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2016 performers

Brad Leftwich & Hogwire Stringband

Brad Leftwich and Hogwire Stringband, from Bloomington, Indiana, focuses on Brad’s outstanding fiddling with Linda Higginbotham (banjo and banjo uke), Sam Bartlett (guitar, banjo and mandolin), and Abby Ladin (stand-up bass). All four band members sing. Brad’s twelve feature recordings have received stellar reviews and he’s appeared on dozens of anthologies. He grew up in Oklahoma in a musical family, later learning directly from such legendary masters as Tommy Jarrell, Melvin Wine, Violet Hensley, and the Hammons family. Linda (also from a musical family) began playing banjo and banjo uke after meeting Brad in the 1970s. Abby has played bass with several Clifftop-winning old time bands, and with many renowned fiddlers, including Garry Harrison. As a dancer, she’s been clogging onstage since the age of ten. Sam has crisscrossed the States playing for dances for thirty years and is the author of a best-selling book on pranks and parlor tricks, The Best of Stuntology.

Hogwire appears at the Freight on Thursday night and at Saturday night square dance. Brad will lead a fiddle workshop on Friday afternoon and a banjo workshop on Sunday. Sam will lead a mandolin workshop on Sunday.

Spencer & Rains with the Skeleton Keys

Spencer & Rains are best known for their twin fiddling, and sing old songs in the style of their home states while also exploring other American regional styles. Tricia Spencer was raised in Kansas, where her grandparents played old time music. From an early age she attended festivals and fiddling contests throughout the Midwest, learning from master fiddlers including Pete McMahan, Cyril Stinnett, and Lymon Enloe. Native Texan Howard Rains is an artist and fiddler who loves to uncover and revive rare old tunes. For the square dance, they’ll be joined by the Skeleton Keys: Charlie and Nancy Hartness of Athens, Georgia (ukulele and guitar), plus our own Brendan Doyle (banjo) and Emily Mann (bass). Charlie, Nancy and Brendan appear on Spencer & Rains’ second CD of Texas fiddle tunes.

Spencer & Rains and the Skeleton Keys perform in concert on Thursday at the Freight and play for the Saturday night square dance. In addition, Howard Rains and Tricia Spencer will lead fiddle workshops on Sunday.

Debby McClatchy

Debby McClatchy’s old-time singing and banjo playing earned her a featured spot at the Charlie Poole Festival in North Carolina for five consecutive years. In 45 years as a working musician she did 39 solo tours and worked with the Red Clay Ramblers, Tom, Brad & Alice, and the Orpheus Supertones. As a sideline, she cooked delicious meals at music camps including Camp Harmony and Ashokan. Debby has retired from both touring and catering and lives in the Gold Rush country.

Hurricane Ridgerunners

The Hurricane Ridgerunners (Paul Kotapish, Mark Graham, Jerry Gallaher and Armin Barnett), one of Seattle’s best loved old-time bands, will reunite for a special BOTMC performance. Best known for their strong harmony singing, they can also tear up a harddriving fiddle tune at blazing speed. Armin Barnett (fiddle), Jerry Gallaher (banjo), Mark Graham (harmonica) and Paul Kotapish (guitar) focus on Southern old-time music, with splashes of bluegrass, Hank Williams, Irish, plus some of Mark Graham’s hilarious original songs. Various band members have performed with Tim O’Brien, Laurie Lewis, Dirk Powell, Kevin Burke’s Open House, Wake the Dead, and the Queen City Bulldogs.


The Hurricane Ridgerunners perform in concert at the Freight on Friday. In addition, Jerry will lead a banjo workshop and Armin will lead a fiddle workshop on Thursday, and Mark Graham will lead a harmonica workshop on Friday.

Jesse Milnes & Emily Miller

Jesse Milnes & Emily Miller sing close harmony, accompanied by Jesse’s unique finger-picked guitar and a healthy dose of old-time fiddling. Emily was raised around old-time and country music (the Louvin Brothers and the Stanley Brothers were household favorites) with her parents while they traveled the world as journalists. Jesse grew up in West Virginia (where the couple now live), learning from masters like Melvin Wine and Ernie Carpenter as well as his father, Gerry Milnes. In addition to performing with Jesse, Emily tours extensively with the Sweetback Sisters. Together, Jesse and Emily play for square dances around their home state of West Virginia, and also frequently teach harmony singing with Emily’s mother Val Mindel.

Jesse and Emily will perform in concert at the Freight on Friday night. Jesse will lead a beginning fiddle workshop on Friday, and Emily will lead a .vocal workshop with Valerie Mindel on Sunday.

Hear Emmy & Jesse play and sing on Youtube!

The Gallus Brothers

The Gallus Brothers (Lucas Hicks and Devin Champlin) are a country blues duo from Bellingham, Washington. In 2005 a series of chance encounters involving pancakes, spoons and a guitar first brought the brothers together. Devin Champlin is an expert ragtime and blues guitar fingerpicker and mandolin player; Lucas Hicks holds down the rhythm with a suitcase full of tomfoolery. They both sing, love to bust down on fiddle and banjo duets, and occasionally stand on each other and juggle while playing their instruments.

Lucas Hicks will also be calling at the Saturday night square dance, and Devin Champlin will lead a mandolin workshop on Sunday.


T-Claw grew up in Nashville, Tennessee playing punk, jazz, and metal; calling dances was a natural next step after taking up fiddle and banjo and community organizing. He has called at square dances all over the United States and at festivals including Dare to Be Square, Clifftop, Augusta, and the Black Fly Ball. He strives to keep the moves accessible for a mixed crowd, and entertains with ferocious fervor; he focuses on traditional mountain styles but has many other tricks to employ!

The Earl White Band

The Earl White String Band, winner of last year’s BOTMC StringBand Contest, includes Earl (fiddle), Adrienne Davis (guitar), Evie Ladin (banjo) and Keith Terry (bass.) Earl was among the first black Americans to delve into the old-time music that was once an important part of rural black communities in the South. In 1974, he started playing fiddle as a founding member of the Green Grass Cloggers, college students from North Carolina who revolutionized clogging by combining older flatfooting styles with more modern “precision” clogging routines. Evie Ladin is well known to old-time music fans as one of the Stairwell Sisters and currently fronts the Evie Ladin Band. Keith Terry is the founder and director of the International Body Music Festival and of the band Crosspulse.



Lucas Hicks

Lucas Hicks, from Bellingham, Washington, has called dances at taverns, grange halls, and festivals including the Portland Old Time Gathering, the Northwest Folklife Festival, and Subdued Stringband Jamboree. He’s also half of the Gallus Brothers, and it’s hard to know what is more fun – being a dancer when Lucas calls a square dance, or being in the audience listening to him sing and play music. He’s an entertainer, with a wit and charm that makes you feel like you are in on the joke.

WB Reid & Bonnie Zahnow

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.

Hear WB and Bonnie play "Goin' To Town"

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