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American Banjo Camp

2024 Faculty

ABC offers full-time tracks in old-time banjo, bluegrass banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and guitar. ABC also offers workshops in other instruments (e.g. bass) and in jamming. While an old-time banjo student will be faced with a choice among multiple simultaneous old-time banjo workshops in every period, even a student playing an instrument with just one or two workshops will find other interesting workshops (jamming, singing, etc.) and hosted jams (and time for practicing) to fill the time and make the weekend seem much too short!

Bluegrass Banjo Old-Time Banjo Other Instruments

BB Bowness
David Keenan
Jonathan Meek
Alan Munde
Jeff Scroggins
Mike Stahlman

Riley Baugus
Joseph Decosimo
Maggie Lind
Michael Miles
Ken Perlman
Lukas Pool

Dale Adkins (guitar)
Greg Canote (old-time fiddle)
Jere Canote (old-time guitar)
Roger Ferguson (mandolin)
Peter Langston (guitar/mandolin)
Mick Nicholson (bass)

Teacher Bios

Bluegrass Banjo

BB Bowness Born in the small town of Marton, New Zealand, Catherine "BB" Bowness spent her early years working and living in her family's Fish-and-Chip shop. Although an unlikely origin for a bluegrass banjo player, New Zealand would offer BB her first introduction to the instrument, sparking a lifelong love and fascination. A world away from the heart of bluegrass, BB spent much of her childhood teaching herself the instrument, and through dedication and tenacity became New Zealand School of Music's first banjo student. After heading to America in 2012 she co-founded her current group, Mile Twelve. Immersing herself in the traditions of bluegrass and having studied jazz performance at university, BB's banjo playing is an exciting synthesis of new and old ideas. "Her euphoric energy and love of the genre are readily apparent in any of her live performances.
Mile Twelve has won numerous IBMA awards, including 2020 New Artists of the Year and 2017 Momentum Band of the Year. BB won the 2015 Freshgrass Banjo contest and was a winner of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize in 2020.

David Keenan David Keenan started playing the banjo uke at age 8, sang classical music at age 11, learned guitar and mandolin at age 12 and bluegrass banjo at age 13 studying at Holcomb's Banjo and Guitar Shop where he started teaching at age 16. Since then Dave has played in many bands and has taught at several music camps across the US and Canada. His current Bluegrass band is The Downtown Mountain Boys with which he has released 3 acclaimed CD’s. Dave is also an accomplished composer and has written scores for over 10 silent films.

Teacher Jonathan Meek has been playing the banjo for 25 years, and has decades of experience as an educator. He studied banjo with Tony Trischka as a teenager, and spent years playing in bluegrass bands and teaching music in Montana and Las Vegas. Based in Portland, Oregon since 2013, he has been a member of many Pacific Northwest bluegrass bands, including Wayward Vessel, the Hollerbodies, Julie and the WayVes, the Portland Radio Ponies, and others. He is well versed in many styles of music, from bluegrass to swing, blues, jazz, Celtic, klezmer, and classical. Among many other musical interests and projects, he has created a complete banjo transcription of the Bach Cello Suites. An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, he also plays dobro, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, and pretty much anything else that makes noise. Jonathan now teaches music in Elemenary School, where he gets to use not only his banjo skills but also teaches strings, percussion, brass, and woodwinds.

Teacher Alan Munde needs no introduction to long-time Bluegrass fans. From his early creative work with Sam Bush in Poor Richard's Almanac to his traditional bluegrass apprenticeship with Jimmy Martin and the Sunny Mountain Boys to his 21-year stint anchoring the landmark Country Gazette, Alan has blazed a trail as one of the most innovative and influential banjo players of all time. Along the way, Alan also recorded and contributed to numerous instrumental recordings, including the 2001 IBMA Instrumental Album of the Year -- "Knee Deep in Bluegrass." Alan has supplemented his recorded work with several instructional publications for the banjo; from 1986-2006 he taught Bluegrass and Country Music at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas.

Jeff Scroggins Jeff Scroggins has won more than 40 banjo contests, including the National Bluegrass Banjo Championship. He has performed and recorded with some of the top names in bluegrass. In 2009 he founded the award-winning Jeff Scroggins and Colorado and spent the next 10 years touring; headlining bluegrass festivals and taking his fiery style to stages around the world. Jeff has been teaching bluegrass banjo for over 35 years, including 5 years as a faculty member at the prestigious Swallow Hill Music Association in Denver, Colorado. He has also taught countless workshops at the festivals at which he has performed and has taught at music camps in the US, Canada and Europe. While touring in Canada Jeff met and eventually married Liz Bader and relocated to Maple Ridge, British Columbia, where they currently reside.

Teacher Mike Stahlman is a Portland, Ore. banjo player whose playing style was heavily influenced by Earl Scruggs and Alan Munde. Mike has taught bluegrass banjo at Portland Community College in Portland since 1997, and currently plays banjo and tours with the Oregon-based Lee Highway. He also plays with The Loafers. Mike has recorded two banjo instrumental CD's -- "Bluebonnet," and "First Dance."

Old-Time Banjo

OT banjo teacher Riley Baugus, born and raised near Winston-Salem, North Carolina, started playing banjo at the age of 11, inspired by the traditional Appalachian music that he discovered during weekends spent with his grandparents in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He also learned as a young man from such greats as Tommy Jarrell, Dix Freeman, and Robert Sykes. Riley has played with numerous old-time stringbands, including The Red Hots and the Old Hollow Stringband, and currently plays with the Dirk Powell Band and Polecat Creek. He built the banjos that appear in the recent Academy Award winning film "Cold Mountain," and his singing is featured on the soundtrack. Riley tours the US and Europe regularly with Dirk Powell, Tim O'Brien, and Ira Bernstein. He has taught banjo at the Augusta Heritage Festival, Mars Hill, the Alaska Fiddle Camp, Pinewoods, and Wheatland; his solo CD is called "Life of Riley."

OT banjo teacher Joseph Decosimo has introduced audiences around the world to the beauty and vitality of the fiddle, banjo, and song traditions from the Appalachian South. A student of the last master traditional musicians in his native Tennessee, Joseph draws on a well of profound creativity and repertoire even as he creates fresh sounds. A sought-after, supportive teacher, and PhD holding folklorist, he served on the faculty in ETSU's Bluegrass, Old Time, and Country Music Studies Program. He is a national Old-time banjo champion, winner of the Clifftop fiddle contest, and a member of the prize-winning Bucking Mules. His most recent recordings “While You Were Slumbering” and “the aluminum wonder” have resonated in the Old-time scene and far beyond.

Teacher Maggie Lind has been singing and making music her whole life. She got a banjo as a teen and soon met and learned from renowned musician Tom Sauber. She became enthralled with the tunes, dancing, old recordings, stories, and community that go hand in hand with old-time music. After visiting elder tradition bearers such as Joe Thompson, Charlie Acuff, and Clyde Davenport, she was inspired to play fiddle and call dances as well. Maggie has been teaching clawhammer banjo in Portland for 20 years. She has taught hundreds of students in her popular Portland String Band Class and has taught and performed at the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Dare to be Square - West!, Portland Old Time Music Gathering, Berkeley Old Time Music Convention, and Wallowa Fiddle Tunes Camp. She believes playing music is our human birthright and delights in helping others join in the fun.

Teacher Michael Miles is renowned in the clawhammer world for his sparkling versions of Bach cello suites and his adventurous original compositions. A dedicated music-educator, he served from 1984-98 as Program Director at Chicago?s Old Town School of Folk Music; during which time he developed and expanded an old-time banjo program that ultimately served hundreds students. Michael has written, directed and performed in a number of critically acclaimed musical plays which feature the banjo prominently, including The Magic Banjo, American Songbag, How Africa Met Ireland in American Song, and Chicago Rhythm & Rhymes. His latest CDs include "American Bach," "Magic Banjo," and "New Century Suite."

Teacher Perhaps the best-known exponent of the "melodic" clawhammer style, Ken Perlman is known wherever banjos are played as a master of clawhammer technique and an expert teacher of clawhammer mechanics. He has been a Banjo Newsletter columnist for 20 years; he has written several books on clawhammer instruction including the well known works Melodic Clawhammer Banjo and Clawhammer Style Banjo, he has recorded several series of audio and video banjo instruction, and he has taught at well over a dozen music camps including the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, the Puget Sound Guitar Workshop, Rocky Mountain Fiddle Camp, Common Ground on the Hill, and the Tennessee Banjo Institute.

Teacher Lukas Pool is a multi-instrumentalist and luthier known for his innovative playing style and respect for Old-Time tradition. He grew up in Mountain View, Arkansas in the Ozark Mountains, where he started playing banjo at the age of 12. Spending most evening on the courthouse square with his friends and family, learning and growing with the music. In 2008, Lukas left Arkansas to attend Berklee College of Music. Upon graduating in 2012, Lukas has performed alongside comedian/banjo enthusiast Steve Martin, recorded with fiddling legend Darol Anger, and performed at a wide array of venues and festivals including the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN. Lukas is a two-time National Old Time Banjo Champion and a returning guest professor at the Berklee College of Music, and is in high demand as an instructor at camps nationwide. He and his wife Eden are proprietors of Ozark Banjos; makers of high quality open backs.

Fiddle, Guitar, Bass, Mandolin, & Other Instruments

Teacher Hailing from Central Oregon, Dale Adkins is a veteran teacher with over 35 years experience in both a classroom and music instructional setting. Dale is longtime Northwest guitar legend who Flatpick Guitar Magazine states is: “really, really good, as in a major Force." As a part of Grammy nominee Kate MacKenzie's touring band, Dale performed across the U.S. and Europe in the 1990s. Other musical collaborations have included guitar legend Dan Crary, John Reischman and the Jaybirds, Frontline, Old Growth, True North, Leah Larson, Rock Ridge and many others. With the release of “Alone in the Red Room,” Dale introduced a significant departure from high-energy bluegrass flatpicking, showing significant growth and sophistication in his playing. Dale is also a wiz on Banjo, Tenor Guitar, and Mandolin. Dale’s other musical pursuit is owner and engineer/producer of Big Owl Studios where he has recorded and produced countless acoustic musicians to high praise.

Teacher and Accompanist Greg and Jere Canote, from Seattle, WA, are as renowned for their affable attitudes and humor as they are for their music. Greg on fiddle, and Jere on guitar, and both on banjo ukes, perform zany concerts, play for dances, lead songs, and promote a good time! The twin brothers started singing soon after they were born and haven't closed their mouths since. They spent their early years in California's Sacramento Valley, inventing songs with their father at the piano and tagging along with their parents' folk and square dance group. They honed their skills performing in many bands and discovered old-time music in the mid 1970s. In 1978 they attended the Festival of American Fiddle Tunes in Port Townsend, WA, and eventually became frequent teachers there. After touring the country with dance caller and singer Sandy Bradley for four years, they returned to the Northwest for a thirteen year stint on Seattle's National Public Radio show, "Sandy Bradley's Potluck," as Sandy's affable side-kicks. The rigors of finding new material for a weekly radio show kept the twins on their toes, mining and performing gems of American music of the past as well as writing new songs in those styles.

Teacher Roger Ferguson learned traditional music through both grandads who were fiddlers from Missouri and Nebraska. He learned mandolin, guitar and fiddle from his father and at 15 was performing professionally around the Pacific Northwest. At 21, Roger won the National flatpick guitar championship in Winfield Kansas and since has made his living teaching, performing and recording mostly acoustic string music in the Americana vein. Roger has opened shows for Merle Haggard, Emmylou Harris, Taj Mahal and others, He's performed noteworthy stages including Billy Bob’s in Fort Worth, Orlando’s Disney World Hotel, The Houston Astrodome and The Calgary Stampede in Alberta. Having been featured on other’s CDs and recorded many CDs with his various bands, he’s also written and recorded on numerous soundtracks for nationally televised PBS documentaries. An adjunct music professor of over 40 years, he has had several instruction articles published in Guitar Player Magazine.

Director Peter Langston will play anything with strings on it (even the banjo!). He has played in bands on both the East Coast (Metropolitan Opry, Wretched Refuse) and the West Coast (Puddle City, Entropy Service, Portland Zoo), and has performed with such notables as Doc Watson, Reverend Gary Davis, Tony Trischka, Clark Terry, Peter Rowan, Chill Wills, Alison Brown, Johnny Gimble, and Mike Seeger. He appears regularly with bluegrass/Americana band 3 Play Ricochet. Peter has led a double life as a musician and a computer whiz and has taught computer science, audio recording, and songwriting at the college level.

Teacher Mick Nicholson started out as a tuba player, and was a member of the Bremerton Symphony for 6 years. While a Navy musician in the 1970s, he led several jazz and rock bands as an electric bassist touring thoughout the Pacific. In order to concentrate on the upright bass, Mick joined the Washington, DC Navy Band in 1984, culminating with a four year stint in the navy's premier Country/Bluegrass group, "Country Current." Mick moved back home to the Northwest in 1995 and quickly became an active player in the local acoustic music scene. Comfortable with a wide variety of styles, he has gigged with artists ranging from Vince Gill to Dizzy Gillespie. Presently, he is a member of "Me and the Boys" (bluegrass), "The Don Alverson Quintet" (jazz and dixieland), and "The Less Paulish Trio" (Django on steroids). In addition, Mick freelances as an electric and acoustic bassist and teaches at various band camps and workshops. He also plays a mean tuba, though he does not endorse or receive any remuneration from the Mean Tuba Company.

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