Bluegrass Week

Bluegrass Week

August 5 - 10, 2018

For 2018, Augusta brings together another spectacular lineup! The staff of well-known bluegrass figures will share their talents with participants in workshops, demonstrations, special presentations, concerts, and jam sessions throughout the week. Informal picking sessions at all levels go on ’til the wee hours all over campus as participants and staff get together with old friends and make new ones. Evening performances feature exciting combinations of master bluegrass artists with special guests. While workshops are geared for adults, young folks able to maintain an adult level of participation are welcome. All workshops (except Vocals) are intended for those who can already play their instrument to some extent and are ready to start learning bluegrass style, technique, and repertoire.

Bluegrass Week runs concurrently with Vocal Week; Arts, Crafts, & Folklore Workshops; Folk Arts for Kids; and Evening Mini-Courses. This is the first year of our Bluegrass Week and Vocal Week pairing, and we have some exciting plans in store. Participants can take advantage of both weeks by attending special events, afternoon electives, swapping songs in jam sessions, and sharing in the fun!

Bluegrass Week 2017

Students register for one class for the week. Each class builds upon information presented the previous day.

Hello, bluegrass lovers! Team Bluegrass has been busy putting together a spectacular staff of bluegrass luminaries for Augusta Bluegrass Week 2017. We’ll be announcing more in the near future, so check back often for additions. This year promises to be the best ever, filled with classes, concerts, dances, special round-ups, demonstrations, artist spotlights, afternoon electives, directed slow jams, nightly picking sessions that go into the wee hours, student showcases, and much more. Mark your calendars for a week of total bluegrass immersion, and come pick among the stars in “Almost Heaven” West Virginia. We hope to see you there! –Ira Gitlin, Mary Burdette, and Neel Brown, Bluegrass Week Coordinators

Tuition Guide:
$490/week if paid before June 1. $
530/week if paid after June 1. 

(+ Room & Board or other available options.)

Registration will open on March 1, 2018.

2018 Week at a Glance2018 Schedule of Events / Bluegrass Week and Vocal Week| Bluegrass Week 2018 Flyer Register Here!

2018 Workshop Leaders and Classes. Click any name below to open more details. Click again to close.

Bluegrass Week Week Coordinator – Neel Brown

Neel Brown

Neel Brown, an accomplished singer and multi-instrumentalist, has played the Bluebird Café in Nashville, the Olympics in Atlanta, and countless places in the Washington, DC, capital region. He now enjoys picking and singing in living rooms and the occasional local bluegrass gig with the band Only Lonesome. Neel makes his home in Arlington, Virginia, where he runs an advocacy communications company.

Bluegrass Week Week Coordinator – Mary Burdette

Mary Burdette

Mary Burdette has performed at bluegrass festivals throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe with Skip Gorman, Tom Sauber, Patrick Sauber, and Ruthie Dornfeld, and at cowboy poetry gatherings around the country. Her bass playing can be heard on several recordings, and on the soundtrack of Ken Burns’ PBS documentary Lewis and Clark: Journey of the Corps of Discovery. Mary is Assistant Director of the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, and an active member of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) and Leadership Bluegrass Alumni Association.

Bluegrass Week Week Coordinator – Ira Gitlin

Ira Gitlin

Ira Gitlin is widely known and respected in Washington-Baltimore music circles as a versatile multi-instrumentalist, teacher, and writer. A former National Bluegrass Banjo Champion, he has backed up such nationally known performers as Bill Harrell, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Laurie Lewis, Peter Rowan, and Peter “P.D.Q. Bach” Schickele.

Ira has taught at numerous music camps and festival workshops. A frequent contributor to Bluegrass Unlimited and Banjo NewsLetter, he has lectured on bluegrass for the Smithsonian Associates, and also delivered papers at the 2005 and 2017 Bluegrass Music Symposia.

In 1993 Ira was a one-day winner on Jeopardy.

Bass (All Levels) with Marshall Wilborn

Bass (All Levels)

Greetings bass players! Whether you have just acquired your first upright bass, or have been playing for some time, I look forward to having you in class. We’ll begin with some fundamentals – posture, right and left hand technique, tone, note choice, number/intervals, sustain/length of notes, slap, and all with an emphasis on timing. Bring your own (or borrowed) bass, a pen/pencil and notepad or iPad, and any specific issues and questions. Audio recording is welcomed and encouraged.

Marshall Wilborn

Born and raised in Austin, Texas, Marshall Wilborn grew up listening to and enjoying a variety of music, from Mozart to Motown, the Beatles to Buck Owens to Bob Dylan. The Kingston Trio and then Flatt & Scruggs led to him first to the banjo, and then to the bass. For four years he toured with the Pennsylvania-based Whetstone Run. Marshall went on to work with Jimmy Martin, the Johnson Mountain Boys, Michael Cleveland, and Springfield Exit. With the Johnson Mountain Boys he recorded three albums, including the Grammy nominated At The Old Schoolhouse, which was the very first winner of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA)  Album of The Year award, in 1990. Marshall also performed in a 15 year stint with his wife Lynn in the award-winning Lynn Morris band, recording five CDs on the Rounder label. He has played over the years with the late Hazel Dickens, and as a fill-in bassist with Del McCoury and the Nashville Bluegrass Band, among many others.

He continues to work as a studio session bassist. He performs occasionally with clawhammer banjo virtuoso Adam Hurt, and appears on Adam’s latest recording Artifacts. In 1999, Marshall released his own recording, Root 5, a CD mainly of bass and banjo duets, featuring a number of the finest five string (and four string) players. The collection of tunes received an IBMA nomination for the Instrumental Recording of the Year award. Marshall has been a featured bass instructor at the UK’s Sore Fingers camp; Camp Bluegrass in Levelland, Texas; the Swannanoa Gathering; Common Ground on The Hill; and previously at Augusta Bluegrass Week. He was the 1998 recipient of Bluegrass Now magazine’s Fans’ Choice Award for Bass Player of the Year, and is a four time IBMA Bass Player of the Year award winner. After 36 years of active touring, performing, and recording, Marshall still has a love for the music and bass playing. He and Lynn, and their cats, live in the northern Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Banjo (Beginning) with Tom Adams

Banjo (Beginning)

The Beginning Banjo class will focus on two main themes: improving your ability to play music with others and reducing your dependency on tab. I want you to have a week-long immersion in playing your banjo that you can’t get from watching instructional videos on YouTube or from downloading tab and sitting at home trying to learn a tune by yourself.

You need to have the opportunity first-hand, as early on as possible, to experience how what you play on the banjo fits into the larger picture of playing bluegrass music with others. We’ll do this together in a relaxed, low-stress setting. Nervous about playing in front of other people? This is the perfect class to get you to replace that feeling with one of simply having fun while you play.

Requirements: This class is not for the absolute novice player. I would like you to be able to play at a minimum two tunes start to finish, to know the three basic major chord shapes, and to know the G, C, D, A, and F chords. As for speed, We’re not going to play anything fast. Slow and steady is what we’re aiming for.

Everything that we cover during the class time will be explained slowly and clearly.

What to bring: your 5-string banjo tuned to open G tuning (gDGBD), an electronic tuner, a set of picks, an extra set of strings, a capo—and please have 5th string spikes on your banjo at A (7th fret) and B (9th fret) so that we can play in keys other than G. It’s not hard to play in other keys, and the sooner you start, the better.

What should you practice between now and the start of Bluegrass Week? Practice playing rolls and changing chords. Slow and steady. And have fun! I look forward to meeting you at Augusta!

Tom Adams

Tom Adams is best known as one of the great banjo stylists of his generation. He first hit the national scene in the 1980s with first-generation bluegrass artist Jimmy Martin, then went on to tour and record with the Johnson Mountain Boys, Lynn Morris, Blue Highway, Rhonda Vincent, and many others. He has also played guitar with Bill Emerson and Michael Cleveland. Tom is a three-time recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Banjo Player of the Year award.

Banjo (Intermediate) with Greg Liszt

Banjo (Intermediate)

Welcome to Intermediate Banjo! You already know some tunes and chords in the three finger style and you are ready to take it to the next level. We will expand your repertoire by studying classic banjo breaks and cool licks. We will also improve your knowledge of the fretboard by delving into scales, intervals, and improvisation. This course will emphasize Scruggs style, melodic style, and single string techniques.  We will learn by reading tablature and playing by ear, so this will be a chance for you to improve in both of those areas. Be sure to bring a recording device! See you this summer.

Greg Liszt

Greg Liszt has toured and recorded extensively with acclaimed folk bands Crooked Still and the Deadly Gentlemen, both of which he helped to found.  His innovative four-finger picking technique earned him a place in Bruce Springsteen’s live band for Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions tour in 2006.  A prolific songwriter and producer, Liszt also holds a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT.  He currently lives in Boston, where he is associate professor of banjo at the Berklee College of Music.

Banjo (Advanced) with Greg Cahill

Banjo (Advanced)

The primary focus of this workshop will be to offer an overview of Scruggs style, melodic style, and single string style playing, leading to thoughts about how to create licks, solos, and compositions. Suggestions about how to play backup behind vocals and other instrumental solos will also be included. The concepts of improvisation and integrating the use of various playing styles will be an important part of this presentation. The workshop will be hands-on with tablature handouts, and it is recommend that you bring a recording device to the sessions (to record concept segments of presentations – cell phone is fine). Our goal is to have fun playing the banjo while learning.

Workshop overview:

  • Presentation on how to find the melody and create a solo for vocal and instrumental selections; this will include an overview of Scruggs, melodic, and single string style licks and passages, and study of various intros and endings in different keys and positions.
  • Review of basic chordal theory, including Circle of Fifths, Nashville Numbers System and the “4-3-5” formula for connecting the three major chord positions over the fingerboard. Then play scales through closed positions and with open strings to learn how playing basic scales can lead to creating licks and tunes in different chord positions and keys.
  • Demonstration of how interchanging licks and passages from tunes/songs with similar chord progressions can lead to improvising and transposing solos to different keys and positions.
  • Suggestions for playing backup behind singers and other instruments using common down-the-neck and up-the-neck licks and patterns.

Greg Cahill

Greg Cahill has been playing bluegrass banjo since the early 1970s. He formed The Special Consensus in the Chicago area, and the band became a full-time national and international touring and recording entity in 1975. Greg has appeared on all eighteen of The Special Consensus recordings (one received a Grammy nomination and two others received multiple International Bluegrass Music Association [IBMA] awards). He has also released three solo recordings, one European bluegrass music recording, and four banjo instructional videos/DVDs. In addition, he has appeared on numerous recordings by other artists and on countless national television and radio commercials. Greg conducts workshops and master classes at bluegrass camps and festivals worldwide, has taught bluegrass banjo at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago for over 40 years, and became the first adjunct professor teaching banjo as a member of the Columbia College Strings Department in Chicago in 2011. He released two banjo tablature books and is a regular contributor of banjo tablature and interviews with notable banjo players for Banjo Newsletter.

Greg’s workshop and camp teaching credits include Midwest Banjo Camp in Olivet, MI; Suwannee Banjo Camp in Live Oak, FL; Nashville Banjo Camp in Nashville, TN; Banjo Camp North in Groton, MA; Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week in Elkins, WV; Kaufman Kamp Bluegrass Week in Maryville, TN; Walker Creek Music Camp in Petaluma, CA; SPBGMA Nashville Banjo Workshop; Nashcamp in Nashville, TN; Maryland Banjo Academy (sponsored by the internationally distributed Banjo Newsletter periodical); Minnesota Bluegrass and Old Time Music Workshop Camp; British Columbia Bluegrass Workshops in Sorrento, BC, Canada; Cabin Fever Bluegrass Workshops in Williams Lake, BC, Canada; Sore Fingers Summer School workshops in Oxfordshire, England; and Bluegrass Camp Germany in Fischbachau /Achatswies, Germany.

Dance / Solo Percussive Dance Intensive (Intermediate) with Nic Gareiss

Solo Percussive Dance Intensive (Intermediate

This course for intermediate and advanced percussive dancers will focus on the ethnology and performance of solo percussive dance. Daily exercises will build participants’ facility, improve improvisation skills, and expand repertoire, helping experienced dancers hone their choices of dance tone, timing, and timbre. We will also examine percussive dance repertoire from Ireland, England, Canada, and Appalachia, drawing upon traditional elements to develop dancers’ individual style through both embodying traditional material and viewing historic dance source films. Conceptual approaches such as melodic imitation, “dancing the tune,” ornaments, and variations will also be explored. Dance talks and dance film viewing sessions will facilitate discussions around solo percussive dance as a cultural practice expressing the way individuality “moves” in many geographies. In addition to group lessons, dancers will have a chance to dance solo or in small groups to receive feedback as we explore the ways that solo percussive dance can inspire, critique, and above all, tie communities together.

To register, visit the registration page at https://www.dewv.edu/augusta/ and change the quantity to “1” next to “Arts, Crafts, Dance & Folklore – Week 3.” Click “checkout.” On the next screen, confirm your selection and click “checkout.” On the third screen, you will enter your personal information, and will select your workshop choice near the bottom of the form before adding your payment details. To select this workshop, click on the dropdown menu that appears under “Craft/Folklore – Week 3 Workshops,” and select “Solo Percussive Dance Intensive (Intermediate) with Nic Gareiss (#18213).

Photo by Michael Erlewine.

Nic Gareiss

Michigan-born dancer Nic Gareiss has been described by the Irish Times as “the human epitome of the unbearable lightness of being,” and “the most inventive and expressive step dancer on the scene” by the Boston Herald. His work re-imagines movement as a musical practice, recasting dance as medium that appeals to both eyes and ears. Gareiss draws from many percussive dance traditions, weaving together a dance technique facilitating his love of improvisation, traditional dance footwork vocabulary, and musical collaboration. He has concertized internationally for over ten years in fourteen countries with many of the luminaries of traditional music, including Frankie Gavin, Dervish, Bill Frisell, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Phil Wiggins, Buille, Solas, Liz Carroll, Martin Hayes, The Gloaming and The Chieftains. Nic holds a degree in Anthropology from Central Michigan University and a MA in Ethnochoreology from the University of Limerick. Gareiss’ essay, “An Buachaillín Bán: Reflections on One Queer’s Performance within Traditional Irish Music & Dance” appears in the book Meanings and Makings of Queer Dance edited by Clare Croft on Oxford University Press. www.nicgareiss.com.

Tatiana Hargreaves, Musician for Solo Percussive Dance Intensive 

Tatiana Hargreaves

Over the past eight years, Tatiana Hargreaves has been on the forefront of an up and coming generation of old time, bluegrass and new acoustic musicians. Since releasing her first solo album “Started Out To Ramble” in 2009, Tatiana has toured with musicians such as Dave Rawlings, Gillian Welch, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger, and Bruce Molsky. From being the second woman to place first at the Clifftop Appalachian Fiddle Contest, to her bluegrass fiddling on Laurie Lewis’ GRAMMY-nominated album The Hazel And Alice Sessions, Hargreaves shows a musical fluency that flows between old time and bluegrass worlds with ease. For more information about Tatiana, visit www.tatianahargreaves.com.

Guitar (Beginning) with Tyler Grant

Guitar (Beginning)

I am looking forward to meeting you and helping you improve your bluegrass guitar skills! I intend to strengthen your bluegrass rhythm playing, teach you a few songs, and provide a simple and practical approach to practicing and making the most of your time with the guitar.

We will explore bluegrass strum patterns and bass runs, common chord structure for standard songs and tunes, basics such as tuning the guitar and changing strings, and just a little bit of simple scales and leads. We will cover proper technique for the guitar and explore different song styles in the bluegrass tradition. I emphasize good timing in music and will show you how to improve your rhythm and feel the groove in your playing. I will also help you improve your listening skills and learn music by ear. And, of course, I will help you to feel more comfortable in a group setting so you can get out and pick with others!  We will be playing in small groups and may interact with the other guitar classes and instructors.  I will encourage you to jam outside of class as much as you can. Don’t be shy, we’re all in this together!

Coming into this beginning class I will expect you to know your basic chords, such as G, C, D, Em, and Am.  You do not need to know how to read music notation or tablature; we will be playing by ear and reading very basic chord charts.  You can prepare yourself by listening to as much bluegrass music as you can. Check out some classic recordings by Bill Monroe, Flatt and Scruggs, The Stanley Brothers, Reno and Smiley, etc.  If you are not familiar with traditional bluegrass please email me for specifics on musicians, albums, and songs to listen to.

Bring a guitar, flatpick, capo, tuner, paper and pencil for notes, and a folder for handouts. I strongly recommend you bring a portable recording device to record examples to take home and work on. A metronome is also a plus. I will provide some handouts, a smile, and some inspiration. Feel free to contact me with ANY questions at tylerhgrant@gmail.com.

Sincerely,
Tyler Grant

Tyler Grant

National Flatpicking Champion Tyler Grant is an internationally recognized guitar virtuoso with an impressive resume as a session musician, bandleader, and sideman. He has shared the stage with Tony Rice, Sam Bush, Tim O’Brien, Jerry Douglas, Chris Thile, and many other luminaries. He performs regularly with his band Grant Farm. Tyler has won flatpicking contests across the US, and has taught at camps and workshops here, in Canada, and in England. This is his twelfth year as an instructor at Augusta Bluegrass Week.

National Flatpicking Champion Tyler Grant is an internationally recognized guitar virtuoso, songwriter, vocalist and leader of the band Grant Farm®. Tyler has appeared at most major US festivals and performed thousands of concerts and guitar workshops worldwide. He was an original member of the Emmitt-Nershi Band and was a sideman for Abigail Washburn, April Verch, and Adrienne Young. He has produced four solo albums and five releases by Grant Farm for his own Grant Central Records. His 2016 solo release, Earth and Wood, is a triumphant return to bluegrass. The latest Grant Farm album, Kiss the Ground, also released in the summer of 2016, is an ambitious concept album which discusses the struggles of hard working people in modern society. Tyler is also host of the Meeting on the Mountain LIVE broadcast, a radio-style musical program based in Fort Collins, CO.

In addition to the National Flatpicking Championship at Winfield in 2008 and Merlefest Doc Watson Guitar Championship in 2009, Tyler has also won the Rockygrass, Wayne Henderson, and the New England flatpicking championships. He has been featured in Acoustic Guitar, Flatpicking Guitar, and Bluegrass Unlimited magazines. Tyler has been an instructor at RockyGrass Academy, Sore Fingers (UK), Kaufman Kamp, Augusta Heritage Center Bluegrass Week, Targhee Bluegrass Camp, Julian Family Fiddle Camp, NimbleFingers, and St. Louis Flatpick, and online at JamPlay, among others. His website is www.tylergrant.com.

Guitar (Intermediate) with Jordan Tice

Guitar (Intermediate)

In this class, we’ll survey the various styles of flatpicking to build tune repertoire, create tasteful variations on tunes, build interesting solos on songs, provide tasteful and supportive accompaniment, and spruce up accompaniment with bass runs. Throughout it all we’ll be keeping in mind the fundamentals of flatpicking by addressing efficient technique, generating good tone, and strengthening timing.

Jordan Tice

developed a reputation as a unique and versatile guitarist and prolific composer of some of the most thoughtful and well-crafted tunes of his generation. He has released four solo records of original music to critical acclaim and has worked as a sideman to some of the biggest names in acoustic music such as Dave Rawlings, Tony Trischka, Michelle Shocked, the Duhks, and actor/comedian Steve Martin. His current release, Horse County, features his singing and songwriting in addition to his established tune writing and guitar picking skills, with a sound that calls to mind the music of Roger Miller, John Hartford, and Norman Blake. In addition to his solo work and work as a sideman he is also a part of the instrumental group Hawktail (Formerly Haas Kowert Tice) with fiddler Brittany Haas, bassist Paul Kowert, and mandolinist Dominick Leslie.

CLASS CLOSED / FULL Guitar (Advanced) with Russ Barenberg

Guitar (Advanced)

This workshop will cover a variety of topics, tunes, and exercises to help improve your playing and your musicianship. This will include…

  • Essential rhythmic skills, specially as applies to playing melodies
  • Bringing fiddle tunes to life with pulse, ornamentation, and well-chosen fingerings
  • Learning song melodies accurately and embellishing them in simple ways to build solos
  • Playing slow melodies beautifully
  • Learning to practice more effectively by paying closer attention to the right kinds of details in your playing and by common sense problem solving.

Russ Barenberg

Acoustic guitarist and Grammy nominee Russ Barenberg is known as one of the most melodic instrumentalists in contemporary acoustic music, and his compositions are among the finest the genre has to offer. Long at the creative forefront of the acoustic music scene, Russ has collaborated with many of its finest artists, including Alison Krauss, Béla Fleck, Tim O’Brien, Mark O’Connor, Jesse Winchester, Tony Trischka, Maura O’Connell, Andy Statman, and legendary jazz bassist Charlie Haden. Skip, Hop & Wobble, the multiple-award-winning 1993 release by his long-time trio with Dobro master Jerry Douglas and acoustic bass virtuoso Edgar Meyer, influenced an entire generation of musicians.

Russ’s albums largely feature his own compositions and arrangements. His most recent, When at Last, “adds to an exquisitely original body of work with more vibrant new melodies and rich ensemble interplay.” The CD earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Country Instrumental Performance and was nominated for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Instrumental Album of the Year.

Russ’s playing has graced numerous film soundtracks, most notably Ken Burns’ documentary, The Civil War, and the 2010 release, Get Low, starring Robert Duvall and Bill Murray. Since 1995 Russ has been a member of the house band and a featured artist on the acclaimed BBC music programs The Transatlantic Sessions, which include performances by artists from both sides of the Atlantic, including James Taylor, Alison Krauss, Emmylou Harris, Ricky Skaggs, Rodney Crowell, Paul Brady, Darrell Scott, Joan Osborne, Aly Bain, Phil Cunningham, John McCusker, Michael McGoldrick, Eddi Reader, Julie Fowlis, Sharon Shannon, Cara Dillon, and many others. A live concert version of The Transatlantic Sessions has for years toured annually in the British Isles and in 2017 did its first US tour.

Russ has authored several guitar instruction books as well as a series of audio and video lessons for Homespun Tapes and teaches regularly at music camps and workshops throughout the United States and Europe.

Fiddle (Beginning) with Patrick McAvinue

Fiddle (Beginning)

Class description coming soon!

Patrick McAvinue

Bio coming soon!

Fiddle (Intermediate) with Kimber Ludiker

Hello, intermediate fiddlers! I’m thrilled to be teaching at Augusta Bluegrass Week again!

This class is designed for fiddlers who have a basic understanding of technique, know several fiddle tunes already, and are able to learn at a moderate speed by ear.

We will learn a few tunes to use as a framework to make you a better fiddler!

We’ll work on the following:

-Strengthening tone and groove
-Improving ear training skills
-Improvisation techniques
-Playing in a band setting (taking solos, playing fills around vocals, reading chord charts and voicing those chords)
-Practice techniques and mentality
-Bluegrass sound: putting genre filters on your playing
-How to write a harmony part (TWIN FIDDLES!)
-Building confidence and playing with joy!

In class, we’ll focus on learning by ear. At the end of each session, we’ll take some time to record what we’ve learned at various speeds for practice. It is mandatory to bring a recording device. Most cell phones work very well for this. I’ll ask for a volunteer to take video and set up a file share system for the class. Please let me know if you’re interested in managing this. Video is a powerful learning tool, but please do not post the videos online; it’s a perk of your registration.

Because we’ll be recording at the end of each class, please try to be device-free during the sessions. To get the most out of our classes, I ask you to be present, open-minded, willing to learn, and open to having FUN. After all, this is the BEST instrument in the world. Why else would there be some form of violin in every civilization on Earth?

I’m very excited to spend the week with you all. Feel free to write to me at kimberludiker@gmail.com if you have any questions about this class, have any specific topics you’d like to spend time on, or wonder whether Intermediate is the right level for you.

Thanks!
Kimber

Kimber Ludiker

Born of fiddle-playing parents in Spokane, WA, Kimber Ludiker is a fifth-generation fiddle player who first picked a fiddle up at the age of three. She has won three championships at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in Weiser, Idaho, and members of her family have won eight more. Kimber is a multi-instrumentalist who began playing the cello, mandolin, and guitar at an early age as well.

In 2009, Kimber founded the all-female bluegrass/Americana group Della Mae. They International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) named Della Mae their Emerging Artist of the Year in 2013, and the earned a Grammy nomination in 2014 for their first album on Rounder Records. In 2015 Rolling Stone named Della Mae as one of “10 New Artists You Need to Know.” The band has traveled to 15 countries with the US Department of State, spreading peace and understanding through music.

Besides working and recording with Della Mae, Kimber has performed on stage with the Black Lillies, Asleep at the Wheel, Dierks Bentley, Ed Helms, Peter Rowan, Mark O’Connor, Alison Krauss, Jim Lauderdale, Laurie Lewis, Darol Anger, Mike Marshall, the Travelin’ McCourys, the Del McCoury Band, and more.

Fiddle (Advanced) with Darol Anger

Fiddle (Advanced)

What does “Advanced Bluegrass Fiddle” mean? I’m not sure precisely, but everyone should at least know how to play all your major and minor scales by ear across first position, have some familiarity with third and perhaps second position, and be able to play a three-note arpeggio for any chord. You should be able to hear a short diatonic melody and repeat it back fairly accurately. You should be able to improvise a little melody across a 1-4-5 chord progression—nothing fancy, but you should have at least a clue about that. Jamming, that kind of thing.

You should know a decent number of bluegrass standards at speed, and hear those chord changes. A little reading music ability will help too—not talking about ferocious sight-reading chops, but it would be good to already be able to puzzle out those little specks on the page. There will be some handouts, but we’ll mostly be going by ear. That means bringing the usual stuff: a recorder, a pencil, some music paper just in case, chocolate, legal drugs (such as coffee).

I hope, first, to have fun playing. I also hope to work with you on “problem” areas of the fiddle, such as those pesky keys like B, C, and C# minor; high positions; intonation issues—things that might be diminishing our ability to have fun because they are difficult. We’ll think about and play with backup, tonal concepts, phrasing, rhythm techniques, blues stuff, harmony and harmonizations, and probably take apart some standard tunes to see if we can make them fresh, polish them, make them our own, ruin ’em. Maybe we’ll even collectively write a tune, and if we’re feeling frisky, maybe raid the other instruments’ sessions and taunt them with relentless sliding.

We’ll work in large group and small group/individual settings. Depending on how many folks there are, I might divide the class occasionally into jamming groups. I’d like to possibly have the opportunity to teach some individual lessons. We’ll figure out how and whether to work those in the first day. Be prepared to croak out some songs. Any actual singers, please make me aware of your existence right away, as it would be great to utilize your talents for accompaniment purposes.

All y’all probably should bring a fiddle. Four-strings are great, five-strings are better. Viola.…hmmm, that’s your call.

Let’s have a good time.

Best,
Darol

Darol Anger

Fiddler, composer, producer, and educator, Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent.

Exceptional among modern fiddlers for his versatility and depth, Darol has helped drive the evolution of the contemporary string band through his involvement with numerous trailblazing ensembles including his Republic Of Strings, the Turtle Island String Quartet, the David Grisman Quintet, Montreux, and his duo with Mike Marshall. He has performed and taught all over the world with musicians such as Dr. Billy Taylor, Béla Fleck, Bill Evans, Edgar Meyer, Bill Frisell, David Grisman, Tony Rice, Tim O’Brien, the Anonymous 4, Marin Alsop and the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony, Mark O’Connor, and Stephane Grappelli.

Darol can be heard every week on the theme to NPR’s Car Talk, along with Earl Scruggs, David Grisman, and Tony Rice. He was also the violinist on the phenomenally popular SimCity computer games. In addition to performing all over the world, Darol has recorded and produced scores of important recordings since 1977, is a MacDowell and Ucross Fellow, and has received numerous composer’s residencies and grants. He has been a featured soloist on dozens of recordings and motion picture soundtracks.

Darol is an associate professor at the Berklee College of Music. He recently began an ambitious online fiddle school at ArtistWorks.com. His website is www.darolanger.com.

Mandolin (Beginning) with Avril Smith

Mandolin (Beginning)

“We will work together to learn basic chords, strumming patterns, and simple melodies to popular bluegrass and old-time tunes. We will focus on developing good technique to build a strong foundation that gets you on the journey to jamming with others. We will also discuss minor chords, 7th chords, and how to use movable chord shapes to learn the neck of the instrument. Finally, the workshop will cover ways to think about embellishing melodies to make them your own. We will focus on learning by ear and I will provide tablature so you have it as a reference for future practice.

Please bring a tuner, pick, and a music stand. You may also want to have a notebook, a folder for handouts, and a portable audio recording device so you have an easy way to reference new tunes, songs, and practice exercises.”

Avril Smith

Avril Smith is a teacher and award-winning multi-instrumentalist. Avril’s mastery of a wide range of styles makes her a sought-after on-stage and studio performer. Her musical palette draws from country, rock n’ roll, bluegrass, jazz and old-time music. A founding member of Della Mae, Avril has played with Emmylou Harris, Pete Seeger, the Indigo Girls, Hazel Dickens, Tom Morello, Darol Anger, Joe K. Walsh, Dar Williams, Jill Sobule, Frank Solivan, Lester Chambers, and John Kadlecik, among others. She’s currently touring with her new band Ms. Adventure with Kimber Ludiker (Della Mae) and Vickie Vaughn (Patty Loveless). Avril also teaches private guitar and mandolin lessons in the Washington, D.C.-area and online via Skype or FaceTime in a range of styles.

Mandolin (Intermediate) with Alan Bibey

Mandolin (Intermediate) 

This workshop will cover building breaks to common bluegrass songs and instrumentals; finding the melody in different places on the fingerboard; position shifting; double stops; improving your slides, hammer-ons and pull-offs; as well as building speed. We will learn the melody to an instrumental and then work on the steps to improvising on the instrumental that will help your improvising in general as well as all aspects of your playing! We will also cover playing rhythm with a band as well as your role in other ensembles, adding rhythmic variation, and groove. We will also cover the how important it is to listen to music around you to find the groove and play tastefully. We will learn classic licks to make your bluegrass playing sound more authentic. Your questions are always appreciated, and I encourage you to bring recording gear. I will supply you with your own booklet to take home with you. We will have tablature for almost everything we do, but we will also learn some by ear. You will be playing your mandolin a lot in this workshop. Let’s have fun!

Alan Bibey

For nearly four decades, Alan Bibey has made a name for himself as one of the most creative and technically gifted mandolinists in bluegrass and acoustic music.

In 1982, at the age of 17, Alan won first place on the mandolin at the World’s Fair in Knoxville, TN. Since then he has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, has been named Mandolin Performer of the Year three times by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA), and has been an original member of great bands such as The New Quicksilver, IIIrd Tyme Out, BlueRidge, and his current band, Grasstowne. Grasstowne’s 2007 debut album The Road Headin’ Home went to #1 on Bluegrass Unlimited’s National Bluegrass Survey and stayed there for three months, remaining in the top ten for a year, and won an Album of the Year award from the.

Alan’s tasteful innovations and pristine execution have earned him inclusion in Mel Bay’s book The Greatest Mandolin Players Of The Twentieth Century. He also has instructional books and videos available through AcuTab and Mel Bay. Alan has appeared on more than 100 recordings, including the all-star project The Young Mando Monsters and the IBMA-award-winning album Knee Deep In Bluegrass. His solo recording In The Blue Room was named top instrumental album by County Sales, and BlueRidge’s project Side By Side was nominated for a Grammy.

When not on the road with Grasstowne, Alan stays busy recording and producing. In 2004 the Gibson company unveiled their Alan Bibey Signature F-5 mandolin, reaffirming his status as one of the most influential mandolinists in bluegrass and acoustic music.

Mandolin (Advanced) with Matt Flinner

Mandolin (Advanced) 

This course will explore bluegrass and fiddle tunes with the intent of helping students become more effective in coming up with solos and improving their improvising skills. Double stops, chord tones, scales, and arpeggios and will be explored to help students play more effectively in various keys and in various positions around the fretboard. We’ll use a couple of bluegrass standard songs as vehicles for studying these concepts. We’ll also look at ways of creating solos on a couple of fiddle tunes by changing octaves, connecting chord tones, and incorporating various melodic ideas. The class will also touch on some theory concepts, but only with the intent of giving students some practical tools to help them play more efficiently and learn tunes more quickly.

Matt Flinner

Grammy-nominated mandolinist Matt Flinner has made a career out of playing acoustic music in new ways. Whether it’s with his own Matt Flinner Trio or Phillips, Grier, and Flinner, or with the Frank Vignola Quartet, Darrell Scott, Steve Martin, the Ying Quartet, Tim O’Brien, Leftover Salmon, or the Modern Mandolin Quartet, Flinner’s style and compositional ability have established him as one of the most accomplished and musically diverse mandolinists in the world.

Starting out as a banjo prodigy who was playing bluegrass festivals before he entered his teens, Flinner later took up the mandolin. He won the National Banjo Championship in Winfield, Kansas, in 1990, and won the mandolin competition there the following year. Matt nowtours regularly with the Matt Flinner Trio, which is known for its off-the-cuff compositional daring, writing music the same day it’s performed on most of their shows. He also tours regularly with the Modern Mandolin Quartet, which was nominated for three Grammy awards for their CD Americana in 2013.

Over the last several years, Flinner has become known as one of the leading writers of instrumental music in the acoustic world, and his background in classical composition has led him into new avenues in both classical and string band music. Some of Flinner’s longer form compositions have been performed by the Ying Quartet, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Chatterbird, the Expedition Quintet, and the Modern Mandolin Quartet. Flinner currently lives in Ripton, Vermont.

Resonator Guitar (All Levels) with Mark Panfil

Resonator Guitar (All Levels)

Our dobro class will be focused on making your dobro sing out in a jam or on stage by the choices you make on many fronts. We will work on the most effective right hand picking techniques, melodic and harmonic choices in solo and back up roles, and how listening to others around you can make your contributions better.

Scales, chords (minor, major, and 7ths), and blending rolls into your playing will be covered. We will also cover how to do harmonics, string pulls, slants, and hammer-ons and pull offs and how to integrate them tastefully. Your role as a supportive backup instrument will be explored from using your dobro to play rhythmic chomps like a mandolin to weaving in and out of a vocalist’s phrases like a good fiddler would do.

I encourage you to bring a recording device to class. Make sure you have two metal finger picks and a plastic thumb pick and a “Stevens” or better yet a “Lap Dawg” style bar with your dobro. A dobro capo will come in very handy for jamming with others after class which is a very big advantage of the Augusta experience. Bring a list of your questions/technical desires and songs that you would like to build a solo to or get a fresh perspective on.

We will mostly be learning without tablature and practicing ways to approach solo building using your ears to make decisions. I will have tablature too for certain songs and techniques.

I will constantly be striving to give each member of our class individual attention to find the most effective ways each person can grow as a dobro player and all-around musician.

My email address is MarkPanfil@hotmail.com, if you have any questions or concerns. Throughout the week, I hope to help you have fun playing dobro and getting the most out of your week with us. I’m really looking forward to seeing you and sharing some music in August in Elkins!

Mark Panfil

Born and raised in Lackawanna, NY, Mark began playing five-string banjo at age 15, and took up dobro while in college. After graduating, he began teaching music in public schools and playing in the Buffalo-based bluegrass band Creek Bend. Mark has shared the stage and classroom with bluegrass heroes including Vassar Clements, Jerry Douglas, Bobby Hicks, Rob Ickes, Phil Leadbetter, Bryan Sutton, Chubby Wise, Mac Wiseman, and Sally Van Meter. Mark’s instructional book A Dobro Player’s Guide to Jamming is available from Mel Bay, and he has recorded a highly successful Murphy Method instructional DVD.

Songwriting (All Levels) with Claire Lynch

Songwriting (All Levels)

“What a day for a dream! Have you ever heard a successful songwriter say they ‘downloaded a song from the universe?’ Relaxed, expansive, contemplative, humorous, playful – are these words that describe your songwriting process?  Come explore what that creative process can be like before you add the “elbow grease.” T.hen we’ll look at post-inspiration tools (i.e. ‘staying with the strand,’ ‘holes,’ ‘buttons & bells’) that are so effective in getting your message across.

“Prerequisite for Claire’s Songwriting Workshop: Claire’s songwriting workshop requires that a lyric sheet (preferably multiple copies) be provided if you intend to share a song with the group. Part of good songwriting practice is documentation – so go ahead and take the extra step, please!

“I’m hoping we can not only find a common ground for learning, but that each of you can have special, individual attention in order to meet your next level of songwriting proficiency. Here we will gather to learn, share, and enjoy!

“Getting to Know You and Your Songwriting Path: I will take time to get acquainted with each of you, your songwriting experience, and musical history.

“Characteristics of the “Creative Type”: We’ll do a study, somewhat cognitive, of the “creative type,” particularly as it relates to songwriting. As a bandmate of mine (Jim Hurst) once said, “If you had that in you, you’d want it out, too!” There will be handouts, examples, and exercises.

“The Creative Process: The creative process encompasses a lot! But first we’ll concentrate on “Open Mode and Closed Mode” – terminology learned from John Cleese of Monty Python fame. From there, we will look into the use of many tools for songwriting. I call this part of the course “Piecing Your Song Together”

“Melodies: In my other teaching life, I work with vocals. I have found that singing different types of scales sparks the melodic imagination. I’m hoping that touching on vocal awareness of scales and chords can help spark your creativity with melody.

“Song Choices – One-On-Ones (Shared with everyone): Choose a song from your repertoire – finished or not – to share, to be enjoyed, and to discuss. “The counsel of many” can often produce wisdom and progress. I require that a lyric sheet (preferably multiple copies) be provided if you intend to share your song! Part of good songwriting practice is documentation, so go ahead and take the extra step, please!

“Bluegrass (& Other) Songwriting Nuance: Let’s find out what type of songs you’re in the process of creating. Since this is “bluegrass” week, we’ll discuss what some particular characteristics of the ‘bluegrass’ song are – just for fun.

“Hand-Out ’til You Pass Out!: Tons of handouts are available and we’ll use as many as time permits.”

Claire Lynch

Long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. Her career has been decorated with many accolades including three GRAMMY nominations, six International Bluegrass Music Association awards, and the prestigious United States Artists Walker Fellowship.

Blazing her own trail in the mid ’70s when there were few role models for young women in the genre, Claire Lynch made history when she led the Front Porch String Band. For the next couple of decades, she pursued dual careers, spending seven years as a staff writer at two of the most prestigious publishing houses on Music Row in Nashville. Her songs have been recorded by The Seldom Scene, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, Cherryholmes, The Whites, and others.

At the same time, she became a much-sought-after session vocalist. By the year 2000 she had sung harmony on The Grass is Blue and Little Sparrow, which led to promotional touring as backup vocalist for Dolly Parton. She graced albums by other artists with her background vocals including Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Pam Tillis, Alison Brown, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea, and Ralph Stanley. Today, the impressive list of other guest appearances continues including spots on albums by Donna the Buffalo, Sara Watkins, The Infamous Stringdusters, the Gibson Brothers, Jonathan Edwards, and Jesse Winchester.

She formed her own Claire Lynch Band in 2005 and has since consistently been a top pick of prestigious publications, critics, and audiences across the US, and beyond.

Ms. Lynch’s 2012 USA Walker Fellowship Award ($50,000.) was one of 50 salutes given from United States Artists (USA). The USA Fellows represent the most innovative and influential artists in their fields – including cutting-edge thinkers and traditional practitioners from the fields of architecture and design, crafts and traditional arts, dance, literature, media, music, theater arts, and visual arts.

In January 2013, after a long and successful stint with Rounder Records, Claire signed a recording agreement with esteemed Nashville roots label Compass Records, and released the ninth solo recording of her career titled Dear Sister. The title track – a tear-inducing masterpiece co-written by Claire with Southerner Louisa Branscomb were aptly awarded IBMA’s “Song of the Year” in 2014.

That same year, DigitalJournal.com listed Claire as “One of the 10 Best Angelic Voices of Our Time”. She shared that honor with such luminaries as Judy Collins, Alison Krauss, Sarah McLachlan, Martina McBride, Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris. In September 2016, Claire released North By South – a tribute to America’s northern neighbor which resulted in her third GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album.

As one observer writes, “Listening to Claire Lynch sing is not something to be undertaken casually. Her songs and stage presence demand the listener’s rapt attention. She’s an intensely soulful singer, whose distinctive voice resonates with power and strength, yet retains an engaging innocence and crystalline purity. She’s also a songwriter of extraordinary ability who can bring listeners to their feet with her buoyant rhythms or to their knees with her sometimes almost unbearably poignant and insightful lyrics.” (Dave Higgs-WPLN Nashville)

Vocals (All Levels) with Sally Love and Dudley Connell

Vocals (All Levels)

Bluegrass singing starts from the heart and reaches down deep into the soul. It’s real and powerful, sweet, joyous, and sorrowful. Add more voices, as duets, trios, or quartets, and feel the power grow.

Bluegrass harmony singing has its roots in many musical genres, including ancient European ballads, primitive gospel styles, old time mountain music, blues, and early country. For this class, we will explore the different influences and learn examples from each.

We will also work on:
– How to find vocal parts and how to blend your voice with others; these aspects are key to good harmony singing
– How to match up with other singers through tone and phrasing
– How to make decisions on keys and harmony structures
– How to control your voice; we will review techniques that help prolong the life of your voice
– How to choose material that best fits you.

Over the course of the week, we’ll work on couple of classic duets, trios, and quartets, and listen to recordings of those who have greatly influenced us, such as the Carter Family, Blue Sky Boys, Louvin Brothers, and the Stanley Brothers, and talk about what makes them unique.

How can you prepare? You can come with enough singing experience to sing in tune and hold onto a part when singing with another person. Although playing while singing is helpful, you do not have to be able to accompany yourself on an instrument. We will be learning by ear, so please feel free to bring a recording device if you wish. You can also prepare by listening to the artists mentioned above and come with questions.

We are very excited to be teaching this class and look forward to sharing what we know about this music we love!

Dudley Connell & Sally Love Connell

Photo Credit Jennie Scott

 

Sally Love

Sally Love Connell is a current member the Blue Moon Cowgirls, a shimmering trio of female voices who blend front-porch directness with neon-lit sophistication as they sing about home and highways, heaven and honkytonks, heartbreak and hope. A Washington Area Music Award winner for best bluegrass vocalist, Sally is in demand as a lead and back-up vocalist, and has performed with various acoustic and bluegrass groups in the Washington, DC, area in such venues as the Ramshead Tavern, Kennedy Center, and the Barns at Wolf Trap. She and husband Dudley Connell have taught vocal and harmony classes at Augusta and Common Ground on the Hill. They also perform with their own group, Seneca Rocks! [/two_third_last]

Dudley Connell

Dudley Connell came to national attention in the 1980s as the powerhouse singer-guitarist of the Johnson Mountain Boys. He has been a member of the Seldom Scene since 1995. Dudley has contributed his distinctive voice and guitar to the work of numerous artists, including Hazel Dickens, Seneca Rocks, and the supergroup Longview. In 2000 he received the International Bluegrass Music Association’s award for Male Vocalist of the Year.
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Staff Musician – Grant Flick

Grant Flick

Grant Flick, of Bowling Green, Ohio, has been playing and performing for the past eight years on many instruments including violin, mandolin, and tenor guitar. Primarily, his interests are jazz/swing, bluegrass, and new acoustic music. He has received numerous music awards including the 2013 Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin, and he was a 2015 finalist in the Walnut Valley Festival Fiddle Competition in Winfield, Kansas, as well as a 2017 finalist at the Freshgrass Fiddle Competition in North Adams, Massachusetts. He has been selected as a two time participant (2015 and 2016) of the Acoustic Music Seminar held at the Savannah Music Festival in Savannah, Georgia. He has taught workshops at the Tenor Guitar Gathering (Astoria, Oregon), the Falling Waters Music Camp (Ithaca, New York), and Augusta Bluegrass Week (Elkins, West Virginia). He has performed at the Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, Red Wing Roots Festival, Indiana Fiddler’s Gathering, and many others.  Darol Anger, Frank Vignola, Mike Marshall, and Julian Lage are just some of the notable musicians with whom Grant has appeared on stage. Grant is attending University of Michigan in multi-disciplinary studies with an emphasis on jazz. Grant is excited to return to Bluegrass Week as a staff musician for the second year.

Staff Musician – John Seebach

John Seebach

John Seebach was born and raised in Lexington, Kentucky. He lives in the Washington, DC, area. An accomplished tenor and lead vocalist, John also performs on mandolin and guitar with the Rickie Simpkins Quartet, Only Lonesome, and Big Chimney. Along with fellow staff musicians, John will assist in classes, give short ad hoc lessons, and participate in slow jams.

 

Click here to see the Dance workshops offered this week!

 

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Click here to see the Folk Arts for Kids! workshops offered this week!

 

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