2014 Instructors

Robert Bowlin

Robert Bowlin – Fiddle and Guitar

As a Blue Grass Boy: Robert Bowlin was the last fiddler to join the Blue Grass Boys. He plays on the recording of "Boston Boy" that closes the boxed set "Music of Bill Monroe, 1936-1994" Recording Sessions: 1/9/1994 Before and After: A multi-instrumentalist, Bowlin won the 1979 National Guitar Championship. He has created audio lessons in twin guitar and twin mandolin playing for Musicians' Workshop, and has recorded as a sideman with many bluegrass and country artists. He has been a member of the Osborne Brothers' and Kathy Mattea's bands, and currently plays lead guitar and fiddle with the group Shady Mix. For more information about Robert, visit: http://RobertBowlin.com ... Read full bio
Dix Bruce

Dix Bruce – Guitar & Mandolin

Dix Bruce is a musician and writer who has performed and recorded music in the San Francisco Bay Area since the mid-1970s. He is well-known in jazz and bluegrass music circles for his work with a variety of bands from bluecrass and country to jazz and bib band. He has recorded four duo CDs with guitarist Jim Nunally. For several years Dix was a clinician for the C.F. Martin Guitar Company conducting guitar clinics up and down the West coast. Dix also does studio work on guitar, mandolin, bass, and banjo, and has recorded two LPs with mandolin legend Frank Wakefield. Dix has produced over fifty music books and DVDs. His latest publications are four book/CD sets for mandolin and guitar entitled "Gypsy Swing & Hot Club Rhythm" and "The Parking Lot Picker's Songbooks." Dix wrote and recorded music for three versions of the best-selling video game "The Sims." He ... Read full bio
Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor

Jim Chancellor – Fiddle

Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor began his musical journey at the age of seven when his daddy brought home a mandolin and told Shorty and his brother, Allen, that it would go to the first son who learned to play it. Shorty devoted most of the next six years to "pickin' the mandolin." Around 1956 a landmark occurred in Shorty's musical development when he became acquainted with the legendary Bennie Thomasson, who was the then-current World Champion Fiddler. Bennie’s unique style of fiddling immediately attracted Shorty and he soon gave up the mandolin and poured all his efforts into old-time fiddling . Three years later in 1959, under the tutorage of Bennie, Shorty won the World's Fiddle Festival. In 1960 he went to New York to appear on a national television quiz show "To Tell The Truth" as the youngest fiddler to hold the World's Championship. He became the second fiddler in ... Read full bio
Paul Glasse

Paul Glasse – Mandolin

Growing up in Poughkeepsie, NY, a young Paul Glasse was introduced to the unusual acoustic draw of the mandolin. Though as an adolescent he cut his teeth on Bluegrass, Old Timey, and New England Traditional Music, it was the Siren of Texas Swing that would lure him to Austin, Texas in 1977. Under the tutelage of the great electric mandolinist, Tiny Moore (Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys) Glasse immersed himself in the vocabulary and vibe of Texas Swing. Known for its quick-pulsed tempo and unusual blend of early Country and Western fused with the jazz harmony of late 30's Benny Goodman/Charlie Christian swing, this indigenous art would be the unique and central core of his musical identity. To the right, a youthful Paul Glasse, 1981 Buck White International Mandolin Championship winner(middle), pictured between 1982 winner Nashville recording artist Mark O'Connor (left) and 1980 winner Bobby Clark (right). A decade-long ... Read full bio
David Hamburger - Fingerstyle Guitar

David Hamburger – Fingerstyle Guitar

Fingerstyle Guitarist David Hamburger has appeared at Merle Fest and the Kerrville and Philadelphia Folk Festivals, toured with Joan Baez and shared the stage with Dave Van Ronk, Jorma Kaukonen, Tony Trischka, Duke Robillard, Cindy Cashdollar and many others. His guitar, slide guitar and dobro playing can be heard on his solo albums Indigo Rose and David Hamburger Plays Blues, Ballads & a Pop Song and with the Grassy Knoll Boys on their debut CD, Buckeyed Rabbit. David is also a contributing editor to Acoustic Guitar and the author of several books, including the award-winning Beginning Blues Guitar and The Acoustic Guitar Method, also available on DVD from Homespun Tapes. He lives in Austin, Texas. When I want to sound like I come from a musical background, I tell people that my grandfather was born in Harlem and learned to play stride piano by ear in the Roaring Twenties, all ... Read full bio
Irl Hees - Bass

Irl Hees – Bass

On December 11th, 1976, at 16 years of age, Irl Hees began playing the upright bass.  It was a very important day in his life.  Up to that day, he had been playing a washtub bass; one quarter-inch strand of nylon clothesline cord on a number 3 galvanized washtub.  After that day, he never looked back. He began working with Oklahoma banjo player Kenny Cantrell the following year, and took several more regional band gigs over the next 10 years. Irl was the original bassist in the Midwest group "Radio Flyer", and in the late 80's, Irl began a group called "Down The Road".  The band lasted about 6 years.  It was during this time that he joined with several others to produce and record "The Missouri Session", a CD devoted to showcasing several Midwest bluegrass bands and musicians in a studio setting. Irl began playing professionally in 1995 when ... Read full bio
Gerald Jones - Banjo / Mandolin

Gerald Jones – Banjo / Mandolin

Gerald Jones, founder and director of Acoustic Music Camp, is a favorite instructor at many bluegrass and roots music camps around the nation, teaching banjo, mandolin, and many special topics such as “Jam Survival Skills.” He’s a skilled player in many different styles, including bluegrass, western swing, country, classical banjo and Polish war hymns. He's played on stage or recorded with Jim "Texas Shorty" Chancellor, Vince Gill, Sam Bush, Hank Thompson, Red Steagall, Jethro Burns, Jerry Douglas, Tanya Tucker, Junior Brown and many more. He is the inventor of the Jones/AcousticPlus banjo pickup endorsed by Earl Scruggs, Bela Fleck, Alan Munde and many others. As a banjoist, he’s been a two-time finalist in the National Bluegrass Banjo championship in Winfield, Kansas. Gerald has taught music for almost 30 years, and counts among his students Marty and Emily Erwin of the Dixie Chicks, and Max Johnston of the Gourds. He was ... Read full bio
O.J. Laier

O.J. Laier – Oldtime

Music has been part of O.J. Laier’s life from his early days playing trumpet in high school and a U.S. Army band to a busy teaching and performing schedule in Austin, Texas. Inspired by Earl Scruggs-style three-finger picking, O.J. first picked up a 5-string banjo in the early 70s. He was first introduced to frailing when he toured Europe in a Kingston Trio-type trio as part of his Army stint. About five years ago, while teaching guitar, dobro and banjo to students in Austin, he fell in love with playing oldtime clawhammer banjo. It didn’t take him long to get plugged into the amazing picking styles of Adam Hurt, Richie Stearns and many others. He enjoys learning fiddle tunes as a way to hone his banjo chops. “The traditional style of playing is very addictive,” O.J. says. “If you apply yourself —and do it a lot! — it can get ... Read full bio
Nate Lee - Fiddle / Mandolin

Nate Lee – Fiddle / Mandolin

"Plays well with others The fact is, NATE LEE, the musician, has been drawing attention ever since he hit his first double digits. His cheerful commitment to refining his game has been a hot topic in the press as well as among his listeners, instructors and fellow musicians. To quote bluegrass icon ALAN MUNDE, "He is one of the very best students, the most talented instrumentalist, equally adept at both fiddle and mandolin, I've had in my tenure". Banjo master and scholar WAYNE SHRUBSALL, playing with NATE in HARD ROAD states, "That boy is playing in the league of some of the best fiddle players I have worked with...and I have worked with Byron Berline, Kenny Baker, Dale Morris and Jim Chancellor, among others." NATE is making his mark as a gifted teacher of private lessons and workshops including Camp Bluegrass and Gerald Jones' Acoustic Music Camp. He "works well ... Read full bio
Wil Maring

Wil Maring – Songwriting

As Wil Maring sat for long summer hours as a teenager at her family's roadside vegetable stand, picking out self-made tunes on her Sears guitar to pass the time, she never dreamed of the path she would one day follow. Wil has become a highly acclaimed songwriter, a previous winner of the prestigious Chris Austin Songwriting Contest at Merlefest, and has appeared on the Grand Ole Opry with her original music, in addition to touring extensively in Europe and Japan. She honed her songwriting skills playing music professionally in Europe with her group Shady Mix. Wil Maring and virtuose guitarist and fiddler Robert Bowlin have been recently combining talents to create beautiful original acoustic music which straddles the fence between bluegrass, folk and country music. Wil’s beautiful airy vocal style and heartfelt lyrics have raised the eyebrows of the acoustic music world in recent years with the release of her ... Read full bio
Tim May - Guitar / Dobro

Tim May – Flatpicking Guitar and Dobro

For fifteen years, Tim performed with the progressive bluegrass band Crucial Smith, playing most of the high-profile festivals in the country including Telluride, Winfield and Winterhawk.  In 2002-2003 he toured with Patty Loveless in support of her bluegrass albums Mountain Soul and White Snow: A Mountain Christmas.  In 2005, he recorded on Charlie Daniels’ album Songs from the Long Leaf Pines, and was solo guitarist on the Grammy-nominated track I’ll Fly Away. Tim has also toured with John Cowan Band, performed at the Grand Ole Opry as a member of Mike Snider’s Old Time String Band and recently played on the all-star Rounder recordingMoody Bluegrass: a Nashville Tribute to the Moody Blues, of which Mark Hurley of Higher and Higher, the Moody Blues fan magazine, said “The jaw-dropping guitar solo on The Voice would cause Eddie Van Halen to weep from insecurity.” Besides our camp, Tim's taught at Nashville Guitar ... Read full bio
Sam Swank - Fingerstyle Guitar

Sam Swank – Fingerstyle Guitar

Sam Swank is a life-long Dallasite who started playing guitar in 1968 when his father brought home a copy of "Are You Experienced" by Jimi Hendrix to supplement his record collection, which consisted of "The Monkees Greatest Hits" and "Revolver" by the Beatles. Sam has made his living as a professional musician and guitar instructor for 25 years. He studied classical guitar with Rick Madriguera at Eastfield College and Tom Johnson at the University of North Texas. He has recorded and performed with such diverse talents as Johnny Reno, Olivia Newton-John, Ray Wylie Hubbard and Andy Timmons. (Sam believes Andy is really coming along!) Sam's approach to teaching is always tailored to individual needs. He specializes in acoustic fingerstyle and classical, as well as rock and blues styles. He enjoys corrupting strict classical and acoustic players with rock and blues music, and vice-versa. He even plays bluegrass well enough to fool undiscriminating listeners, but tries not ... Read full bio
D Lee Thomas - Clawhammr Banjo

Lee Thomas – Clawhammer Banjo

LEE THOMAS while in college and by random chance saw Earl Scruggs on a TV special.  The rest is history. Absorbed, obsessed, possessed, and insane over the five string, his life became the banjo. Dropped out of college, abandoned his wife, went on the road and never looked back.. ... Read full bio
Alan Tompkins - Banjo

Alan Tompkins – Banjo

BLUEGRASS TODAY calls Alan Tompkins “a true Renaissance man,” and the title certainly fits.  A native of the farming and coal mining country of western Kentucky, Alan grew up steeped in the sounds of classic country, gospel, and bluegrass music.  He performed in several bands in his home town of Madisonville, Kentucky before moving to Texas in 1983, where he earned MBA and law degrees at SMU. It was a thrill for Alan to produce and record his first album, No Part of Nothin' , released in 2012.  The album features a lineup of incredibly talented musicians and singers, many of whom are Grammy® or IBMA award winners or nominees.  The list includes Sam Bush, Deryl Dodd, Kenny & Amanda Smith, Ron Stewart, Stephen Mougin, Gerald Jones, Greg Cahill, Ned Luberecki, Mike Bub, Randy Kohrs, Brad Davis, Nate Lee, Bobby Davis, and Steve Rhian. Alan is the founder and President ... Read full bio
Keith Yoder

Keith Yoder – Guitar / Mandolin

Keith Yoder performs on and teaches guitar, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, resophonic guitar, bass and drums. He has taught at music camps including Steve Kaufman’s Acoustic Kamp, British Columbia Bluegrass Workshop/NimbleFingers, and the Walker Creek Music Camp. He has performed with bluegrass legends from Bobby Hicks to Dan Crary, and has recorded several CDs, the most recent featuring him playing all the instruments and singing all the vocal parts ... Read full bio