We're excited to announce the 2015 Academy faculty, including 3 stellar bands-in-residence.
Please note: instructors are subject to change.
For more than twenty-five years Uwe has been playing guitar and singing as a professional musician. Performing in Switzerland’s relatively limited music market required Uwe to develop versatility, and he became proficient on other instruments including the electric guitar and the banjo.
Today, Uwe astonishes audiences with his blend of guitar styles. His rich, resonant, and mellow baritone voice has an uplifting affect on all who hear him sing. Diverse influences range from Doc Watson, Jerry Garcia, and Eric Clapton, to Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms. Uwe’s unique style, a blend of flat picking and finger picking, is an experience to behold. [less...]
Of course, the evidence of Sierra’s uncommon maturity—musical and personal (one might say she embodies the perfect balance of humility and capability)—has been there all along, and won her formidable fans: by age 11, Alison Krauss had called with an invitation to the Opry stage; by 12, Rounder was expressing interest; first Ron Block and now Barry Bales have served as co-producers, and her studio bands have featured the cream of the contemporary bluegrass crop—Stuart Duncan, Randy Kohrs and Bryan Sutton this time, alongside members of Sierra’s own crack band. Then there’s the fact that Berklee gave her the school’s most prestigious award, the Presidential Scholarship, a first for a bluegrass musician; her choice to accept it, to delay her dream of hitting the road full-time after high school in favor of expanding her musical worldview, was hardly a light one.
If ever the “child prodigy” label did Sierra justice, its usefulness has completely fallen away and a distinctive new identity emerged. What you hear on Daybreak is one of bluegrass’s few full-fledged virtuosic instrumentalist/singer/songwriters, and one who’s gracefully grown into her gifts. While her mandolin playing has always possessed clarity and fleet-fingered precision, here she attacks her solos with newfound spontaneity and depth of feeling; she calls it “playing with a point to prove.” Her singing—always straight and true—has more heartfelt power behind it, to results Bales describes, simply, as “doing the songs justice.”
As for the songs, Sierra’s first album held just a few originals, but she wrote seven of these twelve, a collection that stands up quite well next to the outside material. There’s a pair of sprightly instrumentals, her first-ever western swing number and several that show her emotional sophistication: in songs that fall squarely in the bluegrass tradition, feelings are out in the open; during country-leaning compositions, she ponders relationships from more introspective angles; and the title track—a breathtaking pop ballad—is the most ruminative moment of all.
Boundaries—age, genre or otherwise—don’t hamper an artist like Sierra. She’s already earned considerable respect in the bluegrass world, the IBMA’s voting members having nominated her for no fewer than five awards over three years—there’s a good chance she’ll be the first woman to win the mandolin category. But as a player, a singer and a songwriter, she also has remarkable range, the potential to win over ears unfamiliar with Bill Monroe and give performances of broad cultural importance, as she’s done at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and the National Prayer Breakfast. Matt Glaser—head of Berklee’s American Roots Music Program—put it this way: “She has no limitations as a musician.” Daybreak is certainly a noteworthy arrival; you can’t help but feel it’s also just the beginning. [less...]
In Frank’s hands, these instruments take on a life of their own. You hear power. You hear volume. You hear crispness, clarity, timing and taste. All combined with passion and drive. A physicist might slow it down to analyze the strum against string — but he wouldn’t find the answer. For that, you have to know Frank Solivan, a man who has a powerful life force that’s as raw, natural and pure as the place he spend much of his youth, Alaska. Frank is a hunter, a fisherman, a gourmet chef, a beautiful singer, a poet and songwriter of tasteful ballads and of blazing instrumentals. A man of sturdy build who is known to holler out out a powerful, “Son!” whether it be in response to a hot solo, or some hot sauce he concocted in kitchen. It’s as if all these things for him are an affirmation of life. An awareness that all five senses are humming along on overdrive. That life is short and all these gifts are not to be wasted.
Those who are privileged enough to be around it, are richer for it. Musicians, especially, in his presence step up their game, but I suppose you could say the same about gourmands, or fishermen. People sense that life force around Frank and they want a piece of it.
The physicist curious about the mysteries of tone, timing and taste would do well to spend some time around Frank. He would find no definition, no explanation of how it happens but he would see it right there. And you should, too. [less...]
At age 16, Jens and Uwe left home and traveled throughout Europe calling themselves the Rocky Road Band, attempting a living as street musicians. Their adventure paid off in the form of a record contract with CBS. In 1982, at the age of 20, Jens crossed the Atlantic, heading for the Bean Blossom Festival and Bill Monroe. Monroe introduced Jens to the Grand Ole Opry, as the first known European banjo player. After living with Bill for the summer and following his advice, Jens returned to Switzerland to develop his own musical style and repertoire. For four years, Jens spent days and nights learning tunes from all the records he could find.
In 1986, Jens and Uwe reunited to form the Appalachian Barn Orchestra, the forerunner of today’s Kruger Brothers. Since MerleFest 1997, the event that launched the Kruger Brothers’ career in America, Jens has performed with Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, John McEwen, Willie Nelson, and Ricky Skaggs, to name only a few. Like Uwe, Jens can play many stringed instruments with proficiency, and like the Kruger Brothers, Jens’ style and virtuosity cannot be characterized with a word or phrase. But those who have heard Jens play banjo know that he is truly a master of his art. As a composer, Jens’ comprehension of music in all of its forms is becoming well known among his peers, colleagues, and the Kruger Brothers’ growing audience. [less...]
Now well past forty years old -- the age at which, they say, life begins, Mike Munford retains a child like enthusiasm and curiosity for all things banjo. He has no qualms about driving hours through rush hour traffic to go see J.D. Crowe play at some obscure club… then rave about the performance even though he might have seen it or heard it dozens, maybe hundreds or times. He has imbibed everything that J.D., or Earl, or Bela, has thrown his way -- and can mimic those players with uncanny accuracy, but has found his own style, too.
It can best be described as hard-driving melodic… but such a description diminishes what’s actually going on. When Mike Munford plays you hear all things that great banjo player strive to achieve. Power, drive, impeccable timing, exquisite tone and jaw-dropping technique.
Mike is also, indeed, about the finest set-up or fret job guy around, and is a walking encyclopedia of banjo trivia. He is an inspiration to countless players in the mid – Atlantic region.
Most of the country hasn’t really seen all that much of Mike’s playing. He, throughout most of his career, has preferred the comforts of home to the road. It is testament to Frank Solivan’s powers of persuasion ( i.e. talent) that Mike is hitting the road as a part of this fine ensemble. [less...]
I have a few solo albums that I wrote and produced (Looking Glass and the Handoff), that feature some of my absolute favorite acoustic players. I also work as a producer for other artists/bands, helping them craft their music, a job I absolutely love to do. While my solo side of things focused on the banjo for a long time, lately I have been working on a newer sound: TRAD+. It’s a landscape of sounds–electronic, acoustic, vinyl sampling, live drums, and more. I’m working on my first album now. Some of those sounds can also be found in Falco and my side project, Founding Fathers.
Music has always been my passion, but I also love to write and create short motion pictures. I started working on video around 2007, filming the ‘Dusters hijinx, documentary style. Since then I have enjoyed finding more and more creative ways to use the camera/editing software, from stop-motion to performance to ski vids. My writing focuses mostly on our adventures and our musical scene, a subject that’s always interested me along my journey from the Northeast to Nashville, Virginia and now Colorado. Bluegrass is its own world, filled with incredible musicianship and a short but vibrant history of crazy characters, trends and changes. A few of my pieces about the current state of the bluegrass world reached a big audience. In the wake of that attention the International Bluegrass Music Association asked me to deliver a keynote address at the 2011 World of Bluegrass in Nashville, TN (their annual business conference), giving some real recognition to a new vision of a bigger, more connected acoustic world. We are excited to be a part of whatever comes next for bluegrass.
I moved to CO in 2013, a place that has always been an unofficial home for the Stringdusters. Before I played banjo I was a fly fishing guide and a skiing addict. After years away from mountains and rivers, the ‘Dusters have made a connection with the world of outdoor brands and non-profits, giving a voice to some important issues/organizations and getting us back to the great outdoors. Colorado has endless outlets for quality music, interesting people and outdoor recreation. Denver is my new home base. [less...]
The album grew out of Driessen’s captivating live shows, where the audience would experience music as it was created and recorded in front of their eyes when Driessen, stomping his trademark red shoes over every inch of the pedal board, would lay down, then layer, then loop, several individual tracks on songs like “Billie Jean,” assembling parts like a musical Dr. Frankenstein. It was that Michael Jackson cover that first sent Driessen down the Singularity rabbit hole when, as a practice tool, he deconstructed the song, learning how its components interacted before working up an arrangement. “These arrangements are an accurate representation of the live performances,” Driessen explains. “There’s no multi-tracking—in keeping with the nature of this project, listeners are only hearing my voice and what I send through the pedal board.”
Driessen draws on a number of wide-ranging influences from Tom Waits (an eerie cover of “Murder in the Red Barn” is one of two Singularity songs to feature vocals) to Stevie Wonder to jazz violinist Stuff Smith. He’s particularly drawn to the improvisational elements of bebop, the groove of R&B, and percussion rich global cultures. His “Tanuki Attack” is all percussive fiddle, “a tune without any notes,” he jokes. It was inspired by the sounds made while Driessen experimented with chopping, a percussive bowing technique that only developed in the last 60-some years—a short time when considering the violin’s centuries-old history. Driessen’s continued interest in percussion has also led to the creation of Fiddle/Sticks, an ongoing audio and video project in which he collaborates with drummers like Jamey Haddad, Kenny Malone, and Futureman.
Though the GRAMMY-nominated Driessen has participated in several genre-blending ventures, including Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn’s Sparrow Quartet, at his core, he is a bluegrass fiddler, albeit one who honed his skills at Berklee College of Music. Here, he pays tribute to his roots with a stirring version of the traditional tune “Working on a Building,” using an arrangement he developed one year at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It’s the only song on The Singularity that doesn’t use any looping or pedals. Driessen’s arrangement is just voice and fiddle—the way roots music began, surrounded by what roots music can be. [less...]
Hargreaves also performs and tours with singer/multi-instrumentalist, Sarah Jarosz, appearing on her two critically acclaimed albums, Song Up In Her Head, Follow Me Down and Build Me Up From Bones (Sugar Hill Records), as well as being featured on her Grammy-nominated instrumental, Mansinneedof. He’s also toured with Jerry Douglas, David Grisman, Bela Fleck, Danilo Perez, Darol Anger, Bruce Molsky, Noam Pikelny and has shared the stage with many others including Mark O’Connor, Chris Thile, Brian Blade, Joe Lovano, Mumford & Sons, Tim O’Brien and Sam Bush.
Throughout his career, Alex has received countless honors including the Daniel Pearl Memorial Violin from Mark O’Connor’s Strings Conference, and the Alternative Styles Award from the American Strings Teachers Association (ASTA). He is the youngest ever (age 15) to win the Grand Champion division at the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest in Weiser, Idaho, and in 2009, won the Grand Masters Fiddle Championship in Nashville. In October 2010, at the Monterey Jazz Festival, Hargreaves was awarded the Jimmy Lyons Scholarship, a full tuition scholarship to the Berklee College of Music.
In February, 2010, Hargreaves' debut album, Prelude (Adventure Music) was released, featuring master acoustic musicians Mike Marshall, Grant Gordy and Paul Kowert, and special guests Bela Fleck and Noam Pikelny. Prelude portrays Hargreaves’ maturity not only as a cross-genre violinist and improviser, but also as a composer, with his original compositions comprising half the album.
His playing on Prelude has been acclaimed by critics and musicians alike. All Music Guide cites Alex’s “undeniable,” “pure, raw talent,” and David Grisman comments, “[Alex] plays with wit, authority and soulfulness belying his years. In my opinion, he's destined to be one of the fiddle giants of the 21st century.” For Mike Marshall, Alex is “arguably one of the greatest improvising violinists in America today.”
In pursuit of his passion for jazz and improvisational-based music, Hargreaves has completed the prestigious Berklee Global Jazz Institute at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Under the artistic direction of world-renowned pianist Danilo Perez (Dizzy Gillespie and Wayne Shorter), this new program admits only a handful of students each year, providing them with the opportunity to work one-on-one with a select group of faculty, including Perez, Joe Lovano, John Patitucci, Ben Street and Jamey Haddad.
Most recently, Hargreaves is featured on Danilo Perez's upcoming album, Panama 500 (Mack Avenue Records), set to be released in February 2014. The all star lineup on the recording includes jazz icons John Patitucci, Brian Blade, Ben Street, Adam Cruz and others. [less...]
Danny’s own style and sound has been influenced by some of the greatest bassists of acoustic music: Todd Phillips, Mike Bub, Mark Shatz, Barry Bales, Byron House and Edgar Meyer. His supportive bass lines are laden with excellent timing, feel, powerful tone and fluid technique. Danny recalls, “My dad was never shy about telling me when something didn’t work… that gave me the perfectionist attitude I have today.”
In addition to Danny’s impeccable bass playing, he is a remarkable singer. He’s known for his powerful lead and seamlessly blended harmony vocals. “Working with Kathy Kallick taught me a lot about blending harmonies. Combining voices is like rubbing two sticks together – when done correctly it can catch on fire!”
Danny has toured with the Kathy Kallick Band, Spring Creek, Bearfoot, and even performed with one and only Dr. Ralph Stanley. He is the newest member of Frank Solivan and Dirty Kitchen and brings his own musical voice and vision to this rising band. Stand by to be blown away when Danny Booth gets up to the mic. [less...]
Destined to find Uwe and Jens, in 1989 Joel moved to Switzerland and began a successful career as a bassist with various country/rock and jazz groups based throughout Europe. It was during this time that he met the Kruger Brothers and developed what would turn into a deeply rewarding musical alliance and friendship. In early 1995, Joel was initiated into the ‘Brotherhood’ and has been performing full time with the band ever since. [less...]
Ask the Austin, Texas native how she feels about the disc, and her reply is decisive: “It’s the truest representation of my music at this point.I wanted to create a rollercoaster of different sounds, emotions and feelings, and not one even line. It has rocking numbers, and it also features the trio I play with—it incorporates those guys more. It feels true to me: unique and new.”
She adds: “I feel like I’ve grown as a person, especially in these last few years. I latched onto music as a child and it became my main way of expressing myself. But through college I got into other creative outlets: art, painting and poetry. It helped me to come back to music in a deeper way, to follow deeper trails and meanings and feelings.”
That depth manifests itself from start to finish on this 11-song record, as Jarosz creates sonic atmospheres that shimmer with equal parts acoustic majesty and electrifying mystery. “Mile on the Moon” ambles along with a familiar folky stride. Yet the melody and slipstream musical track suggest somewhere far away and beyond, a translucent vision where ardor blooms in nocturnal hues: “I dreamed we fell into the night/ Your darkness shined the brightest light/ We drove for miles on the moon/ I’d go anywhere with you.”
Did lunar forces tug at Sarah’s songwriting tides? As she puts it, “I never go into a record thinking I want a recurring theme throughout. But after the fact—and I certainly didn’t plan this—there are four songs that mention the moon in some way. For me, songwriting is an ever changing nature; it’s always fresh, and the moon is sort of like that: always changing, always pulling.”
That the song also takes on love as a subject matter shows Jarosz growing, enough so that she tackles this oldest of topics in surprising new ways. “I feel like my favorite songwriters leave enough things in the song to keep you digging,” she says. “The goal is to write songs that people will make personal to themselves—even if they may be very personal to me.”
That said, it’s a neat trick that Jarosz covers songs by two artists with fiercely loyal followings, and makes them all her own. Her version of harpist Joanna Newsom’s song “The Book of Right-On” stays true to the original’s freak folk funkiness, but Jarosz goes a step further by giving the song a winsome honey-gilded vocal to pine for. And as for taking on Bob Dylan — which she did on her 2011 disc Follow Me Down—Jarosz didn’t expect she’d do it again. But a backstage jam session with cellist Nathaniel Smith (part of the trio behind the new album, along with fiddler Alex Hargreaves) proved, indeed, “A Simple Twist of Fate.”
“We just kind of played that song for ourselves, not even thinking we were going to work it up, and it happened so naturally—we said, ‘Man, that felt good,” Jarosz says. “Live, it’s gotten a very good response.”
Speaking of the live stage, Jarosz finds it a big plus that she’s yielded an album that puts the focus on her and her trio. While much was made of the guest stars eager to join her on past albums, Jarosz found herself eager to fly on the strength of her new material, and capture a performance-friendly vibe as much as possible. More songs on Build Me Up From Bones were cut live than on any of her past studio efforts.
“A lot of it feels like it will translate well into the trio setting,” she says, “And it’s always fun to see these songs take on their own life on the stage; you don’t have to hear it live the same way as on the record.”
As for how she wrote many of her new songs, the alchemy might prove challenging for a lesser artist to imitate. For starters, she finds that whichever instrument she picks up on a given day—and Jarosz plays quite a few—determines how a song took shape. She’s recently taken to octave mandolin, and on “Rearrange The Art,” the song blossomed the instant she switched it from guitar to banjo. Its rollicking rhythm unfurls with sublime cinematic scope, like the soundtrack to a movie where a songwriter takes wing: “The ruby hues that outline all my words/ Are chapped and humming chords/ I’ve never used before.”
“Rearrange The Art” also reveals how Sarah’s college training taught her to view songwriting from new vistas, especially in her final year there. “I had the melody circling in my head for a long period of time, and it’s a great example of how the poetry and art worked their way into my music.”
With this new album, Jarosz speaks of an invisible line where, after she nurtures a song long enough, it now becomes something organic she carries with her: “I’ll play something, leave it alone, come back to it, and play it and play it and play it. The songs almost need to settle within me before I can play them for anybody.”
That said, she has a trusted compatriot in co-producer Gary Paczosa, who worked on her last two discs and returns once again to help her bring these new recordings to life. She also singles out the contributions of Dan Dugmore (Linda Ronstadt, Stevie Nicks), whose guitar work lights up tracks such as “Mile on the Moon” and “Over the Edge.” “It was really magical: He played what I heard in my head all along,” Jarosz says.
Yet it’s clear that what Jarosz carried in her head and nurtured in her heart brandished plenty of magic to begin with. In the conservatory setting of her final college days, she assailed the dual challenge of crafting new songs and cramming for exams. Instead of bowing to the pressure, she flowed with it, harnessed it, and passed with flying colors … leading a musical graduation day of a distinct and rare kind.
“There were days where I thought, ‘I really need to get this homework assignment done, and I need to get this song written,’” she says, laughing. “But in the end it was great, because it prodded me to go forward. So here I am, at the end of school, and I’m finishing up this album, and the timing couldn’t be better. It’s like turning the page.” [less...]
Claire grew up in Kingston, N.Y. until the age of 12, when the family moved to Huntsville in northern Alabama. There she began her education in country music and got caught up in the bluegrass revival of the 1970's, joining a band called Hickory Wind. Later, the band changed its name to the Front Porch String Band with Claire’s vocals as its centerpiece.
In 1981, after their first nationally released recording, the group retired from the road, and Claire pursued dual careers in addition to raising a family. As a songwriter, her tunes have been recorded by such luminaries as Patty Loveless, The Seldom Scene, Cherryholmes, Kathy Mattea, the Whites and Stephanie Davis. At the same time, she became a much sought-after session vocalist
In 1991, the Front Porch String Band was resurrected with the album, “Lines and Traces”, a move that ultimately led to the launching of Claire’s solo career in earnest. Friends for a Lifetime was released in 1993 followed by Moonlighter in 1995 (Claire’s first GRAMMY nomination) and Silver and Gold in 1997 (also nominated for GRAMMY glory). She was named the IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year in 1997 and enjoyed many chart successes. The band wrapped up the 20th century with the album “Love Light,” in 2000. At that time Claire took what she thought would be a full-fledged break from music, stepping away from the grind of daily touring. She wasn't sure when–or if–she would return. “I never thought I'd come back. Then one day I opened my catalog of songs and realized that I'd written my life,” she said.
Little by little, the lure of music worked its way back. She sang harmony on “The Grass is Blue” and “Little Sparrow” which led to promotional touring as backup vocalist for Dolly Parton (Dolly has described Claire as "one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.") She graced albums by other artists with her background vocals including Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Pam Tillis, Alison Brown, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea and Ralph Stanley. Today, the impressive list of other guest appearances continues including spots on albums by Donna the Buffalo, Sara Watkins, the Gibson Brothers, Jonathan Edwards and Jesse Winchester.
In 2005, Lynch struck out on her own, forming the Claire Lynch Band and releasing the aptly named “New Day” CD. It was a hit on the bluegrass charts and earned her IBMA nominations for “Song of the Year” and “Female Vocalist of the Year.” In 2007, Rounder Records featured her brilliant catalog of music from her previous five albums on their label and titled the anthology collection, “Crowd Favorites”. More IBMA nominations followed as well as an induction into the Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.
“Whatcha Gonna Do,” Claire’s most recent release (2009) has been called “a stripped-down production with sumptuous acoustic atmospheres” showcasing Lynch's award-winning vocals and the instrumental brilliance of her four-piece band — described by The Bluegrass Blog as what may be “the best backing lineup of her career.” After a busy touring schedule in 2010, Claire received three IBMA nominations including “Song of the Year” and “Recorded Event of the Year,” winning the 2010 trophy for Female Vocalist of the Year
As one observer writes, “Listening to Claire Lynch sing is not something to be undertaken casually. Her songs and stage presence demand the listener’s rapt attention. She’s an intensely soulful singer, whose distinctive voice resonates with power and strength, yet retains an engaging innocence and crystalline purity. She’s also a songwriter of extraordinary ability who can bring listeners to their feet with her buoyant rhythms or to their knees with her sometimes almost unbearably poignant and insightful lyrics.” (Dave Higgs, Bluegrass Now)
The current Claire Lynch Band, in particular, has Claire animated and energized. Her career has come full circle: once again, she’s a creative powerhouse at the top of her game, performing with one of the sharpest and most exciting post-modern bluegrass bands of the current decade. [less...]
But for the five members of The Stringdusters—Andy Hall (Dobro), Andy Falco (guitar), Chris Pandolfi (banjo), Jeremy Garrett (fiddle) and Travis Book (upright bass)—reverence for traditionalism has always been only part of the equation. The group has always remained intent on fostering something bigger, more original. It’s this desire—and the combined efforts of uniquely creative minds—that has brought the quintet to its current place as multi-dimensional string explorers, mixing tight song craft from a variety of musical styles with a flare for improvisation. Armed with an exhilarating, often-unpredictable live show, the open-minded approach has certainly resonated and allowed the band to easily fit on a diverse set of stages—from Telluride and Grey Fox to Bonnaroo and High Sierra—building crowds along the way that fill some of the country’s best rock clubs.
The past year was particularly transformative, as the band members realized there was no need to go through the formulaic motions in a shaky music industry. Bolstered by the support of a loyal and dedicated grassroots fan base, The Infamous Stringdusters are constantly looking for opportunities to create new experiences. Oftentimes it happens on stage, like the recent sit-ins from Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh or jazz guitar legend John Scofield. Other times it’s through accompanying adventures, like the band’s August 2013 trip on the Middle Fork of Idaho’s Salmon River.
Following the group’s 2013 summer American Rivers Tour, which doubled as an awareness campaign for water sustainability issues in partnership with prominent outdoor industry companies including Patagonia, Klean Kanteen and Osprey Packs, the band members and select fans and friends embarked on a six-day float trip through an unspoiled wilderness area. With instruments in tow, the band played music daily, standing on the banks of the river or sitting together in campsite circles. The inspiration of natural surroundings yielded fresh songs that landed on the new album. “Middlefork” is a newgrass instrumental that conveys the mood of being free in pristine open spaces. “Where The Rivers Run Cold” features a fast progression and introspective lyrics that peak with a bold chorus about enjoying the beauty that surrounds.
The members of The Infamous Stringdusters now all reside in different locations. Hall and Pandolfi recently felt the calling of the mountains and both moved to Colorado. Guitar ace Falco returned to his roots in Long Island to be near family, while Garrett remains in Nashville, where he’s known as a prolific songwriter. Book dwells quietly in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, near the site of the band’s annual October festival The Festy Experience.
Occasional separation has proven to be a good thing. It’s important to remember these are five musicians with unique individual talents, but they all realize they have an undeniably special chemistry when they come together. That was apparent from day one. But now after years of growth—both personal and professional—the band has cast off labels and found an existence where music is about a greater connection. Through friendship, democracy, skill, passion and open minds, it’s a broader lifestyle filled with community and plenty of celebration. [less...]
Since a formal introduction to American audiences in 1997, their remarkable facility with their instruments and unique take on the American Songbook have made the Kruger Brothers a fixture within the world of acoustic music. Although initially staying fairly close to a traditional repertoire, the group later turned to song writing and composition in order to draw more closely from their personal experiences. The result is a catalog of songs distinguished by rich detail and an insight into the delicacy and complexity of everyday life. The honesty of their writing has since become a hallmark of the trio’s work.
The Kruger Brothers personify the spirit of exploration and innovation that forms the core of the American musical tradition. Their original music, composed by Jens Kruger, is crafted around their discerning taste, and the result is unpretentious, cultivated, and delightfully fresh.
The Kruger Brothers were awarded a National Endowment for the Arts grant for Music from the Spring a symphonic suite composed and orchestrated by Jens Kruger, which premiered in 2007. In late 2010, the Kruger Brothers premiered the Appalachian Concerto, a concerto for banjo, bass, guitar, and string quartet. In addition to their regular concert schedule they perform these pieces regularly with select symphony orchestras and string quartets throughout the country.
Through their numerous CD releases, radio and television performances, lectures, and collaborative efforts, the Kruger Brothers powerful artistic statement inspires and enlightens. [less...]
Amanda began teaching private music lessons in 2003. What started out as a couple of students a week in the living room quickly turned into a full-time teaching studio. Amanda completed her Suzuki Violin Method training for Book 1 at the Anchorage Suzuki Institute in 2007 and recently completed Book 2 training at PhoenixPhest in 2014. The method that gave her the technique she uses today is now being passed on to the next generation of musicians. Besides teaching private lessons, Amanda has had a lot of experience in teaching workshops and group classes. In 2009, Amanda spent 2 years teaching violin, viola, cello and bass at the Aurora Waldorf School in Anchorage. She has also taught fiddle, guitar and even banjo at many music camps around the country. She now teaches group, private and Skype lessons out of her home in Alexandria, VA.
In addition to teaching, Amanda also enjoys performing. In Anchorage, she was a member of the well-known Bluegrass and Old-Timey dance band, High Lonesome Sound. She also played in the Anna Lynch Band, Hot Dish, Red Elk, and the Emeralds. You can hear Amanda on Anna Lynch's newly released self-titled album and on two albums released by the Emeralds in 2003 & 2004 ('The Emerald Edge' and 'Off the Edge'). Dan Booth and Amanda hope to release a duo album soon! [less...]