top of page

2017 performers

Molsky’s Mountain Drifters is Bruce Molsky’s new “power trio.” As Berklee College of Music’s Visiting Scholar in their American Roots Program, Bruce met virtuoso musicians Allison de Groot (banjo) and Stash Wyslouch (guitar), and formed a cross-generational band that brings a fresh approach to old-time music. Bruce is a Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, banjo and guitar) who has played in such legendary old-time bands as the Correctones, Big Hoedown and the Hellbenders; in collaborations with Mark Knopfler, Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny, Aly Bain, and Jerry Douglas. Allison has performed at major festivals with her own bands, the Goodbye Girls and Oh My Darling.  Stash came to bluegrass (and then to old time music) from the punk-metal world, and has played at major festivals as a member of the Deadly Gentlemen.

Molsky's Mountain Drifters


Molsky's Mountain Drifters appear at the Freight on Fri. Sept. 23.  Bruce will lead a fiddle workshop on Thurs. evening and a banjo workshop on Sunday. Allison and Stash will do banjo and fiddle workshops on Thurs. evenings. All workshops take place at the Freight.

Anna & Elizabeth bring their captivating mix of ballads, foot-stomping dance tunes, stories and visual art to the BOTMC for the first time as a duo. Elizabeth LaPrelle, of Rural Retreat, Virginia, delighted BOTMC audiences in 2009 with her solo performance; now, at the ripe old age of 29, she is acknowledged as the best Appalachian ballad singer of her generation. In  2011 she began performing with Anna Roberts-Gevalt, who lives in Vermont.  They accompany their songs with stories, and illustrate them with “crankies”—intricate hand-made picture-scrolls illustrating the songs, which they create using papercuts, shadow puppets, prints, and embroidered fabric.

Anna & Elizabeth

Anna and Elizabeth appear at the Freight on Fri. Sept. 22, and at the Berkeley Public Library Main Branch (a concert for children) on Sat. Sept 23 in the morning. They will give a singing workshop at the Freight on Sun. Sept. 24.

Bobby Taylor & Kim Johnson

with Karen Celia Heil


Bobby Taylor is a 4th generation West Virginia fiddler, who has the unique honor of being the custodian of  fiddles that once belonged to Ed Haley and Clark Kessinger, two of West Virginia’s most renowned old time fiddlers; and he’ll bring one to the BOTMC for others to try. Bobby coordinates the contests at Clifftop, West Virginia’s legendary old-time music pilgrimage, and he’s won a number of contests himself, including West Virginia State Champion. Kim Johnson will accompany him on banjo.  She hails from Kanawha County, West Virginia and has backed up many iconic old-time fiddlers including Franklin George (who she accompanied at the TKA and TKA BOTMCs), Wilson Douglas, and Lester McCumbers.  West Virginia tunes can have more twists and turns than the Elk River, and nobody can follow those twists and turns like Kim Johnson! Bobby and Kim will be backed on guitar by our own Karen Celia Heil, who makes great musicians like Joseph Decosimo, Eddie Bond, and Kirk Sutphin sound even better.  Karen is a member of the Bucking Mules, whose third CD was released this year by Free Dirt Records.

Foghorn Stringband

Bobby, Kim, and Karen appear at the Freight on Thurs. Sept. 21 and at Ashkenaz on Sat. Sept. 23.  Bobby and Kim will also appear in the panel discussion and jam session at UC Berkeley on Fri. Sept. 22. Kim will give a banjo workshop on Fri. Sept. 22. Bobby will give a fiddle workshop on Sun. Sept. 24; both workshops are at the Freight.

Longtime BOTMC favorites Foghorn Stringband have been delighting audiences around the world for 15 years now, with eight albums and thousands of shows to their credit. Caleb Klauder, Sammy Lind, Reeb Wilms and Nadine Landry gather around one microphone, playing and singing with an intense, fiery abandon - old time square dance tunes, Cajun waltzes, vintage honky tonk country, and classic bluegrass harmonies.  After the show, they’re often be found at the heart of a jam session, continuing to play with energy and joy late into the night.


Foghorn appears at the Freight on Thurs. Sept. 21 and at Ashkenaz on Sat. Sept. 23.  They also will be at the panel discussion and jam at UC on Fri. Sept. 22. Sammy will give a fiddle workshop on Fri. Sept. 22, and on Sun. Sept. 24 Caleb will give a mandolin workshop and Reeb and Caleb will give a singing workshop, all these are at the Freight.

Red Mountain Yellowhammers


Alabama’s Red Mountain Yellowhammers (formerly  Red Mountain White Trash) are best known for their exuberant “wall-of-sound” dance music, with old-timey blues and early country songs, presented with lots of impromptu humor. Joyce Cauthen wrote the definitive history of Alabama old-time fiddling, “With Fiddle and Well-Rosined Bow”, published in 1989 by Univ. of Alabama Press and still in print; she and Jim have been visiting and collecting from older generation Alabama fiddlers for more than 30 years . Band members are Jim Cauthen (fiddle), Joyce Cauthen (guitar), Phil Foster (mandolin), Jamie Finley (harmonica and banjo-uke, and Nancy Jackson (bass).


Red Mountain Yellowhammers will appear at the Freight on Fri. Sept. 22 and at Ashkenaz on Sat. Sept. 23.  Joyce Cauthen will be in the panel discussion at UC Berkeley on Fri. Sept. 22. Jim Cauthen will give a fiddle workshop on Sun. Sept. 24.

Del Rey & Suzy Thompson with Matt Weiner


Seattle’s resonator guitar goddess Del Rey and BOTMC founder Suzy Thompson explore another side of old-time music: country blues and hillbilly ragtime. They have a brand new duet CD called “Communiqué.” Guitar Magazine described Del Rey as “one of the greatest modern players of the metal-bodied resonator guitar.” Also renowned for her virtuosity on the resonator ukulele, she has recorded fifteen albums on her Hobemian Records label.  Suzy’s fiddling has been prominently featured on recordings by Jim Kweskin, Geoff Muldaur, the Texas Sheiks, and Maria Muldaur.  She’s recorded two solo CDs, duet projects with her husband Eric, and with various bands including Any Old Time, Blue Flame String Band, the California Cajun Orchestra, Bluegrass Intentions, and the Todalo Shakers. Later this year, she’ll release “Boatsman”, an old-time CD with Thompsonia, her trio with Eric and daughter Allegra.  Bassist Matt Weiner, who played on “Communiqué”, can be spotted around Seattle and other places plucking, bowing and slapping his gut-strung bass with Casey MacGill Trio, the Tallboys, Wayne Horvitz and others.

Del Rey & Suzy Thompson with Matt Weiner appear at the Freight on Thurs. Sept. 21.  Del Rey gives a Ukulele Blues Party workshop at the Freight on Fri. Sept. 22.

Bearcat Stringband makes its BOTMC debut this year! Berkeley’s own Robin Fischer (fiddle), Rowan McCallister (mandolin), Allegra Thompson (bass) and Julay Brooks (guitar) know how to pump out rhythmic dance tunes that are guaranteed to get toes tapping! Robin is often seen calling dances at the Niebyl Proctor square dances, and teaches fiddle at Manning Music Studios. Rowan grew up in a household filled with folk and country records and took up guitar, banjo and mandolin as a teenager. Until its recent closing, he hosted the bluegrass jams at the 5th String music store. Allegra grew up with a constant stream of house guests that included everyone from Mike Seeger to the Mamou Playboys . She took up the bass about 6 years ago and now plays Cajun music in the Midnite Ramblers and every kind of music in Thompsonia (with parents Eric and Suzy). Julay studied classical music in college and plays various kinds of vernacular music, most recently with Old Belle and the Disciples of Markos. She has just moved to Portland, Oregon, and will be missed.

Bearcat Stringband

Bearcat Stringband plays for the family dance at Ashkenaz on Sun. afternoon, Sept. 24.


Phil Jamison


Phil Jamison is a nationally-known square dance caller, old-time musician and flatfoot dancer who calls a mix of fun, fast-paced old-time squares and Southern Appalachian big circle dances. He literally “wrote the book” on the origins of southern Appalachian dance, “Hoedowns, Reels & Frolics”, published in 2016 by Univ. of Illinois Press.  A member of the Green Grass Cloggers since the 1980s, his dancing was featured in the film “Songcatcher,” for which he served as dance consultant. Phil was one of the driving forces behind the creation of the “Dare To Be Square” events that began in 2003. He teaches mathematics and Appalachian music at Warren Wilson College near Ashville, North Carolina.


Phil Jamison appears on Sat. Sept. 23, at Ashkenaz, where he will give a “how to call Southern square dances” workshop, give a short flatfooting workshop, and call the dance.  He also appears on Sun. afternoon Sept. 24 at Ashkenaz, calling the family dance.  Phil will give a banjo workshop at the Freight on Sun. Sept. 24 and will also give a presentation on the Roots and Branches of Southern Appalachian Dance at the Freight on Sun. Sept. 24.

Evie Ladin fronts the Evie Ladin Band, and tours the world (often with husband Keith Terry), singing, dancing and playing her banjo.  She is the organizer of the Second Sunday OT Shred Sesh at the Starry Plough. An expert square dance caller, Evie is  excited to be calling in tandem this year at the BOTMC with Phil Jamison, who was a Green Grass Clogger when she was a nine-year old clogger.


Evie appears at Ashkenaz on Sat. Sept. 23, co-calling the dance with Phil.

Evie Ladin


WB Reid & Bonnie Zahnow have been making music with and for children since their own kids were babies. Back home in Seattle, they work with school kids twice a week, and play regularly for family dances. WB is an alumnus of two of the Northwest’s finest dance bands, the Tallboys and the Rhythm Rollers. As a duo, WB and Bonnie have played for contra and square dances from coast to coast and border to border.

WB and Bonnie will open the Family Dance on at Ashkenaz on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 24.  They also will host a jam at the String Band Contest in Civic Center Park at 1:00 on Sat. Sept. 23.

Hear WB and Bonnie play "Goin' To Town"

WB Reid & Bonnie Zahnow


Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons

Seattle songsters Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons perform field hollers, fiddle and banjo breakdowns, and early jazz. 2016 International Blues Challenge Solo/Duo winners, they’ve sat at the feet of older generation roots musicians like south Georgia fiddler Frank Maloy. They’ve performed with Dom Flemons, Guy Davis, and most recently with 2016 National Heritage Fellow Phil Wiggins. Ben Hunter, born in the African nation of Lesotho and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, is a classically trained violinist whose heroes include old-time fiddlers like Joe Thompson as well as early jazz icons like Eddie South. Joe Seamons was raised in rural Oregon and recently produced the Smithonian Folkways album Roll Columbia:  Woody Guthrie’s 26 Northwest Songs. 

Ben and Joe will perform at the Welcome Party on Wed. Sept. 20.

David Bragger

David Bragger is known for his ability to break down tunes and bowing with ease and clarity.  He is the director of the UCLA Old-Time Ensemble and artistic director of the Santa Barbara Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention, and plays banjo, fiddle and mandolin in the old-time stringband Sausage Grinder. David is also the founder of the Old-Time Tiki Parlour which produces concerts, workshops, CDs and films by old-time musicians, including Bruce Molsky, Eric & Suzy Thompson, The Stuart Brothers, Rafe & Clelia Stefanini, Kirk Sutphin, Dan Gellert, Paul Brown, Spencer & Rains, Mike Compton, Joe Newberry, Scott Prouty, etc. 

David will host a jam at the Freight on Fri. Sept. 22 at 5:00 pm, and he will teach a beginning fiddle workshop at the Freight on Sat. Sept. 23 from 3:00-4:30 pm.

Ben & Joe
David Bragger
bottom of page