At age six, when Jens (Yens) heard the banjo on one of his dad's American records, he yearned to play it. But having no access to one, Jens played their mother's accordion, accompanying Uwe, who played their father's guitar. When Jens turned ten he acquired a tenor banjo and started to play Dixieland jazz, hoping that one-day 'Foggy Mountain Breakdown' would somehow flow from the instrument.
Born in Syracuse, New York, famed banjoist and 2007 IBMA player of the year, Tony Trischka, was inspired to play banjo in 1963 when he heard a Kingston Trio recording of "Charlie and the MTA." He shares this common thread with Greg Deering who also fell in love with banjo when he heard a Kington Trio record played in his home
Mark is an authentic American original. Primarily known as the inventor of the Clawgrass style of banjo (which some call the "thurd style" after the clawhammer and Scruggs three-finger styles), Mark is both a top drawer player and a respected composer of contemporary acoustic music. In 2012 he received the third annual Steve Martin Award for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass Music.
Klaus Luchs is a multi-instrumentalist who began his musical journey on piano at the age of 7. He later discovered the guitar as a teenager and started writing and performing with local bands. He further pursued his passion by studying classical guitar at Northern Illinois University.
John Hartford won Grammy awards in three different decades, recorded a catalog of more than 30 albums, and wrote one of the most popular songs of all time, Gentle On My Mind. He was a regular guest and contributor on the Glen Campbell Good Time Hour and the Smothers Brothers Show.
Best known for his work with the "Weird Al" Yankovic Band, guitarist Jim West is also a composer of TV and film and has produced a number of CDs for independent artists. The Toronto, Canada, born West grew up in Tampa, FL, and started playing the guitar at age 12. He currently divides his time between Los Angeles and Hawaii and has released 4 slack-key guitar albums.
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