Rolly Brown is a lifelong student of the guitar. He has been a National Fingerpicking Champion (1980), a Philadelphia Music Award nominee, a solo performer, sideman, and teacher. Folk, blues, ragtime, bluegrass, country, & jazz have each, over the past 46 years, been his passions. Acoustic Guitar Magazine calls Rolly’s guitar sound “an exceptionally melodic, articulate playing style that takes full advantage of the acoustic guitar’s beautiful tone.” Wise sage Bennett Hammond says, “He's the real deal, the gen-you-wine article, the guitar picker's guitar picker.” Blues master Andy Cohen (who IS prone to hyperbole) told Rolly, "Dammit, you are the best that ever was. You may quote me." Check Rolly’s instructional and performance videos at www.youtube.com.
Susie Burke has been performing professionally since the early 80s, as a soloist, a member of several local bands, and in several duos, including her ongoing collaboration with guitarist and husband David Surette. She has performed extensively around New England, and has also toured occasionally to other parts of the country and in Quebec. Her musical tastes and influences are varied and many, encompassing contemporary and traditional folk, swing, country, topical songs, and acapella singing, with detours along the way for Broadway showtunes and classic ballads. "She posesses one of the finest, purest ballad sopranos heard in folk music today" writes Scott Alarik in the Boston Globe, noting that "her phrasing is unerringly devoted to the lyric" and that "Burke displays a gift for pulling honest emotional chords - all too rare in these clever and cynical times." Before devoting her energies to music full-time, Burke worked as a day-care teacher, and her love of kids is evident in her wonderful participatory children's concerts. Susie has been the recipient of an Individual Artist Fellowship award from the NH State Council on the Arts and is also on the Council's Touring Arts roster. She has released five CDs, including a recent Christmas release, Wonderland.
Something of a late-bloomer, singer/songwriter Kate Campbell didn't begin her professional career until the age of 30. But in short order she managed to include the likes of Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris, as Buddy Miller as both admirers and collaborators in her distinctly literate musical vision. Since making her recording debut in 1995 with Songs From The Levee, Campbell has since put together a body of work marked by consistency, artistry and honest self-examination and self-revelation. Kate's Moonpie Dreams (1997) and Visions of Plenty (1998) each garnered "Folk Album of the Year" nominations from the Nashville Music Awards. Kate is the daughter of a Baptist preacher from Sledge, Mississippi. Her formative years were spent in the very core of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, and the indelible experiences of those years have shaped her heart, character, and convictions ever since. As a child of the South, her musical tastes were forged in the dampened, smoky fires of soul, R&B, Southern rock and folk music. Kate released her first live recording, TWO NIGHTS IN TEXAS in the Fall of 2011. A new recording of original music, 1000 POUND MACHINE is set for release in March 2012.
Whether Guy Davis is appearing on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien” or nationally syndicated radio programs such as Garrison Keillor’s, “A Prairie Home Companion”, “Mountain Stage” or David Dye’s,” World Café”, or in front of 15,000 people on the Main Stage of a major festival, or teaching an intimate gathering of students at a Music Camp, Guy feels the instinctive desire to give each listener his ‘all’. He's a musician, composer, actor, director, and writer. But most importantly, Guy Davis is a bluesman. The blues permeates every corner of Davis' creativity. Throughout his career, he has dedicated himself to reviving the traditions of acoustic blues and bringing them to as many ears as possible through the material of the great blues masters, African American stories, and his own original songs, stories and performance pieces. His influences are as varied as the days. Musically, he enjoyed such great blues musicians as Blind Willie McTell (and his way of story telling), Skip James, Manse Lipscomb, Mississippi John Hurt, Elizabeth Cotton, and Buddy Guy, among others. It was through Taj Mahal that he found his way to the old time blues. He also loved such diverse musicians as Fats Waller Throughout his life, Davis has had overlapping interests in music and acting. In 1993 he performed Off-Broadway as legendary blues player Robert Johnson in "Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil". He received rave reviews and became the 1993 winner of the Blues Foundation's "Keeping the Blues Alive Award” presented to him by Robert Cray at the W.C. Handy Awards ceremony. Looking for more ways to combine his love of blues, music, and acting, Davis created material for himself. He wrote "In Bed with the Blues: The Adventures of Fishy Waters" -- an engaging and moving one-man show. The Off-Broadway debut in 1994 received critical praise from the New York Times and the Village Voice. Most recently Guy had the honor of appearing in the PBS special on Jazz and Blues artist, the late Howard Armstrong. And he was an honored guest at the Kennedy Center Awards, in which his folks received their medals, alongside other recipients like Warren Beatty, Elton John and composer John Williams from the President of the United States.
John Doerschuk has been in the sound business for over 25 years. He was attracted to waves and electrons while playing in bands in the seventies, and somehow continues to make a living as an "audio guy." He lives with his artist wife Bessie and daughter Sophie in Cambridge, Massachusetts. John plays piano and guitar and is trying to tame a Dobro.
“Lorraine Hammond is the most versatile dulcimer player I know”, observes North Carolina dulcimer wizard Don Pedi. Lorraine’s numerous credits as a traditional singer, songwriter, teacher and instrumentalist include her groundbreaking Shanachie release with fiddler Gerry Milnes, "Hell Up Coal Holler”, a Homespun dulcimer instruction series, and two elegant Appalachian dulcimer books with Yellow Moon Press. Lorraine also plays, performs on and teaches five string banjo, mandolin and harp. Lorraine’s new CD, “The Opal Ring”, on the Snowy Egret label, combines the traditional New England ballads of her childhood with her own songs drawn from that childhood in the Connecticut Berkshires. Reviewer Mark Flanagan observes: “ Lorraine Lee Hammond opens her latest CD with some of the sweetest notes ever produced on the mountain dulcimer". www.greatacoustics.org
Bennett is “the sort of finger-picking guitar player you can listen to all day“- The Shetland Times. He started playing in 1957 and began teaching in 1960, débuted as a virtuoso soloist in 1980 - on the In-Bound platform, Harvard Square Station - and has played above ground, at home and abroad ever since. Early influences include an EP side of folk and cowboy songs with guitar accompaniment his sister Lucy made in 1951, recordings of Etta Baker, Mike Seeger and Duane Eddy, and of course the Three B’s - Bach, Bluegrass, and Bo Diddly. Bennett's classes focus on developing students’ individual skill and style, helping you to play like yourself, only more so. www.greatacoustics.org
Carl Jones started playing guitar and writing songs when he was ten years old, inspired by seeing Roy Rogers picking and singing on television. He played bluegrass music in college and started attending many festivals, where he began what was to become a life-long pursuit of learning traditional fiddle music and making up “ditties”. This led to a study of the banjo, mandolin, fiddle, and various styles of guitar. Eventually he toured as a multi-instrumentalist with James Bryan along with Norman and Nancy Blake, as The Rising Fawn String Ensemble.
Carl teaches at many music camps around the country and abroad. He has had songs recorded by The Nashville Bluegrass Band, Kate Campbell, Rickie Simpkins, and others. He often plays and tours with Alabama fiddler, James Bryan, and they are excited to have released a new recording entitled. “Cricket’s Lullaby.” Carl has also been known to join in with Bruce Greene and Don Pedi as they meander through some great old Kentucky tunes. He also has a new Old Time Mandolin DVD called “Tunes And Tips”, which has been well received.
Maura Kennedy has been touring, writing and recording for two decades with WUMB favorites The Kennedys. Along with husband Pete, she has also spent the last two years touring the US and the British Isles with legendary songstress Nanci Griffith. Maura co-produced Griffith's latest CD, and they have written a number of songs together. A vocal graduate of Ithaca College's School of Music, Maura combines her knowledge of singing and live performing with a unique songwriting technique based on dream imagery, and she is an enthusiastic and energetic teacher who loves to see and hear her students tap deep into their own creativity.
Pete Kennedy's main gig is songwriting duo The Kennedys, with his wife Maura. His broad experiences in the folk world include two decades of working closely with Nanci Griffith as lead guitarist and record producer, and prior to that touring nationally with Mary-Chapin Carpenter and Kate Wolf. As a freelance guitar slinger, he's gigged with Doctor John, Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne, and sat in with The National Symphony. His own mentors include Tony Rice, Doc Watson, Chet Atkins, rockabilly legend Danny Gatton, and jazz greats Charlie Byrd and Joe Pass. Pete loves teaching just as much as playing, and he loves to impart traditional techniques in a way that helps each student find their own unique guitar voice.
Penny Nichols is an award winning, 3 time Grammy nominated singer/songwriter and vocal arranger who has been performing and teaching since 1966. Her most recent ventures include a new CD of songs by old friend Jackson Browne: Colors of the Sun: the early songs of Jackson Browne, and her book/CD: The 8 Voyages of Nep, teaching at Colorado Roots Music Camp, SAMW folk camp in New Hampshire and Moab Folk camp in Utah and being the founding director of the non-profit SummerSongs, Inc., which is going into its 14th year of music camps for songwriters.
Widely acclaimed as one of New England’s premiere instrumentalists, David Surette is highly regarded for his work on the guitar (both flatpick and fingerstyle), mandolin, and bouzouki, in a wide variety of settings. As a soloist, he is nationally-known as a top player of Celtic fingerstyle guitar, yet his diverse repertoire also includes original compositions, blues and ragtime, traditional American roots music, and folk music from a variety of traditions, all played with finesse, taste, and virtuosity. He has performed as a duo with his wife, singer Susie Burke, for 20 years, recording several albums and building a reputation as one of New England’s top folk duos. Surette was a founding member of the Airdance band with fiddler Rodney Miller, with whom he recorded four albums and toured nationally. He has also released five solo recordings; his most recent is Sun Dog, a collection of original solo guitar pieces. David is an accomplished and gifted teacher who has taught at workshops and camps throughout the U.S., and the U.K. He is folk music coordinator at the Concord (NH) Community Music School, and artistic director of their March Mandolin Festival. He has authored a book of Celtic fingerstyle guitar arrangements for Mel Bay Publications, and is a regular contributor to Acoustic Guitar and Strings magazines.
Erica Weiss has been teaching music workshops and playing for dances up and down the East Coast and in the American South for more than twelve years. Proficient on guitar, fiddle, and vocals, Erica currently plays and sings with Appalachian old-time, Cajun and country bands including Rhythm Method String Band, Lightning in the East, Jesse Lege & Bayou Brew, Grand Bois, and Killer Bees. Known for her solid driving guitar, she has backed up winners in both fiddle and banjo contests, and has placed numerous times with pick-up bands at the Old Fiddlers' Convention contest in Galax, VA. Under Erica's patient and enthusiastic instruction, beginners and experienced dancers alike have enjoyed contra, square, international, Zydeco, and Cajun dance. A former director of the Yale Slavic Chorus, Erica is also known for her exuberant Balkan singing workshops. Erica has taught and performed at camps and festivals including Pinewoods Folk Music Week, Stephen Foster Old-Time Music Weekend, Chesapeake Dance, Music Camps North, Ashokan Fiddle & Dance New Years', The Dance Flurry, Lincoln Center NYC, Black Pot Festival Louisiana, and others. When she is not on the road, Erica teaches private lessons to children of all ages in the Greater Boston area.