Mountain Dulcimer, Native American Flute
With a big smile and wild dreadlocks, Bing Futch kicks off every performance with a buoyant energy that is inviting and energizing. Using Appalachian mountain dulcimer, Native American flute, ukulele, drums and electronic effects, he deftly navigates the varied waters of traditional and modern Americana with passion, wit and a genuinely huge heart for sharing music with a crowd.
Known for his musical shape-shifting, Futch switches the channels on style with every new song, sung in a limber tenor voice and woven together with the other instruments. His casual way with any audience, coupled with a fierce originality on the lesser known mountain dulcimer, makes each show a one-of-a-kind and good-timing romp.
As a nationally touring solo performer he's headlined at such events as The Florida Folk Festival, Old Songs Festival, The Big Muddy, Kentucky Music Weekend and Common Ground On The Hill.
In 2014, Bing won the "Solo Artist" award in the Central Florida Blues Challenge competition, earning a coveted entry into the 2015 International Blues Challenge in Memphis, TN. Taking the mountain dulcimer where it had never gone before, Bing competed in the quarterfinals and advanced to the semifinals, gaining new notice and fans for himself and this unique instrument. Several months later, Bing competed in the 2015 Central Florida Blues Challenge and won the Solo/Duo Award for the second year in a row, which led him back to Memphis to compete in the 2016 International Blues Challenge. There, he advanced all the way to the finals and was given the award for "Best Guitarist" in the solo-duo category, despite competing solely on the mountain dulcimer.
Brian began composing instrumental medleys on the mountain dulcimer at age 16. He uses recording software and special effect pedals to produce a unique ambient genre sound. He has recorded over 20 albums and often plays in various 4-string equidistant tunings. His music blends together the standard, baritone, and bass dulcimers. With over 2 million streams, his relaxing, meditative instrumental songs have been featured on hundreds of playlists. Listeners use his soothing music and YouTube nature videos to enhance times of prayer, meditation, yoga, rest, and study.
According to Jerry Rockwell, “Brian Bohlman has a way with the gentle sounds of the ambient dulcimer and he knows intuitively how to put together some of the most soothing and mesmerizing pieces I’ve ever heard on any instrument! I’ve worked with quite a few dulcimer students over the years, but Brian is in a class all by himself. Without any formal music training, or connection to other dulcimer players or teachers, he has developed a remarkable catalog of original minimalist compositions. I look forward to hearing his music continue to evolve over the next few years!”
For additional information, visit his website at https://brianbohlman.com/
Typically the dulcimer is used for playing simple tunes and accompanying the voice, most people can learn a song or two within a few minutes of first encountering the instrument. Which is probably why the one phrase you'll hear a lot at a Butch Ross concert is "I didn't know you could do THAT on a mountain dulcimer!" Ross has taken a simple folk instrument and energized it with technical wizardry, inventive arrangements and a healthy dose of rock-n-roll attitude. It's this groundbreaking and iconoclastic approach that caused ukulele-virtuoso Jake Shimabukuro to comment, "Now I know what a dulcimer is supposed to sound like."
Over the past few years Ross has become an in-demand performer at folk and dulcimer festivals through the US and Europe. He's performed at such festivals as the Central Ohio Folk Festival, Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the Lancaster (UK) Music Fest and the prestigious Philadelphia Folk Festival.
Danny Shepherd has been a performing musician for over 45 years. During his early years as a drummer he joined the band at school and played in local rock bands. While attending Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN he received his draft notice and enlisted in the US Army. During his 21 year career as a Military Musician he taught percussion at Armed Forces School of Music in Little Creek, VA, performed across the United States, Central/South America and the Caribbean. His final assignment was as the Enlisted Bandleader with the 79th Army Band, Ft Clayton, Panama.
He has presented dulcimer, ukulele, bodhran, and folk percussion workshops at the Kentucky Music Educators State Conference, Kentucky Music Week, Yellowbanks Dulcimer Festival, Gateway Dulcimer Festival, Ohio Valley Gathering, UNICOI Dulcimer Festival, Henderson Dulcimer Festival, and Red Hill Dulcimer Festival and Heartland Festival.
Danny has performed at the UNICOI Dulcimer Festival, Kentucky Music Week, Yellowbanks Dulcimer Festival, Gateway Dulcimer Festival, Ohio Valley Gathering, Henderson Dulcimer Festival, and Red Hill Dulcimer Festival, the Derby Day Arts Festival, and the Arts Council International Festival.
Dave Haas lives in Charleston, WV and has been playing the mountain dulcimer since 1990. He teaches dulcimer in both private and group settings, and was the founding member of the Almost Heaven Dulcimer Club in Charleston. Dave loves to share the mountain dulcimer and its history with schools, churches, civic organizations, and has even brought the dulcimer to those in prison! Dave is a popular instructor at dulcimer festivals, and has taught and performed in more than one-half of the United States and in the United Kingdom. He is known for his gentle, fun, and enthusiastic teaching style. Dave has released seven dulcimer instructional books/CDs – including the very popular “Let’s Jam!” book/CDs, four instrumental dulcimer CDs, and a popular dulcimer chord chart. Dave is proud to be an Endorsing Artist for Folkcraft Instruments since 2014.
Dave recently retired Professor Emeritus from the University of Charleston where he exposed countless students the joy of Chemistry. One of his favorite teaching activities was to sing chemistry songs (on dulcimer and guitar) with his students. In addition, Dave plays the guitar, sings, and enjoys leading music on Christian retreat experiences such as Kairos Prison Ministry, The Walk to Emmaus, Cursillo, and Teens Encounter Christ (TEC).
Don Pedi was born into a musical family in Chelsea Massachusetts. On weekends, his grandfather, who died before Don was born, would close his barber shop for business, and open his home in the back as a gathering place for family and friends to share homemade food, fellowship and live music. Don's grandfather played guitar, mandolin and banjo. Don's uncle Frank made his living singing and playing music. Another gifted singer is Don's dad. He'll burst into song at the drop of a hat.
Don got involved with the Boston area folk music scene in the early sixties. 1964 was when he first laid eyes on a dulcimer. It was being played by Richard Farina at a live performance by Mimi and Richard Farina at the old Unicorn Coffee House in Boston.
The sound of the dulcimer proved most alluring. That night in a conversation with Richard Farina, Don was convinced that someday he would get himself a dulcimer and play it. Contemporary performers like Bob Dylan, Tom Paxton, Patrick Sky, Joan Baez and others attracted Don to the Newport Folk Festival. While there he was exposed to traditional musicians like Frank Proffitt, Doc Watson, Mississippi John Hurt, Almeda Riddle and such that where a major influence on his musical tastes. By 1966 Don was traveling a lot. With Cambridge as a base, he lived for various periods of time in different parts of the country. In 1973, while living in the Colorado Rockies, Don met Tad Wright and Keith Zimmerman, a couple of musicians from Asheville, NC. After hearing Don play, they invited him to join them. He did, and they piled into Tad's 1969 Volkswagen mini-van and drove to North Carolina.
At first sight of the mountains around Harmon Den and Fines Creek, Don knew he was home. He's pretty much lived in and around Asheville from then on. Since settling in Western North Carolina Don has been recognized as the man who could "really play" a dulcimer. He is a pioneer in that his music has broken new ground and cleared a path for others. In Don's hands, the dulcimer has been accepted as an instrument well suited to playing traditional Southern Dance music. This was at a time when most "Old-Time" musicians thought a dulcimer should be hung on a wall with a pretty ribbon.
In 1991 Don and wife Jean moved to a little farm in the mountains of Madison County, North Carolina. The area is rich in traditional music and customs (neighbors still plow with mules and horses). Don is at home.
ILACE MEARS ("Eye-less") grew up playing violin and piano in Louisiana, sadly ignorant of the existence of hammered dulcimers. To celebrate turning 50, she bought one - and embarked on a tremendous adventure. Now several trophies are displayed on the mantel, including the one that says "National Champion 2016". She enjoys sharing her passion for the instrument and its versatility with her neighbors and visitors to Southwest Missouri, particularly the exotic insects and mostly domestic humans at the Butterfly Palace in Branson. Ilace most loves helping students reach their dulcimer dreams and has been a very favorably reviewed instructor/performer at events from Virginia to California and Michigan to Louisiana.
Guitar, Mountain Dulcimer, Hammered Dulcimer
Jim Miller has been playing and performing traditional music for the past 40 years. An accomplished instrument builder and teacher, he has taught workshops at numerous festivals as well as won many awards for his musicianship, including first place dulcimer at both Galax, VA and Fiddler's Grove, NC. For twenty years, Jim was the owner of the Hampton Music Shop, in Hampton, Tennessee, where he handcrafted over 750 hammered dulcimers. He has played with Celtic, Bluegrass, Swing, Blues and Old Time bands, and has done session work on many recordings. He currently performs in a duo accompanied by his wife, Cheri, on guitar.
In addition to being an accomplished performer and workshop leader, Jim also is an enthusiastic jam facilitator who likes to get everyone involved. His "chord signing for the harmonically impared" is legendary. He plays guitar, mandolin, banjo, mandocello, bass, steel drum, percussion, hammered and mountain dulcimers as well as his own off-the-wall musical inventions, which are always entertaining. Jim holds a Masters degree in Elementary Education with an endorsement in instrumental music. He recently retired from teaching 4th grade at Cloudland Elementary School in Roan Mountain, Tennessee, where he still leads an after school traditional string band program. He is also an adjunct professor teaching mandolin, ukulele, dulcimer and autoharp in the Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music program at East Tennessee State University and plays mandocello in the ETSU Mandolin Orchestra.
Mountain Dulcimer, Songwriting
Joe Collins, 2007 National Mountain Dulcimer Champion, has been a folk musician and mountain dulcimer player since the late 70s. He is a songwriter and a vocalist, with seven CDs and fifteen tab books to his credit. Although respected as one of the best mountain dulcimer players in the country, Joe is first and foremost a teacher. After a career as a professor of Religious Studies at Gardner-Webb University, he now focuses on teaching bible studies and dulcimer. Over the past quarter century, he has become a very popular mountain dulcimer teacher in festivals and music camps across the country. You’ll enjoy his easy-going teaching style and well-designed instructional materials. For additional information, visit his website at www.jcdulcimer.com.
Shape-Note Singing, Songwriting, Banjo
Josh grew up in Madison County, North Carolina surrounded by the music and stories of his ancestors. He is a highly accomplished storyteller and oldtime, bluegrass, and swing musician playing close to 20 instruments. His fiddling was featured in the movie Songcatcher, both onscreen and on the soundtrack. He has performed in all 50 states, throughout Europe, Asia, and Australia and gracing such stages as the Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and The Grand Ole Opry. He was nominated for a Grammy for his 2009 release with David Holt, entitled Cutting Loose.
Judy and her husband, Kirk, are the founders of the Camel City
Strummers Dulcimer Club and the Triad Dulcimer Orchestra, both of which are local. In early 2021, they founded the First National Dulcimer Orchestra, which meets weekly over Zoom and performs at festivals by invitation. They are the directors of the Winston-Salem Dulcimer Festival which is held the first Saturday in May in Winston-Salem.
Judy’s passion for the dulcimer has led to her teaching at festivals around the country and presenting at conferences and universities concerning the Mountain Dulcimer. She also enjoys working with those interested in becoming effective teachers of the mountain dulcimer and other folk instruments.
Judy has written 9 dulcimer music books with a couple more on the way!
Judy lives in Winston-Salem, NC.
Ken Kolodner is widely recognized as one of "one of today's most accomplished, musical hammered dulcimer artists..." (Elderly) and a fine old-time fiddler. As a soloist and in ensembles with Helicon (with Chris Norman and Robin Bullock), Greenfire (with Laura Risk), with fiddlers Elke Baker, Jim Eagan, his son Bradley (see www.kenandbrad.com), and many others, Ken has performed for more than 30 years.
Focusing largely on traditional music, Kolodner has often been called one of the most influential players in the U.S. His music has been featured on national broadcasts on NPR, The Thistle and the Shamrock, All Things Considered, the CBC, the Voice of America, German National Radio, Performance Today and countless radio shows.
His many credits are a featured solo in an Emmy-nominated CBS-TV Christmas special, over a dozen recordings with sales well over 125,000, an "Indie" winner and a #1 World Music title of traditional Celtic music (Walking Stones) and bestseller for BMG (with over 55,000 copies sold), and numerous books and instructional recordings (including a book/CD on old time fiddling for Mel Bay).
Lil Rev (Marc Revson) grew up in Milwaukee, WI. As a kid his first inspiration came from listening to his dad's record collection. Then, at age 14 Lil Rev got his first guitar and today (over 40 years later) Lil Rev is best known for his Yiddish music, and as a renowned ukulele and harmonica player. Lil Rev performs about 125-150 shows a year, sometimes alone, and sometimes when he’s lucky, his wife Jenna and daughter Mariela come along. Rev’s career largely revolves around touring North America, teaching at music camps, festivals, and concert series, as well as presenting his one man musical history shows like: scraps of quilting music, jews n blues, and the jews of tin pan alley.
Linda Brockinton has been playing music since age eleven. A flute major in college, she became accomplished and played with the Arkansas Symphony, during its inception years of the late 60s. While Linda always dreamed of being a music teacher, she put that dream on the back burner to raise her children. In the late 80s, she took up the mountain dulcimer. In 1999 Linda won the Southern Regional Dulcimer Championship and in 2001 became the first woman to win the National Mountain Dulcimer Championship. Since then, she has been teaching around the country at dulcimer, folk and Irish festivals and club workshops. Linda’s love of the “quieter side” of the dulcimer exemplifies the meaning of the word which comes from the Latin words “dulce melos,” which means “sweet sound”. Linda is a great example of the fact that the dulcimer is the most peaceful of all instruments.
Performing on the Celtic Harp and Mountain Dulcimer, Lorinda transports an audience to a place that may remind them of their ancestral roots, a place of peace and tranquility. Performances reflect Lorinda’s background in performing, music education, and music therapy, and are informative and engaging, whether on a concert stage, classroom, retreat, or festival event. Audiences of all ages enjoy the "Historic Charm" of Lorinda's music.
As an adjudicated member of the Kentucky Arts Council Arts on Tour Directory, Lorinda is recognized not only in the state, but also nationally. She began performing on the piano at an early age, and soon progressed to other instruments including years of classical music study on the oboe. But it is her passion for American folk music that has been a common thread in her varied pursuits for the past twenty years as a performing and recording artist, and music therapist.
Locally, Lorinda leads the Heartland Dulcimer Club, the Heartland Harp ensemble, hosts a traditional music festival, and has taught many, many students how to play both the mountain dulcimer and folk harp. Nationally, Lorinda teaches and performs at music camps and festivals all across the nation, including the prestigious John C Campbell Folk School, Augusta Heritage Week, and many more.
She is the author of numerous music books, 3 of which are published by Mel Bay Publishing Company, as well as several CD recordings, and most recently a combination audio CD and relaxation DVD, Celtic Passages.
As a music therapist, Lorinda reaches populations beyond the concert stage in schools, assisted living facilities and through related work with the Very Special Arts Kentucky and The Kentucky Center's, Arts-In-Healing program.
Lorinda performs on beautiful hand crafted instruments, with song material that ranges from the ancient repertoire of the Celtic lands, to old time music of the American Appalachians, and popular music of today.
Mary Lynn Michal
In 2012, Mary Lynn discovered a passion for playing the hammered dulcimer and has studied intensively with Ken Kolodner, widely regarded as one of the nation's top hammered dulcimer players. She now teaches over 70 hammered dulcimer students privately and on FaceTime (from CA, NM, NY, TN, NH, AL, CO, MD, MI, and Australia). She has prepared dozens of students to attend Ken Kolodner's Sandbridge Hammered Dulcimer Retreats, an elite hammered dulcimer retreat held in Sandbridge Beach, VA. Mary Lynn serves as an assistant teacher in Weeks 1 and 2.
Mary Lynn began playing piano at the age of 6 and studied for 14 years. In sixth grade she played trumpet, but discovered her true passion the next year when she heard a french horn. She earned a Bachelor's degree in music education from UNC-Chapel Hill and a Master's degree in music education from Eastman School of Music. Mary Lynn has performed with the Durham Symphony for 20 years and served as Principal Horn for the past 5 years.
Richard is the owner of Folkcraft Instruments, which is one of the oldest and most respected musical instrument manufacturers in the country. Folkcraft makes a variety of stringed and fretted instruments, including Appalachian dulcimer, hammered dulcimer, bowed psaltery, kantele, dulcilele, and ukulele.
Richard is a teacher, and holds a music education degree from The Ohio State University. Formerly a school band director, now he's an active dulcimer instructor.
Richard is also the organizer of three music festivals: The Dulcimer Gathering (for hammered dulcimer players); Indiana Dulcimer Festival (for Appalachian dulcimer players); and Midwest Uke Fest (for ukulele players).
And finally, Richard is a performer. You can hear him playing the dulcimer at events all over the country. From NAMM shows to dulcimer festivals, old-time music events to demonstration concerts in the Folkcraft concert hall, he's performed pretty much everywhere.
Ranked as the most influential dulcimer player of the last decade by readers of Dulcimer Player News, Rick Thum has made his mark on every aspect of the hammered dulcimer world. Rick is perhaps best known from his latest album, “Front Porch Waltz,” and his festival performances, which have regularly earned him the “most popular performer” title at the largest national dulcimer festival. He brings a combination of passion and friendly accessibility to his teaching that makes his workshops and master classes favorites at festivals across the country, and has tapped this teaching experience to produce the best-selling instructional CD series for hammered dulcimer, the “Original Song of the Month Club”. Rick is also the designer of the highly-regarded line of hammered dulcimers bearing his name. Yet for all his time in the studio, onstage, in the classroom, and in the luthier’s shop, Rick is most at home at a late-night jam session, where you might even find him playing an instrument other than the dulcimer from time to time.
Rick Thum taught himself to play guitar and drums at age twelve and played the trumpet in his high school band. Throughout high school and college (B. S. Industrial Administration) Rick played in rock bands, eventually playing regularly on the upper deck of the Admiral in St. Louis. While raising his family Rick directed his church choir. Rick’s interest in traditional music was sparked when he bought a hammered dulcimer on a whim and found himself in a three-piece folk band. In 1991 Rick became co-owner of a large midwestern acoustic instrument shop. In 1994 he sold his interest in the shop to devote more time to being a traveling musician. Rick was voted Best Performer and Favorite Teacher for several years running at the prestigious Evart Dulcimer Funfest. (The oldest and largest dulcimer festival in the nation.) He has shared the stage with Mike Seeger, The Tony Rice Unit, Steve Kaufman, Norman Blake, and Bryan Bowers and opened for John Hartford, Norman & Nancy Blake, and Leo Kottke. Rick is a popular teacher on the festival circuit and travels across the country playing solo and teaching at music festvals. He currently has five recordings; “Hammered Fiddle Tunes”, “A Reason to Dance”, “Front Porch Waltz”, “Down the Old Dirt Road” and “Seifert & Thum Live at Mt Dora 2014″. Mel Bay Publishing Inc. has published the companion book to Hammered Fiddle Tunes. Rick is currently manufacturing hammered dulcimers (Rick Thum Dulcimers) which can be seen at a retailer near you and has, by demand, started the Song of the Month Club. Mail order lessons by audio CD.
Susan has been a favorite instructor and performer on the mountain dulcimer scene for the past thirty-five years. She is known for inspirational uplifting songs as well as her clear teaching style and interesting, playable arrangements. Susan comes to the dulcimer from a background in piano, guitar, banjo, and a degree in music education.
She says, about her music, “spending summers with my grandparents in a small town in Ohio instilled in me a love and appreciation for the front porch friendly existence of life in a gentler time. My parents were both musical and we’d often gather around the piano for a family sing on Saturday night. That’s where I learned to love the old songs."
Susan has recorded four solo CDs and authored several books for mountain dulcimer. Her “Lessons in Your Living Room,” a monthly subscription series of lessons for novice to intermediate-plus, available in hard copy, or digitally has helped over 700 students learn to play the dulcimer. She currently resides in Albany NY.
Hailed by Pete Seeger as "the best hammered dulcimer player I've heard in my life," Tina Bergmann has been performing concerts, and teaching workshops and private lessons from an early age. A fourth-generation musician, Bergmann began playing music at age eight, learning the mountain dulcimer from her mother in the aural tradition and learning the hammered dulcimer at the knee of West Virginia-native builder and performer Loy Swiger. Demonstrating gifts for both performance and teaching, she has been a featured performer across the United States, performing solo; as a duo with her husband, bassist Bryan Thomas; with her stringband Hu$hmoney; and as a member of Apollo's Fire, Cleveland's world renowned Baroque Orchestra.