Music and music education have been the focus of Chris' life and work. With the advantages of excellent public school music programs and a musical home as a foundation, Chris received her BA in music education from Concordia College, Moorhead. She toured nationally and internationally with the Concordia Choir. She also holds a MA in vocal performance from Cal State East Bay. He diverse career has included teaching music at the junior high level, directing church choirs, playing keyboards in casual band and delivering singing telegrams. She co-founded the Actor's Training Project in Oakland, CA, a program integrating voice, acting and movement. Initially working a s piano accompanist at New Mexico State University, she went on to become a vocal professor there. Chris also taught commercial music at the University of Texas at El Paso, acting as director of vocal jazz ensembles at both universities. She has truly come into her own as a performer and songwriter since turning 50. Singing and playing guitar with the Hard Road ensembles (duo, trio and full band), she has traveled the country performing at top acoustic venues and festivals. Her songs have won three New Mexico Music Awards and she collaborated in writing a fully staged musical We Are Enron produced by Emmy award winner Mark Medoff. She has acted as clinician and judge for solo and choral competitions and taught at acoustic music camp including Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp.
Steve Smith - is a musician, composer, performer, and teacher. His music reflects the many influences his life, from his beginnings in Virginia as the son of a musician to his current home in the desert southwest (Las Cruces, New Mexico). You can observe these influences in his musical compositions, performances and multi-instrumental prowess as he conquers everything from Bluegrass and Old-time, to Jazz, chamber, Celtic and New Age music. Steve has performed professionally for over 25 years and has toured in 47 states, 8 European countries, Cuba, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He has appeared in the national touring company cast of the Harry Chapin musical "Cotton Patch Gospel" as an actor and multi-instrumentalist. He also appeared in the off-Broadway production hit "The Robber Bridegroom" and composed the score to the Sam Sheppard play "Curse of the Starving Class". He is founder and leader of the old-time, retro-bluegrass, modern acoustic band Steve Smith and Hard Road. He is a former member of the group Cloud Valley and the Nothin' Doin' band. Steve plays mandolin, sings lead and harmony vocals. www.DesertNight.com
Bill Evans is an internationally recognized five-string banjo life force. As a performer, teacher, writer and composer, he brings a deep knowledge, intense virtuosity and contagious passion to all things banjo, with thousands of music fans and banjo students from all over the world in a music career that now spans over thirty-five years. Bill's banjo artistry is best experienced in live performance and on his recordings Fine Times at Fletcher's House with Fletcher Bright (2013), In Good Company (2012), let's do something with Megan Lynch (2009), Bill Evans Plays Banjo (2001), and Native and Fine (1995). Bill successfully bridges traditional and contemporary sounds and playing techniques, creating a new music that is firmly within the bluegrass tradition but draws upon a broad knowledge of classical, jazz and world music, drawing upon his experiences as a graduate student in Music at the University of California, Berkeley and as the associate director of the International Bluegrass Music Museum. In the last two years, Bill has toured throughout the Untied States, Canada, England, and Germany and toured Russia for the U.S. State Department. Recent appearances include A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor and performances with the San Francisco Symphony. From festival to folk society stages, to universities and performing arts centers, The Banjo in America has earned standing with a dazzling display of banjo artistry of unparalleled historical depth geared towards entertaining general audiences. At any one time in his home near Richmond, California, Bill teaches between forty and sixty students, in addition to maintaining a steady international touring schedule. In addition, Bill teaches the most popular bluegrass ensemble classes in the San Francisco Bay Area at the Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse and he is on the faculty of the California Jazz Conservatory.
Anne Luna - Although that thing's bigger than she is, Anne Luna makes playing the bass look easy. Having the good fortune of being raised in a musical family, Anne has been toting her bass to jams, festivals, and gigs for over half her life. While attending South Plains College where she received her AA in Commercial Music (2004), Anne was voted Female Instrumentalist of the Year for two consecutive years. To complement her instruction at SPC, Anne studied classical bass techniques at Texas Tech University (where she earned a degree in biology!). She has recorded with Alan Munde, Kenny Maines and Amanda Shires and performed with the Spring Creek Bluegrass Band, Doctor Skoob and the Acoustic Groove, the April Verch Band, Steve Smith and Hard Road, and Hot Foot Toby. She currently performs with The Hard Road Trio. She has taught at Hill Country Acoustic Music Camp, Camp Bluegrass, Desert Night Acoustic Music Camp, and several workshops across the country. She also teaches private lessons. She has performed at Tucson's Desert Bluegrass Festival, Mammoth Bluegrass Festival, High Mountain Hay Fever, Santa Fe Old Time and Bluegrass Festival, Black Hills Bluegrass Festival, Bluegrass on the Green, The Rice Festival, Berkeley's Freight and Salvage, and Poor David's Pub in Dallas. Her playing has been described as graceful, elegant and at the same time, hard-driving. As a writer and vocalist, she brings a unique voice to round out the Trio. As an instructor, her energy and easy-going manner create a welcoming atmosphere for students.
Camp Bluegrass favorite, Flatpicker Tim May, has been working in the Nashville area for over 20 years as a sideman, session player, band member and performer. Higher profile projects have included touring with Patty loveless and John Cowan, and working as a regular on the Grand Ole Opry with Mike Snider. Tim was the solo guitarist on Charlie Daniels' recording of I'll Fly Away, which was nominated for the Best country Instrumental Performance Grammy in 2005, the same year he was session leader on the critically acclaimed Moody Bluegrass album (he later played on Moody Bluegrass II as well). The Nashville Scene selected Tim the Best Instrumentalist category in their 2012 Reader's Choice Poll. Tim is co-author of the eight volume course 'Flatpicking Essentials', The Guitar Player's Practical Guide to Scales and Arpeggios, The Flatpicker's Guide to Old Time Music, and The Flatpicker's Guide to Irish Music. He has taught regularly at Camp Bluegrass, Kaufman Kamp, Colorado Roots Music Camp, Nashcamp, and the Swannanoa Gathering. He and his wife Gretchen are owners of the Musical Heritage Center of Middle Tennessee.
Ned Luberecki – A 25-year professional who’s noted for his dazzling technique, originality and broad sense of humor, Ned Luberecki has served for over a decade in The Night Drivers. His resume includes stints with Paul Adkins & The Borderline Band; Gary Ferguson; Radio Flyer and the Rarely Herd, frequent winners of SPBGMA’s Entertaining Band Of The Year award. He’s also drawn growing attention as a popular banjo instructor at some of the most renowned instructional camps in the US, Canada and Europe. Like Chris, Ned is also a broadcaster on SiriusXM’s Bluegrass Junction, where he hosts the regular newgrass show,Derailed, and the popular Sunday Banjo Lesson. Since joining The Night Drivers, Ned has continued to make a name for himself as a guest on a variety of recordings and appearances, including tours with Larry Cordle & Lonesome Standard Time and as the “other” banjo player with Tony Trischka’s Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular. In 2007, he released a popular solo project, Nedski, which included duets with friends like The Infamous Stringdusters’ Chris Pandolfi and Punch Brothers’ Noam Pikelny, along with comic favorites like “Cabin Of Death.” In 2010, he teamed up with the Sam Bush Band’s Stephen Mougin as Nedski & Mojo, releasing an acclaimed project (Nothing More) and making occasional appearances on shows like the syndicated Music City Roots.
Slow Jam is designed for those wanting a group playing experience where all the songs use only the G, C, and D chords, and the tempos are slow. The songs are lead by Beth Mead Sullivan who provides a Slow Jam Songbook and a wonderful, warm, and encouraging charm as you develop your musical skills. The slow jam meets every evening after the concerts.
Jimmy Heffernan is a highly respected Nashville session player, sideman, and producer. He's a versatile multi-instrumentalist, and one of the true masters of the resonator guitar. Jimmy also happens to be an outstanding music instructor who loves to teach, and has a real gift for it. Over the years Jimmy has played with Bill Keith, Red Allen, Bill Grant and Dehlia Bell. In 1980 Jimmy joined Larry Sparks and the Lonesome Ramblers which he toured with for two years. 1988 was a momentous year for Jimmy, he played electric guitar for Doug Kershaw for a year, and then joined Joe Diffie's band, where he stayed for nine years. Jimmy reflects fondly on this time: "We toured every major venue and appeared as a members of the Grand Ole Opry. We played lots of television, including The grand Ole Opry Live, Regis and Kathy Lee, The Tonight Show, Good Morning America, and Hee Haw, to name but a few. Joe sold over eight million records during this time. Upon leaving Joe Diffie's employment, Jimmy stayed in Nashville, producing albums and working with new artists before finally joining Brad Paisley's band in 1999. He toured with Brad for two years as well as playing Dobro on Brad's second ARISTA album, Grammy nominated "Part Two". Since leaving Brad Paisley's band, Jimmy has been playing with Mark Cosgrove (The Jerry Douglas Band) and producing records for new artist. During this time he has also toured with the Charlie Louvin and Lucinda Williams. These days, Jimmy Heffernan is shifting gears (getting too old to play on the road), devoting more time to one of the things he loves best, teaching up-and-coming players. Jimmy has conducted his highly popular Dobro Workshops here in the USA and also at "Sore Fingers" in England and in Munich. www.jimmyheffernan.com
Dede Wyland - Dede Wyland's pure and compelling voice has enchanted audiences around the globe, and her driving rhythm guitar style becomes the rhythmic core of whatever group she joins forces with. Dede is no newcomer to the bluegrass scene. She's been in bluegrass, first in regional bands around her native Milwaukee area, since the 1970's. In the 80's she moved to new York and became a charter member of the internationally known and groundbreaking group Tony Trischka and Skyline. During her many years as a touring musician Dede graced the stage of some of America's most prestigious bluegrass and acoustic music venues and festivals, and has performed in Canada, Australia, France, Belgium, England, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Italy, Scandinavia, and Japan. Radio listeners have heard Dede on the nationally broadcast shows A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage, and on Chicago's The Flea Market. Her national television appearances include two installments of the Nashville Network's Fire On The Mountain. Throughout the 1980s Dede was a perennial nominee in the annual awards poll of the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America (SPBGMA). In 1990 Dede moved to the greater Washington DC area, and although no longer on the road, her recordings and concert performances with the cream of Washington's bluegrass players made her a nine-time winner of the Washington Area Music Association's "Wammie" award for Bluegrass Singer of the Year since 1999.
Nate Lee is a Nashville based bluegrass musician with a well-rounded musical career. His musical journey started at the age of eight when he got his first fiddle and that path led him through countless lessons and music camps and eventually to an intense study of bluegrass music at the college level. After completing a degree in Commercial Music at South Plains College, Nate went on to tour and record with bluegrass, western swing, new acoustic, and Americana bands. Nate currently tours with the Jim Hurst Trio (featuring Jim, Nate, and Todd Phillips), Irene Kelley, and from time to time can be seen with Town Mountain and Becky Buller. Although Nate is in demand on stage and in the studio, his first love and finest skill is teaching. With more than twelve years’ experience as a teacher and workshop instructor, Nate has gained a loyal following of students who enjoy his comprehensive teaching methods and relaxed, encouraging demeanor. Nate doesn’t just teach you a song; he teaches you how to play melody, chords, improvise, and groove on that song. With an affinity for turning beginners into jammers, and jammers into professionals, Nate has developed a curriculum that teaches you to play well with others and become the player you’ve always wanted to be!
Beth is a Banjo player and teacher currently based in the Philadelphia Area. She studied and taught Banjo and Bluegrass Music at South Plains College, and continues to host jams and teach private lessons on banjo, guitar and ukulele. She is also Kitty Starr, Kitty Starr and the Whereabouts, a band born at Camp Bluegrass! She performs throughout the US and has recorded with Alan Munde, Anne Luna, Chris Sanders, Dede Wyland and her east coast band, Tookany Creek featuring Ray Duffy, John Catterall and Larry Cohen. As a writer and vocalist, she has just finished a collaboration with Alan Munde on a volume of American Popular Songs arranged for the 5 string banjo. Beth is the leader of the slow jam every night during Camp Bluegrass.
Elliott Rogers As a former student at Camp Bluegrass, Elliott Rogers is very familiar with the concerts and jams that make it a unique and fun experience. Several years ago, Elliott began teaching at the Camp, and his many students can testify to the contagious spirit of fun and learning that Elliott brings to his workshops in rhythm and lead acoustic guitar. Elliott taught himself how to play guitar from an easy Beatles book when he was very young, but when he heard a Doc Watson album borrowed from a friend's mother, Elliott was profoundly moved. During the mid-70's he kept listening to a variety of music recorded by Dan Crary, Jim and Jesse, Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on their iconic bluegrass album of the 1970's, Will the Circle Be Unbroken. At age 17, Elliott ventured out to his first bluegrass festival, the 3rd annual Colorado Rocky Mountain festival, where he first saw Bill Monroe, Jim and Jesse, and the Country Gazette with Alan Munde. Elliott couldn't imagine at that time that he would one day be playing guitar in a band with Alan Munde. After a hitch in the U.S. Army at Ft. Hood, Elliott moved to Austin where recorded with Robert Earl Keen, Lyle Lovett, and Nancy Griffith. He shared the stage with John Prine, Buckwheat Zydeco, Blaze Foley, and many others. Elliott continues as a celebrated songwriter and guitarist in the Austin area.
Penny Lea Clark Penny Clark is no stranger to the classrooms of South Plains College, as this is where her bluegrass journey began, studying under Alan Munde & Joe Carr from 2004-2007. After completing her time in Levelland, she made her way to Nashville, Tn, where she soon landed a gig on mandolin & guitar in a country band, playing the Grand Ole Opry & 48 states within 6 months. After a co-writing session with Tom T. Hall, she found herself eager to form a bluegrass band with her brother (Banjo Ben Clark) & twin sister (Katy Clark), & they played their first show as a band at the Tom T. Hall IBMA showcase stage, in 2010. Soon afterward, she, along with her siblings, landed a publishing deal with Sony ATV Tree in Nashville, where she was able to learn & write alongside some of the best songwriters in the Nashville industry. While private lessons has always been something she’s enjoyed teaching, touring with her band, The Purple Hulls, has opened up a whole new world of teaching, particularly in group/workshop settings. She enjoys the challenges of finding the best way to communicate with students of all learning styles and musical backgrounds. With 4 self-produced albums under her belt, Penny has further developed her knack for song arranging, solo building, producing, & songwriting. Her musical journey has taken her to 48 of the 50 states and 10 different countries. She, along with her sister, have coordinated and taught bluegrass workshops in Finland, England, Canada, and Germany, just to name a few. Since moving back to Texas, Penny has maintained a full schedule delving into different styles like Texas Swing, touring for one and half years as a member of the Quebe Sisters Band on mandolin and guitar, and now serving as the lead singer and guitar/mandolin player with The Purple Hulls, basing travels out of Kilgore, Tx.
Katy Lou Clark You could easily say these two musicians were born to make music together. Identical twins Katy Lou and Penny Lea Clark of The Purple Hulls were raised on a working family farm in the deep piney woods of East Texas, but that didn’t stop the Texans from finding their way to the hills of Tennessee, specifically, Music City, where they began touring with various country artists and writing songs for Nashville’s largest publishing company, Sony Tree. The Purple Hulls are no stranger to road life and are now blazing the trail as a dynamic sister duo, showcasing their unique sibling harmonies while ripping the strings off any instrument they can get their hands on. If you’re looking for authentic acoustic driven music delivered at its best, your search is over.