Andy Rau was born and raised in Southern California and has been performing professionally since 1975. He began his career as the in-house banjo player at Knott's Berry Farm amusement park in his home town of Buena Park. During that ten-year period he performed in a host of musical situations including bluegrass bands, country rock bands, and variety stage productions.
In July of 2006, after hearing John Hartford’s Mark Twang album, singer-songwriter, Snap Jackson, walked into a music store in Stockton, California and purchased his first banjo. He has been obsessing over it ever since. In addition to both Scruggs style and clawhammer banjo, Snap also plays the ukulele, mountain dulcimer, and the harmonica. In recognition of his efforts, Snap was nominated in 2010, 2013, and 2014 for the Northern California Banjo Player of the Year award and in 2011 he received an endorsement deal with both the Deering Banjo Company and Kala Brand Ukuleles. When he is not on the road fronting his band, Snap Jackson & the Knock on Wood Players, he can be found at home playing the banjo and spending time with his family.
Billy Lee started playing the banjo at age 11. He would go with his family to country dances that his Uncle "Sock" would play the banjo for. He was hooked on the banjo. When Uncle "Sock" gave Billy his old banjo and said: "if you learn how to play this I'll give it to you". That was all it took. At age 13 Billy played his first show with Calvin Crane who invited him to be his Special guest. The banjo Billy plays is the one Calvin gave to Billy a few years ago. Billy considers his Uncle, Calvin, Eddy Hoover and his cousin Doc as major influences in his musical endeavors.
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. He added music and narration to Ken Burns’ landmark Civil War series, and was an integral part of the hugely popular "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" soundtrack and Down From The Mountain concert tour. But that hardly explains John Hartford.
Graham Sharp began playing banjo in college and almost immediately fell into playing with Charles and Woody. Originally introduced to bluegrass by his high school Latin teacher, Graham was drawn to the sounds of John Hartford and Norman Blake. Through the years he has penned more than thirty Steep Canyon Rangers songs. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina and most enjoys spending time with his wife and two children, Wade and Rosalie.
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 as a young lad of 12.
"I started with a banjo Dad bought from Sears. I think it said Kay on the headstock. After a couple of years he got me a Hondo which I thought was really nice until some pickers at the Crafstbury Vermont Banjo Contest told me I needed a better banjo.
The Duke of Drive, Terry Baucom, is well known to bluegrass fans. Terry's time with the award-winning Doyle Lawson and Quiksilver Band not only brought him critical acclaim but made his name a household word among the bluegrass community.
Music has been an important part of the Baucom family for generations; his father played guitar, his grandfather clawhammer banjo, and his great-grandfather playing fiddle. It would seem only natural the Terry would follow in their footsteps, starting with fiddle and gravitating to banjo as his main instrument by the 70's. Terry's first single album, "In the Groove" came out this year and he proves, yet again, what a master of hard-driving bluegrass music he is.
Among the major-league talent emerging from the folk music boom of the late '50s were the Country Gentlemen, a D.C.-based quartet that introduced bluegrass to a generation of city folks and college students, people who had never heard of Flatt & Scruggs or Bill Monroe or the Stanley Brothers. The Gentlemen, in playing the old bluegrass standards but playing them "different," were in a sense the first newgrass group. Eddie Adcock was the band's banjo player and he was a player of distinction — his style was as innovative as Don Reno's. Adcock's considerable talent spread to other stringed instruments when he left The Gentlemen in 1970 and began exploring new musical genres. For the next three decades, Eddie Adcock remained one of the most popular musicians in bluegrass.