Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, the 2016 California Bluegrass Association's Emerging Artist of the Year, is a high-energy five-piece bluegrass band from Colorado. Fronted by two-time National Banjo Champion Jeff Scroggins, the band's style is immediately recognizable due to Jeff's unique and diverse range of influences. West Virginia native Greg Blake provides powerful vocals steeped in country heritage, bringing an authentic sound developed from a lifetime of singing bluegrass, gospel, and country. Twice nominated for the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America's (SPBGMA) "Traditional Male Vocalist of the Year" award, Greg's guitar playing has earned him nine nominations and five consecutive wins as SPBGMA's Guitarist of the Year. The band includes Tristan Scroggins, recipient of the 2017 Instrumental Momentum Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association, on mandolin; and Ellie Hakanson, 2016 Rockygrass Fiddle Champion, 2016 Arizona State Fiddle Champion, and 2017 IBMA Momentum Award Nominee, on fiddle and vocals.
Hailing from Ithaca, NY, banjo player Richie Stearns (The Horse Flies, Donna the Buffalo) and fiddler Rosie Newton (The Duhks) are a really mesmerizing duo, playing mostly old-time/Appalachian styled originals with their distinct, syncopated rhythmic style. Richie is an unsung folk hero in his own right, having played with some amazing people over the years (John Hartford, Pete Seeger, Joan Baez), and defining his own, very unique, take on traditional clawhammer banjo playing. They've been playing together across the country and beyond since 2012, sharing stages and bills with greats like Bruce Molsky, Natalie Merchant, and the Stray Birds. Newton's virtuosic fiddle playing is the perfect pairing for Stearns' Hartford-esque songwriting style.
Jenna, from Lakewood, NY, and Màiri, from the Isle of Skye, combine to make contemporary music rooted in the melodies of Scotland and Appalachia. Jenna and Màiri have both been heavily steeped in tradition, but their music breathes new life into old tunes and merges their wide-ranging influences into a sound that is at once grounded and adventurous. Jenna's fiddling style draws strongly from the Scottish tradition, but is in no way bound by it. Folk Radio UK said of her playing, "...from the first time you hear Moynihan, it is clear that her playing is resonating straight from the depths of her soul." Jenna is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, and currently calls Boston home. In 2015 Jenna released her debut solo album, Woven. Màiri Chaimbeul is a Boston-based harp player and composer. Mairi has toured throughout the UK, Europe and North America; was twice-nominated for the BBC Radio 2 Young Folk Award and finalist in the BBC Young Traditional & Jazz Musician of the Year; twice participated in Savannah Music Festival's Acoustic Music Seminar; and graduated from Berklee College of Music with highest honours and the prestigious American Roots Award. Màiri can currently be heard regularly with new prog-trad group Aerialists, the Jacob Matheus Group, and also appears with violinist Darol Anger & The Furies.
Echo Mountain is a five piece old-time string band based out of Los Angeles, featuring fiddlers Kyle McNally and Jonathan Shifflett, Peter Linden on banjo, and multi-instrumentalists Kelly Marie Martin and Ben Kramer. Together they play square dances in the LA area and have been featured performers at the Watkins Family Hour and the Father's Day Bluegrass Festival in Grass Valley. The collective vision of Echo Mountain is to build a repertoire that reflects the full spectrum of the old-time tradition, tackling complex fiddle tunes and rich harmony singing with new energy while remaining true to traditional style and form.
For the last 20 years The Crooked Jades have traveled countless miles across 4 continents, 10 countries, and as many festivals to bring you 8 critically acclaimed albums including Worlds On Fire (chosen by Sean Penn for the soundtrack of Oscar-nominated film Into The Wild) and Seven Sisters: A Kentucky Portrait - the soundtrack to the award-winning PBS documentary of the same name, and two albums co-produced by alt-country's Richard Buckner. Known for their rare and obscure repertoire, inspired arrangements and eclectic, often vintage instrumentation, The Crooked Jades began with Kazor's vision to revive the dark and hypnotic sounds of pre-radio music. With this old time foundation, the band has created a unique sound by exploring the roots of Americana and interweaving the diverse musical influences of Europe and Africa. Filtering these old-world sounds with universal and ancient themes through a modern lens, they seek to make sense of the future, reaffirming the importance of connecting to our roots in a time of intense digital connection. Writes Bluegrass Unlimited, "Chords in unexpected places, out of this world harmonies, and some of the most powerfully-arranged material I've ever encountered."
Mike will be playing with Trailmix, featuring Fred Sokolow, selections from
"The West of my Live".
He 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.
Singer/guitarist Mark Bedor is the host of Today's Wild West, a documentary style half-hour series airing on PBS stations in 23 states, and The Cowboy Channel. The Western writer-photographer has been publshed in dozens of magazines, and is the author of two Western photography books.
The Bluegrass Ghosts is a Southern California based ensemble rooted firmly in the traditions of American Stringband Music, covering everything from hard-driving bluegrass standards, square dance fiddle tunes, Texas blue yodels, ballades, trio harmony, to originals in their own distinctive style.
They have been playing the bars, taverns, juke joints and festivals in and around Los Angeles for the last three years, featuring long long time local figures, Lance Billitzer on mandolin, Cindy Bell on guitar, and legendary Brantley Kearns on fiddle. This year at Topanga, founding member Al Akture will join in on bass as well as some interesting guests!
Cliff Latimer & Laura Osborn sing and play American heartland music on mandolin, banjo and guitar. Their repertory includes Old-Time Appalachian fiddle tunes and traditional songs in the manner of the Stanley Bros., Louvin Bros. and the Carter Family. Their vocal harmonies have earned recognition at the Topanga Festival and the Santa Barbara Old Time Fiddlers contest. In 2017 they were invited to perform at the California Bluegrass Association's Father's Day Festival in Grass Valley. They perform regularly around Southern California.
Ross performs his own brand of pure, unsweetened, unfiltered and unplugged folk music on picket lines, in school assemblies, hospitals, retirement homes, senior centers, folk festivals, sit-ins and freedom marches, antiwar rallies, human rights demonstrations, churches, synagogues and libraries with his six-and-twelve string guitars, five-string long-neck banjo and harmonicas. Ross is a recording artist for his own label - Grey Goose Music - staff writer and columnist for FolkWorks, president of the Santa Monica Traditional Folk Music Club, a member of musician's union Local 47 (AFL-CIO), and the Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest's 2010 Music Legend Award winner.
This year Ross Altman will sing songs and tell stories of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Pete Seeger (the trinity of American folk music).
Attention all pickers, grinners, singers, strummers, clappers, yodelers, yowlers and
growlers: Start your day at Topanga right, singing and playing along with your old pal,
Steve Werner. All are welcome to join in on songs we all know and love. It's good for
your lungs and a tonic for what ails you. All are welcome.
Grizzled Topanga veteran Steve Werner is your average everyday world-traveling biker- sailor-adventurer- folksinger-songwriter- yodeler. His songs have been sung and recorded all over the world. Through the years he has shared stages with the likes of Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Mary McCaslin, Peter Yarrow and many more. His decade-long duet with Fur Dixon produced four albums of pure California folk gold.
"Always a contender for "Nicest Guy in Folk Music," Steve Werner is not only a fine musician and entertainer, he's always ready to help with a musical endeavor of any sort. He has been a strong supporter of the Topanga Banjo- Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival for several years and we hope, for many more." Carl Gage, (RIP brother Carl).
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!
Karen Golden Is a storyteller, musician, educator, published author and visionary. She has touched the lives of 1000's through her work as a national and international performer and the founding director of her unique learning center, Creative Learning Place Inc. Her work is always out of the box and close to your heart. Karen Golden weaves a variety of yarns from folklore traditions around the world, her own life, the lives of historic personalities and from her rich imagination.
Multi-instrumentalist, teaching artist and ethnomusicologist Molly White performs a variety of traditional music including: Latin American Folk, Andean, Balkan, Balinese Gamelan, and American Old-Time and Bluegrass. She shares her knowledge of songwriting and world music with students of all ages. She will be joined by Fresno area music educator Holly Harrison, a singer, fiddler and violinist who is passionate about the critical role of American folk music in public school education.
Come and join in on any instrument! We'll be playing some standards such as Boil Them Cabbage, Cripple Creek and other fun tunes. Charts will be available for parents who want to join in. The whole family is welcome. You can even bring your dance shoes and your dance board!
The sounds and rhythms of a Friday night dance in southwest Louisiana are alive and kicking when this band begins to play. With the accordion and fiddle at the helm of the melody, and the guitar and drums bringing the beat, the melodies of Acadiana pulse and push dancers across the floor. This band plays Pig Roasts, BBQ's, club dates, dances, and festivals all over Southern California. The past two falls the band has travelled back to Louisiana for the annual Blackpot Camp & Festival, where they soak in more and more of the music (and food and dancing) direct from the source. If you can't make it to the prairies of Louisiana, catch the High Life and they'll be sure to take you there (at least for the night)!
IRA BERNSTEIN has spent decades performing in concerts and at festivals throughout the world featuring traditional Appalachian dance, including appearances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, England, Maison de la Danse in Lyon, France, the Lincoln Center in New York City and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. He has shared the stage with many of the world's greatest tap and step dancers, including Gregory Hines, Howard "Sandman" Sims and and Brenda Bufalino; as well as with renowned ensembles such as the American Tap Dance Orchestra, the Jazz Tap Ensemble, Manhattan Tap, Rhythm in Shoes, the Fiddle Puppets and Footworks. Mr. Bernstein no longer performs due to health issues, but continues to teach and be of great inspiration to percussive dancers worldwide.
Skillet Licorice is the latest project from San Francisco Bay Area roots-music luminaries Elise Engelberg and Matt Knoth. Whether they're playing hot fiddle breakdowns, slinky blues, sparkling banjo breaks, ragtime or dreamy waltzes the duo displays an impressive command of styles and techniques that comes from deep study and loving dedication to America's folk traditions.
Susan Michaels hails from Seattle and has been calling contras, squares and family dances for more than 30 years, building community, facilitating joy, and just plain having fun. Susan believes it is her calling in life to teach people how to hold hands in a circle and move to music. She loves all kinds of choreography... but specializes in dances with drive and flow that hold on to the roots of community dance but take off in new directions. Susan brings her special brand of dry quirky humor with her to every dance event and has a unique gift for making newcomers, 2 left-footers, and shy persons blossom through dance.
Susan has been a featured artist at festivals and camps throughout the U.S. including the Alaska Folk Festival, Pinewoods American and Family Weeks (MA), Lady of the Lake (ID), Mentone (AL), Contra Carnivale (CA), Harvest Moon (CA), Contrastock (DC) Raindance (OR), Chehallis (BC), Dance in the Desert (AZ), Fleu de Lis Fling (KY), Moosejaw (MN) Mountain Madness (TN), John C. Campbell Folk School (NC) and Camp Damp & Dance Camp North (AK).
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.
Becky Nankivell started contra and square dancing almost 50 years ago at summer camp in Vermont. She loves the mix of long traditions that people are still rediscovering, old hands helping newcomers, and timeless tunes and dances with new ones growing out of old structures. For her, dance calling is facilitating joy in a circle of friends and strangers!
The old time string band Hendricks Run (formerly Bees Knees) is made up of three friends and life-long musicians who have been playing together for the last nine years. The music they play is mainly Appalachian, centered on the West Virginia fiddle tune repertoire of Joe's home state. Steve Lewis plays clawhammer banjo, Laura provides rhythm on her guitar and lead on the flute, and Joe Wack bows the fiddle. They play for local dances, parties, and the occasional concert. Hendricks Run has provided the music for the first two buck dance competitions at the Topanga Banjo and Fiddle Contest, and looks forward to doing their third.
Calling all Cloggers, you're welcome to have fun up on stage for a CUED Clogging Exhibition with the Conejo Valley Cloggers of Thousand Oaks. Following the performance the audience can participate and learn the beginning steps of clogging. You'll be dancing, then looking for a class near you!
Jeff Fleck of Burning Heart Bluegrass leads an instructional Bluegrass Jam (also known as a "Slow Jam") at the Eucalyptus Grove at 4:00 PM. This will be a fun, low-pressure affair where we'll pick and talk about basic jamming techniques as well as jam etiquette. Bring your Bluegrass instrument and let's make some music together! All levels welcome.