My Country Music Community 
miles traveled, miles to go

Building banjos has forever changed my life and I'm grateful for it.

 

Along my journey I have befriended so many new friends & neighbors.

 Some of my best memories are not the banjos that were built but the adventures and the people I met along the way. 

 

Here are few good folks & memories from the road. 

April 9th 2016

Zak Heerbrandt, Paul Bidanset & I with some early Renan Banjos.

April 2016

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Fellow Virginians & Country Music Lovers, 

The Brackish Water Jamboree 

1st annual Norfolk folk fest
1st Annual Norfolk Folk Festival in Hampton Roads, VA 
July 2016
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Fellow Richmonder, Archivist, Musicologist & Collector.

Zak Heerbrandt 

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Dom Flemons

1st Annual Norfolk Folk Festival @ O'Connor Brewery

Featuring Dom Flemons & Brian Farrow 

Hosted by Brackish Water Jamboree, July 2016

Appalachian String Band Festival aka 'Clifftop'
Aug 1-7, 2016 
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Jack & Ian Moore

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Me and Dwight Diller of Pocahontas County, WV 

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Craig 'Frailin' Evans testing out FB08

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Although I didn't sell any banjos, Clifftop 2016 definitely left a resounding impression on me. Met a lot of fine folk and befriended some of the finest people who walk this Earth. 

Banjo Virtuoso Victor Furtado and NPR listening in.

First visit to Buckeye Banjos Homestead & Workshop in Eggleston, VA. Sept 2016

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2016 Banjo Gathering in Charlottesville, VA

 

Met: Pete Ross & Kristina Gaddy, Will Seeders, Brooks Masten, Jim Hartell and many others.

Nov 2016 

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 '5 Minutes of Fame'

Interviewed by Evanne Armour of Channel 8 News Richmond, VA 

#MadeinRVA Banjo maker crafting one-of-a-kind instruments

 

Air date: December 1st, 2016 

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Seth Swingle plays the Kora. 

January 13th, 2017 at Wesleyan University Virginia Beach, VA

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Picking 'French Waltz' and other fine Clyde Troxwell tunes

Roadtrip to Charlotte, NC

4hrs one-way, worth every mile! 

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While visiting the Renan Homestead we took in a Saturday night show at Floyd Country Store. First time seeing Molsky perform a stage! 

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Renan Banjos Exhibits at The Foundry Market, The American Civil War Museum at Historic Tredegar, Richmond, VA. June 2017

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Appalachian String Band Festival 'Clifftop'  2017
July 29-Aug 6
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Day 1, I've been beer'd.

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Beth Hartness & Adam Hurt picking RB14

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Day 6, SOLD OUT. 

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The gangs all here. Zak Heerbrandt, Devon Flaherty, Candice Weber & Tyler Burke 

2nd Annual Norfolk Folk Festival 
@ O'Connor Brewering Co.
Aug 12th 2017
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In a van down by... Zak Heerbrandt aka 'Doc Elliot' sings 'Little Old Log Cabin Down the Lane' prepping for his performance at 2nd Norfolk Folk Festival August 2017

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Soundcheck! 

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We make it to Vienna, Austria on our 2 week Euro trip and I'm already looking for a banjo to pick. 

Sept 2017

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John-Anthony DeMaio picks every note that exists on his new and improved Gold Tone Plectrum

Oct 2017

Tom Larsen of BlackBerry Banjos pops in for a visit, he just happened to be in town that week. 

April 2018

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Seen here picking newly completed RB18

aka 'One-Eyed Jack' 

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Longtime friend, Nick Bays holds his custom RB17 'Seahorse' for the first time. Somewhere in eastern Kentucky 

April 2018

47th Annual Mount Airy Bluegrass & Old-time Fiddlers Convention 
June 1-2, 2018
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Got to Surryarts.org for more information on the Mt.Airy Fiddlers Convention 

Appalachian String Band Festival aka 'Clifftop'
July 30-Aug 5th, 2018
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John Hermann & The Ruglifters picking Vendor Alley

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It's not a real Clifftop if their ain't mud. Tarp it.

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Adam Hurt knows how to bring the party. 

Cathy Fink & Dan Gellert & Adam in the tent and lookers on. 

Dan Gellert critiques RB18, he was generous! 

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Dwight Diller teaching us tunes & technique. 

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Fellow Virginian & Banjo Addict Jim picks RB15 'Ghost' while new friend & Banjo maker

Andy Lundeen of Silver Hill Woodworks looks on.

Victor Furtado brings out the sonic resonance of RB19

Jim & his VW Bus is on a journey man. Far out. 

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Bon Voyage pickers & fiddlers 
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Rockbridge Mountain Music
& Dance Festival
September 2018

Glen Maury Park, Buena Vista, VA

for more info about the festival

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The Earl White Stringband played the Saturday night dance, it was a hoot! 

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Southwestern Virginia Roadtrip

October 2018

Floyd, VA 

Willis, VA

Galax, VA 

Independence, VA 

Grayson Highlands & Mt. Rogers, VA

via rt 221 and rt 58

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The Blue Ridge Music Center Museum on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Galax, VA 

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early mountain banjo

We had the honor of hearing Riley Baugus perform at the Blue Ridge Music Center in Galax, VA

Oct 2018

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Old Homestead along the Blue Ridge Parkway near Grayson Highlands, VA. 

Expert fit of this Saddle Notch handhewn Log Cabin. I would sign my name on that joint as well. 

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Wayne Henderson Guitar at the

Grayson Highlands State Park Museum

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Buzz saw Frontier painting, ugh yeah I want that on my wall. 

A visit to my good buddy Gene Bowlen's 

Homestead & Recording Studio

BeARcade Productions

Port Republic, VA 

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2018 Banjo Gathering at
The Birthplace of Country Music 
Bristol, VA
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fiddles
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Jake Blount records live 'ON AIR' at Radio Bristol the tune "Blow The Grave" on RB18

a pair of matchstick fiddles, functional folk art

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Jake Blount is a tour de force in the Bluegrass & Old Time Community not only as musician, but as an Ethnomusicologist and Activist. It was my honor to meet him at the 2018 'gathering, to hear him speak and perform. 

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a visit to master banjo maker & engraver

Bob Anderson's workshop in 

Weaverville, NC

January 2019

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I spent a great long weekend with Bob & his wife Kathy. They treated me to dinner & brews in Weaverville. I got to tour Bob's rebuilt Tobacco Barn that he painstakenly restored. In the barn is his banjo workshop, upstairs is the engraving room. Here is where I began my own humble engraving lessons.  

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Bob Anderson

Vancouver, WA & Portland, OR

a visit with family and friends & a chance meetup with Brooks Masten of Brooks Banjos

February 2019

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Brooks was incredibly gracious and kind. The wife and I got to tour his complete operation and hear his origin stories. Getting to visit Brooks and spend time with him and his mastercraft was a big highlight on this trip.

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Suislaw National Forest - Cape Perpetua, OR 

2019 Rockbridge Mountain Music Festival 

Buena Vista, VA 

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Sept 2019
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In my opinion Mountain Music festivals are whirlwind experiences. More often then not I am entirely enjoying myself and forget to take some snaps! The video below is some audio from a late night jam, just down the road from camp. 

With me is Buzz, aka (the unofficial) Mayor of Clifftop,

VA chapter 

I would say we were liquored. 

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The Thang Affrolachian String Band Concert 

Sept 2019

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I was more than humbled to be invited to 'The Thang' Affrolachian String Band Music Concert held by Dr. Dena Jennings at the Jennings Farm in bucolic Nasons, VA.

Peformances by: Dena Jennings, Vialerie Diaz Leroy, Joe Seamons, Brian Farrow, Moses Crouch, Piedmont Blue, Greg Adams, Jackie Merritt & Resa Gibbs, Brandi Pace, Jim Bunch, Jake Blount, Jeff Chumley, Sara Ghebremichael, Emily Oleson & Matthew Olwell. 

Surprise guest musician, activist and extraordinaire Rhiannon Giddens

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22nd Annual Banjo Gathering at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA 

October 2019

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Notable presentation by Kristina Gaddy about her travels & research on the Edelweiss Pirates for her book, 

Flowers in the Gutter