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2017 Biographies — American Roots

Tom Adams

Tom Adams

Scruggs-Style Bluegrass Banjo

Tom is a 3-time recipient of the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Banjo Player of the Year award and has toured and recorded with some of bluegrass music’s most influential artists of the past 30 years including the Johnson Mountain Boys, the Lynn Morris Band, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Blue Highway, Rhonda Vincent, and Dale Ann Bradley. First gaining national recognition in 1983 for his work with the legendary Jimmy Martin, Tom is recognized as one of the best interpreters and innovators of Scruggs-style banjo playing. Tom’s contribution to the album Foggy Mountain Special: A Bluegrass Tribute to Earl Scruggs earned him the 2013 IBMA award for Recorded Instrumental Performance of the Year for the tune Foggy Mountain Rock. Tom has been a banjo instructor at a host of well-known music camps including NashCamp (TN), Banjo Camp North (MA), Midwest Banjo Camp (MI), American Banjo Camp (WA), Sore Fingers Bluegrass (UK), NBCMS Workshop (AB) and Augusta Bluegrass Week (WV). Tom is a regular columnist for Banjo Newsletter magazine, having contributed more than 150 tabs of songs ranging from 50s bluegrass to 70s classic rock in his columns Adams County Banjo and High Five. Teaching banjo full-time online via Skype and at his home studio in south-central Pennsylvania, Tom currently performs on banjo with Springfield Exit and on guitar and vocals with The Travelers.


Ryan Bowers

Ryan Bowers

Bass

Ryan Bowers is a bassist and singer/songwriter from Fairbanks. He started singing as a child, started playing for dances at 13, and got his first bass at 17. Since then, he has been in a list of bands which includes Lost Dog Stringband, The Xtra-Tuffs, Eel House, Rock Bottom Stompers, The Norris Bowers Band, and Ryan Bowers And The Brain Trust. He studied voice at UAF, and bass and songwriting at Berklee School Of Music. He has toured and recorded with many groups, and is about to release his first solo album Sweet Calamity, recorded and mixed in Fairbanks at 10th Planet Recording. Ryan has experience in a wide variety of roots styles, including bluegrass, old-time, country, folk, and contra dance, as well as in rock, indie, jazz, pop and chamber music styles. He has been teaching at music camps for many years, and is excited to be teaching at FSAF. Ryan likes his pancakes with yogurt instead of syrup, and eats his cereal dry.


Joe Craven

Joe Craven

Joe Craven is a musician in the broadest sense of the word. Contagiously curious about musical sound, Craven plumbs the depths and outer reaches of his creativity with a flair for both the whimsical and the profound, as well as a refreshing openness about the vehicle he uses to get there. Former 17-year multi-instrumentalist for the David Grisman Quintet, Joe Craven is a one-man band and bandleader. His tool box includes a wide variety of string and percussion instruments from around the world and around the basement including found objects. For 30 years, he's recorded and performed music of his own and with an incredibly diverse list of artists, notably Grateful Dead patriarch Jerry Garcia, string wizard David Lindley and banjo virtuoso Alison Brown. A visual artist, former museologist, actor and award winning creativity educator, Joe has a unique gift for transferring his enthusiasm for music making to audiences and fellow musicians alike (though the two categories are hardly separate; Joe thrills at jumpstarting an individual to make music for the first time at a show - in the moment). Working with all ages, from saplings to seniors, Joe is passionate about his workshops, lectures and artist residencies. Director of RiverTunes Roots & Vocáli Voice Music Camps and Co-Director of the Wintergrass Youth Academy, the multi-talented Craven also emcees music festivals nation-wide, is a producer and performer in the studio, and contributes music and sound effects to projects ranging from computer games to film soundtracks. Whether presenting a workshop to a Costa Rican community, business executives in Contra Costa, CA, or thousands of school kids in Scotland or performing house concerts, major music festivals, the stage of Carnegie Hall or street corners in Cuba, Cannery Row and Morocco, Joe’s at home ~ and loving every minute.


Finn Magill

Finn Magill

Fiddle/Violin

Finn is a fiddler/violinist who straddles genres. By age 16 he was a two-time finalist at the All-Ireland fiddle championships and has toured the U.S, Europe, Africa, and Brazil performing many different styles with everyone from John Doyle to the Paul McKenna Band. In 2016 he released 2 discs Roots and Branches as part of a project that features many of the artists with whom he has collaborated with over the last ten years. Finn has served as a fiddle instructor at a dozen fiddle camps around the U.S. In 2016, he signed with the Salto Agency to tour his original Brazilian choro music, cultivated after 2 years of living in Rio de Janeiro. In 2017 he will record and launch his first recording project of Brazilian music. He keeps a busy schedule touring all over the world with violin duo Violino no Choro, Paul McKenna, his choro quartet O Finno, and as a guest with countless other musicians across genres.


Ukulele Russ

Ukulele Russ

Ukulele

Ukulele Russ, known for his off-the-cuff antics and fast hands, has been rocking crowds on the East and West coasts for several years. Russ plays a variety of the songs never meant for the ukulele in a way that only he can! Ukulele Russ's shows are full of great music, clever word play, and hilarious commentary. They also expose the carefully-guarded “secrets” of musicians worldwide. (Magicians aren't the only ones who get mad when you tell people how they do it…)


Mike Stevens

Mike Stevens

Harmonica

Mike Stevens is a harmonica virtuoso. Hailed as an innovative musician and author, Mike transcends the perceived limitations of his instrument, and is a master of virtually every musical genre. His aggressive, soulful approach to the harmonica takes audiences on an incredible journey. Best known for his groundbreaking work in the Bluegrass field with legendary Grand Ole Opry members “Jim & Jesse” (with whom he performed on the Grand Ole Opry over 300 times), Mike has created an original, much sought-after, and often-copied style of playing the harmonica. http://www.mikestevensmusic.com


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