriting imaginations. Each night, the class will meet in a scenic spot on the Augusta campus to learn and sing classic country songs with memorable lyrics drawn from nature. After we sing, students will have a chance to do a short but illuminating (and relaxing) writing exercise – one that they will be able to use later in their own songwriting or journaling. (For example: Close your eyes and make a list of five things – smells, sounds, tastes, sensations or words – that you remember about a favorite family road-trip as a child.) This class is a great chance to learn some new old songs, and do some fly-fishing in your songwriting mind.