Instructors

Instructors

Instructors

We’re excited to announce the complete 2019 RockyGrass Academy faculty (including clawhammer banjo!).

Guitar Instructors

Instructors

Courtney Hartman

Singer, songwriter, and guitarist Courtney Hartman started playing guitar at the young age of eight, after having already spent several years on the fiddle and mandolin. Her early years were spent steeped in American Roots music, and today she has fused a diverse range of influences from Norman Blake to Bill Frisell, creating music that acknowledges and pays homage to her roots, while pushing beyond its defined boundaries. Courtney was recently nominated by the Americana Music Association for 2017 Instrumentalist of the Year, following the release of her solo project ‘Nothing We Say’.

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Instructors

Uwe Kruger

Kruger Brothers

Uwe Kruger, lead vocalist and guitarist, has been playing music since early childhood. When they were very young, Uwe and younger brother Jens would place a guitar on the floor between them and play it together, one brother taking the upper three strings and the other the lower three. Uwe was introduced to American folk music through the brothers’ father, who would bring folk music records when he returned to Switzerland from business trips to the United States. For more than twenty-five years, Uwe has been playing guitar and singing as a professional musician.

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Instructors

Chris Luquette

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

Chris is one of the hardest working musicians from the Seattle music scene. You’d be hard pressed to find another twenty-something year old seamlessly switching from International Music to Jazz and from Rock to Bluegrass so comfortably. He has even studied Brazilian Jazz with Seattle based Brazil music legend, Jovino Santos Neto. Chris’ musicianship reflects the multitude of musical influences he turns to for inspiration.

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Instructors

Jordan Tice

Hawktail

Jordan Tice is a singular voice on the American roots music scene. Over the last ten years, he has developed a reputation as a unique and versatile guitarist and prolific composer of some of the most thoughtful and well-crafted tunes of his generation. Jordan has a voice and sonic aesthetic that is all his own with which he filters the sounds and conventions of American Music into something unique. On his latest release, Horse County, he also demonstrates a unique voice as a songwriter and singer in addition to his known guitar and tune-crafting skills.

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Mandolin Instructors

Instructors

Mike Compton

Nashville Bluegrass Band | Soggy Bottom Boys

Befriended and mentored by Bill Monroe, the acknowledged Father of Bluegrass Music, Mike Compton is one of today’s foremost interpreters of Monroe’s genre-creating mandolin style. Compton’s mastery of mandolin is at once effortless and exceptional. A compelling entertainer either alone or with a group, his skills as a singer, arranger, instrumentalist, composer and accompanist also make him in-demand as a band member and ensemble player at festivals, clubs and concert halls, recording sessions, music workshops and as a private instructor.

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Instructors

Sharon Gilchrist

Harmonic Tone Revealers | Peter Rowan & Tony Rice Quartet

Sharon Gilchrist has long made her home in the American acoustic music scene. Whether you have seen her playing mandolin, thumpin’ the upright bass, singing a traditional ballad or performing one of her original pieces, you’ve heard an artist steeped in traditional Appalachian music delivering these sounds with a distinct spacious, graceful and fiery nuance. Currently Sharon is part of an acoustic trio The Harmonic Tone Revealers featuring Scott Nygaard (guitar), John Reischman (mandolin, mandola).

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Instructors

Frank Solivan

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

At the highest levels of acoustic musicianship exists a mystery — the mystery of tone, taste and timing…it can best be illustrated by giving a good musician a good instrument and asking him to briefly strum, pick, bow, — whatever is required to produce the best sound. Then, by way of comparison, hand that very same instrument to a GREAT musician and ask for the same. It is a phenomenon that manifests itself every time that Frank Solivan picks up a mandolin, guitar or violin. What you see may be the same pick or bow, on the same strings, on the same fretboard that the good player demonstrated, but the sound… Ah… there’s the difference!

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Banjo Instructors

Instructors

Chris Coole

Lonesome Ace Stringband

Chris will be teaching the Intermediate Clawhammer banjo class this year! Chris Coole got his first banjo when he was 17 years old after falling in love with the sounds of folk and early country music. Today, Chris is known internationally for his clawhammer banjo style, songwriting, and singing. Early on, Chris discovered the joys of busking. His practice halls were the streets and subway of Toronto. He spent 10 years as a busker. In 1995, along with Dan Whiteley and Chris Quinn, he founded “One Horse Town”, one of the earliest bands in what is now a thriving bluegrass scene in Toronto.

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Instructors

Jens Kruger

Kruger Brothers

Originally from Switzerland, Jens Kruger began playing North American folk music at an early age and was particularly inspired by recordings of Doc Watson, Flatt and Scruggs, Bill Monroe, and other progenitors of country, bluegrass and folk music. While he has written and continues to write the music for all of The Kruger Brothers’ original tunes, in 2006, Jens began his “official” venture into the themes and forms of classical music when he was commissioned to write Music from the Spring for banjo, guitar, bass and full symphonic orchestra.

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Instructors

Mike Munford

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

Mike is one of the hidden treasures of the five string banjo world. Mike grew up in the sixties and seventies in the bluegrass hotbed of Baltimore and D.C. and assimilated just about everything that all the great players in that area could offer. Then he took off on his own. How best to describe him? Imagine this conversation among banjo players huddled around a fire at some pickin’ party or festival. “How did J.D. do that lick?” “I dunno, but Munford’s over there, ask him.”

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Fiddle Instructors

Instructors

Stuart Duncan

Nashville Bluegrass Band | Soggy Bottom Boys

Multi-instrumentalist Stuart Duncan has built upon his bluegrass roots to become an artist that defies categorization and surpasses the limits of any specific genre. The consummate sideman, Stuart has lent his particular taste and tone to countless artists and projects. Whether trading dizzying instrumental licks with the likes of Bela Fleck and Jerry Douglas, or adding complimentary fills for vocalists Alan Jackson and Barbara Streisand, Stuart has found a professional “home” both in the studio and on tour. From Robert Plant to Panic at the Disco, Stuart’s playing and influence can be heard among many of today’s top hit-makers.

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Instructors

Brittany Haas

Hawktail

Brittany Haas is widely regarded as one of the most influential fiddlers of her generation. Born in Northern California, Brittany grew up honing her craft at string camps nationwide, and developed her unique style of fiddling at the influence of her mentors, Bruce Molsky and Darol Anger. A prodigious youth, Haas began touring with Darol Anger’s Republic of Strings at the age of fourteen. At seventeen, she released her debut, self-titled solo album (produced by Anger). Haas continued to tour and record while simultaneously earning a degree in Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University (where she also minored in Music Performance).

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Instructors

John Showman

Lonesome Ace Stringband

John Showman is known as one of Canada’s finest fiddle players, a strong and versatile musician best-known for his work with the The Lonesome Ace Stringband, Foggy Hogtown Boys, New Country Rehab and Creaking Tree String Quartet. Classically trained in violin since childhood, Showman has folded the sheet music, and emerged as one of the most dynamic, original, and exciting fiddlers in bluegrass music today. John also has the rare ability to understand the subtleties of old-time fiddle as well. In 2011 John became the first foreign-born musician to win the Clifftop fiddle contest. His love of traditional fiddle music is palpable as he brings the music to life with inspired playing.

JohnShowman.com

Dobro Instructors

Instructors

Billy Cardine

Billy Cardine is an innovative, genre-blurring slide guitarist, multi-instrumentalist, touring artist, and educator. He has performed at Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, the Ryman Auditorium and major festivals, such as Bonnaroo, Merlefest and Rockygrass. He is an internationally featured artist touring in India, Japan, Europe and Canada as well. Billy’s dobro playing was recently featured on a Jerry Douglas’ production, Southern Filibuster, honoring one of the forefathers of the Dobro.

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Instructors

Abbie Gardner

Red Molly

Abbie Gardner is a fiery dobro player with an infectious smile. Whether performing solo or with Americana darlings Red Molly, her acclaimed tales of love and loss, both gritty and sweet, are propelled by her impeccable slide guitar chops. Her live show is truly unique - as both an award winning songwriter and interpreter of folk styles, a captivating vocalist, and a world class lap style dobro player, she has an unmistakable sound all her own. Her latest CD, Wishes on a Neon Sign was released in January 2018, and features twelve original songs, including a co-write with Chris Stapleton. She has opened for Lori McKenna, Hot Rize and Martina McBride.

AbbieGardner.com

Bass Instructors

Instructors

Max Heineman

Lonesome Ace Stringband

Max is highly respected as an intuitive and seasoned bass player; he also plays both clawhammer and Scruggs style banjo and rhythm guitar, which inform his overall understanding of the unique rhythms of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country music. He is renowned as vocalist – his powerful voice and ability to sing with an emotional commitment to the song leave the listener feeling truly connected. The rich soulful environment of a Bluegrass vocal ensemble is a home away from home for him. By the age of twelve Max was performing as a singer and bassist with his family band on a weekly gig in Toronto’s Cabbagetown.

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Instructors

Joel Landsberg

Kruger Brothers

One can only imagine the number and variety of musical influences – Broadway, classical, jazz, rhythm and blues – that surrounded Joel as he was growing up in New York City. Like Uwe and Jens, Joel began his musical career early in life and picked up the bass at the age of twelve. And like many other musicians, Joel began learning music through classical training on the piano. After several years of piano lessons, he switched to the bass, and as he discovered his love for the instrument, Joel decided to devote all of his attention to playing the bass.

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Instructors

Jeremy Middleton

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

Born into a musical family from Cincinnati, Ohio, Jeremy Middleton has been a performing musician since childhood. He toured western Europe as a member of the Cincinnati Boychoir at age 10. After high school, he enlisted in the Army Band Program and served on active duty for 10 years. Joining the Navy Music Program in 2003, he was selected as the bassist for the US Navy Band Country Current in 2009 and performed at South By Southwest, IBMA World Of Bluegrass 2012, and on the Grand Ole Opry.

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Songwriting Instructor

Instructors

Kristin Andreassen

Uncle Earl

Kristin Andreassen is a songwriter and percussive dancer who merges those skills in performances and recordings that are both inventive and deeply rooted in American traditional music. 2015 saw the release of her first studio album Gondolier, with tours supporting Black Prairie, Dawn Landes, Aoife O’Donovan, Mipso and Noam Pikelny. Her debut record Kiss Me Hello included the award-winning “Crayola Doesn’t Make a Color for Your Eyes” which went to #1 on kids’ radio and has been covered by dozens of artists ranging from Tyne Daly to high school marching bands.

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Vocals Instructor

Instructors

Stephen Mougin

Sam Bush Band

It didn’t happen on accident. For Stephen “Mojo” Mougin’s career trajectory, it was fate: when Bill Monroe signed Stephen Mougin’s mandolin at the Peaceful Valley Bluegrass Festival in summer 1988, and then used it in a workshop. Talk about a good omen, because now Stephen Mougin is one of the most respected Jack-of-All-Trades in acoustic music. A compassionate teacher, compelling touring guitarist, natural songwriter, sought-after producer, and gifted sound engineer, Stephen Mougin is a go-to guy for pretty much anything under the musical sun.

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Bands-in-Residence

Instructors

Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen

Chris Luquette, Jeremy Middleton, Mike Munford & Frank Solivan

With chops so hot, Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen were named IBMA’s 2016 Instrumental Group of the Year for the second time, with a third nomination in 2017. Their critically acclaimed album Cold Spell earned a 2015 GRAMMY nomination for Best Bluegrass Album of the Year, yet the accolades don’t end there. Solivan, with banjoist Mike Munford, 2013 IBMA Banjo Player of the Year, award-winning guitarist Chris Luquette and bassist Jeremy Middleton, simmer a progressive bluegrass stew of infinite instrumental, vocal and songwriting skills soon to be featured once again on their new album If You Can’t Stand the Heat dropped January 25th, 2019.

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Instructors

Kruger Brothers

Jens Kruger, Uwe Kruger & Joel Landsberg

Born and raised in Europe, brothers Jens and Uwe Kruger started singing and playing instruments at a very young age. Growing up in a family where music was an important part of life, they were exposed to a wide diversity of musical influences. The brothers were performing regularly by the time they were eleven and twelve years old, and they began their professional career in 1979. Jens’ and Uwe’s first public performances were as a duo, and in just a few years they were busking on the streets of cities throughout eastern and western Europe.

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Instructors

Lonesome Ace Stringband

Chris Coole, Max Heineman & John Showman

The Lonesome Ace Stringband brings grit, skill and abandon to old-time, Appalachian folk songs and fiddle/banjo tunes. These are songs and tunes for life and all of it’s occasions: festivals, dances, wars, parties and funerals. The music comes from a tradition that has inspired and brought together generations of people. It’s themes - love, loss, hard work and hardship, faith, and everyday life - speak to everyone. Together they bring a deep respect for the roots of the music, a keen sense of innovation to the performance and material, and a passion for the sound that transcends both. This is old-time music for today’s old soul.

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Kids Camp Instructors

Instructors

Justin Hoffenberg

Long Road Home

Originally from Northern Illinois, Justin Hoffenberg currently makes his home in Boulder, CO. Growing up in a musical household, he attended many concerts as a child and was drawn towards music. At 10 years old Justin joined his 5th grade orchestra, where he played the violin for one year before beginning Suzuki lessons, which he pursued until graduating high school. The summer between 5th and 6th grade proved a fateful one, as a family friend recommended attending the Rockygrass festival in Lyons, CO, as well as the camp that precedes it. Justin ventured to the camp not knowing anything about Bluegrass, but was immensely changed by the experience.

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Instructors

Phoebe Hunt

Phoebe Hunt & The Gatherers

Like all troubadours, singer-songwriter Phoebe Hunt is a rambler. Recent years have seen the Texas native relocate from Austin to Nashville to her current residence in Brooklyn. This wanderlust is evident in the variety of projects she is a part of, moving in and out of multiple styles and genres of music with an effortless grace. You may find her performing completely solo, with her violin and her voice, drawing you into her memorizing vortex, or surrounded by a group of young musicians from all around the world as a part of The One Village Music Project, playing songs written and recorded at a program that Phoebe initiated out of her desire to play her role in healing the world with music.

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Instructors

Dominick Leslie

Phoebe Hunt & The Gatherers | Hawktail

Colorado native Dominick Leslie has been around live music all his life, having attended his first bluegrass festival when he was just five months old. Growing up he was surrounded by music, listening to and jamming with his dad’s bluegrass band, and thanks to his Dad’s influence, he has been playing instruments since he was old enough to hold one. At the age of four, Dominick acquired a ukulele tuned like the bottom four strings of a guitar, igniting a deep passion for music that still burns brightly. Dominick’s abilities progressed rapidly on guitar, fiddle and mandolin, but eventually the mandolin became his obsession and demanded his total focus.

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Instructors

Gina Marie Leslie

Colorado-raised songstress Gina Marie Leslie is a longtime RockyGrass Academy student, now living in New Orleans. Born into a family of musicians, she grew up in a culture of jamming that uplifts all players involved and creates a welcoming atmosphere. A multi-instrumentalist (guitar, fiddle, bass, voice, ukulele) and songwriter, Gina has the tools to guide a musician at any level to feel the joy and beauty of connection through music. She plays with Damn Gina, The Bad Bad Leslie’s, Mean Gina Jazz Band, and as a side musician for other projects.

OMGina.com

Instructors

Brad Murphey

“Murph” first fell in love with bluegrass music while living in Chicago and immediately started studying it with the great Czech guitar player Slavek Hanzlik as well as Don Stiernberg and Greg Cahill. After living in Chicago he moved to Colorado and founded the band Slipstream which performed at many notable festivals such as Grey Fox in New York. He then toured the country performing with Nashville singer/songwriter Rorey Carroll and has performed with such bluegrass luminaries as Noam Pikelny, Matt Flinner, the Infamous Stringdusters, Crooked Still, Darol Anger as well as many others and has been an endorsed artist for Elixir Guitar Strings for 14 years. Currently Murph is living in Shanghai, China, performing with mandolin virtuoso Tom Peng and teaching guitar lessons while exploring as much of Asia as possible.

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Instructors

Leslie Ziegler

Hailing from both Michigan and West Virginia, Leslie has been studying the upright bass since she was just a little girl. As she got older she decided to further her music education at Western Michigan University where she focused on Music Education. While in college, Leslie also toured the midwest with the many orchestras and string ensembles she represented. Outside the classroom, Leslie immersed herself in Kalamazoo’s local music scene where she discovered her deep love for Bluegrass and folk music.

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Instrument Building Instructors

Instructors

Michael Hornick

Shanti Guitars

Michael Hornick is the builder of Shanti Guitars. After building his first guitar in 1985, he worked at Santa Cruz Guitar Company, and presently works alone in his shop in Missoula, Montana, building about twelve instruments a year. Michael has built the first place guitar prize for the nationally recognized Telluride Troubadour contest from its inception in 1991, and helped design the original mandolin and mandola kits.

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Instructors

Brody Klemer

Brody has been apprenticing under Michael Hornick since March of 2012. Under Michael’s tutelage, Brody is primarily assisting with the guitar building process at the RockyGrass Academy. He has also recently completed his first full-size guitar under Michael’s wing.

Instructors

Chuck Midgley

Chuck has known Michael Hornick since 1992, owns a Shanti guitar, and has assisted Michael with the mando building class since 2002. Each year Chuck produces a mandolin while assisting other students with theirs. In his other life, he is a master mechanic building hot rods in California.

Instructors

Dan Roberts

Daniel Roberts Stringworks

Dan Roberts began his instrument making career with Flatiron Banjo and Mandolin Company in Bozeman, MT. He was production manager for Gibson Montana Division before moving to California as luthier and production manager for Santa Cruz Guitar Company. Dan lived in Santa Cruz for 6 years before moving back to Montana to work for Santa Cruz out of his own shop. There he built the SCGC archtops, did new model design and some prototypes, and was the warranty repairman, service manager, and production manager with the help of an on-site shop foreman.

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Instructors

Ian Szymanski

Ian has been going to music festivals since he was a wee lad which helped foster his love for music. At the RockyGrass Academy, he built his first instrument, a mandolin when he was eleven, then a guitar a few years later. He currently is apprenticing with Dan Roberts in Bozeman, MT, learning the art of lutherie.

Instructors

Bobby Wintringham

San Juan Mandolins

Bobby Wintringham is returning for his sixth year as an instructor at the Academy’s mandolin building experience. He is a full time luthier building San Juan Mandolins in his shop in Dolores, Colorado. Says Bobby, “The only thing more rewarding than building instruments is being able to share that knowledge with others.”

SanJuanMandolins.com