Scheduled Performers on Three Stages
Plus The Dance Barn and Eucalyptus Grove

Sunday, May 15th, 2016

The Main Stage

11:30 a.m.

Canote Brothers
"Old-Time and Swing"

Canote Brothers Twin Brothers Greg and Jere Canote have been taking advantage of their genetics for as long as they can remember; as Christmas elves tap dancing their way around the wishing well in the first grade, to their thirteen year stint as the affable side-kicks on NPR’s Sandy Bradley’s Potluck.

For audiences of all ages, the Canotes demonstrate their love and mastery of vintage American styles from fiddle tunes and country songs to novelty numbers and swing. They perform with spirit, humor, sterling musicianship, and those genetically matched voices. Greg and Jere also share a well honed ear for the quirky- “Their songs all have the ring of cockeyed classics!” Guaranteed fun!

Reviews: “It was a great time! Wonderful stuff!” - Garrison Keillor, A Prairie Home Companion

“This west coast group sings and plays with the spirt and quirky humor that characterizes the best of Old-Time music. Their songs all have the ring of cockeyed classics!” - Mark Greenberg- SING OUT Magazine

More at

1:00 p.m.

Ragged Union
"Hard-driving bluegrass, with a tinge of the traditional and a healthy dose of the blues"

Ragged Union Ragged Union’s hard-driving bluegrass, with a tinge of the traditional and a healthy dose of the blues, has become a favorite for quite a few music lovers since their inception a few years ago.

Not many folks have said it better than Ron Thomason of Dry Branch Fire Squad who said, “"This IS your grandfather’s bluegrass music but NOT his lyrics or subject matter. These tunes are "traditional" in their approach and in RU’'s presentation, but the subject matter of the lyrics is wholly modern; that is, they deal with modern angst, problems, even fixations in both a literal and metaphorical way. And this is the crux: that"s entirely different than how bluegrass music has been "updated" to date. It is beyond appropriate; it is fresh and innovative while preserving through their instruments the things one likes about bluegrass music.”
Some pretty powerful words for a band who is just now releasing their first album. The music coming from this six-piece Colorado based ensemble, lead by husband and wife Geoff and Christina Union, is memorable and provides a platform for players performing original tunes and off-the-beaten path standards, winning fans in the process.

There is an intimacy and tightness surrounding the vocals, with award-winning instrumental work, a powerful rhythmic drive, and up-tempo arrangements giving way to the edgy, outsider songwriting that has become an earmark of their style.

Ragged Union is: Geoff Union (guitar, vocal), Christina Union (lead and tenor vocal), Jordan Ramsey (mandolin, vocal), Chris “C-Bob” Elliot (banjo), Justin Hoffenberg (fiddle) and Michael Sivcovich (upright bass).

More at:

3:00 p.m.

The Americans
"Country, Blues, Jug Band"

The Americans

The Americans have performed on the Late Show with David Letterman, joined Grammy and Oscar winner Ryan Bingham on national tours, and played at Reese Witherspoon’s wedding. They have backed up Nick Cave, Tim Robbins, and Lucinda Williams.

The Americans appear throughout American Epic, a four hour primetime PBS / BBC special produced by Jack White, Robert Redford, and T Bone Burnett, featuring Nas, Elton John, Alabama Shakes, and Willie Nelson (coming January 2016).

The Americans recorded an original song for Hal Willner’s Son of Rogue’s Gallery (ANTI- Records), an album of sea chanties and pirate songs featuring Tom Waits, Keith Richards, and Nick Cave, executive produced by Johnny Depp.

The Americans’ music is featured in the Michael Mann produced film Texas Killing Fields, starring Sam Worthington and Chloë Grace Moretz. The soundtrack includes two original songs, “Kiss Your Eyes” and “When The Blaze Is Blue.”

The Americans are: Patrick Ferris (vocals, banjo, fiddle, guitar, harmonica), Zac Sokolow (vocals, banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar), Jake Faulkner (upright bass, guitar, mandolin, jug, harmonica) and Tim Carr (banjo, guitar, piano, percussion).

More at:

5:15 p.m.

Evie Ladin Band
"Song - Dance - Banjo"

Evie Ladin Band Tenacious, innovative string musicians/dancers with a quirky neo-trad soul, the ELB throws down original folk songs and deep interpretations of old songs, with the kinetic thrill of percussive dance. Pop Matters says “Ladin possesses a keen songwriting sense and a stable of strong musicians to back her up.”

The polyrhythmic heat of Evie’s clawhammer banjo has been heard from A Prairie Home Companion to Celtic Connections, Lincoln Center to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. The band’s 2012 eponymous release won Americana Album of the Year from the Independent Music Awards. In 2016 the Evie Ladin Band celebrates the release of a new CD, as they’ve evolved into a tight trio.

The Evie Ladin Band is: Evie (lead vocals, banjo, guitar, body music, feet), Keith Terry (bass, cajón, pizza pan, metal toys, bells, body music, vocals), and Erik Pearson (guitar, banjo, vocals).

More at:

The Railroad Stage

The Railroad Stage will host the "Sing-Offs in the morning and and the Intermediate Competition at Noon

Squirrel Butter

"Old-Time Variety Duet"

2:30 p.m.

John Weed and Stuart Mason Squirrel Butter, husband and wife duo of Charlie Beck & Charmaine Slaven, started performing together after meeting at a music festival in 2005. Sharing a deep love of traditional music, they explore the genres of old-time, early bluegrass, blues, country & cajun while adding their unique perspective to these traditions and threading these influences into their original compositions. Multi-instrumentalists, they play banjo, guitar, fiddle, steel guitar and step-dance and sing in harmony.

Occasionally, Squirrel Butter appears with guest musicians to form a trio or quartet. The two are half of the venerable Seattle string band, The Tallboys. They are anchors of the old-time music, honky-tonk, & square dance communities in the Pacific NW and beyond. Recently featured on A Prairie Home Companion , Squirrel Butter is pleased to announce the arrival of their new album, Chestnuts!

More at:

The Sweet Potatoes

"Sweet Harmonies and Finely Crafted Songwriting"

3:30 p.m.

The Sweet Potatoes The Sweet Potatoes come out of Southern California dishing up a fresh blend of country, folk and homespun Americana, sure to bring a smile to your face with their sweet harmonies and finely crafted songwriting. Laura Hall (songwriter, guitar, accordion, ukulele, vocals) is best known as the pianist on the hit television show “Whose Line is it Anyway”. She came up in the acoustic music scene in Chicago, playing with folks like with Michael Smith, Tim Grimm, and Buddy Mondlock. Kelly Macleod (songwriter, guitar, vocals) cut her teeth on the road after being discovered by Eddie Van Halen while singing at a local club in Shreveport, La. Eddie brought her band, “Private Life” on a his world tour, and produced their two albums. Rick Hall (bass, harmonica, vocals), grew up on a farm near Jerseyville, IL, and is also a fine actor and storyteller.

The Sweet Potatoes came together after Kelly and Rick co-starred in a movie. The women started writing new material together, soon making their debut CD, and a second CD “Faith, Good Neighbors and a Telephone” a few years later. Although they’re all old hands at performing, this is the new music from their hearts. These are the songs that really tell their stories, all with sweet harmonies and a touch of twang.

More at:

Ross Altman

"When a Soldier Makes It Home: Songs for Veterans and Their Families"

4:30 p.m.

Ross Altman Strangely enough, the most moving song on behalf of returning Vietnam veterans was written by the antiwar author of Alice’s Restaurant, Arlo Guthrie. He himself was moved by stories of returning soldiers to insults by angry demonstrators, not specifically angry at the soldiers themselves as the policies that sent them to intervene in Vietnam. Guthrie finally put pen to paper and wrote down the feelings of one of these soldiers, speaking for his comrades as well. Guthrie recently updated When a Soldier Makes It Home for veterans of Afghanistan.

Ross Altman devotes his 2016 Railroad Stage performance to the songs and stories of some of these veterans from a number of America’s wars over the past 240 years, going all the way back to the American Revolution. Some of them are well known in the modern folk repertoire, such as Arlo’s father Woody’s The Sinking of the Reuben James in 1941 at the advent of World War II. Some of them Ross has recently discovered and performed, such as British folk singer Jim Radford’s account of his experience as England’s youngest surviving D-Day veteran, The Shores of Normandy. And some of them address very recent social upheavals in the US, such as his recounting the story of Navy veteran Allen Schindler who was beaten to death by shipmates stationed in Japan because he was gay, Any Mother’s Son.

Ross is not himself a veteran but became friends with a number of Veterans for Peace through his friendship with the late Eddie Goggans, a Navy veteran of the first Iraq war in 1991 who was a gay activist in the efforts to lift the ban on gays and lesbians in the military. Join Ross for an uplifting musical tribute to the service of all veterans.

Ross Altman may be reached at

Get on board at the Railroad Stage and visit Ross at his Web site,

The Pavilion Stage

The Pavilion Stage will host the Beginning Instrument competitions in the morning

Ventucky String Band

"American Roots & More"

1:00 p.m.

alt= Like a jukebox of old 78 records, The Ventucky String Band is reminiscent of a time when Texas Swing still dominated the AM radio airwaves, and Bluegrass music was as novel as the arrival of television.

Where some have tried to diminish Ventura as “Ventucky,” this band sees their name not as a veiled jab at Bluegrass music or the city that brought them together - but instead as a tribute to the music and culture of the farmers, roustabouts, and cattlemen that helped grow the city during the early days of big-oil and agriculture in Ventura County.

Formed in 2010, this highly skilled multi-instrumental quartet features Matt Sayles, Dave White, Rick Clemens, and Lauren Donahue blending three part harmonies and original songwriting into a sound that harkens back to the golden age of country music, and the roots of the country and western sound of the 1930’s, 1940’s and 50’s. Members of the band have played professionally for over 30 years, with appearances on the Wheeling West Virginia Jamboree (WWVA), as well as performances with Bluegrass, Country, Western Swing & Cajun legends like Merle Haggard, Dwight Yoakam, Asleep at the Wheel, Larry Sparks, Doyle Lawson, the Bellamy Brothers, Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys and Hot Club of Cowtown.

Typical sets can vary from 1930’s Jazz & early Bluegrass, to cowboy ballads, folk, and honky-tonk-all seamlessly woven together with original songwriting that draws inspiration from the deep well-spring of American roots music.

More at:

G Burns Jug Band

G Burns Jug Band

"Old American Music"

2:00 p.m.

The G Burns Jug Band plays old American music with an intensity and authenticity rarely heard today: urban blues, mountain fiddle, and popular music of the nineteen-twenties and thirties. Based in San Diego, G Burns is led by multi-instrumentalist and native Kentuckian Clinton Davis, who grew up hearing jug band music in its birthplace of Louisville. Renowned roots music publication No Depression has called their work “a joyous and soulful restoration of one of the lost treasures of American musical tradition.”

Since forming in 2012, the Burns’ have quickly become a constant presence throughout the West coast roots music community. They have performed at Festivals from San Diego (Gator By The Bay) to Seattle (Wintergrass) and have shared the stage with roots luminaries including Jim Kweskin, Del McCoury, and Beausoleil. In 2015, their second album, The Southern Pacific & the Santa Fe, received a San Diego Music Award. More at:

Mike Mahaney

Mike Mahaney and Friends

"Cowboy Music and Poetry"

3:00 p.m.

Mike is a founding member and advisory board member for the Western Music Association. His background includes Broadcasting for KCRW and KCSN FM in Los Angeles & KBBQ in Ventura, Ca. Mike was one of three that began the McCabes Concert Series in 1969 and began performing at Topanga with the band Trailmix back in 1980. Mike and Trailmix perform traditional and contemporary Cowboy and Western Swing. Mike regularly hosts the Cowboy Music and Poetry segment at the Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest.

Mike’s guest performers this year are:

Ron Christofer

Ron Christofer

Ron is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter who knows his way around a guitar fretboard. Originally from St Petersburg, Florida, Ron has played from coast to coast before settling in LA.

His voice is deep like Johnny Cash and evocative like Marty Robbins. He is a member of the California chapter of The Western Music Association. He writes of heroes, villains, cowboys and outlaws and Native Americans wrapping historical references into fictionalized Americana with a Southwest nuance.

He has released two CD s: Silver Screen Heroes and Other Legends, and Into The West.

More at:
Also available on iTunes and CD Baby.



Trailmix will perform this year for the Cowboy music segment.

One warm August evening at Boulevard Music in Culver City California Mike Mahaney, Fred Sokolow, Lynn Shipley and the legendary National Fiddlers Hall of Fame inductee Bobby Bruce played for a small but enthusiastic crowd. It was fun for all and it so happened to be recorded.
Here is ‘The West of MY Live’ on CDBaby
Check it out!

Gary Robertson

Gary Robertson

As a child in Oklahoma he was entertained by stories, poems and legends told to him by his Grandmother. This began Gary‘s life-long love of story telling. For 25 years, Gary has been writing about the daily trials and tribulations, of the cowboy and rancher.

Gary started performing and publishing his poetry in 1994. Recently, one of his poems was chosen to be included in the book “Cowboy Poetry: the Reunion.” His poetry has appeared in the Chickasaw Times, Capriolas Catalogue, American Cowboy Magazine, and several local newspapers. He has been a featured performer at Colorado Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Arizona Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Cowboy Hall of Fame, Gene Autry Museum, The Conejo Cowboy Poetry Festival, and Big Bear Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

While living in Oklahoma, Gary worked the IOA Ranch overseeing the cattle, hay, and grain operations. He taught Blacksmithing and Farrier Science at the Oklahoma Horseshoeing School. Currently, Gary works as Ranch Manager for Greenfield Ranch in Thousand Oaks California.

Check out Gary’s new book and more at

The Dance Barn

The Dance Barn will host the Band Playoffs until Noon

12:00-2:00Flatfoot Dancing Competition - Join the Fun!
2:00-3:00Clogging Workshop with Evie Ladin
3:00-4:00Square Dance with Susan Michaels calling, music by Bee’s Knees
4:00-5:00Contra Dance with Ginger Alberti calling, music by Panada

Clogging Workshop with Evie Ladin
2:00 p.m.

Bees Knees Southern Appalachian Flatfoot Clogging - Danced to the fiddle & banjo of Old-Time music, clogging is the percussive dance tradition that lights the fire under the music. Evie is adept at getting all levels dancing together, learning some basic steps that get you to dancing to stringband music, as well as during square dances. No experience or special shoes necessary, though hard soled shoes might be more fun to dance in.

Square Dancing with Bees Knees
3:00 p.m.

Caller: Susan Michaels

Bees Knees Bees Knees is Joe Wack (fiddle), Steve Lewis (banjo), and Laura Osborn (guitar/banjo-uke). Their repertoire is an eclectic mix of traditional music ranging from high-energy, all-out dance tunes to hauntingly beautiful melodies from the Southern Appalachian region. Though they’ve only been playing together as a trio since 2008, their old-time music reflects decades of playing for dances, concerts, workshops, parties, and events, as well as just good old-time music-making with like-minded folks on both sides of the country.

Joe Wack was first enthralled by old time music as an art student in West Virginia University in the early ‘70s. From that time he has maintained the dual vocations of musician and artist. As a banjo player, he was an original founder of the still-active WV stringband Stewed Mulligan. Since moving to L.A. in '93, he has worked as a character designer for “The Simpsons” TV series while remaining immersed in old-time music on fiddle, banjo, and guitar.

Laura Osborn has been a lifelong musician, performing and teaching flute in the Los Angeles area for almost twenty years. While enjoying a robust family life with her husband, two children, and two cats, she finds time whenever possible to play old-time music on guitar, banjo, and banjo-uke.

Steve Lewis has played the 5-string banjo most of his adult life. A veteran of contests, fiddlers’ conventions, and festivals, Steve has also produced and played for contradances since 1989. He continues to play for dances, both contra and square with one or another of four old-time bands. For the past eleven years, Steve has led an old-time jam at the CTMS Folk Music Center in Encino on the first Sunday of each month.

Contra Dancing with Panada
4:00 p.m.

Caller: Ginger Alberti

Panada Panada has been playing lively old time dance music and providing festive entertainment for six years in and around southern California. Each band member has a long history of many kinds of music from New York to California and beyond. Bass player Ken Shaw grew up in the Greenwich Village scene in the 60’s and played with emerging stars of the era. Emmy award winning guitarist Larry Kemp started out at age 5 on the eighty-eight string guitar and later cut back to four strings in New Jersey before coming to Los Angeles. Master banjo picker James Flaherty is in such demand that he is now in at least five bands in the area. And fiddler Dave Lynch heard an old time fiddler, and the next day rented a fiddle and hired a teacher. Two years later he was playing in a dance band that performed from central California to San Diego. Panada is enthusiastic, reliable and always entertaining.

The Eucalyptus Grove

Childrens Crafts will be held from 11:00a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

The Hollow Trees

The Hollow Trees

12:00-1:00 p.m.

The Hollow Trees have been sharing “Folk Music for Families” around California for eight years now. Their upbeat acoustic Americana music is like a gumbo made with a mix of bluegrass, western swing, blues, and folk styles, seasoned with a generous helping of fun.

Hailing from Nelsonville, USA, they perform classic standards, strange and wonderful covers and great original songs. With some luck they’ll be joined by their friend Nelson playing his homemade banjitar. Come on by and join the hootenanny! Learn more at

Scottish Fiddlers of L.A.

1:00-2:00 p.m.

Scottish Fiddlers The Scottish Fiddlers of Los Angeles were founded in 1981 after several musicians discovered common musical interest at the Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest and formed the first Strathspey and Reel Society in the United States. The group provides an opportunity for musicians with little experience in traditional music to get actively involved and makes it accessible for people coming from a classical background. Over the years, members have ranged in age from 5 to over 80.

Their music focus centers on the heritage of Scottish fiddle music dating back to the seventeenth century and many of these early tunes have found their way into the American folk fiddle repertoire. The Scottish Fiddlers always welcome musicians playing fiddle, cello, guitar, harp and other instruments to join them for rehearsals and to play at concerts, festivals, Celtic fairs, Scottish games and gatherings, and many other events. SFLA has also reliably contributed new contestants and volunteers for TBFC.

Internationally known Jan Tappan has directed the Fiddlers for over 25 years. She was the recipient of the 2014 TBFC Music Legend Award and is a judge on the Main Stage today.
For information on booking the Scottish Fiddlers, or to join, please contact: Visit us at

L.A. Dulcimer Club
Pre-Workshop Performance

3:00-3:30 p.m.

L.A. Dulcimer Club The club will give a performance to introduce the Dulcimer to those who really should know!

Dulcimer Workshop
with Joellen Lapidus

3:30-5:00 p.m.

Joellen Lapidus Joellen will teach a dulcimer workshop featuring both the Mountan (lap) dulcimer and the hammered dulcimer.