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BLUFF COUNTRY GATHERING

Lanesboro, MN

Yes, the Bluff Country Gathering will continue in spite of the loss of organizer/director Gail Heil, the dreamer who thought a festival and camp dedicated to old time country music could thrive in the upper Midwest. What she began will continue according to her vision.

BLUFF COUNTRY GATHERING 2015 will be May 14-17.

 

Thanks to all the 2014 performers, staff, cooks, volunteers, participants, audience members and dancers who made the event such a resounding success. See you next year!

2014 Staff

Eric and Suzy Thompson (ericandsuzy.com) bring a varied songbag of old time fiddle music, Cajun, blues and rags played on fiddle, guitar and mandolin. In their home locale, the San Francisco Bay area, this duo lead numerous musical aggregates including the Aux Cajunals, Thompson String Ticklers playing "fast, wild ragtime and slinky, slippery blues of the 1920s and 30s", the Bluegrass Intentions, Kleptograss (besides old time, Eric is considered one of the leading bluegrass flat-pick guitar and mandolin players), and Suzy'e Floozies. The Thompsons favor the complex fiddle tunes of past masters like Arthur Smith , Doc Roberts and the Stripling Brothers, the bluesy renderings of the Mississippi Sheiks and Peg Leg Howell, and the smooth Texas players Eck Robertson, Benny Thomasson and the East Texas Serenaders. And after all that, they're just getting started.

Bob Carlin is probably the best known clawhammer style banjoist performing today. He has taken the distinctive southern banjo style to appreciative audiences all over the US, Canada, Europe, Australia and Japan and is a three-time winner of the Frets Magazine readers poll. He has performed not only as a solo but in numerous stringbands, including the well-known John Hartford Band. Bob is not only highly sought after for his musical talent, but for his amazing skill as a producer for the music industry and traditional music researcher. He has produced a large number of CDs that are well-known to all and has authored numerous magazine articles and books for a wide range of publications. And he's quite the snazzy dresser.

Vesta Johnson and Steve Hall are returning for their third appearance at the Bluff Country Gathering, having served on staff in 2000 and 2007. Vesta, who now lives in St. Louis, MO, grew up and learned fiddle in north central Missouri and the Ozarks of southern Missouri, both areas rich in traditional dance fiddling. In her more than eighty years playing the instrument she has acquired a rich repertoire of both well-known and rare pieces. Steve Hall, Vesta's grandson, grew up with this music and is the perfect back-up player for her tunes. He'll be teaching workshops in guitar and mandolin. In 2013 Vesta was given the Individual Artist of the Year award by the Missouri State Arts Board. At 92 years of age, we say "It's about time!"

Bruce Molsky is one of the best known fiddlers of his generation. Originally from New York City and currently living north of the city along the Hudson River, Molsky developed a love of traditional music that has led him to embrace and master the styles ranging from Appalachian tunes to delta blues, Irish and Scandinavian fiddling to poly-rhythmic African music. Bruce, beside being a consummate fiddler, is a tremendous banjo and guitar player and a soulful singer. He was nominated for a "Grammy" in 2003 for his recording with Fiddlers 3 and won an "Indie" for "Poor Man's Troubles", his 2001 release for Rounder. Molsky has played such notable venues as Lincoln Center in New York and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC and toured extensively in the U.S., U.K. Scandinavia, and more. (Photo by Irene Young.)

Bob Dalsemer specializes in calling traditional American square, contra, and circle dances. He has composed new dances and published two collections of traditional square dances. Born and raised in Baltimore, Bob co-founded the Baltimore Folk Music Society and the dance program of the Folklore Society of Great Washington, then moved to southwestern North Carolina in 1991 to become Coordinator of Music and Dance Programs at The John C. Campbell Folk School. In his 22 years at the school he greatly expanded the music program, instituted annual training courses for callers and dance musicians and began producing a concert series there. In 2011 the Country Dance and Song Society awarded Bob its Lifetime Contribution Award. In addition to calling, Bob plays fiddle, guitar, mandolin and piano accordion.

Emily Schaad is a stunning fiddler, winner of the 2012 fiddle contest at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, WV, beating 96 other fiddlers from around the world. She's an accomplished music teacher and a member of the old time band Old Buck along with Debra Clifford. Debra, who also performs as half of the Lonesome Sisters, plays guitar, mandolin, fretless clawhammer banjo, fiddle, tenor guitar and sings harmony and lead.

Henry "Hank" Sapoznik is an award winning producer and performer of traditional American and Yiddish music. Missing New York's first wave of old time music in the 1960s, Hank came up in the 1970s playing with the Delaware Water Gap and the late Ray Alden who introduced him to southern banjo/fiddle masters Fred Cockerham and Tommy Jarrell (who, indeed did ask: "Don't your people got none of your own music?"). In 2005 Hank was nominated for three Grammies for his production of "You Ain't Talkin' To Me: Charlie Poole and the Roots of Country Music" and for "Ernest V. Stoneman: The Unsung Father of Country Music." (2008). Sapoznik is the Founding Director of the Mayrent Institute for Yiddish Culture at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.


About the Bluff Country Gathering

The Bluff Country Gathering is a four-day event presenting traditional American music, dance and singing styles. Workshops, conducted by a staff of nationally acclaimed musicians, singers, dancers and folklorists, are designed to pass along the traditions of old-time music to participants at all levels of experience. If you want to take workshops, you must register for the whole weekend. Cost is $225 and includes workshops, concert, dance and two noon meals. The registration form is at the bottom of this page.

PUBLIC EVENTS: A concert on Friday night features all the staff musicians. The Barn Dance on Saturday night includes live music by staff musicians and Bob Dalsemer teaching and calling square and circle dances. No experience or partner required for this dance.

CONCERT: Friday May 16 at 8:00 PM. $12.00. Tickets available at the door only.

BARN DANCE: Saturday, May 17, at 8:00 PM. $8.00. Tickets available at the door only.

REGISTRATION: $225 for all events. If you plan to take workshops full registration is required. No refunds after May 1.


Registration Form

Please fill out the entire registration form. Registrations not accepted until January 6. (Printable PDF)

Name________________________________________________________________________________

Address________________________________________________________________________________

Phone________________________________________________________________________________

Email________________________________________________________________________________

Name/address on the roster? Yes _____ No _____ (The roster will be available to all students.)

Meals: Veggie _____ Meat _____ (Choose only one)

If you have food allergies or special needs, you must notify us before May 1 at 507-498-5452.

Any student age 16 or under must be accompanied by a fully registered parent or guardian.

Interested in volunteering? Most of our registered students help out doing small jobs at the weekend, like setting up tables and chairs for meals and concerts, helping in the kitchen, sitting at the sales table during the public concert or dance, to name a few.

Even the smallest help is greatly appreciated. If you check yes, someone will contact you about matching you to an agreeable task.

Yes, I'd like to help. _____ No, not this time. _____

Make checks payable to Bluff Country Gathering and mail to 18287 Gap Drive, Spring Grove, MN 55974. We do not take credit cards.


Housing is not provided by the Gathering. Lanesboro has many B&Bs, boarding houses, motels and campgrounds in town and nearby. For a listing of these go to www.lanesboro.com or call the tourist office at 800-944-2670.

Thursday Night Potluck dinner starting at 6 pm. Bring a dish to share. Plates/cups/napkins/silverware will be provided. The kitchen is available only to the lunch caterers and will not be available for cooking/ cleaning up/storing leftovers.

Sunday Potluck starting at 9:30 am

Friday and Saturday lunches will again be provided by our favorites, Bob and Diana Suckiel, along with their fabulous crew!

What else to bring? Recorders are a must, since most of the workshops will be taught aurally.

 

Friday
Schedule

9:00-10:15

10:30-11:45

1:45-2:45

3:00-400

4:15-5:00

Sons of Norway

Emily Schaad

Fiddle: Learning by Ear

 

OPEN

Eric & Suzy Thompson

“Sheik Time”- String Band Blues

 

OPEN

 

Sing Around-Bring a song to share or just come listen

 

OPEN

 

Banjo Showcase

Hank Sapoznik,Bob Carlin, Bruce Molsky

 

         OPEN

 

Emily Schaad & Debra Clifford

 

Mini-Concert

 

OPEN

Community Ctr. Council Chambers

Bob Carlin

Clawhammer

Banjo

 

BEG/INT

 

Bruce Molsky/Bob Carlin

Fiddle/Banjo duets

 

INT/ADV

Vesta Johnson

Fiddle

 

BEG/INT

Steve Hall

Guitar Backup Missouri Style

 

      INT

 

Vesta Johnson & Steve Hall

Fiddle Repertoire

 

OPEN

Community Ctr. Kitchen Area

Steve Hall

Guitar Backup

 

BEG/INT

Debra Clifford

Mandolin

 

BEG

Eric Thompson

Mandolin

 

INT/ADV

Debra Clifford

Ballad Singing

 

OPEN

Suzy Thompson

Fiddle

 

INT/ADV

Community Ctr. Gym

Marilyn Branch

Basic Clogging

 

  OPEN

Bob Dalsemer

Square Dance Calling

 

OPEN

Hank Sapoznik

Fingerstyle Banjo

 

BEG/INT

Bob Dalsemer

Appalachian Squares

 

OPEN

 

 

Saturday Schedule

9:00-10:15

10:30-11:45

1:45-2:45

3:00-4:00

4:15-5:00

Sons of Norway

Bruce Molsky

Fiddle Repertoire

 

 

OPEN

Debra Clifford  & Emily Schaad

Basics of Harmony Singing

 

OPEN

Emily Schaad

Fiddle Repertoire

 

   OPEN

Fiddle Showcase-Suzy Thompson, Bruce Molsky, Vesta Johnson, Emily Schaad

 

Open Jam-Bob Carlin, Suzy Thompson, Debra Clifford

 

OPEN

Community Ctr. Council Chambers

Hank Sapoznik

Clawhammer Banjo

 

BEG/INT

Bob Carlin

Clawhammer Banjo

 

INT/ADV

Suzy Thompson

Fiddle

 

ADV

Eric Thompson

Carter Style Guitar

 

BEG/INT

Bruce Molsky

Fiddle

 

ADV

Community Ctr. Kitchen Area

Eric Thompson

Mandolin

 

INT/ADV

Vesta Johnson

Waltzes & More

 

BEG/INT

Hank Sapoznik

Fingerstyle Banjo II

 

INT

 

Hank Sapoznik

Old Time Banjo Folkore & Recordings

 

OPEN

Community Ctr. Gym

Steve Hall

Guitar backup

 

INT/ADV

Bob Dalsemer

Square Dance Calling

 

OPEN

Debra Clifford

Mandolin

 

BEG

Bob Dalsemer

Callers Open Mike

 

OPEN

 

BEG- Very little experience with your instrument, need basic skills.

INT- Have basic skills, be able to tune your instrument, play scales or chords, play a few tunes. 

ADV- Very at ease with your instrument and want to learn tunes quickly, focus on technique.

OPEN- These workshops may be repertoire, concerts, or other types that require no skill level.    

NOTE  There will be one-hour medium-paced jams led by staff, both Friday and Saturday nights after the public events. They will be held in the Kitchen Area of the Community Center.                                                  

 

 

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