All Showcases Located in the Dance Tent.
Singing Showcase, Friday 6:30pm
Kari Sickenberger, Marie Vanderbeck & Cliff Hale
“A powerful voice with a lot to say, Kari Sickenberger sings her heart out… In the tradition of great country singers, Kari can sing you to tears or laughter, sadness or joy. That’s what it’s all about!” — Alice Gerrard
Kari Sickenberger is a singer and songwriter from Asheville, NC. She and singing partner, Laurelyn Dossett founded the band Polecat Creek and they have made three records together with world class banjo player Riley Baugus. Kari has also toured with and sung on recordings by Ginny Hawker and Tracy Schwarz. She teams up with Vollie McKenzie in the Asheville band, The Western Wildcats, a classic country and honky tonk dance quintet. Kari has worked on projects with fiddler, Natalya Weinstein and singer, songwriter and mulit-instrumentalist, John Miller, both founding members of the original acoustic trio, Red June. Kari also regularly teaches private and public singing and harmony workshops.
Fiddle Showcase, Saturday, Time TBA
Earl White, Jane Rothfield, Al McCanless, Randy Johnson
Fiddlin’ Earl White has been a prominent figure in the old time music and dance community for more than 40 years. He is one of few Black Americans playing and perpetuating the music that was once an important part of black culture and communities across the US. He is an original and founding member of the Green Grass Cloggers, and received his first fiddle in 1975.
Earl’s energetic, rhythmic, driving style is attributed to many years of dancing with the Green Grass Cloggers, and his fiddling is as heartfelt as his dancing of earlier years. He has played with many of the finest old time musicians in the country, under the guise of The Too Wet to Plow Stringband, Early Night and the Daytimers, The Dukes of Earl, Sweet Bama, The Earl White Band/Earl White Stringband, and the dynanmic duo of Adrienne Davis and Earl White. His bands have graced many audiences with their superb music as workshops or concerts.
Fiddler and clawhammer banjo player, Janie Rothfield, has been playing old time music since her early teens, learning from older generations of traditional musicians like Leo Beaudoin, Willis Edgerton and Eddie Lowe, and from playing with revival and contemporary traditional musicians from around the world. In her 30+ year career, she has played concerts, festivals, workshops and music camps in the US, UK, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Canada, Mexico and Australia. In addition to her solo work, Janie plays in multiple band configurations. Her latest CD release, Out of Thin Air, features 13 of her own original tunes and songs in the old time style with daughter, Shona Carr, Cathy Fink, Joe Newberry, Brendan Power, Sam Stallings and Barbara Rosner.
Allen McCanless, aka Fiddlin’ Al McCanless, has over 50 years of performing experience. Starting on harmonica and guitar in high school, he took up fiddle as a sophomore at the UNC-CH School of Pharmacy in 1965. He was a founding member of legendary Newgrass group, the New Deal String Band, and has been a member of the Bluegrass Experience off and on for 45 years. Al spent years learning Irish-Celtic fiddle tunes and has made two recordings with his group Celtic Jam. He appeared on the first Red Clay Rambler Folkways recording, “The Red Clay Ramblers with Fiddlin’ Al McCanless.” He has also recorded with Mike Cross, Alice Gerrard and many other groups as a guest fiddler. Now retired from pharmacy, Al spends his time in Pittsboro making pottery at “All In One Pottery” with his wife Louise, building old-time open back banjos and gardening. He plays fiddle with the Outlier’s Bluegrass Band and is making recordings of tunes he has learned over the years.
Hoppin’ John is honored to present some bluegrass fiddling in this year’s showcase!
Bio coming soon!
Banjo Showcase, Saturday, Time TBA
Jacki Spector, Joseph DeCosimo & More TBA
Raised in southeast Tennessee, Joseph Decosimo is a traditional musician and folklorist with a deep respect and love for the older music of the South. Now based out of Durham, NC, he currently performs and teaches old time music anywhere that people are willing to listen. When not playing music, he is writing a dissertation of aesthetics, musical learning, and sound technologies in old time music.
In seventh grade, he purchased a banjo from a neighbor and quickly found his way to the backrooms of the local Friday night opry where he encountered older musicians from the region. At sixteen, he began making regular visits to learn from old time fiddler Charlie Acuff. He has dedicated himself to spending time with the master fiddlers, including Clyde Davenport and Charlie McCarroll. By grounding himself in a regional repertoire and style, he crafts music for the present with a deep understanding of place and a reverence for the past.
A sought-after teacher and performer of old time music, he has taught and performed at the festivals and camps around the continent, including Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, the Swannanoa Gathering, Blue Ridge Old Time Music Week, Augusta Heritage Center, Ashokan Southern Week and the Berkeley Old Time Music Festival. From 2012-2013, he served on the faculty of East Tennessee State University, teaching Appalachian Studies, Old Time Fiddle and Banjo.
Jackie Spector has been playing music since the age of three when she first sat down in front of a piano. At 14 she took up the guitar and got her first banjo in 1972, and was hooked on Old-Time music from that point on. She has performed with various dance bands through the years, including her present band, the Pilot Mountain Bobcats from Mt. Airy, North Carolina, who she has played with since 1989. She particularly likes the role of old-time banjo for accompaniment of fiddle tunes and in the dance band. At Hoppin’ John, we think Jacki has mastered the art of the non-solo string band banjoist! She has been teaching music in one form or the other for over 30 years.