Featured Artists - 2017
If Ted Yoder didn’t exist, some writer would have had to make him up – and nobody would have believed the story. World’s nicest working-class guy and his musical wife buy a hammered dulcimer with leftover wedding money. He’s also an accomplished pianist. But by accident – literally – while he’s recovering from a bad car accident, he realizes the hammered dulcimer is the instrument he wants to devote his life to, and he begins to strategize how to support his family through music. Three years later, he loses his day job, but within days, he drives to Kansas and wins the National Hammered Dulcimer Championship. With his wife’s and children’s support, he decides to pursue the dulcimer full-time. (Of course!) Then, one day in 2017, he goes out to his orchard in Indiana, and records a 30-year-old pop song that’s not even a part of his regular repertoire (at the time). Amazingly, the video goes mega-viral, he gets 95 million views, gets to meet the original singer, becomes an international star, and yet remains connected to his wholesome roots.
Ted likes to take music that was written for other instruments or groups, and “Yoderize” them – that is, adapt them to the dulcimer while maintaining the spirit of the original. He’s done that not only with classic rock songs, but also with classical pieces. He also plays folk tunes and religious music, and in addition, he has composed many pieces of his own. He just released his sixth CD, “Songs from the Orchard,” which includes the song that made him famous, “Everybody Wants to Rule the World.”
Not only will Ted be performing and teaching hammered dulcimer workshops for advanced, mid-level, and beginning players, but he’ll also tell about his unique experiences of the past year in a special session on Friday titled, “Being Viral.”
Fasten your seat belt. You’ve never heard of Sofie Reed, but she’s one-of-a-kind and unforgettable.
She’s a self-taught, independent, internationally touring grassroots artist whose unique, soulful style is loved and appreciated all over the world. Through a rich creative journey spanning three decades, Sofie has evolved as a vocalist, composer, and musical visionary.
Her musical style encompasses roots-blues, folk-blues, and even roots-Appalachian-with-a-Dalecarlian-twist. You might call her a one-woman blues band – playing mountain dulcimer (also lap steel guitar and ukulele), harmonica, and stomp box. She performs extensively in Europe, as well as the US, but she hasn’t done dulcimer festivals.
Sofie left Ludvika, a small city in the Dalecarlia region of Sweden, as an eighteen-year-old young adult in 1987. She settled in a 'less preferred hood' of Minneapolis, on her own. For several years, she freelanced as a stylist within the local music scene, until one of her clients, Sheila Charles, daughter of Ray Charles, hired her as a back-up singer. That pivotal encounter led to Sofie performing session work throughout the Twin Cities, followed by performances with her former husband, fingerstyle guitarist Preston Reed. Eventually, she left Minneapolis and moved to Colorado.
This summer, she released her fourth CD, “Rocky Road,” with B.B. King‘s bass player, Russell Jackson. Her other releases are “Red Hen” (2014), “Simplicity Chased Trouble Away” (2012) and “Baby Boo Got Gone” (2004). Sofie is also involved in a project called Peace and Earth where she writes and records songs with other artists in the theme of Peace and Earth.
Growing up with a jazz musician for a father, a mother who loves to sing, and a drummer for an older brother who introduced her to the music of the Beatles, Jody Marshall absorbed the strains of many different musical styles - from swing-era standards and Dixieland jazz to pop, rock, and folk. So began an eclectic love for music that continues to nourish her imagination today.
Jody began singing harmony with her mother when she was four years old, and couldn't wait till she was old enough to take piano lessons. But it wasn't until much later, when she began playing the hammered dulcimer, that her musicality found its true voice. Now she is well known for her lively and expressive style, as well as for her creative arrangements of both solo and ensemble pieces. In keeping with her varied musical tastes, she is equally adept at playing Celtic jigs and reels, Renaissance and medieval dance tunes, classical music, and other genres. She delights in finding and adapting pieces that sit well on the dulcimer but aren't normally heard on the instrument, mining material from the likes of J. S. Bach, BBC television shows, the Allman Brothers, and Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson. Jody is also an innovative piano player with a style all her own, by turns driving a powerful rhythm for a rollicking reel or softly lilting a gentle waltz.
She has taught workshops at Nutmeg twice. She’s been a featured performer or instructor at many dulcimer assemblages, such as the Augusta Heritage Arts workshops, the Upper Potomac Dulcimer Festival, the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium, and the Pocono Dulcimer Winterfest. Other performance credits include the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Smithsonian Institution, the Kennedy Center, and the White House. She was a founding member of the DC-based folk trio, Ironweed, and also performed extensively with the award-winning Celtic bands, MoonFire and Connemara. She has released four CDs. Jody was nominated as best folk instrumentalist by the Washington Area Music Association.
Other Artists - 2017
Don Briggs has been doing live sound since 1979, and has provided systems for the rock bands Foghat and Extreme, as well as many club cover bands. (He also spent several years servicing hearing aids.) Though he did sound full-time for a number of years, he now does it “for fun and prevention of good entertainers sounding bad.” We're delighted to have him doing sound for Nutmeg once again.
Rich Carty has been teaching hammered since 1992 and also playing mountain dulcimer for 35 years, and is one of the founding members of the Greater Pinelands Dulcimer Society. He is also co-owner of Pinelands Folk Music Center, located in Mount Holly, in south Jersey.
Cliff Cole has been playing hammered dulcimer since 1985. His background is in percussion, and he has studied various types of music including rock, blues, jazz and folk. His folk group, DayBreak, has been performing together for over twenty years and has produced six CDs. Cliff is a founding member of the Quakertown Area Dulcimer and Autoharp Society (QUADAS), serves on the board of Perkasie Patchwork Coffeehouse, and is a member of the Nutmeg Team.
Linda W. Collins has been singing and playing music her entire life. As a pianist and cellist, she earned a Bachelor of Music Education at Florida State University before being seduced by Celtic music while living in Ireland. On her return to the U.S., Linda’s heart was captured by old-time music and the sweet sound of the dulcimer. A Florida State Mountain Dulcimer Champion and Old-Time Singing Champion, Linda teaches dulcimer, piano, guitar, strings and voice at Cabin Hill Music in Tallahassee, Florida. Her solo performance and workshop venues include the Florida Folk Festival, Suwanee Dulcimer Retreat, Mountain Dulcimer Music Fest and Cranberry Gathering in Latham, NY, and the Monticello (FL) Opera House. Linda published Beyond the Basics: An Intermediate Course for Mountain Dulcimer and is currently at work on a second volume.
Christine DeLeon will be teaching voice and ukulele at Nutmeg this year. She's a New Jersey singer, songwriter, and strummer. She was chosen as a finalist in the 2015 Rose Garden Coffeehouse Performing Songwriter Competition, a winner in the 2014 Recording Artists Development Singing Contest, a 3-category nominee in the 2013 Jersey Acoustic Music Awards, and a winner in the 2008 New Jersey Folk Festival Songwriting Competition. A guitar player for over 30 years, Christine catapulted into the world of the Ukulele six years ago, and took to it so strongly that it is now the primary accompaniment in her career as a full time performer. She also teaches private Ukulele lessons and workshops. With a motto of “tiny instrument, big fun” she’ll share all the joy the Ukulele can offer us all.
Sam Edelston is on a quest to bring both mountain dulcimers and hammered dulcimers into widespread public awareness. In the process, he has gained a reputation for bringing many kinds of modern, "mass-appeal" music to the mountain dulcimer, his music has been heard in over 190 countries, and in the past year he has been booked at festivals as far away as Kentucky, Minnesota, and Louisiana. His repertoire ranges from rock to opera, and from big band to bluegrass. He also plays guitar, banjo, and hammered dulcimer, and is chair of this festival.
Ron Ewing has been playing mountain dulcimer since 1970, and has built over 1,700 during that time. He is especially known for his innovative designs, including the baritone, dulcimette, dulcimer capo, the 1½ fret; and his lively renditions of Irish, Appalachian, and Euro dance tunes. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Jeff Goldenberg has been playing mountain dulcimer ever since a friend turned him on to the music of Richard and Mimi Farina in 1970 (and some years later, he was once honored to share the stage with Mimi). Becoming versed in assorted traditional tunings, he began experimenting with other, alternate tunings. His experiments also led him to electric dulcimer by the late ‘70s, and he says he has more effect pedals than he knows what to do with. Jeff had a long career as a geologist, so it’s not an exaggeration to say that he is a true rock star. He lives and performs locally at the Jersey shore. We welcome him to Nutmeg for the first time.
George Haggerty is an accomplished dulcimer builder, teacher, and player. He and his wife, Mary, are sponsors of their annual festival in Vermont, “August Dulcimer Daze,” which recently celebrated its 25th year. George now teaches mountain dulcimer playing and building at The Putney School in Putney, VT. He has one CD, “Just Friends...One More Time.” And for the first time, we welcome him to Nutmeg.
Mack Johnston has 20+ years experience playing in mandolin ensembles and orchestras including the Providence Mandolin Orchestra. He was Music Director of the Northeast Dulcimer Orchestra 2013-2016, and has taught several Dulcimer Orchestra and Ensemble workshops. In 2017, he relocated to Asheville, NC, where he and his wife, Melanie, perform as a duo with dulcimer, guitar, and mandolin.
Melanie Johnston has been playing Mountain Dulcimer since 2001. She founded the Connecticut Mountain Dulcimer Gathering and she and her husband Mack co-founded the Northeast Dulcimer Orchestra. Melanie is certified by Western Carolina University to teach mountain dulcimer and had taught at festivals in New England and North Carolina. In 2017, she and her husband, Mack, relocated to the Asheville, NC area, where they perform as a duo with dulcimer, guitar, and mandolin.
Known for her fun-loving and relaxed teaching style, Sandy Lafleur teaches out of her southern NH home and at festivals around New England. Her arrangements are accessible and highlight the innate beauty of the Appalachian dulcimer. She has a new CD out, "Amoskeag" featuring dulcimer, guitar and mandolin.
Tom MacKenzie is a multi-instrumentalist from Vermont. His relaxed, yet precise playing style crosses over into his teaching philosophy. Music is not always easy, but it should always have a fun factor. The best way to learn is by doing. Tom was a member of the group Woods Tea Company for many years. He teaches hammered dulcimer, banjo, and ukulele, and has four CDs available.
Don Moore is the leader of Connecticut's Dulcimer Folk Association (DF#A), which has been bringing together dulcimer players and other folk musicians for over 20 years. Don was instrumental in the founding of Nutmeg.
Paul Juba Mueller is the lead musician and song writer, producer, and audio engineer for the percussion-driven group from New York City, Mecca Bodega. The group has performed at Lincoln Center, Woodstock, Celebrate Brooklyn Festival, Merkin Concert Hall, and tours of the US and Australia – as well as eight CD recordings. Paul’s music has been heard on HBO’s Subway Stories, in projects for directors Jonathan Demme and Spike Lee, and in PBS documentaries. As a studio musician, he’s featured on over 40 CDs/DVDs, including sessions with Public Enemy, Stephen Stills, and Branford Marsalis. His second solo CD, “Floating on Land,” has been heard on over 120 National Public Radio Stations, and features him on world percussion instruments such as balafon, dumbek, drum kit, and kalimba, as well as with hammered dulcimer.
Brett's philosophy is that "anyone can make music, regardless of age, musical ability or knowledge!” He is a full-time musician who teaches hammered dulcimer, mountain dulcimer, bluegrass banjo, clawhammer banjo, beginner acoustic guitar and mandolin. Brett has created a series of instructional CDs for hammered dulcimer, has a lesson series available on YouTube, and also teaches lessons via Skype and FaceTime. He had the largest class at the 2016 Dulcimer Funfest in Evart, MI, and the largest classes at the Ohio Valley Gathering for the last two years. Brett tours promoting traditional American music. He has released a total of eight recordings, of which seven are currently available. Additionally, his original composition, "Gettysburg Rain," is featured in the soundtrack of “The Path of the Wind,” a 2010 movie which features Wilford Brimley.
Laurel Schwartz spends over 25 hours a week performing in front of some of the toughest and most demanding audiences around -- she's a middle school music teacher. In addition to the "usual" topics, such as choral music and composition, she teaches dulcimer to her 8th graders, using everything from fiddle tunes to rock music. Some of her student dulcimer players have won awards for their original compositions.
Barbara Truex has been involved with musical performance, composition, teaching, production, sound design, community radio, and arts administration for over 35 years. She is recognized as an innovator for her use of the mountain dulcimer in folk, jazz, pop, theater, and free improvisational music. Beyond electric and acoustic dulcimer, she also plays ukulele, guitar, odd stringed instruments, and more. Barbara currently plays regularly with three groups in Maine along with other special projects that come along: Le Bon Truc (traditional rural French), The Dark Follies (contemporary vaudeville & dance), The Maine Squeeze Accordion Ensemble (as a percussionist). In 1982 she founded the Northeast Dulcimer Symposium, which she ran for 17 years.
Susan Trump has performed and taught at many different dulcimer festivals and camps throughout the US (including being featured at the first-ever Nutmeg Dulcimer Festival). She has written two books for the mountain dulcimer: "The Classical Collection" and a CD/instructional book, "Novice Level Chords and Left Hand Fingerings" ... along with four solo CDs. She produces the "Lessons in Your Living Room," a monthly series for novice and intermediate-and-up level players.
Carol Walker is a happily retired high school choral teacher (recipient of the NJ Governor's Teacher of the Year Award in 2003), and performs on mountain dulcimer, piano, harp, and upright bass. Her folkloric research singlehandedly brought traditional music of the Isle of Man to the mountain dulcimer, leading to a CD of Manx tunes, "Alas, the Horse Is Gone," as well as two books of "Tailless Tunes." Carol's instructional works include the three "DNA* Dulcimer Ditties" book/CD sets, as well as DVD on the Homespun label. Her newest book, Her newest book, "Classical Dulcimer for Wascally Wabbits," which draws on her early musical tutelage under Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, will officially be released this fall at Nutmeg. Carol is married to professional, world-class touring guitarist Toby Walker.
Jon Weinberg has been playing hammered dulcimer and guitar for contra dances, concerts, wedding ceremonies, and coffee houses throughout New England for over 25 years. He teaches hammered dulcimer lessons to students both in person and online via Skype. A regular performer and workshop leader at dulcimer festivals across the country, Jon created and leads week-long Hammered Dulcimer Chord Camp workshops in New England and North Carolina each spring and fall. Jon is a founding member of the contra dance band Wild Card, and released his first CD "About Time" in 2013.
Dwain Wilder, founder of Bear Meadow Folk Instruments, has been building mountain dulcimers since 1991. He regularly gets orders from as far away as Europe, Great Britain, and the Far East. Dwain is also one of the few dulcimer builders who takes on apprentices and teaches them the craft. In addition to his instrument building, Dwain has also published poems in various periodicals and collections, and writes occasional essays on Zen practice.
Dwain Wilder - mountain dulcimers
Ron Ewing - mountain dulcimers & capos
Folk Craft Music
George Haggerty - mountain dulcimers, and more
Rich & Mary Carty - hammered dulcimers, mountain dulcimers, and more